Sunday, February 15, 2015

Waterloo to Port-aux-Basque

Back in Waterloo - Feb 2014
I was astonished at the amount of snow in Waterloo.  Snow banks at least 6 feet high framed the sidewalks!  The house nestled into giant snow drifts.  I crept silently into the house and as I removed my boots, Tucker peeked at me around the corner, I crouched down and invited him into my arms … I’ve never seen his tail wag so hard.  But my reunion with Tuck didn’t last long.  Moments later Syd wiggled down the hall crying in excitement.  She dashed past me to grab a shoe, and turned to give it to me.  And then … Alfie.  He never does anything by halves.  He barked and jumped and then jumped some more.  What a welcome.  I sat on the sofa with Steve, who had developed a bad cold, and the cats soon joined us.  Ahhhh, to be home with my family!
Over the next 3 days Steve and I worked to get the house ready for the packers.  Because it was winter, the moving company refused to move liquids.  So we selected ~60 bottles from our wine collection  which we would move in the van.  Much of what remained was consumed during our dinners with friends to welcome me home … and then again to say good-bye.  It was a torture to leave all my canned goods behind.  All the work in the gardens, all the work to process and can it … but we just couldn’t bring it all.  I put aside 20 mason jars to bring with us, and I gave the rest to Jean.  We cleaned out the fridge and freezers and gave away or donated what we could.  Steve put together a box of clothes and another full of our camping gear.  We needed the bare minimum at the house in Newfoundland until our household furniture was delivered.  In the end we had a huge pile of stuff to move in the van.  Somehow we would have to get it all in!
The packers arrived … 4 guys.  At the end of the first day they announced that they would return the next day with 6 guys … and they did.  At the end of the second day all was packed except for our bed and window treatments. 

All Packed
Two days later, our stuff was loaded into the biggest moving van I have ever seen, filling it about 1/3rd full.  Apparently 3 other homes would be loaded into the truck with our stuff, and the whole lot moved to Newfoundland.  I was very surprised that 3 other families were moving to Newfoundland in February!
Don't forget the canoe!
That night we headed to the Waterloo Inn.  A treat, so we thought, a chance to get a good night sleep before the long drive began.  Well, the room was tiny … and the d├ęcor dated, and not really all that clean!  Steve was still quite sick and he dropped into the bed and fell asleep right away.  I lay on the bed, my mind going a mile a minute, listening to a party rage in the next room.  I didn’t sleep, couldn't sleep.  Outside the snow fell ... in the morning we'd pack up the van and follow the storm east.  After a sleepess night (for me) we left the pups in the room and headed to the dining room for the $5 dollar breakfast buffet.  It was fantastic!  We ate our fill, and even sneaked out some toast and eggs for the pups back in the room.
The snow had stopped during the night, and it was clear and cold.  We hurried back to the house and packed the van to bursting with all our stuff … our wine plus everything that we’d need to survive until our furniture caught up to us, including our coffee maker.  Then, we loaded the cats ... poor kitties, they cried and yeowled in their kennels as we used bungee cords to tie the kennels down … they were terrified!  Then we stuffed in the dogs ... there was barely enough room for them to lie down ... yikes!
We quickly visited our neighbours … our friends … and said our tearful farewells.  It was just after 1 o’clock in the afternoon when we pulled away.

Heading East
The sun shone bright in the clear blue sky as we headed east.  When we finally got through Toronto I fell asleep for an hour … thank God!  It was a perfect day for a road trip.  After about an hour, the cats finally settled.  Every now and then Miss Myst or Phynn would yeowl, but mostly they were quiet.  We had put the kennels where the cats could clearly see the dogs, and I think that helped a bit.
401 through Toronto
We stopped at a service center to get more coffee, fill the thermos and use the rest rooms.  Steve walked the dogs while I checked on the cats.  Rae was quiet, he’s a good boy, but he’s normally very talkative.  Phynn had destroyed everything in his kennel.  The litter box was upside down, his water dish spilled everywhere and his blanket a soiled, wet and disgusting mess.  Miss Myst was more herself, complaining at me as I fussed. 
The van Packed Full

