28 July 2009

Pleasant but do-nt-go-nair

brief experiences today. one good, one ewwy.

met dave, after work, in halifax to try the famed "donair" sandwiches. this is a local specialty version of the turkish doner sandwiches we ate in france. its basically densely-packed meatloaf on a spit that gets shaved off in strips into a sandwich topped with a sweet, creamy, garlic sauce. i couldnt finish half of mine and dave could hardly choke his down. i seriously did not care for those things. cant really describe it, but i wont eat them again. at least i tried it.

after the delightful dinner, we drove down young ave south toward the tip of the halifax peninsula. this street had some of the largest, most gorgeous victorian homes ive ever seen. dreamy. loved it. and the street ended at an entrance to the point pleasant park. there is a ton of green land at the bottom of the peninsula here. trails for bikers, runners, dog owners, and water lovers. we had a nice walk before sunset along the trails and hope to come back again soon.

(dave with seal carvings; view of a large trail in the park; boats leaving the harbor area)

Aaaaaaaaaand, i'm spent!

today we took care of business!

first stop was the RMV (registry of motor vehicles) to swap our michigan drivers licenses for nova scotian ones. this cost $72 each! but, the line was ridiculously short and we got the new licenses on the spot, or should i say licences (i dont get it, they use the verb licensing, spelled correctly, and then they call the piece of ID a drivers licence. weird). we also tried to get our new license plates, but found that the girl at border patrol didnt fill out the form correctly, so next time we go to customs/border patrol we have to have them fix that. ah well.

next stop was to the service canada office for a SIN (social insurance number). we found out, from the extremely nice government worker, that dave is the only one allowed to get a SIN. the guy told us to call immigration to check and see if we were issued the correct work permit, because currently, im not allowed to work on this permit as an "accompanying family member," thus i am not allowed to have an SIN (turns out, yes, we were issued the wrong work permit, it will take about a month to get this fixed but then i should be allowed to be employed...should someone want to hire me.). got dave set up with a number though and now he can go to a different office and sign up for government health care.

while sitting there in the government office, i noticed a pamphlet saying "old age security" and laughed. i asked about the name of the government program. arent people offended that it says "old age" in the title? he said the program was created in the 1960s when being "PC" wasnt a big thing and no one has complained to have it changed, they just enjoy the money that comes from it. huh. cool. seems like in the u.s. we would have had to have modified that name a long time ago.

now i needed some lunch. in downtown dartmouth i had seen this place called "old thyme cafe" that looked promising. we went in and ordered our fairly inexpensive lunch and sat down and waited. it seemed to be some non-profit organization related to women. the food came and was delicious. we got cookies for dessert, great and cheap. we saw "the elizabeth fry organization" written on a pamphlet and asked about it. its a group devoted to fighting for fair wages for work women do in prison and for helping train/reeducate them with a skill to find employment once they are out. they also help with housing and other real life needs. sounds great to me.

then we went down the street to open a bank account at RBC. went with a joint checking and savings. much easier to open a bank account when you speak the native language. not that they werent helpful in france, but this time we could ask every question we were thinking of and feel comfortable with what we had just signed on the paper.

while waiting at the bank, we got the call...that we got the apartment we wanted!! can we come and sign the lease today? sure! after the bank, we headed to halifax. we signed the lease to start august 1. we dont have any furniture, so we will be slowly moving in since weve paid for a month at this dump in dartmouth.

this new location (on barrington st) seems great for us. the city seems to have a lot in common with our lifestyle preferences. although it doesnt have a notable skyline or a huge hustle and bustle metro feel, its great for us. city life, near the water, with a small town feel. good stuff. also to note, we are on atlantic standard time (AST) which is one hour ahead of EST.

and at this point i am exhausted. we accomplished a lot today. and also gave away a lot of our money. i hate that feeling but i try to remind myself that its one-time set-up money. we wont be spending this each month. but it just makes me sad and anxious. anxious for a job to help fill some of the hole in our lifetime savings. sad because i cant foretell the future.

26 July 2009

Logs and bogs in the fog

the sun is still out, lets explore a natural area near the city.

dave found a hike about 45 minutes from halifax that was along the coast and included some bogs. great, lets do it! by about lunchtime we had our sandwiches packed and knew the route we were taking. it was sunny and hot in dartmouth and we drove through northern halifax and along the opposite side of the harbor, west of the city. the road along the water was beautiful.

as we neared the town of sambro, we drove into a bit of fog. by the time we parked at the crystal crescent beach/pennant point parking lot, we were in a cloud forest. the parking lot was crowded and families were making their way to the water. we continued on the trail and started the walk. in the fog, the temperature was low 70s, so being in a bathing suit held no interest to me, but it was the perfect weather for a hike!

we left the family beach behind and still saw people walking in flip flops with beach chairs, etc. i guess theres another beach up ahead...yes, yes there is. we came over a slight hill and it was naked-naked man time! all my eyes could see and then avert from were hairy nether regions. there may have been women there but i was unable to see past all the male. wow, i was not prepared for that. thankfully, the path turned and led us along a protective dune that gave privacy to me and the nudists. at the end of the dune, we connected to the trail and i could begin to refocus my eyes.

on some large smooth coastal rocks, we stopped to take out daves packed lunch. the fog was still there but we could hear the waves and see some crash as they got up close. afterward, we picked up the trail through the woods and continued along the greenery by the coast all the way to pennant point. the trees and shrubs were gorgeous, the natural landscapes (that werent enveloped in fog) were like nothing id ever really seen before. we were walking on a fertile coastal bog actually. i hadnt known bogs to exist like that.

(dave on the boardwalk near the nude beach; cool trees and grasses; me on the trail; the trail, fog, and coast)

at the point, we sat and enjoyed the sounds of the water again. then we headed back (about 5-6 miles round-trip). i was just euphorically floating on the intoxicating trail smells of rose, sage, salty air, and pine when i realized we were back near naked beach. there were naked men lounging on the rocks near where we'd eaten lunch and a few were actually walking the trails nude. seriously, how had we missed the information that this was a nude beach?

(us stopped near the point)

anyway, we finished the walk back at the family beach near the parking lot. it was PACKED now! this is a hot spot in general. and its foggy still and hundreds of people are sunbathing. its just weird. but, for us, the hike woulda been a bitch if we'd have had full sun. the whole trail was exposed. so, i guess we lucked out. i really did think the hike was fantastic. despite the oddities. and we had a good day. driving back to halifax, we exited the clouds into full sun 80+ degrees! what a sunday!

