Sunday, September 30, 2007

Friday was a good day for a birthday but it poured rain, work sucked and I ended up working late. Sigh. Such is the lot of a grown up.

I was surprised to find the prodigal son at the house after an absence of a few weeks, bearing a bouquet of flowers, candy, card and a scented candle. Indications are he had help from the girlfriend as his personal shopper. He was looking forward to the upcoming lobster season and of course had his wages spent already.

I was further surprised by the first-born daughter, her man, the life partner and me having supper at Charlotte Lane Café. Here’s the website to check it out for those ‘come from aways’ who have never had the pleasure:

Yummy as usual and with great company too. The daughter was accompanied by more flowers, placements and napkins AND the gift to strut… a t-shirt from the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic where a pirate theme this year for the Tall Ships produced a black t-shirt with white skull and crossbones and lettering which reads “the beatings will continue until morale improves” Perfect for Casual Fridays in the work environment I find myself.

Lots of birthday greetings from near and far including a birthday card from baby daughter with a gift certificate for lunch at Charlotte Lane Café, an unexpected treat. I had waited to open a gift from my ‘down the road’ friend, which was a lovely collection of bulbs for my new flowerbeds and a pan of apple brown betty. Yum.

All the attention almost made it worth getting older. Nicer than usual way to end out the week for sure.

A Saturday morning sleep in which still left time to catch up on the domestic responsibilities of laundry, dog walking (the 2nd highest tides of the year meant the dog swam alongside in the harbour as I walked on the shoulder of the road – what a beautiful early fall day), feeding animals, chatting with daughter # 1 and packing for a spontaneous overnight sprint to camp. The leaves are just beginning to turn fluorescent and we stopped to let a deer which looked like this years calf, snack on grass and move slowly off into the trees. Took us less than 90 minutes from door to door and the tension just melted away upon arrival in the wilderness.

Reading the Saturday paper with amazing winter travel deals, followed by a Kathy Reichs paperback enjoyed in the warm sunshine of the veranda. Doesn’t get much better than that! Unless it’s this beautiful sunset over Wagner Lake – nirvana:Why do hamburgers taste like a gourmet meal when eaten at camp? And sleep is an understatement when really it’s a state of unconsciousness in all the solitude. Every star was out in the sky and jets could be heard making their way overhead in the darkness. It wasn’t quite a frosty morning but sure cool as the lake was shrouded in mist so I was glad that mister had made a wood fire in the stove then waited until the place warmed up before hinting about pancakes for breakfast. A quiet spell to read and then a final cleanup while he put wood in before we headed out for reality. Sigh.

Still a nice autumn day at the house but more chores requiring attention. Why are the weekends so short and the work week so long?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's Friday tomorrow right?

A busy day spent working in one place, trying to deal with issues in another - a recipe for frustration. The trip to the facility lends the opportunity for errand running though. I managed to pick up a single inflatable bed and pump, set of sheets and pillows for potential house guests on Thanksgiving weekend, TIDE and a watch strap which doesn't fit my watch so the next meeting day will include returns on my errand list. There was also a book fair in the hospital lobby so I managed to pick up some cute gifts. The meetings however, were not nearly as much fun was pay day.

I did arrive home to find that mister had sorted the piles of paperwork he'd dumped out of drawers looking for a car registration paper this morning. This was required as the cleaning lady comes in the morning and must have surfaces to clean. He always sighs when I announce this although...he usually has no or very limited picking up tasks, he doesn't want to do the housework himself, he likes the house to be clean and realizes this is the only way it's going to happen while I'm living here. Funny about that eh?

This evening was a waiting for boats while watching several sporting events at once with the ADHD / remote activity on high, "oh we'll unload in the morning" kind of evening for the shore captain. I arrived home from dog walking to find him engrossed in a travel documentary about Cuba and said "things are going to have to get pretty bad for us not to make it there this February" as we both regretted not making it this past winter and watching the program brought all that back. So the last two weeks of Feb. are likely to be spent NOT SHOVELING!

