Saturday, August 30, 2008

New Car!

After Jim did lots of research, we went car shopping today and bought a 2009 Pontiac Vibe. It has a 2.4 liter engine with 5-speed manual transmission and is silver in color. The sale is contingent on the dealership being able to install cruise control. No cruise control, no sale. If all goes as planned, we will pick up the new car on Tuesday evening. 

Jim liked the Vibe because of the amount of cargo area behind the front seats and the gas mileage. We took test drives in both the 2.4 liter engine car and the 1.8 liter engine car, but wanted/needed some of the features that came on the 2.4 car. So we sacrificed some mpg's for a bit more power and options. The Vibe is the same as a Toyota Matrix (they are both made at the same factory in California), but the Vibe has a better warranty, is a bit cheaper and comes with 3 months of XM Radio and a one-year subscription to OnStar. So we went with the Vibe. 

The weather has been perfect today and this weather pattern is supposed to continue through the long weekend and into the start of school. I was at school yesterday for a few hours trying to get some planning done so I was ready for my student teacher. All staff will report to school on Tuesday with the kiddies arriving on Thursday. 

This morning we walked over to the Farmer's market at the Mall. As I said, it was a beautiful morning and the selections at the market were hard to resist! Here is a photo of all the good stuff we brought home. You may notice that there are no tomatoes in the photo and that is because Grandma and Grandpa are supplying us with as many fresh- picked ones whenever I want them! They are delicious! In the photo, there is a bag of yellow waxed beans behind the radishes.

I've spent a lot of time today typing up my class lists on a nice grid sheet and in a large font so I can see the names without my reading glasses. 

Speaking of reading glasses, I went to a new eye doctor yesterday and he said I just needed stronger reading glasses and that my eyes were in good shape for a person of my age! 

Tomorrow we are going canoeing with Bob and Sally. We will probably paddle in one of the ponds near their house unless they come up with a better idea. 

I talked to both Tucker and Corey today. Corey was watching Syracuse lose their opening football game, which may mean another long football season for the Orange. Tucker was at the Pagosa Springs Music Festival and having a good time with some of his college friends. 

Hope all is well.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Cruise Photos

As promised, here is a photo journal of our Canadian Cruise. Questions? Leave me a comment. 

Taking the train to New York City-a great way to travel!

Our self-guided tour of NYC included a stop at the Apple Store on 5th Ave.

Our cruise ship-Carnival's Victory.

Pool area, before most guests arrived.

Route map-Red LED lights changed to green to note our progress.

Our first port of call-Saint John, NB. Impressive flowers!

Reversing Falls, Saint John. The falls were not reversing while we were there because the tide was out, but it still was a beautiful river scene.

Jim and I on the balcony of our stateroom, along the back (aft) of the ship. 
Loved the balcony!

Our rented bikes in Halifax, NS, at the Prince of Wales Tower. We biked over 20 miles in Halifax, seeing the sites and shopping.

York Redoubt, Halifax, NS. Great views!

Weapons demonstration at the Citadel, Halifax. Next time you see us, ask us to do a demonstration on how these guys marched!

This mama seal with her baby seal were just two of the towel animals that our cabin steward made on our bed each evening. If you want to know how to make such critters, ask to borrow the book I bought on that subject.

Our seal friends with my yarn souvenirs from Halifax!

Jim getting his run in on the ship's track. 10-plus laps to the mile!

Entering the NYC harbor at sunrise.

The sunrise reflected in some of the buildings on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River.

A great way to end a great summer! 
Did I mention that school starts on September 2nd?!

Hope all is well.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bicycles, Whiskey and Yarn

Bicycles, whiskey and yarn in beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia-what a great day!

