Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Awesome Summer Vacation recap part II


So the very next day after I came home from being out west for nearly a month, Tom came to town with his husband and two other couples whom I didn't know. They had come up to do an Iron Man competition, which, when I heard what that entailed, made me quite certain that I will never do one. I don't think I could do even one part of it. Anyway, it turned out to be just the most wonderful day. I asked Serge if he would come as we met up for breakfast in old Montreal so he did, but instead of heading back home after, he tagged along all day as we hit the main sights around town. It was just one of those weird happy chemistry things and we hung out the whole day and evening together. What fun.


The next weekend we were invited by our new friends to go out to the woods for a hike up to a gay nudist spot on a river. It was wonderful being out in nature and watching people. Serge and I didn't go nude and it seemed like none of the guys we wanted to see nude were nude and all the ones we didn't were. We also noticed the first yellowing leaves and August wasn't even over yet.


We met up with some friends for brunch for what would turn out to be our last meal in Montreal on a restaurant terrace. The summer seems to have ended so abruptly and although I can remember it being hot here in September, it is downright chilly this year.


It was Camp Camp week but we bowed out this year due to what were our best gay friends in the world completely severing all contact of any kind with us. We didn't want to spend a week of feeling uncomfortable and it turned out to be the right decision and you'll see why later. Instead of Camp Camp, we planned a long weekend getaway to Ogunquit, Maine with a gay couple who we have never travelled with before. You know that is always a dicey situation, people change sometimes when travelling but it turned out just great.


We decided to split the drive up in two and scored a nice little hotel in Rutland, Vermont. I love visiting any kind of new place and the town was a charming little hamlet in the hills. We walked around and Serge bought a coat since it was cold, something we didn't think possible in August.


We bar-hopped for happy hour and met some of the colorful locals who recommended the restaurant just behind our hotel. Here is Serge being his tipsy self as he demonstrated what he thought that looked like on his bowl. It was a very yummy dinner with a nice bottle of Shiraz to go with.


We drove through Vermont and New Hampshire and discovered beautiful little villages that we would like to return to for ski season. The area around Woodstock, VT is just amazing and Serge and I sang show tunes and gawked at the beautiful scenery. Then we made it to Maine.


We had some time to kill since the hotel didn't quite have the room ready and our friends were meeting us later on so it was blogger meet-up time! Finally got to meet Colleen. She is the saintly person who sent us the chocolate covered potato chips last year. We hung out and shot the shit for a couple of hours.


And we got to meet the girlies! The more I hang out with chickens, the more I find them adorable. Serge confessed that he is scared of them but only after we left. I had a pet rooster when I was a kid and that thing scared the crap out of me, but chickens are so docile, it's not the same. And omg my hair is thinning! Most people won't notice though since I pretty much tower over everyone else. Well except when I am sitting.


And we stopped for a couple crab rolls, oh my gosh so delicious. We prefer crab over lobster rolls and since they are cheaper, double bonus. And why do they call them a roll? It's crab salad sandwich in a hot-dog bun so where did this roll business come from?


Our friends finally arrived after hitting some long-weekend getaway traffic through the Boston area and we whipped up a batch of cosmos. We brought the glassware from home and all the fixins.


The next day we took a long walk around town and along the beach. The weather was just beautiful. We played tourist, buying souvenirs and such.



Then went to the outside bar at the Bluewater Inn for drinks. Bobby the bartender is always there and he had the soundtrack to Pricilla, Queen of the Desert on. We got quite the buzz and had to go nap it off afterward. I love this picture, it makes me think Rock Stars! We all bonded and shared lots of intimate details of our lives, something you only do with close friends which is what we seem to be becoming.


I really liked the sentiment here. I wanted to get it for our ex-friends because I think we should bury the hatchet and let bygones be bygones. But the sad truth is even if one refuses to let someone go, the other people can (and in this case did) go right on out of one's life.

As we walked around that last day with other friends who stopped by on the way home from camp, we saw our ex friends walking across the street. I messaged to let's bury the hatchet and have a drink. I also invited them to stop by our hotel for a drink. Serge was pretty astonished at the shattering silence as was I. And apparently I am just repugnant because I was blocked on Facebook a short time later. Sigh.


