Saturday, August 31, 2013

Shakespeare to Undercoating

Did we make it to Shakespeare by the Sea? We sure did and in fine style. Stopped and picked up sandwiches from Subway and had a 'picnic in the park' on the sunny Saturday. My buddy's son, daughter-in-law and her beautiful granddaughter joined us as did a childhood friend who lives in the city. The two of us who have yet to be privileged with grandchildren 'borrowed' Ev for short periods as she is a very good baby. We received periodic canine visits as Point Pleasant Park is a dog friendly area. The funniest guest was a rotund dachshund who was adamant he was joining us and stationed himself in the middle of the blanket as he waited for a sandwich, his embarrassed owner said "dachshunds are pigs" and attempted to make his lab wait while he shooed the picnic crasher on his way. Reminded me of trying to chase two toddlers in opposite directions. The performance of Much Ado About Nothing was wonderful and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The setting in Battery Park is very suitable for Shakespeare and I can't believe it was the 20th anniversary before I attended. The cast is multi talented and I was impressed after the show, to see 'Beatrice' driving a mobility impaired guest up the road in the golf cart. We wandered our way up the hill, said goodbye to our Dartmouth friend and headed out of the city. A stop for tea and a treat and a catch up on all the news and we were home.

Kayaking weather for sure
Sunday morning (which was beautifully calm and sunny as you can see here on the right) I followed through on a promise to myself to apply for the Diploma in Tropical Nursing as they are taking applications for the December 2014 program which is the one which a counterpart and I are aiming for. When advised, a friend in Iqaluit commented "you two never give up do you?" I guess not. It has a two weeks prep phase, three weeks in Liverpool attending classes  and then three weeks post assessment at home. Think I can handle that and still have time to investigate the Beatles Museum. Check it out here:

So I carefully scanned and printed all the required certificates (until the printer starting fading ink) and then read the instructions where it said email was the preferred method of submission. So I attached all the files to an email and hit send. Have heard from them it was received and now will await the decision. Only 60 students are accepted per class so.... My buddy was applying but I'm not sure if it was before or after she attended the Depache Mode concert in Toronto. I had to look up who they were as I must've been too busy with small kids to even know them.

The weather was sunny, warm and pleasant the past week and so when I had to attend physio in Lunenburg (Nova Functional Assessments - who fixed my back a couple of years ago) on Monday, my newly retired friend was free to come along. The clinic was really backed up and I didn't even get started on my treatment until almost an hour after I'd arrived so my travel partner checked out the town, had a cup of coffee, the usual tourist stuff until I was ready. It was almost lunch time by then so we stopped for some sustenance.

I had a smoked salmon club sandwich - yum! and my friend had a great chicken, brie and cranberry pizza. It was delicious!!!! We ate outside on the deck and enjoyed the view of the horse drawn carriage tours, bus loads of tourists and general waterfront activity. Will remember all this socializing when I'm back to work (shhhhh but the countdown in into single digits now).

By Wednesday it was back into the social planning mode again as a girls night out at a local cottage
was in the works. Managed to round up supplies for BBQ burgers, some folks contributed salads, one of the guests of honour brought the makings for s'mores and we had a cake for my newly retired former co-worker. We managed to surprise her (which can be a challenge) and gave her some US funds for our planned 'southern belle' tour in December. The other guest being cheered along in her chemo treatments received a spa gift certificate for mani-pedi as well as lots of laughs and stories. It was for the most part, a large group of more mature attendees some of who had to leave early or arrive late (the bane of shiftworkers) and there were lots of war stories from 'back in the day'. Four of us slept over and enjoyed a full breakfast in the morning  before heading out. Ahhhhh, good times.

Friday saw me back on the road again like that old Wayne Rostad song. Up early to catch my physio appointment which was completed in a more timely manner, and for which I was pleased. I was also relieved to hear that Darlene felt my shoulder problem was not a rotator cuff tear but rather an impingement - meaning I'd trapped it somehow - and was settling nicely. If you can call being taped up and wearing a posture support brace in this heat nice. One more appointment before I head back to work. She's suggested that I lie face down with my left arm hanging over the edge of the bed with a soup can in my hand. Apparently the beds in my house are all close to the floor or I have exceptionally long arms as my knuckles graze the floor when I do this - good thing I can still oppose my thumb to all my fingers :) She tells me this is to stretch the muscles in my my left shoulder and chest out.

