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Saturday, July 31, 2010

This Summer Is Brought To You By The Letter "F"

For my last week of professional vacation I took off for the Sunshine Coast.  Originally planning to spend July and August house-sitting up there, I revised my vacation plans and invited myself up to Auntie Nadine and Uncle Owen's summer house on Keat's Island. And, because I'm practically a professional at vacationing now, I went into this one with gusto, soak up every last moment and ray of sunshine.

Food:  When visiting Auntie Nadine, one thing is for sure: you will eat. And not just any ole food, but tastebud tantilizing morsels of goodness. I'm just going to go ahead and rub it in.  Watch out, you're gonna start salivating.  It could get messy.     

Crab caught 100 yrds off the dock, sockeye salmon caught off of Port Alberny, Wild Rice Blueberry Salad.

BBQed corn on the cob

Garlic butter for dipping crab

Beef burgers and Brawts from Bavarian Sausage House

Cherry and Bleu Cheese Napa Cabbage Slaw (a la Joe Springrose style)

Gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate chip cookie from the hippie bakery in Robert's Creek

Family & Friends: My Aunt and Uncle really are some of the greatest people I know.  I love their relationship and who they are as individuals. When I grow up I want to be just like them.  And, like bees to honey, great people attract other great people.  For the weekend they had long time friends to the island making for a full house hold of laughter and conversation.

Uncle O serendades after sundown

Auntie Nadine and left-leaning baby Gracie

Master Griller Mike at the BBQ, which is strategically placed with the most 
advantageous view. That's genius.

Mary, Liz, Mike, Owen, Nadine, Russ. Some of them have been friend for over 40 years. 

Auntie Nadine and her beautiful niece

Fireworks:  It happened to be Sea Cavalcade weekend which is a weekend of boating festivities, parades, and such.  Gibsons, the mainland town across the way from Keat's Island hosts the whole shindig, kicking off the first night with a show of fireworks.  They first start by blowing up a boat (for poops and smiles, Idon'tknow?) and then follow that show by a surprising quality fireworks display.  A group of 10.5 of us gathered on the dock, doused in bug spray and waited for the evening to turn dark.  I propped up my feet on a chaise lounge chair and watched the spectacle. Rough life, I know.  For someone who doesn't particularly rank fireworks high on the list of thing I enjoy, they did a bang up job.    

Fun:  Each morning I would get up and go for a run along the trail out to Salmon Rock.  Turns out, trail running is, well, hard. Up hill, down hill, rocks, roots, and alike make for an uneven path, and for someone as uncoordinated as myself, particularly challenging. It's all worth it when you get to the end the view opens up to a beautiful island landscape with nothing but ocean and sun. 

After the morning run and breakfast, I'd put on a swimsuit and eagerly await for the sun to hit the dock, usually around 12:30ish. Once the sun hit the dock, we'd head down and settle into our respective chairs to read and soak up the sun. When it got too hot, we'd jump in the ocean for a swim and a rapid cool down.  Then repeat, only to get up to get lunch and drinks.  I read To Kill A Mockingbird which was absolutely stellar and I briefly toyed with the idea of naming my first son Atticus. He's claimed the spot of my new favorite male character in literary fiction.  But I digress. Uncle Owen gave me my first boating lesson in Jer's boat, which I found myself a big fan of the throttle (no surprise there), but not so comfortable with the pounding waves on that particularly blustery day. Really all it did was make me want a boat more and more friends with boats.     

Efffffffff me:  

Try as I might to maintain a level of grace, this trip put those notions to the test.  But true to form, I have returned with, not one, but TWO stories capturing grace, or lack thereof.  Allow me:

1.) When the tide is up you can walk right off the dock to a set of stairs and straight into the ocean.  Now, we all know the best way to get into the water is just to go for it rather than doing the beach ballet.  So I decided it take a dive and made a gross error in judgement. Head first, I dove in only pulling up of the downward motion soon enough to scrape my body along the bottom of the barnacle encrusted rocks below.  My tummy grazed first, followed by the tops of my thighs, and then the tops of my feet. The chill of the water arrested the initial pain, but once I stepped foot out of the water the wind stung the scrapes and sucked the breath from my lungs.  Not knowing the extent of the damage I look down to discover the bloody mess.  From belly button to pelvic bone, a nice size bruise/puncture on the right thigh, a left shin that looked like it was pummeled by a meat cleaver, and the tops of my feet looked like a scratching post for a cat. I dove into the shallow end of the ocean and lost.  After excusing myself to go upstairs, I winced, moaned, and bandage myself up.  Nadine came up to see to that I was ok and in the most empathetic way she was made sure I was ok and then reminded me what a wuss I was.  It's true, I am a wuss, but for once, I thought the wincing and moaning for this round was deserved. While I was assured I looked graceful going in, it really doesn't matter when you hit the bottom. Note to self: Pull up before going too deep.  

2.) On the last day I wanted to get one final swim before heading for home.  So, I jumped in, swam about and went to the ladder at the end of the dock to climb out.  I'd climbed out here before with no trouble and Nadine climbed out not a minute before me.  Placing my foot on the second rung out of the water, the rotted wood rung breaks beneath me dropping my leg like a piston straight down taking a healthy gouge out of the side of my right thigh.  My first instinct? Laugh.  Like, for real, my mad-klutzy skills are in full force.  I survey the damage and while the skin in only torn a couple inches the bruise is instantaneous and the size of a baseball.  Like deja vu, I go up stairs, clean up, bandage up, take some pain meds.  At this rate I'll keep Band-Aid and Neosporin in business.  The best part is that I have a 5 hour drive a head of me to sit on the new wound.  That was going to be comfy.  


After waiting in line unprepared for 3.5 hours to catch a ferry home, I shacked up a friend's place just on the other side of the border, playing it safe instead of driving the rest of the way home.  Hesitant at first as it was well past 1:00 am by the time I finally was rolling through town, he insisted and already made up my bed.  Well, twist my arm. Besides, how could I resist a slumber party with a good friend (cough*dreamboat*cough).  

With a week of great food, time with family and friends, beauty beyond any words or pictures could capture, I knew I could head to work with rejuvenated spirit.  I'm tan, I'm rested, I'm blessed beyond measure; the latter the most important yet easiest to forget. 

It was a wonderful way to wrap up this extended vacation stage in life.     


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