Thursday, July 26, 2012

AWOL

Sorry about the absence of this blog, but we are away in Ohio and I'm finding it challenging to get to my computer to blog. Either way, we're having a great time, and the week has been flying by at warp speed, which is telling. The one downside to the week has been the heat, and has it ever been hot. Hot, steamy, and miserable. It reminds me of the south, a bit unbearable, but I'll live. Makes me happy we live in New England.

We drove down and it took two days, but that's a story for another time. For now, we're enjoying our stay, spending a lot of time in the pool and eating lots of healthy meals.

More later, when I can find the time. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Bernie in the 44131 of Ohio for the pic.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sweltering Heat

This heat is getting a little out of hand. Every year we get about two weeks of hot days, not necessarily in a row, where the temp hovers around 90 degrees, and sure enough, we’re getting them right now. I’m not in a position to complain (as if that’s going to stop me) because spring was wonderful and this summer has been a good mix of beautiful warm weather couple with a day or two rain. Just right. We’ve even had rainy evening followed by dry sunny days, which you just can’t beat.

The past couple of weeks, however, have been bone dry, with hot and humid days. The whole country is suffering through it, we’re not alone. Everywhere we go, the grass is turning brown, though the corn fields look fabulous, and our garden is doing very well.

The weather does make for good swimming, however, and we’ve been doing plenty of that. You just can’t beat jumping into a cool lake or pond on a scorching hot day. That’s what summer is all about, right? I do think we could use some rain, but that’ll come in due time.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Léo Byte for the pic.

Two Game Losing Streak

We lost our second game in a row last week, and now our place in the rankings is in jeopardy as the other teams are catching up. Somehow we started out gang-busters and won every game and then we lost two of our superstars, who in all fairness should have been playing in the upper leagues, and now things are more even. Just for the record, every team has it’s one or two superstars, ours were just a step above, and now we’ve lost them and yet the other teams have retained theirs. So while things have evened out, we sank a little bit lower than the others, in my opinion.

No sense in whining, though, because we still have a solid team, and we have to just go out there and play. It was a close game, we battled back, but they have one guy who can just skate around the rest of us, and though he doesn’t score every goal, the guy sure can control the puck. That makes all the difference.

In the end, it’s all about having fun... yeah, right. Just tell that to a group of guys pumped up on testosterone. I did manage to score a goal, however, and that’s always a thrill. Whatever the outcome of our season, I will say this, I love hockey, and am looking forward to the return of the ice, even if R thinks I’ve lost my marbles.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to piggyperson52 for the pic.

No Log Load This Summer

In breaking with tradition, we are not ordering logs this spring, and it’s kind of nice not having to think about getting the wood and then cutting it, even though my chainsaw is all tuned up and ready to roll. Last year we got our wood really late, and we usually order more than we really need and have extra for the next year. As it turns out, this winter’s wood has been drying for a year and should be good to go come fall, so what all that’s left to do is haul and split last year’s pile, which is about 8 cords. We use about 4.5 cords, so we extra. The hard part is hauling and splitting, especially in this heat.

I contacted TB and left a message that we wouldn’t need a log load this year, and part of me worried that cutting ties one year might make it harder to get wood the next year, but that proved to be completely unfounded. He actually called back and said no problem and that if I ever needed wood, just give him a bit of notice and he’d bring it over. Fair enough. Besides, I also have an alternate source who is a friend, as well, in DS. He’s local, as well.

As for the current pile of blocks, I’d like to wait until it cools a little, but before you know it, fall will be here and we’ll be off and running once again, so no point in waiting. Then again, procrastination is such a seductive thing, and I continually fall prey to it.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Tomato City

Even though I haven’t really accomplished all the things I thought I’d accomplish since we weren’t doing the market (summer isn’t over yet!), one thing that is going fairly well are our tomato plants. Maybe it has something to do with the variety that I got from the uber-horticulturist, CS, but I must say, they are pretty impressive. The plum variety that she sold me are amazing, they must be close to five feet tall. She said this would be the case, but of course I wasn’t paying attention.

I am guessing that once the tomatoes come up, the plants will surely collapse the cages, so I may have to do some serious maintenance work. I have to say that it’s pretty cool, and I’m really curious to see what sort of yields we end up with. I’m also impressed because we really didn’t do that much to get them to grow. All we did was weed and plant, though I did use our own kitchen compost to fertilize, and perhaps that made the difference.

Who can say? We’re not there quite yet, but in the meantime, it’s sort of fun taking care of the garden. Much more enjoyable than years past. Why do you suppose that is?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to got.2.have.faith for the pic.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fun With Friends

We had a somewhat impromptu playdate with friends last week, and it worked out nicely, especially with A at camp and me and N hanging together. N tends to want to interact more with me, whereas A is more adept at solitary activities. The nice thing is that we get to spend time together and do guy things, though it does take up a fair amount of my time, but that’s family is all about, right?

Either way, at some point, hanging with dad just gets boring, so we ended up meeting up with his friends and teammates from hockey. Since it’s so hot, we headed over to the pool and met with his friend ZM. They swam for a bit and hung out. ZM is a great kid, really nice, though a little more reserved like N, so when you have two reserved kids, their time together can be a bit reserved. It was nice cooling off in the pool, however. We’ve met up him at the open stick time slots, as well, and we’ll probably see him during hockey season, so it’s good.

It also worked out well with A’s hockey clinics. Several of the dads play in adult league, and they often bring their kids along. This time around, several of A’s friends came, as did a buddy for N. They all played and had fun, and even though I was ready to leave, I didn’t want to ruin the moment of fun. Mom was home waiting for us to eat supper, and I didn’t have the cell phone, so I couldn’t call her to tell her we were delayed. Nonetheless, I tried to lighten up and let the kids play, because they were having fun and bonding with friends. You can’t put a price on that.

At some point I had to tell everyone it was time to go, but a good time was had by all, and hopefully these are relationships we can nurture in the future. That would be a good thing.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to quiggyt3 for the pic.

Big City Park

We were going to swim at the Lebanon pool the other day but got there too early for the public swim (bad planning), so we spent some time in Lebanon park eating lunch and passing the time. I will say this, the park was overrun with a rough crowd, and I found myself on edge a bit watching what was going on. Now in all fairness, I didn’t know for sure what was happening, but in all of my experiences with the dark side, there are things are fairly obvious, and it was clear that subversive things were going on.