Underway to meet up with my former co-worker in Truro and then off to Amherst. Construction and really heavy Labour Day weekend traffic. Passing truckloads of furniture being moved to universities across the province reminded me of multiple Labour Days spent relocating offspring to institutions of higher learning. Connected with my friend and up to Amherst to visit with another former work colleague and his wife. They have a wonderful modern home on Penny Lane, just off Abbey Road which is filled with art, antiques and heirlooms. So cozy. We visited, shopped a bit in the downtown (which I hadn't been in for over 40 years) and I picked up some lovely lacy yarn which I couldn't resist, and then enjoyed G&Ts in the living room before supper. Discussed such topics as senior learning - Eldershostel is now called Road Scholar:

and the 'open university for seniors' concept of Tantramar Seniors College where both of our hosts lecture. It is a non profit organization which offers courses on diverse topics - check it out:

I offered my presentation on Nunavut, so may find my way back there. I will have it polished after presenting for Mid Week Break at the library in November. Supper of fish, fresh veggies and lemon tarte was delicious. Then we headed out to Tidnish Bridge for an evening of jazz which was a fundraiser for a new roof for the art gallery. The music was superb, the vocalist had a wonderful set of pipes (as did her daughter who sang twice) and the saxophone brought tears to your eyes it was so good. There was also a bass player who I couldn't fit in to the photo and a 'guest' who came to visit for the weekend and was added to the line up. He was a professional bass player who had played in New York with the sax player twenty years ago. We had no problem dropping the suggested $10 into the hat when it was passed around. What a wonderful evening of entertainment. Home for some more visiting and then off to bed where I'm sorry to say that I snored in the key of G so my roommate knew she wasn't alone.

Up in the morning for a wonderful breakfast which our host cooked for us of roasted tomatoes, spinach frittata and toast. We told them that the B&B would get a five star rating on Trip Advisor from us. Off
to source fresh blueberries at the local packing plant (for about $3 per box cheaper than I pay at home) then to the market in Sackville. One of the streets is blocked off and there is a wonderful assortment of fresh vegetables, meats, baked goods, preserves, vintage dishes, teas, soaps, ethnic foods, wine, fruits and live music. A quick stop at the Salvation Army Thrift Shop and then off for a walk through the bird sanctuary. There were many varieties of birds, especially very tame ducks and lots of dragon flies in the sun. It was getting pretty warm once we made our way to the gift shop but the air conditioning felt good and there were some beautiful, reasonably priced crafts which the ladies checked out while our host surfed the news online. Back to retrieve our stuff, thank our wonderful hosts and on the highway. My friend headed off to visit her sister at the trailer by the sea to make good use of the holiday weekend and I filled up with gas and out on the road. What traffic - it took me over an hour longer to get home today than the drive up. Lots of slow moving vehicles, more students being taken to university and a beautiful sunny day until.....I got within twenty minutes of home that is. I was met with thick fog and a temperature which dropped from 27 c to 20c in a few kilometres. Thought of wearing an orange vest when I walked the dog.

Lots of social activity for the final week of my 'time off' and so I'm being taken to lunch on Tuesday by two retired ladies I 'used' to work with, I have another physio appointment on Wednesday and Thursday a friend and I are going (weather dependent - although the forecast looks good from here) to Tancook Island for the day and Friday will be the car servicing and undercoating. At some point in that whirlwind of a schedule I have to pack. For those of you who haven't seen this video which is circulating it's the caution against taking your full of clothes roof top luggage carrier in to a safari park. Pretty cute:

It turns out that I will have company on my journey as a younger nurse will be flying with me as she heads out for the first time to be a home care nurse in another Kitikmeot community. I can't believe that it's been a year since I began myself. Looking forward to seeing both my girlies in Edmonton. One is working and should join me for supper, the other is coming off nights and having car trouble but the plan is to rent wheels for the trip to see her mother. Well, late and lots of kms on this carcass today. Off to hit the hay. Don't you love the quote of the day below?

"The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion."- Paulo Coelho

Friday, August 23, 2013

It Snowed?

