Sunday, November 25, 2012

Semi retired it is

The Sunday evening update from a semi-retired person - as the shore captain says "you're off long enough now that you have to call it semi-retired not a vacation" includes a rather busy schedule for someone semi-retired. 

Thursday was a 'getting your craft on' kind of day where I organized all my projects, washed my Frenchy finds and hung them out on the clothesline (amending my 'don't hang out laundry past Nov 1st rule) as it was just too mild and beautiful not to, walked the dog with a friend and generally enjoyed life. I think that's what us semi-retired folks are supposed to do.

Friday mornings the cleaning lady comes so after a short visit with her I made myself scarce and visited my friend up the road. We drank tea, ate chocolate scones and researched Tampa for our April trip. It looks like we'll be able to take in Busch Gardens, the aquarium and a harbour cruise as well as see a bit of the city. I had taken a craft project with me so the time was spent multi tasking until it was safe to head home. We walked the dog and although the nasty Rottweiler down the road made some aggressive noises and sounded as if it was heading towards us once my (bodyguard) friend - who had previously sent it flying back up the driveway - yelled at it to 'stay home' it didn't even come out out of the basement - not even on our return trip. Keely looks nervously over her shoulder until we're well towards home, just to be sure though. I told my friend that I'll have to tape her yelling and play it back loudly on days she's working or sleeping and unable to protect us. I fought with my sewing machine and finally won so got some of to-do list checked off by hemming the sleeves of my scrub jacket and lining my NS tartan scarf - looks great next to my Canada Goose parka I must say.

Saturday was a bit wet but it cleared in the afternoon so I popped over to the summer neighbours to take some photos of the construction going on in the form of an addition. My buddy and I walked the dog and then it was time to get ready for a supper invitation. We had turkey burgers stuffed with smoked gouda, sweet potato fries, curry noodles and three kinds of pies for dessert. Hard to get up from the table after that.

As it turned out, today was a quiet day as opposed to a frantic 'getting ready for lobstering' day. The season has been delayed until Tuesday due to wind and high seas so the waiting still continues. There were a few flakes of snow this morning and lots of chatter on FB about it which caused me to update my status as 'like September in Nunavut'. When I asked the shore captain to pick up the newspaper from the end of the driveway on the way in he said "you're not planning to leave the house today?" and I replied "too windy" to which he responded "you best put on your Canada Goose parka and get used to it". I am sure I'd be in a lather by the time I made it back to the steps as it was only -2 here not -32 as in  Taloyoak. He brought the fixins for eggs benedict with smoked salmon and so that was  what we had for brunch. He has spent most of his day in the la-z-boy watching a ninja movie on Netflix and sports updates while I have made brown bread, cranberry pudding and orange rolls. Nuff said.

The plan is to head out to watch the new James Bond movie tomorrow evening called Skyfall. It is one of those flicks which manages to entertain both of us - he for the action adventure / she for looking at Daniel Craig and I do love Judi Dench and some of the others.

While I was listening to CBC radio on one of my many trips back and forth for errands lately I heard an update on Gabble. This is sort of like twitter or FB where you have so many characters but it's a program which converts your words into little video/graphics. Apparently in our increasingly global world where we need to communicate this reduces the need for translation. Here, you try it:

I typed in I am going to see Skyfall tomorrow evening - so that will give you an idea of what it did for me.

As I was getting ready to hit publish on this update I was chatting with my previous Cambridge Bay roommate (who is in a different part of Nunavut) and she was telling me about seeing polar bears (with cubs) in town (while driving) about 15 ft away and being annoyed at not having her camera with her so going out walking repeatedly looking for them. When I questioned the safety of this activity she stated she could 'run up someone's steps to escape'. In direct questioning she says that she saw 'something whitish yellowish in the distance, might have been one, might not have' in Taloyaok. So that's good. I was afraid I was going to have to include a stick in my 'packing for north of 60 cupboard' as it's north of the tree line. Speaking of which - I was extremely annoyed to find the SAD light system advertised on Amazon this weekend for 30% off - do I have the timing or what?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Shaken not stirred

For someone on 'vacation' I haven't been very prompt with my blog updates eh? It could have something to do with the fact that I've visited three different Frenchy's outlets in three days plus headed out to scrapbooking one evening. 

