Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Post 51: Being home in the Kootenays!

Home is a magical place.

Kaslo, my tiny hometown, population around 1000 (it fluctuates during the year with the quietest point in the winter, and the bustle returning for summer), is—surprise!—the largest community on the main body of Kootenay Lake (Destination BC).

Being home for me means working in the bakery that my parents have been running for the last 23+ years and waking up to the smell of fresh, baking bread filling the house, as the bakery is attached to it; it means regular visits and card games and spending time in the our massive garden with my grandparents, because we share a backyard with them and the garden is my grandpa's main project right now; it means taking the dog for walks along the Kaslo River Trail, a visionary project that my dad set in motion; it means winks out at star-filled skies before climbing under sheets, and relatedly, quiet nights with amazing sleeps; it means spending time with my family and my siblings and their significant others.
My awesome grandparents celebrating my grandma's 80th birthday! 
And sometimes it means spending an afternoon filling the table with apple peels and flour because we know that my mom loves apple pie:

My sister Heidi (R) with her fiancee Peter (L), and our mess on the table. :) 

Being home means a lot of things to me, including mountain adventures, a general sense of things are all right in the world.

It also frequently means a lot of work, haha, so my sister and I spent a lot of time organizing things, and dusting and taking care of the chickens and the dog, and weeding, and other such fun things which I've really been enjoying these past few weeks.

View from the Public Beach, North. We're in the Selkirk Mountains; the Purcells are across the lake to the right.
While I brought home my StandStand, I've found it more fruitful for now just to stand and do some of the research work that I brought home with me at the kitchen's island counter, but all of the running up and down stairs and garden work and walking with the dog have reinforced for me that I feel much better when I'm switching things up as opposed to hunkering down in a chair for 7+ hours a day. So I will definitely need to remember that when I get back to Victoria!!

Here are a couple other pictures of home so far:

Pebble Beach, one of my favourite little corners.  
Giant tulip in the garden. 
The garden slowly taking shape!

 And then of course there is the fun and wild madness of the Kaslo May Days: a long-standing tradition. Every kid who's a kid in Kaslo needs to participate in the maypole dance (which I wasn't able to attend because we were baking.) But I did catch some of the fun of the choker race:

And here's an action shot of the women's log rolling competition!

Home is a good many things, but many things aren't as good as home. 

Friday, 22 May 2015

Post 50: Thinking Mountains Conference Recap

The Thinking Mountains conference held in Jasper, Alberta from May 5th - May 8th was one of the most fun conferences I've been to.

The size (around a hundred?) was perfect for getting to know almost everyone I'd wanted to (at times the conversations among other delegates were so engaged that I missed talking to two people I'd wanted to say hello to!), the venue and food were fantastic, and the mountains surrounding Jasper made for more than a fitting locale for the conference. The weather held up, too! It was great for the majority of the conference, and we delivered a successful Mountain Legacy field trip and managed almost all of the photos at the Old Fort Hill station as part of a Morrison P. Bridgland survey.

A photo that the talented Mary Sanseverino took of us at the field trip with our group! It can be found on her Flikr here.

What a great bunch, and what a fun afternoon! In the image above, Mary transposed the historical survey photo (in black and white) onto the modern with us in front.

So this was also my first conference with almost my whole lab group, and that made it really special. How lovely to wring hands and sip water nervously in the company of my colleagues while waiting for my turn during our panel. My supervisor did a great job of setting us up with the intro of the panel (about 20 minutes), then each of us had about 15 minutes to speak, each. And everyone did so darn good!! I was really humbled by how good the presentations were! 

I felt really great (though still a bit terrified) after completing my own presentation, but boy was I glad that our presentations were right on the first day of the conference. I would have had a difficult time of enjoying it otherwise, I think, though now I know more of what to expect in the future. Not only did I feel really good afterwards, and I am so grateful for all the TAing experience, because holding lectures/facilitating discussions for an hour at a time made me several degrees more comfortable during the talk, but it did feel like an accomplishment. 

Lovely spring lilac! 
On top of that, what I couldn't have expected was the delight and surprise that I experienced when several people came up to me afterwards to say, "Great presentation!" That felt very good, too. 

I was very sad after the conference was over, and it was very bittersweet to part ways with my colleagues right away. They were taking on a long road trip back to Victoria, and I was on my way back home to Kaslo, BC, where I spent the next 2.5 weeks, covering my parents' first big joint vacation in 27 years! 

Gaining the experience from the conference was so valuable. I highly recommend the experience for all grad students. There are different conferences for different stages of where you're at in your degree, too; a conference such as CONFORWest (finished for this year) is specifically for graduate students, and would be an awesome place to get that first conference experience.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Post 49: "Thinking Mountains" and Conference Presentations -- a Flurry of Action in Jasper, AB

I'm presenting at the "Thinking Mountains" Conference in Jasper this week with my lab group, and I'll write a longer post when I'm done later this afternoon. For now, I'm all nerves and rehearsing my own presentation, at the cost of missing some of the conference this morning.

Oh, being an introvert and needing to feel really really really ready before public speaking!! I'm sure everyone including me will be relieved when our panel is finished later this afternoon.

Here are several photos from the drive up along the Icefields Parkway, from Banff to Jasper, though. Simply an amazing landscape:

It had been snowing just before we stopped.... 
At a pullout with a few others, marvelling at the landscape, catching some late sunshine. 

Snow snow snow! :)

Taking a 'short cut' according to my GPS... we waited almost 10 minutes for the train to go by. 

Right in the middle of Jasper! An elk! 
After a late arrival last night, and jumping into an evening reception with other conference participants, here's a cheers to enjoying the rest of it!