Friday, July 30, 2010


Finished my day shifts and the shore captain was the chauffeur to get daughter # 1 to the airport for her flight to the wild west. Nothing economically going on here for young folks so the sad reality is that they have to make a living. She will miss the salt air for sure.

Up this morning for an appointment in town and back to find the cleaning lady had worked her magic. Ahhh, very spiritual. Heading in for a night shift this evening and it's already been a good day so hope the karma continues. Received an excited voice mail from my sister telling me that I'd become a great auntie again as my niece's booked c-section had gone well and they have a 7 lb. 15 oz. son they have named Grant. When I returned her call the pleased as punch grandfather was picking out a masculine outfit for the boy before they headed in to visit. I was teasing her that they'd have to have classes in what to do with a boy as their two daughters have given them three granddaughters thus far. The important thing is that he his healthy of course and the bonus apparently has lots of hair, the anxiously awaited photos have not been posted yet. Also waiting to hear how a western friend is making out - an aortic valve replacement and cardiac bypass are not minor surgeries - thinking good thoughts.

Tonight and tomorrow will be the last shifts I have the re-entry student I'm preceptoring with me and it will be a shock to return to being the only one to do the work. Although it keeps you on your toes with the questions it has been nice to say "oh, you haven't done that yet?" especially if the task is not on my fave five. My protege had an interview yesterday so it won't be see ya hopefully but welcome back officially. Work for nurses is not far away.

The dog and I headed out for a stroll (she attempted to eat too many blueberries on the roadside so I gave up picking) and now I'm off to get myself ready for the overnighter. Hasta.

Monday, July 26, 2010

We read by the sea

Posted on a Monday evening after a few beverages but started much earlier. The latest update on us having fun.

What better time to catch you up but on a Sunday morning? Especially one where I don’t have any particular responsibilities because I’m on likely the only vacation I will have this summer. Well, that is not entirely true as I spent Sunday to Tuesday doing mostly only tasks I wanted to do such as reading on a lounge chair, walking the dog, catching with up with email etc. But I digress.

Daughter #1 and I have spent Friday to Sunday enjoying all that Nova Scotia has to offer. It began when she and her father apparently returned from Cape Cod at 2 a.m. on Friday morning and I say apparently as I wasn’t home to be part of the welcoming party as I worked Thursday night. Due to some staff illness, this was the logical solution as I don’t mind nights and most of my coworkers do just about anything to not have to do extra of them. So, this meant I was only subjected to a LD on Wednesday and then off Thursday to putter and prepare for my road trip. I hit the hay on Friday morning at 8 a.m. and forced myself to set the alarm for 11 a.m. and we were off.

A quick stop along the way to purchase a flat screen monitor which someone had posted on the electronic bulletin board for the Tri-District, a good buy which will not make the man cave so claustrophobic. Off to the city to connect with daughter #2 and take in the NSCUBA association Moncada Day celebrations in one of the parks. Nice music by Jeff Goodspeed and Los Primos – he does exchange programs with students from NS to Cuba. Our invitation had come from the new son-in-laws grandmother, and artist doing projects between NS and Cuba. The soon to be Grade P/1 teacher aka daughter #2 is looking forward to being a part of that this year as well. It was exceedingly warm, although not as humid as Cuba this time of year. We headed down to the NS Designer Crafts Council there. I treated myself to a pair of silver earrings, a key chain made from a piece of silverware handle with my initial on it and a wooden spoon and letter opener made from beautiful maple. We headed back to Pete’s Frootique and picked up groceries for our weekend – and very scrumptious/gourmet ones they were too. A quick stop in Truro to pick up folding camp chairs, this being required as the previous ones were tossed onto the pile at the Paul McCartney concert in the Commons last summer. Of course there were no sales on and a pair of Team Canada logoed chairs at $18 each were the best choice. A straightforward run to the Pictou area, with a photo op for the cormorant colony and then off to find our cottage. It was a bit of a hunt due to very low key signage and remote location but we eventually made our way and checked it. A quick supper and a welcome bed.