Tomorrow is Friday but as a colleague mentioned today "this has been the longest week I was willing to believe two days ago it was Friday the way I felt" There has been a lot of non-specific anger in the system lately and that is exhausting. Tough times. Sad when the highlight of your day is planning a passport photo session - but running away requires planning in order to be appropriately spontaneous.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hump Day

It's already the middle of the week and I have no idea where the rest of it has gone. Today at work was spent trying to be in several places at the same time - never a good thing - and I was sure glad to leave that place. I was especially pleased to not have to make supper. We headed over to our summer neighbours for a great meal of BBQ leg of lamb, salad, rice, veggies and cheesecake for dessert. Nice to be able to go out for supper and not have to drive anywhere but I'm jealous of our neighbour's retired status. Sigh.

I've had quite an active social life lately as last night I went to scrapbooking and picked up a friend along the way. We had a great session then daughter # 1 dropped by with her main squeeze and we went to Tim Horton's for a cup of tea and a nice visit, not making it home until 11 p.m. There were two voice mail messages from daughter # 2 who was filling out her passport application but it was too late to call back so I emailed in the morning saying both the shore captain (attending a meeting) and I were out the evening before with Gary and Stanley outside so they were unable to answer the phone and of course you know what Klyde is like which elicted the following response:

I'm surprised you even emailed me...neglecting your children...pretending that you don't have any now that they are out of the house :P

When we finally caught up on the phone this evening daughter # 2 was pleased to report that they had gotten the air tickets for spring break for $580 versus $850 which they'd expected so she was pretty pumped. She was filling us in on all her courses and how much she enjoys them. Not that she doesn't enjoy life in general being a very positive young lady.

I'm thinking that the prodigal son who only occasionally drops in now has the most to be concerned about being located as his former bedroom has been redesigned into the man cave. He told his father in the bait shed last week that when he had stayed over the last time it was a good thing that he turned on the light instead of just rounding the corner and jumping into bed as he'd have gotten quite a surprise when he hit the middle of the floor in the den.

We're going to have an active social life in November as I got us tickets online for the Jesse Cooke (flamenco/classical guitarist) concert at the Rebecca Cohn auditorium November 18th with details here:

Jesse Cook Tickets

Jesse Cook is a Toronto-based Nuevo Flamenco guitarist, born in Paris to Canadian parents. Like other guitarists of his style of music, he incorporates jazz, latin & world music into his playing. Cook is also well known for the energy of his live shows & has a rock-star status in his country.

We usually try to do a social event before the grueling lobstering routine kicks in. We saw him perform a couple of years ago and he was great!

Must get settled for sleep as I have to head to the district facility tomorrow. It is pay day and that is the only positive I can see lately from work.

Monday, September 24, 2007

What's been happening

After a full weekend it’s time to catch you up on all the activities. I left work a bit early on Friday afternoon, made it to Halifax in time for rush hour and to pick up daughter # 3s boyfriend and head out for New Brunswick. Unfortunately he was sick (a fact he elected not to share until safely underway when he was questioned about his cough) and so slept most of the way both up and back from Halifax to Fredericton so wasn’t much assistance in the driving (or entertaining the driver to keep awake) part. We made it to UNB by 9 p.m. I was instructed that I should pick up baby daughter at 4 p.m. the next afternoon for a trip to WalMart to stock up on supplies and then off to supper.

Kilburne House is a great Bed & Breakfast if you’re looking to stay in Fredericton. It’s a family home with an unpretentious bunch looking after it and you. Here’s the website to check it out:

The weather was glorious and so Saturday morning I headed downtown for a stroll. It’s amazing that Fredericton hasn’t lost the downtown core as most cities. There are lots of neat little shops. I found a digital photo transfer program for $5 at a photography shop, a book on writers for $7 at a great bookstore.

A photo to prove that I headed on to the Farmers Market by just following the wonderful aromas. This vendor is wearing a cabbage leaf (a la breastfeeding instruction for sore boobs on his head). There are all kinds of exotic foods from many countries such as samosas, fried wontons, noodles, sausages, falafel, donairs, Belgium waffles, kettle popcorn and more. There were crafts ranging from jewelry (got some nice sterling silver earrings) to sewing (embroidered tea towel) leather, wood, knitting, Birkenstocks, body products, rustic country crafts, cookies, preserves, maple cream,fresh orange juice, smoothies, pepperoni, pork, beef, chicken, seafood, eggs, cheese and the vegetables….unbelievable. There were new apples, eggplants, peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, corn, carrots, pumpkins, gourds and ornamental corn (yes I even succumbed to decorate for autumn). And too much more to list here.

