Sunday, August 24, 2008


*** I have switched my blog to:

Please update your links and visit me there! ****

I will leave this one up for a while so you can find me at my new location.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The City Market

Welcome to The City Market! Here you can purchase all kinds of goods from wine and cheese to shirts and fake lobsters... we took Alberta friend to check it out before she left.

There are many quaint little places to eat ~ with choices ranging from Mexican to Korean to the standard Sandwich shop.

If eating isn't your thing then you can check out the many shops or kiosks filled with colourful souvenirs ranging from windchimes or stuffed animals to... (that's the back of hubby's head there!)

the souvenir shirts tucked away beneath the whale.

Our mission this day was to find something with a local flavour for Alberta friend to take home with her. I had the PERFECT idea - Dulce!! What is dulce you ask? Well check out the following photo. Dulce is another term for "seaweed". Here in the Atlantic provinces (of Canada), with the proximity to the Atlantic ocean, dulce is in great supply. It is harvested and sold in plastic bags or, more often, in small brown bags. Many Maritimers just LOVE this stuff and chew on it like gum. To be honest I've never eaten even a piece of it. I suppose I had to scrape too much off the boat I lived relate it to something you EAT. Alberta friend was game and picked up a bag for her parents.

While we were looking for the vendor to pay for the dulce I saw the cutest lobster trap with a stuffed lobster in it. Teasingly I coaxed my very reluctant daughter to "catch" the sea critter which she did with usual teenage enthusiasm....

Luckily though, Alberta friend jumped in to catch herself a little one too. And she smiled too!

Well! Not to be outdone by a Prairie Alberta friend, daughter found herself the LARGEST lobster to "catch" and smugly hammed it up for the picture.

*Whew*! We found the vendor before the girls got down and dirty in a scrap over their lobster catches! Here is a happy Maritimer harking the virtues of dulce. He embodies the spirit of where I live, bright, colourful and friendly. He certainly made our day!

Alberta friend looked for locally grown fresh fruit to feed daughter. Daughter has been reduced to eating grocery store fruit that doesn't quite have the freshness or taste of locally grown produce. They were hunting for blueberries and blackberries ~ Daughter hasn't tried blackberries and both Alberta friend and I are convinced she'd like them if she tried them.

The girls check out some of the food vendors but didn't find anything they wanted to buy on this occasion.

The jewellery was fun to poke through...and hey ~ check out those puffer fish hanging from the beam!! These dead fellas had those plastic eyes glued on (souvenirs) but I told the girls about swimming by puffer fish in Mexico and scaring them, so they'd blow up like these guys did. Boy the fun I had swimming in tropical-type waters!!

Oh no! I forgot to mention that HUBBY came out that day! We enjoyed ourselves more than the girls did - they noted that it was "just another market"...and if you've seen one, you've seen them all. Oh to be blase at such an age! Hubby and I enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of the stalls and decorations. Obviously the older we get the more the little things enthrall us!

The girls are heading back up the second aisle looking for a way out. It was a beautiful day outside and they wanted to get back there!

Hubby was hungry and checked out the Korean eatery. Although he looks happy here the ending wasn't quite as nice. Hubby wasn't SUPER hungry so did not want the huge meal usually available to customers, by way of one of those combination plates. A discussion ensued between the shopkeepers (whom we took to be a married couple) before they decided that hubby could have 1/2 the serving size...but for the same price as a whole serving. Hubby politely declined and went off in search of nourishment. I don't know what he ended up chowing down on as the girls and I went one way and he went the other. Bye hubby!!

Oh look! The girls found their way out!

They are headed to the city centre's lovely park. I took some great and interesting pictures in the stay tuned for the next post!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The End Of The Trip

While in Lake Placid daughter had wanted to check out the Ben & Jerry's ice cream place. Once she finished supper however her stomach had other ideas and convinced her to walk just walk away from those calories in a cone. Once on the road again the car needed to be gassed up and daughter found a small treat that made her day.
Even after all this adventure she is still happy and relaxed.

Now we jump forward again, to sleeping in a strange hotel in a strange town. After a good night's sleep in the hotel, Alberta friend and I found a bank to exchange some Canadian funds to American money. Lucky for me there was a "Micheals" craft store right next door! That is one of my alltime favourite stores and there it was laid right in front of me. The girls sighed collectively and pulled out their books to settle in and read while this Canadian chick did a little R&R shopping. *sigh* American prices beat our north-of-the-border prices all to s***!!

