Tuesday, September 30, 2008

300 posts and counting

Yes, the title says it all - this is the 300th post for this blog - wow!

We had a great trip back from PA on Sunday, even saw bison just before Red Deer. The colors were great and the scenery is really striking down through The Battlefords and Wainright. Made it back by 8:30 p.m. in time to collapse.

Monday was spent doing errands as we picked up some groceries - was unpleasantly surprised with the costs of some articles here - and some baking supplies. The shore captain repaired stair railings, had chipboard cut and made a frame for the mattress turning it into a bed and bought a blowtorch to singe the goose. So we were kept busy and out of trouble.

Today after an exciting day in dinosaur land, yes you read that correctly, we're hanging out with daughter # 1 in Red Deer. We got an early start and took a run down to Drumheller. It was a beautiful morning on the backroads with the combines out harvesting wheat where we saw a coyote hunting in the uncut fields and three prong horn deer a little later on as well. The badlands are amazing geology with the Hoo Doos as the highlight. We spent 2.5 hrs in the Royal Tyrrell Museum and we weren't lollygagging either, you could easily spend a day. Highly recommended if anyone gets within striking range of a visit:


We headed back across country and made good time in the beautiful sunshine. It's been in the mid to high 20s all week here and the hurricane/tropical storm seems so far away in NS. Glad to hear that the only son (or rather his main squeeze) is looking after things for us. Got back in time to put the finishing touches on the roast goose supper - felt like a rehearsal for Thanksgiving. So now daughter # 1 will have leftovers to eat for a week after we head back.

Actually tomorrow is the firstborn daughter's birthday and we are celebrating by heading out to Banff and then on to Calgary to see the Sheryl Crowe concert. Sounds like fun.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Birthday brunch

Had a nice BBQ with lots of family yesterday p.m. and chatted with the neighbours till late. Learned all sorts of history of Prince Albert. It was settled in the 1880s and was was perhaps 20,000 souls as it grew with the regular birth rate, then grew exponentially with the pulp & paper industry arriving about 50 yrs ago. Now the city is about 45,000 and the construction is really booming with all the infrastructure being built. So it's sure a busy place. Nice to learn about the roots. We discovered Prince Albert is famous for...its many prisons. Hmm.

This morning I've been celebrating my birthday big time and it's not even noon time yet. We were taken out to the local Golf Club for the Sunday brunch and it was fantastik!!! If I'd run begin the car on the way home I might have been able to zip up my jacket (yes the winter one I brought which was an excellent idea) without pain. There was every kind of fruit, cheese, bread, croissants, roast beef, omelets to order, perogies, cabbage rolls, meatballs, stew, garlic potatoes, baby carrots, eggs benedict, bacon, sausages, pancakes, hash browns, soup, cinnamon rolls, chocolate torte, strawberries with whipped cream, bread pudding, multiple squares, and much more which I can't even remember. What a wonderful spread. We had gotten there early which was great as it started to fill up by 11 or so. Beautiful views of the golf course with the trees in color, flowers etc. and ice surface for curling go in on the other side. What a great spot.

Off to waddle to the rental car for the return trip to Alberta. Have an alternate route courtesy of the PA neighbour who's lived here all his life and swears it'll take only 6 hrs instead of 8 and a different view. So lots of excitement. Later from the land of the prairie chickens.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Travel update

Well an update from the west...We were up at 3 a.m. and made a quick trip to the city - did not have to take the cruise control off until the Tantallon exit as we (each driving a car to leave one with daughter # 2) were the only vehicles on the road at that time of day. A quick detour into the apartment and a short sleepy visit with daughter # 2 and Hank the cat as we picked up the future son-in-law to drive the car back from the airport.

Having printed boarding passes before we left we simply had to walk up to the scales and check the bags. Grabbed a quick bite at Tim Hortons (that was a good move as we weren't fed on the five and a half hour flight except for bits and bites and juice) and read the paper. The flight was uneventful and we even managed to doze a bit. We were met by a very excited daughter # 1 who had snagged a brand new rental car with only 22 km on it and were off. A stop at the best Chinese food restaurant in Calgary for lunch and then we spent the afternoon at the Calgary Zoo. What a wonderful spot to spend a warm sunny afternoon. Experienced just a bit of the Deerfoot Trail and enjoyed the scenery to Red Deer. A quick tour of the city while we waited to pick up the ordered pizza then a few minutes to settle into daughter # 1s digs and we were unconscious. Can't imagine why - after less than 5 hr. sleep and it being 1:30 a.m. in NS time.

