Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mushrooms Make Life Marvellous

In the 1980s there was a television commercial that featured a local Vancouver chef bubbling, "Money's mushrooms make meals marvellous."  He brought mushrooms to the masses.  It was a real treat to eat mushrooms that didn't come out of a tin.  I remember my mom buying fresh button mushrooms only on very special occasions.  They certainly weren't an everyday occurrence when I was growing up.

Mushrooms have fascinated me for decades.  All mushrooms.  So colourful.  So dangerous.  So delicious.

Last autumn, our friend 'The Mushroom Whisperer' invited Joe and I to join him in the forest to hunt chanterelles.  We had such a wonderful time.  I could hardly wait for the rains to fall this season so we could go out again to Rick's secret spot.

There is something special about being in the west coast rainforest.  It is so quiet.  Everything, and I mean everything is blanketed in mosses.  It is magical.

I searched high and low for chanterelles.  I tromped over my fair share of rotten logs and under low-hanging tree branches this afternoon.  I found a few nice ones.

Of course, the mushroom whisperer founds scads of chanterelles.  Because that is what he does.  He is a natural.

Not only did he find scores of chanterelles, he also found his first ever cauliflower mushroom! 

When the chanterelles eluded me, I spent my time taking photos of other mushrooms on the forest floor.

There is something to be said for spending an afternoon with Mother Nature.  It made us happy.

Heading home with his haul.

Thank you Rick and Joanne for showing us another amazing day in the woods.  I can hardly wait to taste the fruits of our labour.  

Mushrooms (and friends) make meals (and life) marvellous.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lots To Be Thankful For This Weekend

This Thanksgiving was one of those long weekends that seemed like a vacation.  Invitations arrived unexpectedly.  Everything lined up perfectly for three solid days of non-stop mirth and merriment.


We received an invitation to join a young American friend and his family to celebrate his recent graduation from Simon Fraser University with a Master's degree.  We were tickled to be included!

Our friendship with this family goes back to 1987 when we moved to Seattle for Joe to study statistics at the University of Washington.  We were neighbours in student housing.  We quickly became close friends spending lots of time together.  Since then we have visited back and forth to wherever our families were living.  We vacationed together for many years when our kids were small.

And now our babies are grown and doing amazing things with their adult lives.  Jobs, marriages, university degrees, children of their own, living on the other side of the continent, successfully standing on their own two feet.  We parents are proud of who our children have become since those salad days living on the shores of Lake Washington.

Our two families don't see each other very often as we live in Squamish and they live in Idaho.  But when we do see each other, the intervening years melt away and it feels like we were together only the day before.

How do the years fly by so fast?

How did we go from this...

Nancy, Paige, Molly, Paula, Fran and Dominic.  Seattle 1989. this?

Dominic, me and Paula.  Vancouver 2014

How is it possible our babies looked like this just a few short years ago....

Paula, Paige, Dominic and Molly.  Seattle 1990.

...and now they look like this?

Paula, Paige and Dominic.  Vancouver 2014.

Honestly, it seems like the photo below was taken last week but it was taken 21 years ago!

Paige, Marie, Molly, Paula, Will and Dominic.  Mount Vernon 1993.

We used to look like this...

The Sothams and the Trevisans.  Squamish 1994.

...and now we look like this.

The Sothams and the Trevisans.  Vancouver 2014.

Congratulations, Dominic!  Thank you for inviting us to share in your celebration.  It was wonderful to see you and your family.  Please keep us in mind when you graduate with your PhD!


Saturday was fantastic.  

I went on a long walk with three friends in the morning, I watched an episode of my favourite television show 'Project Runway' in the afternoon and Joe's cousin invited us to join them for a Thanksgiving dinner in Whistler for the evening.  Just how did I get so lucky on a Saturday?

 Babes in the woods.

Me and my favourite canine.

We had a wonderful time in Whistler with Joe's cousins and their friends.  I love meeting new people at parties.  The food was out-of-this-world delicious, the conversations were thought-provoking and interesting, and it was so much fun to sit around a table chatting and eating with thirteen other people, most of whom I had just met.

 No Thanksgiving feast is complete until two of the younger cousins jive in the kitchen.

 And no jive is complete without dipping one's partner at the end of the dance.

A huge thank you to the Clarks and Grants for having us for our first Thanksgiving dinner of the weekend.  We always enjoy our time with you. We are so happy we are family.


Sunday was our turn to cook.  And by 'our' I mean Joe's.  

Paige, her boyfriend Jordan and my mom arrived mid-afternoon.  Jordan arrived guitar in hand and serenaded us with old songs and new, contemporary and gospel, country and blues.  What a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.

I can't remember what they were singing but they sure were having fun with it.

 A turkey dinner has GOT to be one of my most favourite meals.  I never tire of it.  Never.

We took this photo to send to Molly, our far-away girl in Toronto.  We miss her.  Her absence is keenly felt during the holidays.


Joe put on an incredible breakfast spread.  Baked ham, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, crepes and mimosas.  How he does it is beyond me.  If breakfast were up to me, we'd be eating Lucky Charms out of the box.

Our three overnight guests left mid-morning and Joe laid down for a well-deserved rest.

The majestic Stawamus Chief in the rain.

Later on in the afternoon we went for a walk at the tip of Howe Sound and reflected on our Thanksgiving weekend.  We both agreed we had lots to be thankful for.  Family, friends, food, music and fun topped our list.

Thank you to everyone for contributing to our wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.  We are grateful for you all.