Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Post 3784 - 25 Years Later...

Well, I had a momentous day. Let me tell you about it.

In August I achieved 25 years of service with the provincial government. Every Fall, the government recognizes long service of 25 years, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50.

We were told to assemble at the Westin Hotel in the south end by 8:30 today. Patricia, Jamie from my work, and I piled into a cab and got there just in time. We registered and were led to the appropriate section. I was put in the 25 year section; Jamie in the 30 year one.

A couple of folks played familiar songs to us on violin. Public Service Commissioner Laura Lee Langley had some introductory remarks. Then we had the Premier's Awards for Excellence, which was pretty interesting.

Then the main event.

Starting with the 25 year folks like me, people were rounded up, row by row and marched over to the area just left of the dais. We gave the little blue card we were given that had our name and department name on it to Laura Lee, who read it aloud while we walked over to the Premier and Minister Tony Ince, minister of the PSC. Premier McNeil gave us our little award, in my case a pin suitable for pinning to my jacket that said I was a 25 year veteran. He congratulated me and shook my hand. I was put on a mark and McNeil and Ince posed with me for a couple of pictures before I was shuffled off and the next guy went on. It is a very efficient operation. Something like 300 people went through this procedure, and it was done in under 90 minutes.

I haven't got my picture with the Premier yet. Patricia took some other pictures of me up there. When I get them I will post them here and on my Facebook.

Afterward, we all went to a reception room where they served light snacks. But my department went all out and invited staff to a luncheon at the Old Triangle, on Bedford Row, downtown. Patricia and I walked there from the Westin. A nice day for a stroll. We got there, went upstairs to the private reception room, and sat down with Jamie. Lots of others were there.

We could order whatever we wanted off the menu, with the employer picking up the tab. The only exception was alcohol. If you ordered a beer, a glass of wine, or some hard liquor, you paid for that out of your own pocket. I had cranberry juice. Patricia had water. I ordered a ploughman's lunch. Patricia had a pastie thing, kind of a shepherd's pie, stuffed with chicken and mushrooms and allegedly some ham. My ploughman's lunch was too much for me to finish. Patricia loved her lunch.

The deputy minister gave us all long service award plaques. Here is mine:

By 2:15 or so, our Executive Director drove Jamie and me back to work. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to be productive, but not really succeeding.

25 years. Where has the time gone? My goodness, I remember my first day as a civil servant. I was getting some papers signed so I would be paid. The man who helped me through that process was older and not far away from retirement. I could not imagine, could not fathom, remaining at any job for that period of time. While I have moved from one department to another over the years, my employer has remained the province all this time. Go figure!

I have tried never to take my job for granted. Nothing lasts forever. But I have been luckier than so many others to have not had a moment of unemployment in more than 30 years. A sister would sneer at me and say, "You have a government job!" as if that were a pejorative. It was bitterness on her part, is what it was.

I have always been grateful to have work, even though I have not always liked the work I had, if that makes any sense. Too many others I know have struggled to attain, and retain, employment that I would be a fool and a cad to take this or any other job for granted. 

I do not know how many more years I will remain a civil servant. I have some ducks to line up that I haven't told you about yet, which continue to keep me chained to my desk for a while yet. But when that day comes and I retire, I will look back fondly and with gratitude toward the years I spent working for the province. Today's award ceremonies really drove that home for me.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Post 3783 - Sunday Night - Even More Sleep Deprived

I cannot sleep this evening. I slept earlier this evening. I was feeling unwell around 6:15pm so I took a nap that last three hours. Now, here I am, 1:30 in the morning, with a thrown-off sleep pattern.

Have spent the last hour or so researching some stuff.

I will go back to sleep now. I hope.

See you tomorrow.


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Post 3782 - Saturday Night Sleep-Deprived

Well, hello there, handsome.

A guy at work, who reads this blog, told me the other day that his own "body shut down" the other night, an obvious reference to how often I tell you that I went to bed early and slept the night away.

