Lions Club High School Speak Out

Yesterday, our local Lions Club sponsored and held Pearson Academy’s Speak Out Competition. We had 17 student participants and an excellent audience turnout.

Speak-outs are great opportunities for youth to practice and build skills through public speaking, and to encourage them to have a public voice in issues that concern them.

The winners:

Rhianna Bishop, 1st Place. Topic: Leadership in Rural Communities

Jessica Melindy, 2nd Place. Topic: Growing Up with Mental Illness – Anxiety and O.C.D

Deidre Hounsell, 3rd Place. Topic: Dangers of Driving Under the Influence

Rhianna Bishop and Jessica Melindy. Missing from photo: Deidre Hounsell

As the first place winner,
Rhianna will compete later at the regional level.

Steve Perry, Lions member and moderator
Ted O’Connor, teacher and judge

The judges for the speak-out were Joanne Wiley, Theodore O’Connor and myself.

It was a privilege to spend time with these young adults and to volunteer once more for this worthy event.

***

Have you or your child ever competed
or taken part in a public speaking competition?

Sunday Snaps: Paw Prints

Cold winter days are fast approaching, and for our feline friends and housemates Maisie and Viv, that means snowy paws and shorter trips outside.

Sometimes they cry to go out, but change their minds and make a quick backtrack when we open the door and the bitter wind hits their furry faces. Then they cry again as if we can magically change the weather for them!

“Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want.” – Joseph Wood Krutch, American writer, critic, and naturalist

Sunday Snap: A New Perspective

Aerial View of Perry's Point
Aerial View of Perry’s Point

This cool photo of Perry’s Point was snapped last week on Monday, November 5th by Paul’s cousin, Winston Perry. He took it from a small plane and gave me permission to share. Check out the sand and the seaweed around the coastline.

That’s my house in the foreground, closest to the end of the point, the blue one with the shed and a little blue outhouse to the far left. A large portion of Newtown is shown in the background.

The sunshine that day makes the house colour look lighter from that angle, but if you click on my Facebook link below, you’ll see its true colour. Laundry and all! That photo was taken by Winston’s brother and our neighbour, Wayne Perry.

Thanks for the great captures, guys!

https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.kelland

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Places People Live

Sunday Snap: Evening Sky in Autumn

Autumn sky“There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky.”
– Percy Bysshe Shelley

A Tourist’s Delight: “Dear Old Signal Hill”

Wikipedia photo

Sometimes we sit lamenting as memory traces back
The old familiar landmarks that we miss from off our track.
They’ve built the railway stations where our feet were wont to skate,
They motor over footpaths where our lovers used to wait.
But there’s one left still – dear old Signal Hill.*

I’ve always loved Signal Hill. That’s probably why I incorporated into a couple of scenes in my debut novel, Calmer Girls.

Overlooking St. John’s Harbour and the Atlantic Ocean, it is the capital city’s most popular tourist attraction.

I take the time every summer to pay a visit, and this past July was no exception. Here are a few shots from that gorgeously sunny and breezy day – then again, as any tourist can attest, it’s always quite breezy atop this hill!

Cabot Tower
The iconic Cabot Tower – jenniferkellandperry.com

In the distant past, Signal Hill has been the setting for victorious battle, the location for Marconi’s monumental establishment of wireless telegraph communication, and a signalling station for approaching ships.

Today it is a National Historic Site under Parks Canada.

The best thing I like about Signal Hill?
The views, of course!

View from Signal Hill
jenniferkellandperry.com

If you look closely at some of my pics, you can see the trail around the hill.

This is not a hiking trail for the faint of heart.

jenniferkellandperry.com
jenniferkellandperry.com
jenniferkellandperry.com
jenniferkellandperry.com

Thanks for taking a look at my throwback to July and one of the best-loved sites my province has to offer.

*Poem by Lydia Chancey, Book of Newfoundland, 1937

Where Once They Lived: The Beothuk of Perry’s Point

This past summer, Perry’s Point here in Newtown, Newfoundland & Labrador received a new addition. A project of the Cape Freels Development Association, this information display is a reminder and a history lesson to all about the first people who inhabited this area: the Beothuks.

I will let the display speak for itself.
Please read to learn more about this fascinating First Nation.

