Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We assembled a crack team

We're into the final stretch now of the holiday blitz and with plans to be the hostess with the mostest for two functions this week instigated by the life partner - life is good but....busy. Although it's been it's been 11 days coming, if this update were not to occur tonight, well it likely wouldn't happen for some time. The western daughter will be arriving shortly and after a city visit we will all be together for supper on Saturday night - into the countdown now. 

The baby daughter is here having arrived with much fanfare on the 9th by having to be rescued on the side of the road over an hour away. She was driving a 1999 Audi wagon and it lit up like a Christmas tree on a remote section of the highway so....off I go. I finally locate her and we transfer the baskets and baskets of laundry to be washed "Mom do you know how much it costs to do this in the laundromat?" groceries as she's converted to not eating wheat (I advised that if this fad Dr who's written Wheat Belly suggests she drink the purple koolaid that she not do so) and had her own food, and various bits of luggage. In the middle of this excitement in the dark a large shape growled at me and I realized that she had brought Diesel the large AmStaff (American Staffordshire terrier) with her which is now a part of her life as he came with the boyfriend. He was warned and transferred to the back seat and we were off. 

Monday consisted of finding a VW place that would work on the car and a towing company. We took ourselves up to yoga class and both enjoyed - we needed the relaxation. A really windy, rainy day so we did some crafts and baking until....the power was off for over five hours. We coped with the crank radio and lantern, flashlights and candles but the shore captain chased generators at the tank house, had me call NS Power and finally crawled into bed at 4 a.m. 

Tuesday missy had to take the car keys to the mechanic so he could try to start it and find out what was going on. He confirmed that the alternator was toast, that a new one could be as much as $1100 and thus he would have this one rebuilt as soon as he could. Along the way the baby daughter stopped at the nursing home to see when her shifts would start only to find out that her name wasn't on the time sheet and all the management was away for the next four days. Apparently the manager had 'forgotten'. Since she had left her job in NB early as she had confirmed the date to start, she was NOT impressed. 

Wednesday the car didn't move (remember this part) as we crafted, walked the dog, baked and were otherwise engaged. The call came from the mechanic to say the alternator was rebuilt and reinstalled after five hours of fighting with it and the total bill was $314. So certainly not as bad as it could've been. 

Thursday was the day I had planned to visit my birthday twin and deliver her wedding gift as I was up north on the big day and then head in to the city for an info session. It was a frosty morning so I popped out to warm up the car and.....the key had been left turned on since the Tuesday, delivering the Audi key outing and it was completely dead. I called the shore captain to ask about jumper cables but his secretary told me that he was wading around in the tank and had left the cell on his desk (so he is learning somewhat as several of them have gone for a swim). The boy captain (who didn't have jumper cables) advised that there was a tickle charger in the barn. I called my friend and she was just leaving for a physio appointment so I advised we'd manage with the charger. However, she shortly arrived to rescue damsels in distress with the jumper cables - as if any of us had ever jumpstarted a vehicle. We assembled a crack team as the baby daughter limped down from the barn and had telephone advice from the mechanic boyfriend, my buddy with arthritic hands couldn't squeeze the handles and me without my glasses trying to read which post was positive or negative. My friend says calmly "if we blow up either or both of these cars I'm going to be very annoyed". A few snaps and sparks but we managed very quickly to start the car and she heads off for her appointment as I phone to advise she'll be late as she was being a rescuer. With my chauffeur driving we were off to retrieve her car but as we disembark to pay the bill she discovers she's forgotten her wallet. Le sigh. I run my errands at Walmart as I need to set up a PIN on my visa. Done. A beautiful sunny day to visit and deliver the gift, enjoy the wedding photos (she photographed our wedding 35 years ago) and then a stop at the nearby Frenchy's following, then head in to the city to meet up with my friend for supper at Curry Village and on to the Medicin sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) recruiting session where I met up with my northern roommate. Would I do MSF? Not for a bit as they pay $1850 per month so I can't really afford to volunteer for them just yet. It was a clear late night drive home with a beautiful meteor shower to accompany me and I saw some amazing flameouts. 

Friday morning the baby daughter headed in to physio again and would you believe it? Left the lights on and had to jumpstart my car again!!! It was a fairly new battery but...

