Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 162: Haida

Here is HMCS Haida, docked permanently in Hamilton, Ontario.

This was a fun little field trip we took after battling the OHIP dragon. It's a lovely and free (donations gladly accepted) self-guided tour of this really cool WWII ship.

"She is the last remaining example of the 27 Tribal Class destroyers built for the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy between 1937 and 1945. 
It has been said that The Tribals were "magnificent in appearance, majestic in movement and menacing in disposition". Technologically, they represented the most advanced naval architecture, marine propulsion systems and weaponry of their time. 
Once, HAIDA was a mighty fighting ship, sinking more enemy surface tonnage than any other Canadian warship. 
Today, she is an irreplaceable historic artifact and her significance has been formally recognized by the Canadian Historic Sites and Monuments Board."
More on Haida here  and here

All hands on deck!
Communications Room

Mess Deck
Crew Bunks
Who put this guy in charge?
Of course!
Captain's Quarters
Don't you understand that Emma would rather be sitting quietly reading her book?
Why do we subject her to such trivial things?

One of Haida's enormous propellers

Finally a smile!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 161: OHIP

Good golly, time sure flies. To anyone who actually checks this blog regularly, thanks for sticking around! Sorry it's been so long since I last posted.

This week we have been taking it (extremely) easy. Part of last week and the week before my Mother and Mother-in-law were visiting from Utah, so we took them to several major tourist attractions in the area.
Way too many photos to post here, but if you are a facebook friend, you've already seen them :)
We had lots of fun, and the house stayed nice and clean because Grandmas are so nice and want to help with dishes etc.

Today the kids and I went (for the third time) to the OHIP office to apply for our Ontario Health Insurance.

We actually applied while the Grandmas were here because Nick had the week off work.
He had no trouble with the application process and was able to be approved right then. I, on the other hand had no documentation verifying my residence (utility bill, cable bill, mailed bank statement etc. No big deal, since the utility bill is in my name) and for some reason the kids immigration documents were lacking some combination of numbers and letters that made it appear as though they entered Canada on their own, sans parents. They are such clever children.

The nice lady sent us on our way, admonishing me to gather more documentation and promising to call us when she figured out what to do about the children.

She actually did call within the day and assured us that the kids were fine, and as long as I had my proof of residence, I should be good also.

That was a Friday. The next Wednesday we went in, confident that we would be victorious. I handed over all the necessary documents and the lady began happily stamping, authorizing and signing her approval on our applications.

But wait!

Nice Lady - "Hold on. This is not an actual utility bill! This is just a notice from the utility company."
Me - "But it was mailed to me. That was what I was told. It had to be something mailed to me at my address."
Nice Lady - "Well, I'm going to need you to bring the actual bills. All your utility bills for each month you have lived here. And for the children I will need to see their report cards to verify they are enrolled in school."  She says as she viciously white-outs her stamps, authorizations and signatures.
Me - (in my head) Hey, no problem. This place is only 40 minutes from my house and I don't actually have a car to drive usually, and I probably threw all the paid bills away...and I wonder what I did with those report cards...
Me - (Out loud) OK, we'll do that. Thanks.

Nick is at Scout Camp this week, and I have the car. I dug up as many bills as I could (2) found the report cards, and for good measure, brought our lease agreement with my name on it, my gym membership agreement, and something from church with my name and address.

Armed with these documents (and a big red priority stamp on my application that puts me to the front of the line) we marched once again into Service Ontario, 10th floor of the Ellen Fairclough Building on King Street, Hamilton Ontario. I could find it in my sleep now.

For the third time, I handed over our documents.

It was a different lady this time. She looked at one bill, didn't care about the rest. Didn't ask for report cards. Didn't even look at the kids, where the other lady scrutinized each in turn, comparing immigration photos to passport photos to kids actual faces.

We were approved and out of there in 30 minutes (we even walked out past a nice old lady that came in ahead of us. She was still waiting. Yay priority stamp!)

Done and done.

Is it wrong to be excited for an emergency so we can use this magic?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 138: Bus-venture!

This week Beef and I are all alone. Both girls are at camp and Deven has gone to Utah for the summer.
Much as I would like to lounge around all day in our air-conditioned goodness watching TV with the Beef, I realize we must leave the house or we might go crazy.
Our options are to walk or ride our bikes somewhere close by. It just so happens we are experiencing a heat wave this week. Upper 90's and the humidity is unreal, so biking/walking in the middle of the day are out.

So we took an experimental/fact-finding bus journey downtown to the library.
We lounged around reading books in their air-conditioned goodness.

No drama, no incidents or craziness to report, but we gained valuable experience points in our character advancement!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 136: Her Majesty The Queen

Queen Elizabeth has been visiting the Toronto area for the past week or so. 
Here she is on Canada day with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
She looks like she has a great sense of humor!

I would have loved to catch a glimpse of her. I think she's adorable. And oh so stylish.

Here she is leaving church yesterday in Toronto with her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh.
This morning she will tour the local facility that manufactures the all-important Blackberry.

