Monday, October 31, 2011

Life is while you still have teeth

Almost three weeks since an update here but still not my personal best for bloggers block. And it's certainly not because there's been so little to report on. Lots of activity so here's the synopsis:

Having a set of four shifts off resulted in 13 days off. Whee! This enabled me to get ourselves, the pets and the house ready for our absence as the shore captain was working until he stepped out the door with the luggage. It's always a bit more complicated to visit Cuba as we pack gifts and donated supplies in addition to a few changes of clothes. We elected to head down to overnight with the daughter and son-in-law who conveniently reside about 20 minutes from the airport. Our flights were uneventful (thankfully) as we connected through Toronto and arrived in Varadero by mid afternoon to our very excited friends.

Rooms of priceless pharmacy artifacts
Bellemare Caves
How old is he? Me or the bull?

Cuban tourists
Early morning view
 The predicted weather was WET   which was for the most part accurate  but we certainly enjoyed our visit. As  the travel partner said "it was like  taking four kids to Disney World" to  see our friends experience a 'once in a lifetime event'. We did excursions to Havana (not to be missed) and Matanzas (excellent) and a great time was had by all. In Havana on the bus we traveled through a tunnel under the harbour and what a look on our friends faces! The caves we visited were amazing and a wonderful chance to visit them up close. We had a delicious Cuban lunch at a ranch and there was an elderly man holding the bull for the tourists to ride. Our friend Javier asked him in Spanish "how old is he?" and the old guy replied "do you mean me or the bull?" which was a belly laugh every time our friend thought of it for days. In case you're wondering the bull was 18 and I'm sure the farmer with one tooth was 81! The Pharmacy Museum in Matanzas which was used from the 1860s to 1962 and is a priceless collection - made this nurse who loves to collect old time medical equipment on eBay just drool! Needless to say the resort was fun enough and our friends chose not to miss one single moment, such as paddle boat trips, water slide, night show, basketball and the pool until they were wrinkly. We sometimes enjoyed life in the slow lane with an early morning stroll and there were lots of other resorts to check out and people watching for sure. Had to do something to keep ahead of the buffet and mojitos. It was unfortunately a losing battle - although not as bad as a cruise in that aspect. It was tough to climb on the shuttle bus back to the airport and leave our friends to make their way home on a 20 hr. bus ride.

While we were away the boy wonder apparently left the door wide open while he got in the shower one evening and exited the bathroom to cool air and no felines. After an extensive search and tempting with treats Gary returned, when it started to rain Klyde gave it up and came in but poor Stanley panicked. So...he left the veranda door open and went to bed, only to be awoken by yowling at 3 a.m. when Stanley plucked up enough courage to enter the veranda and yell for entry to the house.No wonder he was so skittish when we arrived home.

It was nice to have a couple of days to get the laundry under control and reaccustomed to having to make meals again before heading in to work. There has been more than the usual angst and change at work the past few months and the four shifts I did were no exception. The second day shift resulted in my coming homeand having a large glass of Cuban pineapple liquer with mineral water (only mixer in house) which made things look much better.

This past week saw the boy have a 24th birthday and the birthday card I gave him with his cake as I left for a night shift was the best pack rat score of two decades. It must've been a card which I had for this 4th birthday which said "Happy 4th Birthday Cowboy" so I altered it to 24th with a red marker and put it in the envelope. I'm sure that life was so frantic 20 years ago that his card was overlooked!

Lots of social life the past few days with a union meeting - Black Forest cake from Lothars for the refreshment - yum! Oktoberfest at the same establishment with another couple - beer glazed pork ribs - the next night. And tonight only five little trick or treaters. Boxes of chips left now which is what I feared! A much quieter holiday than those of the past with the last minute frantic costumes, shore captain chauffeuring the kids around to the neighbours and collecting his own goodies (fudge at one, cookies at another) and my job of giving out treats to the groups of neighbour urchins.

Although I haven't been particularly diligent - and will be squealing at some point in the not too distant future - about studying.... the quote of the day is....Life is short, smile while you still have teeth

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Feline basketball

Another one of those quick updates before it's time to start the work postings. Now that I've decided I'm going to live from the rotten cold bug I had the beginning of the week. Had way too much to do to be sick of course and that's how those things usually go. I even ended up missing my second night shift and that is certainly unusual that I call in sick for work, but I needed to get rested up for my busy week.

I had an Emergency Department education day to attend on Wednesday so was up early and in to attend only to find that the presenters coming from our regional center were late and then had depended on accessing the network to present the information instead of copying it to a USB drive for example. Lunch was spent arranging to have my car repaired and although it wasn't done when I finished the session, a short stop at Frenchy's while I waited and it was ready to go. Off to the city for two more days, the third week in a row for that schedule.

Although the ACLS courses are now very informal and relaxed (in keeping with adult education principals) this one was pretty intense. The group I found myself in had a drill sargent instructor which made me realize that I've now been to boot camp. I gave serious thought to simply driving home on the second morning instead of even going to the class. The participants were from the critical care and emergency nursing programs and we breathed a collective sigh of relief when we were released. Although most were keen young grads working in busy departments I'd like to report that this old nurse still has the stuff as I not only passed the megacode but made 100% on my test. I distracted myself after the first day by a trip to Frenchy's (a very good one near my daughter's place) and then Bulk Barn so as not to think about the algorithms.

