Wedding bells • August 1, 2016

Jordan and I were married on August 1st. It was such a lovely day with so many amazing moments… I’ve finally finished writing it all down! You can click this link to an album with all of the rest of the beautiful pictures.

Jordan and I started our big day with a quiet, early-morning walk to the nearby Starbucks. Triple grande caramel macchiato for the groom, triple grande skinny vanilla latte for the bride. Jordan left shortly after Shae arrived, and the wedding day began!

The guys:

Jordan joined Trevor and Dad in the early morning to take the alcohol and sound system up to Sea Cider, before heading over to Darling and Grandpa’s for coffee with grandparents and other close relatives. The coffee was organized so the two families could get to know each other, and several great new friendships were made! Jordan, Trevor, and Dad revisited the Surly Mermaid for lunch – Jordan managed to actually eat lunch, well done – and then the guys headed up to Jordan’s parents to start getting ready. Trevor’s exceptional full Windsor tie-tying skills were handsomely rewarded with special cufflinks from Jordan. From then, all they had to do was wait for the girls to be done getting ready…

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The girls:

Mom, Shae, and I spent the morning in the condo getting ready with makeup-artist and hair-stylist extraordinaire, Erin. What a fun crew! My morning was filled with conversation about knowledge translation in health care (neeerrrrrds), fine arts and the road to becoming a makeup artist, and coordinating the finer points of the wedding. Mom had pretty curl roses put in her hair, and I got to hang out with giant pin curls for a while. Shae was delighted by her classic Regina gift of rose gold Hillberg & Berk sparkleballs, and decided to wear them for the wedding, yay! Jordan’s mom Lisa joined us over lunch to get her hair and makeup done and came away looking so glamorous. Shae and Mom took on the massive task of getting all the cat hair off my dress and steamed it to perfection. The day was so calm and sunny, with makeup out in the fresh air on the deck and coffee on drip the whole time – exactly what I needed! I only began to get nervous when Erin unrolled my pin curls and put together the last of the ‘bridal’ touches… but luckily my Dad and our photographer Kim Kalyn showed up just in time to distract me with some getting-ready pictures. It takes a whole village, and my village was super wonderful!

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The first look and pictures:

A couple blocks from our Sidney condo sat an oceanfront garden called Eastview Park. We had our ‘first look’ here, down by the ocean, with a light summer breeze and not too many onlookers. The tears started for me here! Jordan looked so stunning in his suit and so happy to see me. We were able to get a few pictures together and with Shae and Trevor out on the wharf. Then we were off, with Trevor’s careful driving and Shae’s meticulous navigating to Sea Cider for bridal party portraits in the orchard!

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Shae and Trevor were definitely the most capable and competent people for the bridal party job – so many little details were taken care of because of their involvement and attention. More than that, though, they are some of the funniest people in our lives. We spent the whole time laughing and joking (with some sappy moments interspersed). Kim fit into our little group so well, which made for a very relaxing and entertaining photography session amongst the apples!

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After pictures I went upstairs to hide out in the Mirror Room with Shae. Jordan stayed downstairs and greeted people as they came into the wedding, which I’ve heard included a cute moment with Holly, Michelle, and their husbands. Down below in the reception tent, my incredible coordinating team were battling the elements to tie tulle in place and make paper decorations stay on the tables – Mom, Dad, Mavis, Ron, Krista, and Riley, the real MVPs of the wedding!

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The ceremony:

If you’ve never been to Sea Cider, you may not know that there is a giant staircase leading from the Mirror Room to the ceremony area. As our officiant Michael introduced himself and took care of housekeeping items, Dad, Shae, and I stood at the top of the staircase just out of sight. We kept catching each other’s eyes in the ‘one last check’ mirror and alternated between trying not to laugh too loudly at our officiant’s light opening remarks and trying not to collapse from nerves (okay – maybe just me).

The first notes of Bloom began and Shae started our processional. It’s hard to describe the emotions of the moment, but suffice to stay I started crying about halfway out the door. It was so wonderful to walk down the aisle with Dad and be given away by both my parents. And then there was Jordan with his heart in his eyes. A poem, some very emotional vows, and an even more emotional ring ceremony later, I was a wife and Jordan was my husband.

