Sunday, October 31, 2010

All's quiet....hopefully

A very nice way to start your day before heading in to a night shift is to.....sleep in and I managed to make out like a teenager as I crawled out of my nest yesterday at 11:30 a.m. Made brown bread, did laundry, hung clothes on the line and took the dog for a walk (those last two ideas were not such great ones as I got caught in a rain squall and had to run for it, bring the clothes in and put them in the dryer) Headed off to work by picking up my coworker and decided to "try this again" with the new tire in place and calmer. All in all an uneventful night which was close to amazing as there were five, count em five, dances in the county and we spent the night anticipating visitors.

Today I slept soundly until from 8 - 4, walked the dog as the weather was sunny and just cool enough, made a wicked scallop burger for supper and left treats out for the trick or treaters as there had been none before I headed out. I warned Stanley to keep a low profile as a black kitty on Halloween can never be too careful. All fingers crossed that tonight will be as uneventful as the previous one.

For some reason the following thought popped into my head 'the only thing better than a quiet night would be to attending a Jimmy Buffett concert' as I am an unapologetic Parrothead. The only complication being there is no concert this weekend.

Due to the q _ _ _ _ (in nursing you NEVER say it's quiet because that will immediately cause it to cease so we say the q word) evening we have just enjoyed I found a few moments to peruse the website for the tropical medicine course that a colleague and myself have aspirations to attend in the winter of 2012. Here's the link:

It's pretty clear I have to start saving my pennies eh? Off to write my letters for application. Hasta.

Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it ~ Henry David Thoreau

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blow out

Today I was well and truly back off vacation!

It all began when I was woken up at 4:20 a.m. instead of an hour later because....the marine weather had changed and the fisherman who was NOT getting ready to go out called on the shore captain's phone to advise him of this development. I had to go all CSI on it to discover this fact as he originally maintained that there was nothing unusual with his morning routine. I disagreed as he usually exits the house leaving me blissfully unaware of this event. So, I was showered, breakfasted, lunch packed, dressed and email checked by 5:30 a.m.and I was not particularly pleased with this situation.

I stopped, picked up the newspaper at the end of the driveway and pulled out onto the road and immediately felt and heard a loud thump. I pulled over to the side of the highway, ran back and picked up a large sharp piece of metal (a welded arm of a rack on the back of a pickup truck to keep the 4wheeler from going through the back window) which was lying in the road. I checked the passenger side tire (as that was where the metal was located) and headed off to pick up my friend for work. After about a kilometer I noticed a shake and then a roar. "Oh no, a flat and it's a doozy - well, if it happened this quickly the tire is history anyway so I might as well rim it". So I phoned the shore captain to advise him, pulled into my friend's yard with the smell of hot rubber wafting from the drivers side tire and explained she'd have to be the chauffeur. "No problem" she says "come in, I burnt my toast and I had to clean up cat barf off upholstery". Thus our days started.

We head up the main highway and wait for a while for a co-worker (who doesn't appear we discover when we arrive at work because she is ill) and head in. Shortly after arriving at our place of employment it becomes clear there is a staffing issue as we are overbooked and so my chauffeur (who has seniority) is offered the opportunity to take the day off. Not a lot of considering needed for this decision and she's off leaving me an orphan. I phone the shore captain to advise of this development (he's duck hunting in the middle of the harbour) and he agrees to deal with the tire issue. Which he apparently does in the afternoon - I don't want to think of what the tire cost - my fault for making brags of only paying $45 for the servicing last week.Apparently the metal tore the side right out of the tire. Good thing it wasn't someone going  the posted speed of 80 km/hr as I was only creeping as I was just starting out. The shore captain was surprised I hadn't done more underneath damage to the vehicle.

Today I wore devil horns and tail as my costume for Halloween and that was fitting as the environment suited. We started the day with a bang, got no lunch or supper and had a tough one by any descriptor.I catch a ride home with a co-worker passing my exit and pick up my car with the temporary (donut) spare in place and putt home. Shore captain promises to change the tire to the newly purchased one tomorrow before I head in for a night shift. I was met with a duck stew at 7:45 p.m. so hard to feel ungrateful with that spoiling.

Glad to not have to start the day that early tomorrow morning but rather sleep in before the night shift. Ahhh.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

All good things come to an end

Have enjoyed exceptional days off and enjoyed the ones I was 'supposed' to be working the most. Tomorrow will be my last day of getting paid to stay home on vacation and I must head back to the real world. I must say that after a month off....I am somewhat ready to return. Mind you, by Saturday I'll likely be looking for another vacation. One saving grace is that I work one day shift and three night shifts in the rotation this time. Ahhh.

