29 November 2009

Multicultural meet-n-eat

two of daves married colleagues invited us for a group dinner at their house.

we picked up two people on the way: a german woman and a canadian/polish guy. dinner convened at the couples house which is on the water about 25 minutes from halifax. you could see the city lights and hear the waves. a nice spot that, understandably, took them two years to find/buy. the wife is french and the husband is yugoslavian/serbian. rounding out the dinner table was another german.

dinner was kind of a mix of cultures (cucumber dip and guacamole spreads for appetizers, chicken and goat/lamb main dishes, and a smooth and simple creamy dessert). we enjoyed meeting (we hadnt met anyone other than the homeowners before) and chatting with this group and it was a welcome change of scenery from our apartment.

Ba[by] humbug

started looking for baby stuff...and so it begins.

some wonderful college friends ;) and others are requesting baby registry information, thus i needed to get moving on that front. personally, its been weird because im not overly pregnant looking, i havent seen the baby on ultrasound, nor have i really felt movement (this "butterfly kisses" and "internal tickles" crap could just be gas for all i know...i do know i produce enough of that...ladylike image, nope). socially/medically, i havent reached the barely safe 6 month mark, so a fetus isnt even viable at this point. it feels weird and yet this idea of a shower and baby gift(s) is a welcome change from all the "living in isolation" reminders i have.

but, fear not, the "living in isolation" reminders rear their ugly heads routinely, and they were not to be missed on this occasion. first, there is ONE babies r us in all of nova scotia (and NO other big-box baby stores), and its tiny, and its embedded in the toys r us, in the mall. second, i wanted to simply go to babies r us, touch/see a few things in-person, and then register for real at amazon.com...BUST! amazon.com refuses to ship anything baby related to me here in halifax. its ugly step-sister, amazon.ca, is a sorry excuse for a website and can only ship me books or DVDs.

now, back in the u.s., i was not a typical buy-buy-buy consumer. i avoided malls like the plague, did on-line/outlet shopping when necessary, and used my stuff (be it clothes or electronics) until it died. but i really, really, really miss having the benefit of selection/variety, free shipping, and low/sale prices that all that american supply-n-demand and consumerism create. i cant get shit here. there are no Target stores, or IKEAs, or outlet malls. nothing like that is within a 12 hour car ride. grrr.

so, its gotta be babies r us then. and its the babiesrus.ca website, which is of course completely separate and un-related to the u.s. ".com" site. you know, living within an hour from the canadian border growing up did nothing to create an accurate perception of canada. i somehow falsely grew the idea that canadians could buy anything we could buy, that they made slightly less money, had better health care, and were nicer. wrong again. always wrong (well, about the "buying stuff" image at least). so, anyone peeking at our registry will note that its canadian prices, and thus would have to think about exchange rates/charges to credit cards. delightful.

anyway, we get to the babies r us and i get a registry gun. we pass a few seriously pregnant people registering and i get even less enthused. then we pass row after row of stuff i dont like, dont want, or havent thought about. neither dave nor i were really finding things to scan. i want to do my research on-line for the best crib, stroller, car seat, breast pump, etc. in the end, i think we scanned like 12 things. and even some of that came up as "in-store only." riiiiight, so im not getting it. back at home, i found a few more things to add to the registry and then dave started combing review websites to see about the more expensive items.

one good take-away from the experience was that we decided that we are going to try to use the local craigslist-type website to get the big items. the babies r us had some really cool italian strollers that were heads and shoulders better/cooler than the cheaper/bulkier evenflo or graco brands. and while they cost a small fortune to purchase new, people are selling them used for less than half the price.

(a peg perego stroller. the "skate" model...its something like $600)

we also decided that we are going to get something called a "playard" instead of a traditional wooden crib. we dont have a nursery to decorate and all the furniture we currently have here will not be coming with us in the future, so why get a nice mahogany crib? i know at least two "regular" people who used these "playards" as cribs for their children and the kids are safe and happy and dont know the difference. plus, the playard packs up and travels so we have something to use in hotels or other peoples houses.

(an example playard by graco. its got a changing table (that folds out of the way), bassinet (which is removable), hanging padded crib surface (that is suspended up closer to the top), and later, when the kid weighs more, the crib surface can be lowered to the bottom and continue to be a bed or just be used as a playpen.)

so, these are our thoughts right now, perhaps after christmas and after more time goes by i'll get a little more interested in the details. im not worried about it, yet.

28 November 2009

Belated gobble-fest

a sort-of thanksgiving.

we missed both the canadian and american thanksgivings (in our bellies that is) but today dave was inspired to whip something up. last minute, he went to the store and found a half turkey breast (on the bone) which he roasted while making stuffing (on the stove), mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, and cranberry sauce (from the can). not bad for two people with limited kitchen tools. yummy!

