31 August 2009

Permitted to work!!

successes today!

upon opening our tiny silver mailbox, i found...a letter from immigration. i have a work permit! and its correct! and it is "open" and allows me to work anywhere (as long as its not in child care, teaching, or doctoring anyone...no problem). oh joy!

and also, i signed up for a weekly yoga class that is right across the street, literally, from our apartment. and the classes are less than $6 a piece. FANtastic!

29 August 2009

Danny, boy are you a wimp

the rain peed on our weekend again.

breezed through the market this morning. too crowded. we must get there earlier (before 11a). but dave did get a breakfast burrito from the most energetic cook team ive ever seen! back at home, we donned our rain gear to try and get some errands done on foot.

first stop, darrells for lunch. good fries, decent burgers (no F-ing way im trying their peanut butter burger!), and a tasty cranberry milkshake. yes, the meal was approximately 3000 calories. we had much walking-it-off to do. we hit the park lane mall (eh), and then susies shortbread to see what was up for their one year anniversary celebration. we got a mini skor cheesecake bite and a mini smore truffle, but these paled in comparison to the peppermint patty cupcake. yum!

we ducked out of the rain to devour the peppermint cupcake and ended up in the vestibule for petes frootique. quite possibly the silliest name for the BEST grocery store. think whole foods mixed with traders joes...and affordable. islands and islands of fruits and veggies and a great variety of meats and fish, along with regular grocery fare. and walking distance from home means we have a winner! i love you pete.

in the same little mall as petes, we were able to snag a sheath for our only knife and a new variety of beer for dave. now we were rain soaked, weighed down with food, and ready to go home. hurricane/tropical storm/heavy rain danny was coming in. he wasnt perhaps as powerful as bill was last week, but he was slower and carried more rain. kept us in the rest of the day and woke me up at night.

the weather channel projected paths for danny:

and, stuck in the apartment the second weekend in a row, we were forced to take nutmeg pictures and post them for you. for those who havent seen her before, meet the obese animal known as nutmeg. she has a tiny brain that dave would argue is nothing more than a throbbing food gland.

(nutmeg started reading a paper for dave on the bed; but she was too tired so she came out to nap on the couch; after the nap, her friend mr pig and mr mouse tried to help her with the paper; but they all ended up so tired they took another nap...; wake up!)

28 August 2009

New territory

got a call for a job interview.

found a good, full-time job description. in public health. a positive step for the resume. wrote a cover letter and sent my stuff in (along with a few other job apps). today, 5 days later, i got a call for a job interview. first in-person interview for a full-time job since i arrived! im breaking new ground.

next friday at noon i will attempt to wow them with my charm. this is usually the part that freaks me out the least, but i always try not to get too excited.

just gimme a job and i will do awesome. make money to spend on food and travel in your economy and i will have the ability to wear a smile on your rainy days and be able to power through your winter. woot woo!

26 August 2009

Why you wanna give me the run-around?

an update on immigration...

to recap: we were told to get our work permits when we crossed the border moving into canada. we did this. they gave dave the incorrect work permit and on it i was only listed as "accompanying spouse," thus blocking me from getting a job. the reason given at the time was, "IF you find a job, then you re-apply and we will assess at that time if we authorize a work permit for you." but who the hell would even offer a job to someone who needs to wait around for the government to approve them? so said the guy at the office where dave got his SIN number (sorry for the redundancy jules!).

the SIN guy told dave to call immigration (which is a different group than the border patrol people who issued the permit) and get the scoop from them. they said, "yeah, wrong permit. submit the paperwork for your wifes work permit with the check to cover its cost. while that is processing we will get your work permit corrected at our offices just by dealing with you on the phone. you have 30 days after entering to adjust a work permit, so its no problem."

after having daves file bounced to 3 different offices and them trying to call us while we were out of town, we exited the 30 day grace period. so...now apparently dave has been directed to send his paperwork for correction to the halifax office. a different office than the folks who have my permit paperwork. the halifax office apparently usually has a one-week turn around time. hopefully they can get daves processed in time so that they can properly process my work permit. grr.

these people are...nice, but why are the rules of government written in such a way as to confuse everyone, make it impossible to accurately train employees, and force people to detest any and all dealings with bureaucracy. you are incompetent! its written on your face. have you no pride man!? all three governments weve been intimately involved with have been subpar on this level. shame on you.

dinner also left a bad taste in our mouth tonight. literally. went to fries & co. i ordered straight up fish n chips. dave got the house special with fried clams and fish n chips. now, honestly, my fish was decent. fries were soggy, but daves clams...foul. he had never had them before and wanted to give em a whirl. never again. he said his mouth tasted like terd afterward and he made friends with the toilet later that night. :( as for fish n chips in general...weve apparently been spoiled by our honeymoon in new zealand. i cant recall any fish n chip stop there that wasnt fantastic. now they know how to batter a fish.