Sunset behind us
We drove through the night, the roads through Quebec were excellent; clear and dry.  The animals slept quietly.  In New Brunswick it snowed, the roads were a bit slushy, but we kept going, a lone vehicle in the snowy night.  We watched for moose along the highway, but we only saw a single hare.  And then the snow stopped, the sky cleared and the stars glowed brightly in the dark sky.  And as we continued east we were treated to a beautiful sunrise! 
Crescent Moon over New Brunswick

Bright Sunrise
We stopped again just outside of Moncton to walk the dogs, check on the cats and eat a little.  We were both feeling a bit ill.  But after a good breakfast and a little rest we got back into the van.  The sun was warm and bright when we crossed into Nova Scotia. 
We could not have wished for a better day!  We had come this way before, on vacations and always in the summer.  Everything looks so bright and white in the sun!  We saw several Bald Eagles on Cape Breton Island. 

Cape Breton
Twenty-four hours after we left Waterloo, we pulled into the North Star motel, just up the hill from the ferry terminal in North Sydney.  We were booked on the midnight ferry and couldn’t board the ferry for another 9 hours, so we drove to a motel to rest … maybe even sleep.  We played with the dogs outside, gave them a good run.  The sun was bright and there was a strong, cold, biting wind.
I got all the cats into the bathroom and let them out.  While they checked out the room I cleaned their litter boxes and freshened their water.  I put down some food, but they only nibbled at it.  I murmured softly while I worked, happy that Rae responded, but the moment that I put his kennel back together he crawled in and huddled at the back.  Myst did the same, watching me from the very back of her kennel.  Phynn’s kennel was a mess, so I put in a clean blanket, more litter and more water and when I was done Phynn settled in ON TOP of his. 
I closed them in the bathroom … I had no appetite for chasing them around a hotel room, and went to relax on the bed with Steve.  We couldn’t sleep.  This was the scariest part of the journey … the ferry crossing to Newfoundland.  Outside, the wind continued to blow.  Steve checked for messages on his old phone ... my sister-in-law had left a message ... I had not hear for her for years, and out of blue, she called.  I called her back and let her know that we were in the middle of moving.  She was very surprised!
Finally, it was time, we loaded the van again.  I closed the doors on Myst and Rae as they watched from the back of their kennels, and then scooped Phynn into his cage.  He went crazy … within seconds he had flipped the litter-box into his water bowl.  I unlocked the cage and he popped out, all friendly-like … the little bugger.  So, I pulled everything out … everything … and shoved him back in.  He proceeded to toss the litter from the bottom of the cage out the door at me!  I cursed at him and loaded him into the van.  Miss Myst softly mewed at me when I put her kennel into the van, but Rae was silent.
We drove to the terminal, got our ticket and cabin key.  They also gave us a sign to put on the dash.  It indicated that our pets were in the van … so that we would be parked in a ‘warmer’ section of the boat.  I thought about Phynn, no blanket, and so I took his dirty blankets and crammed them into the cage with him.  I couldn’t stand the idea of his shivering through the crossing.  It was still cold … but the wind had died down.  The ocean was as smooth as glass, at least the crossing would be easy.  And then … we boarded the ferry, “The Blue Puttee” and parked with a group of people who all worked to make their cars comfortable for their pets before they left them.  We wrapped some baby Gravol in meat and fed it to the pups.  We closed the door and headed up to our cabin.  They were on their own for the next 6 hours … at least.
We found our cabin then we went to the cafeteria to eat a little before we took some Gravol ourselves … and then … as the ferry prepared to leave the terminal, I dashed down to the van to check on the dogs.  I just needed to know how they were doing.  I approached with stealth and peeked into the van.  They were all sleeping.   

