Monday, October 28, 2013


Wild Cove, Twillingate Island

Here goes post four of my effort to post once a week.  I seem to be keeping up with my pledge in between working on a difficult chapter in my book.

It hasn't been difficult.  I find this space really helpful for clearing out the cobwebs and addressing things that just sort of come to me rather than the more assigned work I do for other places like the newspaper or the book which of course has a particular order to it.

Lately I've had the term "interesting" used to describe me and I think it's rather interesting that it's happening.

Quite a while ago I made the very deliberate decision to be more interested.  Yes. Interested, not interesting. I've always thought that there will always be a skinnier, more beautiful, smarter, younger, desirable, cuter, sexier woman in the room than I.  And I don't feel it worth the effort to try to be more than I am in any of those categories.  I am exactly who I am, some days skinnier, some days fatter, some days prettier, some days plainer.  So I started to work on just being the best me that I can be and and being utterly and unashamedly myself.

I realised that what I love to do more than anything is to learn.  And the thing I love learning the most is about people, their lives and attitudes, foibles and follies, success and failures and all the perfect facets that create a person and make them individual.

So I became interested.  It really works out well because I don't have to pretend--I am interested.  I get to learn about people at the a deeper level and I am genuinely intrigued by people.

I've always thought character more important than intelligence and it is that part of people that I like to get to know.  I personally don't care if you make a lot of money but I am fascinated if you donate your time or money to a cause you care about.  I really am not concerned if you're a maintenance person or a diplomat but I do want to hear your experiences as either and how you treated those around you
 as you did your work.

And somehow, being interested seems to lead to being more interesting.  And it makes sense I think.  Because all people are connected in some way and so when someone speaks to me now more often than not I already understand them because another has expressed similar points of view.  I can relate I guess.

So I'm not really all that interesting. I personally live a very traditional life, where I walk and do domestic chores and play with my kids, walk dogs and write silly stories all day.

What I am is interested in all of that in addition to the people I meet.  And somehow my description of them interests people and they think it's me.  But it isn't me.  I am just a regular person who is interested.

A regular person who isn't like anyone else you'll ever meet.  But we all are unique so nothing special there.

So that's my topic of the day.

Oh also, I want to promote my new website and please, join me on Facebook at

If you're interested of course.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Please Vote for the Newfoundland Ponies!

The Newfoundland Ponies;  Story below the photos.
With my Jigger

Pony Love

The home of the ponies is beautiful but temporary.

Betsy grazing

Add caption


I love this guy

At the pasture in Birch Cove, Change Islands.



Jessica on Betsy

Jessica and my kids and Betsy

The Newfoundland Pony is the heritage pony of the province of Newfoundland.  Sadly there are still no more than two hundred of these beautiful animals left in the province.  It would not be an exaggeration to say that they helped build Newfoundland.  They are work horses and from the mines of Bell Island, to hauling lumber in the logging industry to pulling wood for every single fishing community that dots the coast and interior of this province, the breed worked with their human masters to create all that we had.  And then with mechanization they were abandoned, slaughtered or left to die.  This Noble breed that gave so much to this place, left to languish and disappear from the earth like the Great Auk and the Beothuk.  

But then came Netta and she thought, it's not too late. 

A breeding program was set up on Change Islands with the goal of saving the breed.  And Netta LeDrew runs that entirely by herself.  But the grant for a new barn was lost when land purchase was delayed due to government bureaucracy.  So now the program has stalled and even a mare that was needing a home had to be turned away due to space.  This mare was a much needed addition to the sanctuary and she would have been able to work for the organization by doing pony rides or pulling buggies.

Yes,  the program has stopped.  

There is nothing I like to do more when I go to Change Islands than to visit the Newfoundland Pony Sanctuary to spend time with these amazing animals. But they were not meant to just be a tourist attraction though they are with hundreds of people from all over the world coming to see them every single year.  In fact the facility survives solely on donations from kind and generous visitors.

When I first started doing freelance writing for the local media, one of the first stories I did was about the need for these ponies to have a new barn. But it quickly became more than a story.  It became a cause.

