The past week in photos

Dumping some random photos from the last week here:

It wasn’t too many days ago that we were covered in snow. The rabbits were already turning brown though! They knew what was coming!20140403-DSC_0183

Last week I signed out of work for lunch and came into the living room to find both cats in one chair. That so rarely happens. But that blanket does look comfy!IMG_2371

Over the past week, we went from winter to spring!

First the corner of the deck melted, so I had to lie down to sun bathe of course!IMG_2380

 

I promise I washed and brushed my hair that day. The sun just turned it wild ;)

Zeus begs often to go outside for some fresh air and sunshine.IMG_2385

This is the lake last Thursday:IMG_2393

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By the weekend the deck was 95% clear of snow and Jeff seized the opportunity to haul the patio furniture out of its basement hibernation.IMG_2401

Zeus is still doing fairly well. I thought he was going downhill last month, but turns out he was just hungry. We’re feeding him soft food more often, but it seems he really only wants the gravy :) Now that the woodstove isn’t warm as often, we see Zeus more. Usually cuddled in blankets:IMG_2405

Yesterday it warmed up to +15 and our first two crocuses popped up!IMG_2417

Looks like a white crocus, or two, may appear today!

The woods is losing its snow cover rapidly, leaving a thick gooey layer of mud to play in. I know you love my sexy boots:

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We uncovered the boat and got it ready for Jeff to take to the mechanic today for the boat trailer’s tri-annual inspection.IMG_2423

And we had another front lawn visitor yesterday! I saw him walking around the lawn out of the corner of my eye and just assumed it was a morning dove, but Monty told me otherwise and got my attention to look.
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Last night it was mild (+8) and really windy! As a result, we’re ice free!!  I see waves and white caps! I’m betting the wind blew a lot of the ice up to the north end of the lake.

Right now, it is 17°C outside and I have windows open! I’m also ignoring the special weather statement saying spring ends tomorrow and the temperature will plummet :)

Front lawn visitors

Despite all the snow, our front lawn has had a couple of visitors recently!

Last week we had a snow bunting. He stayed around for hours, eating sunflower seeds off the front lawn that I tossed out for him. He even sat on the feeder a few times:20140327-DSC_0138

This little rodent was racing all around in the blizzard yesterday, digging tunnels under the bird feeder:

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Today, this neighbourhood cat stopped by for a visit, before Monty spotted him from the window and scared him away.

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We’ve seen this cat a few times over the last couple of years, but he is not tame, at least not with me. I was worried when I thought his ear tips looked black after a particularly cold few days earlier this winter, but I’m glad to see them looking intact and healthy today!

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20140402-DSC_0176Nice to know who’s been leaving the cat paw tracks over the front lawn all winter!

 

April Fools weather

I thought Environment Canada was pulling an April Fool’s prank with this weather forecast and Winter Storm warning, but I checked 3 apps on my phone this morning and they all played along with the prank!

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Good thing I like winter and I’m not sick of it yet. Just think how much prettier spring flowers will be after all of this! We’ll appreciate them so much more!

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This stormy wintry weather has lasted for days. PEI children are missing their 5th day of school in a row.

Our power has gone off so many times, over the last 4 days. Poor Monty gets so freaked out when the power flickers or goes out. He was in the bathtub more than once yesterday.

All night long we could hear ice pellets bouncing off the roof and wall and windows. Jeff made it in to work this morning, but he said there was a car in the ditch on the way. I’m so glad I work from home ! Well, until the power and/or internet go out.

“Blizzard of the Decade” – Live updates

Live updates, all day, throughout the storm, because I know my family in Ontario is dying to know if we survive this one :)

8:37am: Will it really be the blizzard of the decade? I guess we’ll see! Currently no snow, no wind. Everything in the province is closed. I work from home though, so I can keep working as long as the internet and power stay on :)

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9:15am: A bit of wind now. Jeff closed his offices until 10am.

9:38am: First snowflakes spotted! Wind increasing.

10:22am: Heavier snow now.

