Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pies and more

As I face return to work in the a.m. I am comforted with the thought it is a four day week, even though it is hump day which will give me Canada Day off thus splitting it up. We have a wedding to attend at White Point Lodge on Friday afternoon where a neighbour who has transplanted herself out west is returning to be married, so that is another chance to use up some accumulated time as well. So small comforts.

The shore captain and I had a great weekend in Halifax and it’s always difficult to come home to the reality of making supper. We met up as I finished work on Friday afternoon and headed down to the city making it in time to check in at the hotel and head on over to the Cinema 18 at Bayers Lake where we saw Star Trek as we had a gift certificate from Christmas which had waited long enough. It gave admission for two, a large popcorn and two pops so was really quite a nice date. And of course it’s always good to see those sci-fi movies in the surround sound. A quick bite to eat at East Side Marios was the end to a great evening.

We slept in both mornings and considering I was traveling with the shore captain that is quite a feat! We headed out for a quick breakfast and on to run errands which is where my troubles began. My first stop was at Staples for printer cartridges and a netbook hardcover where I discovered that HP no longer lets Staples make their brand of cartridges for HP printers and I refused to pay the name brand price, and there was no such thing as a hard case for netbooks in the city. Next stop Carsand Mosher where they had advertised on their website you could scan a box full of photos onto a CD. When I asked about the service I was told that this was available on at their Truro store, you had to bundle the photos into categories and send them to be done. Not even close. Next stop, WalMart where you can most certainly scan photos onto CDs but...not if you follow the directions given that morning. Not to mention that the first attempt was sabotaged at 78 scanned by a cranky computer and thus after 90 minutes of scanning I was at the beginning again. I was in no frame of mind to start over at that point. So we headed downtown to the seafood show. It was overpriced at $20 each and food and drink tickets of $1 each but was a nice diversion for a few hours. The man saw folks he knew in the industry and we sampled some great gourmet treats while making the rounds. By the time we headed back towards the hotel I was in a better frame of mind and convinced the life partner to assist with the repeat scanning operation (sounds like an MRI doesn't it?) which we managed in about 45 minutes. Unfortunately I followed the directions given previously and.... this resulted in making prints of each print scanned so no CD for daughter # 1 which was what she requested. Nothing to be done at that point. Did find some slightly cheaper printer cartridges as well.

We headed out to Opa in Bayers Lake for supper to see if it compared to the downtown version and it certainly did. We had a sampler platter and desserts which were delicious! As we sat next to a couple of about our age who were on an early date and discussing dating sites, previous relationships and their interests I told the life partner "that is one of the reason why we're still together, there is NO way I could do that" As you might imagine, he made no response to that comment.

Heading home this morning after a stop for a breakfast sandwich we made a pit stop at a farm market and found some great produce. This resulted in the following dessert when I got home:

Strawberry Rhubarb Custard Pie
fruit filling in the pastry

out of the oven

pastry for a 10" pie shell
1 quart strawberries - hulled and halved
3 cups rhubarb - chopped
Toss fruit in 1/2 cup sugar
Whisk together
2 eggs - beaten
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. flour
pinch salt
Pour over top of the fruit
Bake at 400 F until set - about 45 minutes
This evening was spent crafting and as I checked email I was pleased to receive this message from daughter # 2 as she has headed to off to the USA on a road trip:

Hi mom and dad,

We get free wireless at our campsite, i'm sitting on the picnic table writing you this! The campground is mainly rv's but it's nice and quiet and has everything we need. The lady at the main office is very nice and very helpful. We got the tent set up and the tarp up, since it's giving rain and thundershowers for the next 3 days, although it hasn't started raining yet (fingers crossed that it won't). It was pretty exciting driving on the I-95 today and i'm very excited to get into boston tommorrow. I'll update you as the week goes along, i need to go find a good marshmallow stick for tonight.

So enough news, the Monday morning will come too early as usual.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Seafood show

Since I haven't posted since Sunday evening and the week has sped by to almost another weekend, it's time to catch up. Especially as I think we're headed in to Halifax for the weekend. The shore captain has suggested that we take in the seafood show being held there as a business trip - as the oldest daughter said "how romantic". But I am never sure until we're approaching the city limits if we're really going to escape for sure or the vortex of work and other responsibilities will suck us back.

There were some positives to the week with the staff appreciation BBQ on Wednesday meaning I got a free lunch, well actually getting a lunch break at all is a bit of a novelty lately with all the H1N1 festivities. The other positive is that my camera is now working fine as I'd been quite concerned about having to leave it at the repair shop etc. but it must've been a bit of sand or dirt in the lever which has worked its way out. Yes!

