Osoyoos, 2010

My baby brother decided to move to the interior of BC, work on a farm, and get married. Cris and I flew out for the ceremony and took in a tiny bit of the town while we were there. We were hampered by the fact that in the US, we don't get Civic Holiday, so we weren't able to make it a long weekend.

Fri Jul 30

Got home from work at close to 9pm the night before and after eating and packing and bathing got to bed at midnight. The 6am alarm this morning was rough, I ended up taking asprin for my headache. Printed out our boarding passes and stuffed the last few things in my tote bag and we were out the door at around 7. Bus got crowded at the next stop, we'd taken the pair of seats with water dripping on the window one (Cris used his shoulder bag to catch the drips). Busy but not packed the rest of the way to Logan. We were going out of B2, in the small 3 gate area, so no line at security. No problems with the parasol I'd brought along to deal with the sun in Osoyoos, and the last guard complimented me on it matching my dress. Whew, was worried because it has a metal tip sticking out of the canopy, glad it wasn't an issue. Only 9 people on the small jet up to Ottawa, we had to wait 10 minutes at the gate since we boarded so fast. Finished my book and read the rest of the magazine I'd missed on the last flight here. For some reason, th e banking of the plane was making me queasy. Bit cool getting from plane to jetway.

No more than the 9 of us at immigration in Ottawa, quickly through (though I had to explain why I was going to bc to visit family if I was born in Chicoutimi - though he might have just recognised the name). Back through security, no problems, short line. Ate lunch at Byward Taps (really high table), chicken quesadilla really hit the spot. Then I grabbed a mango smoothie and settled on a couch by the gate. Hooray for free wireless!

Smooth flight, no nausea this time, probably due to the more stable plane. Napped most of the way and then watched the first hour thirty of Iron Man 2. Lovely clear view going over the mountains. Short walk to our next gate, and there I turned my Tim Horton's craving into sugar shock, mmmm apple fritter.

The flight to Penticton was short, also only about 45mins. We seemed to stay fairly low, more dry than lush mountain forests. We banked around a hill and descended into Penticton following the edge of a lake, next to the road leading south to Osoyoos. We had to walk along the tarmac under the bright warm sun into the tiny terminal building. Sue, Jake and Aunt Mons were waiting for us, and we got our stuff thrown into the trunk and hit the road about 2 minutes after landing, with a short pause to check out Monica's hand after it go caught in a closing door. :/ The drive was full of dramatic scenery, striated vertical rock faces, dry brush, vineyards, fruit orchards, and the lakes and rivers in the valley we were following. There were lots of motorcyclists along the road as well, so we were probably going a bit more slowly than Jake wanted to be going. Fun conversations kept us laughing most of the way. We finally (well it was about 45mins later) dropped into the valley with our destination in it. We scanned the storefronts as we went through the 5 or 6 blocks of the downtown core, and I marked the Wildfire Grill as a potential supper place. The Best Western Sunrise Inn was further along than I thought (google maps had a hard time with the Main St/highway 3 addresses). We got checked in (I owe Sue $90 for my share of the suite) and went up to the room on the third floor. We had a balcony with a view of the mountains and the amusement park next door - go karts!

I took a quick shower and optimistically changed to into jeans and a blouse (hoping the temperature would drop with the sun) and we headed out to the Wildfire Grill for supper at around 7. Service was a bit slow, but my lychee milkshake was nice, and the smoked salmon pasta was awesome. The portion size was large enough that I got half of it packed up for lunch the next day. We learned how Mons and Roger met on vacation in Jamaica. The others stopped at bank machines and then we were off to the farm for the families meeting event (I'd only ever met Marc's finance Katherine before this).

Katherine's uncle was busy putting down carpet under the tent and next to it, hiding the gravel of the driveway. The tent was set up between the house and the garage, it fit perfectly in the space. We had a great view over the valley and up to the enclosing hills. They did the rehearsal, Sue and a cousin standing in for the flower girls, skipping up the aisle to the tree where Marc and Katherine waited with a stand in for the officiant. Then we mingled with wine and desserts - they brought out some lemon loaf for me since the rest had nuts. Nabbed some natural mosquito repellant with citronella when the bugs started to nibble on me. I spoke a bit with Marc's best man's girlfriend, as she'd just gone through the whole green card process. I think everyone mentioned the one cousin who'd lived in Boston when they were told who I was. :) It was kind of neat being "a sister of the groom". I helped set up the round tables inside the tent after my dad and Katherine's uncle finished up with the carpet. Then a lightning storm hit, with only a bit of rain, but really bright flashes, enough to make us all jump. I escorted my mom down the slope to the camper van where she was sleeping. Cris and I were fading a bit, and once things started to wind down, we all headed back to the hotel. I think I was asleep by midnight. The bedroom was well air conditioned at 17C but the comforter was almost too warm.

