Friday, July 29, 2011

marking the years...

Marriage is meant to be celebrated...
and we have always marked our wedding anniversary in some way. 

On our second anniversary we went out for dinner with good friends...
 the ones who were the attendants at our wedding.
This was a photo taken that evening...
two weeks before we became parents to a beautiful baby boy.

There were also a few times that our anniversary happened to fall on the same weekend as a family reunion...
and so we celebrated with family.
On year we were at the 108 Mile Ranch where we rode horses...
and shared an anniversary cake with some 75 members of the clan.
Our 35th anniversary was celebrated at Lake Pinawa, Manitoba...
another family retreat.

Several times we stopped to mark our milestone while on vacation.
Once we had an anniversary dinner at the Outback Steakhouse in Cheyenne, Wyoming...
while passing through.

On our 28th wedding anniversary...
we were in Alaska with friends...
and watched glaciers calving in the Kenai Fjords.
We enjoyed a wonderful salmon dinner, of course!

We honeymooned in Victoria...
and have been back on our anniversary several times through the years.

 Last year we were passing through Utah...
and spent our anniversary at Bryce Canyon...
a most amazing place!

One of my favorite anniversary memories has to be one of the simplest celebrations.
We packed a nice picnic...
loaded up the pick-up truck...
and took a drive along a forestry road on the west side of Harrison Lake.
We picnicked on a blanket beside the turquoise waters of the glacial lake...
on a sunny summer day.
All was well in the world!

But as we all know...
things don't always go as planned.
And so even our anniversary celebrations were sometimes less than 'joyful'!
One year our plans were cancelled...
when our son had a car accident that very evening.

On July 31, 2000 we buried my mother.
It was a rather sobering anniversary.

We went out for dinner earlier this month...
with three other couples who all share July anniversaries.
Together we represented 144 years of marriage.
That is something to celebrate!
We realized this year (maybe more than others)...
that each additional year of life together is a gift.
One of the couples has been dealing with cancer this past year.
Another couple now share kidneys...
as of a few months ago.
It just seemed right to celebrate another year together with friends

We are away marking our milestone anniversary this weekend. 
And no...we are not in Victoria this year!
I'll fill you in next week.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

the children...the chairs...and the chase!

Every wedding has it's behind-the-scenes stories...ones that most of the wedding guests knew nothing about.  I'll let you in on few of those today.

Like I mentioned yesterday...we thought it would be fun to involve some of the kids in our life in the wedding ceremony. 

Kevin (nephew) ~ bridesmaid ~ Heather (niece) ~ Billy (brother)

So...Billy and Kevin were asked to light the candles...and Heather was the sweet flower girl.  The boys were not quite tall enough to reach the top of the candelabra...and so we had special stools made for them.  They did a fine job of lighting the candles without setting anything else ablaze.  It was my brother's antics at the reception, however, that brought out the local fire department and put an end to the party.   With a little encouragement from his older cousins...he had pulled the fire alarm!  What would a five-year-old-know?

As for Heather, the flower girl...we really started something.  When she was married many years later...she had our daughter Heidi as her flower girl.  And when Heidi and Tim were married a decade ago...they had Heather's daughter Sarah as their flower girl.  End of story...we think.

Back to our wedding...once the dinner and reception were over, friends and family gathered in my new in-law's back yard for an 'after party'.  We changed into our 'going-away' outfits and opened gifts...and had a good time visiting with everyone.  My uncles had something up their sleeve...something I had never heard of before...and was a little leery about.  They called for two chairs to be brought out...and tied them together.  Then we each sat on a chair...

 ...and were hoisted high into the air by my uncles.  Though I was quite certain it would all end in disaster...they somehow pulled it off.  In some cultures...the chair lifting experience is a wedding tradition. As for me...I have only seen it done once...and that would be on July 31, 1971.

Another wedding custom that I am happy to say has fallen by the wayside, is that of the 'car chase' as the couple tried to leave for their honeymoon.  Knowing we would be the target of just such a chase...elaborate plans were made, as to how to escape without being caught.  Our car was hidden in a neighbouring community...and if we could only get to our car, we would be home free!  We realized we were in trouble when we noticed a procession of vehicles lining the road as we were about to leave...mostly uninvited guests, I might add. What ensued was a lot of 'erratic driving'...calling for intervention by several officers of the law.  I was never so happy to seethe lights of the police cruiser flashing behind us!  We told the officers our story...and they kindly held back all the pursuing cars, while we made our get-away.   It would have made for a good movie.  It did not make for a relaxing end to our wedding day!

