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Archive for the ‘Travels’ Category

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Sep
20
2012

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. And fries the nerves.

As of today my husband has been away 40 days.  Quite a few important things have happened since he was last home.  I turned 53.  Our middle daughter moved to Ottawa.  Our 35th wedding anniversary came and went.  Many, many tears have been shed.  There have been sleep filled days and sleepless nights.  And if all goes well I will pick him up at the airport 7 hours from now.

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know this hasn’t been the roughest time of my life for sure. Not even close.  But it has been trying.  I think I shall never agree to move a child any distance alone again.  I haven’t talked about that week from hell but I think now that my husband is on his way home, I can talk about it without crying.

Hannah is our middle daughter, fourth child and has been in love with Canada since she was about 12.  Since her cousin introduced her to hockey and she was immediately in love with all things Canadian.  She is now 24 so this move has not been on a whim.

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Doesn’t she look happy?  At this point in the trip we were smiling to keep from crying.  In public.  The trip, as I have said, has been in the planning stages for many years.  And Hannah has saved her money, kept a 4.0, applied and was accepted to Carleton University in Ottawa (GO RAVENS!) for the Fall and Winter semesters.  All her financial aid transferred without a hitch.  She got in the dorm she requested (miracle), all but one credit transferred (REAL miracle) and so tickets were bought, bags were packed and off we went August 28th.  The day before her 24th birthday.  We had flights to Burlington, VT because I wanted to rent a car in the US and Ottawa is just a 4 hour drive.  Our trip to Burlington was smooth and uneventful.  We arrived on time.  Our luggage however, did not.  Well, two pieces of the 4 we checked arrived.  It’s okay we said.  This happened to Dad once and they will deliver it tomorrow to our hotel in Ottawa.  So off we went to our first night spent in Burlington, with plans to drive on to Ottawa the next morning and surely our luggage would arrive that evening (Wednesday) if it didn’t beat us there.

We both knew in the back of our minds that things had just gone too smoothly.  We kept asking ourselves and each other what was going go wrong.  We didn’t want to jinx ourselves but come on, for real??? TOO smooth for comfort.  But we woke up on Wednesday morning, Hannah a year older and anxious to celebrate her birthday in her new country.  So off we went.  We get to customs and immigration at the border.  And again, smooth as silk.  All the papers were in order. Hannah had done her homework on this.  The border patrol was even duly impressed with her thoroughness. So student visa in hand, border patrol happy to give us passage, we were back on the road.  But before we get going, let us call home to check on Ben since Hurricane Issac was threatening.  Oh, did I not mention a hurricane headed for home?  Yeah.  Icing on the cake.  Huh?  Phones don’t seem to want to work.  Oh well.  We will check the setting when we get to our hotel.  Probably don’t have something set correctly for international calls.  No biggy. Oh and I can’t talk to my husband because they are moving his rig and he has no communications.  Yay.

Still, all in all, a very uneventful trip.  Could have been SO MUCH WORSE.  You have to tell yourself that.  Constantly.  And knowing that is true doesn’t really help in that moment.  But we arrived at our hotel, without getting too lost in the big city.

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Lovely hotel.  Middle of Ottawa and not far from Carleton.  Perfect.  Almost.  Canadians don’t  really understand the amount of air conditioning that I require but that is just a small thing really.  Comparatively.  The front desk clerk, who we quickly were on first name basis with (Alex) assured us that he would ring us the minute our luggage arrived.  We got ourselves cleaned up and set out for a birthday supper for Hannah at The Black Tomato.  WONDERFUL food if you are ever in Ottawa.

Now I am going to be honest, the rest of that week is a bit of a blur in my memory.  When I say I was stressed, I am not kidding.  I will spare you all the details and bumps in the road but let’s just say we didn’t have any cell phone communication until I bought two disposable Canadian cell phones.  Verizon did everything they possibly could to rectify the situation to no avail…until after I was home.  We drove BACK to Burlington on Friday and picked up our two, beat to hell and back, pieces of luggage that had been to four different airports, in three days, none of them Ottawa.  Let’s see…Detroit, Montreal, Laguardia and finally to Burlington.  When we found out they were within driving distance we said “KEEP THEM THERE!” we will come and get them.  So, when Hannah got out of orientation on Friday afternoon.  We set out for Burlington.  Yes that was August 31st.  And what weekend is that??? RIIIIGGGHHHT…Labor Day weekend.  So we spent nearly 3 hours at the border waiting to cross.  Bright side: by 11 p.m. we had the missing luggage in our possession.  Oh, I didn’t say, all of Hannah’s prescription medication was in one of the lost bags.  Uh huh.  I didn’t know she checked it and she didn’t know not to.  That will never happen again.  While we are in the states, we try again to get the cell phones working.  Nope.  Okay, we can’t worry about that any more.  No more energy on something we can’t fix.