There were multigenerational families speaking many languages, warm sunshine, great smells and so I sat and ate three warm fried wontons (yes that was how much change I had left from all my bargains) with sweet & sour sauce made from apple, pumpkin, vinegar, sugar and corn starch. I shared a folding table with some 20 somethings who were discussing moving out of the family home. “Oh yes, I visit my parents every week or so when I go for supper and I call frequently” “Do you have them over for supper?” “Well…I did it once, I had meant to do it once a week but it’s too much work”. I hid my smile as I though ‘good thing it’s not too much work for your mother’. Their conversation moved on to university life, international students and food as I gathered up my purchases and moved on with chatter everywhere as folks reconnected “you had a good summer?” Fredericton is a very literate, academic city I thought as I headed to the B&B to stash my goodies.

Spent a few hours in the sun on the River Trail reading my Canadian Nurse Journal before handing it over to the nursing student and almost finishing my Great Influenza book. We did the ‘shopping for supplies’ run at WalMart and supper at Mexicali Rose’s (which was funded by the boyfriend in exchange for his first aid card costs. Good to see that the students are doing well all around settling in and keeping on top of things. I had a call from a former co-worker who lives in the area and so we caught up on all the news at a Tim Hortons’ and before we knew it the time was 10:30 p.m.

The trip back Sunday was uneventful and I dropped the future Respiratory Tech off at his apartment and headed to Word on the Street at the Cunard Centre. There was hardly a parking place to be found as the Grand Princess cruise ship was docked plus all the festivities. I found two neat scrapbooking manuals and picked up a John LeCarre novel for the shore captain. It was a big crowd but I was tired and ready to head home. Made it in the door by 5:30 pm in time to start my evening routine.

It was sure tough to head out for work this morning and harder still as it unfolded. Lots of bad things happening, lots of unhappy people, and too many places for this old girl to be at one time. An email update from daughter # 3 to advise that the boyfriend had left his cold with her in NB and she was feeling rotten. Nice. Tomorrow has got to be more fun. Scrapbooking in the evening and I’ve got taco soup (from the Ledgehill cookbook I bought) for supper made so things are looking up.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hi from Ledgehill

We are enjoying a beautiful stay at Ledgehill so I thought I would just drop a line to gloat (I mean share) with you. We have had wonderful meals, lovely walks in the beautiful grounds and now are enjoying a stress free evening with no domestic responsibilities. The library is amazing with a worldwide collection. We've been investigating the wildlife in the grounds - pheasants, birds, maybe raccoons.

We did however have to work today as we started at 8:30 and with short breaks worked until almost 5:30 p.m. My head hurts. The planning is heartening, now if anything comes of it.

Not looking forward to that drive tomorrow but scrapbooking in the evening will be a nice diversion. Sounds like perhaps eight of us so should be fun. Hasta.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Packing again

So what do you think? Pretty nice bookcase from Wicker Emporium eh? I just managed to catch the edge of the sunset visible from the couch as well. Hard to leave this view.

Well as the life partner said this evening "well you have a pretty busy social schedule this week" I'm guessing he's including the obligatory work related bonding retreat I'm attending the next two days. So I'm packed again. Will just get home in time to head out for Fredericton on Friday for a visit with daughter # 3 who tells me that she's "getting pretty antsy to eat something not on a tray".

I contacted the library today and made arrangements to be the speaker for Midweek Break on Wednesday, November 21st. This is a great date as it's the week before lobstering so very fitting. I emailed the videographer and this date works for her too so....we're on. I'm almost looking forward to November now.

I spent this evening making some squares for scrapbooking on Thursday (and leaving a threatening note on top of them in the freezer a la daughter # 3) as well as brown bread and a slow cooker meal for the shore captain. I sewed a curtain for a closet in the dorm room of baby daughter as well as all the domestic tasks required for a 2 day away stay. I really wish I had a testosterone rush and could just pack my bag and head out the door closing it behind me without a second thought. It would be so much easier.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

How can the weekend be over so soon?

