Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Keepin' it SIMPLE!

Please check out my new blog!

simplicity in the city



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fête des travailleurs: a photo essay

May 1st, around the world is International Workers' Day. Bo very much wanted to march in the annual parade with the baby and I went along too. This was my first ever political demonstration, but I admit that I enjoyed people-watching the most! (I loved that my zoom lens allowed me to take a lot of close-ups unbeknownst to my subjects). Enjoy the colors of the revolution!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A pretzel is not just a pretzel!

Acquaintances I've made here in Québec often ask me "so what do you miss about the US?" I can be heard answering, "pas grande chose, vraiment." (Not much, really). Obviously, I miss family, friends, and old stomping grounds, but from time to time, I do think of certain things that I miss.


Specifically, grocery-related things!

For example, Thomas' English muffins...what different brands call English muffins around here cannot be fork-split, and are severely lacking both the nook-and-cranny-ness as well as that sourdough taste. My mom brings me some once in a while. Yum!

Secondly, pretzel rods. Never thought I'd miss those, or the other missing pretzel varieties (like the big chunky pretzels), but here, my choices are limited to pretzel sticks and the small sized traditional knot. Of course, some might say they all taste the same, but it must be the salt/dough ratio. (Not grocery-related, but there are also no pretzel vendors...not on the street corners, no Auntie Anne's (According to their website: "The supermodel of baked dough."), none in those turning warmers in the convenience stores...no sir, nope, zilch on the doughy pretzels).

Girl Scout cookies
--actually, just Thin Mints, (described on their website as "The most enduring and universally familiar Girl Scout cookie."). I happened to notice on Facebook that a friend of mine in NH was placing an order and I jumped in and asked her really nicely if she would order a couple of boxes for me. They arrived a little over a week ago, and I have managed to not devour all of them, yet!

Corn muffins--something I rarely bought in the US, but the fact that they don't seem to make them here baffles me and makes me miss them. No muffins, no muffin mixes (I've seen bran, oat, carrot, blueberry and chocolate chip, but no corn!). OK, so I know that corn is a very 'American' grain, but since most things have crossed the border, why not corn muffins, or at least the mixes? Jiffy, anyone?

The next two are items that my mother, and probably her mother, nearly always had (or maybe still has) in stock: Krazy salt and Underwood Deviled Ham (Apparently, America's #1 meat spread...). I had forgotten about Krazy salt until my friend blogged about it a while ago.

Two very geographically specific items: biscuits and sausage gravy from the Hawthorne Valley farm store (my former Tuesday morning ritual, thanks to chef Larry) and Camphill Copake chocolate chip cookies.

OK, I need to stop...while checking out the website for Thomas' English muffins, I saw that the same bakeries also produce the following brands--Boboli, Freihofer's and Entenmann's (crumb cake! Sigh!)--all unavailable to my American taste buds. I think I'll go eat a couple of Thin Mints and call it a night!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I think I used to be a blogger...

...what happened?

Well, I had a baby in August and I didn't want this blog to turn into "another baby blog." But now I have somewhat changed my mind. I wanted to blog about my life in Montreal, as opposed to other places I've lived, and well, now my life in Montreal includes a baby!

So, my days are spent with my bouncing baby (who needs an official blog name). She is a delight. She's healthy, smiley, and an outstanding sleeper. We cherish her every day in the present and look forward with anticipation to knowing the person she will become! We go out for one reason or another on nearly a daily basis. At first it was simply to get some fresh air or doing some small errands, but now, in addition, we are in a class together, although the baby's role is rather passive. It's a class called Cardio-traineau: twice a week we, a group of a dozen or so new mothers, gather at a meeting point on the walking/bike path along the river (which happens to be practically right outside my front door), babies in tow in sleds and layers of clothing appropriate to Quebec winters. And then we work out! It's a challenging class that is getting me lots of fresh air and is reconnecting me with muscles and joints that I had forgotten existed. It's a great way to meet other moms from the neighborhood with similar-aged children, especially great for me being still somewhat new in town and looking to establish some female friends. (I think I'm the oldest, but who cares? Not me!)

As for other errands, I am, for the time being, limited to those small purchases I can carry in one shopping bag. Since the little darling doesn't know how to sit up yet (for example, in a grocery cart), she's in her stroller for our journeys. I live in a third floor apt. and walking up those stairs with babe-in-arms does not allow me to buy anything bigger than a breadbox. We will move in June to a 1st floor condo--phew! (More about that later).

Soon I hope to blog about Canada's health care system, the advantages (and hidden traps) of having a baby in Quebec and probably some smaller posts on the day-in, day-out of Montreal mommying, or in other words, life.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Urban nightmare

OK, so I think I'm getting used to living in a big city. Or something. Here's how the dream went:
I was at some sort of conference where I had missed a few sessions and I found that I no longer existed on the lists of the organizers. Even the pushpin on the map that represented me was gone. So after putting the pushpin back where it goes...but not a white one or a red one...I headed out into the main corridor of the mall-type place where the offices for the conference organizers were. I saw many older people mall-walking and then a gang of 40-something red-t-shirt wearing cool guys walked by. They were quietly strutting their stuff and were led by this guy who was the 40-something version of the first guy I kissed in high school. Then I left the mall.

I found myself in a very rural area. The dirt roads were bumpy with muddy tractor tracks and yet there was a bus stop for STM bus 96. I considered waiting for the bus so I could head back to the city, but it was nice out so I decided to walk to the next farthest bus stop instead. I found myself walking amongst a group of women who were headed to the bus on their daily commute to the city for work. They were dressed in various combinations of black and were pulling wheeled suitcases behind them. They were bitchy. They were painfully slowly tiptoeing their way on the edges of the road trying to avoid the muddy spots so as to not soil their polished fancy shoes. I had on my sensible Keen sandals. About then I realized in a panic that I did not have my bus pass nor my wallet so I started walking back towards the village (? the place where the mall was). I wanted to call Bo and I saw ahead of me a farm that I was familiar with (not any farm that I actually know). Some people waved me over and I asked if I could use the phone. They motioned me towards a door where a very large fake blond woman said she would dial for me. She misdialed the first number and because Bo's number wasn't printed on some list that she had, she wouldn't make another call to the right number.

As I was trying to persuade her, I glanced down at my feet and they were horrifically swollen, which as any good pregnant woman knows, is a sign of preeclampsia and you need to get urgent medical attention. I asked the woman if she would at least call 911 for me. She begrudgingly obliged, told me that no one was answering and then put her head down on her desk and went to sleep. So there I was stuck in the middle of nowhere with preeclampsia.
Then I woke up, cried a just a little, was comforted by Bo, felt the baby move and confirmed that my ankles were normal-sized. All is good.

Friday, July 3, 2009

clin d'œil 9

Geez, I missed blogging the whole month of June! Can you say "distracted pregnant lady"?!? Can you say "end of the school year chaos"?!? (I'm not out of it yet, but I'm taking a break this weekend to visit friends at Sacandaga Lake in NY with Bo). Here's my class on a field trip to visit the hydroelectric plant at Beauharnois in June. They loved all the equipment required for the visit: hard hats, saftey glasses and special earphones to protect their ears but which also allowed them to hear the guide explaining everything. It is a really cool place to visit and it's free!

Monday, May 18, 2009

clin d'œil 8

Monday morning. No school today (4 and 1/2 weeks left...). Living room flooded by light. Yummy breakfast. Antique rug back from being cleaned and repaired. Chico and I can't get enough...the colors...the sun...oh my! Have a great day!