Monday, November 25, 2013

The difference a week makes.

So I've been in Moose Factory about a week now. When I arrived, it was raining and the roads were flooded with water. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures that day. Over the course of that first evening, a storm was underway, and the temperatures dropped suddenly. Some snow was falling and eventually despite the temperatures being just above zero, it was sticking by the morning. That was the beginning of winter, which has now fully and firmly arrived. As I write this now, the temperature is -16 C, and will drop to just about -20 overnight, apparently.

Above:  The day after I arrived, with freshly fallen snow.  It was too cold for my shell jacket, though I did feel a bit silly in my parka.  You can see the river doesn't have any ice in it.

Above:  One week later, I feel quite happy with my parka, as well as my balaclava, at -16C (-22 with wind chill).  This photo was taken at the same place (on the dike) as the previous image, although at a slightly more inland angle.

Above: a few days after I arrived, while flying over to Moosonee, you can see some ice beginning to gather in the river.

Above: Ice continues to gather in the river.

Above:  probably close to the last boat to brave crossing the river.  Taken from up near the Eco Lodge

Above: several days later, just about one week after arrival, the river is suddenly full of ice chunks.  I was tempted to try walk over some of it, but fortunately have hidden some common sense somewhere that decided to speak up against it.

I managed to find a small amount of water that hadn't yet frozen.

The ice had piled up just over a metre (3-4 feet) along the edge of the river.  

Above: The temperature really wasn't that bad.  Okay, I did happen to put the hood back up after this photo.

It may be a little out of season for this now.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ben in Moose Factory

Ben is in Moose Factory for 4 weeks. I thought I could revive our old blog to put up some pictures. All captions are by me (Julia). Points to any and all of you who come up with better captions.

See the helicopter landing behind me? I'm going to go on that now just to cross the river. I also have my Canada Goose jacket on so I am toasty warm in all this snow!

I thought I'd pick up some bananas and tripped over some snowmobiles in the grocery store.

I've never been in a helicopter before, and now I've gone for 4 rides! I'm off to Kashechewan for some ├╝ber-rural family medicine!

You can see (some of) the town of Moose Factory Below. and the old Church surrounded by the graveyard.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Julia's inpsiration

Blogging hasn't been a priority for me recently. I know there are a few family members who check it now and then (although they don't leave comments, so I don't know who really does end up here!). Anyways, I was inspired to return by recent blog exposure. First, have you seen the movie Julie and Julia? Besides women with fantastic names, the movie is a great expression of working towards a goal and achieving what looks to be impossible. Not a machismo fight the bad guy way, but by taking steps to change one's own life to do something you want to do. I found this connected to something I've been feeling. I'm doing my practicum for teaching right now. I love the teaching aspect, but I realize there is so much that I want to do and be a part of. Secretly, (or not so secretly) I know that there is a small chance that I will actually get on the TOC list, or get a teaching position in the next year. So, I'm thinking, what can I do if I don't get on?

I have a few ideas. First and most obvious, I want to expand my photography experiences, and do more portrait work. I'm starting next weekend taking pictures of Rebekah's band.

Secondly, I would love to learn to cook. My friends here are impressed by my baking, but that's not skill but the fact that I share it that impresses them I think. I'd love to take some cooking classes and actually know how to think about food. We were at the Salt Spring Market yesterday, and there was all this wonderful fresh ingredients around, and I wanted to be able to walk though and be inspired to make something. There were some amazing looking mushrooms, squashes, tomatoes, etc.

I was just reading about 'supper clubs' or 'underground restaurants'. I'm trying to find something like it in Victoria, but there isn't, or they are really underground and don't appear with a simple Google search. One blog I found of a Underground Restaurant was the English Can Cook at I guess this goes into my dream for a Bed and Breakfast, bringing people together around good food.

So, in this coming year, I guess I'm working on my New Year's resolutions early... I'm going to start promoting my photography, and start cooking. Maybe not working through Julia Child's cookbook, but I'm going to find something that will help me learn.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Queen Charlottes or as we shall continue to refer to it, Haidi Gwaii

Well Devin, you are our inspiration for our blogging updates, which we will do when internet is available.

Our first impressions of Haida Gwaii:
1. Coming off the ferry, the land isn’t very mountainous- it’s fairly flat when driving, and there are trees like driving on any of the islands.
2. We stop to see a ‘balancing rock’ on a beach. Suddenly we’re somewhere unique. This is suddenly somewhere very different. The beach is made of rock that looks like it was poured, encompassing other rocks in it’s path. There is one large rock balanced precariously on a small ridge. The experience would be surreal, had it not been for the man trying to sell his wife’s carvings who continued to talk despite lack of interest.
3. The water, the eagles, the deer, the trees, everything is crisp and highlighted by the evening sun. We found a pub that extended its kitchen hours just past 8pm (it’s Sunday) so we could have dinner. We sat by the window, overlooking a long dock that led the eye towards the setting sun over the distant mountains.
4. The motel we’re staying in claims to have Internet, and we connected to the network, but no internet juice is flowing. This blog post will have to uploaded another day. I am adjusting my general expectations of how few people can make a town, and what it means to be ‘rustic’. Kitimat suddenly seems big.
Well, internet worked after all!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A week in