24 August 2009

Just round one

interview today.

had what turned out to be part 1 of my job interview today. this was the part time job with a health policy professor. we discussed our motivations for meeting each other and the goal was generally to see if we are on the same page and could get from each other what is needed.

i gave her samples of my writing and she gave me two papers of hers to read. next thursday we will meet again to discuss these items and i guess she will decide if we could work well together. its a new area to put myself in, but that doesnt make me anxious. it will however require a bigger boost from the brain battery. im a little nervous to see how much it will take to get my job intellect back. i always worry about it more than i should, but now i feel like i have good reason. eh, we shall see...

23 August 2009

Oh, come on bill

less than 12 hours after we arrive home safely from vacation, we get hit with a hurricane. come on!

thankfully, we made it home by dinner time on saturday. what was not amusing was the smell of cat pee. while i wanted to beat the cat within an inch of her life, i knew that it wasnt fair to be so angry at her. she was new to this apartment (we'd been in for a week before we left her alone) and she has serious mental issues with her expected levels of litter box cleanliness. while i set off cleaning our place up, dave set off for the grocery store to get us some food so we'd have something in case the hurricane handicapped us.

cleaned up, started to air things out, ate dinner, unpacked, etc. that night, rain and some wind starting coming in. by morning, bill was greeting us with more force. heavy rain and high winds. no matter. we still had power and dave was making me some deliciously crispy ricotta cheese and blueberry pancakes. :) after cleanup, the wind took out the power for a couple hours. but, it was light enough outside to provide light for reading. so when the power came back on at 3p, we were doing just fine. a sunday stuck inside after a busy vacation was actually not unwelcome.

from the weather channel, i kept tabs on the series of projected paths for bill (he ended up being only category 1 when he got here):

(pictures of bill near peggys cove, just west of halifax. some of these idiots were swept out to sea and had to be rescued with taxpayer money)

22 August 2009

Chacarer-in to go

today was our wrap-up day in boston to begin the long journey back to halifax.

while i would have liked to have had more time in boston (minus the heat), i was also anxious to get the drive ahead of us over with. knowing that the road was ahead of us kinda took some of the wind out of my sails for boston excitement. which is a bummer. i love the city and am glad we have friends there. :)

to make a happy memory, we had lunch downtown at the best lunch locale...chacareros. owned by a real chilean man. the menu is incredibly small but the food is SO good. sandwiches. the guy has NAILED the sandwich. the chilean sandwich to be exact. and he wont franchise, to ensure that his product remains quality and respectable. with two locations in the boston downtown, we always find a way to eat at one before we leave. soft round bread, grilled chicken, special avocado spread, secret spicy sauce, muenster cheese, and fresh green beans. yes, this sounds weird...do NOT underestimate it though. the only one who will be sorry is you.

(the chacarero; ...in daves mouth)

bellies FULL, we met jody at work to drop off her chacarero sandwich and say goodbye. shes a fancy corporate lawyer working in a tall building near the harbor. :) once we said our thanks and expressed our wishes to see each other again soon, we snaked our car through the wacky boston streets until we can finally got on the highway. more massachusetts traffic. i HATE you!

(downtown boston near jodys work; outside jodys building. shes doesnt look as excited as she should be about her sandwich.)

ended up at exit 1 in new hampshire, a state with no sales tax, to buy dave a new baby. a macbook pro (13" cuz he didnt want anything heavier to carry back and forth on his walk to work everyday). of course we cant leave without spending a gogillion dollars...mens toys and its accessories are SO expensive! but, hes been geeked about this thing for years. (side note: the canadian border patrol required us to pay a $130+ tax on it when we brought it in to canada.)

back on the road, we made it up to bangor, maine to stay the night. this was not without the exciting event of the "check engine" light coming on. the car seems to hate running smoothly at low rpms. trying not to idle very long in a stick shift...yeah, thats easy.

21 August 2009

Jamaican me crazy

from nyack to boston.

had a laid back breakfast in nyack while packing up and getting ready to say goodbye. did i mention that amy and tony are engaged!? yay! so we will be back next summer for their wedding. cant wait. something to look forward to thatll get me back to this area. please though...LESS heat!!

(parting shot of us at the pink house)

our plotted course back to boston took us right past an IKEA...so of course we had to stop in. got sucked into the hell portal that is swedish bargains and wound up with over $100 worth of stuff. do i need all this? grr.

anyway, arrived back on the quiet jamaica plains neighborhood street of jody and patrick. we picked a nearby restaurant and walked over for dinner. we had a mixed experience at the dogwood cafe. they refused to serve dave beer because he had a canadian license so there was "no way to verify/compare." boo. they had some good burgers. yay. and the chick delivering food from the kitchen had a huge, bouncy rack that we couldnt stop staring at. bonus?

post dinner treat was suggested by patrick and jody. a local ice cream joint called j.p. licks (j.p. = jamaica plains). there are a few "other" stores around boston, but we went to the original. big space, huge menu: hard ice creams, sorbets, hard lowfat yogurts, and soft nonfat yogurts. im not a big ice cream fan, so i got some soft serve coconut-flavored yogurt. YUMmy! a good, yet temporary way to try and cool off in this heat.

