Sunday, August 24, 2008

Island Hopping

When I was asking the western daughter if she’d been checking out the blog with her new laptop she commented that I hadn’t updated it since announcing her luck so I thought I’d better get my act together. She was also telling me that she’d been out to a western bar called (appropriately enough) Billy Bob’s and had a enjoyed herself as there had been two step dance lessons, lots of 10 gallon hats and just a generally good time. Apparently there is another venue for displaced easterners, which plays that sort of music so that’s next on her list for checking out.
This has been a productive week here on the creative front, if not otherwise. I made contact with a leader of the writing group I do my best to frequent and hinted broadly about Maritime photos as I knew she’d done some work for Frommers or Fodors or one of those travel books for the Maritimes. She had a few that she offered (after saying she’d had a bunch of her photos accepted for the Michelin publication) on CD and some great contacts in tourism – both for the upcoming cruise and later local itineraries. So I’ve busily downloaded a number of photos and am making contacts for some others. The Cape Breton and NS presentations are pretty well along but the others will require more effort.

I’ve been playing on the computer a bit as I got a newer version of Family Tree Maker from a friend and discovered that the supposed glitch with the dates which I was so frustrated with while doing research at the museum is actually due to the switch from different types of calendars previous to 1752 so the double date is to cover both types of date recording. But at least now I have the more recent version and am not accusing the computer of having a bug.

The animals were restless the other p.m. as there was a boat, which made its way up the harbour in the dark, and then back out. The shore captain identified it as a Coast Guard vessel as “it had wet exhaust and the search light out over top of the water” but wasn’t sure who their search would be for – someone hauling ‘summer gear’ aka out of season lobster traps, scallop draggers which are supposed to be fishing outside of the headlands or perhaps drug smugglers as they target all of the above. The cats peered into the darkness off the veranda listening to the rumble of the retreating engine and the wake crashing on the shore while the dog paced restlessly due to the unexpected ocean visitor at that time of night. Never did figure out what the intrusion on our peaceful existence was after.

Yesterday we had an excursion over to the island in the harbour, which we border on. The shore captain was forced to forfeit as he had boats going and coming and only a few hour window in between. So he delegated the only son to tour captain duties and we headed over in the mossing punt. It was really quite well appointed as we took lawn chairs for the deck and had gourmet lunch by the time we all shared the watermelon, Chilean merlot and pastrami sandwiches. Our summer neighbours on either side, our son and his girlfriend and me all enjoyed a great day, the weather made it one of the nicer days this summer and I have the sunburn to prove it on my face and neck. We explored the island and checked out the lighthouse, abandoned houses and fields - it’s like being in a time warp. It’s starting to get overgrown so we couldn’t make our way into the cemetery and I think the sheep were pleased when we finally left them in peace. Think I have convinced our summer neighbours that it’s fun to camp over there. We had taken the kids over when they were young and they had a ball - it’s a world apart just a few minutes away.

A loyal blog reader has contributed the list for the local library book club, as I no longer have a work life, which allows for flextime to attend a book club at noon. However, I do like to keep up and occasionally read what’s on the list – you will note I have managed one of the listing:

Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls - don't start unless don't plan to get anything else done
Three Day Road, Joseph Boyden
Lament for an Ocean, Michael Harris
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson

Oh to be retired. Speaking of which we had the discussion on our island trek as to what was meant by retired as I frequently refer to it and in fact this blog wouldn’t have a name if not for retirement dreaming. Retirement will mean NOT doing what I’m doing now, which is more than full time. If I work a few shifts in long-term care can I say I’m semi-retired? I should think so, as that’s the likely reality until REAL retirement becomes an option. When I hosted a lunch for our Class of 76 get together last spring, one of my classmates said “oh, you’ll be working when you’re 75” as they all thought I’d still be going strong. I sure hope I’m going strong but not necessarily in gainful employment!

