pottery in quidi vidi

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A lovely friend asked me to join her at the Quidi Vidi Plantation last weekend for A Feast of Pottery. It was a delightful way to connect on a Saturday morning.  The sun was shining in the Gut and it was gorgeous, even though it was a bit brisk. Sidenote: I wonder why they refer to such a beautiful place with such an unbecoming name.  Calling it “The Gut” seems wrong somehow. Perhaps that’s a blog post for another day.

Before I entered the building to see the pottery, I had to take a few photos of the harbour. Doesn’t the scene below look like it should be on a postcard?  Actually, I’m willing to bet it IS on a postcard somewhere in St. John’s.

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The sun was shinning right at me, so not great for a photo, but still such a picturesque place – I couldn’t resist. You can see the Quidi Vidi brewery, which is the green building. I’ll have to check that out another time ;-).

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I tried to capture the sun sparkling on the water – millions of little dazzling diamonds! LOVE!

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When I finally did go inside to check out the pottery – that was a wonderful treat too.  Such incredible work.  People are just so talented – it is truly astounding sometimes. We saw lovely nature-inspired pieces, and many wonderful colours, shapes and patterns. I learned about Raku clay and saw a dozen items that I would love to have in my home. I just don’t have room for anything without ditching something so I managed to hold back from buying anything, but they were positively delicious to behold.

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Upstairs in the plantation, there are different artisans who are working on their craft and selling their wares. If you are in town, it is definitely worth a visit!  One of the artisans had a sign in her booth that I really liked.  It said, “Have nothing in your home that is not useful or beautiful.”  Words to live by.

north head trail

September 30th was a record breaking day for weather in St. John’s.  It was also a PD day for my daughter so I convinced her to join sister #2 and I for a hike on the North Head Trail at Signal Hill.   The last time I did this trail, I started at the top of Signal Hill, walked down the trail and then retraced my steps again back up the trail. This time Sister #2 parked halfway up the hill and we walked down the road through the Battery and onto the trail to do a full loop back to the car.  I’m not sure I would have found the beginning of the trail on my own.  You have to walk through the houses in the Battery and then walk over someone’s deck to get to the beginning.  20131014-182334.jpg

The houses are all built very close together and in many cases, built right into the rock and very close to the road. While it is quaint and interesting this time of year, I can’t help but imagine what it is like in the winter time. I’m guessing just a bit harsh!

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It feels like you are in a totally different country.  So interesting.

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There is definitely a view like none other.

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My ballerina striking a pose.

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When I did this trail in July, you could smell the wild roses everywhere.  This time of year, the trail was littered with dogberries and you know I love them!

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I don’t think it matters how often you do this trail, it is always breathtaking.  You can see Fort Amherst in this photo below. One of my favourite things in the world is to see the sun sparkling on the water.

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Rocky came with us – He was pretty pooped by the end of the walk but he’s always happier to come with us. 20131014-182506.jpg

The hike up to the top got my heart pumping. It is such an invigorating hike – you feel like a million bucks when you are done.  SO much better than heading to a gym.

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St. John’s is so fortunate to have this (and many other) wonderful hikes.  LOVE.

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extraordinary, ordinary moments (the mary pratt exhibit)

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A couple of weeks ago, my girlfriends and I went to see the Mary Pratt exhibit at The Rooms. I was knee deep into house painting and renovating and getting kids adjusted and I would not have made it out of the house, were it not for a reminder text from my friend. Am I ever glad for that reminder, because the exhibit was just incredible!

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Mary Pratt’s work is truly astonishing. Many of her paintings are so realistic, they look as though they could be photographs. When you are viewing her paintings, it is as though there is a light shining behind them, illuminating them from behind. The jam jars was one of my (many) favourites.There was no photography allowed at the exhibit, so I found these photos online to give you an idea, although there is no substitute for seeing them in person.

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WOW – it is so amazing to think of all the talent this woman possesses! Many of her works include tin foil, plastic wrap and glass.  It is just unbelievable how she is able to capture these everyday reflective items so clearly!

I found this quote on the National Gallery of Canada’s website talking about Mary Pratt.

“She began to experiment with the use of light to transform an ordinary moment into a charged theatrical scene.”

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As I said, we weren’t allowed to take photos but I did sneak a photo of a description of her work. (Hopefully the Rooms “police” aren’t reading my blog and don’t ban me from the building lol.)

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What really struck me was how stunning the mundane can really be.  We are surrounded by ordinary, regular, mundane things/experiences every day. I may not be able to paint or create like Mary Pratt, but I loved this fabulous reminder to stop and appreciate the beauty of simple, everyday things.

dogberries

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This time of year the dogberries are BEAUTIFUL.  These pops of orangey-red just catch your eye all over town and I keep stopping to try and take photos.  I don’t think my iphone is doing them justice – they are just so stunning in real life!

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The other name for the Dogberry tree is Mountain Ash. If you believe the folklore, an abundance of dogberries predicts a harsh winter (presumably to help the birds survive). My fingers are crossed that a harsh winter is not looming, but in the meantime I am loving these beautiful trees.