Cruise wear for older nurses
What do you think of the tank top I picked up on one of my Frenchy's stops? I think I shall be a little bit of both on my vacay. The trip with my travel buddy to have passport photos taken on Monday was necessitated by the fact that we booked a cruise for April. We didn't really set out to do that when she came down to walk the dog with me on Friday and then have a cup of tea but one thing led to another and.....Vacations to Go had such a great deal on a 7 day cruise out of Tampa (where we both really wanted to visit) on the Norwegian Dawn with port calls in Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya and Cozumel plus two sea days from April 7 - 14th and since the price was so good, we might as well book a balcony and Air Canada (of all companies - it's usually the most expensive) had an excellent seat sale on....well you know how that kind of thinking goes and it results in a great vacation booked. We're going to spend a couple of days before and a day after the cruise in Tampa as well. A passport has to be good for six months past travel so we're in the renew mode. Fortunately the government has made the process considerably less painful now where you can fill out the two page form online and print it, then take it with two passport photos to the office - none of that guarantor stuff. Which we shall certainly do when we go to the city to visit our friend and scrapbook for the day. 

Saturday was spent with two coworkers doing the Christmas Crawl in our local town and this was a chance to sample nibbles, see all kinds of neat gift ideas and enjoy a nice lunch at Charlotte Lane (my belated b'day lunch which my friend treated me to) with an additional former coworker. So this is what retired folks do eh? We got back in time for me to walk the dog and head out for a 60th birthday celebration for another coworker. We played games from childhood (I landed flat out trying to skip and fell over at hopscotch) followed by visiting and a great potluck meal. The shore captain joined us a bit late as he was dealing with the tides and grounding out / floating a boat to put a buoy catcher around the prop. 

Beauty eh?
Sunday I gave myself permission to have the day off. I had intended to go the writing group meeting but.....there are only so many hours in the day and days in the week. So I caught up on my unread newspapers and emails, downloaded an e-copy of Echo Heron's latest book - it's not a nursing story it's a historical novel called Noon at Tiffanys and I can't wait to get into it on my new Kindle, walked the dog - beautiful sunset here on the right - and generally enjoyed myself. Baked some cranberry scones for the life partner from the milk calendar - recipe link here - they were yummy:

Recently, in addition to the power Frenchy shopping (and ooh la la I have made some great scores) the results of which shall not be revealed publicly until after Santa visits, I have been doing some serious online research for DIY projects and procuring of supplies. These two endeavours are in keeping with the 'buy nothing new' decree for Christmas this year. Everything must either be self created or repurposed. I can attest that it has relieved a great deal of seasonal stress - and that's even before I begin all the creating. 

I have been shopping online as well for some items on my to-do list. My ethernet to usb adapter for use north of 60 arrived from Apple yesterday - UPS was getting so insistent on trying to deliver it they left warning sticky notes as it was the second attempt so I had to direct them to my neighbours. My clinical practice guidelines textbook arrived - if something sounds too good to be true, it likely is - and it's an earlier edition than I 'thought' I'd purchased. Inattention is the hazard of late night shopping online. Tonight I ordered a travel light therapy lamp (on the suggestion of a professional) for dealing with the 24 hours of darkness I'm heading to in January - to reset my circadian rhythms and reduce disorientation. Not cheap but....if it works. I was reminded of my return to the top of the world by this article both online and picked up by the provincial newspaper about judges working in Nunavut:

On a less humorous note I was reminded of the reality of traveling in the north by a FaceBook post from a  coworker who was heading back to Kitikmeot the following day. She brought the crash last weekend of a small plane to our attention - the men were being flown out of a mine site near Snow Lake, northern Manitoba to Winnipeg. The pilot was the fatality and there were another seven injured. The small planes, the over whelming work at the health centre that day was sobering for those who travel frequently:

Today I took the car in for servicing - got to maintain it until summer is the plan - shopped at Frenchy's while I waited then accompanied a friend to clean out some old RNANS materials stored at the hospital and we rewarded ourselves with lunch at the bistro where the food is good and the service rather uneven. Got caught up on all the news. Came home to walk the dog with my buddy and as we returned down the driveway we were met by....Gary who had just been out for a stroll himself. I don't think he's learned to open the door, he likely escaped (and influenced Stanley to do the same) while I was bringing parcels in from the car but it was disconcerting. And Stan being such a fraidy cat was hiding until dark, then skittish and had to be coaxed in and is finally recovering from all the excitement now. Those kitty boys!