Saturday I got the decorations up around the house as I entertained the ladies who do lunch (from my workplace) as they came for lobster sandwiches and eggnog cheesecake and lots of catching up. It was a great sunny afternoon which I'll think about when I'm in the total darkness in a couple of weeks. Sunday, the tree made it into the stand in the living room making the house smell beautiful. 

Monday was an orientation shift for the nursing student daughter at the nursing home and so I puttered about wrapping gifts and ticking holiday chores off the list. As I headed up the driveway I noticed the window in the front of the barn was smashed out. As I went all CSI on it I discovered that a partridge had flown through the window, flopped around as it bled out and finally died on the table saw - gruesome crime scene, not sure of the timing of this debacle. Arriving home late the shore captain had to put plywood over the hole (three uncharged cordless drills later - you would never know he was a Boy Scout but I guess it was Girl Guides with the Be Prepared motto) as wet weather was on its way. After all the kerfuffle he managed to leave lobsters for the plant supper (which I have been drafted to host tomorrow night) in the back seat of his truck. So at 10 pm I had to retrieve the crustaceans and steam them. 

Today was the run for groceries and beverages for the supper as well as school supplies for the project in Belize which the chef (who is coming to whip my buddy and me into shape tomorrow) volunteers for. So, enough chatting it's time to haul this carcass into bed so I'll be ready to be the chef's helper. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

I'm Ancient School

Kicking back with an herbal tea - yeah cuz I'm just that kind of party gal on a Friday night! It's been a full - read great - week so I'm into a little downtime this evening.

Monday was spent on errands. I did make the mistake of asking at the plant if there was anything I could do on my my way for them so got to do the banking deposits. I didn't return the personal humidifier as when I got to the store with it the clerk simply opened it and handed it back to me. Kind of like taking your kids to the Dr and they're fine when you get there. You're really pleased things worked out but....makes you look like a dummy. At any rate I cheerfully popped it back in the bag and have it in the 'to be packed' cupboard now. I did manage to pick up more craft supplies while there of course. I printed my photos for my scrapbook project (details later) and stopped at the Salvation Army thrift shop as well. Busy little elf. Home in time for yoga class - which was much easier on this old body this time around - and then out for a dog walk.

Tuesday I discovered the shore captain had left his cell phone home (when it rang and someone was looking to buy lobsters) so this meant that I made another trek to the plant to deliver the cell. The extremely high landings and weak markets have resulted in a large inventory of crustaceans being held. Each one of those crates floating in those tanks holds at least 100 pounds of lobsters. Hopefully those critters will start moving for the holiday market soon. If the numbers of transport trucks we passed / met on the way to and from the city was any indication some are finding their way to plates.

Wednesday was the day of departure on our girls road trip but first I had to make (for the third day in a row if you're keeping track) a trip to the plant. This time to pick up the lobsters for the teacher daughter in the city as her father forgot to bring them home (I'm shocked - not). We were very efficient in our travels and managed to tick lots of items off our to-do list. I picked up a silicone loaf pan (packs well) at Canadian Tire and another pair of Max Heat socks at Marks Work Wearhouse which will keep my tootsies toasty in Taloyoak. I ordered a new snorkelling mask with prescription lenses, then we submitted our passport renewal applications. We headed over to Pipa for a Brazilian/Portugese supper and met up with son and daughter-in-law for my travel partner and daughter for moi and had supper and caught up on the news until it was time to walk the half a block to Neptune. Us four ladies very much enjoyed the musical ELF (it wasn't really like the movie but great in its own way) from very good balcony seats. We caught the ferry, then bus to pick up the car and home to bed.

Thursday we headed over to our long time buddy's place and visited and scrapbooked the day away. She was the hostess with the mostest and we all shared our toys well. I got about half of my northern album put together so was quite proud of myself. Her husband was home with a nasty case of shingles although he was managing a lot better than the man in this house would've with that (or many other) afflictions. We left with promises to make this crafting get together a more regular plan. We had an uneventful trip back - which is a good thing to report - and my friend readied herself to return to work today. Always good to get away.