Thank you to the Cape Freels Association, Winston Perry, and to anyone else involved in this worthy initiative.

As it happened, earlier this year I read The Last Beothuk, the newest release by local author Gary Collins. I wholly recommend this historical novel to anyone interested in learning more about the way of life of these indigenous people and what ultimately became of them.

Inspired by True Events:

“Long after Demasduit’s skull has been stolen from her grave, and years after Shanawdithit has died, one Beothuk and his family survive.
Bursting out of the pages of Newfoundland history appears Kop, the last true Beothuk.
When all the other members of his tribe are exterminated by the Europeans, Kop seeks revenge against the Unwanted Ones.
Hidden among the Bear Clan of the Mi’kmaq, the Beothuk strikes back.
Follow Kop on his trail of defiance against the European marauders upon his Island. See what becomes of a man who has nothing to lose or live for.
Stay with him on a hundred trails and sit with him across the smoke of a hundred campfires. You will not only weep for the last Beothuk—you will cheer him on as he pushes back against the Unwanted Ones.”

A Brief Summer Hiatus

It’s that time of year again, when hubs and I gear up to leave home for the required and much-anticipated summer getaway. I will be adding on an extra week myself, starting tomorrow, to stay with my grandchildren while their parents fly off on a vacation of their own.

After that, my days will pretty much belong to me, to indulge in the things I like besides writing and blogging. Time to explore, relax, and enjoy the summery season for a spell. Time to do lots of reading, visit friends and family both in and outside the capital city, and find new moments of inspiration through the lens of my camera. You might catch a glimpse of me on other social media, but I’m going to try my best to keep that to a minimum too.

Here are a few of my backyard snaps from past summer posts, as well as a new video from a few days ago.

Vivian the beach bum
A nice kelp-free spot on our beach
The extreme tip of Perry’s Point
Neighbour Ben Perry’s buoys

***

The northern gannet is a seabird, the largest species of the gannet family.  Photo Source: Wikipedia

Northern gannets employ an ingenious way to fish for food. They “corral” the fish by flying around together in a circle over the water where the fish can see them. The fish school tightly together for safety, but that’s when these birds plummet, diving deep into the waves to catch them. Sorry for the blurriness, but it was a quick capture with my iPhone. Short and sweet so don’t blink!

Please turn up your volume to hear the gannets in their glee.

Stay safe and have fun, everyone,
and I’ll catch up with you in August. 🙂

What are you doing this summer for a change of pace?

Neighbours

The old adage “good fences make good neighbours” is a wise one, and it is usually true.

And yet, some neighbours don’t have any.
The fences we had once upon a time are long gone,
with only rolling lawns between us now.

And more pleasant neighbours you would never find. W and M are the coolest folks.
(That’s our house in the background, and W’s new bird-house in the foreground.)

Grandma M’s pot will soon be overflowing!

…and those bloomers will be blooming.

Good one, W and M. Let’s just hope Maisie and Vivian don’t drive away your new feathered tenants – or worse!

All of this neighbourly talk brings this timely quote to mind:

Whether the borders that divide us are picket fences or national boundaries, we are all neighbors in a global community.
– Jimmy Carter

Pages From The Past: Moving to Newtown

Moving to Newtown, Newfoundland in 2010

These are a few excerpts from my private journal in September 2010, shortly before I started this blog.  We were living in Mike Perry’s summer house here in Newtown, while our future home’s interior was being renovated on Perry’s Point by Paul’s two handy cousins and by Paul himself.  

Of note, this excerpt was written during Hurricane Igor and its aftermath.  Also of note is my poem at the end.

Very slowly, the old house on the point is undergoing its planned metamorphosis. My emotions are mixed. To see the rot exposed, the peeling paint and wallpaper, the ancient cobwebs hanging from the now-bare and blackened rafters, the unbelievable mess in the yard created by demolition, and now reconstruction – all of this plays havoc with my need for cleanliness and order. Are we really going to live here, in this two-storey house on a piece of rock jutting out into the cold North Atlantic? And are we ever going to find carpenters to install the new windows and clapboard while the rest of the work is done?

But then on one occasion when I visited the point last week, I saw something. I caught an encouraging glimpse of what could be. Of what that old house could become. My eye is drawn to the sun shining in through the multi-coloured glass of the windows we are not replacing. I see promise in their dazzling jewel tones of green, pink and yellow.

I get a mental picture of the rooms, devoid of junk and sawdust. Instead, they are neatly decorated, warm and comfortable, the kitchen filled with welcoming smells, music playing, Paul laughing at our cat Vivian as she skitters across the floor after a pop bottle stopper. I see Paul in his home office working on design plans, and I see me typing another page in my new novel. I welcome a visitor, put the kettle on…

I pretty much wish we were already there, playing house. Patience has never been my strongest virtue, so time drags on.

Sept. 21

So the house in Paradise didn’t close yesterday as planned. The buyers require a survey of the land…why did they wait until the last minute??

And now we are back in Newtown, enduring the wrath of Hurricane Igor as he sweeps over the province, the likes of which we have never witnessed. There’s a leak in the living-room here at Mike’s that started since Paul left to go out on the point. The wind is howling, the rain is hitting the windows in sheets. Mother Nature is showing her teeth today and she means business! The radio assures me that this storm is a record breaker, and I feel like I have three houses to worry about: this one, the one on the point, and our biggest investment up to now, the one in Paradise that is almost sold.

Even Maisie and Vivian look worried.

Sept. 23

Everyone I love now has their power back. My sister Lynn got hers at 1 yesterday, my mother-in-law last evening, and daughter Denise at 4 this morning (no other family lost theirs). We had it gone for about seven minutes on the night of the storm. So I breathe a great sigh of relief that all is well once again. I smile to realize that many have no cable TV or internet access right now – just like us!

Of course, we still wait for a phone call from our real estate agent or our lawyer as to when the house will close. I pray the walk-thru goes well. We wait to see if the Trans Canada Highway will open later today. And we wait for our new windows to be delivered. Sometimes life feels like a long drawn-out waiting game.

I love cooking and baking. Sometimes it feels downright therapeutic. As I made cod au gratin and a strawberry-apple crumble yesterday, a feeling of such peace and contentment enveloped me, it made me think of the book Simple Abundance and how much truth is in it. Whenever I cook and there is lots of time to do it right, I adore it. Thinking of living on the point and cooking and baking in my brand new kitchen fills me with happiness. I taped some loose recipes into my personal cookbook just this morning, in anticipation of using them soon.

The only thing that hurts is to read the recipes that Mom dictated to me over the phone not that long ago.

And I wait for a call from Lynn to see if they have a new placement for Mom. I don’t think I will get over the hurt of her Alzheimer’s disease for a very long time, and the worst is yet to come. Right on the heels of Dad’s ALS and death in 2003, the dreaded condition swooped in on my precious mother and changed her forever. Why has this double whammy hit our family, I wonder. I fear that the knowledge of it and the pain of its aftermath have changed me forever too.

As a way of dealing with these feelings, I wrote a poem this morning.

God, give me back my mom, I beg you and I plead

we’ve lost her much too early, the pain will not recede

First we lose our father to a death no one should know

too young he was to leave us–my God! I miss him so..

The grief it proved a burden our mother couldn’t bear

her sadness turned to illness with a name I’ve always feared

I know not how her soul survives as her mind and body waste

she lives and yet she doesn’t;  a stranger took her place

Where is my mother’s heart?  Where is her winsome smile?

I miss the wisdom of her words, her gentle, caring style

God, give me back my mom, if it’s only in a dream

let her put her arms around me;  let her hold me as she sings

Then please take her up to heaven, let her suffering be gone

reunite my precious parents–maybe then I can go on.

***

Sea Star

seastar

Sunday Snap: Sea Star

There’s treasure children always seek to find
and just like us
you must have had
a Once-Upon-a-Time.*


Did you know?
 Marine scientists have replaced the starfish’s common name with sea star because it’s not a fish. It’s an echinoderm, closely related to sea urchins and sand dollars. There are 2,000 species of sea star living in all the world’s oceans. The five-arm varieties are the most common. Sea stars have an eye at the tip of each arm.

Common name: Starfish (Sea Stars)

Scientific name: Asteroidea

Type: Invertebrate Carnivore

Average life span: Up to 35 years

Weight: Up to 11 lbs

 source: National Geographic

 

*from Curtains by Elton John & Bernie Taupin