Well, enough catching up. Oh, as well my swimsuit (obviously NOT for the north of 60 but for the cruise) arrived from LLBean and it looks good - my self esteem isn't strong enough tonight to try it on and look in the mirror, I'll think about that tomorrow. As well as try to straighten this place up a bit as I've had notice of a visit tomorrow afternoon from a coworker. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'll get IT on the line

The teacher daughter mentioned "wow, you've gotten a lot of things done" as I outlined how I was ticking off the to-do list this week. In discussion we decided that my eight weeks 'off' were similar to her summers where the break stretches out ahead of you, you get a few things accomplished, then it gets busy and before you know're back to work, but there is the benefit during this time of not having to forego a social occasion unless you have another previous social commitment. And of course my plan is to have these two month breaks on a regular basis. 

My list of accomplishments runs to editing and reordering another photobook for myself - it's like building a house, after you've done it two or three times you get it exactly the way you like it. I sorted out my online coupons and thus have some more projects in the planning. I ordered another two pairs of Tilley travel underwear. For those familiar with their slogan of 'two pairs will take you around the world' the sky's the limit of what four pairs will do for you. I was online shopping through and attempting to receive air miles (of course) on an ethernet to usb converter to use in the north (removes the requirement for a router) which is small and costs about $30 so I found one with a Canadian flag next to it, but when I attempted to put in my Canadian postal code - no go. This required a phone call to my friends at Apple and the very helpful young lad and myself soon realized that it was an American site - he conceded that it would be dang nigh impossible to figure that out except for US in the jumble of letters and symbols in the url address. So, the only solution was - order from Apple Canada and forgo the airmiles. I did it but I wasn't happy and had my rant about "for a technology company that can invent all sorts of amazing products, you suck at website design" which even he had to chuckle at. In my additional shopping for airmiles I purchased a new swimsuit from LLBean for the next warm vacation and yes I had better get my airmiles for that purchase when the statement arrives. My Canada Goose jacket has shipped (yeehaw) and my Kindle has arrived via UPS.  I was very annoyed to find a charge on the emailed Amazon shipping notice entitled 'import fees deposit'  in the amount of $9.70 - Rahul it is a very good thing that you removed the shipping charge and refunded the exchange on the Canadian dollar as this would've been in addition to those two charges. Sigh, everyone wants my money - what can I do? Now I shall have to learn to use my new Kindle instead of doing housework, good thing the battery requires charging first. I revamped my scrapbooked desktop calendar with 2013 pages so that it can accompany me on my travels but apparently in the online calendar page world you're not supposed to plan ahead more than one year as I couldn't locate 2014 templates to redo the following year so that shall wait until next fall. I did as well print 2013 pages for the main calendar as life goes on.

But my major accomplishment - executed with the assistance of techie friends/family from old to young is......drumroll please......downloading online movies to my Mac. Written on the page, it doesn't read very large, but trust me - it is! My plan is to have a movie library on my Mac should I ever find myself with time up north to watch a few. Since a large portion of the online world revolves arounds Windows there is the problem of conversion of files etc. This project involved polling FaceBook peeps for their suggestions - several of which fit with my plans - and then dealing with such things as KickAss Torrents (pardon the language that is the name) and uTorrent (to download), VLC for Mac (the video player) and several online discussions with a niece (who has been well schooled by her geek husband) and a call to the teacher daughter who said "I'll get IT on the line" and relayed my questions to my son-in-law, who was fairly helpful considering he was watching sports on TV and only muttered 'she's got a stupid Mac' at the very end of the conversation.

