Walk on the beach

Mere moments outside St. John’s is the Memorial University Ocean Studies centre – right here on the edge of Logy Bay. Imagine for a moment that this –


is where you go to school to learn about the sea. Pretty good deal, eh? (We may have been presenting this as an idea, but because we are very cagey parents we were very subtle about it and simply ran about the lab shrieking “Wouldn’t this be GREAT!!) Outside the lab (where you can’t go unless you’re a student, but doesn’t it look INTERESTING!!) there’s a big water table full of stuff from the ocean. A third year student in Marine Biology comes outside when you turn up and teaches you all about everything. It sounds a little silly, but it was one of the neatest things we did. You can touch everything (mind the crabs- they touch back) and hold everything and we loved every minute of it. Even the almost 17 year old was hugely amused.


See this?


It’s a sea cucumber. Sea cucumbers fill themselves with sea water – this one is emptying himself (herself? I suspect it’s hard to tell) of all the water because he’s nervous. (I know humans with the same problem.) When he was done he was considerably deflated, which is sort of the goal, he’s trying to look less delicious. The girl told us that if he was really panicked, he would take very drastic measures, which include expelling much of his internal organs in the same way. The idea is that the predator after him would then be distracted and eat those, and the cucumber would use that time to escape, hide somewhere and re-grow his innards. Hell of a plan really.


This is a little sea peach (I’m holding it. It was not firm.)


This is a scallop. See the black dots around the edge? Those are its EYES. (I’m serious. I wouldn’t lie to you. Plus, I asked the girl “seriously?” and she was all “why would I make something like that up?” The whole thing just seems so implausible, doesn’t it? I mean… eyes?


Sea Urchin. Very stiff, very spiky.


Sea star. (What a great colour. They were all brilliant.) The girl stroked the mouth of the thing and this is what happened.


That’s how it eats. If it finds something good, it ejects its stomach, surrounds the yumminess, digests it, then brings the stomach back in. I know that seems like a risky manoeuvre, but the oceans full of these things, so it must be ok. After learning all about this stuff, we went walking down on the beach at Outer Cove. (In capelin season, the fish “roll” on the beach. So many of them come in that people scoop them with buckets. Millions of fish. Millions.) We walked along and we all did what we liked best.


Old Joe threw rocks.


My Joe tried to remember why he left home.



Sam thought that maybe becoming a Marine Biologist would be a good job.


I took pictures with a sock. (No starfish were harmed in the making of this blog entry.) I am indeed coming along on the second sock of the Hibiscus for Hope pair, despite my yarn getting stuck in the mail. It was to be delivered on Friday, but that ended up being Regatta day, and that meant that it wouldn’t have arrived until the next mail day, which was today (Monday.) Being a city girl, I thought that there was nothing that could be done about that, but I forgot where I was in the world. Joe called down to the National Purolator office on Friday, got the number for the St. John’s office, explained how much I really wanted that package, and they went into the back and fetched it for him, and he picked it up from the depot on Saturday. No issues.

I couldn’t believe it. “Welcome to Newfoundland” Joe said.

PS. For all of you who noticed my eldest daughter Amanda missing from that family photo yesterday… Yup. She’s not with us. She’s 19 now, in between her first and second year of college and working this summer. No time to lolly-gag around with all of us. I miss her a lot. I keep thinking “Amanda would love that” or turning to tell her something. Funny, I thought my kids would go on vacation with me forever.

169 thoughts on “Walk on the beach

  1. I can’t be first, can I?
    Beautiful pics!! I like the sea cucumber best!! What a way to lose body size!

  2. just because I might actually be first! Thank you so much for sharing your vacation with us. You are a one-family tourist development board for Newfoundland. I hope they are inundated with knitting travelers in the next year.

  3. Good golly, you’re posting early today! *grin*
    The photos continue to be wonderful. Thanks for “bringing us along” on your vacation.
    Marine biology is a totally awesome career! πŸ˜€

  4. I understand about the vacation thing. My son decided about 17y/o that he was too old and too cool to go to the movies w/ his mom. It broke my heart. I would have had to go see HellBoy II by myself if my twin 11 y/o nephews hadnt been in town that weekend. πŸ™

  5. What a neat place. And it looks so cool (weather-cool as opposed to neat-cool). Thanks for sharing!

  6. I quite agree with Linda M., I am looking into a passage for Newfoundland on the nearest vessel from Cornwall right now!
    Marine biologist sounds really cool, go Sam go!

  7. Wow – looks like you all are having a WONDERFUL vacation! And I think Sam would make a wonderful marine biologist. She could totally go to school in between modeling gigs – she’s beautiful!

  8. That sounds amazing! I agree with you, that starfish is an amazing color. I know this is weird, and you probably don’t read this, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway. I’m a teen knitter who’s been reading your blog for awhile. I was wondering if you could help me find/create a pattern for a pair of men’s socks on two needles, preferably without using short rows. I learned to knit online, and my area does not have a LYS so I can’t learn how to use DPNs correctly. But I want to knit my older brother (he’s 18) a pair of socks… but all the 2 needle patterns out there are ugly! Can you help me find a great pattern?