Have had a nice weekend where I chatted with daughter # 2 who is going on a spring break trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles in February – now that sounds like fun. Talked to daughter # 3 who is managing to wrap herself around the responsibilities for university and sounded very grownup. Have only exchanged voice mail messages with daughter # 1 who is working over the weekend but sounded fine and just saw the back of the prodigal son as he was fetching something from the barn today (while he was supposed to be baiting trawl). That boy!

As promised I am including two photos of the Man Cave. The one above is of the technology - an inherent part of this type of room - nice computer desk eh? The photo on the right is of the nest where the male of the house falls asleep watching sports shows.

Today was a beautiful September day and it was tough to arrange my schedule so that I ignored the sun and managed the art/writing show at the museum. I got two loads of clothes on the line (while thinking that I know do as many loads of laundry in a week as I did in one day when the kids were small) walked the dog early, went over to the fish plant and picked up the truck to get the bookcase we had picked out at the Wicker Emporium.

The museum session was fun and there was a good crowd of over 40 attending. Some artists, some writers and a few family fans there to listen to the readings. The artists got to take the matted copies of the stories with them. Plans for the writers to develop a story and the artists will have to capture it in a piece – now that should be a challenge! Lots of wine, cheese, crackers and fruit to graze and schmooze with but I headed out for my furniture.

I was tickled to get the bookcase home and rearrange the living room. We had downsized quite a bit but there were four shelves full of reference books, classics etc. It looks really nice with a pair of decoys on top which daughter # 1 had given to her father for Christmas one year. When we were choosing the decoys we discovered the felines had been climbing on the top of the kitchen cabinets as one of the decoys was on its side and there were kitty footprints in the dust. So that part of the redecorating will have to be done another time. Now if you’re relaxing on the couch you can see those beautiful sunsets over the harbour.

I have all the photos fitted into the PowerPoint presentation I’m working on about lobstering. Have already learned a lot about the program by playing with it. I will approach the library to see if I can present mid-November just before the season starts. I spoke to the videographer and this fits with her schedule too. It will give me a chance to polish up the material and practice a bit.

I must make up some posters for the scrapbooking session planned here for Thursday evening. Tomorrow will be my only evening to get some treats made for the gang. I’m off on Tuesday to a place in the valley called Ledgehill – here’s the link to check it out:

It looks like a lot of team building and policy work for Wednesday and Thursday. Sigh.

As I will soon not be able to say I’m 50 but will have to acknowledge being over 50 I was pleased when a friend forwarded this email story, which I’ll paste here for you:
The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let her know.
Old Age, I decided, is a gift.
I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.
I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60&70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ... I will.
I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.
They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.
Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.
As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.
So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day. (If I feel like it)

Must get my to-do for tomorrow list shortened a bit as I'm off to work in the district facility while covering for a couple of the team members. I was reading a newspaper story which spoke of folks in their 80s continuing to work as they loved it and I realized that retirement is not necessarily not working but working when and at what you want to. Now THAT I'm ready for.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mini vacation synopsis

As I sat in the hotel room working on my laptop I could pretend I was working on my novel (not) or was a business executive (ugh) or I just enjoy myself as I’d loaded up the CD of lobstering photos that daughter # 1 provided courtesy of her banding / photo journaling project last fall. I’m going to put together a PowerPoint presentation of these shots for my presentation to be filmed. I don’t have a photo editing program on this computer though so will have to install that to finish it up. I have the shots all organized and have accessed the shore captain’s technical info for added punch. With the little mini-vacation I even found a few moments to update (off the top of my head) the Family Tree Maker (genealogy) database.

I had a great day by myself, despite the weather Tuesday, as countrywoman loose in the city. First I headed out Bayers Lake and true to the rule that you always meet someone from home the contractor who built our house parked next to me so we caught up on the news. I headed over to Staples in search of a cooling mat for the laptop and although I didn’t find one of those there was a great sale on computer desks so I picked one up. I now have plans when I get home to move the computer from the mudroom to the TV room thus giving me a proper sewing area and moving all the tech stuff into the one room. Then I picked up jeans and a shirt as instructed by the meeting man and then on to lunch with my OHN friend. We had a great catch up visit and I was most interested in her stories as a UNB nursing student. After lunch I found a pair of pillows as those on the guest bed have gone to NB and the cats (or other guests) need something to sleep on. I spent a pleasant ½ hour in Carsand Mosher browsing for scrapbook supplies then headed over to Chapters found the latest Kathy Reichs novel for me, and a naval history for the shore captain. Spent some time reviewing the cruise magazines to see what was on the horizon. I remembered that I had a credit at the dive shop, as they weren’t able to fill my prescription lenses in my mask so got my refund and headed on back to the hotel just as the meeting was ending.

