Thursday, August 27, 2009

Let's Keep it That Way

I've often mentioned that I didn't really know or understand about racism until I moved away from Newfoundland. Prejudices? Yes, because I believe we all have natural tendencies to prejudge people to a certain degree.

But to be racist was as foreign to me as the skin colour many of those "comments" refer to.

I kinda owe it to the fact that I grew up very isolated. We just never saw anyone who wasn't white. Very rarely. In the city, there were a few Asian people and the occasional black person, but otherwise, we were as white a town as any could be. As a matter of fact, the first black person I ever spoke to or saw "up close" was my sister's boyfriend who knocked on our front door to surprise us when I was 16 years old.

That's hard for a lot of people to believe. And, trust me, I'm not saying that's a good thing. I love seeing Newfoundland becoming more culturally diverse. I love seeing people from all around the world on my island.

And certainly that isolation brings about an entire conversation on its own regarding the level of ignorance brought with such separation from the "real" world. But that's a blog for another day.

I'm saying that, for me personally, perhaps a non-issue lent itself to a non-issue. Having no ethnicity surrounding me growing up meant no one could make negative or deragatory statements of such a nature. I saw people as just people. That's it. I never questioned otherwise. Seeing someone "different" - well, of course, I could physically see the difference - but to truly see a person as different, in my mind, didn't occur to me because it was never pointed out.

For that reason, I'm not surprised by this article:

Bill Cosby struck by N.L. rescue story
Last Updated: Thursday, August 27,
2009 12:04 PM NT CBC News
Comedian Bill Cosby is bringing attention to the story of a small group of Newfoundlanders whose actions taught a black American decades ago that racism didn't exist everywhere.
Cosby recently brought Lanier Phillips onstage to tell his story, after he heard about the experience Phillips had in Newfoundland nearly 70 years ago.
It was during the Second World War, in 1942; Phillips was a 19-year-old
African-American deckhand on the USS Truxtun when it and another ship, the USS
Pollux, ran aground near St. Lawrence, on the province's south coast. Phillips, who had known only racism to that point in his life, was one of only 46 people to survive the wreck. He feared he would be lynched when rescuers brought him ashore, but instead, he was taken in to local homes, and the women of the community cared for him until he was well enough to leave.
He said the kindness he was shown when he was hauled ashore taught him that racism could be overcome.
Cosby told CBC News that he was intrigued when he heard the story.
"I wanted to know more because I thought it was the story of this black man and these women who had never seen this colour skin before," he said.
The story of how Phillips was treated in Newfoundland has been told
in documentaries and television programs. One of those programs was seen by
Cosby, who this summer sent a limousine to the retirement home where Phillips
lives near Washington, D.C., to bring him to a show Cosby was performing in nearby Virginia.Cosby then brought Lanier onstage to introduce him to the
audience and tell his story.
Cosby — who was stationed at a U.S. military base in Newfoundland for a brief time in the '50s — said he was especially struck when he heard Phillips say that the women of St. Lawrence tried to scrub him down after he was rescued, because they thought the colour of his skin was dirt from the shipwreck.
"But trying to scrub it off and clean it," Cosby said, "which it turns out to be not a novelty story as much as a story about a change that comes to a human being because of a difference in the way the human being is treated, and how it opens up very positive feelings in a human being."
Phillips is 86 years old now, and he has often said that the people of Newfoundland didn't just save his life, they changed it. "To experience instantly love and humanity that I didn't think existed between the races — it just changed everything for me."
After Phillips was rescued, he had a 20-year career in the navy and became an active member of the U.S. civil rights movement.
He credits the people of St. Lawrence for his success.
Cosby calls it a wonderful story.
"There's no way when you listen to his story there's a superiority of anything except human beings helping human beings,"
Cosby said. "Just about human beings and the power that human beings have when
they work to save each other."
A U.S. film producer is now hoping to turn the story of what happened to Phillips into a full-length film.

I'm so proud of us Newfoundlanders for understanding the true meaning of hospitality. That these women cared for this man with skin colour they had never seen before just speaks of hearts that are pure and kind.

Let this be a lesson to us. And for us to be a lesson for people everywhere. We are not as isolated to the world as we once were. But I hope our minds and hearts can continue to warmly welcome people with open arms, the way that true Newfoundlanders were meant to be. I like to think that we can still make make racism in our province a "non-issue", comparatively speaking. I'm not naive, just hopeful.

Did you grow up in an isolated place like I did? Do you think that isolation made your views of people from other cultures, creeds, religions, etc. positive or negative?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Now Following...

