A collection of my favourite daily moments in the last 1-2 weeks.
There are two kinds of Timmy's that I am enjoying this afternoon.
I can't share my coffee virtually, but the laughs are on me. (Okay, Mr. Hawkins helped. ;-D)
Happy Friday, folks!
Wow, it is hard to believe that it has been nearly two weeks since my mom, Levi, and I left home. The reason I have not blogged about it before now should become obvious.
On Tuesday, the 3rd, we left PR in conditions that were cold (-26C), but clear. We had to get to Edmonton to pick up Levi's passport (which was supposed to be ready after 3 p.m.) before the passport office closed. It looked like we were on track for most of the day, but after a couple of potty breaks, we started wondering if we would actually make it on time. Thankfully, we stopped in front of Canada Place with 15 minutes to spare, and there was hardly any line up so I was able to pick it up quickly. After that, we only had to endure another hour of rush hour traffic before we were able to leave Edmonton.
Levi was feeling a little under the weather that day. And by "under the weather", I mean he didn't want to eat, and barely even woke up. As the day progressed, I became more and more concerned, and by the time we got to my uncle and aunt's that night had determined that if he had not perked up at all by morning, I would be taking him to Emergency to make sure he was okay, possibly delaying our trip by a day--or however long was necessary.
However, on Wednesday morning the Little Man was actually a little more lively and decided to eat, and since this looked a lot like the cold Noah had had the previous week, I figured he was fine to keep travelling.
We got started bright and early that day, since it was our longest leg--Google Maps said it was 9 1/2 hours without traffic (or weather) between Lacombe and Summerland, BC, where we would be staying with our friends, the Burdicks. When I realized that we could organize our route to see our dear friends Wes and Serena, who had moved from PR in 2013, I was ecstatic, and thrilled that their schedule allowed for it. The weather was not bad for most of the day, a little light snow here and there being the worst of it--until we actually got to the Okanagan Valley. Then, the forces of nature were unleashed and wet, slippery, fluffy snow obliterated any light trying to penetrate the gloom. So the worst weather we experienced that day was in the "nicest" climate zone.
"Welcome to Winterland!" Serena joked after we pulled into their driveway that night.
Since the last leg of our journey was only about six hours long, and Logan had alerted us to an appointment that meant he would not be home until after 4 p.m., so we had a leisurely breakfast with our hosts--as leisurely as possible with kids rushing around to get to school on time, and Wes having to get to a meeting. However, we sure enjoyed the extended visit with Serena. ("Girl time" is always great.)
We had an adventure as we were leaving. Their driveway is at a very steep slope down from the road to their parking pad. With all that new-fallen, wet snow, our first four (yes, FOUR) attempts only got us up about 2/3 of the way, Serena cheering us on the whole way. Finally, when it became obvious that the maximum distance potential had been reached and we could be there a while, she came and grabbed a shovel of sand from a pile by the shop. When I jumped out to help her, she said that they had just gotten the pile for circumstances such as this.
"Fifteen years in Peace River, and I never had to get spikes on my tires until we moved here," she said, laughing.
The weather was fine for driving that day. We opted for a route that took us through Stevens Pass over the last ridge of the Rockies into the little town where my brother's new house is, just east of Seattle. The sides of the road were covered in small piles of snow--evidence of a recent dump--and we even had snow floating down on us throughout our trip down Highway 2 over the mountains. That is, until we started descending the western side. Suddenly, gone was the snow. Rain fell in its stead. The trees were green and covered in lush blankets and strings of moss. It was almost as though, in cresting that ridge, we had jumped through a time portal from winter to a sub-tropical spring.
Leaving Canada that morning, I had wanted to stop for coffee at Tim Hortons, but since Summerland is so close to the border, we were crossing into the United States before we seemed to find one. That didn't seem to be a big deal, as a fairly decent night's sleep (and a morning nap in the van) sustained my energy. But now, on the western side of the mountains, we passed a little roadside coffee stand business billing itself as "World Famous Espresso". Well, whether it was or not, I decided I wanted to stop.
As it turned out, the site has a bit of "claim to fame" - it was the site of the filming of the 1986 movie "Harry and the Hendersons" (which I loved as a kid). The proprietor showed me a picture of what it looked like at the time (which reminded me of the movie even more), and said, "That's what we looked like at our worst."
I got permission from the lady to take a few photos of the little museum they had there. It was raining, so I didn't get great shots (I don't have protective gear for my camera and didn't want to get it too wet), but here are a few fun ones:
We reached Logan's without further ado late Thursday afternoon, and were very grateful to get our butts out of car seats and to have reached our destination.
But with another 10 days to go, the adventures were just beginning.
