THE JOY OF COMMUNAL FRIDGES

 

productfeature-supergreens

To the anonymous person who “liberated” the arugula out of my previously unopened container of Organic Girl SuperGreens pre-washed salad that was in the communal fridge at the Vancouver hostel in the triple-tied bag with my name on it in large red print on both sides of the bag:

I admire with what surgical precision you cut through the package’s safety seal and then realigned the severed ends so that it would look unopened. How clever and how thoughtful of you!

I am also in barely restrained awe at how you organized in tidy rows, from smallest to largest, the remaining Swiss chard, spinach and bok choy leaves (the arugula leaves, of course, being absent from the mix because presumably you removed them prior to doing the leaf arranging. Or perhaps you removed the arugula because it was “not like the others” and threw off your arrangement?). Organizing salad leaves according to size and shape is a novel yet intriguing approach to mixed salad presentation that I think warrants further investigation.

Good job, anonymous liberator, and I hope you enjoyed my arugula! arugula

SASKATOON VIA RAIL STATION DEMONSTRATES HOW TO BE AN ENERGY-CONSCIOUS GOOD CORPORATE CITIZEN

HPIM1748.JPG
SIGN OF THE TIMES

SNOW LIGHTNING

So many views; so little battery life.

I’m in the Rockies and can’t stop taking pictures.  Everywhere I look is an “wow” moment that I think must be digitally captured or life as we know it will come screeching to a halt. The only problem is that I’m not a photographer and I keep getting photobombed by trees.

HPIM1632.JPG
TREES READY FOR THEIR CLOSE-UP

The best place to view the view is the dome car. Or so you’d think. The problem with the dome car is that everyone else thinks it’s the best place to take pictures, too, so you end up being jostled by the jostled. And then getting photobombed by the back of people’s heads.

HPIM1717.JPG
I WAS ACTUALLY AIMING FOR THAT TREE

And hands.

HPIM1702.JPG
NOT MY HAND

And even the odd window sill.

HPIM1711.JPG
SOFT-FOCUS OF PAPER GARBAGE BAGS & THUMB

And then, every once in a while, all the jostling and photobombing pay off and you capture something that (perhaps just to you, but even so) encapsulates the time and place and moment and feeling.

HPIM1700.JPG
SNOW LIGHTNING

MILES AND MILES OF MILES AND MILES

greensheepie

Someone once described the American southwest as “miles and miles of miles and miles.” He was right. You could travel for hours and hours and hours and hours going east to west or west to east and still seem to be passing the same scrubby bush and the same cactuses and the same fringe of craggy hills, over and over and over and over, with either no or very few distinguishing landmarks.  The same could not be said when travelling south to north or north to south in the same region, as the flora, fauna, and geographical features change dramatically every 15 minutes or so of driving.

And then there’s Atlantic Canada as seen from the window of a train going east to west or west to east. Miles and miles of miles and miles of the same trees over and over and over and over. It’s mesmerising and also slightly soporific. A train on tracks travels closer to nature than a car on a highway. If the train windows could open, I could reach out and touch the heavily leaved branches as we roll on by. But the windows don’t open, so I have to be satisfied with just seeing the trees up close and personal, miles and miles of miles and miles of them, like counting endless green sheep over and over and over and over….

Excuse me while I go take a nap….

LIVIN’ LARGE IN ECONOCLASS

Renaissance car economy VIA

Economy ticket train travel is better than first-class plane travel. Everything on a train is larger and more generous, even in the cheap seats. Bigger windows, bigger window shades, bigger corridors, bigger bathrooms, bigger seats, bigger backs of seats, bigger fold-down tables, more leg-room, more storage options, bigger view. Even when the train is sold out and every seat is occupied (as it was for my trip from Halifax to Campbellton), you can still comfortably claim and occupy your personal space.  You can wander up and down the train corridor which is way longer than a plane. You can even wander up and down the station platform if the stop is longer than 5 minutes. The comfiness you get on a low-end train ticket is so much better than the comfiness you get in a first class plane ticket that I’m surprised airlines are still in business. Mind you, there are no hot towels or complimentary glasses of sparkling plonk in the VIA economy cars and it takes you about 12 times the amount of time to get to where you’re going, but you arrive much more refreshed (no jet lag on VIA!) and without being frisked at security and your bottle of water confiscated.

FINAL SCORE:

  • TRAIN TRAVEL  – 1
  • PLANE TRAVEL – 0

GO BEFORE YOU GO

pee.jpg

“Do you need to pee?” This is how my family vacations started out when I was a child.

“Do you need to pee? You’d better go even if you don’t have to. We won’t be stopping for a while.”

So off I’d dutifully go to the toilet and sit there waiting for something to happen. Nothing usually did, but it was the ritual and it had to be done before we could leave. It was like we all had to make at least a gesture of an offering to the toilet god if we were to ensure a safe and prosperous journey.

Now I say it to myself whenever I start out on a trip: “Do you need to pee?”

I found myself doing it today before I boarded the train. I didn’t need to pee, but off I dutifully went to the ladies room, anyway. An eight-year-old in a 53-year-old woman’s body.

I could hear my mother’s voice, half an inquiry and half a command, echoing down the years as I entered the bathroom stall.

“Do you need to pee?”

Go before you go.

It’s a family tradition.