Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Visit to Random Island

Our friends Katie and Brad, who have a similar moving-to-Newfoundland story as ours, invited us to their place on Random Island. Although we'd seen quite a few pictures, we'd never been there in person. Many things contributed to this....they'd only recently purchased it in the summer, followed by major renovations, then Hurricane Igor (Random Island was one of the hardest hit areas...thankfully they were all ok). Then work, busy schedules, that pesky winter weather again....and we are at Christmas.

During a recent phone call to wish each other a Merry Christmas, Katie extended an invitation for us to visit. With a couple of free days and such great weather (for winter), we figured it would be a great time to go. With 8*C (46*F) - 9*C (48*F) all day long, it made for a nice drive.

We'd never been to Random Island. One thing we noticed was the effects of Igor were still evident after all of this time. Even on the highway there....road signs were snapped off...sometimes bits of rubble around...other times not.

Once on Random Island, we could see all the places the road had been washed away. Unbelievable. I can only imagine what it was like in the days and weeks immediately following the hurricane.

We arrived at Katie and Brad's and had a wonderful visit. Their house is really nice. Being right on the water, it has an incredible view! The kids all hung out together while the adults sat around and chatted. Katie made a delicious lunch ( was a dinner)and we enjoyed that while enjoying their beautiful view and great company.

Some pictures....

This is Katie and Brad in the front with Josh and Kassidy in the back (as well as Robbie the dog ;)

A group shot.....with one of the kids (who shall remain nameless) doing his usual thing of making a face just at the precise moment (in between the time the button has been pushed but before the picture is actually taken....not sure how he times it so well...but he does...)

This one is a bit blurry (but no funny faces anyway)

It was a delicious dinner and a great visit!

Thanks, guys!

More visiting

We're always amazed at the number of people we run into who've had reasons for moving to Newfoundland that are similar to ours. Many in our own town fall into this very category.

Shortly after we arrived here in Pouch Cove, I was searching on-line for info about the town. I wanted to send links with pictures back home to our friends and family. While searching, I came across a website which contained beautiful pictures of Pouch Cove. Turns out....the owner of the site was also here because of similar reasons to our own.

We'd met Bob and his wife Po at various functions around 'town' (our well as 'town'...which is really St. John's). At the last one, they invited us to their place for a pre Christmas visit.

Despite the heavy rains and high was a great visit. We always enjoy talking to people who 'get' and 'see' the same beauty of Pouch Cove as we do. Great conversation and Bob showed us his beautiful photographs he's taken. (Bob's site can be found here...lots of amazing photos)

Great visit guys!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas week

With Larry working most nights and weekends, there's not a lot of time left for visiting. Throw winter weather or the threat of winter weather into the mix...and limits us even further.

This week has been different on all fronts though. Larry's work has all but stopped for the Christmas holidays and we've been having fantastic weather! Well....for December in Canada snow and fairly warm temps. Even with the rain....we'll take it.

We spent Monday with our friends Joan, Keith, Jacob and Ben. They had a yummy turkey dinner, complete with salt meat and roasted chestnuts (first time I had ever tried them). Did I mention it was yummy? :) The boys played together, while Brittney hung out with the adults.

We all enjoyed the day and evening....thanks guys! (sorry...I didn't have my camera with no pictures and I need to ask permission first)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas, 2010

Christmas Eve -- Our family tradition is to have a special dinner, followed by a family sing-song and each opening one present before the kids hit the hay. I used to be the one playing the piano for everyone to sing, but since the kids can now play the piano...they do the honours.

Jake taking his turn


Here we go....get ready to sing...

Oh no...look at he for real? ask the teenagers...(just as a fyi....Larry loves to shake things up a bit by acting makes the teenagers unsure what to say ;)

Oh c'mon're not going to act that way all night...are you? Tyler trying to remain cool

Come on, Brittney...SING!!!

Oh Dad....Puleeezze!!

Tyler still trying to remain cool

O.K..fine.......I can sing by myself...

Ahh...two thumbs up....we finally got him to stop singing.

Tyler can now safely crack a bit of a smile

Not so fast.....I can pose just like all those stars do...see?

Oh mom....can you make him stop?

Even Tyler can no longer remain cool...

Brittney's turn at the piano...

