Back from Canada, in one (expensive) piece.

I’m here to report that Montreal is lovely, folks. Architecture is stunning. I had no idea you could do that much with concrete. Seriously, everything we saw was made out of concrete. I guess it survives the winter a lot better. Lots more churches than I expected in such an urban area, and a lot more French paired with English than I expected. Signs on the street, in the museums, on the Metro maps - everyone we ran into spoke both languages fluently, so it was no problem getting around or communicating. But you wince whenever you buy something. I think it’s because they’re making it in the US and shipping it to Canada and then we’re trying to buy it there with a much weaker dollar. Then everyone laughs at the stupid American tourists, trying to fit all those expensive souvenirs in their luggage. I paid $8 for a souvenir jar of maple syrup. Oh, but it’s Canadian dollars, you say? Go price maple syrup at the grocery store. I still think I got screwed.

MasterCard is running a commercial these days that asks you to write your own. Here’s mine:

One bottle of wine and a French dinner in a Montreal bistro, ordered in our best Southern accents: $140.00 (Canadian).
Two tickets to the 1976 Olympic Park, looking for a possible 50-mile view from a 90-story tower in light rain & heavy fog: $63.00 (Canadian). (No refunds.)
A beer in a crowded bar during the hockey playoffs, and you’re the only American in the room: $6 (Canadian). (Can I have that beer to go, please?)
Getting enough sleep in a week’s vacation to catch up on a year’s worth of deprivation: Impossible. Ha! What were you thinking?

Boy, howdy, we missed that baby while we were gone. Her Nana B survived the week with flying colors, including one rough night of teething, but the rest was spent in blissful solid rest and lots of playing. Helen even got a nap or two, I hear.

When I came to pick her up, Helen looked so different. She had grown so much in a week! She was walking everywhere. And she says “Uh oh” all the time now. It’s her first official word. She’ll take her pacifier out of her mouth, look at me and say, “Uh oh” and then hurl it to the floor. She’ll look down at the paci, then at me, like, “Hey, get that, would ya?” In the wee hours of the morning, she’ll hurl it out of her crib and then cry until I show up to give it back to her. So there went all that sleep I caught up on.

We enjoyed watching Helen’s Uncle S. graduate from college – congratulations, S.!! - and at an after-party, Helen got to play with her Aunt M. and cousin M. M. *loves* to hug Helen. Thankfully we got a picture of it before Helen used her daycare karate chop on him. She’s a quick one.

Last week we had a giant rainstorm in the middle of a sunny afternoon, and afterwards there was a beautiful double rainbow. We even managed to get a picture of our pot of gold, too. Enjoy.

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