Jenn

Sep 252016
 
Eliza Moore

Eliza Moore

Eliza Moore has been making music since she was a toddler growing up on a horse farm in Vermont. Her childhood was all about choirs, orchestras and chamber groups. During a European tour in college, Eliza says she realized for better or for worse, her life’s purpose was to be a musician.

I’ve been listening to Eliza’s music for a while now, but her brand new release, Brilliance, inspired me to write a word or two about her, hopefully inspiring some of you to check out this artist if you have not already.

Here’s how I met Eliza: I was at the library with my girl, Babe, who couldn’t have been more than two at the time. I noticed a woman with jet-black hair, sparkling eyes and a red T-shirt. She was American. She was a singer and a yoga teacher and I was eves dropping. There was something about this woman that was so captivating. Otherworldly. Or maybe it’s just that she looks more than a little like Jennifer Connolly in the movie Labyrinth. I can say this stuff now without feeling too creepy because I’m blessed to count her as a dear friend.

brilliance

BRILLIANCE

That day in the library, Babe was running, even though you don’t run in the library. She fell and before I could get to her, a small, blonde angel about her age did. He held out a hand to help her up. It was no surprise that this little guy was raised by that radiant woman. Our kids became friends and Babe seems to be a little smitten three years later.

This boy’s gesture of lending a hand to help up a stranger, is kind of the epitome of who his mother is. Eliza is warm and generous. She’s a free spirit, spiritual and creative. Happy, hopeful, deep and complex. Eliza is love. And her newest album, Brilliance, which she fittingly released on the International Day of Peace, is all these things.

The 14-song digital-only release includes brand new tracks, and new versions of previously released songs. She says she broke a lot of rules releasing these tracks together. It might be hard to count all the people whose work went into this project. It’s Eliza and a melange of producers, sound engineers and musicians. Eliza plays some of the guitar parts, and the violin and all the voice. Some of the vocals was recorded in her Montreal basement, others in New York and Los Angeles.

She says the idea to release these songs in this way, came to her post meditation. “I broke all the rules releasing these tracks together,” she says. “But felt lead to do it from meditation insights.”

Eliza gives big props to her friend Lulu for recently encouraging her commit to a daily meditation practice, admitting that no, not all yoga teachers are in the habit. She says Lulu also pointed her in the direction of Rebecca Campbell’s visualizations.

“Through Rebecca’s visualizations I re-found and am re-finding the power of stillness,” says this busy mom of two. “A true and poignant clarity comes to me when I give myself the space and time to meditate and to open to a sense or feeling of the collective.”

She says it was at one of these moments where she decided to create this compilation record for peace, and at the same moment she realized that these works had grown out of moments of peace.

“Not moments in which I had intended to meditate or surrender into stillness,” she says. “But moments that had almost come to me from life… I like to call them enforced stillness.”

rockfortherivere2mI really love this whole album, and have already added a few songs to my yoga class playlist for the week. My definite favourites include the title track Brilliance, Anointed and Kiss the Heart. I found an earlier recording of Kiss the Heart on SoundCloud ages ago. Eliza told me it was inspired by a quote from her boy, who just turned six. “When it’s dark, will you kiss the heart?” She wrote the song when she was pregnant with her daughter. Her husband and son left for the weekend and Eliza had time alone for the first time in years. She had time to meditate and write. She wrote Kiss the Heart that weekend, and recorded it on piano. The kids and I fell asleep to that lullaby many a night.

When the new recording of Kiss the Heart came on in the car in our way to pick apples, Babe said, “I’m too shy to say this to her face, but could you text Eliza and say that she has the prettiest voice and I’ve never heard a voice that was prettier.”

I did text her that message and also wrote it here because I might just agree with my 5.5 year old.

If releasing an album with multiple producers and sound engineers is breaking the rules, I think Eliza is on to something. Her voice (the sound that comes out of her mouth, but also her whole vision, her whole being)  is strong enough that the album absolutely is cohesive. It’s complete and perfect.

You can buy Brilliance here on iTunes. It can also be found on amazon, spotify and other streaming services.

 

Sep 192016
 

Recently, I decided to reclaim my weekends. Between teaching and learning to teach, I’d been away many, many weekends in the past few years. With Babe now in Kindergarten, it was becoming very difficult to spend as much time with my family as I wanted to.

eggs2So I’ve found myself, these days, able to sleep in to at least 7:30! I’ve found myself able to do nothing, do laundry, or go out on a family excursion. I’ve also found myself with time to cook a nice breakfast.

A family favourite is plantain pancakes Paleo Mom style. Bacon and eggs are always a hit.

I recently received the Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 Grill-Griddle to test out. It’s not something I’m going to take out on our busy bee mornings (did I mention we’re up at 6:20 now). But for our mostly chill weekends, it was perfect.

Some product features:

  • 2 dishwasher safe, PFOA free, nonstick, reversible grids
  • 2 cooking areas with adjustable heat
  • Double-sided grids offer 3 cooking options
  • Center grease channel and dishwasher safe grease tray
  • 180 sq in non-stick cooking surface

The reversible grid is my favourite feature. You can decide if you want two sides of griddle, or grill, or one of each. The machine comes with a handy guide, for which foods are better on which side, and how long the recommend you cook, and at what temperature. It’s pretty fool-proof.

We questioned the practicality of owning this grill. Would it be just another kitchen gadget? I don’t know for sure. But I feel if we make use of it on weekend mornings, it’s going to be worth it. We use the BBQ quite often in the summer, as well, so I’m planning on using this as a nice replacement for veggies, meat, whatever.

grillThis machine is convenient, but it’s not as fast as cooking in the microwave. In case that’s something you like to do. It does that some time for the grill to heat up, but it’s not a slow cooker either. It’s very similar to making bacon and eggs on the stove, plus the added option of the grill.

My husband kind of scoffed, worried clean-up was going to be difficult. Usually whoever cooks, doesn’t clean. But he was very surprised to see how easy clean up was. The drip tray catches all the mess, and washing the griddle and grill took a minute.

Sep 152016
 
Photo by Melanie Faucher Shanti

Photo by Melanie Faucher Shanti

We pretty much do everything to avoid being uncomfortable, don’t we?  I don’t know about you, but in the summer, I blast the air conditioner. In the winter, the heat. We avoid speaking the truth in a situation for fear that we might become… Uncomfortable.

We can take medication at the slightest discomfort. Even a little headache. This masks the pain and doesn’t get at the root of the issue. But we are afraid of pain. We are afraid of feeling.

But real work, real healing happens, when we acknowledge our pain, discomfort, sadness. We notice it. We observe it. We feel, and we do not ignore.

Many of us are afraid of letting our children be uncomfortable. Which is one reason why, I’m assuming, so many of us stuck in this cycle. Parents can go through great lengths, with the best of intentions, to make sure their child in no way experiences discomfort.

But being uncomfortable is normal.

Being sad, angry and frustrated are normal. 

Crying is healthy.

Everything, of course is relative. And I’m not talking about purposely inflicting pain or suffering on anyone, certainly not our own child. I’m not talking about letting a newborn Cry it Out to build character.

But here’s a situation very familiar to most of us, as moms. If not you, someone you know–a grandparent or a parent in the park:

A child falls and starts crying.

The immediate reaction is to tell the child he or she is okay. To say, “You’re okay, don’t cry.” Probably even more so if the child happens to be a boy. If the child fell and is crying, it’s normal and healthy for her to feel pain and express her emotions. Saying, “shhh, don’t cry, you’re okay,” even with the best of intentions, is harmful. I recommend the movie The Mask You Live in, for more on masculinity, and how this “Man up”  attitude is causing the majority of our problems.

We live in a culture where we repress everything. We’re taught in these playground situations to do exactly that. We grow up, unable to express what we need to. Unable to be comfortable with feeling discomfort. But it comes out, eventually. It manifests as illness. We drink to excess so we can finally say what we should have said, sober. If we valued ourself and knew or feelings were legit.

Vipassana meditation is an amazing way to learn to observe sensations, observe situations, as they are. Good, bad, it doesn’t matter–they’re just sensations and they are not permanent. I love Yin Yoga for the same reason. It’s an opportunity to sit in some potentially uncomfortable positions, equanimously.

So feel your pain. Get uncomfortable. Sit in your shit.

Growth is on the other side.

