Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 40: Doubloonies!

This is a picture of the $15 in change that the Walmart lady handed me today. There were some pennies and nickles in there too, but it's the dollars that irk me.

That does not seem like it should equal $15. I'm looking in my hand, looking at the lady, looking at my receipt. She's looking at me, smiling encouragingly and telling me to have a nice day. 
Canadians are so polite. 
I dump it all into my purse, and jangle out of the store feeling like a pirate loaded with doubloons.

And can you believe this? Yay Starbucks!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 39: This sucks

Last night we were chatting with the kids about how they feel about our adventure so far.

"Meh." was the consensus

 Deven's assessment of Canada?
 "It's like I wished for the absolute perfect place to live, and I got exactly the opposite."

So we asked them to name one thing that sucks and one good thing.

They all pretty much agreed that the only good thing so far is the library.

Nick and I obviously put our heads together and worked very hard to come up with a scheme to make our children as miserable as possible. 
Excellent. Our plan is working.

I assured them that there will be more adventures when it gets warmer - lakes, rivers, wilderness!

"But why can't we just go home for the summer?"

So the only joy in my poor tortured childrens life right now is the Library.

We visit at least twice a week.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 35: Oh yes we did

The other night, the girls and I attended an activity for the young women at church.
I decided we should treat ourselves to some hot chocolate after.

A funny thing happened in Tim Hortons.
(It smells lovely inside, by the way)

Me: I'd like three small hot chocolates please.
Teenage employee: That'll be $3.79.
I hand over my Visa debit card.
Teenage employee: Oh, I'm sorry. We don't take Visa. Only MasterCard or Timmie(?)Cards
I've got $2 cash in my purse. I glance at the menu board and notice that an Extra Large hot chocolate is something like $1.25.
Me: I guess we'll just have an Extra Large.
Teenage employee: Do you want three small cups with it?

So I got what I ordered in the first place, but paid tell me if that makes any sense at all

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 34: Sometimes you make things worse: a parable.

I'm a worrier. I've never been officially diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, but by golly I'm certain it's there. I used to be afraid of everything. Literally paralyzed by irrational fear, paranoia even, that doom was impending. Kidnappers, murderers, lightning, plagues, authority figures, fire, vampire bats, public speaking, even aliens, ghosts and bears (oh my)

I have since learned to put my trust in the Lord. Sure, most nights I have a hard time quieting my thoughts enough to sleep. I'm still petrified of public speaking (and bats) but it's not as bad as it used to be.
Five or so years ago, I would never have agreed to move my entire family 2000 miles away from the safety of everyone and everything I have ever known. I trust that there is a reason for being in this place at this time.

Here is the parable.

There was once a man who gathered together his family onto a large boat.
Though the boat was large, the weight of the people and their goods caused the boat to sink low in the water.
It came to pass that the boat struck rock and caused the hull to become weak. 
The waves washed onto the deck of the boat 
and the children laughed and splashed in the waters thereon.
The woman Tiffany fretted and wept and wailed and tormented the man, certain the boat would sink, and all would perish.
The man spake unto the woman, saying "Sometimes your worry causes others to worry. Sometimes your fear causes others to fear. Have Faith."

Actually what he said was "Sometimes you make things worse"
I think he wanted to add  "Just sit down and shut the hell up."

So friends, the message of my parable is this:

Joshua 1:9 (2010 Mutual theme)
Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. 

Psalms 56:11
In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.

Sometimes when it seems as though the boat is sinking, we just need to sit down and shut up. Panic is contagious. Be of good cheer and do not fear! The Lord will see us safely to shore. What good can come of spreading fear? 
Sometimes you make things worse.
What do we have to fear from men?

And that's all I've got to say on this health care business back home.

Go on and criticize. I'm not scared :) 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Consider it a challenge, she says

My good friend Kazzy -  singer, teacher, and blogger extraordinaire,  passed the Prolific Blogger award on to me.  
I told her I'm more of a sporadic blogger than a prolific one.    
And mediocre, in my opinion.  

I'll try to live up to the honor.

Here are the rules.
1. Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to pass on this award to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers  (I don't know that many bloggers, so I'm skipping this one)
2. Each Prolific Blogger must link to the blog from which he/she has received the award. 
3. Every Prolific Blogger must link back to this post, which explains the origins and motivation for the award.
4. Every Prolific Blogger must visit this post and add his/her name in the Mr. Linky, so that we can get to know the other winners.

