Saturday, July 25, 2015

Retiring? Not Me

As of July 11th, we now have half our children 'married off' and the other two are sorted out in that direction. The weekend went pretty well with beautiful weather and the whole family together in one spot - neither of which happens very often. Sunny outdoor vintage wedding  with even a 1959 Ford Galaxie to pose with, wonderful meal and lots of family to visit and chat with. The only slight bump in the road was….. the father of the bride. When the bride, maid of honour, bridesmaid and mother of the bride headed in to town to have hair and makeup done, he was left at home with strict instructions to arrive by 4:30 pm for photographs. At the appointed hour, I phoned his cell only to be told that he was a few minutes away and traffic was heavy. Oh really? When he stepped out of his vehicle, already late, it became apparent that he was not wearing his black suit, but a very tight brown pinstripe from years ago. "Where is your suit?" prompted the reply "I don't know, you must have not picked it up from the cleaners". That was easily countered with "I went back north after the cruise in September and I asked you last week to check on your suit". Spoiler alert - saying yup and not looking in your closet is not checking on the suit. At one point in the very warm evening, mister's aunt suggested that he remove his jacket and he disclosed that his belt wouldn't fit in the loops, his belly was twisted down over the pants and he might explode. On Monday, he arrived home with his black suit in a dry cleaners bag proudly announcing "look what I found?" Good thing the unretrieved clothes aren't given to homeless people!

The electrician daughter required current first aid/CPR so we arranged an informal course at the house on Monday. This included a fitness instructor/house painter friend of ours, another fitness instructor/esthetician who is almost a part of our family as a longterm buddy of the electrician plus her very cooperative four month old and  our teacher daughter. We shared a quick supper and made our way through the material by the end of the evening. Painless.  

The visit is always too short and so the electrician daughter was too soon off to the airport. We stopped to run some last minute errands, that is…. Walmart and Dollarama for the Cuban friends. A nice supper at the all you can eat sushi spot near the resident daughter and son-in-laws place and I only had to put one napkin full in my purse to escape the 'you didn't eat it all' charge. Home for the traveller to pack (never as much fun as distributing the goodies) and crawl into bed for a short night. Up and out the door before 5 am and the 20 minute run to the airport. A quick goodbye and I was on the highway and home by 8 am. 

Dog days of summer?
The next day as I was heading out to pick up a few groceries, I noticed the motorcycle ahead of me had an interesting
variation. My trusty dash cam showed a small white dog ? spitz in the backpack of the long haired greying driver. At one point the little guy looked over his shoulder as if to say "what are you looking at?" It is not unusual to see a dog sticking it's face out the window or even being transported in the back of a pickup but….a shoulder ride on a motorcycle? Rural living at its best. 

The life partner and I (having agreed to weekly dates when I'm home) took in a movie (matinee so no naps) and enjoyed Trainwreck. There were enough sports bits to keep himself occupied and a real cameo by Lebron James who even I recognized. The next evening four of us 'ladies' took in Magic Mike XXL and as expected enjoyed it thoroughly. The dancing was even better this time than first one. Ahhh.

We gifted the aging couch to the newlyweds and purchased a new one - first from a store in
35 years - and thankfully we have a good sized living room as the trend is to large furniture. I gave the shore captain a choice of two to choose from (no way to mess that up as long as I could live with either one) and he visited the furniture store, ordering it - this because with the chaise piece it is either right or left handed and we required (of course) due to access/egress issues the one they didn't have in stock. When the very pleasant delivery team arrived, they were also bearing a small rocker/recliner - NOT what I asked for! A quick call brought the announcement "they don't make any other kind of chairs now". Oh really? The negotiated agreement has been for him to take the door to the man cave off the hinges and install the chair there next to his. I have ordered a grey chair cover for the remaining 'real' chair in the living room. We did however, follow the maxim that it is important to purchase furniture the colour of your pets. The magic geranium phenomenon (you did read that story in elementary school didn't you? it's the one where the gift of a geranium set on a table makes it look shabby so it must be painted, then chairs etc etc) led to the removal of the yardsale coffee table and installation of antique trunk with a lexan sheet  as a top (if you have to ask what it costs you can't afford it but…perhaps I should have) so the redecorating continues. 

The prodigal son and his girlfriend have purchased their first own place outside of town, so renovations are ongoing. He has proven himself to be an acceptable carpenter, painter, plumber and electrician (much of it from working on boats). He is not known for his finish work though, so his father has been installing the kitchen cabinets. They are getting anxious to move in and the boy to get back out on the water. 

Have been continuing with my online course and enjoying the thought provoking material about sub Saharan Africa. I noted an interesting term was climate disruption instead of climate change and that is much more applicable isn't it? Change denotes a gradual shift and the environmental issues are anything but. The material is mostly video so uses up large amounts of data, which previously had not been of concern to me. Regarding the Eastlink cap I sent emails to the premier brought an auto reply, no response from our MLA and the neighbouring MLA stated that this corporation wasn't listening to anyone, even the premier. This after taking $20 million just five years ago to set up the Rural Broadband network. Of note, there will likely not be photo heavy future blog posts. My summer neighbour invited me over to eat cheesecake - yummy with fresh strawberries on top and we killed a bottle of wine. I was much more agreeable after that. We were invited out for supper and had a wonderful evening of food and conversation and so I got over myself. 

This weekend we are into some stateside trip planning for next month as the concert tickets for August 15th - Huey Lewis & the News are joining Jimmy Buffett so there will be preconcert tailgating + + Tickets for the Nova Star ferry across to Portland, the Amtrack Downeaster to Boston and then retrace the route of last year on the commuter trains to a hotel near the Xfinity Centre. The teacher daughter and son-in-law will be in Boston that weekend (after hiking in the white mountains of New Hampshire) to take in ball games so we will join them at Fenway for Sunday's Boston vs Seattle game. May extend our stay a bit to conduct some seafood business but….with our Canadian dollar at such a disadvantage….not sure on that. The only stipulation I made to the travel partner was to pack one of his Hawaiian shirts for the concert and a Red Sox t-shirt for the game - we will manage the week with a knapsack. To add to the vacation planning mode here is a link to grabbing good travel photos:

Invited out for a BBQ tonight, so a pre-entertainment La-z-boy nap is taking place for the shore captain who was up very early to see a boat off on its first fishing trip after a two month refit and then unload a few others. Vacations at work are causing him to be in several places at the same time so he is looking forward to his 'turn'.

Walked the dog before it got too warm (she tolled lots of ducks across their pond and a neighbour advised the guinea hen chicks had hatched - from 26 eggs but I was afraid to ask how many of them) and have read some in the book I've wanted to read for some time - Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw by Will Ferguson and it is an excellent read. Other than that, I can't claim I've been very useful today. Oh well….Am aiming to use up some coupons for for photo books before they expire so must get my act together - maybe tomorrow. 

I have surprised myself by discovering that I am not ready to retire. I had always thought I would retire early (hence the name of this blog) and most certainly would've if I'd been still employed in this province as it was no longer any fun, but this summer has taught me that I would go bonkers if I thought I wasn't ever going to work again. In fact having the summer off for the wedding/family visit and in anticipation of our Cuban friends being approved by the Canadian Embassy to visit us is stretching out ahead of me. They weren't approved and you can ask Stephen Harper why! I have conducted an informal poll and discovered that MANY different visitor visas from a myriad of countries have not been approved for visits. Appears it's easier to move than visit here. 

So for the self improvement project of the day I leave you with this link:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hungerlust and more

Yesterday I was on the road and listening, as per usual, to CBC radio when an intriguing piece came on Q. Here is the link:

I was thinking that the writers, artists and creators had a dream job as the 'curator' was explaining it. He couldn't divulge 'those who he reported to or would be summarily fired' which gave me a flashback to Charlie's Angels. Sounded like a fun gig. 

I met up with my two oldest daughter's in Lunenburg and we had lunch at The Salt Shaker Deli. The food was as good as I remembered while we had a great catch up. It was especially good to see the oldest one (recent red seal electrician I might brag) as she had a bit of an adventure on her way to the airport out west and totalled her vehicle. Very lucky lady, with only minor injuries, although the hassles with 'the stuff' which can all be replaced, will live on when she returns. In the meantime the planning for a vintage wedding is in the works - think Patsy Cline, Elvis,  and doilies, the house has been craft centre central. I spent a recent afternoon adding a six layer crinoline to the tea length bridal gown - haven't lost my seamstress touch. After our lunch, the maid of honour and bridesmaid were running errands for the bride aka baby sister, as she and the future groom moved their furniture into the apartment they've located in the city. She will begin work on neurology at the QEII this month. 

We are into the final days of wedding preparations here as Saturday is the BIG day. The weather forecast is for warm and sunny, which is a good thing for an outdoor wedding. Will have a full house this weekend when the bridal party arrives in the morning, decorating the reception venue tomorrow afternoon, rehearsal and then BBQ tomorrow night. The father of the bride has not been very helpful, choosing to continue his routine as per usual. You know those photos which circulate online entitled "you had ONE job" featuring the handle inside of a cup, or mispainted highway lines? Well, mister is in the running for that honour. We are having a lunch/gift opening here at the house on Sunday afternoon where I have decided to serve chicken and lobster sandwiches as those are the reception meal choices and so should suit. I purchased and roasted the chicken last night and himself was to bring the lobsters today to be cooked and shelled this evening before the cleaning lady is here tomorrow - so guests don't feel as if they're being entertained in a lobster cannery. And….can you guess? He didn't. I do not feel even a teeny bit sorry for him having to cook them on the BBQ and shell them outdoors at some point over the weekend as he brought the entire scenario upon himself. 

The armchair traveller in me enjoys looking at travel websites, even if the destination is not on my bucket list (and there aren't too many places that fit that criteria) there is still something to learn. You've heard of wanderlust? Well, I found an article on hungerlust which is... food tours. Now THAT shows possibilities. Especially in a number of European venues. Mind you, a local writer did an article in Saltscapes about houseboats on the St. John River which sound like they'd be fun:

So many vacations, so little time….

Have been doing some online shopping - made some canvas photos for the walls of the northern apartment. The Canada Post rural route driver who now realizes I am home, has taken to dropping off the large parcels which don't fit in the bin of the community mailbox. "Been shopping again?" he says with a grin at the front door. I also ordered some backpacks from Mountain Equipment Coop which the oldest daughter will transport to Cuba for a friend's daughters. While I was shopping I noticed a sports bra marked down from $50 to $35. It wasn't clear which colour was on sale so I ordered a blue one, which (after checkout) came up as $50. I called the customer help line and a young man  helped me with the celery/key lime item - which, it turns out is bright yellow. Even my helper had to admit that green was the colour which came to mind. For $15 I did not care what colour the thing was I assured him. 

I have started another online course from FutureLearn, this one called Africa: Sustainable Development for All. It is very interesting material, an eclectic global group of students and as usual free. The following table is an example of some of the information:

Due to bandwidth issues I have not been doing courses in the north as they are very video heavy. Eastlink, our local internet provider here, has announced that at the beginning of next month they will be allowing 15 GB of data and charging in excess of that meaning we will not be able to watch Netflix etc. This after they used millions of provincial tax dollars to set up the rural broadband network just a few years ago.  I composed a snippy letter to the editor as the Minister of Business said the Liberal government was aware of the situation and business decisions have to be made - reminded me of a "let them eat cake" kind of message written by someone with fibreop. The premier called the situation "ridiculous" today in the paper, so is clearly he is slightly more politically aware. Regardless I have hustled and downloaded my list of movies for northern watching this fall before the end of the month. And I've been watching TED talks and YouTubes + + as well, like this:

Subject of a story I wrote
A childhood friend (who is a great writer) and myself enjoyed a writing workshop recently at the Tatamagouche Centre with Deborah Carr (she wrote the biography of Mary
Lounge in the lodge
Majka a naturalist in NB and a wonderful read). The setting is glorious and it is a very relaxing way to spend the weekend. I thought I'd try my hand at some of the wonderful nature writing exercises we practiced, so from this week…..

This morning I experienced one of those never before, not likely to be repeated seconds long glimpses into perfection. As I straightened the vintage quilt (commissioned for my hope chest) on the bed, I heard a squawk and glanced out the bedroom window at the flawlessly still, reflective surface of the sheltered harbour we overlook. Two great blue herons gliding closely above the calm water surface with their  Icarus like wing tips spread just metres apart, led by long yellow bills, outstretched necks with head bump, elliptical smoky blue bodies and gangly knotted kite tail legs trailing behind reflected completely in the saltwater mirror. Three seconds of sheer beauty was my allowance as they disappeared behind the row of salt sprayed knobby spruce guarding the cobble shore. Ah, just a bit more….please. Stunning. 

Will have to apply those techniques to some northern writing in the fall. Had a quick message from my job share partner as she was enroute to Rankin Inlet - she does a contract somewhere else in between our job share rotations. Made me appreciate being off for the summer even more, if that's possible. 

And….just because we all just need to take a deep breath sometimes and have a good chuckle….toddler quotes:

The next post will be notification of wedding survival…...