A Sign from The Clouds…

30 Aug 2013 – Life on Cloud #9!

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Somehow this pix was posted in the FB News Feed, taken by Jamie O’Connell on 14Apr 2012 at 1815hrs near Fort William, Scotland/UK. 888,435 people liked it; 147,608 shared it. Even if the pix has been photoshopped, it is still a cool pix and a sign and inspiration for me to search for some of my favourite cloud pix to share.

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Credits to Cherly Todd taken near Mudgeeraba Queensland/Australia 6Nov 2011 and near Ulmarra, New South Wales/Australia 5 Nov 2011. Cherly is married to FB friend Kim Austin.

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Credits to Harry Chan, HKG hiking buddy taken on the way from Chi Ma Wan to Mui Wo after the beach clean up in Lantau Island/HKG 27Aug 2013.

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Credits to Martin Williams, an English photographer/ecologist who lives in HKG. Taken in Cheung Chau/HKG 27Aug 2013

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Own pix from Sentose Cove/SIN taken 30 Oct 2010 when Ivy&Les still had their condo then…

When no words can replace these wonderful blessed feelings of being together with the children and grandchildren, then these cloud pix will do the job for today. Appreciations to those who shared their cloud pix. Thank you for enjoying the beautiful clouds in its natural form and remember that there is no single one alike and every cloud has a silver lining, just like us humans!

A glorious weekend to y’all

Look up! What is that apparition of dazzling brightness rising softly upon the blue sky from behind those tall and massive elms? If you saw it for the first time in your life, you would say it must be some celestial visitant. Is it light itself from heaven taking shape, and just softened and subdued to the endurance of a mortal vision? It is nothing but a cloud!—mere vapour that the unseen wind moves and moulds, and that the sun shines on for a little time. ~William Smith

Hello Grandchildren

29 Aug 2013 – Happiness is Reunions with Loved Ones!

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Tue: appreciations to May&Lock for all their gracious hospitality in Canada & the US. Hope that they will visit SIN in Nov. Safe & sound here in CAE/SC after 8+hours, 4 airports and two 1+hrs layovers at DTW&ATL. CIU-DTW (45mins flying time) DTW-ATL (1hr30mins) ATL-CAE (40mins). The consequences when flying from an airport with one convey or baggage claim belt to another airport with 3 conveyor baggage claim belts and using Skymiles!! US$5 for handling fees and US$25 for check-in luggage.

CAE-airport with rocking chairs (pix taken some years ago and looks exactly the same today) for grandmothers…. 🙂 Tkx to Linn for meeting me at the airport and by the time we pull into the garage it was way pass 21hrs. Katy and Ellie were still awake to give me the long awaited hugs. CAE/SC USA is another place over-blogged, being here yearly since 2004.

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Wed: got the hugs from Sophie and James early morning. Happy to see them all and growing so fast. Only one diaper kid, the 2yrs baby James! Ellie & John were telling me about their art class and Dale Chihuly was mentioned. Sophie who was drawing beside her siblings said ‘I don’t know what y’all are talking about’. Decided to google and show her some of Chihuly’s work and glad to hear the wows as he is also one of my favourite glass artists. Took a trip specially to Seattle WA some years ago to see some of his works.

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Katy came home from tennis all red and hot. Tying to get them all together to take a family pix during weekdays is as easy as catching a fly with a pair of chopsticks, but with at least a month here, the opportunity will be there. In the meanwhile this download from Linn’s Jul album will have to do until another posting 🙂 🙂

Right kneel was giving some problems, conclusion Gluscosamine does help! Stopped taking them after the hike to give the body a break, so now will get back on them to see the results by next week!

When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses – Joyce Brothers

N Michigan/2

27 Aug 2013 – More Sight Seeing

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Sun: this place is not your usual tacky gift shop. Was delighted to find a quality gift shop where many of the things are hand-made and made with what is considered good taste! Was blessed to be given a natural piece of Petoskey Stone when we stopped by Lake Michigan shoreline in search of these stones  (did not know what to search and asked people) on our yesterday’s drive.

Today found this flat small polished piece at Indian Hills Gallery in Petoskey for US$6 S$8. The small house by the store is exactly the size house for me 🙂

A Petoskey stone is a rock and a fossil, often pebble-shaped, that is composed of a fossilized coral. The stones were formed as a result of glaciation, in which sheets of ice plucked stones from the bedrock grinding off their rough edges and depositing them in the NE & NW parts of MI. In those same areas of MI, complete fossilized coral colony heads can be found in the source rocks for the Petoskey stones. In 1965, it was named the state stone for MI.

