Sunday, January 15, 2012

Emerald Princess Here We Come

So...we're into the countdown now and I'm talking hours not days for the vacation. We're headed out to the airport for a 7 a.m. flight to Philadelphia and on to Fort Lauderdale to see the Bruins play the Panthers tomorrow night. Then Tuesday it's off to the Emerald Princess for all the fun there is to have. We're at the teacher daughter's this evening and she asked her father if he was excited yet? He denied this stating "I don't get excited" but we think he's either not being completely truthfull or too cool to get excited.

And no, we 're not worried about advertising the fact we're not home. We've left the boy captain looking after the fort, critter sitting, lobstering when the weather allows and putting in a $30,000 engine in the boat. That should keep him out of trouble or at least I'll convince myself it will be fine and deal with reality upon my return.

So we're keeping fishermen's hours in the a.m. and I am NOT a big fan of these early hours so it's off to catch a nap. Next update will be from the land of sun. Later.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Definition of decadence...packing for a southern Caribbean cruise yesterday while a major blizzard howled outside. Ahhh. Into the countdown now - only three more days. Can't count sleeps as that would be too complicated what with one night shift and half a sleep day thrown in there. And I certainly appreciated being able to take off two of my shifts this set of four - may just get ready in time to leave after all. Hard to believe that a few years ago, packing for vacation didn't involve charging the e-book reader. However, the usual pre-vacation flurry of activity, described by a friend as "everything breaks down, needs to be replaced or comes home just as you're trying to get away" is in usual form. As I have been leaping up out of bed to record items I've remembered for the 'to-do list' I have discovered I have a talent for writing in the dark as my handwriting is the same as in full light. Must come from all those night shifts and dim lighting.

I got up on snapping cold Wednesday to find (after a thorough premises search) the only cat in the house was Klyde. Apparently (it was later revealed) the shore captain had made quite a production of leaving the door open while he used the remote vehicle starter so Gary and his shadow Stanley absconded without his knowledge. Since we were out of catfood and treats (shore captain forgot to pick those up as well) there was nothing to tempt them with. I was concerned that I would find two carcasses on the road. I called them and checked the yard to no avail but when I approached the deck I found a rodent corpse so I knew I was on the right track - apparently they had felt the need to catch their own breakfast but unfortunately lacking street skills had sacrificed an inedible mole! When I approached the woods at the edge of the yard I heard rustling, frantic yowling and two hysterical cats burst through the brush. There is no honor amongst thieves (or felines it seems) as Gary lend the charge - legs do your duty - galloping towards me, panting with dilated pupils as if on street drugs and was quickly scooped up and deposited into the house. Stanley proved a bit trickier to capture as he was having a full blown anxiety attack which included frantic pacing back and forth in the frozen ditch just out of my reach, hyperventilating and yowling. I managed to snag him and deposit him inside as well. I had to sacrifice a can of tuna for their breakfast and promise them I would return with cat food. Too much excitement for early morning.

New year so new benefits which meant a massage appointment - ahhh. Too much computer work is bad for the back. Scored well at Frenchy's with lots of baby clothes for a friend of the western daughter (daughter will have to purchase the Ivory Snow to wash them in as part of the arrangement) which a grandmother shall take out for me. I picked up some southern wear for both of us old folks heading cruiseward and some neat gifts. Had a good visit with a neighbour who is also awaiting a first grandchild. Apparently teenaged babysitting of our brood did not discourage her daughter from starting a family of her own. Also chatted with a friend of a friend about cruising and the plans are in the works for a female cruise next year - now THAT would be fun. Groceries and home to walk the dog before starting supper. Full day. 
use for paper books now
Have you heard of de-constructed and re-imagined books? Thought that was what a book report was hmmm. It does seem to be a use for all those traditional books now that e-book readers are so popular. That is if you can bring yourself to destroy the tomes. Speaking of artists in the newspaper, I found an ad for Tommy Hunter - One Last Time tour. Made me think how much my mother would've have loved this as she thoroughly enjoyed Friday evenings spent with Tommy. When I showed the ad to the life partner he said "last time, I should think so, he must be 100 by now". And while on the topic of recording artists I heard on CBC radio that Joel Plaskett is releasing a song per week out of his new album - Scrappy Happiness - through CBC. You can find the first track called 'You're Mine' on the site here:

Memories of all those good summer concerts. Ah. Still waiting for Jimmy Buffett to cooperate and put on a concert when I can make it. Shall have to content ourselves with the Bruins vs Panthers hockey game in Fort Lauderdale instead - won't be seeing native son Brad Marchand as he's out for five games suspension though.

Had a phone call from the baby daughter about one of her nursing courses in university. She had a question about the formula for calculation of gravity infusion of IV fluids. I couldn't believe this was being taught! I managed to drag from the depths of my memory that 25 drops/minute was 100 ml/hr. and advised that:
  1. we don't use the formula now as we use IV infusion pumps
  2. we never did use the formula even 35 yrs ago, we counted drops and 6 per 15 sec. was it
  3. we had a card with doses/drops = volume for calculation for other rates
  4. why would this be taught when there is so much info required that could be useful?
And to close, just a note (should you find yourself fortunate enough to live in Nova Scotia) to mark June 8 and 9th on your calendar as it will be clean sweep dates.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


When I arose from my slumber after my last night shift and attempted to gather my senses to get to my hair cut appointment I decided to use the luxury coffee maker the children got the shore captain for Christmas. Not to make coffee for myself as those close to me know that although I love the aroma of brewing coffee, I don't (can't) drink it. I perused the offerings of specialty teas the children had so thoughtfully included for me and chose sweet peach black tea. It smelled lovely as it made its way to the mug but I had not been fully awake so didn't notice the ICED tea on the cover. Not sure what method you use to make iced tea or coffee in the fancy machine but it sure wasn't just pressing brew. The result didn't look right in the cup and it left small brown bits on my lips and tongue. Another one of those hazards of post night shift operating equipment.

