Wedding Wednesday: the aftermath

I had intended to write something the last Wednesday leading up to the big day; seems the final countdown means all sorts of last minute running around and the day ran away from me! It was not until the next day someone in the family mentioned they had not seen a post. (Nice to note some of them read my posts) However, now that the momentous day has come and gone I am free to include photos!

Big however here, I only took the first two of the following photos although they were taken on my phone. Why did I not take many? The mother of the bride should not be hiding behind a camera or iPhone. There were so many people with phones I knew I would not have to worry. I am waiting for some to be sent to me as I write – which tells the tale I started this before Wednesday. Just in case I am overwhelmed with exhaustion. Ensconced in my room, with AC and a fan going full blast I hope I can capture some of the magic of the day and chaos leading up to it.

My eldest, the bride, and two of her sisters

I had only managed two paragraphs before I started to doze off. Perhaps becoming a wedding coordinator is not in my future. Although I am quite sure I could teach the person in charge of the venue a few things about appropriate attitude when working with a bride. Fortunately nearly everything went smoothly. The worse incident was with a special glass pumpkin my daughter bought with their names and the date of the wedding engraved on plaques, As she said, “Seems wheels and boats don’t mix.” Funny considering we were on a paddle wheel.

My daughter, her soon to be husband (photos done before ceremony) and me

The bride was beautiful. The groom was handsome. The ladies and men were perfect. The venue was as ready as it would ever be. Guests arrived, listened to the piper (yes, there was a Piper), had a photo taken at a ship’s wheel and boarded. To add some humour water came running, taplike, from the roof above us just as the bride and her father were to walk down the aisle, right in the middle.

A wonderful gift of Scottish piping from the mother of the groom

The set up was lovely, once my daughter and a friend of her sister, stepped in to assist. We had fishbowls, minus the fish, (my grandson suggested goldfish crackers) with orchids and fairy lights flanking small, white bouquets in mason jars (these are actually great as decorative vases and found in nearly any cupboard). I never did understand if it was a fishbowl or a mason jar that was broken during the set up. The blue table runners and chair sashes were carefully laid and tied. Try ironing 100 sashes and 20 table runners, the. Keep the, from becoming creased before the big day!

just a bit of chaos before everything was boxed for the ride to the venue

We partied like there was no tomorrow. Anyone with slippers was happy to have remembered them – that includes me. The bride and groom serenaded the guests for the last song/dance. She lost her voice. Four days later she is still hoarse! Perhaps it was just as well the bridal table did not have any wine served to them during toasts – many drinks were being bought for them. That is said in jest, fortunately the bride snagged a bottle from the parents table – I had one short glass of red wine that I promptly gave to my youngest at the table across from me after the first toast. The rest of the toasts I had to use my water glass. Oops.

It is difficult to convey in words how wonderful everything was and even photographs will only provide a glimpse of how to do a wedding right. With lots of family, love, laughter and dancing to the hours. I hope everyone enjoys the photos I have been able to gather.

Wasn’t that a party?!

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Wedding Wednesday: final fittings, purchases, final touches

This is it, only one more Wednesday left before the big day! I fly out of a Victoria with my roommate daughter tomorrow, arrive in Kingston from TO via Via Rail and go immediately to two wedding meetings. We will check out the dorms at Queen’s University where many members of the family will be staying – including the bride & groom. I think the main plan is to figure out who gets which room. Then we will dash off to meet with the wedding coordinator for the boat.

She was supposed to call me today, suggested tomorrow afternoon. So I sent her nine items to go over and have answers for our Friday meeting. I explained the bride will not be available before then. The dress has been picked up but can go back if I notice any problems. I hope not. I am taking a spool of white thread and another of blue for any emergency repairs. Blue is the colour the women are wearing and I already know I have to sew a belt onto one dress.

My youngest daughter bought s pair of shoes the other day for her dress despite swearing up and down she is broke and threatening she will not attend. I will not go into her reasoning. Suffice to say if she shows up, great. If not, her loss. Her sister’s and I are finished with the antics. All I want is to have her out of my apartment when I get home. Oh, and to leave it in decent shape. I believe my feeling sick has nothing to do with the wedding.

We are all packed. My usually carried on bag will be checked in because I am not letting all those orchids, glass stones and fairly lights out of my sight! The bag is s bit heavy but not over the allowable carry on. We must leave home at 2:30 to take three buses to get to the airport to arrive before 5:00. So just getting to the airport is half the time our flight will be! Except we also have a three hour layover in Calgary. Perhaps I will actually sleep by Friday night.

The bride told me today that her step-mother started a list for the BBQ the following day – Canada Day. I kind of like the idea of stepping back. Hard to believe that 89 years ago my grandparents were also married on June 30th and had a picnic on July 1st for family and friends!

Mini Adventure: Transformation

After being deterred from visiting the Hatley Park Gardens due to the rather hefty fee I was pleased to discover that Father’s Day was slated for free entry. Gardens only, the castle was closed to the public. All we had to pay for was parking, $3.00 for three hours seemed like plenty and it was. I ended up passing along my parking receipt to another visitor. My friendly good deed for the day.