(packed family beach)

**dave partially contributed the title again

Gay day by the bay

today was gay pride parade day in halifax, and we hit up the festivities!

according to "the coast," there was to be a parade through the downtown today. with all the previous rain we didnt see that as something that would be fun. but, lo and behold, the sun FINALLY made an appearance. our first since being here. we parked down by the water in dartmouth and waited for the ferry to take us to halifax. we had to wait about 20 minutes and we could definitely tell that it was pride day. tons of teens were wearing their rainbow accessories, sporting some pretty rad outfits, and had some fun colored hair. it was a great 10 minute boat ride to the other side. everyone seemed geeked up for the day.

fresh off the ferry, our first goal was actually to see another apartment. we headed south from the ferry, and dave steered me through the local farmers market, set up in the old alexander keiths brewing building. cool selection of food stands, cant wait to explore it more when we live here. coming out from the market, we had maybe a 2 minute walk to this apartment. i can do this.

the apartment is right on barrington street, two blocks from the downtown, two blocks from the waterfront and farmers market, and minutes from the university and hospital buildings. i can do this. now we gotta put in an application.

as we let the apartment stew in our brain, we headed toward downtown. we stopped in to the "old burying ground" cemetery and found out robert ross is buried there (the british war of 1812 general who burnt down the white house). interesting. then we hit the city center. the local sex store was brimming with customers and the parade route was already staked out by pride supporters. yup, its gonna be an interesting day.

we turned up the street to grab a bite at burrito jax. not quite BTB in ann arbor but it worked. the kid at the cash register was cool too. found out he had come down to michigan for a red wings game at one point. had nothing but great things to say about Joe Louis arena and even enjoyed the rest of detroit. cool.

burrito in hand, we walked along spring garden road and saw what will be the end point of the parade. looks like quite a party. but we cant celebrate now, with the burrito finished, we hit up a cash machine, filled out the apartment application and dropped it and the cash deposit off at the office. we also find out the guy who saw the apartment after us also put an application in. grr.

oh well. nothing we can do now. so we head back to the parade route and pick a nice sunny front row spot. shortly, the police horses come down the street beginning the parade. there are rainbow flags, colorful balloons, and local organizations, political figures, and business owners out in support of the event. plus, what would a pride parade be without a few floats filled with some lovely transvestites and men dressed in feathers, leather, butt chaps, netted shirts, tube tops, shaved legs. good stuff, we'll be back next year.

(start of the parade; these three little girls were handing out rainbow tattoos. thought it was great; peacock and leather man; the last float of the parade. i thought it was cool that one of the manliest professions came out to show support for the gay community. good on ya.)

after the parade passed by, we hit up the visitors office for a map. we chose citadel hill, the highest point in the city (and a nice green space with a military fortification on top) as our first stop. then we charted a path to the propeller brewery home base. dave got some free beer tastes and i bought myself a root beer. yum! meanwhile people kept filtering in, lining up to have their growlers filled. i think dave will be a regular in this line...

(guarding citadel hill)

next, we walked to the start of barrington to check out "ideal bikes" so dave could get an idea of how much a bike might cost him. then we wanted a snack. we wanted to try local hot spot "economy shoe shop." the atmosphere is great...and we later found out that is all it has going for it. the inside is amazingly decorated and they have a back garden area plus an outdoor patio area in front. apparently, theyve won many awards for their nachos, so we tried them...ack. salty tostito chips with grocery store shredded cheese, onions, tomatoes, and peppers on top. baked. wow. knock my socks off. plus it took almost 30 minutes for it to arrive. no thanks. we MIGHT be back with friends for drinks only. one day. maybe.

trying to chase away the bummer snack we stopped in to the "paperchase cafe" for an apple cinnamon roll. it wasnt crazy awesome but it was good and the second floor open air terrace was a nice place to people watch. then, to round out our day we walked along the waterfront where a new boardwalk has been built. we walked from the newest restored area north to the historic fishing area with cute old buildings and a bride getting pictures taken. before the ferry ride back we bought a ginger cookie from the food court near the waterfront. sounded like a bad idea, but it wasnt. best damn ginger cookie around. we'll be back "loaf, leaf n' ladle."

(waterfront area looking toward georges island; me and one of the boardwalk dolphins; dave and i with dartmouth/woodside across the harbor)

while waiting for the ferry back, dave was asked by the woman sitting next to us if he was american. he was a bit stunned, "was it the way i walked over here?" (he was actually wearing a shirt that mentioned both the university of michigan and jackson hole, wyoming) but answered "yes." she began talking to us about our recent move here, mentioning that she was a transplantation nurse, that she had worked in san antonio, that she enjoyed dallas because of all the JFK history, and that she wished us a wonderful time here in halifax. thanks. nice people. nice city. good day.

**title suggestion comes from dave.

24 July 2009

Death by drowning

today began the reality of trying to get settled in this new town. and the rain wasnt helping.

so, in case you arent keeping track, its been raining since we entered canada. fun. this morning we had an appointment to see a one bedroom apartment near campus. when we arrived on the residential street we realized the place was probably going to feel too "student" to us. and we were right. ugly building, party-type street, rundown apartment, and...weirdly enough, it felt too big for us. bound to happen going from 235 sq. ft. to a one bedroom apartment of any kind.

the lady also happened to have a "bachelor studio" available down the street so we took a look at that too. it felt much more our size, still bigger than france, but one manageable room with a cutout area for the bed and a larger open kitchen. sure, its an option, but the location...

next, we hit up the local apple store to try and buy a power cord for my mac mini. we toted the mini, the monitor, keyboard, and mouse cross-country...without the cord to plug it in. good job team. so we need to buy one. looks like its about $60. grr. to chase away the rain, and the burn of apartment hunting we tried downtown for lunch. we chose the ciboulette cafe on barrington st.

score! we split a tasty shaved ham, cheese, and spicy mustard panini and a bowl of coconut thai curry chicken soup. sweet treats we also shared: triple ginger cookie and a vanilla cream soda from local propeller brewery. DElish! since we had time on the meter we checked out a bit more of the block before we got too wet and found the REI equivalent, mountain equipment co-op.

while we were fueled by food, we took care of a few more things. stopped into daves department and dropped off his heaping mound of geo books. awesome. and then headed back over to dartmouth. parked by the strip of banks because we need to open a canadian bank account and we need to get some info.

apparently there are 5 major national banks in canada. apparently they and the other banks of canada combine to make the "most efficient and safest banking system in the world." so, on one hand i guess thats good. but on the other, we found it means the account packages you can choose from are limited...and not free. we talked to Scotia Bank and RBC (Royal Bank of Canada). each had a monthly fee and seemed to be obsessed with the number of transactions you make per month. in the end, we took the booklets home to think about it.

back at the apartment, we were thinking that we wanted to research some more housing options. we jumped on kijiji (the local site similar to craigslist) and poked around. we made a few calls and found that...damn! apartments get SNAPPED up around here! we need to get on it. found an apartment that had promise and called. the guy said he could meet us in 30 minutes...back over the bridge we go.

the guy never shows up and i was peeved that we drove over the bridge in rush hour and wasted $1.50 and an hour of my time. grr. when we got back on our side of the bridge, dave stopped into the nearby NSLC. this is where you have to buy beer, liquor, and wine in this country. its retarded. 6 packs of decent beer cost over $12. grr.

then we hit the grocery store for like the 19th time since weve been in town to buy stuff for dinner. it is still raining, raining, raining. where the hell is the store handing out rain boots? i NEED some of those things. got back and cooked another go-to dinner from france...and it was kinda poopy again. grr. then we watched "vicky christina barcelona" that we had heard such good things about from people and felt robbed at the end. all it made me want to do was punch myself for not visiting spain. the movie, however, was "meh." grrr.

yes, these are all minor things, separately. but in this totally uncomfortable adjustment period they weigh much more heavily than they should for me. with all the looming large issues still needing solutions, i often rely on the little things to go well to float me through a day. when they repeatedly stack against me it can just feel like im drowning in a sea of hardships. how can i swim out of this? i try to think of my buddy scarlett o'hara, "tomorrow...is another day."

Kill 'em with kindness

dave headed off to work this morning and i had my first day alone.

dropped dave by the waterfront so he could take the ferry over to halifax. then i spent the day using the internet, pining for a job, and wondering what task on the "to do" list to start first. at some point, dave emailed and said we had dinner reservations with his boss and some geo students. okay, gotta get myself and, i guess, the car over the bridge. it costs 75 cents and i dont have ANY cash/change.

i go to downtown dartmouth and use an ATM machine. now i need to find a place to give me change. the first bank i try is already closed (its 2 minutes after 5p). the bank next door is open thankfully. i ask for change and the girl is happy to help. i confirm the bridge price and ask for quarters. she mentions something about the cost of the ferry recently increasing. i say "yeah, my husband took the water taxi over this morning." she basically stopped and stared at me. i thought water taxi was a reasonable name for that type of transportation, but apparently "ferry" is the only accepted term. i love being a foreigner again.

so, i have a fist full of change and i head for the bridge. its freaky cuz its only 3 lanes wide. for the morning hours, 2 lanes head into halifax and for the evening hours, 2 lanes leave halifax. there is no divider. i survive that...and im in halifax! first time on the soil of my new home. i am prepared to be wowed...

i hit the road mapquest told me to turn on and it says i cant turn left onto the street. so i find my way, less directly, to where i need to go. i pass the restaurant...at least i can locate that, and start to look for the road to turn on to get dave. meanwhile, all ive seen are houses, some nice, some rundown and some weird shops. this place is not winning me over. plus its raining and i dont know the streets and while their rush hour doesnt appear to be bad, it still sucks driving somewhere new with pressure behind you. i hit water and a huge roundabout and realize ive gone too far. i turn around and correct my error and arrive, grumpily, at the spot to pick up dave.

he drives now. we have time for a brief jaunt around town. he drives past a few places but neither the campus (dalhousie, where dave will be working) nor the city streets are that exciting. why did i come here again? but its grey and misting so things are bound to look depressing i guess. we pull over to walk through the public gardens and at least this place is in full bloom. good to see.

(public garden entrance; dave in the gardens; more flowers)

anyway, we get to the greek restaurant for dinner and i meet the nice geology crew of people dave gets to work with. his boss, chris, is a nice guy. short stature, wild/mad scientist/academic beard, friendly, genius. his wife, becky, is also a geologist working at dalhousie and her family goes back 6 generations here in halifax. shes an avid squash player, apparently the local sport. the others at the table are steve and sophie. steve lives in newfoundland (born and raised) with his wife and comes back to halifax often for work on projects with chris. and sophie, a german, is close to finishing her phd. she housed dave last february when he came to visit and his flight was canceled for several days due to weather.

anyway, they were friendly people and even went so far as to help brainstorm ways to get me in contact with people to find a job. they also had other general advice, tips, suggestions, and directed our attention to a local periodical on the way out called "the coast." totally in love with this paper, it is my bible.

we are nearly finished with dinner and a lady nearby is getting up to leave. she comes over, puts her hand on chris' shoulder and says, "i ordered the haddock and it was fabulous but i saw you ordered the lamb, my second choice. so, how was your dinner?" chris enters into a conversation with her and when she leaves, he turns to us and says, "this happens all the time, get used to it. people are really friendly here."

okay. and it doesnt take long. we make it across the bridge back to dartmouth where we pull up to a light. next to us, a man in his truck motions for us to roll down our window. my first reaction is panic...i cant give directions, im new here. he says to us, "do you know your way?" we both stare at him, blinking. a few seconds go by before we answer that yes, we know where we're going, but thanks. he says "okay, no problem. saw your out of town plates and just wanted to see if you needed help." nice. as it happens, we continue off the light and end up following his same route through town. at the next red light hes in front of us. he gets out of his car...again, i panic. this time he says, "i have a nova scotia/new brunswick map in my truck i could give you. i dont mind, really." we smile and thank him sincerely and send him on his way. such ridiculous kindness, i dont know if i can get used to it. but its a nice perk for living around here.

23 July 2009

Hot air 10 - a.a.w.o.l.

a.merican a.bsent w.ith o.ut l.eave (okay, this army term is a bit of a stretch, but im going with it)

i guess now is as good a time as any to summarize my "being back" experience. mostly, it wasnt all it was cracked up to be.

at first, i had had to adapt to france, everything was new. then being back for christmas, things felt comforting. but once back in france, we appreciated aspects of that lifestyle more and got more comfortable there. coming back just served to glaringly show us all the things we had left behind in france. i dont mean to crap on my country, but you have to take the good with the bad. also "you dont know what you have until its gone" has never rung more true. two major things stuck out for us i guess.

1. the food. yes, its very to easy to complain about american food. but i think i have a wide appreciation for what is "good food." not everything needs to be gourmet or 3-courses for me to enjoy. but it should at least taste good and be made with decent ingredients. we had been modifying our eating habits even before we left the u.s. so the food in france only served to enhance this sentiment...there is WAY too much processed crap in the american diet. preservatives, added sugar, added salt, "diet" food products. and our government-subsidized corn program that pumps garbage corn by-products into virtually all foodstuffs. its appalling. it doesnt have to be that way.

i gained some weight even being back less than a month. i have a glimpse of how difficult it must be for people who are fighting the up-hill battle to weight loss. the odds are stacked against you. plus, "organic food" is still expensive and is only slowly increasing respect in the eyes of people who call it "a fad." grrr. its tough. couple that with the fact that no one walks anywhere and i no longer have to answer the question, "why is there a high percentage of obesity in the U.S.?" im totally not taking this out on people. its our cultural/societal set-up i guess. i felt like a prisoner when i went to the grocery store. convenience and variety were favored over health and taste. but anyway, i will get off that soapbox...

2. the driving. anything to do with driving: cars, highways, commuting, traffic, construction, etc. roadtriping from florida and then halifax, plus the daily driving around michigan gave me ample opinions about this. basically, we didnt have a car in france, so im not comparing. but the lifestyle we had didnt require a car, which was nice on a whole other level. again, to be fair, we had started this trend while still living in the u.s. in ann arbor, dave biked to work and i mostly rode the bus or walked. no matter where we are, this is what we prefer for daily life (but i can still enjoy a good road trip).

anyway, the driving highlighted all of the wide open spaces filled with endless cement. the world feels cold and unfriendly from inside your car. since carpooling isnt popular, this means that it makes for a very lonely driving experience. everyone is going about their lives without needing to interact much with real people. add to this texting and other non-social technology and i just felt totally out-of-place. ive never liked using the phone, so that gives me a bit of a prejudice, but instead of feeling connected to people, i felt distant and separated.

i know that canada is not wildly different from the u.s. in terms of food and driving, so i will have to find my ways around the downer feelings they bring. we hope to live in the downtown, so at least we can eliminate daily use of the car. and food...theres a farmers market and we will get a chance to find the healthy grocery stores soon.

We're here! Back at the beginning

we arrived.

we pulled in to downtown dartmouth (the city across the harbor from halifax) and looked around. we had 1.5 hours to kill before the lady was available to meet us and give us the keys to the temporary furnished apartment we rented. so we looked at the map and found stuff to check out in the mean time. looks like the mic mac mall is moderately decent. theyre even getting an h&m soon.

anyway, still had some time so we stopped in at taco bell to get me a snack. now, dartmouth seems similar to an ypsilanti-type town. commercial areas, weird rundown areas, and a downtown with some sketchy/ghettoness to it. the taco bell was no exception. it was across the street from a bubble babes car wash and seemed icky from the outside. and no, this did not stop me from still wanting food. got my burrito and on the way out, noticed they had a recycling station. a trash bin, containers bin, and organic bin. a compost pile in a fast food place...who knew?

finally, the lady is available and we take a look at our apartment. ugh, my eyes glaze over and i simply see it as a place to live short-term. i cant possibly deal with the fact that it seems unsafely retro-fitted from life as a garage, that it smells faintly like stale cigarettes, things dont seem...super clean, and the location is noisy and rundown. beggars cant be choosers and at this point we are homeless, have only one carload of belongings, and the cash flow is...low. i guess we cant be too picky.

(this looks like a garage door, but really its been reclaimed as the front wall of our apartment. i guess drywall and insulation work wonders; in the living room, the "heating ducts" are filled with insulation. i suppose that works too; our kitchen...doesnt it look safe? [we had just been watching "holmes on homes" the night before. imagine our surprise when we came into this apartment...]; our bedroom. literally the bed fits in there without touching the walls and there is some weird cut out to allow for that nightstand. thats it.)

we dump off our stuff and head up to the grocery store, sobeys. we gather some items to make a dinner like we use to in france, cous cous à la dave. we got back and i washed all the dishes in the cupboard before we could finally start cooking dinner. when we finally sat down to eat, we found that the meal just wasnt the same as what dave had been making in france.

i guess once again we have to get use to completely new surroundings and reincarnate ourselves. yes, we speak the language. no, we dont know anything about how to work the system. we have to watch, ask questions, and learn by trial and error. on top of that, i need a job again. preferably a real job this time. cant wait to see how things turn out...

22 July 2009

Highway from hell to halifax

driving, driving, driving.

route for day 1: berkley, sarnia, buffalo, albany

the car was packed well and we had a little pillow platform for nutmeg to rest on so she could be outside of her cage. i had driven with her to wyoming 5 years ago to live with me for the summer and she was great then so we assumed she'd be great this time...nope. an hour or so into the trip she started whining uncontrollably and peed on her pillow. the pee dripped down onto the seat and wet daves back. great. she was also panting a lot so i found my benadryl tablets, broke it in half for her dosage and shoved it down her throat (gross). i dont think it made it because she started foaming at the mouth and shaking her head from side to side...flinging the spit everywhere. while im mopping her up and shoving her back in her carrier, we pull over to re-assess (in paris, ontario no less). she seems okay, maybe just frightened?

we drive for 2 hours with her crying and crying and crying. i can understand why shaken baby syndrome exists. those moments where your angry/frustrated/tired/helpless/frightened self disconnects from your brain and you wanna just MAKE IT STOP! she then craps in her carrier and the whole car reeked. im crying out of frustration and trying not to gag. we somehow get across the border near buffalo without the border guard asking about our cat and we pull over in tonawanda.

i cleaned up the poo (had to wipe some off her paw) and dave tried to get another benadryl down her throat. she foamed at the mouth again, bit his hand, and vomited all over the towel in her carrier. thats trash now. and im laughing out of anger. a sure sign that im crazy. who wants lunch? we go into a sandwich place to clean up and place an order for a small sandwich. its 2p. we should be hungry, but with all the pee, poo, and vomit, who can work up an appetite?

after her bodily excrementing pyrotechnics, the cat rode silently to our destination that night. albany. daves sister (megan) and new husband (courtney) live there. we went to courtneys softball game, watched him tear a muscle and then vomit in the bushes before we headed to downtown troy for dinner (we were on a roll that day!).

troy is an industrial town on the hudson river. similar-looking to pittsburgh only a bit more rundown. they do have a nice "entertainment district" though. we hit up browns brewery for dinner and actually ended the night on a good note. beer pretzels for appetizers. beer sampler for dave (ESB was his fav) and homecrafted root beer for me (yum!). we split the fish n chips (good tartar sauce) and had a nice meal with the timmons'.