Tuesday evening we headed out for supper and made our way to Pogue Fado before all the university students struck. If I hear one more comment on student debt load I will have to remind the speaker of the crowded bars and eateries when students return

I discovered the hotel has Internet access so I checked email and arranged a lunch date for Wednesday with a former colleague from the insurance company – the only one I really liked in the whole bunch of them. So I’m doing pretty well for a social life as I tag along. As I was waiting to connect with my former colleague I spotted a sleazebag salesman who had known my position was about to be cancelled with them and did nothing. He must still have a guilty conscience as he rushed over to say that he knew we hadn’t parted on the best of terms but he was sure I understood now etc. Must be awful living your life as such a slime ball. I assured him the best thing that had ever happened to me was being ‘reorganized’ from that company, that I hadn’t forgotten at all but that I had no regrets or feelings of guilt. He was mopping his brow and stammering by the time I exited. The serendipity of running into him for some closure still amazes me. It was nice to hear how things are still the same (unfortunately) so I sure don’t miss that. Makes it easier to do the job I have.

Finding some material for sauna curtains (to keep the heat in) at a fabric store somewhere turned into a major project. I spent over an hour wandering around Dartmouth (major road construction at every turn) and still couldn’t locate a fabric store. Bayers Road Thursday a.m. is the plan as it’s the only spot I haven’t searched.

The shore captain opted out of one of his Wed. afternoon meetings (the rest of them are being paid to be here he says) and we headed downtown to be tourists on the beautiful late summer afternoon. We stopped at the Argyle Bar & Grill and I had a second lunch (another salad so I wasn’t feeling too guilty) on the deck. Then we wandered down to the waterfront and back up to the Split Crow to enjoy their deck. I browsed a bit while mister checked in on the state of the fishery at home and I discovered that the rotary phone which is stashed somewhere in the old house is worth $35 – amazing. Still no fabric, it amazes me how the downtown core has decayed. We headed back up the hill – the climb only drawback of staying at the Citadel Inn – with time for a snooze (him) and book (her) before mister left for a retirement dinner. I headed down for a few laps of the pool and a soak in the hot tub. All this decadence is tough to leave. Sigh.

Thursday was another beautiful sunny day with a run out to Bayers Road and I was remarkably restrained at Fabricville as the new fall fabrics were beautiful and the sales great. I found some beige fleece at a good price so now will now how to create the sauna curtains. I continued on out to Pete’s Frootique and did some veggie shopping – cheddar cauliflower, grape tomatoes, fresh beans, Iranian dates and more. There was a woman with two cute preschoolers ‘helping’ her shop and I told her how quickly those years pass as my baby was in university. She had four little ones as well and we compared notes while the little guy who was two tried to figure out how the cart, conveyer belt, displays, pallet jack etc. worked and the little girl was ‘looking after’ him.

I ended up being the chauffeur home while the shore captain had the cell phone attached to his ear. A better option than him distractedly driving while doing this. By the time the messages and mail were dealt with, the in-house mister fix-it assembled the computer desk and pets sorted out, it was time for a quick supper before the shore captain headed over to chase boats. The evening was spent switching the computer from mudroom to den (or man cave as it is better known now) and organizing my sewing area, which required major cat fur removal. Lots more space in both rooms and definitely more organized. I will post a photo when I get them uploaded.

Friday brought a return to work, if only for one day. The CEO, Chairman of the Board and several department heads served a BBQ to staff so it was nice to have a free lunch. Home in time to do a few things and head over to our summer neighbours for supper. I’ve done pretty well for myself as in the past ten days I’ve only had to cook one meal. Astounding. Had a fine evening of great food, conversation and laughs. Gotta love weekends.

