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February 4, 2008

A taste of Nova Scotia

I thought I'd share a little of my beautiful home with my fellow February bloggers (and anyone else who happens along!)

Today, I was listening to this beautiful love song - love song to Nova Scotia, that is - written and sung by our own Rita MacNeil. Her lyrics are perfect - we who live here certainly do feel we've discovered a treasure!

Nova Scotians (aka "bluenosers") have long been defined by the sea. The late, great, Stan Rogers captured this perfectly in his song about our namesake schooner the "Bluenose". She's long gone to her watery grave, but we remain inordinately proud of her and our seafaring heritage!

By the way, we're not really sure where the name Bluenose comes from...among the several theories is one speculating that the fishermen of days gone by wore wool sweaters which were dyed blue. When out in the fog fishing, their noses would run and they'd swipe them with their sweaters, the dye would rub off, and voila, literally bluenosers! Another is that the term is related to a ubiquitous blue potato that used to be grown in the Annapolis Valley. Who knows? The term stuck, that's all I can tell you for sure!


If you want to see my beautiful province through my eyes, head over to Slow Photos and check out my new album "Nova Scotia".

But first let's end with some humour (and I fear to say it, but...yes, many of the following ring true!)

Continue reading "A taste of Nova Scotia" »

April 29, 2008

Rejuvenating my soul

The spirit moved me to go to the ocean yesterday...I packed a picnic lunch and a book (Donna Leon's Doctored Evidence) and headed off to Chebucto Head.

I have been going out to this place since I was about 17. It is one of my absolute favourite spots in all the world...my soul finds peace here on the rocks, as I inhale the salt air and listen to the roar and shush of the ocean.

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 4:7)

"May God, who clothes creation in love mend each rift and strengthen each seam, that threads of hope and strands of healing may be woven wherever we journey."
(Rev. Valerie)

Here are some of the photos I took...

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May 13, 2008

City centre oasis

Halifax is fortunate to have beautiful Public Gardens. The noise reducing leafy green canopy is a bit sparser than a few years ago - many of the huge old trees blew over in 2003, victims of Hurricane Juan - but still a serene place of peace in the middle of the city. It's only a few minutes walk from my office building so I often go for a stroll around the grounds during my lunch break, sometimes with my sister, other times alone or with co-workers. The gardens are closed during the winter, but recently reopened for the year. Here are a few images from my visit yesterday:

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May 14, 2008

Where I spend my days...

Not much going on today so I took a few photos of my cubicle, and of the view from my window. Unfortunately our windows are a tad cloudy - not dirty, just cloudy between the double panes...and I know they are not dirty because they were cleaned not so very long ago - I glanced up one day and there were two men sitting on a board outside my 10th floor window!! I'll try to take replacement photos some day when the sun is not reflecting so much, but will post these for now.

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May 19, 2008

Alt for Norge

Chiocciola's post about Norwegian Constitution Day reminded me of a Nova Scotian-Norwegian connection.

(Actually I have my own personal connection, too - my hubby's paternal genes are Norwegian. So we have made a note to attend next year's celebration hosted by the embassy in Halifax. I hadn't even known there was one until after reading Chiocciola's post and then doing some research...but I digress.)

According to Norway's official site in Canada:

In Halifax, the Norwegians set up offices for the Royal Norwegian Navy and Nortraship as well as a hospital, a seamen's church and a seamen's club. In November of 1940 they established a training facility, called Camp Norway, in Lunenburg to train gunners for Norwegian merchant ships. They also bought a hotel in Chester in which they set up a convalescent home for sick and injured seamen.

Here is a photo of the Norwegian memorial monument in Chester, Nova Scotia:
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Charming Chester

When looking up my photo for my last post about the Norwegian connection, I found the following photos taken the same day. We'd gone on a family outing to Chester (me and my daughters, mom, sister and niece), and naturally I had my camera with me!

Front Harbour:
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Back Harbour:
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May 20, 2008

A beautiful day

Valerie and I went for a marvellous drive along the Fundy coast to Cape d'Or today.

Strangely for me, I forgot to take any photos this day. But here's a video I found on youtube to give you a glimpse of this spectacular spot.

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May 22, 2008

A beautiful day...as seen through Valerie's eyes.

