Wednesday, February 20, 2013

O Canada - Family Day Edition

(NOTE: I wrote this yesterday afternoon but forgot to publish it. Oops. I have updated the final paragraph to reflect today's date -P)

I recently took a well-deserved 5 day weekend to travel home to Niagara-on-the-Lake for the Family Day long weekend.  This is a quick rundown of the events of the weekend (to the best of my recollection).

The evening before I left - February 14, 2013 - I hosted a "Singles Slumber Party" chez moi and invited Codester, Shmi & Papo (aliases) to eat, drink, dish and watch the 90s classic, "Clueless".  Speaking of drinking, I saved a delicious bottle of wine that I was given for my birthday to enjoy with all the single ladies.  It was amazing - smooth, rich and it paired beautifully with our Thai dinner.
My flight, the next morning, took off at 7:15am, which meant that I was up at around 5am to head to the airport.  Necessary aside: I LOVE driving around in Chicago in the wee hours.  Obviously, there's something awesome about the lack of traffic, but it also makes the city feel more intimate.  More mysterious. More mine.

I parked the Forteress and jumped on the shuttle to the terminal.  I arrived at the gate with plenty of time to spare but found almost no one was sitting in the waiting area.  I had a momentary panic attack - worrying that everyone else had already boarded.  The airline representative at the desk assured me that they hadn't started boarding yet, and also informed me that there were only 15 passengers for this flight - so much for my upgrade.

The flight, from wheels up to touchdown took a total of 58 minutes (I love a good tailwind!).  My father was dutifully waiting for me (despite my early arrival) and we headed off to the border.

There was no line at the peace bridge, but the truck in front of us was questioned for quite a while, and was then referred to the secondary inspection area (where 3 officers walked over and supervised the truck's parking).  Intrigue.

Friday evening, I spent with my parents and had dinner at my favorite euro-grille, Frescos.  They were leaving town in the morning to attend the Scotties Tournament of Hearts (women's curling) in Kingston, Ontario.  So much for family day. I kid.

Saturday, I spent with Mouse, Janie and the kids.  We visited my favorite winery, got a couple of bottles of really lovely wine and then drove out to a large vacant field where Niagara's resident snowy owl resides.  I snapped a picture of him, it's sort of like a winter wonderland version of Where's Waldo. No hints.
After our jaunt out, we dropped Natalia off at her Highland Dancing lessons, and went back to the Mouse House.  After picking Natalie up a couple of hours later we were ready to enjoy a meal of lasagna and salad.  While Mouse had a tub, Jane and I realized that there wasn't a corkscrew in the house so Natalia and I booked it over to Jane's place to get one.  Crisis averted.

The next crisis was that the baking instructions for the lasagna only spoke to the time and temperature required for a thawed dish - not frozen.  The result is that we ate about 90 minutes later than we'd originally intended.  The children were none too pleased, but the grownups enjoyed a little extra wine time.  The meal was beyond delicious and a good time was had by all.

The next day, while I waited for Ian to arrive, we hung out Chez Jane, and had some lovely family bonding time.  We had a lovely meal of spaghetti tossed with olive oil, feta cheese, black olives and cherry tomatoes. Yum!

Liv, fresh in from the wilds of Brooklyn, also came by.  I couldn't compete with three children for her attention, so I don't think I said more than 50 words to her all night.  Still, it was so great to see her.  Ian arrived at the St Kits bus station at 9pm.  He and I ended up going through the A&W drive-thru in Niagara Falls.  According to Ian, the veggie burger was ok but the poutine was awful.

The next day, Ian and I headed to the states for a quick shop through Target followed by burgers from Harvey's, long afternoon naps and a night of brother bonding over pizza and Big Bang Theory.

Yesterday, Ian dropped me off at the Buffalo airport and Southwest whisked me back to Chicago.  Soleil was so happy to see me, she did a choreographed dance number.  After so many lovely days with family, and friends, the best part was coming home to my baby girl.

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