Had a nice morning visit yesterday with my buddy as we sorted baby clothes I just couldn't leave at Frenchy's for her 'to be born in March' grand baby - gender neutral clothing as her son and daughter-in-law are sensible enough to not seek to know the gender of the baby- what would be the purpose of that? Certainly not planning to exchange are they? We discussed our travel plans for the first two weeks of April and they range from a cruise, to visiting plantations in the southern US, to Costa Rica to.... lots of time yet to decide. The afternoon brought a rainy, dark drive for the shore captain and myself to meet up with the baby daughter as she had a physio appointment with the facility that 'fixed my back' as I highly recommended them. After a highway closure and diversion, she missed her original appointment and was rescheduled so we had a late lunch/early supper at The Knot Pub

which was a good way to spend a couple of hours catching up on the news of travels to Iceland, school, clinical and graduation plans. Apparently things went well with the visit so that is a positive.

Thinking of cooking....I'm off to a Pampered Chef party tonight at my sister's - as I said, able to take in all those social events without looking at the calendar - if I'm home, I'm not working. Here is an idea from Pinterest - if you haven't checked Pinterest out you are really missing out - for pancakes/bacon which I intend to try one of these mornings where you lay a strip of almost cooked bacon on a hot griddle and pour on the pancake batter. Cook, flip and serve on a plate with syrup. The life partner looked rather sceptically at it - but as I said "you eat it all together anyway" and since I'm the one to do the bacon / pancakes he will be the tester. He'll be lucky to be around at breakfast time as the push is to get ready for lobster season - only ten days now remaining before the big day and the traps are being loaded on the wharves as I type.  Off to walk the dog as the sun has come out and the dust is really showing up in the sunlight. Later. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The goose has landed

Home safely from the short self indulgent six days off and back to reality. An uneventful flight from DR (if you don't count the really tough landing in Pearson) which you would think with three pilots on board could have been a bit smoother. I told the travel partner that the landings on air strips in Nunavut were gentler. One very large positive of the flight was that since there was no inflight satellite signal the pay for view movies were offered free and I watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which I have been wanting to see for some time and it was excellent - a must watch if you get the chance. The short night in Toronto at the Sheraton Gateway was made even shorter by the shore captain not wanting to be late (the missing of the plane in Edmonton two years ago still ever present in his mind) so he was up at 0430 hrs and we were checked out of the hotel and on our way before the wake up call came. A smooth flight and a short visit with the daughter and son-in-law and we were on our way home. The reality began when we were bringing the luggage in and I noticed a mouse carcass on the braided rug in the living room and the carpet and furniture rearranged wildly. This is what happens when two felines and a deer mouse attempt to coexist. 

The life partner had a jolt of reality when he remembered that the thunder and lightening storm / power outage had killed his beloved TV. I heard him punching the on and off button repeatedly in the man cave as soon as we arrived and (excuse the dark humour but remember that I am a nurse blogger) so I told him that it reminded me of someone going to a visitation and repeatedly poking the corpse in the chest with an index finger to see if they would wake up. "What did you think it was going to do - turn on?" I said. He muttered that he "thought it might've reset itself" and wandered aimlessly. The situation was made worse by the fact that he'd stopped to see the son-in-law's new flat screen model on the fireplace. Not one to want to miss an opportunity I gave a grocery list to the man saying "since we both know that you can't live a day without television, you can pick up a few things when you shop for it"

The return to reality for me includes attempting to get my act together from and before a working away jaunt and acclimatize to the 'you are not just on four days off or a two week vacation' you are not working until after New Years mode. Yeehaw! I am feeling a bit lost though as the last time I was without work for 14 weeks I had a newborn and that was 28 years ago. Although I did get a goodly amount of things done today, my to do list runs to two pages and is one of those tasks (like housework) which regenerates itself. And of course my social calendar (because I can) is beginning to fill up. A road trip to scrapbook for three long time friends is pencilled in as well as some more visits/errands/Frenchy shopping - you get the drift. 

And speaking of drifts and the need for appropriate outerwear to handle the 'real winter' in January I am thrilled to be able to announce that I've sourced a Canada Goose jacket which will (supposedly) look like the one on the left  - the colour is called spirit. It was a bit of a struggle as I couldn't locate one in the city or through any of the retailers across Canada approved by Canada Goose but I was successful in tracking down one online in Montreal. It's a real process as there are so many counterfeit jackets now. It was also $117 of tax as I ordered it from Nova Scotia :( I am most relieved now and awaiting its arrival.  I had an online chat with my former northern roomie and we were discussing the MSF (Doctors Without Borders) presentation we are hoping to attend in the city on Dec 13th unless she is "weathered" in Hall Beach. My usual thoughts on weathered refer to faces or boards but she was of course referring to a flight delay caused by weather while attempting to get out of Nunavut. I found a website (a bit dated but things do move slowly in the north) for Taloyoak and so am sharing it here - note they chose not to document the white stuff:

It was a beautiful sunny day today. Not tropical but certainly unseasonably warm for this time of year. I managed to get laundry done and some of my tasks sorted out. I argued with Eastlink as to why I should have to use an incorrect postal code to register for online billing when they are perfectly able to send a paper bill to my correct postal code monthly. At any rate, the e-billing is now set up. But the situation was the real doozie. Speaking of dead technology....I had resigned myself to replacing the deceased Kindle. It took live chats with four different customer service reps at Amazon until the final one (Rahul) conceded that 'although it was not a common occurrence, the Kindle did need to be replaced'. He advises that I can have a new one for $74 (a savings from $89) and he will waive the shipping fee but when I call him on the cost as I've received an email advertising the same model for $69 he tells me that this is not for international customers. So I review that our Canadian dollar is worth more than the US dollar at present yet I am going to pay MORE than an American customer for the same product (which I am replacing after only two years) as there is no option to purchase this in Canada? There is a pause (likely where he says to his cubicle neighbour "psycho caller on the line") and he returns to advise that he has given me a credit of $6 to my account. And there better not be any extra customs brokerage fees either I pursue - he claims this will not be a problem. No, I'm not happy but at least I'm not as annoyed! Wouldn't vouch for how Rahul is feeling.

Chatted with the baby daughter who is heading within a few hours of us on Wednesday for an appointment so have arranged for visit/lunch that afternoon. She's in to the home stretch with her studies and doing very well so it will be good to discuss plans - talk of a western direction for job hunting as the nurse hiring here in the east is stalled. 

So, the luggage is stowed in the closet until March when we head to Cuba to visit friends. The 40" flat screen TV is set up in the 10 ft x 11 ft. man cave. I asked the shore captain if he had eye drops for the eye strain he'll have watching a TV bigger than himself. And it's time to get myself in to bed and adjusted to all this free time. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Photoblog of DR

As promised - I am posting a few photos from yesterday which will make this a photoblog today as they tell the story of our trip to the funicular and up the mountain and city tour of Puerta Plata including the amber museum, cathedral de St Phillipe, cigar factory, and fortress.  Lots of souvenir shopping and got to spend the day with two lovely ladies from Calgary.

looking up the mountain

cable car from the top

palm and pine trees together

on the way back down
larimar before it's polished

fish for sale in the square
no caption required
Although the skies opened up last night about 6 pm we were prepared with our rain jackets and beach shoes and headed down to the seafood restaurant (we're Maritimers and used to rain I replied when someone commented - look at those guys) between the flashes of lightening. We were spoiled as Francis didn't give us a menu but brought us a six course meal and the finale was the caramel flan which I love! Who is going to spoil me like this this next week? Another wet day today but it's still warm, someone else is feeding us and we're not working - how can you complain? Well, lots do but we are determined to NOT be the crowd at the seafood restaurant last night with high expectations (in a third world country) bad behaviour (you could not conduct a conversation over the screeches and yelling) and cheap (not one tip was left for staff). Glad they weren't Canadian is all I have to say. Off to find my borrowed novel. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pekinese crispy style duck

The past few days a wonderful day was had by both. The surf was down a bit and the ocean (and pool) were a perfect temperature. It was warm and quiet on the beach. Good for us, not so great for the vendors attempting to make a living. I contributed to the cause by buying myself a beautiful set of earrings, pendant and bracelet in larimar from Cheapy Willie Promotions. It was his first sale of the day at 3 pm so he was pleased. And so was I as it looked lovely with my black dress when we went to supper at the steak house on Tuesday evening. Francis spoiled us with 'specialties' such as garlic toasts, grilled vegetables and more along with our meal - I had a chef's salad, chateaubriand with bernaise sauce, baked potato, corn on the cob, grilled veggies and profiteroles for dessert. Yum. 