Looking at almost ten days since the last update so time to get myself in gear. So much social life, so little time. As a nursing colleague said "looks like you've been busy and enjoying your summer" and that would sum it up!

To recap we did get to visit Rey from South Philly but the day was a bit more complicated than planned. Up early and off to the city we arrived at the cruise port before nine a.m. as promised. There was a steady stream of passengers and crew exiting through the gate and we waited patiently. Always interesting to people watch. Spoke to one of the custom tour drivers "SUV, will take you anywhere you want to go - minimum of four people and $50 each - you can walk on the floor of the Bay of Fundy, go to Peggys Cove, Lunenburg you name it".  The driver mentioned that some of his passengers had mixed up the time and were arriving at 10 am for his tour as their ship time was different. We waited until 10:30 a.m and no Rey so I left a FB message and we headed off to get the shore captain's passport renewed. Noticed a piece of paper under the windshield wiper - oh no, a parking ticket as the area required a receipt in the window. Sigh. Stopped at the Commissionaires and had mister's passport photo taken - quick and painless - and up to the passport office. No sooner had a number been pulled and I check FB to see a message from Rey saying "I'm here now, had a meeting since 9 a.m". Convince the partner that Rey may not have much time and so head back to the cruise pier and are very careful NOT to park this time. An interesting ride as it is noon hour in Halifax with lots of construction and traffic and I am driving up hills in my standard car - my nerves. Whisk Rey off to the waterfront and play tourists as we suggest he pick the spot for lunch so visit Murphy's on the Waterfront - his choice not ours. This means a draft for the guys and a lobster roll for Rey, calamari for mister and I can't resist the sweet potato fries so a snack. The service is better than I've seen there in the past, the food is expensive but tasty and it's a beautiful sunny day on the Halifax waterfront while we visit with a buddy so all is good. Drop Rey off at the pier by 1:15 pm as he has to leave his luggage for security. Now since this is Thursday, Friday is Bar Harbour, Maine and he is flying home to the Philippines on Saturday from Boston it begged the question "do you wear the same clothes or no clothes for three days?". After ten months Rey is very excited to get home to his family and "sit under a tree and eat my rice, life is simpler there". We suggest we'll come visit him in his country and in fact it is a spot on the travel list. 

Back to the passport office and a very efficient renewal of the now ten year digital passport. Through the city and over to Mezza for a late lunch. Looking for a parking spot on a side street from Quinpool Road and waiting to pull into a space being vacated by a large crew cab half ton truck backs up into my new car. Very slowly and so not much of a thump. We all jump out to examine the front of the Dart and the young tradesman apologizes profusely"I didn't see you at all". We decide no harm done as apparently with those plastic front ends if you're going slowly enough they will stand the impact and bounce back. He is extremely relieved that it's two country mice in the city who don't want a pound of his flesh, apologizes again and they get back in the truck. Likely had to go change his underwear after that close call. We trot in to Mezza's and have a wonderful lunch of tabouleh salad, pitas and batatas (potatoes which the waitress tells us is the only word in Lebanese that even sounds close to the English version) and then take baklavah to go for home. Ahhhhhh. Straight home as the parking ticket and the low speed bump are enough excitement for the day. 

Friday was a day to get provisions and then a friend hosted a BBQ. Our German chef friend and his wife were invited as well and he had not been to the BBQ address recently so as I stepped out of the shower the front door bell rang. Thinking it was the shore captain with his hands full I hustled out with only a bath towel wrapped around me. I gave directions and headed back to get dressed thinking that our buddy was really flustered as he would usually have some kind of a wisecrack such as "not now, my wife is with me". I phoned our hostess, advising I'd redirected them and suggesting that if they didn't show up in about five minutes that someone should go looking for them. She suggested that she'd send her husband to the end of the lane as "he's just standing here not doing anything, he might as well stand down there and be useful". We arrived to find all the guests accounted for so the plan must've worked. 

Saturday was a day to (belatedly) celebrate my baby sisters's birthday. Had my nieces and their children, my sister and brother-in-law and his sister as well as one of my sister's childhood friends and husband for burgers (with smoked gouda and bacon) sausages and hotdogs grilled by the life partner. I did potato and broccoli salad and we had an ice cream cake. One of the guests brought bruschetta dip which is wonderful! I had picked up some foam tipped rocket launchers for the little ones and they were a complete hit. A good time was had by all. 

