Tuesday, 19 September 2017

news of Summerland Key

I heard from the owners of our beloved rental in Summerland Key that the structure survived but alas the butternut tree that housed the hammock did not. NOAA hurricane imagery of the Florida keys now includes this area and from what I can see, the end of the dock is no more.

Like all the other home owners there who have rebuilt their docks in the past, I am sure Windswepts will be rebuilt for the what, 3rd (?) time. And one day we will be able to return, to feed the tarpon and to have a meal at Robbies (which we have yet to do), to freqent Boondocks, to mourn for the Mangrove Mamas that I first visited in 1999.
To feel the wonder that is the Keys again.










Thursday, 14 September 2017

Irma blues

I will get my mojo back for my "month by month life in NS" posts that are coming soon but for now, I am glued for all news on the Florids Keys. All weekend, whilst living with my sore throat and hurty ears that at first I blamed entirely on that bag of All Dressed chips that I consumed before going to bed (they are tangy and I ate a ton), before the cold kicked in in full gear on Sunday night, I lived and breathed news of Irma. CNN (drama and all) ran full time in our house at the weekend

Now, its Thursday and we still dont know what damage Summerland Key suffered. Even the pictures coming from NOAA that show the Keys in all their damage are missing the area that suffered the brunt of the storm and Summerland Key is in that area.
So... for now, I am getting back into the mood for my planned posts, whilst I wait it out for news of our beloved Island chain.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

NS January to March

Having now been here in this Province for six and a half years I have noticed a general trend in the months that makes me smile. Here goes, the short guide to NS by month (this post Jan-Mar) for any would be visitors, taken from our little neighbourhood:

January:
Weather - the month it starts to get really cold and I mean REALLY COLD, minus 26 in the windchill is not uncommon. Blizzards strike regularly (every Wednesday one year) and its not unusual to get 50cm of snow in one hit, after that 50cm we got last Wednesday... ice lingers under that fresh snow fall ready for your unsuspecting feet and suddenly you realize this cold is going to be around now for MONTHS.
People - The Tim Hortons drive-throughs all over do good business where people cant bare to leave their cars for their order of coffee and baked goodies. Accidents are a plenty due to summer time driving on winter time roads.
Food - the food intake is all about comfort,  the stews and the Sunday dinners, the chillis and the curry (50% of Canadians seem to enjoy a small amount of "spicy food"). There is the occasional burger on a BBQ in true Canadian fashion, but for the most part people are trying to be healthy after the December excess.
Neighbours - you no longer chat outside but see each other in the dark of the dawn behind the headlights of snowblowers clearing driveways just to go to work. There will be a nod to each other as you go across the road with your blower to help the poor sod trying to achieve the same outcome with a shovel. Neighbourliness shows no limits. Firepits sit frozen as the novelty of them has now worn off.
Sports - hockey is most weeknights where you sit in the freezing bleachers, wrapped in a snuggly throw, replete with mittens, scarf and hat complete with your Tim Hortons watching shouting encouragement at the local team.
Word of the month - all over FB feed ~ "Nor'wester","wind-chill" and "Storm chips"

February:
Weather - Still cold and dark seemingly ALOT, interspersed by bright sunlight that makes the snowbanks glitter above the brown bits, making you feel all grateful you no longer live in the grey skies, tupper ware style overcast temperate world of a British winter. Blizzards still striking at their regular pace and now everyone is commenting on the amount of snow days the schools have had so far. Summer seems to be a season that will never ever ever return.
People - Accidents still a plenty and Tim Hortons drivethroughs still as busy. Early February an entire news team sets up in the local wildlife park to see if Shubenacadie Sam will see his shadow. Quite how anyone knows what a groundhog has seen is beyond me, theres yet to be evidence of an interview that I am aware of. Sams forecast along a couple of others is analysed in depth on the news.
Food - Still on the starchy stuff and of course the chocolate has returned as January without sugar was just long enough, thank you very much.
Neighbours - everyone is taking turns to start heading down south for that week or two of warming up. Jealousy abounds at the retired couple who took off after their annual skiiing weekend up the road, for the rest of the winter down south in that enormous motor home that otherwise sits on the drive. FB feed shows pets picked out of the cold by good samaritans who are now looking for their humans on the local page.
Sports - Hockey, still.
Word of the month - "down south", "snow days", "groundhog day"

