On being wet, and cold…

On our last full day in Nova Scotia, we decided to walk the Cape Split trail, overlooking the Bay of Fundy. On the way there, I spotted another interesting sign:


I think the 3rd row, 2nd from left means ‘fruit and veggies for picking’ because the ladies in my classes said so. The last row, 1st image may be ‘farmer’s market’. Or not. The thing that I notice about Canadian signs is that they are more varied than the ones I see in the US, and they are more complex. In most cases they are easy to intuit, but not always. It must be a cultural thing. I’ll bet they make sense to Canadians.

I admit, I knew nothing about the Bay of Fundy before this morning. It is known for having the highest tidal range in the world. We drove toward Cape Split when the tide was low. We stopped to take some pictures on the way. Here’s an overlook into the valley…


We stopped to take a photo of a beach with the tide out, and again on the way back when the tide was in. There was 3-4 hours between the shots with the water out and the water in.

I know that the tide goes in and out everywhere. It is high, and then low. But apparently in the Bay of Fundy the tide goes out really fast and comes in really fast. We were advised not to walk out on what looks like a safe place because you can get washed away. It happens.

I took a few photos as we began the hike, before the rain started. A lot of the trail looked like this.

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The trail was steep-ish in some places. There were rocks and tree roots, but this was not a particularly hard hike. That said, I was sorry I didn’t take my knee braces for the downhill parts. Up may make your lungs hurt, but downhill is really hard on your knees.

We saw ‘Christmas trees’ on this hike. In fact, we’ve seen them all over Nova Scotia. I will always think of this place when I smell, and stroke, a Christmas tree pine.


And there was art on the trail! There was a sign that identified this as part of the Fey Forest by Christine Waugh, an exhibit from Uncommon Common Art.


There were more parts to the exhibit but it was too darned wet to pull out either a camera or an iPhone to take a picture. And, honestly, it was too wet and cold for me to stop to admire the art. But I tried.


The Cape Split trail is 18 kilometers long, about 8 miles. It is listed as a 4-5 hour hike. We did it in 3 hours, mostly because I walk fast. Also, it was raining and cold. Usually I can moderate my speed-walking with stopping to take photos and admire the scenery. Not so much today.

When we got back to the car, and rest room, my hands were so cold that my thumbs didn’t work. I found it nearly impossible to deal with the snaps and zipper on my pants. That was a first!

Instead of doing more with the day, we went directly to our hotel near the airport. It will be a very early morning to catch our first flight home but we are warm and dry and our clothes and shoes are mostly dry! Dinner was nice. We have wine and an internet connection. And we are both tired enough to sleep well tonight.

Now, you’re read this far, I should share the rest. I wear my sister, Christy’s, watch when I wear a watch. I had it on for this trip. Christy died more than 3 years ago and you can go back in my blog to read about the end of her life if you want to. Suffice it to say, I feel her presence when I wear her watch. I don’t dwell, but it’s a nice nudge.

As we walked today and the rain got worse, I realized that the watch might not like the water, so I took it off and put it in a dry pocket of my pants. When we got to the point at Cape Split and headed back I realized that my pocket was not dry enough and I should move the watch to Steve’s backpack. And then it was: ‘oh shit, where’s the watch?!!!’

I checked my pockets. Steve checked my pockets. No watch. I was more than bummed. On the 4 mile walk back we kept our eyes on the ground. I tried to remember where I was when I took it off and moved it to my pocket. We asked those we passed if they had seen it and they had not. I realized that there had been a lot of rain. The trail had lots more puddles on the outbound walk. The watch was surely under water.

On the walk back to the car, I let my sister’s watch go. I realized that I felt her in that watch and maybe leaving it on this trail was not such a bad thing. I think it’s a place she would like. Honestly, it kind of suits her. A little wild, tempestuous, different.

When we got to the car, I didn’t feel as bad about loosing Christy’s watch as I thought I would. And then, after my fingers thawed out, I found it hiding in my pocket, next to my fitbit. That felt good.

Objects with attachments are interesting, aren’t they? There are things, like Christy’s watch, that mean more than they are worth. But things are ephemeral. I’m happy to realize that I love my sister’s watch, I’m happy to still have it, but I could also be happy without it.

