Wednesday, August 31, 2016



Photos: August 30, 2016

All I wanted was coffee. As I waited in line I had to pass the pastry counter ... slowly. There were several in front of me so I had plenty of time to peruse this display of decadence.

More Temptations

Each item seemed to be more calorie-full than the one before. One slice of these would probably be my total calorie needs for a day or more.

Still More Temptations

I have to admit, as I get older, these tempt me less, which is not to say I don't have other food weaknesses. Fortunately, this time of year they run to the more healthy abundance of fresh fruit!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Beer on the Balcony

Photo: August 29, 2016

Let me start by saying I am not a beer drinker. I think part of that comes from the smell. But Paul is and this is one he enjoys. What I do like is a sense of history, of continuity and beer has certainly been around for a long time. This one claims it has been brewed since 1240. Their web site tells us that Notre-Dame de Leffe was an abbey of Premonstratensian canons (monks known for their hospitality). They must have known that water was not always healthy and they decided to build a brewery in order to serve the many pilgrims a "healthy, invigorating beverage". The boiling of the water as part of the fermentation process killed the germs so, though they probably did not understand why, they did think of beer as healthy. The abbey was closed during the French Revolution and was re-established early in the twentieth century. In the 1950s the abbot decided to resurrect the brewery, using the age-old recipe, the same recipe used since 1240.
You can learn more about the abbey here as well as about its beer-making history.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Cone City


You can't go through Montreal without encountering cones. Signs send pedestrians to the opposite sidewalk; detour signs send motorists on exploratory missions. Each time I go out, I'm prepared with a mental map of alternate routes. You don't believe me? Check out this map from the city with all the road work marked. Bus routes are rerouted so even leaving your car at home and taking public transportation is a treasure hunt to find where the bus stop has been relocated. 

That's what happens when cities become complacent about their infrastructure. Centuries old pipes spring leaks and make the ground around them unstable. The city is playing catch-up - replacing water pipes and sewer pipes or lining existing ones. This is a huge undertaking so the cones will be around for a long time, simply moving from place to place causing constant surprises for motorists and pedestrians alike.

Decaffeinated Coffee


Photo: August 27, 2016

A cup of coffee after a meal is about taking time.
Time for conversation.
Time to digest - not just the meal but the events of the day.
Slowing down

Saturday, August 27, 2016

What is a Makerspace to You

What is a Maker Space

Photos: August 26, 2016

I was part of a team that worked with teachers at a school to help them envision how they would like to incorporate "making" into their teaching as well as the philosophy behind it. Early in the day they were asked to create an artifact to show what a makerspace would look like to them. The variety of responses was wonderful. The one above talked about questioning and many diverse hands working together to build something.

What is a Maker Space2

This represented a peaceful place where growth could happen.

Words for a Makerspace

And here are some words that need to be part of making - that can be viewed from different perspectives.

Representation of Makerspace

These are just some of the representations - some were more concrete, some abstract, some were metaphors for the ideas. All were asked to complete the same task but in an open-ended way leading to this huge variety of ways of looking at the concept.

Friday, August 26, 2016



Photo: August 25, 2016

I bought this at the market - a pot of living lettuce. I'm not sure how long it will last, both because we have been eating from it and I don't know if it will keep growing (I was told it would). There is something nice about picking food fresh, even if it is grown indoors. Jut an experiment...

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Vegetables from the Market

Washed Vegetables

Photo: August 24, 2016

This time of year it is easy to buy too much at the market. Everything is so tempting. Today's dinner included yellow and green zucchini, red pepper and broccoli with pasta and pesto and some scallops thrown in to add some protein. These eggplant will be grilled along with more zucchini. Everything is doubly good after Newfoundland, where the vegetables featured at meals are boiled carrots, frozen peas and turnips. Grocery stores, especially in the small towns have little in the way of fresh vegetables other than cabbage or turnips. I'm enjoying all the fresh produce available here.

New Work Year

New Year in Education

Photo: August 23, 2016

I have lived on the academic calendar ever since I started school, or even pre-school. Every job I have had functioned on a September (or late August) to June cycle, so this always feels like the new year to me. Although I am semi-retired, I still work part time and still in the education sector, so it was back to work and new beginnings. While I no longer shop for new pens and pencils and binders, I think it is time for a brand new notebook or two - starting fresh!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016



Photo: August 22, 2016

What a treat to come home to all these postcards - from different people and different places. Before I left on my trip I got involved in #CLMOOC and one way the group has of connecting is via postcards. Although we collaborated on a variety of projects which were in a constant state of evolution as each brought their own ideas and talents and connected through learning about each other through introductions, there is something special about having something in your hand, something tangible.