(my plate. all the brown food groups are represented. monster is clearly being fed a well-balanced diet; dave carving the meat...i think i have one of these pictures from just about every year ive known him. when there are cooked birds and knives around, he just seems to be the go-to guy for the job.)

26 November 2009

Pardon my french, but your restaurant blows

spoke french at a belgian restaurant tonight.

halifax has a french group that meets once a month at a restaurant to speak french. some are native speakers who want to be amongst their language and some are non-native speakers who want to keep up on their skills. some had a large vocabulary with horrible accents and some had better accents and less vocabulary. younger and older people also combined to make a nice mix.

a fellow post-doc (from france) asked dave if we wanted to go with him to the group. it was at a belgian restaurant and the group sounded interesting so we went. we spoke mostly to a younger couple who had a baby boy. the husband is from montreal and the wife is from halifax.

the restaurant allowed two musicians to play VERY loudly near us, so, it was a little difficult to comprehend what people said. our waitress also sucked, in general, and specifically, she called the fries (listed on the menu as "frites" because this is the french word for fries) by the german male name of "fritz." i would think that working at this kind of restaurant, the staff would have to be a little informed about the typical pronunciation of the menu items.

alas, this was not an authentic restaurant by any stretch. it is owned by a local restaurant conglomerate (similar to ann arbors "main street ventures") that cant master any food type: sushi, italian, or belgian. my chicken stew consisted of grey chicken in a watery broth and daves mussels were "blah." it doesnt help that weve actually been to belgium and had the food, but really, this was just a horrible (and overpriced) garbage station. the group was interesting, but im not sure i can get over the venue.

to wash our mouths out, we stopped at the fancy-ish local ingredient restaurant, chives, on the way home to get a dessert. pumpkin mousse torte...yum! the better way to end an evening.

25 November 2009

Warring factions

good times. no, really, not that bad.

went down to our local customs office (thankfully its only like 3 blocks away) and told them our saga. at first, the guy said we had to have been given that casual goods form, certainly. we proved we indeed did not have this document. he then said he would stamp our exemption form with the standard stamp saying we did not pay tax on the car because we are not allowed to sell it in canada. he said that while he wasnt giving us the requested casual goods form, this magic stamp was all the information they need or would have needed from the casual goods form. he said if the motor vehicle department (called "access nova scotia") doesnt like it, he told us we need to be persistent and tell them we were told by customs that there is a memo on file saying that this is approved documentation. this marks something like round 4 in the "government workers should know better" vs "provincial workers are just being difficult" battle. i dont give a shit whose fault it is, the only one inconvenienced is ME! so, apparently once we get the title to our car, we will be all set...not holding my breath.

speaking of warring factions...watch this...im going to work in a twilight/new moon segue here (for you kim). sweet. this team edward/team jacob stuff has made it here. ive seen the girls carrying their support bags. hilarious. saw the movie myself recently. i gotta say, based on the film alone, i am currently neither team edward, nor team jacob. it was also my least favorite book in the series, but really, the movie plot was zipped along way too fast to make a case for either hottie. with minimal budget for the first one, they pulled off some commendable feats, so i thought this movie would have more polish due to extra money. the vampire make-up was still embarrassing and the special effects did nothing for me. heres hoping they work out the kinks with "eclipse" and build the perfect fantasy for "breaking dawn"...(team edward!)

22 November 2009

Martinique beach

went to the same area as last week but did different things.

drove east again, on the marine drive, but this time there was no fog...which i find to be less magical, especially in the leafless yet snowless months. we stopped at lawrencetown beach again, but the wind was blowing out to sea so the waves werent as big. we did see some old school long boarders surfing with their paddles though. kinda cool.

this time, we ate at nan's cafe for brunch. at first we were only the second table in the place (when we left, there were 3 more tables full). i ordered an omelet (GREAT toast) and dave got a soup and sandwich. a little underwhelming, but the place was a mix of locals and tourists. the two groups who i determined had to be locals (based on their california surfer-style speech, appearance, and behavior) were most amusing. the female of each couple (they came in separately) ordered big breakfasts heaping with bologna. ew. the breakfast meat preferences around here confuse me. there is typically: bacon, ham, sausage, and bologna. now, why bacon isnt the choice every single time is beyond me...but the fact that these slim girls were opting for one-grade-above-dog-food bologna...i dont get it.

after food, the destination was martinique beach. billed to us as the best beach in nova scotia (with an emphasis on it being 5-6 km long), the beach access is down a 12 km road that is windy and was under construction...so, nice and bumpy. the forecast for the day was sunny...but it was cloudy. when we got to the beach it was damp, windy, and seemed like it was time for sunset (it was ~3p).

we parked at the close end of the beach and walked around. the sun attempted to show itself while we walked along the moderately rocky beach. for being the premier spot, it seemed to have a lot of little pebbles. being from michigan and having been to florida more times than i can shake a stick, the term "beach" has very different meanings for me (and dave) than it seems to have for the french and nova scotians. this beach was nice and it was long-ish, but i kept trying to picture getting comfortable on a towel. ah well.

i enjoyed the grassy dunes by the beach though, and the big rocks on the end by our car. it was a very pretty location with a natural preserve behind the beach adding unspoiled scenery. if i need a beach this summer, we could come back and check it out, though i might get caught watching the surfers at lawrencetown beach.