A not so positive experience was hiding in my office from the clowns who visit the facility. THAT I could not handle today with everything else going on.

When I called the secretary at the plant to ask a question about Workers Compensation she sounded really flat and complained of a headache saying she got one every afternoon. I suggested that maybe the carbon dioxide levels were up in the office and she should open the window. This caused her to become really animated and declare opening the window was not a good idea due to the smells out there. She had almost been asphyxiated by the smell of rotten crabs as the shore captain had fallen in a tub of them and she felt ill every time he came into the office. She explained he should be made to stand on the doorstep to take his clothes off for the washer and be hosed down. Now there's a visual image burned into your mind eh? She sure wasn't exaggerating when his majesty did arrive either - ripe was the word.

I've been having regular sessions with the QMP plan for the plant as the CFIA inspectors are regulars now trying to get the process started. Last evening I killed a printer cartridge so couldn't do anymore, I attempted to laminate some sheets today and the laminator made one into an accordian so this is on the to-do list for the city this weekend. Tonight I was spared the additional office administration assistant duties as after an 'intense discussion' about spelling - the world's worst speller challenged me on a word he had misspelled in a document he had produced today as he is actually navigating the computer now, refused to admit he was wrong and then decided "that's good enough" after he has squirmed, pointed and dictated exactly how I must format the forms for many sessions. When I called him on it - his huff arrived and he left in it - making statements to the effect that I was being punished or missing out on the word processing. Obviously an imperfect grasp on the situation as I don't feel as if I'm being rewarded by spending more hours doing what I spend the day doing but with a micro managing instructor.

So it was not good that I received a tempting (if tongue in cheek) email from daughter # 1 in my fragile state:

Do you need a Financial Advisor to review your retirement plan? I think 6 months from know is do-able; let me get my people on it :) THEN you can move to beautiful Victoria with me in the spring and we will go to U Vic to take the teaching English course and then travel the world - never to be heard from again. Well, until our New York Times bestseller travel logs catapult us into fame and fortune we've never imagined. Or, Plan B) I win the lottery. We'll see what 649 has to say on Sunday - I'll keep you posted

There had been some chasing of cats with an air pistol by the life partner with plastic suction bullets (think of the kind Bugs Bunny used to use) on Wednesday and I came home from work to find the plastic arrow/bullet in three pieces. I'm not sure which of the felines decided they weren't going to be terrorized again and took matters into their own teeth but...

The prodigal son is in full swing getting ready to go fishing so he and the crew were baiting trawl today. When I consider that the combined age of the three of them is 60 - yes you read that correctly - Captain age 22, crew members 20 and 18 as they plan to head 12 hours each way out to sea to fish for three days all summer, it gives me pause. But they have more sea hours than many much older folks and the bait shed consensus is that 'you should be able to get lots of work out of fellas that age' so we shall see. I truly worry less while they are occupied on the water though with lads of that age.

Have a great weekend and I'll update you on the urban weekend if it's a go.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wonderful week

Well a very quick update as I need to 'get braced' for the week ahead especially as it begins with Monday and Tuesday each spent in the district facility.

Last week was a very full one. I attempted to excavate the spare/youngest daughter's bedroom (depending on how you classify it) so the friend from my former work life could have a place to lay her head. I transplanted some herbs to pots and impatients into cut down barrels which have become plantars, took the car to the garage to the tune of $706 and as it was pay day there was also the laying in of provisions. So I was most pleased when the friend made it as far as Liverpool to be picked up by 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon meaning I had to leave work a bit early. Not difficult to find some justification when the additional hours are calculated from last month.

We spent a busy weekend of yard sales, mostly to outfit the baby daughter but some excellent finds por moi - six mugs and a rack, dishes , Frenchy shopping - a knapsack for Cuba travel, blue sandals and more but I'm beyond remembering now after the cooking, packing and dispatching of offspring. The visit with the friend was, as expected too short but we've vowed to meet centrally and visit a former colleague in northern NS this summer so the road trip will be something to look forward to. The house is empty and...quiet so good night.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Carpenters Helpers

Busy weekend so I had to go back to work to get a rest, but that didn’t happen there either, so I’m left with enjoying the solitary evening I’ve managed to pull off.

On Friday, daughter # 2 headed home from the city arriving late as she had to wait for vehicle repairs. She launched into a rather ambitious sewing project which I mentored. We were up and out early for the town wide yard sale and scored all sorts of buys. The object was to outfit the baby daughter with apartment apparatus which we did in style – bagel toaster for $2, electric frying pan for $3, boxes of dishes, mugs, glasses, ice cube trays and utensils, dishcloths and more. And while I was browsing I found all sorts of deals por moi – a lounge chair, casserole with a lid no less, soup tureen, appliqu├ęd potholders, beautiful pansies and chives, a free suitcase for Cuba and more but the best of the best was a very old invalid feeding cup with the lady saying “oh give me a dollar” when I inquired and I was thrilled as it would’ve gone for $20 or more in an auction. So heading home at lunch time we were very pleased with ourselves. The sewing project continued while I supervised as I baked an apple/rhubarb pie, brown bread, made potato salad and turkey soup.

The next morning was an early start as the visiting daughter had to head back to the city early for a trip out to George’s Island so after making breakfast I had lots of time to get laundry hung out, dog walked, the pansies, chives, and summer savory planted. The best part of the day was when the shore captain .....are you ready for this? installed the wall oven (which is just over a year old now). I was thrilled. Here you can see the two carpenter's assistants who were inspecting the job while the foreman went in search of a tool. We had arranged a double date with a couple down the road and so headed in to see Angels and Demons which was a good movie. We two females of our party had read the book but the guys were just seeing for the first time without background. So all in all a busy time.

The news event of the weekend though was the letter of acceptance from Memorial University for the oldest daughter so she can complete her BBA by distance. The plan is a major in Economics perhaps, never one to miss the opportunity for a challenge that first born! Her home visiting sister read it to her saying “I’m reading congratulations with such emphasis because there are three exclamation points after it on the page” Wow is she ever going to make a great elementary teacher eh? I told the girls one of the highlights is going to be telling telemarketers that I’m not able to give to what ever charity they’re calling on behalf of because….I have three daughters in university this year.

Good to find that the youngest traveling daughter had safely (and finally) arrived back on Canadian soil after some delays with flights and customs late last night. Her patient sister had retrieved her from the airport and is hosting her while she celebrates her birthday tomorrow and job searches. No teenagers now after midnight, where did the 20 years go?

The prodigal son started mossing this morning and has the blisters to do it. He doesn’t mind being bent over doing hard work as long as it’s on the water. Got over 1700 lb of irish moss raked in one tide which was more than most of the others did. Hoping to get some cash on hand before the fishing banks open up next month. The captain who is recovering slowly from his injuries of last winter is planning a trip though this week to try out his new captain’s seat and see how he can manage. He’s getting pretty antsy at being ashore so he’s quite a poster boy for return to work; many others would never do it.

Speaking of work - today was NOT a good day at work. Nuff said. The fact that it feels like Friday is not a good gauge of the week I’m thinking.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pandemic it is

To begin, I was reminded by a loyal blog reader that Tim Horton’s bagels actually contain more calories than a donut (even a frosted one I’m told). And although I knew that, I didn’t get a chance to tell the co-worker on Election Day. When I mentioned it today she said “well I threw it in the trash anyway” and I said “and we did with the candidate too” as he had come in a distant third.

Had a short note from the baby daughter yesterday saying Thanks for the shout out in the blog :) still in Amsterdam, taking the train to Luxembourg and then to Brussels tomorrow :D :D A slightly longer one saying she wasn’t feeling well today, had slept all afternoon and there was a thunderstorm in Brussels. That’s no fun when you’re traveling and she wasn’t clear on what sort of symptoms she was experiencing, could be anything from a cold to a stomach bug with the schedule she’s been keeping as she’s off to Paris tonight.

The WHO declared the H1N1 influenza A pandemic today (and you can only imagine how that complicates the work lives of infection control practitioners and occupational health nurses everywhere) but did not place travel restrictions. I instructed the homeward bound daughter to find some Tylenol, drink lots of water and stay away from the infrared scanners in terminals which are set up to pick off those who with a temperature.

Today was quite a day for thunderstorms here as well with the power off for long stretches at least three times. Although we were on generator power, the computers weren’t operating and one of the outages came after I had spent about 50 minutes trying to modify a brochure and of course the changes weren’t saved. I had to call a workmate to send a message saying I was off grid as others wonder if you were abducted.

Speaking of computers, at the end of the day one of the IT techs arrived and we had a confused conversation where she wanted to check to see if there was an extra network port in my office and I thought she was there to give me access to a directory on the shared drive which had been requested weeks ago. My first mistake was to move over and give her my chair so she could attempt to figure out where the directory was. She has this belief that there should only be three or four desktop icons displayed as we had this difference of opinion about a year ago when I resisted her efforts at reorganizing my desktop. After some unsuccessful detective work she disappeared and when I reclaimed my chair it faced…..a practically bare desktop. I was not impressed as I thought this was very presumptuous behavior – like clearing out someone’s closet when you put your coat in as a visitor.