  9. Scallops may have lots of eyes, but they don’t have particularly good resolution – mostly just light and dark. Even seafish have little tiny eyespots on the ends of their arms.

  10. Your descriptions and pictures are bringing back the best memories for me! I wish I were visiting Avalon this summer, but I think we’ll wait a few years for our girls (3 yr old twins) to get big enough to remember it.
    In the meantime, more! And happy to hear the post was so obliging.

  11. I was struck by the texture of the starfish pictured with your sock. It looks knit! That color and texture could inspire a new project, eh?

  12. OK, having spent some time in Maine on an island I was totally with Sam and was thinking, “oh, I’m so glad her kids enjoyed the sea creatures as much as mine did”. Then I got to your PS…even though I’m a stranger to you and you to me I totally teared up. Silly, right? I mean just because my oldest is 16 he will always go on vacation with us, right? Just because he wants no part of us most of the time right now it won’t always be that way, right? RIGHT??

  13. What a wonderful vacation you have!!! I’m all kinds of jealous! Enjoy your time away… Good job Joe for the package! what a guy!

  14. To Hailey – I actually love the sock patterns, but my cats run off with dpns! So I saw someone do socks on ONE really long circular needle, and figured it out. You need more stitch markers to divide front and back and such, but you can convert any pattern if you think about it!
    My family used to summer at the Maine shore, and these pictures make me want to grab my knitting and head back there.

  15. I’ve loved hearing about your holiday and seeing the pictures, but the one that made me smile the most and seemed to sum everything up was the starfish on the sock :o)
    I think I’m going to play one of my Great Big Sea CDs now, and imagine myself 3000km over the ocean…

  16. Hello Stephanie!
    Thanks for showing and describing these special creatures.
    I enjoy every step of your vacation with you together!
    And I really envy the sea-star, which may lie on your beautiful and surely soft socks!
    Have more and more fun on your vacation!
    Many greetings, Ixe

  17. What a fun vacation you’re having! That’s a beautiful picture of Sam–she’s downright lovely!

  18. You got to touch all those fantastic creatures? Wow. I admit the sea star is a pretty amazing colour….would make a nice colour for yarn I think.
    And the smaller starfish, esp the ones your daughter are holding are just too adorable. Yep, even my eldest was contemplating being a Marine Biologist and wanted to work in the Great Barrier Reef at some point. When I told her there’s not much money in it unless you make an earth-shattering discovery of some sort, she shifted her sights to Multimedia Arts and Sciences. πŸ™‚

  19. We had a touch tank at school – Dalhousie University. The poor critters had been mauled by so many first year students, that the sea cucumbers were depressed and spent most of their time smoking behind the rocks with some barnacles.

  20. Thank you for telling me where Amanda was. I though she had slipped over the edge of one of those cliffs and you just weren’t going to mention it until the rescue had been successful, she had been released from the hospital, and was back at home and safe. Really, I was becomming concerned.
    Deb in PA

  21. Wow, the sea creatures are amazing and bizarre. I’m now thinking being a marine biologist would be a pretty cool job, too (not that I need another restart on the path to career-ness).

  22. My stepdaughter will be Dr. Marine Biologist next spring and it is an exciting field of studies indeed. Of course, all she gets is NY Bay (just kidding, I love NY Bay) but she went to Newfoundland last month.
    I love your marine life photos.

  23. what a wonderful place to visit, you are so lucky and I’m so envious.
    Sea creatures are fascinating and it must be amazing to hold them. I’m intrigued by the eyes on that creature, how does it assembled the information it receives? Does it react to changes in light /dark and move away assuming its going to be eaten?
    btw great socks

  24. We are smack-dab in the middle of kids-too-old/busy-to-go-on-vacation-with-us time and it stinks. Completely. However, after reading your post I may want to go back to school and become a marine biologist, and then *I’ll* be too busy to go on vacation with myself, right?!?

  25. Oh. Your postscript makes me sad. I’m the daughter that stopped going on vacation with her parents. Lots of reasons really. Part of it is time and not wanting to spend all my alloted vacation with the parents on both holidays and vacation (we’re in different states), and honestly, part of it is that my parents idea of vacation is not the same as mine. Still sad though.

  26. I have a friend who comes from Nova Scotia who used to be a fisherman. He knows how to crochet quite well, that’s how they mend the rips in their fishing nets. It’s very interesting. Glad you’re having a good time, I’d love to go there.

  27. Family vacations are the best and this one looks especially divine. Your days seem so chock-full I am not sure when you get your knitting in. ~ksp

  28. The second sock is coming along gorgeously. It would be fun to hold all those sea creatures and maybe a little bit gross. I saw Fear Factor (only once) but they had to eat a bunch of sea cucumbers. I will never be the same. Eternally grossed out.

  29. Thanks for sharing all this. I am enjoying reading all about NF. Maybe you and Joe can retire there someday? Think of the knitting time in the winter…..

  30. Speaking of eyes, if you look at the very end of one of those starfish arms, where they kinda curl the tips up when they’re out of the water, you’ll see a small dark red dot. It’s an eye! They’ve got one on each arm and, like the scallop, they aren’t good for much other than distinguishing light from dark (which helps them find hiding places).