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There are four Dogberry trees that line our driveway in the new digs.  So pretty and welcoming.

shipwrecks and bus stops

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The first time we went sea kayaking in Cape Broyle, our guide told a story about a shipwreck that happened in the Cape Broyle harbour years ago.  Apparently the ship was not from Newfoundland, and it hit a rock and ran aground.  This rock was not on the navigational charts and the captain asked a local man why the rock wasn’t indicated on the charts. The story goes that the local man replied, “Everyone already knows it is there”.

I’m not sure why I remember this story since there are days I seem to have trouble remembering my children’s names. Yet this story has stuck with me.  And since I have been back to St. John’s, I have been reminded of it again.

It came back to mind this past week when I was looking into my son’s school bus stop.  We haven’t moved into our new place yet, so I have been driving the kids to school. However, I thought if I could figure out the bus stop, he could be getting used to the bus routine and maybe meeting some new kids. I first checked the school’s website to see what I could find out.   The site listed the different routes indicating the streets the bus takes on each route.  Excellent.  We found the route for my son but we weren’t sure where the bus stops were located or what time to be there.  So I called the school and the very pleasant lady answering the phone told me she would print off the bus info and send it home.  Perfect.  Problem solved.  Except, when my son arrived home, I was confused to see the very same info I found on the website – just the streets with no stop details.

The next morning, I went into the school and the principal was out front, efficiently fielding many inquiries from students and parents. When it was my turn at the front of the line, I asked my question; “Where and when do we meet the bus?”.  He asked me had I seen the kids on my street waiting for the bus? I told him no, we haven’t moved in yet, I just wanted to know the bus stop location so we could get our son there at the designated time.

The principal wanted to help me, but it turns out he didn’t know either.  He told me he would have to find some kids in the neighbourhood to ask where the bus stop was.  I wondered was there somewhere to call to find a list of stops and times?  “No,” he told me – “The kids just know where the stops are.”  I couldn’t help but inquire further, “Well, how do the those kids know where to go?”  He replied that they know because they have had older brothers and sisters that had gone to the school for years.

Really?????

Well – you can understand my reflection on the Cape Broyle shipwreck story.

I was initially confused and a bit surprised that no more details were available.  Obviously this system has been working here, so maybe I am overthinking things? Is this just me and my need to know details???  How does this seeming lack of organization & communication work?  Surely, they have new students transferring in. How do they figure out where to go?

I guess everyone already knows where the bus stops are.

Either way, we drove to the new house this morning before school to see what we could find out on our own (feeling a little indignant to have to figure this out in such a haphazard way).  As we drove up our street we started to laugh.  There were several kids lined up on the curb in front of our house.   The bus stop is RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR HOUSE.  I mean, the kids were waiting in our driveway.

Maybe a lower key approach works after all.

happiness is a new pair of tap shoes

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My three year old niece just got her first pair of tap shoes. Talk about excited. She was just beaming and could hardly stop dancing while she had them on.  Sister #2 had to remind her to take them off before she left the house.  She was definitely feelin’ the groove and her dance moves were just so cute. It was as if the shoes gave her extra dancin’ powers. Happiness!

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harbour visitors

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We escaped for the weekend to the “Villa” (aka hubby’s family summer home) which is a little spot of heaven that we want to fix up.  (Check out this past post about painting the doors). Although we didn’t get there until late Friday night and had to leave again early Sun morning, it was SO RELAXING!  Just leaving the boxes behind in St. John’s for a little bit, was freeing.  As if it wasn’t enough to just be near the ocean and smelling the salt air, the Harbour had a school of porpoises visit Saturday morning!!  They were so close to shore – maybe 200 feet away, and it was simply amazing to watch them swim around and around.  You could see the babies swimming alongside the mamas and it seemed as if they were feeding on something yummy.

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I could have just sat and watched them forever.  The pics really don’t capture how cool it was, but I wanted to share with you.  What a Saturday morning treat!!

catching up

I think the word “busy* is overused. So I won’t tell you I was busy last week, but I will tell you my head was full of stuff. And for a little while there, I wondered if the house buying gods were conspiring against us, but I’m now hoping that is over (please keep your fingers crossed that everything goes through smoothly with our house purchase this week!) In among the crazy, we have still managed to do some fun things. So I have lots of fun blog posts this week to share!

The weekend before last was chock-a-block FULL of activities. I love that there are always so many fun things to do here in the summer. I’ll let you know in February if I’m still feeling that way.

The St John’s Farmers Market (www.stjohnsfarmersmarket.org) was our destination on Saturday morning. It runs from June 1 – Dec 21 and is every Saturday from 9-2 at the Lions Club. There were many interesting vendors selling everything from jewelry and crafts to food. I didn’t buy any vegetables. I haven’t been cooking much since we have been in our temporary location. We have been relying on pre-made grocery store salads these days for the veggie intake… sad but true.

