14 April 2013

St. John's, NL, CA - vacation day 8

Finally feeling like my old self - disregarding those odd coughing fits.

We are up and headed out to visit the Johnson Geo Center, which highlights the geology of Newfoundland and Labrador.  Wow, I am impressed.  You can touch the exhibits!  And many of them are at kid height so that they can be involved in the experience, too!

For the life of me, I cannot remember what this guy's name tag said.  Obviously we were at a scary part in the movie ...

We lunch at The Sprout, tasty late luncheon.

Fort Amherst was our last stop of the day before heading home.  It is a bit of a walk, and I really need to add ear covers for my next trip to 40/50 degree weather (and maybe gloves).  My scarf is working as a head wrap, but some ear coverings would be that much better (and I have two at home, why did I not bring one of them?)

Fort Amherst brings home the reality of getting goods to remote locations.  Whereas it is not a difficult feat now that St. John's is well populated, at its inception Fort Amherst was exceptionally difficult to reach and supply.  We really do have a much easier life in this modern age.



Home to snack and catch one nap before bed.  I'm not 100%, but I am doing better.

St. John's, NL, CA - Vacation day 6 and 7

Maybe it isn't allergies.  Maybe it is, in fact, a virus of some sort.  I've been dealing with the temperature just fine.  In fact, more often than not, I'm complaining about being too hot in 20C, 70F, inside temps.  I'm sock-less, and in shirt sleeves ... and I'm warm.

The spouse finally complained about how wide open I was leaving the windows, and went to install his own thick wool foot warmers.  I must be running a fever, it is the only explanation I can produce.

Thankfully, the spouse runs to the local store to get some dry it up, open it up, and drain it out magical elixir that is supposed to make my head feel more like mine rather than some strangers.  It does help to a point, and I sleep through the night.

I also awaken to achy ears and neck ... chewing and swallowing are a bit uncomfortable ... and my equilibrium is still off.  

Needless to say, I sleep most of these two days (I blame the constant soothing surf, and the medication that makes me drowsy).

St. John's, NL, CA - Vacation day 5

Finally crawl out of bed to a bright, sunny day.  The allergies are worse, and breathing is a mouth open affair.

I can see a view that was totally obscured yesterday, and realize that there are, in fact, many people either living or owning houses in this little cove.

I sent off my acceptance of the offer I was made for this new job (and started my "accomplish this" before to-do list: you know - haircut, make sure wardrobe up to snuff, have car checked - it will be getting lots of miles now).

Then the spouse and I walked along a short section of the East Coast Trail ... it is not far from our backyard.  It is lovingly maintained by someone because it is far too fresh to be left to linger.  We came upon an area marked as "swamp" on the map, and the spouse remarked upon such.  It does look a bit like a grassland, until you look closer.  The plants are, in fact, round leaved juncus species - a water loving plant.  And sure enough, later on we found a deep indention filled with water.  Knowing your plant life would be very helpful along such new surroundings.  While I cannot tell you what species of juncus it is, I can tell you for certainty that it is a water plant.

After getting our ears freeze dried by the wind for as long as we could take, and staring at some awesome rocky shore and wave interaction, we headed back to the cabin for a rest, so that I could feel sorry for myself in my allergy ridden state.

And can I just write that I really wish iPad had a move button - up, down, right, left.  My Nokia phone has this, and it makes navigating to fix spelling errors so much easier than iPad's "No, no, just move your finger around, and you will hit the problem eventually."  I finally had to turn off the spelling fix, because it causes far more mistakes than it fixes.  Arg.  Irritating machinery.

The spouse is off to the local grocery for oil, cooking oil.  Four jars of peanut butter (we only brought one of these) and no cooking oil.  Who stocks these places?  Not to mention the spatula is broken, and the non-stick pan has lost its coat.  I like to think that I would be a much more conscientious host were I to run a rental property for vacationers.

I've been reading through the Canadian fashion mags I picked up at the airport, and I quite like some of them.  They do not feel as overexposed as a lot of the American mags.  I may look into a subscription when I return home.

St. John's, NL, CA vacation day 4

My big job this morning was negotiating on a new job back home!  It is both exciting and a little trepidatious, as I am expected to do big things with a small amount of support at the beginning.  But I like the group I interviewed with, and expect it will all gel with a few bumps along the way.

The spouse was off to get the rental car while I was on the phone long distance to the states.

When he returned the call was complete and I was packed and ready to go.  The sky was definitely getting dreary by this time, and while I suggested we consider doing something in the city since we had wheels, he suggested that a grocery trip and the drive to our next place would be adventure enough for the day.

Turns out, he was right.

The grocery store ... This was our second trip to a Sobeys, and we have heard nothing but complaints about prices since we arrived.  In fact, that and St. John's parking seems to be the biggest problem of natives and locals alike.

However, our one week grocery trip cost us about $160 CA, and that sounds right.  Yes, I would expect it to cost me somewhere around $115 to $125 US.

The trip out to Bears Cove was slightly nerve wracking as fog was thick and low.  Luckily, the road crews keep the roads clear and slow downs carefully mark upcoming lights and cross traffic.  I would NOT want to meet a drunkard out here, dangerous.

Our little house is fairly easy to find, with a partially obscured view of the shore that is blocked by another house.  I don't remember THAT from the website!

Kitchen- a measuring cup, how divine.  But the knives are, of course, crappy.  There is a noisy dishwasher and an ancient washer/dryer.

My main problem is allergies setting in, nose stuffed, and headache beginning.  

After arriving, the fog and rain descend to fill in every bare spot as we cart in our grocery booty, filling the counter.

A quiet night watching the fog, dealing with breathing difficulties, and listening to the rain fall down.

St. John's, NL, CA vacation day 3

We slept late and awoke to a beautiful day.  Our host called to complete the transaction of our rental stay, and we found out that we do not need to do anything special to leave the house.

One of our friends from dinner last night heads a department at MUN, Memorial University, and offered to show us around the campus.  How exciting!

To my surprise, in addition to a driving tour of the campus, however, we also got an awesome tour of St. John's including Cape Spear, Signal Hill, neat local neighborhoods, and two unforgettable shoreline walks with he and his dog, Terra!

We may have also gotten a moderate sale on the city itself.  It is the kind of natural nature that we appreciate.  I do not need a sandy beach to lie upon, but I like to watch the waves crashing in.

Some of the biggest problems we've heard about is parking in and around the city.  While the population has grown greatly in the last eight years, the city adds only houses, not parking.

Otherwise, every person we have dealt with has been kind, courteous, and helpful.  From the guy who directed us to the grocery store, to the checker at the store, drivers along the street, and every person along the way.

We snacked for a late lunch and headed out for a walk around 5 pm.  On our way back, we stopped by Pi, a gourmet pizzeria.  I have to admit that I like their pizza better than Piotta.  More ingredients, more unusual combinations, and lots of sauce options.  Additionally, since it is not an authentic "Italian" wood-burning stove pizza it was absent of those topping and sauce free bubbles of dough through half the pizza.  Luckily it also comes covered completely in toppings and "Follow Your Heart" vegan gourmet mozzarella cheese.  

The spouse cooked scallops on the stove, and did all the dishes left in the sink ... I am so proud (sniff) ... I did not think he knew how to do dishes by hand anymore!

Packing up for our morning leave.

St. John's, NL, CA vacation day 1 and 2

I flew Air Canada from Houston to Toronto and then to St. John's.  Total flight time is fairly short, but layovers, customs, and finding my through unfamiliar airports did take the entirety of the day.  I left my house just before 5:30 am and arrived in St. John's at 7:00 pm (4:30 pm Houston time).

I went looking for Canadian fashion magazines while in the Toronto airport, and picked up Flare, Elle Canada, Fashion, and Canadian Running.

I caught a (non-smoking!) taxi from the airport to my rental at 21 Prospect Street.  It has a lovely view of the shipping lane, or "The Narrows."

No automatic dishwasher, but then, that would reduce the roominess of the kitchen.  I'd probably put in a drawer size dishwasher if it was my place.

We walked by the Rocket and picked up some extras for snacking.

Dinner at Piatto, where we met some friends of the hubbies by accident , and set up a dinner for Saturday night.  I had a basic cheeseless pizza, and after it arrived the hostess noticed that they missed adding the vegetables I asked for.  She quickly ordered a replacement, and told me to snack on the 'wrong' one - how often does that happen!

I crashed really early and slept late.  Breakfast was leftover pizza and Rocket granola.  We watched the news, and realized there is not much going on except for the launching of a large ship and the return of a terrorist to Canadian shores.

We watched ships from our living room and snoozed on the couch until it was time to get ready for our dinner with friends: J, D, T, and K.  The Sprout was my choice and seemed to be acceptable

I had: a salad (tasty house), the Papa Ghandi chickpea dish, and dessert of carrot cake and berry tart - I made the spouse order a dessert so I could try both.

We stayed too late at the restaurant chatting, and then spent even more time chatting outside the restaurant - I don't think any of us really wanted to leave such excellent company.

A swift, and chilly, walk home brings us to our lovely temporary abode.  I am so glad we are not in a hotel!

We finally left the house and headed to the farmer's market about a mile uphill.  The spouse had been told the market did not have produce, but we found broccoli, carrots, parsnips, tomatoes, and potatoes.  On the way back we hit Sobey's grocery store for tofu, peppers, pasta, and fruit.

Vogue 8831 - Another Cowl Neck knit top

In my search to find cowl neck tops, I finally gave up on the 1 piece bodice.  Since I do not have the shape to fill such a bodice, it looks droopy and reveals way too much when I bend over.  Yikes!

This defeat came when I finished my 20th (it felt like it) cowl neck top that just did not work for my body.

Finding Vogue 8831 felt like an answer to several year's worth of wishes ... or it could have been a great cosmic joke.  However, after my first trial, I will report success with this pattern that has good "bones."

This will become my cowl neck shirt of choice once I iron out a few wrinkles (mostly in the back there).

Changes I made: dropped the bust point, shortened the length, and adjusted for sway back.

I like the upper back, but may need to take a deeper sway back adjustment.  I also need a bit more width across the back hip (some of that wrinkling).

I want to narrow the sleeve: which juts out rather than conforms to my shoulder area.  And I want to remove some excess at the armhole princess seam.

I'm going to call this a really great start to an entire wardrobe of cowl neck tops!  Yippee!  No longer do I worry about the view I'm giving others when I bend over ... this top is quite secure.

I used the blind hem stitch for the sleeve and hem, and was quite happy with the inherent stretch.  No more popped hems for me.  I do have double needles, and I even have overlocker that will coverstitch - but I'm usually unwilling to fiddle with all the necessary changes and adjustments.  No siree, blind hem works well for me!

And a closing picture of me with my girl, Skyla, she will be 13 this year.  :)