Sunday morning early I was off on my road trip to visit a coworker from over three decades ago - before either of us had kids - when she was a military wife posted here and we worked on the same shift together. Stopped along the way to check out the storage site for my car which turns out to be a converted farm building - which is just fine with me. An uneventful but long drive and arrived by 4 pm.  Her children arrived for supper and we had a great visit of catching up. Hadn't seen them since they were little. 

Amish in Maine?
Monday we headed up to Florenceville to visit with a retired nurse friend who we'd met on vacation in Cuba. She served us a wonderful lunch on the deck and we had a great chat. Turns out that my coworker buddy and she know lots of 'in common' nurses. It was a great afternoon and before we realized the time it was 4:30 pm. As we readied to leave I stopped to take a photo of Finnigan their large, friendly mixed breed dog and he turned away several times when I pointed the camera at him. When I asked his owner she confirmed that he didn't like his picture taken. Cute, just like a little person. We retraced our route through the longest covered bridge at Hartland and then near Perth Andover we crossed the border at Houlton, Maine. My friend was looking for the 'Amish Store' and the female border inspector gave us directions but unfortunately it was closed by the time we arrived. Incidentally it is called Pioneer Place should you find yourself looking for a great chair. There was an entire Amish community - thought they were only in Pennsylvania - complete with horse and buggies, suspenders, straw hats, bowl type haircuts, beards and....bicycles. Well, they are non motorized aren't they? The shop keeper gave us (cross country vs Rte 2A) directions to Grammies Restaurant and said "I hope I'm not steering you wrong as it's been a while since I've been by there". He smiled and bid us good day.
Oysters and sweet potato fries
As we drove along it occurred to me that this trip likely wasn't a frequent one as it would be a lengthy trek on a bike or a buggy. We enjoyed a great meal at the little country restaurant as our Amish acquaintance had given excellent directions. It was certainly low key but the food was wonderful and as a lady at the next table told us "they put a potato field on your plate. I had home made sweet potato fries and oysters. Yum. What did you do today.....we drove to the States for supper! Home by 10 pm and my friend's spaniel was looking out the window for us by that time.

On Tuesday we were up in the morning and off to do it all over again. Down to St. George, then across on the Deer Island ferry (which is free for the return trip) and what a lovely little island it is. And yes we did see a very tame deer just munching its lunch. My friend's aunt had lived on Deer Island so she knew her way around the peaceful spot. There is a wonderful little park to watch the ferries go across to Campobello Island and Eastport, Maine as well as 'Old Sow' which is a tidal whirlpool. Back to St. Andrews and a nice lunch of caesar salad with smoked salmon on top at Gables, enjoyed in the sunshine on the deck. A ramble in town for some tourist goodies and then off Stateside again. Checked to see the shops in Calais would be open and so another border crossing. The groceries and gas were considerably cheaper and I picked up a couple of goodies. The Naturalizer shoes for $10 didn't fit but I still scored some good finds. I was reminded of this article I'd read on US shopping:

Home for a 10 pm supper and to fall into bed. What a fun filled two days. Glad my friend had the rest of the day to get rested up before heading in to work again.

Up early to get on the road for a physio appointment I was quietly brushing my teeth in the bathroom by the night light when I noticed a dark blob in the sink which hadn't been there when I started. I peered closer jumped! A small sticky toad had gotten in somehow. I involuntarily yelped and jumped then grabbed a towel and shook him out the window. I heard my friend in the kitchen so went to apologize for making the noise and she said "good thing it wasn't me I would have screamed" and when we revisited the bathroom there was Mr. Toad on the towel. He apparently hung on with his sticky feet. The toad was leaping, the cocker spaniel was jumping around and my friend and I were hysterical with laughter. I recaptured the toad and this time made sure he was on the outside of the window. Now we were both wide awake as I readied to leave. Promises that less than seven years would pass before we get together again. A smooth return trip with a quick refuel on the NB side of the border, then a sandwich stop and on to my physio appointment. I have somehow (posture the physio says) put my left shoulder blade out of alignment which has affected my left arm and shoulder. Hot packs, electrical stimulation (which made my arm raise involuntarily as if it was a chicken wing) and then readjustment and sports taping with the instructions to wear my posture support. Sigh. Cheered myself up with a banana cream pie flurry from Dairy Queen. Home in time to walk the dog.