Up early on Friday a.m. for the run to PA - that's what all the cool people call Prince Albert, Saskatchewan you know. The scenery on the 8 hr. trip across was just gorgeous as it changed minute by minute from farmland, oil pumps, trees, flocks of ducks and geese settling in the ponds, livestock - even llamas, but the only wildlife we spied was a coyote making his way across a wheat field. Our previous travels in Sask. (mind you 32 yrs ago) were mainly in the southern prairies so we were more used to the flatlands, so this was the a nice surprise.

We managed to find our way through PA and locate our relocated from NS friends place without much trouble at all.
Settled in for a visit, enjoyed a great supper with our friends while catching them up on the local news. We were ready to crash again at about the same time and spend a comfortable night in their Rec Room.

Started out this a.m. with the ladies heading off to hit the yard sales which apparently PA is known for while the great white hunters headed out for duck/goose hunting. We managed to score all kinds of goodies at various yard sales, had a tour of PA, took in the library booksale which would've required 2 days to really do it justice, and ran all our errands and still made it back in time for lunch and before the hunters arrived. The guys had gotten 3 ducks and 2 geese and posed with them and grins on their faces and bruises on their arms to prove it. So now we know what we'll have for supper on Monday night.

This afternoon we're having a BBQ to celebrate three birthdays - our PA host who had his big day on Thursday, mine tomorrow and daughter # 1 who will have hers on Wed. So that required a good sized cake to get all those names on it for sure. The plan is to take in the Sunday a.m. breakfast at the PA Golf & Country Club tomorrow and then head out as we'll have the same length of drive on the return to Red Deer. Good times, good times.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Off to cowboy land

Today was a wild ride. We had the Accreditation Canada survey team with us at our workplace. I was up early to get in to take the DO NOT DRINK THE WATER signs down and was advised by the Maintenance employee with the surveyors on the walkthrough that I’d only missed four which they’d found as they made their way. I had a rather (for lack of a better description) intense interview with said surveyors and couldn’t read which way the outcome went. I’d forgotten my lunch so the three stale chocolate cookies I scarfed from the kitchenette drawer to have with my tea while on an Atlantic Node MRSA teleconference call (yes as scintillating as it sounds) served as sustenance.

I remembered to print the boarding passes at about 3 p.m. and was delighted to find that the shore captain and I are sitting in 16A and F respectively – this being more than the 1 meter distance required for droplet precautions so he can sneeze on his seatmates and I won’t even be able to hear him groaning from that far away. Things are looking up. The final details of getting out of the workplace with calls / emails to those covering for me and out of office voice mail and email messages, October calendar distributed and finally locking the door with relief were the usual frenetic closure.

As I turned the key in the car I realized my cell phone was vibrating as I’d turned the ringer off during the high level visit and…. there was a voice mail message my entertainment agency. They were offering a FREE cruise, all gratuities and fees paid out of Portland tomorrow on the Celebrity something or other (I immediately put it out of my mind to ease the pain) to the Maritimes and back to New York. When I called the agent back she said that apparently Celebrity had booked a presenter themselves who didn’t show up so they were trying to help them out by putting someone on the cruise which was already underway. I told her of our cowboy land visit so unavailability but have decided that next fall I’m going to hang out for the last minute as the perks are great and I have the presentations all ready to go. The best thing by a long shot which (almost) happened to me today.

My list of errands for the day was long and included a stop for a parcel at the post office (lobster trap tags) and a package of pepperoni for pizza for Prince Albert on the weekend as they don’t have it out west (apparently garlic fingers or Morse tea either I’m told) and I decided to pick up some garlic fingers (since we won’t be having any for the next 10 days) for supper. I manage to get home, throw some clothes in the suitcase, cook the garlic fingers and head out for my haircut. The prodigal son and his girlfriend arrive and I head to the hairdressers telling them to send him along when he appears. When I’m neatly shorn I call mister on his cell and he says “I’m still trying to get there” so I direct him straight to the haircut, meet him in the driveway, switch vehicles and send the son’s girlfriend to the garage for gas in the car.