I love these ponies(particularly Jigger but don't tell the others) and I wanted to help.  And I knew in my heart that there were many others who would want to help with the endeavor to get the facility so needed. The current barns are both on borrowed property, too small and starting to wear.  They are temporary structures who have outlived their purpose.  So we're going to get them a new one.  Of that I have no doubt.

I decided to use some of my great abundance of energy to do something to help Netta LeDrew, my cousin and the person who cares for all the ponies and is in charge of the sanctuary, get the barn she needs not only for the ponies themselves but for her, as her working conditions are much more difficult than they need to be due to her charges having two different temporary barns and neither having a water source such that she has to bring all the water herself.  She lugs the hay, she organizes everything.  

So she has no time to do all the other stuff.  She has twelve ponies to take care of.  Actually, she's been doing doing quite well--she's a dynamo--but why not make things a bit easier for her right?

To that end I've been co-ordinating fundraising efforts by enlisting the help of people all over the province and to date we--all of those involved -- have raised $18,000 towards the goal of $50,000 required since that first story broke in the newspapers.  I'm just the self appointed communicator and today I'm communicating a need to you.  

Also I know I have an international audience here and there are people who love horses on every continent.  People who know people and people who would love to help.

I was correct in my guess that people want to help.  In addition to raising money We  have negotiated a website for the sanctuary at a very low cost.  Another person has donated their time(the person is a lawyer)to help with the paperwork of setting up non-profit status, The Rug Hooker's Guild has donated money raised in a camp and a local "hooker" has donated a rug she created of Betsy, a Newfoundland Pony at the sanctuary.  People like Byron Hierhily has started the friends of the Newfoundland Pony group which as raised $1500 and private businesses like the Lewisporte Coop have donated funds towards the endeavor.  We are many doing small things that are making a big difference.  The list goes on and on and on and on.  Every single bit helps. When the website is published there will be a page with all of the people supporting this effort on it.  

I would like to express my extreme gratitude to every single person who has sold something, donated something, bought tickets or sold them, spent time creating a new fundraiser such as Calendars and T-shirts to sell.  

Now I have something new to share with you.  Recently Jessica Porter, a local girl on Change Islands and the owner of Newfoundland pony Betsy entered the pony Sanctuary into the AVIVA Community Fund competition.  This gives the Sanctuary the opportunity to compete for a share of one million dollars awarded by Aviva Insurance to winning causes.  Over the next couple of weeks we are working hard to promote this competition which will be won only with your votes.  We will have to work hard to move up the ranks and get into the next phase.  I think we can do it.

So what can you do? Vote!  Just go into the website and click the button. Then share and share again and have your friends do the same.  That's it.  You can vote every day.  Check out the photos of the ponies also.  They're amazing.  Look into Jigger's eyes and promise him you won't let his kind become extinct.  Just two hundred in the province.  Some quite old.  But this program and your help, a tiny little click of the button each day can make a difference.

It's a little thing..but a lot of little things make a big thing.  Be part of a big thing.

Thank you.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Oh the autumn colours are simply delicious.  Crimson and amber and orange and green. The dog berries so brightly red, dotting here and there, decorating the forest in lush ornamentation.  All that against flowing creeks and rivers and a roaring sea makes the harvest of happiness as bountiful as the harvest of crop.

I awakened early this morning, 6am and had no inclination to go back to sleep.  I found myself laying in bed for a while in a place between awake and asleep in such a deep and profound peace that I held on to until my acutely sensitive cat realised I was awake and jumped on the bed meowing for his morning dish of cream and forced my jammied butt to get up.

Week three of my return to blogging.  And here I am dutifully fulfilling my commitment to post at least once a week.  It seems these posts are mostly turning into updates which I suppose is fine until some marvelous dash of inspiration appears.

Let's see. What's up?  Well, I discovered quite by accidental google that one of my stories, The Magic Man of Change Islands was picked up by every weekly newspaper in Newfoundland including The Labradorian and as it was also picked up by the Saturday Telegram it effectively made all the papers.  I am particularly fond of that story so I'm thrilled about it.  Further to that, now that the subject of that story, the magical Le Drew(aka Walter LeDrew) has been made known, a local author working on a list of important people from the Isles, will be including him in his next publication.
Then I started checking out my other recent popular stories and discovered that in addition to The Pilot and the front page of The Telegram last Monday,  The Shore that encourages Dreams was picked up by a Nova Scotia publication.  The Vanguard in Yarmouth County ran my story in their weekly paper's Living section.