Early this morning we emerged from the ocean fog as we approached the Halifax harbour (Canadian spelling!). Jim had arranged with an outfitter that rents bikes to meet us in front of the Halifax Westin with 2 bikes shortly after 9 AM. And just as planned he (Dana) was waiting for us with 2 hybrid bikes and 2 helmets. We set off to explore some of Halifax and the surrounding area. Our first destination was Point Pleasant Park where we biked on lots of gravel trails. We visited some old arsenals that were part of the Halifax Defense Plan and we enjoyed the various views of the harbour area. From there we went up and around one of the little cove areas and continued riding down the arm of the cove past Purcell's Cove. We stopped to tour the York Redoubt, another feature of the Halifax Defense Plan. Again, we had some beautiful views of the area. We returned on the same roads we went out on with lots of ups and downs on the road. We returned to the city area in search of a couple of yarn stores that had been recommended to me on Ravelry. The first one was called LK Yarns and I had a wonderful woman help me find some local yarn (FiberArtist) that came as a kit for sweater. This yarn store was on a side street with several other shops and restaurants so we had lunch at the little Italian place next to the yarn store. The guy in the restaurant gave us directions to a liquor store where I could begin my search for brother Bob's 18 year old canadian-made whiskey. Once again, there was a very helpful man in this store, who was able to locate us a bottle of what we wanted at another store, when he only had the 12 year old stuff! So off we went to liquor store #2 and sure enough we got what we came for. So Bob, we need to talk about a "Sauce for Sauce" trade! Maybe I really need to talk to Joanie about that!

With the whiskey securely wrapped up in Jim's raincoat inside his daypack, we rode on the The Citidel, another military landmark in Halifax. From reading this blog, you might think I was some kind of military history nut! We arrived at the Citidel in time to see the changing of the guard and a demonstration of bayonettes and rifles. And, of course, there were wonderful views of the city and harbour.

With the bikes due back in a half an hour, we made one last stop at another yarn store, where I found a couple of things that will remind me of our wonderful time in Halifax. We returned the bikes right at 3 PM and Jim decided to go for a quick run while I searched out this library where I could have free internet access.

We were once again very lucky with the weather. Yesterday, after a mostly sunny and completely rain-free day, as soon as the ship left the Saint John Harbour, we were in the fog again. As we look out to the ocean, we see an impressive bank of clouds awaiting us when the ship departs.

Tomorrow is another day at sea as we head back to NYC.

So I will do a wrap-up with photos when I get home.

Hope all is well.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Saint John, New Brunswick

Hello from Saint John, New Brunswick! We docked about 8:00 AM today and the clouds and mist from yesterday have moved on for the time being.

My last post was from the Apple Store so I can do a quick update of our last couple of days. We had another exciting taxi ride from our NYC hotel to the pier where our Carnival ship (Victory) was waiting. The embarkation process was fairly easy and straight forward and we found our way to our cabin (7431) by 1:40 PM. When I booked this cruise, I didn't book a specific cabin, but rather a grade of a cabin, a stateroom with a balcony. Our cabin is along the very back of the ship and is very comfortable for the 2 of us. Our balcony is delightful and much larger than I expected. We have sat out there several times and have enjoyed the quiet of that space. The first night we were out there we saw a fireworks show from the distant Long Island! We couldn't hear the fireworks but the visual show was a treat.

Yesterday was a day at sea and we just relaxed. We walked around the ship a lot and did some reading (Jim) and knitting (me). The day was cloudy with some light rain or mist all day, so it was not a "sit by the pool" day. The afternoon included a workout in the fitness center (me) and a run on the track (Jim), followed by naps! It was the first of 2 formal nights in the dining room so we got dressed up and had some photos taken before going to dinner. Our table companions are a couple from Bucks County, PA, very pleasant people. We went to the singing and dancing show last night and were thoroughly entertained for an hour. I haven't had any luck in the casino yet, but may try again.

Today we are doing our own walking tour of the town of Saint John. Shortly after we got off the ship, a taxi driver, who was waiting for a paying customer, asked if we were walking on our own and then gave us a great map with 3 different walking tours laid out. We've already completed the Loyalist Historical Walk and have now stopped in the public library for free Internet access.

We have seen peeks of the sun so far this morning and will do some more walking when I am finished here at the library. Jim hopes to get a run in on land this afternoon, as the track on the ship is OK, but at 10 laps to the mile, it gets pretty boring since he never runs less than 5 miles!

This computer has a keyboard that is designed for users who communicate in other languages. Here are some of the keys I have hit because they are located on keys I use on my English only keyboard: è, à,ù,é ç

Tomorrow we are in the port of Halifax, Nova Scotia. I have a couple of yarns stores that I would like to check out and we are on a mission to find a bottle of 18 year old Canadian whiskey for my brother! We have a couple of bikes rented for tomorrow and will do our touring on 2 wheels.

The Olympics are over-what will we do with our time now! I didn' t get to see as much of the Olympics as I would have liked, but that is because I was doing other fun things. Leave me a comment about what you liked best during the Olympics.

Time to walk some more! Eh?

Hope all is well.