Entering the kitchen I see 3 or 4 garlic fingers in the pan and absently muse as to whether the kids or the critters ate them – oh well. When I get back from walking the dog I find mister home with his ears lowered saying that the son and girlfriend have called from the gas station to recheck the PIN for the debit card as “it isn’t working and they’ve entered it a few times” When it suddenly dawns on me that just as I’m leaving for 10 days away, I’ve likely lost access to my debit card as the PIN has been reset I almost sat down to cry. He reassures me that his works – just what I wanted, to have to clear every nickel I wish to spend through him, especially galling as my pay is being deposited at midnight. When the girlfriend arrives with the card and says, “I didn’t want to try it again because that would be three times but (and she names the life partners’ sister yes, my very sister-in-law who works at the gas station) who suggests that she try it again – I came very close to screaming!

After the neighbour stops by for the last minute instructions as she has generously offered to walk the dog during my absence – feeding her is one thing but walking is not usually an offspring duty. I provide a cheque for the girlfriend to drop at the garage and remind myself that it was very thoughtful of her to offer to do this I must be more grateful. The daughter who will provide the transport to the airport is contacted about departure time all is set. We throw a few last minute things into the bags, mister groans, sighs and wanders aimlessly while I finish up the long list of household chores. He has been sent to bed as 3 a.m. will arrive early, especially for someone with a possibly fatal cold and I must head shortly in that direction. I don’t care if this will be a short night, I’m just glad this day has ended!

Our return date is Sunday, October 5th so I will post then but… since daughter # 1 has won that laptop and can access wireless, I may be in technological bliss and be in touch when we return from the Prince Albert visit (where incidentally temps of –1c are forecast for the weekend) and the daughter is off to work on Monday.

I'm posting an article from today's Chronicle Herald which quotes a GPI Atlantic study which found that NS women have less time than ever to themselves - who would've guessed? ME!!!!

If you’ve got a moment, count yourself lucky

A new study says Nova Scotians are working more hours than ever as their free time shrinks.
The report, by Nova Scotia-based research group GPI Atlantic, says on average workers are putting in a month’s more of extra paid work time than they did 10 years ago.
The data is drawn from Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey time use diaries gathered in 1992, 1998 and 2005.

The GPI report found single working mothers are most affected by loss of free time, which has shrunk by 2.7 hours a day or nearly 19 hours a week.

Lead author, professor Andrew Harvey of Saint Mary’s University, says working single mothers have to work longer hours to make ends meet, because of cuts to social service payments following deep cuts to federal social transfers to the provinces in the 1990s.

The report also looked at how free time is spent and found that 40 per cent is used to watch television, 26 per cent is spent socializing and 20 per cent is spent on sports and other active leisure pursuits.

The study recommends that Nova Scotia look to the Netherlands where work hours have been reduced and free time increased by improving conditions of part-time work such as pay rates and benefits

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cruise or nursing home?

  • Today the newspaper reported on the Queen Elizabeth’s last trip into Halifax and the Captain was quoted as saying that the service is so good they have an American lady who has lived with them for 10 yrs on the ship and she’ll now be moving to the Queen Victoria. Apparently, she and her husband cruised and when he passed away she continued to sail with Cunard because of the service and the crew had become her family. When the shore captain commented that the ‘old guy must’ve left some money’ I did the math for him versus long-term care (more expensive) and he made no further comment.

    I’ve decided to compile my travels - as in my research I found a page where a traveler documented his days at sea – which is how cruises are usually measured. As you can see, lots of room to add entries:

    Cruises Taken:

    Explorer of the Seas (Royal Caribbean International) 7 days
    Miami, Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya, Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown Grand Cayman; Miami

    Grand Princess (Princess Cruise Line) 12 days
    Southampton, England; Stavanger, Geiranger, Tronheim, Honnisvag, Tromso, Flaam, Bergen, Norway; Southampton, England

    Cruises Booked:

    Sea Princess (Princess Cruise Line) 10 days
    Quebec City, Quebec; Charlottetown, PEI; Sydney, CB; Halifax, NS; Saint John, NB; Portland, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; Newport, Rhode Island; New York City, New York

    Summary - - - - -- - - - - - -- - - -- -No. Cruises - - -- -Days @ Sea

    Princess Cruise Line - --- - - - - - - -- - - - 2- - - - - - - - 22 days
    Royal Caribbean Cruise Line- - - - - - - - 1- - - - -- --- - 7 days

    Number Cruises / Days @ Sea-- -- -3- - - - --- - -29 days

    So by the time I’ve returned from the upcoming cruise I’ll have a month of sea days in my memory bank.