Sneaking up on the van

Watching our old life slip away!
Feeling better, I met Steve at the bar and sipped some wine while the ferry pulled away from the terminal.  As the lights slowly receded into the night, we returned to our cabin, showered and lay down on the bunks ... exhausted. 
Our cabin
The bunks were sooooooo comfortable.  I was feeling lightheaded, all that driving and then the wine on top of that.  I listened to Steve sleeping in the next bunk … and then fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.  I awoke to loud banging and a strange jerking sensation.  I looked out our tiny window to see huge chunks of sea ice float past as the ferry shuttered and broke through.  Then suddenly the whole place jerked sideways and I fell into Steve’s bunk … his snoring continued.  Our cabin was several stories above the ocean, and I wondered how loud it was down on the parking level.  There was nothing to be done, I lay back down hoping that the dogs were still drugged and sleeping … and eventually fell back to sleep. 
We both woke up to the intercom “bing bong bing”, informing passengers that the ferry was about 30 minutes from the terminal in Port-aux-Basque Newfoundland.  Steve had slept straight through the night!  We scrambled to get dressed and pack up our bags.  We were about to embark on the last leg of our journey:  The drive across Newfoundland.

Six weeks in St. John's

Going back to Jan 2014 - I'm writing from the journals that I kept.  Once it's posted I'm less likely to forget or lose them.
On January 1st, I officially worked in Newfoundland, even though I was still in Ontario.  My flight to St John’s was booked for January 4th … at 6 in the morning.  Steve and I spent our last evening together with Jean and Joe, staying long into the night … I had a short nap, and the airport transit van picked me up at 3 in the morning.  At the Air Canada Desk, I checked in and wandered down to the gate … and then … my flight was cancelled!  Bad weather (snow, snow, snow) in St. John’s … so I was put on “Stand-By” and I sat in the airport with hundreds of others waiting.  Then we heard the news:  An electrical transformer had exploded in Holyrood, a small town in Newfoundland and the entire Avalon was plunged into darkness … and the storm continued to rage!  All flights into St. John’s were cancelled for the day … and I was (finally) re-booked on a flight on January 7th.  Air Canada really doesn’t do ‘Customer Service' well at all!  Exhausted, I searched for my luggage and then headed back to the Air Transport kiosk to return home. For 3 days Newfoundland worked to restore power with the temperatures well below zero.
Leaving for the airport - Take care everyone!
On January 7th I headed back to the airport.  The temperature in southern Ontario was brutally cold -28 degrees C … and when I got there, all incoming flights had been cancelled, and nothing was leaving either.  It didn’t look good!  After several delays … adding up to 6 hours, I was airborne and heading to my new life in Newfoundland.
Where's the plane?
I arrived after 10 that night (local time), rented a car and found my way to a Supermarket and then to my hotel; well, actually the apartment.  My company had arranged for me to stay in a small 1 bedroom apartment just below Signal Hill.  It took me some time to put my things away and fall asleep, in fact I slept-in the next morning, I didn’t leave for work until 8:00 am.  It took me almost an hour to find my new office … and it was only supposed to take me 11 minutes!  But I got a little lost, and with all the snow I couldn’t pull over anywhere to check my map.  When I finally zeroed in on the place, I passed it!  I couldn’t see it over the giant snow banks!  Finally I parked my car and struggled to the door … the wind almost took me down … twice! 
My home for six weeks
It was good to meet up with some old friends again, in fact I knew more people that I thought that I would.  During the days that followed, I learned the new systems, sorted through the new benefits program and attended day after day of training. 
St John's (from the top of Signal Hill)
Eventually I began working at Long Harbour itself, carpooling with old friends from my days at Research, lol!
At night I hunted around to find rental accommodation that would take dogs … three weeks later I found a place!  In Bay Roberts Newfoundland!
Our new home