That's pretty much what happened Friday night, I'm afraid. After work, I picked up Patricia at her work. We parked on Morris Street and walked to the new location of Dust Jacket Books, in the Historic Farmer's Market building. I bought a couple of the Walt Longmire novels by Craig Johnson. We really miss that show, but I knew it was based on Johnson's series, which is ongoing.

We decided to grab a quick dinner at Cheelin's next door. One of the better Chinese restaurants in the city, on the list of the top restaurants in the city. I am not sure if I would go that far, but I sure do like the egg rolls and dumplings and "Saturday noodles", so that is what we ordered.

We walked around the waterfront for a spell before returning to the car. We drove home and I turned in early.

This morning we got up relatively early as there was a "trucker's breakfast" at the Trinity United Church in Timberlea. For eight dollars you get eggs and bacon and sausages and baked beans and toast and hash browns and then a couple of pancakes. Wash it all down with a choice of juice, and coffee or tea. We partook.

We waddled to the car and drove downtown. Patricia was getting her hair done. I was off to the Archives for a few hours of cold case research. To some people it would look like the most boring thing ever, but to me it is rewarding and even fun. Anything but boring. The hours fly by. Even when I don't find much, and feel a bit discouraged, I still find things that can be used for other articles at other times.

I felt that way today. I was researching a particular unsolved murder, and found very little. But I did find other articles that I have safely stored on my dropbox and will use them for something else, some other time.

Patricia's hair was done by 1:10 or so. I picked her up on Spring Garden Road. We decided to check out the Starbucks at Bayer's Lake, the one just off the Bay Road. It has been there for, what, eight years or so, but we had never set foot in the place.

A couple of expensive and frothy drinks later, we decided to drive to Otis and Clementine's in Tantallon. It is a pretty fun used bookstore. I found a couple more Waltmire books but didn't get the. Saw some very choice horror books but didn't get them. Saw a very nice hardcover about the life of Bruce Dickson, best known as the lead singer of Iron Maiden. But I didn't want to pay 30 dollars for a used hard cover of a book that will likely hit the remainder bins before the holidays.

We went up the street to the meat market in Upper Tantallon. Caviccini's, or something like that. Very hard to spell. And the pronunciation is open to interpretation. But the food was fine. I had the smoked meat sammich. Patricia had the soup of the day, veggies with some kind of sausage. On the way out, she got some sausages, which we put in the freezer when we got home.

I took a long nap, and got up in time to watch a movie on the telly. Now it is past midnight, Sunday morning technically, and about to turn in again.

Sunday is about house cleaning. I sure am looking forward to that.

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Post 3781 - Thursday NIght Ramblings

How was your day?

Typical day at work. After it was over, I drove over to Princess Auto in Burnside. The man who mows the lawn at the house in the Valley asked me to pick him up a trailer hitch of some description, on sale at PA, and I was happy to do that for him.

I also wanted to pick up a couple of nifty power bars, which I will soon put to good use here in my home office. They are really meant for a work shop, like my late father's. They have 12 outlets, on a three foot cord. Same kind of technology as the power bars one uses for home electronics. Only $17. I got three of them.

Afterward, I returned to Halifax and parked around the corner from where Patricia was doing her weekly Pilates class. We drove home and got caught up on "Better Call Saul".

Friday is nearly here. The weekend cannot get here soon enough.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Post 3780 - Another Blog Post? Already?! Go On With Your Bad Self!!

Pretty much says it all.

Yes. Another blog post so soon. What is up with me, anyway?

How was your day? After work, I drove to the Archives and researched my next unsolved murder article for Frank Magazine. Found several articles. I am also trying to track down family members of the deceased person. I have been told by one source that they don't want to talk to anyone about the murder, which was so long ago. They want to move on with their lives. I do not understand that at all. I will try to get them to talk to me, but if they don't want to, it will not stop me from writing an article.

We got home. Watched an episode of "Better Call Saul". Patricia went to bed and I came down here to the home office.

Trying to firm up plans for the weekend. Would love to have a day of relaxation. I have nearly forgotten what that feels like. We really need a vacation. I have barely touched my vacation days this fiscal year. I nearly lost a bunch of days this past fiscal year and don't want that to happen again.

No. I didn't read anything more in the Mike Hammer book today. Did you see The Girl Hunters film, starring Mickey Spillane, playing his own character, Mike Hammer? Hmm? Well, did you?

I am going to turn in. Another long day beckons, seven hours from now.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Post 3779 - On The Other Hand...

Well, this post is only two days after the previous one. I am getting better!

Monday night, I turned in early. I thought I might wake up in time to produce some kind of post, but you know what a thought does when it is well fed. Well, I didn't know until Patricia told me years ago; but you catch my drift.

So, during my lunch hours I am trying either to go for a walk or to read a book. I haven't tried reading a book while I was walking, or walking while I was reading a book. Come to think of it, those two last things are pretty much the same thing. But they both look geeky.

I have been making my way through a Mike Hammer novel by Mickey Spillane. Spillane was one of the most popular writers of the 20th century, even though many (most?) critics hated his work. Others defend him and his writing almost to their detriment. I had never read any of his work but had accumulated several of his novels over the years. I decided to rectify that and started off with "Vengeance is Mine" from... 1952, I think it is. The third "Hammer" novel, after "I, the Jury", and "My Gun is Quick". Spillane was so popular a writer, and the character of Mike Hammer was so iconic, that a Hammer book called "The Girl Hunters" was filmed in the early 1960's. The man who played Hammer? Mickey Spillane! It is on my Plex Media Server if you guys want to go look for it.

As for Spillane's writing: I don't get it, at least not yet.

Turgid prose. Even though the book is only 160 pages, it has a glacier pace. I expected misogyny because of the subject matter and the time it was written in, but what I am finding is so over the top, I thought it was a Mad Magazine parody.

I am about one third of the way through the book. I will persevere. I may even try to read another Hammer novel, but I think that may be my limit.

YMMV, of course.

It has been a very long day. Wednesday promises to be even more so. I will keep this post short and promise to try to write something tomorrow evening. I do miss you guys.

See you then.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Post 3778 - Uh....

Yes. I am still among the living.

Sorry I haven't written the last several days. Wednesday night, I turned in early. Like, really, really early. Thursday night, I had a Frank Magazine deadline. Friday night, once again, I turned in early.

Saturday, I went to the Valley and stayed the night. At the house, the internet connection was indescribably bad. It is usually fine, easily enough to watch Netflix while I am surfing the web; but yesterday, and even into Sunday, it barely worked at all. Emails would squeak on to my phone, but when I tried to open them up, it would complain of their being no internet connection. The router would indicate by turns that there was such a connection, and then go "red" to indicate that it was just kidding around with me. Like I said, it is usually fine. I hope it was just an anomaly.

I came back to the city this morning and spent the day goofing off and enjoying the day with Patricia and Newbie. Newbie really missed me. He is being coy and standoffish, but staring at me the whole time. Little guy likes to play hard to get.

Patricia reported an issue with Newbie that got me a bit worried. He usually jumps from the floor to the sink to get a drink of water; but in the last few days he is a little hesitant to do just that. He is now 12. He used to jump and run all over the place. He would leap up on top of cupboards and stare down at us. He stopped doing that a couple of years ago. I know he is getting on a bit. I just don't to think about him, you know, going downhill or anything.

Newbie has already outlived Cindy Clawford. We put her down four years ago now, when she was about 11. She had been in failing health for some time. I am now starting to wonder if Newbie is on a similar slow decline. I hope not. I like the little guy.

Gee, this is a mawkish blog post, isn't it?

No Frank Magazine deadline this week, so I can breathe a bit. Happy about that.

I am going to turn in but not before promising you that I will write tomorrow night, and the night after, and the night after that. Maybe not the night after that, though. I'll tell you about those plans later.

See you tomorrow, my lovelies.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Post 3777 - Yes. Still Among The Living!

Five days later...

Sorry I haven't written. Friday night, my body shut down pretty early. Saturday, Patricia and I went to the Valley, there to do a good day's work, carrying over into Sunday. So. Much. Work. Family stories and legends. And detritus aplenty.