Monday, September 10, 2007


New motto: Save the Earth... it's the only planet with chocolate

A quick note on my lunch hour to catch you up on all my social life as I’ve had a fair bit of (unusual for me) pleasant activities lately. The weekend weather was glorious and so was the writing workshop. There were almost 20 folks from Halifax to locally in attendance and a good time was had by all. The food was great, the writing was amazing and we learned all sorts of new stuff about photography, poetry, postcard stories and more. It was such a gift to have all this ‘me time’ with everything provided. We even had a samba music jam on Saturday night. Woohoo! A very positive development was that I met up with a videographer who will film my presentation for cruise ship speaking to send for an audition submission. She suggested doing the presentation at the library where they have ‘lunch and learns’ on Wednesdays so I just need to get my act together and put the presentation together for this fall.

My other half had a very busy working weekend with the final straw being he forgot to top off the cats dish before going to bed (one my last daily chores) and….they were starving by 5 a.m. so decided to wake him up, tell him about it and get him to feed them. He says Gary the 15 lb. instigator was launching himself from the footboard to start the process.

Home in time yesterday afternoon to leave again for a BBQ – good friends, conversation and we managed to get inside before the lightening and rain struck. Good plan to leave early to get ready for the workweek.

Sounds like the two students are settling in well. Daughter # 2s cold is resolving and she is into the swing of the academic year. Daughter # 3 is finding her way around campus, class and the program. Appears she’s figuring things out some.

Was met early this a.m. at work with the news that the corridor my office is in will be renovated as per the patient care wing meaning there will be a major construction project beginning in about 5 weeks and lasting for a minimum of two months. This will require office relocation so lots of packing, purging of materials and moving…to where? Not sure yet. So the fall will continue to be hectic it seems.

Am running away to Halifax for the next couple of days as the shore captain has US/Canada meetings re: the fishery. It will be nice to be able to do my own thing while he’s otherwise occupied. I have already lined up a lunch date for tomorrow with an OHN colleague so this shows promise. Back Thursday p.m.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

A 4 day week? feels like 40

The house has been very peaceful since yesterday with just the cats and I holding down the fort. As I told Gary “it’s not like I want to be single but…it is nice to be able to do your own thing” which he answered with a wise feline green-eyed stare.

This has been an exciting few days getting students settled in, they have been an unwell duo. However, daughter # 2 is making a good recovery from her sinusitis and sounded much better on the phone. Daughter # 3 sent along this update:

I also hurt my foot my right one on the side facing out it feels fine until I walk and it's like shooting pain from my ankle to about an ince away from my pinky's been two days or so. I might die and I was just warning you.

As one of my nurse colleagues said “just think by next year she’ll know how to describe that in medical language - you know lateral aspect of the malleolus”. Then we went on to a discussion of how as student nurses we always self diagnosed ourselves / friends / family with whatever disease we were studying that week. Those were the days.

Almost as exciting as the first day of public school. When I was walking the dog yesterday we met Kate, who was beginning elementary school this year - she was pretty pumped - hopping from one foot to another when she was telling me who her teacher was. By the time I got caught up on the news with three different sets of neighbours my walk was extended 30 minutes, only in the country.

Overheard in public discussion “I haven‘t seen you for ages, not even shopping“ “oh I don’t shop at Superstore there’s too much chocolate there”. Now I have to say that’s never been a criteria I consider when buying groceries - price, location, selection even air miles but not excess of chocolate.

One of my team members is embroiled in a nasty relationship breakup and was concerned that the truck left in his former yard was still insured in his name. I told him he’d have to report it stolen if anything happened, he didn’t believe me, called the RCMP and they told him the same thing. I explained that once in the ‘bad old days’ there had been two ‘rough around the edges’ brothers taking boats for us (think Jeff Foxworthy’s definition of rednecks and you won’t be far off) and they made life interesting…descended with their crews like locusts at mealtimes “you going to eat that?“ leaving a path of destruction in their wake, sleeping with each others girlfriends, needing to be bailed out of jail to go fishing and generally living life hard. My soft hearted (and headed) husband decided they needed transportation to the bait shed and wharf and loaned them the old half ton truck to go home with the instructions that “if anything bad happens I’m going to tell the police you stole it - understand?” They agreed happily, promised solemnly to behave and off they went. The trawl baiting was fine but later that night things went downhill in a hurry. Apparently they were drinking and stopped by the side of the road to take a leak, leaving the truck door open and some unsuspecting woman drove by and took it right off. This is followed by a phone call saying “this is Cst ___ you have a grey Ford 150 which was struck this evening?” to which my spouse replied “no Cst. it can’t possibly be, mine’s sitting in the yard” “sir, are you saying the truck has been stolen?” “well it must have been, I’ll have to call the insurance company”. It was a good thing they were able to catch fish, they needed to pay off the fines first. My coworker said "oh you always have such colorful stories to tell" which I assured him were non-fiction unfortunately.