Last Friday I readied myself and headed off to the city to visit the teacher daughter and son-in-law for the night. Stopped to try to find some work shoes and was very disappointed with Oh My Sole. Have just now ordered the pair of white Birkenstock shoes for work at a savings of over $50 which were not available anyway in the style I wanted and so headed next door to The Italian Market:
 I picked up some smoked salmon pate - a lovely slice with smoked salmon, cream cheese and spinach rolled in almonds. Yummy as well as beautiful and the son-in-law was banned from eating it as he told his buddy that pate looked and tasted like cat food.Well, after the buddy raved about it and he came begging we did take pity on him and allow him in but I couldn't resist asking "what kind of cat food they feed Hank if this is what he's used to?". After consuming the appetizer us girls headed out for supper at a Guatemalan restaurant called Cafe Aroma Latino which is a short walk from their apartment. Here's a review from The Coast:

We had guanabana (me) and mango (she) juice, tortilla soup, arepas (cassava pancakes with cheese filling) tamale, quesadillas and a dessert tamale. Nice little cafe that we will visit again for sure. The shore captain is expected to enjoy it as well.

Headed over to the shopping mall to try to find some work shoes (refer to the online purchase above instead) but did discover some great winter boots called Bogs which were not available in my size. Arrgh. Did have a great experience at David's Tea (a tea boutique) with lemon cream, rhubarb crumble and green seduction tea. There is the online feature here as well but I have restrained myself due to my huge stash of Lady Hannah tea brought home from Red Deer. But you might like to try some on: 

Crashed for the night with my earplugs in to reduce the street noise and up in time to hit the Seaport Farmers Market. I treated myself to a warm cornish pastry and fresh apple cider for breakfast and checked out the crafts. The crowds are still large but manageable in the new location.

I wandered over to the cruise trade show and attended some of the sessions learning that river cruising is THE hottest vacation going. Local country speakers are used though so there's no in for a cruise ship presenter likely making it a while before I sample this mode of travel. I did pick up helpful tips and the networking sometimes pays off later. Sure got the bug to go cruising again as it's been just a year since I was last on board a cruise ship.

Slipped away before 2 p.m. and called my friend heading over to pick up some Tetley tea, at her request and Gerber daisies as a hostess gift. We had a great supper of fried Halloumi (Greek) cheese salad and paprika lamb with noodles which were very yummy. We stayed up late to catch up on all the news and made plans for the nine weeks in Peru Tropical Medicine course of February 2012 which we WILL be attending. I headed home in the morning after a quick breakfast and was back to reality by 1 p.m. making an apple pie. Invited our summer neighbour over for supper as she left Monday morning for Iowa City but she had her meal all carefully planned so we wished her well and will see her in the spring.

When I came home on Sunday and called the baby daughter to see what our phone tag of Friday meant she said "I'm almost back to Fredericton now" which begged the question "where were you?" with the reply "I came home this weekend". Of course I was in the city and her father working so when she came to the house there was no one home and she wasn't even able to locate and visit with Stanley. We're thinking apparently he's not as slow as we thought as he didn't want to go back to his life of living on the streets again so hid from his mother.

Tuesday I awoke to hear the various gadgets in the house responding to a power failure and so called NSP about the lack of power. Several hours before electricity was to be restored so I headed out on my errands early. Had a wonderful shop at Bridgewater Frenchy's (always a good place for finds as it is large) and picked up three great pairs of pants, a hoodie, a bowl to leave treats in on Halloween, a plastic bathroom caddy, a cloth storage bin and......the vest I have been looking for all autumn - reversible, doesn't make me look too much like the Pillsbury Dough Boy and still with the tags on. Score! I made it home in time to serve leftovers before I headed out to scrapbooking. Still working on the small cruise album which chronicles the 2008 trip so falling quickly behind in my documenting. .

Today I called a former co-worker who is heading to Iqaluit for a position I referred him for and he is excited and nervous to be heading north. I have instructed him to start a blog and if he does I'll be sure to post the link as I plan to live vicariously through him this winter. He will be making the big bucks but the discussion about all the perks being showered on him reminded me of the quote of the day: 

"Wealth is not a material gain, but a state of mind."
Jerry Gillies

I was telling him that I was headed out to a photography class with my friend and that 23 years ago today (as Oct 27th is the prodigal son's birthday) I was in labour. So he says "today is a better day?" and I reply "I was being induced for a 10 lb. baby - what do you think?"  Much easier to put a Pizza Delight gift certificate in a card - food is always a good choice!