    The above-mentioned traveler had some good cruise info links so I offer them here:




    Thinking about cruising is much more fun than my gainful employment today. When the Director of the nursing home next door happened to spy me going through charts she asked, “when are you coming back to us?” And I said “don’t toy with me, I’m in a fragile state here with the way things are going” So that is a depressing enough overview of my situation.

    Anyway, off to do final battle with the fruit flies - they will not win - as I purchased RAID today (not a big fan of chemicals but even less fan of the flies) and a gross of flypaper. This is war!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Invasion of the fruit flies

Well, it’s been a glorious last weekend of summer. The temperatures were up over many we had in July or August and it was with a sort of melancholy I said goodbye to the sun. I was doing my historical research for the presentations from the lounge chair so that was a good combination. I have the Powerpoints pretty much put together and am just fine tuning them now. Am hoping that the break for the western trip will make picking out the gaps to be filled easier.

I also spent the weekend battling fruit flies. Felt like the house was one large science experiment. Did some online (and my own) research and found that a piece of bread in a glass attracts the little devils big time and then you slap a lid over the glass and microwave them for 30 –45 seconds and they’re history. I have flypaper hanging everywhere, have cleaned the drains, emptied all the trashcans and still there are a few flying around. I’m hoping to have them down to a manageable level to leave the house empty for 10 days as they seemed to have taken up residence the last time we were traveling.

The last week at work has been really over the top - the usual pressure has been increased exponentially with the impending surveyors visit for Accreditation and it is a really crazy place to spend your day. So it is quite nice to be thinking that I'll only be working two weeks out of next month's five week total with that being one week in between the western visit and the cruise and the last week of the month. I can handle that - almost as good as being semi-retired.

The highlight of my week was having our reservation for a pre-theatre dinner confirmed at The Russian Tea Room on our night in New York. My travel partner was checking the place online at work and one of the Docs suggested "oh we should check the wine list" which apparently was quite extensive and on the back pages the prices per bottle went up in $100 increments - my friend had to be educated that the $12 - $14 for the wine meant by the GLASS when she commented that was a reasonable cost. Babes in the woods, country girls in New York - won't we will have fun!

By the time I get through the next three days of an Accreditation survey at work with one visit on site and a trip to the district facility, survive the Boil Water Advisory, which was called (of course) late on Friday afternoon and caused me some last minute scrambling and a late start on my weekend, and get myself together for the trip to the land of cowboys it will be a full week even if it’s only three days.

It was good to learn this week that daughter # 1 was offered a new job and it sounds like a good deal and a move up / that daughter # 2 is loving being a teacher assistant at the Montessori school she's working at part time and is really looking foward to her BEd classes starting in January/ that daughter # 3 is really getting into the second year of her Bachelor of Nursing program and getting it all together with all kinds of plans for her projects etc.

We were invited to supper at our summer neighbours place next door and had a wonderful meal with a good visit. It was fun to learn that one of the guest’s brother and sister-in-law are teaching digital photography and quilting respectively on around the world cruises. The summer folks are returning in order to Rawleigh, South Carolina, Vermont, Iowa City within the next week or so. Glad I’m not facing those kinds of road trips though.

And just so your brain is exercised – this info:
The longest word is English language ispneumonoultramiscroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis - an inflammatory lung disease caused by the inhalation of fine silica dust.

My brain is over exercised - that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Scrapping but not

Nothing set things up right as quickly as having some friends over and although last evening was billed as a scrapbooking event in truth (and even the shore captain noticed when he ventured in at dark) that not much scrapping was done. Lots of looking at Norway photos, planning for future projects, knitting and generally catching up but scrapping was not the focus. This is not to say that the evening was unsuccessful, the chocolate cake turned out good, the company was great and I actually completed a page – which consisted of sticking two photos (of the Norwegian cruise participants) to a page. This is akin to going to an auction and having to come home with an object (no matter how small or cheap) to feel as if one has been successful in the hunting and gathering activity. But I digress….