  31. Oh how COOL! I had to run with my laptop (pretty scary) to show my son who is sooooo into the marine biology now, he’s 10, so all that slimey stuff is right up his alley LOL. Personally, the thing with all the eyes, wouldn’t that be a bugger to apply mascara to?!

  32. I’m a marine biologist, so if Sam wants to learn anything more, please have her e-mail me! It’s one of those careers that just about everyone wants to be at some point while growing up, but there are some of us who actually kept going – and even manage to make a living!
    Loving all of the sea creatures, too – took me right back to my inverts classes :).

  33. My “kids” (ages 29, 27, and 24) are all going on vacation with us for the first time in 11 years. We’re all excited about the few days we’ll have together, like ol’ times….except this time with a 17 month old granddaughter along too.
    I enjoy my vacations alone with my husband, and also the vacations with the kids along. It’s nice that they are all old enough now that we can occasionally have it both ways.

  34. I know. Sad, isn’t it? But then sometimes they get serious boyfriends, even husbands, then they want to vacation together again.

  35. Your vacation posts just get better and better. It’s so much fun each day to see what cool new stuff you will tell us/show us. Thanks again!

  36. Thanks for sharing this vacation with us. I’ll not be going to Newfoundland any time soon but it’s wonderful to have a vicarious tour. BTW Joe looks good with short hair.
    My oldest is almost twenty-one and she moved out two months ago to share a house with a bunch of her friends. It’s strange not having her around and I keep doing the same thing: wanting to tell her something and then remembering that she’s not here. Having her be a well-adjusted, self- sufficient adult was the goal, right? Still, it is a weird mix of happy-for-her/sad-for-me emotions.

  37. Just for the record, young Joe grew up on the west coast of the province where we have been basking in the sun while they have been dodging the rain on the east coast. Two different coasts and often very different weather patterns. And remember, they may have George Street but we have Gros Morne!
    For a peek at the west coast check out our website.
    For more pics, click on the Smugmug button on the left side of the page.
    Great to follow your adventures, Stephanie. Love the photos of sea life!

  38. Thanks for the fantastic photos – it almost feels like being there. I remember the college years well – not having my children with me for Mother’s Day was sad. But we took vacations at winter or spring break because of the whole having to work summers thing. Then we spent lots of vacations visiting Louisiana when younger daughter moved there. This year I went to Seattle with older daughter when she went for work (& stayed over the following weekend). So vacations with the offspring become rarer but even more fun.

  39. What a fun vacation! Granted right now most vacations look fun, being that I’m currently 39 weeks pregnant and can’t go anywhere. I can totally see a sock being created from this trip!

  40. Absolutely fascinating. Do Joe’s parents want to become knitterly tour guides? Sounds like a lot of us would like to follow in your footsteps. I’m so pleased you’ve been able to have such a wonderful family vacation, especially after all the craziness of this past year.

  41. Amanda has no idea what she’s missing! Have you been in contact with her, or does she just have to read the blog like the rest of us?

  42. I was wondering where your other daughter was (silly that we worry about your children!) – growing up and working….crazy.

  43. If the knitting book thing ever dries up, you could write for the Newfoundland Tourist Board – I am the last person on earth who wants a ‘nature’ vacation and I’m ready to book a ticket!

  44. Ah sea cucumbers! I remember finding those where I grew up. I feel a pang of guilt, seeing as how my brother and I gleefully squirted the innards out of more than a few. We were young? I didn’t know?

  45. I had the pleasure of spending the day with my 22 year old daughter and her boyfriend. I miss having her around more often and do the “hey, Em, look at this” when she’s not there, too. It’s tough to get used to but fortunately, we have a good relationship. I’ll bet she misses you just as much.

  46. I remember way back when I was in college and my parents went on their first vacation without me. I was a little surprised and missed not be included even though I realized that I could not go.

  47. That sea cucumber was absolutely hysterical. And hey — marine biologist — good plan, we need people to save our oceans! And did you really walk along the beach and just pick up sea stars? That is sooo cool.

  48. The ocean is the most wonderful thing, and such a beauty to behold. I have always wanted to get to that part of the world and experience it. I love hearing of your time there.

  49. And, now you’re learning how life goes…Amanda’s missing from this vacation…and take a look at what a very beautiful young lady Samantha has turned into…Enjoy each moment you have with them and just hope that they give you wonderful grandkids to repeat with…………

  50. What a vacation! Where I live, it never rains, and is rarely cold (not a problem for you in Toronto), so I would be thrilled to death, rather than put off, by the weather you’ve been having. All of the pictures–of wildlife, of scenery, of you and your family doing vacation-y things–make it all come to life. Thanks for bringing us readers along!

  51. That centre is JUST the kind of place I’d love to hang out in, I hope she goes for it! I love the close up photos of Joe, he is.. so beautiful. Sorry Amanda can’t be with you all, rats. The scallop, black dot eyes… my response would’ve been the same. Seriously.