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So back to Ottawa we go. We only have a couple of days to spend together so we were going to try and enjoy them.  All and all we had met a few challenges but so far we hadn’t actually come unglued.  It was touch and go there for a while, but we are strong women.  We weren’t going to be broken. By the way Ottawa is a beautiful, clean city and one of the most multicultural places I have ever been.

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Honestly, picture taking was the last thing on our minds most of the time and I didn’t get nearly the pictures I had planned to.  But next trip I will 🙂

Saturday night we enjoyed another meal at The Black Tomato with one of Hannah’s long time friends and begin to unwind and relax a little.  We had several real, sobbing melt downs during the week but we made it.  We came out on the other side and Sunday I headed back to Burlington for my return home Monday morning.  It was a beautiful drive down through the Champlain Islands and on to Brandon for a very brief visit with my friends there.

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Hurricane Issac spared our area and for that I am thankful though very devastating for so many along the Gulf coast 🙁

Two more weeks have passed.  Some crying on both sides.  Hannah experiencing some homesickness.  Me missing her terribly.  But this is a chance of a lifetime and I am happy she is getting the opportunity to experience something outside her comfort zone.

So here you have the condensed version of our adventures in Canada.  With Jerry coming home this afternoon, don’t be surprised if I am scarce for a few days.  We have a lot of catching up to do.  My goals for today are: Get myself presentable, get food in the crockpot (meat for the guys ~ veggies for me), pick up over the house, wipe down the bathroom and not burst into tears when I see him.  As much as I have cried over the past three + weeks, I expect to be a bit emotional at his homecoming.  We had all intentions of starting a remodeling project when he got home and had talked about it almost every phone conversation.  But by yesterday’s phone calls we were to the point of  “maybe we will just hang out and do some gardening”.  So I will have garden updates for you but I would imagine the remodel will be for another time. I have missed my husband and he has missed me.  And just hanging out is underrated 🙂

Have a great day.  Eat good things that are good for you.

With warmest regards,

Susan

Oct
09
2010

Simply Saturday is back again!

I feel like I might actually be able to finish a little post this morning.  The last half of the week turned into a constant state of busyness.  I couldn’t tell you what all we did but we did a lot.  It turns out the way often during Jerry’s last week at home.  Running around trying to get all the ducks lined up, the kinks ironed out and loose ends tied up. AND little seeds in the ground.  When we work together we usually have a little system worked out – not usually something we talk about ahead it’s just how things fall into place and everything gets done. Earlier in the week Jerry reworked some of the raised beds building them up (deeper) and honestly I would have told you they were all the same width till I looked at these pictures but the first two are a bit wider.  Anywho, he rebuild, tilled and got them ready to plant and then the two of us got all the carrot and lettuce seeds  in them.  I decided to try a seed tape on some of them this year.  I like the little rows.  Easier to weed and thin.

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Okay, so Jerry tilled, and raked, put on the cold frames,  measured and marked the rows, made the little furrows.  We placed the seed tape and put in the seeds and I went behind covering.  Wow, writing that out I sure didn’t help much!  Oh wait! See the clip board? I wrote what we planted where.  Okay, he made the diagram but I wrote in the names.

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I came in and rested and he gathered all the pine straw from under the trees.  Then we went shopping.  Today will be mowing and then chilling tomorrow,  his last day at home.  We will head out to the airport pretty early Monday morning.  And you all know how I hate that day.   And now with new travel warnings in Europe, I really hate it.  I know he gets tired of hearing me say “be careful” when what I really mean is “be alert”.  He’s as careful as he can be with the little control he has over those 24 hours of traveling.  And I know he is mindful of his surroundings and has been doing this quite a while.  Okay…on to more cheerful things.
Cheerful will not begin to describe what you will find here in the morning, so do NOT miss it!  And there will be a few changes for the week as well.  I won’t be posting anything for a few days because I want everyone to come here and find THAT post! And I don’t want to stack anything on top of it and it be missed.  Let’s see can I leave a hint without giving it away.  Oh…and there will be a giveaway too!  Ummm….let’s see.  The guess is female.  She loves all the things I love: art, books, aprons, fabric, New England, Autumn, quilts, kitchenwork…Okay, that’s enough.

Happy Saturday!  See you all tomorrow! Squeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sep
28
2010

Hey Treehuggers here’s a challenge or two…

I wrote recently about my quandary over recycling my garbage.  My home state is known for lots of things.  Our “colorful” politics.  Our fabulous food.  Our friendly folk. Gators.  Hurricanes.  Oil.  But it isn’t known for being green.  As you may know, I actually do a little research for these Tuesday posts and I found this information today that I cannot wait to share with Jerry. This is from Global Green‘s website:

Louisiana can surprise you. Who knew that this petrostate boasts by far the strongest solar tax credit in the country? Passed in 2007, the 50 percent credit cuts the cost of installing a solar system in half. Combine that with Obama’s 30 percent federal tax credit and a Louisiana homeowner gets an 80 percent discount to go solar and live off the grid—not a bad choice in a region where storms regularly knock out the conventional power supply.