The following day was spent in union meetings on the phone from 9 a.m. to 4:15 pm. with only a short break for lunch. I used this break to head to the Dollar Store and purchase a bag of school supplies for a local chef who is heading to Belize for three months. When I expressed my envy at his trip, he reminded me of my two week vacation and all the wonderful meals I'd have while he was eating rice and beans, beans and rice, rice and beans.One of these days that will be me with the envious onlookers as I head out for three months. Sigh.

Speaking of trips to underdeveloped countries....a colleague and myself are attending a tropical health conference at McGill in May and we're really looking forward to it having taken it in about six years ago. I have already surrendered my annual education premium which was deposited in December for the registration - foregoing the most popular use for holiday shopping. The latest WestJet sale sent me scurrying online to see if a decent airfare could be had and with a $392 round trip Halifax to Montreal, taxes in price (minus a $100 travel credit) - it's booked.

The hair cut is one in a series of appointments to make me presentable for vacation. I also scanned the LL Bean catalogue and selected a skirt to pull over my swimsuit - for making my way to the buffet without changing. Feeling very brave about the selection I checked out the large lady swimsuits, I mean swimsuit dresses. Having difficulty deciding on the style I asked the boy captain his thoughts. He pointed to one in bright blue with deep v neck and crossed straps. "Do you think I can wear that?" I asked. He looked surprised and said "why not?" So, I thought to myself 'why not, indeed?' and ordered the swimsuit as well. Now, apparently the moral of this tale is to NOT take your fashion advice from a 24 year old male who was wearing a t-shirt which reads 'date me before I'm famous' and is used to looking at much younger, slimmer female physiques.When the order arrived I'm happy to report the skirt is a great fit and idea, the swimsuit was a miss as it squished my boobs out under my armpits and made my back stick out through the straps. Yuck! When I offered to show the fashion adviser how it fit he adopted a look of horror and declined. So now I'm stuck with paying the postage to the shipper and waiting for the refund through customs. My first negative encounter with LLBean so far.

The past few days have been spent polishing my presentations for the cruise and they are almost ready for a dress rehearsal with my self described "not very computer savvy" friend on Monday. I've not heard from my clinical placement and will likely require an extension as the days are numbered before our departure. I did take two shifts off in anticipation of such a last minute rush so at any rate will be able to use the time for packing.

Although it's been very mild lately, and not at all winter like - it's sure not tropical and a break away from the yell phone which has pretty much grown to the shore captain's ear is in order. Low lobster prices, angry fishermen, the boy captain needing to replace the engine in the boat and getting ready for vacation all at the same time. Glad I'm busy myself!

If you noticed the title of this post - appreciate - that's my word for 2012 - driven in part by the obituary for a class of 76 nursing school classmate which I found in Monday's newspaper. We are so lucky to have our health. Here are some instructions:

Can you identify a single word that sums up what you want for yourself
in 2012? It can be something tangible or intangible. It could be a
thought, or a feeling, or an emotion. It can be singular or plural.
The key is to find something that has personal meaning for you. This
is not your mother's word or your spouse's word or your child's word -
this is YOUR word.

One little word can have big meaning in your life if you allow
yourself to be open to the possibilities. And here's one thing that is
totally interesting: sometimes a word will pop into your brain and it
will not make any sense to you right now. Give it some time. Let it
percolate a bit. I have often found that our hearts speak to us in
very unique ways. Maybe this is a word you need to hear but just
aren't ready for it yet.

Again, be open to the possibilities.

Which nicely corresponds with the quote of the day:

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day."
Edith Lovejoy Pierce

in days to come,we will reread- turn the pages, and call it History..

With those profound thoughts, I'm off to boot the dog off the couch and out into the mudroom and head to bed myself.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bringing in 2012 in Style

As I walked to the door at 1 a.m.with our Cape Breton friend who had been the life of the New Years Eve house party we’d just left, regaling attendees with tales from his Catholic school upbringing, I was carrying the decorative plate which had held the cherry loaf his wife had made for a previous evening at our place. It was Pinky (no, not Pinky and the Brain) but the classic portrait which is the mate for Gainsborough's Blue Boy. As I placed it on the bench (neither of us wanting to anger the owner - who had already had to forgo partying to spend the evening at work - by breaking it) he said “oh yeah, the holy plate”. Now he is visually impaired and has on occasion referred to himself as illegally blind as his sight’s been stolen but I stopped and looked again at the plate saying “it’s Pinky”. He was undeterred and said “oh yeah, but it reminds me of the holy plate Mom was given when I was a kid. It was a decorative plate of one of the saints or someone and looked like Marie Antoinette on a swing. My younger sister always called it the holy plate – as in Ma, Ma Joey’s eating off the holy plate again.” It was the perfect ending to such an evening. 

Today has been spent sleeping in, eating leftovers, napping, playing on the computer, drinking tea, reading, walking the dog, researching and booking a hotel for our post cruise stay in Fort Lauderdale while NOT doing any housework. A lovely start to 2012! The return to work (and reality) with a night shift is another matter.