Up early, breakfast and off for the full day planned. We headed into River John for the Read by the Sea writing workshop with Helen Humphries held at the local school. An eclectic group of us were led through some exercises, discovered various facts about the author and the writing life and enjoyed delicious homemade oatcakes and muffins. Daughter #1 has a wonderful writing voice! And I have promised myself to read more titles by this author - Coventry was great but she’s published quite a few and has a new one coming out next fall entitled Adele – it’s set in Paris in the 1800s and is about Victor Hugo’s wife Adele and the literary critic/minor poet she has an affair with.

We were off to explore Tatamagouche for lunch and discovered a roadside place called the Dino Burger – how could this be anything other than good? It’s an old (very old actually) bus which has a patio built around it and an extensive menu. Giving your order to the sturdy middle aged woman who bellowed to Andre the cook was a blast from my past. My lobster wrap and battered mushrooms were excellent and poutine and clam roll hit the spot for the daughter. We continued in to Tatamagouche to take in the sights, many of which hadn’t changed since my childhood day trips over from River Phillip. The Anna Swam (giantess) museum has changed venues but the material is the same, the Creamery has been completely revamped (it was a working facility until a few years ago) and holds a market which was just closing down. Daughter #1 sat for a caricature artist who did her portrait and the result was an excellent likeness. He captured the sparkle in her eyes and dimpled smile exactly. A nice memento of the vacation.

Back to River John for the continuation of the day at the Legion where there are lovely grounds called a Victory Garden. There were areas of shade with some of the trees, a gazebo where the authors read from, a large mowed field, books to buy, raffle tickets for prizes and goodies to snack on. Our new chairs (good enough for Sidney Crosby they should be good enough for us according to the daughter) were just great – a cup holder to set the raspberry sparkler in which we washed the huge brownie down with – these folks know how to set things up. The authors were all great from playwright Catherine Banks, Helen Humphries, J. Kenneth Harvey and Austin Clarke. The MC was Stephanie Domet of CBC Radio Mainstreet fame and several local authors did the introductions. A gentle breeze, warm sunshine, great readings and relaxing with about 200 other book lovers what could be better? Apparently this is the 12th year for the festival and it runs very smoothly. Supper was held inside and it was wonderful and all you could eat! Smoked pork chops, potato, bean, pasta and mixed green salads with homemade rolls. A decent glass of white wine from the cash bar to wash it down with as well with dessert of strawberry shortcake – homemade biscuits, local berries and real whipped cream with tea and coffee. There were folks managing to get back for second helpings but not us. The wait staff was great. We especially enjoyed the charming British gentleman who chatted us up and then assured us that he didn’t usually speak to ladies he didn’t know like that. Yeah right! It turns out (through further questioning) that he is from the channel island of Guernsey and comes to River John for the summer for some years now. He was telling me that the book – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – has really helped their tourism. He did admit that he hadn’t read it yet, so I encouraged him to.

The evening was capped off by a drive to check out the sights and some scenic photo ops. The sunset at Cape John did not disappoint. Overlooking a red sand/gravel beach with water warmed by the Northumberland Strait with rugged cliffs the sunset was spectacular. As the daughter enjoyed the beach I chatted with a long time summer resident who was dog sitting. When the chubby little beagle mix came over and knocked her things off the bench, in an obvious bid to get moving or at least get more attention she told him “no, you’re mistaken, you’re with me, I’m not with you so you go sit down and be good”. A classic line. We made it back to our little nest on the river and after a slideshow of the road trip to Cape Cod it was lights out for two tired explorers.

Sunday's itinerary included a nice Sunday breakfast, then a side trip to Pictou to check out things and a run into the city where a barbeque lunch at Q with family and friends before heading home 11 p.m. The schedule tonight called for a fire on the beach below the house and there were hotdogs and marshmallows (of course) purchased for that. But due to high winds the fire has been postponed until tomorrow as the local fire department are volunteers.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Almost a vacation

As the work story continues and I headed in for a night shift on Wednesday, it was steady but not unbearable. The early morning brought a flurry of activity with a rather ill patient needing to have many tasks done and then be sent out. When you're told by a family member that they "hope they're treated as nice in the next facility" it sure makes you feel like you made a difference. The sleep day of Thursday was (apparently I'm told) beautiful and I awoke to find warm temperatures and glorious sunshine - mental note to self to get a fan. Thursday night was one of those shifts where you muse whether you're being punished for something you've done. Nonstop is the only descriptor and I was very pleased to have the extra pair of hands attached to the re-entry nurse I am preceptoring. Although she doesn't blink she did say she "remembers now why nurses get paid this much as she had a pulse in her feet".