Each week on Thursday, Valerie sends an email to our entire congregation (or at least to those who've provided their email addresses) as a way of keeping in touch between Sundays. This email is often a newletter of sorts, telling us what's going on in upcoming Sundays, letting us know who is need of our prayers and support through difficult times, keeping us up to date on our sponsored refugee family's situation, and other congregational news. Or it might be a call to offer up our talents toward various ministries, such as youth group, prayer shawls, funerals, music, etc. Recently she invited us to "give some prayerful consideration to what your gifts are and if, in fact, you are being called by God". She wrote: "I do not yet know your name but I do know God is calling – Do you not hear?"

Other weeks, her emails are reminders to "take the time to experience the presence of God in the people around you and the places you find yourselves in. In the darker moments and in those times of complete joy, God is there and we are indeed blessed."

But today, her email included a reflection on our coastal drive, which I wrote about myself yesterday, so I want to share it with you in full...

Continue reading "A beautiful day...as seen through Valerie's eyes." »

May 24, 2008

More of the Public Gardens

In my last post about the Public Gardens, I forgot to post a photo of the lovely huge gates at the entrance. So here they are:

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July 8, 2008

Congrats to Joggins Fossil Cliffs!

Joggins Fossil Cliffs in Nova Scotia was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site yesterday. These cliffs contain the world’s most complete fossil record of life in the “Coal Age”, and are a beautiful place to visit. In fact, I just might take a drive up this weekend!

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July 24, 2008

Fun along the Fundy Coast

We haven't made it to Joggins yet, but we did go for a lovely tour of the Fundy Coast last weekend, stopping in B: Maitland and C: Burntcoat Head.

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This was a beautiful drive, cutting across the province through the Rawdon Hills, winding along the Fundy Coast and back home. We had a fantastic day, enjoying the shoreline, a tasty meal, and a stop in a cluttered old junk shop where Ginger found a couple regency romance novels (her current fad) and I found a small carafe in which to serve my table wine.

Here are some images so you can travel along with us...
(warning - there are a lot of photos following!)

Continue reading "Fun along the Fundy Coast" »

September 25, 2008

White Point Resort

A few photos from my recent overnight staff retreat at White Point Resort on Nova Scotia's gorgeous South Shore.

Unfortunately all I had for a camera was my cell phone, which I turned off and left in the cottage for the evening, so I have no photos of the "team building" exercises...you know, wine drinking, bonfire on the beach, roasting marshmallows, MUCH laughter and foolishness, playing in the surf fully clothed at midnight, drinking more wine, getting pushed into the outdoor pool (after I'd changed into my one remaining dry pair of jeans), playing pool and shuffleboard, going swimming in the outdoor pool at 3:30 in the morning (hey, I was already wet, why not?!)

Yes, we did actually do "real" staff development stuff during the day - although personally I think the above activities are much stronger team builders than all the facilitated sessions in the world. But in this case, we had fun during the formal sessions too. We did Myers-Briggs personality typing. I've done it before and scored as an INTP (slight on the T), but this time scored as INFP (slight on the F) and after reading quite extensively on both, I have to say the INFP fits me better. Does anyone else know what their MB type is?

There are bunny rabbits all over the place at this resort, which will eat out of your hand (sometimes two at a time!) And you can even get all the free bags of bunny food you want from the front desk.

But here are the photos I took inside ocean front cottage #19, and of the views from the veranda of my cottage:

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May 5, 2009

Would you rather be...

...spending the week in Nova Scotia...

My backyard:
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The weather forecast for the upcoming week:

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...or spending the week in Bermuda:

Elbow beach (I think...photo "borrowed" from my friend Aaron's facebook album. He and his girlfriend-now wife moved to Bermuda two years ago):
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The weather forecast for the upcoming week:
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Yeah...it's kind of a no brainer, isn't it?! I mean, just look at those marvellous browns and greys and yellows in my backyard, and who doesn't love the rain? Poor Valerie is stuck in Bermuda all week, putting up with all that sunshine and turquoise water, while I relax in my house all damp and cold!! ;) Actually she's there for work so won't be out soaking up the sun the whole time, but hopefully will have some time between meetings and official functions to enjoy the island. Can't wait to hear about her trip though, all I know so far is that she's guest preaching in Hamilton on Sunday, and meeting the Prime Minister at some point. (I told her that I hope she will still deign to hang out with us lowlifes after hobnobbing with the upper crust of Bermuda society...lol)

July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

What a lovely day this was. A midweek holiday, a day off work! A celebration of my fabulous country! A day spent with Dave and our darling daughters! Woohooo!!!