That’s their business, but it’s hard when you’re in a park with your kids, and it’s even more depressing when some of the rough characters are actually young parents with kids of their own. What astounded me was that at some point a couple of mothers showed up with their young kids, and they were cavorting with the rough guys while their kids played on the swings. They weren’t even that young.

I could be misinterpreting the whole thing, and I should just live and let live, right? Whatever be the case, I don’t think we’ll be spending too much time at that park.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to andrew c mace for the pic.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Perks of Living in This Area

I didn’t know this, but the documentary film maker, Ken Burns, lives in New Hampshire, not too far from here. In fact, we’ve played hockey and track near his town. I think he was a Dartmouth alum, and is involved with the university and keeps ties with the art department. The reason I’m mentioning this is because I just learned that he previews his films at Dartmouth before he releases them to the public, and just recently, the R and the kids got to go.

His latest project is on the Dust Bowl, and the other night, he was screening the first half of it at the Hop. R wanted to go, and since I had a hockey game, she was going to take the kids along. We had some reservations about them sitting through a heavy documentary, but they’ve sat through operas, and if you can survive that, you can survive anything. After swimming at their friend’s house, R took them to supper in the big city, and then to the film. She had scored tickets that morning, and she must have been just in time, because the event was sold out, and there were people outside the box office hoping to get tickets. I’m glad R prepared, because they would have otherwise been left out in the cold.

The film was about two hours, followed by a discussion with Ken Burns about the film. R and the kids really liked it, though I think R had a greater appreciation for the subject matter. A true American tragedy, and R worried a little that the story was a little too depressing for the kids. They were fine, however, and did a fabulous job of being patient and sitting quietly through the film. R even said N wanted to stick around for the Q&A session, but it was late.

I think it’s cool that they got to see the film before anyone else, and I’m bummed I missed it, though I do think it’s cool that these sort of opportunities exist in this area. The perks of living near an Ivy League college. Besides, there’s always the next time.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to nick step for the pic.

Hollywood Premiere

A is taking video camp through the local cable access channel and it’s been a lot of fun for her. She really enjoys many of the aspects of creating a film, from the story, to the acting and directing, and finally, the editing. Plus, she’s good with the computer, where much of the action takes place, especially editing. They had been preparing their movie all week, and at the end of the week, they were ready to show their movie to the world.

It was a lot of fun, they got all dressed up and had a red carpet gala, just like in Hollywood. They even gave them stars with their names on them, like the Walk-of-Fame. There was food and snacks, and friends and family came to watch. In fact, the Hs came, which I thought was really cool. They had some intros for the cast and crew, and then we got to watch the films, which were hilarious and a lot of fun.

It was a really nice time, and though A was the only girl, the two interns running the show were women, so A got to bond with girls in the industry. It seems like the camps that A has interest in attracts a lot of boys and not much in the way of girls. This is not a bad thing, I’m just wondering what all the girls are doing out there. After the premiere, the kids ate treats (we broke from our healthy eating plan) that included cookies, candy, and Boston Creme Pie, then they headed off with A&I to swim at their house. A nice way to end the day, because it was scorching hot. Then it was off to Hanover for another film premiere, but that’s a story for another time.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to bang_ksd@picture for the pic.

Towing the Line

With A off in camp all week, me and N hung out and did things during the day like swim, golf, and play hockey. One day we went to lunch at Stella’s and I told him he could order whatever he wanted, whether it be a hamburger or turkey club sandwich. He chose the veggie melt. How’s that for embracing our vegetarian ways? I was a little surprised, but truth be told, the veggie melt is killer. I had the falafel, so we had a veggie lunch, albeit with some cheese, but what sometimes you just have to be a little flexible. Besides, we’re not going vegan.

Plus, we finished the meal with some dessert, but I won’t go into the details of that. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to The Originator for the pic.

Girl’s Hockey

A has been doing some hockey clinics that are designed for girls only. The state and hockey in general is trying to encourage more girls to try hockey, because for whatever reason, girls hockey, and maybe hockey in general, is dropping off. Hockey is a bit of a commitment, but is it ever fun, and A has been enjoying it. So much so that she wants to keep going back. Usually she burns out a little and wants to take a break, but she’s been enthusiastic about these clinics. They work them hard, too. It’s not just fun and games, they learn serious skills and the instructor doesn’t coddle them. It’s good sound hockey, and I keep thinking N should join in because he’d benefit from a little practice.

I think part of what A enjoys about it hanging with the other girls, some of whom she’ll be playing with in the winter. In fact, there is definitely social potential in there, and I know some of the other girls and they are nice. Plus, they get to bond over hockey.

Whatever be the case, A is having fun and enjoying it, and thus far she hasn’t lost her enthusiasm. That’s all that matters, in the end.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Big Swede Guy for the pic.

Friday, July 13, 2012

So Far, So Good

This healthy eating plan is not always easy, but it definitely connects you more with the foods you eat, and I’m a big believer in being more conscientious about all aspects of your life. This includes your work, your family, and the foods you eat. I think we all function in a state of mindlessness, some more than others, where we don’t think about the things we do or what is important to us. We just go about our jobs, spend lots of money, and eat lots of garbage. In a way, the system is set up perfectly, because we as a culture love to spend money, more than we have, forcing us to work harder and harder. Since we spend so much time at work, we don’t have time to cook, so we eat foods that are unhealthy but convenient, and then spend our free time watching TV, which solidifies the virtues of this lifestyle into our heads. What a great system for whomever is making money all this.

Anyway, enough of my priggish pontification. Live and let live, right? In the end, you choose a way to live your life and it has no bearing on the rest of the world. You just do the best you can, and believe me, we’ve been trying. I’ve found that you just have to find some balance, especially when, as I’ve mentioned, these so-called nutritional experts can’t seem to agree on the perfect diet. The key is moderation and a lot of common sense. One of the biggest challenges for me, being the cook in the house, is to make meatless, dairy-free meals that the kids will like. I could probably live on salads and crusty whole grain bread, but kids will not tolerate wholesome goodness unless it tastes good. Plus, they’re growing, so nutrition is important.