It's good to see my stuff in print but what is always more gratifying for me is when the stories are about Change Islands.  I want people to be aware of this magnificent and gloriously beautiful place with its remarkably resourceful and good-hearted people.

Let's see, what else?

The book is coming along.  I'll likely have an excerpt for the next post in this blog.  I love the story and the ideas keep coming.  I love the magic of writing, watching the idea that is a picture in my brain translate into the words on the page such that people reading can be where I've been.  I was at the Partridgeberry Festival on the weekend(Fogo Island) and ran into a lady I know there whose husband writes.  We had swapped copies of books and she had read it.  She remarked on my imagination.  Perhaps it's no more vivid and wild than other person's.  All I know is that I live in my head,  the world in there is as alive as the world outside for me.  And I'm never sure if, when I write, I'm bringing that world to the reader, or bringing the reader into my very strange brain.

Either way I'm on purpose and happy.   And my writing is getting better with all the practice.

So I'm the Master of Ceremonies at a 50th wedding Anniversary this Saturday, then on November 4 I introduce Bill Rowe from Open Line who has just published his 6th or 7th book and it's already on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list.  I'm working on a review of that this morning for my column.

It's Tuesday, a short week and it was Thanksgiving.  We had a non traditional thanksgiving for which I'm thankful.  No turkey, we ate out, we spent the day in Fogo, went to the now world famous Fogo Island Inn and just had a fun time.

Thankful is the modus operandi.

I carry on in gratitude every single friggin' day I get to live on this earth.  As they say here in Newfoundland, What a spot uh?

Oh did I mention I have this wicked new camera?  Let my kid take a series of photos of me below.  Me in all my silliness!  Hugs and smooches!

Somewhat normal

Normal-for me.

I was told to pretend I was mad

Too much vodka?

Not enough vodka?

Be angry she said.

Be happy--that one's easy!

Be it!

Definitely too much vodka



Be thinking?

Not quite sure--
Is it naptime?

Why is my hair so big? 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Stay Magic!

My horoscope yesterday said, "Do not lose faith in yourself. A magic star is supervising and guiding you, but you must believe in it in order to tap into its power. Your arduous efforts will pay off." and since I believe in magic I took it to heart.

Then I woke up this morning to an email from Bill Rowe of VOCM's Open Line telling me that he enjoyed my story on the front page of The Telegram this morning.

What the uh?

So I quick go on their website and sure enough, there is my story about Walter LeDrew, former Change Islands resident who was an Hollywood actor and magician in the 1940's.  

Since the story was all about magic and the horoscope mentioned magic it seems that my belief in the magic of things is totally verified as accurate.

Wicked wuh?

Life has definitely been a magic ride with my writing career taking the lead, just as it should.  I write daily, have made great headway with the book, am enjoying research more than I ever have.

Sometimes not giving much thought to what you want and just taking the steps is all that needs to happen to make life go the way you desire.  

So what have I been up to?  Oh all sorts of fun!

Last weekend I attended my cousin's wedding in Harbour Grace.  It was a wonderful event with a chef who has his own television show catering(yum!) and the bride and groom beautifully bedecked in their finery against a backdrop of ocean and sky.   Love was in the air and it was as magic an evening as I've ever had.

I even played a small role in the wedding ceremony with a reading.  What a honour.

On the Wednesday prior I had attended a launch of Bill Rowe's latest book, a political memoir of his time as MHA under Joey Smallwood with a good hard and humourous look at Joey and his nemesis Frank.  The event was attended by all manner of television celebrity, the Liberal Party of NL and NDP leaders as well as former and current politicians.   Flanker Press sure knows how to throw a party.  

We're welcoming Bill Rowe here in Lewisporte at Citadel House on November 4 at a similar event.  I've been invited to introduce the author, something I'm truly delighted to do.

Oh yeah, that  interview I did that I mentioned last time is up.  You can find it Here.