But then why not focus on the friends you are with which is exactly what we did. After celebrating our last night there Mexican style, the sky started to get menacing so we went back to the hotel and played Heads-Up for a while. We had the BEST time with Sean and Jeffrey and can't wait to see them again at Thanksgiving.


On the way home we discovered that they opened a new Trader Joe's in Burlington which is only two hours from home. We stocked up on all our favorites and can see popping down there every once in a while. Previously, the closest TJ's was a 5-plus hour drive away.

The next two weeks I still haven't worked and didn't go anywhere because the money well has run dry. I planned pretty well though even though I didn't qualify to get unemployment. My last day of work was June 20th and My first day back is this week September 17th. Three months off and it was just divine.


I will close with the obligatory Georgie shot. We are watching mother-in-laws dog this week while she vacations in Europe and I love having two dogs around. Makes me want to add to our family but Serge will be a very hard sell. So that's all I've got for you, hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by. Mwah!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

My Awesome Summer Vacation Recap part 1

Greetings followers. What a fantastic summer I have had. I stopped working June 20th and am scheduled to restart September 17th. Three whole months and although my unemployment claim was denied, I have managed to have an extraordinary amount of fun on the slimmest of budgets. Serge kept inventing tasks for me as I was home day after day so I planned a bunch of trips to see people. Before that though, we were invited to a soiree with old work people when I worked at a restaurant after just having moved out here. Restaurant comeraderie is so special, those bonds never die.


It was a small gathering but quite fun as you can see. We are all getting to the age where mid-life crises and bodily ailments occur, so there was lots to talk about. There was much laughter at the Quebecers trying to pronounce the word "pond", as it usually came out "poned", lol.


Then I took my first road trip out to Toronto to visit with my cousin. I rode the six hour drive with the top down which was really stupid as I got quite a sunburn. Didn't end up peeling though, it just turned very brown and has remained that way all summer.


I realized I hadn't been to Toronto in 10 years. It was wonderful to catch up with my long ago student Tamae who I used to walk Sarah with when she lived in Montreal. Sarah, that dog still gets me choked up.


It was also wonderful catching up with my cousin who has been through so much in the last year, as have I. We comforted each other, which is what family is for right? So fun.


My favorite thing in Toronto is the Batha Shoe Museum. It is just fascinating the history of shoes in the world. If you ever find yourself in that city, I highly recommend it. Not boring at all and I am usually bored in museums.


After another week at home I hopped on a plane and headed to California. It was a nice long trip so I got to spend quality (meaning longer than usual) time with the people I love. Here with my friend Donna in Venice, we were nearly struck by lightning a few minutes after this photo was taken. Scariest thing I have ever encountered weather-wise. Also the fact that not five minutes before, we were walking on the beach at the exact spot where the lightning struck. You may have seen it on the news, bunch of people went to the hospital and one died.


Then my last annual Vegas junket took place. (This photo sums up the luck I had. Wager 50, win 1.) I didn't know it was going to be the last but my Vegas bud has given me the heave ho. I don't really understand, but apparently I am a terrible friend and I needed to be given the big FU. So sad, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt but nothing to do about it but move on. That makes three people I thought would be in my life forever who have dumped me from their lives this year. All I can say now is that I understand the adage, that which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. (And more cynical, less trusting and less willing to be vulnerable.) Onward!


Then it was time for Camp Mommy for several days. She threw a little barbecue in honor of my presence and it was the loveliest of days. My cousin Carley ate a hamburger! I never thought I'd see the day as she has been a vegetarian since birth. But she had been having issues and read a book about eating for your blood type and it turned out that red meat was the way to go for her. You really never can say never, you know?



It was quite relaxing and the folks took me out for my birthday, 49 this year, and mom and I went kayaking way out in the ocean. The weather was just perfect, if a little hot.



Then it was off to Camp Daddy. I think this is the longest we have ever visited together in my adult life. It was really nice to spend quality time together. It's hard when you live 3000 miles apart. His three dogs were lots of fun. This girl is Maya.