Thursday was my nursing class annual luncheon get together and it is inconceivable that we graduated 37 years ago - how did that happen? The ladies were in good form and there were stories and laughter. I had lobster mac n cheese and it would be worth fighting someone for it. Delicious!! Time to pick up a few groceries and head home to enjoy the sun which had peaked out.

Today the forecast was for rain but a beautiful sunny afternoon was the result. We'll take it. The cleaning lady arrived in the morning and so to get out of her way I dropped my firemans breakfast contribution off to a neighbour for Sunday. She had her daughter and son-in-law visiting and unfortunately the son-in-law had spent the night in the local hospital. NOT the recommended way to enjoy your vacation. A short chat and off to my meeting with someone wanting information on heading north for nursing work. A great conversation at the home of a coworker and some of her questions were answered. Home to catch some UV and then walk the dog before supper. Which brings me to plans for tomorrow.

A friend and I are heading to the city to see Shakespeare by the Sea perform Much Ado About Nothing in Point Pleasant Park. Have wanted to take this event in for some time and the weather forecast is good so we are planning a picnic as well for lunch. Ahhhhh. Gotta make the best of these last two weeks home as my coworker in Taloyoak says it snowed for about an hour yesterday "big flakes but it's all gone now". Where are my mittens?

So with final instructions for living here is a link:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Vacations in the planning

My how times flies're on vacation. Spent the past two wet days attending to inside activities. Finished up a photobook of the spring in Taloyoak and sent it off to be completed. Repotted the houseplants which had expanded like loaves and fishes since last summer - doesn't sound like much but it was an all afternoon job. Watched some of the NFB Netsilik Series which was filmed in the Kitikmeot are in the 1960s but portrayed the ancient nomadic culture throughout the seasons of hunting, fishing, camping etc. Familiar faces and language sounds made me think that in less than a month I'll be seeing those again. Ah, but in the meantime lots of vacation remaining. 

And speaking of vacations the life partner (who I have convinced to plan ahead a bit) and myself have booked a trip for September 2014. This is pretty impressive as it's quite a struggle to convince him to plan for the day after tomorrow. We used our vacation share to trade for a week in Alfalgar Village, Algarve, Portugal  - here is a link to the town and below the reviews of the resort:

Still (as the RCI countdown told me this morning) 385 days away so lots of time to work out the details and snag a good sale but... hoping to fly end of August to Lisbon, spend the week in Portugal then make our way to a 14 day repositioning cruise from Europe to USA which will reduce the airfare and give us a taste of England, Norway, Shetland Islands, Iceland (3 ports), St. Johns, NL and New York. With an extra day in New York City this will put us home September 23rd and I've given work dates of availability for September 25th. Perhaps a bit close but...I enjoy a challenge. And if I'm returning to the same community - meaning I'm leaving lots of 'stuff' there and have everything packed before I leave - all is well. 

It seems that 2014 will be a busy year as I had previously made plans with a nursing colleague to attend the December Diploma in Tropical Nursing program in Liverpool, England. I am checking out the admission process and the 'need for a student visa' part. She mentioned that when she'd studied there before, because her mother was British that she had an "abode of entitlement", now that sounds pretty swish eh? Liverpool is cheaper than London but still....

Again on the subject of travels, the life partner received a text Saturday from the teacher daughter who was flying to Edmonton in the early a.m. It evolved the she and the son-in-law were on the same Halifax to Edmonton flight as her uncle (her father's brother) and they were all unimpressed with a fog delay. Her father had responded to her message with a long text message which truly surprised her (and me when he showed me later) making me exclaim "you really do know how to text"! They were on their way to visit a friend in Slave Lake then sister in Red Deer and one in North Battleford so will have toured a fair bit of Alberta and Saskatchewan in their travels. Talk of hilly hikes and camping made me tired. Her uncle was heading out for work in the western economy. He and I were chatting online before his first day as a heavy equipment operator in Whitecourt (was hired by the first place he visited) and he was telling me how pleased he was to see his niece's friendly face in the airport and on the plane. "Did she tell you about the cat that got loose on the plane" he said? "No, do tell" I encouraged. "Well, it escaped from somewhere and the flight attendant reached over my sleeping seat mate and picked it up from between his legs and he didn't even wake up!" I suggested that he must've been a frequent traveller to sleep that soundly. The eldest daughter confirmed that she had caught a cat once which absconded as they were deplaning - now that could've had tragic consequences if not for a cat lover. 