This morning I was up to get myself together before the cleaning lady arrived on this sunny calm day. She was bright eyed and bushy tailed and sporting a squeegee and jug of vinegar stating she was going to tackle the outside windows after she whipped the interior into shape. I am thrilled that she cleans for me but I get exhausted just talking to her. I had thought of hiding in the spare bedroom and eating chocolates while she cleaned (how decadent) but I don't have any chocolate so I walked the dog and sang loudly to my iPod shuffle, then ambled over to the neighbours to loan her a book I'd promised, stopped on the return to take a construction photo and email it to the summer neighbour and by then it was safe to return home as the whirlwind was attacking the outside of the windows.

Not sure whether I was shamed into it or just caught the bug but after lunch I cleaned out and organized the freezer. I baked a banana bread (had to try out the new silicone loaf pan - it passed muster) and made corn bread (am thinking this'll work well for my northern carbs) from an online recipe - here it is:

Homesteader Cornbread

"This recipe comes from my mother-in-law in Canada. It's the most moist corn bread that I have ever tasted. It's great with chili con carne or as stuffing for your holiday turkey." — 

Original recipe makes 1 - 9x13 inch pan

  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal 

  • 2 1/2 cups milk (soured with 1 tbsp lemon juice)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 

  • 2/3 cup white sugar 

  • 2 eggs 

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk; let stand for 15 minutes. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs and oil until smooth - beat at least 5 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean.

It turned out really well (nice and moist) and even the life partner pronounced it yummy. I froze half to see if it will manage that well as that's part of the requirements for me.

Was online chatting with the nursing student daughter who had written an exam today (Acute - not too painful she said, if you get the pun) and was writing "Families with Multiple Challenges" tomorrow - to which I replied "that would describe us". She concurred and allowed that it just required writing with certainty about any topic. I told her that since she's always been a very definite girl she should do well. And since she's had a nurses sense of humour since her early years I'm including this borrowed pic on the left in her honour. She's looking forward to working some shifts at the local nursing home over the holidays - hasn't been there for a few years so will be some catching up.  She's heading down the home stretch now of the studies so the May 29th grad is the shining light at the end.
From the same site, my particular favourite is this one on the right  which is more appropriate for the longer in the tooth type and actually kind of makes me proud. Hard to believe that it is all that many years ago since I graduated as it really feels like months not decades on many levels, mind you I do keep reinventing myself with alarming regularity.

Soon time to get ready for the western daughter's arrival as she'll be home for two weeks over the holidays - hasn't been home for Christmas for a few years. She's been working hard and is on her 16th day of 24 without a day off as I post this - think she'll be tired? She's heading back for eight weeks of classes for her next electrical apprentice level when she returns so at least will be out of those frigid temperatures out there.

Off to make a lunch for the man of the house - gotta keep those old fellas fed to keep them going. Might hit up the local Christmas Fair tomorrow to put me in the spirit. Now the house is clean I should get the decorations up.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

May I know?

It's been a week since I blogged as I've been busy working as Santa's little elf - good thing that I am semi-retired eh? But you know it's time to  update the blog when you run across a quote like this:

Every occasion in life can either be categorized as a good time or a good story.

I attended my first yoga class last week and although it's supposed to make you more flexible it's going to take me a while to reach that description. When the instructor was assisting me in how to extend my feet while holding on my chair (yes it's seniors yoga - okay there I've said it) I gasped "I can't go reach any further - my teeth are really expensive" but it was unnecessary panic as she meant for me to shorten my stretch. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's class and hopefully I won't be slower than those 80 year olds who attend.

Four of us enjoyed the latest James Bond movie - Skyfall - and it was (as expected) excellent. To be able to watch Daniel Craig for extended periods of time without his shirt on is a good thing. And to those who say that the 007 movies are too violent, I say "was there shooting?" because for me it's all about the secret agent. Sigh. 