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We signed the marriage license on the deck overlooking the orchard and the ocean. The Vitamin String Quartet cover of Yellow played in the background while Sea Cider staff handed out glasses of cider to guests for a toast. For the record, I did manage to stop crying by this point, but Holly set me off again when we came back into the ciderhouse and were introduced by Michael to our guests. Jordan and Samantha, husband and wife! I stopped crying again between the recessional and the toast, but then KATE set me off! These girls of mine, I tell you what.

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The hour after the ceremony of mingling, cider tastings, and family photos flew by. Sunny memories include Mavis, a bubble gun, and a very delighted Boone; hugs with girlfriends, cousins, uncles, and aunts; Jordan showing off his ring; a big group photo in the ciderhouse; and our sweet niece Sadie, who was equally delighted by cider and my bouquet and brought out truly genuine smiles for family pictures! Afterwards, Jordan and I managed to catch a moment to ourselves in the Mirror Room. There were a few more tears as we took in the importance of our wedding and our commitment. Jordan’s first act as a husband was to help me buckle up my practical white sandals! Happy feet, happy wife.

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The reception:

Dinner was catered by The London Chef, and I swear I will never eat a better chimichurri sauce as long as I live. Check out this menu!

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My uncle Brian was our emcee and coordinated the buffet dismissal according to “best cider pun,” the worst (best) of which I really should have predicted… but what was I going to do, call the cops?! We had some great moments at the head table while the buffet line was going, including pretty selfies, super complicated puzzle toys, and patting myself on the back for my excellent table seating arrangements.

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The speeches at our wedding were the best speeches I’ve ever heard at any wedding ever. You may be tempted to think I’m being facetious. I promise I’m not – our guests were raving about the speeches all night. With an all-star line-up like we had, is anybody really surprised?

Trevor started off with an ode to the groom, detailing the long and winding road behind his relationship with Jordan.

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Shae followed that act with the most heartfelt and adorable toast, where she did a remarkable job talking through the tears and describing the tamest, but happiest, friendship there ever was.

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Bob spoke about how we prioritize each other’s academic goals and happiness, and how our compromises make us strong and cohesive.

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Finally, my Dad shared some super cute stories about my more precocious moments, finishing by saying that our individually strong personalities work out perfectly as a couple. Not a dry eye in the house!

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Jordan and I went last for a little thank-you speech, where I was relieved that Jordan clarified to Trevor that he would be coming home with ME after the wedding. :)

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Between dinner and cupcakes Jordan and I were able to visit with so many of our guests. I was really happy that we were able to stick side by side for most of the reception… I’ve heard so many stories of brides not eating and not seeing their husbands, but I got to do both of those things AND enjoy some cider! We each got to meet the few family/friends that hadn’t been introduced yet. At one point we went to the bar to fill our glasses and just marveled at how wonderfully our guests were coming together, with people who had just met socializing like old friends. We were happy that we got to spend some quality time with our friends who traveled so far… from Grande Prairie to Saskatoon to Regina to Halifax, by plane and car and boat, just for us. We’re such lucky people!

Once the last of the sun had set and the tent lights were shining, we were treated to some wonderful entertainment. Darling shared some cherished stories, from tomato picking to tea parties. Trevor, who brought me into his musical world this year, sang us Proud Songsters by Finzi with only the striking acoustics of the ciderhouse as accompaniment. And then: cupcakes! Espresso, coconut, and coral-frosted vanilla… all with a glass of cider to warm the soul!

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At the end of the evening, after all the love and the congratulations, the quality conversation and the genuine laughter, the greeting of old favorites and the delighting in new friends, it was time to say goodnight.

Imagine a perfect West Coast night, sweet and warm. Imagine the welcoming glow of fairy lights against a backdrop of summer stars. Imagine your nearest and dearest, holding up sparklers and cheering as you dash off to the waiting limo and into the night. Can two hearts be more full?

