yeah spring!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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

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

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I love looking over at Fort Amherst.

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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!

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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

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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!

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my heart is as cold

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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.

love and chocolate

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I’ve been meaning to do a post about the Newfoundland Chocolate Company ever since we moved home. Valentine’s Day seems like the perfect time!  I dashed over on my lunch this week and the place was hopping.  I’m guessing I wasn’t the only one thinking about Feb 14!  As I made my way over there, I was thinking about how Valentine’s Day can be controversial – not everyone likes it.  Admittedly it is totally commercial, but really – in the middle of February everyone needs a pick me up.  Going to buy some treats for my family gave me a little spring in my step (the sunshine helped too!).  So as far as I’m concerned, bring on Valentine’s Day!

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Now back to the Newfoundland Chocolate Company! The window display was very festive.  You can’t really see the very large chocolate fountain running, but it looks rich and delicious!  I wanted to just grab a cup and fill ‘er up.  Note there was a sign warning people about only looking and no fingers (Eewwww! I might think about dipping a digit in, but I would never really do it lol).

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Check out all the chocolate bark, chocolate flowers and LOVE bars.   I was tempted to buy a LOVE bar for my honey, but they were milk chocolate, and he is partial to dark, so I went to check out some of the other selections.

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My picture is blurry 😦 but I still wanted to show you anyway.  I LOVE the shirt and tie heart boxes!

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I forgot to take a picture of the truffle case, but trust me there was something for everyone.  The St. John’s CBC morning radio show is having a contest and they are asking listeners to come up with ideas for a  Wake Up Chocolate for the morning show. I can’t wait to hear what combination wins.  Personally, I think you need coffee, caramel and dark chocolate, but that’s just me!

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The above sign is on the sidewalk outside the store. Very True.

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If you are needing a little mid-February pick-me-up, I highly recommend heading down to Duckworth Street and treating your loved ones to some Newfoundland Chocolate!

enjoying the view

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I am still loving Newfoundland.  I simply adore being here in St. John’s.  I work downtown and each day when I get out of my car and start to walk down the hill to work, I see a snippet of the harbour.  And even on those days when I am almost blowing off the hill with the wind, or slipping down Prescott Street with the ice (eek!), I ALWAYS look at the ocean and have a small moment of grace.  Some days it is only a millisecond where I have a quick thought of how grateful I am to be home.  Grateful to be near the ocean.  And thrilled to be near my family.   Every. Single. Day.

I regularly speak to people who have lived here all their lives and they tell me they don’t even notice the view anymore.  And had I lived here all my life I am absolutely positive I would be the same way.  But each time I catch a glimpse of St. John’s Harbour my heart melts just a little bit more.  I hope I never lose this feeling, this oh-so-wonderful appreciation for this harsh, isolated and incredibly beautiful place.

I hope today you can enjoy your view for even a moment – whatever your view is.

walking on a wednesday night

20131120-195112.jpg My son takes music lessons on Wednesday evenings. The lesson is only for 45 minutes so hardly enough time to go home. So it is the perfect opportunity for a walk downtown while we wait.  Most of the stores are closed (which may or may not be a good thing) so we stroll around. This evening found us walking down the famous George Street.  It was very quiet, except that Greensleeves had a Guitar player/singer performing inside and you could hear the music on the speakers outside. So for a few moments we stood outside and looked through the window while listening to the music. A beautiful evening. A beautiful moment. Much has changed since we first met in this building. I wouldn’t go back for a second.

middle cove beach

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Sunday we took a drive out to Middle Cove. Surprisingly enough, my honey had NEVER been there! I could hardly believe it, although he is from the west end of St. John’s, so maybe it isn’t so surprising. I think the last time I was there was the summer after grade 12 for a bonfire.

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Is there anything better than skimming rocks and listening to the waves on a Sunday morning?

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Below are some pics to share with you. I don’t have a whole lot to say about them, other than it was a lovely, peaceful morning with my peeps.

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I love the colour of the beach rocks. Patrick makes me smile too.

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little adjustments part 2

You might have seen this post I did over the summer about some of the adjustments to living back in St. John’s after being away for so long.  Well, this is the second installment with some other quirky thoughts that have occurred to me since that post. I figured I would share.  Comment below to let me know what you think!clean-hunter-wellies

1. Any day that doesn’t have RDF (Rain, Drizzle & Fog)  is a beautiful day. I have totally adopted this attitude and I love it.  Just getting out in the fresh air, even when the sun is not shining, is fabulous.  I know I should be able to love the RDF too, but I’m not there yet.  Baby steps.  I may need some moral support come February/March.  I’ll let you know. Maybe buying a colourful pair of rain boots will help me? What colour would you pick?

2. Brace yourself for this one – it is superficial important. The hour and a half time difference is fooling up my television watching. TV and radio shows start on the 1/2 hour.  That makes any prime time tv shows late starting.  If a show normally starts at 9:00 ET, that’s 10:30 NT. For you night owls, that’s not a biggie I’m sure, but for me who can’t stay awake, it is a challenge.  I tried to watch Nashville last night (which didn’t start until 11:30) only to fall asleep 10 minutes in.  I woke up to the last 30 seconds of the show (which was a little surprising – did you see it??).  I should have just waited to watch it on the PVR.  Luckily, this is what my son would call a First World Problem, so I can deal.

3. People are super-aware of the weather and plan things around the forecast. Birthday parties will change, meeting spots are adjusted, all at the last minute. Much is dependent on the weather and people are used to rolling with it. I keep forgetting to check.  A friend said to me, “You ARE from here, you know this!”  Yah, I know it in my head, but keep I forgetting. Come to think of it, maybe this is just a me thing. Either way, I need to pay more attention.

4. Driving in Newfoundland is NOT like driving in Ottawa.  If the weather is bad, you have to stay off certain roads.  I have been in denial about this for a while but I just have to accept it. This is not a “mind over matter thing”. The wind has been so bad at times that I have felt like the van is going to be pulled off the road if I loose concentration for a second. The fog has been so thick I had to get my son to help me read the road signs. For real – I am not exaggerating.  Have I mentioned the moose?  I actually haven’t seen a moose since I have been back, but the reminders to Mind the Moose have kept me vigilant and cautious for sure.  Lastly (for now) some of the roads are dark and not very visible.  The Harbour Arterial is totally off limits for me at night because you just can’t see the road well enough (in my opinion).  Some of the entrances and exits off the Outer Ring Road you would never find on your own in the dark without prior warning. Oh my – winter is not even here yet.  Wish me luck.

5. There is nothing better than my nieces running towards me yelling “Mah-layne is here! YEAH!”  I mean really – is there anything better than that? Plus they are a never ending source of entertainment.   Click here for some entertainment. I have heard this song a LOT, but somehow it never gets old. I wonder how my sister feels lol.

6. The porch is INSIDE your house.  In Ottawa, and maybe everywhere else, if someone is talking about their porch, they are talking about the space outside their front door.  Here, a porch is the space inside your front door, as you first come in your house. My honey asked our son to move a box to the porch, and he put it outside on the front step.  That totally made me laugh since he just did what he was told.  Where is your porch, inside or outside?

7. I love this town. One of my facebook status a couple weeks ago was “I feel like Joel Plaskett because I love this town”. And I do.  Regardless of the adjustments, I’m so happy to be here.