Tuesday, July 29, 2008

And they're off.... (click pics to enlarge)

(A little late with this post due to ongoing health issues....but hey....better late than never.....right??)

We said our goodbyes on Wednesday evening as they had to be away really early on Thursday morning. We're about 2 hours to the ferry and they had to be there for 6:00 a.m.....did I mention they had to leave early??

Our last night together was great. Dad and Marilyn took us out for dinner, followed by an evening of dominoes back at our place. Our friend Paul stopped in for a visit, a cup of tea and to say goodbye as well.

It was hard to say goodbye and we were all sad to see them go. Jake is so sensitive and he was extremely upset. He cried for the rest of the evening and then, as he quite often does when he's upset, he slept with us. The next day wasn't much different for him....still lots of tears.

It was a great visit though....we all enjoyed seeing them and are looking forward to their next visit...hmmmm......maybe Thanksgiving???

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's been a whirlwind of a visit

Helping Brittney sell ice water

Windy day at Cape Spear

Our backyard

Marilyn and Dad in our backyard

I haven't been blogging for a few days as we've been enjoying the grandparent's visit. And quite a few days it has been! I guess the best way to describe it would be while experiencing that 'east coast laid backness' (hmmmm....are those even words???), we've still managed to keep somewhat busy.

Some highlights have been:

~~Each kid has enjoyed their own special day and time with Grandma and Grandpa.

***Jake chose Swiss Chalet for his restaurant. They then enjoyed an unplanned tour of St. John's. We finished that night off by a visit to our friend's Paul and Joan.

***Next was Brittney's turn. She chose A & W for her restaurant. She then followed that with a trip to Frenchy's for a shopping spree. She got 2 t shirts, a pair of capris and flip flops .... all for $15.00.

***Tyler was next and he chose Jungle Jim's. They also went to a used book store where he found some old Archie Comics.

***Last but not least was our turn. Dad had wanted to check out where the ferry would be coming in, so the four of us went for a drive there. It was a pretty drive and Larry and I saw an area of NL we had not yet seen. On our way home Marilyn and Dad took us out for dinner to a little cafe here in Pouch Cove. It was a great afternoon!

Also during their time here, we took them to Cape Spear (which is the most easterly point in North America). It was really windy that day, but the whales were out in full force. We sat and watched them for a bit before heading to downtown St. John's for some shopping. We followed that by supper at Montana's.

We also took advantage of the free admission night to The Rooms. We've wanted to go there for some time, but have just never made it. A great way for (all of) us to learn more about Newfoundland, the way of life here (both past and present).

The nights are usually spent playing dominoes or cribbage with them.

Today, Marilyn and I are heading to a local artist's shop for a visit.

It's hard to believe their visit is drawing to a close...we've all enjoyed our visit with them so much!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ya' just never know...

Click picture to enlarge.......

who will arrive at your doorstep.

This point was driven home this past Thursday. It was 4:00 in the afternoon. I was talking on the phone with my friend Lori from Ontario, when I noticed a car coming down our driveway. We seem to get quite a few cars coming down here....people come down to look at the icebergs/ocean etc. I've come home more than once to find a car parked and the people out looking around. We've posted "Private Drive" signs at the end of the driveway....that has stopped most people but occasionally, we still get the odd car coming down. Thursday, was one of those days. As the car came down and didn't leave, I knew they were still out there. I sent Jake out to see who it was and politely ask if he could help them. A few minutes later he returned with tears streaming down his face.........yelling

"You aren't going to believe this but Grandpa and Marilyn (my step-mom) are sitting in our driveway!!!!"

So....I went out and sure enough --- there they were!! We haven't seen them since we left Ontario almost a year ago.

They are both 80 something and Wow! --- what a trip they had to get here.

~~They took a train from Ontario to Montreal.
~~At Montreal they caught another train to Moncton.
~~There was some sort of mix up/problem there and they had to take a taxi from Moncton to Truro, NS. They said the taxi driver drove 125 kms/hr all the way...
~~At Truro, they caught a bus which brought them to North Sydney, NS, where the NL Ferry comes in.
~~They rented a car in North Sydney to bring over here and then boarded the Ferry.
~~They took the long ferry ride (which was a 17 hour trip).
~~They arrived in NL in the early morning and drove to St. John's where they got lost but eventually found their way here.

They were introduced to a lot of 'Newfoundland' things within a day or two of arriving here. After disembarking off the ferry, they saw a moose. When they arrived here at our house, we took them back to our lookout. While there, a whale came up about 10 feet off of our shore/rocks and swam right by us. It swam gracefully by us on the surface, coming up out of the water twice. It came out of the water as if to say, 'Welcome'.

Yep....you just never know who will arrive.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Our day

First to see the sun

Still looking for whales ....

Brittney has graduated from grade 8!

Today was a great day here on The Rock.

Larry and I were up early, the sun was shining and the kids were all still in bed. We decided to take our coffee out back, enjoy the lookout, and watch for any whales that happen to be up early. It was beautiful seeing the sun shine on the ocean but that made it difficult to see any whales (if there were any). Oh well....we still looked anyway.