Work has been beyond, must be something in the air. And it’s not just me as another OHN sent a message asking:

Do the gates of HELL open on September 1st?? I've had a steady stream of overstressed employees/managers through the doors. The line is buzzing to mental health for help. I think I must be the one who needs help! My head is already pounding from harassment complaints to psychosis symptoms.

But I'm not thinking much about work as I plan to leave early tomorrow afternoon, pick up my friend and head off to the writing workshop for the weekend. It's giving a nice weather forecast too. Yeehaw.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Survival mode

That's what I was in today - survival mode as I hit the ground running. It was a juggling act from the get-go. Orientation for about 30 employees/nursing students as well as 175 emails to sort through. And this was all being done remotely as I head back into the office tomorrow it'll prove even more interesting.

Had calls from both university student daughters today. The first one from daughter # 2 who had an infectious disease / quarantine question about a student and she sounded terrible herself with a hoarse voice and sinus troubles again. Hard to be looking after others when you feel so rotten yourself. She sweetly asked how her Dad and I were doing on our own - the cats are making sure we're not lonely I told her. The second call was from daughter # 3 and dealt mainly with finances but I was relieved to hear the dental surgery was healing well.She says she "now has internet and couldn't love it more than I having a good time, meeting lots of people" So UNB is treating her as well as I thought when I dropped her off. Both of them were enjoying their orientation week and classes will start over the next two days.

A colleague at work was telling me about 'helicopter parents' who were hovering, unpacking students things etc. and we were both amazed at this (apparently increasing) behaviour. We agreed that you have to have left your kids with some lifeskills by the time they're old enough to go off after high school or they never will survive. We're all meeting our developmental milestones with the moving on, adjusting to a quiet house etc.

I went to scrapbooking with daughter # 1 (she treated) and it was nice to have a visit and get caught up on the news. I also got four pages on my house construction album done. I'm installing the cupboards now so getting into the finish work. Will be having a scrap session here at the house on September 20th so anyone who is lurking and in the area is welcome.

Tomorrow evening the other-half is traveling to Halifax for a meeting on Thursday a.m. so a pre-meeting on Wed. p.m. over supper. This will give me a chance to get my homework together for the writing workshop and leave some meals so he won't notice I'm gone until at least Saturday.

Monday, September 3, 2007

No, I don't wanna...

No, I don't wanna go back to work tomorrow after 10 days away because 1) it wasn't long enough (never is) 2) I really only had the past two days after all the students were transported to universities 3) the first day back after vacation means you are waiting to be pounced on by folks who didn't want to bother the team member covering 4) the Tuesday after a long weekend is frantic enough to begin with 5) I have to go to the district facility for a large orientation group 6) I'd rather be retired.

Actually we've been pretty spoiled in this household for the past 10 days as mealtimes, errands etc. have been very flexible. Must be what it's like to be retired. In the past 31 years there has been a period of about three years where I didn't work outside the home. Now mind you this was with three childen under the age of three so I was certainly working if not for $. I've worked at three (or more) jobs at the same time and done lots of nights so I really don't have any idea of what 'staying home' is. But I'd be willing to risk a blind test.

This a.m. I was up at 5 a.m. to pick up a man who can't drive two vehicles at the same time. He made his first trip to the fishplant over at 4:30 and I retrieved him then headed back to bed (thinking I was glad I'm not self-employed) as he set out on his second run. When I commented this evening that he'd had a long day he corrected me that it'd been a short night.

