Fall In Love

Is there a more spectacular time of year than Fall? I don’t think so. As much as I enjoy warm summer days nothing compares to a cool, crisp autumn morning. There’s something magical about Fall that no other season can compare. The leaves changing colour, birds flocking together to prepare for migration, even the skies seem clearer in the cooler weather! Fall brings us Thanksgiving, Christmas at the Glacier, Halloween and flu shots. That’s in addition to all the other important events that take place like birthdays and anniversaries; no shortage of them in our family this time of year. Charlotte turned 15 (yes you read that right 15!!!!) & John and I celebrated 20 years of marital bliss back in October. Mom and Dad celebrated their 59th anniversary in October as well. 59 years, that’s a tough act to follow. Anyhoo, here are a few snaps I took over the last few months since summer ended. So take a few minutes to curl up with your favorite blankie and a pumpkin spice something or other and take a peek at my pics. Hope you enjoy them!

 

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Hillsides of Beautiful Torbay

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Backyard Stargazing

 

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The Big Dipper

 

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The Moon and Aldebaran

 

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See those two dots near the top of the picture? That’s not a spot on your screen. It’s Venus and Jupiter from a few mornings ago.

 

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I’ve never seen so many dogberries in my entire life! Does this mean a good or bad winter?

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Birthday Girl

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Crescent Moon and Venus

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Spent a few days in Port Rexton. Of course we had to check out the brewery! We ate, we drank, we played Crib, we laughed; a fabulous time with great people.

 

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John patiently waiting for me to take a picture of the beer…either that or he’s trying to decide which one to try first!

 

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Hope you enjoyed my pics. Now get up, go outside, take a deep breath and feel the leaves crunching beneath your feet…unless it’s raining or wet snow falling, then I’d suggest staying put. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Until Next Time,

Andrea

Beauty among the Chaos

Life is good or so it seems. I have a loving husband and daughter who are my world, an amazing family consisting of parents, siblings, in laws, cousins, aunts, uncles and a few close friends. I have a great job and fantastic co-workers; we laugh a lot! Then there are the material things like a house, cars and the latest gadgetry. Anyone get a load of that new iPhone X? Sweet!!! I like to watch the news, scroll through my Twitter feed and read online articles on just about any topic under the sun. But something’s changed. Sometimes life is not always rainbows and unicorns. These days the TV is on but muted and after a minute or two of scrolling through Twitter I switch over to play a mindless game of Candy Crush. (I’m on level 898 in case you’re wondering. I know right!?!) I find that lately we are constantly being bombarded with so much negativity, feels like the worst it has ever been. Whether it’s “news” about what Donald Trump did/said, North Korea’s latest ditty fit, the destruction left behind after the hurricanes or the mass shooting in Las Vegas its hard to let go of all that stuff and just be. We all need to find that little place to escape to when things get chaotic. For me, the escape is photography. I grab my gear and start snapping.

 

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This past summer has been an especially difficult one for our family. We lost someone who was certainly one of a kind. She was a strong and very determined woman who loved her family dearly. Nearly every day the phone would ring and it would be her wondering what we were at or keeping us up to date about latest  goings on in the River. And she never forgot a birthday or anniversary! I loved sending her my pictures through email. I’d always get a reply that was a few simple words and she’d always sign it JMP. I was the daughter-in-law but she always made me feel like I was one of her own.

 

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It is hard to believe she’s not with us anymore. Not a single day goes by that I don’t  think of her. In her memory we planted a tree in our backyard. It’s a Chestnut tree, like the ones that grew in her family’s yard. To me they are a symbol of strength, like her. Now, every time we look out our kitchen window we see the tree and are reminded of her and how important it is to always look for the beauty among the chaos.