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Between the Stars

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill

First news first: Jordan successfully defended his Master’s thesis two weeks ago! He had time for celebratory beer with his labmates before we jumped in the car to kick off a victory lap around Western Canada. In ten days we drove from Regina to Airdrie to Nelson to Vancouver Island and back through Kelowna and Banff to home. Some of you may have seen the highlight reel on our #45hoursoffun hashtag on instagram. Here is a slightly more extended version!

Our first long prairie stretch took us right to the delightful home of my best friend Shae and her husband Riley. We were also lucky enough to overlap with Krista’s visit and had such fun catching up! As well as being a practicing optometrist (whaaat), it turns out Shae is also an exceptional chef. Penny the puppy is a pro at doodle things and stole our hearts.

After a bright and early start the next morning we began our drive through the mountains, down beautiful highway 95 where our brakes became feeble heading into Radium, and over highway 93 into Kimberley. It was neat showing IMG_4448Jordan the Platzl and all our old houses in Kimberley, Marysville, and Wycliffe. We followed memory lane out west towards Nelson, whereupon Rhonda (our fussy gold Rendezvous) had her first meltdown at the top of the Salmo-Creston pass. Opening the hood to allow her to cool down afforded us the opportunity to take in the beautiful lake at the top of the pIMG_4496ass, which I interrupted Jordan’s fretting to point out and appreciate. An hour later we made it into Nelson in one piece and drove right out to my Uncle Randy and Auntie Kim’s lake house at 12 Mile. The excellent company, cold beer, and dip in the Kootenay Lake were exactly what we needed after such a long travel day. My cousins Brittany (and boyfriend) and Courtney (and sweet baby) came out for dinner too. So nice to introduce Jordan to more family!

Another early start from Nelson included the heady smell of gasoline when we parked the car for coffee. It did go away, but not before Jordan diagnosed in Rhonda a faulty fuel regulator. Onwards and upwards! And upwards and upwards and upwards… over the Bonanza Pass, down the sharp switchbacks into Osooyos, and over the Sunday Summit and Allison Pass. Rhonda managed herself and it was a gorgeous drive. Finally we made it onto the ferry aIMG_4522nd short hours later arrived in Ladysmith at Darling and Grandpa’s house. Mom was also there, and new friend Jane from Australia (who was completely charming). A few drinks and late into the night we made it to bed and slept like logs.

On Wednesday, Mom, Jordan, and I traveled down to Victoria (ditching Rhonda at a dealership on the way). We had such a weddingy day planned! After dropping Jordan off at the Victoria Art Gallery, Mom and I found Blush Bridal Boutique – the most adorable bridal store with the most phenomenal staff. Candace helped us pick out and sort through a hundred pounds of lace, chiffon, beading, tulle, and embroidery until she found me a clear winner. In the evening we met our wedding photographer Kim for a sunset engagement shoot at Brentwood Bay… followed by an exceptional dinner at the Brentwood Bay restaurant with Mom. What a perfect day!

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Bright and early the next morning the three of us took the quick road up the hill to our wedding venue, Sea Cider. We hadn’t seen the venue before and it was exactly like we imagined it would be! Our wedding planner is such a sweetheart and the grounds are perfect. It’s so easy to envision how our wedding day will feel next summer… and I’m already full of sappy feelings!

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The feelings didn’t stop when we left Victoria – that night Dad got into town and we all had a lively celebration of Jordan’s success and his new M.Sc. Jordan fit so seamlessly into Regina when we moved here for my program, and it is so exciting to see all the networking, the hard thinking, the working evenings, and the caffeine pay off for him.

On Saturday, Mom and Dad packed us and the dogs up onto the boat and we set off on day one of our boatingIMG_4698 adventure. On our first stop at Telegraph Harbour a dog named Tucker helped tie our boat to the dock. On the way to Saltspring Island we let off a crab trap full of chicken to pick up the next day. We docked in Ganges, one of my favorite places to visit – a busy marina with boats of all sizes, seaplanes, herons, and an artsy little town center. We had drinks and dinner at The Oystercatcher against a backdrop of live music.

