noon day gun

Last week was my nephew’s birthday and my S-I-L had the great idea to book my nephew and F-I-L on Signal Hill to help fire the noon day gun. My nephew seemed pretty excited about doing this on his big day and they both were given special uniforms to wear while they were involved in the canon process. I initially thought the uniforms were just a fun touch, but apparently they are a safety precaution as well, in case there are any sparks from the canon. Either way, it was fun to see them dressed up and looking official.20130730-212716.jpg

What made this extra special was that my F-I-L used to work in Cabot Tower on Signal Hill back in the day as a Wireless Radio Operator for the Canadian Marconi Corporation. And although firing the noon day canon wasn’t part of his duties, occasionally he was called to help out in this regard if the regular guy was indisposed (aka had a few too many lol). When he went to change out of his uniform, the current Signal Hill guys made a big deal about him, since he was the first person to help them out, who actually had fired the noon day gun officially.

Below is a photo of my F-I-L working in Cabot Tower. It wasn’t yesterday!


A sweet experience for my nephew and his grandfather.


I found this article which talks a little bit about the Noon Day Gun.  Check it out if you would like a bit more information.


You can see the video below of the actual canon firing.

dance camp


My dance loving DD attended a dance camp for a week and a half since we have been here. As a matter of fact, she insisted on starting the day after she arrived to jump right in and check the studio out. She really enjoyed the camp and is feeling excited about starting again in September. On her third day, I asked her how everything went, and she told me “great”. When I asked her what made it great she said “I felt included”.

Happy sigh. What every Momma wants to hear.

I am including an 8 second video of four of them doing the Swan Lake Cygnets dance. Just a little teaser for you.

twenty-five years


This past weekend I attended my 25th High School Reunion. To be completely honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to going. Most of the friends I hung out with in High School weren’t going. My one friend that was attending, was part of the planning committee and I knew she would be busy organizing, so I was basically going without any peeps and on my own. I was also worried that I wouldn’t recognize people anymore. After all it has been 25 years, and let’s face it, there is less and less room in my brain for the day-to-day maintenance of life, much less remembering names from 25 years ago!

Anyway, I went. And here’s what I have to say now that the weekend is over.

1. I went to school with a LOT of really nice and interesting people.

2. The girls all look younger than the guys.

3. I still find small talk challenging sometimes. I’m working on it.

4. I made some nice connections now that I am home again and would love to see some of the ladies again soon.

5. I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t remember names – the name tags were awesome.

6. I received some lovely comments about The Homing Beacon which made me smile.

7. When you have a history and feel connected to certain people, they remain in your heart forever. It’s like you just saw them yesterday. I *heart* this.

Mostly I left with the reminder that we were lucky to attend PWC. We were so proud to be “Collegians”. It has helped shape who I have become. And I really hadn’t given that much thought before this past weekend. Every step of life is full of learning and leads you on your path. My path has been pretty awesome so far.

Yet another reason to be grateful.

PS: This quote below has nothing to do with this post, except it was painted on the wall at PWC. I love the poem and remember learning it in school. I thought I would share. The full poem is posted below the pic.20130727-063108.jpg

Erosion by E.J. Pratt

It took the sea a thousand years,
A thousand years to trace
The granite features of this cliff,
In crag and scarp and base.

It took the sea an hour one night,
An hour of storm to place
The sculpture of these granite seams
Upon a woman’s face.

friday fare – piatto


CAVEAT:  I would like to start out by telling you that I hardly know anything about food.  I don’t watch the food network, I don’t consider myself a foodie and am generally not that discerning.  If someone else is going to cook for me, I’m just not that picky. Having said that, I do love to go out to eat at different restaurants! It is such a treat!!  I thought I would share some of my favourites here with the understanding that I really am not a credible source of “food” information. I do know what I like though, and DH and I had a LOVELY lunch at Piatto this week.