To be continued...
I was raised with a "community" mentality.
Yes, we were considered "rural", being seven miles from the nearest town. But we lived in a pioneering community whose roots--and neighbourly ties--ran deep. My family, and many others in the area, had been prolific breeders, and many were inter-married with the other pioneering families. So not only was everyone within a five-mile radius your neighbour--they were most likely your relative. (My friends and I used to joke that I would have to move just to find a boy I could date! This didn't turn out to be true, but only because Jason was born in Saskatchewan, and didn't move to Red Deer area until he was in Grade School.)
I sometimes think that the reason driveways tend to be a little longer in the country is that you have a little more lead-time to get the coffee-pot on. You see the vehicle slowing down as it approaches your mailbox, and you holler "Put the coffee on, Martha! Ned's comin' in!" By the time he approaches your doorstep, the fragrant aroma is already wafting on the breeze, and there's no way a good neighbour would turn down a friendly cup with good company. (Everyone knows that's the reason he came over in the first place--to "set a spell.")
Actually, Martha really was my paternal grandmother's name*, and she was probably the personification of this country hospitality in my mind. If anyone ever always had coffee on, and always had cookies in the cookie jar, it was her. Growing up a farm wife, with nine children (eight of which are boys!) and numerous farm-hands and shop-hands around for every meal and coffee break, no wonder she cooked for twenty all the time, and the coffee-pot never ran dry. I wonder what would've happened if it had? Would the household's whole social order have fallen into chaos?
This "pot's always on, and there's always more room at the table" mentality was passed on to my father, and then to me. Jason often jokes that I don't know how to cook for two--which I don't. When it was just the two of us, I'd still cook for about eight and we'd be eating it for the next two weeks, because at that time we did not even have a deep freeze, other than what was included with the refrigerator. Even now, I often (purposely) plan for about double the portion we need. If someone shows up just in time for supper, great! We can throw a few more plates on and we're good. If no one does, great! We can throw the leftovers in the fridge or the freezer, and enjoy another, less labour-intensive meal later in the week.
If you ever happen to drop in on me when it is not mealtime, one of the first questions out of my mouth is likely to be "Would you like some tea? Water? Hot Chocolate? Coffee?" (Okay, the first four questions.) We are not coffee-drinkers as a general rule, but there is something about having a hot beverage in your hand that gives you an excuse to linger, to not rush out the door and back to your busy life. In this day and age where heading over to the neighbours just to set a spell is almost unheard-of, we need these excuses to slow down and catch up with each other. Our door is always open for visitors. (Okay, realistically, not really. If we're not here, we lock the door. I mean, c'mon people. We live in town--right across from some high-density housing! We're friendly, but we're not idiots. But! If you show up before we actually have to leave, you are welcome to hang out as long as you want--just lock the door and turn off the lights behind you!)
When I first moved in here, it didn't take me long to realize that I had some very interesting neighbours. I first noticed it when I saw some of them peeking in the window, hands cupped over their eyes to block out glare, watching what we were doing. One of them had their ear pressed to a glass against the window. I went to the door to tell them they were welcome to come in for a cup of tea, but as soon as they saw me, they bolted--I barely caught a glimpse of their faces.
However, they kept coming back. I would see their footprints in the snow, or the flowers in the front bed might be a little trampled. Sometimes I would even be talking with friends or family in other places and they would say, "Oh, I read your blog watched you do such-and-such the other day."
"Really?" I would ask, a little non-plussed. "Why didn't you knock and tell me you were there? We could have had tea."
"Oh," they would say, looking a little lesser-plussed than myself. I'd feel bad for making them feel bad, so eventually I stopped asking that question. I was just glad they were coming by to see me, even if they didn't stop in to say hello.
I've lived here at the Winters' Day In for over a year and a half, now. Some of the neighbours have managed to overcome their shyness and make themselves known, while some remain, lurking by the window, watching from the outside. I allow this voyeurism--the curtains remain open, and I just hope that someday, they will get up the nerve to come in out of the cold, sit by the fire and drink some hot cocoa with whipped cream on my couch, so I can get to know them a little better.
This is the first day of NaBloPoMo '07. I have made the commitment to post something to my blog every day for the month of November. I would just like to open up the month with this invitation:
Whether you have been reading my blog for a while now, or just started, I invite you to comment on at least one post this month. If you want to protect your anonymity, that's fine--you are allowed to comment anonymously on this blog. Don't fear the security system--it is only meant to protect the WDI from random drive-by shootings, not those who actually want to partake of its hospitality. And do check back--I respond to comments 95% of the time.
You never know--you might find you like it.
*To my knowledge, we (and they) had no neighbours by the name of "Ned".