19 August 2009

Hide from the heat

going on several days without a break in the weather...im gonna snap.

when everyone in the house was awake and decent, we hit up our regular breakfast joint, strawberry place. one of those local places with a huge breakfast menu and heaping plates of good stuff. while eating, we plotted our day of going separate ways. the boys were doing manly errands while amy and i would take care of a very important task...seeing "the time travelers wife." plus, a movie theater meant...air conditioning!

as it turns out, the movie would only be interesting to someone who has read the book. it skips around way too much for an unprepared moviegoer. but rachel mcadams is heavenly and almost erased my rage that eric bana was chosen as henry. grrr. in the end, they chose to muck with the closing scene and leave me with a sour taste in my mouth. the book ending made more sense, and was totally hollywood doable.

anyway, after movie time, i holed up in the basement and watched too much tv. amy and tony were getting to work on a slightly complicated gluten-free pizza we were going to have for dinner and dave was catching a random ultimate frisbee game that was going on in town (he made like a million instant friends).

when we all came back together again, we devoured the pizza. once again, thanks to tonys allergies i was able to try something new. while gluten-free pizza doesnt have the same texture as regular pizza (its kinda crumbly), it was actually really good. i would request it again. and might be brave enough to try it out for ourselves one day.

(the crew while we were all together at one point today, in the backyard garden)

Hot town summer in the city

today was our designated NYC day. always gotta have one of those when we visit.

we decided to drive into the city since we had a museum pass and 4 people and the subway would be HOT and crowded. we lunched at sarabeths on madison ave and 92nd. good brunch spot. had fresh squeezed juice, a moist pumpkin muffin, and a huge goat cheese and spinach omelet. i couldnt leave without buying an overpriced elephant cookie...he had white chocolate dipped feet.

the real stop was the guggenheim. there was a big frank lloyd wright exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the museum. the building was less than exciting from the outside but clean and peaceful from the inside. dave had requested this museum for this visit (we chose a different one each time). after getting to the end of the exhibit, i finally realized that wright designed the damn building. shit, that makes sense. a huge exhibit of his work on the anniversary of the building HE designed. but, having toured his falling water house and being familiar with his furniture designs i only had nature, wood, and straight lines on the brain. meh. i feel silly. but at least i learned something new.

(outside the gugg: dave, tony, amy)

unfortunately, having such a large wright exhibit meant that there wasnt anything else interesting to see at the museum. all the other famous works seemed to be put away. poo. at least the museum bordered central park so we went and enjoyed a bit of the jackie kennedy onassis reservoir. nice views of manhattan.

(amy and i by the reservoir. also of note, my new haircut was provided free of charge by amy, even though she was terrified while cutting. :) and, photo courtesy of tony. thanks!)

back at the car, our last stop in the city was a highlight for me. up in harlem they have a FANTASTIC grocery store called Fairway. i dont even know what to say but this place is cool. the variety of foodstuffs is incredible. the produce is gorgeous and the healthful choices are plentiful here. to see such a food lovers dream in harlem was so cool. allowing a poor neighborhood to have access to fresh, amazing food is such a powerful thing. and a great thing for public health. the food is also super cheap (our cartload full of quality stuff was less than $110, including beer!), putting almost anything in that place within reach of the majority of people in the area. kudos to fairway and everything that made that place set up shop there. i wanna come back!

(fairway is located under the henry hudson parkway; the start of the very long entrance into fairway, "like no other market." indeed.; less than 1/10th of the produce area; amy and i in the cold fridge sharing a ginormous fairway jacket; me, the jacket, and one of the many meat aisles. one can only assume they provide these jackets in such large sizes so that people wont steal them...)

back at the pink house, the three chefs prepared dinner. in the mean time, i snacked on my new DElicious earl grey tea cookies from fairway and relaxed watching "paris je t'aime." a film with 18 mini "films," 5 minutes in length, created by different directors. having been to paris a few times, some of these "films" were SPOT on. the last vignette, about a typical american woman exploring paris herself and trying to speak french, was FANtastic. dave and i absolutely loved it.

as the movie ended, dinner was ready. voila! amy, tony, and dave had contributed to concocting: grilled corn, citrus marinated chicken, mixed greens salad, and farm-harvested potatoes (amy and tonys sweat and tears went into the harvest at their local farm). yummy! we sat out on their back patio area enjoying the slightly cooled off summer night air. after clean-up, we walked down main street and took on o'donoghues tavern for dessert. the berry crumble pie had great crumble, but was a bit too sweet overall. the key lime pie was great! good ratio of crust to tart filling. such a good summertime treat.

