Friday, September 29, 2006

Apple Picking Pictures

Here, finally, are the pictures of our apple-picking adventure. As it turns out, the actual picking of the apples is not a lengthly process. We had a 1/2 bushel (about 20lbs) within about 20 minutes. We also picked raspberries though, and that was a more time consuming process. It was fun though, and there was a little petting zoo and pumpkin patch as well. They had this neat thing where the goats could walk up onto a thin bridge, and visitors could haul a cup of food up to them via a pulley system. There are a few pictures of this below. We ended up with 3 apple pies, and three apple crisps, which used only about half of our apples! I made another apple crisp last night to take to a friend's house. It was tasty! I think we'll make yet another crisp to freeze, and maybe some platz as well, and that should just about take care of the apples. They are such yummy, juicy apples too!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Where did the week go?

I can't believe today is my Friday already! The weeks seriously disappear so quickly, I don't know how or why, but htey just fly by.

Yesterday, we went to a liturgy at this Orthodox Nursing home that's about 10 minutes from us. It was quite an experience. Those in attendance were primarily residents of the nursing home, and volunteers there to help with the service, but we felt very welcome. The priests in the area trade off from week to week, and this week Fr. Michael, the priest at St. George's (the Church we're going to vespers at and Daryl is going to Sundays at) was there this week.We had a good talk with Fr. Michael, and other parishoners, and I got to "talk shop" with another prosphora baker, which was great. I think that we may have found our Church home here. Now to really try to get involved! They have a women's group, a men's group, parish events, a youth group, Choir, Church school, and lots of other places to get involved.

Tonight, we're going to Danika's house to watch the first two episodes of Grey's Anatomy! I got totally addicted to this last year, but don't have TV here so I missed the season premiere last Thursday. Luckily for me Danika has on demand cable :-).

Tomorrow I think we'll be going to pick up the rest of the furniture we're taking from Danika. I'll be getting a desk (yay!), which I'm hoping will provide the needed space and motivation to get moving on this research I have to finish writing up. We'll also get a kitchen island similar to this, but with drawers and a few other things in it as well. We'll also pick up a mirror, and some bookshelves. We'll be all set once we have all of this. I'm so thankful we have such a genrous friend moving into a smaller space!

Must get going though, time to get off to work.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Here's the link to our online album of our pictures from the trip from Victoria to Boston, and the rest of the move!


"Espresso pots are fun..."

That's a quote from Trader Joe's online brochure about the coffee they carry, and coffee in general. I had to hop online and check it out, because we just picked up some coffee there yesterday, and I just made the first pot of it this morning. Can it be true? They have fabulous coffee too! A beautiful, strong, dark roast coffee called "Volcano" is what I'm drinking right now. It's a very good thing.

We had a great time at the orchard yesterday picking apples and raspberries. We ended up with a "1/2 bushel" of apples (about 20lbs), and about 9 lbs of raspberries. The raspberries are such nice, big, juicy berries too. I've frozen about 3/4's of them, and we had raspberries with vanilla ice cream last night. I'm going to put some of the rest of them into pies. That's the plan for today - to make the apple pies and apple crisp, some to freeze.

I also made a stew yesterday - a beef stew! This is, as you probably know highly unusual for me. In fact, I've never made a stew in my life. For some reason I decided yesterday that I wanted to make one. So, I picked up the fat free beef broth and meat I needed, and followed the handy directions on the back of the broth. I accidently put the vegetables in too soon (about an hour too soon), but that turned out to be a good thing I think, as the potatoes kind of disintegrated and made the stew thicker. In the end, the stew actually turned out really really good! So simple and inexpensive, but so good. I know for most people this is probably not a big discovery, but for me it is. I don't typically cook typical meat and potatoes type food. We rarely eat red meat actually. Anyhoo. It was a successful experiment.

As a side note - I really appreciate when various food items have recipes on the back/side of the packaging. Mostly because you can tell, while your at the grocery store what you still need to buy before you go home. I'm horrible for deciding, while at the store "I'm going to make ____" but then not really knowing what I need to make it and having no recipe on hand. So I end up going home, realizing I don't have half of what I need, and that half of what I bought I don't need! This would have most definately happened with the stew, were it not for the recipe on the side of the broth container.

Anyhoo...being that it's almost noon here, and I'm still in my PJ's I'd better get going on prepping those apples for baking.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Fall fun ...

Today's my Friday! I'm almost finished my first week "on shift" on my own. I'm excited for the weekend.