 

Sep 042016
 

treeI was in a yoga class the other day, and the teacher, Bram, was talking about how there’s a certain almost chaotic energy in the air at this time of year. I coudn’t agree more. For me, it’s like blowing wind, or even better, those wasps that are just everywhere these days! So I figure, what better thing to do than head to a yoga class for some R&R…!

My oldest kid just started kindergarten, and her little bro is the new big kid at daycare. Things certainly are changing! I’m keeping myself grounded by doing yoga as daily as possible.

When I’m not momming or my own personal yoga practice this fall, I will, of course, be teaching! Please find below, my Autumn schedule, including Prenatal, Postnatal, Yin and Flow, as well as two super exciting workshops (THIS WEEKEND COMING)
WORKSHOPS SEPTEMBER 10th AND 11th

37Atelier – Réintégrez le ventre et le périnée dans la dynamique du corps par le Yoga
This workshop, offered only in French, will help women of all ages heal their diastasis and pelvic floor from a yogic perspective. You’ll learn practical tools and tips, but we’re not just dealing with the physical body here. Yoga, means union. this workshop was a long time in the works and Anne, Melanie and myself are so excited to be offering it.
Sign up is mandatory. You can click on the link above to register or if you’d like more details.
For the pregnant couples out there, our next Couples Yoga Birthing Workshop is happening Sunday, September 11, and there are a few spots left. We learn ways to cope and enjoy labour in this fun and informative 4 hour workshop. No yoga experience necessary!

Call Happy Tree at or register for any of the family programs online.

Jenny Bee’s fall yoga schedule

Tuesday
Yoga Portage @ Espace Shanti 9:30 (with baby)
Yoga Fluide (flow) @ Shanti 12pm
Prenatal @ Breathepod 3pm (pregnancy)
Prenatal @ Viveka 7:15 (pregnancy)
Wednesday
Mom and Baby @ Happy Tree 10:45 (with baby)
Prenatal @ Happy Tree 7:30 (pregnancy)
Thursday
Équilibre (Hatha/Yin) @ Viveka 10am
Mom and Baby @ Viveka 12pm (with baby)
Prénatal @ Espace Shanti 6:30pm (pregnancy)
Yin @ Espace Shanti 8:30
Friday
Mom and Baby @ Breathepod (with baby)
Cardio-Fit et Yoga maman-bébé
@ Espace Shanti 2pm (with baby)

 

Sep 022016
 

My kids love music. They play the music we have in our collection (as I’ve written before, Babe’s fave these days is Tom Petty, while Bug leans toward Bob Marley). They make music with the instruments we have at home, whether it’s a drumkit, glock, trumpet, guitar or ukelele. And both kids have their own CD collection of music made just for children.

Some of their faves include Raffi and Lisa Loeb. Montreal’s Jennifer Gasoi is at the top of 5.5 year old Babe’s list. We saw Jennifer perform a couple years ago at Montreal’s Folk Fest where we bought Her Grammy-winning Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well. We listened to it every single time we were in the car for about a month. Then it sadly and mysteriously went missing.
blue and redWhen I saw The Secret Mountain (who never dissapoints) was publishing a book of Jennifer‘s songs, called Blue and Red Make Purple: A musical journey with Jennifer Gasoi, I was so excited to offer it to my kids. And I think any parent who sees it will likely feel the same.
There are 12 songs on this new Storybook-CD, most of which are on the one we lost. A few of them also come from Jennifer’s first album, Songs for You. Babe was thrilled to rediscover some of her favourites, “All Join Hands” and especially “Purple Man.” It’s definitely her favourite on this new CD. The very last words of the very last song, are from the Purple Man himself (voice by the super-talented Patrick Vetter), saying, ”Blue and red make purple!” The perfect name for a Storybook-CD. In this song, listeners get to hear a variety of musical genres in a pretty purple package.
As she grows, my girl’s attention span does too, but I was admittedly very impressed as she sat in a chair and listened to the entire 34-minute CD, changing the pages with the change of every song. And then, she wanted to do it again.
Photo by Philove

Photo by Philove

The pages of this book are so so so beautifully illustrated by the talented Steve Adams, who illustrated one of our family’s all-time favourite books, The Boy Who Grew Flowers (Barefoot Books).

