Sunday, May 31, 2009

Weekend, what weekend?

As much as I was looking forward to the weekend, the number of projects I had in mind and my great anticipation for seeing the Star Trek movie and let's just say all got preempted by...a QMP plan.

And what is that you ask? Well a Quality Management Program plan for a fish plant is a binder full of information which it took me about 15 hours to put together. This is because I know how to set up policy & procedure binders, have a working knowledge of food safety, can use Office 2007, do not charge a consultant fee and have S-U-C-K-E-R written in the middle of my forehead apparently. The shore captain has purchased an exisiting facility and is merging his operations, the plant he's purchased has processing licenses for fresh and salt fish and lobster but very stringent federal food inspection guidelines must be met before the license can be transferred. He had an initial inspection a few weeks ago and I had transcribed four pages for that event of illegible handwritten and poorly typed papers circa 1992 - apparently that was the audition - this stint was a doozy. After he disclosed on Friday that Fisheries are arriving early Monday morning to do a second inspection and check out his QMP plan and take it for submission (thus my need to recreate having a term paper due). Since he didn't want to postpone the visit, my weekend was cancelled. But enough whining - who needs a social life anyway?

On Saturday a local flea market (total 26 min. away from my office duties) resulted in good finds for the baby daughter who has moved from residence and will be sharing an apartment this fall - when $4 gets you soup and regular mugs, bowls, tumblers, dishtowels and more, that's a find. I picked up a very nice retro coffee/tea set for myself and an antique pitcher so I was most pleased with myself.

I had scored a knapsack and pair of yoga pants at Frenchy's on my way home from work on Friday and noticed the computer tech from work shopping in the toddler section. He said "some days I can't find anything, I know the kids need shorts but there's none here" so we decided it was the season. I stood there looking at him in amazement and thought 'would the father of my children even know they needed shorts, let alone shop for them at Frenchy's or anywhere else without my direction?' I promptly decided that was very unlikely.

I also decided if I bring anything home from Frenchy's, yard sales etc. that is for me or this house that the auction rules apply (something in, something has to go) when I went looking for a pair of shorts in my bureau. This resulted in a major revamp of the wardrobe and a large recycling bag in the car for deposit at Nu-2-U in the morning on the way to work. Once you get started with that purging, it's tough to stop.

Before I close I must brag a bit as I 'took back my lunch hour' on Friday and used it to watch the DVD the cable company had provided of the library talk. It's called Podium TV and was very polished. I will definitely be able to ace a spot with this on one of the cruise lines requiring a speaking video to apply.

And of course speaking of traveling the Swedish daughter...she has finished her nursing clinical in Umea which has been very enjoyable and a great learning experience and is headed off for two weeks of backpacking, staying in hostels, traveling by train, bus and ferry. Tonight and tomorrow in Helsinki, off to Oslo then Copenhagen, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris before heading home. The backpack is bigger than she is and her feet hurt from walking - sounds about right eh?

Speaking of walking, the dog walk was very late, almost dark which is prime June bug season this time of year. Memo to self - wear glasses if repeating this and don't take the flashlight - it tolls them. I got hit by one big one....right in the lips, so I screamed (of course) and brushed it off (or so I thought). When I got home and put my jacket on the kitchen counter I noticed a few minutes later one huge June bug a few inches from it. Very good thing I did not realize I had that nasty thing in my hood on the way home as I'm too old to dance like that! Well, off to hit the hay as it's getting past the pumpkin hour.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Watching for the Weekend

Well, it's almost the weekend and I don't care if I get mouldy I am sure ready for two days off and have any number of projects to work on. I'm also excited for the weekend as the local (ancient) movie theatre is playing the latest Star Trek, doesn't get much better than that.

It's been the kind of week where I had an enlargement made of one of my vacation photos (myself sitting in the lap of a troll statue in Bergen, Norway) and framed it (visit to the Dollar store) for my office. I had only meant to do a 5 x 7 but you know those photo kiosks, there are such limited options so this I use to warn folks of what I'm capable of. Speaking of all things photographic, when I was looking for info on the camera repair center I found this blog:

which appears to be in part postings of the Maritimes, with some nice pics.

The second best part of my week has been when one of the staff members and her daughter arrived for a visit to my office with the grandbaby twins who are 7 weeks old and I got to hold each of them in turn. Sure had me longing for the Public Health job I did three years ago. Sigh. The best part was the news that the proposed cruise partner for the next jaunt is going to be able to stay the weekend when she comes to visit next month. Yeehaw.

My grow op continues to do quite well as I work diligently to protect it from the felines and cleaning lady. I have managed to sprout some summer savory, pansies and basil and have planted my garlic chives outdoors so although I did not inherit a green thumb I haven't completely disappointed my Mother's Day gift.