It's chilly this morning. I do like it when it's cold in the morning, and I can get my favorite snuggle blanket (this really warm fleecy blanket) and curl up to blog or watch the morning news. No tv right now, so no news, but I can blog :-). I'm thinking of soup and the butternut squash that is in my cupboard. Hearty warm comfort food is what I'm thinking of. I was thinking of making butternut squash soup, but to make it properly a food processor or blender is really necessary, both of which I did not bring with me when we I may have to leave that for later in the fall for when we have money to buy one, or get ours shipped to us.

The first official day of fall I believe is September 23...and apparently it falls at a specific hour and minute? 12:02am on the 23 of September this year, according to this site, which gives this information:

The date (near September 22 in the northern hemisphere) when night and day are nearly of the same length and Sun crosses the celestial equator (i.e., declination 0) moving southward (in the northern hemisphere). In the southern hemisphere, the autumnal equinox corresponds to the center of the Sun crossing the celestial equator moving northward and occurs on the date of the northern vernal equinox. The autumnal equinox marks the first day of the season of autumn.

To celebrate the start of fall, a little ahead of time, I think we're going to go apple picking tomorrow here. It looks like lots of fun. They have peaches and blueberries still as well, so hopefully we can pick up some of those. The plan is to make a bunch of apple stuff on Saturday (pies, crisp etc) and freeze a bunch of it, but we'll see how much energy we have :-).

Sunday, September 17, 2006

One down...

I made it through my first day. Whew. Exhausted. Didn't sleep at all last night. Long day. I had a bunch of evaluations (that I wasn't expecting!) , which seem to have gone well. I still felt like I had no clue though. It will all work out in time though I'm sure.

Now to bed for a movie and sleep...sweet sleep.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Day to day...

It's been four days since I've posted! I made it through my initial training (last day was Thursday), and my first day "on shift" is tomorrow (ah!). I can't believe that we've been here fro just over three weeks already. Time passes so quickly when things are changing.

God is truely good. When I was initially given my schedule I was completely panicked, as it has me working 8am to 7pm on Sundays (=cannot go to Church). I talked to my supervisor about it, and there was no way to change it. I was devestated. There seemed to be no options. Then, a few days later, Daryl happened upon another Orthodox Cathedral in the area. We stopped in and talked with the priest and as it turns out, the Churches in the area hold a joint liturgy every Wednesday morning (in addition to regular Sunday services). They run a nursing home, and hold it there for the residents, but it is open to anyone who wishes to come. So, I will be able to go to liturgy weekly (I don't work till 2pm on Wednesdays). I'll hopefully be able to switch enough of my shifts around so that I can attend on Sundays at least semi-regularly, but it is one of the most difficult shifts to switch.

So tomorrow starts the normal schedule of 8am-7pm on Sundays, 2-9pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, and 8-4 and 9-4 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'll have Fridays and Saturdays off. Aside from the Sunday thing, I actually like this schedule, because it gives me time to get stuff done during business hours. It also means I get to do about an equal amount of time at the house with the kids, and at the school, which is great.

We've also scored more free funriture. Our friend who lives here (who helped us move the couch) just moved recently, and has a bunch of furniture she doesn't need anymore. So, we picked up a Lack coffee table (Ikea), a cupboard, and next weekend will move over an Ikea kitchen cart, a desk (yay! I get a desk again!), an entertainment centre (not that we have any TV or other such entertainment-type things, but it's nice and ikea so...) and some bookshelves. It is amazing how genrous people, are, and how easy it is to furnish a house for almost nothing. Had we realized (or just been patient enough) we could have also taken a dining room table and chairs from her ,and not had to buy that. Though I do REALLY like the ones we got from Ikea. lol.

I'm excited, as I just stocked up the pantry. We were doing way too much convenience food, because we didn't have the basics on hand to throw things together. So, I'm excited now, to be able to cook and bake again. I have some mature banannas calling out to be made into bananna bread. I think tonight willbe home made pizza night. Have to love the pizza dough from Trader joes!

