Some comments deserve to be elevated to full-fledged posts. After I posted Three things about Canada, my old J-school pal Martha Muzychka–the first Newfoundlander I ever met way back in 1984–took up the challenge to write about her own backyard. Here’s her excellent list:   

(Instructions: Start a note, cut-and-paste this, replace my answers with your own.)

Three names I go by:

1. The Rock (Newfoundland)
2. The Big Land (Labrador)
3. NL

Three places I have worked:

1. The Haunted Hike
2. Royal St. John’s Regatta
3. Woody Point Literary Festival

Three places I have lived:

1. Devon House Craft Centre
2. Anna Templeton Centre
3. Cabot Tower

Three TV shows I watch:

1. Hatching, Matching and Dispatching
2. This Hour has 22 Minutes
3. Land and Sea

Three places I have been:

1. Gros Morne
2. Happy Valley Goose Bay
3. Eastport

Three people who e-mail me:

1. Danny (Williams)
2. Damhnait (Doyle)
3. Michael (Crummey)

Three of my favorite foods:

1. fish and chips
2. tea buns
3. bread pudding

Three things I would like to do:

1. Stop begging
2. Repeat the gold medal win in curling at the 2010 Winter Games
3. Teach people how to dance a  jig

Three things I am looking forward to:

1. People stop using the term Newf or Newfie to describe the people of the province
2. The 2010 JUNO Awards
3. Maintaining status as a have province!

Ok, Rest of Canada: your turn…and I promise to give your province or city its very own post too… 


I’m going to try to make it a tradition at These Boots to give away a great travel-related prize at least a couple of times a month.

Did somebody say martinis?

Did somebody say martinis?

I already have next week’s contest lined up…and suffice it to say, it involves martinis.

Thanks to Fiona Burrows who wrote about bonding with her dad through hockey to win tickets to see Slap Shot at the Hockey Nights in Film series at the Vancity Theatre on Monday night.

And thanks also to Rahel Bailie who won a random draw for a pair of tickets to one of four performances at the Water’s Edge Festival this weekend.

Thanks for playing and come back soon!

If you love jazz and world music, have I got a prize for you: a pair of tickets to this weekend’s Water’s Edge Music Festival at the Evergreen Cultural Centre on the pretty shores of Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam, BC.

Beginning at 9:30 am on Saturday, March 7 and for 25 non-stop hours, more than 300 performers will strut their musical stuff during 25 events  at seven indoor and outdoor venues. The question isn’t whether to attend, but who to attend to: will you catch R. Murray Schafer’s Music for Wilderness Lake featuring 12 trombonists playing to one another across the lake? Or 2008 National Jazz Award winner Jodi Proznick and her quartet? Grammy-nominated Cuban jazz great Bobby Carcasses? Or maybe the midnight drum circle?

And that’s just for starters…you’ve got to have stamina for this marathon swim in deep musical waters…


Just leave a comment telling me which of the following four shows you’d most like to attend on Saturday, March 7.  I’ll do a random draw for a pair of tickets (valued at $50) tomorrow (Friday, March 6), at 5 pm. Remember to leave contact info! 

Saturday, 3 PM: Vocomotion brings to life music from many cultures and traditions

Saturday, 6 PM: Jodi Proznick Quartet 

Saturday, 8 PM: JUNO-nominated Brad Turner Quartet

Saturday, 10:30 PM: Bobby Carcasses and AFROJAZZ from Cuba

Be quick and good luck!

This an excerpt from “Tune in to your next trip,” my story about the power of music to transform our travels. It originally appeared in Canada’s Globe & Mail newspaper:

II. Appassionato

If, as the Bard reminds us, all the world’s a stage, then I propose we photo-obsessed wayfarers might do well to lay aside our cameras and pay closer attention to the incidental music that punctuates the scenes and acts of our traveling days.

I am not talking here about the blue-chip performances that require advance tickets and balcony seating and fancy dress. I am speaking rather of those unplanned and unexpected gifts of music that tell us as surely as the food we are eating and the language we are speaking where we have landed on this planet.

When we come back from our travels, we are prepared for the usual questions: “Where did you go? What did you see? What did you do?” And even before you have boarded your return flight, you have likely prepared your stock responses. But how would you begin to answer if someone were to ask: “Tell me—what did you hear?”           

III. Dolce

I collected my first sound postcard when I was 14 years old and trapped in what seemed an interminable family vacation in the suburban barrens of Winnipeg. It was a hot July afternoon, and my younger brother and I, tired of running through my grandmother’s sprinkler, sat on the scorching cement steps leading to the never-used front door, stunned silent by the oppressive humidity.

Inside, my mother and her older sister, my aunt Donna, had claimed the below-ground basement, the only cool place in the little brick-and-stucco tract house. Both accomplished violinists, they enjoyed playing duets whenever they got together. The screen door was open, and my brother and I could hear them tuning up as we meticulously picked the bits of grass off our feet that so annoyed my granny when we tracked them into her obsessively tidy kitchen.

 It was the first time I ever heard Bach’s double violin concerto. We laid back on the front stoop and let the joyous optimism of the first movement wash over us, and indulged, I think, a secret pride that it was our family members making that glorious sound. Some neighborhood kids wandered into the yard and joined us on the steps to listen. Then more came and suddenly, as if lured by the Pied Piper himself, there were a dozen bored and sticky children gathered by the screen to enjoy that wafting musical breeze.

It seemed so risky at the time, but as a group we decided to descend to the basement, where we sat quietly on old couches and chairs to watch the performance. Neither player saw us enter: with their backs to the stairs, they were oblivious to anything but their instruments. I will never forget the look on their faces when the little audience jumped to its feet to applaud the final movement. I have no pictures from that long-ago summer, only the memory of that joyful noise—of family, and friends, and music shared without pretense.

[Read–and hear–the entire Globe & Mail story here.]