Warming up for round two.

Jake is certain he can not only handle his Dad's goofiness....but outdo him...

Oh no....they've gone to the piano....I'm stayin' here

Having the words is much better...means Larry doesn't have to make up his own...

O.K...Tyler is here...not sure for how long

Tyler is almost certain these people cannot be related to him

Is there any question in anyone's mind where Jake gets it from???

Jake opening his one gift on Christmas eve. Only a gift card...he picked the wrong one to open

Jake had trouble sleeping, so he slept with us. I told him if he got up early, he was to take a picture of the clock, so I'd know what time he got up. When I woke up at 5:50....he was not with us. He was however, on the couch with the tv and the Christmas tree lights on. He showed me the it is....that *IS* 1:02 a.m. (I think he dozed a bit on the couch though)

Self-portrait at 1:02 in the morning. Does everyone look this wide awake at 1:02 a.m.? I'm fairly certain I don't

It's about 7:00 a.m. Tyler is still not sure about being up at this time...

Oh well....might as well join him...

Brothers chillin on Christmas Day...

Another tradition in our family...the candy table.

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - ELLE

Laura Hillenbrand, Well known author of Seabiscuit also suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Excellent article about her struggles with this, found here:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - ELLE

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome front ....

Frustration....unpredictability....more frustration

A recent Drs. visit revealed I'm not doing as well with this illness as I had thought (or was that I had hoped?). That was followed by some strict warnings to change my ways, or else.


One thing that frustrates me the most with CFS is the unpredictability of it all....and it's unpredictable on so many fronts. (I know many CFS sufferers struggle with this unpredictability part of the illness as well. Dominique over at 4 Walls and a View wrote a wonderful post on this very topic)

Things like the unpredictability of:

--not knowing how much energy will I have today, tomorrow, next week or even in the next hour (and it can vary that much from hour to hour)
--not knowing when a crash is going to happen.
--not knowing what exactly causes a crash
--not knowing how long a crash will last.

Now, I'm not talking about huge amounts of energy requirements...I'm talking about energy levels for daily tasks that most people take for granted. Things like grocery shopping, or vacuuming, standing, or lineups. I've just recently started going into grocery stores and helping Larry with groceries...but when it comes time to check's out to the van for me.

Most days big stores like Costco are out.

Or walking. The kids are taking swimming lessons...I'd love to walk to the end of the pool to watch them...but each week so far, I've been unsure if I'd actually make it to the end and back again.

One day, I'm able to do most things (like going out) while the next, moving around the house is a challenge. Not being able to plan for these days, makes it even more frustrating.

This was the case with my last major crash. It was last January and I had been steadily improving health-wise. The kids had skating and the arena was equipped with a wonderful indoor track up over the rink area. I thought what a great idea...I could walk around the track and keep an eye on the kids at the same time. On that fateful day I walked into the arena feeling better than I had in a long time (at least a year) and yet left the arena barely able to walk or drive home. When I got home, I literally collapsed into bed and barely woke up for two or three days. That was the start of a crash which lasted six weeks...and a long six weeks it was. The phone did not ring, the only people I saw or talked to was Larry and the kids, and I hardly got out of the house (except two or three rides into town but I did not get out of the car once in town). Most of that time was spent in bed. The household chores fell on Larry and/or the kids. Suppers became frozen chicken fingers and fries...or other similar easy fare that Brittney could do. Each night I went to bed hoping the next day I would wake feeling feeling better. Thankfully, Tyler could drive. He was able to take the kids to piano lessons and skating.

While this not knowing is frustrating for me, it is even more frustrating to adequately explain it to people. They see me out and think I must be better....except they didn't see me two days ago when I couldn't get out of bed and they won't see me if I happen to be that way tomorrow. They don't realize, I may have been 'saving up' my energy for the last day or so in order to be out for that particular day and they don't realize after my afternoon out, I will head home where I will need to rest for the remainder of the day. I don't go out when I'm at my worst (partially because I'm not able, but partially because who wants to be around someone who can barely remember their own name, let alone carry a conversation...brain fog is something else with all of this). Sometimes, I think I should take pictures of myself when I am at my worst or better yet...actually go out! (That would surely raise some eyebrows) Then I try to remember they aren't being intentionally mean...they simply don't understand the disease. The education is just not there and there are so many false ideas of what CFS is or isn't ... or what a person should be like/do/not do when they have it. (This type of thinking/questioning is as frustrating for me as the question homeschoolers often hear...."What about socialization?"....argh...)