(martinique beach...no sun; fun beach critters!; me by the dunes; dave and i with a little more sun; SUN! while we were driving back down the windy road the sun decided to come out. in the distance you can see the weird dry grass islands sitting in the inlet)

hit dobbits bakehouse on the way home again. got one of every cookie they had. promptly ate the entire bag before we got home (with daves help).

Dinner in dartmouth

had dinner with my prenatal pal and family.

emily invited us over for dinner with her and her husband, and dog raina. they have a lovely house in dartmouth on a hill so that they have a view of halifax harbor. the house could easily fit in somewhere in ann arbor, so it was nice and homey to us. we enjoyed their conversation and petting the puppy. dave was able to talk about ultimate frisbee (both husband and wife play) and nerd around a little with the husband, craig, because he has a geography degree with coursework in geology and now works for a major GIS company (dave used their software for his phd). they also seemed to be making similar goals for future parenting (no, our house will not be overrun with toys. no, we will not talk about our kids all day. yes, they will be active in sports...but not the ones that make you get up to chauffeur at 6am)...though, its debatable/doubtful any of these will get followed. :)

the conversation begun over appetizers flowed into a nice dinner. later, we oozed back into the living room to digest and chat some more. eventually, the evening was wrapped up with a polite pie eating contest. well, not really. but emily made a perfect lemon meringue pie that just had to be given a fair shot at the belly. her philosophy, as is mine, is that no meal is finished until dessert is served. preferably the homemade variety for her. and i will willing eat it anytime.

so the night, the meal, was a success. some like-minded people in a similar life situation who we can hang out with. how nice? we did end up missing the downtown halifax parade of lights that night, but i think we had a good reason.

20 November 2009

Lemme off this merry-go-round, im gonna be sick

more in the saga of dealing with foreign governments, please just remind me that this is never actually going to end.

we finally gathered all the information we needed to get a reasonable car insurance quote (this required proving at least 6 consecutive years of car insurance [which we located for me, but only got 5 years for dave], and getting our lifetime driving reports from the state of michigan to have a record of any tickets or accidents. with this we were finally approved for affordable insurance. today, we went to pick up the temporary proof of insurance so we could go and get our license plate.

now, when we first tried to get our license plate, back in august, we were told we didnt have our papers stamped correctly from the border patrol. now that that is fixed and we have insurance, we were told that...we needed the "casual goods form" from when we crossed the border...yes...the only problem with that is...we never received this form.

this puts every single action performed by border patrol as wrong. wrong work permits issued. wrong filling out of the license plate form. wrong omission of this "casual goods" form. and seemingly wrong in their neglect to ask for proof that our cat had a rabies shot (although this is minor and didnt actually affect us negatively, i include it here). wow, i feel safe.

so, now we need to go to the local customs office and request that they fill out a casual goods form for us (hopefully they will find our situation to be believable, otherwise im not sure what happens). so far, our final items-for-a-license-plate list is: the stamped exemption form, the casual goods form, car insurance, and the title. we neglected to bring the title. this is, of course, our fault, but it has only been at this stage that they tell us this. since the exemption form prevents us from selling our car in this country, i guess we assumed we didnt need it. so, weve gotta get it when we go home at christmas. oh, and we were supposed to get our new plate within 90 days of entering the country. we are beyond this point. so we shall see how well that is received.

ah, joy. there really are some benefits of never leaving the comfort of your own home. you may miss out on the sights, but you also skip the bullshit. argh! but, silver lining, we licked our wounds at the japanese restaurant my (japanese) boss recommended as her favorite in town. yummy miso soup and the best sweet potato tempura rolls ever. we shall return doraku, you make my tastebuds happy. a strong rival for some of the top places back in michigan.