This close to the sea!
Every single night I called home.  Sometimes Steve would hold the phone up to the dogs’ ears … and only Alfie knew that it was me.  He wagged his tail madly at the sound of my voice.  I really missed everyone!
I promised Steve that I’d wait for him to do any sight-seeing.  That promise was easy to keep.  The weather sucked!  But … since I was so close, I drove up to Signal Hill almost every day.  It was way cool watching the ocean and the sky, always so dramatic … and seeing bald eagles soar below me! 
Fort Amhurst and Cape Spear

St. John's

St. John's (again)

iconic Cabot Tower
And on one of the worst weather days I visited the Geo Center, just below Cabot Tower.  With winds screeching at more than 130 km/hr, I was one of seven people visiting the place that day.  I really enjoyed my visit and want to go back to walk the trails in the ECO-Park next door.  But there was no walking outside that day!  And I signed as a guest at the YMCA.  I worked really hard to look after myself.  I ate well, and went to the Y to ride the bikes and zumba.  I lost all the weight that I had gained since October.  Yahoooo!

I returned to the house in Bay Roberts to do some cleaning and take measurements for carpets and drapes.  Eddie, Katie and Brian dropped by to see me, and we all headed out to walk a nearby trail.

Brian, Katie and Eddie (All have worked in Research)

Funny pic of me emerging from an outhouse along the trail

what a place!

 Soooooo, I had a place to live and I had to find something else to obsess about.  Now I worried about the actual move, and the long drive ahead of us.  It’s been a hard winter … storm after storm … just relentless.  I was really worried about moving the pets … mostly Silver and Tucker.  Tucker hates car rides … he curls into a tiny ball … and vomits repeatedly.  Silver has a heart condition … and she’s so old.
And then … well, when I made the daily call home, Steve told me that Silver wasn’t doing well.  He was giving her some medication from the vet, but chances were slim that she would survive.  The next day, he cried when he told me that she had died.  It was her heart … and the stress of the move ... she died a week before I could come home for the move.  I’ll have to be content with the kiss and hug I gave her when I left … I didn’t think that it would be good-bye forever.  I really feel bad for Steve … he had to go though it alone.  So, good-bye my sweet Silver-Girl, you will be missed.
On the morning of February 14th, I went to work at the office in St. Johns … rather than the plant site in Long Harbour.  Outside a storm raged, and I was so afraid that my flight back to Waterloo wouldn’t make it out.  I checked the Air Canada site every 30 minutes, and shook my head when a plow piled snow all around my car in the parking lot.  The snow changed to rain around noon, turning the parking lot and the road beyond into a lake of slush.  And the wind blew!  I was able to dig myself out of the mire and headed to the airport … and amazingly … my flight was only delayed by 20 minutes.  The takeoff was a bit iffy, the wind battered the plane as we soared into the night sky. 
I was headed back to Waterloo for the next stage of the move.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

November 29 - Layouts at Last!

I actually finished these last weekend, but it gets dark so early I just can't get pictures of them ... until today.  Today was sunny and bright, the first snowfall of the year pristine on the trees.  This is what greeted me when I looked out my bedroom window this morning!  And yes, I do live on a steep hill, this is Newfoundland!

Oh what a beautiful morning!

So no more delays, I used Sketch Support 2-Page Sketch #6.

I've used it before, I love it because I can stretch a single picture over 2 pages, for extra impact.  Here's one I did a while ago.  These pictures were taken during our vacation in 2009, while we hiked the rugged shores of Lake Superior.
Exploring Superior

And this is one of my new layouts ... as you see, the picture arrangement is pretty much the same, but I changed up the background ... instead of squares, I used snowflakes.  The snowflakes are all 3-D.  I used tiny pieces of foam to keep all the detail up off the page.
Algonquin farewell
Last year, while we prepared for the big move, and for my departure to Newfoundland, I knew that we had to visit Algonquin Park one last time.  We visited many of our favorite trails and we talked about our adventures.  Algonquin is truly a wonderful place.  These pictures are of our final moments in the park, before we loaded into the van to leave ... an Algonquin farewell!
Snowflake detail.