Had a bit of a scare yesterday when the hourly news was carrying a story about students passing out, the remainder of the class being quarantined next door and the hazardous materials team being called in to…. the baby daughter’s university. When her father and I conferred via cell phone “have you heard anything?” “No” “do you think she’s alright?” “How would you know?” meaning she’s not big on calling unless there’s a fee due. When I finally reached her at about 4:30 p.m. she was very pleased and said “it’s good to know someone cares” Now I’m not sure who she thinks has been worrying about her the past almost 20 years and what significance she awards to the $8895 cheque I wrote to her institution of higher learning but at least she was alright and it appears her fellow students had fainted in the heat and humidity. Not to mention it was a Monday after a weekend early in the university year (meaning the social life is active) and no one is encouraging a student to eat breakfast so not that unexpected really.

Today was an absolutely glorious autumn day, one much too nice to be stuck indoors and for the retired or shift worker with a day off it must have been triumphant. For myself, it was torture. The highlight of my workday was when I managed to purchase a small food processor (an Oskar) from a colleague and she threw in a colander. She said and I quote “stuff takes up too much room in your house” Now that is a statement that is hard to argue with. I did manage to score a nice set of luggage from her last spring so always respond to her queries of “do you want to buy a …?”

I have had a rather pleasant after work/ return home session though as the shore captain is chasing boats so I have walked the dog, enjoyed the sun in the veranda with a glass of chardonnay, supper is in the oven. From where I sit all is well in the universe. Especially so as I forgot my cell phone at work, perhaps I should have a holder such as the one in the photo. I fear that those in many facets of my life would not even notice.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Thelma & Louise planning

Yes, I did make it back from the city and survive (barely) Friday at work. It's (another) rainy weekend so time to catch up on my domestic chores and I spent some time today working on the destination speaking presentations and then headed up to the travel partner's place as THEY have highspeed internet to do some travel planning. Her husband refers to the much anticipated cruise as when Thelma & Louise go on their trip. We managed to do quite well, if I do say so myself, as we figured out that the Sea Princess will be docking at the Red Hook Cruise Terminal:


found and booked a reasonably priced, conveniently located hotel in midtown Manhattan, not as easy as it sounds :


Weather will decide our during the day plans but we're right beside Central Park (fine) and several museums (wet) so no worries. We have a handle on transportation (cab and limo costs) as well as a plan to pick up last minute tickets for a show - we will definitely find something we both like and neither have seen as the list is long of what's playing - and pre-show supper at The Russian Tea Room:


Now I'M starting to get excited....the New York windup will be a blast.

Couldn't resist including a joke forwarded by a friend. Was thinking of the mother of the groom of last weekend when I pasted this one in :

Jennifer's wedding day was fast approaching. Nothing could dampen her
excitement -- not even her parent's nasty divorce. Her mother had found
the PERFECT dress to wear and would be the best-dressedmother-of-the-bride ever!

A week later, Jennifer was horrified to learn that her father's new young wife
had bought the exact same dress! Jennifer asked her to exchange it, but she
refused. 'Absolutely not, I look like a million bucks in this dress and I'm wearing
it,' she replied.

Jennifer told her mother who graciously said, 'Never mind sweetheart. I'llget another dress. After all, it's your special day.' A few days later, theywent shopping and did find another gorgeous dress. When they stopped forlunch, Jennifer asked her mother, 'Aren't you going to return the otherdress? You really don't have another occasion where you could wearit.
Her mother just smiled and replied, 'Of course I do, dear. I'm wearing it to
the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding.'

Had some emails from the baby daughter who listed some possibilities for study abroad options next year as Thailand, Norway, Kenya, Sweden, Korea etc. These exotic locales would sure rate writing an essay on why you want to go. No Australia listed, which is where she dreams of heading after graduation. Speaking of which here is a news story which makes you want to cheer for the roo:

A rogue kangaroo boxed its way out of its enclosure in a small German town and set off a chase with baffled emergency responders, the local fire brigade said Tuesday.

"I must be dreaming," fire chief Thomas Glatz said when he was alerted by a local resident that a young kangaroo was on the loose in Siegburg town, authorities said in a statement.

The hopping fugitive, whose origin was initially unclear, evaded attempts by the police and the fire brigade Monday to trap it, encircle it or lure it with dog food.

Firefighters were finally able to net the 70-centimetre (28-inch) tall kangaroo unharmed and bring it to a nearby shelter.

It emerged Tuesday that the animal and a second kangaroo were kept as housepets, named Tequila and Sunrise by their owners.

Siegburg is 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Cologne, in the west of Germany.