So, right now it's just continuing to try to get settled in, and used to the new job, and find work for Daryl and get settled into a new Church community. Just day to day living.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Batteries not included

So, I just got a scale. Not just any scale, but a scale that not only tells you your weight, but also tells you your body fat content, and body moisture content, AND graphs it for you. It also stores and saves information for up to 4 people so you can track progress. It was super cheap (especially compared to other ones with similar features). I was so excited to try it out (despite my fear of what it would tell me), got home, ripped open the packaging only to realize that BATTERIES ARE NOT INCLUDED. That is definately in my list of top ten most frustrating things. And, not only are they not included, but the batery is that weird rectangle one that no one has just lying around the house. I have AA's, I have AAA's, but none of the freaky rectangle one. Oh well. I'll have to wait till tomorrow to step on the pink and silver scale. Not that I'm bothered by it or anything. Patience is definately not a virtue I posess ;-).

Monday, September 11, 2006

U-Turn Day.

Well the day didn't start quite right. We realized late late last night that we had moved on to the unground bag of coffee beans, and that a piece of the coffee mill (crucial apparently ... since the mill won't work with out it) is missing. I remember taking apart and washing it before packing it. Apparently I lost the crucial piece in the process. So, this morning, there was no coffee. And therefore...there was no motivation for me to get out of bed whatsoever. I literally lost all will to get out of bed. When the alarm went off, I actually physically pulled the covers over my head, and let out a yell of agony - well, actually, more of a loud whine "There's no coffee, I don't want to get up, there's no point." Yes, I do actually whine like this in the morning to my husband. Poor husband.

It ended well though, as it meant that instead of coffee and breakfast while I checked email etc...Daryl and I headed to the cafe and had coffee and one of their baked egg/pastery brioche things. Mmmm...

I didn't work till 10 today, and had an early end at 3pm, which was really nice ( I did work 12 hours yesterday though). I was able to get some cleaning and organizing done, and decided that yes, we definately need to paint the apartment (it's all very white right now). I painted my toes red, and watched arrested development later on with Daryl. It was good. And btw - if you haven't checked out Arrested development yet, you must. It's SO funny. One of the funniest sit coms ever I think...close runner up to Seinfeld in my books (which as you know is a strong statement for me :-).

I feel happy and content tonight.

As a side note - U-turns are legal here. Half the people in the left-hand turn lane are typically doing U-turns. This is very conducive to my directionally challenged driving. I like that, and I like the fact that people drive fast, and that the highways move even if they look full. Most of the time anyways. It's fun to drive here :-). Don't worry, I'm safe...I just enjoy driving within the legal limits of MA law ;-)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Furniture, music, and an intriguing restaurant.


We have a sofa couch and matching chair! I think they may be the nicest couch and only comfy chair we've ever had. And guess what?? They were FREE. Where could I have found them you ask? Where else... . I saw the posting this morning, called them, and a our wonderful friend Danika, who met us there with her SUV. We loaded the couch on the roof rack (made me VERY nervous!), chair in the back, along with two drawer dresser type unit they had as well. Managed to get it all back here. I'm SUPER excited. So, we now offically have a sofa bed, so we can officially ahve guests, so please come visit :-).


Check out . My cousin showed it to me when I was visiting her in Hamilton oun our way here, and I just now started playing around with it. It is this great site, where you input an artist you like. They then play you something by that artist. Then, they play you something with similar qualities, by another artist. You tell them if you like it or not (thumbs up or thumbs down). Based on the information you give them, they continue to modify the music they input into your "station." So, you end up with all this great music, that you love, but have never heard before, or would never have found otherwise. It's fabulous! You can set up differernt "stations" too, based on what artist you start with. So, different stations for different moods :-). It's an awsume website. Addictive too, because you're always wondering "what will be next?!"

Intriguing restaurant.

So we went to a place today for lunch called "Bugaboo Creek." Danika (also from BC origionally) said we had to try it, as it was "Canadian themed." Apparently it is specifically Western Canadian themed. So, you might ask, what do East Coast Americans think of West coast Canada? Well, I'm not sure where to start. Here are the highlights:
1) A talking, moving moose head above the bar. Yes, talking. He made jokes jokes about the fact that he was just a head on a wall. And yes, it was more than a little creepy.
2) A talking, moving Bison head above the bar. On the other side of the bar. So, I didn't hear his quips. Thankfully.
3) A moving woodpecker. He pecked the pillars between the tables.
4) Numerous dead, stuffed dear heads (one directly above my table).
5) there was a dead, stuffed pheasant about 12 inches from my face.
6) Black and white photos of fishing, hunting, and snow. There was a picture of a deer strung up by it's hind quarters with a proud Western Canadian hunter staning next to it. This picture was exactly next to my face. Nice.
7) A creepy talking wooden Mountie in the entry way.
8) A giant moose head that they bring out and stick on your head if it is your birthday, while they sing to you and everyone gawks and feels sorry for you, but at the same time thinks "We have to bring ____ here for their birthday, they'd love having a stinky moose head on thier head!"