It was wonderful to see Grandma too. Three generations right there and if I were the procreative type, there could ostensibly be two more generations in the same picture. Dad and I look a lot alike but I didn't get the bald gene. Yay!


We went to the fair and they had an awesome petting zoo with baby goats, sheep, pigs, donkeys and even deer! Such beautiful creatures, I can't believe we eat them. Well, except for donkeys.


We took a day long road trip out to see friends in Tehachapi and discovered red rock canyon state park. It was pretty cool but also very hot! I would love to camp there sometime in the spring or fall.


We made it about 100 yards on our "hike" before we couldn't take it anymore. Air conditioned car please. Our generous hosts were delightful as always.


After my visit with Dad, I hopped on a plane to San Francisco to visit with my brother. We had such fun hanging out and DRINKING, talking about family and hanging mostly around the Mission district.


As his girlfriend says, he is the gayest straight man she knows. We caroused and I took him to my favorite place to eat in San Francisco, Sotto Mare, where they really do have the best damn crab cioppino on earth. My mouth waters just thinking about it.


It was a great weekend. Then I flew back down to Long Beach, hopped in a car with my pals and we headed off for our great New Mexico adventure. We made it to Flagstaff for the first night where I snagged a suite hotel room for $49 on Priceline. The huge breakfast buffet that three of us dined on was worth that but we also got free parking and internet. I don't know how the hotel makes money off of us, but who am I to ask. I AM the king of travel deals. Did I tell you how I flew round trip from Montreal for $310? That was me and my wheelin' dealin' magic I tell you. I need to write a book.


We stopped at the painted desert in Arizona and then El Morro National monument on our way. El Morro was really cool and was a stopping point for the caravans heading west. There is a natural watering hole here and the wall has graffiti from the natives (petroglyphs) and from famous old West characters dating from the 1600's. I would love to go back and explore the pueblo at the top of the rock. Got a great t-shirt as a souvenir.


Then it was aunt and uncle time. You see where I get my silliness, it just runs in the family. Tom is so wonderful to go hiking with. He knows all the flora, what it's good for, what's to be avoided and so much more. The forest is a buffet for him and he had us chewing on all sorts of things. The second night we did a sweatlodge, and although I wasn't able to stay inside the lodge due to weird pressure in the back of my head that scared me, I participated. I've been wrestling with blood pressure issues and even though I am on medication, it just didn't feel right. I stayed through the ceremony outside though, singing, bringing in the hot stones and even crying. At one point, thousands of ravens passed right over head and I couldn't help thinking they were drawn to the power of spirit happening. It was magical.


We did the drive back in one whole day. I took the girls on a small detour to Oatman, AZ which I had been to before and liked but couldn't remember why. Oh that's right, the dozens of "wild" burros roaming the streets of this quaint desert burg.

The last weekend of the trip was at hand and I went to my now ex-friend's (Can't believe I am typing that, but may as well face facts) 50th birthday party. Then met a friend to walk the beach and have a couple beers on second street. The last evening, I had dinner with my ex. Funny, the people who probably should be out of one's life are in mine and the ones that should be in are out. I am opposite man.

I got back the 18th of August. But the traveling wasn't over yet. I will get to that on my next post which I hope to bang out this week as well. But before I let you go, I must do my duty and give y'all a little Georgie porn.


Peace out everyone. Mwah!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summertime in Montreal


Hey y'all what's shaking? It is the most fabulous season of all in our fair city, SUMMER. We got things started at the Fringe festival watching Mado's drag race. She pairs professional drag queens with never-before-done-drag queens and makes bad jokes while a panel of judges gives scores. It was more and more fun as the event progressed because Serge and I had brought our drinky-drinks in sippy cups. Wonderful free event we will probably see year after year now.

I finished working for the summer and every day I wake up and then realize that I don't have to do ANYTHING if I don't want and happiness sets in. Serge keeps inventing tasks for me but dangit, I want to enjoy this time off.


We haven't been eating all that well, and this has given rise to weight gain. I am back up to 170, a weight I haven't seen in nearly two years. Is there anything better than a poutine and Quebec style hotdog? That's not saurkraut on the dogs by the way, it's coleslaw.