Avoiding dairy is pretty straightforward, I don’t miss milk, though cheese used to be a staple in this house. Not having ice cream is like a day without sunshine, but we indulge now and then, especially since it’s been scientifically proven that you can’t be happy without ice cream. I think R and I could handle this on our own, it’s the kids I feel for. After all, avoiding sugar, ice cream, and candy is good for them, but we consumed them in mass quantities as kids, and now we’re asking them not to eat them? It doesn’t sound completely fair, even if it’s in their best interest.

Even though R is not keen on it, I’m still going to cook fish, but for the most part, we’ve been avoiding meat, especially red meat, and have removed white, starchy stuff, including potatoes and white bread. I’ll incorporate a little parmesan cheese into the pasta, and make goat cheese and smoked salmon sandwiches for the kids (one of their favorites).

The paradox of healthy eating is that while it makes it more challenging to eat because you really have to think about what you’re eating, it does seem to simplify shopping because you end up avoiding about 80% of the supermarket. All we end up buying are lots of noodles, fresh veggies and fruit. I can’t say for sure if I feel tremendously better, but I want to believe I do, and whatever be the case, I feel better about the idea of eating a healthier diet. In fact, I cringe when I think back on all the ice cream, candy, and processed snack foods that I’ve eaten in the not so distant past. It’s crazy when I think about it.

I will say this: on the 4th, when you’d expect to eat corn dogs and french fries, we managed to eat a healthy lunch of pupusas at Mama Tina's, which are South American corn patties filled with beans and topped with Salvadoran coleslaw and fresh salsa. We eat them all the time at the market, and I love them. They make them on the spot, and you can get them meat and dairy free, and they are loaded with fresh veggies. We ended up eating pie for dessert, and had ice cream during the fireworks, but we had a healthy supper at home in-between. I thought for sure there would be hot dogs or burgers in our meal plan, but we pulled off some healthy eating, sort of.

So far, so good, as the saying goes. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to charlottepurdy for the pic.

First Loss

We had our first loss to the Green and they really put us to the test. In reality, the last time we beat them, it was really close, and they seemed to have inherited some new and skilled players, so they came out on top this time. There goes our undefeated season. In process of losing, I also managed to hurt myself in another part of my body, namely my ribs. I think I may have bruised them, though it doesn’t hurt that badly right now. At first I thought I’d strained an abdominal muscle or something like that, but in retrospect, it makes sense that I hurt my ribs because I ran into three of the opposing players, as well as one of my teammates. How’s that for being out of control?

If there’s a bright note to it, the pain my ribs takes my mind off the pain from my sciatica. Sometimes you have to find a silver lining wherever you can find it, especially when your body is falling apart.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to clydeorama for the pic.

Day of Golf

N has been asking me to go golfing, and there are several factors that make me reluctant, the first being that I’m somewhat lukewarm to golf. Sure, it can be challenging and fun, but I’d much rather play tennis or toss the lacrosse ball around. I guess I’m in the Mark Twain camp when he said golf is just a good walk that’s been ruined. The other big issue is that it takes a whopping amount of time, even when you do just 9 holes. I can’t even imagine the time it would take to golf 18 holes. I couldn’t do it.

Either way, at some point, I felt bad, because he was being so good natured about accepting my rejection, not that he had much of a choice. Then again, he could have made a big stink about it (it’s been known to happen), and he didn’t. Being the big pushover that I am, I switched gears (again, been known to happen) and said we may be able to pull it off but we probably can’t do all 9 holes. He was fine with that, so we headed on over.

It was a beautiful day, warm, but with patchy clouds and a constant breeze. Really a perfect day to be outside, and we made the most of it. The golf course in Windsor was not crowded at all, and we grabbed a cart and went for it. There were people way ahead of us, which wasn’t a problem, and at least at first, nobody behind us. We could take our time and go at a leisurely pace, which for us means going really slow. It takes us about a dozen swings just to make it onto the green. Once we were out of sight of the club, I let N help drive the cart, though they must have some sense of it.

In fact, at one point the attendant drove over and asked us to obey the traffic markers, and also that they’d prefer us not to were tank tops. I had a sense that this was a faux pas, but didn’t think much of it. I apologized, but he was cool about it. Next time I’ll know.

We ended up golfing to the 6th hole, and then we had to go. I was thinking that if we had gotten there earlier, we could have done all 9 holes, though that would have been a big chunk of time. Also, at some point, I get a little bored. We had a blast, nonetheless, and I think we’ll try to do it again, maybe even before summer ends.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to bill.d for the pic.

Window Ambitions

I have this grand plan to cut a hole in the sheathing in the downstairs’ bathroom and put in a small atrium window. The job wouldn’t even be that hard, and I now have the window, so all I need to do is start on it. Easier said than done for a real-man in training who is also a stay at home dad. I’ve found that even having time at home means time taking care of domestic duties. In retrospect, I have no idea how we ever managed to sell dumplings at the market. I have no time as it is.

It certainly makes you wonder. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to tlaukkanen for the pic.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Real Man (in training) and His Machine

I mentioned before that I had this mighty log that was too thick for my saw, and weighed a metric ton. The thing was a beast, and I had a really hard time cutting it into blocks. I can cut thick logs by attacking it from both sides, but that’s difficult when the log is on top of the pile because it would require me to climb to the top to cut it. This is easy for a real-man, but for a real-man in training, I worry about the pile shifting while I’m on it. If even one of those logs rolled onto me, it would crush me instantly. No thank you. One of the guys at Joe’s even said he thought cutting log length wood was more dangerous than felling trees. How’s that for a vote of confidence?

The way I do it is to cut the edge of the pile and then gradually rolled logs off the top onto the ground. I use a series of levers and run for the hills when the pile shifts. This was hard with this log because it was so heavy, I couldn’t budge it. It eventually fell to the ground when I shifted some logs beneath it, and then I could cut it from both sides.

This, however, was only part of the problem. Once the log was cut, I found the blocks weighed about 100 pounds. This made it all but impossible for me to lift the pieces into the wheelbarrow. I tried, and finally decided to split them on the spot, but the maul just bounced off them like rubber. Finally I used my chainsaw and cut the blocks about halfway down the middle, then split them with the maul. It worked, though it wasn’t as easy to cutting along the grain. Now I can at least lift the pieces and I’ve found in the past that with tough blocks, once the first split is done, the others come more easily. We shall see.

Until then, thanks for reading.

Ethnic Dining

In the quest to be a pseudo-vegan family, we have been turning to a lot of ethnic dining, and I have to say, it’s been working out pretty well. The best dishes seem to be Indian, Japanese, and Italian. With Indian food, I generally prefer the vegetarian dishes, anyway, because I’m never sure what sort of meat is buried under all that sauce. We attempted to make sushi rolls the other day (brown rice and smoked salmon), with mixed success. I still have to get my rolling technique down, but it was pretty easy. I made a veggie roll for R, but again, it didn’t knock my socks off.

Italian dishes are the most straightforward and popular, mainly because we love to eat pasta, whole wheat, of course. In fact, we could eat a meal of pasta with olive oil and salt, as long as it’s good olive oil. Very key. Noodles with a marinara sauce is quick and easy. Couple it with some bread and salad, and you have a meal. It takes a bit more effort to cook without meat or cheese, but it’s very doable, and let’s face it, there are entire cultures that eat this way. If anything, it forces you to think more about what you’re eating, and thinking a little bit more about our lives is not a bad thing. It not only engages your brain, which is not unlike a muscle, but eating healthy presents you with challenges throughout your day, and overcoming challenges is good for the mind and soul. I think we as a culture think too little about how we live our lives, especially what we eat. Personally, I blame it on TV and mass consumer culture, but don’t get me started on the path of self-righteousness.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to pirate johnny for the pic.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fun Day and Impromptu Swim

The weather this summer has been fabulous, I can’t complain, though I always find a way to. Sure, it’s been hot, but there haven’t been too many days of consecutive scorching weather, and the hot and sunny days are usually broken up by a day or two of steady rain. This really helps our garden, but more on that later.

The hot weather inspired the kids to want to go swimming, especially N, who has a special water missile that he was itching to dust off and employ. The thing about his missile is that you can’t really use it in a pond, because it sinks, and if it sinks in a pond, you can pretty much kiss it goodbye. We needed a pool, and we had a few choices, opting for the Lebanon pool, which is nice and affordable. We also usually see our friends there. Storr’s pond is a complete rip-off at $10 a person, even kids, but it’s a nice pool. The other option is Hartford, which is smaller, but closer. I figured for our first pool swim, we’d do Lebanon.

We got there around 11:30, and it turned out that they didn’t open until 1:00. Bummer, we had over an hour to kill. We got sandwiches for lunch, so we decided to head over to the Leb green to eat lunch and play until it was time. It’s a nice park and the weather was beautiful, but the park is filled with rough characters. It reminded me of New York City, though of course to a lesser degree. Fortunately the kids had no clue what was going on, or just didn’t care. That will change with time.

We finished lunch, they played on the swings, and we got out of there and went swimming. The pool was great, the weather was perfect for swimming, and N got his water missile fix. I have to admit, it’s fun to play with, and being the city boy that I am, I feel more comfortable swimming in a pool. I can’t quite handle the muck squishing between my toes. After a couple of hours of swimming, we headed back home to hit the farmer’s market.

It was quiet when we got there, but there were some friends hanging out, so we joined them. It’s a really great scene, and . I had a game to go to (see More Hockey), so the plan was get them some supper, let them play with their friends, and then wait for mom to show up and then I could head off to my game. It sure took a lot of juggling, because I picked up supper for R, took it home for her for when she got off work, picked up a watermelon to bring back for the kids at the market, and then I went and watered the tomatoes. We have a huge problem with potato beetles, which I had to pick off with my hand, one by one, and drop them into soapy water. Those things are everywhere, and many people’s plants have been decimated.

After feeding the kids, I waited for R, then headed off to my game, which we lost,, but man was it fun. Then it was time to head home after a long day and get some rest, because I had a game the next morning, early. Hockey, what else is there in life?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Wayan Vota for the pic.

First Moose Sighting

As crazy as it may seem for people living in Vermont,  A and I saw our first moose, and it was in the unlikeliest of places. I was taking her to camp in the AM and as we were heading down Route 5, we passed a house with a big front yard and there standing right in the grass was a moose, about 10 feet from the road. My first reaction was one of bewilderment. Whoa, was that a moose? A was next to me so she could validate my claim.

It seemed like a young moose, no antlers, and it looked black, but was it ever beautiful. Really cool. Unfortunately N and R weren’t there to see it, so their search continues, but for A and I, it was a score.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to moosejaw2 for the pic.

Mouse Warrior

Just call me Thor, the great mouse warrior.

It may seem counter-intuitive to put mouse traps in a barn, but we have a colony that has set up shop in the apex of the roof of the barn we’re trying to finish. I’ve seen them up there, and there are piles of dropping on the floor. They’re too high up for the cats to get them, which is saying a lot because our cats are trained killers and can get pretty much anywhere to score a hearty mouse meal.

I decided to set up our trap and see what would happen, though it’s probably a losing battle because there are critters everywhere and the barn is not sealed completely from animals. I figured it was worth a try, and lo and behold, I’ve nabbed four mice in as many days. They just keep coming. I realize that since I’m releasing the mice into the wild, it could be the same mouse every time, but I somehow think that’s unlikely.

First off, I’m releasing them down the road at the farm, which is about a quarter mile away. The women in our family insisted that I find a nice, cozy place to release them, preferably with a wood pile where they might like to build a nest. How’s that for compromising my warrior sensibilities? If the mice wanted to make it back, they’d have to cross the road, then get past the Dusty/Misty (our cats) gauntlet, then fall into the trap four times. What are the chances?

Either way, we’re catching mice, the question is, will it make a difference? I think it will, but that’s the optimist in me.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

More Hockey

R is starting to question my sanity (for good reason) as I sink deeper and deeper in the hockey abyss, or from my perspective, hockey nirvana. There was a mixed skill level hockey tournament last weekend, combining players from the A, B, & C levels. I’m a C, so I’m at the bottom of the food chain, and that really comes to light when you play with the A and B guys. They are not only amazing, but huge.

The tournament was a 4 team competition where everyone played each other and then everyone played again for the championship. It was a lot of fun, though three days of non-stop hockey, so much that I had trouble writing this blog, in combination with other factors, of course. I was on the Green team, and there were several people I knew, including GG and IC, both of whom are hockey warriors and literally carried the team. G’s son, JG, played, and he’s young and skilled, and we had an assortment of Bs and Cs, including myself. We had several skilled women players, as well. All in all, I think we were not as deep in really good talent as the other teams, especially DF’s team, the Bears. Those guys were so stacked, it really wasn’t fair. When you played against them, it was like playing in the NHL, they were so good, and again, they were so big.

