Sunday, December 31, 2006

Christmas Vacation Wrap-Up

Sorry for the sporadic posts these last few weeks... I was here:

Looks pretty idyllic, doesn't it? We spent our Christmas vacation with my parents and family in Honeymoon Bay, British Columbia and returned just a few days ago. Willow and I had an inauspicious start to our holiday - the night before we were supposed to leave I get a phone call from my Mom saying she had just received an automated message from United Airlines saying my flight had been canceled. WTF?!!? I quickly get off the phone with her and call United and found that indeed, all early morning flights leaving from Philadelphia on December 15th had been canceled due to a power outage on the runways (so planes could not land). We were rescheduled to a later morning flight and ended up getting to Vancouver about 7:30pm instead of the 3pm we had planned for.

Willow made friendly with the pilot in the first leg of our trip and he let her wear his captain's hat and sit in the cockpit for this picture:

My Auntie Daryth was waiting for us in the airport and she whisked us to the Tswassen ferry. Remember the inauspicious bit above? Well, by the time we got on the Island Highway and on our way to my parents' house, it had started to snow. My parents called just as we rolled into lake Cowichan to let us know that there was no power... and hadn't been all day. We saw one car already in a ditch, so Auntie slowed down to about 20 clicks and we chugged down the road. We arrived at my parents' house just before midnight, had a quick cup of hot cocoa with water cooked on the Franklin stove, and bundled under blankets to go to sleep. Willow was over the moon the next day to see snow on the ground as we hadn't had any snow yet in the Philly area. The power did eventually come back on, but there was a continued threat over the next two weeks (which luckily never materialized) of more snow and power outages. I spent much of my time watching the news coverage of the devastation in Stanley Park after the windstorms.

Willow and I attended Honeymoon Bay's "Pot Lick Dimmer" (yes, spelling intentional) a few days after we arrived, and Willow finally got to sit on Santa's lap and tell him all about how good she had been this year (**cough**splutter**) and what she would like for Christmas.

My friend Lisa, her husband Rob, and her darling daughter Aleksia came over from Vancouver to visit with us and it was so nice to see them all again. Willow and Aleksia had never met before and got along like a house on fire. Lisa and I have been friends for 19 years now. How is that earthly possible?!!?

We also got to meet new family members while up in BC. My sister, Jaime, had a little boy at the end of May and Willow was thrilled to no longer be the baby in the family. This is a picture of Willow helping William unwrap his Christmas presents:

William is a lovely little boy - so happy and affectionate. It really started to make my biological clock clamour! I think he was a little confused when he first met me - not that Jaime and I look particularly alike, but we both have dark, curly hair and similar curvy builds. Here is a pic of William and his great-grandmother Pauline:

The nearest big city to Honeymoon Bay is Duncan, which is probably the third largest city on Vancouver Island after Victoria and Nanaimo (okay, everyone pronounce: NA-NYE-MO. It isn't that hard). Unfortunately, for all of Duncan being the third largest city, it's still pretty small. My sister Teri and I had some high hopes for Boxing Day shopping, but practically everything but WallyWorld and the StupidStore was closed. However, Duncan is known as the City of Totems - so we were not at a loss of things to take pictures of. Here are some photos of the totems in the downtown area:

And let me tell you, knitting-wise I made out like a bandit at Christmas :) From Andrew I received two knitting books - Knitting Nature and One Skein Wonders. On Christmas Day my sister Teri hands me this little package and tells me this is my big Christmas present. I open it up and inside is a delicately soft black skein of Quiviut and pattern for a lace scarf. She laughed and said she left the price tag on deliberately ($55 CDN!) to prove that it was my big present.

Coming back to the East Coast was another lesson in stress and temper. Andrew went back a day before we did without incident. Willow and I arrived at the Vancouver Airport at 4:45am for our 7am flight... and found over 300 people already (!!!) in line for their flights. Apparently it was a bundle of things mixed together - the impending blizzard in Denver (their second), United's decision to implement the January 8th passport rule a little early, among other things. We checked in 10 minutes before our flight was supposed to leave and still had to go through Customs. Someone (an older East Indian gentleman, to be exact), guided me into an express line for people with passports (which we did not have with us - see my previous passport hell post). After seeing who was coming up behind me in line, I found out he was culling out single adults with little children and putting them in the express line rather than in the line we were supposed to be in. We blaze through customs and a guard tells me our flight hasn't left yet and if we run we might make it. We run... get to the gate, scramble on the plane, and they shut the door behind us. They make an announcement that 25 people were still in line and didn't make the flight but the plane had to leave (it was already 40 minutes late) because of the Denver storm.
Now, I feel that at this point I should mention that Willow and I have been up for nearly 4 hours, have not had anything to drink, and only some dried fruit in my pocket to eat. We had woken up, packed and on the hotel shuttle bus within 30 minutes and I had promised her breakfast in the airport after we checked in. Obviously, this didn't happen. On the plane, I consoled Willow by saying we would buy one of the snack packs and have that for breakfast. It sounded like a good idea until the flight attendant told us they didn't have snack packs - only biscotti. (Again, WTF?!!?!) He did give us 6 packs of biscotti, so that was our breakfast. We arrived in Denver an hour late and had to again run across the concourse from one end to the other, and once again, we got on the plane and they shut the doors. The runways were clear and it was just starting to snow - I later learned that over 28 inches of snow had fallen later that night... so I was definitely glad we got out when we did. Our luggage was not as speedy as we were, incidentally - it had to get delivered the next day.
I miss my family, but it is nice to be back in my own bed :) Honeymoon Bay is a gorgeous place to visit - and if you ever want to see it in person... go in the summer! Swimming, camping, hiking, inner-tubing down the river and so many other things... in the winter, not so much :)

Lastly, Andrew took a picture for you:
His caption: "This is what happens when your child's independence out-distances her fashion sense." And trust me, this outfit was after some intervention where we convinced her it was too cold to wear hot pink Winnie the Pooh capri pants. From neck down we have: black and rainbow-striped turtleneck, crystal bead necklace, flowered halter top, blue jeans (worn backwards), and Halloween socks.
Happy New Year!


Batty said...

Hi, it's good to have you back! So glad everything worked out after the initial travel problems. Everybody looks like they're having a great time.

Your gifts are wonderful too. I love Knitting Nature and have been ogling One Skein Wonders for a while now. And that's some fancy yarn!

By the way, the outfit is adorable. When I was about that age, I had a dress my mother tried to throw out 6 times. People asked if we were poor. I just liked the dress because it swirled better than any other dress I had and I felt like a princess.
It's so good to see a girl who picks out clothes she likes and enjoys them, no matter what other people say. Way to go!

LadyLungDoc said...

Maybe all the cool kids will start wearing their jeans backwards. Too bad you missed the Duncan yarn shop - I have heard it is very nice.

Zonda said...

Phew! What a trip back! Glad you weren't stranded in Denver! Welcome back! Sounds like a lovely time with the family!

Oh..and..I won't tell you how much more interesting it get with the not telling you! ;)

FF felted pics soon, if I can get her to do it! :)

Jeanne said...

LOL! She's probably wearing ALL of her favorites at once. Ah, to be a child again: So what if my clothes aren't all in the same color category? They're my favorites! ;-)