What's coming up?  A trip to Fogo for the Partridge Berry Festival, lunch at The Fogo Island Inn where I get to do a photo shoot and get to go into the kitchen to take pictures of a big culinary event they have that day.  Food photos in the kitchen of a five star restaurant and I get paid for this.   

Life is truly magic and also, delicious!

I'm on deadline for next week's column but it's all written in my head and I'll get on it tomorrow.  Then book writing for the rest of the week.  

Maybe I'll have a bit of an excerpt in the next couple of weeks to share.   The decision to post here at least once a week is a good one.  It's like a little place to keep my head sorted without all the personal crap that goes in my journal(to be read once I'm dead).

I had an email from someone who read the story in The Telegram today and she said she had two photos of Mr. Le Drew signed "magically yours"

I thought that maybe that's how I should be signing off...

or maybe just with

Stay magic...


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

This and That and Other Stuff

Playing with the macro lens

Sea urchin on a hill

Tree roots

My Pony Jigger

Yes he's mine!

A tree stump with moss

Yeah, I caught it!

It's October first and we should be deeply embedded into all of the cool air and frosty mornings that the autumn usually brings.  However this morning broke to a hot orange sun spilling on to a topaz blue harbour with temperatures again rising into the mid-twenties(centigrade) giving rise to the sentiment, "global warming so what?" as the reversal of the weather such that it favours our normally chilly locale is to our benefit and great delight.

Appreciating the bonus days of summer that have heated the hills and shorelines of our scenic province is easy.  A bright scarlet and orange evening sunset does the soul as much good as its dawn brilliance.  Life is a comfortable thing these days, quiet and fulfilling with my fingers spending more time on the keyboard, children successfully enrolled in school, dance, piano, fiddle and guitar.

I just completed an interview for a blog(I was interviewed) that will publish Thursday, I'm a third of the way into my new book and I'm writing for the newspaper still and adjusting to the most disconcerting thing of all, being recognized.

Just purchased a new camera for all of the photo journaling I've been doing lately.  I'm having a lot of fun with it, learning how to use the lenses I purchased.  It's a considerable investment but well worth it.  I'll have fun practicing at my cousin's wedding in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland this Saturday for sure.  I used it above.

Also, went cod jigging for the first time. Had a lot of fun and caught the fish I was allowed to catch, five per person to a maximum of fifteen. There were three of us aboard so we got our entire fifteen and I caught my fair share.  Not bad for a rookie.  It was a lovely morning with just a few bumps on the water.  The entire weekend on Change Islands was once again brilliant and warm.  I love being able to go there on a whim like I did last week.  Left to go take photos and decided to catch the ferry and spent three or four hours there.  I am deep in appreciation for how close I live to home now.

Yesterday I attended a local concert at my regular spot and a fellow--a former English teacher no less--made point of introducing himself to me during the intermission and was quite complimentary on my writing and said he has expressed to his wife how impressed he is with my descriptive work particularly.  It's rather gratifying certainly.

But having people know who you are when you don't know them kind of leaves you somewhat bewildered.  I remember when I was in Ontario  people would come chat to me and I would be sure I hadn't seen their face before.  It started to worry me that I was heading into some sort of early dementia(peanut gallery carry on) and happened to mention it to my friend who was also my producer for the news magazine I was on. She laughed at me and said, "they recognise you from television."

It was a relief that I wasn't losing my mind(again--take a shot).  Now that it's happening again and with increased frequency I'm better prepared but it's a bit of a balancing act not to get caught up in the opinions of others.  I guess I'm just waiting for the day when I'm accosted in the grocery store over some opinion piece I've written, though thus far, nobody has had gumption enough to post my more sarcastic and opinionated political pieces that now wait in queue for a political blog I'm working on.

Meanwhile I'm loving my life, my family, my ponies and the weather.  I'm also excited to head into St. John's tomorrow for a book launch by Bill Rowe, host of Open Line on VOCM. The first line in that book, The Premiers; Joey and Frank was written by me.  True story.  I reviewed the previous book of Bill's and I'm quoted there.

The subtitle does not lie, power, lust and greed abounded during those times in Newfoundland's history.

Now I'm off for a walk in the sunshine on this first day of October and last day at home before I head to St. John's for a five day vacation.  It's good to have mothers in law nearby.