13 October 2011

Apologies to my vegetarian friends

In New Brunswick, Brad and I went out for lunch.  At lunch I met Lobster #1:
(for the record the bib was not actually used other than as a prop for this photo)

Several days later in Prince Edward Island, I was feeling a bit blue, Brad decided an introduction to Lobster #2 might cheer me up (he was right): 

In Maine, I concluded another introduction was essential:

My relationship with Lobster #3 is a little uncomfortable - I saw him live and not so orange, before collecting him 30 minutes later cooked and neatly bagged, then nursed him tenderly in my lap until we arrived at our sleeping spot for the night, and dinner was served.

There is a distinct possibility that I have a lobster addiction. I've always been a crayfish fan (just ask my mum) but lobsters are tastier.  Did I mention, there's just something I find EXCEPTIONALLY rewarding and enjoyable about having to work to get my food out of it's casing. Brad is contemplating sleeping in a locked sleeping bag from now on...

Sadly we're homeward bound, so if you see me trembling, vomiting, or exhibiting other drug withdrawal type symptoms in the next few weeks don't worry, it's just the lobster.

And a final note, in case you've ever wondered lobster will not cure the common cold, trust me,  I tried it with Lobster #3.

Some days it might help if I was a man...

It has been proven that any travel based research I conduct must be done under the strictest supervision - in my last attempt at travel coordinator, I found a fantastic campground just outside of Montreal, Brad "peer reviewed" my work and noticed "for men only" prominently located on the website ... which I had perused for at least five minutes and concluded was perfect for a night.  However, Brad is either extremely forgetful, or very forgiving and left preparing for our time in Nova Scotia up to me on the basis I spent a year on exchange there during school, so knew all about it.  Ahem.  I did successfully manage to arrange visits and social activities with friends and families I'd stayed with and warmth with which we were welcomed made us feel special and a bit like we'd "come home"

We'd like say thanks (in no particular order) to Maryann, Paul, Carolyn, Dave, Dave, Rosalyn, Patrick, Larry and Lucille for your heart warming hospitality, conversation, yummy home cooked dinners and covering up my shortcomings with sightseeing help. Also to Crystal who makes extremely delicious and beautiful cupcakes (check out http://gateauxrose.blogspot.com/) for drinks and laughs and a sugary treat.  You all made our time in truly Nova Scotia special, and we hope to see you all again.  Apologies too, to anyone whose ear I talked off - after five months of mostly just Brad for conversation I probably got a bit excited! 

For the record, we did visit some of Nova Scotia's stunning coastal areas (so perhaps I'm not a complete failure).

To my amazement, three of four pets from when I was here last were still about, since our departure sadly, Tucker the Bedlington Terrier has passed on - I know he'll be missed, he was one special dog. 

12 October 2011

My husband needs to read Anne of Green Gables. Or would that be weird?

For anyone who doesn't know I grew up without television.  No this wasn't some alternative child raising technique of my parents, we simply lived in the middle of nowhere and didn't have television reception.  At least that's what my parents told us.  Now that I think about it, maybe this was an alternate parenting method and my life up to 13 was a lie....

In any case this meant, amongst other things, I read books.  A lot of books.  Including L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables.  I must confess at this point I have only read Anne of Green Gables and none of Montgomery's other books (though I'd probably quite like them), despite the full set of Anne books being in my childhood home.  I will also confess these books belonged to my older sister and I have a sneaking suspicion she was keen to keep my grubby little hands away from them.

So when we visited Prince Edward Island, a visit to the Green Gables Heritage site was a must for me.  The house and grounds were the inspiration for the books, though having visited them, I find it even harder to believe, Anne was never a real person. 

A few examples of our conversations that morning.
Brad:  Why are we walking through this forest?
Me:  They're the Haunted Woods!
... a short time later
Brad:  Where are we walking now?
Me:  We're walking down Lover's Lane.
Brad:  Why?

I felt any explanation would be futile.  There are other similar historic sites on PEI, but I don't think Brad would have coped.  

I'd now like to talk about our visit to the Castle Air Museum in California.  I admit I was a little bored, but believe I successfully showed (pretend) interest as Brad read aloud from the guide about various planes.  I also diligently took photos of him in a selection of poses with various planes.
(there are 20 other photos just like this one)
There have also been visits to two dinosaur museums (though Brad claims I enjoyed these ... more than he did).  Oh and did I mention the Googleplex?

This entry is dedicated to Susannah, for this:

(By the way, Susannah writes a very entertaining blog Three Key Points)

03 October 2011

Je ne comprends pas?

Brad has decided to learn French ... from our GPS.  For two reasons, I can only see this ending badly 
  1. he'll only ever learn street names; and 
  2. the GPS has quite possibly the worst French pronunciation ever.  Montreal is pronounced as three distinct words Mon, Tree, All, with the emphasis on Tree. Um, ok.  On the topic of the GPS, after missing several turns Brad confessed he's started tuning the GPS out.  
I talk at least as much as the GPS, but probably about less important things....

Parts of Montreal that might be interesting to read about (at least in our opinion)
  • Dinner with Claude, a former colleague (boss actually) of Brad's - good company, Creole food and a few bottles of wine.  Brad got to talk boffin, something he's hardly had opportunity for in 4 months.  I got to learn a lot more about what Brad actually does, I'm not being sarcastic, the boffining actually interesting.

  • A bike ride along Lachine Canal which didn't end in me crashing spectacularly.  Ok, on one occasion I did try to get on the bike, and ended up on the ground on the opposite side, but it doesn't count as I was stationary at the time, and I only got one normal size bruise.

  • Friday night with Aisling and Matt - great company, lots of laughs, beer and gin (not together of course), more good food, an Aising tour, a Kid Koala book launch, more beer and gin, all finished off with a yummy late night supper and Brad attempting a nap in a strangers lap on the train trip home.  
  • Breakfast crepes at John Talon market with Aisling and Matt, and the acquisition of beautiful organic and/or locally grown produce (Mum and Dad, I've found the second place winner in the tastiest tomato competition).
  • The commencement of bagel testing.  To give you some background, apparently you're either a New York bagel person or a Montreal bagel person and in Montreal, it's either St. Viateur or Fairmount bagels.  We therefore needed to try both.  On experience St. Viateur won, the bagel we shared was still warm from the oven, but Fairmount was the overall winner. Brad, who only eats bagels as a last resort (ie when the bread goes mouldy) has been lamenting that we ate them all ever since.  We shall report on this again when testing resumes in New York.

Despite being in a big city, where we didn't even speak the language (my almost forgotten high school French does NOT count), we felt far less lost in Montreal than we had in Chicago and left feeling like we'd done the city justice, and maybe even wanted to move here.

From Montreal it was on to Quebec city, where we had perfect sightseeing weather for our one day there,  then Riviere-du-Loup in time to see the sun set.

By the time we left Quebec and Brad had perfected one French phrase 'Parlez-vous anglais?', well almost, he's still taking more notice of the GPS's pronounciation, so it comes out as 'parlez-vous engli?' But on nearly all occasions, it has been met with a response of "Yes, of course".