Buoyed by the pass I rewarded myself as I headed home with a quick stop at MicMac Mall where I purchased a pair of sneakers for a Cuban friend and found some great boots for myself which I looked for all last winter. Here's the website to check them out:

The BOGS are good to -40 and although I felt as if I'd be judged an eccentric old lady if I wore the patterned ones the solid black are more in keeping with my mature years and will keep me just as warm and dry as the more fashionable models.

The holiday weekend (or at least the one non working day I had of it) brought two daughters and their significant others home for a visit. Since the son-in-law only lives with one very non intrustive cat (Hank) he asked his wife in the morning if she'd heard all the racket during the night as he thought the cats must've been opening Christmas presents and playing basketball! We had our turkey dinner on Saturday evening and then I headed back to work on Sunday - whew, not ready for that.

The past few days have been balmy and warmer than the 'summer' we supposedly had. Spent the afternoon on the deck studying my next section of the course. Back to torturing myself I told the shore captain. "Into the home stretch now" he told me, "you're over 2/3 of the way there". I am sure when I'm into those final few weeks in December of studies, exam and skill day that I won't be so pleased with myself. Off to wake some poor unsuspecting souls. It's been a full moon night here in ER so you know how that unfolds. Later.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A successful road trip

Firstly, just let me assure you that the girl's day out (unsurprisingly) was a resounding success.Although transportation was a bit of an issue with my friend needing to pick me up and deliver me home as my poor car is still in the shop. The mechanic found a used air conditioner for $125 but of course now has to source a belt to fit it, but at any rate it is palliative not terminal and hopefully able to be retrieved on Wed. I shared the chauffeuring duties with the friend's Hyundai and all car problems were forgotten for the day. The quote of the day reminds me of something the friend would say as she's been known to say "common sense isn't all that common" but relating to using a newer model of car..."When you go on a trip,the first thing to pack is your common sense."

Bees working hard
Never thought of it this way....
They smelled as good as they look
With an early start we made our way first to Annapolis Royal as the weather forecast was for a sunny a.m. and possible showers in the p.m. We enjoyed the historic gardens fully as there were few visitors this time of year, the fall colors were in the beginning stages, the bees were doing their thing and the roses were still even blooming. We enjoyed the experience more as the Groupons which were to have been 1/2 price covered the total cost of admission for both of us. This allowed us to indulge in the gift shop as we'd 'saved' all that money and there were some great local crafts and books. If the pics make you think you'd like a good link for photography check this one out:

Since the friend had done all the online research for lunch we deferred to her suggestion and tried The Bistro East on St. George St. (which is the main thoroughfare if you can call this quiet one way street such a name). We were NOT disappointed as it lived up to its positive Trip Advisor ratings and then some. I had homemade pasta with alfredo sauce and seared scallops with a side salad followed by dessert of flourless chocolate cake with a cup of tea. Heaven. And my thoughtful friend made the lunch my birthday gift. Ahhh. 
Speaking of happiness and heavenly stuff a good link to happy living:

We ambled over to Charade Gifts on our way back to the car and checked out what this lovely little boutique had to offer. Brought back great memories of heading over to Annapolis Royal from camping at Kedge and shopping with the girls when they were younger for unusual finds. It has only gotten better. As we approached the vehicle we noticed a new shop called Lucky Lou's and ambled in, immersing ourselves in finds from the 50s and 60s and great gag gifts. Strange to think of our childhood stuff as retro (certainly not ready to call them antiques yet). As we stuffed our purchases in the car the first few drops of rain began to fall. What timing! Not sure if we followed all the guidelines for staying healthy on the road but we sure enjoyed ourselves.

As we headed down the French Shore we hit Frenchy's at Church Point, Saulnierville and Meteghan resulting in wonderful finds. Dishes, linens, sweaters, swimsuits and more. The lights had to be flashed for us at our last stop as the poor teenaged clerks struggled to kick us out and head home.

Arriving at a Subway for a late supper my (slightly older) friend reminded the Subway sandwich artist of the senior discount which it turned out was for those 55+ and whaddayaknow....that now describes me. I was tickled to receive the same % off. So aging does have some benefits it seems.

The weekend shifts were pretty frantic and it was a relief to head home after each one. Although I had the best of intentions to study for the ACLS course I'll be attending on Thursday and Friday I instead spent my day in domestic chores. That should tell you how desperate I was to avoid the books. Last night was manageable but I've contracted a nasty sore throat so did not make it in for work this evening as I'm just too tightly scheduled to allow myself to become really ill. Have an ER education day on Wednesday, and off to city to the Advanced Cardiac Life Support course the two days following. So off to make use of the extra hours for rest and recuperation.And to close some advice a friend forwarded:

Old Farmer's Advice

“Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.”
“Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.”
“Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.”
“A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.”
“Meanness don't just happen overnight.”
“Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.”
“You cannot unsay a cruel word.”
“The best sermons are lived, not preached.”
“Don't judge folks by their relatives.
“Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.”
“Live a good and honorable life, then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.”
“Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.”

“Live simply,love generously,care deeply,
Speak kindly,and leave the rest to God.”

“Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.”