(dave and amy man/woman-ing the grill)

18 August 2009

We got the heat

toured new york state today.

woke up in albany. checked my email while dave was showering and got a job interview for that part-time position i mentioned. monday, august 24. sounds good to me. things are lookin up.

got in the car and headed south on I-87 to meet nyack friends amy and tony in new paltz, ny. what a cute place! unique stores on the main street, hippie-vibe, and a SUNY branch college town. plus the scenery was great. our goal was to take a hike in the nearby mohonk mountains. unfortunately it was once again 90+ degrees. so, before we committed to hiking, we decided to eat lunch.

there seemed to be an abundance of southwestern-influenced food around here, so we chose a bar with a huge beer list and some spicy food. win! after we were full and thoroughly enjoying the air-conditioning, we decided it just wouldnt be smart to do a 3 mile climb in the heat. it sounded like fun though, and the area is lovely, so i would definitely love to come back.

our next destination: scary outlet shopping. there were some things we REALLY needed, and a few things i just plain wanted. so we hit the hugest outlet ever, woodbury commons. with 220 stores, many of which are premium brands, i am pretty sure this is every NYC tourists exterior bargain shopping adventure. busloads of people, asians in particular, were dumped into this place. the lots were full and people were maxing out their credit cards. as amy said, "what financial crisis?"

after getting my fill of "back to school" shopping (all of our shopping tolerances are pretty low) we loaded up the cars and headed "home" to nyack. in the fun pink house in a cute town along the hudson river, we grazed for dinner due to lack of energy and the heat. thanks to tonys food allergies, i discovered i really enjoy sheep cheese. creamy and salty, cacio de roma is really good stuff!

the basement was the most bearable spot to be in the humidity, so we decided it would be smart to have a rockband 2 marathon all night. yes, very smart indeed. :)

(dave on drums; the wacko homeowners on guitar and bass. maggie the dog is pitching in too. no pics of me, the "singer," because just looking at a pic of that would crack the screen of your monitor.)

17 August 2009

28, aint it great?

today i morphed from age 27 to age 28. joy.

woke up in boston. its hot again, or still. birthdays in august suck for that. but, jo got me a couple cute gifts and dave had a thoughtful card. thanks guys! then we all enjoyed a fresh breakfast on the porch. good thing we had a solid, fortified meal...because the drive to albany was hell. 30 miles in two hours with absolutely NO discernible sign as to WHY the back up. the massachusetts turnpike blows.

anyway, i arrived safe and sound at the timmons condo (they werent there, but they let us use their place, thanks guys!). meanwhile, dave and patrick had a phish concert to go to in saratoga springs. the final date for their summer tour. dave had never seen phish live but is a huge fan. i had encouraged him to go, not to worry people. and they did have an awesome time, so thats good. at the condo, i was missing the woodward dream cruise, bathing in the air conditioning, and lounging in bed watching the hbo series, true blood. definition of a lowkey birthday...

current thoughts on a birthday: at whatever age i started becoming conscious that i had a future, the organized freak in me went about planning, plotting, and mapping a course. i wasnt afraid of slight modification along the way, but for the most part, i had myself all set. earlier time points had very specific goals with later time points mapped in more nebulous terms.

before i met dave, i had my life detail-planned through to my first job post-graduation. after dave, i wish i could say i had my entire life stretched before me in detail. but, try as i might, it never came to me. if i thought about it too much, it actually freaked me out. i could really only detail map as far as age 27. now, i love the number 7, so i think thats a little bit why my brain fixated on 27, but seriously, i had no idea what i was supposed to do, strive for, or achieve after that...other than big general things: manage a house and maybe a family, and maintain happiness and love.

and now im there, or here. im not 27. im 28. what the heck am i supposed to do? true, i had one heck of a year. lots of change and perhaps lots of new directions my life could take based on the new paths that were presented to me. but so far nothing has taken shape. its still blank. i feel like i could walk off into an eternal fog tomorrow and never be heard from again. i dont mean that to sound bleak, im just...curious and a little wigged out.

ive given my brain and body lots of new stuff recently, so maybe its just processing things...but so far, the only response it seems to have given back to me is a frighteningly large crop of wrinkles around my eyes that werent there in years past. what the hell is that? maybe theyre there to remind me of the past and encourage me that the future will hold more memories that will leave equally permanent impressions on me. but what kind of memories will i be making?

more than the other important milestones (graduations, first jobs, marriage), i feel like now is the time for self definition. to take charge. make the statement. step into some durable shoes and really break 'em in for the long haul. only, im turning out to be a very timid customer and i feel like i dont even know where the shoe stores are to go browsing for said shoes. mmm, perhaps flailing around blindly in the dark will work...

for a less serious diversion, i return to my love of celebrity and commemorate my birthday by presenting these items:

a brief birthday history:
1948 - famous baseballer babe ruth dies
1949 - author margaret mitchell dies...gone with the wind is BEST epic ever!
1954 – first edition of sports illustrated is published
1956 - actor bela lugosi dies
1962 – ringo starr debuts as drummer for the beatles
1977 - elvis presley dies at age 42
1983 - singer paul simon married actress carrie fisher
1985 - madonna married actor sean penn
1991 - seaworlds famous orca, shamu, dies
2008 - comedians ellen degeneres and portia de rossi get married

my birthday, as described by my worrywart father:
1987 – northwest airlines flight 255 crashes on take-off from detroit metropolitan airport, killing 155 passengers and crew. sole survivor is a four-year-old girl.
2005 – west caribbean airways flight 708 crashes near machiques, venezuela, killing the 160 people aboard.

