Wedding Wednesday: 122 Days

Planning a wedding is a little like pregnancy. There is no rushing things then all of a sudden there is little time left and so much to still accomplish. However, unlike most pregnancies, the wedding is pretty well set in stone. Venues need to be discussed, and usually nailed down with a small retainer as early as possible – just try waiting until spring when planning a long weekend summer wedding. Although, come to think of it, two potential alternates were available if the paddle wheeler plan sank. Fortunately that was only a tiny possibility with everything quickly patched up. As the days continue to count down the much larger chunk of change looms to keep the venue.

Of course this also means checking and rechecking the guest list. With that second payment it is important to have an idea of the number of guests who will be in attendance. Which also means seeking a friendly way to track down anyone who has not responded. However, when an RSVP by is on the invitation when is it appropriate to begin a follow up? Who does the following up? Some wedding research indicates it is expected that roughly twenty percent of the invitations will be declined. Of course I did not read that it is a good idea to invite at least ten percent more to make up for those declines until I started to write about this! As if my daughter is not busy enough she now has to remind her fiancé to come up with his work related list, including full names, spouses and mailing addresses as well as doing her own local list. From what my daughter has intimated there are probably at least 10-12 more possible guests. I am standing by my estimate of 88 guests including the wedding party. Today is the deadline for those invitations. Not that this helps with the no responses.

My self-made role is to be her Personal Assistant – I have a little more time, am generally quite organized, and can act as her gentle (pretty sure at times she thinks pushy) reminder. She likes it when she can cross items off her list. A list that has to be worked around her busy work schedule, various appointments, and of course her family – including her teenager. As March approaches much has been accomplished. Which is important to acknowledge. With the dress and venue chosen early everything else should just fall into place, and despite some bridal party dress hiccoughs, this is the case. Two dates are set for alterations to the wedding dress. The first for raising the lace to shorten the front hem. The second for any fitting issues. Which must mean a third appointment to fit in a final fitting. I wonder if I will be there by then. I seem to recall this is usually done very close the the actual wedding date. How frightening!

Shirts and ties were selected for the groomsmen. All I know for the groom is that everything seems to be taken care of. A photographer has been booked. My daughter was fortunate to arrange for her win of engagement photographs to be switched to cover some of the photographer’s fee instead. It sounds like they had a great discussion, with the photographer making suggestions as to how the cost can be kept fairly reasonable. Hair, make-up, possibly even nails, have also been booked. (I may seriously consider taking advantage of these if possible – as one of the MOBs I want to look nice) Several vases, and glass pieces, were purchased. These must be bought in Kingston, there is no way I could carry thirty plus fish bowl 🐠 vases on a plane! (Just a little hint of decorations – after all, the wedding is on a boat) We keep cleaning out the stores for the DIY centrepieces so my daughter has to go back to buy more. Even chair sashes have been discussed! That was a yes. A room for the bride and groom has been booked. My daughter has chosen family and thriftiness over ostentatious. Many of us will be staying at the university. Funny note, my daughter who graduated with an MA from there will not be!

Of course, at times it does seem that crossing off one item, or moving it to another list, only makes room for something else.


COMPLAIN, COMPLAIN, COMPLAIN: and yes, it did rain

Or, Why I have not posted anything lately

I rarely get ill. When I have been sick it was usually fairly significant – bronchitis being high on my body’s favoured illnesses. So, I am usually knocked down flat when that occurs, as well as thrown on a heavy course of some form of penicillin. I was also always working – with young children. Need I say more. So when I first managed to get the flu, most likely directly from my daughter, I blamed it in part, as previously mentioned, on not having the flu shot. I was just happy it was over with and the cyst I had drained was finally on it’s way to healing. So I was rather alarmed when I came down with a nasty head cold. The type of cold that sneaks up on you. A slight scratchiness in the throat, a little cough, perhaps some sneezing. All fairly easy to laugh off as a sign of being tired, staying up too late, travel weary – in my case all reasonable assumptions. I did not have time to be sick let alone bothered with a cold.

Crave fireside seating. Always lovely to visit here.

Crave fireside seating, always a lovely spot for sipping coffee or tea and settling in for a visit or reading.

