Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


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Notes About Imperfection And Other Fun Stuff

Finally, another post!!!

I can hear the sigh from you all. After a few comments and questions about what happened to Kai Chronicles, the pressure to wow, or even produce,  is enormous.  I am not only sighing (a sign of STRESS) but also rubbing my head and hiding behind my hands. I’m typing with my elbows.

This 2-month long trip was meant to seal my fate as a writer; so far it has not. I have pitched 1 personal story to an Australian magazine and have not heard back yet. I have pitched ZERO to any Canadian publication or ANY other publication. But I refuse to surrender.

Sure, I’ve thought about packing it in. I’ve had (and have) thoughts like, ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I’m not motivated enough’  and ‘I’m too lazy’, but those thoughts can be overridden. Right?

Some successful writers will say (and have said to me personally) that if you do not write everyday, then you are NOT a writer. Can this be true? Is that a fair statement to make to a budding and hopeful writer? I may not be a perfect writer and I certainly have not found my daily groove but I’m still here. I AM a writer, damn it!

Yes, it’s been an epic hiatus (over 2 weeks), I know. And really I have no excuse but I do have a list of things that I have been up to. Here they are:

  • I travelled from Saint John to Bouctouche, New Brunswick, the home of my brother-in-law’s family. I ate a lobster roll.

Lobster roll…Yummo

  • I travelled from Bouctouche to my birthplace of Nova Scotia.

Arriving in Nova Scotia

  • I had a family (reunion) dinner in Halifax, was snubbed by a sibling and visited the gravesite of my sister, Virginia.
  • I attended a memorial for Virginia on what would have been her 54th birthday. It was a happy event and I got to spend time with long-lost relatives. Virginia was there in spirit.

Happy Times

  • I went to my mother’s house and spent 5 nights there. No internet access. I ate far too much pie. I started drinking daily.

Lemon Meringue Pie

  • I went to my friend Gillian McKenzie’s house in Chester, Nova Scotia. The drinking continued.
  • I ate 3 meals at Gillian’s  Seaside Shanty restaurant. Every meal was fantastic. Thank you so much. Another thing crossed off my bucket list!!

The best seafood chowder from the Seaside Shanty in Chester, Nova Scotia.

Maple walnut mixed greens with scallops and shrimp….OMG, the best salad ever.

Enjoying wine and the seaside view at the Shanty.

  • I helped a friend with some house cleaning (no pictures attached).
  • I had 2 fun and fabulous evenings at Chez McKenzie in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia. This family never disappoints; always good for great food, lots of booze and plenty of laughs. Thank you for always welcoming me…even for lobster dinner!! Yes, this family knows how to entertain.
  • Gillian and I went to Halifax for lunch and errands. A day I certainly could have spent writing but spending it with a friend was nicer.
  • I attended A Champagne Ball Aboard The Titanic (not the real Titanic!!) with Gillian in Chester. We were representing the Shanty with smoked salmon and solomon gundy appetizers. It was a fun event.

Winning at the roulette table

Gillian & I looking fabulous!

  • I resumed my affair with Christian Grey by starting Fifty Shades of Grey Darker.
  • I lamented about not writing more…and will continue to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

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Freaky Fly Day

It’s Friday, May 25, 2012 and for a split second I think it may be my last day on earth……or above earth as is the situation. The seat belt sign dings and flashes as the turbulence starts. Then a pleasant sounding voice comes over the intercom, “The captain has turned on the seat belt sign. Please return to your seat and refrain from using the toilet”.

I am sitting in seat 18F and the responsiblity of the exit door overwhelms me as I grip the seat arms in fear.

The Air Canada airbus 321 rocks and shakes high above the prairies as we head east to Toronto sending my body into shock.

First, blood quickens through my veins and my heart beats faster and faster causing a tightening in my stomach.

A tingling sensation runs down the back of my neck and slowly down my arms to the white knuckles of my frozen hands.

I put Fifty Shades of Grey in the seat pocket, no longer able to find happiness in my  make-believe affair with Christian Grey.

‘Am I going to die today?’  As fast as the thought invades my mind, I know I  must take control of the situation.

I do not like how my body is reacting and I am not going to tolerate my mind adding to the misery.

I take a deep breath. Then another. And again until my body starts to relax. It’s working. I feel better but I know it’s not enough so I chant silently to myself:

 ‘All is well. I am safe. I trust in the divine.’

The more I say this in my head, the more I relax. I continue this mantra until I succumb to the fact that whatever happens is meant to be and I am safe no matter what.

I fall in and out of sleep for the next half hour or so but return the my inner chant whenever coherent. The seat belt light stays on for the remainder of the soul-shaking flight.

I fly often and I am not an anxious flyer but I do not like turbulence, I mean really, who does? Fear is an emotion that sometimes cannot be stifled but it can be overcome. I may feel fear the next time I fly in rocky skies but I know that I can relieve myself of the effects by calming my mind and my body will follow. Only I can do that, for myself.

Jeez, at least I didn’t have to deal with a mistaken intercom message like the British Airways passengers flying from Miami to London!!

I don’t want to leave this post having you all afraid of your next flight so here are some funnier, less threatening intercom messages from the many entertaining and amusing flight crews from around the world.

On landing the stewardess said, “Please be sure to take all your belongings. If you’re going to leave anything, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have.”

“There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane.”

“Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride.”

“Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the bag over your own mouth and nose before assisting children… or other adults acting like children.”

Happy Flying!!!!


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Bliss in Banff

Returning to Banff after an 11 year absence was not a mistake. Banff holds many beautiful memories for me and I was fortunate to call it home from April 1993 to January 1997. Returning was like a home coming.