The only casualty of the week was my Kindle is toast. I guess if this is the only negative then you're doing well. The screen is indelibly etched with a page I was reading. Sigh. I shall have to contact Amazon and see about a replacement and transferring my downloaded books. In looking for a paper book to read I found the vanilla I've picked up for myself and others - hope I don't have to claim it as liquor. The books (take one, leave one) are now managed by the entertainment staff who directed me to the bookshelf when I described my dead e-reader plight. "Es meurte - not the first time this has happened" the staff member tells me. I discovered that a large number of German and French readers leave their books compared to English and the Kathy Reichs novel which I have yet to read as it is on the dead Kindle was there in……German! There were a few choices however and we're only here for another few days so I will survive. 

We were over to The Jade Garden last evening and enjoyed an Asian meal - in Dominican terms that is. You know the adage 'always remember your camera' well I didn't follow that rule and we encountered some fractured Engrish which I would've loved to document. On the inside of the menu at the oriental restaurant was a laminated notice that stated for an additional charge you could have "pekinese crispy style duck" we almost hooted out loud - clearly an autocorrect for Peking duck. When one of the appetizers (I think it was a croquette) was not describable I told the travel partner that I thought it was 'mystery meat' and he says "maybe it's pekinese" and that was it - we were lost. Where is your camera when you need it? The fried ice cream for dessert was great - not sure how Asian it was, but it was delicious. 

Arranged a tour through Luis for today -  jaunt to the cable car - the weather is much clearer than when we were here in March - visibility wasn't enough on any day then. Had a nice tour of Puerta Plata, St Phillipe cathedral, the amber museum, the fortress and…..the funicular. The clouds came in a bit at the top but we had a great view of the city, resorts and all. Had to charge the batteries so will post pictures tomorrow. A bit of a slow start as the tour guide was sent to the wrong resort and we both accused each other of not being there then agreed to disagree. Spent a few hours with some nice ladies from Calgary and the mystery was solved when the tour guide tried to return us to the wrong hotel so we were both there at 9 am just not in the same place :) Off to get ready for supper after catching a few rays at the beach then a swim in the spa pool And tomorrow is the evening for a local meal out with Luis and his espouse before we throw all the dirty laundry in the suitcase for home. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Beach bound

We did have a delay in our 'getting on our way on vacation' but….it is a beautiful sunny day (second in a row) here in Blue Bay Villas Doradas so all is good. Another day in paradise. Apparently it rained the day we missed so all is good. Arrived at 3 pm and after check in and getting settled, time for a quick supper and an early bedtime to catch up on the two days of travel. 

It has been very warm and steamy since our arrival and since this is November, not March we are enjoying perhaps 1/4 occupancy here at the resort. Took a walk around the beach this am and it appears that all the resorts are at about the same occupancy. The usual beach chair reserves with a towel or a t-shirt are completely unnecessary this time of year. Appears to be a few Brits, some Americans and a handful of Canadians. The weekend was a bit busier as it appeared that locals (perhaps as a reward for their work or a weekend reservation) bumped up the numbers to perhaps a 1//3 full. Lots of room in the dining room and no problem to get an a la carte reservation. 

Lots of familiar faces who remember us from March - it has only been six months after all although it somehow feels longer in between, must have been all that travelling we've been doing. Perhaps it's the 'we usually travel south in the winter not the fall' phenomenon. Not much has changed. A bit of maintenance has been done so the place is looking spiffy. Apparently there wasn't much effect of hurricane Sandy here on the north shore. Not too many photo ops as those were done in March so just enjoying the view and not capturing it. 

Had a lovely supper at the seafood restaurant last night and were thoroughly spoiled by Francis as usual. He's had orthopaedic back surgery so has made a complete recovery and is thrilled to be back to work. Tonight is the steak restaurant and we've already approached Luis to go out for supper locally (he is the one with a car) so that will be a bit more realistic. Have discussed getting up to the cable car one of these mornings for some photo ops and will have to deliver the the medical supplies so the days are allotted. 

When you only start with six days they don't take long to slip away. A update later if it's cloudy. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Runway Extension work may impact flight schedules.

