Hello friends! How are you guys holding up in this humid weather? Well, in Winnipeg it has been humid as hell with tornado warnings in between dark and angry rain storms. You know what though? I love it. I would take this over -40 degrees Celsius any day. Winnipeg’s summers are truly something to experience. The perfect sunny day here is like no other across the Canadian coast (that I have experienced anyway). If it weren’t for the mosquitoes, I would vote our sunny season the best of the best.
Is it just me or did July fly by quicker than I can drink a glass of wine? I feel like I closed my restless eyes and woke up to August greeting me. At one point, I felt as if I was starring in “The Life of the Rich and Famous” as I was in three different cities all in one week (and although that was not on my bucket list-I’m adding it because it sounds so adventurous and bad-ass). I have some traveling under my belt I’ve never been known as the Province Hopping Hooligan that I felt like in mid-July.
My first adventure took me out to beautiful British Columbia as my mother resides in Kelowna. Before leaving, I was warned that the small oasis of a city was under a heat spell. The prediction for all of July in Kelowna was set at +40 every day. In my mind I knew that was hot….but little did I know how constricting and uncomfortable it really was. I was sweating buckets just breathing. I sweat in places that I didn’t know I could sweat. My biggest packing mistake for this trip was the bra I chose to travel with. I had only packed a stick-on bra (because one of my top pet peeves is visible bra straps). You know that magical bra with no back that just sticks on and lifts the girls as high as your heart desires…yeah, that one. It is also the same one that falls off with excessive perspiration or when doused under water. Needless to say I went full out hippie on this trip so thankfully I was in the most appropriate province to do so.
The reason behind my west coast travels was to participate and celebrate my mother and her fiancé getting married. This was my mother’s third wedding which she often had troubles voicing whenever wedding event professionals dug for essential details. Although there is a farce-like stigma revolved around marriage and the vows exchanged between two individuals today, I will always be an advocate for living a happy and healthy life no matter what. There are always two sides to a story, there are always two lives behind a couple, and there are always situations we will never come to understand without experiencing them for ourselves. Besides, being married twice before, I was confident that at 53 years of age, my mother wouldn’t dance that tune again without being 100% certain that this was the man for her. The man she will retire with, travel with, and grow old with. Even if she hadn’t verbally confirmed this, their display of undeniable adoration for each other was confirmation enough.
She married a man from Manitoba whom she met in Kelowna. Therefore, the wedding festivities were overrun with rural Manitobans with the kindest hearts. Although I consider our “Friendly Manitoba” license plate slogan a joke when it comes to driving here (the lack of thank you waves can ruin a chick’s morning is all I’m saying), the slogan did ring to be true when we celebrated together. The wedding took place in a rustic and authentic church and its conjoining hall. The small venue provided an intimacy you could almost palpate. My mother wore a gorgeous and traditional wedding gown which fit her like a glove. I was maybe 14 years old or so at her last wedding and it was a very simple and casual backyard event so it was a treasurable moment to see her feel and look like an actual bride. The ceremony was short and sweet and the reception consisted of the best catered food I have ever tasted, incredible local wine from the Okanagan Valley, and the energy of both old and new friends making new memories.
One new friend both my mother and I had the chance to meet was a long time support system of my mother’s all the way from Scotland. Karen and my mother have been friends for well over 7 years now. They met online through a very specific and supportive forum. Karen had a son that also had Ewing’s Sarcoma which is the rare and aggressive cancer that my younger brother also suffered with. Karen’s son Ryan had unfortunately been battling with the vengeful bone cancer for years whereas my brother was all diagnosed and deceased within a short 6 months. The two friends exchanged every haunting fear they held as they awaited the unfortunate fates of their beautiful children. The dreaded time came and we will never be sure if it was too soon or too late. Ryan passed away exactly one month after my brother did, almost as if they knew they should surrender together so their mothers could grieve together. This trauma created a connection for both my mother and Karen to share in the deepest and loneliest months of their lives. I am forever grateful for their bond as I understand that nobody can relate to a grieving mother’s pain as accurately as another grieving mother. Even if I were able to express my pain in the same way my mother did, I would not have been able to provide her with those relatable emotions that Karen did. (I did write a blog post a while ago on my struggles with grieving the death of my brother-you can read it here). After everything the two best friends have endured together, it was a dream come true knowing they could share love and happiness at a ceremony that celebrated just that.
Karen was a hoot. I honestly came home after those short four days in Kelowna and my inner thoughts even carried a Scottish accent. She was charismatic with a strong backbone, a unique sense of humour, and a heart of gold. She was appalled at the sight of scrambled eggs being prepared in a frying pan (they make them in the microwave…ew) and she highly mocked our Canadian whiskey claiming that it “tastes like piss”. She rocked a fascinator (a decorative headpiece) at the wedding showing off her cultural pride and making it impossible for anyone to guess just who the lady from Scotland was. She was a firecracker and it was such an honour to finally meet her.
Aside from the main matrimonial event, some extracurricular fun was had. My mother lives minutes away from downtown Kelowna where I got to explore one day all by my lonesome. I walked down to the boardwalk and got lost in the view of the still mountains and the calm waves gliding across the water. I popped into any and all interesting and local boutiques and cafes. At one point, I was feeling super spontaneous and decided to get my eyebrow pierced. I should not be left unattended.
I scored some local and fresh B.C cherries and ate those sweet and juicy gems until my tongue was stained with their ruby hue. I delighted in lots of local wine, and enjoyed a whole day on Country Lake racing around under the sun in a motorboat. The sight of the mansions within the mountains, the cloudless blue sky, and the crystal clear water could never get old. It was pure paradise.
All of this bliss came and went quicker than I could fathom. It felt like in the blink of an eye, I was at the Kelowna International Airport waiting to board my flight back to Winnipeg. I got home safe and sound and went back to reality for two days where I then was back at the airport waiting to take off to Toronto, Ontario (where my next blog post will host all the tall tales of that adventure).
However, now that I am home and back into my beloved routine I figured I should share some of new recipes that I have been creating with my CSA box goodies. My favourite local farmer’s market, Crampton’s, has been spoiling me with the best of the best when it comes to the summer harvest. This summer salad is a healing plate of plants that is sure to make your tummy as happy as it makes your eyes. I used Carly’s “Smak Dab-Curry Dijon” as a part of the dressing but any traditional Dijon mustard will do.
Summer Harvest Salad
- 1 sliced red beet
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and pepper
- 1 cup chopped swiss chard
- 1 cup chopped romaine
- 1 cup zucchini noodles (made with a julienne peeler, mandolin, or spiralizer).
- 1 garden cucumber, sliced
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 small kohlrabi, chopped into thin slices
- 2 green onions, chopped
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
- Edible flowers for garnish
Curry Dijon Dressing:
- ¾ Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ Tbsp. “Smak Dab” Curry Dijon Mustard (or Dijon)
- ½ Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- ½ Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Slice your beet into even and thin slices and place them nicely on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
- Lightly drizzle olive oil over the beets and sprinkle some sea salt and pepper on top if you desire.
- Roast the beets for ~15 minutes or so as you prepare the dressing in a small bowl and set aside.
- Rinse, drain, chop, and slice all vegetables and place into a large bowl or on a plate.
- Place the roasted beets on top.
- Sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds.
- Drizzle on some Curry Dijon Dressing and enjoy!
Has anyone else had parents remarry? How was the experience for you?