The pages at the back of the book might be by favourite part, where kids can learn about blues, jazz, calypso, folk, klezmer, Dixieland, gospel, Cajun and bluegrass. This part of the book is so precious to me. Styles and genres indentification comes up a lot in our house as like, the funnest game ever. Papa (aka Michel Berthiaume) is a jazz musician, and we’re always listening to jazz, rock, R&B, pop, classical… Babe is already able to identify a lot of these things are her own, but the pages of this book lets us go even deeper with the musical education. In these paragraphs, there is also an explaination of each of the songs, and questions like, Can you identify the kind of horn playing the solo? and Can you identify the theme of Baby Blue?
I was impressed to learn that Jennifer wrote the text for these pages, in addition to writing and producing all the music on the CD. She’s backed up by some of the city’s finest musicians, including John Sadowy, Rich Irwin on drums and Ron Dilauro on trumpet. The tuba player, Chris Smith, is quite possibly my daughter’s first crush.
When I ask Babe to help me review this CD she said, “She sings good, like Katy Perry.” Hey, everyone’s intitled to their own opinion!
Blue and Red Make Purple is set for release on October 1st. Watch this blog for an exclusive interview with Jennifer, and a giveaway of this awesome new CD.
Aug 312016
 

Speak the truth. Speak your truth.

mouth

Photo credit: David Salafia via Creative Commons

Honestly is the best policy, isn’t it? We have this thing, in our house, where we try not to encourage lying. I think most people try to raise their kids that way, don’t they? But I mean more specifically, we encourage them to be honest when they’ve some something they know we won’t be stoked about. We do that by talking through the thing that happened, rather than punishing them for doing something on purpose and letting it go if it was an accident. Kids are smart, and if they know simply saying it was an accident means they’ll get off scott-free, you can see how it might encourage them to lie. If a kid is yelled at when they do something ”wrong,” they’re going to just start making sure they don’t get caught. They’re going to lie.

There was an incident at my place a little while back, when a girl we don’t know very well came to play. When she left, she left with something my daughter said belonged to her. I didn’t buy it for Babe, so I didn’t know whose it actually was. Babe said it was hers, the girl said it was hers. She looked me right in the eyes and said that yes, it did belong to her and I felt very, very awkward. The girl left with the thing. For a long while after she was gone, Babe would not let it go and was so upset I knew there was no way she was lying. (I can’t think of a time when she did lie.) I messaged the girl’s mother and asked if there was any chance her girl came home with something that didn’t belong to her. Soon after, the girl was at our door, very apologetic and returned the item. I thanked her for her honesty. I messaged the mom to give her a heads up that her daughter lied to my face. That was not something this woman wanted to know…

Sometimes Babe will get super upset because 3 year old Bug will go on and on about something, insisting it’s true when Babe knows it isn’t. He’s not intentionally lying. He’s usually doing it for the reaction she gives him.

Babe: MOM, he’s saying this is PURPLE!

Me: Is it?

Babe: NO IT’S GREEN

Me: If you know it’s green, why do you care what colour he says it is?

We’re teaching them to follow their intuition. To know the truth, even when everyone says they’re wrong. We’re teaching them that there is more than one version of the truth and that so much of it is perception.

As a mom, as a yoga teacher, and as a regular old human being, speaking the truth has been hugely on my mind these days, especially as I watch my two kids try to navigate what it means. I’m doing the same in my 30s. It doesn’t mean I am always great at it. Most of the time I tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. For normal, everyday things. But for the bigger things, sometimes the truth is embarassing. Sometimes the truth hurts.  Sometimes it’s just way easier to say what you think a person wants to hear. Sometimes it’s way easier to say nothing at all than to speak the truth.

love

Photo credit: Coolm36 (Creative Commons)

Sometimes we are the person it’s hardest to admit the truth to.

When you speak, are you sure what you’re saying is true? Do you gossip?

Dr David Simon often refers to an ancient teaching of the three gateways we should cross before speaking.

1. First, ask yourself ‘Is what I am about to say true?’
2. If so, proceed to the second gateway and ask ‘Is what I am about to say necessary?’
3. If the answer is yes, go to the third gateway and ask yourself, ‘Is what I am about to say kind?’

I think there’s a difference between always saying every single thing that comes to mind, spewing it out, in the name of honesty, and taking the time to sit with and reflect on something before throwing it out there. I think filters are good. And I think if the intention is to hurt someone with what you say, even if it is what your believe to be true, it’s probably best to not say anything at all.

