Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Summer and Fall 2015

I just finished shoveling snow/ So,  I guess this as good as any time to look back in pictures on the summer and fall of 2015.

As it should, summer starts with the garden...and includes a pirate party when the leaves turn brown!?

The start

Early days

Thriving late season

The in-laws garden being handled with care

3 generations of women making relish

Who watches the Watchmen?

No leftovers

Nephew Ren giving attitude

Holding the Canadian Flag on field at Esks game while Joey Moss sings anthem....score!

Niece Gabriela the "Dread" Princess Pirate

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Devonian Botanic Garden - Rooted

Arriving back from vacation we took the opportunity of being close to the airport to visit the Devonian Botanic Garden to see Chrissy's friend Oksanas' exhibit at the "Rooted" art-show.
In Oksana Atwood’s interactive installation passersby will be given a crafted mushroom and invited to place it touching other matching mushrooms in the Garden, and will collaborate in the creation of an organic ever-changing sculpture, much like in the world of mycology.
Oksana greeted us as we entered the space her installation was occupying and offered us a mushroom to plant as part of the exhibition.

We really liked Oksana's idea to have visitors to the park be contributors to the installation. Perhaps we were a little overzealous though as we chose to expand her installation outside of the exhibit area.
See if you can spot the little red mushroom.

Today, a little red mushroom lives in our ficus flower pot at home. It's probably the best piece of original art we own ;)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Summer Vacation in the Okanagan

This year Christina insisted that we use our summer vacation time to visit her "happy" vacation spot - Naramata, BC. As a good ol' Saskie boy who grew around prairie lakes the whole idea of vacationing in BC's interior seemed exotic so I gladly acquiesced.

We made a quick inquiry to my brother Geoff to their availability to visit them in Port Coquitlam and soon ended up with his family as a vacationing companion rather than pop-in destination. Things were coming together nicely....


When Christina was younger her family would often travel out to Naramata to stay with family and enjoy the bounty of the orchards in the area. She has many fond memories of splashing around in the lake, getting giant ice cream cones and roaming unfettered through the small town with her cousins. In later years she has returned with girlfriends to take sampling tours of the many wineries that have sprouted up in the area. 

Many times over beers/wines in the back yard have I head her desire to return to Naramat and show me the place where so many happy memories occurred. With a bit of trepidation to see if fond memories will translate into positive new experiences as a couple we jumped on a quick plane to Kelowna and undertook a scenic drive to the magical land of Naramata.

When we were planning our trip, Christina humored me in exploring alternative places to stay but it was clear from the beginning that we were going to stay at her favorite place; the Naramata Village Motel. As soon as we arrived, I understood why. 

Classic tourist pose

The place is centrally located, homey, quiet and modestly charming. Simply everything you could hope for in a lazy week at the lake.

Christina was just starting her second trimester of pregnancy while on vacation. This meant that my plans for renting bikes and exploring the area together were kiboshed due to nausea. However, being a good sport she let me go off on my own every morning to get the lay of the land. Which really doesn't take too long in a town with a population of 2,000. The only downside was with impending fatherhood I was required to wear a helmet.

The town itself was quite cute and compact along the waters edge of Okanagan Lake and we spent many a day out and about relaxing in the water, taking in the views, touring local orchards, exploring, sampling local cuisine (including the best tiramisu ever), and generally being a layabout.



All this relaxation started to wear on me! A guy has got to stretch his legs and see a few more things...

Touring Around Lake Okanagan

I don't rest idle well on vacation. Especially, if I have never been to an area before. I always want to see what is around the next corner. Christina is the best wife ever as she is often hit with a similar spirit, or is kind enough on other occasions to humors me.

Recognizing that Chrissy wasn't as mobile as usual I think we managed to pack in a good amount of fun sightseeing.

Floating down the Penticton River Channel

Chasing down peacocks:

Searching out deals at fruit stands:

and Mini golf championships at LocoLanding &; Scandia:

Still the champ

Wine Tasting

You can call it many things; ironic, poor timing or bad planning but we ended up visiting Christina's happy place full of delicious wine when she was unable to drink. So, the wine connoisseur between us ended up watching me, the rot gut beer fan, sample copious amounts of high end wines. 

Being the fantastic wife that she is though, I think she found pleasure still in the experience and watching me enjoy the many samples.....and there were many samples.

Mission Hill

Dirty Laundry - A favorite we visited twice

Legend Distilling - My favorite spot to watch sundown

Our haul - carefully stashed away till Chrissy can drink again

Family Visit

Geoff is the closest brother in age to me and was a form of hero to me in my youth before I discovered Steve Yzerman. I like to think I still have an extra soft spot for him though :)

For quite some time he has been my BC brother just like how my brother Richard is my Ontario brother. That is, I often go long amounts of time between seeing them and for most of my adult life they have lived in another province from me. As Geoff and his wife's (Marlene) daughter, Jade, is growing like a weed, I further enjoy getting to see her personality grow in these limited visiting times.  I guess, what I am really saying is - Every time I get to see them it  is special.

Marlene equal to Christina loves wine. Factoring in that Christina couldn't drink, we had a built in 'sitter' while the rest of the adults tested wine....poor Chrissy :( 

It was fun seeing Marlene get so excited, but equally as fun was just hanging out at the beach or around the pool with the "big brother" and his family.

Apparently the ducks like hanging with Geoff too

As Chrissy and I start out on our own family journey I appreciated Geoff and Marlene listening to our questions on schools and curriculum and offering up their specialized knowledge and personal experiences with Jade. It gave Chrissy and I lots to talk about later and allowed us to put in place what I think is a good plan for our kid(s). With any luck they will be as precocious, fun and courteous as Jade. I already look forward to big cousin Jade interacting with her future little cousins.

On the other side of the lake, North of Kelowna,we were fortunate to visit with Christina's Aunt (and Godmother) and Uncle at his parents place. We were spoiled with a fantastic supper, the theatre of watching Chrissy's cousin Randall peel a peach and a fantastic view of the lake.

Yeah, we won the family lottery and got it pretty good.


I imagine our next trip to Naramata may be a lot different as we will have another little person joining us. Hopefully we will be able to create some special memories for our child to match "Mom's" in this beautiful place.