The plan is to see Angels & Demons at the local theatre on the weekend and the reviews are saying it’s as good as the book. We shall see as I really enjoyed the novel so it’ll be a tough sell.

Speaking of social life, it’s hard to believe that someone wouldn’t snap up this gem of a cruise ship speaking gig:

Sixth Star Entertainment and Marketing has a last minute 50 % administrative fee opening for a Special Interest Lecturer to provide an entertaining program onboard the Tahitian Princess sailing through the Norwegian Fjords from June 19 - July 7, 2009.
No need to respond if you are unable to go. Thank you

Tahitian Princess
18 nights Land of the Midnight
Roundtrip Dover, England
June 19 - July 7, 2009
London, England
Day at Sea
Kiel Canal Transit
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Dover, England
Day at Sea
Stavanger, Norway
Flaam, Norway
Day at Sea
Tromso, Norway
Day at Sea
Aalesund, Norway
Magdalena Fjord, Norway
Day at Sea
Honningsvag, Norway
Day at Sea
Day at Sea
Gravdal, Norway
Trondheim Fjord
Geiranger, Norway
Hellesylt, Nowary
Bergen, Norway
Day at Sea
Dover, England
If you are interested in this cruise...

On this cruise, you and your guest will receive all onboard meals, daytime activities, and evening entertainment. You will have to provide airfare and onboard gratuities.

We look forward to hearing!

Last year this time I was putting my name in the hat for the Norwegian Fjords cruise but this one is a real Cadillac. Nice to be able to say that you’ve already visited most of those ports of call though, although it’s the workload issues which will prevent us this year.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Eiders and Socialists

Reviewing the provincial election results of last night – a resounding victory for the NDP, the first time ever in Nova Scotia – with at least a majority government for a change. I'm not sure how this will play out in healthcare but we're about to find out.

As we were leaving work yesterday I instructed the Nurse Manager to "go vote as women didn't always have the vote" and she declined explaining to me that she had been going to cast her ballot for the local liberal candidate but...she had gone to Tim Horton's on Camp Day (this is the sponsored day when proceeds go to Tim Hortons Camp and local celebrities join the staff serving) and the candidate had waited on her. When she got home to enjoy her coffee and bagel she settled back onto the couch, opened up the bag and was very upset to find that she had to throw out the contents as he had given her a frosted doughnut which since she is on a diet she had to discard. Not impressed! was how she described it. If only he realized how easy it would've been to keep that vote. Guess it's a good thing he's not giving up his day job.

Last night at 9 p.m. I fed and put to bed the prodigal son who reappeared after a five day absence. He was working on the boat and gear all day until dark as according to his father - this is what happens when you leave things until the last minute - I was surprised that lightening did not strike when the words came out of the lips of the worlds greatest last-minute man but I digress. Apparently after finishing up the heir to boat jumped in his truck wouldn't start so after walking and catching rides he made the 25 minute trip in an hour and a half, so not really too bad considering the rural nature of the commute. He has arranged for his hired man to pick him up this a.m. so as there will be two pairs of hands tomorrow, things are already looking up.

Let me share a video clip I captured when I came home from work yesterday. I noticed the dog was very interested in what was going on in the water in front of the house so I checked out the view which caused me to grab my camera. I've never tried the video feature so this is a very rough draft the dialup wouldn't handle it - after half an hour of video upload it refused and gave me an error message - I've brought it to work on a flashstick - I am if nothing else a determined broadbandwidth challenged woman. I'll explain that the clip is a group of about 30 sea ducks (eiders) who slowly swam their way up the harbour as Keely and I watched then took flight back down. The white ones are under two years old as apparently it takes them that long to mature to the darker color. I had thought the camera would pick up the noise as they were really creating quite a racket but you'll have to use your imagination.

I did manage to read my library book in the weekend and yes it is that good of a read. Unsettling but well written as all of Donna Morrisey's offerings have been. The shore captain has started it now as he enjoys her work and is willing to attempt even navigating the library due date.

I also did get to scrapbooking on Monday evening (as a reward for surviving the day in the district facility) and have begun my album on our western trip of last fall. My goal is to scrap the vacations before the anniversary date rolls around. Going to be a tall order with the three journeys in three months of last year. And that will still leave the cruise of this spring on the to-do list.

Speaking of which, the outside chores were shaved off the to-do list here on the weekend in beautiful warm temperatures. Mister spread all the crushed stone, which had been left in a pile almost a year ago in the front driveway, making a nice area around the azalea which is just beginning to bloom and fixing me a spot where i planted my Prince Albert sweet peas (or snapdragons whichever they turn out to be). I also transplanted the pansies which I've nutured from seed - sorry to report that on checking last evening something had eaten the entire dozen of them I'd manage to raise - I feel a trip to the garden center coming on. I also transplanted the basil to a pot and rearranged the chocolate and lemon mint so all kinds of herb gardening happening.