I had three hours of interrupted sleep on Friday morning as the car required servicing before the shore captain took it on a road trip to Cape Cod, leaving on Sunday. You remember that trip? The one where the dates got changed multiple times and I am home working while he goes? Uh huh, that one. But I digress. The lunch at Lothar's was divine and the key lime yogurt is my new favorite food! When I returned to pick up the car the service manager expressed a concern about the tires and wanted to change them before the vehicle went stateside saying he "didn't know he was going that far" so daughter # 1 said "what does he's going away mean to you?" There was an offer of having the tires on by 3 p.m. but I stated "I have not had enough sleep, I am going home and I'll be back tomorrow" so a loaner car was quickly produced and we were off. After dropping the daughter off at a friends place to watch the parade of sail and fireworks (which according to the photos in the fog looked like northern lights) and a quick walk with the dog, I was in bed by 8 p.m.

Saturday morning brought yard sales, but alas no roast pan for the youngest daughter who fancies herself a chef now. A switch of vehicles and $575 for four tires, balancing and servicing later we were off to brunch at Charlotte Lane Cafe. The gift certificate I'd won for Nurses Week helped ease the pain a bit so I rewarded myself with a nice pair of pewter earrings. A side trip to pick up a case of the wedding wine which had materialized at the Yacht Club, a stop at Frenchy's which was as always very productive, a fan for those sleep days, a few groceries and home. Supper of steamed clams, lobsters, beet greens and strawberries ahhhh. And the two last minute travelers packed while I finished up the library e-book as I wasn't sure about a secret code which caused the novel to self destruct a la Mission Impossible after 21 days or not and charged the bookreader for the shore captain. Why I was being so helpful, I'm not sure as due to his (usual) disorganization we had a 'marital discussion' about vehicles at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening as he prepared to leave 10 hours later. The end result was that (as I had predicted) he was taking the car and the truck would be in use at the plant for the week so I was being left sans transportation and having to work. A co-worker/friend has kindly agreed to come pick me up on Wednesday and the prodigal son will transport me to meet co-workers at the main road on Thursday. Sadly, he is more reliable than his ancestor!

I was awoken at 4:30 a.m. the next morning by clumping of feet as mister returned for something he'd forgotten. I muttered threats, turned over and returned to sleep as I wanted to begin my first day of vacation at a more human hour. By the time I got a few domestic chores out of the way it was time to enjoy the beautiful weather. Two raspberry gin and tonics, an excellent book, a slight breeze to keep the flies away, lounge chair facing the harbour ensures that it doesn't get much better than this. Eating what you want, when you want, reading with the light on in bed after 9 p.m. ahhhhh, such is the life of a woman on her own.

Monday was almost a perfect repeat and today was not as sunny but still wonderful as I did very little in the way of domestic activity. Except for hunting down the fruit flies which have been visiting and let me assure you that when the person responsible for leaving past their prime grapes in the man cave trash returns, he will know about it. Apparently he has had issues of his own as the accompanying daughter sent a message asking if I was happy? When I inquired "happy about what?" she answered "that you didn't have to yell directions from Portland to Falmouth all day!" By this I assumed that her plan to have her laptop open with Google maps giving directions did not work out as hoped. It appeared there was a problem with his knowing his right from his left, following instructions or believing the map - none of this was news however to someone who has sat in the passenger seat for 36 years.