Well, off to run some errands in the city tomorrow - meeting up with a crew member from one of the Holland America ships, renewal of passport for the old guy, lunch at Mezza - a great Lebanese spot:
as we have a Groupon so all in all a day of R&R. So off to catch some zzzzs.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer time and the living is..........wonderful

My the time slips away when you're on vacation, even (or especially) an extended one. I have been enjoying doing nothing, doing just what I want and then reminding myself that I had some items on a to do list somewhere and ticking one small thing off. The weather has been the only deciding factor in my schedule lately and this week has been lovely. I read a book given me from an acquaintance who had worked in Nunavut, it's called Nurse at the Top of the World and it's a 1960s account of setting up nursing stations in Tuktoyaktuk and Resolute Bay, Northwest Territories and all the resulting wild stories.  Some of the information was still applicable but some came from my early days of nursing and are now just the 'war stories' we regale the new grads with. 

Today would have been my Aunt Gustie's birthday. She was a favourite aunt, my father's older, unmarried sister from East Boston who came annually in the summer to visit with her two Canadian brothers and their families. She had worked all her life as a waitress at Durgin Park in Boston where the staff is known to be very matter of fact. When I visited the restaurant with a cousin a couple of years ago the waitress urged me to finish my chowder by saying "less chat, more chew". Gustie owned a three story house in East Boston and when we visited there we sometimes stayed in the top floor apartment if it was vacant. My mother was always impressed with Gustie's 'rich Jewish boyfriend who she wouldn't marry' as he would take us in his large Cadillac all out to eat at upscale places we usually didn't frequent. Ahhh, back in the day.

A friend and I walked the dog last evening along the shore and she (Keely not the friend) became very interested in something stuck in the cobble beach. As we walked we found pieces of what turned out to be a skeletal jigsaw puzzle. The archeological/marine biologist aka the shore captain told us he thought the bones were from a porpoise but we're open to any suggestions, especially from someone actually knowledgeable on the subject. We also found huge blogs of jelly fish - tis the season - and lots of footprints below the high tide level on the beach which looked like racoon paw prints, which would have meant they were out in the afternoon after the tide receded. Odd as they're usually active during the day much. 

Went to town to renew my drivers license and no this photo isn't any more attractive than my last but at least it's current and I had the office all to myself which is usually standing room only. This allowed me to head to the tourist bureau to source some books for my coworker who will be entertaining her German friend. The employee at the tourist bureau who speaks German is a brother to a nurse I know well - small world moment. Time to read the the newspaper in the sun, shop at the Bean Dock for crafts and then have a nice lunch/ visit at Bistro 138 with the earlier mentioned northern employee and a retiring next year RN from my most recent ex-workplace. Think we have her convinced to try it on just for laughs. 

Tonight I made brown bread, blueberry buckle and travel arrangements to visit a coworker from decades ago who lives in NB. There were instructions to take my passport as we might head to Calais for shopping or if the weather cooperates over to Deer Island on the ferry. Yes please! Might squeeze in some visits to other nurses along the way too if they're available. Talk of a Labour Day rendezvous with a former coworker from Cape Breton and my local buddy and I are going to take in Sheakspeare by the Sea in the city with a performance of Much Ado About Nothing after she retires. I have planned a BBQ for my sister's birthday just before I head to NB, so her daughters and some friends will join us for the evening. Lots of social events, so little time. 

But now I must crawl into my bed at a very (for me) early hour as I am taking a former coworker for her chemo Rx tomorrow in the city and will need to be out of the house by 4:45 a.m. That's the shore captain's hours! Will get to visit with the teacher daughter for lunch before she heads out west so it will be a long but full day.