They have two bar areas where you can sit while you wait for a table and one of the bars, overlooks the guy making the pizzas.  Fun to watch.  The place was hopping when we arrived – I’m not sure if they are always that busy, but those servers were working their tails off. The regular lunch special is a salad and small pizza for $12.99, which is an excellent deal. We both ordered the Misto Salad which has mixed greens, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers all in a red wine vinaigrette.  I love the artichoke hearts and the red peppers and the dressing was scrumptious.  I probably should have asked for the dressing on the side, since there was too much for my tastes but it was so good!


For me the pizza decision was an easy one.  I am always a big fan of the Margherita Pizza no matter where I go for Zaa. I even like to make it at home with pizza dough from the bread machine, so I am actually a bit particular about it (despite the caveat above lol). Piatto’s Margherita Pizza used crushed tomatoes (it really was mostly just the tomato sauce). I would prefer them sliced, but again – what do I know about these things??? The fresh mozzarella was divine and the basil so perfect. Despite the lack of sliced tomatoes 😉 I still LOVED it and would order it again.


DH ordered the Pollo di Pesto with garlic, chicken, fresh mozza, cherry tomatoes, evoo, fresh basil, grand padano (I had never heard of that before – I looked it up, it is an Italian cheese) all on a pesto base. His was delicious too.  We traded a slice each – isn’t that the perfect way to dine out?  I love getting to taste whatever he orders too!


When we walked in, we noticed that Jeremy Charles was eating lunch there too.  For those who may not know, Jeremy is a famous chef around St John’s (and loads of other places too I am sure). We first experienced Jeremy’s creations at Atlantica several years ago and I had THE best meal of my life.  The food was incredible and the service was IMPECCABLE! I mean, on a scale of 1-10, service was a 100.  Anyway, I figure if Jeremy was eating at Piatto, that’s an awfully good sign. Jeremy now owns the restaurant Raymonds (with Jeremy Bonia) and we are hoping to get there later this summer. I will definitely let you know how that goes – I have high hopes!

Back to Piatto.  Trendy decor, lovely staff and yummy food.  We will certainly be returning another time.

What type of Zaa do you prefer?

to clear your head

Walking the Signal Hill Trail is one of the highlights of St. John’s. I found myself with some extra time last weekend and realized I needed to take advantage of this beautiful city I now live in.  The Signal Hill Trail is a must see, as far as I’m concerned. This photo below is the view facing East. Just looking at the ocean calms my soul.20130721-045414.jpg

This is the beginning of the trail.  Lots of stairs.


See the lighthouse in this picture?  This is Fort Amherst and it is the same lighthouse that is in my Blog Header.  It is also the same place that DH and I got engaged.  Good Memories.


Along the trial there were some wild roses growing stubbornly through and around the rocks.  You could smell them as you walked!


The walk took me about an hour, but I did keep stopping to take photos.  How can you not with a view like this?


This photo below is the only really dodgy part of the trail.  And it looks worse in the photo, I think.


I stopped in front of this hole in the rock and it was so interesting!  It must go through to the other side of the cliff toward the open ocean, because as I stood in front of it, I could hear the roar of the sea and there was a cooler breeze coming through the rocks.


Signal Hill also overlooks the city and St John’s Harbour. The sun was just starting to set so it wasn’t a great time to get a photo of the city – I’ll have to get up early one morning and get some sunrise photos.


These last few flights of stairs on the way back up are fun haha.  There were two nine year old (I’m guessing) boys that flew by me on the stairs as if I was standing still.  I really wanted to bottle their energy!


As I was finishing up, the wind was whipping my hair all around and my heart was pumping. A great feeling and an even better reminder why I love St. John’s.


from ok to oh yeah!

My day started okay. We had to get up early to be ready for the movers to arrive. I dropped the kids off at their activities for the day and when I arrived back from dropping them off, the moving truck was in front of the house and seemed to take up the entire street. They handed me the clipboard with the “Bingo Card” of numbers to check off each time a box or piece of furniture came into the house and so the day began.