  52. What a grand holiday. I have enjoyed reading about your adventures and the Newfoundland coastal area. So much of it reminds me of the historic jaunts my family would take across the country as we moved from army base to army base.
    All the sealife and birds, cliffs and such so remind me of the 13 years I lived in Alaska. I was a member of the Audubon Society and participated in many of the bird counts. It fasicinated me. Also, there is an abundance of wildife to see, both on the sea and on land.
    When we moved to the Seattle area, I was so disappointed with the sealife as we went from Victoria to Port Townsend (or was it another port in WA). Anyway, it seemed to be devoid of the variety of birds and sea life I was used to seeing. I recall how spoiled I am to have lived up north and to have seen all that I have.
    Keep writing and sharing. It brings back memories and a fun way to share what is in your corner of the world. (Ps: Love the sock!)

  53. Tell Sam that being a marine biologist IS a cool job! (and I would know…) I dread the day I don’t see my kids everyday, and it’s fast approaching.

  54. I grew up in southern Maine, and would have been able to do that too. There are some wonderful communities that no matter their size manage to keep the small town feel, and that is a wonderful thing!

  55. I can confirm that being a marine biologist (I’m actually a biological oceanographer; minor differences), is a supremely cool job. There’s no money in it, but there are many wonderful perks. Every time I go to sea, a couple of times per year, I am amazed, inspired, reinvigorated, and I always always feel like a kid again. Tell the girls to go for it!!

  56. what a great post. loved it. from you guys racing in saying “how cool!” to seeing old Joe skip some stones, to your Joe contemplating the sense of “home”…. and tell Sam we all agree, that ocean critters are some of the coolest stuff ever.
    My heart totally hears you about Amanda…
    this is a lovely post that shows the beautiful circle of love in your life.

  57. Brilliant. Sea life. Absolutely brilliant.
    And by the way, in case you were wondering if it’s just your opinion…nope, your children ARE beautiful!

  58. You are definitely leading me to believe I need to travel to Newfoundland! Thanks for sharing your vacation- continue to have a lovely time.

  59. My daughter did a Marine Biology internship last summer and came home with such an intense love for the ocean. Those ubiquitous little broken ridged white shells you see on beaches the world over? They’re the favorite food of sea stars, and they have a single foot they stick out of their shell to pop themselves over like a Slinky fleeing down the beach away from the star wriggling after it. Flip flip flip. Head over heels.

  60. As the mother of two grown sons (35y/o & 31y/o) they will go on vacations with you after reaching adulthood. We now have the best times together which includes two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren. They do indeed return to have fun times with parents.

  61. OK – so now, after reading your books and blog for quite awhile I finally get the connection between the Joes. I know who your girls are. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out who Ken is… A little help, please?

  62. My comment is unrelated to the current blog entries. However, I listened to your interview on the Knit Piks podcast and yes I am a little behind the times but that is nothing new. Sometime (and perhaps this is in your new book) would you write a little about how you incorporate the “yoga way” of letting go of yarn, projects, finished pieces etc.? I think it is a valuable idea. I loved your description of parents being subtle about college education. Very familiar! Jane

  63. Oh, no time to think of Amanda being too grown up to vacation with you! I just packed my only wee one off to kindergarten today and am just doing well enough to not be in the fetal position, sucking my thumb. Getting a little teary just typing this.
    But your vacation has made me desperate to visit Newfoundland. Maybe one day soon. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us.

  64. Thanks for taking us on vacation with you. Love all your pictures, especially the beautiful one of that handsome dude, Joe!

  65. Sam is too beautiful. You can’t let her go all the way to Nfld to go to school, she’ll never come back. Keep her at home and throw away the key!!
    Nice socks too.

  66. Being a “city girl” now, but having grown up in rural US, I could get that package too if I was “home.” Isn’t it great that those niceties are still waiting for us when we go back? You do give up some precious things for the convenience of the city.

  67. This is a wonderful preview to our trip to Newfoundland in September. Thanks for sharing so many details!

  68. I’ve been drooling over your posts all week and want to ask: next year can I take the place of a missing daughter? I promise to be good.

  69. My daughter, the potential marine biologist, college research one, is now extending her quest for college…thank you very much. And has anyone told you how incredibly beautiful your daughter Sam is? That picture of her is really a lovely shot.

  70. You’re right up my alley today! Well, really, all week I’ve been telling my husband I’m vacationing vicariously through you. We live right near the University of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay Campus & Graduate School of Oceanography, another really good program, and the whole area is filthy with touch tanks and aquariums. My kids are so at home handling the amazing little critters that live in the ocean. I do believe I would wither and die if I got too far from the coast. For a while my son was enchanted with Dr. Robert Ballard and wanted to follow in his footsteps (he’s the guy who discovered the Titanic, and he’s with URI GSO now). I’m hoping he does. And even better, we get in-state tuition. Hey, every little bit helps.

  71. Wow! Just this weekend I was asking my husband about starfish and how they do things, never thinking the Harlot would show us!
    Down by the ferry docks here in West Seattle, when the tide is low the star fish (sea star? Is there a difference?) cling to the pilings. I’m waiting for it to happen again so I can get a picture.
    I’m really enjoying the pics from your Newfoundland trip!