The digital photography session this afternoon made the two of up feel we accomplished a great deal as we actually can find and use many of the items in the menus now. Gives you to courage to attempt to use more than just the auto settings on those great cameras. 
I came home to pitch the idea of a Mediterranean cruise to the travel partner as I felt an 18 day trip would be just the plan although the Med in February is not beach weather. He didn't bite as he's a fan of warmer climes when the snow flies and suggested perhaps Cuba as West Jet is flying direct to Holguin this winter - meaning we can visit Cuban friends for at least $1000 less than flying through Montreal or Toronto. So, I had another look at the speaking engagements on offer - opting for destination versus special interest and came up with this gig which I threw my hat in the ring for:;jsessionid=0000fme7xmLL42ayqx3BRVFA95n:12hdhu93n?packageCode=JW10L030&sailDate=1110225&date=201101&selectedCurrencyCode=CAD

The Cuban Plan B is always a good second option. Thank goodness for high-speed internet for destination research if they should pick me up. Hasta.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vacation Continued

Since I spent an hour of my time this evening participating in a webinar about blogging, I should spent at least a few minutes updating this one eh? The webinar was sponsored by a genealogy company and was very basic, but you always learn something new and I picked up a few tips.New gadgets are always fun.

Fortunately we have been having lovely autumn weather since our return home so have elected not to turn on the in-floor heating. There have been some frosting mornings though so it is coming. Sigh.  Monday passed in a flurry of laundry as is usual when luggage is unpacked and getting the house reorganized. Sadly I think I have to put the shorts away and dig out the gloves.Finished up the e-book which I had downloaded called Special Sister which is about an adoption from India - very well written - a must read.

Tuesday morning brought a run to town for errands - pick up my boots from Sears which actually don't fit after I tried them on at home, banking, forward mail to daughters, pick up copies of the wills, Frenchy's shop - scored some like new Sketchers sneakers, socks, great tops, pjs, sheets and a jewelry roll. Shopped for $345 worth of groceries and home again. Listened to CBC Radio and called in to Maritime Noon to answer the question of the day which was "What are you going to do with the rest of your life?" I described how I am planning to do some tropical health missions and may have to finance them by working up north as that will give me the same money but more time to pursue other ventures. Dragged the groceries in a put them away while I dealt with bureaucracy for a widow who is attempting to settle her husband's estate - she recognizes that I enjoy the chance to fight with government, even if it's not for myself. Visited the one remaining summer neighbour who is readying herself to head Stateside as well. Spent the afternoon on her warm and sunny deck enjoying a cup of tea. Ahhh.

This morning I washed and hung the Frenchy's finds on the line, headed out for a haircut and then off to run some errands. Picked up a new charger for my camera as I am still only getting about 40 frames to a battery charge so think it must be the charger itself. Selected some Halloween decorations and scrapbooking supplies at the Dollar Store and found myself looking at Dan's Ice Cream Shoppe so what was there to do but head on over? I ordered a quesadilla, salad and a smoothie and enjoyed them completely. Came home to walk the dog, read the newspaper and enjoy a peaceful cup of tea while the cats snored FYI Stanley seems to be settling back into the household routine again and isn't nearly as hysterical as we first found him on the weekend. Took the bike out for a spin today but it was a very short one as there are convoys of trucks hauling asphalt to the paving project a few km. down the road. Hard to imagine having spent a vacation day much better.

Organized some of the trip photos this evening as I waited for the shore captain to find his way home.Checked the weather and it has continued to snow daily in Yellowknife, apparently they always have winter (which stays) before Halloween.Ruggedly beautiful eh?

Yellowknife from the air

A local lake

Yes that is snow!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Rest of the Story

Last night as I sat blogging, checking email, reading my e-book and waiting for the flight from Calgary to leave for Halifax I was unaware that.....the shore captain had missed his connection from Edmonton. When he didn't arrive to check in, as one of the last to board I asked the West Jet gate attendant if she could locate him and she said "the flight attendants will be able to tell you". The flight attendants had just started in Calgary so didn't know if the Edmonton connection was delayed. However, when I found my seat and realized that I was to sit next to a surfer from BC coming to catch some waves and visit his brother in NS...I realized that he had missed connecting. I was the one with the cell phone and laptop so there was no way of knowing whether he'd missed the flight in Edmonton or that flight had been delayed. Nothing to be done but settle in. Mercifully I did sleep for about four hours of the flight and the eight or so babies under a year of age were very well behaved. When I woke up for the landing and realized I hadn't even had a drink of water I knew I'd had a good snooze. The seat mate said "wow, I can't sleep on a plane but you sure slept well" I explained that working shifts is an excellent training for sleeping on the head of a pin.