Sunday morning began with a visit to a Ganges gallery and delicious Saltspring Island coffee. First order of business on the boat was rescuing the crab trap, where IMG_4772we had TWO absolutely ENORMOUS crabs waiting to fight with us! Mom and Jordan wrestled them out of their labyrinth and we put them in a bucket for dinner. On our way to Genoa Bay we explored the lazy inlets of Prevost Island (where I will retire to be a painter) and the breezy cliffs of Russell Island (where we harassed tiny crabs in tidal pools), and tried our best to catch up to a pod of whales in the Sansum Narrows. Once at Genoa, we spent a lovely evening with steak, crab, cider, and wine. Last summer I wrote about the bioluminescent waters in the bay – they were there again this year. We laid out on an isolated spot on the dock and gazed at the stars above while we dipped our fingers into the stars below. Magical.

On Monday we traveled through the Sansum Narrows back to Ladysmith. Alli and Chris were down for a few days so we had a lovely afternoon in Darling’s garden visiting and fantastic spaghetti for dinner – easiest way to my heart! Mom and Dad took off after dinner and we had Darling to ourselves for a few hours before our early bedtime.

The long journey home began the next morning, over the ferry, through the Greater Vancouver traffic, up and up and up over the Coquihalla Pass (fast!!! 120kph on BC highways now!!!), and up and up again over the Penask Summit. Rhonda survived despite herself, and I found the twinned highway very nice. Finally we came down into Kelowna, home of Uncle Brian (and Stacey, Alli, and Chris, who were still on the Island when we drove through). Brian treated us to aIMG_4984 wonderful evening; we had dinner at the neighboring golf course and then wandered through the golf course back up to his condo for Japanese vodka (oof). An evening very, very well spent!

From Kelowna we drove the most beautiful Okanogan highway through Sycamous and Revelstoke, full of gorgeous blue lakes, corn fields, vineyards, and mountain views. The Rogers Pass, our last major mountain pass, was such a treat as well – just beautiful. Finally we made it to Lake Louise, where Rhonda had her second meltdown and we ditched her to shuttle up to the lake. We had an hour or two up there to take in the mountain air, explore the Chateau Lake Louise, and be a little bit touristy. By the time we made it down to Rhonda she had recovered her sensibility and we drove the last stretch to Banff. Pasta for a late dinner, coffee in the heart of town, and so much time spent poking around in a geode store… a wonderful evening to end our vacation. We drove the long, easy prairie road to Regina the next day with good spirits and eagerness to be home.

Writing up this blog post, my heart has been so full of love for our friends and family scattered across Canada. We have people who would welcome us into their homes in just about every province in the country. We are so lucky to have all of you in our lives!

Sam

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Summer Updates!

I assure you that it hasn’t been six months since the last update. You’re just imagining things.

Anyway, since the last update, a lot has happened! I’m getting ready to defend my master’s thesis in one week and I can’t wait to be done. It’s my last program requirement and then I will have my master’s finished and be done with school (well, for at least a year). After my defence, Sam and I are going on a cross-country road trip to visit friends and family, eventually ending up in Victoria to see our wedding venue for the first time!

Meanwhile, Sam is also making progress on her degree. She finished her last comprehensive exam last month and is now having a much less stressful time of things. She’s also had her research profiled in the local news outlets, which is exciting.

The biggest change recently has been our move to a new house. We loved our old neighbourhood, but we had to move for neighbour reasons. I guess that’s the risk of being a renter. Anyway, our new house is fantastic and Sam is especially happy about outfitting her new walk-in closet. Trevor was a huge help in the moving process, donating his afternoon and his car to help us drive boxes. We’re all settled in, and the new place has been great. We’re also on a bit of a health kick (while Sam is watching), with a 100 day of fitness challenge and farm-fresh veggies from a local farmer.

Will update sooner next time, I promise!

Jordan

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The spice of life

Jordan and I have always been amateur chefs at heart, and when we have the energy we create delicious dinners (like last month’s Italian braciola!).  For Valentine’s Day we ramped up our skill level a notch and ventured out into a blizzard to take a cooking class at Schoolhaus IMG_2405Culinary Kitchen. This is an adorable little set-up underneath Tangerine, one of my favorite lunch spots. Chef Aimee Schulhauser runs both Schoolhaus and Tangerine, as well as a catering company called Evolution.