I slept in, and then lazed around for the rest of the morning. M and I got into a funny exchange on Facebook (which was all the funnier because we were sitting in the same room, so silly. Dave just shakes his head at us at such times!) Eventually, I made grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, then we headed off to the Wildlife Park. We used to go there all the time when we lived in the same community as the park, but it's been a few years since we went as a family, although M was there on a school trip last year. On the way, we got stuck behind the Shubenacadie Canada Day parade - and this being farm country, the parade consisted largely of tractor after tractor after tractor! But soon enough, we were past the slow moving farm equipment and arrived at the park. It was really nice strolling through the park with Dave and the girls. The weather was relatively cooperative, overcast and oh so humid and sticky, but at least no rain. The animals were quite active, which I know from experience wouldn't have been the case on a hot, sunny day - those days they spend hiding in their shelters. As I recall, many of the animals at this park have permanent injuries and could not survive in the wild. The pens and habitats are well kept and of a decent size. I'll let the photos that follow illustrate our visit, rather than writing a lengthy description. After the park, we went to Dairy Queen for ice cream - peanut buster parfait, mmmMMM! :) An excellent idea on this muggy day when we were melting in the humidity!

As we were driving home, I wondered what Valerie and her family were doing for Canada Day in Newfoundland...and then laughed at my inner child for missing my bff already when she's only been gone since Sunday. When we got home, there was a message on the machine from Valerie, just wondering what we were up to today...what a lovely coincidence, it would seem her inner child was missing her bff too! I feel blessed, as always, by the close bond we have formed, and think of a quote I read recently: "depth of friendship does not depend on length of acquaintance" (by Rabindranath Tagore). We chatted only briefly when I called her back, was enough just to connect for a few minutes and hear each other's voice. Can't wait to be in Newfoundland...nine days until we leave!!!

We had lasagna for supper, not my own uber-delicious lasagna, but made from scratch by the woman at the local pizzeria and surprisingly tasty. We ate casually while watching Ghost Town on the On Demand movie channel. Quite an amusing movie, although decidedly lightweight (which was exactly what I was in the mood for, so it was perfect!)

Then Dave took the girls to pick up a rental movie while I cleaned up the supper mess (I volunteered to do that, mostly because was feeling too lazy to go out to the store!) They chose The Secret Life of Bees. A wonderful movie, although keep the tissue box handy! M, Sara and I were all teary eyed in a couple spots. And now am off to bed, because I have to get up early in the morning. :( Many people at work took either Mon-Tues off, or Thurs-Fri to get a super long weekend...I would have done the same if I wasn't taking vacation in just nine days (did I mention only nine days until vacation...not that I'm excited or anything!)

Here are some photos of our visit to the wildlife park:

Continue reading "Happy Canada Day!" »

July 9, 2009

Happy Birthday to Dave!!

We spent last Saturday at Dave's parents and had birthday cake (he even blew out all the candles, although there weren't anywhere near 47 of them on the cake so he got off easy!) My in-laws live on the Northumberland Strait (the body of water between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island...they live on the NS side.) Both of his sisters were there, and their boyfriends (menfriends?), and his two nephews, so it was a wonderful family gathering.

In the afternoon, we went for a lovely walk on the beach. It was overcast, but what else is new...this system moved in June and has been stalled over us for weeks, we were starving for the sunshine!! Part of the time, I wandered around with the girls...at one point, kicking up some spray at them and then they ganged up on me and we all got soaked from splashing in the waves! And then Dave meandered down to join us, and the girls went off on their own looking for beach glass, while he and I just strolled along (while he laughed at me for doing my typical little kid things like holding hands, but walking backward because our footprints just looked cool that way...or marvelling at how the water presses out of the sand when you step down, which I've noticed before but it always strikes my fancy.)

My present to the photo-hating Dave will be to not post any photos of him on his birthday! :) But here are a few photos we took at the beach with his Blackberry, because I forgot my camera.

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Continue reading "Happy Birthday to Dave!!" »

August 3, 2009

Woohoo, long weekend!!

(I interrupt the regularly scheduled run of vacation entries in order to tell you what I did this weekend!)


The first Monday is August is a civic holiday for many folks around here. It is Natal Day, celebrating the founding of Halifax. Although Dave and I both work in Halifax, we live outside the city and never go into the Natal Day celebrations but hey, we're not going to turn down a holiday! Plus we had Friday off. We work an extra half hour every day, which builds up to give us a day off every three weeks. I love it when my modified day coincides with an already long weekend and I get four days off - it's like a mini-vacation!

Friday...had a lazy morning, wrote in my blog, did some laundry, caught up on my church treasurer stuff, helped Dave put the steps into the pool. We went along to Valerie's house for supper, and then to the new Harry Potter movie. We would have gone when it first came out, but...there are no movie theatres in Central Newfoundland! I found this HP movie rather slow and draggy...in fact, when we came out, Valerie and I were looking for the "If you didn't like this movie, it's free" signs so we could get our money back, but none were in sight. It wasn't exactly bad though, just really slow plus, as Mark pointed out, the actors are getting past the point of being convincing teenagers. Our own gaggle of teenagers all seemed to love it though.

Saturday...I don't think I did much of anything, at least if I did, it apparently didn't leave a lasting impression since am drawing a blank! I wrote in my blog, did some housework, including more laundry (where DOES it all come from??!) Just general puttering around. Dave spent much of the afternoon flaked on the couch, his energy sapped by the humidity.

Sunday...went to church, then along to Dave's parents. Church was lovely. I love the intimate informality of the summer services, I have to say. We always start with a hymn sing where folks just call out what they want to sing. In her sermon this week, Valerie spoke of our Gros Morne trip, specifically when she, K and I took the boat up Western Brook Pond and were awed by the wonders of God's creation. So naturally I was fascinated! After church, I went up to my Mom's for a couple hours and had a nice visit with her. I showed her some of my vacation photos and she filled me in on what she's been up to lately. My sister Lynn arrived just as I was ready to leave, so it was fun to see her and my adorable niece, even if just for a few minutes. Then I took the girls up to Dave's parents for the day. His mom had called Saturday and said we should come along since his two sisters and their families would be there. Dave didn't feel like going, so Sara, M and I went without him! We had a wonderful day.

As soon as we arrived, Dave's mom said everyone's at the beach, let's go. So on with our swimsuits and away we went. The beach was fun - super warm water and sandbars that go on forever.
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Continue reading "Woohoo, long weekend!!" »

September 12, 2009

A colourful assortment...

I ended up having the day off yesterday, so Valerie and I went for a marvellous drive down the South Shore, stopping at various gift shops and antique stores along the way. One place really caught our eye, and we just had to stop in and admire the vibrant colours and spinning bits of fun!

The Whirlygig Factory

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Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of their handmade wooden whirlygigs, but there were lots of whimsical pieces around. Some were boats, with the oars and/or paddles spinning. Others were mermaids, one was in a hammock, too cute!

We stopped in Chester, and I was surprised to learn that Valerie had never been to Chester, she had driven past, but had never actually gone into the village. So it was fun for me to walk around with her, and talk about how I used to spend time here in my younger years. (We had a sailboat, which we pretty much lived on during the summer when not in school. Much of the time, we sailed out of Chester, although also spent a summer in Summerside, PEI, and once sailed over to the Magdalene Islands, which voyage remains one of my favourite sailing adventures ever...even if we did nearly sink ourselves hitting a reef in a hurricane on the way back to the mainland!)

We parked the car in the Warp and Woof Gallery parking lot and then went for a stroll around the village. (Parking's rather scarce in Chester, we did go into the gift shop and look around, but...yeah, we pushed the concept of customer parking a bit far :) Oh well!) We strolled along the front harbour, around to the back harbour, then up over the hill to the centre of the village, where we checked out a couple more shops and had lunch. We ate at the Fo'c'sle Tavern, which has been in business since the late 1800's and is quite a local landmark. I had beer battered haddock and fries, and Valerie had a chicken wrap of some kind and fries. Good food and decently priced (as to be expected from a tavern!)

After lunch, we wandered back down to the car and carried on to Mahone Bay. Mahone Bay is such a pretty little town, well known for its three lovely waterfront churches.

Continue reading "A colourful assortment..." »

February 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

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March 13, 2010

The sky's the limit

I took these photos from my back deck last Tuesday evening. I am constantly amazed how quickly the light and colour of the sky can change. There is literally 4 minutes between the first and last of the following photos. I snapped a photo of the sunset, turned and took a pic of Moira, and turned back for a final shot of the sunset. How cool that the sky changed so fast from orange to pink! And of course, Moi is looking gorgeous, as always!! :)

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Oh by the way, Moi somehow talked me into letting her get her nose pierced for her birthday recently - if you look closely, you can see the little stud she got.