The photographer posted some of the wedding photos today on her website and that was cause for a few sniffles - beautiful. So, returning to work after five days off ensures your mind as well as your body are ready to deal with what comes through the doors, even if you are 53 years, 308 days and 22 hrs old eh?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ellen Page and e-books

A quiet foggy afternoon off here as the animals nap, and I putter. Ahhhh! Instead of heading in to work a LN tonight as previously scheduled I received a call from a co-worker last evening asking me to switch with her for Thursday as she is Ellen Page's (yes THAT Ellen Page of movie fame) aunt and had been invited to her latest movie premiere in the city. One LN is the same as another to someone who doesn't have a movie star in her family so that was an easy trade for me and she was most pleased to be able to attend the gala. The only stipulations were that I advised she had to tell Ellen the only way she had gotten there was that her greatest fan had switched a shift with her.

I returned home from my second LD yesterday to find that the visiting daughter # 1 had cleaned the house, done the laundry, made (and cleaned up) supper for her father and when I got home with the car she headed out to pick up a few groceries for me. Now THAT is how you have a day off - when all that list is done first! When she heads back out west at the end of the month my days off will be more domestic and less crafty for sure. We will look forward to our visit in the fall which will include a Beach Boys concert in Red Deer on October 1st. We have quite a 'concerts attended' list to our names now.

I had a call from daughter # 2 who has been offered a maternity leave from September to May at a school she did one of her practice teaching placements and some substituting in. She will be teaching P/1 in French Immersion at Burton Ettinger Elementary which is only a short walk from her place. Here's the link to check it out:

The school has a diverse student population and she admits to being excited a bit nervous which is exactly how a new teacher should describe herself. The government bursary she was awarded will be paid back for a mat leave so this is a great start as they build up a house downpayment nest egg. I told her to let me (and the coworkers) know what we will need to save for all those classroom projects she will plan.

The only son is making plans to go out swordfishing tomorrow and he acts as if it is going deer hunting, not sure if it's the harpoon aspect which leads to the adrenaline rush or just the newness of the adventure. The plans include nine days of fuel so it's nine days or 20 swordfish - whichever come first. The original departure was to be today but there must be a bit of weather predicted.

Things have finally slowed down here this week enough for me to fully realize that Stanley actually isn't here. The other cats don't really seem to notice and as the shore captain says "they're just cats, they don't remember stuff" which is a great theory except for the way they sit in a certain spot and look at the cupboard where the treats are at regular time. Daughter # 3 reports that .....Stanley's doing alright...scared of people and noises but he always was a big baby. Him and Winston have a love-hate relationship..some times they bathe each other and sometimes they pull tuffs of hair off each other...I think in time they may become besties. Hopefully Gary is doing alright by himself (because I know Klyde is no fun at all). Although this is not completely accurate as Klyde has begun purring and allowing himself to be petted, something he hasn't done since he was a kitten - maybe he has feline dementia and has forgotten to be mean.

The shore captain continues to go flat out and is unloading boats, packing and shipping or splitting and salting fish, attempting to ship some of the lobsters in his tankhouse, getting one of the vessels through steamship inspection and hopefully underway fishing shortly - when I caught him on the cell phone today he was taking the captain up to the slip to bring the boat back. So keeping his usual pace.

Work has been fairly busy for me and I am being a preceptor for a reentry nurse which is a double edged sword. Nice to have the extra pair of hands but have to answer some questions, examine my practice and keep my eyes open for developing problems. She is doing really well as she was always a good nurse but some of the changes do defy explanation so I find myself saying "it just is, I'm not going to defend the policy" as I have left that arena behind. Speaking of my previous life - the husband of a former workteammate passed away suddenly and the memorial service was being held today. Makes you stop to evaluate your priorities and ensure they are in line with where you're going.

On a lighter note, we are (of course) continuing to enjoy the wireless internet in this area and I'm sure that the locals have bloodshot eyes just like 25 yrs ago when you could rent a VHS player and tapes for the weekend and watch them all in succession. We are now able to borrow (download) e-books from our local library system. I am reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (an excellent read and highly recommended) which is about the channel island just after WWII, at present. I have it for a period of 21 days and am going to monitor what happens to it after that - does it in Mission Impossible style self destruct after a certain time? It is nice to not always have to purchase (even if it is cheaper) the reading material. The only downside being that I have to order another bookreader for myself as I haven't been able to get the original one away from the shore captain's hands except when he starts to snore.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

All good

Just a short post before I hit the hay as the 5:30 a.m. bugle call will not be welcomed as it is. We're just home from a lovely BBQ with good friends and good food. The brief shower didn't dampen our spirits as it is much needed rain and we simply ate inside. The prediction is for rain tomorrow so I won't really mind much working if the sun isn't shining and we have had very little rain this year so the plants could use some. I'm not opposed to using the hose if it means we have this beautiful, warm, sunny weather though. The past week we've been caught in a humid heat wave that would remind you of the Boston states though so it'll be nice to see that move along - perhaps the showers will clear that up.