Twelve homIMG_2411e cooks, twelve glasses of champagne, and a cozy kitchen! Our culinary lesson included a composed beet and carrot salad with grapefruit vinaigrette and goat cheese. Jordan discovered he does like goat cheese as long as it’s mild! In teams of six, we prepped and made the next four dishes at the same time. First we prIMG_2426epped the desserts by caramelizing bananas and melting the ganache. We also made a lemon, wine, and shallot reduction for beurre blanc, and chopped up potatoes and celeriac root for a puree. Then we pounded out chicken breasts, stuffed them with arugula and fontina cheese, and rolled them in egg and penko to bake in the oven. Once our chickens were in the oven, we made up phyllo spring rolls with the caramelized bananas and  popped those in the oven too. While everything baked, Jordan and I were in charge of making the pancetta and asparagus garnish. Another coupleIMG_2427 finished the buerre blanc, and the last couple finished the puree. Finally, after all our hard work, Aimee showed us how to plate with finesse (Jordan was way better at this than I was) and we all sat down to eat our amazing dinners!

Everything was incredible. The chicken was so flavorful, the asparagus was just right, the potato puree was a perfect accompaniment. But you guys. You guys, buerre blanc. I have never eaten something so good. We are going to be putting beurre blanc on everything. I could eat it with a spoon!!! And of course, our banana spring rolls with chocolate ganache were the perfect conclusion to an amazing dinner. What a great experience.

Emboldened by our culinary successes, we had Trevor over last night to help us make sushi. Dad made us sushi a couple times growing up so I knew it was quite a process but could be just as tasty as restaurant sushi! We made special sushi rice with rice wine vinegar. Jordan julienned the carrots, Trevor prepped the cucumber, and I sliced up the tuna and salmon we bought from Pacific Fresh Fish. We also had imitation crab and smoked salmon.

sushiAfter watching dozens of tutorials, we made a salmon roll, a smoked salmon roll, a tuna roll, a spicy tuna inside-out roll, and a California inside-out roll. WAY TOO MUCH! But it was so good!! My favorites were the spicy tuna and the salmon rolls. Somehow I’ve only accumulated one pair of chopsticks in my life, so Trevor and I expertly improvised with wooden skewers.

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Inspired by Aimee and our sushi experience, Jordan and I have decided to quit graduate school posthaste to follow our cooking dreams. Stay tuned to find out when ‘Chez Marilyn’ is opening its doors! Please do get in touch if you are interested in providing all of the funding for this endeavor! :)

Sam

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Have yourself a merry little Christmas

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Saskatoon and exciting news!

At the end of August we went for a mini vacation to Saskatoon. It’s only about two hours from Regina, which makes it a very easy getaway! We stayed at the Radisson hotel which is locatedphoto 1 in the heart of downtown Saskatoon, just by the river. Saskatoon is an undeniably pretty city. There are lots of great public spaces down by the water, and we got to try some great local cuisine. We met some friends for diIMG_0615nner at Bon Temps, a wonderful Cajun restaurant. We also tried Calories, which is a very popular breakfast joint. We also made it down to the Mendel Art Gallery, which had a great Emily Carr exhibit that weekend. Saskatoon has a pretty great zoo with lots of big animals, silIMG_0616ly turkeys, and many types of deer.

One of my favourite parts of the trip was seeing the University of Saskatchewan campus. Although the U of S only has about 8,000 more students than our own university, the campus feels absolutely huge. There are lots of beautiful architectural pieces like the Memorial Gate. We wondered around some great looking buildings, visited the department of Computer Science, the school of veterinary medicine, and the Nobel Plaza (and Starbucks!). Both Sam and I agreed that we would be happy if we ever ended up at the U of S.

We happened to be visiting on the weekend of the fireworks festival! On the first night we saw the fireworks of team Canada, and on the second night we saw team China. They both did a great job choreographing fireworks to music. And the shows were right beside our hotel, so we only had to walk to the end of the street! They were both so good that it’s hard to say who should have won.