Those are just the highlights. It was seriously hilarious! We made sure to inform the waiter (after he told us all about this being a "Western Canadian themed restaurant") that we were all from Western Canada, and that it was not like this there.

A P.S. to this post:

They don't know what Americanos are here!!??!! I went into the Panara (a very respectable cafe and bakery) and asked for an Americano. The person looked at me like I was insane and said "A what? I don't think we have that." I, in turn, looked at him like he was crazy, and said "you don't have one?" hoping this would prompt a more acceptable response, or that the other employee would turn around and say "YES we do...I'm sorry, he's new here." But no. He pointed to the menu, and sure enough, there was no americano. So I said "okay, well, it's just espresso and water. I think you have it." He said again "We don't have that here." Seriously. I mean, come on, even if you don't technically have it, couldn't you at least know what it is?? But again, no. So I responded with "Okay, well then, can I get a tripple shot of espresso in a large cup filled about 2/3 of the way full with hot water." Okay, they could do that. So, after much adieu, I obtained an americano of sorts. Sigh. It was a sad day in Tyla land.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Internet and the Seinfeldian twighlight zone

We have high - speed again!! I have one question though - how does it take a week and a half for them to get to us, when it literally only took 2 minutes to connect us. They brought the modem, they plugged it in, and they phoned to activate it. Why does this require specially trained men with mondo tool belts and tank tops? Could I have not just gotten the modem, plugged it in and phoned them to connect it? Would that not be more efficient? Either way, we're connected and online with high speed and that makes me smile.

It's my Saturday today. I made it through week two of training. Up until now it's all been observation, but starting this coming week, I'll be observed working with the students. A little nerve-wracking, but it's odd - I think there is something about going to a specific place for 40 hours a week to work that makes it easier for me to leave work at work. I'm finding that even though I normally would be agonizing and stressing over everything, I'm not. Maybe it's just that right now, there is nothing at home that connects me to work, and there is so much to get done and set up at home, that I don't have time to worry about work at home. Not sure. Either way it's a welcome change...even if temporary.

Last night we went for a walk around our neighborhood, along Lake Quinsigamond (try pronouncing that). It's a beautiful lake, with beaches and parks and lots of houses along it. We say a beautiful house right on the lake for sale, for an unbelievable price, and drooled. We bumped into the owner, out for a walk with a friend and chatted with them for about 20 minutes. They were so friendly and helpful. We got advice on:
a) Best place for Indian food,
b) Best place for Middle Eastern food,
c) Best breakfast place,
d) Liquor store (owned by an old couple and apparently looks like an old candy shop) open on holidays,
e) The best place for desserts and phenomenal pastries (so they said anyways).

Then, something funny happened. When we told them where we were living (while getting directions), Marguerite said " - have you run into STELLLLLAAAAHHHHH yet?" She did say "STELLLAAAHHH" in exactly the manner that Elaine says it on Seinfeld. This line from Seinfeld as most of you know, is the source of endless amusement for myself and Magnificent M., and is my code name on her blog, and my husbands blog.

So, my jaw dropped. I thought "How does this stranger know about our inside Seinfeld joke??!" Daryl and I looked at each other, and back at these two women who apparently landed from the twighlight zone. They then went on to explain that Stella is the condo mangager here and is apparently a bit soup-nazi like (not their reference, mine). Then i remembered the woman who owns our Condo mentioning her. OK. So this isn't a freaky Seinfeldian twighlight zone situation. I was almost dissapointed.

So we had a very pleasent conversation with strangers while out for a walk, and we now have a long list of eateries to try out. It was good.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A good day...

I got to spend a whole shift today with the girls I'll be working with at NECC. It was great. It was so good to get to spend a good chunk of time with them and get to know them a bit. I'm so excited to be working with them. They are all so unique and so lovable in so many ways. Also very challenging at times, but I think this is a great team for me to be on.

Not much else to say today. I got to sleep in a bit, and study work stuff this morning. Then work, and now bed.

I think that's really all I have to say. lol.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Dial me up...