There has been talk (and only that) about the building of a greenhouse by the life partner. Well, actually it's been in the planning stage since we moved over to the new house three years ago but each spring it's added to next years list. Well...this year the planning got as far as calling the excavator guy to come and clear a spot near the barn on the road side and bring some fill. Not wanting to discourage the cleaning up of spot which reminds one of Fred Sanford & Son (for those who remember his sitcom junkyard) with gear, machinery, engine parts, punts, outboards, refundables etc. as you make you way towards the house, I encouraged the venture. Well, this evening when I headed down the driveway I noticed a newly created parking area.....on the side towards the house - this was not what was planned. Apparently there was a miscommunication between the shore captain and the excavator operator. Now, I had to ask him "why didn't you mark that with a stick/sign for him?" and was told "no, he understood what I meant" I promptly replied "apparently he didn't or we wouldn't be having this discussion now would we?"

We already knew we live in a great place but I'm told that $6600 were raised at the benefit last Sunday for the community member having treatments. Almost as much as was raised last year for the little girl with the heart arrythmia.

I leave you with the quote of the day:

So often we try to alter circumstances to suit ourselves, instead of letting them alter us, which is what they are meant to do. Mother Maribel

Sunday, May 24, 2009


The pace continues and in a discussion with one of the lawyers at work (don’t ask but not about me) the term festinates arose. When I looked it up later and discovered that it was the definition of manic well that could apply to many situations at present.

The new payroll system which has been instituted is….well I’m thinking critical incident is not actually too strong a descriptor. I felt I’d been paid too little salary (don’t we all) based on my usual pay stub and more expense reimbursement than I expected. The difficulty being that with all the computer glitches I was unable to ‘access my pay advice’ which is what looking at your pay stub is now called. This meant looking at my online banking info was the only way to find out if, and what amount, I’d been paid. So, taking a leaf out of the book of that New Zealand couple who due to a ‘bank error’ have run away with millions of dollars, I promptly transferred the expense portion to my screaming visa.

A massage appointment was a good way to start the weekend and I gave myself the evening off as I’ve finished the Norway album – record timing when you consider it’s only 10 months ago. I’ve started reading a book called Polio so you can certainly guess the content. It’s written about the polio epidemics in the 50s and 60s and is the story written by a journalist who lost her mother to the disease. It’s a fascinating look at the post wars years in America as well as the disease itself, iron lungs, polio wards etc. It’s written in the 80s but of course the material stands as it’s firmly set in the boomer years. I remember my mother talking about these times and how lucky we were to have the vaccine. You know that pink dot on the sugar cube in trays served by the Public Health nurses in elementary school.

On Saturday morning I headed back into town; an activity that I’m not big on doing without good reason, but this was to pick up the parcel which the western daughter had mailed for her Dad’s birthday. I was thrilled to discover that I had been thought of too with a large package of Lady Hannah tea (also some Metropolitan tea) so now can sip it without thought of rationing. I stopped at a yard sale, scoring a mug and Tupperware cake holder for 50 cents each with the added drama of witnessing a motor vehicle collision – and no there were no injuries although I had to crawl up out of a deep ditch to check on the occupants of a small car which had the front end demolished as they sat waiting to turn into the garden center. I headed up to Frenchy’s and had good luck finding all top brand name - two pairs of shorts, two shirts (2 for 1 sale), three pairs of new socks, a pair of shoes, sandals and a floral skirt for the summer wedding I’m attending, knapsack and duffel bag for my travels, a tropical shirt for the shore captain, a and a stack of free children’s books for the wannabe teacher daughter. So $34 well spent.

Speaking of birthdays and making me feel positively young at heart was an article about the world’s oldest blogger’s demise:

Web fans mourn death of Spain's "blogging granny"

MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish great-grandmother whose blog attracted tens of thousands of readers from around the world has died aged 97 in the northern Spanish province of La Coruna.

Maria Amelia Lopez charmed readers with a homely mix of memories and chat at, including stories of a long life that witnessed Spain's Civil War and years of dictatorship under General Francisco Franco.

Lopez, who dictated her entries to her grandson Daniel because she suffered from cataracts, became a nationally loved figure in Spain and met Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

"My grandson gave me this blog when I was 95 on December 23 2006 and my life changed," reads one of her entries. "Since that day I've had 1,570,784 visits from bloggers from 5 continents who have cheered up my old age."

A banner on her site read "Rest in Peace," with nearly 500 messages mourning her death.

Likely the family contact extended, or at least enriched her final days.

