Friday, November 30, 2007
Nothing profound today (like there HAS been) but I was organizing the garage and listening to Diana Krall on the i-Pod and I noticed the fantastic colors of the sunset. SO, my post, at the end of a work week, is tonight's sunset to maybe put you in a contemplative mood and reflect on the upcoming holiday season. This really is a great place to live!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Okay, I usually don't post twice in one day, but I just found this and could NOT pass up the opportunity to share. Chuckle, get mad, or both - let me know.
"Your pet is a member of your family. So says the Palm Beach Community College.But your human domestic partner isn't.The pets of Palm Beach Community College employees will qualify for discounted group medical insurance beginning in January, but domestic partners are still barred from receiving similar benefits. School officials sent a memo last week explaining the new voluntary pet benefit available via payroll deduction through the private company Veterinary Pet Insurance. And it's not like the college's pet insurance scheme is restricted to just dogs and cats.Full-time college employees can receive a 5 percent discount on services because of the college's enrollment in the program, which covers dogs and cats, but also hedgehogs, frogs, guinea pigs, geckos, iguanas and sugar gliders - small flying mammals native to Australia. You can buy college sponsored health insurance for a frog. But your adult human partner? Well that's a different story..."
Well, it's getting to be that time of the year and I am slowly getting into the Christmas mood. We are even getting ourselves an early gift today - satellite TV!! After almost two months without TV this will be a treat. Of course what does that say about me if I am "suffering" from TV withdrawal??? I'm not really a TV junkie, there are just a few shows that I really like and I have been missing them - Heroes, Brothers and Sisters, The Amazing Race. I ended up getting kind of lost with Lost so I bailed on that one. And I have missed so much Survivor that I don't dare try to catch up at this point. There is a great site that I found where you can watch episodes of your favorite shows - http://www.surfthechannel.com/ Check it out if you get a chance and browse through their selection. I think you'll be impressed. They are having some growing pains due to a very popular similar site in the UK shutting down and TONS of web traffic now heading their way. They have had to upgrade servers lately and you may still find issues with download time, but give them a chance.
With our constant exploring and price shopping we have changed our initial opinion that things are a bit more expensive here north of the border. If you shop around and have numerous options, for groceries as an example, you can certainly find things on sale and make that a good time to stock up. We've been grouping errands for the same location because it takes us a half hour to get to either Sooke or Langford and we don't want to be running back and forth every day. We have been getting most of our groceries at Real Canadian Superstore. (check their website for weekly flyer and use the shopping list feature-very handy) The cool thing with them is no more plastic bags! You have to bring your own bags or cloth shopping totes or they have large plastic totes you can purchase for $2.99. I've seen people with the totes fill them up as they shop, unload onto the register conveyor and then load the items right back into the tote for the trip home. Kind of a neat routine but I can't get Dixon to spring for 1 or 2 totes. The downside is that we always seem to forget to toss our plastic bags into the car before we leave. Maybe when I am done with this post I will just go put 6 bags in each trunk and we'll be all set. Now THAT is something that a woman would have thought of right away, before even the first excursion, NOT after she had forgotten them numerous times. Women are SO practical sometimes!
Other stores we've 'discovered':
RONA: GREAT for fixing up the house and very helpful staff. Fun stuff in the greenhouse but pots are kind high.
Home Depot: similar to the stores in the US, flooring dept. in Langford is a disaster and help is kind of sparse. HUGE selection of pieces/hardware for assemble it yourself furniture, in case the factory in China/Bulgaria/wherever forgot a piece. I found this selection very interesting.
Canadian Tire: WAY more than an auto supply store! Like a mini-RONA.
Home Hardware: This one is in Sooke and they are loaded with all kinds of stuff. Staff is super helpful!!! They didn't have something I was looking for so the clerk suggested I go to the auto/marine supply distributor behind them for the part and they had it!! They have a good Christmas catalog available in store with lots of decorating ideas. Their website is good and there are links to their furniture division, which uses a lot of reclaimed and recycled wood! The closest retail outlet for the furniture is in Duncan, none in Victoria.
Serious Coffee: Numerous locations around the Island. Very similar to Starbucks but with a local flavor.
PetSmart: New outlet in Langford and you can take your dog/cat/pet in with you!! Very helpful staff and sign up for their saver card.
Village Food Market in Sooke: EXCELLENT grocery experience but can be pricey. Again check their website for weekly specials and you can get some deals for sure. Wonderful produce, deli, bakery departments. Nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread and theirs is no exception.
Western Foods in Sooke: Nice selection, a bit pricey also, but the deli smell when you walk in the door is incredible.
Pier 1 Langford: A bit smaller than the stores I was used to in the US but the same basic item selection.
In the seven weeks that I have been in Canada I have had one or two bad service experiences, wherein the staff member seemed to be annoyed at having to help someone. These were definitely the exceptions and, other than these, EVERYONE has been so friendly and helpful.