Daughter # 2 arrived at the airport to pick me up and phoned to see where I was as she was waiting in arrivals. I explained her father was missing "What do you mean that Dad wasn't with you on the plane? Where are you?" I explained I was having the West Jet customer service rep do a manhunter maneuver and I'd be down shortly. The flight attendant getting off asked if I'd found my husband or would have to get a new one? I assured her that I wouldn't be bothering with a replacement if this one was lost. When mister was finally located as being on a flight from Toronto which would arrive about noon I made plans to hang out in the city and head back to pick up the missing person. I asked the male West Jet employee if he could tell me whether my travel partner missed the flight or it was delayed and he said "oh I can't tell on this system" but something in his look told me otherwise. I said "you men all stick together and you have different faces but you're all alike" which did cause him to grin.

The daughter and son-in-law were on their way to the Farmers Market so I tagged along as I hadn't been to the new Seaport location - excellent - much more room, lots more booths. It was a busy place on the waterfront as there were two large cruise ships in today as well. I picked up some wonderful fresh broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions, wholewheat bread and polish sausage as well as some danishes for later. The teacher daughter treated me to a raspberry chocolate croissant and I picked up a mango smoothie - very good therapy for the disgruntled. As the daughter was heading off to tutor she dropped myself and the son-in-law off at the apartment 'for a nap' which we both cooperated well with as it was starting to rain gently when I curled up on the couch and he headed for the bed. I made it up and out to the airport a few moments before the delayed by 10 minutes flight arrived. I was sitting on the floor as there were no seats and the lost soul managed to get by me and was wandering the arrivals area with a concerned face when I found him. I think he was more apprehensive about his chauffeur's state of mind than anything.

His first words were "I can't believe that I didn't make the flight, I only missed it by five minutes, I had to go to the bathroom". I said "you're 54 years old and late for everything you do and you are surprised that you missed a plane?" He had slept on the airport seats for a bit, caught a flight to Toronto at 1 a.m. and then on this morning so that was punishment enough. Apparently West Jet only charged him $50 to change his flight and the customer service rep let him use the phone to call me on the cell - unfortunately he couldn't remember the number so tried unsuccessfully. The rep said "oh, I'll put a note on your file and she'll look for you". Sounds to me like this isn't the first time this has happened I thought to myself. He did admit that he'd had a great supper and visit with daughter #1 and boyfriend in Edmonton so it was worthwhile.

The drive home was uneventful and we were surprised to find the leaves were still intact and very beautiful, especially as they were wet from the showers. We sorted mail, suitcases, plants (including the orchid which I share custody of with my summer neighbour who has headed back)and a few chores while I headed out to take the dog for a walk before I headed down to volunteer at the Fire Dept bingo. I received the best gift I've been given for some time as the cleaning lady stopped to catch up on the news and said "I asked Bert to work for you tonight at bingo as you were just back, I saw the date on your calendar". That kind of thoughtfulness calls for a bonus!

Poor Stanley looked like he had a moderate case of PTSD as he shot under the sofa when we came in. He was finally coaxed out with kitty treats and has allowed us to pick him up and he is now relaxing on the windowsill so seems to be managing the transition well. Guess it was a surprise when we arrived home...he's had a lot of surprises lately.

Time to make some supper. You know you're home from vacation when you have to make your own meals after 17 days on the road.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Airport Musings

Well, as I have a couple of hours to spare in Calgary airport as I wait for the travel partner to arrive, this is a good chance to catch you up on the travels. Since the shore captain was slow to book his tickets he wasn’t able to get on the same one down from Edmonton to Calgary that I did. Likely a good thing as there was a major kink in West Jet this afternoon as I was leaving. More on that later.