famous birthday fĂȘters:
1954 - director james cameron
1958 - actress angela bassett
1958 - singer Madonna!
1962 - actor/comedian steve carell
1972 - singer from dixie chicks, emily robison
1980 - singer vanessa carlton
1988 - rumer willis, daughter of actor bruce willis. see, we are connected...his family celebrates my birthday every year. :)

(rumer celebrating our birthday with elvis in vegas)

16 August 2009

A cooler boston would be nice. Ooo, and a boston cooler, mmm.

todays destination was boston.

woke up in fredericton, new brunswick after having driven from halifax the night before. the drive through new brunswick toward the maine border was full of the thick fragrance of pine and mint, yum. and the northern part of maine on I-95 was practically void of life until we got hungry and pulled over in howland, me.

there were no fast food places, or really anything there. but, we found a general store, where most of the locals were buying cigarettes, and bought some decent looking chicken pieces. we stuck out like sore thumbs though. im not quite sure what the job prospects were in the area but these didnt seem like farmers or factory workers, some kind of unidentified rural folk.

after food, we pushed straight through to boston. we arrived in the jamaica plains neighborhood in time to relax a bit before dinner. our friends jody and patrick have a great second story apartment on a quiet street, in a brightly colored house. the apartment is HUGE and light and airy with a fabulous back porch. weve seen their previous 2 apartments and this one was definitely a favorite. ;)

boston was in the middle of "restaurant week," so we had a reservation at a place called marliave. we definitely felt like we were part of the irregular crowd that restaurant week brought in. it was a nice place with a fancy menu and in a good location (downtown, actually right on top of where "the littlest bar" used to be).

(jo and patrick deciding what to order; dave trying to blend in...)

anyway, restaurant week menus were all specified to be 3-course meals priced at $33. jody and i chose the beet and goat cheese appetizers while patrick and dave chose the prosciutto-wrapped figs. both were quite tasty. my entree was a skate filet (not too bad, a little salty), dave had a tasty spinach, mushroom lasagne, jody had the steak frites and patrick had the dense but tasty "sunday gravy." everyone ordered something different for dessert and i thought they were all fairly average, but then again, im a picky dessert person.

(beet goat cheese appetizer)

waddling to the "T" after dinner, we made it back to their apartment and spent the evening out on the back porch chatting and enjoying jodys sangria (her recipe was from americas test kitchen). such a HOT and humid day (mid-90s)...which of course transitioned into a sticky evening. my energy level becomes nearly nonexistent in this kind of weather. i just want to sprawl out and sit very still so as not to encourage the sweat glands. ew. a boston cooler woulda been perfect in my hand... :)

14 August 2009

Mixed cat bag

tried a new restaurant today, enjoyed the cattiness more than the food.

dave and i wanted to grab take-out lunch before i dropped him at work. we found a "best of" place that looked promising. the coastal cafe is a bit north of us but had a great description on their homepage. the owner seemed sassy and frank and at the end of it all writes, "oh, and i love cats." we were intrigued to check this place out.

cool atmosphere, delicious-sounding menu, and pictures of his cats proudly displayed. win. we ordered our food and waited, waited, waited...okay, so the wait time is annoying. thankfully, we got to flip through the "cat out of the bag" cartoon book to pass the time. HILarious. nearly every storyboard had a kittie engaging in some goofy thing nutmeg always does. glad she gets her idiocy from the rest of her race, we were beginning to think we had the most mentally deficient cat on the planet. (martin, i will post pics of her soon...)

(i suspect these may only be funny to cat owners...)

anyway, by the time i got my food home is was a bit cold and 'eh,' but all the correct ingredients for tastiness were there. i think we will have to try this again. sitting down and bringing a newspaper or other items to occupy our time while we wait. i think it still has something to offer.

12 August 2009

Lets see what we get this time

different day, different results?

went out to the library and mixed in with the locals and tourists alike. fantastic weather. love being this close to the action. got some money, books, lunch, and good spirits. :) when i get back to the computer, i find an email for a potential part-time job at the public health school. that would be great. the researcher even has a connection in bergen, norway...a university where dave applied for a professorship recently. interesting. i sent an email off letting them know i am interested...we shall see.

when dave got home, we decided to re-try the buskers festival. first we hit up a breakdancing show. it was GREAT! much better than the breakdancing in rennes, and way better than the dumb "bike boy" act from last time. this was troop of guys from the bronx who were MUSCULAR, flexible, energetic, and funny. great show. and, with a busker festival, the acts come for free and they rely on audience money/tips to get paid. i had no problem paying those guys. fun!

after the show, we wandered through to a few other stages but mostly caught the acts as they were wrapping up. there was a speedy artist who had just finished painting a huge elvis face upside down on canvas. cool, bummer we missed it. then we caught glimpses of some less fantastic things: a ball juggler with a phony latino accent and two goofy white guys jabbering more than they were actually performing acrobatic tricks. lame.

so, it would seem that the busker festival is a hodgepodge. i would not plan a vacation around it alone, but it is something fun to check out down by the waterfront.

