Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Just a very quick update today as it is really late and I should have bee in bed hours ago.

The sun came out for the long weekend here and the temperatures have been very Spring-like, I just hope this is the shape of things to come!

I haven't really done anything this week so I don't have much news at all. I have been practicing more of my indoor still life photography just to see what I could come up with for an Easter theme. A couple of these I did post on my last entry and here you can see some more. I don't want to be regarded as a one trick pony when it comes to photography as I would like to think I am capable of more than a pretty landscape shot.

Robert helped move Smiffy from his Elmsdale Apartment to Anne's house on Thursday, I didn't go along to help as I feel I would have been about as much use as a chocolate fireguard with my limp bingo wings. Tonight we were invited over for a lovely dinner, which was much appreciated and hit the spot! My appetite is still raging thanks to me not smoking....6 weeks and 3 days today!

I hope you all enjoyed and are enjoying the long weekend over in the UK. Belated birthday wishes go out to Sarah B this weekend, I hope you had a lovely birthday.

Fresh Eggs for Breakfast

Arty Eggs - Hand coloured in Photoshop

Monday, March 25, 2013

Taxes & Houses

A late update this week, I just don't know where the time went.
I had so much planned around the house and accomplished very little. On both Friday and Saturday night I was up working late on a commissioned logo, it was one of those scenarios where I just couldn't stop until it was done, so as night turned into day I was just heading to bed.

On Saturday we had an appointment to file our taxes at H&R Block. Once again, as last year, we came out scratching our heads and were bloody annoyed at the fact we ended up owing nearly a grand in taxes. How in gods name does this happen?, we hardly have a pot to piss in income-wise and yet we end up owing money. Anyway, that's it now, I think it's fair to say it would be unlikely that we file our taxes there again. I am going to enlist some proper advise from an accountant and find out what it is we are doing wrong.

Any Canadian readers of the blog out there, I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on H&R Block via the message board. They charged us $357 in filing fees alone!

After we had finished being fleeced there, we went for a drive around Dartmouth looking at houses. Rob and I have been thinking more and more about buying a house, but have failed to agree on price and style. Admittedly, I am thinking higher end, best neighbourhoods, with no regards to budget or what is realistic and Rob is totally the other end of the spectrum. That said we did find one that we both liked the look of in an nice area that we both like...And that in itself is 'what I call' progress, as I am very particular.

We went back to check out the inside on Sunday at the Open House...I then fell in love! By the time we had finished looking around I had practically moved our stuff in mentally. Rob reminded me that I was jumping the gun somewhat, to which I got very snippy...As is the norm of late since quitting the cigarettes...Yes I am still off them but going quietly insane, as I have no nicotine release for those stressy situations. 

Sorry, I digressed for a moment there. The next thing we need to do, is find out what we are eligible for mortgage-wise and possibly aim to get somewhere by the end of the year or early next year. The good news about the house we liked is the fact it's a new build and if it sells in the meantime we could have one built the same in the same area as they are still expanding that subdivision.

As Easter is around the corner here's some edible offerings

You gotta love edible props!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Weekly Round-Up!

Another week closer to Spring...I hope!

So I begin where I left off last week, Rob and I actually ventured out last Sunday to Shubie Park as the sun was shining. I took a few shots mostly of ducks and squirrels. It was nice to signs of life after the long Winter. I loved watching the ducks coming in to land on the (still iced over) lake, some of them had a pretty skiddy and bumpy landing, but there were no major injuries I am pleased to report.

It was Spring break this week here, so all the kids have been off school and the things are generally quiet as families tend to get away, so the week has gone by pretty slowly as business has been a little slower.

Friday the snow made another appearance which I was of course thrilled about...NOT! Still it was only a little bit and it pretty much melted as soon as it came.

I am still off the cigarettes but finding my temper very, very short. Those that know me reading this, will already vouch that I have no patience anyway, but imagine that but three times worse! Poor Rob only has to look at me wrong right now and I am spouting venom.

Saturday night we went out with Anne and Smiffy, along with Anne's friend Kat and a host of other folk (mostly British Ex Pats) who Smiffy knows from the Elmsdale area. We were all meeting up to celebrate Smiffy's birthday and also Kat's birthday which are both this week on Monday and Tuesday. After the meal we went...Bowling! This time there were no embarrassing incidents of Brits putting their shoes on the counter. We ended up bowling Boys vs Girls. As the boys were one player down on the girls, although it looked like we won on paper, we actually lost I believe, however on a positive note, I actually bowled okay this time, even got a spare once...That has never happened before, here or in the UK. It was a highly enjoyable evening and we really enjoyed meeting everyone.
Happy Birthday Smiffy for Tuesday!!

Today I woke up aching a bit from the bowling. I took a trip out with Rachel, the weather started off okay but got progressively colder as the day went on, we went down to Fisherman's Wharf at Eastern Passage then across to Halifax for a wander around. It was so nice to get out and take some photos again, I don't feel I have been doing nearly enough of it lately.

Finally birthday wishes this weekend got to Marjorie!! Happy Birthday!

This duck had the right idea, a sun spot and no ice

A tentative squirrel makes a move towards some bird seed

Fisherman's Wharf, Eastern Passage, taken today.

