Roland and I considered a fly fishing trip but given the long drive, opted to stay in town. We visited a few specialty stores for foodies and I was able to bring back cranberry horseradish and ketjap manis. That's an Indonesian condiment that Roland introduced me to. Imagine soy sauce but thicker, sweeter and flavored with spices. Fabulous stuff which doesn't seem to be readily available in Orlando, sadly.
One of the highlights of the quick trip was catching up with old friends Heather and Jen who I first met when doing some work at AMA some 19 years ago. We were so busy talking (ok, I was so busy gabbing) that we forgot to get a photo. Also great to meet Heather's husband.
Another great part of the visit was spending time with Roland's mom Helga. What an amazing woman! An octogenarian who looks younger than me and had great stories. Austrian, born in Istanbul where her father was a foreign news correspondent. Married John, Dutch, who was born in Indonesia where his family was living (back in the day when Indonesia was a Dutch colony). Helga described her family's "itchy feet" and how she and John emigrated to Canada, separately, and met in northern Alberta. A delightful lady who makes a mean rhubarb pie with rhubarb she grew herself.
It was also terrific to see Ken, whom I hadn't seen for 16 years. He's a quiet sort and I was grateful that he didn't shut me up with a pillow over my face - and for the awesome wings he made. I now know the secret to super crispy baked wings. And no, I'm not telling.
Here are some photos:
|Helga and Roland in front of some of the beautiful peonies she grows.|
|Helga said the trick to getting your roses to bloom like this is to cut them back a lot each spring. She said if it looks like you've killed it, you've trimmed it just enough.|
|Helga's yard is a living testament to her love of plants, flowers and gardening. Not shown is her greenhouse and vegetable/fruit garden.|
|The Saskatchewan River runs through Edmonton. Only a few miles out of the city but complete peace and beauty.|
|Montana may call itself Big Sky Country, but clearly they have some serious competition from Alberta. Great people, great beef and OMG, that sky.|
|Ken, who's a professional photographer did what he could with the models at hand. I need to demand hair and make-up before all photo shoots.|
|Roland was more successful at holding it together than I was. Ken, the giggles were totally your fault.|
|Ken also maintains the beautiful garden in the backyard. Those Albertans make up for the tough winters during their beautiful summers.|
|The difference between someone from Florida and someone from Alberta - they thought it was a bit too warm. I was happy to have a down throw. I apparently have no blood.|
|Ken prefers being behind the camera...or under a throw.|