Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 7--Halifax

(I'm not skipping Day 6, it's just being delayed to go with Day 8.)

We decided there was so much to do in Halifax that we wanted to devote an entire day to it, instead of just the evening we'd originally planned.  That, and we had some extra time due to the Newfoundland thing. . .

After driving into town, the first place we stopped was the Citadel.

With its historic artillery,

impressive costumes (even if the actors are bored, lol),

and commanding views of the city and the harbor

After we left there, it was well past lunch time, so we headed down to the waterfront.  After all, we were in Halifax, so we felt we MUST try some seafood.  It was a gorgeous day, so we ate outside and then wandered down the waterfront.


 We visited a couple of museums, including the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, where we saw many interesting, impressive, sometimes disturbing things.

One of them was a deck chair off the Titanic:

 After the museums all closed around five or six, we headed back to the hotel to rest up. We were really looking forward to enjoying the Halifax nightlife we'd heard so much about!

 Boy, were we ever disappointed!  We got back downtown around 7:30, only to find out that most businesses closed at around eight!  This includes pubs, music venues, and many of the restaurants!!!  Not to mention tourist attractions, of course!  Granted it was a weeknight, but GEEZ!  Eight o'clock?  You've got to be kidding.  This was worse than PEI!

We managed to find a restaurant that was open until (gasp !) ten, and were quite lucky to do so, as we were starving by then.  Afterwards, we headed back to the car, since everything else seemed closed.  We took a few night shots along the way:

(You can just see me sitting between the 1 and the 2.)

As we got to the car, we heard faint strains of music.  Interested to see what was open at this ungodly hour (of 8:30 or so) , we followed the sound to a bar that was still open!  We spent a very fun and  pleasant hour or two at a place called the Lower Deck.  A live band (Signal Hill) was performing covers to a standing-room-only crowd.  And no wonder, since it was the only place open.  (Don't get me wrong, the band was really good, but I can't believe it didn't have something to do with the hour.)

At least we got some sleep, if only due to the enforced early night, as we were planning to get up at dawn the next day.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 4 and 5 - Quebec, New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia, and NOT Newfoundland

The next day we drove through the Eastern edge of New Brunswick, on our way to Prince Edward Island.  This morning was the last time we were dry during the rest of our trip.  Starting about noon, it rained, and rained and rained!

We did stop at one of the many covered bridges along the way,


more beautiful scenery,

and, of course, different moose warning signs.  :)

Way too late, well after dark, we crossed the Confederation Bridge into the province of Prince Edward Island.  Then we spent another hour and a half wandering around on back roads in the dark thanks to our guidebook giving us the wrong address to our lodgings for the night.  Fun, fun, fun.

In our cottage, we stayed up even later discovering that we'd missed by ONE DAY the ferry we'd planned to take to Labrador/Newfoundland.  This meant, that unless we did nothing but drive the rest of our trip, we didn't have time to go that far.  It was upsetting, but we comforted ourselves by making a firm plan to fly there next summer.  One way or another, we WILL see it!

On the morning of Day Five, we woke much too early to check out of our cottage and check out our location.  Our first daylit view of PEI was the red cliffs of Cavendish Beach.

We went on to get our infamous fox pics

and then drove into Charlottetown to see Confederation Hall.

Before leaving the island, we had to see the famous PEI buffalo herd:

We left after dark, taking a ferry to Nova Scotia.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

3rd Day of Our Trip

 After a bit more sightseeing the next morning, we left Quebec City about noon.  The scenery, though impressive, was not too different from what we'd seen the previous day, though we did get closer to real mountains than we've been in a long time.

 In mid-afternoon we passed  a small, insular town that reminded us of David and Harmony, two werewolves from one of our recent games.  There seemed to be two cops for every person, though that wasn't hard to do, and we felt very out of place there.  (Please pardon the slightly blurred photo, as it was taken from the car.)  :)

Here's a shot of "downtown."  Very quaint, very quiet.

We did get some great pictures of fall foliage there,

 as well as some interesting cloud shots.

The most beautiful scenery we saw that day, however, was  toward the end of the day, at the edge of Bic National Park. We seriously considered camping there for the night, but it was starting to rain.  Setting up camp in the dark or the rain is no fun, and setting it up in both is just miserable, so we passed.  I wonder if we'll always regret it, though.

Instead, we spent the night in Rimouski, Quebec and enjoyed all the comforts of city life.  :)

Updates, on Kai and on Life

Now that everything but the waiting is over on our Canadian citizenship test, I can get back to my regularly scheduled life, including blogging.  Mind you, it took a call to our MP to get it done, but I don't really want to go into the horribly inefficient, if not incompetent, process it was.  Results, of a sort, will take anywhere from one to three months, so it looks like we'll be here at least into January, if not March, just what we've been trying to avoid.