I just started following DIME STORE THRIFT

I'm a sucker for antique shops, garage sales, the Salvation Army store, my grandmothers house....pretty much any place where I can snoop through piles of old dishes in china cabinets, photo albums in huge trunks, and gaudy vintage jewellry in gaudy vintage jewellry boxes.

The hubster? He hates it.

If we drive anywhere and I see a "yard sale" or "Antique store - 1 Km Ahead" sign, he literally speeds up and whizzes on by with me cranking my neck around like an owl to try and see what I've just missed. And then I grumble and complain about him never stopping while at the same time understanding that if he HAD stopped, that would mean us being at least an hour late to our current destination. The truth hurts!

And so I've managed to follow my little obsession online. I haven't actually made any purchases online. I just like browsing.

It works a little better for me to browse without buying, to be perfectly honest. Cause here's the thing - while I LOVE LOVE LOVE so many vintage things, when I take them home, I can't figure out where to put them. And so, for the most part, they sit in a closet somewhere, just waiting for the perfect spot, and then I never find the perfect spot, and the item doesn't get appreciated the way it should. I have great intentions.

Oh, but can I just say how much joy it brings to my heart to find an antique cameo or big gaudy brooch or a worn hardcover copy of "Pride and Prejudice" complete with turned down pages and little asterisks marking the last readers favourite parts! I can just see a little old lady, dressed in her favourite flowered hat, brooch pinned on the side of her cardigan, sipping tea in chipped China, sitting in a wicker chair on her front porch, enjoying an old classic.

See, it's not just about the item, it's about the image that item represents . That image sits in your mind and speaks to your heart and makes you want to own that book, smell the hint of cigarettes and stale perfume, and share in that imagined moment.

With that said, I'm very happy to share Dime Store Thrift with you and her display of found objects complete with little entertaining stories and snippets of her daily adventures.

Do you have a thrift store obsession too?

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Benefits of Being Strange

My friends told me I was a nerd. Okay, so that's probably true.

The hubster simply shook his head at me with a look of pity in his eye. Well, he may have a point there also.

All because I shared the fact that, as a child, I had an imaginary friend.

Yes, I admit it. There! I said it. It's out there. Now, that wasn't so bad, was it?

Yogurt (or Yogie, for short) - Please, let's not go there over my name choice, my 3-year old self had no idea of the future ridicule I might receive as a result, so let's give her a break, shall we? - Okay, now where was I? Oh yes, Yogurt, my imaginary friend, he was from Ontario (? remember we're giving my 3-year old self a break here!) and he would sit at my little table set and sip tea and listen to my tales of outdoor play and exploration and swimming in the brook.

I blame it all on being the middle child. Seriously.

To cheer me up this morning, as I was feeling quite miserable, my friend Christa (the one who lovingly calls me a nerd) sent me an email with a link to an article which you can read HERE.

Ah ha!! I knew it!! I knew that having an imaginary friend would make me proud one day. It's no wonder I'm so gifted with the art of gab. Ha!...and then the journalling, oh how I love keeping journals!

Makes me want to sit and finally start on that book I've been wanting to write. It's like it was just meant to be, all starting with an imaginative pre-schooler with too much time and a brain overflowing with creativity.

Thanks Christa!

Okay, so now I've taken that load off my shoulders.

Perhaps in a future post I will tell you about how I recently discovered my Mi'kmaq Indian heritage, and, upon reading about their beliefs, have now come to understand why I always felt a need to apologize to a tree when it was cut down. Again, seriously.

I probably just upped my nerd status, huh? Oh well, I am what I am. And now I'm going to figure out how to write the first sentence of that book.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Chocolate Moose

I've officially got my "Chocolate Moose Bakery and Cafe" blog up and running.

I started it ages ago but couldn't figure out how to put the "categories" at the top of the page to make it a little more reader friendly. So there I was working on HTML code when Christa explains that all I need to do is add the "gadget"....well, duh!

Anyways, the list includes: How to Find Us, Contact Info, Menu, Bakery Items, etc...and the Blog section.

I decided the blog section would contain updates, of course, AND the answers to various questions I get asked by the guests I serve. I get asked lots of questions - some out of legitimate curiosity (What are bakeapples?), some I would consider quite strange (Do you actually live here in the winter?), and some I don't know the answer to (What's the story behind the NL flag?) but will find out. And yes, to that one, I should be ashamed of myself!

So, if you happen to have a Newfie/Chocolate Moose Bakery & Cafe question you're dying to ask, go to the blog HERE and heave away.