Speaking of which, I must get myself somewhat together for tomorrow as it’s another work week and one in which I’m covering for someone (else’s) vacation so no playing hooky. Add to this the final week for the baby daughter who is returning to an out of province university next Sunday, working, visiting with the boyfriend and has made no attempt at packing or putting the bedroom back into human habitation. This could be a busy (busier) week! I leave you with the thought of the day:

Ideas are enormously powerful and surprisingly scarce. John Polanyi

Saturday, August 16, 2008

How lucky is that?

Just had a phone call from daughter # 1 in Red Deer who was telling us that while attending her staff BBQ (she's only been with the company for a couple of months) she won......a laptop!!!! Can't think of anything she could more likely use to keep in touch. When we were talking the evening before I reminded her how lucky she is when she was listing off the prizes to be won - laptop, wii, WestJet travel certificate - and she agreed she should go just in case. I can't begin to list all the prizes she's won but I well remember the first one. I put her name on a Mothers Day draw at the local grocery store and I had to write it because she was too young to do so. When they called from the store at 9:30 p.m. as they drew for the mum at closing time and asked for her by name her father who had answered the phone said "she's only three years old, she's in bed, what's this about?" to the confused clerk. And there have been various other wins to the point I've contemplated having her buy a lottery ticket for me as my retirement plan. Will have to catch up on the other news of the BBQ tomorrow. She'll be able to read the blog more regularly now.

The trip to the city went well, long day but relatively uneventful. Got the passport renewal underway and will have to content myself with staying in the country for the next couple of weeks until it's returned. Got to complete the errand list and have a visit with daughter # 2 as a bonus. Mostly it was wonderful to have a day away from work.

I came home to find that shore captains phone had malfunctioned (I'm sure it's terminal from the injury) and he had left the computer online so I wasn't able to reach him to let him know to start supper. Nor was the captain of the boat he'd just sent off fishing. They had made in a short distance, had a leak in a hydraulic hose and subsequently he had to find someone to tow them in, then the gear had to be unloaded. This morning was for repairs and a repeat of the previous day. They're headed out again and as always no news is good news.

Today since it was raining and foggy I headed over the Archelaus Smith museum to do some genealogy research. Got the bright idea to take the laptop and transfer the info directly rather than making notes and entering data. Everything was going along just great until the program decided to start saving birth and marriage dates as multiple years as in 1956/57 etc. I even called a computer expert friend who is a Family Tree Maker guru to no avail. It was too frustrating to continue as I'll have to edit the dates now for a number I entered. Hopefully a newer copy she has will relieve the problem later in the week as the museum is only open for a few more weeks.

A peach cobbler and casserole later I'm finished with my domestic duties. Since the forecast tomorrow is for sunshine I'm making plans to get some of that on me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Self created long weekend

Since I’m playing hooky tomorrow it almost seems as if the weekend is starting this evening. I’m headed down to visit daughter # 2 in the city and run some errands. Although I’m not sure it’d qualify as time off in any other work setting as I’m taking the cell phone with me and covering for two other team members but time away from the office is away.

Speaking of cell phones…the shore captain arrived home for supper (covered in grease and fish slime – a very attractive picture I present eh?) and produced out of his pocket a cell phone with a cracked screen. This injury it apparently suffered simply by residing in the pocket of his coveralls while he worked in the engine room of one of the boats. Nothing visible except the backlit-shattered pattern however he pointed out he could make calls and receive them. Mind you, after saying “you’re not serious?” and “I can’t believe it” when being shown the cell, the baby daughter advised he’d better be careful that he dialed the correct number now. It will likely be cheaper to buy a new phone than replace the screen – they’re pricey I’m told.

I’ve been working on getting some photos dropped into the PowerPoint presentations and it’s a good feeling to know that I’m not working on a deadline of days from now as it was last time. Even though there are more presentations this time I have more of an idea of how things are set up cruise-wise and of course more familiarity and connections for the photos. Mind you, my history can use some refreshing from when I was daydreaming in high school and updating to more current knowledge so I’m learning lots myself. So it’s all good. Except for the fact that we’re still waiting for high speed internet here at the house and even worse, high speed was connected at the fish plant a month or so ago which is in a tiny community at the end of a point of land. Arggh.

