OK, first, for those non-Canadians reading this, you may be wondering why I’m posting about May 24th on May 21st. In fact, this year, by May 21st, May 24th is all over. And what a 24th it was.
Deep breath. I’ll try to explain. May 24th is a traditional Canadian holiday originally in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday. The holiday is observed on the Monday of the previous weekend. It is for Canadians what the following weekend, Memorial Day, is for Americans — the long weekend that ushers in the beginning of summer, a traditional time to go camping or to open up the cabin/cottage for the season.
Here in Newfoundland, it’s traditionally associated with camping, trouting, bad weather, and getting drunk. These associations are not unconnected — if you saw the kind of weather we usually have here at the end of May, you might wonder why so many Newfoundlanders are determined to be outdoors on this weekend. You would at least realize that for many people, being very drunk is the only thing that makes it tolerable.
Those of us who don’t drink either have to be tougher, or more creative. Three guesses which one I am?
Our family tradition over the last few years has been to have a “camp-in.” We set up a makeshift tent for the kids and we all sleep downstairs in the living room/dining room. Meals are eaten picnic-style in the front room, and often we roast marshmallows over the fireplace. Weekend entertainment consists of videos, board games, reading, and other things that don’t require going outside.
This weekend was a surprise. Though it started off chilly on Friday, temperatures warmed up and the past three days have been as nice as any May 24th weekend I can remember in years. The temperatures soared into the high teens/low 20’s (that’s high 60s for you Farenheiters). We spent a lot more time outside than we had planned — we went up to camp on Sabbath where our church was having a weekend retreat; we had some playground time; we got Max-the-dog out for a few walks; we picked up garbage and dog poop in the backyard; the kids did a lot of bike riding.
Emma is getting really confident on her two-wheeler now, as demonstrated in the video below. (Lest you think I was joking about the good weather, this video was shot on Friday evening when it was still bitterly cold. Like the weather, Emma’s mad skillz on the bike improved as the weekend went on). The video also demonstrates how my maternal pride completely overwhelmed my abilities as a videographer and narrator, but there you go:
Because of the lovely weather we didn’t do as many inside things as we’d planned — we did get out to the Fairmont Hotel on Sunday morning for a late Mother’s Day/early Father’s Day brunch with my dad and mom, Aunt Bernice and Jennifer, and we saw Shrek III today. Jason had a productive weekend around the house with his current project, building a loft bed for Emma’s room. I had a slightly less productive weekend than I’d hoped, with a number of writing goals not getting met. But they were mostly jumping-off-the-shed type goals anyway, and if there’s one good reason not to meet a self-imposed challenge, it’s that the weather was too good and you were enjoying a four-day weekend with your family!
There are more pics of our weekend up at our Flickr site if you want to see some of our adventures.