We left Prince Albert by sneaking away in the middle of the night or rather early Tuesday morning and didn’t even wake our very generous hosts – this being highly unusual as they’re not known to be deep sleepers. And no, we didn’t skip out without paying our bill….we left an air mattress as collateral. We had stayed up late on our last night together enjoying a few beverages and lots of stories so ended up catching less than three hours of sleep. We decided we needed at least seven hours to drive across two provinces, drop the western daughter at the bus station and make it to the airport for our flight north so we crept away at 2 a.m. The cross Saskatchewan and Alberta drive took just five hours as there was virtually no traffic until we were almost to Edmonton. We headed down to the Greyhound station and we lucky enough arrive with five minutes to spare to an earlier bus so daughter # 1 made it on by jamming all her stuff into two bags (no small feat as there was a goose and a number of duck breasts in a cooler) and handing me some yard sale finds for safekeeping. She was relieved to make it back home by 10:30 and slept the day away getting up in time to roast the goose for supper. Her father and I headed through the morning traffic and construction out to the airport making it in lots of time.

The flight to the Northwest Territories was uneventful on an Air Canada Jazz plane which was almost full although only having 50 seats. Lots of good photos of the lakes, boreal forest and then tundra out of the window seat and I’d post one if I didn’t have to dig out the paraphernalia in the middle of the waiting area to do so . Yellowknife is a small northern city of 20,000 people and was only settled after WWII, being made the capital in 1970, so very recent history. Reminded us a great deal of our time in Labrador actually, and that is a good thing. By the time the shuttle bus dropped us off at the hotel – which was very cozy and had great breakfasts - and we dragged our sorry carcasses up the room….a nap was in order. We ventured out into the crisp air at 0 c to find some supper and settled on The Red Apple which is a Chinese food restaurant. We miscalculated the sizes of the servings – huge - and waddled back to our hotel.

Wednesday was our day to explore the city and we started out with a trip to the Legislative Assembly. Not too many of these have a polar bearskin rug on the floor of the chamber. The building is created to resemble a snow house (the politically incorrect term for someone of my age would have been igloo if that helps) and is beautiful. The NWT is governed by consensus so has a round chamber and tables. Next we made our way over to the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Center and if you should ever find yourself in Yellowknife this is definitely worth a visit. We spent several hours there and could have stayed longer – lots of interactive displays and info from the first peoples onward. We meandered along (without too much whining from the travel partner about his toe) the city streets and down to Old Town and Lathams Island. Lots of mobile homes from the 70s which a merchant advised sell for a minimum of $130,000 on a ½ lot. This because housing is at such a premium here – apparently a room in mobile home goes for $700 per month. The northern allowance would only make up the difference for accommodation and food if there were two folks sharing who both received it. For supper we had one of THE BEST meals we’ve had for at least a long while as we discovered a restaurant called Feugos and again if you find yourselves in Yellowknife this is a must do. It’s a cozy basement place decorated in a European style, delicious food, good sized servings, amazing presentation and excellent service. The artic char I enjoyed and the bison steak the partner ordered were wonderful. We skipped back to the hotel completely pleased with life.

The shore captain had stopped at a local car dealership / car rental place and arranged for a rental for Thursday so we headed over in the morning to begin exploring. A false start as the chauffeur had to retrieve his license from the luggage where he’d stowed it after the airport check in. There was a problem as the rental car hadn’t been returned so the ‘rental agent’ gave us the car he uses to get around in and wrote “no charge” on the rental agreement. Turns out he could do this as we discovered upon returning the car as he owns the dealership! The shore captain has already decided that he’ll attempt to send up some lobsters as a thank you and perhaps to test the idea of shipping into the NWT as one of the Newfoundland staff almost wept when she described lobster at $30 per lb when you could get it. We checked out some of the settlements – Dettah and some of the parks on the Ingraham Trail then stopped at the visitor’s center for a map. Found a guy working there who was from Truro (vacationed frequently in Cuba) and had come north for a year contract 21 years ago. Small world. We drove over as far as Rae Edzo which are native communities I’d read about and it was starting to snow by the time we made it back to the city. Yes, you read that correctly….snow- and lots of it. We made our way carefully to Tim Hortons (of course they are in NWT) to warm up. A quick stop for a bottle of wine where we discovered the selection was vast and only about $2 a bottle more expensive than NS and there were all the fixins for example tobasco sauce, clamato juice, chips you name it – one stop shopping. The wine was to go with the in house pizza we’d already decided on for supper – none of this wading through snow for supper as we weren’t likely to do better than Feugos no matter what.