I'll be sending some out shortly and will certainly be keeping my eyes peeled for interesting postcards to buy and send. From me to you, from you to me - a very direct connection.

And Getting Home

Looking Over the Water

Photos: August 21, 2016

This river has travelled from Lake Ontario. We traced its course from Montreal to the Gulf which the west side of Newfoundland faces. Now we are going upstream, back home.

Church in St-Jean-Port-Joli

A quiet walk on a Sunday morning past the church for breakfast at our favourite restaurant. Then we set out - back to the traffic near the city, back to the noises of the city, back to reality.

Like Fire in the Sky

Greeted by a rainbow, painted like a watercolour on the sky.

Rainbow in the Clouds

Back to the beauty that is all around us. Back to the many activities that make my life here rich from work, to music, to concerts and many other intellectual pursuits. And life with Paul at home. Travel enriches. It takes time to process all we have done and experienced and to solidify the memories through rehashing, telling our stories and just sitting back and remembering.

All our Maritime photos can be found at: Flickr

Monday, August 22, 2016

From Woodstock New Brunswick to St-Jean-Port-Joli

 Clapboard House

Photos: August 20, 2016

Sometimes a town surprises you. We stopped in Woodstock, New Brunswick and were surprised by the charm of the town. There are a number of older wood homes that have retained the history. In the centre of town are a beautiful library and court house. Despite the fact that some larger stores have opened on the outskirts nearer the highway, the centre seems to still be vibrant.

Yellow House

We walked around after a lovely breakfast at the local cafe / art gallery: Creek Village Gallery and Cafe (I also parted with a bit of money there supporting local artists with my purchase).
And then it was back in the car.

This is no Joke

We stopped in St-Louis-du-Ha!Ha! and only found a bar - liquid refreshment (non-alcoholic) before we continued on. Yes - that is really the name of the town. According to Wikipedia!_Ha!

The Commission de toponymie du Québec asserts that the parish's name refers to nearby Lake Témiscouata, the sense of haha here being an archaic French word for an unexpected obstacle or abruptly ending path...
Or read this

The Shoreline

Our destination was St-Jean-Port-Joli, a town known for wood sculpture by local artisans. We enjoyed a little climb down to the shoreline. The town sits on what was once the seigneury of Port-Joly.

There is a restaurant we like here: La coureuse des grèves. The name comes from a legend which goes something like this:

Each summer in St-Jean-Port-Joli, a beautiful young woman with black hair and eyes the colour of the forest would bring gifts to the fishermen who arrived from the four corners of the world - berries, a loaf of bread, nuts, honey... It seems her home was full of wondrous things from around the world even though she had never left the town. Then one autumn she disappeared. Some say she left with a fisherman from the Far East. Others said she drowned. The local fishermen mourned her disappearance. The women rejoiced and hoped she would never return.

A Day on the Road

On the Road

Photos: August 19, 2016

On the road over many kilometres from outside Baddeck in Nova Scotia to Woodstock in New Brunswick.


Simple things bring smiles - a stop at a busy place on the highway - amid all the chaos, a harpist playing. An oasis of peace.

Night on the Water

Woodstock is a pretty town. We arrived on time for supper at a local restaurant and then a walk near the river.

After the Sun Set


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Retracing Our Steps

Closing the Gate

Photos: August 18, 2016

The last of the trucks loaded on the upper deck, the gate began to close. It was time to leave "The Rock."

Lighthouse Near Port aux Basques

Last looks at the rocky shore...


Crossing the Cabot Strait was not quite as smooth as the way there. I found a spot on a bench on the upper deck and lay down. A young girl started yelling excitedly and I got up to see a school of dolphins swimming by.