I did my community duty by working the floor for bingo last night, something I grit my teeth and do every seven weeks, then stayed to help set up for a benefit supper for a neighbour undergoing treatments. This morning had me baking a loaf of bread and an apple and cherry pie for the event. The hall was the scene of organized chaos when I headed down with my warm offerings so I’m sure the total will be substantial.

The Swedish daughter sent along think link, saying it made her think of Gary:

He doesn't sleep in sinks as often now likely as he doesn't fit into them as well. Speaking of him, here's a photo of him hunting this morning which I captured through the kitchen window as he (unsuccessfuly naturally) stalked a robin.

Well off to supper so I must close, good to be fed by friends.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Scrapbook assistant

Well, this has been a long week, oh wait, it's only been two days, never mind, it's still been a long week. I'm updating as I've been completing the final page in my Norway cruise scrapbook - yes you heard that correctly - and it is less than a year since we traveled there so quite a Guiness Book moment if you know what I mean, but Gary is taking a nap on the page. And this after he's been out hunting June bugs so I want him to lie still in case he's captured and devoured any.

Today the local cable producer dropped off my copy of the DVD from the filming and it made me think of cruise ship speaking as Celebrity is requiring a copy of a speaker presenting to get chosen. It's not difficult to let the thoughts wander so and a nice diversion at any rate. I won't torture you with all the latest pleading for cruise ship speakers as it has been getting quite insistent but... suffice to say they cover everywhere from the west coast, Caribbean, trans Atlantic,Mediterranean, Europe, Scandanavia and Russia with a particularly toothsome offering of Baltimore to Bahamas in December which is too close to the holidays and at any rate, I am hanging tough for the fall season.

I spent some time doing research for the Swedish daughter today as she called with a challenge and the parameters were - easy recipes for dessert to be made tonight, has an oven, loaf pan, baking sheet, pots and pans and wanted to use not too many, cheap, and ingredients she'll use again. And I'm not even talking about the long list of "bleck that tastes awful I'm not going to eat that" which she is famous for. As you might imagine these restrictions somewhat limit most recipes you've ever heard off but I came up with a couple of suggestions. I also located a recipe for apple squares which I made. Yum.

A loyal blog reader has suggested that I arrange things so I can take in the writing workshop in Annapolis Royal which is being led by Charlotte Gray (Sisters in the Wilderness, Mrs. King etc) and although I would dearly love to - I can't on so many levels. Sigh. Mind you this instruction comes from someone who when offered the chance to travel to China with a national nurses group was encouraged by her husband to go and they sold a cottage they owned. She suggested some interesting reads (did I mention she's retired ?) as well with:

Mr Pip
Through Black Spruce
Water for Elephants

as good possibilities. I do miss the book club we used to attend, but that was in another lifetime.

Oh, Gary has just moved his enormous carcass off the page I must seize the moment and then move this carcass off to bed. Later.

Monday, May 18, 2009

All good things must come to an end

As the three day weekend draws to a close I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed Write Away - the writers group - last evening and although it was a major rainstorm and a small group it gave me the impetus today to edit a piece I've been working on and polish up a story I did last night to include in the memoir collection which sounds so pretentious as it's just a few pages housed in a duotang, but allow me my small pleasures. As well, I've had all kinds of positive contact with offspring over the weekend.

Had a nice chat with the western daughter to find that there was a significant amount of snow in Alberta today. Apparently it's a bit of a tradition on the Victoria Day weekend - wouldn't want to break with the pattern of 5 out of the past 6 years it seems. She was able to enjoy her flight and get some aerial photos yesterday before the weather set in so that sure tops anything I could have done (but didn't) this weekend.

The girlfriend of the only son is in the process of purchasing a home in a community near the fish plant at fire sale price - what can you buy for $21,ooo? So, that may possibly mean there will be some roots put down. I guess if that happens I'll have to start paying attention to the sounds of someone entering the house at midnight. Good excuse to go to yard sales this spring at any rate.

The baby daughter continues to enjoy her Swedish clinical (evidence of an email received pasted below with major spelling/grammar corrections so you can actually read it)

We may have a small problem, I don't want to alarm you or anything but I'm not coming home. I love it too much here! :D We had a beautiful weekend here and met up with the people we knew and had a great time and Sunday when I finally did get up we layed out in the sun all day (and I didn't get burned). Then we had waffels for supper with a shrimpdip/sauce on them...very good. I was beat and in bed by 10 last night but worth it for sure. The people are too nice to say good by to, even after just a few weeks. Good luck prying my hands off the airplane to come home :P kärlek

She is able to give medications and have the opportunity for many clinical skills which wouldn't be available to her here. And the bonus is looking forward to a bit of travel before heading home next month.