This morning was spent packing – why is it that things don’t want to repack the same way they did originally? Printing boarding passes proved to be an adventure as the ‘business center’ in the hotel had technical problems with the printer on Thursday evening, meaning I’d checked in and was waiting for the boarding pass to print. The end result was that the tech ripped my printed Air Canada boarding pass into lots of pieces and threw it in the trash can and you can only print it once. I have seen an episode or two of CSI so managed to piece the document back together and borrow tape from the front desk. I further charmed my way into printing the West Jet boarding passes at the front desk as there were more computer issues with the ‘business center’ and all it cost was a bit of my time counseling the reception clerk who is a cancer survivor. I was approached by the Fire Inspector asking who his contact at the facility was so I must’ve looked a little bit official. Checking out, catching the shuttle back to the airport, navigating the slippery parking lots, watching the backhoe do snow removal as the bush planes landed and took off filled the time as we had a slight delay.

Uneventful flight down to Edmonton and we met by the western daughter and her main squeeze at the airport. Only time for a cup of tea (once the water was restored in the restaurant) while the boyfriend fed the parking meter and described his vehicle as being watched. The daughter, boyfriend and the shore captain headed out for a visit while I caught the flight to Calgary where I have my longer stopover. As the western daughter said “Mom, we know which one of the two of you are able to amuse themselves for a few hours in an airport and it’s you” so the guy with ADHD is being entertained and put on his flight just about now if all goes well.

Hopefully his check in etc. is smoother than mine as I couldn’t get my boarding pass to scan (likely the ink the clerk told me) thus couldn’t get baggage tags printed and had to drag my luggage to the other end of the airport for the clerk to assist me it was really busy so she didn’t give me my baggage check claim. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t check that tag and put it away safely. There was an hour delay with the flight and lots of angst as many of the passengers were making tight connections so lots of muttering although the flight to Las Vegas was held and they all connected but not particularly gratefully. As I waited for the luggage to arrive I began to have misgivings, especially without the baggage claim tag, and finally was rescued by a West Jet clerk who advised the suitcase had been checked through to Halifax. Nice to not have to sag that around while waiting. I rewarded myself with supper at Kelsey’s of kettle chips and onion rings and I have to tell you that a strawberry lemonade with vodka sure made the wait better.

So, now to take advantage of the wi-fi here at the airport and post this as I am likely to be a while doing laundry when we arrive home tomorrow. Tonight I certainly plan on catching as many z z z zs as I can on the red eye tonight. That is why I went to such lengths to arrange the seat selection and print the boarding passes early as the travel partner makes a good pillow. Good thing as it’s going to take us over 24 hours to make it home. Sure hope the hacienda is intact as a kind friend let Stanley in to the house as he was abandoned in his cat carrier on the front doorsteps by the courier. Apparently there was a lot of growling and hissing from the guard cats so we shall see what awaits us. Later.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Our final day visiting friends and a great way to spend a Thanksgiving Monday. Lots to be thankful for with a great vacation to spend with family and friends. Our first day of drizzly weather which the shore captain had actually been hoping for as he has been thinking the waterfowl are enjoying the beautiful weather and so not coming near to the sloughs they've been wading in. We shall see what their return brings but at least the western daughter has a goose to put in her cooler to take home as of Saturday.

When the great white hunters returned on Saturday afternoon we had made it back from checking out the few yard sales we could find. Some excellent items which again wouldn't fit in the luggage but did manage to pick up a few things. A BBQ for Saturday afternoon/evening rounded out the social calendar and it was a great way to meet some of our hosts friends and neighbours, including a wonderful chat with a community health worker who had a long history of isolated northern community work. Our hosts tend to be early risers and thus not night owls but one of the invited guests who "enjoyed a wee dram of scotch" was reluctant to leave, attempted to provide musical accompaniment with his harmonica and regaled us with stories of his Scottish homeland, finally making his departure at midnight - our friends required a debriefing session of a smoke and drink after that in order to settle down.

Yesterday morning we took in the Golf and Country Club brunch which was a big hit on our last trip here. Stuffed ourselves at the great buffet which offered everything from fruit to turkey - they even had an eclair tree! The warm sun in the afternoon and full bellies made naps a requirement for some. Our hostess whipped up cabbage rolls and pierogies for supper really ending the day in style making for an early evening for most. I stayed up to finish my book as I was getting tired of dragging the hardcover tome around and I highly recommend finishing the Steig Larsson trilogy as The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest was an excellent conclusion! Good to pack away the weighty volume and get out the Kindle though for convenience.