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11:17am: Buh bye brown grass:blizzard3

 

1:02pm: Starting to get pretty white out there!

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1:50pm: Power’s out!

2:55pm: Power’s back!

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3:19pm: Jeff’s headed out to plow the driveway, hoping to keep it under control. The snow is wet and heavy.

4:02pm: Plowing done. Just heard some buoys off shore are registering wind gusts over 150km/hr! Yeow! Snow is melting off the window:

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7:33pm: Dead calm here with light rain. We’re missing some crazy winds. The evening news showed it was a white hurricane in Saint John and Moncton. Somewhere in Cape Breton had 200km/hr wind gusts. Could that be true? Wow!

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7am Thursday: Wow was it windy overnight! Sounded like a tropical storm! The sound of the wind kept waking me up as it howled around the eaves and dormers.

8:34am Thursday: Storm is really picking up again. Super windy, poor visibility, snowing. All schools are closed again. We have power, but our internet connection is really slow. Jeff headed out for work but I haven’t heard if he made it yet. The wind warning for 100km/hr wind gusts continues here today.

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Portland has spring flowers!

My trip to Portland, Oregon

Last week I was in Portland, Oregon with a small group of co-workers for a meetup.

Since we all work from our homes, the meetup is a chance for us to get together in person, get to know each other better, and have fun doing team-building type activities. We already feel like we know each other so well, but after you meet a coworker in person, then you can hear their voice and visualize their mannerisms in your head when you’re communicating via text during our regular work days.

I haven’t been to Portland before. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Great transit opportunities – we didn’t use a taxi service once. A really handy train/street-car train system gets you right from the baggage pick up area of the airport to downtown, just a block from our hotel
  • Walkable – the downtown area was all walkable. It felt really good to get my legs moving again. It’s been a long time since I lived in town and walked frequently.
  • Safe – even at night, the downtown felt “townish” and safe
  • Homeless – There seems to be a lot of people sleeping in sleeping bags on door steps and on sidewalks. People of all ages. During the day, many wore vendor cards and sold a newpaper of some kind outside all the restaurants
  • Food – So many food choices! It felt like Manhattan where everyone eats out for all their meals. My Vietnamese lunch was my favourite meal.
  • Cultural – For all the different food choices that were available, the city felt very mono-cultural. I didn’t get an international vibe like you might walking in downtown Toronto for instance.
  • Outdoor rec’ish – I felt like I was back at Lakehead in the Outdoor Rec program – so many Gortex jackets with The North Face and Patagonia logos.
  • Fit – Lots of people biking and jogging, especially along the waterfront. Many skateboards too.
  • Mountains – I could see a couple from Portland. One was Mount St. Helens I believe. Beautiful snow covered mountains.
  • Boast-worthy – Everyone who lives in Portland seems to really love Portland, and will be quick to tell you that it the Number 1 place for city trees, strip clubs, churches, etc. etc. The downtown area didn’t seem particularly well treed and there was very little green space, but I’m sure the ‘burbs are lovely :)
  • Powell’s – The Powell’s book store was amazing. It is many city blocks, full of new and used books. I spent an hour and barely saw any of it. Great paper items too, like notebooks, and pretty note cards. I found a couple fly fishing books Jeff was looking for.
  • No Sales Tax – So strange to actually pay the price, not the price padded with HST!

Some Pictures! Click to view a slideshow with photo captions!

Travel thoughts:

  • This is the first time I took United from Halifax. It was really great to go through US customs here instead of at a layover. I will definitely do this again.
  • Switching planes in Chicago wasn’t bad at all. Different terminals, but it was connected by a hallway
  • Didn’t have an enjoyable experience in Vancouver airport. Signs aren’t good – I had to ask twice to get where I was going, through the whole maze of picking up luggage, customs, custom machines, through glass doors, up an elevator. The entire process funnelled to one inefficient long line to drop off luggage before heading through security again.
  • In order of preference, for Canadian airports, I like switching planes in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver the least so far.
  • All planes have different sized seats. The red eye Boeing 777 from Vancouver to Toronto was hideously uncomfortable. I needed to be 150 pounds lighter, and at least 6 inches shorter to make that one work.
  • To get back to Halifax from the west, I have to often choose a red eye/overnight flight, or a late arrival. I’ve tried a late arrival with Jeff picking me up, a 2am arrival with a hotel room at the airport, and a red eye flight getting in at 11am. None are really optimal. I wouldn’t want to live any further from an airport than this (2.5 hours).