I have found if I can sit down while doing things, I am able to last longer (not as long as I once could...but enough to do what needs doing). Things like making supper, folding clothes or doing chocolate are still doable. So, as long as I am not crashed....not all is long as I remember to pace myself in order to not end up crashed. Once I'm crashed's anybody's guess how long it will last (another factor of CFS).

I recently watched an episode of The Golden Girls in which Dorothy had CFS. While I watched the shows, it was great to see it portrayed so well. Everything she experienced, right from the treatment of some Drs., to the reactions of people were so bang on. It was great to see something where someone actually 'gets it'. I was nodding my head so much throughout. occurred to me. Wow....those shows are over 20 years old. We haven't made very much progress in 20 years. Shocking that is. Many people 'in the know' (CFS researchers, CFS Drs., etc) feel a breakthrough in the treatment or cure of this illness is on the horizon. Let's hope....because it's about time! A really good place to start would be renaming the disease with a name that more accurately fits the illness. That shouldn't be difficult....almost anything would be a better fit than "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome!"

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Happy Birthday, Dad!!

(Don't worry, I won't tell anyone you turn 84 today LOL)

These pictures were taken during our visit there this past summer.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Brittney is 16!

Hard to believe where the time has gone....

Happy Birthday, Brittney!

Some pics from her weekend-long celebration..

Cake at our place

"Brittney" made by Jake, out of chocolate chip cookies

Cake made for Brittney, by her friend

Flowers from her friend's family

Ahhh...brotherly/sisterly love

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More pictures around Pouch Cove

Some pictures I've taken the last few days of the ocean at Pouch Cove. Taken from our deck...

Click all of these pictures to enlarge much more to see when they're enlarged time of the day

When the sun first peeks up over the ocean, it looks like a glowing ball...just sitting there...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Gone.....but not Forgotten

Igor that is.

He was very intense here. Driving into St. John's we see the number of trees that Igor snapped off....just like twigs. intense as Igor was in our part of Newfoundland....he was far worse in other parts. Bonavista for one (and that is just one...there were many other areas hit very hard as well). In the grand scheme of things, Bonavista isn't all that far from us. As intense as Igor was here, I cannot imagine what it must have been like in some of the other areas on that day.

More pictures here from the Bonavista area.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Newfoundland Way...

The Telegram is running this story today. It's about a NL town still stranded due to Hurricane Igor. The residents can't leave the town because of a washed out road, so they drive as far as they can, leave the keys in their car and walk across the gap. On the other side people have done the same thing but coming back into town. So they just pick up another car! Return and repeat.

Trouty battered, but holding together - Local - News - The Telegram

What a great way to handle this!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rainfall amounts from hurricane Igor

Even though we didn't have any damage, we did have a significant amount of rainfall...even more than St. John's

And...scroll down underneath the rainfall map of NL and look at the Before and After photo of the red house. Wow...

Rainfall Map from Igor and another amazing photo

More pictures

A CBC reporter went up the Bonavista Penisula and here are some pictures she took along the way Where there is rubble...used to be roads What Odds Found Here

Sunday, September 26, 2010

More help

The military arrived via ferry. These pictures were taken by Arlene Gibbons of Newfoundland. is one example of what is being referred to as "the road is washed out" more like totally gone. Notice the guard rail to the left of the picture. If you click on the picture itself, it will come up a bit larger (not the header picture at the top, but the first one down).

Click here for picture

A new day will dawn....

and the clean up from Igor has begun. Help has finally arrived and hopefully, these people who are stranded and cut off because of roads that are completely gone, will start to get the food, water and gasoline they have run out of.

It was a busy corridor on the ocean front area of our place today. Ships coming and going, bringing much-needed supplies to areas cut off by road.

Can you see the little fishing boats (click to enlarge and look in the lower right hand area of the ocean both in this picture and the previous one)

The ship from the Canadian Military was really moving quickly!

I can also hear (and see some fly overhead) a lot of helicopter activity.