Things are things, people are what count. With or without the watch, my sister won’t be leaving my memory.

More from Nova Scotia…

We went out exploring on our 2nd day in Nova Scotia, which was actually a few days ago. I’ve been teaching for the Mahone Bay Quilters since then. It’s taken me this long to go through the photos and get them posted.

We went back toward Hirtle’s beach, through Lunenburg, along many of the same roads as the day before, but on this day it was clearer and not raining. We decided that stopping to take pretty-house-photos would slow us down too much so I did drive-by photos with my iPhone. I am surprised at how well they turned out.

Hirtle’s Beach is very pebbly/rocky. On the way into Canada I jokingly said that my suitcases were heavy but I didn’t have rocks in them. Can’t make that claim on the way home. Surely a baggie with pebbles won’t add that much weight…


We could not help but notice that there are many modern houses around Hirtle’s Beach. Look close and I’ll bet you spot the ‘Sliding House’ in the next photo. Click here for more info on it.

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The ladies in my classes told me that most of these are summer homes and that there is some dispute over the fact that they have been built in a fragile ecosystem. But, putting all of that aside, I loved each and every one. If I could tear down my house and build again, I would build ‘modern’.

It’s interesting to note that ‘modern’ does seem to also be ‘colorful’, at least on the outside of these houses. That’s often true of the houses I see featured in Dwell magazine.

The hiking trail at Hirtle’s Beach takes you around Gaff’s Point. It was a very nice walk.

When we were in Lunenburg I took a nice photo of the big sailing ships with the colorful shops and houses behind. It is a place that poses well.

Lunenburg-Ships copy

Mahone Bay is a lovely town as well, I just didn’t take as many photos there. But I did take this shot of the 3 iconic and photogenic churches on the road into town. I lectured in the yellow church on the left and I taught 3 classes in the church on the right.


Sad to say that the congregations of these churches, like so many others in other parts of the world, are shrinking. It’s a real problem when a local church landmark does not have the money or people to keep it going. But that’s a whole other discussion.

My 52 Week Photo Challenge assignment this week was “the road”. It’s nice that I was in Nova Scotia, riding on so many photogenic roads, for this assignment. I posted my ‘road’ photos on this Smugmug page. Tomorrow we are going to see the Bay of Fundy. I hope to have more photos to share soon.

From Nova Scotia…

Steve and I are in Canada! We left Halifax this morning and drove mostly south. It was rainy (just like home) and gray. That made the colorful houses stand out even more. And, boy, are there a lot of colorful houses here!

This sign kept popping up. Reminded me of patchwork…


And we figured out the the key in the next sign might mean ‘museum’, but what’s up with the @ sign?


The forsythia is in bloom here. It bloomed at home weeks ago. I have to say that it is much happier here, up north.


And when was the last time you saw a teeter totter! It is unfortunate that we no longer have them in the states. I used to love teeter-tottering. I suppose that lawsuits made them go away. Canadians know how to live on the edge, right?


Speaking of living on the edge, here’s Steve tempting fate :-).


I must have taken 200 photos today. Amazingly enough, I went through them all, deleting the bad, cropping the good, adding some fixes in Photoshop. It took too long but I’m happy I did it today. I am always happy when I keep up with my photos. I know that if I don’t, I’ll have thousands that will just sit there on my hard drive taking up space.

Digital photos are cheap and easy to take, which makes it easy to let them pile up. But I have noticed that the really good shots, the ones that I go back to, the ones I add to my screensaver, the rare ones that I print—those are the keepers. It’s hard to delete the just-OK shots, but I do it. Daily.

Listening to stories…

I am working on a new quilt, cutting applique shapes and placing them on the design wall. This is a process that will take days. Longer, since I leave Monday for Nova Scotia to teach at the Mahone Bay Quilt Guild.

I like to listen to stories as I work so I went to the Radiolab site. I listened to a show about a woman whose heartbeat is really loud. It was very good but, warning, if you are one of those people who faint when you get a shot, this is not an episode to listen to when you are driving or operating a rotary cutter. Seriously. I didn’t find it disturbing at all, but then I can look at blood and get shots and not faint.