  72. Wow, Amanda has become such a beautiful young woman. She’s really blossoming! I love your Joe’s haircut. (I typed that haircute, I think that was not a mistake!)

  73. And just what does a sea peach actually do? I have never heard of them before!
    And your rather stunning Newfoundland looks a bit like Soctland – especially the weather. However the Scottish/English don’t have the imagination to move a fete day to fit the weather. What a pity – it sounds like a great idea…

  74. Okay, is it sad that I totally wish I could just expell things from my body to make myself smaller?
    It sounds like you are having an amazing vacation. I love your sock too!
    Have a great time.

  75. That sea peach looks like a heart!
    It sounds like a really great day. I love to do stuff like that. Gee, maybe I should study marine biology, you’ve convinced me!

  76. Euchh. Now I remember why I’m so turned off by seafood. Any species that, as a whole, likes to eject its innards (for any reason whatsoever) can stay far, far away from me. Ulp.
    However, Newfoundland has redeemed itself by its sheer beauty.

  77. my boyfriend is a marine biologist. Hes currently sailing around the carribean diving everyday and some nights sleeping in a hamock on the boat in stead of his bunk (weather permitting) how can you argure with a job like that ( i stll cant beleive they are paying him instead of the other way around)

  78. I am so enjoying your vacation with you! Best of luck with enticing Sam to be a Marine Biologist…personally think this is a way cool profession. Thanks for sharing with us.

  79. My youngest sister is just leaving for college this summer- I graduated in June and my brother has been away for a year. My mom misses us all, and I remember the first time I missed out on a family vacation. I wasn’t too upset about it then. This week, my entire family is in Florida visiting my brother and I couldn’t join them due to work/studying for my GREs. I miss them loads.
    She’ll come around eventually. Give her a few years.

  80. You silly girl! Joe left home so that he could meet you and raise three lovely daughters. And get lots of home-made socks!!
    I hear you on the vacationing without kids. It is hard–until you realize that they have learned that lesson you tried so diligently to impress upon them–nothing is for free and they need to earn that university education!
    Looks like a great time is being had by all. And knitting is accomplished after all.

  81. If you want Sam to do Marine Biology, send her out to San Diego, California, USA. I swear to god, it’s awesome. Sorry, couldn’t resist tooting the horn for my hometown. ^_^
    That’s pretty hardcore… No way you could get someone to do that on a Sunday (the day we don’t get mail in the US) in my college town. Seriously. That’s awesome. Makes me almost want to move to Newfoundland. Except the realization that it would be very very cold. All the time.

  82. I think during my next staff meeting if things turn a big ugly I will expell my innards and make a quick get away. I wonder if I could lose weight that way too!? hhhmmmm
    Love the adventures of the Newfies! I’m with Joe…why did he ever leave??
    Enjoy your vacation and thanks for sharing!

  83. Yes! Sea Cucumbers! I remember learning about them back in 7th grade and being totally fascinated. Way cool beasties! (This was, coincidently, in San Diego and the above poster is correct… there are great oceanographic studies there.)
    My SIL is finishing her doctorate in Marine Policy this coming year. As I understand her explanation it’s something like the wing of marine biologists who do political things to try to save the ocean’s diversity.
    A career you can enjoy and believe in… what a goal.

  84. We just got back from Montana with both our boys. #1 is going to university this fall. I wonder how long I can guilt him into going with us on vacations with us. Kids are too much fun to leave behind. Most times.

  85. The sea creatures are amazing! Thanks for sharing all of these pictures of your trip. I’ve been in love with the idea of Newfoundland for some time.

  86. Again, thanks for sharing your vacation with us. And this certainly is my idea of a vacation. Not for me a sunny beach – give me rocky coasts and rain.

  87. Oh! That post made me homesick. No, not Newfoundland but Cape Cod. I’m due for a visit in 2 weeks and I just got excited. Thanks for that!
    Excellent vacation!

  88. my nan was a newfoundlander. when i am thinking of her, i speak with an accent. placentia bay is where she came from, and victoria, bc is where she landed.
    your vacation posts are making me ache for a place where i’ve never lived, but will always be my home.

  89. I’m enjoying your trip – probably not as much as all of you… but vicariously, it’s awfully good.
    The Biodome in Montreal has a similar sort of place to see the sealife. Quite amazing.
    Newfoundland sounds charming. A good place to wear lots of woolies too, it seems.

  90. Oh, honey, Amanda is doing that growing up again, isn’t she? I’d rather have the band aid pulled off a hairy body part slowly and painfully than relive that part of parenting again. Take it slow and remember to breathe….

  91. Miss B already thinks she might maybe want to be a marine biologist. If I let her read this post there will be no holding her.
    Cool about the sea cucumber. I understand that one can have quite a fun game using them as water guns, if one is willing to get into the water in the first place. Having actually immersed myself in the Bay of Fundy, I don’t know that I want to try it off Newfoundland.