 

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Until Next Time,

Andrea

 

 

In Bloom…and Other Stuff

Well, summer is in full swing and I have about a million fly bites already. It’s the end of July and the St. John’s Regatta is just around the corner. Dad always says that once the Regatta is over then that signals the end of summer. I was around the bay a few weeks ago and the subject of the Regatta came up and he was just about to open his mouth and say…that’s when I stuck my fingers in my ears and shouted “lalalalalalala” until I saw his lips stop moving. Can’t even listen to that kind of crazy talk! It’s so good to be able go around with short sleeves and cut offs in summer. Actually, strike that last statement. In Newfoundland, during winter if the temperature goes above 10 degrees and the sun is out, guaranteed you’ll see someone whipping around town in t-shirts and shorts. I was at Costco once and it was spring-ish, about 12-13 degrees. Young fella weaving in and out of the crowds wearing his “TAPOUT” shirt and track pants, sunglasses perched on his baseball hat to complete the ensemble. Missus next to him wearing her Canada Goose and seal skin boots. I was so confused. No doubt about the weather these days, however. Which brings me to my latest blog: I LOVE summer! Whether it’s watching the birds at the feeder, checking out the glorious sunsets, or going for a custard cone and watching the gulls pitch on the hood of the car waiting for you to throw out a french fry. (Because we all know if you’re having a custard cone you gotta get a plate of chips to go with it!) Much to John’s dismay, I don’t mow lawns. However, I will watch lovingly from the front porch, sipping on a Blue Star while he gets his mow on. And he does some job! Here are a few snaps of some of the beautiful things summer has to offer.

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This is one of my all time favorites. Charlotte was just getting ready to blow on the dandelion!IMG_8428-2

 

 

I hope you enjoyed my snaps. Maybe it will provide some inspiration to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather while it lasts because the next thing you know the cold stone will be going back in the water!

 

Until Next Time,

Andrea

 

 

 

Roots

I was out with a friend of mine one day and we were chatting with some acquaintances of hers. We were talking back and forth about various things and making jokes. My friend says, referring to me,  “Don’t mind her b’y she’s from Torbay.” Well, let’s just say that those people got a lesson in where I’m from and I also threw in a little geography for good measure. I was quick to say “I LIVE in Torbay, but I’m FROM Riverhead”, emphasis on those two words. I’ve spent so much time over the years saying that exact phrase that I should have it printed on a t-shirt. Now, here’s where the geography comes in. If you’re not familiar with the “Riverhead” where I come from, you might ask “Riverhead, St. Mary’s?” I’m like “No Riverhead, Hr. Grace. You know the one, the little town up by the Kyle”…because EVERYONE knows the Kyle. Now, don’t get me wrong, I dearly love Torbay and I’m sure I’ll be planted here until my end of days. But everyone knows, there’s no place like home.

Anyhoo, I decided to put together a few snaps about my hometown as well as the surrounding communities. It’s all home to me.

 

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As I was scrolling through my pictures just now I realized something was missing. There are pictures of Riverhead and the surrounding communities but not a single one of Upper Island Cove! How did I miss that? I spent my days and nights there during the summer when I was younger; it was a second home to me for many years. Lots of wonderful memories, that’s for sure. Yet, I don’t think I have taken a single photo there.  Well, I guess I know where I’ll be going the next time I head out over the highway!

On that note, I hope you enjoyed my snaps.

 

Until Next Time!

Andrea

The Sky Above

Every single night before I go to bed I look out my window. Every single morning I get up, turn off the alarm and look out my window. What am I looking for? Nothing in particular. I just want to look at the sky and see what beauty awaits! Some nights it’s a sky full of stars or the moon. Oftentimes its fast moving clouds or fog, in which case I can’t see a thing! Same goes for the morning. There are times that the sunrise is so amazing that I just stand there in awe, frozen at the window. Then I start racing around the house like a lunatic looking for my camera and tripod so I can capture it. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to snap a few pictures. One of my favorite things to photograph is the sky: light or dark. It helps that John is an avid sky watcher as well. On nice calm nights you can find us in the backyard; he with his telescope or binoculars and me with the camera. It’s pretty cool because he will list off the stars and constellations that I have the camera pointed at.  Thankfully he’s willing to get up with me at 5 am and head to Signal Hill to watch the sunrise.