Either way – I didn’t buy veggies but we did manage to snag a waffle from the waffle lady. Did you see the photo I posted on Twitter of my waffle?? Check it out – too delicious. We had just finished eating them when Shakespeare by the Sea started their show Shake It Up, which is a collection of comic tragedies. My 5 year old niece was enthralled with the show! Fabulous for kids and adults.

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That afternoon, the “Psychobilly Cadillacs” (which is a band) had their 3rd annual Barnyard BBQ. This was our first time attending but was it ever fun. The band itself is so upbeat and happy with mostly a country/rockabilly vibe. People came dressed in the country theme (think pigtails, cowbow hats and boots) and they were serving brisket and honey badgers. (with lots of other food) The honey badgers were a drink, but since I was the dedicated driver, I didn’t try one. Reports were a little sketchy on how they tasted.

We had our son and a friend with us. The band was inviting anyone to perform in between sets, so the boys were scheming from the get-go to figure out a song to play. They settled on Say it Ain’t So by Weezer and convinced someone to play base for them. They did really well and were SO excited when they were finished.

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Then as if that wasn’t enough excitement for the weekend, on Sunday afternoon we went to Bowering Park to see Honk the musical. It is based on the Ugly Duckling story and was a Best Kind production. I thought it was fabulous and both kids enjoyed it too.

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So I’m getting caught up telling you about our adventures. There’s more to come this week so check back to the blog to find out about my parent’s anniversary, and our weekend visit back to Hant’s Harbour. Spoiler alert – there were some interesting visitors in the Harbour Saturday morning!

There’s no place like home.

one month

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We have officially been in St. John’s for one month. We’ve done a lot in that month.

– DD has found her dance studio and made some friends.

– Both kids have done a musical theatre camp and DS was asked to join in the Wizard of Oz musical cast for performances in October.  He has started rehearsals, is loving it and making friends.

– Went hiking, hiking again, sea kayaking, to Hant’s Harbour, Daniel’s Cove, Spreadeagle, the Regatta, Signal Hill and more!  Whew! We’ve packed a lot into one month!

– We bought a house! We are in the process of arranging renovations, but at least we know where we are going to live.  And the best part is that it is exactly in between sister #2 and sister #3. Yeah!

– We have seen lots of family and feel so lucky to be so close to everyone!

– DH is settling into working at home.  It will be better once we have our house. The sun room will be his office and is bright and happy.  Since he will be working out of the house, having a positive place to work each day is key!

– I have lots of house and life details still to arrange, but I will need to start job hunting soon.  Wish me luck with that!

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So all in all, a productive month. Every now and again someone will comment to me that this was “quite a big move for us all“, or that it is “a big deal to move your entire family at this point in our lives (especially the kids)“. Sometimes I get that look of “Are you crazy?“.  Well, I guess it is a big deal. And maybe we are a bit crazy. It doesn’t feel crazy. I still have this gut feeling that everything is right in my world, even when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. And honestly I do have those moments. But we are where we need to be.  That much is still crystal clear.

Can’t wait for month two.

dear yoga mat

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Dear Yoga Mat:  Life hasn’t been the same without you!

I finally went to a Moksha Yoga class here in St. John’s.  I LOVE Moksha Hot Yoga.  Last fall and winter I was getting my butt to Moksha Yoga in Ottawa regularly.  With all the craziness happening in recent months, it has fallen to the wayside and I have missed it.
So I seized the moment last week and drove down to Duckworth Street to try out the St. John’s Moksha Yoga.

There is something so calming about familiarity. It was a relief just walking into the building –  It even smelled the same as the Ottawa studio. As the teacher started the class and walked us through the first few positions, I felt such comfort in doing the same positions I have done many times before.  <insert big happy sigh here>

The only real difference was the humidity.  As soon as I walked into the practice room, the room felt HEAVY with humidity.  And really, I find Ottawa humid too, but this was an entirely different humidity! Once I got started with the class though, I forgot all about it.

My favourite pose is triangle pose. I love when you move from Warrior two to triangle.  Although it is a challenging pose (for me anyway) I love how the transition feels. I love looking up to the ceiling and feeling my arms stretched out in opposite directions and breathing. Things just seem to click somehow.

It always amazes me how my yoga practice is truly a reflection of my life. The last time I did a Moksha class was in Ottawa when DH and I were discussing whether or not we should move to Newfoundland.  The class was the same as it always was, but somehow I just wasn’t feeling it.  I couldn’t get centered.  Couldn’t focus, couldn’t balance, was totally wobbly.  I think it may have been my worst class ever. Three quarters of the way through the class I thought to myself “Where is my balance today?”  and then the light bulb went off and I realized at that point, I wasn’t feeling balance in my life either.

Tonight I felt centered and focused and balanced, well, mostly ;-). A good sign for sure.

Check out my friend VMChick’s blog post about the Moksha class she did with me in Ottawa! http://vmchick.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/moksha-yoga/