Monday, 7 May 2012

When life gives you lemons, make cement

As I am sure you have all noticed I am rather late in posting this weeks blog. I have had a whirl wind of a weekend that I will further explain. Please forgive me. I should mention that next weeks post will be late as well. But this weeks should be on time.

Monday was the beginning of lobster season and because of road work on my regular route to work we took a lazy detour loop around by the cove. I was treated to the view of blue open ocean dotted with little white lobster boats racing to stake their claim to their lobster grounds for the season. I look forward to having a my first lobster of the season.

After a long day where there is more than enough frustrations to set you back don’t you wish you could just hop on a plane and fly anywhere just to get away and breathe for awhile. I was fortunate to have that experience on Friday. I got to work ready for a good day of chocolate making and looking forward to flying home that evening to Ontario. We started the day with lemon cream and while it was cooking I gleefully and ambidextrously started to chop another 15 pounds of peanuts for three batches of peanu brittle the following week. When the lemon cream was pouring into the creamer we could see it didn’t look quite right. After looking back over the recipe we noticed that we put in 4.750 kg of sugar instead of 7.560 kg. Hoping for the best we let it cool down but when we tried to turn the creamer on it wouldn’t budge. The motor groaned painfully, the belt spun labouriously and began to burn, and the cream sat in the thick unmoving yellow pool. We had made lemon cement. We ran hot water underneath the creamer to loosen the ugly mess but I had to push its paddles to help it along.  Finally the cream melted and the paddles began to move on their own. We then scrapped the bottom of the creamer and the paddles, cleaned it with hot soupy water and started the lemon cream all over again, this time we put the right amount of sugar in.

The second batch of lemon cream turned out so well that when we poured it into the creamer to become light and fluffy instead of taking 15 minutes to become perfect it took 30! Arg! This was just the tip of the ice burg to a melting pot of other mishaps in the kitchen that day and I was more than happy to clock out and hop on a plane to Ontario at the end of the day.

The flight home was wonderful. I love take off! I pressed my fingers against the window smiling widely at the beautiful red soil falling beneath me. The PEI landscape is just as magical from the air as it is from the ground. The red fields look like a quilt of large, rectangle, discontinued pennies. The coast line shimmered in the golden sun, and all the fishing and lobster boats puttered their way back to shore with their days catch. I stayed awake just long enough to receive my complimentary coffee and Bits and Bites and then I cozied up to the window and fell asleep until the captain spoke over the intercom announcing our arrival in Toronto. Once off the plane and with luggage in hand I anxiously waited outside for my best friend, Rachel, to pick me up. I looked into the passing cars searching for her lovely face and then, down the street, between the soft glow of the passing car head lights I saw a radiant flow of golden hair, blowing in the breeze as her swift feet sent her flying down the sidewalk. There she was! My beloved bosom friend all the way from Vancouver. I ran to meet her, threw my arms around her neck and hugged her viciously. We had only a moments embrace as her brother Fraser pulled the car up in true 007 style, we jumped in, closed the doors and sped off, well as speedy as you can be in a sea of Toronto airport traffic, homeward bound for swingin’ Wingham. The car ride home was a none stop giggle and gaggle of conversation and munching on especially delicious chocolates made by yours truly. I arrived home late and was overjoyed to flop into my old bed, all fluffy with new sheets, and five pillows to cuddle up to. The spring peepers gently chirped in the lower pond only a stones throw away from my window and I fell into sweet dreams.

Saturday was a happy day of union as I had the honour of attending my friend Tess’s wedding. Her wedding is the whole reason why I came home in the first place. She scolded me for spending a plane ticket home on her wedding but I wouldn’t miss it for all the lobster in PEI! The day couldn’t be more perfect. The weather was sunny and warm. The trees were hazed in sap green, crab apple trees blushed in soft pink hues and flowers dotted the gardens. The wedding was held on the farm where she grew up and as she walked down the gravel driveway her radiance out shone the sun. It was a very small intimate wedding with close family and friends, and as I looked at the 54 other people in attendance I almost felt that I shouldn’t be there, how did I get on the guest list? What does Tess see in me that she invited me to one of the happiest days of her life? It was a true honour to celebrate her special day with her and I am overjoyed that she has found a solid Christian man to call husband for the rest of her life.

