At any rate, I have LOTS to tell you all, but we'll get to all of that over the course of this week. Today I wanted to focus on my trip and some quick thoughts on wedding anniversaries. Got your beverage? I've just about sucked down my entire giant travel mug of coffee, but that's just the way things roll on the first day back to work after a long and glorious weekend.
Let's circle back to Friday. Mike and I dropped the kids with their grandparents and headed north to beautiful and quaint Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. We went last year as well, to commemorate our milestone 10th wedding anniversary. This year is not a milestone, but we figured "why not? life is short" and booked our reservations back in the fall.
In a fortuitous difference as compared to last year, the weather was beautifully seasonal and not Sear The Skin Off Your Face cold. I mean, as I described in last year's post, we're all about the winter weather, but the cold front that came through 12 months ago really knocked our socks off. The wind chill was dangerously frigid, and people were RUNNING from shop to shop to avoid having even the smallest bits of uncovered skin exposed to the elements. It was wild. This year we were like:
"Oh look, the lake! Let's go take a walk down by it."
Last year was:
"There's a lake here?!"
And when the lake in question is LAKE ONTARIO, one would think you would spot it pretty easily. But it was just all hazy with blowing and drifting snow last year, and you couldn't get *near* the water. This year, while cold and snowy, was very manageable and winter wonderland-like.
So we checked into the idyllic inn that we usually stay at, and headed to afternoon tea. If you've never been to Traditional Afternoon Tea at the historic Prince of Wales hotel, this is something you *must* check out should you ever be in the area. We settled into a cozy table and happily ordered our tea. It was sublime:
|Adorable, right?? The tea was good too. ;-)
"Are you from the U.S.?"
I wonder what tipped her off? :0
"Your card has a chip, so you have to put it in here, with the chip facing up. But I don't think you all have PIN's yet in the same way that we do, so it won't ask you for that. Then you just follow the directions, and it will tell you when to remove the card."
Whew. After that I could pretend a lot easier than I was adept at using those machines, I just had one further accidental switch to French in the liquor store. ;-)
With our fudge secured, we enjoyed a lovely walk up and down the main street, and some quiet time before dinner:
OK, SO! Highly amusing anecdote surrounding dinner. Mike and I are all blissful, contentedly eating our meals and sipping cocktails, when I notice something. Back story: last year on our anniversary trip, we were sitting in this very same restaurant, and during the course of our dinner, we spotted our neighbors from a few doors down sitting at the bar. That didn't seem particularly odd, as Niagara-on-the-Lake is not a long drive from where we live, and January is Ice Wine Festival season there. A bit of a coincidence, certainly, but nothing crazy. A number of people drive in to attend ice wine events and tastings, which are very well regarded in the Niagara wine region. They were chatting with another couple, so we didn't interrupt them to go say hello. Plus, it's not like we really *know* them anyway. We always greet each other politely if we encounter each other out on Halloween or at the annual Block Party, but that's about the extent of it. So, flash forward again to this past Friday night. Now, bear in mind, while still January, we're at Niagara-on-the-Lake on a totally different weekend than we were last year, due to having to switch our trip for Mike's grandma's funeral. I'm lifting a wedge of cheddar cheese to my mouth and nearly drop it back onto my plate:
Mike is taking a sip of his drink and lifts an eyebrow at me in acknowledgement.
"I think that's one of our neighbors at the bar, the wife."
Mike turns and quietly chokes on his Manhattan.
"Well, that's definitely the husband next to her, so it has to be them."
"It's a different weekend, so I didn't think...what are the chances?!"
Different weekend, but yet we're in the exact same spot as them at the exact same time on a now annual basis? That's really uncanny.
"Do you think they're here for the ice wine festival?"
"I don't know, but now I'm dying to find out. Do you think we should go say hello?"
"That seems awkward, since they're with friends. But if we wait to mention this coincidence until the next time we happen to bump into them back at home... that seems even *weirder,* don't you think?! We'll look like stalkers."
Can you imagine the potential future encounter?
"Oh hey, how are you? Nice day we're having, yes. Say, we had occasion to notice that you like to travel to Niagara-on-the-Lake every January, two years running, and dine at the Prince of Wales lounge. Are you ice wine fans?"
It's like a scene out of a Hitchcock film.
It was a quandary, to be sure. In the end, like the introverts that we truly are, we left without saying anything to them. And then the next time we run into them in our neighborhood we'll totally freak them out by mentioning all of this, just you wait. That'll definitely be a bloggable moment. :0
Back in our room, we settled into our bliss:
|See my crocheting resting on the arm of the chair by the fire? Complete heaven, right there.
|"I need a picture for my blog!" He's such a good sport, is it any wonder why I adore him so much?
Tern, and Bufflehead. We enjoyed watching and listening to them for a spell.
To be honest, it was so idyllic I felt a bit melancholy coming back. It was a really wonderful weekend. And I'll get sappy for a moment. I've always loved and appreciated my husband. But this weekend made me reflect on that even further. We've been married for 11 years, together for 13 years counting dating and engagement. And after that time, I can honestly say that I am still VERY much in love with my husband. Very much. No marriage is perfect, nor any human person, and we're no exception to that. But 11 years ago, when I chose him, I chose well. I chose a sweet and loving partner who suits me well. Who makes me laugh every single day. Who I find irresistibly attractive. And I am very grateful to God for helping us to find each other.
How was your weekend, dear reader? Tomorrow is going to be a Catholic Book Club review day for Raising the Barre, looking forward to discussing it with you!