back at the condo we got to meet their three-legged dog, yogi, and enjoy some fabulous homemade key lime pie from megan (she takes after her dad...knowing that i love desserts from scratch). a good ending to an exhausting day. thanks for having us guys!

route for day 2: albany, worcester, bangor, calais/st stephen

the cat was silent today, slept in her carrier. didnt even know she was there. she drove through massachusetts, new hampshire, and maine. in bangor, maine we turned off the main highway to take route 9. we wanted to cross at a small border crossing and see a bit more of the scenic roads of the state. what a great choice. americana streets, rural living, thick trees, marshes, primo water areas for moose. i love maine.

we first passed the flag-lined streets of bangor and brewer, maine. loved the small town america vibe. without the cat, i woulda lobbied to stay the night here and eat in one of the local diners. love that kind of stuff. but we had a nice hilly drive past all kinds of pretty/quaint areas until we rolled into the petite town of calais. seafood restaurants lined the waterfront (lobster rolls, lobster dinners, clams, etc!). and we crossed the mighty (read: 250 ft) international bridge into st stephen, new brunswick.

we then spent the next 30 minutes in canadian immigration (and $150 CAD). at the end, we had a work permit for dave (and i was added as "accompanying family") and clearance for nutmeg (the only question asked was "is she a threat to humanity?" hilarious). the border agent was a nice guy and very helpful. he took care of us even after his dinner (fish n chips) was delivered. he also set us up with the paperwork we will need to file in nova scotia to get a canadian license plate. he totally didnt have to do that, but it was great that he helped us. im likin' canada already.

after the border crossing, we decided we were done driving for the night. we took a room at the st stephen inn and got the cat settled. we then went out in the rain to find food. and we found...some FOOD! homecooked diner food, yum! dave got the hot turkey sandwich special with fries (all drenched in gravy) and i...couldnt resist the heavenly regional sandwich...a lobster roll. addicted to those things (i love how, around here, even mcdonalds and subways have lobster on their menus). so fresh and meaty and good! it was a dense meal but if youve gotta have unhealthy food on the road, i take this every time over fast food.

(our healthy dinner)

route for day 3: st stephen, saint john, moncton, dartmouth/halifax

woke up to more precipitation, mist this time. southern new brunswick was cloaked in fog as we drove along the coast. we could occasionally see water and green, green trees. with few cars on the road it felt like we were traveling to a magical land. and...i guess we kinda were. our new home.

throughout the day, the fog pulled away and the rain let up. it never went away, but we were able to enjoy the views of plants and water passing by prince edward island and into nova scotia. hilly and green we pulled into town...

(saw this truck on the road in nova scotia...a take on the "two men and a truck" company in the u.s.?)

20 July 2009

The rest is a blur of babies

the final days before we left for halifax were filled with babies.

the morning after the wedding, we toured the eatons NEW house! nice and spacious and ready for tons of tots to fill it. :) then we went to ann arbor to have brunch with the public health crew. little zili was there again livening up the event. good food with friends in their new rental home in our old neck of the woods.

after brunch, we took care of the arduous couch task. julie had let us leave our sleeper couch in her apartment while we were gone. now we needed to deal with it. we were ready to leave it on the curb with "FREE" signs, when dave remembered a graduate student who lived in the same complex who might take it. lucky us...she did! crisis averted.

then we had enough time to make it back to clarkston to visit with daves family. they were running late, so a late lunch turned into dinner (meaning i had to miss sarahs bachelorette party. sorry!). we got to meet the newest addition to the family and the only female in the youngest generation, neela. busy day!

(the o'hara family; baby neela [pics stolen from mary ann])

next morning (last day in MI), we had brunch in livonia with the talbots. we havent seen them since our going away party in october, she was just a few months pregnant at that point. today we met their new daughter, liliana rose (lily). they also recently moved into a new house, so we got a tour of that as well. congrats new family!

(the talbots. photo taken from carlas facebook)

now was the decidedly less exciting task of visiting storage. we swapped a few clothes. located my mac mini, monitor, and accessories and found some camping gear that dave wanted to bring. i think we were there for something like 3 hours. fun!

then we took the loaded car to berkley. had dinner in novi with phil at ajishin (great place. only white people in there. good udon soup and CHEAP sushi). then dave went to meet up with childhood friend nate in hartland to catch up (hadnt seen him in 4 years!). nate has two kids, so dave got the update on them while catching up on other particulars. then he came back to berkley and we repacked the car for the trek to halifax. to round out the last of michiganness, we watched the newest episode of "Hung." an HBO show about a gigolo, set in detroit. i found it fairly boring but with some great cityscapes of the D.

18 July 2009

Hawley/Bowers wedding bonanza

the feature reason i came back to MI at this time...the bowers wedding.

been friends with missy since middle school, she asked me to be a bridesmaid last year. of course. she was very patient with my "special needs," since i was going to be overseas for the entire wedding planning period. but, i got my dress while in france (thanks mary ann!) and it fit and everything was easy.

so, july 16 and 17 were wedding-filled days. college friends trickled in to town for the event...yay! rehearsal day on thursday. a nice church in birmingham. things went well. dinner in bloomfield at andiamo. nice space, funny drunken antics (grooms mom!), good group of people. most of the bridesmaids were former roommates from college, so we had a fun night.

(dave and i at the rehearsal dinner. the ONLY dress i could find, from storage in julies closet!)

wedding morning arrives. we get ready at the reception site (bay pointe golf club). fruit, bagels, hair, girlie chit chat. then the hummer stretch limo picks us up and deposits us at the church. its go time. the room we get ready in is warm, so its hard to convince the bride that its the room, not her nerves, that are causing her to flush. then we get the knock on the door...its time!

(curly bridal hair!; the bride is ready...and im entertaining her with my very ladylike stance)

i am the last to walk down the aisle before the maid of honor. i take my place, the beautiful bride walks down the aisle, and here comes my part...the first reading. i slightly miss my cue to go up to the podium. but, i get up there and its worse...theres no reading! i had asked at the rehearsal if my reading would be there (since i hadnt memorized it) and they said yes. there was nothing there! deer caught in the headlights, the minister told me to go back to my spot in line, the reading had been misplaced/forgotten. oops!!

no worries, the rest of the ceremony went great. quick pictures at the church. we go out to the limo and the skies are grey and its chilly. in the 60s in july! arrive at the reception. freeze some more for outdoor pics and go in to line up for the bridal party introduction. we hit the fancy/awesome buffet and load up with food. i promptly acquire a chocolate mousse stain on my dress, followed by red wine, and then beer down my back. eh, its a bridesmaid dress, what did i expect? the night was filled with dancing, laughing, and friends. great event. perfect time to see everyone and celebrate. congrats missy and lonnie! hope you enjoy hawaii!