March 23, 2010

Cool ice formation

A coworker of Dave's emailed this photo to me with the comment: "Dave thought you might like to see this. Seen on Jan. 1st." I thought to myself ah yes, Dave knows me well! What an awesome image.


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April 9, 2010

Gratitude Friday...nature's scenery

I am filled with enthusiastic, joyful, shout-from-the-rooftops gratitude for the amazingly beautiful wonders of nature!! I never tire of the scenes unfolding around me. Each and every sunrise and sunset seems to cover the world with ever changing patterns of light and shadow, shades of glowing colours. I have discovered that I truly love the quiet of early morning at the campground...when nobody else is up and I can sit alone at the lakeshore, listening to the water gently lapping at the shoreline, the wind rustling the marsh grasses, the chorus of birds all around...


A final set of photos from our Easter camping trip...

To my delight, there are red-winged blackbirds in the marshy area by the lake. (I have adored these birds since I was a child.) They were very shy and flew off each time I moved...then would gradually circle back. This was the best pic I managed to get, but the flash of red really stands out!
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A few crocuses (croci?) were poking up through the ground on a neighbouring campsite...
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Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...nature's scenery" »

April 12, 2010

A day in the life...

Friday 9am...the phone rings. (I'm home because it's one of my flex days off.)

Valerie: "Are you doing anything tomorrow?"
Me: "Not really."
Val: "Are you up for a road trip?"
Me: "Sure!"
Val: "Ok, we're going to a funeral in Port Hawkesbury."
(A funeral, eh...why am I not surprised?!)

Valerie adds that after the funeral, she was thinking we could take the meandering route home and she could show me her former pastoral charge in Mulgrave. Sounds good to me, so we make plans for her to pick me up Sat morning at 7:30 am. Port Hawkesbury is a two+ hour drive away from my house. The funeral is for the father of a woman in our congregation, who had himself been a member for the past six years since he moved in with his daughter. But he was from Port Hawkesbury, and had been very involved in the building of the church there, so that's where his funeral was being held. (A couple others from our church family were also driving up, but Val and I didn't travel with them since we were making a day of it.)

Saturday morning...away we go. The skies were overcast, but still a bright day...in fact we'd barely pulled away from my house when we were both lamenting having forgotten our sunglasses.

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax-- Of cabbages--and kings-- And why the sea is boiling hot-- And whether pigs have wings." ~ Lewis Carroll, The Walrus and The Carpenter

We did indeed talk of many things! When we reach Antigonish, we stopped in at McDonald's for breakfast and then continued on our way. We arrived at the church about half an hour before the service...finding two of the women from our church already there. When Helen (the woman whose father died) arrived, she asked Valerie to speak after the eulogy. The service was being presided over by the minister of the Port Hawkesbury church, so Val wasn't expecting to have any part. First she declined (not wanting to step on any toes, since some people are touchy about others invading their turf), but then she agreed since Helen wanted her own minister to speak, and really whatever provides comfort to the grieving family is the important thing. Have to say, I wasn't very impressed with the presiding minister...if you can believe it, he barely acknowledged the family in any real way, never offered any words of comfort, referred to Helen's dad as "the deceased" (I thought yeesh, couldn't you have at least used the man's name?!) So turned out to be a very good thing Valerie was able to extend comfort and prayers on behalf of our church family during the service.

At the reception, we discovered that one of the funeral directors was from the same area of Newfoundland as Valerie...and his mother-in-law was one of Val's mother's closest friends. What a bizarre coincidence! And he said his MIL was at his house, just a couple minutes from the church, and asked if Val wanted to go say hello. Of course she did. We didn't stay long, just long enough for a quick catch up and we hit the road. Our first stop was the home of a couple former parishioners, with whom Val has remained close. We had tea and pie and conversation...and then off we went (with jars of homemade pickles in hand!)

Next stop was Trinity United Church, one of four churches in Mulgrave pastoral charge where Valerie was minister (about 15 yrs ago, I think).
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Continue reading "A day in the life..." »

June 5, 2010

Old friends...

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I took this picture one day in Halifax's Public Gardens. I have no idea who the two people are, I just saw them sitting there, with the beautiful spring green leaves draped down around them, and was moved to take a photo. They remind me of Simon & Garfunkel's song Old Friends:

The sounds of the city sifting through trees
Settle like dust on the shoulders of the old friends

Can you imagine us years from today,
Sharing a parkbench quietly

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