Another good source of information and savings is the Welcome Wagon. Once you arrive you can schedule a meeting with one of their reps for your area and you are treated to all kinds of coupons, goodies and offers from local businesses. This is a great way to get to know the community quicker than usual and our gal in Sooke was terrific! The page to sign up online is http://www.welcomewagon.ca/en/community/
Well, I've been typing away long enough and I think our installer is almost done with the satellite installation so, for now, thanks for tuning in and check back again!
Saturday, November 24, 2007
It is Saturday and I feel like someone put a tiger in my tank, so to speak. HA! We got a lot accomplished on Friday, including getting new BC plates for my car, and today we have, so far, cleared out the office so that we could set up Dixon's new computer desk. It's a neat little desk that we picked up on sale at RONA, which is a Canadian version of Home Depot except I like RONA a lot more. Whereas Home Depot is, to me, more contractor and tradesman friendly, RONA seems to be more consumer/DIYer friendly. They have a great selection of items to fix up and upgrade the home and I STILL have to explore their greenhouse. It looks fab from the outside and I am SO in need of some greenery inside the house. I just have to make sure that I buy things that the cat won't look at and lick her chops.
Anyway, the office is looking MUCH better and both of us now have our computers located in the same room. Prior to this when I was online Dixon was upstairs at the kitchen table with his wireless laptop and I felt like we were disconnected for hours at a time. Now we can browse online and compare notes side-by-side.
Not to toot my own horn, because that is now how this is meant, but today I turn 47 (ACK!) but have not received one call from anyone. I did receive cards from a previous co-worker and Dixon's Mom, which was great. Oh well, no big deal, really, it is just another day. BUT, I made reservations for us to go to Fuse Waterfront Grill tonight for dinner. Here is their web address http://www.fusewaterfrontgrill.com/Welcome.html We have been there a few times during previous visits to the Island and, at the moment, it is one of our favorite places for a nice dinner. Food is fantastic and service is ALWAYS with a smile.
So, with Thanksgiving over in the States I can now put myself in the mood for Christmas! I think it was an additional five boxes of Christmas items, plus a tree, that arrived Thursday in our batch of goods shipped to the house. In addition there were many boxes of Christmas items that came on the U-haul with us so I should be in really good shape to decorate the new house. We have many sets of lights and, with quite a few pine trees in the front garden, I am looking at options for ourdoor decorating. The only drawback is that we will be the only ones that see the outdoor decorations because we are so far off the main road. I am thinking of lights along our deck, which would be visible from across the harbor and out on the water. I'll post pics after I am done, for all to share in.
Today has started out very cloudy, with a chance for rain later, but looking out the office window now I see some breaks in the clouds over Washington State. With any luck some of that will work its' way to our side of the water!
Thanks for tuning in and keep us in your holiday thoughts!
Doug, and Dixon
Sunday, November 18, 2007
The warmth of the sun sure got me in the mood to get things done around the house today. I SO wanted to get into the greenhouse but I'm afraid that will have to wait until we get a plumber and electrician to finish hooking it up. And then there is the issue of outfitting it with tables and soil and compost! Good thing the previous owners left a whole bunch of plastic nursery pots in various sizes. Another thing I have to do is find someone that would be able to come out to the house and help me identify things in the garden. Coming from the Midwest almost everything here looks so different, plants I have no clue about, for now. And that is even after taking some horticulture courses, but again that was in the Midwest, not the Pacific Coast.
Plans for the upcoming week include getting my car certified and licensed for British Columbia, job hunting and getting a haircut. We also have to start thinking about replacing some pieces of furniture that did not make it onto the moving truck because we still have too much crap! When will we learn???
One more tidbit of information about me is that I am somewhat captivated by My Space since discovering it last year. I've met some great people on there, some of my existing friends are now signed up thanks to me and I am always looking for great musical talent to expand my personal music choices at home. The following is a fun little link that I found, thanks to a newfound friend out East, and it was a nice distraction for a few minutes on a sunny Sunday. Enjoy, and check it out for your year, if you dare.