18 November 2009

Light my fire

the olympic torch is making its way through canada and it hit our town!

canada took on the ambitious goal of creating an olympic torch relay that allows 90% of all canadians to be within one hour of a relay path. this is the largest relay in olympic history. how cool? after coming from newfoundland, the torch entered nova scotia and today they came through halifax. the relay route went right down our street in FRONT of our apartment!!

we were out in front of our building around 5:30p. there was actually a runner exchange right where we were. the current torchbearer and olympic officials followed by official vancouver vehicles came down, lit the new torchbearers torch, and off he went past us. there wasnt a big hoopla but the participants and viewers were very excited. lucky for everyone, we had a perfect weather day for hundreds of people to be outside.

anyway, the big excitement (that we didnt go down and participate in) was that local olympians sidney crosby (hockey, duh) and sarah conrad (snowboarder) were the final two legs of the relay for the day. it ended at the base of citadel hill where they lit the community cauldron. apparently they also built a boarding ramp for sarah conrad to go down, but we couldnt find any videos/pics of that.

(the torch arriving; the torchbearer passing our apartment; and one of the CUTE little cartoon guys for the vancouver olympics. mukmuk is my favorite. he was on the back of one of the vehicles. check out all the mascots.)

after the relay passed our house, we went back inside to eat dinner. fun end note of the day: another pregnant woman had emailed interested in joining my budding prenatal group. yay!

15 November 2009

Must-get-out-but its always raining

in our traditional waste the sunny saturday on pathetic football games and stomp around in questionable soggy sunday weather, we explored a new area today.

drove east from halifax along part of the "marine drive" of the eastern shore. shortly outside of the dartmouth city limits, we were on a quiet, winding shoreline road with few houses and fog-filled ocean inlets. very pretty, as usual. eventually, we rounded a corner and the landscape opened up to water on both sides. the inland side was a low-lying calm lake, while the ocean side was a raging rugged beach with white caps everywhere. this, was lawrencetown beach. we had heard of it spoken of as the surfers beach before, but here, upon us, it was really wild. the beach wasnt sandy at all, very wild and rocky and with the dense fog and wind creating rough waters it was quite a sight. most areas had three parallel rows of standing waves at any one time. i can see why this attracts the surf crowd. definitely want to come back for further viewing.

back in the car (we had pulled over quickly to admire the scene), we shortly passed a bizarre little outpost off the road that looked like the rainbow had thrown up on it. this was happy dudes surf shop. we saw a sign for a dude food stand...which i want to try in the future also. we continued on, passing lovely coastline, weird old houses, and even a lonely cafe called nans (i want to eat here too...and no, im not very food-centric these days...).

finally, we wound our way into the tiny town of musquodoboit harbor where we stopped for lunch at the little cafe called "the tourist trap." a name like that would normally make me break out in hives and run for the hills but this place was anything but frightening, and seemed hardly able to live up to its name. its was so small and cute. it was a b&b, gift shop, and restaurant (all the businesses around here seem to try and be multi-faceted).

so, we pulled in and eyed this "trap" with less than a dozen tables. a nice lady took our drink order and we enjoyed our cozy spot in the corner. we were eating at 3p, so we had the place to ourselves initially. we ordered the corn chowder soup to share and we each got a lunch plate (me the biscuit melt and dave the chicken club). our soup was really beautiful (we forgot to take a picture because lately, there hasnt been anything worthy of the camera, foodwise) and tasty. our main dishes were also good. everything was inexpensive, homemade, and arranged with care. while waiting to pay the bill, we perused their gift shop filled with all local goods. i was intrigued by a line of bath stuff made from local items: seaweed, cranberries, etc.

now we were full of food and quaint beauty for the day so we started heading home in the fog. we stopped for some treats at dobbits bakehouse before getting on the highway (the faster way) back to town. its amazing how small a distance you can travel from halifax to places that look and feel like the UP of michigan. fantastic.

13 November 2009

Tea for two + two

met the prenatal/pregnant woman tonight for tea.

her name is emily and we were able to immediately start talking. somehow i opened a conversation window about travel that exposed the fact that after college (in british columbia) she traveled for about 10 years. she lived in belgium, london, paris, and auckland (to name a few)...and these are all places ive been! she has also spent some time in central/south america which was a welcome area for me to hear about. it was great to bounce our enjoyment of the different places off each other, and it was nice to feel that we had something more in common than being pregnant.

she also ended up teaching ESL in paris. there were similar stories shared between paris and rennes students. many of her students were disinterested and unmotivated. funny.

currently, her penchant for travel has waned down to nil, which is probably good for my jealousy factor. :) she was born and raised in nova scotia (about an hour west of halifax) and her family is still living there. so, she is really enjoying being back in the area, getting settled in her marriage (she got pregnant on her wedding night!), being a homeowner, and nesting into a comfortable life in comfortable surroundings with family and friends to support her new family.

her pregnancy attitude seems, initially at least, to be similar to mine. of course, more personality things will become clearer in the future. she seems to be a good match for me and i feel lucky once again to have met someone with enough commonalities to create a relationship with, while also finding someone who is native with lots of potential advice to give for where to go and what to do in my new town.

Nessie news - 15 weeks

15 weeks and a doctor appointment today.