Fisherman's Buckets in the window of a shack
at Fisherman's Wharf

Some of the bowling posse...Left to right, Kat, Rebecca,
 Me, Rose, Mel & sneaking into frame, Smiffy and Dudley

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Balmy Six Degrees

As Spring creeps ever nearer...we hope, it has been pretty cold this week. The temperatures have been above zero but the wind has been biting. As I am sitting here typing this though it is supposedly 6 degrees outside and the sun is shining...I can also hear my two feuding squirrels squeaking at each other relentlessly...Yes two. I thought I only had one visiting but it turns out there are two of them and they really don't like each other. They are continuing to collect food from the garden and annoy Shakespeare in the process. They are far to stealth-like for me to capture them with my camera as yet but who knows if they stick around and get more friendly then just maybe I might be able to snap them.

Rob and I actually attended camera club this week for the first time in a very long time. Sadly the content of the meeting wasn't enough to hold my attention past coffee break and we sloped off early. It was nice to catch up with a few folk that I haven't seen in a long time.

Friday night Anne and Smiffy came over with a Chinese. It's the first time I have seen Anne since before our holiday and my illness, so she also had a wad of birthday presents with her, all of which I loved and were so me!

We did some marathon TV watching, including Derek (which was a big hit even though we had to get the tissues out, and in my opinion is one of the best programmes to be shown on TV in a very long time). To lighten the mood afterwards we introduced her to Peter Kay live. Definitely another winner!!

One thing became apparent on Friday night, Shakespeare cannot handle visitors. Of late he has been so calm and pretty good around the house, but as soon as Smiffy and Anne arrived he was all over the place and he continued to mis-behave all night. He seems to get over excited and goes into jumping, climbing, destroying mode.

Health wise it's been a mixed bag for me this week. My energy levels are still pretty low and I keep getting this weird shortness of breath, like a panic attack and I feel like I am suffocating. I think I may have to go back to the doctor about this as it is somewhat disconcerting. It's been 24 days since my last proper cigarette. At the club on Wednesday night I went outside with Rachel as she was going to have a cigarette. I told her I wasn't smoking but I would come out so I could smell hers. I thought this would be a really good test for me and I also thought that her cigarette was going smell really good....It didn't, it smelled terrible. I had a packet of cigarettes in my bag and handed them to her as I knew I wasn't going to smoke them.

It's still early days and I still think I am in recovery from my illness, but it may just have turned me off the cigs for life.

Here are some more images from our trip away:

Palm Trees, Jamaica

Colours of the Caribbean

Mahogany Bay, Roatan Island

Dunns River Falls, Jamaica

Sunday, March 3, 2013

First Week Back

I finally got back to work this week, I staggered in on Monday still feeling below par, and extremely tired. I was happy to have made it through the day. As the week continued my energy levels seemed to get less and less. So many of my co-workers have been struck down with similar virus's and bugs, that to say we have been short staffed is an understatement.

I don't really have any other new this week surprisingly as I have been nowhere and done nothing in the evenings. Some news that should make a lot of you happy though is that due to my illness I have not smoked for 17 days now. I have had some bad cravings, and did try to smoke but it tasted terrible and smelled awful plus I coughed my guts up instantly. I think it's early days to say I have quit as I am a realist, but it is looking hopeful. So maybe this is the one good thing to come out of me getting sick.

Rob and I have been playing catch up around the house, it has been an absolutely tip for weeks now. Nothing has been cleaned due to me getting ill and the washing has been backed up since we got back from our vacation, so now I am back on my feet, some Spring cleaning is in order. Spring...Ahhh, cannot wait, it's just around the corner now and not a moment too soon in my book!! I just hope it's a good one and not a drab extension of Winter as it was last year.

We have a new visitor to the garden, a rather portly squirrel. I have been putting food put for him every day in the hopes he will stick around, and so far so good. Shakespeare goes quite literally nuts when he sees him, he forgets the windows have glass in them and hurls himself at them like a demented stick on Garfield. He bounced off with quite some force the other day, luckily I was there to catch him.

Some of you may wonder what has happened to the deer. They are still around, I see them most days on my way home from work, but they tend to be hang out on the off ramp as you come of the bridge, which worries me no end, most people do drive really slow down the ramp as they know they are there, but they do have a tendency to bolt across the road in front of you at this point.
I guess they have enough grass and greens to forage still as they haven't been on the scrounge around the houses.

Tax season is also upon us again (as if Winter isn't bad enough we have to do taxes as well).
Rob has been working hard on getting all our paperwork up together and I think we are almost there now, so we will be paying that dreaded (long) visit to H & R block in the next week or two.
Fingers crossed we won't end up owing as much as last year. The other thing we have been working on is the claim for the holiday insurance and all the money we had to shell out on those three extra days away. I also wrote a scathing letter to the Airline requesting financial compensation for the the stress and expenses we incurred because of them...I won't hold my breath on that one!

Here are some more photos from our trip!

Under the Palms at Playa Mia

The Definition of Green

The bluest water I have ever seen

Roatan Island Shipwreck Pano (click to view larger)


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