Except there I was, the end of day five (which also happened to be what would have been my mother’s 83rd birthday) of my visit and fading fast. By this time I had already seen the doctor, had coffee at Crave (my favourite cafe in Kingston) and checked out three more stores for dresses and I still had a couple of hours before I was to meet my daughter. Where does one go when staying a 30 minute drive away and your ride will not be available for two plus hours? For me the library is always an excellent choice. Except the Kingston Library was still closed while undergoing major renovations that started in April 2017. It is slated to re-open spring 2018 – I will visit when back. Meanwhile, I needed a place to hang out away from the burgeoning crowds on the streets of Kingston. Plus 5c. and sun seemed to have beckoned people outdoors.

As I was heading up Princess St. looking for stores I came across this otherwise empty space – those are my daughters! The middle one and the one on the left. (The short ones) They had not seen the display. This was for a fundraiser held sometime in 2017.

I headed to the university library, grabbing a sandwich and coffee at the snack bar before hunkering down to read my book without interruption or internet for about two hours. I had one commitment, meet my daughter at her work then head to Princess St. (Basically the main shopping street in Kingston) to show her the dress I thought would be suitable for me to wear to her wedding. We said yes to the dress – a little pricier than I had expected. I claimed I could accept the cost if I wore it to one or two events every year for the next ten years.

I then committed the ill traveller’s sin and went out for dinner. (Nothing like spreading a few germs for all to share) Although still in denial I was pretty sure I would not be able to taste anything the next night.Then it rained. A lot. By the next day, the only day I had left in Kingston, I knew I would not be leaving the house. I barely managed to do my laundry and pack everything. Thank goodness I travel light. I slept. I finished my book (Stones to Schools by Greg Mortenson) I highly recommend it. I napped.

Union Station construction has been ongoing for some years now. By the time they finish it will be necessary to start at the beginning again!

The small station is Brampton – the pounding rain and hail made it difficult to capture any of the fine workmanship.

My train to Toronto, then onto Kitchener, the next day was for 7:32am. A freezing blast was forecast, basically ice rain with a severe drop in temperature (it had gone up to plus 9c after the deep chill) that would cause dangerous, icy roads. School buses were cancelled. I was not about to tempt fate by changing my tickets so I could rest. Leaving Kingston I could see outlines of fog enshrouded roads, farms and tracks from inside my snug seat by the window. And here I am, in Kitchener. Where it was hailing when I arrived, then snowing. By morning all was bright, chilly looking and windy. I was still coughing and ready to scrounge about my daughter’s house for cold medicine. I was quite sure I would staying in again. So far I only had photos taken while on the train.

Behind that curtain of ice rain, up on a hill, is a beautiful church. All I know is that it is somewhere between Brampton and Kitchener.

Q (avid Star Trek fans) thought I needed some help as I got ready for bed.

Wedding Wednesdays 

The Secret Is Out

As though I do not already have enough to think about with my upcoming 60 day trip I am now helping, from the other side of the country, to plan my eldest daughter’s wedding! Writing a blog from the mother of the bride’s point of view has most likely been done ad infinitum; which means I must attempt to write with a fresh view. Perhaps the fact the engaged couple has been together for 25 years and have a nearly 15 y/o child will provide a part of the twist to interest. 

On Canada Day, after watching a very country parade, from the comfort of the porch, some of us headed to town for the vast array of 150th birthday activities. As we wended our way to the annual Arts Festival the discussion turned to the upcoming move of another of my daughters for her graduate studies. ((Bravo!) Without thinking, the matron of honour (except I did not know this) said, “Now you will have two places to go dress shopping!” I asked why she, the one moving, would have to go shopping four years before finishing her thesis. The looks on all three faces – bride, sister of the bride, and matron, was priceless, as was the expressed realization of a faux pas. As her foot was already in her mouth the matron mumbled something along the lines of your mother doesn’t know? To which my daughter said, “She does now!”It seems the three of them had been keeping the secret, other than from my grandson, and the groom of course, for at least two months!

My daughter had planned a special way to tell me. Instead we set about discussing logistics, telling her friend no more secrets for her, and eventually went on the cruise where the wedding will take place. So, after lunch and wandering around, although I now knew, my daughter asked, what did I think of the Island Queen as a wedding venue? My westcoast island girl is marrying an east coast boy aboard a paddle wheeler on Lake Ontario. No longer a boy and a girl, two mature people who will be celebrating 25 years as a couple with a big party that includes a wedding. 

