Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ad-veg-ture

We signed up for 14 weeks of random veggies - its a cool program you can read about it HERE.

It is delightful to go to the farm and meet the farmer and pick up the allotted vegetables that were ready to harvest that week.

One does feel a little foolish when one has to ask "And what IS that?"

A little more so when one has to ask it more than once.

But, brave souls that we are, home we go with a full bag of semi-known veggies.

it's all very well to wander away from the farm stall feeling all earthy and organic and wholesome.

It is less lovely if by next Wednesday all there is is science experiments in the veggie drawer.

From past experience we know it is important to wash, bag, store the veggies appropriately immediately - these veggies are fresh from the ground with no "benefit" of a bath in preservatives so they are best eaten quickly or stored properly.  In the current heat wave this is no small feat.  

Already tonight we have put the fresh mint leaves to bed between moistened paper towel in an open plastic bag - the whole house smells minty!  Most veggies are easily used or dispatched safely for future use.

But every now and then one comes against a veggie that seems daunting.

And tonight I was faced with this.



10 points to you if you knew what it was. I did not.  

It is a kohlrabi.

Thanks to google I found a few ways to prepare it.

I chose to fry it in butter. Duh.

It is not small thing to peel this sucker but once it was smooth I grated it, added an egg and 2 tablespoons of flour and added spoonfuls of it to some butter in a hot frying pan.  



In a word..... DELISH!  A mild broccoli-ish flavour, subtle but crispy and chewy at the same time.

We ate 10.  Between us. (you know the boys are away right?)



Kohlrabi konquered!

We are so awash in swiss chard here in our home veggie garden that we skipped it at the farm stall today but Allan did make this fantastic swiss chard and ricotta and feta tart last week that lasted 5 minutes in our house.




And Lindsay is planning a turnip/bacon bake with the baby turnips we got today! 

It would appear people we use vegetables as a conduit for fat and salt...at least we aren't eating the bacon and cheese and butter on their own right?  Do you know how many amazing things are in a kholrabi anyway?  I am sure a little butter didn't diminish the Vitamin B at all.

Hang in there folks - we are off on a 14 week veggie adventure.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Oops I did it again

Happy Canada Day.  

Our home and native land is 148 years old today.

Each year our little corner of the county throws a massive party called the Salmon Festival.  

A large part of the festival, bigger than the Salmon part, is the parade.

I have hardly missed one in 16 years.

And by this time on every one of those Canada Days I am vowing and declaring that that IS IT. 

I am not going ever again.

Then as the months pass, the annoyances and sunburns fade and the nostalgia returns.

I forget that:

  • I get up at dawn on a rare day off and head into the village to secure prime real estate from which to view the parade.
  • the traffic is nuts - like off the chart crazy -  and people forget how to drive and be civil and park.
  • despite having little children seated trying to watch the parade and despite the parade security and police asking people to get back ...idiots like this one persist.  

  • that, for me, once I have seen these two groups go by I pretty much could live without the rest of the parade, especially the politicians and Shafik


  • that despite the howling gale the sun is still beating down
  • that one accumulates more pieces of paper with information and activities on groups one will never hear of again... until the next parade... on the upside one gets lots of crappy candy.
  • I shouldn't have had that early cup of coffee..because 50,000 people+ 2 bathrooms = like I said...shouldn't have had the coffee.
  • there are no sidewalks left by the time we walk home (thanks to the aforementioned parking idiocy) in a rock concert size crowd except everyone is carrying chairs over their shoulders that become weapons of mass destruction ...and its midday sun (the only thing worse would be trying to drive through that...which thousands do but we live only 5 blocks from the parade)

And so it's easy to make "never again" declarations...until you have new friends who are experiencing their first ever Canada Day like these two beauties


And you think "Aww the kids bike parade is so sweet, such a community event...the music, the diversity, the veterans and seniors and hockey kids and every.single.community.group.and.business.ever, and fire engines...and Sammy the Salmon...


And you make plans to go again. And again. And again.