It has been an eventful day - which at this time should have seen us sipping upon a rum punch (she) and a beer (he) at Blue Bay Villas Doradas, Puerta Plata, DR not waiting in Stanfield International Airport for a flight which will get us as far as Toronto this evening. We arose at 3:45 am and began our trek to the airport in high anticipation of a week's R&R. Stopped to pick up the teacher daughter and she accompanied us out to the airport to retrieve the car. As we approached the airport a thick cloud of fog appeared making it difficult to even see the exit. Hmmmm the shore captain mused 'wonder if the flight will go in this fog, oh surely they have instruments to handle this' and we proceeded through checkin. A fairly lengthy retrieval of the payment for an extra bag which we didn't in the end require. The money was one thing, the concern was that this mystery bag would cause troubles for us along the way. But troubles were already in the works. The security system is in a 'work to rule' situation and things were very slow getting through security. I get scanned for chemicals/bombs....whatever - I sure look like a mule/terrorist right? We finally make our way to Tim Hortons for a breakfast sandwich and hot drinks and settle in at the gate. The announcements begin for delays, we're advised that our flight has taken off from St. Johns, then comes a statement we've never heard in almost 19 years of fairly regular flying out of Halifax "you're flight to Toronto is cancelled, your luggage is being taken off the plane and returned to you, please make your way to the luggage carousel to retrieve it and go back to the WestJet counter to see what arrangements can be made for you. What we shortly learned was that 1) neither Air Canada (first flight out at 4 pm) or 2) Porter (flight at noon but into Billy Bishop Airport which is on Toronto Island and 45 min from Pearson) would enable us to make our 1 pm connection in Pearson to Puerta Plata and that 3) WestJet wasn't sure if/when they would send a 'rescue plane' for us as it would depend on the weather forecast (fog would have to be forecast to lift) and numbers and Monday was even mentioned as a possibility 4) was there even a flight to DR on Sunday? I made my way to a pay phone (having left the cell in the car with the daughter) to advise the daughter that we'd let her know if/when to retrieve us. After about half an hour the word was that a flight had been put on for 7:40 pm to Toronto and on to DR in the am. We waited patiently in line and when we reached the desk were told that there was a flight tomorrow at 6 am which would then connect in Toronto with a 9 am DR flight. We firmly but politely advised that we would fly to Toronto THIS evening to avoid an encore performance should Nova Scotia weather repeat itself. The gate attendant told us that with the runway construction work the navigation system was disabled and so the flight had been unable to land this am. 

A quick call and the daughter arrived to pick us up and back to visit with her and the son-in-law. The shore captain got a bit restless and so the plan was to go shopping for my Canada Goose jacket. Not to give away the ending but it turned into a wild goose chase. Three shops in Halifax all selling Canada Goose jackets and not one to fit this body. A faint promise of 'a later shipment' and my name was taken at two of the stores but I do not have much hope as the jackets have become a popular (albeit expensive) fashion statement apparently. It appears I shall go with plan B which was to shop online. Glad for two things - that we only took one male (the son-in-law declined) shopping and that my friend and I didn't do this chase on a day when we had more plans. We shall instead use our time in the city for other errands. We did however have a nice late lunch at Palladium Restaurant in Dartmouth and the shore captain is now a fan as well. 

I did manage to update the contacts in my 'smart phone' and download an e-book called Nurse Stuck in the Snow which is written by a nurse who had worked in Cambridge Bay as well as my next destination. Drum roll please.......Taloyoak (formerly known as Spence Bay) which I'll start out for on January 3, 2013 for eight weeks. I am posting some pics courtesy of my former roomie in Cam Bay.
Taloyoak Airport

Taloyoak Health Centre

Taoloyoak - sunrise or sunset?
Since there are 24 hours of darkness from November 25 - January 16 I shall do my research now. It's a smaller Health Centre with I think two CHNs and a SHP, no ground transport (meaning put the patient in the Suburban and drive to the airstrip) no lab (draw the blood, centrifuge it, manually count the white cells) no xray (the janitor - or nurse- does the X-ray) and a Doc on call somewhere in the region. Should be fun! The community is about 900 people - 98% Inuit. Exotic working vacations are the best kind I think and the roommate spoke very highly of the staff, community and its people. And that talk about - 50 c temperatures I am just ignoring for now. Am pasting a link to an article about the community - a bit dated but still good info - warning it takes a while to load be patient:

So we're back at the airport awaiting our flight - it's 7:15 pm and no sign of anyone at the gate although the departure screen is still saying 'on time'. Getting a bit travel worn and we haven't left yet. Fingers (and toes) crossed that we're outta here as we've already had our trip shortened by one day and I'm wearing my shants (you know those pants which zip off into shorts) which are not required in these climes. Hasta. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Yeah, this IS it

I was relieved to find the notes left by the only son and the dog walkers about the critters AFTER I returned as they go like this. For clarification - Stanley is the black, skittish kitty who has been left in our care by a delinquent teenaged (at the time) mother. The notes in sequence read thusly:

Dog walker # 1
Keely and I had a short walk and I fed her and the cats. Can't find Stan - have you seen him?