(cutting the cake; dave and i...favorite pic; dave and jody [daves dance partner] and sarah [the next bride-to-be])

15 July 2009

How wonderful life is, now youre in my world

he made it to DTW safely!
happy happy day (and happy bastille day).
my better half is re-attached. things can now proceed.

14 July 2009

Rollercoaster of love/hate

the thing about being back is...you have all your crap to deal with. i officially want to join the "one toothbrush, one pair of underwear" club and remove any other worldly attachments. save me a lot of stress.

tuesday (july 7): leave phils house and head to ann arbor. shop for some gifts and take care of errands. hello busy washtenaw rd in ann arbor, how i missed you. met old co-workers for dinner at the thai place in the sketchy hotel. lovely group, typical wacky-fun conversations. must find the book "michigan murders" and get reading. thanks for meeting up ladies!

then i head to friend sarahs for the night. awesome independent chica just bought her first house! what a great place, lots of windows and light. we chat and visit and catch up and i stay the night in her comfy guest room. thank you!

wednesday (july 8): head to the tanger outlets to boost the tiny well-worn wardrobe. no one is there so i quickly navigate the stores without getting claustrophobic. yes! then i head to east lansing to enjoy pizza house with my grand rapids cousins and aunt. they have been travelers this summer too: spain and china. friendly bunch who i was glad i was able to squeeze in a visit with. best wishes for the busy school year this fall!

(linnea, me, kailee outside pizza house. cousins rule!)

then i get a call that the car is ready. i park my borrowed car in front of sarahs house and wait for the shuttle to pick me up. pay the $335 and drive to berkley to meet phils parents for dinner. havent seen them in a while. was great to catch up with the family ive been a part of since high school. then phil and i head to somerset for a jcrew sale and his daily dose of retail therapy. :)

thursday (july 9): while driving from berkley to ann arbor, the car idiot light comes on again! great. ive got a lunch date at jerusalem garden with co-workers that im not about to break though, so i'll deal with it later. while waiting for my group, the table next to me is a threesome of nerdy guys talking about politics, obama, and france. yup, im definitely back in ann arbor. after a fun lunch with my cubicle girls, i walk around campus to finish some errands and see if anything has changed. what a beautiful campus and such a great energy permeating throughout. far enough away in time is the stress of school and studying and i find i simply love the place. its not a europe equivalent but it definitely gives me the most calming feeling ive had since ive been back. good ol' maize and blue. :)

anyway, while im in middle earth, a dumbass walks in. this hick must also, of course, bring along his impressionable spawn. so, in middle earth, they have a life-sized cardboard cut out of obama...are you seeing where im going with this? this guy walks in and loudly says "OH, THATD BE GREAT FOR TARGET PRACTICE." he then aims his imaginary gun and makes a rifle shot noise. he then clucks around the store for 5 minutes in his hog calling voice making derogatory statements about the president. dude. if you want these hippies to get in an argument with you, youre going about it the wrong way. we simply feel bad for you and your kids.

i spend the remainder of the afternoon at the ann arbor traverwood library. this building opened shortly before we left town and we didnt have a chance to get over there before. what a beautiful building. environmentally-friendly and architecturally pleasing, i thought it was a great addition to the area. reminded me of the FRAC building outside of nantes.

next stop was visiting 13 month old morgan (and family) in milan. :) shes got her expressive eyebrows still, eats like a horse, and runs around the house, very stable on her two legs. then i had to do my unpleasantness for the day. move all my crap out of julies. we crammed all our odd-n-end things in her closet right before we left, and i promptly blocked it out of memory. i had a near panic attack when i peered in and saw what i had to load into the car. thankfully julie dives head first into problems. she grabbed a load of stuff and showed my stunned ass how to get started. thank you forever, i truly almost lost it. we got everything loaded into my borrowed car and she helped me drop my broken car off at the garage to be worked on tomorrow morning. lifesaver! finished the evening in northville with the eatons and therapy 2.0: episodes of friends. takes me back to a better time...

friday (july 10): the car goes back in for repairs. i have lunch in ann arbor with my old boss. we chose to eat outside at shalimar. toward the end of lunch we start talking about knee and hip replacements. the CRAZY lady sitting near us (she had been acting "off" earlier) turns around and says, "excuse me, im a doctor, and im eating lunch. i can hear everything you say and i would like you to stop talking about that." um....okay psycho. we werent talking loud and we werent being rude or gross. get a life!!!! but she doesnt, she then moves her chair so she is facing me and STARES at me for the rest of lunch. AWWWWWKWARD! love ann arbor.

afterward, i follow bossman back to work and visit with my old co-workers. fun times. nice crew. great place to work. later, i get a call that my car part wont be in until wednesday and the estimate for this is $220+. sweet.

no worries, ive got dinner with my public health pals. i head to plum market for some fruit for the evening gathering. great store. opened toward the end of our life in ann arbor. not super cheap but good, healthy stuff. anyway, the bbq was great and i got to catch up on their lives. my friends daughter is over 2 years old now, walking and talking and sporting a great 'fro. love it Z! i also got to use some of my french again talking to my friend and her husband. fun! so nice to visit with these folks again. glad we get to do it again when dave arrives. :)

(lia, lily, and zili)

saturday (july 11): head to phils again and unload ALL the crap from julies apartment. fun! then we lunch at NY bagel. yes! afterward, phil drives me through some awesome neighborhoods in huntington woods. gorgeous homes on streets with mature trees. every house is different and fabulous. love this area, always have.

later we have dinner at yotsuba (flounder cilantro crunch roll, yum!) and i settle in for a lazy saturday night of movies. a night of relaxed normalcy. wow. and i spoke too soon...i get to witness three projectile vomiting episodes from nutmeg. clean those up and i crouch down to check on her under the bed. she freaks out thinking im going to take her to the vet and pees on the floor. awesome. im going to kill you, right after i get done having this heart attack about all the vomit. 20 minutes later i hear her eating again. so...i guess it was a hairball? i check on her again, and notice that shes licked(?) off her butt scab and now its open and red again. gross and great. what a fun sleepless night that was, worrying about her barfing or dying or needing a vet. no more animals for me.