I stand by my beliefs that entry was free due to all the film paraphernalia and areas close to the castle, as well as some garden sections were closed off. My astute daughter took a quick look at the recently added embellishments hanging from the castle and flowers tucked into bushes before stating this was the setting for the Disney TV film Descendants. She was even able to provide some background information about the show. I had no idea she still harboured interest in the film industry. Look closely at one of the banners to see the Beast. The blue flowers in the bushes and front garden are all fake. According to my daughter blue flowers are the go to choice for the movies! (We do get blue hydrangea) The castle itself, and it is a real castle, depicts the school where the children of well known fairy tale characters attend. Ergo, Descendants. The fact the whole space was – since the 1940s -and remains, a university is a fun fact. The history is interesting, more can be found at http://hatleypark.ca/

Unfortunately the Italian Garden was closed. Most likely the most appropriate section for filming outdoor scenes: walled in, formal and a lovely loggia and pergola make this a romantic or eerie setting depending on lighting and the imagination. I can see Belle hanging over the balustrade dreaming of home; or the prince from Sleeping Beauty grabbing a low hanging wisteria to pull himself over a low sandstone railing to discover the castle glimpsed was not a vision.

There are benches dedicated to individuals for visitors to have a pleasant rest or to drink in the fragrances and feast the eyes. One couple commented on the filming, they said the helpful security person told them the set was for the Big Sleep. When I expressed doubt, it being a well known Bogart & Bacall movie and that this is a Disney film they were adamant. I mentioned this to my daughter who laughed before she told me many film settings have a false title to prevent crowds from descending on the setting. She did say, however, it may be the title of the latest installation – so I looked it up and indeed that is the case. Even at 60 I am learning things.

who needs fake flowers when nature provides beauties like these!

The castle had not been our focus so we were not too disappointed, I had already been inside on a few occasions many years ago. We headed to the rose garden, an enclosed space to keep foraging deer from decimating the rose bushes, a delicacy for them. Although beginning to look a little worse for wear as we approach the final days of spring the bushes and vines had enough colour and fragrance – without overwhelming allergies my daughter has – to encourage guests to linger before leaving through the rose handle gate at the far end into the fruit bearing garden. We found apple and pear trees roped along the fences, beginning to plump up, yet again having missed the full glory of flowering. This bounty does not go to waste, all the fruit is donated to food banks. I guess students are not considered in desperate enough need for fresh fruit in mid-September. (Student loans tend to last at least to mid-October)

We returned through the rose garden, remembering to carefully close the door behind us, to head to the Bog Garden and Japanese Garden. My daughter was not about to miss a Bog Garden! For some reason I was expecting something more along the line of a peat bog, but this was far more interesting for how clear it was. The underwater flora was just as interesting as the variety floating atop the water. Swift dragonflies and smaller insects did not always outrace the small birds skimming above, slight splashes indicated a successful catch and meal. These were some very happy birds. In addition to the splashes there were tiny bubbles rising from the depths – although we tried to figure out what caused these we really had no idea. We could see to the bottom, we could not see any living creatures. I was intrigued by the thin green spines rising from the water, they appeared to be horsetails. Upon closer inspection we were convinced they were, albeit much thinner, and not at all spread out as ones along banks of ditches.

No idea what this giant leafy plant is – it looks dangerous!

As with most of the plants in the various gardens the Japanese Garden was no longer as full of flowers as it would have been even two weeks earlier. However, it is still rather magical with its three hump curved bridge to a pavilion sitting on the manmade lake. The quiet, trees, slight breeze and water had me wishing I still lived in the little cottage at Grouches Lair (of course the name enthralled me) I rented for several months now nearly ten years ago. How fortunate we are to live so nearby such lovely gardens and wilderness.

Despite missing the rhododendrons in full bloom, the cherry blossoms and wisteria the gardens still remain welcoming. Perhaps the giant, ancient Douglas Firs providing natural shade, and soft ground for laying down a picnic blanket, the rugged appearing paths that are actually easy to traverse, and the mountains in the far distance beyond the ocean are enough. It was a pleasant, easy afternoon wander.

All it needs is a Prince, or these days a princess, to scale the walls

Wedding Wednesday: the final countdown

The final countdown! The bride returned from a holiday in Florida a week or so ago, I hope she is well rested. We set a day to discuss everything that still needs to be dealt with, changed, confirmed, cancelled. Since then we have had at least three lengthy conversations!

While she was away her sister and I struggled with the wedding budget. It is not that we have to pull off some magic to make the dollars stretch – that is for the bride to deal with – we were working on a spreadsheet. I still do not understand how it works. The one we settled on has four columns for money. Estimated cost, actual cost, monies paid, balance owing. Simple, right? Except it was not and we still had to pull out pencil and paper. All I know is that the bride will go over budget. She already knew that. Like I said, not anything I need to deal with. When I was growing up we used to say count your buttons – no recollection where it came from, perhaps Paddington?