That same episode had an excellent story with Oliver Sacks. I suppose I should feel happy never to have needed to visit him in his office, but I would really like to know this man. It’s a good listen.

And then I listened to The Living Room. This story dovetails with my last post about talking to strangers except that this is about watching strangers. Specific strangers—on a daily basis. The narrator imagines their lives and gets it all wrong. I almost cried. This story has stuck with me and I think that most of you will be entranced.

Please note, sex is mentioned in a very upfront way in all of these stories, but sex is not the thing.


After listening to The Living Room, I am left with the knowledge that we all imagine what other peoples’ lives are like. And I think that we mostly get it wrong. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel humble, and more open to hearing what’s going on in other people’s lives.

A color tutorial and a reminder…

I just sent a newsletter with two news items. If you aren’t on my newsletter list, here’s what you missed:

First, Linda’s current quilt auction ends tomorrow, Friday, May 22, at 12:00 noon, Pacific Time. Click here to go to the auction page.

The other item in the newsletter is a video. When I was at Quilt Market, I spent a lot of time talking to quilt shop owners about my new book, The Quilter’s Practical Guide To Color. I used sets of fat quarters to illustrate one of the more important points in the book. It occurred to me that I should share this information with everyone, so here it is:

If the video isn’t showing up for you, click here.

I am hearing from people who have read the book, telling me that it really is helping them with color. In fact, here’s an excerpt from an email that came to me from Barbara B.:

Becky, I am so glad I was able to get your Color book at Market.  I read it cover to cover yesterday on my travels home from Minneapolis. It is full of great info, explained in a way that will make sense to quilters. I am excited to use it in upcoming classes.

The book is not the least bit intimidating and the concepts are easy to grasp.  The fact that the info is provided in bits, using the practical advice boxes and short paragraphs, is good…

I know that books are expensive and many of you have color books that you rarely open. This one really is different, even if I do say so myself. It is not a book on color theory, it is a book with practical advice on color. Plus, there are 10 quilt patterns included. Eight quilts are pieced, and 2 of these have some applique. There are two quilts that are primarily applique. None of the patterns are difficult and each one teaches something about color and design.

If you are interested and want to order The Quilter’s Practical Guide To Color, click here.

Just talk to people…

I enjoy solitude, but when I’m out and about I recognize that each and every one of us has a story to tell and I am not shy about talking to people I do not know.

Before I left my Minneapolis hotel this morning, I visited with the nice lady who was the hostess at the restaurant. She was about 70, if I had to guess. We got to talking about the quilters who had been at quilt market and she remarked that the crowd included a lot of younger women this time, and it made her happy.* I hadn’t actually noticed but I realized she was right. How great is that… there are lots of young quilters!

*This non-quilter’s memory was very good, and she was a good observer of people. It’s been 3 years (I think) since quilt market was in Minneapolis. I was impressed.

On my way to the airport, I got to visiting with man who drove my taxi. He had a lovely accent and I asked where he was from. It turns out he was from Ethiopia and he has led a very interesting life. He is a Coptic Christian (this might be a relevant link), and a singer, who traveled to sing in different churches at Easter and Christmas and other holy times. His family was scattered all over the world. He has worked in the tech industry, and I think he still does. Driving a taxi was sort of a side note for him. The drive to the airport could have been longer and I would not have cared because he was an interesting person.

Not long after, I was in an airport restroom, washing my hands next to a young woman who was fixing her head scarf. I mentioned that it looked nice on her and that I’d often wondered how women keep a scarf in place so well on their head. That led to a short conversation about face shapes and how individual women use different scarf-management strategies. We each went away with a sincere smile on our face. We were people, not stereotypes.

Here’s the thing: I talk to strangers—especially ones that are different from me. Most of the time, strangers turn out not to be strange—they are just people I don’t know. Visiting with them makes me more aware of the fact that each of us has an interesting story. We are all more the same than we are different.

A lady I met at the airport on a different trip.

A lady I met at the airport on a different trip.

So the next time you are in a place with someone you don’t know, maybe on an elevator or standing in line, just say something nice. You may be very surprised at how much you enjoy visiting with someone you do not know.