The baby daughter is on the closing days of her great adventure having enjoyed Copenhagen despite a spectacular face plant from a rented bicycle due to her short leg length requiring her to throw herself at the bike as in a circus performance. She is in Amsterdam at present and said the lineup was looonnnnnggg to get in to the Anne Frank Museum so she opted out but it's a small city so she is doing a walking tour. Off to Brussels and then Paris before the return to boring old North America. Ah to dream.

How far she has come from being a Brownie I thought as the Brownie leader (that would be Brown Owl to all you non-Brownie folks out there) called to say they were opening a time capsule this evening which the 1999 Brownies had stored away, making her almost 10 years old at the time. All the former Brownies were being advised in case they wished to attend. Apparently there would be three available out of the group as some were working etc. Brown Owl told me that she'd have to source a cassette player as the girls had left a tape of their favorite bands etc. and likely the 2009 Brownies wouldn't even know what a cassette was so this speaks to the speed things move at in a decade now. I filled her in on the travel schedule of missy who would certainly win the 'traveled from the greatest distance award' if she could've made it and Brown Owl promised to forward her submission. We had a good chuckle about how much she had loved Brownies, yes her sisters enjoyed it but no one was more into Brownies than this one. I shared the family legend of her father finding her sitting at the kitchen table when he got up at 4 a.m. to go lobstering. She had her Brownie manual, a piece of looseleaf and a pencil which she was using to create headings to columns.....Badges I Have and Badges I Need to Get. As her Dad said "be afraid, be very afraid of that one" and of course we've come to be very aware of her competitive nature.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Uberloos and more

Well a quiet Friday evening to catch up so as I sip Lady Hannah tea while the shore captain snores I’ll update you on life in the frantic lane. I’ll be making it brief as the library book I requested a long time ago (was 17th on the list when I put a hold on it) has finally arrived and I picked it up after work. It’s called What They Wanted, written by Donna Morrisey so if it’s close to her previous offerings of Kit’s Law, Downhill Chance or Sylvanus Now, I’ll be through it in short order.

I had a nice phone call as I walked in the door tonight from daughter # 2 saying she’d received an A+ on her Didactic Social Studies course (translates to how to teach Social Studies) and an A (only an A) in another. I’ll take those kinds of updates anytime.

Speaking of students, I have been wondering how the baby daughter is doing in her European wandering as there haven’t been any email updates for a few days. Apparently she has been posting on Facebook but…of course on dialup I can’t catch these. Mind you the surveyors were at the tower spot today as (not unexpectedly) there were no public complaints about highspeed tower placement here, but I digress. I’m hoping that she’s checking out the uberloos along the way. And what are uberloos you may ask? Well here’s the link:

They are hands free washrooms in airports, hospitals etc and recognized by the smiley face logo. Speaking of travel I entered a chance for tickets to Australia called a Quantas contest. Now try to say that three times fast eh? Ah, I can dream.

Did you know that we celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary last evening by going to Cuba? Yep, we sat right down and watched a travel documentary on OLN together. This was after mister wished me Happy Anniversary at 9 p.m. as I prompted him by leaving the card out on the table which daughter # 1 had sent. Ah, what a romantic he is.

Just to explain how cool I really am for a 52 year old woman, I’ll share a technology story. I picked up my cell phone this evening to find a text message from the prodigal son which said ‘yes’ so I replied ‘yes what?’ The return message was oops, was texting his oldest sister and sent to the wrong number – he ended with lol. So I typed ‘lol yourself’ the reply came back – Mom do you know what lol means? Apparently my feeble attempt at texting humor sounded as if I was bristling so…I silenced him by typing lol is J Last text I had this evening from him. Lol.

Enjoying small pleasures, I had an impromptu visit on Wednesday at work from a former (now retired and enjoying it to the fullest) colleague and we had a brief chat before I had to rush off to an appointment. I stopped on my way back from my trip to reward myself with a scrapbook store browse and scored some great finds for western, and cruise albums along with nice paper for wedding cards as we’ll have two special ones this year which I’d like to create a card for. Yesterday, I was most impressed to find that I’d won the $25 gift certificate for staff appreciation at work this month. The winner gets to choose what the certificate is for - restaurant etc. Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

Certainly have to get rested up as there is a Town Wide Yard Sale in the morning and you know that it’s important to get an early start on those sorts of ventures. I have a student apartment to outfit after all.