While buying a vacuum at Wal-Mart yesterday, we "happened" to end up in the electronics/computer section and passed by a display of the various companies providing disks you can set up dial-up internet connections with in minutes. We caved. The disks cost nothing (we've been known to use them as coasters before now) and the Netscape one we grabbed has a 30 day trial period for free. We've signed up, logged on and now have dial-up connection over my laptop for the next week until our real internet is hooked up on Friday. So, if you call and can't get through send us emails and msn's telling us to get off the internet!
We went to our potential new Church today for the first the first time. It's a beautiful cathedral-type building, and a fairly large parish. They seem friendly (though coffee hour was cancelled today, so we didn't get much time to chat with them), and there is a lot of "extra-curricular" stuff going on. Women's and men's groups, child care centre, parish get-togethers etc. The service is about 70-80% in English, and the rest in Albanian. I love that, despite some of the service being in a different language, and not knowing one person there, that Church always feels like home. The chanting, inscense, iconography, and flow of the service (and in fact all the content of the service) is the same. We walked in and felt at home. It's a little bit of continuity that we can always count on despite all the other changes. There are other Orthodox Churches in the area, but I think this is the closest to us. We're not sure if we'll check out the others or not.
We'll try to get pictures up soon. My comp is really slow with them, but we're not sure if Daryl's comp even has an internal dial-up modem, so we may have to wait till Friday. Soon though I promise!!

Friday, September 01, 2006

How can that hurt, is there even a muscle there?

Where to start? Well, we're here. And as a dear friend blogged after arriving in her new home...people are still people here. They talk a little differently, and drive much differently, but they are still people.

The Whining

I've just finished my first week of training. Wow. It's kind of like boot camp. You may think I mean this metaphorically...but actually I mean it literally as well. My whole entire body hurts more than it ever has before. Ever. I am feeling quite overwhelmed, inundated with information and challenges. It will be good for me, soon, but right now it is about the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I don't do very well with change and upheaval and having a home that isn't settled (does anyone?), so the combination of the move and adjustment, the lack of friends and family close by, the complete and utter physical and mental exhaustion is making me quite homesick. I think I actually am getting sick too :-(. I knew it would be hard, but that doesn't really make it easier.

Unfortunately, though we had expected to have internet connected today, we found the company had meant NEXT friday. So we are still cut off, or so it feels. But I am continually thankful for this fedex-kinkos accross the street.

The Ikea Trip:

We went to Ikea on Sunday. And Tuesday. And Tuesday night.

Sunday: Sunday afternoon, we decide to go for the trip. We're excited - Ikea makes us happy, makes things better, and feels like home (that's probably because the furniture is the same). We hop on the highway, transfer to another, and another, and are nearing Ikea. Traffic starts to back up. We see a sign saying "Expect delays on Weekends." An actual road sign says this. So we bunker down for a wait thinking "Well, it must be people going into Boston for the weekend." Then we realize that the back up is for our exit. The exit to we near it the other lanes clear, and the exit lane is backed up. Then we see a set of traffic cops. As we procede closer to Ikea, the traffic thickens even more, and there are more traffic cops. We're thinking "Must be an accident." Then we are practicallyin the parking lot, and there are MORE traffic cops...but no accident. Then it dawns on us...the traffic sign, the cops, the's all because of IKEA. Seriously. We asked around when we got there. You see, THIS is what happens when you only provide people with one IKea for several states. They all migrate there on the weekend and cause pandemonium. As we entered we realized we were in for an entirely different IKEA experience. No more calm stroles throught the show room, latte in hand, no relaxing over a glass of wine and 99 cent dinner for a break. No no. This was every ikea shopper for themselves. They were running out of things, people were manovering at break neck speeds around the show room (the store was close to closing). It was worse by far than any Christmas eve shopping I've ever done. Then, enter the self-serve area. Insanity. Utter maddness. I'm amazed there weren't casualties. There were thousands of people with carts and large boxes and pointy objects pushing through to get to their needed items. Things were mixed up in the bins, you couldn't move your cart to the object, so had to carry it (heavy as it was) accross the floor to your cart. I had to duck under an aisle to get to the as is section. We made it through, barely though, and managed to stuff: a kitchen table and 4 chairs, a bed, a matteress, a desk, two night tables, various kitchen implements, a lamp and other things all into our car in the pouring rain. Then we tried to set up the bed...and realized we had the wrong mattress. Daryl went back while I was at work (that's a whole other blog). We then tried to set upthe bookshelf....and realized that in our haste, we hadn't bought the shelves for it. Back we went. Finally, I think we have it all. Keep in mind it is about a 2 hour trek out to the Ikea here. I think it will be a while before we return :-(.

Must go this is unfortunately still costing money :-(.

Miss everyone muchly.