I also had a nice email from one of the summer neighbours who's making a good recovery from some treatments and looking forward to going us if summer ever does arrive here. Good to see things getting back on track. I've been making some Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman calls locally to prevent someone from having to expose themselves to the healthcare system and all its germs and thinking that every time I head to one of the neighbours I'm saving the Dept of Health $75 minimum.

I'd decided to get this post done before the shore captain arrives home with his stack of documents requiring edits as he has a food inspector coming tomorrow afternoon to assess his QMP at the fish plant he is acquiring/merging with. Since I actually am knowledgeable about this topic, he is not but insists on doing what he has planned, I anticipate it will go as well as the debates about the occupational health and safety program. I laid out the ground rules today when he spoke firmly to me and said "if you're going to raise your voice to anyone, it's going to have to be where you pay someone to put up with that" and since he is stuck with his in-house editor he has temporarily modified his behavior.

Well, perhaps a few moments of solitude to scrap as I wrap up the Norway album, this will allow me to move on to the western project which will be a nice change from all the blue of the water. Hasta.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

High speed internet before I'm 100

Yes, you read that correctly, the advertisement in today’s newspaper included a public notice about the tower for high speed internet. It proves that not only do we live in a beautiful spot; we ARE the center of the universe. There is a section for questions and comments by June 4th and I am going to poisenally ensure there are no complaints or else! Two of the neighbours went CSI on it when reading the civic numbers of the tower location and have figured out it’s about a km down the road and back up on a ridge. This week has been a series of ups and downs as the report I’d received from the public meeting from a minimally educated member of the community who had indicated the map showed a dot on our hamlet but “it wasn’t Aliant it was Broadbent” (as in Ed the politician I thought?) and it would be happening sooner than we thought. I was unable to solve the riddle. My heart be still, it is not too much to hope that we shall have wireless connection by the summer.

This news is in positive contrast to the last few days of work. I had spent my time alternately pleading and threatening to find enough N95 masks to do fit testing as the tech will be looking me in the eyes on Tuesday at 9 a.m. The final straw was on Wednesday, yes you read that correctly, almost a week before the appointed time when I sprang into action to make sure I had sufficient supply. The delivery van only comes from our district facility on Mondays and Thursdays and of course with the holiday, this wouldn’t work for the Tuesday testing. I phoned on Thursday morning as soon as they arrived to order the masks to be delivered that day and was asked for my account number. I have two account numbers, one for each of the jobs I do and of course have to look them up, the driver in his quest to assist me tried to find my position on the master list. When I finally located the number he tells me that it’s the ‘old one’ and gives me the new one from the system we’ve gone to May 1st and then shares that the listing for my position is under Employee Health – great, no one would ever think to look for it there. Then the roadblocks start “we can’t release any N95 masks to you as that requires authorization from your manager” NGH – not gonna happen. So, I put on an academy awards winning performance and the driver says “well how many do you need?” so I tell him I could use two boxes but will settle for one and am told that he’ll see what he can do. Not feeling too optimistic about my chances, I stop and retrieve two boxes (which I’d like to point out I previously loaned to them) from another department. At the end of the day I realize that whatever the driver could do wasn’t enough as he’s headed back to the district facility and hasn’t left me any masks. As I stop to leave a list of those requiring fit testing, I accosted by the ringleader of the department who notes that she witnessed me taking the masks from their department this morning which their manager has instructed them to have two boxes of each on hand. I state that the supply clerk was going to replace them and she counters with “don’t they take them up to you, why would they leave them here?” I explain that I only took back the masks I’d originally loaned them when they had an initial meltdown when the H1N1 situation started and they can get them replaced. Good luck with that I think to myself. She clarifies the situation with “so, the masks ARE here in the building” This causes me to step forward aggressively, make direct eye contact and state firmly “the masks ARE in my office and that is where they are going to stay until they’re used for fit testing on Tuesday” before turning and exiting with an intent look on my face.

I did have a bit of a reprieve at work though on Friday as I’d brought in my vacation photos on the laptop to share with a colleague who had spent 10 years in the Caribbean working with the St Vincent de Paul Society. We watched the slideshow for an afternoon break and spent a few moments in St Kitts and she was tickled pink to see the changes since she’d left.

I am including a photo here on the left of the strawberry blossoms which are early this year with our mild spring and you can note the lupines are already leafed out. As well the flowering crab on the right which we planted in our yard is settled in well. I have waited about 20 years to be able to say that a quince was blooming in my yard. The original one which was growing in front of the veranda at our old house was unceremoniously chopped up and yanked out with a pickup truck and taken to the dump one day while I was out as it was felt by the resident carpenter to be in the way of the new veranda. I was not impressed and tried to find another one, start cuttings without success etc. over the years. When we visited a garden center last year and I spied this lovely specimen it tweaked my memory and I began to relate the saga of the uprooting to the owner of Bob and the Boys Farm Market. When I was wound up to speed and describing the removal I noticed out of the corner of my eye the life partner sigh as if admitting defeat and pick up the shrub and place it with the other plants we were buying. He even dug the hole and helped me plant it when we got home. A bit of closure for us both.