Thinking of the water, I’m including a photo of a yacht, which headed up the harbour yesterday to spend the night in our sheltered inlet. Here she is making her way past the house. Now this is definitely the way to approach retirement.

I’ve given up on the thought of baking a peach dessert as I picked up a basket of nice ripe ones and if I’m going to make the early morning target I’ve set for myself I’d best get these bones to bed.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A five day work week??

Well time to catch up and although that’s usually the weekend, this time it’s after as there was (by middle aged standards) a full social calendar this weekend past. We had a BBQ here on Saturday p.m., which concluded with our slide show of trip photos so that was nice. Meant to work on my presentations yesterday afternoon but the sun actually showed itself so I retired to the lounge on the deck and promptly fell asleep. Thankfully I was awakened by the returning from work student nurse or could’ve had a sunburn. Attended another BBQ at a neighbour’s last night.

Had to go back to work to get a rest – too bad that didn’t happen. The Accreditation process is consuming us and we still have six weeks to go to D Day. One of my work team was chosen to receive a tracer today told everyone he was being tasered – not too far off – a tracer is a mock exercise such as the surveyors might ask when they attend our facilities. One of the high points of the week will be that we have a lunch BBQ tomorrow so that should tell you how well things are going. I can’t believe it’s a five day workweek – really!

At the end of the day I finally decided that I needed to distract myself so put the DVD of the NS Duck Toller presentation on the DVD player while I tidied the office. One of the maintenance employees appeared at my door for something and with a bemused look said, “you have a DVD of yourself?” Insinuating that I was being a bit egotistical - so I replied rather curtly “haven’t had a chance to look at it from the cruise – what was it you wanted anyway?” and he got back on task pretty quickly and exited.

Have managed to burn the Norway trip photos to CDs so now (finally) feel I have them backed up more safely. I’ve been collecting my materials and sorting out the info to begin scrapping when things settle down (should that ever occur). I’ve gotten some of my research material and photos organized for the destination presentations so am starting to throw those into PowerPoints. Am learning and remembering many things most of all that I really ticked we still don’t have hi speed internet at home and I have to take my lunch breaks to surf. I’m determined to NOT have the frantic dash of last cruise in October. And as the baby daughter (who is counting down her remaining 20 days before university return) says “at least you know the stuff this time”.

Speaking of nursing students I’ll leave you with a smile sent to me by my birthday twin:

Hospital Bed and new nurse:

Gary is lying in a hospital bed, wearing an oxygen mask over his mouth And nose, still heavily sedated from a difficult surgical procedure.

A young student nurse, Andrea, appears to give him a partial sponge bath. 'Nurse' he mumbles from behind the mask. 'Are my testicles black?'

Embarrassed, Andrea replies, ' I don't know Sir. I'm only here to wash your upper body and feet.'
He struggles to ask again .' Nurse, are my testicles black?'

Concerned that he may elevate his vitals from worry about his testicles, she overcomes her embarrassment and sheepishly pulls back the covers.

She raises his gown, holds his penis in one hand and his testicles in the other, lifting and moving them around.

Then, she takes a close look and says, 'There's nothing wrong with them Sir!'