Kai's cyst turned out to be benign, thank the Goddess.  Of course, he is now in the second phase of stitching on it, seeing as the wound opened up the afternoon after we got the stitches out the first time.  This time, they're leaving them in longer.

Samhain was an even quieter-than-usual affair this year, largely due to the aforementioned stitches.  We have to keep him fairly calm until they come out (again), so we couldn't afford repeated knocks at the door, which would have been too exciting for him, crate or no.  So we hid in the back part of the house and did only a quiet little ritual.

On a related note, this is the first year we've celebrated New Year's Day on November 1st.  We decided to do it for a variety of reasons, but it was definitely odd being the only ones around us doing it.  Not to mention that there was no snow on the ground and no fairy lights around.  Unless of course you count the orange ones at the neighbor's house.  :)

I had a surprisingly wonderful time at Hammercon IV last weekend!  I had never gamed in public before, and I was majorly stressed about it, but it turned out to be great, even with a couple of GM problems.  Check out the Hammer Games website for news on Hammercon V in 2013, as well as to find games and fellow gamers in the GTA.

And finally, I CAN NOT BELIEVE OBAMA WON!  I'm VERY happy about it, mind you, but I would have bet money it wouldn't happen.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Magical Night

More on our trip:

We meant to leave on Sept. 25th, but got delayed and didn't end up leaving until the next day.  That day was all spent traveling over ground that we'd seen before, so not too many pics, although it did feel as if we were traveling into fall!

I also got some interesting blurred shots out the car window.  This one is my favorite--to me it looks like a watercolor painting.

The next day we stopped and got pics of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The second night was what we consider the first night of our adventure.  We spent an incredible night in Quebec City, from late afternoon to late morning the next day.  It was beautiful, and fun, and wonderful.  Between the sight-seeing, picture taking, shopping and an absolutely fabulous dinner, I could not have asked for a better night.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kai and Vacation

For those of you waiting to hear, Kai went in for his biopsy yesterday.  The lump had neither grown nor shrunk since it was first discovered, so doing it was a no-brainer.  He was super-groggy last night, but is recovering today.  In fact at this point, he's almost completely back to normal.  (We'll find out the results of the biopsy next week.)

As to vacation, we had an amazing ten-day road trip out through Atlantic Canada and back through northern New England.  We didn't make it to Newfoundland and Labrador 'cause we ran out of time, but it was great regardless.  (We already have plans to fly to St. John's next summer to make up for missing it.)  The weather was atrocious--nothing like getting caught in an ocean gale on land--but SO many things made up for that.  On the way, I surprised myself by falling in love with Quebec, a place I thought I would hate.  I found out Prince Edward Island really is small.  I discovered that at least this year, the fall colors in Ontario were deeper and richer than the ones in Vermont. And that the woods in Maine really ARE creepy.

Also, as far as I can tell, there are absolutely NO moose anywhere in that part of the world, despite the road signs warning about them, which were legion in three of the four provinces we visited and all three states through which we passed.  We saw not a single one, and believe me we were driving down some pretty small back roads.  Maybe it's a case of being careful what you wish for, but to-date, the only moose we have seen in the wild have been in Alberta.

Now that I can sit up for longer periods of time, I'll discuss our trip in more detail over the next few days, and provide lots and lots more pictures. I haven't done either 'til now due to becoming very, very sick on the last day of said vacation, and not really feeling better until now.

I'll also update with Kai news as soon as we hear ourselves.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Kai Update (And No Sleep)

After not getting a whole lot of sleep last night, I've now been up for a couple of hours.  I figured I'd better post about Kai's vet visit while I was still coherent.

The vet is relatively sure that the lump is a harmless cyst, but we're having a biopsy performed nonetheless.  I'm not entirely happy about this, as it involves putting him under, but I need it for peace of mind right now.  On the bright side, we're by necessity being forced to delay the procedure (due to stitches and vacation plans) long enough to see if it will shrink and disappear by itself, in which case we won't need said procedure.

Keeping my fingers crossed for that!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I've felt totally uninspired lately.  Even my pagan blog stuff has left me blank.  Luckily, last night the universe and my own subconscious conspired to give me something interesting about which to write.

Sometime around 3:30 this morning I had one of my infamous laughing mental breakdowns, therefore ensuring neither DH or I got any appreciable amount of sleep whatsoever.  What happens is I find something totally boring and mundane just hilarious.  Maybe it's funny in some dark and twisted way.  Or maybe it just causes that extra little bit of stress that sends me over the edge.  Either way, I start laughing.  And keep laughing.  I literally can't stop.  I eventually start to cry as well, but I don't stop laughing.  Oh, no.  I'm told by those who have observed it that the laughter is tinged with hysteria, and that the episodes are pretty darn frightening to watch.

These breakdowns have only happened a handful of times in my life, but they're pretty memorable.   They only occur when I've been under large amounts of stress for extended periods, and I guess I just hadn't realized just how stressed I've been.  Maybe that's why I've been so unable to be creative in any way. 

After I finally stopped laugh/crying, after I don't know how much time, I started thinking about what's stressing me out.  I came up with a short but distressing list, and I thought I'd share.

  1. The sale of the house a few months ago.  And maybe the stress of NOT selling it the three years before that.
  2. The moves, both the one out of that house and especially the one to Texas in a month or two. (And do I count leaving Canada, which I desperately do NOT want to do, here or as a separate entry?)
  3. The vacation coming up (in a good way) and all the prep and planning and stuff to do before then.
  4. The trouble shipping some art stuff to my mom.  (Loooong story.)
  5. The upcoming citizenship stuff--waiting (and waiting and waiting) for Immigration Canada to move forward with it, waiting to take the test, finding all the old paperwork again, etc.
  6. REALLY disliking the house we're temporarily renting while trying to be glad we have it (after the two we wanted to rent fell through.)
  7. Slowly saying goodbye to all our friends here in Ontario.
  8. Absolute lack of creativity.
And, on top of all that, yesterday we discovered some kind of lump on Kai's shoulder.  (Don't worry.  He's going to the vet in an hour.)

I'd already started trying to make myself journal again, due to some depression issues.  Now I need to push harder and get back into meditation and exercise before I start having anxiety attacks (which trnaslate as crying and pain in my chest) again.

Surprisingly, writing this post has actually made me feel better.

Friday, July 27, 2012

[Pagan Blog Project] O is for Orgasm

“…all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals." [1]

One of the most wonderful things I’ve discovered since becoming Pagan is a delightful freeing from the guilt of enjoying myself.  Especially sexually!  Before, even saying the ‘o’ word in public would have made me feel vaguely guilty, much less printing it for all the world to see.  Now, I can rejoice in saying it, in typing it, and especially in achieving it!

Of course, as I implied in the first sentence, it’s not only sex.  It sometimes seemed like it was anything that made you feel good.  Or was that just me?  Anyway, it’s not only sex, but sex is where that freedom is most obvious.

So honor Her.  Be safe, but whether it’s with a significant other, a stranger, a friend, by yourself, or with a group of people, it doesn’t matter. 

It’s all good!

[1] From “Charge of the Goddess.”  Check out the Wikipedia entry on the piece.

Friday, July 13, 2012

[Pagan Blog Project] N is for Nothing

Seriously, folks, I'm stuck.  I suppose I could write about Names or Nature, about Nymphs, wood or otherwise, or about Deities whose names begin with 'N'.  But none of it is really speaking to me.  Or else too many people have already addressed the topic.

I could write about the nothing you aim for when trying to clear your head while meditating.  Or the nothing I felt in the religion in which I grew up.  Again, just not feeling it.

Perhaps this is a nihilistic post?

  Pagan Blog Project   

Friday, June 29, 2012

[Pagan Blog Project] M is for Mother

While my mother is an amazing person about whom I could write many long posts and sing her praises, this post is not about her.  It's really all about me.  :)

I have for many years now had a problem with the mother part of the maiden-mother-crone cycle.  Or more specifically with my own role in it.  You see, I'm well past maidenhood (VBEG), and I don't think I could be considered into cronehood yet.  (When does that happen, anyway?)  That puts me smack in the middle of the motherhood stage.  The problem is, I have chosen to be child-free, so I feel the title just doesn't apply.  And I don't think I can really count my fur babies.  :)

I am a stepmother, but since I didn't really play a large part in raising my stepdaughter, I rarely felt any kind of maternal stirrings there. And especially now that she's in her twenties, we're really more friends than we ever were mother/daughter.  For her part, she has a mother, she didn't need me in that role.  And that affected me, also.  I never wanted to usurp her mother, so I took a friendship path instead.  And it has worked well for our family, particularly during her teenage years--when she couldn't or wouldn't talk to her parents about anything, she could talk to her friend. 

But does that qualify me as "mother"?  I don't feel like it does.

I am also an aunt, many times over.  And that brings a very special joy.  But I'm sure it doesn't compare to actual motherhood.

I know, I know.  I'm supposed to think of it as being fruitful in other ways, creatively or artistically or professionally or whatever.  And I try to think of it that way.  I really do.  And sometimes I even believe it.  But deep down inside, I never really believe it.  It's too much a part of my culture that "mother" means having children.  It's too much around me to not feel that way at least part of the time.  Does this mean I'm letting others unduly influence my thinking?  My feelings?  Perhaps.  But it is what it is.

And I know I'm not the only one out there who feels this.  It might or might not have worked for our ancestors in following the Old Religion.  But with modern birth control methods, and the modern freedom to choose (mostly) to be child-free, it doesn't necessarily fit anymore.  The problem is not the stage in life, it's the word.  Yes, it has a nice alliteration.  Yes it describes a natural order.  But can't we find a different word?  I notice that in the corresponding male stages "father" is often replaced with "warrior."  I like that.  Why can't we make it maiden-mother/warrior-crone.  Or we could use Matured, Confident, Free, Knows Herself.  The list that describes this stage in a woman's life is endless.

For myself, I like this stage of my life being the 'Warrior" stage, for so many reasons.

  Pagan Blog Project   

Sunday, June 17, 2012

HUMANe Behavior

A puppy died in Vaughan Ontario a few days ago.  The @#%$^&*&^*%$#@^&^$ owners left it in a closed car on a hot day.  The amount of rage and frustration and helplessness and sorrow I feel cannot even come close to being expressed here.  I thought I’d gotten it all out.  I’ve cried about it.  I’ve journaled about it.  I’ve created art to try and get it out. And still, as I sit here and type this, I find myself crying again.

This happened in a local mall parking lot.  A MALL!!!  What kind of idiotic moron leaves a dog in a closed up car when they go shopping?!  It’s unacceptable when you run into a convenience store.  It’s atrocious in this situation.  The dog was in obvious distress while emergency workers worked to get it out, but it lapsed into unconsciousness and died before they did.

If you did this to a child, you’d be charged with murder.  If you do it to a dog, or presumably any animal, you get charged with Animal Cruelty, which in most places is little more than a slap on the wrist.  A slap on the wrist for torturing an animal to death.  For essentially cooking it alive.   (To make this particular incident even worse, the worthless owners were returning to Sudbury after attending Woofstock in Toronto.  They were arrested when they finally returned to their car--here’s hoping they get the maximum penalty possible.)

People!  Don’t leave your pets in a closed car on even a warm day!  Temperatures rise to deadly levels in minutes.  And a cracked window DOES NOT HELP!  If you don’t believe it, try it yourself—sit in a closed car in the sun for just a few minutes.  But be careful.  Getting too hot can cause permanent brain damage, in you OR your dog.

THIS is why I avoid the news.

Friday, June 15, 2012

[Pagan Blog Project] L is for Lughnasadh, or August Eve

Lughnasadh celebrates the first harvest of the year.  It is the first of three harvest festivals (the other two being Mabon and Samhain.)  It also has the distinction of being the one Wiccan/Pagan holiday with which I cannot seem to connect.

I WANT to celebrate it.  It marks the end of summer, and the fact that there’s FOOD.  Both GREAT reasons to party.   Yet, I can’t seem to get into it.  I have to really try in order to not totally forget it, and even when I remember I often leave any planning to the last minute, or find I’ve not made enough time to do anything to celebrate it.

I know the two reasons I have so much trouble with it.  First of all, it’s not marked by some definite event, like a solstice or an equinox.  Secondly, when the Christians stole it (and called it Lammas) they didn’t make a big deal of it, like they did for Samhain, Yule, and Ostara (All Hallow’s Eve, Christmas, and Easter.)  As a consequence, I didn’t grow up celebrating its descendant, either.  And perhaps a third reason is that I don’t particularly follow Celtic traditions, so it didn’t appeal to me from that perspective.  I’ve recently learned that early Wiccans called it “August Eve.”  This is much more attractive to me, personally.

Maybe, armed with knowledge of this older name, I will be able to connect with it this year!

Friday, June 1, 2012

[Pagan Blog Project] K is for Killing

“Thou Shalt Not Kill.” 

Just one of ten commandments, but no doubt.  It was all so easy before I became pagan.  The rules were clearly spelled out and simple.  Do this, don’t do this, do this this way, and don’t do this at all, ever. Maybe it’s because I grew up, quite literally from birth, with them.  Maybe it’s because the Catholic Church, at least at the time, preferred you didn’t think overmuch about them.  Maybe it’s just because they wanted everything just so.  It doesn’t matter why, what is important is that I in fact didn’t have to think, I just had to do (or not do, as the case may be) what I was told.

“An’ it harm none, do as ye wilt.”

Eight words, the whole of the law, and true free will.  But is it easy?  Not always.  Do you have to think?  Almost always.  Do you have to weigh and consider and agonize?  Occasionally.  Do you have to decide for yourself?  Each and every time.

Perhaps most basically, and most difficulty, is what is meant by harm?  To kill, to steal from, to physically injure or assault—those are easy, usually.  But what about taking a job when other people need it, too?  Or killing someone in order to defend myself or someone I love?  What about a helpless stranger?  The questions go on and on and can twist and turn and confuse and tangle.  But from this starting base, every action springs.  The point is, you must consider each step, each word, and you must decide for yourself what an acceptable amount of harm is.  No one is going to make that decision for you.

The real question is would you want anyone to do so?