IT has been years since the last time I was at the Marine Science Lab. The last time I was there was with my Brownie troop. I was eight years old and I held on to my mother's hand nearly the entire time. I had zero interest in touching the slimy sea creatures in tanks. I preferred to run my fingers over my mothers smooth, peach nail polish. Funny how you remember certain things.
Well, since those days things have changed considerably at the lab. It is no longer accessible to the public. Instead of going on a tour of the inside as I had hoped, there were a few tanks set up outside where visitors could look at the sea cucumbers and brightly coloured starfish. After two minutes the tour was over.
We left no worse for the wear. My girls aren't really into that anyway.
We moved on to one of my favourite places in St. John's - Middle Cove Beach. Lots and lots of memories here.
But my heart nearly broke at the condition of the beach all around me. It is an absolute shame what has happened here. It looks lovely still in a photograph but what you can't see is the mounds of dog poop all over the place, bonfire pits scattered all over the place, trash left over from the burning and then there's the nails... oh my goodness! They are everywhere! In their quest for summertime bonfires, people are burning everything they can get their hands on including what appears to be old fencing full of nails. The wood burns but the twisted, rusted and sharp nails are left behind, sticking up and down all throughout the beach rocks. The place is no longer how I remember it. It isn't the beach of my childhood.
Still looks good in pictures at least.
I wish I could have seen the finished painting. I am always in awe of people who can paint like that. Beautiful.
Between the dog poop, rusty nails, fly infested capelin remains and piles of seaweed, we managed to find some rocks to throw and skip into the ocean. I used to be really good at skipping stones in Quidi Vidi Lake. My neighbour, Jon Green, taught me how and for one summer I was a pro at it. I haven't been able to do it since.
Danica threw her first rock into the ocean. May she throw thousands more.
I love that my children have a connection to this place I call home, even if they don't.
My sister and nephew joined us, too.
Always playing peek-a-boo from her favourite perch,
Trying to cram in as much as we can, we went to see the new playground at Bannerman Park. It's so fun!
A funny thing: Growing up in Ottawa, my children are not used to driving up and down hills. So every time we would go down a hill, which was quite often, Elodie would reach out and hold Danica's hand.
I started running for fun when I was about 15. I started playing varsity sports in grade seven at St. Joseph's and fell in love with all the running we had to do in practice. The summer I went to grade nine I started running along Rennies River Trail, little bits at a time walking and little bits at a time running until I was finally able to run the entire length from The Boulevard to Elizabeth Avenue and back. Summer after summer, year after year my love of running grew and eventually I started running around the lake and back and forth Elizabeth Avenue after work every other night. For as long as I had been running and living in St. John's I never once ran an official race. But every year, I would pour over the newpaper results from the annual Tely 10 race. I always wanted to run the race myself but never did. That kind of stuff was for other people to do. Not me. In my head, my place was always on the sidewalk, never in the race.
But this year, both Derek and I did it! WE DID IT! After all this time, I FINALLY RAN THE TELY 10!
The day started out cool and damp.
We pre-booked the bus from the Confederation Building to the start line in Paradise.
The Tely 10 was my fifth actual race in six years (three of them this year alone) and I still hate the beginning. No matter how much I've prepared I always feel out of place, like I don't belong. Everyone else is stretching and warming up and doing all kinds of silly athletic stuff and I'm usually just standing there, like a fish out of water. It's a weird feeling that I dislike very much.
Not enough to make me not do it, though. You don't get to be 41 and not learn a thing or two about yourself, right?
Either way, we did it and it was all worth it.
Derek did fantastically well.
I did okay but I know I could have done better. Running is just as much a mental game as it is a physical one.
Still waiting for the race to start. I waaaay overdressed.
The starting line up. Derek took this picture from his spot in the start line coral. I was at least this many people behind him and there was at least that many people behind me. It's a pretty big race.
If I hadn't had to stop and use the bathroom I would have finished at least five minutes earlier. But, I finished and I got my medal to prove it.
Finally! We're off on our year-long, hightly anticipated annual return to the motherland. Newfoundland here we come!
This was the first time Danica flew on a plane sitting in her very own (very expensive) seat and she knocked it out of the park. There were moments when she wanted to sit with Derek (not me) but when it was time to sit in her own seat for take off and landing, she was a rock star.
Ingrid and Elodie are such troopers. By now they are veteran air travellers and have become so easy to travel with... now. To be fair, Elodie was never much trouble on the plane.
Getting day one under our belts with a quick visit with Grandma.
That is if you call Subway sandwiches and potato chips fine dining!
Quick! Everybody put a chip on your nose!
It's a Danica sandwich!
My little ham loves ham sandwiches.
Bunny ears for a goofy Danica. They sure do love their little sister.
Side note: Ingrid always calls Danica one of three things: Puffy, Puffball or Cutie. Danica now takes offense to it saying "I not puffy!" "No, Inky! I not cute! I a big girl!!" When Ingrid responds saying "Dan-Dan you're adorable" Dan-Dan nearly loses her mind. It's pretty cute, actually.
Elodie thinks she's a unicorn. A princess unicorn at that!
When he was visiting us in April, my nephew Nicholas drew (and redrew a dozen times) a beautiful picture of a person here on our chalkboard wall. Over the last few months it has taken a beating, been brushed up against and, finally, wiped away. Elodie seized the opportunity to recreate Nicholas' drawing with her own version.