I like planning big events, I am good at it despite not having many opportunities these days. Details my daughter and I have already taken care of, invitations chosen and sent out. Hotels contacted for block rooms information and codes. Deposit for venue. Some top secret plans not being told to anyone!

The wedding will be on my father’s birthday, and his parents wedding anniversary – such a nice way to include him. My eldest was very special to him. My sister reminded me we still have the dove our grandparents, parents, she, and my already married daughter, had on their wedding cake. I guess I should ask if it can be included for this wedding!

No photo of the wedding cake from 1925 to my knowledge. My parents cake photo is packed away. This is from their 50th anniversary nearly 11 years ago.

Money saving tips: A magnetic save-the-date with an RSVP/info on the back is a great invitation. Include your email, phone number, and use a free wedding planners site. My daughter chose

Day of Reckoning 

Two days of blurred memories plus two more in relative non-action ended my 40 day trip to Ontario and Manitoba. There was a time when going anywhere had seemed unlikely with a sick kitty and so many changes to my itinerary. So, I did not make it to Churchill, New York or Newfoundland this summer; instead I had a great time getting to know Kingston without freezing, and visiting the one museum in WinnipegI had been wanting to see. I even put in a two night train trip.

Which is where I will start this last Canada 2017 entry. The day I was to leave started with a question mark. Just how late would my train from Toronto be? I departed Kingston without an answer. All I knew was that the smoke and fires in BC had caused a delay of at least three hours. It ended up being close to six. I had arrived at Union Station early enough to know I would most likely have a comfortable wait before the original departure time. That ended up being an excruciating time standing in line for three hours – after sitting for the first few I finally moved to where a line was beginning. I did not want to be at the end of a shifting line. A line that seemed to be in the wrong place. It was. Fortunately, I kept an eye on signs and eventually asked if all the relatively young passengers waiting were Canada 150 ticket holders. They were. Those of us who paid higher fares shifted over to a new line. I was 7th in line.

Back to the excruciating part. I choose to not sit on floors because it is difficult for me to easily jump up if necessary. This time I also had increasing swelling and pain caused by three very nasty mosquito bites from the previous night of sitting on the dock of the bay for dinner. Closer inspection showed another three bites on my foot with one not looking great. I did finally cave in and sat at a nearby seat where I could see my bags. Not that I was worried, by this time we were all looking out for each other. On more than one occasion it was suggested I really should take a rest. By 10:00pm the lines had become two writhing lines of humanity. The Canada 150 youth in one much longer line, and the rest of us. (Canada 150 was a one month $150.00 pass available to 1867 youth only for the month of July – crashed the system when offered, sold out in minutes) Via fed us sandwiches, cookies and bottles of water. Hurray Via! I was only still standing with that sustenance and sheer willpower by this time. 

Much of the actual trip was blurred with pain and probably an infection at the bite sites. I later found out that staph infections are common when bites are bad. I did have the Rx cream with an antibiotic in it that I carefully applied. When the commissary was open I also bagged ice. My leg looked so bad I ended up have two seats to myself the whole trip to Winnipeg. Also the corner seat in the small lounge area most of the time where I could rest my leg. I dozed a lot. First time I have not been very interested in the landscape slipping by. Of course, leaving Toronto at 2:00am did mean everyone was ready for sleep.
18 days later these three bites are still visible

This is the only note I wrote. Passed lovely Malachi – better known as Lake of the Woods, northern ON. Soon after the trees were scrubbier and many in stages of bareness or grey. Looked marshy out there and hot at 8:30am. Blue sky. Despite the AC it was time to leave the dome car as the sun beat down. 

The photos behind the fence were at a stop somewhere along the line, the paintings had seen better days. A sad tale of many rail stops now barely noticed.