But the big question? I would like to know what's in her ever-present purse. 
Candy? A Blackberry? Maybe she's an iPhone gal.
Apparently lots of people wonder the same thing. Here is what I learned on the interwebs:

"There is more to the royal purse than its meager contents. It doubles as a signal device. 
When the Queen is carrying out her royal duties at some function, she uses her purse to communicate with her servants. When she shifts the bag from one arm to another, for instance, it means she’s ready to leave. 
When at a banquet, if the Queen sets her purse on the floor, it’s another bad sign. It means she finds the conversation boring and wants to escape. However, if the royal bag dangles happily from the crook of her left arm, she is happy and relaxed. 
One thing that can always be found inside the Queen's purse is an S-shaped metal meat hook that she can place on the edge of a piece of furniture and hang her purse on it. She always carries a metal make-up case given to her by Prince Philip as a wedding gift. 
She carries a collection of good luck charms, most of them gifts from her children, including dogs, horses, saddles, and horsewhips, reports the Daily Express, and photos of her children. 
She is never without her mints, chocolate drops for her corgi dogs, and a crossword or two snipped from the papers by her attendants. 
Majesty Magazine reports that the Queen carries a comb, a handkerchief, a small gold compact and a tube of lipstick in her handbag. 
On Sundays, she carries paper money to place in the collection plate at church."

Mystery solved.

A bit more about the Queen:
Queen Elizabeth II was born in London on April 21, 1926.
Her Majesty was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1936.
As a teenager, Princess Elizabeth began to take part in public life. Her Majesty gave her first radio address at age 14 as bombs dropped on London during the Second World War.
Five years later, Her Majesty learned how to drive a car and obtained the rank of Junior Commander in the women's branch of the British Army.

On February 6, 1952, the 25-year-old received news of her father's sudden death. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953.
In 1953, a Canadian law, the Royal Style and Titles Act, formally conferred upon Elizabeth II the title of Queen of Canada.
In 2012, The Queen will celebrate her Diamond Jubilee - her 60th anniversary as Queen.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 134: Free Spirit

This is my bike, purchased for $19.99 at Value Village thrift store.
It's no Sledgehammer - no shocks or pegs - it's a made-in-Canada 5 speed 'Free Spirit.'
And no I won't pull you into town. Gosh.
Since my truck was stolen several weeks ago, this bike and I have become good friends.
Mainly because we are paying for my gym membership and the best time to go to the gym is in the morning when the good classes happen. So out of necessity, I ride the Free Spirit. (5K round trip)
If it is absolutely necessary that I go to the store during the day, I ride there. BUT riding a bike with grocery bags is no good, so I usually wait for Nick and the car to get home.
It's good right now, the weather is nice. Hopefully before winter comes I'll have a vehicle.
But for now, I have found that being without a car truly makes you a free spirit. Gas is $1.00/liter right now, so it's nice not to fill up a Suburban. I can ride as fast or slow as I want. I can usually find a really great place to park. Canadians are super polite and willing to share the road.
When the kids ask if we can go to the ____ and buy ____, I say  "Sure! You want to ride there with me?"

Not to mention the wind in my hair, the sun on my face, and pretending driveways are sweet jumps.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 132: Canada Day

From Wikipedia - 
Frequently referred to as "Canada's birthday", and formerly known as Dominion Day, the occasion marks the joining of the British North American colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada into a federation of four provinces on July 1, 1867. 
Canada became a kingdom in its own right on that date, but the British Parliament kept limited rights of political control over the new country that were shed by stages over the years until the last vestiges were surrendered in 1982 when the Constitution Act patriated the Canadian constitution.

Today we had a lovely adventure.  The kids and I attended our local Canada Day celebration. We started our day by walking 4.6 kilometers (2.9 miles) to catch a shuttle bus to the park. (truck is still stolen, Nick had to work) We waited for the bus for nearly an hour until a group of kind citizens came along and told us we were at the wrong bus stop. 
We followed them around the corner to the waiting bus.
Thanks, friendly Canadians!

Waiting for a bus that never came.
P.S I love the concert poster. Sound like a great show ;)

Finally made it!  
Cleverly disguised as Canadians, we infiltrate the festival...

First stop - ridiculously over priced and greasy food that probably set my sensible eating and gym-going back weeks.

Beer Garden? Check.

Obligatory face in the Mounty Moose? Done.

Spinny rides? You guys go ahead. I'll pass.

Canuck fun house! Yay!

And the best part? A concert featuring Miley Cyrus, Hannah Montana, Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga...impersonators. Brantford is just not big time enough for the real thing, I guess.
Here are the children with fake Taylor Swift. Emma loves real Taylor Swift and sang  her heart out to every song. She says fake Taylor got some of the words wrong.
My favorite was fake Lady Gaga. 
(I suspect they may have all been the same person...)

I love people watching. I could sit for hours and watch interesting people. I had plenty of time while the kids stood in line for the rides. (also Tim Hortons sighting)

We're saved!
We tried to hold out and stay till dark to watch the fireworks, but too much sun, spinny rides, poutine and walking tired us out. We were done at about 6PM.
Thankfully Nick and Deven came to rescue us so we wouldn't have to take the bus again.