quick tour of st. john’s

I was lucky enough a couple of weeks ago to have a quick visit from a lovely friend from Ottawa. She had never been to St John’s before, so I needed to figure out where to take her to give her a good tour so she could she what St. John’s is all about.  She was working during the day, so we only had two evenings to fit everything in.

When I heard she was coming for a visit, there was one activity I KNEW for sure I wanted to do with her.  I picked her up at the airport and we made a bee-line to Signal Hill to do the North Head Trail. Amazingly enough, it was 19 degrees and completely sunny!!  GLORIOUS!

20140525-101050-36650323.jpgThere were lots of people out enjoying the fabulous weather on the trail. I was so happy to get to show off this wonderful place!  Truly it is my happy place!  We were cracking up laughing trying to take a selfie near Cabot Tower!

20140525-101050-36650415.jpg

We went for supper at Portobellos on Duckworth Street.  I had never been there before but I had heard the view of the Harbour and the Narrows was beautiful.  The food was good but the view really was incredible!

I was especially glad we had such amazing weather for the first evening, because when I woke up the next morning and looked out my window – I could hardly see across the street for the fog.  I mean it was true pea soup fog – so thick that visibility was really diminished.  My girlfriend was working out at the airport on the tarmac that day and she said they could hear the airplanes close by, but still couldn’t see them in the fog.  HA!  The weather is only one of the reasons this is definitely a unique place.

20140525-101052-36652981.jpgFor our second evening together I really wanted to go see an iceberg with her. It was an opportunity not to be missed – seeing an Iceberg is not something you do in Ottawa regularly.  So I checked out the Iceberg Finder website (LOVE THIS!) and realized there was an iceberg in Torbay.  We took a quick drive (15 – 20 mins from my house) and were able to see one!  I’m sorry my iPhone camera just does not do this justice – It really was beautiful! We swung by middle cove beach on the way back .

20140525-101052-36652317.jpgQuidi Vidi Village is very picturesque and worth a quick photo op. I think the fog made it look even more charming.

20140525-101051-36651366.jpgWe did a little shopping downtown to find some little treats for her to take home to her family.  She was so excited to see all the chocolate at Coffee & Company on Water Street!  She bought some Godiva chocolate to take home and treated K and I to a yummy truffle from the cabinet.  This is a wonderful locally owned and operated cafe – I knew that the coffee was delicious at Coffee & Company, but now I can attest that the chocolate is also FAB! If you haven’t been before, you need to go there!

20140525-101050-36650855.jpg

Honestly, I wasn’t sure about going for Fee & Chee (how do you spell that?) for supper but it seemed like the thing to do in St. John’s. We headed over to the landmark that is Ches’s and I ordered Fish with Chips, Dressing and Gravy (like you would) but my friend was not convinced about adding dressing to a meal.  So she ordered it on the side just to see.  I don’t think she would order it again but at least she can say she did once!

20140525-101052-36652417.jpgAfter doing a carpool run to bring K to dance we decided to end the evening with martinis at Basho.  For the record, the fancy drinks at Basho are the absolute BEST! I would not recommend you go and just order a rum and coke or a rye and ginger, or any run-of-the-mill drink.  You can get those anywhere…..   Pick one of the specialty drinks! They make your entire evening feel special just sipping on one of them!

20140525-101051-36651826.jpgThere are lots of places we didn’t get to visit and things we didn’t do, but considering we only had two evenings, I think we did well.  I LOVED having her visit!!  Next time she comes, we will hit Cape Spear and maybe Fort Amherst…..  Oh and there’s lots more I can think of!

Check out my friend’s blog at http://vmchick.wordpress.com/

 

 

Advertisements

shhhhhhhh!

matts concert

Did you go to church as a child? Have you ever been in church and been racked with those chest-heaving laughs that you just cannot let out, because you are in the dome of silence, also known as church? I have specific memories of sitting in the pew with both of my sisters and my mom shooting us dirty looks trying to telepathically scold us and let us know, without saying a word, that we had better start behaving.

I like to blame sister #2. (Ha! It’s my blog and I can blame who I want to!). I think sister #3 was a bit too young to initially be the cause of trouble in the church pew… at least according to my memory, sketchy as it is.

What is it about being in church that just makes you want to laugh when you shouldn’t? It seemed that all it took was one partially funny remark, and that would be it – you’d be biting your cheeks trying not to get noticed, eyes watering and shoulders jumping with internal giggles.

