22 September 2007

Ode to Summer....and a MEME

Well summer is officially over. Move over warm summer nights and hello crisp autumn days.
This is a photo of my daughter when we lived in Oshawa taken in the gardens at Parkwood. Parkwood is a historical 55 room mansion on 12 acres of well-manicured, spectacular gardens. They have a seasonal tea room amongst the fountains in the summer gazebo where we would have tea and a light lunch. Parkwood was once owned by auto baron Colonel R.S. McLaughlin founder of General Motors. My daughter remembers spending many a summer day at the tea house or touring the mansion and going through the secret doors and up the children's stairwell. It was fun to imagine we were one of the McLaughlin girls and scamper along the pathways in search of the next secret around the corner. Children in Victorian times were seen and not heard. I can't imagine that with the hands on parenting we have today. All of that was easily forgotten with 100 children scampering around the grounds in search of Easter eggs in the Spring during their Easter Luncheon.
As a child myself my summers were filled with long lazy days, skipping rope, swimming in the pool, playing baseball and having summer barbeques on a charcoal grill. Weekends were spent at the cottage sailing ,and building sand castles on the beach with sea shell windows and bamboo grass flags; roasting marshmallows on an open fire and collecting fireflies in jars. My friends and I would head off on our bikes when the sun came up and not be back till supper. My parents never worried about us (at least I don't think they did) and we were always home by 5. My friends and I had a fort in the woods where we would skip rocks across the pond, collect table fungus for sketch boards and signs that said "NO BOYS ALLOWED" and pick apples from an ancient tree that were sour and worm ridden... but the best darn apples in our little world at the time.
Right now it is the fall Equinox. I have been to the Pyramid of Kukulken at Chitzen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The Mayans planned their lives around the sun with their daily lives centering on the sowing and harvesting of their crops. Their mainstay was corn which is harvested in the fall. The Mayans built complex structures to map the cycles of the sun. The temple has 91 steps on 4 sides and with the addition of the step up to the platform on the top that equals 365 days. My daughter was born in the Equinox which is from September 20 - 24th. At Chitzen Itza during the equinox the sun casts its rays on the pyramid, forming seven isosceles triangles that resemble the body of a serpent 37 yards long slithering downwards until it joins the huge serpent's head carved of stone at the base of the temple. It is believed that the snake is trying to make it's way to the Sacred Cenote where the human sacrifices were made.
As parents we cannot experience the carefree summer days of our childhood, but, we can relive them through our children and their friends in between work, mowing the lawn and cleaning the pool for the kids to enjoy! Some day I will make it to Chitzen Itza for the Equinox, but, for now I will enjoy the valley, all it's wonderful produce, fruits and wine, shortening days and cool nights. I know that we will have some beautiful warm, sunny days of "Indian Summer" between now and the first snow fall of ...dare I say it it...only whisper it....WINTER!!!! I am going to enjoy it while I can before I break out the shovel!!!

The very encouraging and generous Belinda over at Cooking in a Southern Kitchen has tagged me for a MEME. The last time I did this I stuck with 7 random food facts about myself. I am feeling a little nostalgic with end of summer and all, so, if you hear me weeping...

1. I grew up in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada...one of the Eastern provinces. It used to be Galt, Preston and Hespeler before it amalgamated in 1972. That's me surrounded by boys. I was flirty even then!!!

2. When I was 18 I travelled to Eastern Europe. We were on a Contiki tour for part of the time, hitchhiked around for a few weeks and stayed on a houseboat in the middle of tulip fields in the flatlands of Holland with a friend of mine. I had wanted to continue on to Greece but never made it back there until last Spring....many, many years later!!

3. I do not eat eggs. The smell of an omelet cooking in a fry pan makes me...does not please me. Sorry about that!!!! But I do like quiche, devilled eggs and egg salad sandwiches. That is why you will never see a recipe for eggs on this blog....except maybe quiche.....

4. When I was 19 I hitchhiked across the country with a friend of mine. We travelled south through Detroit, Chicago and then back to Canada to Brandon, Manitoba. We hitched with truckers and even a Catholic priest. We arrived in Calgary, Alberta where I lived for 8 years, met my husband and the rest is history...

5. For anyone that knows me even a little I love Greek food and all things Greek. Now you don't say??? Who would have "thunk"!! I have been to every Greek restaurant in the valley at one point or another. My first Greek experience was in a Greek restaurant in Penticton. My husband has an uncle in Montreal who is Greek so had plenty of food experience. I tried my first moussaka, spanakopita and marinated octopus at Theoz and fell in love with the cuisine!!! I've always thought I must have been Greek in a past life! In those days they would bring you a platter of food for 2 at Theoz and if you could finish it they would give it to you for free. They have been in business for 30 years so that tells you something about the portions.

6. I took ballet for 7 years until I was 13. Maybe that is why I am so graceful to this day. NOT!!!

7. I am not a girly girl. I realize that every once in a while. When I was at my hairdressers they were all flipping out over a purse that my friend had. They arranged for another friend to borrow it. I have 1 purse. They all have 100's of shoes. I have 3 pair for two seasons...1 black high heel and 1 brown high heel for work and then a pair of brown shoes for jeans, etc...plus 2 pair of fashion boots that I wear from fall through to Spring.
I have tagged the following. I know that everyone has busy lives, so, if you choose not to participate this time my feelings will not be hurt. Participation is not mandatory by any means. I'm glad that you had the chance to check out my answers though.
The very busy, wedding planning Holler at Tinned Tomatoes Maybe she could post 7 random facts about her wedding when all the cebration is over.
The creative and new food trying Kevin at Closet Cooking
(no one ever asks the guys; maybe they would like to participate???maybe not....but it doesn't hurt to ask)
The kind and thoughtful wine sommelier Deb at Debs Key West Wine & Garden
The entrepreneurial and creative cook Sara at What Smells So Good
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  1. We just entered the first day of Fall and it's 88F today!:))

    Great MeMe. Me too, not a girly girl at all, I enjoy guy friends than girl friends!:P

  2. Hi Valli, that's a lovely picture of your daughter, a lovely story and an interesting meme. wow, ballet for 7 years!
    p.s: was it your daughter's birthday this weekend?

  3. How funny, Valli. I was just discussing with a great friend of mine how un-girly we are. I handbag and 3 pairs of shoes - you're a woman after my own heart!

  4. Valli, I thoroughly enjoyed your thoughts on the weather and growing up. The MEME has been enlightening. It's nice getting to know you.

  5. hmmm..Valli- I have one pair of shoes...and bare feet for summer..flipflops for church on sunday!
    One purse when I think of it..often I slip my driver's license and a creditcard in my back pocket of my jeans and a lip gloss in my front pocket...who needs more?

  6. What a fun meme Valli! You are quite an adventurous person! I really admire that.

  7. I may have one purse in the closet somewhere. I carry a little square sack bag that I bought for $10 at an Old Navy Store up north. Shoes? Who needs shoes in Key West? Actually I do have a pair of clogs and some walking shoes in case I have to fly somewhere!

  8. Oh, what a fun meme, Valli...thanks so much for not getting irritated with me for tagging you! :-) I love the photo of your daughter, and the one of you and the boys! SO cute. :-) You are very adventurous, thats really wonderful, and travel is such an adventure, isn't it? And we are on similar planes with the egg thing!

  9. Thanks for being so patient with me and my lack of meme-iness... It will be up today, I promise!


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