Sully's famous twin

These "blue dog" paintings are EVERYWHERE in NOLA. There are galleries dedicated to him. There are huge paintings on the exterior walls of hotels. There are books in the local bookstores.

Who knew Sully had a blue-hued doppelgänger ?

First set of photos: New Orleans

They are up! Your first glimpse of New Orleans can be seen here! Enjoy!


Viva la New Orleans


Takin' it easy in the Big Easy

So let the grand ole time in Nawleens begin, I say!
Jeff and I arrived in NOLA this afternoon, after minimal drama (considering the terrible luck we've had in the past with lost baggage and such en route to Greece). The worst of which was probably the fact that they changed MY tickets to a later flight, but not his... meaning I'd arrive 5 hours later, which while not a BIG deal, messed with some of our plans.
We're staying in an old OLD hotel at the east end of the French Quarter, called Le Richlieu. Paul McCartney stayed there back in the Wings days, which sold me on the place(I'm ignoring the seal thing, okay? The Beatles were my first fave band). It's dated, but charming, and has a private courtyard and pool.
First thoughts on New Orleans:
  • Bourbon street scares the crap out of me
  • You can walk from our hotel to Jackson Square in about 8 minutes - I had no idea it was that close
  • Muffelattas are freaking gigantic, and totally not something I will have again
  • The Big Easians like their coffee-flavoured beer
  • Mixed drinks are expensive, beer super cheap
  • They are right when they say the French Quarter was largely untouched by the hurricane
  • It's freakin' hot here
  • Everyone calls me "baby"
  • Southern drawls make everyone sound friendly
  • I think this is a place I'm happy visiting but likely wouldn't want to live in (no offence, NOLA, I just don't think I fit in)
  • No one visits NOLA for 9 days, it's unheard of. But who cares. It'll be full of relaxing and sunshine, and that's all I need.
Well that's about it. We're off for dinner and some drinks, and hopefully some good music. Frommers is leading the way, of course. I didn't hilight and bookmark the sucker for nothin' 
Peace OUT!

I have seen the axis of evil....

And it takes the form of a fouton at my sister's house in Fredericton.

No joke. While I appreciate the fact that the contraption wants to give me a full-time hug while I sleep... the whole Jackie-taco effect isn't really what I was looking for in a sleeping arrangement.

Three hours and counting till I board the plane for NOLA! (Can you tell I'm pumped, totally wired, and likely not getting any more sleep in the next hour?)


Be it ever so humble

You know, "they" are so wrong.

"They" say you can never go home again. And while a couple years ago, I would have agreed.... "they" simply just don't have the right place to go home TO.

I miss the island. I really truly do. The reason I've not been online blogging since I got home was because I've been outside enjoying the green life.

Make that lovin' it.

It's been hectic this past week.

80th birthday celebrations. Driving across provinces in mini-vans with extended family. University graduations.

And tomorrow I'll be touching down in the Big Easy for some good eatins. And excellent times.

But really, I kind of wish I were just going back to the island for another week. Because its just been glorious. Walking around on sidewalks. Playing ball with the pup in - IMAGINE - the GRASS. Reading on a spring morning out on the back lawn.

If ever I understood, it's now. Really.

There's no place like home.


Toroonto Pearson: thoughts

  • I could reaaally go for one of those expressi-pedis. Me dawgs are ever tired
  • The Starbucks Grande green tea frappichino looks like mint chocolate chip ice cream, but tastes like an odd combination of milk and ice and grass
  • When you spill said beverage on the ground, it looks like mint green vomit
  • Mint green vomit is sticky
  • The Air Canada back-of-the-seat entertainment system heats up the plane like its going out of style...and the air vents are like a weak trickle of lukewarm air
  • I really should have just gone for a doube shot of espresso because I am tired and have a big day(week) ahead
  • Red eyes that only last 3.5 hours so aren't worth it
  • In my old age, I've become much less tolerant of airport and airline hooey
  • I hope puppy is still alive


I heart Oakley

Remember when Oakleys were cool? I do. And I swore I would never buy them, because they were overpriced.
Seriously. Who would spend two hundred bucks on a pair of sunglasses when you could get them at the drug store for 20 bucks?

Well about a year ago I broke down and bought a pair. Actually "broke down" isn't really the word. I wanted a good pair of sunglasses. Once March arrives up here, I really can't handle going outside without a pair plastered to my face. The sun + the snow + 20 hours of daylight is just too much for these little eyeballs. And I was tired of the cheap ones I'd been chronically buying, breaking and losing. 

So I went to good friend eBay and found a nice pair for about 100 bucks. Brown frames. Brown lenses. And I wore them so much last summer I actually ended up with a sunglass tan line on the sides of my face. That was a first.

But then something terrible happened. I was wading through my kitchen, strewn with jackets, splash pants and Muck boots... and I heard "crunch." My heart sank.

I had crunched my beloved sunglasses. I was screwed. Luckily it was the dead of winter, and had little need for sunglasses with just a handful of daylight hours each day.

After a bit of web searching, I found a guy in the states who says he repairs sunglasses "as good as new" for about 30 bucks, including shipping. So I sent them off, and a couple of weeks got them back. Hardly good as new... (he basically just put a piece of black putty on the inside of the bridge to support it) you could still see the crack on the front, and wiggle it around. Not good. But I stood by my glasses. And have been wearing their decrepit-ness with pride...

Until today, when just for shits and giggles, I looked up the Oakley customer service line. I didn't have much hope that they'd help me out. It was my fault that they were broken. I didn't buy them from an authorized dealer. And I'd probably voided any warranty they DID have by sending them to Mr. Fix-it.

Imagine my surprise when they offered to replace the frames FOR FREE, and ship them back to me in Nunavut, also, FOR FREE. And they even apologized for not having the exact same frame anymore (discontinued).

Unreal. I heart Oakley. Best. Customer. Service. EVER.


Sweet, glorious sunshine....

HMMMM.... Where would I like to be right now?

Blogger status update: FREAKING OUT


Wallet has been found. Co-worker put it in a 'safe' place (aka on the top of a bulletin board). But that was after I already can canceled a credit card and went to the banks in town for new debit cards. Sigh. At least I don't have to arrange for another license, because that would have been tricky.

And to be fair, the co-worker wasn't in this morning, and thought it was a business-card case, not a wallet.




I have NO idea where the bloody thing is at. I know I had it this week. I bought groceries at the Northern. But it's not in any of the usual places. I ransacked my house and desk. And. I. Can. Not. Find. It.

And my passport is expired.



Bogger status update: Quilt-master

I just finished my first-ever "real" quilt! And I'm so impressed with myself. This whole quiliting thing just kind of came out of nowhere, it seems. But I really do like it... I like that I'm able to use some of my "fun with colours"/creative side, with a project that is SERIOULSY time consuming (I'm doing most of it by hand, mind you) and even be able to see a finished project I can admire.

I will take a photo of the ACTUAL finished project soon. When I say I finished it, what I meant to say was I finished the really time-consuming part, and the part I can do here in Rankin. I'm going to bring it with me to PEI so I can buy fabric for the trim/back, because there's nothing I really like here.

That is all.

Round-about route

Yep, that's the route I'm taking from Rankin Inlet to Charlottetown on Friday/Saturday. And I MEAN Friday AND Saturday. I leave Rankin on Friday after work, arrive in Edmonton at 9pm, depart Edmonton at midnight, arrive in Toronto at 6am before taking off 3 hours later and arriving home in the lovely, quaint, Charlottetown airport at noon.

I'm certainly making my aeroplan points work for me on this flight. I just checked it on Expedia, and it came to $3100. Yikes! I really honestly think that the best value-for-dollar Aeroplan tickets are through Canada's north. Shit, for 25,000 points, the farthest you can get is a "long-haul" flight within North America. And you could fly from Newfoundland to Los Angelas for less than $2000 (off-sale).

But when I booked the tickets, First Air didn't have their flight to Winnipeg... and Calm Air wasn't accepting Aeroplan redemptions... so I really had no choice (though I would have preferred to go through Ottawa). It will be hard for the pup, I'm sure (and probably for me too) but I'll just pass out on the plane once I get to Edmonton. It's not like Air Canada feeds us anyway.

So I'm heading home, sweet home. To my dear, fair isle.... and I'm waaay too ready. I'll be home for a week or so, before darting off to New Orleans for about the same amount of time. Then back to the island for another day or two, to pick up the pup and head back up north.

Yet again, zooming across the country. What can I say, I like to travel :)


Blogger status update:

Jackie finds it amusing when power goes off in all of Rankin Inlet for just 10 minutes... but means the afternoon show broadcast is cancelled, and she gets to spend the rest of the afternoon reading because one of the servers is down.

Forward and back again

So I was looking through some archival photos this weekend, as part of a bigger project I've taken on (yeesh 800 photos to edit, what did I get myself into?)... and it really hit me how much I've missed in the past 7 years.

Seven years ago I left home, left everything I knew, for university.

Left my baby sister behind to grow up without me.

Left my parents to feel empty-nested.

Left my cousins, my aunts, my uncles, my grandparents (only to lose one of them a month later).

And I never really looked back.

I spent so much of my adolescent life trying to escape PEI. Escape it's "close-mindedness," it's lack of variety, its SMALL-ness (ironic that I find myself here, eh?) And once I left I just kept going. Going to France. Going to Quebec. Going to Rankin Inlet.

And life moved on. Of course it did. The lives of those you leave behind always move on. And fast.

I can't believe it's been a YEAR AND A HALF since I've been home. A year and a half since I've seen my own father. A year since I've seen my mother.

Where did the time go? What did I do with the past year? It feels like nothing has changed, the puppy's a bit fatter (maybe I am too, haha). The snow's still here. And the rest of the world seems to have sped along at break-neck speed.

My sister has a new apartment.

My grandmother turned 80 last week.

Friends are graduating from post-grad.

And I'm here. Moving at half-speed. While everyone else is on fast forward.



You may live in Nunavut if ...

***Disclaimer: I hate forwards. I really really do. I think for the most part they are dumb dumb dumb and just clutter my inbox. But today I got the following from my coworker (who is much more fond of forwards than I am). And it's hilarious... because it's true. Finally a "You may live in X if..." for Notherners. Enjoy!***

If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 96 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by, you may live in Nunavut
If your snowmobile, truck or ATV is a front yard ornament, you may live in Nunavut
If you walk like a penguin for nine months of the year, you may live in Nunavut

If you have worn shorts and a parka at the same time for any damn reason, you may live in Nunavut

If you know Red Top isn't a hair color, you may live in Nunavut (Rankin to be exact)
If you check the expiry date on your pop, chips or kukuk (chocolate), you may live in Nunavut
If you know that Tootoo's aren't 4, you may live in Nunavut
You Know You Are A True Nunavummiut when:
1. Vacation means going out on medical
2. You measure distance in days
3. You know what time radio bingo starts
4. You often switch from a Honda to a snowmobile in the same day and then back again.
5. You walk in a raging blizzard to go pattik (card game)
6. You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit (so he can go to the rich people's houses and get lots of goodies)
7. Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.
8. You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and flies
10. "Down south" to you means Yellowknife...
11. You have "on air" on your speed dial (for bingo)
12. You have more miles on your qamutik (sled) than your truck.
13. You find -20 degrees "NOT COLD, just a little cool."
14. You know AGM means free food
15. You go to the health centre because you are out of Tylenol or condoms
16. People walk their dogs & let them poop in your yard, but you don't say anything about it
17. Your kid throws rocks at any wild bird/animal, and you think they're real hunters
18. You have fresh-water ice (FOR TEA) in your porch
19. Your milk costs almost $15 for a 4-litre jug
21. You have to make your family's winter clothing, and they're better than "store-bought". 
22. You actually understand these jokes, and you forward them to all your Eskimo friends from the North.


How to thank an Inuk?

I pride myself on being one of those people who's "really good" at giving presents. I even keep a year-round rotating list of "gift ideas" for my friends and family. Seriously. It's on my desktop with a passcode and everything. I have had my mother's and father's day presents picked out for months.
Yes, sometimes I slip up and give something lame as a cop out. But I really do try to find things that are useful and relevant and even a little bit luxe.
But I have to admit I'm a bit stumped right now. There's a person - an acquaintence, really - in town who has just been a godsend this winter with my ski-doo. I've jokingly named him my "new boyfriend" because he just caters to my ski-doo woes like it's going out of style.
He'll pull over to the side of the road in his dump truck (yes, he is the garbage man at times too) and asks me how my machine is running. Earlier in the winter, if he saw me walking some where he'd ask if it was okay. He thawed out my skidoo when its innerds were frozen solid. Today, as I was walking to work he stopped by in his work truck and asked what had happened to my skidoo (it's been stuck at the Northern for a couple of days now). And without me asking said he'd pick it up after work. He's never asked for anything in return, and he really goes out of his way to help me with my machine.
And I want to thank him. But I don't know how. Some of it is a general "I never know what to get men for gifts," some is a cultural thing, and some is a sensitivity thing (the old thank you fallback would be a nice bottle of wine or something... but with the rampant alcohol issues in this community, it's hard to say if that would be offensive or not).
So that brings me here.
How do you thank an Inuk? Thoughts?


Confidante by force

Over the past couple days, I've had something strange happen to me... not once, but TWICE.

TWICE in the past week, I've had OLDER MARRIED MEN talk to me about their relationships with their wives. And the conversations always go like this:


OMM: So we've been married (9/7) years, and I love my wife, I really do...

JSQ: (silent, nodding)

OMM: And she's a great woman, and things between us are great...

JSQ: mmhm

OMM: ... but some times, I swear. Like she's got ISSUES.

JSQ: oh?

OMM: YAH. I mean, she (doesn't like that I travel for work/totally spoils our adopted Chinese daughter), and it DRIVES ME CRAZY.

JSQ: hmm, I see.

OMM: But seriously, things were REALLY ROUGH for a couple of months there. She was just being totally unreasonable, and I couldn't take it anymore. And of course, the fact that she (doesn't like that I travel for work/totally spoils our adopted Chinese daughter) is actually just ONE of the many many things that are getting to her, but of course she's taking it out on ME.

JSQ: yah, that's too bad.

OMM: So eventually, I just snapped. And told her that I couldn't take it anymore. And either we settle it or I'M GONE.

JSQ: oh no

OMM: Yah. But things are better now, she has chilled out a bit. And now things are totally fine.

JSQ: that's nice.


Yah. Okay. Weird, no? In both situations, it started off like the men were being sleezy and bitching about their wives to impress the young gal... but in the end... no... that vibe was gone, and it turns out they just wanted to have someone confirm they weren't totally arseholes.


Well, I'm not sure if I fufilled that role or not... but whatever.




World's dumbest criminal

So I went to Walmart over the weekend.

Kind of.

You see, I was very "colour me flustered" because I'd spent most of the morning stressing out over passport application issues (seriously, I STILL can't believe that in the country's biggest city where 24-hour services reign, there is really genuinely no one available to take my photo after 10 pm.). To avoid future frustration, and hopefully enjoy the rest of my trip... I decided I would begin to tick off some of the items on my "in Toronto to-do list" over lunch.

First order of business: hit up Walmart. I had noticed a sign for a Walmart as I whizzed by en route to the course training centre, it was less than five minutes away, which was good because I only had an hour off. And these people are STRICT about tardiness (something I'm notorious for, of course).

So as I pulled up, I noticed they had adopted a new sign - the new "softer" side of Walmart. And there were tons of people outside enjoying a charity BBQ. But then I noticed the sign had fine print, specifying that this was not just a Walmart store, it was a Walmart Home Office store.

So I was a little disappointed, but no biggie. I decided I would pick up a new notebook for work, and browse. I heart office-supply stores.

I walked in, and immediately noticed the funny layout, saw a Tim Horton's in to the left, and assumed it was the same idea as the "McDonald's in a Walmart" scheme. I head towards the internal bank of doors, and notice one that was designated specifically for VISITORS.

How nice, I think, for them to have a special door for non-Torontoians. Maybe they have nice greeters there or something.

So I head through the door and come up short. Aka do a faceplant into the door. I step back, look up at the visitor sign, and give it a more tentative push. Hm. The doors appear to be locked. So much for welcoming.

So I gradually come out of my Jackie-centric daze to notice I'm standing beside a security desk.

I turn to him, and give him a trademark winning smile:

JS: Um, where am I?
SG: Walmart
JS: Yah, okay, I get that.
SG: Are you a visitor?
JS: Um, yes, I would like to visit.
SG: Are you here to see someone?
JS: Um, no.
SG: Are you a vendor?
JS: NO. I just saw the sign and came in. I want to visit the store.
SG: Oh! You think this is Walmart??
JS: uuuuhmmm YAH, that's what it says on the sign.
SG: Yes. This is head office. The Walmart head office for Canada.
*cricket, cricket*

Yah, so it turns out I tried to break into the Walmart Canadian Headquarters. And wasn't successful.


But I did learn four things from my misadventures:
Walmart is sneaky
Walmart Home Office does NOT sell "home office" supplies
Walmart is is safe from the World's Dumbest Criminals
The REAL Walmart is in the opposite direction.