The tourist town in Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park, has certainly developed over the years but the essence is still the same. Sure, it’s full of damn tourists but its beauty must be shared with the masses. I am happy to be in the presence of others while I enjoy its mountainous embrace.

DAY ONE

I was not in a rush to get going on my first day. I had a nice sleep in and casual breakfast in the hostel kitchen. By the time I got off the bus on Banff Avenue, it was nearly 11:30am.

I meandered up the main shopping street, peeking in  windows and smiling at the towering mountains that surrounded me. My main mission was to find a coffee.

It didn’t take me long to stumble in to Evelyn’s – Banff’s main local cafe. It’s so popular, the town hosts 3 different Evelyn branches. I must say though, my decaf Americano was not the greatest. There are plenty of other cafes to experience.

From there, the shopping began. Yes, Banff is full of the tacky souvenir shops but some of them have really cool stuff. Like the onesie pjamas I got for Master T, my 6-year-old son.

At $30 plus tax, they were pricey for sleep wear but I couldn’t resist the one piece, bright red suit with the trap door!!! He’ll love the BEAR BUM print on the back.

Canadian Jammies

From there, I wondered up and down Banff Avenue stopping in shops, browsing and sometimes trying on clothing! I really had no intention of shopping but the shops and products are so enticing that I couldn’t help myself.

A typical shop on Banff Avenue

Besides some souvenirs, I bought myself a pair of Jessica Simpson red jeans. They were 40% off and they fit me nicely. When I did a couple of rounds in Cascade Plaza, I passed a bookstore that had a display of the popular book, Fifty Shades of Grey. I had heard about this book at the I CAN DO IT conference, of all places, and I was intrigued by the comments about it. I had never heard of it before. I stopped to have a read of the back and instantly took it to the counter and asked the staff if they had read it. Both had. The Aussie girl gave her no holds barred opinion saying it wasn’t great literature but it was a page turner and quite sexually charged and racy. SOLD. I love a good smutty book.

Back on Banff Avenue I found a shop I had actually planned to shop at, Rocky Mountain Soap Company. What can I say, it’s the usual handmade soaps, bath salts, body butters, moisturizers etc. It was lovely and the “product adviser” was excellent. I even got a free mini pumpkin soap. I also spent $45. oops.

Rocky Mountain Soap Co.

All that pacing and deciding made me hungry. My friend, Yui recommended I have a souvlaki wrap from Barpa Bill’s on Bear Street. When I arrived there at 1:30pm, it was not busy so I decided to eat in. I ordered the chicken and perused my new book as I waited. Ordering a wheat-based wrap that contains a dairy-based sauce would normally not be my first choice but I adore Greek food and since it came highly recommended, I had to have it. SO glad I did. Although I have no sense of taste or smell, the strong flavours of lemony marinated meat and the raw onions grooved all over my dulled taste buds like there was a dance contest in my mouth.

The humble kitchen of Barpa Bill’s

The delicious souvlaki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Satisfied and thoroughly spent (haha, pun intended!!!), I made my way to the Upper Hot Pools. I was stunned at the measly fee that was charged, only $6.20 with my HI/YHA membership. This is super cheap compared to the $23.50 NZD in Franz Josef, New Zealand where I just spent 7 months. The pool was a heavenly 39 degrees celsius. It was moderately busy with other tourists from around the globe. I spent a good hour or so soaking in the calm waters while the sun played peek-a-boo with clouds and at one point, it even hailed! Oh yes, it was apparent that I was in Canada.

Photo by a stranger…..thank you!

Next, I walked for 5 minutes to the gondola station. I had every intention of walking up Sulphur Mountain and saving myself $17 (it’s only $15 if you buy a one-way ticket) but it was already going on 5pm and frankly, I couldn’t be assed. I was far too relaxed after my hour-long hot tub session too. I grabbed a decaf coffee from Starbucks (yes, they are bloody everywhere) and had the entire car to myself. Of course, the camera came out and I took photos of the ride up, even though I knew once at the top the views would be spectacular!!

And they were. I nabbed the first available person to do a photographer swap. He took 3 of me and I took 3 of him, with his own camera, of course. It was cold and windy so I did the run around the circumference of the building, stood in the blowing snow for a few minutes (yes, it’s MAY and it snowed) then went to the cafe for a beer. For the $32 (after 4pm) fare, it was worth every penny. You just will not get the same visual effect from ground level.

The best view of Banff.

A self-portrait in the gondola

On my way back through town, I considered going back to Barpa Bill’s for dinner and that’s actually where I was headed when I strolled by the Magpie and Stump. This Mexican/Southwest pub and restaurant has been around for yonks and I’d certainly eaten here when Banff was my stomping ground. I glanced at the menu posted outside the entrance and made my decision: Mexican it would be – cheese, sour cream and all!!

I was promptly seated and ordered a traditional margarita. Why not, I thought? It came to me in a mason jar with a salted rim,,,yummy. I chose the bean and vegetable quesadilla to eat. I pulled out the BOOK and by the time my meal came, I was hooked. I read in between bites and sips of drink and with the John Butler Trio playing in the background, felt as though I could have stayed there forever. My waitress, Vanessa was friendly and attentive, so she got a nice tip…something that now erks me about North America. In the South Pacific, tipping is optional.

It may have been this sign that sealed my stomach’s fate!!! Too funny.

A classic Margarita

I did so much on my first day back in Banff. There is  still more to do in this town, like a visit to the Banff Springs Hotel…another day. If I can pull myself away from Fifty Shades of Grey that is……LOL!!