sunday (july 12): brunch at greek island in birmingham. seriously forgot about the cheap, great eats at coney islands while in france. i have my chicken finger pita (it won out against a coney dog, though i really want one of those now too) and gear up for the day. phil again drove me through some nice neighborhoods of b'ham, not as lovely as huntington woods, for me, but nice all the same.

later i had dinner with my aunt and uncle in plymouth and saw my grandpa and cousins too. beautiful weather, good meal, lots of family. it was nice. my cousins new girlfriend, my aunt, and i jabbered about the twilight series. funny, i had just finished re-reading the series (thanks for letting me borrow them g!), its another comfort read for me. then i rounded out the tween craze by watching "16 and pregnant" on MTV with georgette. what a horrific series. i had to see for myself just how far that show is pushing the ethical envelope. awful. music montages over the labor/delivery part? i dont think so. terrible, terrible crap for teens without sex education or parental guidance to be watching.

monday (july 13): went to dearborn for lunch with grandma and my aunt patty. got to eat at the fabulously greasy mexican fiesta. a memorable restaurant for my family for as long as i can recall. bean and cheese burritos. yum.

next stop, the vet. nutmeg is healing and the "area" is healthy looking, but i have to buy a cone for her to wear so she stops licking it and removing the scab. great. then she got her rabies shot to be cleared for halifax. $75 later, we're all set. spent the night hanging out with phil.

tuesday (july 14): the day dave comes back. :) had lunch with co-workers in ann arbor. watched the art fair rolling in to town. also received my much awaited bruce willis "W" magazine. hes topless with his new wife...how can any girl resist such a sight? ;)

(w magazine cover)

to round out my evening, while waiting for daves flight(s) to land, i had dinner at georgettes parents house and played volleyball. good stress buster. then, i got the call that he had landed... :) :) :)

07 July 2009

Thank you world, may i have another?

some good, some crap. glad it waited til after the holiday weekend.

the car went in for repairs in ann arbor this morning. cant wait to see how that pans out. later, i get a call from my grandma that nutmeg is acting weird. sounds like the same thing she had last year. so i call vets so see about appointments and start to pack the car up since im changing locations tonight. i realize...ive locked myself out of the eatons. sweet. i go to their apartment office and plead my case to be let back in. thankfully this only takes 15 minutes.

then i head off to lunch with my grandpa. we had a nice time catching up and eating. after lunch, on the way to grandmas, i get a call that the car will cost $300+ for a new ABS brake sensor and wont be ready for a few days. fine, my in-laws have been nice enough to let me borrow their car in the mean time. thanks!

make it to grandmas. chat for a bit and start packing up the car with nutmeg stuff. she is hiding under the bed and there are bloody spots all over the place. great. i drag her out from under the bed and get her in the carrier. since shes bleeding i call the vet again and see if i can get her in right now. they say okay, thankfully!

we make it to the vet in berkley and they tell me what i assumed she had, an anal gland problem. (**read no further if you have a weak stomach**). this time is much worse than last time, she has a full gland blow out. an inch southeast of her butt is a dime-sized hole. the hole looks into her body. so gross and im sure super painful. they shave her butt area, irrigate the wound, glob it up with neosporin, inject her with pain meds, and give her a shot of 14 day time-release antibiotics (thank god, last time dave and i had to chase her around and shove a pill down her throat every day for 2 weeks. she starting vomiting from it later on. fun.). bill $116 and i have to take her back in next week (hopefully she is healthy enough to get her vaccine updates and be approved to cross the border. lets hope).

at this time i call phil, my friend who i am staying with in berkley. its only 4:30p but he is able to leave work early and let nutmeg and i into his house. thank goodness. i nearly jump out of my skin with joy when i see him. another friendly face who is opening their doors and helping me out in the height of stress. he is fine with letting nutmeg stay at his house for the entire time im in town and he doesnt have a problem with me coming and going all days of the week to his place. thank you so much! we go and have dinner at a middle eastern place in ferndale and have a nice chat. after some light shopping and tv watching, i end the day with a happy cat and a place to sleep. things are not too bad off, though i wish dave was here.

04 July 2009

Red, white, and booze

its 4th of july!!! bbq, beer, friends, and fireworks!

friends james and jen hosted "red, white, and booze" at their lovely home in brighton on a lake (james bought the house a year ago and has been updating it himself). the place looks great. a snugly, warm, wooden, inviting cottage on the water. pretty great. add to that friends, grillables, summertime, and fireworks and im doing pretty good. :)

this was my college crew and it was great to see them all. while i would have loved to have warmer weather (mid 70s and cloudy is no way to celebrate 4th of july) it was nice to be with friends on this festive american holiday.

(boys [chuck and james to be exact], bbq, beer; beer [flip cup to be exact] and friends; friends and beer [beer bong to be exact]; friends [college friends: jen, georgette, missy, julie to be exact]; fireworks)

03 July 2009

Hot air 9 - f.u.b.a.r.

f.renched u.p b.eyond a.ll r.ecognition

ive only been gone a couple weeks, but i almost feel unqualified to write this. while i was there, these are the final observations dave and i noticed about the french (and i still love you france, so i say these things meaning no disrespect):

1. the french arent the masters of forming a line. the british win the queueing award. not really sure the history behind the awful line-standing but it is most odd and evident while smashing onto a bus or waiting at a bakery. perhaps because of the socialist government, they know that everyone will get their chance, no one will be left behind. why care about making a perfect line? if someone ends up cutting in front of me, its no big deal, i'll get my chance...

2. being handicapped has a different meaning. for one, european roads and sidewalks are not very conducive to allowing wheelchairs to pass, thus, it seems that every effort is made to get people using crutches/braces. i cant tell you the number of people you can see using those things in a day. i cant tell if the culture of walking and way of life forces the people to use crutches or if it encourages/inspires them. either way, its gotta be good for their health to try and walk and strengthen their muscles and avoid life in a chair if possible. even old, old people walk to the market every saturday. it might take them an hour to walk there, but they will absolutely do it! very tough, impressive people!

3. young people fashion. ive mentioned the black on black on black attire before. but for this, i want to point out that most young people wear converse all-star shoes. along with levi jeans, these are the symbols of american attire and the youth just soak it up. weird. i mean, converse are nice, but seriously, EVERYone has them. also, while we're discussing fashion...capri pants for men...theres a lot of that going around france. couldnt get use to it.

4. they dont serve ice in drinks. daves parents and my mom pointed this one out to me. i'll drink my water at any temperature (though i like it cold), so i hadnt really noticed it. but truly, they dont offer ice for drinks.