For now we are staying at my in-laws house. They no longer live there so the house is empty and ready for some residents, and we are so lucky to have a place to stay while we look for a house. The only issue is that it is smaller than our place in Ottawa and fitting everything in reasonably is a bit of an issue. They managed to squeeze everything in but let’s just say we won’t be winning any Better Homes and Gardens Awards.

I have to admit, although I am SO GRATEFUL to have a place to stay while we look for a house, around the four hour mark of moving boxes all I could think is OMG we have to do this all. over. again. (when we find a house) Bleh. Lucky for me, about that time, Sister #3 came for a visit and totally cheered me up, reminding me about a fun music night at the Rocket Room. At that moment I wasn’t sure we would be up for going anywhere that night, but I’m SO glad we did!! The movers finally left (Wow – they are amazing btw. I cannot imagine moving all that stuff and still smiling at the end of the day!). We managed to clean ourselves up enough to head out to meet my Sis and her Hubby.

The show was at the Rocket Room (which is above the Rocket Bakery) and it was called Anything Can Happen. There were four performers; Krystin Pellerin, Julia Halfyard, Jonathon Monro and Justin Nurse. They performed some recognizable songs, but the highlights were the original songs that Jonathon wrote (some of them with Adam Mathias). He started the show by performing a song about a waitress named Rayleen with a lazy S and we were all laughing from the start. This guy has talent just pouring off him. My favourite songs were about Carlos the Dentist sung by Julia Halfyard (she had the place in stitches) and The Vodka song sung by Krystin Pellerin. I also LOVE the song Ne Me Quitte Pas so when Kristyn, Julia and Jonathon sang it together I was in heaven. I’m SO glad I didn’t miss this evening.


We brought the kids with us and they loved it too. Near the beginning of the show, they were getting audience members to come up and announce the next singer and my DD was picked. She was a bit nervous but did a great job. At the end of the performance they had a door prize – and my son WON! And the prize is that Jonathon will write a song about/for him later in the summer/early fall. DS had to fill out a form (which he would not show us) and pass it to Jonathon. It was very exciting.

As if all that good stuff wasn’t enough (I mean, just to get out of the house was a treat, lets be honest lol), my kids were star struck with the Republic of Doyle stars that were there. We met Krystin Pellerin (she plays Leslie Bennett) as we came in the room and I thought DD was going to burst standing next to me. Mark O’Brien (who plays Des on ROD and is my personal favourite) was also there in attendance, and you should have seen the determined look on DD’s face. She grabbed her brother by the arm (who was also starstruck but more “cool” about it) and looked him intensely in the eyes and said “This is our time”. They marched over and asked Mark for a picture and he was sweet enough to oblige them. Look at their smiles! They were beaming!


So it was a fabo night. A great ending to a bleh day.

PS: Victor Garber was also in attendance and I really wanted to ask him about Sydney Bristo (aka Jennifer Garner’s character in the tv show Alias). I LOVED that show. I refrained from acting like a crazy Alias fan, but it was difficult.

Oh Yeah!

my cup runneth over


There was no cell coverage on the road from the ferry, until we reached the main highway. I knew as soon as the service came back because my phone started beeping with text messages, voicemail and phone calls from my sisters, Mom and Dad welcoming us HOME! Our first stop was to drop our camper at my parent’s cabin in Spreadeagle.  It is one of my favourite places in the world – the sun was shining and the ocean was sparkling.


A quick photo op before we had lunch – my Dad had burgers ready for us! Thanks Dad!


Once we arrived in town, we swung by to pick up keys and say a quick hello to our nephews.  My kids are so happy to have cousins close by.


Then it was off to Sister#2’s house where we all met for supper.  All the little kids did not make it into the photo (can you imagine trying to get all 7 kids in one place at one time looking at the camera?). How cute are they!!!


We had some bubbly to celebrate. HAPPY!


The highlight of my evening was getting cuddles from my almost 3 year old niece who snaked her hand up my sleeve, snuggled close and sucked her thumb in my lap.  Is there anything better than the feeling of a relaxed child in your lap? Nope.  I can’t think of anything else right now.

