#32 – Finish the West Wing Series

How do I tag this item as “finished” when on May 9th Netflix cancelled the series! Noooo!!! … What’s with that! I was so close to finishing the last episodes in the 7th season. I will never know how the characters’ lives unfold and how the story line ends. I delayed posting hoping they would bring it back, but alas, to no end.

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Photo taken from Internet

It’s one of the disadvantages of Netflix – series come and go. On the positive side, there are many series to choose from and it is not uncommon to binge and watch 2-3 episodes in a row, commercial free when a series really catches your interest.

What I enjoyed most about the West Wing series was the various issues that pitted Republicans against Democrats and how relevant these were during previous presidencies. (The West Wing began in 1999). I can’t imagine working in such chaos and how anyone can get any work done when meetings are scheduled all day. Does the President ever sleep? Is there any privacy? And the Press!

I liked all the main characters and the actors that portrayed them;

  • Bartlet (Martin Sheen),
  • Josh (Bradley Whitford),
  • CJ (Allison Janney),
  • Leo (John Spencer),
  • Toby (Richard Shiff),
  • Donna (Janel Moloney),
  • Charlie (Dulé Hill),
  • Sam (Rob Lowe).

As in all series, characters come and go too. I was disappointed when Sam left, but his replacement Will (Joshua Molina) grew into the part and added new twists. I thought the introduction of Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) was brilliant and how his character came alive. I’m guessing he became the next president.

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Photos taken from Internet

It was great to see so many episodes with guest appearances; Mathew Perry, John Goodman, Jane Lynch, Eric Stonestreet to name a few. In my opinion, the series had value and portrayed a realistic work and life environment in the West Wing. On a few occasions, the episode was a documentary format that included past presidents, press secretaries and senior staff. They elaborated on how the White House worked and how the series was very close to reality.

Politics has never been my thing. However, Americans have it right. After 2 consecutive runs of 4 years, the President has to step down. Not like in Canada. I find it hard to fathom the ongoing jostling for positions for the American Presidency that carries out year round. That’s a lot of money being spent on marketing yourself and campaigning.

 

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#21 – Give Something to Someone Who Needs it More Then Me

My aunts on my mother’s side were excellent quilters. They owned a quilt frame and spent many a night telling stories while hand stitching quilts. Their closets were full and I am pleased I have received quite a few over the years. They are keepsakes as my aunts are now deceased.

Quilts

When my aunt Marie learned we were building a cottage, she made 3 quirky quilts with leftover material. She referred to our cottage as the “camp”. While cleaning, I found them wrapped in tissue in protective bags. They are in excellent condition because they were hardly ever used.

Camp Quilts

My sister was visiting us while we were at the cottage and in conversation she mentioned that the Fredericton Homeless Shelter Sheltercould use some blankets. I thought this would be a great donation and sent them off with her. After the blankets were delivered, my sister called to let me know that the manager was thrilled and so thankful of the donation. The shelter has been constantly busy with over 27 men each night. Donations such as these come in very handy.

I like giving – gifts, my time when volunteering, articles others can use. This giving is something that will bring warmth to many who live on the streets and who have very little.

 

 

#56 – Go Apple Picking

It is a true sign of fall when orchards are open to one and all to pick rich, ripe, juicy apples.

The vine

When our kids were young, apple picking was always a fall ritual. We would pack a picnic and head to either Nova Scotia to the Annapolis Valley or to the Cocagne area better known as the Pays de la Saquine in New Brunswick in search of the best apple orchards. Regardless of where we went the results were the same, exploring new places while on a road trip, picking apples, climbing trees, filling baskets and being outdoors in the warm fall sunshine. When family lived close by, it would be followed by a day of making pies and freezing them for the winter.

When I put this on my list, I had no idea where I would pick apples on Vancouver Island but I knew I wanted to experience the pleasure of apple picking again.

We were just recently in New Brunswick and passing through the Cocagne area. We came upon the “Verger Goguen” and they were open. “STOP THE CAR! I can’t pass this up, we have to pick apples!” I exclaimed.

Farm

Verger Goguen and Farm Produce

Tina and Armand gave us a basket and told us the varieties available and where to pick. I have my favorites, Gravenstein for cooking and Macintosh for eating. Since the above mentioned were not quite ripe, Melba’s were recommended for both.