Dog walker #2
Walked and fed Keely in the a.m., left her out on rope, fed Gary, no sign of Stan!

No fear, Stan is here. Found bugger under the bed. 

An update on the electrical storm of the other night - the TV got fried! Now, for those of you who are familiar with me, you'll realize that this is absolutely of no concern whatsoever to me however......the life partner is another matter. as he is a serious TV addict. He has no opportunity to blame me as I instructed him to unplug the technology - he did not - I unplugged the computers (and other things which mattered to me) and he went to bed and not only didn't unplug but didn't (as is his fairly regular practice) turn off the television. So......what do you expect? Apparently he expects if he repeatedly pushes the power switch that it will arise from the ashes like a phoenix. Not gonna happen. 

Got out to run errands this week which included an appointment at the bank - nice to be able to discuss plans for putting away some funds, not asking to have some. Ran into a coworker and got caught up on the news, registered mailed my travel claim, bought Hallowe'en treats and had enough time left over for a dog walk with a friend and a cup of Lady Hannah tea. Ahh, good to be back. 

I made my way to the garbage bin at the end of the driveway today with a bag of trash and one of recycling and on the return trip the only son (who was working with his hired man in the barn on lobster gear) came out to chat and leans over the back of his truck. He says "so is this it?" I asked for clarification and he says "this is it, you're not doing anything else? you're not working now until you go back?" To which I replied "I am 56 years old, I have worked hard for the past month and I'm going to do it again in January so yeah this is it!". He quickly clarified that he hadn't meant there was anything wrong with that and I said "well, today I am going to have lunch with my friend" and strutted off down to the house. And lunch we did (you can check out the venue) while we discussed spring vacation plans:

Mixed berry and turtle cheesecake
The soup of the day was cream of potato and leek and I had a chicken and cashew wrap while my buddy had a Mediterranean panini while we shared a pot of tea. And of course we had dessert - no point of going out to eat unless you indulge yourself. But no we didn't have the Hallowe'en treats as we both had some of those left over with just a few kids coming to the door these days. My phone (which was trying to die as I made my way home across the country) finally succumbed and I couldn't even get it to turn on so I made my way to the Bell store and selected a new 'smart phone' which does take a nice picture of cheesecake wouldn't you say? The only problem is that the thing is much smarter than it's owner as I couldn't figure out how to answer it when my friend called to say she would take the offer of a ride to the visitation tonight. I have since conquered this task - and a good thing too as it is a phone after all. I did end up with a three year contract but I have taken the land line out of the house so will be having a cell for contact with the outside world here and away. And no, it is not correct as the shore captain has been telling folks (including his mother) that we had the phone taken out for not paying the bill - I got tired of paying a $90 bill for telemarketers to harass me. There was no cost for the cell phone and I selected a smallish one for packing buying a bright pink shield for added protection so hopefully will be able to find it without my glasses on. It will be a lengthy learning curve I do believe for all the features. 

We packed a few things this evening - yes we are going on vacation AGAIN as we are heading to DR for a week before the push to gear up for lobstering gets out of control. There are eight (count em 8) boats heading out beginning today who will need to be unloaded and fish shipped in his majesty's absence so the whining has begun - I have my iPod charged up should it get any louder. This trip was my prearranged reward for putting in a month in the cold. Hopefully the weather forecast for next week in Puerta Plata will not be accurate or the precipitation predicted could all fall at night. I do however, have the Kindle charged up in case there should be lots of downtime. Will be in touch upon our return. 

Off to polish up the eulogy notes for the afternoon funeral, then looking forward to supper with good friends tomorrow evening. I should pack one of these days. Hasta