(creepy. this is first and probably last skin picture you will see. future bellies will be covered in cloth. since there are a few remnants of my regular body still visible here, i wasnt as frightened to post this. also, for reference, i am "sucking in" due to the fact that with my added air bloat, i appear to be 6+ months pregnant. also, the boobs arent looking that snazzy here, bummer for me and bummer for you. i will try to find some kind of slutty top for a future post.)

doctor appt update:
gained another 4 pounds. pee and blood pressure are normal. baby heartbeat was about 142 bpm. another blood test in a couple weeks. another doctor appt in 4 weeks. ultrasound (which is separate) in a little more than 4 weeks. movin right along.

symptoms update:
1. emotional stability. well, actually i really havent been messed up in that category...seriously, ask dave! there was a 1-1.5 week period back in september where i was upset a lot because of the symptoms i was having, and on top of that, i was feeling unnecessarily weepy about daves kindness. he would make me some bland food item id requested and when it was delivered, i found i was choking on tears to tell him thank you. or after breaking down about the nausea, i would break down again to thank him for sitting with me and being patient and acting non-frightened. but, since those wacky few days, i havent had any other "episodes." does that mean i was already a highly functioning crazy person and ive hit my ceiling?

2. sleep. well, i think i actually waved goodbye to restorative sleep when we got kicked out of our shoreview apartment in ann arbor, so ive been working with less for some time now. i generally only get up once to eat at night now so that is helping, but i also have pretty restless legs lately so its been a problem to get to sleep. once again, thank goodness i have a part-time job so i can just lay in bed in the mornings. i would say that the sleep issues are clearly good prep for the future, however, my ability to be lazy in the mornings will definitely be kicked to the curb, not to be seen again until my nest is empty...or, teenagers sleep a lot right? theyre rotten to deal with but maybe that is the one positive about that phase of life. right, looking forward to teenagers then.

3. baby dreams. first, i refer you to #2, lack of sleep generally prohibits dreaming. i have had a few sparse dreams, but nothing tangibly "baby" since the first day i took the pregnancy test. that blissful night before all of...this, i was able to have the most insane dream involving my side and daves side of our families and our two kids. a boy and girl. lucky me, their names were mentioned (and spelled) in the dream. are you ready for this? the girl, who was older, was named Audry Kyd and the younger boy was named Kenite Egype (pronounced Ken-it). where in the hell i came up with this crap is beyond me! and NO, these names are nowhere near the list of names i would consider naming my child (although, kenite looks more intriguing each time i read it...). thankfully, for my sanity, i havent had any other dreams. i'll be sure to report if i do though. perhaps once the ultrasound happens or i can feel movement, my brain will be satisfied that it has to take this current life state seriously and will start concocting further craziness.

4. food issues. mostly gone away now, same with the nausea and heartburn. i still dont really wanna be involved with pepper or beef but nothing else really seems gross to me. and also, i really dont have any cravings. i have shown a preference for soup/chili, but i dont think it would be considered a craving. its cold out and i want some soup dammit!

5. belly button. ive always had a deep "innie" belly button. in recent days however, ive seen it start to make its journey to the surface. so weird.

6. heart pounding. a little strange, my heart hasnt been racing, but occasionally, while im resting, i can seriously feel the pound-pound-pound of my heart against my ribcage. my pulse is low/normal while this happens so its not like my heart is running like a rabbit, its just weird to feel it that strongly.

7. lastly, occasionally i have a dull/achy, sore muscle-type pain in my lower abdomen/pelvis area. this is due to muscles and ligaments under and around the uterus stretching out and getting ready to hold lots of weight and eventually pushing the source of said weight out. sweeeeeet.

other items:
1. dave. support person extraordinaire, always on-call chef, and engaged, involved, and interested partner. aka, im freakin lucky! i could ramble on for days and probably succeed in making everyone puke, but in the end, the bottom line is that he is indispensable. i couldnt and wouldnt do this without him. i wish that every pregnant woman could have a "dave" figure available in their life, in whatever form. thank you and i love you!

2. related to a support person...i occasionally find myself wondering how the hell teenagers survive pregnancy. i assume most have little support, since friends would be useless and parents and/or community members are likely to be less than sympathetic. they barely have time to get the hang of puberty and they are asking their bodies to make a baby? i cant imagine how that must completely and totally flip their lives. and the ones who have the sense of mind at the end of all the madness to give the baby up for adoption? they should all get medals and at least $1000 to get their lives back on track...hmm, something to do in the future.

3. another preponderance. how do pregnant woman hold their regular jobs (more specifically, full-time jobs)? seriously the nausea, fatigue, general discomfort, and occasional fear would be enough to make stapling pieces of paper together a difficult task. i suppose you just grit your teeth and get through whatever your situation, but it cant be easy. and those who have to deal with added things like hiding their belly while trying to get a raise/promotion, or have to travel a lot, or deal with regular, high amounts of stress. holy crap. my head just exploded. i applaud you ladies!