Happy Canada Day and Goodnight!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rhythm and Blues

Today was the first official day of the summer of 2015, if you ascribe to the school calendar, which 3/4 of my family do.

This is the day the rhythm changes.

The mornings are quieter, slower.  
The afternoons long (and at this moment also VERY hot).  
The evenings light and lovely.

People make plans, got to parties, BBQ, go camping, read in the backyard with their feet in the dogs new pool...and stuff, relaxing stuff.

My people do that.  

They are a chilling crew with adventures and naps ahead of them.  And fishing.  The boys off on a camping/fishing trip for 4 days tomorrow.

Their new rhythm = my blues

Because my rhythm is unchanging.  My alarm is still going off at 6am (and to be fair Allan is still teaching 3 days a week albeit with a later start and Lindsay has work too many days).  I came home today at 6pm after a meeting and no dinner even started...too hot, too lazy, too distracted by summer.

I love their new rhythm...I just wish it was mine too.

So on this hot evening after I did my fitbit steps I settled in to their rhythm and ate ice cream.

Because summer is here and so it #heatwave2015.

On August 19th our rhythm's will finally all be to the same beat, the beat of swaying Hawaiian palms,  as we board a plane to Maui for a week on this beach! 

Yes.  I am counting the sleeps.  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dear Village. Thank You.

I have a love/hate relationship with June.  

The month of June.

It is always jam packed with school year end events as well as all the normal events for those of us not ending a school year. It is usually crazy busy.

But is also heralds the start of summer.  For my family is ends the school year and although summer is plenty full it marks a shift in schedules and routines.

This June was an exception.  I knew that Lindsay finishing Grade 12 would mean extra events. I was prepared for those.  Dress was purchased at Spring Break. Altered in plenty of time.  Valedictory tickets were purchased, delighted to secure enough so my parents could attend.

In other words, as per usual, I was pretty on top of things.

And as per usual I was so caught up in the logistics and arrangements that the emotions snuck up on me!  

It is sobering to see the cap and gown on your little girl.  To be part of the ceremony that both acknowledges their high school achievements and launches them onward.  

As we rose in the auditorium to sing O'Canada I was overcome with just how lucky our kids are, we all are, to live here and now, to have fantastic educators, good education, relative wealth and a community, a neighbourhood, of people we know and love, many of whom have been part of the village that helped us raise our kids.





As each of the 240 graduates crossed the stage they came to shake their Principal's hand.  Many flung their arms around him in genuine emotion.  He had a conversation with each one of them.  Each one.  As though there was no one else in the room.  We couldn't hear what he said but we could tell it was a heartfelt moment for both him and the student.  Each time I look at these photos of the moment he had with Lindsay (in which he turned her around to face us, knowing I would have the camera ready) it brings tears to my eyes.  I think every parent wants to know that someone noticed, knew their child.  That there were adults around high school that cared about not only what she was (or wasn't ) doing but about who she is and is becoming.  Neil Kamide showed he knew her and he cared about her and about us which is a true reflection of his character as a person and a leader of a huge school.  I am deeply grateful to him and to all the Educators who invested in Lindsay.






It was a long but thoroughly lovely evening that ended at 10:30pm with a McDonald's drive through for hungry Byres.  Desperate measures for desperate times!

And yesterday - Prom.  Another teary Mama day.  But how utterly lovely she looked, how poised and confident.   And what fun she had.  The photos, the red carpet at the school in hot sunshine. They then hopped aboard buses to a downtown Vancouver hotel for a dinner dance with speeches and toasts (no parents).  The buses bring them back to the school around 11pm where they stay and party until 5am.  It is called the Dry Grad event and was conceived to keep kids sober and safe on Grad night after a slew of drunk driving deaths many years ago.  Parents work all year on this event and spend 2 days decorating the school under top secrecy and then chaperone the party all night.  There are games, shows, food, photo booths, a DJ. It is quite a thing.  