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Weighing apples with Tina and Armand

It didn’t take long to pick a 28lb basket. The trees were overflowing with apples. Most were easily reached from the ground but those at the top were red and appealing. How close can I get that ladder to reach the cream of the crop?

Picking

In the orchard

Since I can’t bring these home, I have been giving them to family and friends. But not before making 2 delicious pies for a family dinner of 11.  And true to Armand’s word, the Melba’s made excellent tasty pies.

Pies

Apple Pies

#30 – Mystery Thing: A Tour Down Memory Lane

NB MapWe are celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary this year and decided to take a tour down memory lane and visit the province of New Brunswick as a side trip while at the cottage in Nova Scotia.

It started by driving the back roads of New Brunswick through the small village of Memramcook. My husband persevered a 9 month French emersion course as part of his job requirement back in the late 80’s. The place hasn’t changed and remains the small quaint village it was back then.

Saint John was our first destination, my husbands’ hometown. The highlight here was playing golf with his brother and sister and 2 close friends at the Riverside Country Club in Rothesay, NB. This is a private club but they welcomed us with open arms because of strong family connections with the club. My husband’s parents were members there for many years and his Dad served a term as president. I remember playing a round of golf here with my father–in-law. His approach to golf was simple; hit straight down the fairway off the tee, followed by a great second shot, chip shot close to the hole, then sink the putt. Easy! On this day, we enjoyed the most brilliant sunshine and the view of the Kennebecassis River. The golf was????, the day was glorious. We stayed at an excellent B&B called “Shadow Lawn” and enjoyed the most amazing meal at their restaurant the “Robertson’s”. The visit to Saint John would not have been complete without a drive past the old homestead and a browse through the City Market.

Saint John

Riverside Golf Course overlooking the Kennebecassis River, Dinner at “Robertson’s”, Saint John City Market

From Saint John, we proceeded to St. Andrews NB. This is where we met. We were both working for the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Walking down Main Street, I recollected when he asked me, “Do you own a “Homeownership Plan”?” Not wanting to sound ill informed, I said, “Yes, I am working on it”. I called my parents later that day and asked what a “Homeownership” was. My Dad asked me, “Who asked you that?” I told him, “This guy I met.” He replied, “Marry him”.

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Downtown St. Andrews, St. Andrews Blockhouse National Historical Site

From St. Andrews, we visited my sister in Fredericton. My sister loves having family and you can’t drive by Fredericton without stopping in. We also had a chance to visit with an elderly aunt on my father’s side. I went to UNB here and got my BSc degree in Computer Science. I just had to take a peak. The university has changed with new buildings and ever growing facilities while the city gets bigger.

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UNB Campus – Photo courtesy of UNB Fredericton

The trip continued from the South end of the province to the North end into Caraquet NB, where I grew up. My oldest brother managed to get 4 of us together for a family dinner. The only one missing was my youngest sister. My family talks loud at gatherings. The voice decibels rise as the evening progresses, amidst the laughs and reminiscing on the good old days. Especially our father’s adventures that always had a funny story behind them. A visit to Caraquet most often includes a great “Pâté à la Râpure” dinner. Close friends hosted and we were not disappointed.  In case you missed that post read #43 –Acadian Dinner – Pâté à la Râpure. It’s been 6 years since I’ve been home and so much has changed especially the homesteads of my grandparents, Tante Joséphine and our home. Trying to squeeze all that I wanted to see and do in a period of 48 hours was impossible.

Homes

Grandparents, Tante Joséphine, My Home – Photos by PHendry

We proceeded to Moncton NB. We lived in Moncton and Riverview for a total of 6 years. In Barachois, we visited my favorite cousin. We are the same age and have lots in common. She and I enjoy good wine and have been known to make a dent in her husband’s best Cognac.

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Giant Lobster in Shédiac NB en route to Barachois

A final side trip across the Confederation Bridge to PEI to visit an old school chum rounded up the trip.

Confederation Bridge

Confederation Bridge – Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

After a week on the road, we returned to the cottage. It was one of the best road trips we have done in awhile. The memories, the laughs, catching up with friends and the many changes in each place along the way was well worth the ~1,500 km put on the rental car. I’m grateful for Skype and FaceTime but there is nothing better then being with loved ones in person.

