Long time, no blog

But hey, I'm on vacation... right?
It was brought to my attention before I left, that I seem to go 'down south' an awful lot.
I can't deny this, it is absolutely true.
And no, I'm not independently wealthy... I just happened to have something like 45,000+ Aeroplan points stored up and wanted to get my money's worth. And I did. And I'm glad I did while I could... because I hear now that in addition to not being able to redeem points on Calm Air any more... First Air is not flying into Rankin because of the medical travel contract. I was more than a little annoyed... not to mention freaked out when I heard that, because I didn't know when it was 'effective' and I'm flying back First Air on the 1st.
'Luckily' ... it doesn't take effect until the 15th. But it still sucks.
Anyways, soon to follow...
  • Observations from the Road: Driving in the UK
  • Photos
  • Something witty. But then, that should be standard by now, right? Haha.

Anyways that's it for now, until I'm feeling more prolific.



Sick in Scotland

A longer entry will follow... I wrote it this AM but in my stupor, left it with my bags at the hostel, where I am not... and then decided to write a blog entry.

Oh well.


I either have a serious case of allergies kicking my ass... or a head cold. It's probably been a full year since my allergies have killed me (bonus for the North: nothing really GROWS there... and so no seasonal allergies), so I can't really tell which one is at fault.

Either way, my throat hurts, my ears are plugged, my nose is stuffy and I'm VERY dopey. I hit the drug store this AM as soon as it opened and stocked up on whatever I could find, and have been chugging back orange juice in hopes it might boost my immune system.

All I have to say is that I'm glad to be in an english-speaking country while feeling like this. If I were in France or Greece right now, life would be much less bearable... the pharmacies there are "talk to a person behind a counter in a language you don't speak and hope you are given the right non-prescription medication." Very tricky.

But I'm alive. A bit groggy, and a tad tired, but alive.


Observations from a road-weary traveller

  1. European airports are not actually airports. They are malls. With parking spots for airplanes. And lots of security.
  2. In order to have a good night's sleep on an airplane, you need to channel McGyver. I fashioned a neck/head support out of my zip-up tied around my neck and bolstered by a bite-sized pillow.
  3. Flying on ONLY ONE AIRLINE is MUCH easier than 4 different ones. No wonder the trip to Greece was such a gong show
  4. I am glad I speak English. Because everyone speaks English. No, I'm not being rude. Just stating the truth. Everyone speaks English.
  5. I have, in the past 2 months, spent time in too many different airports. Rankin, Winnipeg, LaGuardia, JFK, Dusseldorf, Athens, Toronto, Minneapolis, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, London. Shit that's a lot.
  6. I am wearing makeup. I have not worn makeup for 2 consecutive days in about a year. I just got off a 7.5 hr flight, but I look fabulous because I am wearing mascara. That being said...
  7. I have not had a full nights sleep since Wednesday night. I can barely keep my eyes open. Not that I have eyes anymore. Just giant bags where two slits sit on my face.
  8. I am going to splurge on a pedicure. It's decided. XpresSpa is calling me.



Thunder and Lightening!
Thunder and Lightening!

I don't even KNOW when the last time I heart/saw THUNDER AND LIGHTENING.

PS. I leave tomorrow.

I'm just a little bit excited.


Five six switch....

Crazy I am going...

Though hardly slowly...

This might possibly be the WORST week of all time for sources giving me the run-around. I'm going to play "journalist with a shred of dignity" and not say WHO has been consistently avoiding me... or pawning me off on other people in their respective organizations...

Suffice to say culprit #1.) SHOULD KNOW BETTER because they have a dedicated communications person, and are (generally) a pretty reputable organization. Generally good for being accessible to the media.

Culprit #2.)... well they are just trying to avoid me. And are stalling until the situation is "resolved"... and there "no story"

Sometimes, days like these, when I get jerked around by people who are trying to keep the public from knowing important information... it just about makes me want to quit. Which I KNOW is what THEY want. The culprits want me to give up, and for the story to die. And I don't want them to win, but how many times can I run full-speed at a brick wall before I end up too bruised to keep going?

Friday can't come soon enough.


Too much money

...in too many different currencies.

I never actually cleaned out my wallet when we got back from Greece. I never bothered to exchange that extra 20 euro bill that lingered in my wallet (that's how rushed we were at the airport... didn't even have a chance to blow that last 20 on something fun)... and so it still sits there, all by it's lonesome, feeling like an ugly ducking beside its Canadian brothers and sisters.

But the worst of all has been my little change compartment. I've been so overwhelmed by the Euro/Canadian loonie/twoonie similarities that I just STOPPED spending change, and so it's slowly filled to the brim as I toss away 20-dollar bills on small purchases.

And then today, in prep for my upcoming (3 days!!) UK excursion... I went on down to the RBC to pick up some lbs (pounds, haha, I'm so witty). So now I have Canadian money, pounds sterling AND euros all mingling in my wallet. It's like a little pocket-sized United Nations.

I'm soooo worldly, haha.


More travel shock and awe

And we think Air Canada is bad.

The following is from NWA's website re: baggage allowances.

I look at these fees in a "what are they saying" sort of way. In my mind, NWA is saying, through their fees, that you are not "supposed to" check any luggage at all. Just in the same way you are "not supposed to" check 19 pieces of luggage (because if you do, they will charge you $100 per item).

So if you are not "supposed to" check any baggage, you must be "supposed to" carry it on board with you.

But wait! You can't take that bottle of shampoo on the plane in your carry-on baggage...you have to check it.

Let me get this straight.

In order for me to wash my hair, I have to pay 15 dollars. Hmm. Something just doesn't seem right about that.

I think I'd rather buy shampoo at my destination.

*mumble, curse, mutter 'stupid airlines'*


Sunday evening observations

  • The puppy does NOT appreciate being vaccumed. This was discovered while I was cleaning "his area" after yesterday's mega-shed. And I decided to give the vacuum a go on his coat. The upholstry brush worked okay, but the regular sucky tube didn't do as good a job as I had hoped. It kind of just dislodged the soon-to-shed fur and then left the rest of the work for me. Sully looked at me with the most pathetic of faces. "Whyyyy do you doooo this to meeee?"
  • I wish I could move my apartment to another part of town. I'm sooooo sick of having mini panic attacks when the couple across the street have screeching fights that I can hear from inside my house with the windows closed. Some day I will seriously call the RCMP on them. But I just can't figure out where that line is. It doesn't seem to upset anyone else near as much as me.
  • Sometimes you just need to spend a weekend at home. I had such a great time this Sat/Sun. I did just about nothing, but hung out with friends on Friday night, spent most of the day with the boy on Saturday, hung out with another friend low-key style (lots of Olympics coverage was watched), chilled by myself all day today, and then had Sunday supper with the boy today. There's just something so great about being able to hang out with people and enjoy their company without pressure. Looking back on what I just wrote, it seems like I actually did a lot, but not compared to the past couple weekends where I was out at the cabin...fishing, picking mussels.... socializing into the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes I live in my own little geriatric ward. And I love it.
  • I bought my first carving today! I *think* I'm pretty picky, and so I've not really bought any art since I came up. But a guy came by today, and I happened to have cash on me, and I really though the back AND white soapstone was a cool effect. It's only about 8 inches tall, and a bit slanty, but like it. So far I've bought two things up here, and both of them are inukshuks. One is this sculpture, and the other a drawing/sketch from this girl in town. I do have a bit of an inukshuk facination (yes Matt, now the people will know we were here), so I guess it's fitting they are my only purchases thus far. I had actually expected my first "northern art" to be a white (ivory, maybe?) inukshuk necklace, but I've yet to find one I really like. I'm holding out for the perfect one :)


The Big Shed

My life is covered in dog hair.

I kid you not. If you were to carefully inspect my belly-button, I'm pretty sure you'd find dog hair hiding away inside.

It's "hot" here in Rankin Inlet... and the puppy is trying to adjust his coat. And it's going to drive me up the wall. I could brush him every single day, and every day I'd pull out 3 large brushfulls of puppy fur. I just gave the little bugger a much-needed bath... walked away for 10 minutes, and when I saw him again, it looked like his fur had grown a full 2 inches in places.

The shedding fur had dislodged itself during the shake-down.

I wonder what a person can do with excess dog hair. It's pretty soft... maybe I could make pillows out of it. Or little stuffed toys. It's not long enough to knit a sweater, so that's out. But I really thing the pillow thing might fly. OOOooooooo, I wonder how insulative it is. Maybe I could whip up my own brand of northern jacket. Canada Goose-style...only it would need to have some kind of Sully/Corgi/Sheltie play on words for its name. What about Puppy Parka.


But seriously,

I really can't wait for this summer-shed thing to be over, it simply can't be healthy to breathe in so much dog hair.

Just watch, I'll probably end up with dog-fur-inflicted-lung-cancer a la asbestos.


Classy, real classy


So the PETA is trying to get an ad published in the Portage la Prarie local newspaper... directly comparing Tim McLean's struggles to what happens to an animal as it's being slaughtered.

I found the ad on a PETA blog, here it is:

The editors at the paper had the good taste and sound judgement to refuse to post the ad. See? It's not ALL about revenue. There are still SOME morals in journalism.

But seriously.

I don't understand who in their right mind thought this was a good idea. I just don't get it. People around the world are watching as this gruesome story unfolds... and the PETA is using it as a campaign message.

It's one thing to promote vegetarianism. Seriously, I love veggies. But this is so disrespectful, and makes me so sick, that I'm actually feeling the need to donate a large sum of money towards an organization that promotes the inhumane slaughter of animals. Just to stick it to the PETA.

You've gone too far on this one.


Travel tips

So the countdown is on. I'll be leaving for UK adventure 2008 in nine short days. And I reaaaallly can't wait.

And I've been doing my research ... reading anything/everything I can about travelling through the states and into the UK. In my humble opinion...this trip has the potential to be one of the most complicated of all time... so the whole Brownie "be prepared" motto is my new mantra.

Why complicated, you ask?

First, because of the many different flights/countries I'm travelling through... which (at least last time) means picking up checked baggage and re-checking at each new entry point. Maybe it's different when you travel on the same airline/family of airlines. I can only hope.

Second, because I'm travelling through the states. And the TSA is a total and complete jerkstore. The security personnel are mean... and they make you take off your shoes... and they keep locking me in this box to blow air at me (presumably to make sure I've not got any explosive materials hidden somewhere on my person)*

Finally, because I'm flying into the UK. And sometimes that means different rules. For the longest time they only let people have one small carry-on ... but I'm fairly sure they've changed that. This would be the biggest complication of all because my way of getting around the multi-flight/multi-country hassle is to not check any baggage. Yep, I'm travelling light. I was once told that the best way to gauge if you have packed too much luggage is that you should be able to carry your suitcase up three flights of stairs by yourself.

*point of clarification: the machine blows the air, not the security personel. Though that WOULD make the experience a bit more enjoyable....for reasons of general hilarity, of course.

One last point to ponder...

I was reading the TSA flight tips (yep, I need a hobby) and came across this:

So, according to the TSA, I should dress in a spandex unitard, and not wear a bra. Clearly they have not considered what kind of safety hazard this really poses for the rest of the passengers on any flight I am on. They would be seriously scarred for life.


I've been told I live across from the Rankin Ghetto....but this has never been more apparent than 3 minutes ago when I witnessed a 4-year-old exit his house... pull his shirt up, his pants down...

And pee off the porch onto his front steps.

Sometimes I just have to shake my head, and close the blinds.

Grampie would be proud

A group of us went out to a friend's cabin this weekend. It was a fair ways out... about 1.5 hrs ATV-drive, but it's on this cute little peninsula with a beautiful view and clear waters. Seven of us left on Friday night for the cabin... and our numbers dwindled a bit as the weekend progressed (I finally left last night, but there are still three people who will be coming back today)... but it was a great way to spend a long weekend... and here I am today, with the whole day to myself.

You have to understand the craziness of this cabin. Or, rather, what MOST cabins are like outside Rankin.

I've not seen a LOT of cabins, but basically they are spruced-up shacks...off the grid... basically a more permanent tent. With counters to prepare dinner on Coleman stoves...sometimes a couch and make-shift table, and often a set of bunkbeds. Essentially, the cabins out here provide better protection from the elements, a place to cook meals and sleep AWAY from the flies.

But this cabin? Holy crap. Talk about luxe. Generator. Outhouse. Sinks. Television. Sleeps 14... real mattresses... unreal. If it had actual plumbing it would be considered a cottage down south. Hell, it's even winterized ... insulated and has a furnace.

They also have a decent sized boat with outboard motor... so we (of course) went fishing....and I caught three!!!!!!!

You have to understand how much of an accomplishment this is for me. The last time I went line fishing was when I was eight, and my grandfather took my sister and I to Ben's Lake - - this fish pond in PEI where they dump hoards of fish so little kiddies like us can have the joy of actually CATCHING a fish. I think since then I may have gone smelt fishing, but that's different (you use a spear and sit in a little shack on top of the ice).

So I'm officially an experienced fisherwoman, I came back with the MOST and the BIGGEST fish of our crew (lol, I'm not competitive at ALL). I hadn't really been all that keen about fishing in the past... but then I'd never caught anything either. And now I have three big, beautiful trout.

And it was glorious.

So between the 1.5-hour ATV ride (also a Grampie-thing... he used to have one and drive it around the "mini-farm"...aka couple acres of land they have in Flat River PE ... where the only animals to be found are the neighbour's dogs) .... and the fishing excursions, I figure my Grampie would be proud of me and my weekend adventures.

Happy Birthday Grampie!

So cool...

So I'm really into Canadian music.

I have been for a couple years...ever since I discovered Limblifter (side project ---offspring of The New Pornographers). My addiction centres on sort of indie-alternative sounds of the canuck variety...not so much into ultra-pop or country.

And any little triumph ... be it "appearing" on CBC radio...polaris prizes... just sends me over the moon.

So imagine my glee when I opened up the iTunes store today, to find out one of my VERY favourite bands, Two Hours Traffic, has the song of the week.

How very freaking cool is that? Not only are they Canadian, but from PEI too. This group of guys who started playing in the battle of the bands in Ch'town when I was in high school now have the song of the week on iTunes.

Amazing, guys. I'm so happy for you.

Now excuse me while I rock out to "Heroes of the Sidewalk"