I have to say, I am impressed with this information.  I like “real” info.  I can’t jump on a bandwagon, even a green one, without some facts.  Sometimes I am turned off from an organization or group when I feel they have made a religion out of being green. I try to view being green with the same eyes I view my own beliefs about religion.  Calm yourselves, I am not going to preach or confess!  While the future is a little frightening, to some a lot frightening, when looking at our dependency on oil and natural gas and what it takes to get it, refine it and use it in safe and clean ways, the quickest way to shut my ears is to try to scare me.  For one thing, I don’t scare easily so, one will have to keep piling on threats and what ifs.  Secondly, I don’t take to being threatened and what iffed??? What if a frog had wings?  He wouldn’t bump his little green butt every time he hopped.

I do believe the “globe is warming” and I do believe we have caused some of it.  I also firmly believe the Earth is cyclical and we are pretty arrogant to believe we can destroy her.  Oh we can definitely make her uninhabitable for humans.  We can poison our environment and make it impossible to grow enough food and produce enough clean water to sustain us.  But Mother Earth will just keep on spinning and traveling around the Sun with or without us.  Well, unless an asteroid hits her and she bursts into a bajllion pieces.  There’s always that if the real news doesn’t give you enough to worry about.

Now where was I?  Oh yeah, the three Rs of green living.  Reduce, reuse and recycle(see note below). What a huge challenge it is for me.  As much as I love antiques and collectibles I also LOVE new things.  New vehicles, new clothes, new shoes.  New books! I have already challenged myself to no new clothes for a year and broke that challenge.  I “accidentally” ordered two t-shirts.  And then yesterday I deliberately ordered some new corduroys from Eddie Bauer.  Look, truth: I ruined the only pair of “leaving the house” jeans I had working outside and had to wear them to the oral surgeon’s office yesterday anyway.  So, my heart wasn’t totally in it.  Obviously. Maybe I over estimated what I am capable of in the long term.  Maybe I should give myself better goals.  I did not purchase the Timberland Berber lined hoodie I wanted really, really bad.  It’s not like I am a clothes horse.  I actually hate shopping for clothes.  If I wore a size 4 I might be dangerous.  But truth be told, I want functional, sturdy clothing.  I don’t sit around all day watching TV and eating bon-bons and I need clothes appropriate for my activities.  So since I have already lied to myself and you about not buying clothes for a year, my next best plan is to recycle clothes I haven’t worn and will never wear.  I have winter weight clothing that I bought for trips that I will likely never wear again.  I have friends that live in colder climates that I think might enjoy a wool sweater or three. I cannot even hang all my clothes in my side of the closet.  Now, it’s not a huge closet but it has more than ample room for more than ample items of clothing.  And shoes.  Oh my.  Shoes.  I do love shoes.  But no one and I mean no one needs 1/5 of the shoes I have in my closet.  So I have to weed my shoes as well.  Have to.  Must.  It would be a sin not to.  I can remember very well having one pair of shoes to my name.  So it’s not like I don’t know how not to have 30 pairs.

So here are my personal challenges and you can play along if you like.

  1. Recycle seasonal clothing
  2. Donate all excess shoes
  3. Weed my bookshelves again and donate.
  4. Look for the kindle edition of books before buying the hard copy…guess this makes me completely rethink my cake book, now doesn’t it.  E-books??? They are the future. Man, I love books…this will be hard for me.  Very hard.
  5. Weed all school books from the past and find new homes for as many as possible.
  6. Look for online subscriptions to magazines before buying paper copies.
  7. Find out if there is a school that will take recycled cardboard and such for art workrooms.
  8. Start a compost pile.
  9. Remember my cloth grocery bags when I head to the grocery.  I don’t know why this is so hard for me.  If I would just unpack them and go put them back in the vehicle that would solve this problem.

And one more thing,  as the temperatures begin to drop (I do this every year)  I will try to see just how long I can hold off turning on the heat.  I usually last longer than the girls but with them being gone all day now, and Ben being so hot natured, I think we can make it till December 1st at least.  I have made it past that but good grief at the complaining!  Jerry might never turn it on if he had his way.  But with all the insulating we have done, the house should hold its heat better – so we will see.

Did you know? The recycling symbol you see today with three arrows in the triangle shape was designed in 1970 as part of a contest sponsored by the Container Corporation of America (CCA) (now Jefferson Smurfit Corporation). As a special event for the original Earth Day in 1970 (started by John Mc Connell), CCA conducted a contest for graphic art students to design a symbol representing paper recycling. The winning entry was submitted by Gary Dean Anderson, a 5-year architecture student at the University of Southern California at Los Angels. Later that year, William Lloyd, modified the contest winning recycling symbol to create the present-day image.

Now last but certainly not least, you have to come by tomorrow and meet  Wednesday’s Woman.  You will love her, her work and her commitment to environmental responsibility.  Make her feel welcome and enter to win a great prize!


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