Can’t wait for my next trip! Might be our vacation to the Yukon!

Spring blizzard on its way!

The hype for tomorrow’s storm is growing! Although it is sunny and beautiful today (although quite cold), by tomorrow we are supposed to be knee+ deep in snow with hurricane force winds and employees are being warned they may not make it home from work until Thursday if they head out in the morning.

I heard the high tide in Halifax tomorrow may break records!

Even our provincial government’s Emergency Measures department is warning everyone to have 72 hours worth of supplies. I just went to the grocery store and got sushi, chips & dip, and salad, so I think we’ll make it :)

10:48 AM ADT Tuesday 25 March 2014
Blizzard warning in effect for:

Antigonish County
Heavy snow and widespread blowing snow on Wednesday.

This is a warning that blizzard conditions with near-zero visibilities are expected in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..listen for updated statements.

A low pressure system developing off the U.S. seaboard today is forecast to intensify rapidly as it tracks toward the Maritimes on Wednesday. The storm is expected to track near Sable Island Wednesday evening before moving on to Newfoundland on Thursday.

Snow is forecast to begin overnight in Southwestern Nova Scotia and spread to the remainder of the province Wednesday morning. The snow is expected to change to rain late in the day over the eastern half of the mainland and Cape Breton. Elsewhere the snow is expected to taper off Wednesday night. Strong northeast winds will develop during the day Wednesday and gusts up to 100 km/h are possible later Wednesday afternoon and evening. These very strong winds combined with heavy snow will cause widespread whiteout conditions in blowing snow. In general between 25 to 40 centimetres of snow can be expected with this system over most of Nova Scotia. However, some areas over Western and Northern Nova Scotia could locally see in excess of 50 cm, and given the extensive blowing and drifting snow there could be significant variability in snow amounts received within any forecast region.

Additionally on Wednesday afternoon and evening higher than normal water levels combined with rapidly rising wave activity may produce local flooding along much of the Atlantic coast of Mainland Nova Scotia during the high tide late Wednesday. These high water levels combined with the heavy pounding surf could give rise to some coastal erosion in some areas. In the Northumberland Strait water levels will also rise Wednesday evening but appear not to coincide with high tide.

Les Suetes winds gusting up to 160 km/h are expected to develop late Wednesday afternoon and diminish Wednesday evening.

Here is our current front lawn view:

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Weekend photo dump

Dumping a few photos from my iPhone:

Jeff getting a propane tank filled. Turns out that even though the tank is from one of those propane exchanges, the propane guy said it is cheaper to refill than exchange. Go figure.

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It was a big day yesterday. Not only did we get propane, we replaced our broken compost bin. They are free at the municipal building.

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This week our community got a peek at our new community centre:
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Here is Sally who sleeps in an adorable ball of fluff all day. Ahh the life of a cat.
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Here’s Zeus. I think his end date is getting closer. Poor guy doesn’t seem to be in discomfort but he has been a little hard and distended in his abdomen past his ribs. His back legs are getting weaker too. But it has been two years and ten months since his terminal diagnosis with an expected short timeline. I hope he is fine while I’m away next week.
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Last weekend we went for a drive around some Guysborough back roads. Saw probably 50 deer and 3 bald eagles. Here’s a shot from the Goldboro waterfront looking towards the Atlantic Ocean.
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Day in the city: Go for #4, you’ll be glad you did!

Yesterday I had a last minute choice to stay home and work, or drop Jeff off at his meeting in Truro and go to Halifax for the day and make up my work time later.

(I love my job!)

So I dropped Jeff off in Truro and headed for the mall in Halifax!

I had a couple things to pick up at the Apple store in the mall, then I stopped at the Head Shoppe to see if they an opening for a hair cut.

They did!

But it came with an option – do I want a level 1 stylist, or the more expensive, more experienced, level 4 stylist, since both had an opening.

Hmmmm… I hate spending money. On myself of all things.

How much more expensive I asked?

Only about $20-25 more.

I’m in! I’ll take the #4!

Great, the receptionist said. Oh and the esthetician has opening, would you like a brow wax?

Don’t mind if I do!

Then the pampering began. Can I hang up your jacket? Would you like a beverage? Coffee, tea, water, flavoured water?

I was led into the back room where the lights were dim and the music was relaxing, and let the esthetician rip most of eye brows off.

Then, as she walked me to the hair stylist, she whispered, you’re lucky, he’s the best one!

Then I was treated to a shampoo and a head massage, and then the magician stylist made my hair look better than I ever though my hair could look. I even asked him once if these were trick lights or funny mirrors.

Not a great selfie, but you get the gist, and the red eyebrows:

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For lunch, I headed down to the waterfront to say hi to Theodore:

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I walked along the board walk a bit. What a BEAUTIFUL day! Started out around -20 and got up to around 0!

IMG_2213I was about to go into Murphy’s for lunch, but the sign out front said they didn’t open for the season until the next day, so I took myself out for lunch to Stayner’s Wharf Pub & Grill.

I had a delicious margarita quesadilla with seasoned fries. Really delicious! The place was packed with the Friday lunch rush.

By then it was time to head back up to Truro to pick up Jeff to head home.

He’s still laughing at how rashy and puffy my eyebrows are today (seriously, did she not pull my skin taunt when she ripped? I haven’t been this puffy after a wax before!) (that said, I don’t think these bushy brows have been touched since we got married!  :o )

The best part, though, was this was the first hair cut and style I’ve had in a long time that didn’t make me race home to wash and restyle. If anyone ever asks if you if you want the #1 or the #4, go for #4 :)

 

Random updates: Great Gatsby, Zeus, Jeopardy, and the sunset

Were you watching Jeopardy tonight?

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Kinda cool seeing WordPress.com on Jeopardy!

I just watched The Great Gatsby with Leonardo DiCaprio. I had to study this book twice in high school and watched an earlier movie rendition years ago. This one was done well. Only because I had to study it so much in school, I can’t tell if it is an incredible love story for the ages, or just a long, stretched out, pompous load of hot air that is worshiped and overdone because someone decided it was a classic. I really can’t tell which. At first I was perplexed by the choice of modern music for the wild party life set in the 1920′s, but I think it was genius. It really help set the scene and make it timeless.

Look at this cute picture of Zeus. He was sitting beside me in the chair, letting me know with his intense stare that it was 5:30pm, and time for his dinner (and prednisone pill).

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Zeus is most active from 4:30 – 5:30 each night when he’s trying his damnedest to get my attention and remind me it is time to feed him.

The rest of the day he looks like this:
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Whoa, speak of the devil cat, Zeus just walked by. The wood stove must need stoking. Its going to be a cold one tonight with a clear sky.

Isn’t it a splendid winter? Cold and fresh and white :) Tonight the sunset was glorious!IMG_2188-15 right now, and getting colder.

I just saw the life flight helicopter fly over. We’re right under the path of the chopper when it flies to and from Halifax. I always think about who is onboard. It can’t ever be good, can it? Someone in a car crash? A heart attack? A premature baby? Or an accident amputation? It must be a smoother ride than a long ambulance ride on our bumpy highways.

Thinking of loss, I lost a Great Uncle last week. Only we didn’t really lose him at all, because he left the incredible legacy of his life story for us all to read: Jan Verkley – My Life, the Way it WentJan was my Grandpa Verkley’s youngest brother. Although I’ve known him all my life, I didn’t get to know him as a person until I was an adult, and just adore him and my Great Aunt Miep. It was a pleasure to know him, and to talk about computers, and to get his emails over the years.

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