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The more exciting news is that three weeks ago we got engaged! It was quite a long plan which involved tricking Sam into thinking that we were taking ballroom dancing lessons. I proposed on the old college campus in Regina at sunset, and then we went to The Willow for drinks. Everything went great and Sam loves the ring! It’s a peach sapphire in a rose gold setting with a diamond halo.

Sam is having a great time with wedding planning. We have a few good options that we’re excited about. We haven’t set a firm date for the wedding yet, but we’re both looking forward to it!

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Jordan

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it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

During the oft-misguided progression from ancient to modern medicine, one of the treatments that stuck around for a long time was sending sick people to the seaside. Although I can’t say I had tuberculosis that needed curing, I was absolutely holding onto the stress of the past school year far too long into the summer months. It was with great delight that I left Regina in the early days of August to spend time with my family in the Kootenays and on the water.

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My first stop was joining my parents in Nelson, BC, a gem of a town tucked along the Kootenay Lake. Lots of my family is from Nelson and I spent my childhood summers there. I haven’t been for nine years, so it was a long overdue trip! Grandpa H was celebrating his 75th birthday, a great excuse for a reunion. The first night I was in town Mom, Dad, and I had dinner with Grandma and Grandpa on a patio overlooking the lake. On Friday, after shopping along Baker Street, we met up with some family at Grandma and Grandpa’s beautiful condo and then went down to Randy and Kim’s for dinner. It’s so exciting to see what all my cousins are up to, since it’s been almost four years since we had a visit! The big event of the weekend was on Sunday at 12 mile where we had a party on the beach. The lake was even warm enough to dip into a couple times!

IMG_0121After a quick drive to Vancouver Island and stopover in Cumberland to feed the kitties, my parents and I set off for our ocean voyage. I’ve been out on the boat for the afternoon a couple times but never for a long trip – and man, what a perfect life! The first day took us across water like glass to Montague Harbour. We anchored and had dinner on the boat, then went to shore on the dinghy  to exIMG_0140plore a shell beach. The dogs are great boaters! In the morning dad made us camp coffee and we set off for Ganges, a busy harbour town on Saltspring Island. We sat on the front of the boat with the wind in our hair and dogs in our laps. That harbour is very high traffic, full of big boats and float planes. Daredevil Tango narrowly survived walking the plank. Darling, Grandpa, Brian, Stacey, Alli and her boyfriend Chris met us in Ganges for a wonderful dinner at the Oystercatcher and breakfast the next morning. Every meal was followed with blackberries… yum!

The last leg of our ocean adventure took us across choppy waves to Genoa Bay. Along the way we saw dolphins jumping in the wake behind our boat! We also put down a crab trap full of chicken drumsticks to pick up the next day. Genoa Bay was quiet and sleepy. As the afternoon went on, the fog crept in on little cat feet (as Sandburg would say). After a relaxed night I went to dump the last of my drink into the pitch black water and was astonished to see the ocean flare up neon green! The waters around our boat were full of phosphorescent somethings and the more water we sprinkled overboard the brighter it flashed. After a while we could see little fishes bumping up against the surface and flickering with phosphorescence as well. It felt like the scene with the whale in Life of Pi. The ocean is an amazing place!

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The next morning we picked up our crab trap (four feisty crabs – all too small to keep), sailed through the Sansum narrows, through whirlpools and guided by curious us awseals, back to Ladysmith for the second family reunion of the trip. Trevor and Jordan joined us, as well as dozens of Darling and Grandpa’s relatives and close friends. They celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this year! Saturday morning was a whirlwind of setting up tables and decorating the garden before the party got into full swing at 2. It was wonderful to connect with so many people I haven’t seen in years and to meet some new additions to our family. Entertainment included a harpist, Stacey’s photobooth, and Trevor and Darling singing. By the way, have you heard about my aunt Stacey? Her genius is to be credited for the beautiful photo to the left. The family visiting carried into Sunday, as did the beautiful sunshine. Jordan and Trevor left Sunday night, and I followed back to Regina the next morning.

Writing it all down makes the trip sound so busy and full, but it was the most refreshing, relaxing getaway I’ve had in ages. It was so nice to reconnect with so many people, and to soak in the seaside summer sun. The upcoming school year is shaping up to be the busiest yet, but I’m feeling anchored.

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Sam

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Echo Beach, Far Away In Time

It seems like it has been a long time since we did a Saskatchewan travel blog entry! This weekend was a long weekend so we decided to take a day trip to a place called Echo Park, about an hour out of town.

The route tIMG_9874o the park goes through Fort Qu’appelle and the Qu’appelle Valley. It’s a scenic one-lane route through some very beautiful Saskatchewan back country. We stopped in Fort Qu’Appelle to find lunch and visit the outdoor farmer’s market there. There weIMG_9880re lots of bakers, some jewellery tents, and lots of produce. We bought some beets and some beans and resolved to learn how to cook with beets!

After picking up something for lunch, we got back on the road and continued to Echo Park. A day pass gives you access to two beaches and some hiking trails. We had lunch by Echo Lake and watched some massive IMG_9906dragonflies. There are a lot of great houses circling the lake and the roads look very Vancouver island-like. After lunch, we found a hiking trail called Hole in Wall and climbed to the top of a big hill to get a view of the lake. Then the bugs came and we bravely decided to turn back.

You don’t have to go far in Saskatchewan to see some really great nature. Hopefully we get to see some more of it before we move!

Jordan

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Visits in June

It’s July 1st! Do you know what that means? It means it’s been almost 2.5 months since we blogged! A new record? We certainly have no excuse, as the last couple months have been packed to the brim with goings-on. We could tell you all about how the school year wrapped up well and we’re finally feeling back to normal. We could tell you about how Sam spent way too long revising her dissertation proposal, and how Jordan has started and almost finished a summer class. We could also talk about Sam’s birthday, our seventh anniversary, and how we marathoned House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Suits. But we’re not gonna, because we have had family from both sides visit in June and that’s way more fun to talk about!

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The beginning of June was very special for us as we celebrated Jordan’s convocation from his Bachelor of Science Honours! Jordan’s parents Bob and Lisa flew in from Grande Prairie and his sister Karisa flew in from Winnepeg to stay with us in our little home. It was lovely to visit and catch up with everybody’s lives, especially since I haven’t been up to Grande Prairie since last July. Jordan’s convocation was on Thursday. His ceremony was wonderful. The honorary degree recepient was Dr. Ken Mitchell, a professor of English and a Saskatchewan poet. Jordan was almost the last person to walk across the stage! We’re all so proud of his hard work. A celebratory dinner was had at The Willow, our favorite local restaurant overlooking Wascana Lake. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a good meal, and the company was divine! Although it was a very windy day, we were in a perfect spot to watch the sun set over the lake.

Karisa left early Friday morning back to the land of hard work, but Jordan’s parents were able to stay on for one more day. We took Lisa to Chapters to marvel at the children’s section, then took them on the grand tour of the university campus! I always love showing people around our campus, it is such a nice one. Plus we got to show off our giant silver sign (#milliondollarmonstrosity). Bob and Lisa got to experience the true student experience with lunch at The Owl. Last, we went on a tour of the Legislature garden and building. Jordan and I had never done the inside tour so it was something new for all of us. The whole visit was all just so much fun! Regina is a lovely city to show off, and it was a real treat to have Jordan’s family here to see it.

marcy2

A week later, the Editor of The Canadian Quilter arrived for a visit! Mom was in Toronto for a conference and came for a week on her way back. It was really lovely timing, as I had just handed in my dissertation proposal to my committee and could take some time off! Jordan wasn’t quite so lucky with timing (he’s taking a class) but still managed to get lots of visiting in.

Among the highlights of our rain- and wine-filled week was the DIY binder of Paper Panda cutouts that Mom brought for me! All you do is take an exacto knife, cut along the pattern provided by the website, and flip it over when you’re done. It’s a pretty steep learning curve and I had so much fun with it. We spent lots of time sitting at the kitchen table, mom with a new quilting pattern, me and my paper cutting, and far too much wine.

On the Friday that mom was here the three of us went to Moose Jaw for the early part of the day. Moose Jaw is one of my favorite places to poke around, and mom had a few quilt stores she wanted to check out – including one that had her magazine on display! Jordan got to learn about the fun world of button shopping. We had lunch at the new Browns Social House on Main St. Then – drumroll – Friday night we went to a Roughriders game!!! Armed with rain ponchos, green apparel, beer, and concession food, we arrived at our seats to find out they were basically the best in the stadium. Although the Riders didn’t win that night, I did learn a whole lot about how football works, and now I feel even more deeply that I have Regina in my blood. Go Riders!

The sun finally came out on Saturday just in time for the Mackenzie Art Gallery Bazaart, a giant craft and art sale. Perfect weather for poking around the artist stands and listening to folk music. To cap off a wonderful week, the three of us had dinner at the Fireside Bistro, a restaurant built into an old house in downtown Regina. And it was not too difficult to wave goodbye the next morning, because I’ll be off to B.C. to spend ten days with my parents in August!

There’s been more goings-on since then, of course, like our basement flooding, my new Alesya Bags purse, and visiting the waterfowl reserve. If you want more news on summer living in Regina… you’re always welcome for a visit! :)

Sam

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The pulse of America

Greetings from spring! The snow-melt is on in Regina. This weekend is a bit chilly, but we climbed up to +14C this past week. It has been a very long winter (our second long winter in a row) and it’s such a treat to wear a lighter coat.

Jordan and I have been desperately wrapping up the end of the semester over the past month. We each had a lot of odds and ends left to the last few weeks – two 20-pagers and a dissertation presentation for me, and a 20-pager based on an extensive Arduino project for Jordan, plus our respective TA duties and my practicum. My body categorically refused to cooperate and so I’ve been laid up with a chest cold all week. My to-do list has finally been whittled down and I am actually taking the entire weekend off – miracle of miracles!IMG_7929

At the end of March I was in Chicago for the annual ADAA conference. As always, ADAA did not disappoint. Our hotel was on the Magnificent Mile, right next to a Nordstrom’s mall and a million little restaurants. We arrived early enough on Thursday that we were able to get some lab power shopping in before the ADAA keynote/opening speaker. I wasn’t presenting on Friday, but was able to take in some very interesting symposia talks about PTSD, mindfulness, and involving families in the therapy process. Sophie and I snuck out before the poster session to walk around the Navy Pier, and on a whim we went to find Cloudgate. WOW! I was so enchanted! What a great work of art.

IMG_8048Saturday was AIBL day… Matt’s symposium was in the morning, and mine was in the late afternoon. I was very excited to be able to chair (host) my own set of talks this year, and the panel of speakers was really great. I presented my thesis research, alongside talks by my supervisor, a fellow from Houston, a lady from Florida State, and our discussant from Winnepeg. My poster session was right afterwards, followed by lab dinner at a pizza joint by the river, and drinks in the presidential suite with another research team. Hangovers all around!

Then – drumroll – Sunday I was joined by our best friend Natalie!!! So exciting!! She caught an earIMG_8006ly train from Ontario down to Chicago to meet me and Dan. Conferences are the best for catching up with girlfriends who are flung far and wide across the country. Nat, Dan, Holly, Michelle and I went to Cloudgate for quite a long time, and then after Michelle and Holly hopped a plane home, the three of us carried on with shopping and wining and dining. We stopped in Anthropologie (heaven) and Nordstrom Rack (shoooIMG_8021oes) and, after ditching our spoils at the hotel and soaking our sad feet, had dinner on the patio of The Purple Pig. Highly recommended! Sunday morning Natalie and I had a life-changing makeup lesson from Jen at Sephora and then we managed to get in quite a bit more shopping. Highlights included tacos, chocolates, more shoes, the 47th dress, and sunshine. Natalie left us (sob) at 3, and Dan and I headed out to the airport shortly after, whereupon we indulged in great sushi and I nearly died on a plane (not really).

It is always very invigorating to get away for a bit, and although ADAA tends to overlap with the busiest part of the semester, it did a lot for my mental state to sneak away and just have a blast with friends in a new city. My passport is getting a good workout this year – I’m off to Philadelphia in July for a workshop on PTSD at the Beck Institute and then my best friend Shae is getting married in Mexico in December. Feel free to send me your pennies for my travel fund!

Sam

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