We can stay stuck–so stuck in the wrong relationship or job, not only are we unable to speak our truth, but we’re certainly not able to live it. So often this is because we’re afraid. Afraid of other people’s reactions to what we have to say. Afraid of being rejected.

The opposite of fear is… LOVE! So speak, please, from a place of love. Speak your truth and shout it from the roof.

”One way to know we are living the truth is that while our choices may not be eay, at the end of the day we feel at peace with ourselves.” –Donna Farhi

Sat Nam. Truth is your name.

Aug 262016
 
ice age

photos fournies par la production

I realized, after making plans to see Ice Age on Ice at the Bell Centre, that I hadn’t ever even seen the Ice Age movies. My kids, however, seem to be very familiar with them. According to 5yo Babe, the Ice Age on Ice production is original, and not a live, on-ice enactment of the movie (which was the case for Frozen on Ice). But as I poke around the Internet a little, I think it’s possible my kids have only seen the sequel, and the show is based on the first Ice Age movie. I will have to do some deeper digging, probably on Netflix…  Like last time, at Disney on Ice, we brought one of our very good friends and babysitters, Tatiana, who also happens to be a figure skater.

Here’s what we got from a super fun night out last night.

iceage3It is the story of a volcano that begins to wake up, threatening to destroy the home of the Ice Age herd. Remembering a lullaby from years ago, Sid the sloth and friends embark on a journey to find the magical Froozleberry, whose juice freezes what it touches. They hunt for the berry, planning to throw it into the mouth of the volcano and save their home. (Is this familiar to you?)

Tatiana and I were delighted by the music, it’s especially enchanting in the snowy scenes. The enchanted forest, vivid colours, was beautiful. They brought in some circusy elements that reminded me a little of the last Cirque show I saw— ice dancers suspended in the sky.

The cutest, funniest act for me, was the acorn scene. Undoubtedly the best day of Skratch’s life. It’s this scene that Papa heard most about at the breakfast table this morning.

As I was looking around the Bell Centre, quietly remarking that my kids had never been to an NHL game, a hockey game broke out between athe Ice Age herd and the foxes. Another highlight!

ice age1

photos fournies par la production

At 5.5, Babe was the perfect age for this show. Bug, who is 3, sat through it and was pretty fixated. He was thrilled to realize that there were people inside costumes on the ice. That was his focus. There are TWO people inside the mamoth costume. He also clapped along to some of the catchier tunes. At three, or younger, I think it depends on you child’s personality and attention span. Can he or she sit through a movie?

By the time the show was over, I had two very tired, but very happy kids on my hands. Bug fell asleep on my back on the metro ride home, and Babe was KOed the second her teeth were clean. The next morning, recounting again and again, the evening to Papa who had been at work, Babe’s conclusion was that the herd found the Froozleberry for nothin’. It was a waste of time. (You see, in the end, Manny’s lemur brother’s ate the berry and did not freeze to death.) They found another brilliant solution to extinguishing the volcano, however. But I won’t spoil every single detail. But I love when she says these intense blanket statements because it’s such a good opportunity to talk. Of course the journey wasn’t a waste of time! The herd learned so much about eachother and themselves. they made a new friend.

It’s about the journey, not the destination. She stared at me when I threw this quote at her. But I know that look. It’s the look of my little guru, who got exactly what I was saying.

There’s another show tonight (Friday) and three performances on saturday. You can get tickets here.

 

Aug 232016
 

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But the days still seem the same

-David Bowie

 

 Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License


Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

Next week, Babe starts kindergarten.

It’s not as though it will be her fist time away from me, she’s been babysat many times and going to daycare for a long while. But somehow, this is different. Her new big girl school is not in the neighbourhood. It’s so far that she and Papa will be taking the metro to get there. I’ll continue to drive Bug to his daycare which is slightly closer.

Babe will be at a big girl school. Bug will spend the days without his sister for the first time in his life.

Changes.

Already the leaves are changing.

September is coming so fast and I’ve had so much to prepare, with a blessedly busy work schedule, and just getting back from vacation, that I haven’t had much of a chance to process this. So it will come out, as it does, on the yoga mat. It will come out, as it does, in the classes I teach this week.