  92. A family vaccation and NO olympic knitting? sob, sob, sob.
    My oldest is split with his ex and going thru a child custody battle or about to, my middle was adopted out, and my baby is a seniou in high school this coming year! This week I am taking the week of from knitting, carpel tunnel acting up, so that I’ll be ready to knitt thursday night/friday morning for a KAL for “Secrets Of The Stole III”!
    Have fun for me I don’t get vaccations!

  93. Thanks for sharing your family holiday. What a beautiful, lucky time in all of your lives. The girls will always remember it.

  94. I’ve been away for a few days where there was no internet so now I’m catching up on your beautiful pictures. I am so glad that you know it’s a sea star and not a starfish, as so many people call it. The colour of your sock is lovely and delicate in its variegated pinkness.

  95. yay for Amanda and college and working!!! (sounds like my summer. fortunately mine involves a job at a yarn store). and the socks are beautiful!
    and don’t worry, she’ll want to go on vacation with you again someday. if she’s anything like me, it will involve a trip to napa or sanoma when she’s 21. I’m still working on my mom for that trip, but talk about fun!

  96. I’m a biologist and have always said if I had it to do over, I’d go into marine biology. Imagine spending all that time out on boats and beaches and getting to call it work! Sea creatures have tried all kinds of incredible experiments to survive under there. Almost as many varieties as Cat Bordhi sock architectures! Gotta love ’em.
    Thanks for the travelogue.

  97. Geez, I hate to be a buzz-kill, but is everything
    okay back in Toronto? Propane explosions, etc?
    Mapquest made it seem as if Lettuce Knit and
    Queens Park were not that far from the scene.
    Hope all is well.

  98. Starfish also poop out of the same hole they ‘eat’ out of!
    Don’t tell my three year old, he has enough trouble understanding why his sister is never going to grow a penis.

  99. The only thing wrong with these pictures are the long sleeves and long pants! That’s just not the way the beach should be enjoyed.

  100. I remember playing in the sea with my brother and sisters and having sea-cucumber water-pistol fights; I didn’t realize I was TORTURING them!!!
    I must have some seriously bad karma heading my way.

  101. Someday your grandchildren will go on vacation with you—that is so much fun !!! You have more patience, more money, don’t care what they wear,let them eat crap,and they LOVE going with you and you are much more relaxed about everything. It’s fun, fun , fun til your grown children find out how their children were spoiled rotten and say things like”You never let us eat hotdogs for breakfast”. To which you answer,” I am a Grandmother and can do anything I want and I am still your mother so be gone-you have no power over me”. It is a perk of being in your 50’s(one of few so make the most of it). Grandchildren take over when the original children fly the coop-there may be a slight lag while said children finish colleges,find mates, careers and try owning dogs first, but eventually they think they are ready for parenthood(we know they don’t have a clue and laugh when they say stupid things like,”My child will never act like that”)
    Hearing them say things like that alone is worth the price of admission! πŸ™‚

  102. Great post–I really want to visit Newfoundland now.
    (but what I’m REALLY thinking is “ew, ew, ew, there’s a sea star on that gorgeous bit of knitting. Ew! and what if it’s tasting the knitting with its stomach?! Ew!!!)

  103. I just ditched my responsibilites for the afternoon and spent time with my 25-year-old son and a couple of DGC while Mom was at work. Time alone with a grown son is a rare commodity.

  104. I think, like eclair from above, I have serious bad karma coming my way too. I don’t know if its a ‘growing up in Newfoundland’ thing, but we used to torture water creatures too…mostly crabs and sculpins. Thats not so bad is it? I would be horrified if my own daughter did some of the things we did. I’d be seriously debating whether she was headed for serial killer status – but when I was 10, I didn’t think anything of it. Whats wrong with me? I love animals, really!

  105. I am so loving this vicarious vacation on Newfoundland. Wish I could be there in person. I don’t blame Young Joe one tiny bit for wondering why he left home.
    By the way, THANK YOU for posting the link a couple of days ago to sponsor Ramona and get the sock pattern. We do something similar here in the states called “The Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk.” It’s a 60 mile hike (20 miles a day) for which many people spend months getting in shape. It’s out of the question for me, but my Mom is a survivor and I gladly throw money at anyone who is willing to take on something like this. Tossing a bit of cash across the Detroit river into Canada was an honor and a priviledge. Now I have this great sock pattern that I will give to my mother who WAS a cancer patient and is NOW a sock knitter along with enough pretty pink yarn to make 2 pairs, one of which I will joyfully wear. Thanks again for sharing this.

  106. I love touch tanks! They have some at the aquarium in downtown Atlanta where you can touch nurse sharks and stingrays and shrimp and sea urchins and all kinds of things. I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was 7 (imagine telling that to your 2nd grade teacher when everyone else wanted to be doctors or firefighters) so sea stuff is right up my alley.
    I bet when Amanda gets out of college she will be joining in again for all the adventures. I know that’s what happened to me πŸ™‚

  107. Dont worry about missing amanda, thats normal (and she would probably be checking your pulse if you werent). It means that you and Joe did a fantastic job as parents that she is a capable human being taking care of herself and being out in the world. Expect lots of visits home though πŸ™‚

  108. The pictures and descriptions are so beautiful. I want to go there ! Now !
    Thanks for explaining about Amanda. We were all wondering. My husband and i just had a vacation with our “children” – 21 and 24. It is such a joy when they can manage to get time off work to come and relax with us. They both live in California and we met in Boulder – our favorite place and were thrilled to be in each other’s company. It’ll happen again that you’ll be together. It is so hard though when they can’t be there.

