It's been nearly three weeks since our Vancouver trip, and I'm just now getting around to posting an entry about it. The reason for the holdup is that I just couldn't decide which stories to tell. I finally decided to post a bunch of pictures with a minimum of narration. Let's see if I can really do that....
We flew in on Christmas day, and I think we might have been in the air when the terrorist attempt occurred (the guy with the explosives in his underwear.) We were blissfully unaware, and our flight was uneventful.
It was a busy, fun ten days, but too short as always. Here are a few of the highlights.
Bill's sister Lisa hosted the best New Year's Eve party ever. We played a murder mystery game, and all the adults came in costume. In multiple rounds of the game, we were each assigned to question various characters about possible motives.
I played the part of Dusty Ragg, the victim's housekeeper. Bill, a sailor on leave, was the victim's best friend Justin Port.
Mom, who played the part of Penny Cillin and who is actually a nurse in real life, took the game very, very seriously. She questioned everyone, not just the people on her list. She made up her own questions and probed relentlessly. She could probably be an investigator--or a mystery novelist. Dad, Pat Role, was a police officer.
Lisa played the sexy Cat Walker, a model who worked for the victim. Her husband Cory was a fire fighter named Burney Down. (He's also a fire fighter in real life.) Lisa was hilarious; she stayed in character the whole evening. She'd probably make a great model.
Bill's brother Trevor was the investigator, Will Pending. Note that his costume is complete with a donut gut.
We had a lot of fun with the game, but no one guessed the real killer: the victim's girlfriend Leah Tard, a cheerleader.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
One afternoon we went to Capilano suspension bridge. Allyson clutched Grandpa's hand and shuffled cautiously across the long swinging bridge.
We followed the trail down to the river, and when I saw the view from the bottom, the first verse of my current memory passage bubbled up from my soul: "Praise the LORD, O my soul! All my inmost being praise his holy name." I wanted to shout it out and make the canyon walls echo, but I didn't want to scare my in-laws. Besides, part of the beauty was the way the mist cloaked everything in silence.
Food and Family
Every night, Mom prepared a feast. She also made all of our favorite sweets, like the delicious reindeer nose cookies (chocolate cookies with a cherry center) the kids love so much. I ended up gaining seven pounds, which is about average for a Vancouver visit.
We spent a lot of time playing a new card game that Lisa and Cory taught us. One evening Ethan got to join the adults, and he was so proud when he won a couple of hands.
My favorite times, as always, were spent in conversation. I loved walking in the cemetery and reminiscing with Mom about Grandma Faye, who walked there almost every day before she passed away last spring. I loved shopping with Lisa and going to lunch with Sheryl.
I even enjoyed having my eyebrows waxed for the first time. Sheryl, an aesthetician, had been wanting to do my brows since our visit last summer. I was surprised at how relaxing the experience was, despite the occasional grimace as she deftly ripped off the linen strips. I was also surprised that my sparse eyebrows actually seemed fuller after the stragglers were removed--just as Sheryl had promised.
One adventure I missed out on was getting caught in the rain at the beach in White Rock. (I was at Olive Garden with Sheryl, talking myself hoarse.)
Back to the Real World
When we flew back home on Monday the 5th, it was hard to say goodbye. We had one last adventure at the airport, where we endured heightened security due to the terrorist attempt. All four of us were patted down! Ethan probably enjoyed the drama, but Allyson was confused and bewildered as she struggled to follow the kind lady's instructions.
I held my breath as our giant lunch bag was scrutinized; we weren't sure just what we'd be allowed to carry on, and I was afraid I might become combative if they decided to confiscate the loaf of hearty brown cranberry bread Mom had baked for us. The only thing we had to throw away was a big bag of potato chips, simply because it wouldn't fit into the ONE carry-on bag allotted to our whole family. The security agent said wryly, "No chips for YOU!" and I smiled as I recognized a fellow Seinfeld fan.
Mom had packed a little reindeer treat bag for each of us, with all our favorite treats. I laughed when I saw the Fiber One snack bar in my bag. My sack also held a chicken breast sandwich on the fresh cranberry bread, several Girl Guide mint creme cookies (even better than Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, if you can believe that), and some moist, crumbly shortbread. She had also tucked little notes into Ethan's and Allyson's sacks telling about the special moments she'd enjoyed with them during our trip.
Bill's family is so wonderful. I can't wait to go again!
Okay, so I guess I'm not capable of just posting pictures with little captions. Were you surprised? I'm sorry; I just can't help myself.