We lost our first game to Yello, won our second game to Blue, then lost our last game to Red. With the exception of Yellow, who were undefeated and crushed all of their opponents, every other team had only one win. Through a complex process of scoring, we ended up in the championship game against the Yellow for the rematch. To make a long story short, we beat them. I couldn’t believe it, because again, they were so good, and they clearly came out to win. We got lucky, or they got complacent. The rules stated that the best players were only allowed to score one goal, but they had so many outstanding middle level players that they could still score at will. We had a great goalie, and we played our hearts out. I had about 12 scoring chances and blew all of them when IC set me up perfectly, but I’m still learning, so they cut me some slack.

It was a lot of fun, but man did it take up a lot of time. Even I was feeling the need to take a break, if not only for a day. Time to let these aching bones heal.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to saganaga for the pic.

Lost and Then Found

We had a little drama last week we R couldn’t find her cell phone. Are we plugged into tech culture, or what? It wasn’t a huge deal because the phone only cost about $10, it as a Tracfone, which are dirt cheap. They usually use old phones that nobody wants, anyway. The one I got cost $5, and it works perfectly fine. On the other hand, we don’t like to think of things as disposable and expendable, because that’s just a wasteful way of thinking, right?

In the end, our cell phone needs are minimal, and we don’t need fancy smart phones or texting devices. For the record, we have texting capabilities, though I’ve never used it. Anyway, R couldn’t find the phone, and we looked everywhere before deciding that it was gone. Sort of inconvenient, but not the end of the world. Boy, you realize that when you tie your happiness and peace of mind to devices and material possessions, you become a slave to them.

Well, as luck would have it, R received a phone call from the police department informing her that they’d found her phone, and nobody had used the minutes on it. Again, it’s a cheap phone that most people would not even bother with, so someone must have turned it in, untouched. Now we have our phones back, and life is good.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to stplast for the pic.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Nice 4th of July

We had a nice 4th of July/Old Home Day, with the stars aligning just right in terms of weather. In fact, we were lucky to have such great weather. A&N were so excited about riding their go-karts in the parade, and A went to great lengths to get costumes together to go with their racing team, probably more so than her teammates. Now her buddies, A&I, were not really that involved in the team, and didn’t partake that much in the building of the go-cart, nor were they even there for the actual race. The two kids who took their place, E and A, couldn’t ride in the parade because of prior commitments, so A and I were back in the picture, but I didn’t get a sense that they were even that into it.

This meant that A’s enthusiasm and efforts were probably not as appreciated to the extent that they deserved, but that’s the price you pay for being a leader. You just can’t get everyone on board all the time. Not that this was a problem, because A did a great job getting things together, and the parade was a lot of fun. There was a constant threat of rain, and the night before, it poured pretty much until the sun came up. I was in bed listening to the rain, thinking about how disappointed A was going to be, but it cleared up, and if anything, the rain cooled things down to a tolerable level.

Now this year was the first where I was taking over as marshal, whatever that means. The previous marshal, JM, is one of the larger than life people in this town, and he did a great job of getting the whole thing in working order. I don’t know why he thought I would be a good replacement, but that’s how it worked out. He was there to help, and BS and I took the reigns. It’s fairly straightforward, my job was to just get the parade in order and let it run, though that can be easier said than done, especially when you’re dealing with large groups of people who all have their own interests in mind.

It is, however, a fabulous parade, especially for a small town, and what’s crazy is that it seems to be growing with time. There were so many people, and we broke with tradition and got started late because traffic was not blocked when it was supposed to be blocked. Plus, there seemed to be an inordinate number of tractors in the parade, all for the big tractor pull.

One nice thing about being marshal is that you get the parade going, and once the last car (the town constable) heads down the route, my job was done, at least until next year. I have 364 days to put it out of my mind, I think. There were loads of people along the parade route, and it was truly a festive atmosphere. I caught up with R and we had no idea where the kids were, probably with a bunch of other kids running around like crazy. We told them to meet us at the library at some point to drop off the go-kart, and then they were free to do as they pleased.

They did a great job, very responsible, and we met with them for about 5 minutes before they were off and running, once again, with N heading immediately to the tractor pull, and A going off to find her buddy, who actually left the grounds to go home, though we weren’t aware of this. The scene was a the usual madhouse, but in a fun and festive way. We saw many of our friends and neighbors, which is really nice when you live in a small town, and there was plenty of food and fun, though it can be exhausting.

If not for the kids, I’d probably just stay at home, but again, it is nice to see all the good people that make this such a wonderful community. Plus, if you just take it slow and find a nice shady spot, you’re fine. At some point we had to eat, and as you can imagine, this isn’t easy at a big summer festival. There were plenty of hot dogs and fried offerings, but what saved us were the tamale people, L&M of Mama Tina’s. They have these killer papusas that are basically corn meal patties with beans and spinach that are then covered in this killer cabbage salad and salsa. One of my favorite things to eat, and definitely on the healthy side. Plus, the kids love them, so we have a winner.

We also broke from our healthy eating by having pie afterward. I mean, come on, it’s summer, and kids have to have sweets on the 4th of July. We ended up hanging at the tractor pull for most of the day, with the E’s joining us. It was a really nice time, and by early afternoon, it was time to go home and rejuvenate before the big night with fireworks. Again, there was the serious threat of rain.

We went home and chilled out, with dad taking his customary nap. At some point, I mentioned to the kids that there was an open stick at UA, and A was ambivalent, but N was enthused, so the guys headed over with skates and sticks in hand. It was fun, we saw several of our friends, though it was a small crowd on the ice. This works out well, because even though we don’t have enough for a game, we all get to practice handling and shooting the puck. Plus, BP was there, and he’s a goalie, so N got to practice his shot.

After open stick, we headed back home and got ready for the fireworks. Now I don’t know what the plan was, but A’s buddy, A, was nowhere to be seen. I had a sense that she had other plans, and A had no idea what they were. It worked out, however, because her other friend, CH, called, and he and DH came and picked up A&N and they went to the fireworks together. The plan was for mom and I to join them later, even though the storm clouds were rolling in.