4. grievance. why the hell is there so much environmental (air quality) pollution? it regularly pisses me off that walking past the hospital i have to inhale all the cigarette smoke from the delinquent workers and patients hooked to IVs who are puffing away. at UM, at least there seemed to be a certain yardage away from the building you had to be...here, it seems to simply be: building, grass, sidewalk, gravel track, road. the gravel track is the smoker pit. awesome. thanks.

also, it boggles my mind the amount of fumes that trucks, buses, old cars, motorcycles, scooters, and other fuel powered vehicles belch out. i cant hold my breath for the 10-15 minute walk to work everyday, but i often wish i could. gross. i dont think the heightened sense of smell helps either. and construction workers sawing the sides of buildings or road crews unearthing old pipe systems...ew, what ancient particulates am i inhaling?

5. new clothes. havent really gotten much, but i got a new pair of yoga pants and two tops from H&M. both are sweaters with lots of flowy tummy room. hopefully i can stretch them to the end and only require a few more things (target...here i come!).

6. elephant in the room: fitting an infant into our apartment. actually, shockingly, we have thought about this. we have a one bedroom apartment and our lease here is up july 31. the kid would be like 3 months old. all they will have managed to accomplish is eating, peeing, pooping, sleeping, and perhaps putting their fist in their mouth. im not worried about childproofing this place since no one will be at the walking or even crawling stage. a crib, a collapsible stroller, an area for clothes and diapers and accessories, and other small-ish baby paraphernalia should all fit just fine in here for the length of time it needs to. and who knows, maybe our management wont charge us to move to a two bedroom earlier than july 31. take that as it comes.

along the way, weve had a least a few examples/models of families getting by just fine living like we do. in fact, the kids seem very happy and well-adjusted and seem to have a good, early sense for the things that are important in life and those things that are just "extra." and one day, the plan is to be semi-normal people living in a comfortable dwelling with jobs that keep us in one place for a lengthy period of time.

7. celebrities. at one point it looked like celine dions IVF "took" and she would have May babies, but alas, the procedure didnt work. however, it now looks like tiffani thiessen (aka, "saved by the bell" kelly kapowski) is having a May baby. woo woo. anyone else a little cooler maybe...that would be fun...

books read:
1. "mayo clinic guide to healthy pregnancy"
great for information, tone, layout/organization. felt thorough, up-to-date, and logical. although some sections can be a little scary to read in detail (c-section part), it gives the facts and statistics to reassure you that "this complication is rare", or "that symptom is common and very treatable." the tone is never alarmist or too casual. if you want to be told that you are a "magical mommie" and your body is a precious vessel for life, youll have to find another book, this one only gives facts, detail, and confidence through the power of knowledge.

2. "BIRTH: the surprising history of how we are born" by Tina Cassidy
this should be read by all women, even if you dont want a kid right now, or maybe even ever. feminists and feminist sympathizers, history buffs, and skeptics of the medical system would also enjoy. aside from her first intro chapter about why she wrote the book (which includes the three generations of moderately frightening birthing stories from her familys women), the rest is not meant to scare or freak you out. its informative and fascinating and at times really infuriated me that evolution, women, and midwives had a decent, supportive thing going before men saw an outlet to make money and convinced the world that midwives and women were dumb. thus proceeding to inundate the birthing process with a high rate of unnecessary, often deadly/damaging procedures and interference. makes you more knowledgeable about the "fads" we take to be regular and routine, and made me wonder what will be found to be unnecessary or harmful in 10, 50, 100 years. interesting.

09 November 2009

Laundromat love

FINALLY found time to get out to a laundromat and clean all the items fouled up by nutmeg and her butt brigade.

we had two comforters and loads of clothes that were simply neglected of late. the only laundromat in town with a washer big enough for our queen comforter is called the bluenose laundromat. it may not really seem like much to get excited about but i actually had a good time. we arrived around 5p and had the place to ourselves. the owner was extremely nice and helpful and very organized (gotta respect that). we loaded all of our stuff in and had 25 minutes to wait.

upping the cool factor, the laundromat is attached to a diner. we walked into the place with our laundry soap and bag and settled in for what would be an early bird dinner (hey, we were hungry). just as the food was arriving i ran back into the laundromat and moved our four loads of stuff into four dryers. those dryers were really well maintained. it only took about 20 minutes to dry the reasonable sized loads. so, as we finished dinner, dave paid and i went back to fold our pile.

in the end, we spent about 1.5 hours there (mostly rotating the comforter getting it to dry all the way through) and only $17.50 for everything (ONE regular load cost about 6€ in france!). i like the convenience of washing in our building, but this place definitely won me over if we have need in the future.