We returned to the city on Sunday afternoon. Greeted Newbie. And, once again, a very long nap, and then to bed early.

Monday was a return to work and a return to some normalcy. Last night, we both turned in early, after a trying day of ups and downs.

After work on Monday, though, to celebrate Patricia's new job, we went out to dinner in Fairview, at Freeman's Little New Yorker, an offshoot of the Quinpool Road restaurant that has been there since 1956. I had the lasagna. I liked what I ate Monday night, but today it has caused me some, uh, er, um, discomfort, which still hasn't gone away. I finished all but a bite or two of it this evening, and it was dull and lifeless, and just reinforced the, uh, er, um, discomfort. I don't plan to go back.

Also tonight, we got caught up on season two of Mr. Mercedes, which is about one tenth as interesting as season one. I haven't read the Stephen King novels the show is based on, so I don't know how closely the storyline hews to the books, but I do hope that the books are more entertaining. So far, in season two, we have an antagonist who's been in a coma and still manages to confound the hero of the show, Brenda Gleeson's Bill Hodges.

Patricia loved season one but was looking at her watch this evening. Which is funny, because she wasn't wearing a watch. Staring at her wrist was more fun than watching the show, I guess. I grant you, she has a very nice wrist.  Firm, yet supple.

Tomorrow is Wednesday already. Who made up this weekday arrangement, anyway? I kinda like it.

Let's hope I see you tomorrow. I miss you when I don't write.


Thursday, September 6, 2018

Posy 3776 - Can It Be?

More stuff put into boxes and bags. More trips to Value Village.

You'd almost think that someone was planning a major move or something?

Ha ha.


See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Post 3775 - Halifax Matters


Patricia took a vacation day today, and will take one on Thursday as well. Found stuff to throw out, and other things to shred. This evening I found the minutes from the November 7, 1991 Toastmasters club where I first showed up as a guest. Then, the following week, I joined,and found the minutes of that meeting, too. Also found the minutes from the meeting in early 1992 where I did my first speech.

Keeping those minutes.

The rest are going out in recycling next week.

Hate throwing out history, but there is no room in the house for that stuff, especially with more things coming here and soon.

Patricia will be doing more of the same tomorrow while I return to my day job.

Can't wait for this process to be over.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Post 3774 - A Tuesday Off Work

After ten.

Back to work in the morning. Four day Labour Day weekend for Bevboy coming to a close.

This morning I went to Value Village to drop off a car full of stuff we no longer needed. So much stuff that had accumulated over the years. The guy ahead of me who was dropping off stuff of his own had a trunk full of what appeared to be vintage vinyl recordings. I did not want to see what musical genres were represented in the donation. Some things are better not to know.

After I returned to the house, we started watching episodes of "Mr. Mercedes", a program that diverted us for most of the afternoon.

While I am returning to work in the morning, Patricia is off for the balance of the week. There is much work to be done at the house, and she says she will take a good stab at it.

So much to do, here and in other places. Getting too old for this... stuff.

See you tomorrow.


Monday, September 3, 2018

Post 3773 - Monday Night


We went to the valley Sunday morning and did a pile of work down there, working into the evening. We stayed overnight and did more work today. So much work to do there.

Tuesday is another day away from work. Back at 'er on Wednesday. It will be a relief to return to the grindstone.

A different grindstone.

See you tomorrow.


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Post 3772 - How About Saturday?

Yeah, hi there.

I didn't write on Friday because my body pretty much shut down when I got home from work. Today, we were supposed to go to the valley and do some stuff, but instead we needed some fun, so we stayed in town.

We saw two movies today. "Ant-Man and the Wasp" was great fun, easily as good as the original. And "Mission Impossible: Fall Out" was good, too. A bit talky at times, but probably the best of the series. I hope that Tom Cruise has one or two more of these films left in him. Early reports indicate that he does.

Today may be the last day of fun for us for a good six weeks or so.  We have some important business to take care of between now and mid-October. We both look forward to it being behind us. It will involve some heart ache and some tears, but things will be better once it is over and done with.

I am going to hit the hay. Busy day tomorrow.