Susan on the Soapbox: Go to Scotland, learn about Canada

Ms Soapbox and her eldest daughter “Missy” just returned from a 10 day trip to Scotland.  We explored Edinburgh (refined and dignified), Glasgow (gritty and boisterous) and the Highlands (majestic and dangerous). Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness Along the way something magical happened.  We learned about Scotland, but we learned even more about Canada. Cherish your ...

cmkl: Notes from a taster trip to Northern California

Mallory Irene and I went to The Bay and drove up the coast this August. We flew into San Francisco and took the BART up to Berkeley Hills where Irene had booked us an awesome AirBnB. It’s only the second time I’ve been to California and the first time I actually stopped in the Bay ...

Things Are Good: Use Happiness Research to Maximize Vacations

Regular readers already know that going on vacation is good for one’s happiness and there are ways to travel while keeping a small carbon footprint. It can be hard to find time to travel and expensive too, so how should one go about thinking about vacations? Vacations aren’t things that should be “efficient” or viewed ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Hallelujah

This was going to be a Ms-Soapbox-is-stampeding-see-you-next-week-blog…then she remembered something. Ms Soapbox’s sister and brother-in-law popped into town just in time for the Calgary Stampede.  We did the fair grounds, the Dog Bowl, the Clydesdales and the llamas, we ate raindrop cake and teriyaki perogies and ducked into the casino to escape the heat. The highlight ...

Susan on the Soapbox: A Double Dose of Christmas

This Christmas was unusual…even for the Soapbox family. Missy* our eldest daughter is a nurse working in Victoria.  She was scheduled to work over Christmas which meant that for the first time ever the Soapbox family was not going to be together on Christmas Day. No problem we said, we’ll reschedule Christmas. So, on Dec ...

centre of the universe: Strange Times

Everything seemed normal. Normal for any road trip you take with your kids. A million stops for the peanut-bladders; a million cruddy road snacks. At one roadside stop, I bought some semiprecious stone bracelets (a couple of mine have broken lately so I guess I needed to stock up). It was taking a ridiculous amount…

Susan on the Soapbox: Stampede!

“Sometimes you need a little break”—Ms Soapbox’s Mom The fun started when Ms Soapbox’s sister Roz and her husband Jay came to town. They flew in from Vancouver where it rains 168 days a year–to spend a week in Calgary enjoying the rain, thunder, lightning, more thunder and rain. Ms Soapbox and Roz risked a ...

Dead Wild Roses: Vacation Planning – Dan Ariely

Well, holiday Monday is a little late to be evaluating your August Vacation plans, but some interesting thoughts as far as what your next vacation will be. Filed under: Culture Tagged: Dan Ariely, Vacation

Things Are Good: Increase Your Happiness by Going on Vacation

Everybody loves going on vacation and here’s why: it makes for good conversations. Really. The short term gain of increased happiness from a vacation is very short indeed, just a few days. However, the benefit of a vacation can keep giving through your social life as you relive (and share) your experience. To make your ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Road Trip!!!

There is so much we could talk about:  the G7 “support” for a fossil fuel free world by 2100, Mr Harper’s visit with the Pope, the Senate’s secret arbitration process, but today we’re going to talk about road trips. Ms Soapbox and her daughter (let’s call her Missy) are going on a road trip to ...

cmkl: Biking on the wrong side of the road

? ?I am in London for my sister’s 50th birthday party. It occurred to me that since they don’t really have what you and I understand by ‘winter’ here, that I should set up to go for a ride while I’m here. Like outside. Moving forward. But two things struck me: I have no idea ...

Susan on the Soapbox: The Orient Express!!!

This is the Orient Express…well not the original Orient Express with service from Paris to Vienna and the Balkans or its successor that travelled from Strasbourg to Vienna. Those trains are long gone. This is the Venice-Simplon Orient Express and Mr and Ms Soapbox are on board at this very moment! Much to Mr Soapbox’s ...