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Continuing our sight-seeing south heading towards Traverse City ( largest producer of tart cherries in the US) a place where hotels, inns, lodges etc lined the shoreline! We all agreed that it was too crowded to stop. Above 2 pix downloaded.

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The scenic route by the lake with the different layers of colours in the water is not easy to capture, but is quite hypnotizing. Hopefully the remainder of this tree trunk is a result of old age and not because of making space for road or stores!

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Leelanau District, Leland an old charming fishing village bringing back memories of childhood’s fishing kampongs/Malaya for villages!

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The River Inn, 3mins walk away from the main drag but seems a nice place to stay and we were too late for their lunch.

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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a park covers a 35mi 60km stretch of Lake MI’s E coastline, as well as N and S Manitor Islands.  This N Mi park was established primarily because of its outstanding natural features, including forests, beaches, dune formations, and ancient glacial phenomena. It was FOC to enter the park for us as they were celebrating their 97th anniversary but did not get to shoreline view… another time (shoreline pix downloaded)!

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Appreciations to May for driving 5+hrs drive to and fro and it must have been tiring for her. If life journey takes me this way, will stay at the River Inn at Leland for a few days to check out this interesting area. May’s version of ‘roughing out’ meal when we got back to the condo… 🙂 🙂

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Mon: Harbor Springs is known for its historic summer resorts such as Wequetonsing which was founded by Illinois businessmen. Nice, quiet delightful and certainly mega bucks area judging by the boats, galleries and shops.

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These young pretty ladies were emptying the garbage and believe me this place is immaculately clean. To the younger generation who think they are above these kind of jobs, think again. Certainly have more respect for these ladies than many who live off their parents or boyfriends… !

The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination – Carl Rogers

North Michigan/MI

26 Aug 2013 – Goodbye Canada, Hello USA

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Sat: 0930hrs continued from SSM/Canada across to International Bridge where there was a line and took nearly 30mins before reaching the border, nice good looking immigration officer in MI on the US side 🙂

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Another interesting experience with the Soo Locks and this time on the US side which are bigger and a more commercialised than for leisure like that on the Canada side. Soo Locks on the US side have a traffic of 11,000+vessels caring up to 90mil tons of cargo annually. From here cargo can be transported thru’ Lake Huron, Erie, Ontario (the Great Lakes including Lake Superior), St Lawrence River and out to the Atlantic Ocean. Amazing engineering and construction with these locks.

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Trout Creek, near Harbour Springs app 2hrs drive from south of SSM, thanks to May&Lock’s for driving and putting me up in their condo. Exploring the area to discover…

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Bay View app 30mins drive south of Trout Creek, where history comes alive in these Gingerbread houses when The Bay View Association of The United Methodist Church, a Chautauqua on Lake MI, is a National Historic Landmark community founded in 1875. It is situated on 337 beautiful, terraced acres in the northwest portion of MI’s Lower Peninsula. Bay View is home to more than 30 public buildings, nearly 450 cottages and two inns. Every summer they offer superb music, worship, lectures and seminars, all open to the public.

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Petoskey is a small city and coastal resort community in Emmet County MI with a pop of 5,670 and the surrounding area are notable for being the setting of several of the Nick Adams stories by Ernest Hemingway.Delicious chicken lunch at Twisted Olive**** in Petoskey, a delightful little town.

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Continuing south to Charlevoix, another charming small place, pop of 1,697-year round and has a significant seasonal tourist population in the summer!

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Also held the record of the largest cherry pie in the world some years ago. And the black cherry ice-cream here is to die for, usually a chocolate or coffee ice cream fan but seemed to be addicted to the black cherry ice cream the past few days. A fresh fish market here where the delicious lake trout cost US$4per pound.

The world breaks everyone and, afterward, some are strong at the broken places – Ernest Hemingway

Linking Lake Superior and Lake Huron

24 Aug 2013 – Soo Lock

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One of Canada’s heritage canals SSM Canal National Historic Site of Canada is maintained and operated by Parks Canada to protect and present the site’s cultural and natural features, as well as to provide a safe navigable channel between Lake Huron and Lake Superior where there was a gaggle of geese. Canadian geese are loud and noisy…

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Locks are designed to raise and lower boats from one water level to another. They were built along with a series of dams to bypass rapids and waterfalls. The recreational lock combines historic and modern technology. The original lock floor discharge valves and value and gate equipment are still being used. The intake valves are electronically controlled while the upper gates operate hydraulically. All equipment is operated from a computer console.

