Yesterday: 12+ inches of snow
Today: -33℉ temperatures
Fun Canadian winter is fun.
Crossing the US/Canada border with my mom is always some sort of adventure. Talking to the border guards—especially going back into the States—always makes my mom nervous, and I have trouble keeping from laughing because every time we cross the border I remember all our previous border incidents where my mom was in panic mode and I had to answer the border guards’ questions for her.
But today’s crossing was extra special.
Let me set the scene for you, ‘cause you need to be able to visualize all of this.
When we pulled up to the crossing, the lineup to get through wasn’t especially long, but there were a decent number of vehicles in front of us. There were enough, in fact, for one of the border guard dudes to open up one of the other lanes. He guided a few of us towards it, and we ended up pulling behind a truck that had a very prominent pair of truck nuts hanging down from the rear.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing truck nuts before, they are these things:
(pic from here)
And these exist because…?
I honestly have no idea. Maybe because mounting a 10x scale model of one’s penis to the front of one’s hood is illegal.
But anyway. Mr. Truck Nuts McDangle is now right in front of us, and my mom, never having seen the monstrosity that is a pair of truck nuts before, is taking pictures of it with her phone and laughing while doing so.
I’m pretty sure she’s going to get us arrested by the border guards, but even they seem to be amused by the nuts. There are a few of them circling around the vehicles, just making sure we’re all actually in lanes, and I see a few of them looking at the truck in front of us and laughing a little.
Anyway. Nuts Dude finally pulls up to the crossing window, talks to the guards, and goes on through. As they’re pulling away, I see the two guards outside the booth laughing a bit—probably about the nuts.
So then we pull up.
My mom, nervous about the border as always, had rehearsed questions with me. She always brings a cooler with her whenever she comes up here, so she always has me rehearse with her what to say if they ask her what’s in the cooler.*
And of course they ask. “What’s in the cooler?”
Now keep in mind that we’ve all been primed with giant-ass truck nuts just moments ago.
My mom takes both hands, holds them like a foot and a half apart, and says, “I’ve got a biiiig zucchini.”
I honestly don’t know how those border guards kept straight faces; I had to turn away because I was losing my mind laughing. The guards managed to finish asking their questions and sent us on our way, at which point I totally lost it.
My mom had no idea what was so funny, so I explained it to her as we were driving out of the border crossing area, and we almost had to pull over ‘cause we were both laughing so hard.
I know it may not sound as funny just typed out like this, but holy hell, that was fantastic when it happened.
It’ll be hard to top this border crossing.
Edit: I had to check out the “truck nuts” Wiki page just to see what it had to say, and one of the sentences has the phrase “truck nuts exploded” and I can’t handle this universe anymore.
*We had a “carrot incident” once coming back from Vancouver…it’s still one of the funniest things that’s ever happened to us.
Canada’s Global News: always entertaining.
I love how that artichoke dip thing from last Christmas had even more of an impact in the Calgary studio than the original clip showed.
I really do love it up here.
CBC News: reporting the important stuff.
Okay, yeah, those Calgary bathrooms are awesome. Those are the rave ones I blogged about a few weeks ago.
You think Hillary vs. Trump is an important decision? It’s got nothing on Montreal vs. Whitecourt vs. Calgary vs. Calgary vs. Winnepeg!
To be honest, though, any one of those toilets in those bathrooms could run the US better than Trump could.
So my knowledge about where various cities are in Alberta is horrible.
Example: I’m looking on Indeed for stats-related jobs and I see an ad for an instructor at Grande Prairie Regional College. Oh, sweet, I think. I wonder where that is. It sounds like it wouldn’t be all that far up north—
Granted, I’m no Captain Geography when it comes to any other province/state/country/continent, but I’ve never really had a reason to study Alberta and the distribution of its population. Plus, it’s a big chunk of earth, so there’s a lot of it to know.
DON’T JUDGE ME!
Yay, it’s election day here! Elections at the federal level are a bit different than they are in the States (for one, elections can be called at any time, not just every x years like we do down there; for another, they don’t spend 50 years campaigning before the votes), but there are still a few similarities. Right now Canada has a Conservative Prime Minister, Harper, but as of my writing this it’s projected that the Liberals will win.
Edit: Yup, Liberals won! Justin Trudeau, son of Pierre Trudeau (a former Prime Minister), is going to take the position.
Have a picture of the voting results (Canada uses blue for Conservative and red for Liberal, which is kind of opposite the US party colors…though Canada has more parties (at least more visible/impactful/electable parties) than the US does). And “NDP” stands for “National Democratic Party.”