OPSEU Diablogue: CLC TV ads promote unions, fairness

When we talk openly about our unions, others listen. Let’s face it, for all the warts, unions have done an incredible job in securing and maintaining many of the things we cherish today – from paid vacation to health benefits and pay … Continue reading →

Susan on the Soapbox: Banff and the Good Life

After a spirited discussion about Pamela Wallin, the Tory’s overspending senator, Ms Soapbox’s mother sighed and said ““Sometimes politics makes me so mad I need a rest!” Brilliant!  A rest was exactly what Mr and Ms Soapbox needed so we packed up the car and set off on an over-night junket to Banff. Soon we ...

centre of the universe: Mr. Grinch

There is an unwritten, often unmentioned social contract that takes place when you do what you think is something selfless. We like to think that we are altruistic. That is, unselfish; showing concern for others. And by and large, I think we are. We can always do more, of course. There are some things we ...

centre of the universe: I’d go out on the ocean

The manager of our restaurant is close personal friends with Joe Paopao, the Throwin’ Samoan. He used to come home at lunch bruised and battered from running patterns for him in the street. Our manager drawls his vowels, and flattens them, like the peaks of things threaten him. He lives on the west coast, where ...

THE FIFTH COLUMN: "Tour de Sudbury" – Cycling in Sudbury

Our hometown of Sudbury is not known for it’s cycling infrastructure or even for a positive attitude towards cycling but there are organizations like the Sudbury Cyclists Union, the Rainbow Routes Association and the Sudbury Cycles Project that are trying to change that and there is even a proposed Bicycle Technical Master Plan For The ...

THE FIFTH COLUMN: Ireland Bike Tour – Post Bike Tour Slide Shows

After the bike tour we stayed in Ennis for a few days and took a bus to Limerick for a day tour. The most interesting observation we made was that while Ennis had narrow streets with one lane one way traffic and narrow sidewalks, much of Limerick had wide streets with one lane one way ...

THE FIFTH COLUMN: Ireland Bike Tour – Cycling Day 6 Slide Show

This was the longest ride of the tour but not too bad as far as hills go, except for the last ride into Westport, up and down and then back up and down again. Lots of scenery but not too many photo stops because of the long ride and then drive back to Ennis in ...

THE FIFTH COLUMN: Ireland Bike Tour – Break Day Slide Show

We took today easy, went for a walk near the lodge on Lough Inagh in the morning and managed to talk Jeff into driving us to the Kylemore Abbey in the afternoon where we explored the grounds and the remarkable gardens. There is some real interesting history about this place. (select 720p to view in ...

THE FIFTH COLUMN: Ireland Bike Tour – Cycling Day 5, Sheep Shearing, Flowers and More Slide Shows

If you’ve ever been to a county fair or watched a movie about Australia you have seen sheep sheering, but usually with electric shears. In this part of Ireland they use hand shears and probably sheer the sheep faster and cleaner than with the electric ones. This was a great day for photos, including a ...

THE FIFTH COLUMN: Ireland Bike Tour – Cycling Day 4, Discovering Ireland’s Sheep Slide Show

Today was a day at the beach as we stopped at a wonderful little beach along the route, as well as made a visit to the lovely town of Clifden. More scenery, and did I mention the sheep. The sheep in Ireland seem to have priority over the roads, followed by bicycles and then cars. ...

THE FIFTH COLUMN: Ireland Bike Tour – Cycling Day 3, The Aran Islands Slide Show

Most of the day was spent on one of the Aran Islands. It was a great day for photography as it was actually sunny and there was so much to photograph, from a remarkable fort to literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of stone fences from millions of stones dividing up the tiny allotments that people had ...

knitnut.net: How I spent my summer vacation

GC and I spent last week at Chandler Swain’s pottery camp, on the banks of the Mississippi River in Blakeney, Ontario. There were nine of us at camp, including Chandler and her dog, William. Chandler is my favourite potter, and I’ve collected a variety of her pieces over the years. I have teapots, plates, pitchers, ...

THE FIFTH COLUMN: Ireland Bike Tour – Cycling Day 2, To The Burren Slide Show

Today we did a circle route through the remarkable Burren, a landscape that almost defies description, although parts of Ottawa’s Lime Kiln Trail with it’s underlying Limestone hints at it. And, of course it’s Ireland so there were more ruins. This was the second hardest climbing day of the tour. (select 720p to view in ...