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It is neat to see the tourist boat coming in from Lake Superior, MI USA into the Canadian SSM lock. Watching the water level of the lock lower at such a speed to be at the level of Lake Heron is quite amazing. One can then understand the power of water and how destructive it can be. Was told by the lockmaster that there is no pump, just gravity.

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Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water. Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong, none can withstand it, because they have no way to change it. So the flexible overcome the adamant, the yielding overcome the forceful. Everyone knows this, but no one can do it – Lao Tze

Lake Superior Provincial Park

23 Aug 2013 – Agawa Rock

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Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes of N America. The lake is bounded by Ontario and Minnesota to the N and W; Wisconsin and Michigan to the S. It is generally considered the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area (31,700sq mi 82,103sq km, the size of SC) It is the world’s 3rd largest freshwater lake by vol and the largest by vol in N America.

During the Wisconsin glaciation 10,000 years ago, ice-covered the region at a thickness of 1.25mi 2km. The land contours familiar today were carved by the advance and retreat of the ice sheet. The retreat left gravel, sand, clay and boulder deposits. Glacial meltwaters gathered in the Superior basin. Without the immense weight of the ice, the land rebounded and a drainage outlet formed at Sault Ste. Marie, which would become known as St. Mary’s River.

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Lake Superior Provincial Park is one of the largest provincial parks in Ontario, covering about 1,550sq km along the NE shores of Lake Superior between Wawa and SSM.

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App 30mins drive north of SSM, following along the rugged shores of Lake Superior is Chippewa Falls, half way from Sault Ste Marie to Lake Superior Provincial Park…

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Continuing to Pancake Bay with an accurate weather station 🙂 and craft stores geared for the tourists…

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And to a mysterious trail which passes thru’ geological formations and are stepped in mythology!

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Red ochre Misshepezhieu, canoe and fish tell the stories of generations of Ojibwe

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The trail ends at a stone shelf that slopes into Lake Superior beneath a towering cliff that is part of the Agawa Rock. Geologically the cliff face is a fault plane and this is a sacred site.

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People have been trying to interpret the pictographs for decades and up to today we still do not know the full significance of the paintings. Indeed a very interesting and inspiring encounter with nature and history here in Agawa Rock. Appreciations to Lock&May for the 1+hr drive here.

Lo! how all things fade and perish!
From the memory of old men
Pass away the great traditions,
The achievements of the warriors,
The adventure of the hunters… HW Longfellow

Hello Saultites Cousins

21 Aug 2013 – 11+hrs on the Canadian Greyhound

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And I am still in the same state of Ontario! Left Toronto Tue 0100hrs to arrive on time 0600hrs to Sudbury, supposedly 1.15hrs layover became 2hrs layover. C$72 S$88 on a full bus all the way with a few short 15mins stopovers but too sleepy and tired to remember where!

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Appreciations to May&Lock for meeting me at the station (45mins delayed arriving at 1230hrs), which they thought was in town but have since moved to the Howard Johnson Hotel. Blue sky and lovely weather to welcome me. Roadside local produce on sale with the biggest broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower ever seen. Seems like someone is moving house and this literally gives the term to move house exactly as the words to move house!

Sault Ste. Marie (pronounced Soo Saint Marie) is a city on the St Mary’s River in Algoma District Ontario with a metro area of 805.38sq km 310.96 sq mi, pop 75,141. The community was founded as a French religious mission: Sault either means jump or rapids in French, and thus the entire name translates to St Mary’s Rapids or St Mary’s Falls. Although the word sault is pronounced like so (soʊ) in French, it is pronounced like soo (suː) in the English pronunciation of the city name. Residents of the city are called Saultites. With a mission established by French Jesuits in 1668, claiming of the area one of the oldest European settlements in Canada.

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Thanks to May&Lock for delicious Italian lunch at Solo*** and looking forward to learning more about this area with USA boarding on the International Bridge.

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Yummy yum yum lobster and quail dinner made by May, the best cook. For now very contented to be in their beautiful house by St Mary’s River and facing Sugar Island/USA as I post this blog. The first time here was in the 1980s and then again in 1990s both times in the winters and now for the first time in the summer. It is absolutely serene and delightful here with a view of the St Mary’s River and USA, an inviting indoor pool and an amazing staircase.

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path – Buddha