30 September, 2006

The Missing Pictures - Hopefully

Here's the pictures that were supposed to upload before. This is Larry, the "Hot Lobsta." You put him in the microwave and he comes out warm and smelling like apple pie. So all your aches and pains will be pied away. (He's a genuine Maine lobster, by the way. Made right in Brunswick.)

-> We bought these potatoes at the Farmer's market today. They're some sort of red potato and when they cook up, they're still red. Cool!
AND of course, organic. ;)

<- our little Lobsta, plotting his escape...

To Market, To Market

Well it's Saturday here in lovely PI. It's one of those perfect falls days: cold wind, warm sun, stunning leaves, and a red hot lobstah (who smells faintly of apple pie).

We drove down to the "Farmer's Market" this morning. Maybe it's bigger in early September or when it's warmer outside. There were three sellers. Two Older Ladies with their various pumpkins, cabbage, and miscellaneous veg, then the Organic Farmer's who have six kinds of potatoes - all of them tasty and 'you don't have to peel them!' The Farmer Man informed us that his own potatoes are the only ones he doesn't peel before cooking. 'Those kind you buy in the store - they're all sprayed! They've all been sprayed! Even if you wash it you shouldn't eat the peel! Argh! <- come on, say it like a pirate. Meanwhile Madame Farmer is puffing away on her cigarette (I'm sure it's organic too) selling the last of the baby beets. After the Organic Farmers comes the Fairy Worshipper. I came up with the term 'Fairy Worshipper' after too many trips up the Methow with too many subsequent encounters with Super Weirdos. You know the type that smoke...something, only wear natural fibers (but are definitely NOT Jewish), and say things very slowly, always with a somewhat distant look in their eyes. Anyway, this particular Fairy Worshipper was also a dealer in herbal remedies. 'For 37 years now...'She tried to sell us some lavender massage oil ('for the ladies') and thanked us for allowing her in our Life Circle. Oi. We bought our potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, and zuchini, and scrammed! And the inevitable finally happened on two counts. I lost my beloved sunglasses in a fitting room in Penney's, and shortly after we got home, the cats somehow escaped through the same window Luke crawled through the other day when I locked our only house key inside the house. We thought he'd now locked the window (we did get an extra key made finally), but apparently not and when I went to let the cats out, there was no sign of them except the open window. It was almost movie-like. You know, the parent comes up to check on their teenage daughter at bedtime and finds a Rapunzel-like rope of sheets hanging out the window. Well, okay, there was no sheet rope, but they were gone. "Quick! Get your shoes on! Grab the cat treats! A jacket! A jacket! Quick! Hurry!"

So they were out playing in the pine trees and brush, not too near the road. A chase ensued into the neighbouring field, but eventually both escapees were apprehended and contained. The window in their room is now locked. For real.

No news on the house hunting front or the job front. Hopefully next week's labour will produce some fruit. Today we're cleaning up stray papers that have succeeded in their diabolical plan to take over our floor and all other available space in the living/dining room, and making veggie soup for supper. With our cabbage and UNpeeled organic potatoes.

29 September, 2006

The Adventure that Almost Wasn't

So here we are in Maine. For how long, some might ask? 'Well,' we'd answer, 'We have no idea.'
Luke called today to check on the status of his Maine RT license and it turns out that WVC is no longer accredited with JCRT. 'J-Cert' as it's known here, is the only accredidation the Maine licensing board accepts. So for you savvy readers, you'll understand that this technically means Luke isn't legally allowed to work here. It's almost funny, isn't it? That we travelled completely across the country for a job he can't have! Har.
Okay, well, it DOES sound awful, but it may turn out all right. Luke hit the library this afternoon to download and fill out an application for a WA state license (which he IS eligable for). Once he's got that, he can apply for a Maine state license, no problem. Well, wait there IS a problem. This whole process could take up to three weeks! (Prayers for expediency, please!)

We are learning that moving from city to city within a state, is a breeze compared to moving from one state to another. Everybody has different requirements, different fees, but surprisingly, they all got the same crabby people from The Crabby People Factory. Go figure.

In other less frustrating and potentially life-altering news, since we finally have internet at home, as of 33 minutes ago, I can post some more pictures on here. Since the Sturgis Pretzel fatory in Lititz (pronounced LID-itz) was a total highlight of our trip, I'll post some pictures from that. One is a picture of Luke getting his Pretzel Makers certificate (valid at any Pretzel factory in the world) from Carol, the Pretzel Queen. The other is of the Pretzel Crest. The Crest picture says - well, just click on it and you should be able to read it. It's a neat story!

