Third year running: Lots of family, lots of activity, and way too much food.
This year’s events started Thursday evening, when my mother arrived from Ontario, as did Chris’ parents for their first (and possibly only) visit with Chris in Calgary.
(A side note on that: Chris is still planning to go to Japan. The question is when. At this point, he’s still in the interview process with the company, who has suggested that they are sending four people in April. Yes, it’s now April, and we have no idea what’s going on. I’m pretty sure that this is inevitable, it’s just when the ball finally gets rolling.)
So, back to family.
I didn’t see my mother, Nana, or the Mays until the following day. (I went to an antique show at the Roundup Centre, looking for a dining room table. Without success, I might add.) Friday morning, I stumbled from bed to find Mr. and Mrs. May watching TV. They and Chris had plans (I’m not sure what), as did I — I was to go out with my family for an excursion to beautiful Cochrane.
For those of you who know Cochrane, you may now laugh at the joke. For those of you who haven’t, consider yourself lucky.
Actually, I shouldn’t be that harsh — Cochrane isn’t that bad. If you know what you want, it’s quite pleasant. But the weather wasn’t quite cooperative, and the wait for lunch (although tasty), was a little too long for some of us.
After lunch, we wandered about the "main drag" (about three blocks) for a little while, perusing the various wares in the touristy stores, before deciding it was high time to get the heck outta Dodge.
That brought us to, quite logically, Bragg Creek. We didn’t stay there too long, either, about long enough to pick up some candles for Nana, and for Jen to fall asleep in the rear of the van. Mike joined her there on our way back to Calgary. That night, we had dinner at my aunt and uncle’s.
Saturday was the great party. This was the family get together that has now become a tradition — this is the third year running (for me, anyway). My day started off rather by searching for antiques in Inglewood (specifically, the aforementioned table). This was a rather futile effort, unfortunately — Inglewood has become so trendy that most of the antique stores cater to the trendy types, and don’t carry the kinds of things I was looking for. Or, if they do, are far overpriced and the storekeeps are rather anal about people touching the things they want to buy.
On my way back, I stopped into the Cellar (a wine shop downtown) to pick up beverages for the evening’s repast. All I knew was the main course: salmon wrapped in phyllo pastry. But that was enough for the staff to help me purchase a rather large quantity of wines. I hoped it would support the large number of guests.
Now, you’re probably wondering what the deal is with the salmon. Last year, we overdid ourselves at Bodega. After learning of the damage inflicted on Ryan’s credit card (some of us were not given the opportunity to pitch in), the decision was made to tone it down a bit, and have the meal at Pam’s house, and hire in a caterer. Luckily, Aunt Brenda knows of one through her guiding efforts.
Now Darryl (which I believe is his name) isn’t some hoity-toity kind of chef. He’s a down-to-earth chef who believes in talking with the people who are going to eat his meals. And he doesn’t mind and endless set of questions about how he made his food. Mostly because it was really good.
Of note in particular was the salmon. He took (rather large) portions of salmon, wrapped them in phyllo pastry with onions, carrots, and a bit of dill, and baked it in the oven until the pastry was nicely browned. In my life, so far anyway, I’ve had three outstanding salmon dishes: The Pacific Starlight in 1998, the Royal Hudson in 1999, and this salmon dish at Pam’s house. I had to go back for seconds. (Which, luckily for me, I could.)
Suffice to say, I overate.
The following dinner wasn’t much better. This time, Chris, his parents, and I traipsed up to the northeast, to my aunt and uncle’s home. There, again, we gorged ourselves on whatever we could get our hands on. In this case, it was turkey, one of my favourite meals. And as before, I ate far too much. I would have eaten more were it not for one itty bitty little thing:
We were having a blizzard.
Calgary’s weather is strange. Chris swears that the next forecast will be for locusts. (We’ve had almost everything else except the waters turning to blood.) It was into the low teens yesterday around noon, was approaching zero when we left for my relative’s, was snowing by the time we got off the train, and was full-force blizzard by 8:00pm.
I love this city.
Easter (and the dinners to end all dinners) finally ends tonight: A meal at Silver Dragon, where Chris’ parents get the unenviable pleasure of meeting all of Chris’ friends. (After this, they won’t want to come back to Calgary again.)
Hopefully I’ll be able to waddle home afterwards.