After we'd spent an hour back there just watching we figured the troops would all be up and we should make our way back. Not so though....when we returned they were all still asleep. Eventually they came to life and gathered in the kitchen for breakfast.

This year, Brittney finished grade 8 ---- where did the time go? I can hardly believe my little girl is so grown up! In celebration of her finishing grade 8, we'd promised her lunch out at the restaurant of her choice. She'd had her sight set on a certain one that is well known for pasta. She's been wanting to go there for some time, but it's a little more expensive than the types we go to, so she's never been there. However when she asked to go this time, we agreed. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the restaurant, there was a posted sign that said renovations were happening this week which meant a limited menu of pizza and salad only. I felt badly for her as she had her sights set on pasta....but after a bit of initial disappointment, she happily selected another one.

It was a great lunch...lots of laughter.

After lunch we had some errands to take care of. Tyler had been wanting for some time to pick up a certain type of marker for his cartooning. We'd been waiting to combine this with another trip into town...so this worked well. |We also had a few other errands to take care of ---- a new lawn chair to buy (although we *are* keeping the broken one), caulking and cement to purchase, Jake wanted to pick up a new pair of sunglasses (gotta look cool ya know) and there were some great specials at the grocery store.

After all that, we headed for home. Beautiful drive coming along the coast line. Upon our arrival home, Larry took care of a few details before we headed back to check on the whale situation. We weren't disappointed as one came up 10 feet off of our shore....Wow....so close! --- and even with my camera set on the fast speed (thanks Molytail!), I still wasn't fast enough to get the shot.

Oh well...there is always tomorrow.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Whales are Here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Whales are Here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brittney looking for whales..... (click to enlarge pics)

I know....it's difficult to tell if this is really a whale....but it is! If you click on the pic it will enlarge and then if you look closely in the middle of the picture....that black spot *is* a whale. I'm not quick enough on the draw and always seem to miss capturing them. I am working on this.

Besides my poor photography skills, sometimes we are just too far away/too high to get a good picture (I need a better camera). Just to give you an idea of how high we are, here are some people fishing off the rocks next to our place. As you can see, the rocks they're on are up high and our lookout is much higher still (those are tree tops we're looking down on).


The whales have *finally* arrived in our back yard.

Upon moving to Newfoundland, we'd hoped to see a few things....with icebergs and whales being at the top of the list. We weren't disappointed with this year's bumper crop of icebergs and were hoping the whales would follow suit.

We've been waiting, patiently waiting (and sometimes not so patiently) to see some whales. We keep asking our Newfoundland friends, "When will the whales be here??", which for reasons we still don't understand, causes them to laugh heartily at us. Oh well....we're mainlanders....what can I say? lol

Then....on top of waiting....it's been such a cool, wet and foggy spring....we were concerned we'd end up missing the whales altogether (can't see whales if you can't see the water). Everyone assured us though....that type of weather is "Caplin Weather." It will bring the Caplin in and the Caplin brings the whales in.

So ..... we continued to wait.

Sure enough......the weather turned warm and beautiful here last week. The Capelin came in.....and so did the Whales!!!

Larry, Tyler and I went to the lookout in our backyard yesterday afternoon. WOW!!! The ocean was alive.....so much spouting going on and then the whales would come up! As we looked out over the ocean....numerous white spouts dotted the blue water. Everywhere we looked....spouts.


Today was no different. Brittney and I went back....equipped with our binoculars and camera. Off in the distance we saw a shining object floating on top of the water. Looking through the binoculars....we could see it was a whale floating on top....his wet skin reflecting the sun and really sparkling. A few minutes later....down he went.

It was simply amazing watching them and the show they put on. Some came right out, some caused big splashes, some waved their fin, some barely disturbed the surface as they gracefully came up and went back down....we saw it all and had front row seats. We were just amazed at their beauty and grace.

Sorry about the picture....but it's the best I could get. Hopefully, I'll be able to get some better pics to post. Half of the time they were out too far and when they were in closer, I had a hard time getting a picture when they were up. By the time the camera went off....the whale had disappeared down and all that showed up was a picture of the water. :0( Honestly....you'd think the least they could do, is hold that pose in mid air while I get a half decent picture ;0)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Close Call

Wow, what a night !!!   (scroll down past the pictures to continue reading about it)

Click on any of the pictures to enlarge them...

Catching Capelin...

Brittney on the beach...

Roasting Hot Dogs

On The Beach.....

The crowd watching the Capelin...

Catching Capelin...

I caught one!!

Capelin on the beach....

What's left of the chair I'd been sitting in moments before the rock hit it

Our homeschooling group was going to Middle Cove Beach yesterday for a beach fire/cookout....It's a huge beach on the ocean (there is a little sand but mostly smooth small rocks cover the beach area) and it's surrounded by huge, high cliffs. People go there to have beach fires ---- it's a really neat place to hang out.
Here is a picture of the beach showing the high cliffs.

The Capelin (small fish) come in this time of year and people literally scoop them up with their hands, plastic bags, buckets....anything they can find....the fish are really plentiful.