My gardening this weekend has been limited to clearing out one flower bed in front of the house, getting the herb containers ready and checking on the shrubs. I’ve gotten the seeds that daughter # 2 gave me started in my grow op containers. I really should get my act together because with all the precipitation and warm temperatures the black flies are already moving in. I almost agree with the neighbour who says that she doesn’t go out if it’s bad enough to wear one of those insect net hats.

And if you’re looking for that pot at the end of the rainbow which we must be having as there’s been enough rain, here’s a thought…unclaimed bank balances. I have checked out mine and of course there’s no extra money in a defunct account the Bank of Canada has been holding for me but you can give this a try:


look under services, unclaimed balances and you use the search form. What did I expect? I always check the pockets of the laundry but ah, one can dream eh?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fluffed up

Since this is hump day, it makes it a good time to try to capture the mood of the moment. I’ll post a photo of the sunset I snapped last evening as I got home from the meeting I presented at. The harbour was like glass and the colors beautiful. That and scoring great label finds at Frenchy’s as I waited for the session time to roll around made my day complete.

I think the irony of the day award goes to the new employee who I have been tracking for two days because if someone is not a recent grad and new to healthcare work they often require + + contact with an OHN wielding sharp objects i.e. injections and tests. For example a two step mantoux (TB) test in which the serum is injected under the skin of the forearm and the test read two days later then repeated the following week, a series of three Hepatitis B vaccinations now, a month and six months later and then a blood test to check for immunity 2 months following, a tetanus booster (with pertussis – whooping cough) if it’s been longer than 10 years and one MMR (measles, mumps, rubella). With the logistical problem being that these have to be done in particular order and so many at a time as they affect each other with a shift schedule etc. But the irony is….this employee who reports to me a morbid fear of needles as the reason for the hesitancy admits to having.....eight tattoos! Yes you read that correctly. I was unable to formulate a therapeutic response to that statement.

I was reading the sad account of the investigative report of the plane crash near Buffalo with the icing problem and came across a term which I think I will begin to use regularly. The report discussed the fact that the pilots were chatting and not aware of the instrumentation as the root cause analysis of the event and the term ‘lack of situational awareness’ was used. Lot of that going around in my work world. On a conference call today the Communications person suggested that the H1N1 messages were at risk of becoming repetitive and it was possible to over communicate the information. Now, that is clearly what I suffer from – too many people are over communicating with me.

I am hearing via the community grapevine that the public meeting for high speed internet access went well and we should all have wireless by December 2009 at the latest. And not a moment too soon, I say. It’ll be pricey at $50/month and a $100 connection fee – and worth every penny. But the summer people will have the sweet deal if they use less than 6 months they’ll be able to access for $15/month and no connection fee. Good on them.

The Swedish daughter is still enjoying clinical and looking forward to possibly visiting Lapland – think reindeers, Sami on a bus trip to Narvik. Good times, good times. The boy Captain continues to excel as Lobster Lander to the delight of his father who is forced to live vicariously through him this spring. The French daughter is working hard at her BEd studies and looking forward to a summer road trip to Boston on a short break. The western daughter is doing well and has made a contact with a friend who has completed flight school and is getting in flying time so is going flying on Sunday. Now we will get to see aerial views of Alberta.

My social life received two pleasant messages today. The first was a lunch date with a former coworker who is doing a shift at the next door facility tomorrow so we’ll get caught up on her love life – always good to live vicariously through a single friend. And an email from my proposed cruise partner for the fall as she will be traveling next month to our area and coming to visit overnight after the meetings. Yeehaw! I’m guessing she is looking to review itineraries and see if we can scare up anything good for October as a bonus. And why not?