10 August 2009

Folksy fishermans village

got out of the city today.

we had heard the lunenburg folk festival praised highly, so we decided to check it out on the last day of the festivals weekend. a little more than an hour west of halifax, it was a nice little drive. we turned off the main highway and still had about 40 km to go.

the road took us right through an adorable village called mahone bay. charming main street. little rural churches and victorian homes. gorgeously intricate wrap-around porches. loved it. gotta stop back there sometime.

anyway, the drive was very pleasant all the way down to the town of lunenburg. when we arrived we found it to be a little bigger than mahone bay, but just as charming. in fact, lunenburg is a UNESCO world heritage site because it is the "best example of a planned british colonial settlement in north america." very cool architecture that, since its an UNESCO site, is very well preserved. such a cute town.

(lunenburg, as seen from the harbor. taken from google images.)

after scoring a free street parking spot, we followed our tummies to the salt shaker deli. their back porch faced the harbor and the folk music from the stage wafted into the busy lunchroom. we enjoyed seafood chowder, cold propeller beverages, and a gourmet veggie sandwich. the chowder was good but i think i was denied the haddock that was supposed to be in there (i spied on the woman who ordered the same thing next to me). oh and we also had the chocolate mousse for dessert. what a misnomer. that was no light and fluffy chocolate confection, it was the most dense, rich, choco-buster dessert ive ever had. one little ramekin and dave and i could barely finish it, sharing. but, it was a nice lunch. in fact, it reminded me of the french laundry in fenton.

after eating, we rolled ourselves out of there and went down to the water. the breeze there was nice since the sun was out and the temperature was getting up there. the music stage on the wharf was small and cute but they wanted $28 per person to sit out in the full sun listening to a long block of music...so we wimped out and walked the 4 km trail around the harbor and town. the first part of the trail was great, shady and peaceful, we were the only ones out there...the reason becoming apparent when we hit the long part of the trail in FULL sun.

(pictures from our walk in the cute town area)

now, i dont know about you, but creamy seafood chowder and dense chocolate goo arent exactly high on my list of good walking foods. add to that the heat and sun...i started to feel nauseous. ew. we connected back with the center of town and i rested in a great shady/breezy spot and managed not to vom on anything. the town was so cute and i really wanted to check out mahone bay but at this point i also just really wanted to lie down in my bed...so we headed home. :( good day, bad day.

09 August 2009

Buskers bust

move in day and more.

spent the morning yard sale-ing in dartmouth. we found a well-designed night table and a cool desk chair. total = $12. then we hit a couple dollar stores to get some odds n ends for the apartment that i didnt wanna pay $4+ unnecessarily for. next, it was over to halifax to meet a guy to sell us computer speakers. then we hit some used furniture places on this side to try and get the rest of the necessities before bringing nutmeg over.

our most fun stop was at a cool place called "50 hats." regularly a vintage hat and clothing store, she also sells some furniture items. shocking since her store looks like something out of a mentally ill persons basement. there is ONE walking path in this congested place, the rest is PILED high. but she has a mental inventory and some seriously cool hats. anyway, we bought a bookshelf/stand, a lamp, and a few kitchen items. this puts us at around $500 CAD to furnish/outfit our entire place, not too shabby. just gotta remember this when i see the bills this month...yikes!

after hitting the grocery and beer store (of course) we determined it was time to move all our crap and the cat in! bye bye dartmouth (we still have to come back and clean, but i dont have to be in that crummy place anymore!).

in the new apartment, we unload the car and get the cat comfortable. i start unpacking and arranging things (my greatest/favorite pastime...im sick), dave puts some music on (thanks new speakers) and starts making dinner. i wore the BIGGEST grin on my face during this whole process. the sense of normalcy coming at us feels SO good. going back to only having to find a job will feel much better now that i dont have to stress about 20 additional things.

after yummy dinner (thanks dave), we decided to try out the waterfront festival du jour, buskers. all kinds of weird street performer acts from around the world are organized and showcased during the 11 day festival. this was day 3 of the festival and we were finally settled in enough to enjoy ourselves. the temperature was lovely and the night air was great. we found stage 1 (apparently there are 4 stages) and couldnt get a spot to watch the fire dancing so we walked through the gauntlet of brightly colored peddler stands (some GREAT jewelry and fun souvenirs) and found stage 2. this was a break dancing troupe who were pausing to get the crowd involved. eh, thats fine, but i wanna see the talent perform, not some little kids you pulled off the pavement. so we stroll along some more, buy another DElicious ginger cookie in the food court waterfront, and find a PACKED stage 3. couldnt even tell you what the act was, all i saw were bowler hats and heard british accents.

we then headed back toward our end of the waterfront and came upon the final act of the night on stage 1. he was still setting up so there were seats available. i got a front row floor seat...and boy was that mistake! the act was called "bike boy" and it was SO boring. he was not funny, not exciting, and after all the foreplay...completely anti-climactic. ack. what a bust! (thats what i get for missing your wedding sarah...congrats and i hope you had a wonderful day!! sorry we couldnt make it.).

