Category Archives: montreal

Scenes from Christmas Eve

On a happier note, here are some pics I took this evening. That’s Basilique Norte Dame de Montréal, and a Christmas-themed bar that was cute but ridiculously overpriced. For the rest, Vieux Montréal is a bit of a tourist trap, but they sure can create an amazing atmosphere. My favorite part of the night: the skating rink at the Old Port in Montréal. The music was just perfect, too.

Christmas in Montréal

I was navigating the slushy sidewalks of Vieux Montréal and saw a couple walk past holding hands. I thought of how doing that with Dan would have been lovely, how we would have supported each other as we slipped and slid through the snow.

And then I was sobbing.

I don’t regret coming here. My goal was to get away for a few days to a neutral location: one without the baggage of Christmas with family or someplace that Dan and I had traveled where I wouldn’t be re-living the time that we spent there. For the most part it has worked. I’ve kept myself distracted and generally had an OK time. Tonight, though, I was reminded that you can only distract yourself for so long. The memories and the grief will catch up with you. I’ll survive, but it really took the wind out of my sails for the night.

I like the idea of traveling somewhere new at Christmas each year. Perhaps next time it will be someplace warmer, or where I have friends, or where the whole freakin’ city doesn’t shut down starting on Christmas Eve.

Falling Behind

Ever reach the point where you have to capture previous adventures before starting in on new adventures? Yeah, that’s kind of what it’s like here.

On the Friday before Labor Day, we packed up my car with our stuff, Buddy’s bed, and Buddy, and off we went. It was the Friday afternoon of a summer holiday weekend in Chicago, how bad could traffic be? It turns out that traffic was appalling. Horrible. Wretched. It took us three hours just to reach Indiana, and even that was only because of a detour through the middle of nowhere Illinois/Indiana and down through Lowell, IN to avoid the craziness of I-80/94.

Once we were past the worst of the traffic it was pretty much smooth sailing, except for the fact that for all that Buddy enjoys short rides in the car, long rides are an adventure in anxiety. We finally wound up dosing him with ace-pro, but that didn’t really make him sleep. He instead just lay between the front seats, head drooping, trembling slightly less than usual. Poor guy. Anyway, we got to Fordshepherd and Baja_Hyena‘s place in Columbus a little before 1 AM and crashed not long after. We arrived at the same time as Linnaeus, and r_bear had flown in earlier in the day.

Saturday morning came way too early. We chatted the morning away (accompanied by very tasty lattes from Baja) and then it was time for the big Labor Day bash. And a party it was, with lots of great folks, great food, and a whole lot of drink. The highlight was Kwik‘s monster slushie machine, which was loaded up with tasty strawberry daiquiris and a homemade frozen bloody Mary that really snuck up on you. A great party all in all, and we had a blast.

Sunday was a little more laid back. We made our annual trip to North Market where I picked up a few items for dinner, had lunch (mmm, banh mi), and then headed north on High St. up to Denise’s Ice Cream, which proved to be quite excellent. For dinner, Ford and I collaborated. He made roasted pork and creamed spinach, and I made potatoes roasted with duck fat. A great meal, and excellent company.

We went out for a tasty brunch on Monday, then it was time to hit the road. The drive back was uneventful, and we determined that while the ace-pro still didn’t knock Buddy out, he’s much happier when we’re moving and not stuck in stop-and-go traffic. We got home at around 7 PM and had time to relax before crashing for the night.

Not too much of note has happened since then. We enjoyed a lovely meal with Roho and Genet last Friday, helped Dan’s mom move on Saturday, and had a very productive Midwest FurFest staff meeting on Sunday. This week has been dragging by as we get ready to leave on Thursday afternoon for our big annual group trip: Montreal, Quebec!

We’re flying out from Milwaukee to Burlington, Vermont. We’re staying at a rental house that is part of the Fiddler Lake Resort property, which is far enough out of Montreal to be rural, but close enough for day-trips. We’ll have twelve people in total, which has introduced some interesting logistics, though nothing that we haven’t been able to handle. I’ve put together some fun itineraries, but I hope to take a laid-back approach . we have twelve people and four cars, so if someone wants to stay behind or strike off on their own, mazel tov! (as long as we’re not left with more people than will fit in cars) I’m hoping for a fun, relaxing trip. We’re flying home on Tuesday. It’s all too short a trip, but it’s what we had time and money for this year.

So much to do before leaving tomorrow afternoon! Yikes!

Catching Up, Part 2

So, what else has been going on lately? Since I’m lazy, I’ll use bullet points.

  • On Friday we helped rustitobuck celebrate his birthday at a dinner that linnaeus put together. We ate at Claimjumper and the food wasn’t too bad. I’m pleased to say that it is possible to get moderate (i.e. sane) sized portions at Claimjumper if you order carefully.
  • We spent the weekend relaxing a bit and finally cleaning up the clutter from the picnic the prior weekend. On Sunday night we had dinner with roho and genet at a fabulous little Indian restaurant that just opened up within a few miles of us. I’m so glad to have expanded opportunities for food around here (and takaza loves their chicken tikka masla, so it’s a win for everyone!).
  • I’ve started using the MyPlate food and fitness diary over at Livestrong (which came recommended by the ever-useful Cool Tools blog). It’s an awesome free utility that lets you get all of your data in one place and even download it to a local spreadsheet. It’s interesting how just the act of tracking what you eat makes you more aware of your diet. I’m not “dieting” per se, just trying to eat better. This is an excellent tool for this.
  • We’ve got travel coming up! In September we’re going to be visiting Montreal. I’m having a lot of fun finding out about the area and making notes of possible places to visit, though as I’ve found on past trips while it’s nice to know some possibilities ahead of time, it’s even more fun to surrender to serendipity when it comes along. If we go to some of these places, great! If not, that’s OK too. We’ve got a group of 12 people coming from all over the country, and coordinating everyone is a bit of trick. We’re still working on who will cook what meals that we eat at the rental house, and putting the finishing touches on some reservations, but otherwise we’re just about good to go.
  • Speaking of vacation planning, the big trip for us right now is the Alaskan cruise that we’re planning for next May. I am pleasantly surprised to see that we definitely have thirteen people signed up, and at least four more who have expressed interest. The beauty of a trip like this is that it’s easily expandable. So hey, if you ever wanted to cruise from Anchorage, Alaska to Vancouver, British Columbus, with visits to Seward, Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Seattle, we’d love to have you along for this trip! You can find more information over here.
  • In just a few minutes I’m off to meet with the representative of our home builder. It’s almost been a year since we moved in and our one-year home warranty is about to expire, so they’re going to come in for one last pass to take care of any maintenance issues, nail pops, etc. Dan and I went over the walls carefully last night (and poor Dan slipped on the stairs doing so – he’s OK, just a bit sore) and our walls are currently covered with an array of post-it notes marking any defects. Next up will be scheduling their guy to come in and repair all of them.

That’s all for now!