28 September 2012

All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey

okay, not quite (yet), but so soon. its cool here, the leaves are falling, its almost october. we are only here for about 2 months more. holy shit, major change is coming!

a couple nights ago these revelations hit me, and i havent been able to sleep. since april weve just been in a holding pattern. now shit is happening, and its happening to me! one week everything was moving along and now, this week, i feel the immenseness of all the tasks and unknowns that we will be navigating from now until...? im glad this anxiousness didnt hit until now, but ugh, here it is and it feels...as always, blah. im gonna conquer it (i hope) and just try to ride the wave. this is really hard for me, im always in my head, thoughts are always racing. add even a pinch of stress and this process goes into hyper mode. its exhausting. and it makes me feel yucky and alien. it takes over me and i really have to work to wrangle it back to manageable. i do feel like im slowly getting better at it, but its been messy in the learning process.

as i say, the reality of moving hit me a few days ago, but i think the reality of really, truly leaving my friends/family hit me sooner, and i just didnt know what to do with that. recently, i think i freaked the shit out of the bulk of my college friends as i attempted to right some things in my brain, relating to them. it was definitely messy. i came out of nowhere, and i was certainly ineloquent. i think/hope, in the end, i got things righted. it is important for me to square things up with the people in my life before we head out...into the truly unknown.

the reality of this move is that it will be treated as permanent. we wont be moving to the east coast (for example), within driving distance of all the people i love and who know me. i think that scenario was what i had hoped for most when we left ann arbor in october 2008. everything we went through after we left was temporary, so there was no need to address issues of permanence. i assumed i would get back to a place where i could still reattach to a form of my old life and learn to understand the nuances of the (relatively) short distance that separated me from everyone else. but finland isnt close or easy to get to. i will be lucky to get back once a year, for about a week. its just not much time, for anything.

it sucks that i can never offer things that "local" friends/family can. i cant come over and lend a hand while your spouse is out of town. i cant just "be over in a couple minutes". i cant really attend birthday parties or be a part of the everyday things that keep people glued together. its a struggle to figure out what my place is. even things like skyping will be hard since helsinki is 7 hours ahead of the eastern u.s. the best thing i can think of is to just try my best, even when it feels awkward. try to facebook, email, text (assuming we get international plans on our phones), make the rare "skype date", and just try to maintain.

gone but not forgotten, thats what id like to be, since its how i view all my family and friends. i cant think of where else im going with this, but i think i will say: watch out! if i get the pleasure to see you in december, i might be a blobby mess of emotion. all this crap is starting to hit me and i will do my best to sort through it and just ride the wave before i get to you. but, youve been forewarned... ;)

23 September 2012

Close encounters of the fishy kind

family fun day at a government research building.

it was the 50th anniversary of the bedford institute of oceanography (canadas largest oceanographic institute), so they had an open house this weekend. some of the research buildings were open to the public, they had an outdoor wave tank available for viewing, a huge tent filled with touchable ocean life (some alive, some dead), a coast guard boat available for exploring, and there were tons of canadians milling around government property. it was really cool, a great way to spend an afternoon. X loved the touch tent best of all, and even identified a basking shark and hammerhead shark (on a poster) without aid.

(walking in the fog down to the institute; touching a pollack fish; in front of the coast guard boat)

19 September 2012

Fine dining at fiasco

possibly our last dinner out in halifax. it was a good one at least.

it was supposed to be my birthday dinner (or an extremely delayed anniversary dinner), regardless, we finally got our ducks in a row for a dinner out on the town. as we looked at the calendar, we realized the high probability that this will be our last night out in halifax, so, we chose basically the last high end restaurant in town that we hadnt been to, fiasco (we have [or dave has, for work] been to press gangfive fishermencutchives, and gio). the ambiance/location was "meh" but the food was tasty. it was nice to be out with just dave, eating a quiet, slow meal, so the experience was nice...but i truly dont feel the need to do it more than a few times a year. crazy how much things change.

me (3 courses, chosen separately):
-escargot in a bacon, mushroom, spinach cream sauce (yum!)
-cheese tortellini in an aged cream sauce (this was like gourmet adult mac n cheese. i traded with dave for his tortellini dish)
-halibut encrusted with pistachios and almonds on roasted veggies

dave (4 course chefs tasting menu):
-scallops encrusted with anise, pistachios, and almonds on pears covered in a cherry port sauce
-cheese tortellini with a saffron, lobster, champagne cream sauce (yum!)
-beef tenderloin with potato medallions and a mushroom cream sauce
-mango cheesecake (normally neither of us like cheesecake, but this was pretty damn good)

aside from our main dishes, which were just average, we had a memorable food meal. the dinner was heavy on the cream sauces though, so i was glad to have a good glass of wine to break down some of that fat for me in my stomach. i am not accustomed to eating that much dairy, pretty sure i woulda been puking all night otherwise (this happened to me in france).

the bill was also horribly bruising to the wallet, but doing that once a year hardly breaks the bank. in terms of warm fuzzy foodie dining experiences, france still far and away exceeds anything weve experienced since, so i dont feel too bummed that we arent heavy hitters on the restaurant scene anymore.