There was definitely rain and lightning in the forecast, so we were racing against time. When we got there, the crowd was lighter than usual. We caught up with DH, found a nice spot to watch, and waited. There was a good group of kids playing, and though A’s buddy was absent, her other friends were there, and they all managed to have a good time. If anything, I for one think it worked out for the best.

In a brilliant move, the powers that be set off the fireworks a little early, around twilight, rather than waiting until it was completely dark. In fact, it took us by surprise, because we weren’t expecting it. It was a great show, and afterward, we really broke with our eating plan and had ice cream. The kids were thrilled, and just as we were walking to the car, it started to rain. Talk about timing.

We got home, got ready for bed, and bid adieu to a really great 4th of July. Small town life, you gotta love it.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Timefortea3, michael_h_reed and Srichand Pendyala for the pics.

More on Cool Vibes in Montreal

I realize we’re a week out of our trip to Montreal, but I wanted to share a cool experience we had. We are always looking for cheap eats that are healthy, as well. Cheap dining is easy, you can just get a hot dog or a slice of pizza. It’s healthy eating, at any cost, that’s a real challenge. Generally if you seek out vegetarian stuff, you can do okay, but that’s a tougher sell with the kids. Factor in eliminating dairy (cheese) and sugar, and the challenges can be insurmountable.

Either way, after doing some research online, R found a falafel place on what I think was the west side that got good reviews on Yelp. The plan was to grab some supper, then continue west to the movie theater to catch the 3D movie Brave. As we headed in that direction, it became clear that we were heading into an ethnic neighborhood, appearing to be Middle Eastern/Asian. There were kabob and falafel places all over, but we were looking for one in particular. The place was called XX, and it was a small non-descript place with a few tables. There were a few people ahead of us waiting for their food, so we ordered and grabbed a table.

There was only one woman working the counter, and I’m guessing one woman in back cooking or cleaning, so it was a small operation. The first thing that struck us was that the food was very affordable. I’m talking cheap. We all got falafel platters, which include salad, grape leaves, and bread, for less than $20. You can’t beat that. It’s the kind of place I’d eat at regularly if I lived in the city. After we had ordered, a wave of people came in, and that’s when things got crazy.

The woman behind the counter was completely overwhelmed, and though I assumed someone was in back helping her, she constantly went back there and did the cooking. I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on, but man did I feel for her. It reminded me of selling dumplings at the market. It took awhile to get our food, but we didn’t mind. If anything, I was ready to get back there and help her out, I felt terrible.

The food was excellent, and even A&N were digging their vegetarian meal. She was constantly apologizing for the delay, and you could tell that she was really bummed that she couldn’t keep up, it meant something to her. After we were finished, I gave her a tip, for which she was very grateful, and we went to the movie. After the movie, as we were walking back to the hotel, R and I were wondering how things went with the falafel lady, and wanted to stop by to see how things were going, but the place was closed. We figured she survived and left it at that.

Well, in a crazy twist of fate, while we were walking down the sidewalk, two women were behind us and one spoke up to address us, and who would be but none other than the woman in the falafel place. She must have just closed the shop and was heading home, and again, she apologized profusely for how long it took for her to make our food. She only spoke French, so we tried to explain that there was no reason to apologize, and that she did a great job. She was very nice, and it was a cool moment in the big city. Her friend was with her translating and explained that she was all by herself and couldn’t keep up the pace, but we understood. I think selling dumplings at the market gives you a whole new perspective on these sorts of matters.

Kind of a cool moment for us in the big city. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to wmliu for the pic.

Pond Hockey Summer

It’s been a lot of fun going to the open stick slots at UA, and hockey summer camps have been going on these past few weeks, as well, so we get to see loads of people we know. We were all set to jump into the fray, but at some point after some discussion, we decided to forsake the camps and instead just go to the open sticks and maybe do some skating clinics, which are only one hour long. Part of the reason for this is because the camps are a intensive and go from 9 to 4, which is a long, grinding day. It’s hard to keep a kid’s interest that long, and they don’t spend it all on the ice.

They also feed into the parental neurosis and fear that their kids are not going to keep up unless they do these skills camps, which is ridiculous, though for the record, N benefited greatly from them before starting his first season. His situation was unusual, however, because he had never played hockey before. Finally, they are expensive, again taking advantage of the parental neurosis about their kids chances at competing. The final straw was that N just didn’t want to do them, and said he’d rather just do the open sticks. The last thing we want to do is push him and then have him burn out.

With this in mind, we are just doing open sticks, which are a load of fun because when a critical mass of kids show up, we can organize a game, and it’s a blast. It makes me think of pond hockey, where casual pick up games are the norm. In a way, it’s like having the pond hockey experience without the pond, which is more about just having fun. I think it’s good for N, he enjoys it, and it helps to build his confidence. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that last year was his first, so it’s really about ice time and getting more and more comfortable with his game. Plus, there will hopefully be some organized stuff in the fall. I’m all for casual pick up stuff, it’s just more enjoyable.

So we’re kind of having a pond hockey summer. We get to have some ice time, but also focus on summer stuff like swimming, tennis, riding our bikes, and just being carefree. That’s what being a kid’s all about, right?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Bobolink for the pic.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Maine on a Whim

As I said, I’m a little behind here, but catching up. Last weekend, after our big Portsmouth/Blue Angels adventure, we figured we’d head up to Maine and frolic in the surf. It was only about 30 minutes up the coast, and we’re big fans of Maine. Our target was Ogunquit, and while were at it, we figured we’d get some lobster rolls, as well. I and the kids had never really had lobster rolls. We’d eaten lobster, but never lobster rolls.

We got to Ogunquit around 5:30, and the tide was coming up so the clock was ticking for our time on the beach. Plus, the water was freezing. I’m talking hurt-your-feet freezing, and it was such a warm day. That’s Maine for you. This fact did not seem to faze N, who was practically swimming out to Martha’s Vineyard. The kids is impervious to the cold. It was actually a lovely day at the beach, and as I mentioned, Ogunquit is a cool town. It’s so fun and lively, and somewhat reminiscent of Provincetown, in more ways than one.