Some thoughts on Newfoundland 
This is a rugged place. When we spoke with the guide at L’Anse aux Meadows Historic Site, he told us they had no electricity or roads to the community when he was a boy. It was an outport – a community that had to be independent and yet dependent on each other. Communities like this are mainly close-knit with families helping others when they are in need. Like the flowers that grow despite the difficult conditions, Newfoundlanders learned to cope with storms, isolation, difficult work without much access to people outside their community. When the archaeologists arrived in L’Anse aux Meadows, it was again the meeting up of people of two different cultures. These twentieth century Europeans encountered the rural Newfoundlanders who opened their homes to them. Friendly, unpretentious and ready to party – they create their own fun - playing music, creating festivals focused around the environment they live in, from the Mussel Festival in St. Lunaire-Griquet while we were there to the Bakeapple Festival in Forteau just after we left. Kitchen parties in people’s homes are open to many. The chef at Forteau told us he had 60 at his place on the Monday we had arrived and felt bad we had not been invited when he realized the next day that we liked music.
Story-telling and song have a strong tradition in Newfoundland.
And Newfoundland has some wonderful writers.
Here are some I have read and enjoyed:
Wayne Johnston – A Colony of Unrequited Dreams (he has written others since which I have not read)
Donna Morrissey – I like her earlier books best
Bernice Morgan – Random Passage
Kathleen Winter – Annabel
Michael Crummy – I read River Thieves on my last trip to Newfoundland – I’ve had Galore waiting for me but still have not got around to it.
Lisa Moore – February

Newfoundland has developed its own culture, a lot of unique vocabulary, a great sense of pride in their home. But we had to leave and head home.

Near North Sydney

Back to Cape Breton to begin our long drive home.

Our Last Day in Newfoundland

Walking by the Stream

Photos: August 17, 2016

We headed towards Stephenville in search of a trail that led to some petrified wood. According to the Newfoundland guide
"This is the oldest known fossil bed of mountain trees that produced seeds more than 305 million years ago. Newfoundland was part of a much larger continental mass and was much further south than today, so the trees grew in a tropical climate and towered to over 160 feet. It is believed that these fossils are rare and represent the first trees that grew on slopes – a major event regarding the evolution of trees in the world"

Petrified Wood

This is what we found. There were a number of small pieces scattered among other rocks.

Petrified Wood

and a bit more...

Yellow flowers

I continue to marvel at the persistence of nature to flourish in even somewhat hostile places.

Purple Flower

If anyone knows the names of either of these I would love to know, too.

The rains descended on us - we went to a Mi'kmaq museum (out of the rain) and then headed on to Port aux Basques. Second trip to Newfoundland and we never saw a moose!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Tablelands and Corner Brook Area

Land Divided

Photos: August 16, 2016

Woody Point is so well located with a view towards Gros Morne across the bay and the tablelands at the other end of the bay. Our hotel had a panoramic view of the bay – a wonderful view to wake up to, to have breakfast - to just enjoy. We set out to visit the tablelands where we had already been in 2009. On one side of the road is a mainly barren series of peaks, on the other a forested mountain. It is one of the places on earth where the Earth’s mantle was thrust up and is visible. Not much grows here as the soil is rocky and full of heavy metals. It is quite something to see the reddish mountains on one side of the road and the green forested mountain on the other side.

Tablelands Peaks

This is the result of the collision of the ancient continent of Laurentia (now part of North America) and Gondwana (now part of South America, Africa and Antarctica). The Iapetus Ocean, which had been between them was thrust up forming Pangaea. Newfoundland is a combination of the three with the tablelands being from parts of Earth's mantle that was pushed upwards.

Serpentine Rock

Much of the rock is peridotite - it gets its reddish-yellow tinge from oxidization. The black section is serpentine - the white lines being calcium which has come to the surface of the rock.


We hiked up near a waterfall.

Trees Hug the Ground

Growth is slow with trees that grow horizontally and may be hundreds of years old. Their wood is extremely dense

Walking on the Tablelands

Paul gazed at every rock, in awe of the geology and I gawked at every flower that managed to grow in this environment.

Shrubby CinquefoilI think this is shrubby cinquefoil.

And a few more flowers

Single Yellow Flower

Pitcher Plant

This is a pitcher plant - the provincial flower of Newfoundland and Labrador. It captures insects in its leaves. They in turn are digested by larvae who then excrete waste. It is this that nourishes the flower.

Pitcher Plant

You can see how the leaves form tubes that are filled with liquid.

We had to continue on...

Dories in Frenchman's Cove

We explored the south coast of the Humber Arm and stopped at Frenchman's Cove. For many years the French had fishing rights on this coast of Newfoundland. These are fishing dories.

Well Equipped

Larger craft also fish out of this harbour.

Hauled Up

The season for whatever this area fishes for must have been over as all the dories seemed to be pulled up out of the water.

Glynmill Inn

We checked in to the Glynmill Inn in Corner Brook. It was built originally in the 1920's as the "staff house" for senior staff of a paper company.

Pond in Corner Brook

It is right near the pond in Corner Brook.

Moon Over Corner Brook

A beautiful moon ended our day.

These and more picture can be found here.