Tonight my son had his school music concert at Cochrane Street Church and I was sitting in a pew with my Mom on my left and sisters 2 & 3 on my right. I’m not even sure what started the laughter, but it began the millisecond we sat down. Once again I found myself attempting to behave in a church pew… and this time my mom was at least partially to blame! Instead of getting the evil eye from a parent, my husband was gazing down the row at the four of us with a confused face, not wanting to even know what was so funny.

We did manage to behave while the students were performing, though it was touch and go there for a while. The concert was lovely. And so much better having my mom and sisters with us.

Happy Sigh <and lots of happy giggles>

 

dealing with disappointment

20140529-174630-63990934.jpg

For dancers, injuries are a part of life. Every dancer knows this. But knowing intellectually in your head is an entirely different thing than knowing in your heart. Especially when it happens right before a performance.

Our youngest is smack dab in the middle of dealing with this disappointment right now. A partnering injury recently has left her in pain and sore and not able to dance.   So the show this weekend is just not going to happen for her. When you have worked so hard and are so pumped for something, it is like someone letting the air out of your balloon. No fun.

Don’t get me wrong, we are counting our blessings that nothing more serious happened. And she will recover and be fine (thank goodness). But we are all a little sad about it. In the big picture this is really only a blip, we know. But honestly it is still a drag.

I heard this quote by Eckhart Tolle and it seems so fitting right now for so many reasons.

Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is Life itself, it is an insane way to live.

So injuries (and disappointments) are part of life itself. And in the big scheme of things, this one is pretty minor.

Thank heavens for that.

yeah spring!

IMG_2940

Honey asked me what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day and the first thing that I thought of was the North Head Trail around Signal Hill.  I haven’t done that hike since the fall – it would be a treacherous place to be with all the snow and ice we had this winter.

IMG_2954

I was prepared with many layers and a hat and mitts, but it was surprisingly warm!  I had my jacket around my waist the entire hike. I know my Ottawa friends are lounging on their decks wearing shorts with drinks in hand – however it has still been pretty cold here.

IMG_2958

I am always in awe when I do this hike! I just can’t stop taking photos and breathing in the salt air.  Although there are a few places on the hike where I need to put away my phone and concentrate so I don’t go careening down the cliff!

IMG_2965

The rich shades of brown are so intense – it is stunning during each season in totally different ways!  You can check out a summer hike I did here and a fall hike I did here to compare.

IMG_2984

Even the neutral colours of the rocks stop me in my tracks to spend a few moments admiring them.

photo-65

The Rockstar came with us – I think he loves this trail too!

IMG_2970

We could even see a couple of icebergs but my iphone camera does not do them justice.

IMG_2988

I love looking over at Fort Amherst.

IMG_2997

I was huffing and puffing by the time I got up all the stairs at the top of Signal Hill!  I have some work to do obviously!  I can’t wait to head back there again! Yeah spring!

IMG_3002

out of the mouths of babes

As you know, one of my favourite parts of being home in Newfoundland is spending time with my nieces and nephews. I love watching them tap dance (like Sara did here) and when they entertain me with their shows and everything else in between.

Mostly, I love watching them interact with my kids, who are the beloved “older kids”, meaning they are HEROS to the little kids. The downside of this hero-worship, is that whenever I show up with my children in tow, I basically get ignored. Last weekend I popped by my sister’s house with my daughter. As we entered the front hall, two little girls came tearing down the hallway towards me. So I dropped to my knees, whipped my arms open wide and braced myself for the running hugs I was sure were coming towards me and WHOOOSH! They both ran right past me, making a beeline to their idol.

Well, I won’t pretend I wasn’t a little disappointed, although I did manage to get little side-glances of glee as they both knowingly rushed past me. I promised to steal my hugs from them later and managed to get myself up off the floor and dusted off my knees (and my dignity).

Speaking of dignity…. I have managed to cancel two (desperately needed) hair appointments recently because of kid activities/events. This may seem unrelated to the story but as my son would say – “Wait for it!” I got home from work early today and my daughter was babysitting my niece and nephew at our place. I guess the novelty of spending time with my daughter had worn off enough, that my six year old niece crawled onto my lap and then helped me brush the dog. Now this is the same niece who recently made herself a popcorn sandwich with a dinner roll and Smartfood popcorn (ewww!) and is full of twinkling eyes of mischief and love for everyone around her. So I was really appreciating getting to enjoy some time with her as we chatted and cuddled and brushed Rocky. So nice and peaceful!