After swimming, it was getting late, and we still had to eat and then get home. There are more lobster shacks along route 1 than you can count, and we left Ogunquit figuring we’d find something, but it was getting late, and the pickings were not as extensive as we thought they’d be. I kept saying that we needed to get lobster rolls from a place that was painted yellow, but at some point, we were not in a position to be picky. I should have consulted with my Mentor, who is not only a gourmand, but an expert on Maine.

Either way, we got to the town of York and decided to get off the highway and head into town. It’s a small town, but we managed to find a place advertising lobster rolls. It wasn’t yellow, but it was a shack, and it seemed like a place that locals ate at. We all got lobster rolls, and mom got a salad. Now I’m no expert on lobster rolls, but I was expecting something with mayonaise and maybe some celery or onions, but the lobster rolls were just lobster meat and some butter to dip it in. No mayo! The lobster was fresh and tender, but we might as well have just gotten a lobster. I was a little disappointed.

I need to consult with my Mentor, but it wasn’t quite the lobster roll experience that I was expecting. In fact, I still feel like I’m searching for my first lobster roll.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to bob1th for the pic.

The Great Race

I’m a little behind on this blog, but it’s summer, and the holiday was a busy time... I know, excuses, excuses. Either way, last week was the culmination of our go-car endeavors, and it was a blast. JM organized the big go-cart race, even though the other half of our team was nowhere to be found, they were out of town on a trip. In their defense, the final date of the race was kind of thrust into our laps with little in the way of notice, so they would not have known in time.

Things worked out well, in the end, because the kids managed to find a couple of kids to fill in, and I think it worked out for the best. One A’s new friends from clown camp was recruited, and ES was also willing to fill in. ES is a great kid, a very nice and loyal friend, not to mention hard working and athletic, so she was a good candidate for the race. Plus, she’s on A’s track team, so they can both run.

The race was held over at the school, after clown camp, and it was a hot day. I don’t know A’s friend, A, that well, but I told her mom that we’d be happy to have her over and then bring her back home. She was fine with that, so we went for it. We took the cart over to the school and it was quite a crowd that had gathered. The carts were amazing, so well done. One team built a heart shaped car, and another made one in the shape of a guitar, complete with a real guitar back rest. People really went for it. JM had car music blasting (i.e., Beach Boys), and there was plenty of ice cold watermelon. A good thing, too, because the heat was sweltering.

There were probably 100 kids out there, and the race was pretty simple. One member pushed the car halfway around the track, and then they switched for the second half. A and ES did great, finishing in the top three. This meant they raced all together for the final, and the race was close. They lost to the heart car, but was it ever close. I’m talking inches, but I was there, and I could see that the heart car won. For all it’s worth, it was clear A’s team let up a little in the final stretch, and that’s what gave the other team the win.

No matter, however, because all the kids displayed a lot of class and character, giving hugs and encouragement and praise to each other at the end. It was nice to see, they were all so nice about it. At least from my end, and I’m the king of cynics, it all seemed so sincere. Regardless of the outcome, the kids had a blast, and that’s all that matter, right?

After the race, we dropped A off at home, then headed back to the farmer’s market, where the kids hung out, got crazy, and played. They spent a lot of time in the brook, and there must have been 20 kids in there. Talk about fun. I felt bad dragging them away, but it was getting late, and it was a long but wonderful days. The kind that reminds parents (who, for the most part, are completely out of touch with what it means to be a kid) what being young is all about.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Game 2

We had our second hockey game last week and we won, though it was a close one, going into overtime, no less. There has been some grumbling that our team has a few guys who should be playing in the B-league, and I don’t dispute this, but I think every team has at least one player who stands head and shoulders above the rest. We just happen to have two or three. I agree, they should probably move up, because it’s not as fun when on person can take over and win every game if they want to.

The game was fun, closer than I’d expected. The Green Machine are good, and they really controlled the game at times. The scoring was evenly spaced out, and they got one of our young guys who is really good, so that evened up the playing field. I think it was more evenly matched because they had a couple of pros, as did we.

I did manage to score another goal, and unlike the first one, there was no ambiguity to it. It was definitely my stick that hit it in. Whatever be the case, it was a blast, and I am so hooked. I can’t get enough of this game. When are we moving to Canada? I’ll take Scandinavia, if need be.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to dryutsky for the pic.

A Very Long Day and Dragging the Kids Along

Since we’re a hockey loving family and it’s summer, we are experiencing a bit of different worlds colliding in that we are combining winter and summer activities. In other words, life is good. Summer up here, as it is in most of this country where parents are neurotically overbearing or are looking for somewhere to dump their kids, means camps, and lots of them.

For us, this meant clown camp, at least for this week. The kids love it, it’s their third year doing it, and the guys running the show, JM, MZ, and JM, do a fantastic job. Kudos to them for their efforts. Anyway, the camp runs until noon, and we had many other things to do after that. A had her guitar lesson after lunch, and then we had plans to go to open stick at UA. After that, I had a game, and didn’t really have time to drop the kids off, so they were forced to hang out and watch me play.

This, of course, required all of us to eat supper away from home. Now any normal family would have simply picked up pizza or had a hot dog, but we’re not a normal family. In the quest to have a healthier diet, the only course of action was to make something healthy and bring it with us, which meant more planning. During the day when the kids were at camp, I had to make a meal that was not only vegetarian, but was something the kids would like, and could be eaten on the road. I decided on spaghetti puttenesca, which has become one of our favorites. Pasta is good at room temp, and the kids love it in most of its forms. Included a mesclun salad and some roasted peppers, and we have a meal that would satisfy even the staunchest vegetarian.

We had about a half hour break after A’s guitar lesson, so we came home, dropped off the guitar, grabbed the supper and hockey equipment, and headed for UA. We had a blast at open stick, and then had about an hour and a half until my game. I set us all up on a table with supper, and it was kind of sad melancholy because we were the only ones there. There was a practice with a HS team, but we were alone in the lobby, eating supper. In retrospect, I could have brought the kids home and made it in time for the game, but it would have been rushed, I would more than likely have been late, and A&N said they wanted to watch me play. Say no more. Even DF commented on the fact that we were still there as he headed home for the night.

Right after supper, we had some dessert, and the kids took to the stands to watch me play. They were, needless to say, really cute in the stands, and one of my teammates even commented on how cute they were being, but she was probably just being nice, even though I completely agree. I don’t think they were too bored, and they got to see their dad getting worked over on the ice. After the game, we headed home after an exceedingly long day, but what else is new in our lives?