Then it was time to hit the road. Some lovely scenic driving and some speedy driving once we hit a major highway heading to the coast. We ended up north of Boston and stopped in at a beautiful beach area around Kittery (I'll have to check the map; although some of the American readers might recognize the pictures).

This was a gorgeous place! I definately want to return and see more of the whole area. But for this day's pit stop, we wanted to walk out on the rocks and check out the lighthouse we saw from shore.

Tourists are not permitted on the lighthouse island and I could not tell you if it is a working lighthouse. I think it might be as there weren't any others visible to the naked eye. This was just such a photogenic spot!

The girls, being the intrepid & invincible teens that they are, clamoured over the rocks heading as close to the water as they could. This made me nervous as occasional rogue waves washed a little higher over the rocks. There was also slippery seaweed and moss clinging to the rocks. The girls pooh-poohed my concerns but did hang back, away from the water, when I foamed at the mouth politely requested they be a bit more sensible.

While admiring this area and munching on some hot food, the weather crept in from the sea. Uh...actually it was more like rolled in and fast! As visible in this picture a wall of something could be seen heading our way. It actually unnerved the girls! I lived on a sailboat when I was a teenager and am familiar with some water weather patterns, so I knew this was a squall headed our way.

I'm amazed at how the weather snuck upon so many unsuspecting people! The little cluster of folks you see on the rocks below the building (a hotel) seemed completely unaware a storm was headed right for them. They ran like mad to take cover when the rain hit. And it hit like the wall it was! Isn't that little door in the hotel wall just the cutest thing? It opens to the rocks...makes me think of all those horror stories about big homes on the lonely cliffs...secret doors...murder... oops; wrong idea!

Here is Alberta friend tentatively smiling at me. I wanted her picture BEFORE the storm hit in case she was swept away or anything so exotic. Her and daughter were trying to get into the vehicle before the blackening sky overtook us however I was all game to snap away! Right after I took this picture a little girl started screaming hysterically to Alberta friend's right (off to the left side of this photo). A man shouted to stay put and someone would come to help. A bit of excitement then! Apparently, this child's mother was following said child across the rocks and up towards the parking lot, when her hand slipped on one of the slippery rocks. Her face hit the rock and she slid down between a couple of rocks.
Fortunately for her and her family, it appeared she either cut her lip and/or got a bloody nose. She made her way out and they walked over to the visitor shop/information store which probably had some sort of first aid station. It poured on them as the skies opened up before they made it to the information store.

With the rain we decided to head north. We drove and drove and drove some more through some beautiful countryside. We actually ended up at Portland...and I ended up circling the freakin' runway about 4 times. I think it is one of the few times I actually lost my temper and my alter-ego made a hysterical appearance. By the time I found an hotel with lodgings available I was wiped out. So were the girls. But we needed to eat. Out we went. Again.

By this time there wasn't a lot of vim and vinegar left in anyone. We ate a decent meal in a decent restaurant late at night. We did a bit of shopping at a favourite American store after ~ "Borders". Then we went back to the room and hit the sack. The following picture shows the last morning...and the sheer enthusiasm the girls had by now. Daughter wanted to hit her favourite stores in Bangor and then go home!
Due to the fatigue felt by all of us, the shopping, eating, driving, border crossing and subsequent boring drive back to home, I did not take anymore pictures of this particular adventure.


Upon arriving at home we three looked forward to crashing in our comfortable home and just relaxing. That was not to be. As luck would have it hubby didn't expect us home for another 24 hours and so the next day he had arranged for the exterminator to fumigate against those *(&*#%@ ants again. We had to get professional help last summer after moving in, against these puny and totally annoying critters. Seems that lot left some family behind that came out to torment us again. We had to vacate the house for at least 4 hours.

Four hours! I didn't want to go anywhere ~ except for my soft & fluffy bed! Instead we dragged our sorry butts down the road to our family, where we could sit up or crash, as the case may be. I fell over in a drool-induced sleep until I culd get home.

So that ends this summer's great adventure. There is still more to come and reflections to muse about but it is late and I'm going to fall asleep at the computer if I stay here much longer.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Moving Down Across the Border

To finish the Ottawa farewells (from the last post), here are the girls:

Bye Ottawa! See you next time!

Off we set on our next destination: the Canada/US border. Ottawa being in one of its 2 road (the other being winter) I got temporarily lost, heading west and had to backtrack. Road signs were missing at crucial arteries so I listened to my gut and pulled off to check the map. Curses!!