When I finally crawled out of bed for the second time I spent the day puttering as I busied myself with the domestic duties of making brown bread, laundry, putting the final touches on the two reorganized rooms (which the cats have now claimed as they've conquered their fear of change), varnishing the washstand I've refinished three coats and the wine rack leg of the kitchen sandwich bar two coats, walking the dog, getting back onto the exercise program (no audience now but the felines so no excuses) and making supper.

Tonight the life partner and I went to see The Bourne Ultimatum and it was a good action movie (meaning one he who won't leave the house after supper for social engagements unless threatened will attend and one I can tolerate). It is never a bad evening when you get to watch Matt Damon for a couple of hours. Watching flicks in the musty, older local theater takes me back to my youth as opposed to the new multi-cinemas. We saw lots of deer and a shooting star (yes of course I wished) on the way home.

Much better idea than staying home and suffering Sunday Night Syndrome (anticipation of return to work in the a.m. with attendant insomnia and mind racing) albeit on a Monday. Actually this week does have the fact that it is only four workdays to recommend it, tomorrow the cleaning lady comes and there's a scrapbooking workshop tomorrow p.m. which daughter # 1 and I are taking in as fishing is distracting the partners.

And the final plans for the writing workshop at the Y Camp are trickling in. Can't wait! My horoscope (see below) is advising me on life balance what can I say?

This is a hard phase for you as you are drawn into other people's battles. It's not that you don't want to help -- you do and you do it well. It's just that the metaphysical lightning strikes and all of a sudden the sky lights up so you see the whole picture quite clearly. You may realize that if you don't take care of your own needs, you won't have anything to give to others. Make changes in your priorities to bring your life into balance.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Three for three

We are three for three as this busy weekend draws to a close. Originally the plan had been to drop the UNB student off and go camping but…no room after all the gear so then the plan was an overnight getaway but…in the end it was just a solo flying trip for me as mister couldn‘t find anyone to work the holiday weekend for him.

Friday was a whirlwind of last minute goodbyes and ‘must-dos‘, packing of the car just before the deluge struck and then out for supper with the oldest sister and her partner before settling in for a short night. I heard missy having a conversation at 2 a.m. (she maintains it was with the cat) and then it was up at 5 a.m. and on the road.

We made good time but no matter how well things go it’s at least a 6.5 hr drive to Fredericton. We arrived in time for the student to register, get moved in to her room on the 3rd floor (teams of strong backed assistants appeared to carry in fridges etc) and for me to attend an information session while she settled in and got to know her roommate. Basically parental involvement includes transportation, physical exertion, handing over all your money and then leaving. Since I’ve been doing this is various forms for five years it goes pretty smoothly and I was pleased to see the baby daughter getting involved with Orientation Week activities as I drove away.Not sure why some parents were having trouble leaving but maybe they were new at it. I made it home before 10 p.m. so considered I’d done well.

Today I was very busy rearranging the house and now that I‘ve stopped I‘m not sure I can get out of the chair. The cats have been confused with the changes but are okay with it now as you can see from Stanley‘s nap. First I made up the ‘sort of spare’ bed in UNB student’s room - it was necessary to cover all surfaces to prevent flocking by cat fur. Hadn't seen the floor in there for a bit due to all the packing. One thing led to another and I ended up cleaning the hall closet even!

Then I attacked what has become the den (or Man Cave to use language I found in today’s newspaper) and that turned into an all day project. I phoned a friend to see if she could use some twin sheets “no more single beds here” I told her and she asked about a bed for her son. That started the process as she dispatched her husband less than an hour later to check out the bed. Before you knew it the bed was dismantled on the back of his truck and the TV was moved (under protest - from the life partner and threats - no more brown bread from me) to the den. There was some muttering of ‘I don’t even have anything to sit on’ from the TV watcher but I soon fetched a rocking chair and that was it. The room is fairly compact so the large television makes it seem like a home theatre and there is no one complaining about the noise so mister is actually settling in quite well. I remembered a reclining chair and footstool from the old house which I fetched this evening as well. This is just a temporary plan as we’re searching for a futon which will give us an extra bed, fit on that wall and give a horizontal position for the TV watcher.

Cannot believe that tomorrow is the last day of a 10 day break - where did it go? It’s been nice to have these last two days to regroup before I have to hit the ground running again. There is even talk of going to see the movie tomorrow night - woohoo!