When we finally arrived at our hotel...we opened an envelope that had been given to us as we left the 'after party'.

How sweet was that!  Elmer's sister and brother-in-law were treating us to breakfast on our first morning as 'Mr. and Mrs.'.  After all these years...I still remember where we ate that morning.  And, as you can see...I still have the letter.  And years later when Kevin and Kim (our niece and nephew) were married...I copied the letter and we sent them out for their 'first meal' as well.   

Weddings...they make for great stories!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

until death do us part...

"I take thee..."

We spoke those words a very long time ago...

...forty years ago (almost).

I know...we were kids!  
I was still a teenager...he was a few years older.

Let me take you back to that 'hot day in July'!

 We wanted to keep things simple...
and so we each had only one attendant.
We chose our childhood friends to stand up for us on our special day.
And just to complicate things a little...
we had three five-year-olds join the party.
My brother and hubby's nephew lit the candles...
while his niece was the flower girl.

The dresses were styled after a page pulled from Spring 1971 Bride magazine...
and sewn by my older sister.
I have no recollection as to why there were no tuxes for the guys.
It must have been part of the 'country casual' theme.

My youngest sister looked after the guest book.
And I honestly don't think she asked them to sign 'Mr and Mrs...'!

How times have changed!
The 'mister and missus' no longer sign their names in guests books.

We were married by our pastor...
Rev. Ben Heppner...
in a double ring ceremony in our little country church.

And the receiving line...of course!
The first ones through were Heather, Kevin and Billy.

The cake was baked by my mother-in-law...
and decorated by Frieda B.

He was much better at cutting the cake than at wrapping it.
Back in the day...
we baked another entire cake that was sliced and wrapped as wedding favours.
On cake-wrapping night he showed up...
and then disappeared into the back forty until the job was done!
I can laugh now...
though I never found it so funny that night.

And when all was said and done...
we changed into our going away outfits...
and tried to go away.
(I'll save that story for tomorrow!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

showers ~ then and now

And I'm not speaking of rain showers...
the kind we have become quite accustomed to this summer.

We are approaching our fortieth wedding anniversary (can that really be so?)...
and so I'm taking a trip down memory lane.

When it comes to bridal showers...
some things have changed over the years and some have not.

My good friend and bridesmaid threw a shower for me...

...and her cute little sisters were quite happy to be in on the action!

They presented me with a lovely corsage.
When did that custom get left behind?

Crepe paper streamers?
I haven't seen those in awhile either.

I opened the gifts...
and passed the bows along to friend who was creating something beautiful with them.

There was a time when the bride wore the 'bow hat' once the gifts were unwrapped.
It's been awhile since I have seen that.

What a fine looking group of grooms and brides!
The shower guests were divided into three teams...
and each team was given white and black crepe paper to use in creating a 'winning bridal couple'.
I think the wee girls take the cake!

Oh...and a cake, of course!
Then and now.

The guests mostly wore dresses in those days (rather short ones, I see)
Today...anything goes.

Bridal showers are all about  friends blessing the bride...
then and now.

What a fun tradition!

I'll be strolling down memory lane all week...
so feel free to come back and join me!

Monday, July 25, 2011

a sunny weekend...

With a few sunny days in a row...we had to make up for lost time.  We ate outdoors all weekend...back patio, front porch or someone else's patio.
And Saturday night seemed like the perfect evening for a hike...and so we headed up Mt. Thom.  It's nice and easy and nearby...and has a wonderful lookout (one that's only wonderful on a clear day).

The last time we did this trail on a grey, misty morning.  Dappled sunlight gave a whole new perspective!

From the summit we looked down on the valley below to the west...and saw the mighty Fraser River far in the distance.

Immediately below us, was the Vedder we normally see from the walking trail that runs along it's banks.

It looked like a quiet evening on Cultus Lake...from this perspective!  Is it ever quiet at the lake on a sunny, Saturday evening?  If you are looking for peace and solitude...the mountain trail is the place to be.  We never met another soul.

Yesterday we took our sunny-Sunday-go-to-meeting car to church...

...for the second time this year.  (There haven't been many sunny Sundays.)