Layout detail
 OK, again the same sketch but I really made some variations.  I don't know where to start, so ... well, here it is ...

International Cruzin'
 During our 8-week cross Canada vacation in 2008 we stopped at Waterton Lakes National Park, which is also part of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.  We took a scenic cruise from the Waterton Townsite at the north end of Waterton Lake to a place called Goat Haunt USA.  Rugged mountain vistas surround the lake ... really beautiful!  And to make it perfect, a bald eagle soared overhead.  I used metallic floss in shades of blues and greens to make the waves.

International Cruizin' detail

And then the last one, when I learned that I would have to move everyone to Newfoundland, one of my first thoughts (or worries) was for our cat, Silver. 

When I returned from vacation in 2008, I was informed that my Aunt Marjory was found unconscious in her apartment and was in the hospital.  When I went to see her she was coming to grips with the reality that she would never go home again.  She begged me to go to her apartment and take her cat ... who had been alone for more than a week.  That's how I got Silver ... just like that I had another cat. 

Steve and I took her to the vet and found out that she had a heart condition, and with care she might last another couple of years.  And now more than 5 years later I worried about taking her with us to Newfoundland.  Well, of course she had to come ... I couldn't leave her to anyone else.  She was so old ... I 'd take her on my lap if that's what it took.  She didn't make it.  She died of heart failure a week before the move.  So, this layout is for Silver, my funny, chatty and always sweet girl, she will be missed.

I outlined the "squares" with white and silver sequins and grey seed beads.  I ran squares of photo paper and foil through my cuttlebug for some of the empty squares and finished with pink and silver bling-hearts.  It is SOOOOO Silver!

Silver detail
 I've got 2 more almost done ... using this same sketch, and another two coming along ... using different ideas.  It's still slow going ... but at least it's going!

Update:  Even more Layouts!!!

Rather than put up another entry, I'm just editing this one.  Sunday night and 2 more layouts done!

Again, Sketch Support 2-Page Sketch #6, for the first one.  I called this 'armchair Storm Chasers'.  We were supposed to be camping at Ivanhoe Provincial Park with friends during the summer of 2007, but the sites were pretty much all sand and camping on sand ... in the rain didn't appeal to anyone.  Steve and Jeff headed out to find a better site ... and came back with this ... a small cottage at Red Pines Lodge instead.  We all agreed that our visit would be very comfortable in the cottage!  While we were outside a thunderstorm came up quickly ... big fat blobs of rain forced us inside, where Jeff and Steve pulled chairs to the glass door to watch.

armchair Storm Chasers
And then this one.  OK OK, I admit that this one was mostly done before the move, but now it's all done!

I used another Scrapbook Generation Sketch that I downloaded last year ... it was part of the 5x7 package, but now that I look at it ... the photo arrangement does look like the others ... huh ... just bigger, no squares.

Algonquin Park:  Living Colour
Taken in the Fall of 2012, the autumn displays in Algonquin are always spectacular!

I've got 3 layouts with nice big pictures of whales ... I'm obsessing about them, they have to be perfect!  I hope to post them next week!  Thanks for looking ... Bye for now!


Friday, November 21, 2014

So, a lot can happen in a year!

I'm at home today, sick tummy, you know, the "I'd better not stray too far from home" sorta tummy.  And I thought that I'd spend some time looking through my pictures.  Well I couldn't find what I wanted and I remembered that I'd posted some of those pictures on my blog ... go blog!  I've never really looked around behind the actual posts, and today I see that 41 people have visited my blog, just today.  Whaaaaaaaa?  So I decided to post something new ... actually it's a bit of old and new.

So, it's been a bit of stop and go with my layouts.  Admittedly, I'm overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I want to do.  After a bit of messing around I decided to stick with one sketch only and play with it ... so I choose one of my favorites from the old Sketch Support days ... 2 Page Sketch #6.  I've got 6 layouts on the go with some pretty interesting variations.  I'll finish 3 of them on the weekend and post them.