Planning to print out the boarding passes for tomorrow's flight from Edmonton to Yellowknife now and gather up the 'stuff' for packing. Will mean a middle of the night departure from our wonderful host family (best if we sneak away as there are no tears this way) who are planning a trip back east in the spring so that will be nice to look forward to. Our hostess regaled us yesterday with a story of her parents staying with friends in Halifax and her mother getting up in the dark and applying what she thought to be deodorant to her underarms only to find out later on that it marker!!! Memo to self: be careful to turn the light on to get dressed. Maquest and Google Map disagree on the time required to drive from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to Edmonton Airport in Leduc as either 7 or 8 hours and as the western daughter (who will be dropped at the Greyhound station for her return to Red Deer) says "when you're attempting to catch a flight this is not the time to try and set the speed record or see which one is right, it won't hurt you to wait a bit". Good in theory but the shore captain is not a big fan of waiting and following check in times. Back in touch from the great north.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bucket List

Another day and another update, I'm doing well considering I'm on vacation. And speaking of vacation, travels etc. here is the link to a bucket list blog:

While the menfolk sought the elusive waterfowl, even going so far as to take the duck and goose callers with them, it is looking like the western daughter may have to buy a goose after all for her later on Thanksgiving dinner. There were apparently large flocks of birds but none made their way home with them. The shore captain managed to capture some nice pictures but that doesn't fill you up. The first shot on the left is of the sunrise they witnessed and the middle is the elusive waterfowl.Here in PA we are enjoying balmy weather with the mercury hitting 25 c this afternoon as I regretted not packing shorts for my northern vacation. This morning the ladies headed out to check out yard sales and there were good finds to be had - too bad I can't pack a large crock in my carry on luggage - the Tupperware alone which the daughter scored was worth the trip. We headed over to Canadian Tire to pick up one of the specials and when the three of us headed back to the rental car we attempted to gain access with me hauling on the door handle, our hostess waiting patiently and the daughter saying "I've pushed the door opener thingie at least eight times" until I looked into the back seat and spied a fleecy blanket realizing we were trying to break into someone else's vehicle. Good thing it didn't have a car alarm is all I have to say! We visited the prison - PA is rather well known for its penitentiary and the fact that it is home to four prisons - and then headed out for groceries as the chef needed the fixins for supper.

The women spent the afternoon on the deck chatting, enjoying the sunshine, and a newly invented cocktail of butterscotch ripple schnapps and club soda - don't judge too quickly as it is very tasty! We enjoyed cabbage soup courtesy of our Polish host this evening and although I am not a fan of sauerkraut this was delicious! Perhaps I can persuade the chef to share his recipe.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Stats and more

Almost a week since the last'd think I was on vacation or something eh? As the 'dashboard' for Blogspot has been updated, I was exploring and checked out the stats - learning that there were 784 page views in the past month of this blog. WOW, that is a group of loyal followers. Best I continue to use my time and talents for good not evil.

We are visiting in Prince Albert (more on how we got here later) with former Nova Scotian friends and the menfolk wearing camouflage garments went scouting waterfowl territory for the hunt tomorrow. The womenfolk holding down the fort are searched for yard/garage sales to visit in the morning so all is well. A good time catching up on the news from back home and a few beverages this evening.....doesn't get much better than that.

Friday was a beautiful warm sunny day and in honor of our oldest daughter's birthday we headed out of Red Deer via Stettler to Elk Island National Park. As you can see here on the right we saw lots of wildlife - bison and gophers for starters - in the park. And during the drive over to Edmonton we watched the farmers hustling to get their harvest in. It's been a wet, cool summer out west and there were crops still in the fields which you'd expect to see harvested a month earlier. The machinery worked as soon as the dew was dried until well after dark so we had interesting scenery and beautiful fall photos along the way as you can see here on the left. We headed over to a hunting equipment store where the great white hunter aka shore captain selected a pair of camo jeans (yes they do make them, and yes they are exactly the fashion statement they sound like) and camo boots for his hunting adventures. To discover at the checkout that they were 25% off was icing on the cake. A further stop at The Polish Food Center for treats such as kielbassa, pierogies and a Polish flag for our Saskatchewan friend who has a license plate which reads "Polish and Proud" before making our way back for a quick supper. We enjoyed steak (ahhhhh as only western steak can be) at The Ranch House and met the daughter's main squeeze - who looked extremely nervous, although very pleasant and polite though almost relieved when we rushed off to the concert. We made our way down to The Westerner for The Beach Boys concert and it was sure worth our time. There are still three of the original group playing and the sound and all the golden oldies kept things hopping. Great way to spend an evening.