At least once we got home, I didn’t have to make supper. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to ~ petel ~' for the pic.

Chainsaw Fixed

I dropped over a $150 to fix the chainsaw because they said it had an air leak, whatever that means. The problem was that when I released the throttle, the engine kept running and the chain would spin. As you can imagine, this is not good from a safety standpoint. They fixed the leak, which involved taking the whole thing apart and replacing the seals, and then I brought it home and finished the wood pile.

The problem seemed to still persist, however, and I brought it back to Joe’s (after all the wood was done in case they needed to hold it). The mechanic took it out back and fixed it in 10 minutes. Apparently there is an idle adjustment that needed to be done. He said it was the “other” idle adjustment, whatever that means.

Either way, I’m glad it’s fixed, and they didn’t charge me. I love Joe’s equipment, those guys are so cool. Plus, I used the saw one last time before running the gas out in preparation for winter storage. As it stands right now, I won’t really need it until we get out next log load, which will hopefully be next spring.

Until then, thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Not Quite Ready to be a Vegan

I have to come clean and admit that I’m not ready to be a vegan. It’s way too hardcore, and I don’t think it’s fair to subject the kids to a diet devoid of fun and excitement, especially when we grew up with all this stuff, for better or worse. We’ve made huge strides in healthy eating, and have removed dairy (except for the occasional ice cream-kids have to have ice cream), a lot of meat (we’ll continue with fish and some pork), a lot of sugar (but not all), and other assorted bad things.

Let’s face it, even Jack Lalanne ate fish and egg whites, so he wasn’t a complete vegan. His key was activity, and I’m all for that. Plus, I never set out to be a vegan, I just wanted to eat healthier for a number of reasons which I won’t go into.

All in all, I think we have to have balance and reach a happy medium. Besides, a lot of the information is intriguing, and some of it is backed with science, but they don’t really have the answers, and there are no guarantees. There is no perfect diet. Every person is different, and you just have to make informed decisions and do the best you can. It was getting a little too hardcore for my taste, no pun intended. For every Jack Lalanne out there that eats like a rabbit, there is a Julia Child who live to be the same age. Sometimes I wonder if our obsession with eating healthy is what is actually killing us. Maybe we need to lighten up and enjoy ourselves for a change.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to ediblevegdible for the pic.

More Spontaneity and the Blue Angels

On the advice of the Amazing PR Man and his wife, DR, we headed out on a whim (sort of) and went to see the Blue Angels. We are just the masters of spontaneity over here. We had discussed with the kids the idea of checking out the Blue Angels in Portsmouth, but we had a crazy week with Clown Camp and Open Stick, and I was ready to hang out on the home front, myself. Maybe even do something crazy like mow the lawn.

R was looking into the Blue Angels, and she thought it would be nice to go to the coast. The kids seemed ambivalent at first, but they gradually warmed up to it, and by Saturday morning, it had been decided. We were driving to Portsmouth to see the show, and maybe drive up to Maine to hit the beach, afterward. How’s that for getting crazy?

The drive isn’t that bad, about two hours, but somehow it’s less painful than going to Burlington. The Blue Angels were performing at this old airport, and there was a big air show preceding them. The weather was hot, but it was breezy with some cloud cover, so we didn’t roast. In fact, it was fairly nice. The crowd was huge, and the show was cool. We missed the first couple of hours, intentionally, and made it in time to see a few bi-planes doing crazy things before the Blue Angels fired up their engines.

It was a pretty amazing show, and we all loved it. They did some incredible flying, and A&N were beside themselves, they couldn’t get enough. I think they both want to be pilots now. The show lasted about an hour, and then we packed up and drove up to Maine for even more spontaneity. We hit Ogunquit beach and frolicked in the surf for a few hours. The water was freezing, though that didn’t stop the kids from jumping in. I was amazed.

The tide eventually came up high and we had to leave the beach, so we went in search of a good lobster roll, figuring we were in Maine, after all. We ended up in York, and I have to say, I was a little disappointed in my first lobster roll. The lobster was fresh, tender, and delicious, but no mayo. I thought a lobster roll had mayo. Either way, it was good, but not quite what I was expecting. Still searching.

The drive home was a bit brutal, but we made it, and now we have the rest of the weekend to catch up on some rest. That is, of course, until UF.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to iconic labs for the pic.

Good Vibes in Montreal

Okay, we officially love Montreal. What a cool city. It’s got some of the big city feel that you’ll find in New York, though not as angry, intense, dirty, or noisy. Sure, sometimes you want the insanity that is New York, I know I did at one point in my life, but now, I find a city like Montreal more manageable and fun. Though New York is a big melting pot of culture, there is a lot of anger and discontent that underlies the multiculturalism. As much as there is a huge mix of people in NYC, all is not harmonious.

Montreal definitely has more of the European feel. Maybe it’s because it just doesn’t have the New York edge, or maybe they’re more comfortable with foreigners. Whatever be the case, I felt much more relaxed in Montreal, and not as targeted as a tourist and outsider. We ended up exploring a lot more the city than we had the last time we visited. We wandered into several ethnic neighborhoods, all on foot, tried a variety of foods, and of course visited the home of the Montreal Canadiens. It would have been amazing to have gone to a game. That way, the fans would have been swearing in French, so the kids wouldn’t understand.

The last time I had been to Montreal, which was before the kids were born, we stayed in the old section, which was really nice. We went back this time around, and it really struck me that that part of the city is really designed for tourists. You get all the generic bistros selling crepes with the attractive host/hostess competing to lure people in and the kitschy shops selling the same tacky and somewhat tasteless stuff. Who buys this stuff?

Actually, we do! N decided to buy hockey pucks for all the major cities that have teams, and Montreal is the Mecca of all things hockey. A is also getting into jewelry, so she got some earrings, so I can’t really criticize, can I? That won’t stop me from being a hypocrite, of course.

All in all, we had a great time walking around the city, trying different kinds of foods that you can’t find in Vermont, which pretty much means everything that isn’t pizza and burgers, and just had a great time. I love that city, and it’s an easy trip to a place where we could practice our French. Plus, if we time it right, we could catch a hockey game. Enough said.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mohammad Abtahi for the pic.