Monday, August 17, 2009

It Only Took a Month and a Half...

...but I've finally have some more weight loss success.

Since coming back from NB at the end of June, I just couldn't seem to get back on track. Every week I would get on the scales and see NO change.

I suppose I should be thankful there was no change. At least I was maintaining my loss instead of gaining.

And finally, over the past two weeks, I've taken off 3 more pounds for a total of 14 lbs to date! Yay for me!

I have some ladies in the community who have been asking me about following Weight Watchers. I thought I might start up a group. I called Weight Watchers to find out if/how I could legitimately start up using their plan - the nearest "Meetings" are in Corner Brook, over an hours drive away. Unfortunately I never got any response.

I'm thinking I might start a little group in the fall anyways. Once a week. Weigh in. I just wouldn't be able to actually use the name "Weight Watchers". I'm just not quite sure I know enough about weight loss to help other women - I suppose we could just help each other. Having a support system is half the battle. But then there's the issue of charging fees. Do I charge a fee? For example, at WW, when I was going before, you'd pay your membership plus a weekly fee. After you got to your goal weight, that weekly fee was dropped as long as your maintained your weight. If you GAINED, then you had to pay. It was a bit of added incentive. Maintain - don't pay. Gain - pay. How would I keep everyone motivated? Any suggestions on starting an independant weight-loss group?

Anyways, in the meantime, I'll keep plugging away at it. It's hard work and I'm still not eating as well or exercising like I need to. But I'll get there! Thanks - I'm glad I have my readers to share my journey, however uneventful, with!

Friday, August 14, 2009

FT Face Meets Tiny Town

It's not too often we get to meet "celebrities" here in our little community of less than 300 people. And it's much less often that I get to serve them our homemade burgers at "The Chocolate Moose", our bakery & cafe. So please excuse me if I'm a little excited to tell you that I met, had a chat with, and served Jeanne Beker yesterday.

For those of you who don't know, Jeanne Beker is the face of Fashion Television and considered an icon in the industry. She is most recently, a judge on Canada's Next Top Model, which is how I'm most familiar with her. She has a super long list of career info, which you can check out here:
or here:

Anyways, Jeanne Beker is in town right now for the Woody Point Writers Festival, an annual event that began about five years ago at the Woody Point Heritage Theatre to celebrate Newfoundland writers, artists, and musicians. The event was originally founded by Mr. Stephen Brunt, a sports journalist and columnist for the Globe and Mail, who just happens to own a summer home in our area with his lovely family, who...ahem...also like to come out to "The Chocolate Moose" on occasion.

I know, it's a shameless display of self-promotion but I just can't help myself - I have to take advantage of the celebrity visits just like everyone else, right?

Anyhoo - the Writers at Woody Point does draw some very interesting people for a few days in August and certainly adds a boost to the businesses in the area. It's very exciting to see the festival become more and more popular and I, for one, welcome the opportunity to have Bonne Bay South in the spotlight, however small that spotlight may be.

Back to Jeanne Beker. Just like my crazy brain, my blogging tends to get slightly side-tracked. Okay, so one of my favourite summer-people - Yes, "we" (and by "we", I mostly mean "I"), actually term our season residents "The Summer People" - Maisie, opens her gorgeous bayside cottage every August to host a "Writer" or a guest thereof. Last year, it was Gordon Pinsent. This year it's Jeanne Beker. Maisie loves our little cafe, God Bless her, and brought Jeanne and her partner in for lunch.

It just so happened that one of the other summer-people happened to be eating lunch at another table, recognized Jeanne Beker as an old university classmate, and started chatting it up. At another table there was a family with 3 daughters, the oldest of which cautiously approached Jeanne's table and, with head-down, hands shaking, said, "Um, excuse me, but you look just like Jeanne Beker...are you?" and after some teasing about how amazing it was that she looked "just like" Jeanne Beker, she enthusiastically talked to the girls about their interest in fashion and the importance of following their dreams and signed autographs for them. And there I was, in between, cooly noting that I was a fan as well whilst rhyming off the topping choices for her burger, "lettuce, tomato, pickle, cheese, bacon,....". The 6 oz burgers were a huge hit, a fact that I am very proud of, since I am personally responsible for the making of the burger patties from scratch. And I am happy to say Jeanne Beker was a lovely lady to serve.

I even bumped into Jeanne (see how I've graduated to a first name basis...haha) at the Writers meet-and-greet that afternoon and her partner was, much to my delight, telling everyone about our wonderfully fully-loaded burgers. "I love a burger you can wear!" was his actual sentiment. Awesome!