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This was one of the benefits of working at 6am. Driving to work I’d often pull over to the side of the road and look at a scene like the one below. It never got old.IMG_7744

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How many times did I have my head stuck out the bedroom window trying to get a picture of the moon or a wicked sunset? Hopefully the neighbors didn’t think I was trying to peek in their windows. IMG_8054

 

The fishing boat looks like a dot on the ocean.IMG_7840

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A boat heading out to fish as the sun comes up. This was taken on Signal Hill.IMG_7691

 

The next few pictures are ones taken in Florida a few years ago. We stayed in Tampa for a night and the sunset there was out of this world. We drove to Clearwater, a short distance away. Nothing like watching the sun sink into the gulf of Mexico.IMG_6461

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As we were leaving the beach driving back to our hotel that evening we could see lightning in the distance. It was non stop for the rest of the night and not a single drop of rain. It’s not hard to tell where the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team got their name!IMG_6650

That’s a ball of lightning behind the cloud. We sat in the window of our hotel room and watched the show. It went on forever!IMG_6729

An early rise the next morning to catch our flight. This is what greeted us when we looked out the window!IMG_6812

 

Signal Hill has always been a go-to place of mine to take pictures. It rarely disappoints!IMG_7421

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This is one of my favorites. It was taken from my back deck one morning about 6 or 7am. The sun was rising just as the moon was about to set. The sun was shining on the helicopter. Every time I see this one I wonder what the crew aboard thought about the sunrise or moonset.IMG_6893

 

This sunset was from Fogo Island a few years ago. There were some forest fires at the time and the haze made for some pretty spectacular sunsets!IMG_6343

 

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Star gazing in the backyard!IMG_4225

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This is Lady Lake, Hr. Grace from a few summer’s ago. There were so many flies that night that I only got a few shots in. Thankfully this was one of them. Venus, Jupiter and the Moon.IMG_4770

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The Milky Way over TiltonIMG_4883

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We went to Cape Spear one evening. I saw this couple watching the sunset. I took a snap. I have no idea who they are, I just thought they looked cool!IMG_5684-2

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Down in Bauline, watching the sun set.IMG_3308

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We camped in Terra Nova last summer. (Don’t get me started on the Otentiks, they were fantastic!) I couldn’t believe how calm the winds were there. The following two pictures are long exposure photos and there is hardly any blur in the trees. As they say “there wasn’t a draft of wind.”IMG_3024

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So, I’m pretty excited for the warm weather that’s coming our way, sooner rather than later (finger’s crossed). It’ll give me lots of opportunities to get out and take a few more snaps.

So, any chance you get, whether it’s 3 a.m. and you’re getting up to go to the bathroom or you’re on the early/late shift at work, take a minute or two, look out the window and tilt your head towards the sky. I promise you won’t regret it!

 

Until next time,

Andrea

 

 

Bird Is The Word

I stepped outside the other day and noticed something I hadn’t heard in quite a while, the sweet sound of chirping birds! Most birds fly south for the winter, at the least the ones that have any sense. But there are the few that stick around and brave the harsh winters here in Newfoundland. We usually try to put out some food for them as it can be quite difficult to find food. I’m sure they manage though. I’m looking forward to spring when they return and start looking for homes and building their nests. Our house is surrounded by trees so its the perfect place for them to come home to and me, as a bird lover, to photograph them! So, as we anxiously wait for their arrival I thought I’d post a few pictures of some birds I’ve taken over the years.

 

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These birds are not your backyard variety, but are birds all the same!img_4986img_1760img_0122img_8394-2img_3918

 

Of all the birds I’ve photographed, Blue Jays are my favorite! Their colours are amazing.img_4347

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Last summer we had the pleasure of visiting the Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve. That was amazing. When we left Torbay it was a beautiful sunny day. By the time we got to Placentia, the fog was thick as pea soup. We kept on driving to St. Mary’s and there were times we could barely see our hands before us. The tour guide at the sanctuary told us that the fog bank was pretty thick so the views weren’t the best. It was still pretty awesome, all the same!  My advice to you, if you ever visit, is to wear a hood. Those birds flying overhead have pretty good aim!

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Another couple of visitors to our backyard over the last few years are swallows. I didn’t even know they lived around here until one day I noticed them checking out the area. They have been appearing the last three years around the same time. They hang out around the bird house for a few days and then they’re gone. I can’t wait for May to see if they’ll turn up again.