It's also barbeque season. Spent a delightful evening with old and new friends. The James Franco looking guy is a new one. Quite charming even if he is Parisian. Poor Serge with his sore ribs didn't quite get his face in the shot.


We have been going to the movies too. After 14 years up here I learn that movies are half price on Tuesdays. We saw Maleficent, Non-Stop and Chef. We liked them all but Chef was just wonderful. Exactly our kind of movie, quirky and feel-good. Funny too. Exiting the metro after seeing that there was a cloudburst waiting for us. It's a five minute walk from the metro and we got drenched.


One of the tasks Serge gave me was to touch up the deck paint. The winters are just too harsh here for paint to adhere permanently. I acquiesced and did the job. The view here is from the upstairs neighbor's balcony. We had been trying to rent that apartment for months and showed it to dozens of looky-loos. I was getting pretty panicky as July approached. Finally, a nice French girl from Paris swooped in two days before the deadline and signed a lease. Whew. And we learned that 4% of the apartments did not find renters here. There is an overabundance of units here due to the condo building craze. It is a buyer/renter's market. We even lowered the rent $25 which is a first for us.


Then I got an invite from friends in the Boston area to come down for 4th of July weekend. Serge didn't feel up to the 6 hour drive because he is still in a lot of pain from his broken rib fall. So I went alone. As hurricane Arthur approached, we took the Samuel Adams brewery tour and I finally got to have the shirt I have wanted for 20 years. The subdued red one. YAY! Seriously, I was so happy to have it, I would have paid double. It's the little things.


They kept talking about how they were going to make magic rice krispie treats. I thought it was the Fruity Pebbles they added for the tye-dye effect but no, it was a little more than that. They were divine after our 4th of July bbq that turned into a non-bbq.


As the hurricane passed by, the sky opened up for hours and hours and hours and hours. We huddled inside and had dinner and watched movies.


The next day was beautiful again and we all piled in the car and drove up to Ogunquit for the day. There you see the Sam Adams shirt I have lusted after for so long. That evening the fireflies were out in force. I had not seen them since I was a kid and visited Cuernavaca in Mexico. 35 years later I was just mesmerized by them winking in and out in the forest and bushes. I really saw why people believed fairies inhabited the forest as it was just magical. 




We have been having our weekly happy hour gig as well. Here you see our favorite (and drop dead gorgeous) waiter handling something one of our friends had purchased. It's in Frenglish so you probably won't understand it all unless you are a Montrealer. Serge is certainly happier at happy hour and that makes me smile. He is still moaning and groaning about his ribs, but he is probably only half way through the healing process. If he is lucky.


Summer is just fantastic in Montreal. It's festival season and I completely missed the jazz festival darnit. Diana Krall gave a free concert and I am kicking myself for having missed it. Oh well next year. The other thing that has been ongoing is my blood pressure situation. After months of trying different meds to get it down, the doc finally gave me a year long prescription of Ramipril which is generic for Altace. It runs in the family so it is to be expected but I didn't think I would already be on meds for the rest of my life.


Here you go Blobby, a second Georgie pic. He has been great lately although he is a total blob in the summer. Next up on the agenda is another little road trip, this time to Toronto. I will head out tomorrow and attend the WMTC annual potluck for the first time. I love meeting US expats up here even though I feel like I already know them through their blogs. Until next time my lovelies, Mwah!

Friday, June 20, 2014

A visit to the country and the big fall


Second post in a month, whatta you know? Last weekend we took Georgie out to spend the weekend with our friends in Granby. We always have a great time with Annick and Jesus and last weekend was no different. She greeted us with bloody marys and Georgie promptly claimed his spot on the chaise lounge on the patio. After a couple drinks, we poured into their van with the pups and drove around town. It is quite a lovely place and we visited an awesome brand new condo that is renting for around $950 a month. We discussed how fun it would be to rent out our Montreal condo and move out there. It would mean an hour commute for me to work though so we probably won`t do that.