  109. Oh, my. The line about always thinking your children would go on vacation with you totally made me choke up. Granted my children are 9,6,and 3 so we have many years of vacationing together but…time moves so fast. As it is summer vacation in already coming to an end and I have to go back to sharing them with school. (I think I need some chocolate. πŸ™‚

  110. Your vacation photos remind me a lot of mine this summer: a month in New Zealand, starting June 21–their winter solstice! Fine merino long underwear every day & hot-water bottles in our beds, but being close to the sea is worth a lot of tradeoffs.
    Grown daughters are more fun to BE than to HAVE, in my experience. However, mine is the reason I went to NZ.

  111. I am very drawn to that weather and the intimacy of the ocean, so always always ‘there’. I can hear it and smell it. Thank you for sharing the photos. Sam is simply stunning – what a lovely mix of DNA eh?

  112. I’m sooooo jealous! Thought I was cool hiking Mabou highlands from Sight Point last week, and look at you:-) Glad the regatta finally happened, the weather being so sketchy. Got a bunch of mohair from Hilldale and got a visit into Baadeck yarns. Maybe Newfoundland next year…

  113. Oh god. I know that feeling. My kids are 25 and 22 and everytime we go on a trip we do the same thing. We still have fun but it’s not quite the same on our own. Our youngest would still love to travel with us but she’s also caught in that trap called adulthood.

  114. each posting is so good
    yor are building to a great ending
    if you ever write a novel
    most every one and every thing is in place
    joe is at home thats nice
    his thoughts are deep ones

  115. a Canadian blogger showing me things from the ocean i am surrounded by….i love it.

  116. Ok…aside from the fact that I am icthyphobic and so this post totally freaked me out…in the picture of the girls with the water table, one of the girls…I think it is Meg…has a purse over her shoulder…I was just wondering if it was knit, and if so do you know what the pattern was? I have two sort of similar patterns in my que(square dance and patching it up), but REALLY like HER purse A LOT. Thanks…

  117. I love the litle sea peach..I look forward to your blog so much I suggested to my non-knitting son that he start reading it, too. Thanks for the trip to Newfoundland and thanks to your whole family for sharing this wonderful place with all of us.

  118. re: daughters–my daughter is between 2nd and 3rd year of college. I packed her off from Los Angeles to Chicago without too much trauma. I am all supportive of her semester in Rome in the fall. But what I can’t get my head around is that when college ends, she might not (probably won’t) just “come home.” I keep saying things like, “Well when you graduate, maybe I can fly out and we can drive home together to get your stuff all back here.” And she gently says, “Well, yeah, if that’s where I am working, I guess.” Oh. Yeah. True.

  119. One of my fondest memories of being a kid living on the coast of the St-Lawrence in Gaspe, Quebec is capelan ‘fishing’. It used to roll by the millions onto the beach, and the whole town would gather every night for about a week to pick it up by the bucketfuls. Sometimes we even got to see whales – when the capelan rolls, the whales come closer to shore.
    Shame it doesn’t roll there anymore, though. Pollution has driven it off.

  120. Marine biology is fascinating. In some species of scallops, those eyes are bright blue; they’re very pretty. As for the sea star stomachs, it isn’t very risky for them; as with the sea cucumbers (which are related) they can regrow their “internal” organs. (Quotes used since the organs, as you’ve noted, are not always kept internally.) Sea stars actually regenerate frighteningly well. Many years ago some fishermen were having trouble with sea stars in an area, so they gathered as many as they could and cut them to pieces and threw the pieces back in the water. A couple months later their problem was many times worse, thousands of lopsided sea stars — each piece had regrown everything else and become a new animal. Kind of like Mickey Mouse’s brooms in Fantasia’s “Sorcerer’s Apprentice”.
    I studied marine biology a fair bit, and considered going into it, and also got my college degree in geology, minoring in paleontology. When you hear “paleontology”, most people think “dinosaurs”, but dinosaurs (and vertebrates in general) are really just footnotes in the fossil record. Actually, 70% of fossils are sea snail shells, and another 20% are brachiopod shells.
    Nowadays, I’m an engineer in the pharmaceutical industry, and I’ve run into sea animals yet again. One of my clients has a drug product that is based on a protein extracted from the blood of keyhole limpets (a sea snail). They harvest them, drain some blood (which is blue, as it’s based on copper, not iron, for oxygen trasnsport), reconstitute with saline, and put them back in the ocean. We’re looking at farming them eventually, if the product succeeds.
    I’m glad you’re having a good time; looks like fun.