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Last summer, we went for a little hike around Signal Hill. We managed to find the eagle’s nest that everyone was talking about. The picture quality isn’t that great since I had to zoom in a lot and it was hard to keep the camera steady without a tripod. I’m still happy that I got to see them in person. That nest is massive!

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Okay, so I’m saving the best for last!!! A few summers ago John discovered a bird’s nest on the side of our house. We have vines growing on the lattice and hiding among the branches was a nest of robins. John noticed that every time he passed by a certain spot near the vines a robin would fly out in front of him. Upon further investigation he found the nest.

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You can actually walk behind the lattice. There’s a little covered area where we keep a few gardening tools in the summer, so it was a perfect viewing spot. Unfortunately, the mom and dad didn’t think so and every time I went back there to take a look they’d fly off the nest. I didn’t want to risk them abandoning the nest so I did a little research and found an app that allows you to use an iPhone like a security camera which I duct taped to the lattice and placed the camera lens over one of the openings. Using the app I was able to view the birds from inside the house on the iPad. I was able to take pictures and video as well. It worked perfectly! This is what I was able to capture, talk about a bird’s eye view.

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Hope you enjoyed my bird pictures! I’m looking forward to getting out again this spring and snapping a few more of our fine feathered friends.

 

Until next time,

Andrea

 

 

 

 

 

LOVE Is In The Air

*Okay, so having written the title “Love Is In The Air” all I can think about is the song, it’s stuck in my head.*

It’s February and that can only mean one thing…did the groundhog see his shadow? How much longer til spring? Of course February means many different things to many people. Some can’t wait for Groundhog Day, others celebrate Black History Month. The Heart and Stroke Foundation promotes Heart Health Month all February long. And who could forget about the Super Bowl? I’m not a fan of football but I like to check out the half-time show. Lady Gaga anyone? I LOVE her. My favorite thing about February is Valentine’s Day. Yes, I realize that many people say that Valentine’s Day is a holiday made up by the greeting card people to sell more cards and the like. However, it dates back hundreds of years, long before Carlton Cards got their start. For me it’s plain and simple: I love LOVE. I remember when I was young we’d make those little Valentine boxes in school to hold all the Valentines we got. I loved making cards to give to my family, teachers and classmates. Every year I’d get a big book of Valentines that you would have to tear apart on the dotted lines. Those were the best. Of course as the years passed those little cut out Valentines were replaced by grown up cards. I remember the card John gave me for our first Valentines, it included a list he compiled: “Top 10 Reasons You Should Be My Valentine.” *swoon* I still have that card along with every single card he’s given me since then. Valentine’s Day should be a reminder that love is all around us, not just in a greeting card, or a box of chocolates, or a pair of fuzzy handcuffs…what!? Anyhoo, I put together these few snaps to show that love is everywhere, even in the most unexpected places.

 

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I like to think of these two as love birds!img_0790

 

I spied a heart in my chocolate banana bread loaf…img_7023

 

…and another one in the bottom of a cherry cake!img_0628

 

Who doesn’t love a good sour cream and onion potato chip?img_1220

 

Even the dog’s food has heart pieces in it. Who knew?img_7499

 

Again with the potato chips!img_7742

 

These are a few things I absolutely love. Blasty boughs on a back yard fire, flowering lilac trees and the S.S. Kyle in the River.img_8449img_1146img_3156

 

Even the animals show their love.

 

And we love our animals!

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Last year on February 14th, we spent the day at the hospital in the ER when John slipped and re-injured his knee.img_6019

 

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I always loved this picture of Rex and Mrs. Rex, Charlotte’s dinosaurs, dancing in the candlelight on Valentine’s Day.img_4374

 

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Nothing quite like the love of a parent and child.img_2682

 

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Mama and her Babiesimg_1701

 

Remember this? “Do You Love Butter?”img_1474

 

Even local businesses get in on the action!img_8888

 

This was a Valentines card I made when I was little. Not sure why I didn’t include Paul and Gary but the sentiment was meant for them as well. And there’s a spelling mistake. It should say Jesus not Jusus. I was pretty close though.  ccf02052017_0141ccf02052017_0142

 

Who doesn’t love a beautiful sunrise…IMG_3947.jpg

 

…or sunset?IMG_0824.jpg

 

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Fireworks on Canada DayIMG_1328.jpg

 

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Finally, I would be remiss if I did not include our parents in this writing. 59 years coming up in October for Mom and Dad. 54 years in July for John’s Mom and Dad. That’s a lot of love right there.