Holy crap, it’s a Canadian Mall post! I haven’t done one of those in like 40 years. Today I’ll blog about Core Center (or I guess Core Centre, since it’s Canadian), though this isn’t the first time I’ve been here. Technically Nate and I went here on our second date. So yeah, sometime last December was the first time I was here, haha.
Mileage from home to mall:
- It’s got a little inside garden (okay, a big inside garden) that’s very peaceful and cool to look at, especially with the water features. There’s usually someone in there playing piano, too, so it’s nice.
- It’s downtown and thus is a nice intermediate point for our longer walks that take us through downtown but to a destination a ways away.
- Part of the mall is structured so that if you’re on one of the higher floors and are looking across the way to the other side of the mall, it looks like you’re looking at the outside of another building. It’s a weird little illusion, but it’s pretty cool.
- It’s tucked away rather unassumingly in a building downtown, which makes it impossible to find for people like me. It’s a good thing Nate knows where it is. I also never would have found this on my own, just because it doesn’t look like a mall from the outside.
- They close the bathrooms in the food court on the weekends. What.
Monday is a holiday up here in Alberta, so yesterday Nate and I drove down to his parents’ place in Crowsnest Pass and today went with them to Waterton Lakes National Park for some hiking! It was hot, but fun. 11-ish miles. Have some pics!
Things to do in Calgary:
- See the Calgary Tower
- Watch a Flames game
- Go to Cross Iron Mills Mall
- Seek shelter from tornadoes
Apparently parts of the city were under tornado warnings this afternoon. Check out some of these pictures.
Menacing, huh? Aaaaaaaaaaaand then it was gone.
We’re back in the land of Celsius and kilometers now! We’re also both super tan because of our time in the southwest. At least Nate has an even tan; all my shirts were of different necklines/sleeve lengths so I look like a giant gradient of light-to-tanned light skin colors. Super attractive.
Also, it was another easy border crossing to get back to Canada.
Welcome to April in Alberta!
To be fair, this was just south of Calgary; the city itself was cloudy but snow-free. We were down in Crowsnest Pass for the weekend and there was quite a bit of snow going on today in that area. Still better than that September storm, though, haha.
I’m at Safeway and in the checkout lane next to a checker who’s just turned her light off to go home. A guy drives his cart up to her conveyor and starts unloading stuff.
Checker: I’m sorry, sir, I’m closed.
Checker: I just closed, sorry.
Guy: Oh! I’m sorry!
Checker: It’s alright, sir!
Guy: I’m sorry, let me take this stuff off the belt.
Checker: I’m sorry; here, let me help.
This goes on for like a minute while they clear off his stuff and he runs off, apologizing, to the next open checker.
I miss Americans.
Is that a weird thing to say?
Like, Canadians are super cool and so are all my grad school friends from across the globe, but I miss my fellow USA peoples. At UBC, the incoming psych grad students were pretty much split 50/50 between Canadians and Americans, but I’m literally the only American grad student in the stats department here. It’s weird.
Today, Nate and I took a little road trip to Drumheller to check out the Royal Tyrrell Museum, a museum dedicated solely to paleontology. It’s tucked away a little ways outside of Drumheller proper, but it’s super cool and worth visiting if you have any interest at all in paleontology and/or dinosaurs in general. I should have brought my good camera, but since all I had was my iPod, these are the only pics y’all get.
Check it out if you’re ever in southern Alberta!
I had a dream last night about a French-Canadian version of Beck.
His name was Quebeck.
My mom shipped two packages from the US, since all my swag (read: boots and M&Ms) would not fit in my suitcase.
Now one of the packages is lost in the vast Canadian wilderness.
Or it’s in the back of a UPS truck somewhere. Same thing.
Also, I ordered a new backpack from L.L. Bean, but that apparently got lost in Ottawa somewhere, so who knows when that’s getting here.
And now for something completely unrelated: this pasta looks super tasty.
Hokay. Back in Canada. Everything went smoothly and the remainder of the weekend was grand.
Totally unrelated: I’ve been super motivated to work on Arborhood now that I’ve actually gone back and done a quick re-read of things. I don’t write things in chronological order, especially with NaNoWriMo—whatever I feel like writing on a particular day, I write just below what I’d written the day before—so my first task is to actually organize everything into a somewhat chronological flow. Then I can start writing/rewriting.
But I do like the story. I like my tree characters. I like that it’s vastly better than my two previous NaNos, The President’s Barber and Whistler’s Father. Those were god awful.
Anyway. SCHOOL TOMORROW! *cue flailing*
Edit: And this. This is great.