It was a beautiful day for driving and within an hour we drove over the bridge linking Canada with the U.S. We sailed through the border and entered the U.S. The first thing that hit me was the change in speed from kilometers to miles per hour! Then I noticed the price of gas in gallons not litres! Which then made me realize that I had not changed any money to US funds!!!!

Oh great.

I decided we would head for Lake Placid. There were no major arterial road heading west-east in that neck of the woods so we meandered on secondary roads the whole way. It was quite scenic (would have been MORE so if not for the low clouds on them thar' hills!) as we twisted and turned and drove up and down valleys. We were good and ready for a pit stop at Lake Placid! The weather threatened to get us wet but for the most part held off.

The lake itself is not very big. The entire lake is pretty much within the pictures you see below. Lake Placid earned its place in history because the Olympics took place there back in the 1980s...and yes, kids, some of us ARE old enough to remember them!!

This is the left half of the lake or to the northern side.

This is the right half of the lake or the more southern part. There were houses or cottages dotting the landscape and they are not cheap.
One real estate company on Main Street spotlighted a few lakeside properties for close to a million dollars or more.

Here is daughter encouraging Alberta friend to smile.
Daughter found those psychodelic socks in the pyschodelic 70s shop. I swear we entered a horrible time warp when we stepped across the threshold of that hippies place! I did note I still looked like my 44 year old self though....

Daughter didn't realize the significance of this bobsled sitting out on the sidewalk but was game to hop in. Alberta friend simply REFUSED to get in the thing even with our coaxing. While I took this photo I told them that it was the WINTER olympics held at this location and who knows, perhaps that very bobsled careened down the local mountain in a race!!

This is one shot of Main Street, Lake Placid. It actually reminded me very much of Banff or Jasper in the Rocky Mountains (in Canada, folks. In my homeland!!). If you took off the "Lake Placid" signs and stickers on the souvenirs and stuck on "Banff" or "Jasper" instead, why you'd think you hit a weird time warp.

Here's another portion of the street. Very pretty isn't it? Perhaps the town/city wants it to look this nice so you won't gasp at the prices of accommodations or meals. Or souvenirs.

This next photo is the outside of the restaurant we ate supper in. The front area had a couple of couches and a very small bar. You walked through to the back half where the dining part was built. It is quite narrow; either 2 or 3 tables wide. What sets it apart as wonderful were the huge glass windows at the end overlooking the lake. What an absolutely wonderful view to enjoy while eating good, but pricey, food. The girls are smiling because their tummies are full. These two were like Jekyll and Hyde when they got hungry! In fact, they got downright chatty for a while after eating and it was the only time they'd carry on a full and legible conversation with their chauffeur (me).
As evidenced by the bag(s) we managed to fulfill our tourist duty and purchase some souvenirs and books.

The girls do not appreciate the very fine things in life yet; such as the beautiful scenery. Little spots tucked to the side of the stores were nicely decorated, such as this walkway up to someone's apartment.

While souvenir hunting, we wandered out of a store and into a mini-mall when what did we see but an enormous bear! Daughter was game for a picture with our fuzzy friend but geez...Alberta friend.... relax! Get goofy girl! We had to pull her almost kicking and screaming to just get her to stand beside the bear! It was a huge stuffy, HONEST. It wasn't going to eat you!

Our brief stay in Lake Placid over, the ladies posed with the town clock on our way back to the car. We decided against spending the night here and headed on. That might not have been the best idea though...

I spent the next 3-1/2 hours driving on winding secondary roads, often being the only, lonely car on a dark road with nary a gas station in sight. It was an awfully long day of driving and it seemed to take forever to get to the next town that had a nice looking hotel.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Farewell Ottawa & Family Photos

Why is it when we say good-bye we like to punish ourselves by taking family photos? Let me show you what I mean...

It came time for the girls and I to depart Ottawa and head on down the highway. I thought a nice photo of my sister and her family would be the order of the day.


Niece and nephew weren't exactly cooperating for ANYONE on this day...

So I gave everyone a breather and tried again. Even worse! Now I'm down to only ONE person smiling at the camera! Squinty eyes at that!

Someone suggested hugging to brighten the mood. Little nephew was game but niece put a pout on and wouldn't have any part of it...there goes another photo!

Right. Surely to god everyone can cooperate for one, miserable, stinking photo???

That.Was.It. Enough effort! This shot will HAVE to do!!


Moving on, my sister and I wanted a picture together.

Great. Who would take the picture?

Brother-in-law? What?