A call to the uncle who is a real estate tycoon of sorts and we were invited to stroll the grounds of his vast estate or "domaine" as it is called here. After looking at the gardens near the house we walked for an hour around the many lakes peppering the estate. All the while classical music filled the air from hidden speakers in the forest. I felt like I was in a movie. Although we were invited to stay for dinner, Annick and Jesus had already planned a great supper for us so we declined.


We finished off our visit with a cold beer up in that tree house. It had a bedroom, fridge and working toilet. So very cool. When asked why he had built it, he said, "for kicks". Ah to have the moolah to indulge any whim. But I was grateful just to get a peak into how the 1% lives.


Once back to their house we got started with dinner. This salad was amazing and you wouldn't think it given the ingredients. Fresh spinach with smoked salmon, a wedge of grapefruit to squeeze on and topped with guacamole. Mix it all up and the taste was just divine.



After the salad, we had raclette which I had only heard about but never had before. That contraption is both grill and oven. You cook the various meats and seafood on top and underneath you use little trays to melt special cheese over veggies and bread. We also had several sauces to dip our goodies into. It was fun and interactive. Mom said it was like shabu shabu, a Japanese meal, so now that is on my list to try.


Dessert came out of a box in the freezer, but we were not all that hungry after the feast. Even so, I finished my slice. We drank quite a lot and sang, played heads up and shared things you only share with your closest friends. Seriously, we all felt like there were no taboo subjects. So fun. I stayed up until 2am which, if you know me, is quite the compliment to our hosts.



The next morning was pretty lazy. We did the "grasse matinée" as they say up here. Slept in late and had a wonderful breakfast spread with mimosas. Divine. We decided to drive home on country roads instead of the freeway. We put the top down and it was the most gorgeous day. Just before we got home I realized I had left my ipad at their house so I dropped Serge off and hopped back in the car and spent two more hours to go and pick it up. That time I took the freeway of course. It gave Serge a chance to mow the lawn which will now be my duty for the next month because the next day something terrible happened.


I thought Serge had gone to bed as I was finishing up an episode of Nurse Jackie that I was riveted to. Then I went to brush my teeth and got ready for bed but when I got there, Serge was not in bed. Where the heck was he? I searched the house and then went down to the garage. Apparently, Serge had taken a terrible tumble down the stairs as he was taking out the trash. He had been calling out for help for a good ten minutes before I found him. He was bleeding from his face and elbow and had quite the goose egg on his head. I helped him up the stairs to the sofa. Call 911 he said, "I think I'm dying." So I called and here you see him in the ambulance. (That generated a ton of comments on Facebook and we were so appreciative of the outpouring of love and concern.) In the ambulance he kept holding his side and saying he had a cramp. Turns out it wasn't a cramp, it was broken ribs! He insisted I leave the hospital and go home and get some rest so I did. He called me 7 hours later to pick him up when he was released.


Now his face looks like this with each cough, giggle, sneeze and even fart. We are hoping for no hiccups in his future. He can't bend over and his sitting down and getting up is a chore. So I will be doing all the heavy lifting for the next several weeks. I am just grateful he didn't have a brain trauma. The first 24 hours I had to watch him to look for any changes in speech. Of course he messed with me every time I asked, "What day is it, what year is it?" That's also how I knew he was okay, he just cannot be serious. I love him so much and the thought of losing him really snapped me back to being grateful for each and every minute I have with him.


Last night we went out for happy hour and although he winced with every laugh, I think the alcohol combined with the morphine pill prescription they had given him at the hospital let him endure the pain more easily. It was so great to see him happy like that. He is pretty groany again today though and likely will be for some time.

So now you are all caught up on what's been shakin' around here. Oh wait, Wednesday was my last day of work for the next two months. I have been socking away enough money so that I don't have to stress about it, but of course there is a fly in the ointment - we will have an empty apartment upstairs as of the first of July. I really hope we find renters for it but it is not looking good as there are only ten days left. We even lowered the price. If you know anyone looking, here is the link: http://montreal.fr.craigslist.ca/apa/4529913317.html

I am hoping to post here more frequently this summer and get around to reading other blogs as well. After all, those activities are fun AND free. Until next time, mwah!