In 1960 (the year you were born)
Dwight Eisenhower is president of the US
Sit-ins being after 4 black college students in North Carolina refuse to move from a deli counter when denied service
A U-2 reconnaissance plane belonging to the US is shot down in the Soviet Union
Hurricane "Donna" strikes the East Coast causing over 100 deaths in the US and the Antilles
John F. Kennedy defeats Vice President Richard Nixon in the presidential race
Cassius Clay (who later took the name Muhammad Ali) wins his first professional fight
Michael Stipe, Tony Robbins, Bono, John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Jeffrey Dahmer are born
Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series
Philadelphia Eagles win the NFL championship
Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup
Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is the top grossing film
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is published
The Beatles make their debut in Hamburg, Germany
The Flintstones debut
Friday, November 16, 2007
Well, the rain has given us a break today, for a few hours, and WHAT am I doing??? Climbing on the roof to clean gutters and remove lumps of moss from the shingles, very similar to not-so-long ago in Wisconsin, except that was removing leaves. It seems that nobody has done that for quite some time, due to the level of crap that was in some of the gutters, and I would venture a guess that it was never done, seeing that the house is just 8 years old. There were things that looked like some sort of mutating giant slimy worm, long and black and shiny and as big around as a cigar. Thankfully these were plant material and not living organisms, otherwise Dixon would have found himself up the ladder instead! There were lumps of moss the size of tennis balls growing in some of the roof valleys and they were very easy to pluck and throw over the house to the garden area. What fun that was! I even placed some in areas I thought perhaps they would find hospitable to sustained growth. A giant ball of moss is actually a very beautiful thing if you take the time to examine it up close. It is made up of MANY slender bright green plants that, when seen together, look like a mossy green fuzzy orb. They are actually very cool and I felt bad for just tossing them over the house. But I am over that now. :o)
We were cleaning gutters for maybe two hours and, just as I was finishing up on the top roof, the rain drops started to come down ever so lightly. We scurried to get all the equipment put away in the shed and lo and behold - the rain never amounted to anything more than those few drops I felt on my head. Whew!
I've been spending quite a bit of time online lately, finding all sorts of interesting blogs that other people are posting, and someone else in the house seems to be getting a bit irritated at times. Well what else can I do - we are out in the forest with nothing closer than a half hour away so it's not like I can just zoom down the road a piece to do some window shopping. Although, the Sooke Christmas Craft Fair is this weekend, all local artists, and I SO want to check that out. I'll let you know how that goes, if it materializes.
Otherwise we continue to put things away and fine tune the house. We have to take my car for certification next week and then new plates, so we will both be happy when that is taken care of. Monday coming up we have another vet appointment for Sydney, just to get her blood checked to make sure she is doing fine on the new medication she started a few weeks ago. We are crossing our fingers that she will be, mainly because the pills are about one third the cost of the monthly injection she was receiving. Of course if she has to go back to the shots we will do that but she appears to be just fine with the new pills.
Well, that is about it for today's update. As I discover how to add things to this blog profile I will be doing so.
Thanks for tuning in and check back again!!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Well, here it is Wednesday and we have managed to get a few more things accomplished over the past few days. We now have one auto fully approved by BC province and outfitted with BC plates and all the proper insurance. It was a fairly easy process, once we had all the paperwork, and took the better part of a day, between getting it certified at Canadian Tire and then driving over to the insurance agent for finalization. Now we just have the other car to do and we'll be all set.
We did speak to a dear friend in the States and it turns out her boss and his partner are going to be in Vancouver for five days in early December, for a work conference. It turns out they would like to spend a day or two on Vancouver Island and have asked if they could stay at our place. Seeing that our ultimate goal is to have a B&B we said yes, figuring this would be a good test case to see how we handle people we don't know staying in our home. We have a two room suite with full bath on the first level that would more than accommodate them and we need to get that set up in the next few weeks before their arrival. We have also begun the job search so I'm not sure if we'd be here all day when they visit, or if one or both of us might be working full time by that point, but we can always delay starting a job I suppose, if we have to. I think this will be up for quite a bit of discussion over the next week or so.
We did a lot of shopping yesterday, to get things for the house to replace a lot of stuff that was not able to fit onto the moving truck for the drive out here. We still have quite a way to go before the house is to our liking but we are off to a good start with the basics, like a trash can. We do need an area rug and some blinds for the dining area, and fast, seeing that the sun just pours in during the day and we want to limit fading of floors/furniture. The issue that I am faced with is finding just the right decor for this place. I do NOT want to just get the first thing we find that will fit, regardless of how it fits in with our grand scheme of how this house will eventually look. Due to our location we are thinking a decor that fits in with this wild West Coast area and I would like things that are sophisticated and comfortable, without being pretentious. With the extensive garden I would like to carry a nature theme into the house in some way, be it wall decor or furnishings. I think we will stay away from modern shiny chrome and such and lean more toward the warmth of wood and natural materials.
Thanks for tuning in and check back for updates!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Well, first let me introduce myself. My name is Doug and I am originally from Wisconsin, Milwaukee to be exact. At the age of 46 I have moved with Dixon to Vancouver Island in gorgeous British Columbia, Canada. We decided that a change was needed. So we applied for permanent resident status, packed up the household when that was granted and drove to Sooke, BC in a fully loaded U-haul. We arrived the beginning of October and are still in the process of getting settled in to our new home. We have a gorgeous hillside home on two acres overlooking part of Sooke Harbor but mostly a view across The Juan de Fuca Strait to the Olympic mountains in Washington state. NEVER in a million years could anyone have told me that I would be living in a glorious place like this, but here I am and still pinching myself. Along with the great home we have a wonderful hillside garden in the front yard and the centerpiece of that is a brand new greenhouse that the previous owners never had a chance to finish. SO, here I am, blogging, and I will be looking for advice on West Coast decorating and greenhouse gardening.
Thanks for tuning in and I'll be back as often as I can.