Gary pulls off his oxygen mask , smiles at her and says very slowly...' Thank you very much. That was wonderful, but listen very, very closely... Are - my - test - results - back ? ! '

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I've arrived

Well I feel like I’ve arrived!! Today my email brought a request from a different entertainment manager in the agency I’m listed with for a cruise this fall with Celebrity. Here’s the link to the Celebrity Constellation out of New York roundtrip:;jsessionid=0000S_nwBxDXSt9uY82A1bFJ_iz:12hdbcveb?packageCode=CS12N002&backPageName=Itinerary+Search+Results&sailDate=1081005

This means I’ve had successful ratings on an entry level cruise (Princess or Royal Caribbean) and am approved now for the next tier (Celebrity or Disney) It was for special interest speaking (less talks and I’ve already got them done) than destination too. Unfortunately I’m already booked for those dates on the Sea Princess. Drat. So many fans, so little time. The plan is to head towards Seven Seas which is very high end and inclusive i.e. worth more to speak on. This could’ve fast tracked the exercise to get to top drawer within a few months. I replied to the entertainment manager asking her to not forget me, as the schedule is the same next fall. A few years to get myself known in those circles and I’ll be able to broker my own deals without an agent I’m thinking.

Made all the insanity of today at the district facility just fade away. As well, I dropped into WalMart afterwards and got my passport photo done for the renewal process so was focused on more leisurely pursuits. This is the only way to survive I’ve decided if you’re going to have to spend your days cooped up inside hammering out policies. Only two more days to struggle through due to the short week and looking forward to the weekend and an in-house and down the road BBQ.

I leave you with a smile, as they’re in short supply some days:

True Story from Houston Medical Center

A man went to the hospital to have his wedding ring cut off from his hoohoo.

According to the Nurse attending, the patient's girl friend found the ring in his pants pocket and she got so mad at him, she used petroleum jelly to slip the ring on his hoohoo while he was asleep.

I don't know what's worse:
1) Having your girlfriend find out you're married.
2) Explaining to your wife how your wedding ring got on your hoohoo.
3) Or finding out your hoohoo fits through your wedding ring.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Magnetic Hill Magic

Well it was a good thing that this was a three-day weekend as I would’ve been one sorry girl if I’d had to head off to work this a.m. After a full day at work on Friday as I was also covering for two others on my work team we headed up to Moncton and arrived at 10 p.m. after finally locating the University of Moncton residence we were staying in.

Saturday was spent getting breakfast, getting organized and getting to the concert. We hopped the shuttle bus and were off at about noon. Magnetic Hill was kind of soggy from the rain but we found a dry patch of land near the stage, pulled out the recycling bags to sit on, ate granola bars to keep the energy up and had a wonderful time. Met some great people – couple who vacation at Sebim Beach and a lady who has been teaching English in China for five years. Managed to resist the $40 t-shirts and $65 sweatshirts to commemorate the event but still enjoyed ourselves. The music and the mood were both absolutely amazing and we wouldn’t have missed it for anything. It was 1:30 a.m. when the shuttle bus dropped us off in front of the mall again and, as the life partner said “Boston Pizza never tasted so good” We called a cab and dragged our sorry carcasses back to the residence by 2:30 a.m. and after a quick shower and clothes in plastic bags to keep the mud in – we were unconscious. Here’s the official newstory here, which proves we weren’t the only folks having a great time:

All thoughts of visiting friends were gone as we managed to get ourselves together to head home. The drive was enough to contend with. A stop at the farm market, supper and an early bedtime put us in better shape.

Had a chat with the western daughter today who had an uneventful move to Red Deer this weekend. She’s starting at the new office in the a.m. and has spent the weekend orientating herself to her new city. Really looking forward to heading out to visit her next month. She’s being the social planner and has a list of possibilities already. I think the stop at The Groundhog Museum will be the highlight. When she was in grade primary her teacher had built up groundhog day to the point that we went to Halifax for the weekend and as we drove down Barrington Street heading towards the hotel missy said indignantly from the back seat of the van “none of the stores are even decorated for groundhog day, they must not celebrate the holiday here” Out of the mouths of babes eh?

And of course today was spent doing all those fun household chores that pile up. Thankfully the sun came out this afternoon so the seven loads of laundry dried well. One of the summer neighbours kayaked out in front of the house and I could only think “if I was retired I’d be doing that too” before I unloaded the dishwasher for another load. Anyway, enough whining…off to the district facility for the next two days so I must get my act together for the on the road time.