And the thing is, it doesn’t matter if you have kids or not. It doesn’t matter if your single. It don’t matter if you’re black or white (Thanks, MJ). Change is universal and it is constant.

And stress, is our inability to adapt to change.

Sometimes change happens way faster than we want it to. Sometimes you wake up and you don’t recognize yourself or your life. Sometimes we get hit with a surprise or tragedy. What can we do to cope? We can breathe.

We

Can

Slow

The

Breath.

We can watch the breath. We can be curious about it and about the changes it brings to our feelings of tension. Watch how it allows us to relax. To release. To embrace and accept. It’s not possible to panic when we’re breathing properly.

If you get to a yoga class this week, notice the more subtle changes as they’re happening.  The breath, yes, so much about the breath. How does the quality of the breath change? Does it change on its own or with your effort. What changes in the body? Where does tension land? What changes are present in our mental state? What are the effects of a particular posture on the body, breath, emotions, thoughts…

One of the most obvious times we can witness change is in pregnancy. Our bodies are changing before our eyes. Hormones, emotions, sleep.

Another obvious time is once the baby is born. A new person lives in our house. A new person is depending on us to survive.

And that baby, that baby changes in the first year, faster than we can believe.

And before we know it, that baby is headed to kindergarten!

I’m not scared. I don’t think Babe is. What I am, is curious. To see how we all settle into this new rhythm. Just in time for something else to change!

 

Aug 212016
 

IMG_3584 The sand is not red, but this beach is still magical.

The last day of our trip was spent at Greenwich, and it was a highlight for all of us. We were fortunate to meet up with friends who know the island like the back of their hands. If it wasn’t for them, we’d have missed the best part of this place. I’m going to explain it so you don’t miss it either!

We arrived to the area and went to the first indication for Greenwich Beach. There is a newly constructed boardwalk brings you to the beach. But first, a trip to the composting toilet. It’s very rare to see this kind of thing and it made me so, so happy. I don’t fully understand the system, any composting toilets I’ve used have needed the user to put sawdust in afterward, but this system seems more mechanical. Anyway, it was very cool.

IMG_3588

Our merman

Like Basin Head, Greenwich Beach is supervised and has soft, white sand and lots of waves. It’s part of the Prince Edward Island National Park, which also includes Cavendish and Brackley beach complexes.

I didn’t know that Greenwich Beach and the Greenwich Dunes trail are separate. Close by, but separate. It’s the latter that we’d have missed if it wasn’t for my friend, Robyn. To access the hiking trails, you’ll want to drive to the Greenwich Interpretation Centre. There is a charge to enter this part of the trail and beach, but it’s totally worth it. It’s part of your PEI National Park pass. You can just pay to enter the park for the day (it cost us about $15), pick up a 7-Day pass, which also gets you into Green Gables Heritage Place, a season pass (Pro Tip from Robyn: “For anyone planning way ahead, in the spring a family pass for the parks that is good for the whole summer goes on sale for 50$, which is a pretty good price if you plan to go to the beach more than 2 times”, or a year-long Discovery Pass, which allows you unlimited access all year to parks, museums, historic sites and marine conservation areas across the country.

IMG_3591

Walking over Bowley Pond

There are a few hiking trails here. We did one of the longer ones, which was 4.8km, return. There’s a bit of everything on this walk– forest, a floating boardwalk over Bowley Pond towards the beautiful, magical Greenwich Dunes. You eventually end up at the beach (the same beach we visited at the start of the day).

A few considerations for parents:

The Greenwich Dune and Tlaqatik trails are “moderate,” not “easy.” The Greenwich one is quite easy, but with kids, it’s way longer than you’d think.

So, you want to bring the bare minimum with you. Probably not chairs and the umbrella if you’re planning on staying at the beach.

There is nowhere to get water on the entire hike, and the only water on the beach is salty ocean water. It can get very, very hot on this long walk in the summer. Please bring lots of water and snacks. Hats, too.

bug This is the first trip we’ve ever taken without a baby carrier. True, we no longer have babies, but we carried the kids on our backs or shoulders for a good part of the time, which is way harder than if we’d had the Chimparoo or Ergo. A stroller would be okay for most of the way, but maybe something like a City Mini that folds up easily and is light, because there’s a little incline just before you get to the stairs for the beach.

