Saturday, September 19, 2009


Avast, ye scurvy scalliwags! It be International Talk Like A Pirate Day and all that, and also, the day of that most hallowed Pirates of Jeddore Festival. Here we be on the deck of our ship:

First Mate Zoë marched in the Pirate Parade, bein' fiercely cute and whatnot.

Some pirates are scarier than otherrrrrs.

Arrrrrr! And that goes double for your wee parrot.

The Bounce house of Terror, it was.

Pirate dogs were in attendance. These scurvy dogs escaped from a greyhound track and were lookin' fer new ships, and peglegs to chew on.

The Crown was represented. Unbeknownst to First Mate Zoë, the Mountie is about to clap her in irons for piracy.


Soon, the tables are turned, and her Majesty's finest is in the brig.

It was a freezing cold adventure, but a good time was had by all.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The little gem of Dartmouth

We had a family outing yesterday with Zoë's BFF and her family. We went to Shubie Park, which is called the Little Gem of Dartmouth. It's a great green space -- lots of woods and ponds and canals. According to Zoë and friend, chock full of fairy houses too.

The highlight of the walk was feeding chickadees and nuthatches. The little critters will take seed right out of your hand. It's so cool when their itty bitty feet land on your hand. It rained on us, but we persisted until the birds quit coming (and possibly they were laughing at the goofy humans standing in the rain holding out birdseed).

Zoë gets a customer:
And me too -- he even looked at the camera for his picture.

In Nova Scotia, they'll even steal your recycling!

Monday is trash/recycling day here. HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality) has a pretty aggressive recycling program. We get "green carts" for curbside composting, trash pickup, and weekly recycling pickup. They've got recycling bins everywhere -- all the parks and city streets have the tripartite bins for trash, compost/organics, and containers.

It takes a fair bit of sorting. The cans, bottles, milk cartons and plastics (#1 and #2 only) go into clear blue bags. Paper goes in a separate bag, and corrugated cardboard gets bundled and tied with string.

As you would expect in any city, there are street people in town who go through the trash bins and take out the redeemables. It's not just soda and beer cans and bottles here -- most bottles and beverage cans have redeemable deposits. It's inconvenient to return them though -- you can't just take them back to stores. You have to take them to a recycling depot.

So, the first week we were here, on Sunday night, I put my recycling at the curb, and this guy comes by on a bicycle, pulling a shopping cart. He goes through my blue bag, takes out anything that looks redeemable, ties the bag up neatly, and goes on his way. OK, I think, he's being enterprising and trying to make a little money. A little weird that he's going through my trash, but OK.

Last night, two guys in a white van come zipping down the street, jump out of the van, grab both my blue bags and toss 'em into their van, then speed away. I thought about this for a while, and decided I don't like it, for the following reasons:

1) their van was newer and a lot nicer than my car, so dire economic necessity was not an authentic motive.
2) they took the bags and everything in them. Bags I paid for. What are they going to do with all the non-redeemable stuff in those bags?
3) yeah, I could go to the trouble of redeeming my own containers (and in the future, I will!), but the HRM benefits when I don't, and I'm OK with that because they've got a pretty darn good recycling program here.
4) I put a fair amount of work and time into sorting my recycling. The recycling bandits did not. That's not kosher.

So now I've got to put my recycling out on Monday morning, before work. And I've got to create a separate sorting area for the redeemables.

This place is weird.

Monday, September 7, 2009


We went to the Public Gardens yesterday, and there were beautiful Dahlias in bloom. And one princess.

It's a Small World After All

Zoë has a new friend, J, who lives just down the street. J is in Zoë's class at school, and they take the school bus together. They're getting along famously. In fact, they're next door playing at the playground right now. They both like piling rocks on the slide.

I was talking to J's mom the other day. J has food allergies, so her diet is restricted, like Zoë's. Her mom told me her best friend, who lives in Manitoba, is a vegan, so she also knows about veganism.

For a few years, I've been part of a vegetarian community on an online message board. So, Saturday night, an acquaintance on the board, S, who lives in Manitoba (see where this is going?) posted that she was just on the phone with her best friend in Nova Scotia, and her friend said that her daughter had a new friend, a little vegan girl from New York. S put two and two together and realized that the new friend was Zoë. So, J's mom's best friend is S, someone I know from the message board. How cool is that?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Growing... growing...

Here are some views of Zoë on her first day of school in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. Our house here in Nova Scotia has a layout similar to our house back home, and a spot in it for the traditional first day of school picture.

Kindergarten (which is called Primary here in Canada):

First grade:

Grade Two (as it's called here):

Back to School

Today was the first day of school for Zoë and she loved it. We've heard only good things about her school and the teachers so far.

Her bus stop is just down the street. We can see the house from there, and there are a bunch of other kids at her stop, including a girl in her class who lives just a couple of blocks away.

After school, Zoë said "It was great! I love my teacher! It was fantastic!"

Day one was a success.