26 September, 2006

We're Here!

Sorry it's taken so long to get to posting. We don't have internet at our house yet and since we don't even have to pay for the phone, we're not exactly sure how that's going to work anyway.

We went to the post office yesterday to see if we could get a PO Box. (Toni! When can you move to Maine?!?!) The guy was kind of a jerk, but we're supposed to have a box by tomorrow. They have to call the hospital to verify that Luke's actually working there and that we actually live where we said we do. 'It's for 911 so they know where you live.' Um....sure, my guess is it's more for Homeland Security issues.... So as soon as we have a PO Box, we'll let you know what it is.

Oh, we heard the funniest thing on the radio the other day! (Long days driving gave us lots of time to listen to Rush Limbaugh and other mostly-conservative radio.) But on RL, this lady called in on Open Line Friday. She said she was concerned because her daughter's school wasn't having Halloween parties anymore. They weren't doing a 'harvest party' either. They were having "U.N. Day" instead!!!! U.N. day!??! Is this to get kids prepared for the inevitable? or just to start indoctrinating them at a younger age? Good grief! So Rush gave her this great suggestion. He said that her daughter should get a can of oil and bring it to school. At lunch, she should walk into the cafeteria and say she was buying all the kids lunch! Oil for food!!It's brilliant!

Yesterday I would have had many more interesting things to write here, but today I'm stumped. We did have lunch at Tim Horton's yesterday. It was great! The sun was shining but the air was that cool crisp Fall air that needs only the aroma of pumpkin pie to make it complete. We could see the tree-covered hills in all their Autumn splendor in the distance while we ate our soup and pumpkin spice donut. It was great!

Oh! And great news for me and my Guilty Recycling Conscience - they DO recycle here in PI. You just put everything in a blue garbage bag and they collect it with the garbage. You don't even have to sort it!! Ahh....relief!

Anyway, now you know we're here. As soon as we get internet I'll be able to update this more regularly. This Sunday we're hoping to start checking out churches. We'll fill you in on that too.


20 September, 2006

the bear.

Well i was holding out for a real bear, but no dice. BUT, it is an actually decent sized bear. I'll have to post a picture on here one of these days. It's brown with a little bow on its neck. The bear place turned out to be actually really cool. They didn't have just bears either. They had camels!! The problem, was the three biggest ones weren't for sale, the littlest ones came in pairs (Noah's Ark theme) and they looked more like bears masquerading as camels, and the one that was the right size only came as part of a nativity set. Baby Jesus, the Bear. Weird. So nuts to that. I got my free one.

Gettysburg was really pretty cool. The old houses are fabulous! Some of them are more squished together than Peeps in a package, but they're mostly still beautiful. B & B need to bring their pumpkins to PA to sell! All theses houses - all they needed were pumpkins on the porches and it would have been perfect.

From Gettysburg, we headed to Lancaster which turned out to be way bigger than we thought and we got thoroughly lost trying to find a Waffle House and subsequently visited some of the not-so-nice parts of Lancaster. Scary! And not an Amish person in sight! In fact, we didn't see any Amish people all day - at least not on any that weren't a postcard or advertisement. We saw a few Mennonites though. AND - we DID see another possum. road kill, of course.

okay, i wrote this all yesterday but didn't get a chance to post it. now it's late so i'll have to fill in the details later.

but, i'll just leave you all with this:

On the Road

So firstly my apologies to everyone who I am disappointing terribly by stooping so low as to go beyond sending a mass email and starting a *gasp* blog! I've been able to check email nearly every night since we left and because we're already getting in late, this is making us get to sleep even later. Zzzzzzz...
So I've decided that this is it. Wednesday, 20 September, 2006: The Day I Started My Blog.

so here's the update:

Yesterday morning we left from Des Moines, IA. It was actually really nice around there, rolling hills, lots of trees. And that part of Iowa had less 'busyness' than I expected. [I should also point out that in Sioux Falls, SD, we saw the spitting image of your favourite rocker and ours - Disco Stu!!!] We drove a really long time - all the way through Indiana. I would love to say that we met Reggie Miller and he invited us over for lunch, but being that we only stopped at two rest stops and a Cracker Barrel for lunch, the story wouldn't be very plausible.