Speaking of travel, I learned in the travel section of the paper today that a new term for tourists who like to help out in areas they visit are being called 'voluntourists' as they give back to communities. What a great term, and even greater thing to do.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Stood up and then not

I'm enjoying the luxury of wireless internet connection at a city hotel to update you and if you have difficulty keeping up with the details you could be forgiven as it reads like a sitcom with all the twists and turns.

I tracked down daughter # 2 this a.m. to see if she'd had to take her father in on Sunday night or had found him room at an inn somewhere. Apparently she'd emailed the details but our server was down at work so email was being picked off and not getting through (amongst many other technological difficulties this week) She explained he'd stayed at the Future Inn in Bayers Lake so this meant (you'd think) that he would be here tonight as I type this eh? Not so fast.

I catch a ride to the city with a work colleague after we make a number of false starts which are thwarted and then a successful run for it at almost 3 pm. She drops me at the above mentioned hotel and heads off to her accomodation. I check in and advise my husband (who's reservation it is) will be along at some point. I settle in and then hoof it across a paving project on a 6 lane highway over to Bayers Lake and as I'm making my way along the sidewalk at rush hour the cell rings and it's mister saying 1. they're not heading back tonight but staying in Maine 2. he's cancelled the hotel reservation. So I advise I've already checked in, my boss will now have to cover the hotel and I wouldn't have stayed at the other end of the city for a 8 a.m. start to a session if I'd known this. He tells me he'll see me at some point tomorrow, so I clarify the situation for him. I'm finished at 4 p.m. at the Westin, if he's not made his way there by the time I'm ready to leave, he can seek his own way home tomorrow. He doesn't argue but sounds mildly surprised.

I head over to Kent and browse scrapbook supplies, then to Staples to buy a new version of Norton (finally) and make the return trip through the construction. I confer with the baby daughter about her classes and she advises there is the possiblity of overseas study for semester in year 3 - Thailand is we both agree more exciting than the USA - and the difference in tuition/accomodation/meals will more than pay for the travel costs. She is instructed to 'look into it and go for it if she can. She is heading to clinical in the a.m. and a bit psyched about it.

I confer with daughter # 2 and we decide she'll keep the car until tomorrow as she has her first day at Montessori school as teacher assistant and has to be there early. I will seek alternate transportation to my session and she'll be there to pick me up at 4 p.m. when it finishes and I advise her to call me should her father make contact and attempt to arrange any kind of travel plans with her.

I find an OHN colleague at Staples who kindly drives me back to the hotel. We had originally planned to get together to look at the Norway trip photos but by now it's 8:30 p.m. she has her daughter with her, her husband is at home and cranky and I haven't had supper. We decide neither of us are fit to socialize, she tells me about a job interview she's had and I head in to the Redwood Grill for a club wrap with sweet pototao fries which improves my attitude immensely. I stop at the desk and advise them to switch billing to me and the clerk tells me "your husband called and tried to reach you when he was cancelling the room at about 5, I thought I'd put the wrong person in the room as you had the same last name" "Oh no" I tell her - "I'm not really married to him, I'm a widow when I connect with him after all this crazy stuff - he should NOT be allowed to engage in travel planning". She agrees.

I head up to the room and do some research for the presentations taking advantage of high speed and....you guessed it - the cell rings. It is (of course) the man of the hour and he tells me that they've decided to drive straight through and...he will be joining me after all as originally planned (I sense he expects me to react more joyously than I do) and the GPS says it will be almost 1 a.m. He asks what room I'm in and I say (as calmly as I am able to) you are honestly expecting that I will get up and let you in at that hour of the night? I will call the desk and you can pick up the card there as you are really pushing it, even for you this time. Then I remind him that since he has (yet again) changed his travel plans that there is no vehicle here for him in the a.m. for his meeting. He tells me the meeting doesn't start until afternoon and I explain that there will be no magic materialization of a vehicle by then either as I am heading to the session without a car for the day and the Montessori assistant will not be free to chauffeur until about 2 pm. His final comment is "we'll work something out" so I clarify that he'll work something out as I'm leaving early.

I now await his (silent I'm sure) arrival in the dead of the night. The good news is that in the over three decades he's been crawling into and out of bed at ALL hours of the night and day I have become so accustomed to it that I have no idea as to his whereabouts so I likely really won't notice if the great communicator that he is, is here in the am.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cruise speaking 101

Since I have the luxury of the house to myself (and the animals) for three whole days I am determined to make the most of it. This includes eating banana pancakes for supper with watermelon for dessert and spending the evening on the phone and computer catching up with friends and family. I was multitasking as well while I made supper for tomorrow as cruise-speaking 101 is on offer to the travel mate of last spring. And now as I type this update I’m looking out over a beautiful silver harbor (think Moonspinners) in a completely silent house. Heaven.