09 September 2012

Party boat in the harbour

daves ultimate frisbee people had a boat party.

dave plays on a team with a naval engineer aussie who also races sailboats (most recently to bermuda) and who had access to a friends 48' motor cruiser (price tag: over a million bucks). so...at the end of the summer league team play, he had everyone aboard for a boat party in the halifax harbour. they made it at a kid-friendly time so we said "heck yeah". several of us were picked up at bishops landing (right near where we used to live) at around 7p as a fog was rolling in. we zipped north, under the two bridges, to the bedford basin and then we putzed our way back. by the time we got back, the fog had totally engulfed everything in sight so they docked and we headed home at 8:15p, though everyone else stayed on to continue a docked boat party.

the frisbee people are really nice folks. theyre always very nice to X and welcoming of kids in general to a party (or their game sidelines for that matter. frisbee teams are like the proverbial "village", they all help watch and entertain the kids on the sidelines during games/tournaments. sometimes both parents are on the field and a team member is watching or holding or playing with a kid.). since i dont play, but am often on the sidelines with X ive always had an awkward peripheral acquaintance with most of them. they know who i am, i certainly know all their faces (though names...not so much) but we almost never actually talk, or they talk to X. its something i hope to remedy in finland (assuming dave will link up with a team there) because these kinds of relationships, while not deep, are a good basis for positive social interactions and experiences.

(waiting for the boat; on the boat, talking with papa)
(going north, away from the fog and macdonald bridge; a rusty being-decommissioned russian boat; cooling towers at sunset)

08 September 2012

Fringe festival

halifax has an experimental theatre festival called "fringe fest". this year we went to two performances with X.

monday (9/3):
female dancers from zimbabwe. there were two younger women and two older women displaying the dances/songs/rituals around young girls transitioning into womanhood. i thought it was wonderful, colorful, enthusiastic and energetic. X was almost able to handle the whole 60 minutes without fussing. at the end, they brought me and a few other ladies on-stage to dance. i wasnt even embarrassed. i definitely dance like a white robot, but their music, energy, and encouragement made me feel like...if id been raised in a zimbabwe village, i might have rhythm too. :)

saturday (9/8):
hansel and gretel. a shortened show (50 minutes) just for kids. decent. it held Xs attention but i found it to be the least fun performance that we have taken her to thus far. the thing X liked the most was when the witch got pushed into the oven by gretel. of course. funnily enough, we actually bumped into a playgroup family there and a prenatal group mom...small town.

02 September 2012

Cat conundrum

oh nutmeg. what ever are we going to do with you? no, seriously.

so labor day weekend. long holiday weekend. juuuuuuuust after normal vet hours end today (saturday) we came home from a brief shopping trip to find a trail of blood from the toy room across our bed (and my pillow, of course) and finally ending under our bed. of course, this blood was not evident when we left the house. soooooo...dave takes nutmeg over to the emergency vet in the area. a couple hours and $200+ later...this animal had another anal blow out. three years ago, before X arrived, we got her troublesome right anal gland removed in an expensive surgery. she had never had a problem with the other side, so we decided not take that one out. sure enough, we should have just paid the additional sum then to rid ourselves of ever having this problem again.

well, now she needs to heal and to endure a two week round of antibiotics (requiring pilling twice a day) which usually involves dave getting bitten, a lot of foaming at the mouth (by both dave and nutmeg) and piles of puke to clean up. super awesome. once shes healed, we can discuss surgery with the vet again. although, i seem to recall her having a minor heart arrythmia post-surgery in recovery last time. now that she is 3 years older i dont know what that means for her heart.

the most troubling thing is...we have basically determined that she cant come with us to finland. she is a horrible traveler, she is older, her health declines when she is boarded (we arent sure how long quarentine in finland might be), and we wouldnt be able to have her live with us for the first two months we are in helsinki because the place we have lined up doesnt allow animals. so, who is going to take a 12+ year old cat? shes a sweetie and a lover of kids, shes not aggressive and just wants to cuddle (once comfortable in her house). she has no front claws and doesnt go outside. she doesnt do well in a home with other cats. we hope like hell we can find a lonely older person who might be able to love her in the way she deserves. even a house with kids would be lovely for her, just no other cats. she really would make somebody happy. shes particular but shes a great companion. she could live for a ton more years, but it wouldnt be like the possible 20 year commitment that a kitten would be. when she doesnt suffer from her anal gland things, she still acts like a young kitty (or as young as she ever acted). she doesnt seem like a senior citizen so i hope someone could see her youthful side. mostly, we just wouldnt want to give her away without having the surgery. id be willing to swallow the surgery cost in order to have her find a new loving home. i would of course hope she wouldnt die from the surgery, and more importantly, i would hope that she wouldnt find her way to a person or a shelter that would determine she is too old to have around anymore and choose to euthanize her before her time.

weve kept her as a part of our family for a long time. we always arranged other living quarters for her when we physically werent capable of having her live with us (senior year of college, living in france). and we always took care of her as best we could. i just hope we can find something suitable for her and not feel too terrible about abandoning her. :(