5. hotels lack clocks/clock radios. not sure why. the culture of work is that relaxed that you dont need to set an alarm to make sure you attend that business meeting on time?

6. toilet brushes next to public toilets. while its fine to leave dog poop on the street, its expected that you swirl the toilet brush around after you go #2 in a public toilet. no one wants to see the suggestion of what the person before you was doing i guess.

7. tv remotes. weird. you have to like "prime" the tv with one button but it wouldnt actually turn on. then you push the channel up, channel down buttons. im not sure i ever figured out the correct order to push the buttons, but usually after 5 minutes i could get the tv on.

8. arrows. in airports and train stations there would be arrows on signs to direct you around. duh. the right and left arrows were fine. but to tell you to continue straight ahead they would always have a down arrow not an up arrow. its sounds minor, but if you were anywhere near an elevator or stairway, etc. i always got confused...did i have to go downstairs or was the metro station in front of me. i cant really describe the confusion it caused, you have to see it in person. but for me down arrows = bad. up arrows = forward motion.

9. IT servicing. in the u.s., IT people work the weird 2a-6a period of time to take websites down or do any server patching...this is to avoid inconveniencing internet/server users. in france, IT workers have a life. IT updates occur between 5p-7p. nice. thanks. thats the perfect time to be doing that kind of thing. dave and i were never able to get use to that. grrr...

10. gastro problems. while in france, i think every french person i knew was taken down by a nasty gastro virus. this was also something i experienced. i havent figured out why this occurs so frequently, i never knew people to be so ill so often in the u.s. my public health brain is intrigued.

11. sense of humor. dave noticed this more acutely than me. their sense of humor is very straight forward and perhaps a little "cheesy." this is of course in contrast to british humor. daves kind of humor. i hadnt noticed it as much as him, but when we watched "in bruges" recently, we both laughed our asses off much harder than we normally would have. the humor was biting and dark and british. it was obvious we hadnt heard anything like that in a while.

12. finally, public safety. while its a socialist country and everyone gets taken care of. one thing they arent obsessed with is public safety. its just assumed you have a brain and you choose to use it. there arent hundreds of signs saying "caution" or "hot beverage" or "icy sidewalk." people dont sue here and i would argue that the people in france (and countries like them in europe) are actually more free than the american notion of "freedom." as long as you dont put other people in danger, you only take risks with your own body, then the police and society tend to leave you alone. its assumed that if you do do something, you will use good judgement. we spent a good amount of our time at first trying to figure out what we werent allowed to do. can you walk down that street thats under construction? is that area off limits? which direction do i have to enter from? who cares, just use your judgement. one thing i couldnt ever grasp, was the lack of fire alarms. rennes is a city with a history of seriously devastating fires. why dont you have detectors? i think the EU is just now discussing fire detectors and making rules/recommendations. finally!

02 July 2009

I get by with a little help from my friends

solo road trip from florida to michigan. friends are the lifeblood.

head out from florida monday morning. i thought i would stop in savannah to look around. but, while driving down the tree-lined roads with dangling spanish moss was beautiful, there was nowhere easy to park and i got the feeling that i would really rather be doing this kind of exploring with dave, another time. so i got back on the road. i drove and drove that day and stopped for the night in kenly, north carolina. basically on the map as a truck stop. got a good night sleep though.

started tuesday morning headed toward DC. by 1p, i was parked in ntinas lot headed for lunch (she was able to take a half day off work to hang out). my friend meg was also able to take a break from studying for the bar to meet us. we went to an indian place and chatted for a few hours. it was so fabulous that i was able to see these guys. i had given both only one day warning to see if they could hang out with me in the middle of the day. both obliged and i couldnt have been happier. they are smart, awesome women who are my political gurus. what better way to get re-adjusted to the u.s. than spending an afternoon with these ladies. thank you so much!

after lunch, ntina and i went shopping. it was a necessity (although, seeing the creepo in the victoria secret massaging all the lingerie by himself was NOT necessary). i had to find silver shoes for missys wedding. found! ntina also bought the movie Twilight. she hadnt seen it yet and was ripping through the books. fun!

after movie time (twilight, duh) in ntinas kick ass king-sized bed :), ben came home. had a nice chat with him before bed and woke up to breakfast à la ben. french-style scrambled eggs. never saw or heard about these while in france, but they are tasty! the texture of ricotta cheese, its warm eggy goodness on a dense piece of toast. yum! thank you!!
drove outta DC early, before mega traffic, wednesday morning. my speedometer and odometer stopped working. sweet! found a mazda dealership near frederick, maryland and pulled in. $100 and 3 hours later..."we have a ton of error messages. not sure what the problem is. we THINK its safe to get back to michigan." thanks. after restarting the car, the computer apparently reset and the stuff was working again. thankfully!
made it to my friend lisas that afternoon. i used to work in the lab with her when i was an undergrad. she has a 5 month old son who i hadnt met yet. now was the time! her family was kind enough to open their home to me and make dinner and breakfast and give me a bed. i had been up there once before for her wedding and loved that rural part of pennsylvania (luthersburg): fresh mountain air, trees, and nature everywhere. a lovely visit with friendly people and got to meet baby aidan. what a cutie.

(bathtime!; bundled aidan)

driving "home" the next morning, i hit some rain on the road and fought off sleep on the boring ohio turnpike. my 6-disc CD changer had almost repeated itself too many times and i was glad to be on the final stretch. along the way, i had found that my ben folds "songs for silverman" album was the perfect expression of my state of mind (dave you should re-listen to it). every song had either lyrics or sentiments or a tone that spoke to something i was feeling about being back. once again ben folds, you are my lifes soundtrack (his song "the luckiest" was our wedding song also).

anyway, i hit the "welcome to michigan" sign on I-23 and almost lost my teeth. a nice "welcome back" to the state with the worst roads EVER. oh, how i have missed you! as i approached ann arbor, i saw the I-94 signs and honestly could not remember how that road bounded ann arbor (must be the south boundary, cuz im driving north, but where does it sit south of ann arbor...?). it took me a solid 30 seconds to visualize it in my mind. scary people. scary. i almost blanked on M-14 as well. what is wrong with me?

thankfully, i took all the correct roads to arrive in a parking lot in northville. got out of the car and stepped into georgettes hug. im staying with the eatons! the baton has been passed to them to keep me safe and sound during my stay. nice guest room all to myself and all kinds of stories to catch up on. roomies twice in college, georgette provides a welcome feeling of "home" for me. with enough history between us to be sisters, it was the perfect place to snuggle in and start my long visit back in the mitten. :)