Saturday we started out early and headed out to Jasper via the scenic route through Drayton Valley. Wonderful photo ops and we saw Dahl sheep along the highway in two different places. Spent a warm sunny afternoon enjoying all that Jasper has to offer such as the Tramway - spectacular photos and a view which topped Banff two years ago. The town of Jasper although very tourist orientated is lovely and we prowled the shops and grabbed some snacks before getting back on the road. The return trip included seeing over 40 white tailed deer (possibly mule deer as it's hard to tell) and three wild horses along the highway. Arriving well after dark we were keeping the hours the harvesters were as we headed back into the city. A quick bite at Original Joes (good food but loud music on Saturday night) and a very restless sleep after the road trip.

Sunday morning the shore captain was up at 4:15 a.m. to meet a displaced Nova Scotian working in the oil patch who picked him to go hunting. Wearing his complete camo outfit he opened the door to the pickup to find his host wearing jeans and a sweatshirt "oh, I guess I'm a little overdressed" he says as his startled host sizes him up. "Just planning on driving around, this is my tree stand" his chauffeur says. They did see some deer but no elk which the host had a tag for as well. It was by all accounts a fine way to spend an early fall morning. Meanwhile the ladies slept in, enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and headed over to the steam baths for some relaxation. Peppermint scent and all was well. Continuing on Cindy's Tea Shoppe:

which is where I get my fix of Lady Hannah Tea - bought a large vacuum packed bag of it this visit as well as some of Cindy's Spice Tea and the ultimate 'me gift' of a teapot as below:

This means you can throw loose tea leaves in the top, close the cover and let it brew as you can see through the sides, set it on your cup and the tea is strained into the cup. It's plastic and also dishwasher safe making it worthwhile to schlep across the prairies, into the NWT and back east. I am using and loving it daily now. We made our way over to visit a friend of the daughter (previously only known to me through the wonders of FaceBook) and then connected with the returned hunter and over to Its All Greek to Me which turned out to be a wonderful Greek restaurant where we stuffed ourselves with calamari, pita bread and dips and shrimp. We made our way to the daughter's former landlady for a visit, declining the delicious looking pie as we were too full and then on to another displaced neighbour living locally. Finished our day up with a quick snack at Moxies and getting ready to head out to Saskatchewan in the morning.

On the road early as we made our way from Red Deer to Saskatoon via the country roads and wanted to arrive in the late afternoon. Viewing of two separate moose in wheat fields, a herd of prong horn deer and huge flocks of snow and Canada geese as well as ducks as there were large bodies of water everywhere. Few showers enroute but no worries to spend a travel day that way. We had a great visit and the shore captain reconnected with his former scout leader and troop mate (leader's son) of 40 years previously over supper. A wonderful sleep at the Arnolds and a great breakfast - who needs B&Bs eh? On the road again and heading towards Regina by 9 a.m.

We made our way cross country again in sort of a zigzag pattern over to Regina and spent the afternoon at the R.C.M.P. Depot browsing through the museum there. Lots of memories for the shore captain as he relived his six months of training there. A LOT of changes in the past 35 years and he was almost unable to recognize most of depot. Good times, good times. We headed out of Regina (trying out some of those dirt roads he used to do driver training on) and onwards toward Prince Albert (PA to the locals) finally giving in to the eye strain in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. Only a few hours more to PA but as far as we could make it. Found lodging at the Bella Vista or BV for short Inn and crashed for the night finally awakening at 9 am. to stumble down to breakfast and on to the road again.

Wednesday saw us heading into PA after a scenic run cross country past reservations, farmers harvesting and lots of waterfowl. Since we were making good time and would arrive before our hosts made it home from gainful employment we elected to take a run up to the national park. Had a wonderful hike on one of the trails and checked out the lakeside resort in the balmy weather making for a great afternoon. A short stop at Tim Hortons and then.....made our way to our friends place.

Today was a day of relaxing somewhat while checking out a couple of garage sales - found a great pair of sky blue new hand knit mitts for $1 which are just the ticket for a trip north. A dog walk to the bank to make the business deposit - 29 degrees c this afternoon - better than this summer - this afternoon. Made the required stops for the shore captain/great white hunter to pick up the prerequisite stamps, licenses etc. for the big hunt. A quick stop at the scrapbooking store for the ladies and a tour of all the new home construction in the area. PA has exploded since we visited two years ago - it is a happening place!! The hunters arrived home in time for us all to enjoy a great roast beef supper this evening. This is as good as it gets when you don't have time to read your great book. Off to catch some z-z-z-zs as it is yard sale marathon in the morning.