Oh, I almost forgot to relay the smile of the week. When I visited Superstore on Monday to print three travel photos in a small size for the shore captain’s clock (now that he has a real office he’s decorating it) not that I would have chosen pictures of fish markets but I guess you have to consider the context and I was just the photo editor so none of my concern really. The very calm, older female clerk came over to help – she remembers me as needing interventions when the computers have malfunctioned after I’ve worked for long periods of time with my photos and I am not trustworthy to be left alone with their equipment in my volatile state after that! She is excellent and we manage to get close to what mister wants and I comment that his taste in photos doesn’t match mine but you know gender differences. She laughs and says the best example she ever had was while working as a cashier. This guy comes up to the cash carrying a basket which is full to the top of cans, cartons and boxes and when she gets to the bottom she is amazed to find two squashed, almost flat loaves of bread which are no more than an inch high. She looks at them in amazement for a moment, recovers herself and says “would you like to take these back and get two more?” And he replies “oh no, that’s okay, they’ll fluff up in the truck on the way home” and maintains that stance even after a second prompting. She said that she thought as he made his way out the door with the bags ‘fluff up? You must be nuts and I’m sure you’re wife , if you have one, is going to fluff you up when you get home with those’. These encounters are one of the few joys of standing on your feet, working a low paying job and dealing with the public apparently.

The scrapbook is coming together nicely and I’m just finishing up the Bergen Fish Market so perhaps by the weekend – yes as it is a three day one, I refuse to call that long, three days is just a taste – I’ll be finished. This one.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's not Friday today?

Well, I'll update you a bit since I find myself with a split shift today. Meaning that I am supposedly finished work but have been voluntold to give a presentation at the EMO meeting three hours from now. This means I am missing the high speed internet meeting being held so you can see the seniority of the assigner here eh? The topic being - what else? - pandemic planning. All of a sudden everyone is interested, rather than just infection control folks whistling in the wind. I wonder why?

I participated in an audio broadcast from the national conference this afternoon, which meant I got to lock myself in my office for an hour so could not be reached - bliss - but the topic was not new and so...I nodded off (a luxury would've been noticed had I been attending in St. Johns) and almost fell out of my chair. That would've been an interesting Workers Compensation claim to file on myself for sure. It has lately occurred to me to ring the call button on the wall of my office (still maintained as a possible patient room) which says "push for help" as I could sure use some.

Speaking of which, I had an urgent email from the folks who bought our former house as they live in BC (until at least next year when they plan to retire and renovate) but her senior mother is living alone here until then. Apparently the daughter had been trying to call her since the day before and the line was busy, even at 4:30 a.m. so she was getting frantic and asked if I'd check. Of course it would be the day I was working an hour away so I reassured her by email that nothing happens in our area, I'd spoken to her the afternoon before and enlisted the aid of a neighbour to do a visual check and call me on my cell phone. The response shortly after was that "she's fine but she's been downloading on the internet, something about Windows since after supper and it's still not complete yet but she'll call her daughter this evening" So I relayed the message and the relief was palpable on the line from BC and she was going to call the RCMP back so they'd know her Mom was alright as she'd reported her concern. I chuckled when I heard that and told her they sure don't come often down our way and there were no axe murderers as she imagined. So, I refer again to the high speed meeting as improving our rural quality of life.

Well, one of the highlights of my day was that as it is Canada Health Day the volunteers came in and brought us all kinds of treats this morning which was a nice touch. I'd thought of doing something for the employees as this is tough times with the staffing etc. but that was as far as the idea got the thinking stage. Not sure I'm making much of an impact in my position. Sigh.

I found an article in the newspaper today on an organization which does good work globally called Sleeping Children Around the World which sounds like it's making a difference. Here's the link to check it out:

I have spent a couple of evenings scrapbooking through which I've been reliving our trip to Norway etc. of last summer. A most enjoyable way to block out the distractions of late. I am soon to start on the western trip of last fall and that will be a different album to scrap so nice to change it up.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Quiet Mothers Day

Well my weekends are for sleeping in as I’m a night owl not an early bird and whether the recommendation is to keep the same arising time or not I had no intention of getting up at 6 a.m. if I don’t have to weekend mornings:

Study shows late sleepers stay sharper throughout the day compared with early risers

By Leah Zerbe

05-01-09 RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—If you like to sleep in and you’re sick of your significant other giving you a hard time about it, tell him or her about a study investigating the productivity of night owls and early birds that was published in the journal Science last week. Rising with the roosters, the study shows, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re more on top of your game.

THE DETAILS: Researchers from Belgium and Switzerland used magnetic resonance imagings (MRIs) to monitor brain activity of healthy young adult volunteers (16 extreme morning people and 15 night owls) who spent 2 nights in a sleep lab. After a night’s sleep, the volunteers were asked periodically to perform tasks that required sustained attention. All of the participants slept 7 hours a night, but the early risers woke up about 4 hours earlier in the day than the night owls.

The results showed that both groups performed similarly on the tasks for most of the day. But 10 hours after crawling out of bed, early birds showed lower levels of activity in parts of the brain relating to attention when compared with night owls. The early birds also felt sleepier and didn’t react as quickly during tasks. Researchers say early birds could be more sensitive to sleep pressure—the body’s need to get some sleep—than night owls.