And I've wasted a ton of time looking for stuff ... the electrical cord for my Cricut, the plates for my Cuttlebug, my sanding block.  Then I ran out of adhesives.  I went looking for inspiration at 2Ps and to my horror, it's gone!  So, in time I'd like to have a gallery on my own blog ... that's for another day.  I headed over to Scrapbook to look at their site for sketches and hey, they have a hole new monthly magazine ... CREATE.  That was a very happy surprise.  I have not looked at them all, but I will.  And each month they have free sketches, so I'm going to do some of those soon too.

But right now I'm going to go back a year ... to last fall ...

Oct 2013

Well, as I said in an earlier blog post ... I worked throughout the summer to move our pilot plant, labs and offices to another building.  I took 2 weeks off in October.  On the 2nd, I celebrated my 51st birthday.  Steve gave me different card than the usual, not the flowery, wifey-type birthday card, but this one .....

... I loved it ... but rumours of another deep layoff were circulating at work, and I wondered ...

Well, I enjoyed my vacation at home, spent largely in my gardens.  My order of bulbs came from Vessey’s.  First the garlic, Jean and I worked some organic matter and fertilizers into our old potato patch … and then we planted more than 200 garlic cloves!  Truly a labour of love!  Then I planted more butterfly weed roots, hosta and bee balm into the back gardens.  Finally I planted dozens of tulip bulbs, daffodils, foxtail lilies, crocuses, dwarf  iris, dwarf blue iris and something called glory in the snow into the front garden.  OK, Jean helped.  It was a lot of digging.  We covered the entire garden in chicken wire to protect the bulbs from hungry squirrels. 
And when I returned to work, well … the rumors were raging!  Some went so far as to say that everyone would be let go … and still I wasn’t too worried.  That is, until our Department Head called a meeting to confirm the rumors.  Yes, more layoffs were coming and they would be just as deep as those in June.
After the meeting the speculation began again … who would get chopped this time.   We figured that our department would lose at least 3 more people, out of 9 left. 
You know, I love my job …. I’m good at it, and I work with some really good people, but the constant fear of layoff, it isn’t good for us, it’s not good for productivity either.  I started looking on the internal posting board … something I had never-ever done before.  It was time for me to jump, while there were still jobs to jump to.  But there was nothing.
I worked to get the lab up and running, and then ran some priority lab tests.  My new office was huge, and I had more than enough to fill it … but I had no time to unpack, there was so much to do in the labs.
I let the stress get to me, and having all that Halloween candy around didn’t help!  I started to gain weight …
November, the Next Adventure is Revealed
Well, at least we didn’t have to wait too long; on November 7th the axe fell ... again.  This time, I was on the chopping block … but not really. 
Thankfully I was given a ‘heads-up’ a couple of hours before it actually happened.  My Department Head showed up in the lab and asked to ‘chat’ with me in my office.  I looked up and asked outright, “Are you going to fire me?”, and marched to my office.  We sat down, and he told me that later in the day I would be escorted to the HR offices and that I would be offered a transfer to Long Harbour, Newfoundland.
Whew … dodged that bullet! 
So after he left, I sat in my messy office … unpacked boxes stacked 4 high all around me … and I felt strangely calm.  Eddie, a long-time friend, poked his head in … he had also been given the ‘chat’.   He wanted to know my plans.  It's a funny thing, in just a few minutes I had decided on my path forward.  I had until the end of the year to transfer, and I was going to stay right to the end … December 31st … but with my outstanding vacation my last day of work would be mid-December.  Eddie too had made his plans, he was going to leave in a month for Newfoundland.  We chatted about moving our families and animals.  And we both lamented that our colleague Danijela was terminated, not transferred.
While I waited, I called Steve.  He was shocked, and really angry that I was transferred … and that upset me.
So, as promised I was called into HR, escorted by my Department Head.  It was awful.  All the offices were in use, and a line had formed … A LINE!  Not everyone would be given the chance to transfer and people were upset, and yes there were tears.  Finally I was lead into an office.
Now that the moment was at hand, and even though I thought that I knew what was to come, my heart started pounding, I worried that I would have a heart attack right there!  I didn’t expect the termination letter, but apparently that’s how it’s done!  First the termination, and that was a shock, and then I was given a second letter … an offer to transfer.  I wanted to talk to Steve before I signed, but I left with the promise that I’d get back to them the next day.  Meanwhile, more of our friends were terminated and left that very day. 
I sat in my office … truly it would be a relief to get out from under all the responsibilities, all the crap.  Steve called me … he had given it more thought was he was OK, he understood that it was a good move for me.  I turned to the boxes piled all around and spent the rest of the day unpacking and getting rid of files that I would no longer need and filing the files that would be needed by my replacement.
That night, while the dogs enjoyed the snow outside, I told my friend Jean, she wrapped her arms around me and we both cried and cried.  When she finally released me from her embrace, she laughed and said “What am I going to do with all that garlic!”
Long Harbour Operations … I know many of the people there and I’ve worked with them many times over the years, in fact I had a hand in training some of them.  The Plant Managers were very happy to take me … saving a job in research for someone else.  The next day I signed the offer making it official.
So, we needed to move to Newfoundland … The Next Adventure!  Geez I hated doing that to Steve, and our pets!  Newfoundland … in the winter!  Figures. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hurricane Gonzalo - our first hurricane