After vows were spoken, lunch consumed, speeches made, explosions of laughter, trickles of tears and wedding cake eagerly moving into its new place of residence on my hips I excused myself from the celebrations and raced down the highway to see my beloved nephew Landon, and new niece Kenzie. I haven’t met Kenzie yet, I feel like I am he only one hat hasn’t held her yet, and my arms ached to hold her and bless her. Landon had been anticipating my visit and was eagerly waiting for my arrival. As I pulled up he spotted me from across the driveway and ran towards me, shouting my name and giggling. I couldn’t get out of the car fast enough. I ran towards him and swooped him up into my arms, we twirled around giggling and laughing. He wriggled loose from me, took me by hand and said, “Aunt Joelle, let’s play trains!” From that point on we transformed the living room into a multi-track railway express.

When Kenzie work from her nap I held her in my arms and looked at her face. She smiled at me and her eyes gave a little sparkle as if to say, “I recognize you.” I told how special she was and how much fun we would have together. I told her I was the cool aunt and that when she was 18 years old her and I and Landon would all get tattoos together, and I would take her to her first rock concert, and teach her how to make Italian Butter cream. For the moment she just smiled lazily as if to say she was game for any adventure I had planned, and then she snuggled into my neck for a few more winks of sleep.

After a delicious dinner put on by my wonderful sister and brother-in-law we packed up the kids in strollers and all walked down to Frosty Queen for ice cream. It was a delicious spring evening, warm and pleasant, neighbours were out watering their plants, and vegetation of all varieties was poking up from the ground. The foliage on the trees grew slowly from spindly barren branches to full leafage. The odd tree was already robed in a full mature canopy of lush green leaves while other trees enjoyed their bright green sprouts and lingered in the spring growth.

The sweet taste of vanilla soft serve ice cream dipped in chocolate always opened the gate to summer for me. As I sat there licking the delicious velvety texture I couldn’t help but feel like I was cheating. Here I was eating the first ice cream of the summer and I wasn’t even spending it in Ontario. I would be on a plane back to PEI the following day and all of my adventures would take place between the red shores and rolling hills of the Island. It didn’t seem right to me to be opening my summer in Ontario when PEI held more of my summer time. But then I looked at my nephew, ice cream dribbling down his chin and hands as he gobbled it down excitedly, in between licks he jabbered on about trains, cars, and all other important things that a 3 year old has on his mind. I looked at my family as they sat around a picnic table, letting their conversation drift as lazily as the breeze. Of course I have to start my summer with my family, they give me the foundation, support, and care that I will need to live out a summer in PEI filled with lobster, beaches, and potatoes.

The next day I spent all of 30 minutes in my home church, hugging my church family, spilling out details about my summer, graduation and lack of future plans. After we sang a handful of worship songs, my parents and I excused ourselves, jumped in the car, and made our way to Toronto. The drive was delightful and easy, we meandered along Airport Road and I memorized all the splashes of beauty I saw along the way: lilac bushes in bloom, old stone houses covered in ivy, and rickety old barns warped from rain and sun. Home is beautiful but I was eager to see the friendly face of PEI. We hit unexpected traffic and I became anxious that I wouldn’t make my flight. But the Lord provided us with a way out through the busy Sunday drivers and I made it to airport ten minutes before they started boarding the plane. Phew! The Lord blessed me again with a front row window seat with plenty of leg room and no one was sitting beside me so I could sprawl out. The plane ride back to the Island was similar to that of the one to Toronto. I stayed awake just long enough for those complimentary goodies and then I feel fast asleep and woke up with a start when the captain announced we were landing in Charlottetown. When I got home to my apartment I dumped all my baggage in my room, promising to properly unpack tomorrow. I ordered a pizza, put up my feet and watched a movie before crawling up to bed and falling asleep.

So there you have it. A very wild weekend filled with family, friends, lilacs, and ice cream. 

Tess and I on her wedding day

Kenzie and I

Landon and I trying to fly

My favourite niece and nephew. I love these munchkins! 

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