  121. In the mood for reading? You’ll like The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch – a novel about a 15 y.o. kid who spends his days and nights exploring tidal life in South Puget Sound (the other coast). Then one day he finds a giant squid that isn’t supposed to be in those waters and strange things begin to happen. Also available in audio for your knitting pleasure. πŸ™‚

  122. Steph, I’m dork-ily attracted to the expressions that everyone posts. SOOOOO
    I must be sure that you’ve met this smiley…
    Something tells me that it would suit you, cause I love it! It’s so cute!!

  123. Starfish are so beautiful, that’s what sticks in my mind after you write so much interesting stuff…
    And it must be really hard to have a kid missing on this trip. Relationship is everything, if you ask me, and changes do get noticed.
    Remember, if you are a good mom, they grow up to not *need* you. It’s good for her, even though you miss her. Yeah, that doesn’t help at all. And maybe a zilion other people already said that, it’s so late I know I won’t write a comment if I read through everyone else’s.
    So happy you’re having a good vacation. Looks far too cold to be fun to a wimpy citygrrl but the photos are breathtaking.

  124. I just love the ocean! I haven’t been there in quite a while so thanks for reminding me of just how much and why I love the ocean. The only thing you haven’t posted a picture of are dolphins. They are so amazing.
    It’s pretty interesting being a parent. It’s the only job in the world where you are always trying to work your way out of your job! My son is now a grown up too and while he still likes to go with us, it doesn’t always work out. I think it just makes you enjoy the time spent with the rest of your children all the more. They really do grow up too fast don’t they. Thanks for the great travelogue. You do realize that you’ve made hundreds of people want to visit Newfoundland. I bet next summer the number of tourists increases dramatically!

  125. I was wondering all along where Amanda was. My oldest is 19 and in between her 1st and 2nd year of school. It’s just not the same to be on a family vacation without her.
    Your posts continue to be the best ad (and travel diary) for vacationing in Newfoundland! Do you think your in-laws would be up for being a tour guide for random families that come up there having read your blog? πŸ™‚

  126. I’m having more fun on your vacation than I did on mine (painting and putting a new floor down in the bath does NOT equal vacation in my book)!
    The good thing about adult kids is that you get to vacation where they are! I’ve seen more of the east coast since JC got stationed at Jacksonville. The vacation before the bathroom vacation I even stayed at his apartment! Now that he’s an NCO he can live off post, and I can mooch out of HIS fridge instead of the other way around.

  127. What a lovely vacation – I am insanely jealous!
    We live on an island in North Carolina, USA, on the Mid-Atlantic – our scallops have brilliant royal BLUE eyes, hundreds of them, a fact I had forgotten to show my kids until I read your post. Thank you.

  128. I remember thinking the same when my first child decided that they would rather not do the “family” thing with us. Now I’ve got six kids going off in all different directions (with only one living at home full time) and the hard part is finding a moment when they are all home together.
    Life is a series of changes and challenges. I think.

  129. I, too, am loving the pictures of Newfoundland, but especially want to comment on the beauty of your family.
    My high school biology teacher advised us, tongue in cheek, to marry the smartest, best-looking person that would have us. Looks to me like you aced that assignment.

  130. Thank you so much for sharing your vacation with your readers! What a beautiful piece of the planet.

  131. I didn’t know sea stars came in 6-legged varieties, too. It is a beautiful color for a yarn, though… would make a good pair of socks Ü

  132. Your obvious love of Canada always makes me want to pack up and move to Toronto, but tell your Joe that I don’t understand why he left, either. A trip to Newfoundland is in my future, I swear it!

  133. Can SO relate to you missing your daughter. I had to deal with the exact thing this year. I miss my Emily πŸ™ They grow up too fast.
    BTW your trip pictures are great. Loved the sea cucumber picture!

  134. Lovely sea, wool users everywhere, the state of US politics…I’m really about ready to claim Canada (not blame πŸ˜‰

  135. I had to laugh at your description of the sea cucumber trying to look “less delicious” because in my culture, the sea cucumber is a delicacy but much to the chagrin of my parents, I think sea cucumber is not delicious at all–and more as my 2 year old would say, “yucky.”

  136. I was laughing and agog while reading this post in the public library….right up until I read your note about Amanda. Then the tears welled up.
    My daughter is 23 and sometimes she goes on trips with us. But the solo vacations she takes are just as interesting!

  137. Great pictures and a wonderful vacation.
    My oldest daughter didn’t go on vacation with us for the first time this year. My husband didn’t understand why I found it so sad. “Its part of the growing up process.” Yeah, but . . .
    We actually spent our vacation in Collingwood, Ontario, the last two weeks of June. It was loverly and because it was just before the busy season, relatively empty and quiet.

  138. Ah yes…I too fell into that trap. My oldest got married in May. One evening as a thought popped into my head, I found myself heading up the stairs to talk it over. Hit me like a ton of bricks that she not wasn’t up there hanging out anymore. I’m ever so lucky though that they live close by. Word of warning to all of you chasing rug rats…it doesn’t last forever and that is both good and bad news.

  139. Finally realized what the sea peach reminds me of: a human heart. You know, with those two tubes coming off the top?
    Oops, I hope you weren’t eating when you read that.

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