06 November 2009

Slushing through the snow

first snow of the year.

overnight a slushy snow mixture arrived (via a nor'easter) and was mostly turned to mush by the time i tried to venture out to get to work. it was blusteringly windy and with the fat water droplets i made it about one block before i was soaked. i gave up and worked from home today. i think this is the typical type of winter stuff to be expected. yay. there really isnt any gear that will keep you both warm and dry unless you wear a fishermans slick suit. we shall see how this goes.

(view of snowfall from the porch of our apartment complex. on the left corner you can just see the steps that lead up to the dalhousie gym where i take yoga. through the trees you can see the 'old burial grounds' and just beyond the cemetery is spring garden street, where the parades always turn from main street [barrington street, our street]. so we're pretty close to lots of stuff)

05 November 2009

Prenatal pal

another message sent out into the big wide world comes back.

there was seemingly no prenatal group information to be had on the internet in halifax, so a few weeks ago i resorted to posting a brief ad on the website kijiji (this is similar to craigslist and it happens to be most popular over here). today i got a reply back.

a nice woman who lives in dartmouth and doesnt have any pregnant friends. she wanted to meet other pregnant women in the area. i said right now, its just me, but we can meet and try to find other women/groups or see if others reply to my post. she seems nice and is willing to meet up in halifax (for the first time at least) at a cafe near my place. funny side note: she is due one day before me. hopefully this will turn in to something interesting. :)

Immune from being sick as a hog

oh the flu shot.

ugh. now, i know im in public health, but i rarely/if ever subject myself to the flu shot. im all about vaccines against things that can seriously maim or kill you, totally support those. but as a young, healthy person not in any of the risk groups for seasonal flu, i normally avoid it and doctors offices like the plague in winter. and almost every year i am totally successful at averting sickness.

this year, i am in the "high risk" group for complications from h1n1. great. thus, i am being responsible and trying to find places in the city to get immunized. the first few days are a zoo in nova scotia (as im sure it was/is everywhere else) and lots of different information was swirling around. after the initial release, the province restricted the people who can get immunized (initially) down to ONLY pregnant women, kids under 6 years, and first nation natives. but, i still dont go to the first few clinics in order to let the lines get smaller.

today, i found a clinic being held downtown. the same restrictions were still in place (only the highest risk groups), so i thought id have a good chance at a smaller line by now. i packed a bunch of food in case of a long wait and wore my tighter clothes to convince them i was a pregnant person. i got there...and had a 10 minute wait. sweet!

i felt like a regular person until the vaccine lady called me back. while she was waiting for the special vial of non-adjuvanted vaccine (this kind is currently recommended for pregnant people, but everyone else gets adjuvanted), she starting asking small talk questions about my pregnancy. it was the first time a stranger was asking me about it and acting all "oo" and "ah." it was odd.

after i got the shot, i had to wait for 15 minutes in the "recovery zone" to see if i would have a reaction (i didnt). while there, there was a lady assigned to the recovery zone to talk to people and make sure they were alert and doing okay. i understood that. and what better way to find a topic than to talk to people and their children, or to talk to women sitting alone about their pregnancy? this woman called me "mommy" and had those dooey "pregnancy is a magical miracle" eyes trained on me. i felt the need to play along a little, but it felt weird to feel like i had to be all girly and giggly about it. yes, im happy and excited and finally feeling well enough to appreciate things, but i barely jump up and down about it at home, i cant really muster that kind of energy for you, person-i-dont-know.

thankfully she moved on from me after a few minutes and i could just sit and listen to other peoples interactions until it was time for me to leave.

so, the immunization process went well, my arm was sore for a couple days and i tried not to panic or convince myself that i was having shortness of breath or a headache or a fever (potential side effects). nothing came though, so thats good. however, this was only the h1n1 vaccine and not the regular seasonal flu vaccine, still need to get that one. i guess thatll be at an upcoming doctor visit. joy!


hung out with daves ultimate team. met some nice people.

daves wednesday night ultimate team met for an end-of-the-season social hour at the 'economy shoe shop' bar. weve been there before: terrible food, expensive drinks, nice atmosphere. we could handle it for one night. lucky for dave (and me, in the end), he was somehow able to convince me out of bed where i was lounging in my pajamas to attend this function at 8:30p.

the group of people were friendly and were even willing to play 'the name game' with me so i could get to know everyone, which actually did end up working. people moved around a bit while we were there so we got to talk to several people.

the person i spoke to the most was the female part of a couple that dave was convinced i was going to like from the start (sometimes it pains me to admit that he is right). both medical residents (shes from ontario, hes from newfoundland), they had gotten in to ultimate to make friends outside of the medical community. very interested, engaging, friendly woman and from what i could tell, her husband was equally nice. they live down the street from us, so perhaps one day we'll be able to have a meal together.

after another round of musical chairs, i overheard a girl saying she was in the epidemiology department. my ears perked up and i started pelting her with questions. turns out she works in my department and is only two floors above me. i told her where my office is and she did the same, so now i'll be on the lookout for her. pretty cool.

so we had a nice time and i got to make a few human connections to people my age. we'll see what can happen with that.

