“There's a race of men that don't fit in, A race that can't sit still; So they break the hearts of kith and kin, And they roam the world at will. They range the field and rove the flood, And they climb the mountain's crest; Their's is the curse of the gypsy blood, And they don't know how to rest.”
- Robert Service

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Potatoes, Lobster and High Tides

I'm sure I've said it before, but Mike's current job has some truly excellent perks. One of those perks is a week off every 4 weeks. That's how we've managed to surf at Tofino, see The City That Never Sleeps, ski the Rocky Mountains, breathe fresh air in Haida Gwaii, and road-trip Georgian Bay this year. Not bad!

Let the streak continue! Recently, Michael and I visited New Brunswick and PEI. Because there's just so much of the East Coast to see we decided to focus on these two provinces now, and then do a follow-up adventure to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in the Fall. I'd say that Part I started off well!

First in Shediac....
First encounter with the maritimes: getting eaten by the Giant Lobster!
....we exact our revenge not long after...
There's always fun to be had when someone installs a sturdy set of stocks!
Then we drove on to PEI over the Confederation Bridge....

No trip to PEI is complete without a visit to Anne of Green Gables house! It was closed.
We spent a couple nights in Charlottetown with appropriate levels of antics. Sir John A MacDonald is a sassy dude!
..more antics
Went for tea at Dalvay by the Sea- or The White Sands Hotel if you're a Road to Avonlea fan!

For the record, PEI has the prettiest ditches around!
 ...as an aside, Mike determined that the provincial pasttime of this province is lawn-mowing. Everyone has a massive lawn (even farms), and they're all meticulously mowed...and oftentimes cross-hatched.

 While visiting the Charlottetown Art Gallery, a helpful lady told us just how to get the best lobster supper around. "Don't bother going to a restaurant!" she says. "Go to the Atlantic Superstore. Buy two cooked lobsters each from the seafood counter. That'll cost you $25. Then buy two rolls baked in-store. Then get Johnson's potato salad from the deli counter. Not the pre-packed stuff. Get the stuff in the bulk case. Get some butter (we found a small bar of garlic butter, even!), too. That'll cost you maybe $35-40. Far less expensive than the restaurant, and I just did that for myself earlier this week!"

She was mother effin right.
Just one example of delicious lobster revenge.
After a few good days on the Island, we returned to NB. One of our most interesting stops was to the Bay of Fundy and to the Hopewell Rocks. The bay has some of the highest tides in the world, so we came back twice - once to see the water in action, and again at low tide to much about on the bay floor. We later stayed in a little town called Alma, where the boats have little buffers on their bottoms so when the water all runs away at low tide their boats don't fall over!

The signs say "Danger, falling rocks. Do not enter." We read it as "Danger, extreme yoga in action"
so muddy!
At low tide, there's another 5-8 feet of rock to be seen below those pillars, and you can walk on the "beach"
We drove mostly along the southern edge of NB and visited the Bay of Fundy National Park, Frederickton, St. John, and Sussex. Lots and lots of wonderful Canadian landscape to see!

Cape Enrage Lighthouse. Yet another landmark we visited after hours...
View over St. John, which is also the location of the "reversing waterfall" - really, it's where the tide rises so much that the rapids level off and then flow inward. If you miss the middle part, it isn't nearly as interesting...
Yet another example of lobster revenge. This time, in the form of a McLobster! (fyi, probably the only item not cooked or fried)
This is the Public Market in St. John. We wanted to check out this building for it's nod to the local ship-building industry in the ceiling.

We put over 1300km onto our rental car that week. Just as many cool things, too! One of our favourite days was hitting up the Cavendish Beach at PEI National Park. It was a beauty of a sunny day and even though  the water was super cold we made sure to go for a quick dip (and everyone was saw after that dropped their jaws). The beaches themselves were totally worth the visit, though, for their pristine white sand and dunes that stretches for ages. I imagine they're quite busy in high season.

We also opted to stay in a hostel in Charlottetown - always a great idea if you're feeling social - and we met up with a group doing trivia at a local pub. Mike nearly went nuts because the trivia was really, really hard.

Mostly, though, we stayed at B&B's or with family - who I'm greatful for! Some of them I haven't seen in a very long time and it was kind of them to open their homes to us. (Plus the home-cooked dinners while travelling were a treat!)


Monday, 24 June 2013

Looping the Georgian Bay

While Mike and I don't see a long settlement in Sudbury, we've so far had plenty of fun exploring around while we've been here!

Over May long weekend, we did a road trip around Georgian Bay, something that looked a little like This. Michael was under the impression that since it was May, it was about the right time to go for a beach holiday. Yes, we did visit several beaches. We swam only once. "Swim" is also probably not the greatest way to describe what we did though. It was more like jump-into-the-water-and-then-gtfo-as-fast-as-you-can-because-the-water-is-cold-enough-to-suck-the-living-air-from-your-lungs. But damn it was pretty looking water! I just couldn't let it go to waste!

This was at Bruce Peninsula National Park. I don't think I've ever seen water so pretty as this in Canada. It is now a favourite park of mine.
the rare image of me bracing for a frigid swim.
Yes, this is as dangerous as it looks.

Atop the overhang at the park. There was also a super cool grotto to clamber down into, with the clearest turquiose water I've seen in a very long time.
Le grotto. Note awesome aqua.
We also took a glass-bottom boat ride into Fathom Five National Marine Park where we visited giant rock flowerpots and sunken wrecks! It is here that I notice that perhaps one of the reasons the water is so clear is because there really isn't much plant or animal life going on in there....I don't recall seeing fish or water weeds...
Mike blending in.
Awesome sunken ship!
These sailors needed some maps, i think. The two boats were only meters apart.
Giant flowerpot!

On our drive through Manitoulin Island, we made sure to stop at Gordon's Park. Michael has been playing a rather fun tune by the Arrogant Worms called The Mounted Animal Nature Trail for some time, so obviously we had to see what all the commotion was about!

The Interpretive centre...
Three Bears
a Jackelope!
But enough of the interpretive centre! We wanted to see some mounted animals on the nature trail!!

Sadly, we left disappointed. There were no taxidermied animals along the nature trail.

Interestingly enough, though, the park is also a designated RASC dark sky preserve. Their website says:

"The dark sky preserve offers exceptional dark skies, darkest in Ontario, 360 degree observing, horizon to horizon, no light pollution, a 7.5+ magnitude and a Sky Quality Meter reading of 21.96 (best is 23) Thursday nights in July and August are Astronomy Nights at Gordon’s Park."


Here are some other awesome things from our trip:

Checking out the rocks in Lion's Head
Le provincial flower of Ontario (found during our hike to Greig's Caves), the trillium
We drove through Wiarton specifically to visit the famous albino groundhog Wiarton Willy
Wiarton must have been hiding, because he wasn't in his designated pen. But we did spot two groundhogs in the window of the information centre...two that might be more comfortable over at the Mounted Animal Nature Trail...
Such good fun!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Mining for Awesome!

Today, I'm super-duper proud! Why? Well, yesterday I ran my very first adventure race, the Miner's Mayhem! 6km of mud and hills and obstacles!

I may not have been very speedy but Mike helped keep me going and once I scaled that last big wall I finished feeling supremely satisfed.

Now if only I could get the dirt out of my ears...

Nurse Ball, Pediatric RN

As many of you are aware, when it comes to nursing I love to work with kids. Since I've been in Sudbury, I've been able to find work on the pediatric unit at the general hospital. It's not nearly as "glamorous" as what I'd been doing in Vancouver but it's been very good for keeping my skills en pointe.

The unit it small (only 12 beds), but what makes this floor a healthy challenge is that I no longer care for children of a certain diagnosis (neurology/neurosurgery and general surgery) - this ward takes all sorts! Oncology patients, respiratory care, general medical (think: my kid has a high fever and has been extra sick for days). In fact, I seem to rarely see children coming from the OR! So I'm quickly expanding my breadth of knowledge. The other big leap for me is the (re) introduction of the responsibilty of inserting my own IV's! Previously, with BCCH being so big there was a happy little team of nurses who did all of the IV's for us. But now I'm plopped into a place where not only am I responsible for IV's on my floor, but occasionally Peds nurses get called to ER to insert IV's into children there!

<<insert panic here>>

But I am dead set on getting this one skill under my belt. A few weeks ago, a colleague let me do THIS:

that's a bonified IV, people!
And last week, a nice teenage boy (a regular on the unit) let me try my first attempt on him - a real live patient! Even better - I got the vein on the first try!

Yeah Life!

So despite some of my misgivings about the management of the ward and the tight financial belt (they don't provide baby wipes OR pens...how can they not provide us pens, when they help us do, like 80% of my job!?), I find myself quite happy to go to work. I'm learning so so so much every shift. I keep imaginging "One day, when I go back to Children's, I'm going to dazzle them with all of my learn-ed-ness! Plus I can do their IV!" Who knows if I'll get back there, but for now it's nice to think that this transition to a less-equipped, smaller ward has left me a more experienced, prepared nurse.

The happy in my day: On the right, you can see where I labelled my pen "BALL.S." I left it alone at the desk and when I came back someone had also labelled it "sac" "jewels" and "nuts." I felt like part of the team!!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Fancy Stratford Premiere!

Do you remember the time I read Shakespeare at wreck beach? Well, the time came for me to get to the fruits of my labour!

I was awarded my bounty - two tickets to the opening night and premiere of the 2013 Stratford Festival - early in May. I plotted my attack soon afterwards. Armed with two nights at a  supremely adorable B&B

a reservation at The Church, and plans for getting fancy, I drove the 5.5 hours from Sudbury to Stratford on May 26th.

Now, I wasn't able to find anyone to use my second ticket, but I was happy to give it to the couple who ran the B&B I was staying in. They were positively lovely, and frankly quite interesting. And they seemed to know everyone in town! They offered to accompany me to the theatre (they already had two tickets for themselves, so they gave one of their seats to a friend) and I was happy for it because they were able to point out all of the (Canadian) celebs at the premiere. Did I mention that Jack  taught yoga to the students of the Stratford convervancy? oh ya.

We spotted Peter Mansbridge, Stratfordian management and current acting company, and prima bellerina & Artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada Karen Kain. At intermission I breezed by her a few times. For the record, she was wearing (ballet) flats!

You'll have to excuse me. I was so busy people watching that I didn't get a single picture! Following the show, there was a cocktail party and the entire cast attended. It just affirmed my belief that Stratford is the happiest place on earth.

Greetings from the pipers!
The vainty inside my B&B room. This is how is looked the next morning - cough drops because I was getting over a cold, the jewels I bought at the antique mall...beautiful
cozy breakfast nook
Before my night out, I visited the Stratford Antiques Warehouse. It was a goldmine of awesome things, such as...
mug to commemorate the wedding of Fergie and Andrew
$240 Beatles mug
This clock-lamp. want.

Another weird mug. "In loving memory...." and there's the image of a man who's been hung!
Local dairy milk jugs

Antique hospital-style pee pots. THERE WERE TWO

Friday, 21 June 2013

That's One Tough Mudder!

Michael ran Tough Mudder Toronto in May! He ran with a small group of friends, and boy was I proud! The course looked pretty tough (from the spectator route, which included a chairlift ride, thank goodness), and they finished with a spring in their step.

...And it inspired me to try an adventure race of my own - I'm running the Miner's Mayhem in Sudbury tomorrow morning!

Pre-race. Cool as cucumbers!
getting muddy!
I managed to find them mid-course. Muddy, but still happy!
Post race, and the guys were chilled from all of that cold, muddy water. But still handsome!