But I haven't SEEN what kind of pictures he takes!

Geez...does he even take any?

Ok ~ let him this once. How bad can it be?

WELL....since you asked.... **WARNING** ...what follows is NOT pretty!!

Hmmm...extra couple of chins, kindofasmirk...excess arm skin. Oh no you didn't!!

Take #2 is better. Check out the face on me - not even my mother could love that! Does Brother-In-Law even like me? I'm beginning to wonder!

Right. We lost one.

The other one is not having a photographic moment.

Auntie isn't doing great either; dig the bent neck and big arm hanging out front!

And why didn't you tell me that my hair looked so awful? Looks like a freakin' MOP and THAT ARM IS HANGING OUT THERE AGAIN!! let's turf the niece and get a "sisters" picture going, 'kay?

oh boy, like that improved anything! This is not a look I want to see A-N-Y-W-H-E-R-E let alone in hardcopy for everyone and his DOG to smirk at!

Uh ~ HELLO THERE! Since WHEN does ANYONE photograph two larger women from an unflattering angle and then NOT CROP the bad stuff out??!!

Specially when one IS YOUR WIFE and the other is your v-e-r-y scary SISTER-IN-LAW!

Funny. Very funny.

'Scuse us a moment while I have a word with my dear, dear brother-in-law.....




I'm back! We came to an understanding; we found a very nice photo and he gets to live another fun-filled day with the kids.

FINALLY. A worthy picture.

...and now if you don't mind, I'm going to crawl into a corner with my bottle and have a nervous breakdown while I smash the camera to bits and pieces and drink whisky straight up until that second-to-last photo looks like the last one ~ or until I pass out.

Either way this night is going to end on a luvly note...*hiccup*....

What In The Tarot...?

My sister and I grew up in the same household...but worlds apart. Where I like true stories, science, down-to-earth no-nonsense kind of stuff she doesn't. She was always one to read up on dreams, back-to-nature kind of stuff and tarot cards. I'm personally not a great believer in this but don't mind some fun now and then.

When daughter, Alberta friend and I were visiting in Ottawa my sister held court one evening with her tarot cards. According to my sister we walk this earth with some spirit animals and we can learn about ourselves through recognizing what type of animals accompanies us. We were game and her cards were brought out.

Let me show you....

It was a dark and stormy night... oops ~ wrong story! It was a threatening kind of evening (as per rain clouds) but that was it. I had to retouch the photo below to make it dark and mysterious as circumstances lent to a seance type of atmosphere.

The girls are eagerly anticipating their readings. Hmmm...well, actually ONE is ready to jump in with enthusiasm. The other, well...? Engrossed in a dark, mysterious type of magazine perhaps?
Nope. Just some hardcore brain candy - "People Magazine".

Daughter went first. She shuffled the deck, cut it into 4 piles and then selected her pile. My sister laid out the cards in a 7 card semi-circle and then began the reveal. It is quite in depth and complicated...stuff about east, west, above ground, below ground, etc. Each person took notes for future reference. Here you can see daughter just beginning to write about her animals. By the time my sister was done, daughter had written to the bottom of the page!

Next up was Alberta friend. She had finished the fluffy, light reading and turned her attention to more serious matters. She had some cards that I wanted but you get the cards you deal. The deck used by my sister is North American animals so nothing exotic or particularily poisonous showed up ~ proving we're just good ol' Canadians! Alberta friend also took copious notes which she tucked away in her suitcase.

While my cards were being shuffled (and during a dessert break where we pampered ourselves with strawberries and whipping cream), daughter caught my speeding nephew. He is still in that cute, cuddley and kissy-pooh stage much to daughter's delight. She grabbed him up and gave him a squish-a-bug-hug (our name for happy, squeezable hugs).

As for me no one took my pictures during my reading. I don't mind. I have some pictures that were taken when we left and I've got to have a word with my brother-in-law about that. He has not yet learned that to live long and peacefully he must beware of unflattering camera angles....wide-angle shots...squinty eyes...

My sister's kids popped in and out to see the animals we dealt ourselves. There are a couple of my animals I'd like to trade for something cuter or scarier, like the turtle or bear, but apparently wishing it doesn't make it so. I figured that being a Taurus, born the year of the Dragon, with a name that means "Battle Maiden" that I'd score some ferocious animals but no, my walk with animals spirits is a lot tamer than I'd expected!

Although dealing myself a whale didn't improve the self-image much! Especially after I saw brother-in-law's photos! Note: people do NOT resemble the animals they deal!!!