Friday, January 21, 2011

A 95th and other small treats

Part of my trip to Virginia was spent in celebration of grandmother's 95th birthday. The real event isn't happening until the beginning of February, but my mom invited lots of relatives for a family dinner. My mother expected a total of 14 dinner guests. When I fell asleep my first night in Virginia, I realized there were 8 people in the house, and usually there are half that many occupants. Even so, the day before, my uncle and his partner decided they shouldn't come from Boston because he had a bad cold and didn't want to get anyone else sick.

My mom had just cleared away their place settings when my best friend's parents called...they were travelling from Pensacola, Florida, to their home in Vermont when their car broke down. Luckily, it broke down nearby in Virginia. Shortly afterwards, the tow truck delivered my "second set of parents" and their two dogs (German shorthair pointers) to my parents' house! Next thing we knew, the place settings were back! Also, the professor and I played musical beds--we went to stay at my brother's house and guestroom (about 5 minutes away), so that my brother's dog wouldn't also have to play host. We all figured that 3 dogs and two little boys who are 5 and under seemed like too much chaos at his house. Instead, we just added one pregnant sister and her husband...

The short version is that our trip to Virginia was lots of fun family time, lots of food, and very social. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the family. I especially enjoyed my nephews, who saved up all their screaming and crying jags for us...but I didn't mind the quiet afterwards when they left, either! (One of my nephews had a couple of ear infections which were only diagnosed after we left.)

We arrived in Florida yesterday to see some of the professor's family. The temperature shift is enormous, fully 100 degrees Fahrenheit warmer. When our plane landed, it was 80F. When we left Winnipeg, it was around -25F. While it is still warm here, I continue to bring the weather with me. This morning, there was a huge thundershower and lots of fog. While this means the professor cannot go out to do his field work and collect his butterflies, it does mean we have some quality time together instead. Butterflies don't fly while it is rainy, windy, cold or foggy out.

We went to Whole Foods (fancy grocery store) where the professor found these tomatoes. He loves heirloom tomatoes, but I think the package is pretty funny, too. Fibery people, I am sure you will see the joke here. I found myself wondering how they'd gotten one of these into the package.

Next, we found a Florida grown Pomelo, one of my favorite fruits. When I was a teenager, I lived on a kibbutz for a year as a study abroad program. Behind our class dorm area, there was a citrus grove with Pomelos. We could pick them after school and eat them as a snack. My roommate and I used to share one. It always takes a long time to eat! I am thrilled to see these are now being grown in North America as they used to be hard to come by. I used to only be able to buy them in Asian groceries each winter, since they are mostly grown in Asia.

We also found moose dog toys with squeakers--so weird to find these in Florida. In Manitoba, we actually have moose living in the province. I have never seen a moose in Florida, but apparently the dogs needed us to travel to Florida to get them provincially appropriate squeaker toys. (As some of you know, my dogs are suckers for these toys...they love them.) We had to buy two, of course, as they fight over any toy without two exact replicas. Good practice for twins, we figure.

We've also seen egrets, armadillos, sand cranes, palm trees, a great sunset and lots of flowers...but I never had my camera ready to catch those images. My knitting for this trip is mainly black wool, so it is very difficult to photograph.

My father-in-law has saved me months' worth of New York Times "dining out" sections to enjoy. He must have waited unconsciously until I stopped being quite so sick to my stomach. I am now still occasionally nauseous, but at this point, I can eat out and read about food. It makes all the difference. Note the section on top--about how pies are now gaining popularity over cupcakes. (Those who know me know I am very serious about pie...especially fruit pie. I love it.) Of course pies are now the newest fad in NYC and San Francisco. Of course--they were the most popular fad in my house a long long time ago!

Just thought you might like a vicarious slice of vacation frivolousness. I'm off to eat some chocolate and take a nap. Ain't vacation grand?

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6 Comments:

Blogger Cathy said...

Your vacation sounds wonderful! Glad you had time with family and friends. I laughed when I read about the butterflies not flying. They must be pretty smart!

January 21, 2011 at 4:27 PM  
Blogger Jame said...

Given the cold here in Raleigh right now, Florida heat sounds pretty good.

and when I was a graduate student at UF in Gainesville, a fellow student met a moose while doing field work, so moose and FL sounds perfectly reasonable to me. ;-)

January 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM  
Blogger adriene said...

Wow, I had no idea pies and cupcakes were in a race!

I hear what you're saying about getting the influx of relatives all at once. There were 33 people in my parents' living room last Christmas. Thankfully, none of them stayed over, but it's a heckuva lot of people!

Glad to hear you're mostly through the nauseousness! I love pomelos, too. It would be terrible to miss out on having one with a funny tummy.

January 22, 2011 at 7:28 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Jame, as best I can tell from a consultation with the professor and all the information about the range of the moose, it never comes any further south than the Adirondacks in NY state or maybe very occasionally Pennsylvania. I think your grad. student friend must have met a moose in a northern climate?

January 23, 2011 at 8:12 AM  
Blogger Jame said...

It was a pet moose, not terribly happy to be in Florida.

January 23, 2011 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

Sounds like a joyous time, and congratulations to your sister on her pregnancy, too!

My mom says her grandmother had a pie drawer built into her dining room hutch (didn't everyone) and that it always had several pies in it ready for people dropping by. So homemade pie, which my mom made often too, means to me a sense of welcome to all who might pass by.

--AlisonH at spindyeknit.com

January 24, 2011 at 1:38 PM  

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