March:
Weather - While the rest of the world seemingly is enjoying the first days of Spring with their daffodils returning, we are still in the grips of winter. Can we say "flurries"? (Not the MacDonalds kind)
People - The freeze thaw freeze weather of NS increases the likelihood of even more accidents. People start to lose what little patience for the white stuff that they might once have had. No one can recall why they wanted a white Christmas. Snowplows are at the increasing subject of everyones annoyance (in the way, not around, late, where are they?)
Food - Considering Easter, the fun part of Easter in NS is the hiding of the eggs all around the house at 6am because you still sell the Easter bunny myth to your kids and one egg with a matching mug no longer suffices (as it did in England), so eggs are hidden but they cant be near the floor in case the dogs eat them and they cant go out the night before in case the cats knock them on the floor.....
Neighbours - Fire pits start hesitantly up again as people feel the need to get outside before burn restrictions are back in their lives. Much alcohol is consumed as everyone recounts their tale of White Juan (hurricane style Nor-easter in February 2004) and compare snowfall numbers to the current year, as you while away a Saturday evening around the flames, feeling all at peace with the still frozen world.
Sports - Hockey.  Last minute skiing now your face can cope.
Word of the month - "snow fall numbers", "liquor store"

Friday, 1 September 2017

commerical love

I admit that I am a sucker for marketing, meaning that I appreciate a good commercial. Just lately there have been two out there that have brought me out in goose-bumps, so much so that I feel the need to share.
I hope these can be viewed in other countries and not just here. Fingers crossed.
The Canadian Dream

And this one:
Recalculating

Interesting that they are both car commercials, but its the wider story there, in those couple of minutes that gets me, every time.
Well done Chevrolet and Jeep!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Currently...

As the dog days of summer seem to race by, the current status quo (in absolutely no particular order) is:


  • Listening - to country music. Like never before. The Zac Brown Band particularly rocks my world.
  • Enjoying - hacking in the green green fields with Ace and just flat out having fun in my riding, on the grass, in the brook... alone and with others.
  • Growing - at work. I realize that I have finally cracked not needing to be liked at work. I am in the highly desirable (snort) position of being involved in risk analysis and control and part of pushing through change at work. Sometimes I suck at my delivery regarding change and have to work on it but I am not upset at people not loving me, its ok nowadays.
  • Appreciating - my house, I didnt realise until just now that although it may not sport the wrap around deck, its pretty.
  • Failing - outstandingly at healthy eating. My healthy eating went to shit in June and stayed there. I have some work to do over winter for sure....
  • Loving - living. Every. friggin. day.
  • Enthralled by - my children, everything they do and say. Sometimes I just sit back and observe them. They are living the childhood of my dreams.
  • Counting down to - the opening of the biggest Canadian Ikea. I so miss being able to just walk around it and the option to indulge in cheap curtains at my will.
  • Being in control of - finances, first time in years. At first it felt terrible, now it feels fabulous!
  • Preparing for - back to school, pretty much all the school supplies are purchased except for the ever elusive writers notebook for Lily, after much consideration and nose turning up at many that didn't make the grade, she finally chose one. Of course no-one checked it (including her) in our haste to get out of Walmart. Its blank. It needs to be lined. Back to Walmart I shall go - fml.
  • Noticing - how friggen cold it is in the mornings now.
  • Feeling - horrified at the images coming out of Texas. My God, I cant imagine going through that.



Thursday, 24 August 2017

On the road to retirement?

Just lately I have been thinking about obsessing about the idea of retiring. The house up the road from us has a massive motorhome now sat on the driveway. We had a chat, hes 54 and newly retired from the military. He and his wife are planning on selling the house and their older car and travelling North America in that rig with their newest car attached on the back. I have seen the rig, its all kinds of lovely with slide outs and a queen side bed in its own room, nice bathroom, granite countertops etc etc (trust me this etc etc list is extensive)
When not travelling in a whimsical fashion in warmer climes all winter, they will be seeing their children, who now live with their spouses in Ontario. It sounds dreamy to me.

I now cannot get past this ideal. Obviously we need to downsize our beloved house to do it, which in a perfect world would be paid for and that (selling this house), I cant imagine doing easily. Obviously my children will be older. To be 55 and retired is 13 years away for me.
I have started doing the math and its entirely possible to be following in the neighbours tire tracks in 15 years time (at a push in 13). What I now need to do, whilst fiscally planning this out carefully (so it can actually transpire) is actually continue to enjoy the years between now and then, and really live them.
I absolutely do not want to fast forward to mid fifties with grown up children. That would be a terrible waste of my life. I cannot forget though, the look of the Bahia Honda RV park which I have been looking up online like a stalker....
dreamy huh?!!!

So... now to get there by carefully planning the finances, but at the same time enjoying the present moment... hmmmm


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Weekends enjoying my home

My "home" encompasses far more than the house I live in. My home is the subdivision it sits in and now also the barn Ace is in. Last weekend I decided to spend all weekend at home, enjoying life generally. I rode, I walked the dogs, I cleaned the house. There were some cool clouds at the weekend and it was typical August hot.
A couple of photos from my at home weekend, enjoying what we have and spending zero dollars.
(I plan to enjoy a whole lot more of these)