Day 33: Blue skies

Today Parrot and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and go for a walk. The weather has been a lot like the weather in Utah - sunshine one day and snow the next.
I forget that the streets here are not on a grid system. They twist and curve subtly. We merrily walked until we had no idea where we were.
Also I have not found a way to orient myself as to what direction I'm going. In Utah the mountains are east and the lakes are west. Once I get turned around here, forget about it. The one thing I do know is that our little area is bordered by an almost perfect square of major roads - Powerline is north, Fairview is south, Park is east and King George is west. As long as I'm in that square, I should be fine, right?
Well I realize now that when walking, this "little area" is bigger than I think. Poor Parrot is usually only good for about 20-30 minutes of walk-time. After that I'm practically dragging him along. It's embarrassing. We probably took a 2 hour walk  That includes time spent letting Parrot rest, sprawled out like he just ran a marathon.

Maybe he just needs some caffeine?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 32: Thrifty

In Utah, Deseret Industries kind of has a monopoly on the thrift scene. Sure we have Savers and some other very small stores; but really, when you think of donating and buying used goods in Utah, you think DI. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I have really come to appreciate these smaller stores.
Even though the kids say they smell like old people.

Christa and I got the greatest coats at the Salvation Army. Ethan too because oh yeah, both of his coats are in the lost and found at school.
In Utah. We realized this when it started snowing here.

And my personal favorite, Value Village (Savers in the US) They have pretty much furnished our house.
I go here almost every day to see what new and wonderful things will appear.

Here is your Tim Hortons for the day. 
This is the morning queue. I counted 13 cars.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 31: Retreat!

During March Break, our Ward Relief Society had an overnight retreat at a nearby lodge.
I thought it would be a good way for me to get acquainted with the ladies in my new Ward. It was at quite a nice facility in a place called the Apps Mill Park.
A lady on the Activities committee was kind enough to give me a ride,  along with a member of the Relief Society Presidency. On the ride there, one of the ladies asked me how I feel about pranks. 
I replied  "I'm fine with them, as long as I am not the one being pranked."  I ended up bunking with them.
I figured it's best to be chummy with the ones playing the tricks.
The funny thing was that a very innocent looking older lady was the one who stole their thunder and played the best pranks.
(13th Ward friends think Evelyn Robbins)
This lovely woman plays the organ in Sacrament meeting.  She has all the great qualities of a proper grandma; bobbed gray hair, pearls, cardigan, skirt worn up to her bust, and bless her heart she plays "Called to Serve" at the tempo of a funeral march. 
This lady tripped and fell as she was carrying her things into the lodge and unbeknownst to us all, she broke her hand in the fall. She insisted she was fine and carried on - performing a tap-dance routine, showing a slide show of her trip to Paris, lurking around at night in a creepy mask, putting fake mice in the microwave, and short-sheeting someone's bed. (this was never proven, but she was a prime suspect.) 

The weather was gorgeous and we took some lovely nature walks.
I heard childhood stories and beautiful testimonies from beautiful women. 
We played games, ate too much good food, stayed up too late and in the morning did some yoga and meditation exercises.
I ended the retreat with an open invitation to a lady's house for lunch, a potential job opportunity, and a visiting teaching companion - a lady who reminds me of my mom.
And who put ice in my pants to wake me up in the morning.

Oh and Tim Horton was there too.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 26: Pity Party!

My children hate when I take pictures
of random things around town. 
"No one cares if you see a Tim Hortons cup."
"PLEASE don't take a picture of that man"
(He really looked like Santa Clause)
"Who cares what stores you go to?"
I'm feeling very discouraged about the content of my blog. 
Maybe it should be deeper? More introspective? 
I kind of liked the light-hearted tourist-y travel blog feel,
but is anyone else feeling it? 
Do you care? 
Just looking for some positive affirmation, I suppose.

Albion Falls 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 21: Garbage Day

 Garbage day is interesting. Everyone just piles their garbage on the curb and the truck comes and picks it up

I'm talking ANY kind of garbage. In addition to your regular garbage, you can put out yard waste like limbs and bags of leaves, or even junk such as furniture and exercise equipment?
I saw a guy last week with a shopping bag going along the sidewalk picking through peoples trash.

"Perfectly acceptable!" one of our neighbors told us.
"In fact,"  he continued,  "since you are still looking for some furniture,
you should just drive around on garbage day
and see what you can find!"

I think I'm going to stick with
the amazingly fabulous thrift stores here in town.

Tim Hortons sighting
My own garden!!

These are the ones we are spotting now...
Tim Hortons Roll the Rim to Win cups.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 18: I experience the amazingly thorough and observant Canadian Health Ministry

To register the children for school, I was required to provide their immunization records. No big deal, the same is required in "The States" (as they say here)
What is different is that they don't keep the immunization records in the schools, you take them to the Health Unit to keep. Also fine.
This requires a trip to the Health Unit (which is a really great place. I wanted to take photos, but thought it might be frowned upon.)
Our first trip was a great learning experience.
Lesson learned? Don't park in the parking lot. You can go in, but can't get out until you feed $5 into the gate. $5 in coins. Two toonies and a loonie. Coins that I didn't have.
Which meant backing up and re-parking my monstrous Suburban (Canada apparently wasn't designed with hulking American vehicles in mind) and walking to a variety (convenience) store for change.
I usually don't carry cash, but luckily brought some along that day.

