Saturday, December 22, 2007

Let there be Lights!

Here are some pictures from our evening with my mom at the Van Dusen Gardens' Festival of Lights last week. After battling our way across town and back to pick mom up in Burnaby, we arrived to an overflowing parking lot and crowded restaurant. Luckily, Bronwen had bused straight from work to grab our 6:00 reservation so we were seated right away and served quickly. Look at mom's beautiful, but tiny, meal -- she chose an appetizer for her main, confirming our suspicions about how she keeps that size 2 figure! Don't worry, though, the rest of us more than made up for her abstinence.
Clearly, we all enjoyed our meal and the good company -- I suppose I should have scooted 'round to get in that photo for a daughter-mother-grandmother shot, but Paul's my stand-in.

Mom's festive sparkly black sweater, which you see above, is outshone outside as we begin our walk through the fabulously-lit gardens.My camera's barely up to the task of capturing the festivity, especially since the battery warning light began flashing, but here's a glimpse.
I have to admit that I prefer wandering through the gardens in daytime when there are far fewer crowds and more natural wonders to be enjoyed. That said, we were rather impressed by the "dancing lights" show, a choreography of changing colours and rhythms to some jazzed-up Christmas carols, all staged on a tiny island in the middle of a small manmade lake which reflects the illumination, doubling the effect. And is it just me, or does anyone else find "Ring, Christmas Bells, Merrily Ring" a somewhat aggressive tune -- believe me, it's even more so when reds, purples, and greens are flashing to its insistent cadences.
Tomorrow we're going to drive down to Victoria where my son, Zach and his girlfriend, Joey live. We'll check out the Christmas atmosphere there, enjoying each other's company, and then on Monday we'll be joined by two daughters and a son-in-law at Zach & Joey's for brunch. We've been trying the last few years to adjust family traditions to the reality of young people with careers and homes and adventures in different cities, especially since some of ours are in the hospitality industry where Christmas time off only comes with seniority. As with our "early Christmas" a few weeks ago in Vancouver, driving to Victoria will focus us on what's really important at this time of year: being together and recognizing our good fortune (over good food, of course!).
Bronwen suggested another new tradition we could start -- she'd been looking at tourtière recipes and thinking how yummy they'd be on Christmas Eve and since, she says, I make excellent pastry, wouldn't it be fun to put one together. Especially after I read an article in The Georgia Straight about these classic French-Canadian meat pies,
I had to agree with her. I wasn't sure what time we'll get home on Monday evening, though, so I cheated and went ahead today with making up the filling and the crust -- we can put them together Monday and have dinner ready in 45 minutes. She's planning to make a salad and serve the tourtière with oka cheese and tomato chutney -- I can hardly wait.


  1. Hi Frances, You and your family remind me of mine, about seven to ten years ago. So now my mom is 62, I'm pushing 40, and my grandparents are all gone, grandma having missed my first child by exactly nine months (her fifth of what is now eight great grandchildren). Sorry to be downerish, I don't mean it that way. Your mom is obviously an icon of classic style, all that and 12 kids, too! She must have started young, just like you.

    Do you know the Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio? It's a true story of a large family with a mom who loves words.

    Best holidays to you and yours!

  2. Yup Brown, you and I have the same disease "multiple chins in photo".

    Is there any cure??????

    I miss you guys. I love Christmas with the family, the blood, tears, and drama of it all. lol
    happy holidays

    I am staying in room 215 up in the main lodge, if you want to call

  3. I don't know that book, Dana -- I'll have to look for it (you know, 'cause the pile toppling over beside my bed isn't quite high enough yet!)
    Meg: Missing you too, and we will call -- and yes, I know, the chin thing is really too, too bad.


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