We had our four chairs lined up side by side, in front of the cliffs.  Now, for some time, I had wanted to talk to a certain hs'ng mom and she happened to be there this evening. Great I thought, finally I'd be able to talk to her.   Larry and the kids were off with the others, but thanks to ME/CFS, I was limited to staying put in my chair.  I didn't even have the energy to get up and go over to where the mom was sitting, even though she was only a few feet away.  As I sat there for quite awhile, trying to muster up the energy to get over to her, a thought of, "now is the time" came into my head.   With great difficulty, I dragged myself out of the chair and started to head over to where she was sitting.  I'd barely gotten to where she was, when all of a sudden there was a LOUD crash.  I looked up and back to see a person climbing up the huge high cliff and in the process had knocked off a loose, rather large rock....probably 10 -12 inches in diameter.  It landed squarely on the lawn chair I'd been sitting in (didn't touch the others, didn't even cause them to move at all). It was one of those webbed aluminum chairs and the aluminum frame was snapped --- the back legs were completely snapped off (broken into two pieces, the frame was snapped in another place and the whole chair was buckled on the ground.  None of the other chairs had been touched....only the one I'd been sitting in just seconds prior).  (See above for a couple of pictures of the broken chair).

I was shaking  as I started to think through what would have happened if I'd been still sitting in that chair.....the rock would have hit me square on top of the head.  It totally destroyed the chair -- what would it have done to me?  It was one of those events that takes several minutes to totally wrap your ahead around -- what had just happened, what could have happened had I stayed in that chair and to fully grasp just how fortunate I was to get out the way with literally seconds to spare.  Having the extreme brain fog that goes along with ME/CFS made the whole thinking process even more difficult.

As I was thinking through this, all the others from our hs'ng group were down at the ocean's edge catching capelin.  All of a sudden, a shrill scream came out of nowhere from another hs'ng mom.   She was frantically calling my name and I could tell by her tone it was more than an invitation to do lunch some time.  As I moved toward her, I saw Jake...soaking wet, screaming and shaking with fear.  As I approached them, the story unfolded.  He'd been catching capelin with the rest of the group (moms, dads and kids) when he noticed Brittney's sandal floating in the ocean.  He reached out to grab it at the same time a wave came in, knocking him off of his feet out into the ocean.  Now, for my mainland friends, ocean waves are *much* different than any lake waves (even different than waves of the Great Lakes).... much different.  It does not take a lot to be swept away.  Thankfully, one of the dads (who had been standing right beside Jake) was able to reach him.  He grabbed Jake from underneath the water, pulling him out of the water and onto the shore.

To have once of these events happen was frightening enough, but both of them in the same night, within minutes of each other (while battling the effects of ME/CFS), extremely upsetting and mind boggling.   Both were much too close of a call for my liking. I'm very thankful today for the thought and the energy to move before the rock came crashing down as well as for the quick action of the hs'ng dad to grab Jake.  God was certainly with us that night.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Our First Canada Day on The Rock

As with all the new things we've experienced and learned since arriving here on The Rock, Canada Day observances and celebrations were no exception.

We were a little baffled as to signs which referred to the day as 'Memorial Day'. We were fairly certain they referred to activities happening on July 1, but we'd only known this day as 'Canada Day'. Years ago we recall it being referred to as 'Dominion Day, but none of us had ever heard it being called Memorial Day. The only Memorial Day we knew of, was the one celebrated in the U.S.A. and I believe that one is in May. Hmmmm.....this led to a few discussions among us as to the reference to Memorial Day.

As with all new-to-us things here, there is a logical explanation. After reading a couple of posts, the proverbial light bulb went one. Here are a couple of explanations regarding this day....both of them from fellow Newfoundlanders,

The first one from Lena and she writes,

"In NL it is also memorial day.

July 1st is a time for celebration for the people of Canada. But in Newfoundland and Labrador, the day also has a more sombre meaning.

Memorial Day commemorates the participation of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in the Battle of the Somme at Beaumont-Hamel, France.

On July 1, 1916, 801 members of the 1st Newfoundland Regiment fought in that battle and only 68 answered the roll call the next morning.

A memorial park was established in Beaumont-Hamel in 1925 as a tribute to the fallen soldiers." Lena

and another explanation from a fellow Newfoundland blogger Jacqueline.

Ahhh....things are much clearer now. This was exactly the way the day was observed here. First, a church service in the morning (we noticed quite a few wreaths at the local cemetery on our way through town in the afternoon), followed by a bbq in the afternoon (with lots of activities, traditional NL music, face painting for kids, etc.) and fireworks in the evening.

We did not know about the significance of the church service in time (otherwise we may have attended) but we did take part in the bbq and fireworks. Listening to the music....well it always puts us in the right Newfoundland frame of mind.

The fireworks were amazing....they were shot off over the ocean. Wow....the Atlantic Ocean (I still am amazed every time I look at it). The waves were crashing in against the rocks, the fireworks were lighting up the night sky, there was that familiar warm ocean breeze blowing.......and did I mention we were right beside the ocean???

It's hard to believe we've been here almost a year now. So much more to see, so much more to take in, so much more to learn.