Now back to promoting my business - you can visit "The Chocolate Moose" online at our blog - it's a work in progress but it's a start.

It's just too bad I didn't get a photo of Jeanne Beker to add as proof for this post. And chances are I won't ask either - I may be a fan of hers but I'm also a fan of letting people eat their lunches in peace, celebrity or not.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Solos are Up

I'm been anxiously awaiting this day. The day when Christa would finally put my solo shots on her blog. It seems like I've been waiting forever but she's actually been very quick getting everything done, in my opinion.

I'd been wrestling with the idea of having shots like these taken. I've always wanted them. So my dilemma was an internal battle with myself. On the one hand, there's my confident inner "sex-pot", if you will, dying to be captured on film so that when I'm a little old lady I can show my grandkids how awesome grandma was back in the day.

And on the other hand, there's the timid, put-on-way-too-many-pounds-to-be-sexy, boobs bursting out of my shirt, don't-even-really-know-how-to-put-on-makeup-properly, girl who was scared to death to even attempt posing for this smokin' shoot.

I knew from my maternity photos (also taken by Christa) that I would gradually shake off the jitters and get into it. And I absolutely love my maternity photos - I couldn't have asked for any better work.

So, I should have known Christa would not disappoint this time around either. Like, talk about boosting a girls ego on a boring Tuesday morning! It's amazing what a great photographer and photo editing can do for a girl, eh?....Holy Smokers! I LOVE LOVE LOVE them!! What do you think?

CLICK HERE to check out the Cyball Photography blog for your sneak peak of yours truly! Mwah!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Family Photos

Two posts in one day...Wow! I'm usually a two post per week kinda gal, if I'm lucky.

But I'm too excited not to share our wonderful family photos taken by Christa at Cyball Photography while she was "home" vacationing this July.

I love love love all of our photos, it's so hard to choose, but I think this one of Sarah "driving" my dads old '52 Chevy is my fav!

And this one of Jamie and I - not too shabby either!
Head on over to the Cyball Photography blog to see more. Thanks Christa! Can your services extend to helping me decide which ones to print and frame?

Keep reading: my very own solo shots will be up on the blog tomorrow. It's ridiculous how nervous I am...eek!!

Mars: And I don't mean the Bars

I live smack-dab in the middle of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Very exciting indeed!

Quite honestly, I never noted the importance of such status while growing up in small town Newfoundland. It's true what they say - ya know, that stuff about taking everything for granted when it's right in front of you.

....or behind you, in the form of mountains, as in my case.

Then, smack-dab in the middle of all that, lies the Tablelands. According to Wikipedia:

The Tablelands, found between the towns of Trout River and Woody Point in Gros
Morne National Park, look more like a barren desert than traditional
Newfoundland. This is due to the ultramafic rock - peridotite - which makes up
the Tablelands. It is thought to originate in the earth's mantle and was forced
up from the depths during a plate collision several hundred million years ago.
Peridotite lacks the usual nutrients required to sustain most plant life, hence
its barren appearance. The rock is very low in calcium, very high in magnesium, and
has toxic amounts of heavy metals. Peridotite is also high in iron, which
accounts for its brownish colour (rusted colour).

To me, it's an amazing site to see, when driving through the "gulch" to Trout River, how the road intersects what looks like two different worlds: On the right, typical forest and bog and moose, and on the left: a barren brown waste-land of the earths mantle with hardly a spot of green. It's the strangest thing ever.

I can't think of a better way for you to see this amazing place than to pass you over to an old friend, Michael Blanchard, who has taken absolutely stunning images (see below) of the area at

The hubster prompted this post when he told me about a chat on VOCM radio about NASA being in the Tableland area to take samples of the rock for study in comparison to rocks on Mars. Mars: The earth's neighbouring red planet, that is, in case you were wondering. Apparantly, life on the Tablelands could be an indication of life on Mars. Huh? Yep, that's what they say. Read the article HERE on the Western Star website.

Take it or leave it. Believe it or not. There it is. I just wanted to put it out there.

Personally, I love hearing about research of any type in my community because that means publicity, and visitors coming to check us out. I love research. I love my community. I love tourists. However, I still think searching for life on Mars is a waste of money that could be better spent feeding lives on earth. But who am I?

So, if all this talk of the Tablelands and Mars, the planet, doesn't interest you one iota, you can always go on over to Mars, the chocolate bar, website to try and win some yumminess. That's where I'm headed. Quite frankly, I prefer the chocolate over the planet.