When I got home, the very efficient person that I dealt with called to inform me that something was amiss with Emma's records.

Side note - Emma noticed the discrepancies herself on the way to the Health Unit. I hadn't noticed them, and obviously the school in Utah didn't notice (or care, maybe) so I told Emma not to worry, let's just go with it.

They noticed.

After a call to the pediatrician in Utah and several faxes back and forth, we finally had some records that looked right.

Today I made the trip to the Health Unit again.
The GPS thingy that I rely heavily on? Its battery died on the way and I didn't have the cord to plug it in.
How better to learn my way around than to be lost?
After a lovely tour of the city and many times around the block waiting for a parking spot that didn't require a ransom, I finally presented the immunization records to the incredibly thorough nurse who called me before I had even gotten home to tell me that something was - again- amiss.

The problem this time, the lovely nurse Joann explained, is that the MMR vaccine was given too close to the date the Varicella vaccine was given, which is bad because blah blah antibodies blah blah blah may not be immune blah blah if there was an outbreak blah blah twenty day suspension from school...

Joann! Please just tell me what you need me to do!

In conclusion: Emma needs to get some shots :(

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 17: Second week down

Week two was hard. Homesick much?
I'm glad it's done and I have a new week ahead. The sun is shining and it should be above 0 degrees Celsius all week. Yay!
Next week is the Canadian equivalent to Spring Break. The kids get the whole week off and I'm hoping we can get down with some good 'ol Canadian recreation.
No, not beer drinking! Bob and Doug McKenzie are here to celebrate the fact that I actually heard someone say "Beauty, eh?"
I laughed reverently and quietly because it was my Sunday school teacher. (13th Ward friends think Revabeth but with more yelling)

Tim Hortons Cup sighting: community ice sheet.
Bring your own skates and you're off!
(Extra points if you spot the second cup! click photo to enlarge)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 13: Pardon my French

Yesterday at school, one of Ethan's classmates got hurt at recess. Some of the other kids laughed and started kicking the boy while he was on the ground.

The boy (who is Ethan's partner in class) yelled at Ethan:

"Go get a f***ing teacher, you little f***er!!"

Now, I know that outside of Happy Valley, people swear. Whatever.
But 4th graders? I have heard them playing outside here, just cussing up a storm.

Poor Beefie. It was funny and sad at the same time to hear him tell it.

Funny because it reminded me of the movie 'A Christmas Story' when Ralphie beats the bully up and says all the bad words he has ever heard his Dad say.

Sad because I don't think anyone has ever directed that word at him before. Sure, at our house we jokingly throw around freaking, fetching, and flipping. Occasionally I let slip a D word, H word or sometimes an A word. Never the F word though.

Sad that my sweet baby has to grow up. Sad that he has to have these experiences to figure out who he is and what is right.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 12: Hmm.

Here is something that baffled us for a bit.
The shopping carts are all chained together. To use the shopping cart, you must insert a quarter(!)
After several trips to the grocery store with Nick and I lugging those little baskets around, we decided to give up a quarter and get a cart.
To our delight we learned that the quarter stays in the slot.
You can't pull it back out, but when you return the cart and chain it back up, the quarter pops out on it's own. Genius!

Another thing that we are having a hard time learning is that you have to pay for your grocery bags. 5 to 10 cents each (depending on the store) for ordinary plastic bags or 99 cents for the really nice reusable bags. Every time we go to the store we forget to bring our bags with us, so we usually end up buying around six bags. Boo.

Tim Hortons cup sighting - Walmart

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 11: Tim. Hortons.

Ahhh, the ubiquitous Tim Horton's. "Timmie's" is a Canadian coffee shop similar to Starbucks. Founded by Hockey player Tim Horton, they sell doughnuts and breakfast sandwiches similar to McMuffins.
There are about a billion locations across Canada.Canadians love their Tim Hortons coffee.
Everywhere we go we see people carrying their Tim Hortons cups like a fashion accessory.
There are discarded Tim Horton's cups EVERYWHERE. They are tossed away wherever the drinker pleases.
I saw an abandoned cup
on a grocery store shelf the other day.
I think I will start taking photos of Tim Hortons cups in unusual places.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 10: Things to remember

We need to try not to giggle when someone says "oat and aboat"
or finishes a sentence with "eh?"
(They really do. Canadians will tell you that's a myth, but it's not)
We need to remember that here they say the letter zed and not zee.
Say grade 6 instead of 6th grade.

kilometers, meters, and we buy gas by the liter. (I mean litre)

The 2 dollar coin is called a toonie, the one dollar coin is a loonie.

A toque is a winter hat.
Milk comes in a plastic bag that you must pour into a pitcher?