07 August 2009

Hockey hero and homard

random day.

today was a big day for the halifax area. sidney crosby, or "sid the kid," brought the stanley cup home to his town of cole harbor, just north of dartmouth, to celebrate his 22nd birthday. playing for the pittsburgh penguins, he is the youngest NHL captain to hoist the cup. there was a celebration for him in halifax and a parade in his hometown. we did not attend any of these festivities but tons of local signs and billboards announced his presence and congratulated him. kinda cool, especially since i found that nova scotia is the (partly debated) birthplace of hockey and dartmouth is home of the starr skate, which revolutionized the hockey skate.

another random item. we drove to the halifax airport to drop off vincent. we went in and had a drink with him before he went through security. NICE airport. it has won several customer service awards. small, but well equipped with food places and seriously great souvenir shops. if you make it through your nova scotia vacation without grabbing a touristy bauble, fear not, the airport is your saving grace. you can even buy a live lobster (in french: homard) packed on ice for the ride home! seriously, there were people actually buying them.

Hanging out on the halifax side of the harbor

we're almost in. i can feel it in the air...

today i packed a few things we werent regularly using and brought them to the barrington apartment. after dropping dave off at work, i familiarized myself with our laundry room and washed our new sheets and towels. after unpacking and washing dishes (fun!), i met dave in the public garden for a sandwich lunch. it was a nice sunny day and there were tourists everywhere...but i wasnt one of them. i had just stepped off my front porch. :)

on the way home from lunch, i stopped in at the library on spring garden street. this is about 3 blocks from the apartment. i got myself a library card, used the internet, and located a few books. this downtown library reminded me of some combination of the undergraduate and graduate libraries (UGLi and "the stacks") at UM. not exactly what i am use to for a public library, but it was fine.

later, dave got off work and mentioned a goodbye pub gathering for our rennes friend, vincent, who was here doing research in halifax for a short while. we wanted to grab some food beforehand so we hit the pizza place down the street. ack. never again, gross, flavorless crap that im sure only gets sold to the late night drunkards. poop. woulda been nice to have a quick food option so close to the house.

we also had a short 2 block walk to the pub for drinks. so FUN being this close to everything! we sat in the basement of the lovely henry house pub with a group of scientists. real pub feel in an authentic 1800s building. dave enjoyed the beers on tap, i enjoyed my warm gingerbread and caramel dessert, and we both enjoyed chatting with a few new people. in particular, there was a biologist from prague and a native nova scotian getting ready to move down to houston for a job with exxon. he has never visited newfoundland or even prince edward island, but he is going to live thousands of miles away in TEXAS, of all places. i wish you luck guy.

anyway, the evening was nice and we made plans to drive vincent to the airport the next day. his girlfriend, christelle, had helped dave a lot while he was trying to move out so we wanted to repay them on this end if we could. as i went to say goodbye i realized *awkward* im not in france anymore. but we became friends in france. the standard was to double-kiss goodbye. but on my side of the ocean my natural reaction is to hug a friend goodbye. we both leaned in, so i went for the hug. lingered too long (well, normal-length for a hug) so that when vincent made the kissing noise to remind me to get to the other side of his face i was startled. *sigh* i dont fit in anywhere. so confused.

05 August 2009

Mexico lindo-nt

more "takin care of business" activities.

picked dave up from work for dinner. chose the much raved about "mexico lindo." from what weve been reading, it seems about ten years ago you woulda been hard pressed to find anything for dinner besides steak and potatoes in nova scotia. since then, there has been an influx of ethnic foods to the area (thai, vietnamese, filipino, mexican, indian, etc). there is still a long way to go, but i guess i should be grateful for having options? this mexican food, however, was blah. bland and simple and uninspired. the service was fast and the prices cheap, but we wont be back. :(

after dinner, we drove to pick up a futon we had seen on-line. the people were really friendly (surfers who frequent lawrencetown beach) and even delivered the futon for free when it wouldnt fit in our car. we also got a table for cheap from them. futon + table = $60. now we have a sleeping place for guests!

while driving away from the futon house, we noticed a HUGE industrial park (bayers lake). they have a costco here! weird. there are no Target stores in this country but they have a costco. interesting.

anyway, while moving the table and miscellaneous items into the apartment. our new neighbor in #204 stopped by to say hello and introduce himself. he is a free-lance animator (apparently there is a decent sized film industry here) who has lived here for 5 years. nice guy.

and if youre overly bored with my furnishing-the-apartment stories, you can play around with these fun things i found recently:

1. garfield-minus-garfield comics. dave directed me to this the other day. the artist erases garfield from the official comics and possibly creates something funnier. relevant funny examples:

2. NYT article about viewing art in museums, the louvre in particular. had many of the same sentiments we felt when we were there.