We were a little nervous last night.  We even tied the BBQ to the deck.  The Weather Network had predicted that we would start feeling the effects sometime between midnight and 3 AM.  I was up at 3 and at 5, when Steve put the pups out to pee, but ... nothing.  Then at ~5:30 the rain pounded on our skylight.  We made coffee and sat down in the living room.  We could hear thumping against the house, but we waited until sunrise before we headed out to investigate.  Up and down the street we could hear the steady thud of thousands of chestnuts falling onto roofs, decks and cars from the hundred year old chestnut trees that line the road  It was fairly warm out, and the front porch was sheltered from the wind, so we brought our coffee out onto the porch to watch.  Waves of wind and rain.  Then we decided to head out to Mad Rock to see what the ocean was doing.

Mad Rock juts out into Conception Bay ... not out into the open ocean, so we didn't see the waves that the news was currently reporting.  Steve is a real weather junkie, so he walked to the point to feel the wind.  I sat warm and dry in the car and took his picture.  He was soaked when he got back inside.  We watched for ~30 minutes and then headed home.  By the time we got home, the rain had stopped and the sun was shinning.  That was it, 3 hours of rain and wind, and Hurricane Gonzalo raced away into the north Atlantic.

Steve at Mad Rock
I spent hours yesterday and today working on my scrapbooking.  I was nowhere near ready to start!  Oh, my scrapbook papers, my tools, my desk ... they were ready.  I had downloaded all my pictures from my camera, and scanned all my sketchbooks.  I edited my pictures to fit the sketches that I had decided upon ... and then ... no photo paper.  I still had not unpacked my photo paper.  So ... I am delayed, but I'm gonna post a couple of teaser pictures anyway.

We live in Newfoundland!!!!

Clowning around!

I'm ready for my close up!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Hey, I'm baaaaack!

Well, I'm going to keep this short. It has been a very busy year for Steve and I ... and I did indeed keep a journal, so I'll be able to share some of the highlights here. But for now I'll say that the biggest news is .... we now live in Newfoundland!

Steve and I moved 3500 kms from Ontario to the east coast of Canada. And now, I finally have my scrapbook supplies unpacked and somewhat organized!  I have so much stuff! I've taken thousands of pictures since we got here and I'm looking through the Scrapbook Generation Sketchbooks for ideas. It's going to be a stormy weekend here on the Avalon ... the first hurricane since we moved here, Gonzalo, is set to sweep past the island in about 24 hours ... so I'm hoping to spend the weekend sitting at my scrapbook desk, working on my first scrapbook layout in 18 months!