The wedding details are pretty much wrapped up except for looking at the wedding pictures. The photographer should have those edited within the next week and it's a good excuse for the new bride to make a visit down for the viewing since they're back from their honeymoon in Seattle and area. The candid shots have entertained far and wide thanks to the broad audience of facebook. The general consensus is that it was a beautiful day where we all cleaned up really well, had a nice ceremony, delicious meal and dance and a good time was had by all. The only items on my to-do list are to get the party clothes to the dry cleaners. I thought I had put them up out of harms (cats) way but Gary decided to get the bridesmaids dresses down for a nap as you can see here on the right. I'd say it's a good thing that we're down one feline and only have the two resident cats now that Stanley has gone to live in Fredericton. His 'aunt' (daughter # 1) who visited reports that he is doing okay but is rather nervous in his new habitat.

The oldest daughter has spent the weekend in the city visiting family and friends and plans to head to Cape Cod with her father for a business trip and then to Read by the Sea with me in River John as soon as she returns. She is making good use of her vacation at home and we'll plan a wrap up BBQ for the week of her departure so that she doesn't have to make the rounds to say goodbye to all. This will be in lieu of a pig roast this year as we really just don't have the stamina to pull that off so soon after the wedding.

And of course I'm enjoying the wireless internet even more than I imagined - how could you not? I have had to relocate my desktop computer to face the router as the concrete walls interfere with the signal but beyond's all good.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Another one of those 3 a.m. posts to catch up on the news. It's been a busy week as we all recover from the festivities of the weekend. I've come back to work to get a rest I told my coworkers. The newlyweds are really enjoying Seattle according to the latest email report "Last night I had the most delicious sushi ever! And the groom had lamb the same restaurant! The past two nights we stayed in the swankiest hotel ever. There is a dude that opens the doors when you come and go, it's so beautiful." And to think that her father and I camped in a pup tent as we moved to our new home.

On Monday we (oldest daughter and myself) had promised ourselves that our reward post-wedding would be to do a Frenchy's run. So we started out at 8 a.m. and didn't make it home until almost 11 p.m. We traveled around the bottom of the province with four hours of driving as we hit three great Guy's Frenchys locations. For those of you not familiar with the experience you can check out the link: We had some really good luck and the daughter calculated that the $100 she invested paid back at least $1000 in brand name fashions. It was a rainy, foggy day so we didn't feel we'd missed anything, had time to spend together, got some nice scenery shots in Annapolis Royal and overall enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. As we made our way home late at night across the interior of the province near Kedge park it became apparent that the service stations weren't open along the way and we didn't have sufficient gas to make it out to civilization. The talk turned to sleeping in the car, bears knocking on the window etc. I stopped at the local grocery store and asked about fuel and was told there was none locally of the employees called her mother who "always has a can of gas for mowing" then dropped over to pick it up. When I told her that she was my guardian angel she disagreed and said I was hers as she would've had to mow the lawn on Tuesday and it was her only day off that week. We made our way onwards with a great sense of relief towards an open gas station thinking 'only in rural areas do you get rescued like this'.

Tuesday was spent doing laundry of the new wardrobe until there was no more room on the clothesline, straightening up the house a bit and actually reading the newspaper for a change. I was surprised to find stories about the G20 summit, the Queen's visit to our province and various other bits of news I'd missed while we were concentrating on the getting the daughter married off.

Well, time to check on the troops upstairs as things have settled from a busy start to the shift. Happy Canada Day all!

Quote of the day.... Some drink at the fountain of knowledge. Others just gargle.