3. the "im on a boat" video. FINALLY saw this. i feel that it lived up to the hype! (this is what happens when you people dont keep me informed of the pop culture going on back home...)

4. beer building in brussels, near the atomium structure. cool, we were there! but the beer building wasnt there at the time. :(

02 August 2009

Bargain basement

feed me seymour. buy me more crap.

our apartment was crying out for more furniture, so we found a lady selling a bed and made an appointment. knowing we'd have to strap it to the top of our roof we went to buy some rope (and ended up also buying silverware and some bowls/tupperware too).

we met the lady and her kids at their storage unit in dartmouth. she was weird but the mattress seemed decent. and for $125, i didnt want to stand around and argue. we strapped it to the car and hoped that there wouldnt be high winds while we crossed the bridge with it. thankfully, we made it in one piece. got the mattress and box spring in the apartment and unwrapped it from the plastic to breathe.

okay, still need more stuff. back on the dartmouth side (i am SO tired of driving across the bridge) we found a salvation army...closed. poop. then we hit up canadian tire (this is like a kmart mixed with a home depot, and its a canadian institution). but we didnt find anything there for us.

we hit the dartmouth sears and wow if they werent having a sale. we got towels and bedding. yay. then we hit the grocery store before that closed. more crazy shopping (which anyone who knows me, knows i hate doing) but today we seemed to get closer to being done. there are still things we need, but the apartment is nearly livable now.

we vegged for the evening and even got to watch donnie darko. great movie. set in 1988 and they got it SO right. jake gyllenhaal is perfect and the depressed/struggling teen plot was very well done. loved the soundtrack.

Keys in hand

saturday. another busy day.

first stop, getting the keys to our new place! yay! its as nice as we remember it so thats a plus. and they are bringing us a new stove in a few weeks and they built us an extra closet. this all seems good. now we just have to buy furniture! let the games begin.

(dave in the bedroom; z bathroom; the narrow kitchen. but hey, its a REAL kitchen this time; and dave in the "living room." so basically this place is maybe 500+ sq ft. spacious!)

to celebrate, we walked down the block to the city farmers market. it was getting near closing time (1p) but we made a quick survey of the stands. lots and lots of stuff. i will feel better about being a regular there when i have some kind of job (things there werent as cheap as in rennes) but it has some nice things to offer. we bought a blueberry kiss cupcake from susies. yum. dense, moist vanilla cake with lemon flavor throughout topped with real blueberry frosting. mm mm mmm. we also bought a tiny brick of $6 chocolate hash (i swear this was the name, though it has no relation to marijuana).

our next stop was daves boss' house. he had a free chair waiting for us in his shed. he wasnt home so we pulled up, went straight for the backyard, and emerged with a decent chair that we loaded in our car and brought to the new place. not a bad start. and at least it was free.

now we are hungry. we head up to the hydrostone area that i read had a "little europe." there is a french bakery, an italian place, and a couple gourmet places and a bistro. there is also a sushi place (because that fits in). nothing is really whipping us into excitement so we pick the sushi place. ack. the sushi was very ho hum and we were bummed we wasted our money. but, across the street is a "brew your own beer" place, so at least dave can salvage the trip. we go in and talk to the guys about starting up homebrewing. they are very nice and welcoming and i think dave will be back.

now, we re-focus on filling the apartment. there are no yard sales where we are driving around so we stop at the halifax shopping centre to try and find good deals. the sears clearance outlet sells us a nice dish set for $16. then pier one sells us a cheap rug. then we head in to the nearby mall and hope for more good luck. nothing excited us at homestore, zellers, or regular sears so we go back to dartmouth. we locate the rest of the "big box" stores on our side of the harbor and hit up: kent (like a home depot) and atlantic superstore (like a meijer).

somewhere on this dartmouth trip we locate a petro canada gas station that is selling the phone dave wants (we are getting a pay-as-you-go phone, dave found these to be the best choice) and buy it. we now have a canadian phone number.

and now, once again, i am exhausted. we hole up in the apartment until after dark when we decide to walk down to the waterfront for the natal day fireworks show. natal day is a local holiday supposedly celebrating the first settlement of halifax/dartmouth. its celebrated similar to canada day apparently. growing up with the windsor/detroit fireworks, we were expecting something big.

it was a nice night for a walk and we could see other people filing out of their houses to get to the waterfront. we arrive and situated ourselves between the bridge and the opening of the harbor on some rocks close to the water. only a little bit late, a stream of fireworks start bursting in the sky. it almost seems like a finale rather than the opening of a fireworks show, but i'll take it! 2 minutes later the show stops. people seem confused. we all sit for another 5 minutes thinking "that cant be it...?" then another dose of fireworks goes off. these are set off at a more regular pace for about 5 minutes. no finale. then they stop. people start leaving...thats it??? and it really was. what the hell? you get hundreds/thousands of people out to watch that? i guess things really are bigger in the u.s.

(the halifax night skyline; some fireworks. woo!)