 

 

#50 – Call in on “CBC Radio Noon” Show

Have you ever tried to call in on a radio show, tried to be the 8th caller or tried to qualify for a contest? I just wanted to be part of something simple and call the “CBC Radio Noon” show and partake in the question and answer period on whatever topic was presented on that particular day.

I learned it was not the easiest thing to do. I have been working on this for sometime now. If the line is busy, you are out of luck. Others have beaten you to it. Sometimes you get through but you are not guaranteed of making the broadcast because they have run out of time. The other issue is that you don’t always want to call because the topic of the day may be of no interest to you.

YouCanToo

Elizabeth Pierce’s book available on Amazon

We were driving along the Sunrise Trail, the start of our New Brunswick tour, and listening to the “CBC Maritime Noon” show. This is the East Coast equivalent of the Radio Noon show on the West Coast. The host, Norma Lea McLeod had a guest host, Elizabeth Pierce who has just published her book “You Can Too – Canning, Pickling and Preserving the Maritime Harvest”.

After listening to the show for a half an hour and most questions related to tomatoes I told my husband I was going to try and call. “What will your question be?” he asked. “I don’t know, I’ll think of something”. I called the 1 -800 number and to my surprise my call was answered.

The host introduced me, “Charline, driving along Tatamagouche, is on the line with a question about preserving. What would you like to ask Elizabeth, Charline?”

“Hi. My father used to make Herbes Salées, have you heard of it?” I asked.

“No”, she said, “What is it?”

“I remembered a mason jar of green onions in the fridge. They were salted and pickled somehow but I can’t remember exactly how it was prepared”.

“What was it used for?” Elizabeth asked.

“My Dad used it in soups, chowders and when making fish stews. It added so much flavor in the cooking”.

“When I get home, I will have to look through my France cookbooks to see if I can find a recipe. This intrigues me. I hope I can get in touch with you if I find anything of interest”, she replied.

After our conversation, a few more callers came through and knew exactly what I was talking about and how it was prepared.

Onions

 

Vivian from Clare, a French Village in southwest Nova Scotia, said that it was a known pickling tradition with Acadians and used in soups and chowders. Basically it was cut up green onions layered with lots of salt and placed into mason jars. It would keep in the fridge for up to a year. Another gentlemen sent in an email and confirmed the same thing. Elizabeth was delighted and hoped that I was still listening. Of course I was!

As we drove, I received an email from a friend at the cottage who had heard me on the show. Her comment was that she was no expert but she knew how to google and sent me a link! I have since found other Acadians and fellow bloggers who have posted the recipe. I was pretty pleased with the interaction my call generated and as soon as I get home, I’m going to make a jar or two.

#60 – Enjoy a Bottle of Wine on a Beach

I never imagined that the beach I would enjoy a bottle of wine on would be at Melmerby Beach. You see, we live on Canada’s West Coast and Melmerby Beach is on the East Coast.

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Melmerby Beach, New Glasgow Nova Scotia

Melmerby Beach was our summer stomping grounds. My husband grew up there as a kid and our kids followed suit until we moved when they were teenagers.

The “Melmerby” was a tragic story. In 1890, the “Melmerby”, a double masted square rigged sailing vessel, 207 feet in length carrying a cargo of white pine timber destined from Quebec to Scotland, encountered a severe weather storm. It perished to the seas and winds off the shores of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Locals formed a human chain to salvage 16 mariners attempting to get to shore. All but one person perished.

Melmerby

The Wreck of the Melmerby – October 12, 1890

Melmerby Beach was named for this vessel, and the beach celebrated its 125th anniversary this year. I’m proud to say that my brother-in-law has kept the memory alive and organized a commemorative ceremony to celebrate the anniversary on the history of how the beach got its name.

The beach is ever changing. Winds bring in sands one day, stones the next, surf, waves then calm. On this day, the weather was warm, seas calm, water inviting. The resident cottage-goers were enjoying the beach with many kids playing and enjoying the last of summer on this Labor Day weekend prior to returning to the fall schedule of school and back to work.

I am enjoying this bottle of wine with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. Cheers to both of them because they have been a godsend in keeping our cottage in good shape. Who better than the two of them to enjoy a bottle of wine with.

Cheers

Cheers!