When reports first started coming in, phrases like "the road is washed out" were being tossed around. When I hear that, I think of roads with water over them. When pictures started to come in, it was much more than that. The dirt underneath the roads were completely washed away and the road was totally gone! Huge craters were there. Our own Prime Minister said he's seen flooding in Canada before, but nothing like this. One hole was 70 ft X 70 ft'....and that was just one.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Friends found...

Yayyyy.....we heard from our friends last night. Late last night, they finally had power and phone service restored. They were safe as was their house, although I think it was a long few days for them. She has pictures and more about their experience and promises to share them...Glad they are all ok.

We also were able to connect with our other friends on the Burin Peninsula. They, along with their home, fared very well. Their Peninsula however, is disconnected from the rest of the province due to the road being washed completely out. There is now no milk, eggs, fresh vegetables, gasoline etc. there. To top it off, another bridge on that peninsula has now been declared unsafe and they're getting another 25 mms of rain there today. Not really what they need there today.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sending Help

Our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, viewed a couple of the most devastated areas today.

"I have seen flooding, but I have never seen anything like this," he said. "I have never seen damage like this in Canada. Where we were standing at one point the water would have been over our heads here." Prime Minister, Stephen Harper Story found here

The Canadian government is deploying the military to help with the hardest hit areas: story here

We still have not heard from our friends on Random Island. We know their area was hit very hard. Pictures and stories are just starting to come out. Apparently, today a boat was able to get there with some supplies. Katie and Brad...we're thinking of you and hope you are ok. One story about Random Island found here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Igor Totals

Environment Canada issued an updated special weather statement for Newfoundland and Labrador. It looks like here in Pouch Cove, we received 142 mms of rain and the wind speed was 147 km/h.

Not sure how long these links will stay active but here they are just the same

Statement found here

On another note, Random Island appears to be one of the worst hit areas on the island. Story and picture here This is awful, these people appear (and I say appear because up until now, I've been unable to find out any information) to be stranded here. We have friends there and have not been able to make any kind of contact with them. I can only hope they are all ok. By the sounds of this report, it appears the province will finally get to them.

Look at this house

Some more pictures here (scroll down the blue bar and then click on the white arrow)

There are still people without power here. There are still communities that are totally cut, fuel and other supplies cannot get in. Hopefully, the governments will move quickly to send aid, restore roads and get these communities reconnected. It's been a long three days and each day seems to get worse as new pictures of the devastation come to light.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Experiencing Hurricane Igor first hand

I don't even have the words to describe it that would do it proper justice. It was frightening, humbling and exhausting.

As I mentioned before, the rain and winds started Monday....long before Igor was anywhere near NL.

Then it got worse.

Many communities declared states of emergency. Many communities are cut off and not accessible because roads/bridges are washed away. Power can't be restored in these areas because of this. Parts of the Trans Canada Highway are closed. The highest reports I have seen, have the top wind speed at 172 kms/hr and the most rainfall at 239 cms.

I've never seen trees bend like they did. We could feel our whole house shake with every gust of wind. Jake was sure we were going to die. We lost power around 3 in the afternoon, so we sat in the basement, gathered around my clock radio, listening to the latest news and updates. With almost every gust of wind, I expected to hear or see part of our roof lift off. Thankfully, we had no damage here. Many others in our province were not so fortunate. We are concerned for friends of ours...we know their area was hit hard....but we're unable to contact them.

I took pictures...but again they did not even begin to do justice. Here are a couple of links, some with pictures (not my pictures but submitted by others).

Statement from Environment Canada with wind speeds and
rainfalls: Found here

Some pictures from CBC here although you have to scroll down to see them

CBC news story here

Monday, September 20, 2010

Igor Update...

Not sure how long we'll have power would be nice if it didn't go out at all. The lights have been flickering a bit, so it's anybody's call right now.

At last check, Igor is forecasted to be a category 1 hurricane when it passes by us tomorrow. The eye is not forecasted to hit Newfoundland directly, but we're still looking at wind gusts of 120 kms/hr and rain of 150 - 200 mms (6 - 8 inches). I cannot imagine what it would be like to have a direct hit of a hurricane.

For now, it's raining and raining hard. I can hear the wind and every once in awhile it gets stronger which causes the rain to hit the windows harder. I'm probably not gonna get much sleep tonight lol.