And just to really pack everything into a one weekend...we also took in a ball game at Nat Bailey Stadium.  For more than three decades, someone in our family has always played softball...and so I have fond memories of warm summer evenings spent at the ball park.  There were some years when it seemed we were all playing...and often at different ball parks at the same time.  For many years, our farm sponsored a local men's team...which was always fun to watch.  And for the past few years, Jeremy organized a mixed team in a fun league.  If there was nothing else up...there was always a ball game to watch. This year there was no one playing ball.  And since the weather has not been that conducive to sitting in bleachers...I really hadn't been itching to go to the ball park.  But I really can't imagine an entire summer passing by without taking in at least one game.  

With the sun out over the seemed like a good time to head to Vancouver's Nat Bailey Stadium and have a 'ball park experience'! 

My dad usually watches the Toronto Blue Jays...and mostly from the comfort of his easy chair...but we took him along on our outing.  And we got there in plenty of time to enjoy 'ball food'!

We had the sun in our eyes...but we weren't complaining!  It's a wonderful little ball park in the city...and the Vancouver Canadians played a great game.  It was a good end to a sunny weekend on the west coast!

Have a great day...

Friday, July 22, 2011

the hunt for hydrangeas...

 Hydrangea season is upon us...almost!

This is what the limelight hydrangea looked like last year at this time.

This is how it looks today.
We are at least several weeks behind this year.

My hydrangea hedge is a lovely green right about now (they love rain)...
and it took a little hunting to find some blooms to admire.

Hidden under the leaves were a few clusters of  'blushing bride' blooms.
Great name...don't you think?

The one old-fashioned blue hydrangea shrub in my garden...
is one I salvaged from my son's yard.
His landscaper thought he needed a hydrangea.
He thought otherwise.
Not everyone likes hydrangeas like I do!

The 'Annabelle' hydrangea is the only one that is ready for clipping and bringing indoors.

And just outside my kitchen window is a pink memorial hydrangea...
a gift from good friends three years ago.
I see it...
and I remember.

Hydrangea heaven is almost upon us.
I'll bring you back to the garden once they are in their prime!

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

salmon ~ the best of the west..

Wild salmon from British Columbia is one of the most spectacular seafood products in the world.  I took those words off the B.C. Salmon website..and I'm sure they speak the truth. 

It's that time of the year...when the avid fishermen are bringing in the salmon.  Our friend who happens to be a fishing guide, has generously provided us with a good supply of salmon.  And hubby has been trying out his new smoker...the one the kids gave him for Christmas.  He's quite enjoying his smoked salmon...

 ...better than candy to him!  It's been a bit of an issue trying to decide when to pull out the smoker...since it has to sit out-of-doors and is not supposed to get wet.  We haven't had too many suitable days here this year...with no threat of precipitation.  We finally came up with a plan that works just fine!  The smoker has gone to the farmyard and now sits in the shop...where there is a roof overhead and the  smoke bothers no one.  And since hubby's over there all day anyhow...he can keep an eye on his smoking salmon.  Today he is smoking salmon for some friends who caught their limit at Campbell River last week.  So...if things are smelling a wee bit fishy over know why.

And since the salmon was fresh off the smoker...we enjoyed some for dinner last night.  Tortellini with smoked salmon and a herbed cheese sauce...superb!  Though I love salmon...I really don't enjoy cooking it all that much.  So I quite like this method of cooking it outdoors! 

B.C. salmon.  Check it out! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

from the raspberry patch to the table...

The raspberry production is in it's peak...
in my wee patch, that is. 

I went out in the still of the morning to pick berries yesterday.  
It brought back memories of so long ago...
when I spent my summers in the berry patch.  
Now I was glad to know that when my 15-foot row was picked...
I could 'go home for the day'. 

I started with a little container and soon realized I had underestimated the crop to be harvested!  
Soon my large tub was full to overflowing.  

There's nothing better than starting off the day with a bowl of fresh peaches and raspberries...
coated with yogurt and topped with granola.  
That's our summer breakfast special.  
On a normal summer...
we would be enjoying that breakfast out on the patio. 
This year...
we have mostly stayed indoors.  
We are still waiting for the real summer weather to kick in!

The jam is in the jar...
the raspberry ripple pie in the freezer.  
And I even tried a copycat version of the lemon raspberry swirl loaf that I have seen in Starbuck's window.  
I used Lovella's lemon loaf and layered it with homemade raspberry jam...
and it was yummy.  
Yup...everything is coming up raspberries over here!

And at the end of the raspberry row...
something is coming up roses.  
Those are the first blooms on a climbing rose I planted.

Whether it feels like summer or not...
the fruits of the season are here to enjoy!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!