Oh .... sigh ... So hard to decide what I'll do first ... should I do icebergs or whales or puffins ...

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Catching things up - Summer 2013

To celebrate the start of the summer, Steve and I organized a pot luck dinner with our close neighbours.  It was a smash-hit.  Good food, beautiful weather and even better people, it was so much fun.  Here's a look at some of the food.

Lobster tails and crab legs .... mmmmmmmm
There was chicken done 2 ways, and even BBQ ribs ... done 2 ways.  What a feast!

What a spread!
And the gardens bloomed!

Japanese Maple and Peony

Baby Plums
Sunshine Rose

and Sydney, Tucker and Alfie were there too.

At the end of June, the axe fell at work.  Layoffs.  Research lost ~25% of our staff.  I think that most of us were in shock when it happened ... and with texting, we all got a blow by blow report as our friends lost their jobs.  The very next day, the head of our division brought us all together.  We were no longer "Research", but now would be known as the "Technology Excellence Center" or TEC.  The cuts were deep, but it was done and we would be safe from future cuts.  We all breathed a little easier after that.  But in order to cut costs further, they planned on selling the building that I worked in ... the building where the pilot plant was located ... and the labs!  So for the rest of the summer we all worked to decommission the circuits and the equipment and prepared everything to be moved.  Some went to storage, and some was sent to our new location.  We packed up the labs and our offices ... and by the end of September we had moved everything, well mostly everything, and we were settling into the new labs.  I really hate moving!

The summer issue of Canadian Scrapbooker hit the stands, and I was pleased that my layout was selected as an "Editors Pick".  One of two ... and they sent me a nice prize!

It's out!
Meanwhile, at home my garden grew and grew.  I enlarged my butterfly garden and planted more butterfly bushes.  Funny thing ... only a few butterflies visited my yard, and I saw only a handful of honey bees.  But the garden was busy with bumblebees and hummingbirds!  Oh ... praying mantis too.

Really hard to see praying mantis

Bumblebee on a blazing star

Bumblebee on Honeycomb Butterfly Bush

Bumblebee on bi-colour Butterfly Bush

Hummer feeding from Purple Butterfly Bush

Another hummingbird

and another
Every Saturday morning Steve and I enjoyed our coffee out in the garden watching all the hummingbird action.  But I missed the butterflies ... I only saw 4 Monarchs all season.  They had a bad year in Mexico last winter, freezing temperatures killed millions of them.  So Jean and I devised a plan for next year.  We collected seeds from several milkweed species:  Common, Swamp and Tropical.  Next year we'll plant them everywhere!

We had plums all summer.  Our tree has 5 different grafts ... oh so juicy, the juice would spray out and down our chins.  Oh, just look at them!

And our veggie garden thrived, the plants heavy with fruit!


Tomato Patch

And because our summer pot luck went over so well, Jean planned a summer picnic ... right in our own back yards!

What a spread!

Games too!

Tossing Washers

Watching the game ... so serious!

Now Dora, that's cheating.

I just love my neighbours ... what a great place to live!  And to make the yards even better, I planted 4 new trees:  A beautiful little white spruce, a while pine that softly waves in the breeze, and 2 sugar maples.  I also planted 2 new gardens.  One under the huge cedars ... a woodland garden filled with hosta, astilbe, columbine, ferns, bleeding hearts and primulas.  Out front I planted a more formal garden with Japanese painted ferns, hibiscus, iris and autumn splendor ferns ... and I ordered a ton of bulbs from Vessey's:  tulips and daffodils and crocus and garlic!  This will be my "Year of the Garden"!

As the summer came to a close ... I began to plan some long overdue scrapbook pages, scrapbook season is almost here!