So I've been in town for a week now, and in that time I've seen many patients, 3 knee surgeries, 1 hip surgery, 1 lower-leg surgery, ... a bunch of other surgeries ... many XRays, a lot of people with abdominal discomfort, a C-Section, many very-soon-to-be mothers, a few broken bones courtesy of violence, and a lot of diabetes and heart disease. Perhaps of more import, I have found many fishing locations, and have managed absolutely no luck at any of them so far. My only consolation is that most other people were also similarly unlucky (I only saw one other person land a fish). Oh well, all I can really do is hold my head up and persevere.

As I expected, the faint appeal of family practise has grown considerably since I have seen what it can look like in a rural area. Not only do you see patients in the office, but you also see them in emergency, on the ward, and in surgery. You see people you know, as well as others you've never met before. You talk about things, order tests, do some tests yourself, interpret some of the results, help out or do the necessary procedures, and see the patients afterwards. You work with a very diverse team that is well traveled, and get to do this all in a very scenic environment. Did I mention that there's fishing here too? Everyone keeps saying it's good - I'll have to keep checking until I catch something big to believe them ;)

This doesn't mean that I've discovered a definate passion to go into family medicine - but of note, it has firmly placed it onto my list of options. I am still keenly interested in the idea of emergency medicine and surgery, and am sure many other areas will appeal to me over the next year. While dermatology, pathology and urology residencies may breathe a sigh of relief that I won't likely be soon haunting their hallways, there hasn't really been much other 'narrowing down' that has happened. While some items get exclamation marks beside them, very few have been fully removed from the list.

Perhaps because it's one of the more frequent type of procedures in the OR here, orthopedic surgery is catching my interest. The surgeon has graciously let me into the OR whenever I have time or see cases I'm interested in. Perhaps it's the tools. There are some pretty cool tools you get to use, and I feel this ... thrill? ... when I hear the [edited] start up and commit the course of action. From there on, it's all mechanical, and most of the patients are feeling much better quite quickly. Is it cherry-picking? I don't really know, but I know I like the idea.

Anyway, my day here is done, and now is the time to bide my time until heading to my preceptors cabin on the lake to have a BBQ. Life is tough here, but, hey, I'm willing to suffer for it.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Carrying on in Kitimat

So, has it been long enough that posting on a blog is now retro? No? Well, that’s probably the answer anyone at the forefront of ‘retro’ hears to that question. Now that I’ve established my place in history, I can move on. It’s rather odd to feel like you’re going back in time, and to some extent that’s what I’ve just done.

In many ways, Kitimat feels like it’s stuck at various periods in the past. Probably most prominent to me right now is my lack of an ever-available internet connection. I can’t access internet at the apartment I’m staying at (& it isn’t worth setting up for just a month), and I go to the library to check important emails. Anyway, at the least, it makes for less distraction.

The trip up to Kitimat began with a late breakfast at the Blue Fox with Julia, and then I went for a leisurely 6-ish hour drive up to Port Hardy. I was seriously impressed by the quick disappearance of civilization after Campbell River, and then the sudden appearance of an international community of backpackers, hitchhikers and other assorted travellers in Port Hardy. What were they all here for? Well, evidently most were planning on catching the ferry the next day, and so after a night of earplug-muffled snoring, I woke with the rest of the Hostel and headed off to the ferry for the stipulated arrival time of 05:30 – AM, in case you didn’t catch it.

Here, I proceeded to wait in a line of cars that proceeded in the most unusual way. Instead of the cars moving up to the booth, the line stayed still while the BC Ferries staff walked up the line getting the passenger information, after which the cars then moved forward in the line. This was all very confusing to a coffee-deprived brain after a snore-filled night.

With a start like this, the first sight I had upon reaching the passenger deck of the Northern Exposure Ferry was that of a table set out with complimentary coffee and tea. Yes, I was in the right place, and the ferry gods, Poseidon, or maybe even some incredibly generous soul had known exactly what I needed. Things kept on getting better – what had begun as a cloud & fog encrusted boat soon became a mini-cruise ship sailing sparkling waters, with steep costal mountains keeping watch as the porpoises attempted to race us. Silly porpoises, they hadn’t even had their coffee this morning, and thus were no match for us. Also of note, they didn’t have the helicopter pad on their top, as our

boat did. Also entering this race was a team of 5 seagulls manning a log. They didn't move too fast, though.

The journey was filled with many humpback and killer whale sightings, fishboat drag races, dramatic mountains with spectacular waterfalls, and really comfy chairs.

We stopped at Bella Coola for an hour or so, was seriously impressed at how small it looked from the boat, and then moved on to more whale sightings, again closely guarded by the untrusting mountains pouring their waterfalls into the ocean, determined to keep us from running aground as we passed through incredibly narrow passageways that surely also served to clean the barnacles off of the bottom of the boat.