The girls night out to see Mama Mia was a complete success as it was total escapism. No matter what Pierce Brosnan still looks great for a man his age and for that matter, Meryl Streep sure doesn't appear as if she'd get the seniors discount herself. It was all around a great chick flick.

I spent the weekend thinking of my Cape Breton friend who is now a mother-in-law after her son's wedding in Tronna. Imagine everything went off flawlessly and can't wait to see some photographic evidence of same.

Also spent some time thinking of our summer neighbours who are camping in Cape Breton at present. With the rain and winds hoping they found some secure shelter until Hanna blew over. Just waiting for Ike now as he pummels the Caribbean. We are way over our usual moisture levels for this time of year.

The reason for the solitude is that the shore captain is in Portland for meetings (I think) as the last bulletin I had was a call from daughter # 2 who was attempting to find a place for him at the inn (the alternative is that she may have taken him in at her apt on Sunday p.m.) as he had not communicated well with the EA who had reserved the room in the city where he was meeting his travel mates on Monday a.m. With the 9 p.m. call they were driving around Dartmouth and he had checked where he 'thought' it was supposed to be. I supplied the phone number of the EA so he could sort it out and promptly put the situation out of my mind as this whole thing was of his own creation. I have a meeting in the city on Thursday and the plan 'was' to stay with him Wed. night although he had no idea when he'd get back and now this little glitch of where. Picky, picky I am eh?

Must crawl into bed with my research books. The opportunity to leave the light on after 9 p.m. is just too great to resist. I'm including a posting for a photography workshop for any locals who should be interested - she's a really good teacher but I won't be around to partake this time:

Hi All:

I am pleased to let you know that Brier Island Lodge has invited me to conduct a digital photography workshop on the weekend of September 26-28. It should be a beautiful time of the year to be on Brier Island.

If you are interested in a lovely weekend, some concentrated learning, and really developing a comfortable relationship with your digital camera, you might want to consider this opportunity.

Details of workshop content and prices are currently on their website at:

Click on 'Special Events' and scroll down to the September 26-28 section


Click on 'Special Events' and scroll down to the September 26-28 section. All shots accompanying the info are mine, shot on the island during recent visits. Feel free to contact me with questions; actual registration happens through the Lodge. (Sue's phone number is 902 742-6382 and her email is )

Please feel free to pass this email on to any friends who might be interested.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Rainy weekend again

It's another (as usual) rainy weekend. Only shift workers and retired folks care if it's sunny during the week and storms on the weekend. We're getting rain today and then rain and wind tomorrow from Hurricane Hanna. There are also Ike and Josephine lining up behind Hanna so it proves to be an interesting fall weatherwise. Always nerve wracking for the shore captain to watch the hurricane alerts and calculate that the boat is running ahead of the storm track (it is) until they're safely at the wharf.

Three of us girls are heading out to watch Mama Mia this evening. It was held over from last weekend when we were all too busy working or tired to schedule it in. As the shore captain is heading over to Portland for meetings to do with US/Canada fishing I will be eating what I want when I want next week. Have invited the travel partner of last year's cruise over on Tuesday p.m. get her up to speed on the cruise ship speaking gig as she is semi-retired, has done tourism work and would be great! Also have to do some consultation on the New York leg of our cruise next month at some point with that travel partner. So my social calendar is filling up.

And of course 'my agency' is always trying to tempt me by sending messages such as this:

Good afternoon!

We are currently looking for a DESTINATION Lecturer & a SPECIAL INTEREST LECTURER (Astrology, Astronomy, Wildlife, Marine Biology, and New Age) only one category for the special interest position will be chosen for sailings during October 19, 2008 aboard Royal Caribbean in Sydney, Australia. Please read below for more information. Should any of these voyages be of interest to you, please contact me at terri@sixthstar.com.

The placement of the enrichment staff will be given on a fair assessment of the enrichment staff's skills, social skills, ambassador skills, personality, style, flexibility, credentials, and any pertinent feedback from previous cruise performances.