I share a place with a daughter which means when shopping needs to be done we usually go together. I was clever and bought my dress in January. She however ordered some items online, nixed some, then discovered a flaw in one, before deciding to start all over. We took a few trips to town to search for something different. Which basically means thinking beyond her usual go to colour – black. This time she looked at shoes first with a plan to build from there. It worked! What colour did she choose to go with the shoes? Black. Thank goodness the shoes have colour. I will keep that a secret for now. Too bad they are two sizes too big for me. I found them and one of the other items she chose. It is always nice when your 32 year old still takes your choices into consideration. Even more so when they are perfect. (a rarity)

Lately I have been dreaming about the wedding. I thought the bride did that. I have visions of orchids, hydrangeas, canapés, or are they H’ordeuvres, high heels and country music swimming through my head, fitting I suppose – the venue is a paddle boat after all and, apparently, the band is more on the country spectrum than rock. The most recent dream had the venue in the far reaches of Mongolia! Perhaps I am subconsciously thinking about escaping to parts unknown….to me. I would love to have one of my daughters wear one of these traditional wedding outfits. Only two more left.

Look up some of the fabulous traditional outfits for Mongolia – the headdresses are amazing!

I was quite happy to erase March, April, and May from my calendar as well as wiping off nearly everything from my whiteboard. I like seeing lists vanquished. Of course a master list is still necessary – I take no chances, on paper and my iPad. My daughter keeps wondering how it is that the lists are not getting smaller. Of course they are, items are just being moved from TTD (things to do) to things done.

Some notes on the frustrating bits or organizing a wedding. Organizers in different provinces – in Canada that is 4620km, a three hour time difference, minimum 5 hour flight non-stop. Factor in a job that has 12 hour shifts, my daughter is an RN, there is not a lot of useable time. I will arrive nine days before the big day. Jumping right into the fray with a meeting to go over everything for the venue the day I arrive. We might also be checking in with the seamstress one last time if the bride has any concerns. I do sew and did make some suggestions, I just was not willing to do any of the alterations.

Food. The wedding is in the evening, so no need for a full course meal. The main problem is trying to not order too much but also to ensure no running out. (Planning way ahead I did some footwork when in Kingston last summer to wuss out where we could take leftovers – seems nowhere on a Saturday and certainly not a holiday) A bit of a balancing act when trying to figure out three passes – in normal terms that means servers offering various delights on two levels but not at the same time. Speaking of which, there will be poutine and pizza after midnight!

As for the cake I am all for the continued trend of cupcakes! There will also be a small cake, purely for show though. My sister is the keeper of the now 89 year old sugar dove that was on my paternal grandparents cake whose wedding was on June 30th, 1929! (My father was born six years later on June 30th) We have no idea if there were two doves although assume there must have been. Perhaps I should ask my aunt if she knows of any photos from that long ago day. I will place it on the cake, let photos be taken then quickly remove it again for safekeeping. Perhaps it will last long enough for when my grandson gets married. I would have said ‘if’ if he had not told his mother several years he plans to marry and still live at home – the innocence of children.

slowly, slowly shrinking my lists despite adding to them. Today my daughter asked why I keep adding to it.

Farewell Bike

After agonizing over the best action to take regarding cycling I finally hit the dust with the permanent decision to focus on giving my meniscal tears heal without feeling guilty that Bike was dripping oily tears from its gears. Not that gears are supposed to drip or be oily. We did try, Bike and I. A tune up and new front tire, nice cozy spot in the bike room, sturdy lock but no trips this season.

My first attempt was in February – we generally have great cycling all year round unless there is a rogue snowstorm. Chilly, knee highly sensitive. Fine, I could wait. Finally, May arrived, the weather has been great and I had gone for an x-ray and an MRI. The results were positive – actually worse than what I thought. All because I tripped on the road in Beijing. I also refused to go to a doctor, which meant my travel insurance was not used. Oh well. It also took several months to convince a physiatrist and my GP I had really done some possible major damage. I figured the cut, and now lovely scar, on my knee should have been a clear indication it was more than a scratch.

Dropped the physiatrist (that was for my other knee) insisted my GP do more. So, now that we know the extent of the damage – I also managed to pull the medial collateral ligament, damaged (not broken) the patella, and tore those darned menisci I am waiting to see a surgeon to discuss if surgery is necessary. It is amazing just how much injury a person can do just by walking! Put me on a bike; go on a hike; climb umpteen steps no problem – well, until recently.

Bike looks rather forlorn – I had not realized I was so attached.

So why give up riding? Why not wait? Go back to the guilt. Bike belonged to my mother, she could no longer ride I took the bike. She had named it Bike because it was rugged and zipped. My mother was never a keen cyclist and, like me, eschewed riding on the road. Bike is meant to be ridden. Bike is also, like me, getting on in years. I decided Bike should live out its remaining years being ridden. I contacted Island Metis Community & Family Services – in the same building where I once worked – where there is a donation ‘cupboard’. Larger items are not usually taken. However, it was decided that a sturdy bike, two helmets, etc. would be quickly snapped up.

As for me, I have a sturdy stick and walking poles. I also still have my stubborn streak. Perhaps I will see bike zipping by when I am walking one of the trails.