Stuffed like a gourmet turkey

Nellie and I just had a scrumptious feast: 3 kinds of swiss chocolate, 2 kinds of cheese (including an amazing smoked English cheddar), herbed focaccia, a baguette and strawberries (all from Pusateri’s), crackers, olives (which I don’t like, but Nellie digs) and a Tomasi Amarone that I gave her for Christmas last year. It was all deeeeliiiiiish.

[tags]best ploughman’s lunch ever[/tags]

Final thoughts on our holiday trip

It seemed like we were gone longer than nine days. Some parting notes & elaborations:

  • First of all, travel: flying on WestJet kicked ass. Both legs of the trip were on time, smooth, entertaining (seriously…the staff is actually friendly and quite funny at times) and free of incident. Our rental car and hotel room were the same, a claim my brother could not make.
  • Spending time with my family is, as always, the thing I look forward to the most. I only get to see my family once or twice a year at most, and wish it were more, so the visit — especially over the holidays — is always rewarding. Endless games of crib with my dad, silly laughter with my brothers, delicious treats prepared by my mom, gentle ribbing with my sister-in-law and SWMNBN and lots of playtime with my fantastic nephew and two nieces.
  • Speaking of my nephew and nieces, my oldest brother and I agree: my other brother and his wife have raised the three best kids we’ve ever seen. I saw plenty of not-so-good kids on this trip, and it made me appreciate even more the job their parents have done.
  • The time Nellie and I spent with my brothers and their lady friends for dinner a few days ago was especially memorable as we had yet another great meal at Da Maurizio and found a new wine bar (which I’m pretty sure was called Mosaic wine bar, though I can find no trace of it online).
  • Halifax now feels so different than when I lived there…perhaps it’s because I now have money and can afford to visit nice places, or perhaps it’s because those nice places have sprung up in recent years. Perhaps it’s because friends like MLS live there now. I don’t know…for the first time since I moved to Toronto I felt like I could live in Halifax again.
  • Finally, according to my siblings, I apparently still come across as surly. I’m a little surprised at that; I’m genuinely very happy. Sarcastic and introverted, sure, but I love every minute I’m awake. I just don’t want people — especially my family — thinking I’m depressed or despising everyone. My life, compared to most of the planet, is remarkably easy; to paraphrase David Cronenberg, the reason I can be so dark is because I’m so well grounded in what’s light.

And that’s it. I’m glad to be back home after nine days away, but already I’m trying to figure out how to see my family next year.

Here’s the flickr picture set.
[tags]westjet, family, halifax, da maurizio, surly[/tags]

Do as we say, not as we do

As the world now knows, Saddam Hussein has been executed. I wish it hadn’t happened. Here’s why:

  • I’m opposed to the death penalty on principle. So are most developed nations and human rights organizations.
  • If Iraq really wanted to show that they’d moved on from the era of brutal law and murderous retaliation, why would they execute Hussein after what’s been widely mocked as a kangaroo court? Why not send him to the Hague? Why not put him through the public, mocking spectacle of a trial and imprison him to serve as a perpetual reminder of real change in Iraq?
  • Executing Saddam Hussein will only make him a martyr.

However, it’s done now and we’ll have to wait for the fallout. Sadly, this will do little to solve the bloody puzzle of Iraq.
[tags]saddam hussein, execution, death penalty, iraq[/tags]

Readying for takeoff (from the hotel, that is)

After last night’s eating extravaganza we slept like babies. I woke up around 9 AM, called mls to schedule brunch and got cleaned up. We met her and baby Kennedy at Cora’s where I had the biggest banana & chocolate crepe I’ve ever seen. It was nice to see her (and meet Kennedy, obviously) if only for a few hours. Full once again, we picked up another DVD on the way home and retreated from the cold wind into our hotel room. I’m just charging up the blackberry while I type this and Nellie packs. Can’t wait to get back to Toronto!

[tags]halifax, toronto, cora’s[/tags]

The Farewell To Meat tour continues

We just got back from dinner at Da Maurizio — and after-dinner drinks at Mosaic* (sp?) — with my brothers and the ladies who love them. Dinner was, as always, impeccable. Sweet saucy shrimp, pumpkin-filled ravioli and duck breast in a citrus sauce, and a stuffed chicken breast.

It was great to spend time like this with my brothers et al. We do it too rarely, so I’m happy when we do it at all.

* Mosaic is apparently a joint effort between Da Maurizio and Seven wine bar.

[tags]halifax, da maurizio, mosaic wine bar[/tags]

My kingdom for some old-fashioned pollution

We arrived in Pictou Landing about 48 hours ago to visit with Nellie’s mom and her fella. It’s been a relaxing visit so far; the weather has helped limit our activities to sitting, eating and drinking. We even did a bit of boxing day shopping, picking up some new DVDs.

A few notes from the last few days:

1. The people from this small town are about as racist as people from most other small towns. So far we’ve heard slurs against “pakis” and natives from the nearby reserve. Apparently there are also conceited jackasses here; I’ve seen at least one Hummer.

2. The pulp mill nearby covers the entire area with a stench not unlike rotting vegetables. It’s not faint either; about 50% of the times we’ve stepped outside it’s smelled like a recent fart.

3. The towns of Stellarton/New Glasgow/Trenton/whatever are about as pretty as Sydney…which is to say they’re not. At all.

4. The mall nearby (where we picked up the DVDs) has an arcade. No foolin’…a freaking video game arcade.

5. They drive everywhere here, even to the end of the driveway. I don’t get it.

We’re going out for dinner tonight and leaving for Halifax tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to a hotel bed and dinner at Da Maurizio with my brothers et al.

Finally, and most importantly, happy 3rd anniversary to Nellie and I!!

[tags]new glasgow, pictou, stellarton, trenton[/tags]

Merry everything

We got lots of great donations to charities made in our names this year, and my mom even snuck a few real presents in there. I knew we couldn’t stop her completely…

It was fun to see the kids tear into their presents too. My nephew seems to love his roboreptile, my nieces played with their Barbie karoake machine & doctor kit this morning, and their parents now loathe us for giving them such loud gifts. Mission accomplished.

Now, stuffed with food, we’re about to head off to Nellie’s mom’s place for a few days. Next up on the Farewell To Meat tour: turkey dinner #2!

[tags]christmas, gifts, roboreptile, turkey dinner[/tags]