Saturday, August 21

One Week in Heaven, Part I

In years past I have had the great fortune of spending 6 - 8 weeks at Annis Bay just outside of Sicamous, British Columbia on a small H-shaped lake called Shuswap Lake.  Land on the shores of the lake my Grandpa Doral  and Grandma Wyora purchased back in the 1950's, the place my cousins and I were partially raised on.  There being 40 of us, that is quite a group.  If it had not been for this parcel of land, my nomadic family would probably know very few of our relatives, and very little about each character.  It has been our great fortune to have a place to return to every 2 - 3 years to reconnect with those with whom we share genes, quirks and the recurring hilarity that is life.

(Pears ripening on one of the many fruit trees on the property.)

This year I was only able to spend 1 week at my parents' cabin as I had just completed a looooong vacation in Europe and North Africa.  In the week, with 23 immediate family members, 21 of them present and existing in the same space, much occured.  Here are the best stories and pictures that I collected over the week.

(Little Audra in front of the 'cabin'.)

Family is down at the beach and 8 of us are in the water and have been there floating around for 1.5 hours.

Zach: Aunt Tonia, we have to go back up to the cabin.  I have to pee.

Aunt: Oh Zach, we don't have to go up to the cabin to pee.  You can just pee in the water.

Zach: His face pulls a look of alarm, then disgust.  Aunt Tonia!  That is gross.  You can't pee in the water.

Aunt: Yes you can.  Everyone does it all the time.

Zach: Really?

Sabrina:  (Zach's cousin) Yea, I do it all the time!

Zach: A look of fear comes over his face.  All of you do it, even old women like my mother?

Aunt:  I am sure even she has peed in the water Zach.

Zach:  But someone will see me!

Aunt: No one will see you....well, unless you so what your older cousin Nathan did.  He walked up to his dad on the beach one day and said he had to go up to the cabin to pee.  His dad just told him to pee in the lake.  The next thing we know, he walks up to his knees in the water, pulls down his bathing suit, grabs himself and begins peeing in the water like it is the largest toilet bowl in the world, and we all saw it.

Zach and Sabrina:  Ha ha ha!  He did that?!

Aunt:  Yes, he was young and it made sense to him.  You don't pee like that though, you just pee through your bathing suit and no one notices.  That is what a 'warm spot' is, when people pee the water gets warmer around that area.  That is why everyone in the water gets grossed out when they swim through a warm spot, because they think someone has peed there.

Sabrina:  That is what a warm spot is!  I never knew.

Zach:  OK, Aunt Tonia, I will try.

Zach's face contorts into a squinting, forceful, furrowed brow look for 8 seconds.

Zach:  Aunt Tonia, I can't do it.  The water is too stiff.

Aunt:  That's OK.  Maybe another day when you are more relaxed you can do it.

The following day.....I arrive at the beach front with 5 of my nieces and nephews just kicking off my flip flops and getting ready to head into the water.  Zach having been in the water for 2 minutes, comes running out and up to me.

Zach:  Aunt Tonia!

Aunt:  Yep?

Zach:  He leans in and whispers to me.  I did it.

Aunt:  Did what?

Zach:  I did what you taught me yesterday.  I peed in the water!

Aunt: Good for you!  How was it?

Zach:  Great and no one noticed.  Woohoo!

Off he trotted back to the cool, blue, wafting water.  Several days later.  Aunt Tonia, Zach and another cousin are once again bobbing up and down in the water.

Aunt: You know, no one can see you peeing in the water, but if you fart in the water...well, that is a different story...

Zach's Mum:  Yelling from the shore.  Hey, I heard that!  What are you teaching my child now?


Practicing photography amongst the flora and fauna of my Uncle Glen and Aunt Janet's garden.

  Sunset setting off this flower's multiple layers.

These flowers found entwined in each other's petals in a friendly embrace.

The hibiscus flowers only open for 24 hours.  Close.  Then fall off their stems.

Almost gone but still hanging on.

A hilly variety looking out towards the watery lake.


Many years ago I began learning how to manipulate, form, decorate and create with clay.  It has been an artsy passion of mine for most of my adult life and when it was discovered that I had a cousin, Rebecca, and an Aunt, Janet, who shared the same love of clay, the Pottery Wheel Area was born.  

We have been pounding, squishing, sloshing, dipping, pouring and talking pottery at Shuswap Lake for 5 years now, and each year Janet and Glen convert their winter hot tub space into the Pottery area for us to enjoy.  

We discuss low and high fire clays and glazes; flip through professional books 'oooing' and 'ahhhhing' at the talent that adorn the pages; we mourn when we lose a vessel; cheer when a piece turns out to be a stunner; and curse each other's work when it turns out better than our own.  

All in good humour of course!  The company is stimulating, the tools stained with the remnants of hard work, all are welcome, but the pinnacle of the experience is the view.  

How the view inspires us year after year!!!

This year, I recruited my mother to demonstrate the Chinese Brush Painting skills she learned while we lived in the Philippines in the 1970's.  Even though I fired the pots at the wrong temperature (in a low-fire 05 kiln rather than a high-fire 5 kiln), the magnificent results caused my cousin to swear at me until I mentioned who had done the actual glaze work, not I.

The summer story telling has merely begun!  Come back soon for part two of 'The Shuswap', the critique of the 2010 Calgary Folk Festival, and my end of the summer photographs demonstrating the vastness of the prairies of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.  I shall include my faces allergic reaction to my field frolicking...not very pretty...

1 comment: