Thursday, August 20, 2009

Organizing for America

Some of you may know about the Organizing for American National Health Care Forum that took place today. I haven't had a chance to watch it all yet (since it occurred during working hours), but I did have a relative there, first hand, to report back! That's right---my dad was one of the couple hundred people there live!

It will be available in its entirety tomorrow on the Organizing for America website, but I did find this you tube clip. You can spot my dad at the 0:18 mark of this clip.

Monday, August 10, 2009


A few assorted items I've come across in the last week or so:

1) Legendary Indianapolis coffee shop The Abbey has closed. According to my Indy food email (The Dish, thanks Smith for cluing me into this), the owner has taken a personal chef job in Texas. It never was quite the same in the new location, and for some reason we didn't go there much after we moved, but it was a favorite spot on visits before we moved here. Abbey, you will be missed---sorry we didn't come as much as we should have.

2) My Tobey Maguire bashing must be put on hold! He has taken up a cause near and dear to my heart, petitioning Congress to improve school lunches! I'll shut my mouth for a while (now if he could only stop making Spiderman movies).

3) I am really unsure about this one, but I read that CBS is bringing back Let's Make a Deal with host Wayne Brady. I have announced my love of this show previously and was dismayed to learn that the Game Show Network has stopped showing it (big jerks!). I don't think a new version will in any way replace this loss. A lot of the charm of the old show is the 1970s prizes (a fridge with a tape recorder! $25 worth of fanta! fur coats!) not to mention Monty Hall.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Canada's Ocean Playground

After leaving Maine (where we did see finally the sun on the drive back to the airport), we headed for Halifax, Nova Scotia. My Aunt Joan and Uncle Charlie gave us the amazing wedding present of a trip to Nova Scotia. Due to a lack of vacation time last summer, we cashed it in this year. Joan and Charlie, who live in North Carolina, own a house in Prospect, a small fishing village outside of Halifax. As graduate students at Dalhousie University and for a while after, they lived there full time, without hot water no less! Their new house, built after Hurricane Juan made landfall in 2003, is quite the upgrade from the drafty cottage that used to occupy its space (or so I'm told).

I don't know where to begin. The trip was amazing for so many reasons. I have heard about Prospect my whole life from Joan and Charlie and other family members. It always seemed like this magical place, and finally getting to visit was wonderful. [I know I am using a lot of superlatives, so bear with me.] It was great because Joan and Charlie were excited to show us the place that they loved, that helped shape who they are. On top of that, it was so relaxing. We actually did a whole lot on the trip, but we didn't worry about time or plans. We hiked and swam when it was nice out and visited Halifax when it wasn't. In between, we ate copious amounts of delicious seafood (and Charlie's famous country ham).

We arrived Tuesday and took a short hike along the coast and then headed back for some homemade smoked haddock chowder (yum!) followed by a walk through the village.

Wednesday was a bit foggy, but after fortifying ourselves with sourdough blueberry pancakes and country ham, we went on this amazing hike that started at the house, wandered through the heath, and ended along the rocky shoreline. When the sun came out, we headed down to the protected bay and jumped in the chilly water.

Thursday, it rained, so we headed into the charming harbor city of Halifax for a land/water cruise of the city and a visit to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, which featured an interesting exhibit on the Halifax explosion. [While there, we lamented how little we Americans are taught in school about our friendly neighbors to the north.]

Friday started out with a drive to THE tourist spot of Nova Scotia, Peggys Cove. This nice thing about this tourist spot (other than the fact that it is beautiful) is how quaint it still is. There is no McDonalds and the like just a few gift shops, art galleries, and a restaurant. Plus, there are still resident fishermen. On the way back to the house, we stopped for a lunch of clams and chips, which were the best I'd ever had. That afternoon, we headed out on another gorgeous hike, where Andy's keen eye spotted a pilot whale just offshore. Afterward, with a strong wind blowing, Andy managed to jump in the water, but the rest of us steered clear. For dinner, we splurged on crazy delicious fresh lobsters and mussels.

Our plans for the sunny Saturday involved more ocean view hiking close to the house. The ocean put on a display for us with waves crashing against the rocks. We took another short swim in the afternoon. I must say that I was pleased that I proved hardy enough to swim in Nova Scotia (even if I didn't stay in long).

Sunday came, meaning it was the day to head back to landlocked Indiana and away from the beautiful shorelines of Nova Scotia. We had a fantastic trip, getting our (temporary) fill of hiking and seafood (lobster, smoked haddock, fresh salmon, not 1 but 2 types of smoked salmon, scallops, clams, and mussels). Plus Charlie introduced us to a new beer, Keith's ("those who like it like it a lot"), which Andy took an instant shine to. Most of all, we had an unforgettable time visiting a place we came to love.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Portland, Oregon's Namesake

Sunday, we returned from a week-long exploration of the northeastern Atlantic coast. First up was a short stint in Maine. We flew into Boston and after a brief detour in the tacky tourist spot of Salem, MA (Andy's teaching The Crucible this year and was hoping for some cool photo ops), we headed north to Vacationland.

Sunday was a foggy day of wandering and tasty eats. We started with breakfast at Hot Suppa, which pleasantly filled our tummies with blueberry pancakes, bacon, and porridge (yes, Andy did order porridge and bacon). We lunched on a lobster roll on the waterfront followed by some of the ever present Maine ice cream. Ice cream and lobster are everywhere in Maine; you'd think that there was a state law requiring that you sell one of the two (if not both). Note: I am not compaining! You can buy lobster rolls from street vendors in Portland! We celebrated my birthday a night early with an amazing dinner at Street and Company. We both had grilled lobster (in the shell) over linguine tossed with olive oil and garlic. It was amazing!

Monday, we headed to Acadia National Park. We drove through a number of seaside towns on the way, including the LL Bean-dominated Freeport, stopping along the way when we spied a sign for old fashioned donuts. Acadia was, as advertised, beautiful, but we didn't see as much of it as we would have liked....due to the crazy fog. We loved the Gorham Mtn/Cadillac Creek hike but sure couldn't see anything from the top. On the way back, we stopped in Bangor (but didn't run into Stephen King) for dinner at the Sea Dog Brewery. Also notable on this day was this hot dog sign outside of Bar Harbor.

Coming soon...part 2 of our trip: Nova Scotia.