Until she gazed up at me and started staring at me with her intense squinty eyes, analyzing something to herself. And then she looked at me directly and simply said, “Aunt Marlayne, you have some gray hair. “

Maybe it’s better when they run right past.

 

dreams, challenges and flip flops

flipflops

Here are a few random February thoughts for you, in no particular order. Warning: I don’t love February. Every year I think I am not going to let February get to me, and yet it does manage to get under my skin somehow.  This is totally stream of conscience   –  my random state of mind these days.

1. I am sick to death of driving in snow storms.  SICK I tell you! My knuckles are permanently white.  Between slippery Prescott Street and the Outer-Ring-Road-of-Death, I am absolutely done with driving in bad weather.  Done.

2. We talked about taking a vacation this spring but somehow nothing has been booked as of yet.  I am having fantasies of running away from Canada with only my flip flops and my iphone.  One can dream.

3. Parenting is HARD.  Supporting children to strive for their dreams AND at the same time making decisions that you think is right is really difficult.

4. Parenting is WONDERFUL. Among the challenges are such joyful, proud moments.

5. I love the Olympic fever that hits during the games.  Everyone gets patriotic, even those who don’t normally follow sports (like me!).  I love how an entire country backs our athletes. It is a wonderful energy!

6. Heating a house with oil is EXPENSIVE! Ouch!  I see that Harvey’s truck coming again and I want to scream! Come on spring!! I have switched to cold water Tide and have turned down the thermostats… any other tips for me?

7. My contract is coming up at work soon and honestly I don’t love the uncertainty.  I am trying to have faith in the universe while plugging away at the job search, but it is not easy.  I could use a few good vibes sent my way if you have any to spare.

8. My honey recently watched Blackfish and told me about it. I have decided that I absolutely cannot go to Sea World ever again.  I don’t even think I can watch the documentary, it made me so sad to hear about it!  It has even changed how I look at my dog.  I wonder is he happy?   Does that make me crazy???  Maybe February is really getting to me and I’m losing it, but either way, the dog is getting even more love from me these days lol.

9. Good coffee with friends is wonderful for the soul. Good coffee is awesome on its own, but add in some lovely friends and it is even better!

20140220-173658.jpg

my heart is as cold

ocean_ranger_2_john_weston_565

We introduced our children to Newfoundland music from the very beginning. They have grown up listening to Sunday morning Jigs & Reels regularly. One of our favourite Newfoundland singers is Ron Hynes. We even took the kids to see him perform in Perth, ON a few years ago. He is one incredible talent and we are BIG fans.

When my daughter was old enough to actually start listening to lyrics, I remember her reaction to one of my favourite Ron songs – Atlantic Blue. We were listening to music on my ipod and Atlantic Blue came on. She asked me to skip through the song – she didn’t want to listen to it because it was too “mean sounding”. She didn’t know what the song was about and she hadn’t heard about the Ocean Ranger disaster. Once this was all explained to her, I could see the aha moment click and she got it. She understood the song and a little bit about our Newfoundland history.

This morning I attended the Ocean Ranger Prayer Service that is presented by Gonzaga High School each year to remember the 84 souls who perished in the Ocean Ranger Disaster.

There is no Newfoundlander who does not remember this tragedy. It was one of those events that you recall exactly where you were when you heard the news. I know that when I heard the news I was in our family room with the black and orange patterned pleather sofa and my parents were watching the news on the television. I didn’t fully grasp the enormity of it then, but I knew from my parents’ reactions it was awful.

It’s been 32 years since the Ocean Ranger sank. Here is a description of what happened – I found it on this Heritage Newfoundland website.

On the night of the disaster, a severe storm pounded the rig with hurricane-force winds and 15-metre high waves. Seawater broke through a porthole in the ballast control room and damaged equipment. The rig tilted forward and water flooded the forward chain lockers; it capsized in the early hours of 15 February 1982.

The people of Newfoundland and Labrador are extremely loyal. Keeping people safe is taken very seriously – more so here in this province, it seems to me. Maybe because we live near the sea and understand how unforgiving it can be. Maybe it is because we are isolated. The degrees of separation are so much smaller here that it seems tragedies are felt more closely. I may be wrong, but that’s my guess.

At the ceremony today, a candle was lit for each of the 84 men while Gonzaga students read out the names. It was a lovely way to remember.

My favourite part of the ceremony was the music. I’ll leave you with a link to Ron Hynes singing Atlantic Blue, which was sung by one of the students today at the ceremony.