Saturday, September 26, 2009

How many Prime Ministers Can You Name?

Last night we went to Trivia Night at our church. What an interesting night. I never knew how much I don't know about Canada! I was the token American on the team so ALL questions that had anything to do with the US. were referred to me. I knew some and not others as is to be expected. The thing I did not expect was how many of the questions were so Canadian. I heard names I have never in my life heard! How to give yourself a severe ego crush....try trivia in a country other than your home country. Ouch! How many prime ministers have there been? Who was the first one with a PhD? Who is the most decorated war hero from someplace I've never heard of? What were hockey pucks made out of in the 1800's? Yea, there were plenty of hockey questions too, another one of my shortcomings. Must get reading for next month!

We finished dead last out of 5 teams. We did have the most fun of any of the teams though and we got bonus points for our lovely drawings on our answer sheet and for our "spirit". Lesson the extra credit it might help. Our captain did a little drawing to depict each of our answers, if for no other reason than to entertain the "grader". It worked.

So after living here for a year and a half, I thought I was assimilating quite well. Wrong! I felt very foreign last night. How to get smacked right back into reality. It was a very nice evening and maybe I know a little more about Canada than I did before, if I can remember any of it.

Next time let's do baseball and presidents!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Some People's Trash= Other People's Treasure?

Trash day in Canada is something very different than trash day in the States. In the States you just throw stuff away, OK there is recycling in most places too. In Canada, to quote my cousin, you need a degree to figure out the trash here!

In Mississauga we have several different trash categories. First, you have a 2 bag limit each week for "trash". Second, you have the paper recycling box and the plastic, aluminum, etc. box. Third, you have the "green bin". The green bin is possibly the most disgusting trash bin in the world! This is the bin for all "organic" matter, that means fruit, vegetable, coffee grinds, tea bags, dead flowers, bones, fish, eggshells, grease, fat, sauces, dairy products, baked goods, paper towels and napkins, pizza boxes....yes, all the disgusting stuff that I used to put most of down the garbage disposal that I don't have here! Summertime is an especially lovely time for the green bin, smelly. You cannot put dead animals, dirty diapers or pet waste in the green bin though. Thank goodness!

Which brings me to today's topic....twice a year they lift the 2 bag limit and apparently the sky is the limit for these two, two week periods. They have "free trash" day or week in Nova Scotia in the summer too and talk about junk! You can drive up and down the road and there will be sofas, chairs, toilets, doors, windows, many appliances, Santa Claus decorations, bathtubs and all sorts of other treasures along the road for at least a week. With these "free" trash weeks also comes what can only be referred to as the worlds biggest street sale! People stop and pick up their new found treasures along the side of the road. My guess is that the city publishes the date for this and then waits a week to pick up the stuff, the result being they pick up half of what has been put by the side of the road.

Exhibit A, one grill, two chairs and a light fixture, oh and that nice bookcase!

It really is like a field day when you have the freedom to exceed the 2 bag limit. Throw it all away....NOW! We won't get this chance for another 6 months. I will admit to having possession of at least one item found by the side of the road on free trash week. It was a gift and we proudly display our plastic light up Santa next to our garden in Nova Scotia! (refer to picture in Summer, Part 3 posting) He makes a great scarecrow and who doesn't laugh when they see Santa next to the garden in July?

All kidding aside, I find that when I go somewhere with no recycling it just feels wrong to throw away that glass bottle or the can or the cardboard box. I am trained. I also have noticed how little actual "trash" we have. Must be the smaller family. But when I first heard the 2 bag limit I was trying to figure out how I could do it, now I sometimes only have one bag. How Canadian of me! I must have a degree.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Summer, the end

So I guess if this weekend is Labor Day weekend then it is the end of summer. How can winter last so long and summer be so short? (imagine asking that in Houston?!) It seems only yesterday that we were visiting with our friends Bob and Donna on their trip here and planning our long stay at the shore. Now it is over and it is back to real life and cooler weather.

About that cooler weather....I can remember when we would go shopping up here on vacation when I was in school and they had all the fall clothes out in August and in my reality it would be months before we could even think about wearing sweaters or cords or jackets and I wondered who buys this stuff so early? Are they kidding? Well, now I see the fall clothes and think, oh I better get some long pants or a jacket, I might need it soon. Shorts go in the drawer for another winter and bye bye tank tops and flip flops...sigh. I guess it is a good thing I like pants and long sleeves. But how will everyone see what is left of my tan with pants and long sleeves on? I have decided to push the season as far as I can and wear those shorts and sandals until I freeze! Two more weeks...haha.

Another observation....we always marveled at the fact that Canadians seem to do a lot of traveling. More than most people it always seemed to us. They are adventurous and really do see more of the world than the typical American. Looks like we are subscribing to that philosophy as well. We have done a lot of traveling since we moved here and it does not look like it is going to end. I tend to think that it is just the phase of life we are in right now but WOW! I can count 4 or 5 trips we are taking in the next 2 months. That is a lot! We are visiting new places as well as old favorites. We will be visiting our son Michael for Labor Day in Casper, WY. Our first trip to where he lives and we are both looking forward to going out west. Another exciting trip will be October when we go and visit Kelly who is studying in Paris for the semester. Why not? I think it is a great excuse to go to Paris. I might be more excited to see Kelly than the Eiffel Tower this time! Lots to look forward to but I still have to get my life going here too.

Back to work, at least a little. Another good thing about being up here is that no one really questions you when you ask for 2 months off to go to your cottage in Nova Scotia. Gotta love that! In the States they looked at me like I was crazy. I am definitely taking advantage of that while we live here!
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