We arrived in Winnipeg only three hours late, picked up time somewhere. I have never given Winnipeg a positive review. This time I can. I hopped on a bus, backtracked when I got off too late, found my hostel at the university and dumped my bags in the office – check in would not be until 4:00 (despite an email saying 3:00). I decided to head to the Forks for lunch and coffee. An email to my 90+ year old aunt ensured I would see her and my cousin the following day.  Still in pain I was checked in and in bed by 8:00. The next day my only plan was to visit the museum.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Opened in 2014, (to the best of my recollection it had been delayed) mere months after I had been in Winnipeg on a cross Canada trip, the admission was $18.00 for a full day with the option to leave and return is desired. I had to wait about an hour – they did not open until 10:00. That gave me the opportunity to take photos without people wandering into my view and makecsome observations. The entrance, especially once leaving when I discovered locked doors, made me think of a birth canal. The red sandstone, high wall that leads to the lower entrance was curved and seemed like a place of temporary comfort (versus what a birth canal is really like) before being expelled onto the walkway or into the museum itself. I doubt that was the intention. Inside did not make me imagine a womb.

There are eight levels. I opted to start at the Tower of Hope. They are not kidding when they say you “may not be comfortable…on the indoor viewing platform. Even the glass elevator ride was rather heart pumping. The 100 metre (23 storeys) tower and view was worth the slight vertigo I had. I quickly headed for the stairs. Each level widens slightly.

As I walked down to each level it became clear that I could not effectively describe each gallery without finding fault with who we, people of all walks, are. However, I did see promise for the future, not in the galleries, but in the people working and visiting.  As I watched one short clip in the Our Canada, My Story my eyes were drawn to a lower scrim hanging from a screen of information where I was sure I could see dancing feet. Peeping between the TV screen and the divider I saw a lone security guard moving with the fluidity of a dancer – he was practicing the Argentinian Tango. I was asked. He explained that dance is so much a part of his life he is sometimes unaware he does this. I forget where he was from, perhaps he did not say – his accent told me English is probably not his first language. Nor French. The juxtaposition was so perfect it had to be happenstance.

The architecture is impressive. The museum is a stunning building, despite it appearing to be the helmet worn by the little alien from Bugs Bunny. Inside is beautiful. Visitors generally start on the ground floor with the intentional focus of “a journey from darkness to light.” Only once was I ‘chastised’ for beginning at the top. I am sure the person meant well by telling there is so much more to see on the first three floors. I however think it is just as important to look back from the light to recall the darkness. Otherwise it can become too easy to be bogged down in what cannot be changed. That is the only problem I had, there were biases, there were many representations of dreadful lack of human rights, but there did not appear to be enough balance of that changing. Therefore, I focussed on the light – as seen in photos of the ramps I took.

I took a two hour break to visit with my aunt and cousin at the nearby Forks, I hope I am still as active at 92! Then admired some artists working on a piece slated for a parking lot of all things. It was time to repack for an early morning taxi. This was the end of my Canada 150. Ahead of me China and Vietnam were waiting.

10,000 , 11,000, 17,000, 6000 steps over the four days going home.
Day of reckoning – crunching the numbers.

Steps: 400,000 = 305km = 7.5km avg per day. I can live with that.

I took an extra $400..00 to cover Winnipeg expenses and beyond. I did not take careful records for about the last five days. The UWin Hostel was $160.00; I bought lunch at the Taj – a reasonably priced place downtown I like to visit whenever in Kingston, 40.00; food for the train trip (and a loaf of focaccia for my Daughter) maybe $20.00; a final Crave coffee because I wanted plastic cutlery, 2.50. Of course all of these numbers were figured out while on the train so I then had time to worry! All I needed was money for two days of meals, the sky train, bus and ferry and then fare for a bus home. I decided there was not much I could do until the station and so long as I had $100 left after the hostel I would be fine. Quick calculation indicates I spent on average $50.00 based on $2000 for expenses. I also had a direct flight to Victoria so only a bus ride home where my daughter met me at the stop to help carry things.

To Market, to Market

Some of the fare at the two markets I visited in Kingston was fabulous! A veritable feast.

Very similar to Portuguese egg tarts sold in Macau and China. I have been craving these.
As the card says, bao.zi is the favourite snack food in China. I can barely wait until Sep 18th when I will be in Shanghai. I know some pretty good places!
Nothing like fresh, local strawberries
I did not buy any; just admired them
Lovely, simple bunches of flowers.
Samples of churros. Delicious!
Of course I bought lettuce!
Grab a handful and toss in a sandwich or on a salad.
I loved how the zucchini was displayed
Sour dough bread – manna.