03 November 2009

Christmas in michigan is around the corner

booked our flights home for christmas.

there was either the halifax-newark-detroit route that was around $700+ or the halifax-toronto-sarnia route which was about $500. the thought of newark at christmas scares me enough, plus it costs more money...so sarnia it is. lets hope toronto and halifax can avert major weather and other delays...

we're on air canada (Dec 24-Dec 31):

halifax to michigan:
flight AC605 - Halifax, Halifax Int'l (YHZ) to Toronto, Pearson Int'l (YYZ)
Thu 24-Dec 2009
06:45 - 08:13

flight AC7353* - Toronto, Pearson Int'l (YYZ) to Sarnia (YZR)
Thu 24-Dec 2009
09:25 - 10:19

michigan to halifax:
flight AC7354* - Sarnia (YZR) to Toronto, Pearson Int'l (YYZ)
Thu 31-Dec 2009
10:40 - 11:34

flight AC190 - Toronto, Pearson Int'l (YYZ) to Halifax, Halifax Int'l (YHZ)
Thu 31-Dec 2009
14:25 - 17:25

Alarm readiness

the wee hours of the morning tested our alarm behavior.

at about 3a, the fire alarm in our apartment building went off. mmm. havent had to deal with this since living in the dorms. gotta take it seriously right? especially since the fire inspection was last month, anything that goes off should be real...and yet, i couldnt get myself to panic. i did, however, shoot right out of bed at the first sound of the alarm. i began thinking about what clothes to put on, the possible exit options we had, and that i needed to pack food (see, i thought about you too monster).

after i had some of these items flowing through my head i turned to dave and saw that he was barely stirring. i said "hey dave, do you hear that?" it was hilarious because he was mumbling and groggy and still sleeping. he later says this is because he had recently come to bed (about an hour to 30 minutes before 3a) but it took him a seriously long time to get up and react. meanwhile, i had listened to the activity outside, thought about nutmeg, and looked outside our windows for smoke (i also wasnt smelling any smoke and no one outside seemed to be panicking).

while i convinced dave to get clothes on and think about nutmeg, i layered up, packed snacks in my purse and grabbed my glass of water (who knows how long we were gonna be out there?). in the end, we decided that since it didnt appear to be a real fire, we didnt want to cause unnecessary trauma to the cat, so we let her hide under the bed (is that terrible? shes just been through so much lately...).

got outside to join all our neighbors in their pjs and someone said they had called 911 and told them that there wasnt an apparent fire but that the alarm was going off (apparently our building alarm isnt actually attached to any kind of notification system). id say less than 15 minutes from the time i heard the alarm in bed, the fire department showed up. while the first guys went inside, two more fire trucks showed up (including one with a huge ladder/bucket system), and a police responder truck came by. good to know they could all get there moderately quickly. makes ya feel good.

anyway, we were allowed to go back in a short while later and we went to sleep shortly after that. nutmeg wasnt traumatized at all so we were glad about that (although, our next door neighbor has a cat and she had brought it outside in its carrier). in the morning, i would continue to make fun of dave and his non-evolutionary response to the alarm.

01 November 2009

Fright night indeed

halloween was uneventful for us.

no kids come to an apartment door, we didnt go to any parties, and we didnt walk the streets in costume. what did happen was that on friday we received a packet of our mail thats been going to our permanent address in michigan (thanks phil) and it had all kinds of treats. some expected things and some not so expected...

like the letter from france saying we never paid taxes. oh, you mean on those 5 euros we earned while working over there? it looks like the government found us by tracking our address change we gave to our bank. it apparently came in september and said we had 30 days to send in the money. we dont even have our pay stubs here with us. dave is working on corresponding with them to let them know we just received the letter, that we will have to track down pay stubs, but that we are totally willing to do whatever it is that is a part of this process. what sucks is that, its practically guaranteed that IF we even owe any taxes, its going to be like 40 centimes. i mean...come on!

erg. whatever. just a friendly remnant of french living. a reminder of one of the things i am NOT sad to have left behind.

on another note, from that farm co-op we are a part of, we had gotten two pumpkins. on halloween night, they were sitting around and we were sitting around and then dave suggested we carve them. just for fun, to have something to do together. so, i carved a cat head in mine, while dave chose to carve "+1" in his to be a stand-in for the monster who will be with us next halloween. cute.

(kinda hard to see that they are actually pumpkins since we forgot to get candles but we did our best)