Sat July 31, 2010

Sue, Jake and Monica took the car to the farm at around 9 to help with flowers and set up. Monica had woken up early and gone for a walk before we were all up, luckily the hotel was willing to give us enough keys that we each had our own. Cris and I had a more leisurely start to our day. I was warned about the sticky waffle maker and the crowds at the breakfast buffet (long weekend, lots of family beach trips) so I just grabbed some yoghurt and cereal and brought it back to the room. I found out that Greyhound would get us back to Penticton on time but no station hours were listed for Sunday and no one was picking up the phone. We decided to make the visitor centre, where the bus stopped, our walking destination, and we set out at around 10am. It was overcast, so I left my parasol in the room, but I did grab my sun hat, just to be safe. It wasn't insanely hot, I'd been expecting 40C, but it was high twenties.

We started off along highway 3/Main St back into town, and boy was it noisy with traffic. Once we got even with the lake, we crossed over and dropped down to a path along the lake shore. We passed a sculpture that commemerated the Slovenian settlers of Osooyos and I took a picture for a former co-worker. :) I was strolling slowly, bottle of water in hand, and enjoying the view across the lake since there weren't many seadoos or motor boats out. Not sure if beach goers were scared off by the overcast or it was just too early, it was warm enough that I'd totally have taken a dip. We passed and took note of the gelato place, the book store, and the Shopper's Drug Mart for the return trip, just stopping in to the hardware store (huge! more like a general store) where I got batteries for my camera, and the bike shope (tiny, nothing of interest, the person working there wasn't familiar with generator hubs, or I wasn't explaining myself properly, when I asked about wires for them). Grabbed a decent cup of tea to go at the bakery (that also sold dim sum). It turned out that the visitor centre was all the way on the other side of town, and the sidewalk ran out just before we got there. Made it safely up and got the info on the bus (it would stop there no matter what, we could get on w/o a ticket and then pay for one in Penticton as it was the next open stop). I spotted a display of pewter necklaces and got a tiny inukshuk to wear on the way home, for safe journeys. :)

On the way back into town, the clouds cleared away and the temperature started to rise, so I was walking more slowly. Plus my sensible shoes had given me a blister. :/ I'd only brought one pair, travelling just with a carry-on tote bag, but I stopped and put a bandaide on it and I was fine. Got my allergy meds at Shopper's and we stopped for gelato once we got back to that point. A chaos field hit me there, it was odd, I dropped most of my change, flicked ice cream at Cris when I tried to share mine with him, and totally missed the garbage can when throwing my stuff away. As soon as we left, I was fine. We did a quick browse through the used book store, I was tempted by "Under the Black Flag" but the writing didn't draw me in right away, and the Ian Banks book I found wasn't one that I was horribly interested in owning. Then we doubled back a block and Cris picked up a bento box at the Japanese place, while I got very expensive edamame (no sea salt either) to supplement my leftover pasta for lunch. Back to the hotel and we'd just finished eating when Sue came back. She had to run out to pick up our mom from our hair appointment and bring Monica back, and Jake was back too, so we figured out who would have showers when and I jumped into the bathroom. I was almost ready to go and wondering why everyone else was still dilly dallying when I realised that the kitchen stove clock that I'd reset was now an hour fast. Ah well, I had time to sit and read and take advantage of the free wifi. I'd ironed my dress and tried to get the necklace that Sue had brought me from Murano to work, but the neckline didn't work at all. I was happy to finally wear the Blue Anchor wrist cuff though, the green stone matched the green of the silk and cotton dress I'd picked up in Toronto. I even had time to do eye makeup, though I left my bottom lashes bare of mascara to try to avoid the raccoon effect if/when I started crying. :)

There was some confusion about how we were getting back to the farm. At first the bride's parents were supposed to be doing shuttle duty, then it was the wedding planner/bridesmaid, but then no one showed up at 3pm as we waited in the lobby. I think we waited until about 3:30, unable to get a hold of Sam, and then Jake just brought the car around and we piled in for the short drive. It was sunny and warm now, and I had my parasol primed for action, though I kept my hat off as it was too wide in the brim to wear while I was using the parasol. :) 4pm crept past, and it turned out that the officiant was late, so I took refuge under the tent from the beating sun. We all had an ear open for the sound of a car, but someone spotted the dust plume first as a truck sped up the dirt road bordering the farm. It zoomed past the driveway, rocked to a halt, then backed up and came toward us finally. There were a couple of big posters with the wedding names and arrows but I guess she was rushing.

The guests all took their seats and the DJ queued up the music and the flower girls meandered down the asisle. I think the younger one at least wasn't clear on the concept, she kept trying to pick up the petals that the older one had scattered. :) But eventually they made it to the front and the bridesmaids and then the bride could walk down the grass path. Seeing Marc standing under the tree waiting for his bride to be, I got a bit teared up, but valiantly supressed them. The dry desert air helped. :) It was a short ceremony and soon the pictures in the rose garden were in full swing. I got pulled in for family photos, and just that little bit without shade was almost enough to give me heat stroke, not fun. The videographer wasn't doing well, he had to sit and have ice water soaked clothes around his neck for a while. I kept drinking water and juice with ice in it. Then the bridal party was off to take pictures in among the sunflowers. They got a short lift in the farm truck, I was amused. :) Luckily everyone was wearing sandals and the women were in knee length skirts. Marc and his groomspeople were in white linen tops and khaki bottoms, they looked nice and comfortable. I loved Katherine's dress, a simple strapless A-line, beading on the bodice, but a plain two layer skirt. The sunflower bloom in her hair made the outfit when she dug out the yellow shawl to keep warm later in the evening. :)

There were some small snacks to keep us fed until they came back from pictures, and I got the receiving line going since no one was going up to greet them in the rose garden. :) As they were finishing up that, I nabbed Marc and Katherine and Sue for some sibling photos, but I'm not smiling very naturally in them. :/ Sue, Cris and I got all the wine bottles opened and delivered to the tables, a bottle each of red and white. We were eventually herded to the tables under the tent and Jake did MC duties to send us to the food table in groups. Katherine's father had cooked all the food, using local sources for the ingredients. The bbq'd whole salmon and turkey were wonderful. The salads were good enough for dinner on their own as well. The wind was starting to pick up and the clouds move in, and I noticed stuff blowing around, so I grabbed Marc and got the weddding presents moved into the house. Unfortunately the card I'd given him was missing, and we couldn't find it in the rose garden. Luckily they found it later on. And also luckily the rain held off until everyone had food and was under cover. The skies just opened up, the wind ramped up enough to shake the tent, and a lot of us spent a bit of effort to close up the sides. The hip of my dress got soaked from water coming in over the top of the side wall as I held it to let Cris snap it around a pole, but it was still so dry that it evapourated within half an hour. Everyone took the storm in stride, and it petered out after about an hour, and we were told that it was unusually long and severe, almost delivering half the year's rain fall in an hour. Once the rain stoppped and we could hear peopel talk withotu yelling, they did quick speeches. My dad's roast of Marc was the highlight. :) They nixed the wood dancefloor and we moved aside tables to clear up carpet under the tent for dancing. Marc grabbed me for a dance at one point. My little brother's all grown up and married now, how did that happen? :) Cris and I danced once an 80's set came on, but mostly I sat and enjoyed watching the others. I kinda missed DJ AddamBomb though, but the music was good for a family wedding (no stupid songs). I think we stayed until around 11pm, saying goodbye to my parents and Marc and Katherine since we wouldn't see them before we had to leave for the drive to Penticton at around 7:30 the next morning. Jake and Cris had tried to kill the mini keg of beer, they didn't succeed but were happy drunks. :) Sue drove us back to the hotel and I think I took a quick shower before dropping into bed. I think I packed up most everything at that point as well, ready to get up and hit the road.

Sunday August 1, 2010

Up at 6:44am despite my set alarm not going off. Grabbed a yoghurt from the breakfast buffet downstairs and then piled into the car for Jake to drive us to Penticton to get our flight. This was a much quieter drive than the trip out, we were all pretty low key. I still appreciated the geography though. The Penticton airport is tiny, we checked in and then sat on one of a pair of benches to wait for security to open for our flight - we got there quickly due to almost no traffic. Once we were through, they boarded us quickly. No problems with my parasol again. :) Another quick flight, fairly smooth, and despite warnings that we'd smell smoke in the cabin from forest fires burning in the mountains, I only noticed the 0 visibility going in to land in Vancouver, no smell at all.

We had the wrong gate at first, so we walked with Monica to her gate for Montreal, she had a couple of minutes before boarding (she made her 20min connection time despite a slight back up in landing us). Then we doubled back to where our gate was and I picked up a sandwhich and some trail mix to sustain me on the flight. My stomach was still waking up, some milky tea helped a bit as well. Boarding for the flight to Toronto went easily and we were soon settled in, this time with me on the aisle so that I could get up and stretch more often, to try and avoid pain in my knee. On the flight, I ate my sandwich and some of the trail mix. Read for a bit, then finished up Iron Man 2, the fast forward is annoying. Then watched a short 10 minute movie, The Shipwreck. I spotted a shortish feature film also on the Canadian channel that looked fun (a western comedy with Paul Gross, he was the gunslinger instead of the mountie), Gunless. I giggled a few times and appreciated the heroine's dresses. :) The gentle Canadian mockery of the US gunslinger provided most of the humour, and there was a bit of pathos around the blacksmith who fixed a gun part.

We had a bit of a wait at immigration in Toronto since we got put into a line behind a family that had to get scanned and fingerprinted, as well as aircrew jumping our line when the one next to us was shut down. We had no problem with being at an orchard after checking the box that we'd been on a farm, and we were soon through and into the security line. Checked out duty free, but no strange African cream liquour this time. I had a bagel and water from Timmie's and settled in at the gate to wait. It was a quick flight to Boston, but I finished Hamlet's Dressser waiting for the 73 bus. We had to take a shuttle bus between the Park and Kendall subway stops so our decent arrival at home time edged past midnight and closer to 1.

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