Due to rough weather on Monday and an official postponement, the first day of lobster season was Tuesday. It was a lovely day to get the traps in the water and I made my way over mid morning (I never get up when the men go lobstering and first day is no exception) to snap some photos. 
Coming in for 2nd load

Let's get them on and out there
Busy spot
Both FV Kylie Ann's together
After I delivered the orange rolls to the captain and crew - with all of them under 25, you can be assured that there were no lunches packed - I headed in to town to get my annual flu shot. Aside from a slightly tender arm the next day there were no problems. Groceries, a trip to the hardware store for supplies - was going to try a sharpie mug (the clerk even asked me if this was where I found the idea) and I have to say it was the first Pinterest fail I've had, then a stop at Frenchy's for craft supplies and to see if the tractor trailer had delivered any more Christmas presents for my family. I found a friend's description of Frenchy's on FaceBook as she tried to describe it someone from out of province so am sharing it here:

Frenchy's is a gift from God to those of us who love a bargain. There are a number of locations in Nova Scotia, the best ones at the western end of the province. Inside you'll find 4' x 8' plywood bins at waist level, filled with used clothes -- sorted into kids', men's and women's, and then further into shirts, sweaters, pants, etc. There are coats hung on racks around the perimeter of the room, along with suits and some "fancy" items. The clothes come from the US, and many still have their original tags, although there are some items that show signs of wear like tears or stains so you have to look carefully.  Prices have gone up a bit since the stores were introduced, but there are still some amazing bargains to be found. It's not for everybody, but I love it!

Then home to continue on with my elf projects - if you're into crocheting here's a lovely blog I discovered - has some really cute baby hats amongst other things :

and then do some baking. I am trying to use oranges in various recipes and sending them home with anyone who visits, as both the shore captain and myself managed to order citrus from the local school. I spent some time with livechat at Philips in trying to register my GOLiteBLU therapy lamp. Apparently the difficulty was that I live in Canada but bought the product online from Amazon in the USA as it wasn't available here, then tried to register it according to the directions in the box which were for......you guessed it - the US. As she kept typing 'may I know the model number' and 'may I know where you live' I wanted to SHOUT "I don't know if you may or not" and my friend said it reminded her of the Leslie Neilson line where he says "and don't call me surely". At least I didn't have to register it in both countries - what were all those NAFTA negotiations about if you have to go through all this?

I had visits from several friends this week and lots of smiles - ahh, did I mention that it's nice to be off for two months? Then on Friday as I looked to escape from the house (as the cleaning lady comes that morning) I headed out to meet a friend for a tea and catching up. Amazing who hangs out at Tim Hortons I found out. 

In chatting online with my former roommate (she of polar bear story fame) I discovered that she'll be joining me in Taloyoak in February. She suggested that if I've run out of supplies or have forgotten anything, that she'll be able to bring them in - how decadent to have my own personal courier. And I promised to try to save her some of the seafood I'll be taking in with me. Will be nice to see a familiar face by then. 

Since I've been organizing my stuff, which means I've been donating bags of clothes, sorting my jewelry, and finding all kinds of things...I unearthed a Maeve Binchy movie which I plan to watch with my buddy. Since the life partner has the laptop which plays DVDs hooked up to the large TV I asked him for directions on how to work it. The directions (which he spontaneously spouted after having been shown them once at the store) which I recorded, cover half a page of paper. Remember this is from a man who cannot recall more than two items on a grocery list. Adult ed principals in action - the teachable moment is where you WANT to learn to do it to learn it. And speaking of movies....to distract him from the woes of this lobster season - record catches and a shaky economy have driven the price down, there is a shortage of crates to keep lobsters in, fishermen are still insisting on selling and for buyers the uncertainty of the markets makes this a risky endeavour, long hours and high overhead costs etc etc. - I convinced him that we'd watch one of the movies the computer tech downloaded for me up north. Since the shortest one was Hot Tub Time Machine, that was the choice made by himself - sort of a cross between The Hangover and Dumb and Dumber - but it did take his mind off his troubles for a bit. The weather was rotten today and tomorrow promises a repeat so not only lobster boats to worry about but the fishing boat is out as well - no wonder he doesn't sleep, it's like waiting for a house full of teenagers to return with the vehicle. 

Off to run a few errands in the morning. I have to return the personal humidifier as I couldn't get it open - and I was so hopeful for something to put some moisture into the air in Nunavut - will have to keep my eyes peeled when shopping for a similar product. A friend and myself are heading in to the city this week to get our passport renewal organized and to order a prescription snorkel mask for myself.

And in closing, I leave you with this list to enable you to stay creative: