Sun, sea and sand

Best Friend in America arrived on Thursday and we had a fabulous visit. I was sad to see her go yesterday ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Flights between our cities are so insanely expensive that we’re making plans to meet up somewhere in between (maybe Toronto or New York) next year. The cost of flights plus hotel room will actually work out less than the cost of a flight between our cities. It’s insane.


On Friday, I managed to work through lunch and get out of work early so I hightailed it home to pick up BFIA. She’d spent the day reading, playing with Kate and Annie and going for a short walk. Apparently I live in a really lovely place ๐Ÿ™‚ The weather was gorgeous, warm and sunny, so we went down to the beach and spent lots of time paddling in the ocean and walking along the beach. I really must remember to do that when the weather is good ๐Ÿ™‚ Then it was off for yummy sea food for supper followed by a cup of tea with my aunt, who was eager to finally meet the fabled BFIA!

On Saturday we set out for a drive down the coast, planning to visit Lunenburg and Mahone Bay. Incredibly, I didn’t get lost! There was a craft fair at Lunenburg so we ended up with rather a lot of fudge and jam ๐Ÿ™‚ We ate sandwiches on the waterfront and watched the sailing ships. Then we hopped into the car and drove back to Mahone Bay where we had tea (and amazing chocolate shortcake) at the Biscuit Eater Cafe and I got to pop into Have A Yarn. I emerged with some 2.5mm Addi circs, some 4ply alpaca to make something for a friend’s baby and a skein of Tanis sock yarn in a gorgeous shade of blue – score! The drive back to the city was smooth and easy, despite the Paul McCartney concert, and after a bit of time to read and relax at home we went out for a sushi supper.

BFIA’s main comment was “OMG, it’s so fresh!” She adores shrimp and my sushi place does amazing shrimp tempura. I’ve never tried shrimp tempura rolls before (although I don’t know why!) and I may have discovered a new favourite ๐Ÿ™‚ We skipped dessert at the restaurant in favour of the insanely indulgent ice cream that I had at home and, sadly, concluded that BFIA will have to visit me if she ever wants that ice cream again as it’s a local store brand. Heh.

Sunday was grey and rainy, so we decided to have a lazy day at home. We did venture out long enough to check out the local touristy gift shops and pick up some Tim Horton’s (she needed to see why TH is so popular here) but mostly we read, watched TV and played with kittens. Supper was pizza and salad, which was just right and it was great to just sit around gossiping.

I took a long lunch yesterday to take her back to the airport. Apparently she’s gone home with tales of beaches and amazing food, to persuade her husband that they need to take a trip back here because he’ll love it. Yay!

It was great having her to visit and I’ve finally been able to persuade an old friend that moving here was a great decision. So many of my friends don’t really know why I’d wanted to leave England and can’t understand that I don’t miss it. Of course, BFIA is probably the most likely to understand seeing as she left England years ago and now has a wonderful life in America. Perhaps if I can bring other friends over to visit and show them what my life is like, they’ll understand better.

I suspect that the weather probably helped ๐Ÿ™‚ This place in gorgeous, sunny weather is amazing. The days of fog and ick get a bit wearing and it’s harder (but not impossible) to get out and enjoy the beach and the scenery. But BFIA pointed out that the ocean is always pretty spectacular whatever the weather, and she’s right ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been thinking a bit about the move this weekend. When I was planning it, everyone kept reminding me that it wouldn’t solve all my problems and I shouldn’t expect to suddenly be amazingly happy just because I’d moved. So I set my expectations for how the move would affect me pretty low and it’s turned out to be a much bigger thing in the end. There weren’t any problems that I was running away from when I left, but I did leave behind a crappy job and a country that I didn’t feel offered me much. Coming here, I’ve gained a great job, better prospects for housing and life quality, surroundings that I love and a new group of friends that I love spending time with.

I’ve got a new life that’s quite different from what I had in England and, despite all those dire warnings, overall I’m much happier and more content than I was. So actually it has been the fix that everyone was warning me it wouldn’t be – how amazing is that?

Security clearance, Redemption and rugby, oh my!

Oracle Reports is a thing of pure, unadulterated evil *sigh*

Apparently I need a certificate of some kind to say that I’m not a criminal in the UK for my security clearance for the semi-government job that I’ve been doing for three months. A little behind there. Anyone know anything about how I go about applying for such an item? I’ve googled and the only things that I can find are CRB checks (employer initiated, for people working with children) and a police national computer certificate that’s only for emmigration purposes. In fact, the Met Police site specifically says that they do not do police vetting for employers. Presumably this does not include government security type vetting, but there is nothing to say how one goes about applying for that kind of certificate presumably because it’s something that employers (i.e. government) usually apply for. Any ideas, oh wise (and international) blogiverse?

In other thoughts, I’m starting to get organised for the trip. I don’t think I’ll have to worry too much about my luggage allowance on the way out, but it’s starting to look like I’ll have a lot to bring back with me. Hmm. The good thing is that my carry-on luggage is more of a wheel-on this time and there is no way in heck that I’ll be filling it. So it might be that all the yarn I buy can go in there. Alternatively, I’ll put my leather coat in there and pack the yarn in the checked baggage.

I’m taking both the cameras, although I think I’ll only take the little camera to the con. I need to buy myself a small, zipped thing to put essential knitting supplies into (scissors, pins, cable needles, crochet hook etc) so that I can just chuck my sock into a small bag at the con. It will also stop me losing things out of my big project bag.

I definitely need to spend some time at the weekend burning DVDs for my father. And tonight I need to spend some time photocopying a few things for people. Somewhere in there I need to edit a fic and email it to a beta. And I need to do a proper, full back-up of the lappie onto my new big hard-drive. Why is it that there is always so much to do when prepping to go anywhere?

I also need to buy train tickets for the con. How early does anyone in the know think that I can arrive on the Thursday and have some hope of checking in and dropping off baggage?

One rather excellent thing that I’ve discovered is that there are no Six Nations matches that weekend. I think it might be the first time I’ve gone to a con without having an important rugby match on the same weekend. Hooray! Even better, the following weekend is a match weekend so I’ll be able to watch lots of lovely rugby with my family. Solo rugby watching isn’t quite so fun as it sounds.

Don’t suppose any of my new knitting friends could be persuaded to watch rugby with me? I’ll explain the rules! Except the offside rule, obviously, because that’s even less obvious that the offside for football. And I am still struggling a bit with one or two of the new rules that completely ruin any changes of a good driving ruck. Or possibly maul. The one where they stay on their feet, anyway. Watch me be a rugby know-it-all!

Six month emigraversary thoughts

As of today, it is now six months since I moved to Canada. I can’t believe how fast the time has flown! There have been ups and downs and the winter has not been easy, but overall it’s been wonderful and I’m absolutely certain that I made the right choice to do this. It’s been a huge learning experience in more ways than I could ever have imagined.

Things I have learned:

Bad day

Today has been a bad day. I started out late to work (because I needed to shovel the drive) and it kept going downhill from there. Work was boring beyond belief and I worked through breaks and lunches to make up the time for being late because I planned to go to knitting tonight. I think that made the boringness even worse.

When I was finally released I drove home and discovered that the plough had finally been through and tried to clear my side of my road (it had made a pass up the other side during the night) which was good in some ways, except that it was still largely frozen snow and ice on the road because the plough had gone through after the temperature dropped. Even better, it had left a big bank of slushy icy stuff at the end of my drive that had frozen solid and my car couldn’t get through or over it.

So I had to get out and chip at it. For fifty minutes. Standing on sheet ice so that I wobbled every time I moved too fast and twisted my knee a dozen times trying to keep my balance. I finally got the drive cleared enough to get the car onto the driveway (phew!) and went into the house to discover that at some stage during the day my burglar alarm had gone off. There were frantic messages from my aunt to call her when I got in. The police had checked and the exterior was fine, I couldn’t see any sign of anyone having been in the house or even attempting to get in so I reset the alarm and contemplated some supper.

By this stage, I knew that I was going to be a bit late to knit night. Grrr.

Supper was a reheated tuna parcel with some peas (tasty, hot and quick) but as I ate I realised that the house was a bit chilly and getting chillier. I checked the thermometer when I was washing up my dishes and noticed that the temperature had gone down a degree since I got in, despite me turning the heat up to my usual “I’m home” temperature. Hmm.

It was then that it ocurred to me that I hadn’t hear d the furnace kick in at any stage since I got in, despite turning up thermostats. Worrying. My first thought was that perhaps the alarm went off because someone siphoned off my oil during the day. So I pulled on boots and coat, trudged round to the oil tank and checked the gauge, whichย  thankfully showed over three-quarters of a tank there. Comforting (because I’m not sure that the oil company could get to the house to deliver right now) but didn’t solve my non-function furnace. I thought about phoning the oil company but I hate calling someone out only to find out that there was a simple fix that I should have known about if I’d lived in Canada for more than a few months.

So I called my aunt again for some advice and she suggested pressing the re-set on the funace. Um, I have a reset? After a few minutes of searching and finally lying down on the floor to read labels, I found the rest button, pressed it and the furnace kicked into life. Hooray!

I was now very late for knitting but I really fel the need to get some time away from the house in the company of people chattering and gossiping, so I grabbed my stuff and toddled off. We’ve decided to hire a room down at the library to meet in, now that the group is big enough to make it financially viable, and I’d received advice on where to park. So went into the car park and found…er, no parking spaces. I tried up a couple of nearby roads. Nothing.

The first place that I could safely pull over was a Tim Hortons about 1km away so I pulled in, got out theย  phone and called L to tell her that there was no way that I could come to knit nightย  because there was nowhere to park. If anyone can tell me of a secret parking location that I can try for the next time, that would be wonderful, otherwise I may not be attending knit night regularly anymore ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

And so now I am home, having called my aunt (again) to vent about the epic crapness of today. I want to eat my weight in chocolate except that then I’d feel sick and guilty and even worse. I want to cry, because today has been depressingly awful except that my eyes are too dry to co-operate. I want to have a bath to ease my back off, except that I don’t have the energy to get into the drattedly awkward tub.

There is a part of me that knows absolutely that tomorrow will be better.ย  There is another part of me wondering whether some of my friends were right. Moving out on my own was a stupid idea – how the hell did I think that I would cope with everything involved? After all, I’m a cripple half the time and can’t be trusted to look after myself the rest of the time. I must be crazy to be doing this!

It will get better. This is a bad day and I haven’t had a huge number of these. In fact, it’s probably amazing how well many things have gone in this move. That doesn’t make the bad days any easier to cope with or make me stop doubting myself when I have them. I’m trying to think of things that I can do this evening to cheer myself up but I’m fresh out of ideas now.

Please, God, let tomorrow be a better day because I cannot do two days like this in a row.

New doctor: the verdict

Hmm, I am in two minds about my new family doctor.

I saw my new doctor for a grand total of five minutes. Her first language is definitely not English so we were having some communication difficulties – perhaps she doesn’t usually deal with things beyond the usual coughs and colds?

Explained that I had Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and her first response was to refer me to a rheumatologist. Now, I have no objections to being handled by a rheumy for this because it makes more sense. I would have thought that a couple of questions about how it affects my life and the diagnosis history might have been in order, though.

Oh, well.

Her biggest concern was my grandmother’s breast cancer. Nope, not early on-set and from what I know of the protocols there is no need to start screening me for at least ten years even with this history. Oh, and my other grandmother’s bowel cancer. Which, again, I’ve been told is incredibly unlikely in someone my age.

Her next biggest concern was my chronic daily usage of NSAIs. She wants some blood work done to check my kidney function and monitor it, which I admit might be a sensible idea. Me pointing out that I’m willing to take the risks if it keeps my back pain down to a point where I can continue working didn’t impress her. Most doctors prefer to keep me in work so that felt like an odd response.

I’m going back in a couple of weeks for results and a couple of other tests so we’ll see how we get on at second glance.

One thing: can any Canadians tell me what the process is with repeat prescriptions? She’s happy to keep me on my current meds and dosages if they’re available in Canada (please let my painkillers be available here) but it sounds rather like I’ll have to make an appointment to see her every time I need the script refilled. Is that the case? Or will she be able to give me something that gets me X refills before I have to see her again? Because I’m not sure that I want to be seeing her every couple of months just to get a prescription and I’m not sure that work would be happy about that, either. Particularly if I have a rheumy appointment every six months as well.

Overall, I’m not too impressed with her but I’m willing to see where we go. If she’s the kind of doctor who will just write a referral for everything then it could be that I’ll rarely have to see her! I must remember to request a flu shot the next time I’m there, though.

Things I miss

Mum has been gone for a bit over a week and I’m now starting to notice the odd things that I miss about England. It’s weird because a lot of them aren’t things that I thought I’d miss.

Radio 2 – particularly Chris Evans while I’m driving home.

The Today show on Radio 4.

The Independent newspaper.

BBC dramas.

Private Eye.

I’ve found a way around most of those. I’ve finally got RealPlayer to work so that I can now use Listen Again on the BBC website. I’ll be able to listen to the Today show while I eat brekkie (or at least a bit of it) and listen to Chris Evans when I get home from work.

I’ve found sources for BBC dramas (yes, that includes Holby City because I am a complete addict).

I’ve signed up for the BBC News email so that I can get some news every day that reports on things happening outside Nova Scotia. I’m struggling to even find national news for Canada, never mind world news!

The Indy has an on-line version and, if I can ever get it not to error, I’ll sign up for their e-newsletter. I may also get Mum and Da to pop a copy in the post to me at odd times.

I can subscribe to Private Eye ( and I may treat myself as a birthday pressie.

When I was planning the move, I assumed that there would be other things that I’d miss: my old house, my library, the little local shops, places and people that have been around since I was a baby. I have the odd pang for those things, but nothing major and it’s been much easier to adjust without those. Finding that I miss the news sources and the BBC is a bit of a surprise. Thankfully most of it can be worked around in some way and I’m very glad that I did this now rather than ten years ago when none of this Internet-based stuff was available.

Today I went up to the mall for a haircut and to buy a couple of bits for work (new coat, couple of new tops). I start on Monday and I’m very excited. October seems to have rushed by with me barely noticing. It’s my birthday in four weeks – how did that happen?

I can haz driving licence y/y?

For the curious, I passed my test and now have a Nova Scotia driver’s licence ๐Ÿ™‚

After worrying, stressing, and ending up at the stage of being ready to throw-up by the time the examiner came to my car, it turned out to be much easier than I thought. In fact, he just had me drive around the block and then passed me. No manoeuvres, nothing difficult, just a quick trip out and we were done.

Apparently he can usually tell the good drivers from the bad or so-so very quickly and he knew that it would be good before we got to the first stop sign. So he passed me despite me mucking up parking at the end!

I have just fired off an email to accept that job. Da thinks that I’ll survive comfortably on the salary and I trust him better than my own estimates of bills! There are good benefits (including full medical and company pension) although the holiday is only two weeks ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Damn UK holidays getting me used to five weeks holiday! I’ll have to find out whether the medical will cover EDS bearing in mind that it’s my biggest expense, but I’ll be happy if it includes drugs, optical and dental because those are likely to be my biggest bills right now. Any dislocations and doctor’s appointments etc. are picked up my the state medical coverage anyway.

That is why I sputtered incoherently when McCain tried to accuse Obama of bringing in socialised medicine “like they have in Canada and England” as though that’s a bad thing!! WTF world does he live in?

Anyway, that is the news and knowing that I’ve got myself a job does relieve some of my worry. Today I am going to do some cleaning in preparation for [info]paranoidangel42‘s arrival tomorrow and then curl up with some DVDs and declare a veg day. I really need one after the last couple of weeks!

BTW, why did no one tell me about season 4 Gray’s Anatomy? Why did I have to find out about in on a Butch/Femme board on Ravelry? And, um, why did I order the box-set just now? *is puzzled*

Job offer

The job that I interviewed for last week has made me an offer. The salary is less than I’d hoped for and the holiday is the statutory minimum, but the benefits are good and they have a company pension.

They’re emailing me the contract so that I can review it before saying yes.

It’s a job that I really liked the sound of and would very much like to take. I’m just wondering about the salary. There is apparently no wiggle room *sigh* I’ve been looking around to find out what my net income is likely to be and all the calculators that I can find look rather high. Obviously I’d love that high calculation! But is it real?

And I have no really clear idea what my monthly bills are likely to be. I can estimate vaguely, but I won’t know for sure until we’ve had the first power and water bills.

OTOH, it’s a good job.

I’ll have to talk to my parents. And send the contract to my father.

My big worry is that if I take this job and can’t manage on the salary then I’ll be in a bind. Except I do like the job. And it’s a job that can lead me places. Hmmm.

And in two hours I have to take my driving test. Must find some way to relax and stop stressing about everything.

Um, eeep!

Today I took my written driving test (passed!) and had a driving lesson to check how I’m doing. The guy said that I should pass provided I remember the things he picked up.

So I called to book the test. It was tomorrow or mid-November. Guess which I picked?


I am so ready for it to be tomorrow evening, post-test.

In fact, I am so ready for today to be over except I promised to go out for desserts with some ladies from church.

I’m promising myself that I’ll be home in time for the presidential debate, curl up with my cats and some tea and then go to bed afterwards.

Tomorrow morning shall be spent driving the roads around the test centre. Tomorrow afternoon shall be spent failing taking my road test. Gah!


I am sitting in my office, listening to the Proms on Radio 3 in beautiful quality through the Internet. It’s the last night and it’s usually a family thing. But Da is in England, watching the Proms on TV, and we had a chat during the interval through Skype with vidcam in operation. Mum is sitting at the other desk in the office with a book, we both have cups of tea after a busy day, and even though it’s not quite the same, it’s still lovely.

We finally made it over to the local yarn shop so that Mum could buy wool and a pattern because she was getting knitting withdrawal after discovering the project she brought with her required an errata from the manufacturer. It was great just to explore and discuss knitting with her and the girl in the shop. Slightly embarrassingly (but really nice, too) the girl in the shop knew who I was from Ravelry. Really nice moment.

The quality of the Proms broadcast that I’m listening to is amazing. A few years ago I couldn’t have hoped to have this from a streamed broadcast. Technology is what’s helping me to settle in here – all my job apps have been on-line (got a telephone interview on Monday, yay), I’ve met up with knitters from Ravelry and I can talk to Da regularly through Skype. I’m not sure that I could have done this move so well without all that lovely technology.

Now I’m getting back to listening to nationalistic songs and looking forward to some Sea Shanties.

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