Anyway...I'll keep you all posted as I can. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers.

Preparing for Igor

It seems as if hurricane Igor is on his way to Newfoundland and Labrador. I was first made aware of his impending visit yesterday and have been watching various weather reports and the latest available tracking information.

Depending on the source, we're in for anywhere between 50 and 150 mms of rain and wind gusts of up to 150 kms. Other sources are saying winds of 90 kms...which is better than 150 kms....but still too high for my liking.

We're battening down the hatches...and Larry is out doing this as I type. Tyler has gone to town and will fill our water jugs on the way back (we have to get our drinking water from there anyway). Everything that could be blown around, such as the BBQ, smaller pieces of wood, lawn decorations, plants etc. are being moved inside the shed. Larry is checking the drain ditches and removing any debris and/or grown up grass. The firewood boxes inside are full.

Then there is the usual for inside: batteries, wind up flashlights, candles and matches. I should probably charge the cell phone (I realize that service could also be affected but just in case). The vehicles are full of gas, as are the gas cans.

It's not supposed to hit until Tuesday...bur the winds here have already started to pick up.

Here are some various sites I've been following (click on link):

Environment Canada -- Hurricane Tracking Information

Storm Pulse

The Weather Network

National Hurricane Center

Storm Tracker


I will keep you posted.....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Springdale Craft and Trade Fair

This past weekend we took part in Springdale's annual craft and trade fair. Springdale is about a six hour drive from after working on chocolate for the previous couple of weeks, we (or should I say Larry) loaded up the van and off we went. Tyler was unable to come with us because of job obligations and university courses. I think he was just as glad to stay home alone anyway (but mom still worried about him home alone and driving back and forth to work ;)

It was a great show with a lot of people in attendance. We met a lot of friendly people over the course of the weekend. We're already looking forward to next year!

Jake looked after a big part of our sales. As I've mentioned here before, he absolutely loves doing this and is right in his element while doing so. In addition to this, he also managed to get around the stadium and meet most of the other vendors taking part in the show.

All ready to go.... "Welcome to Candy Box Creations" was his usual opening line..

Here Jake is excited about starting. He's giving his spiel to one of the other vendors before the show opened to the public

Jake learns so many practical, hands-on skills from doing events such as these. We count this as an important part of his homeschooling.

We got talking to (or should I say Jake got talking to) the vendors on each side of us. We were pleasantly surprised to learn the couple on one side are the grandparents of a homeschooler we know (well..know of...she is in the next town). How cool is that?

The booth on the other side of us was occupied by a local college. I've never been able to pin down an answer from them regarding admission of homeschoolers to their when there was a lull in the action, I was able to talk to them about this and homeschooling in general. The rep was very nice to talk with. She mentioned she'd never had that question before...but promised to look into it further for me.

We're very thankful to our friends, Soraya and Fred and their five children. They so graciously opened their home to us and put us up for the four nights we were there. (Ohh...and Soraya is a wonderful cook...and her cheesecakes are TO.DIE.FOR!!)

Soraya, Fred and Jael

Jael (as well as all of their children) made quite the impression on Brittney...

and Jake....

As I mentioned, it was a great show. We enjoyed ourselves very much and are hoping to go back next year. On the CFS and fibro front though, I must admit it caused these two ugly conditions to remind me they are still around. I ended up spending a big chunk of the last day, sleeping out in the van. I did help them take down our booth, but on arrival back at our hosts' house, I could barely stand. I was embarrassed but had no other choice...I had to lay down. I went to bed and spent most of that evening sleeping...and right through the night. For the drive home on Sunday, the fibro pain was quite present. Once home, Larry unloaded the van while I rested. I then slept through the night. Monday brought more of the same. I was in and out of sleep most of the day and barely remember the kids fooling around on the computer beside my bed or them saying goodnight.

Apparently, Larry tried to wake me around ten and then again around midnight...but was unable to. (I don't recall any of this either) He eventually gave up and threw a cover over me, where I slept soundly until the alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. I was still fully dressed. More of the same today (and at times like this, I'm grateful for my adjustable bed, laptop and ocean to look at ;))

I'm thinking from now on, I may leave the selling part to the 'experts' and I'll stick to the making part.