Saturday, July 30, 2011

A week of magnificent beauty of unremarkable tedium

Is it possible for a vacation to last too long? We've gone through the euphoria of reunion with friends and family, and we're still a few weeks away from the sadness of parting. We're in limbo, and, like most Limbos it seems interminable. We're here but we're not and that's a funny place to be. Our day to day lives in Nova Scotia have almost become quotidian--lives fraught with all the drama of a typical facebook post (which is to say, not very much drama at all). Which is why it is possible to go almost a week without posting a thing. I could've gone even longer without checking in had our friends, the Glanfields, not shaken  us out of our complacency with a whirlwind tour of Cape Breton's Cabot Trail.

But for those interested in the minutiae of our lives over the past week and a bit, here's a recap:

Friday we were able to spend a good part of the day with Grandma which included a trip to the mall and a sampling of the world famous Cow's ice cream down at historic properties.

Friday night, Liam and I took in Captain America (big surprise), and for a guy who prides himself on his sense of irony, I have to say it was really refreshing to watch a movie that was completely devoid of it. There are not enough movies about characters with conviction who are trying to do the right thing simply because it's the right thing. It's as if all our heroes need to be flawed so that we can relate to them. And though I understand the need to relate, it is sometimes nice, necessary even, to have an ideal to aspire to. Perhaps I'm reading more into the movie than I should, but watching it, I felt like I was watching a movie that had been made fifty years ago but with the technology of today. Like I said, it was refreshing and exactly what I was looking for in a movie called "Captain America."

Saturday was filled with some yard work (see what I mean?). Liam did get to command the John Deere which made the rest of us a bit jealous. We were rewarded for our labours with a great dinner at Wong's.

A typical ditch in my father's neighborhood
The ditch in front of my father's house. Can you see the difference?

Hauling rocks like a pro.
 Sunday was church. I'm pretty sure they can't give me a calling without my records, but it's hard not to feel like I should be doing a little more. Nothing like Mormon guilt to colour a vacation. Julie and the girls had an honest to goodness sleepover at their friend Caroline's.

Monday was laundry day and then a great visit with Martin and Michelle MacLennan. I was trounced at both Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan (in my defence, it's been about a year since my last game of Catan). And even though I didn't win either game, we still had a great time together.

Tuesday hit us with the realization that time is growing short for us here. When we arrived, it felt like we had all the time in the world, and though I feel like we've really been using our time well, I'm starting to feel a little panicked about making the most of what we have left. We spent some time with Jessica this afternoon who was quick to point out her absence in any of my previous blog posts. I felt bad that I hadn't mentioned her when she came over a few weeks ago, but I was also extremely gratified by the fact that she'd been reading my blog.

Wednesday we hit the road with the Glanfields. We drove almost non-stop from Dartmouth to Cheticamp. There's not much that I can say about the drive that can't be said better with pictures.

Most beautiful place in the world? I'm sure we'll read about it on the blog.

The Franks and Glanfields just outside Cheticamp

This is Joel smiling.

I'm pretty sure the sign said, 10 and under.

Wednesday night, after putting the kids to bed, it was Catan again. I was feeling the need to redeem myself from the losses of a few nights before which led to some aggressive strategies on my part. I singled out my wife on more than one occasion with my armies, it wasn't personal, really, but had there been a couch to sleep on in our hotel room, I would have been on it.

James and Liam spent the night in Joel and Heidi's room. And though we didn't hear a peep, we later learned that James needed some comforting. Not sure if I would have had the necessary compassion at 2 in the morning. Thanks Heidi!

Thursday was a day driving along the Cabot Trail with occasional breaks for breathtaking views and short hikes. I had never visited the Cabot Trail. It's always been one of those things on my to do list that I never got around to doing, and, after talking with a number of people about our plans, I'm not the only Nova Scotian who's always been planning to do the trail but has never gotten around to it. If you've been on the fence about about it, it's time to get off. It was a stunning trip, again, pictures will do a much better job than I could do with my words.

Are we going to stop at every bend for a picture? Probably.

Exploring the Bog.

If you look really closely, you can see the world's shortest ferry ride at Englishtown.

Thursday night was Canada's best pizza at Napoli's in Sydney and then some picture in front of the world's largest violin. After then kids were in bed, the board games came out again. I really didn't have a choice. One victory at Catan might be ascribed to luck, if I was going to prove my inherent awesomeness at Settlers, I needed to win again. I'm sure you're dying to know who won. Alas, lest some accuse me of exploiting this blog to proclaim my awesome gaming skills, I must refrain from recording the victor of the game.

Yup, that's a big violin!

Sleeping arrangements!

Friday morning it was Fortress Louisburg, the largest restored fortress in North America. There was a lot of walking and some great interactions with the cast there. We only had to contend with the fog, for which we were very grateful.

Outside the barracks.

The turkey was a definite highlight.

A great "authentic" lunch at the fortress. The pea soup was divine.

Miranda upon learning of the presence of turnips in her meal.

The fortress prided itself on it's discipline.

It was at this point in the journey where James' legs stopped working.

The drive home was uneventful. Then there was sleep.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's hard to play tourist in the place you grew up

I give you Lucy on vacation. Except for the swing, it's pretty
much the same as Lucy the rest of the year.
I know my father enjoys having us around even if we do get in the way, but what he most enjoys is bedtime. No, it's not the family prayers or the hugs all around, it that moment when we get around to putting James to bed. He doesn't bask in the tender care with which we go through the pre-bed rituals. Instead, he savours that moment just after we've done all in our power to put James to sleep, when James creeps guiltily up the stairs. No matter how many times we put him down and he gets back up, I swear it never gets old for my dad. It's almost as if the two of them are in cahoots.
James at the park.

On Tuesday we hung out at some parks, and got on Liam's case about homework, again.

A moth outside my Dad's.
Sometimes you just have to post cool pictures of bugs.

A dragonfly we saw on a brief nature walk. Nature's everywhere around here.

Who is that guy holding James. He looks a little dodgy if you ask me.
Yesterday (Wednesday) my have been our first touristy day in Nova Scotia. We've been having a great time, but so much of our days have been filled with visiting friends and putting in the obligatory time at Costco that we haven't really gotten to be tourists in Nova Scotia (something we had been looking forward to all year). I could blame the weather for our lack of site seeing, but I'm only allowing myself one Nova Scotia weather rant, and I used that up with the last post.

The sun was shining, there wasn't a hint of grey in the skies and there was just enough of a breeze to make the weather seem perfect. We decided to seize the moment and head out to Peggy's Cove. The windy road out there always threatens motion sickness, but we made it just barely. We couldn't have asked for a better day to visit. The kids enjoyed the adventure of climbing the rocks and exploring. The only downside to the whole experience was their Dad forcing them to pose for pictures.

James and I helped my Dad finish a little shed that afternoon and then took it easy for the night because we needed a break after an hour and a half of something actually resembling work.

Also, I think I've passed the point where the effort of putting up with facial hair is greater than the effort it would take to shave said facial hair. I think it's time for the patchy, grey thing that's been discouraging my wife from kissing me to go. I hate to admit it, but I'll probably miss the attention. I'm a bit needy that way (why else would I put so much effort into my blog?). Maybe I'll add a poll...