WHAT IT MEANS: If you’re the type of person who likes to work out late at the gym or start a house cleaning campaign after the sun sets, you’re probably a night owl. And the good news? Sleeping in for a bit in the morning probably won’t make you less efficient during the day—and you even may be better than early risers at staying awake when you have to as the hour grows late. So follow your inner clock if you can. If you’re a night owl whose work schedule doesn’t match your preferred sleeping habits, though, be careful about spending extra hours in bed on weekend mornings. Sleep experts say that keeping the same wake-up time every day is an important strategy for avoiding insomnia.

This morning (after staying up until 1 a.m. to finish my library book – and yes it was that good) I was attempting to sleep in but was awoken by the prodigal son who phoned at 7:30 a.m. (after all he’d been up for over two hours so it wasn’t too early) to wish me happy Mothers Day. This combined with the cards which had arrived from Red Deer and Halifax this week and the e-card from Sweden which I will view on ‘real’ internet aka high speed at work was a nice great way to start my special day. I dug out my seedling starter kit so that I can plant the pansies, summer savory, and other herbs which were in my Halifax card so that will be a fun project.

Spent a nice peaceful day as compared to some previous Mothers Days when breakfast in bed – oh my – was on offer. Since they’re all (mostly) out of the house now it is more the norm to have some alone time, but still much appreciated. The dog and I managed a breezy walk in between showers, checking out the freshly mowed lawns of the neighbours while I was relieved to not have one to mow myself.

The library book I’m referring to is the one I mentioned before called Where the White Horses Gallop by Beatrice MacNeil and is a story about the Cape Breton Highlanders in WWII and life at that time. Really good and quick read – the kind you get through in a weekend as it moves along so well. Highly recommended.

So as the workweek looms and I head off to the district facility tomorrow while I cover for everyone else and me…. I think I will distract myself this evening with a scrapbook page or two.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fikas and more

Well a mid week update calls for the news of the day. Work wise pandemic pandemonium reigns which only promises to worsen. The pandemonium that is, as I will be the only member of a team of four covering the entire health district for both occupational health and infection control. Now considering the current state of global infectious diseases this could be an interesting week coming up.

To give you an example of how out of control I am, I’ll share a story. Yesterday as I was making my way to the staff lounge to buy a mid morning muffin I passed the classroom which was full of racks of brightly colored clothes. Since this is where uniform sales are often held I barreled in to window shop but…something just didn’t look right so I backed up to read the sign on the door more carefully and found it actually read ‘Easy Living Comfort Clothing’ so I exited quickly. The Recreation Assistant from the attached nursing home was just arriving with one of the residents in a wheelchair to shop and she said “what’s the matter – you’re not ready for open back wear yet?” My nerves.

One of our staff who is presently off work dropped into my office while waiting to have his eyes checked and was asking where I lived as he thought he’d seen me walking the dog when he was driving by with a friend. I corrected the statement to ‘the dog walking me’ and yes, yes that was me. He was chuckling as he said I had my hood pulled up and was marching purposefully along and when he named me, his colleague said “you know her? she looks really serious” He assured his buddy this couldn’t be further from the truth and was still slapping his knee when he told me. I explained that I did look pretty intense due to the work situation and the dog walking was life preserving therapy (someone else’s).

To cheer me up the Swedish daughter sent along this link which is funnier to cat lovers than haters for sure:

She also sent word of her clinical which she is enjoying and has learned that coffee breaks are fikas and important to nurses in Sweden. She’s picking up some Swedish and enjoying herself so all is good.

Last evening I made it to scrapbooking (determined to NOT miss it again) for the first time for months with my scrapping friend and I was putting a page together with an outline of a sun (think Japanese flag and you get the picture)I wrote a title on the yellow sun of Land of the Midnight Sun and Fun. Now I must REALLY like this phrase because when I flipped back about five or six pages I noticed I had this exact title on another page. This required ripping off the sun and replacing it with a non titled one as I don’t want public record of my failing brain. But I consoled myself with the thought that it has been ages since I scrapbooked and there has been a lot going on.

Today when I was visiting the nursing unit, the ward clerk and I were having a discussion about some notes left and that there was perhaps some confusion and I told her that I was in a permanent state of confusion. One of the extremely pleasantly confused patients said “me too, and today’s been just awful” I very sincerely told her that I couldn’t agree more.

