Sunday, September 24, 2017

See, back in August we had this soon-to-expire Airbnb discount...

and my husband was scheduled to start a new job in a week, with no vacation days available until he'd been there six months. What could we do? I got online and found a room for two nights in a little residential neighborhood in Quebéc City, that's what.
It was our most impromptu trip yet - I scrambled to cancel out three days in the middle of a week, we booked flights, brushed up on our French, packed a couple of carry-on bags, and flew to Canada. We used our discount to get a very inexpensive room in someone's home. And it was a little odd. Like staying with the friend of a friend. She was welcoming and accommodating, but we tried to stay out of her way when she was getting ready for work in the mornings because it felt a little awkward.
We shared the walk-up with this very fat kitty
and his even fatter brother. Both very sweet. I was pleasantly surprised that the apartment didn't smell like cat at all. One night, though, I heard something in the bedroom and then shrieked when this fellow jumped on the bed. I'd left the door to our room open while I ran to the bathroom, and he got in.
As soon as we'd dropped our bags at the apartment, we headed up to Rue Saint-Jean to Épicerie J.A. Moisan, the oldest grocery store in Quebéc.
J.A. Moisan opened his store in 1885 and it was fun to poke around in for picnic supplies.
We picked up a bottle of red wine, a baguette, some soft cheese in a hardwood ash, crispy pastries with duck confit and a fruit tart.
The plan was to walk until we found a place overlooking the river. But I'm one of those people who gets pretty irritable when my blood sugar starts dropping and I was hungry. The first place we found in the shade was our picnic spot. No glasses, so we drank directly from the bottle.
After lunch we walked along the river towards the old town.
The Saint Lawrence River flows through Québec, and the city is a port of entry.
There is a boardwalk that runs above the river, and we spent some time after our picnic strolling along it and just enjoying the feel of being somewhere different. Our luck of defying predicted bad weather held and it was gorgeous out.
Just doing my part to keep the Château Frontenac in its position of "most photographed hotel in the world."
Québec takes the idea of entertaining tourists and residents seriously and there were street performers out all the time. Not necessarily great ones, but still.
We decided to spend the rest of the afternoon in the lower part of the old town, and headed toward the stairs. But more on that in the next post.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Do you ever feel like there is so much going on that posting about daily life seems trivial?

Part of the country is burning, part of the country is drowning, and the leader of our country is taunting a madman in North Korea and denying climate change. And I can't do anything about any of it. So I just shut down for a bit. I don't mean I wasn't living my life, I just mean I couldn't bring myself to blog about the mundane and I have nothing of value to say about what really matters. But when you get right down to it, the mundane is what I've got, so I'm going with it.
Before I get to a bigger trip we took last month, I wanted to post about a quick trip we took with the younger daughter down to South Georgia to visit family. My niece was making a rare appearance and so three of my sibs and a brother-in-law gathered at my mom's house for a crab feast. My sister and brother-in-law picked up fresh Georgia blue crab and the water was boiling when we got there. Most of the people at the table ate a crab or two, but my brothers and I are crab-eating machines. We just keep going until they are gone. It's labor-intensive, but I managed to pack five of them away.
We also spent some time learning how to juggle flaming things. Or trying to learn. I kept dropping them. There are two downed trees out back from previous storms and my brother and brother-in-law had put a lot of time on another visit trying to chop one down.
We all took our turn with the axe. My husband, I will admit, was better at this than I am. I have pretty pathetic upper body strength.
Plus I never take anything seriously.
Because the daughter and I have allergies, we always stay at a motel. Our room had a palm tree immediately outside our door and fire ant hills in the sandy dirt. There's no mistaking what part of the country we were in. It also had a pool, a huge bonus when traveling with a child, and we all hung out there for part of the visit.
The second day, we went to walk a trail. South Georgia greenways are swampier than the ones in our neck of the woods. I looked for alligators, but saw none. I am convinced they are there. Or maybe a chupacabra.
The effects of recent heavy storms were evident on our walk, as well. And the town was bracing for Irma, which did veer inland as feared. Fortunately, my mother and sister reported only minor damage. Another sister had to evacuate from the Keys and my stepmother and her husband also were away from their home in Florida during the hurricane. Earlier, we were glad to get similar reports from my in-laws in Houston when Harvey hit - some flooding but all were well.

But my family was lucky. There was so much destruction and so much recovery work is ahead. Fire and rain and wind, more frequent and fierce. Tell me we aren't screwing up this world. And all I can do is try to help people in the ways that I can and live life while I have it.