October 19 to November 1, 2008

New Caledonia & South Pacifi

Roundtrip Sydney, Australia

13 nights

Destination Lecturer

Rhapsody OF THE SEAS

October 19 to November 1, 2008

New Caledonia & South Pacific

Roundtrip Sydney, Australia

13 nights

Special Interest Lecturer

With the administrative fee, you and your guest will receive all onboard meals, daytime activities, evening entertainment, and the chance to visit these beautiful ports of call. Your accommodations would be an inside passenger cabin. Royal Caribbean will not be providing airfare, gratuities, onboard discounts, or ground transfers. You and your guest are responsible for paying onboard gratuities, incidentals, and flights to and from the vessel.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Endurance of the Move

Can't believe it's another Monday after the endurance trip of this weekend versus the island excursion. Still recovering from all that sitting in the vehicle.

We were up early on Sunday and on the road to pick up the baby daughter after her final summer night shift at 7 a.m. A quick stop in Halifax to pick up daughter # 2 and and off again. Good thing this offspring came equipped with snacks and lots of energy as the soon to be student crashed again and wasn't much entertainment. A major thunder and lightening storm with downpour most of the way to Fredericton and lots of wind which shredded the tarp covering the 1/2 ton bed full of Papa San chair, fridge and stacks of 'stuff' but they were mercifully intact and dry in the end. After convincing the Residence Life office that she deserved her super single (double for only one) it was a stiff workout of being pack mules as we schlepped the mountain of stuff up three floors (no elevator in older residences) to Room 312. Whew.

Back on the road again after a quick stop for fuel for the gas monster. We managed to get the crossword mostly completed as a group activity and stop for a viewing of Mom's family home along the way. Stopped back in the city to drop off a ton of exercise equipment to the object of baby daughter's affection and then out to find a place open for supper. After a couple of tries and picking up of daughter # 2s boyfriend who had given
up on a rainy guys weekend. Finally crashed and slept like the dead, it is nice to have a place for a pit stop.

Had a busy week last week which included emails and phone calls from the entertainment agency – I only say “I’ve had a call from my agent” in jest or when I want to impress- trying to convince me that I needed to do destination speaking on the Royal Caribbean, Explorer of the Seas (yes you read that right the one I was on last year) for a cruise out of New York to the Maritimes and on to Bermuda etc. Wow, was it ever tempting! Especially when the agent was telling me that I could piggyback the airfare with the jaunt on the Sea Princess etc. I begged off as the dates conflict with the accreditation surveyors visits to my workplace thus all vacation is NOT approved for that week. Sigh. I think the plan for next fall will be to wait until last minute as the last minute airfares are possible and perks increase with the desperation of the agent ex. this was ½ cost of the agency fee. So just compute for $32.50 per day you and a guest could experience the Explorer of the Seas and all it has to offer!

I’ve been trying to convince the in-house travel partner to look at a South American cruise for February but so far he’s insisting on being practical and talking about things like paying for the airfare etc. It looks like a real good chance as it’s a 12 day Chile around to Argentina cruise on the Star Princess with stops at glaciers, around Cape Horn, Falkland Islands, Uruguay and Buenos Aires. I wrote to our Argentine friend to see when she’ll be back in Argentina by Feb. so we can have a visit either pre or post cruise should we get to go and she tells me that they’ll be back from Germany in October but her husband has applied for another fellowship so….not sure what that means.

Upon returning home on Monday I made a house call to remove staples from the summer neighbours dog and managed to find and extract about 20 of them leaving just a few for the next round. He was very patient with me as a struggled to figure out which were the staples and the silver hairs on his well-healed incision. Slight difference in veterinary medicine care.

Had a call from the western daughter last p.m. who had been out to Lloydminster for the weekend to visit with some locals and had a good down east experience. One of the perks of working for a rental company is the ability to access the product for sure.

Managed to settle down last evening to work on the presentations a bit after getting the son and his girlfriend off to the island to camp. By the time I ran through the checklist of what he’d forgotten to pack – after he admitted to not having water I was understandably skeptical of his planning skills – while supplying the missing staples like milk and butter and his father was convinced to part with a tank of propane and the generator (the man deserves what befalls him) they were good to go when the girlfriend arrived from work at 7:30. The fact that they were heading over in a mossing punt in windy, rough waters at almost dark did not faze them in the least but left his father in pace mode until the cell call came to say they were all settled in. Better to think you are invincible.

The district facility awaits for what is scheduled as a full day. Sigh.