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“I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honor you all the days of my life.”

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Love is in the air everywhere I look around
Love is in the air every sight and every sound

Love is in the air, in the whisper of the tree
Love is in the air in the thunder of the sea

Love is in the air, in the rising of the sun
Love is in the air, when the day is nearly done

And I don’t know if I’m being foolish
Don’t know if I’m being wise
But it’s something that I must believe in
And it’s there when I look in your eyes

*Written by: George Young and Harry Vanda

 

Now that song is stuck in your head. You’re welcome!

 

Until next time,

Andrea

 

 

Winter Beauty

I hate winter as I’m sure many people do. The cold, the snow, the slush, the wind, the freeze and thaw, oh my. It’s enough to drive ya. Every year I dread for winter to come. I don’t see the appeal. I can’t skate, never could. We don’t own a ski-doo, heck we don’t even own a Crazy Carpet. (Are they still called that???) John does all the snow blowing and shoveling as I look lovingly on from the dining room window while sipping on a hot tea. Occasionally I’ll poke my head out and snap a pic of him because he often gets a good height going from the shoot of the snow blower. From October to about mid May many of our conversations revolve around the snow. It’s amazing how much time we spend talking about the weather here in Newfoundland. If it wasn’t as fierce or diverse as it is we wouldn’t have much to talk about with strangers in the grocery store line up now would we? I was on Twitter one day and someone tweeted that instead of complaining from our armchairs about the winter weather, maybe we should get up, go out and take a look around at all that winter has to offer. I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions but this year I resolved to look at winter a little differently. This is what I’ve seen so far:

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Whiskers longs for the warm summer days too. She spends much of her time curled up on the back of the couch asleep or on the window sill looking out, like she’s willing the warm weather to come.

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Judging by some of these pictures I’d say winter can be pretty darn special. Dare I say I like it? Nah, I won’t go that far. However, the next time I get wet socks from standing on the mat in the front porch where I just took off my snow boots and now all the snow has melted I’ll stop and remember the winter beauty instead of a few choice curse words.

 

Until Next Time,

Andrea

Where to Start?

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last little while about what my first photo blog should be about. Yes, I know that I already posted my first one but this will be my official first one. I look at the other “first” blog as an introduction of sorts! So I decided to start off with a few snaps I took in December and at the beginning of the new year, you know “New Year, New Me…blah, blah, blah.” December and January are very busy months for us. Between Christmas parties, get-togethers and birthdays the months are jam packed! As you will see family and friends play a huge role in the festivities.

 

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I really love Christmas. So much sparkle and light, parties, family meals and most importantly, Mom’s massive cookie/cake assortment all made from scratch. This is only a portion of the goodies!

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This is an angel that sits on top of Charlotte’s little Christmas tree. As I was taking down our decorations after Old Christmas Day I came across this, a dime lodged in the arms of the angel. I don’t know if you’ve heard the story about finding dimes and the meaning behind it but they say that if you find a dime it’s a sign from a loved one who’s passed on letting you know they’re watching out for you. I didn’t bother asking anyone if they put the dime there, I’d rather not know. I carefully packed the angel away with the dime still tucked in it’s place.

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Okay, so I lied a little. I do take pictures of people, as you can clearly see from the snaps above. I don’t post a lot of “people pics” for the reasons I stated in my other post. However, don’t be surprised if your face ends up here. I’d never post anything that was unflattering or embarrassing to anyone. That’s not what this is about. There are a lot of beautiful people in my life, inside and out, and occasionally I might share one or two pics of them.

Anyway, the last photo of the setting moon isn’t really Christmassy but it was taken in mid December and I thought it looked pretty cool except for the pole lines running through the middle of it. *eyeroll*

Until Next Time,

Andrea