But enough whining - the following was a cheerful note in my email inbox and it even came with a discount offer:

Grand Princess
September 5 - 19, 2009
14 nights Europe
London to Rome

Grand Princess
September 19 - October 1, 2009
12 nights Greek Isles & Mediterranean
Rome to Venice

Sun Princess
October 17 - November 14, 2009
28 nights Australia
Roundtrip Sydney

Coral Princess
December 7 - 22, 2009
15 nights Panama Canal
Los Angeles, CA to Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Sun Princess
December 10 - 17, 2009
7 night Tasmania
Roundtrip Sydney

Sun Princess
December 17 - 29, 2009
12 night New Caledonia
Roundtrip Sydney

Coral Princess
December 22, 2009 - January 6, 2010
15 night Panama Canal
Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Los Angeles, CA

Star Princess
January 5 - 17, 2010
12 night Cape Horn
Valpariso to Buenos Aires

Coral Princess
January 6 - 21, 2010
15 night Panama Canal
Los Angeles, CA to Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Sun Princess
January 11 - 23, 2010
12 night New Caledonia
Roundtrip Sydney

However, the life partner is determined to go to Cuba next winter and that is a plan that is hard to argue with.

Well, I must head off to start my library book as I’ve received Where the White Horses Gallop by Beatrice MacNeil which comes highly recommended and looks like a great read. When I picked it up at the library I was scanning the reading list for the book club which I used to attend (seems like another life time ago) and there wasn’t one of the list I’d turn down. I was gazing sorrowfully out the window at the pouring rain while on a call today and thinking ‘if I wasn’t here I’d be home on the sofa with a blanket, a cup of tea and that book calling my name’.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Well as you can see it was not the sunny afternoon which was predicted when my canine friend and I were out strolling. I had the camera with me as I was documenting the construction underway at my summer neighbours on either side of us. I took a shot of the shoreline and harbour and guess who popped up to have a look at the shags? Yes the same dog who is lying on the mat gazing neurotically in turn at each of her front legs and occasionally chewing on a imaginary tick as the ticks are now out here so she is on patrol. Time to pick up the tick stuff at the vets apparently.

Do not really have a great deal to show for my efforts today otherwise as housework is an ever occuring cycle so not really newsworthy. Unfortunately the weekend is still over no matter what was accomplished so it's back to work tomorrow. You can imagine that - as anyone working in infection control with the rapidly spreading H1N1 influenza A situation - I'm looking forward to RTW as much as a poke in the eye with a pointed stick.

I leave you with the quote of the day - fear is temporary / regret is forever

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I survived the week

Well, let’s see….

The youngest daughter has made it to Umea, Sweden and is beat. This follows not sleeping the night before she left as she was so pumped, then a flight to Newark and over to Stockholm, then the train north. She starts her nursing clinical on Monday so hopefully will be over the jet lag by then.

The newly minted (temporary for 30 days) lobster captain has done very well the last two days he was out. In fact he was not only the ‘high boat’ but almost doubled the remainder of those selling to the plant. So, now the quest is on for a lobster rig to buy this summer, with plans then to be on his own come November.

The second daughter is working hard at her BEd courses, working at the preschool and babysitting. When she was thinking of what to do as the forecast was for precipitation, I suggested she make finger paints for her Dutch/Canadian toddler and she was tickled as to how they turned out. I explained this was a favorite rainy day activity when they were small as they weren’t the type of kids to park in front of the TV. Their creative streaks were recognized early, and it was amazing what they thought of – most of it loud and messy as children should be to develop imaginations.

The oldest daughter has moved within the same city and finds herself living with a surrogate grandmother who makes her breakfast every morning and I’m sure packs her lunch. The trade off is that she is walking a very rotund, spoiled, small white dog as the landlady has bad knees. The dog is managing well but still breathless for extended periods after the cardio workout.

I’ve survived an atrocious week where I’ve worked 70 hrs. under very intense conditions due to the H1N1 influenza outbreak. Thank goodness I had a conference for the other part of my job to go to on Friday as that removed me from the purgatory I found myself in. The conference included a yoga instructor and a chair masseuse so combined with the king sized bed and high speed internet I actually thought I was in heaven! I stopped on the way back and visited Chapters – spending the $3 gift certificate one of my daughters had graciously given me – finding a discount novel and a copy of Porthole magazine; I’m supposing you can guess what type of travel that concerns.

Today I have spent organizing (my previous cleaning lady now western friend) used to call it a puttering day. I sorted papers, cleaned briefcase and purse, unpacked my bag, organized my scrapbooking and craft supplies. By the time I finished (as well as baked brown bread, brownies and walked the dog) I had run out of ambition to actually create anything.

Here is the link to the Doctors Without Borders article on immunization I mentioned I was reading last week:

And in closing don’t forget that May 6th is the Great American Grump Out Day so you will have to refrain from getting your grump on for 24 hours - better start practicing. There’s to be “no grumping, no frowning, no grousing, no complaining, punching, slapping, hitting or killing” Smile more, stress less.