You may have thought after this week, heck this month, I would have fallen in to bed and slept like the dead.  I did. Until 2:30am and I have been up since then.  I was up when Lindsay walked home at 5am and we had a cup of tea on the patio and I heard all the news of the night.  She is happily napping now.

It has been quite a week.  Our girl is finished high school and eagerly anticipating the adventures ahead of her.  I am so proud of her.

If you have been part of her journey through these many years of school, as a teacher, administrator, friend, coach, field trip driver, sideline cheerer...in whatever way....I am deeply grateful for you all.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Tagged

The time has come.  

I must face the facts.

Right after I turned 45 someone pointed out my blog tagline was now incorrect.



Let's not dwell on the fact it was my therapist who pointed it out.

He was the first but not the last.

It's not that I was avoiding it... ok maybe I was avoiding it just a little bit. 

But not so much for the age part...for that is unavoidable and although my actual age actually catches me by surprise sometimes..it is more about how fast I went from 41-45.

I know it is no faster or slower than anyone else on the planet but I feel a bit of
panic in my belly at how much has happened in the few years since I inadvertently started to blog.  

Maybe it feels fast because I have taken the time to write some of it down? I have a record of when things actually happened, not just some vague idea that I may think was "recently" but is actually "years ago".  

And why does "years ago" sometimes feel like "yesterday"?

So as I now change the tagline to reflect my age more accurately I am beating down my alarm at the passing years and reading back over posts and feeling grateful for the fullness of the years, the joys, frustrations, trips, laughs, food, adventures, friendships that have made these years rich and satisfying.

Dear Second-Half-of-my-40's...Please slow the heck down.  Please.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A hike (and a highway) with a view (or two)

Some weekends are pretty wonderful.

Some are barely a break.

This weekend was the former.

From a delightful Farm to Table dinner at Terra Nova farm with friends on a perfect evening...



To a drive on the ever unpredictable but always magnificent Sea-To-Sky Highway listening to 15 year old boys chatter away about school and technology and the appropriate length of finger nails.

To a well used 2 hour wait for said boys to do the Britannia Mining Museum tour.  Lindsay and I did some more hill training by hiking up a mountain side road and were rewarded with views, magnificent views.  A stunning reminder of just how lucky we are to live here.  Having just seen a dreadful accident on the highway, also a reminder that we were lucky to be hiking, healthy and alive.  I have loved all our hikes so far but this one seemed really perfect to me as we crisscrossed the river, taking switchbacks up and up.  And then the speedy descent!






We saw this property for sale and stood and dreamed a little while about waking up to that view everyday...until we remembered the snow that will come, the highway that has to be travelled to get anywhere (not to mention the price tag of said view).



Onward to drop the boys at the campsite in the woods after driving through this magical tree tunnel.  This was a final hurrah for the Explorations program David has been in for the last 3 years and a great time was had by all thanks to 3 dedicated teachers! (and some dedicated parent drivers).


Lindsay braved the cold cold water of the river for a second or two...the color of the water caused by glacial run off is beautiful to see though.



Traffic was mad coming home and after a lunch stop and a shopping stop it was 5pm when we walked in the door to Allan who had been marking all day.  By 6pm we were showered and out the door to see a movie, for me, my annual trip to the movies, to see Spy.  A good laugh and then a bite to eat  before we retired to bed tired but oddly refreshed from a day completely and utterly recreational.

Sunday morning we did the whole drive again to collect the boys but Allan drove this time and I enjoyed the views from the passenger seat.



Lindsay had baked cinnamon rolls while we were gone and we had a little family catch up over coffee and fresh warm rolls in the sun before work and groceries and reports and marking and laundry demanded attention.

Looking forward to a BBQ dinner and a walk in the sunset with my peeps.

The next two weeks are a zoo as the last two weeks of June always are but with university course registration, Grad and Provincial exams thrown in to make it extra fun!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - Seeing Trees


The more often we see the things around us - even the beautiful and wonderful things - the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds - even those we love. 
Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.                                                                                                                                                                                        Joseph B. Wirthlin