My cup runneth over.

atlantic vision

I had some requests to show pictures from the Ferry Ride from North Sydney to Argentia.  I thought I had taken lots of photos, but looking at them now, I’m not sure they are the best photos to describe the trip.  I think when we were finally on the ferry, we are all too excited to focus!  As soon as we boarded I could see that both kids were getting pumped and feeling like NFLD was SO CLOSE!


When we boarded the Ferry we checked out our cabin right away.  It was a tight squeeze when all four of us where moving around, but perfect for a one night stay.  Plus there was a bathroom with a shower, so we were happy campers.


You’ll notice that the photos in this post are different sizes. It’s because I am using photos from the Canon, and two different iphones.  I’m sure there is an easy way to resize them all, but I am running out of time for that today and wanted to post my update (that’s my excuse anyway).  The photo below is of me doing my quick blog post in the lounge before the ferry left the port and I lost my cell service.  It turns out there was WiFi on the boat, but I didn’t figure that out until the next day.  Probably okay I didn’t know sooner.


Do you know that Royal Caribbean commercial that talks about seeing the elusive smile from the family teenager?  Although Marine Atlantic is definitely not Royal Caribbean, it was exciting enough that I was able to capture this one in the photo below. One of the highlights of the ferry ride was getting to see DS play guitar in the lounge.  The guy that was playing was taking a break and let him sing and play two songs.  And me (who ALWAYS has my phone) didn’t have it with me this time to capture the photo, but you’ll have to take my word for it that it happened. BTW: Doesn’t my honey look handsome!


The crossing couldn’t have been calmer – you’d hardly know you were on a boat. I love that we took the ferry to Argentia instead of Port Aux Basques to avoid that 12 hour drive across the island.  Thanks to Marine Atlantic and The Atlantic Vision for a safe and uneventful ferry ride.


farewell to nova scotia





I’m trying to fit in a quick blog post before we leave port. We spent way too long waiting to board the ferry- apparently the ramp wasn’t working correctly and we were 2 hours late loading. We had lots of entertainment in the van though. The kids were practicing their set and made plans to get the whole family involved when we arrive on the rock. If you are a member of my family, be prepared to learn the words to “Who is at my Window Weeping” – the Hey Rosetta version please lol.

Thankfully we are here on the boat now, Rocky has been appropriately drugged (with the blessing of the vet), we located our (little) cabin and have found a place to get a diet coke. All is well. Tomorrow we will be HOME!

PS: We received a note from the lawyer that our house is sold as of today so we are officially homeless. Feels pretty good!

welcome to cape breton

We spent last night in Truro at another Holiday Inn where the highlight was supper on the outdoor patio.  The food was good, but it was just a great supper.  The weather was so lovely,  they were playing nice music in the background and there were patio lights that came on as dusk arrived.  Conversation was fun and the vibe was awesome.20130714-213147.jpg

We left the hotel around 9:00 this morning in search of coffee and from there started the drive to Baddeck on Cape Breton Island.  We crossed the Canso Causeway which links Cape Breton Island by road to the Nova Scotia peninsula.   We were happily surprised to see there were a LOT of whales playing in the Strait and showing their tails!  It was absolutely incredible.  There had to be at least 20 of them! I checked it out later and apparently they were pilot whales and there have been a lot of them this year.  I didn’t get a good photo, but what a way to be welcomed to Cape Breton! Whales and the smell of salt in the air!



We checked into our hotel here in Beddeck and enjoyed the afternoon and evening at the pool and managed to relax in the sun a little bit.  We had supper at the Bell Buoy Restaurant and after we were done, we walked around back to the water and spent some time just looking at the water off the wharf.


You could see jelly fish, starfish, crabs and fish, right off the wharf.  Very cool.  (Crabs can really move fast!)


We are all back at the Argyle Lodge, at the Inverary Resort, and thinking about the ferry tomorrow. I’m so excited about the Ferry. It means we are really going home. Home.