Sunset, and many pictures through glinty glass later, we arrived in Prince Rupert around 11:30 – or 23:30 for those nautical and/or military types out there.

The Tourism staff on the boat had called ahead for me and booked a hotel in Prince Rupert, so all I had to do was find it, grab that parking stall under the burned-out light, and carry my over-sized suitcase (I am packing for more than a month, remember), camera and laptop up the 20 or so stairs to the lobby, wait for the confused couple in front of me to decipher the short form cleverly disguised in their mother tongue before I could then register, and then carry the same oversized suitcase, laptop and camera up some more stairs to my room. Finally, I could call my lovely wife and tell her all about the trip. When she answers her phone, she sounds sleepy – oh, yes, it must be after midnight – but what proceeds is racy. Well, racy in that it was like a race – between the tortoise and the hare. I, hopped up on excitement and coffee, and she sleepy and wanting to pop her head back under the covers. No contest, it was over quickly, I declared myself the victor, and decided to call again during more humane hours.

This will eventually lead to today, three days later, when I finally gave up the idea of finding a decent internet connection to use my skype on laptop to call, and finally called her (or she called me, however you choose to look at it). Anyway, important things out of the way, I’ll tell you a little bit about what it’s like here.

The drive from Prince Rupert to Kitimat was again breathtaking – and thus with such reminders I prevented myself from turning blue.

I passed many locations on the rivers that were loaded with people fishing, getting more and more excited myself for when I’d be able to join their ranks. I passed the spot I’d have to leave from if I were to kayak to Frizzell hotsprings, and noticed the white caps on the waves, and stopped to appreciate the wind – well, maybe a kayak isn’t the best choice of transportation – but if the first nations people could canoe just about 100km from Prince Rupert to the Haida Gawaii (the Charlottes) in dugout canoes long before contact with the west, then I surely should be able to make it the 1.5 km across the river/inlet.

I arrived in Kitimat, guided by my trusty ‘Min (gps) to a detour. Min then brings me back to the same road a good ways further on, only to be detoured again. It was only in the evening that I discovered that the road was closed for drag races, which apparently hadn’t happened in town for 10 years. While the rest of the town was watching the races, I found myself an apartment. The one furnished unit that was available was on the far side of the community, didn’t have much nearby, and cost almost double the unfurnished one I ended up getting. I had the car full of camping stuff, complete with pots, pans, air mattress etc.. As I hauled everything up the 4 flights of stairs to my unit, I thought of how this should be called urban camping – and then realized with a wry grin that this is far from urban. I decided to spend the next day (Sunday) trying to find the local climbing crag, and I managed to not only find it, but also grab its GPS co-ordinates, snap some pictures of the cliffs, and run away, chased by a small nation of mosquitoes. Crestfallen, I found myself to a local fishing tackle shop to console myself by buying some flies the size of small household pet – that and some 30 lb test line. It’s going to be good.

Monday I began working with the local doctor to whom I’ve been assigned, and I soon began to appreciate the extra room and slightly slower pace of the Kitimat medical practises. The consult rooms could easily accommodate the times when we both were in a room with two parents, their sick child and a stroller. Tuesday (today) I spend the day in the OR of the hospital (about 2 min stroll from the office, and about a 15 min walk from my apartment). An day in the OR is always a good day, and today was orthopaedic surgery. What’s better than using power tools seeing shiny new joints going in to replace broken/worn out ones? I’m really not sure. For Julia, Dad M, Chris and Mom U’s sake, I’ll avoid the details, but be assured that it was a good day. On the way back, I bought a box of prawns out of a deep-freezer loaded into the back of a pickup truck, and yes, they went very well with my sidekicks creamy pasta with real bacon package.

Anyway, I’m going to call it quits for today, and hopefully make it out to the library with this on a memory stick so I can post it.


Note- wow, formatting is tough. Think of the design as 'rugged'.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Top Ten Reasons To Be Us

Since we have to blog a bunch for school now, I came across my blog, and saw how sad and lonely it is. Poor ignored, starved blog. If my blog was one of those little electronic pets, it would have beeped it's last beep long ago.

The Top Ten reasons to be Ben and Julia right now:
  • We are rocking the rock climbing! We've been climbing outside and inside. Our biceps are getting huge!
  • Victoria doesn't drizzle for days and weeks on end. When it rains, the wind pushes the clouds away, and the sun come back out to play.
  • We went back to church after 6 months of business, and the pastor remembered us by name. It's good to go where somebody knows your name. Cheers!
  • We have a hot tub in our apartment basement, so our friends visit it, I mean us.
  • We see and talk to our friends, so they don't have to depend on this blog to know we're still alive.
  • We found a kick-ass sale on shoes, and so we're walking pretty.
  • We're both so busy that when we sit and talk, we have lots to talk about with each other.
  • Julia found a new place to go for High Tea! in an Art Gallery!!
  • Victoria has many food festivals. So far we've enjoyed a TEA, CHOCOLATE, and a BEER festival.
  • We think that we're super cool.