There are waves at the beach, as well as rip currents. Again, it’s a supervised beach and the currents are marked to their best ability, but it’s not the place I’d let my really young kids wander around alone. Morrison’s Beach was perfect for that.

bug2The dunes here, truly are majestic. I felt like I was back in Scotland. These dunes exist because sand from the beach is blown inland, and blades of marram grass trap the sand, creating the dunes. I saw a couple teenaged girls off the paths, which is a really great way to destroy this beautiful area. I was going to give them a hard time, but we decided to bury Papa in the sand.

If there’s one beach to make sure you get to in PEI, it’s this one.

 

Aug 212016
 

IMG_3576Once we’d decided to take our vacation out this way, I tried my best to introduce Anne of Green Gables to my kids. A friend gave us the French version of the Emily of New Moon books and admittedly, I couldn’t read the first few pages with any sort of ease. Another friend lent us the English Anne of Green Gables series and I’m a bit embarrassed to say they were no easier to get through. Babe had no idea what was going on and I’m not sure I did either. We’ll have to try again when we’re both a bit older.

YouTube didn’t have anything to watch. Then I discovered there were a couple of musicals about Anne that regularly run in Charlottetown. We didn’t make time for Anne & Gilbert, but Babe and I were blessed with a pair of tickets for Anne of Green Gables: The Musical, which everyone I know who’s seen it, has raved about. It did not disappoint.

It was a very special night, for Babe and I to spent time alone together. The boys went to Victoria Park, where Bug was free as a bird in the forest, on the play structures and the boardwalk. Babe and I went inside and got a raspberry cordial with two straws. What a treat.

anne2

photo by Louise Vessey

I felt like everything about the Anne musical was just perfect. Anne, played by PEI’s Jessica Gallant was absolutely charming. Matthew, played by Hank Stinson, was incredibly endearing. It’s possible I developed a crush on Glibert (Aaron Hastelow). The entire cast was phenomenal, but they were my personal faves.

The music, acting, dancing–everything was just flawless. No wonder Anne wins the Guinness World Record for longest running annual musical theatre production. Is it clear that we loved it?

Thanks to this musical, I finally get Anne. I imagine this musical, in its 52nd season, is pretty solid year after year, but I have a feeling there is something very special about this particular actor. I just feel like she is Anne Shirley.

I did spend some time explaining things to Babe. At five, there was so much she didn’t understand– as wholesome as this musical is. The scene where Diana (Katie Kerr) accidentally gets drunk, was lost on her. I guess that scores me points as a mom. She hadn’t ever really heard the term “orphan” either, which comes up often enough in this story.

The beginning of the story was very confusing for my kid. Even though Anne is a girl, why can’t she work on the farm? I asked myself the same thing and told her it was a different time, and they used to believe women couldn’t do hard jobs. She stared at me, wide-eyed. As Diana sings, “I had a taste of high-life in Charlottetown, they have electric lights that never burn down!”

We had lots of interesting conversations on the subject for the days following. Yes, there existed a world with no lights.

anne

photo by Louise Vessey

Some parts of the play were very familiar to me. I’m not sure when I read the Anne books, or maybe watched a movie or show, but the part in the play when she dyes her hair green was already a vivid memory for me. Incidentally, it was Babe’s favourite scene. She didn’t get that in Anne’s time green hair was not cool, but still thought she looked very funny. The egg race and the ice cream scene were also very entertaining. She had a gorgeous, engaged smile on her face the entire two hours.

My fascination with Ayurveda allows me to appreciate red-headed Anne’s fiery temper. And somewhat relate. Perhaps one of the most touching scenes for me was when Matthew teaches Anne the importance of humility. I’ve been in situations where I’ve regrettably lost my temper. I have thoughts of apologizing to the people I lost my patience with, even though I don’t feel I did anything wrong. When I saw the way Anne did it, after a pep talk from her adoptive father, I got lost in my own reverie. What would my over-exaggerated, melodramatic apology look like? For the moment, I’ll leave the humble pie to Anne and Matthew.

In the days after the musical I noticed Babe’s gestures were more and more pronounced. She gave me a gigantic curtsy. I laughed. She blushed.

There are numerous Anne of Green Gables shows and events in PEI. I’m glad this is the one we attended. The ending, however, left me very curious to follow up on what exactly happened between Anne and Gilbert. Maybe next year…