We ended up at a hotel at around 10pm and finally got the cats all settled (getting all their gear in has become quite the production and Luke firmly believes this is preparing us for traveling with kids.)

This morning we set out from some podunk town in Ohio - or maybe it was Indiana, now I can't remember. Let's say Indiana. Hotel breakfast was less than ideal, but they had a cool fish tank and the front desk guy was super friendly. Again, another day of driving forever. We had decided on a route that would get us to PA, but would avoid any toll highways. For future reference to anyone insane (!) enough to make this trip - TAKE THE TOLL ROAD!!! We spent about two and a half hours meandering (if we were snails, it would be crawling, but alas) through the back country of West Virginia. Seriously, when you cross the border from Ohio to W. VA., it's like going from the nice part of town to the wrong side of the tracks (or in this case, the river). Dilapidated row houses, abandoned factories - it was all there. Poorsville. We took a turn south - again to avoid the tolls - and ended up on this road that was neverending. There wasn't a space big enough turn around in even if we'd wanted to! It was awful! It reminded me of driving in Ireland! Such tiny narrow roads with almost no shoulder at all! The views were really incredible, but the driving - and the remoteness of it all was quite overwhelming! We felt a little helpless. I must say though, the rolling hils and houses tucked in little private forests or along a little stream was quite idyllic, but you could sure never play bacce ball in those yards! 'Sorry, Bobby, it rolled down the ravine again.'

We drove through several unnamed towns (sorry, "Unincorporated"). We saw a mama cat and three kittens almost right out in the road. When we came by the mama cat ran away! We drove by several bridges that looked like something from a ghost town movie set. And several were only wide enough for one car at a time - or had signs posted saying only one vehicle on the bridge at a time. There were again, lots of run-down houses with a ton of junk sitting outside them. It was a little depressing.

On the plus side, I got to see my first real live possum ever! Well, I'll be a noodle in soup! Okay, well, it was dead. Flattened road-kill actually, but it was still a possum!!

We FINALLY made it out of there but subsequently made several wrong turns trying to get out of the town at the end. We finally made it to Maryland. The drive to Harrisburg where we turned north again seemed unusually long. But hark! There lies in the distance Pennsylvania (which I could never live in because the name takes too long to spell). It was dark the entire time we were driving so I'm not sure what we missed, but at least it was flatter, not so many winding roads, and no dead possums!!

Now, we're in Gettysburg. We've decided to take a much slower day tomorrow and tour around G-burg a little bit and see the sights. As most of you know, I'm an avid lover of American history (Christine - quit laughing!), so this will be especially interesting.*
*Actually, the clincher is that we're going to this one museum place and we get a free bear. I'm not sure what that means. Do you think it will handle the car ride okay with the cats? Or will it just end up being a tiny lapel button with Smoky the Bear on it (convenient castoffs from the Forest Service)?

After G-burg, we're heading to Lancaster County to see the life I narrowly avoided. Just kidding! But I DO have some super-strict Mennonite relatives somewhere in this land of PA. We're also going to hit Lititz for the pretzel factory (100+ years old) and Wilbur chocolates to see where they make Wilbur Buds. <- these I found out about through my church secretary discussion board at work. These women from PA were all about Wilbur Buds - enough to start a topic about office candy, so we have to check it out now! I'll let you all know how it turns out.

Post Number One

No, I won't label all the blog posts as numbers, but since this is my first ever....

I've been meaning to start a blog since way back in July. I had wanted to before then, but our life never seemed interesting enough. Now here we are on this Trip Across America. One American, one Canadian - a Stranger in a Stranger Land - on our way to a new chapter in Maine. We're excited, terrified, and then excited again.

I'm not promising great things with this blog. Just a few updates now and again about life in Maine and life along the Road to Maine. Maybe a few pictures of our new home (of COURSE, pictures of the cats!) Maybe a bit of political commentary (okay, ranting) and anything else I can think of.

I'm also not promising perfect spelling or grammar. I know I'm Canadian and those things are supposed to be genetically ingrained, but I do slip sometimes. So if you find typos, I'm apologizing now - please keep those findings to yourself. :)

At any rate, I hope you'll enjoy reading this. I'm open for suggestions of things to write about or questions about Maine or life "Back East."