Friday, July 14, 2017

Last Couple of Hours in Montreal (Update on Emotions)

I feel that it is important after my last post here to let you all know that as I prepare to travel back home, I did shake the blues enough to truly enjoy the enjoyable. Wednesday I took a day trip up to Quebec City and Montmorency Falls, it's pretty hard to stand that close to such a waterfall and not realize that I was here for a reason, that I had much to be grateful for, and that all that I was kind of blue about worked out pretty okay.

Yesterday I took a tour of the Olympic park here in Montreal, where the 1976 summer games took place and was in the stadium where the Montreal Expos played. I had no idea just how moving that tour would be and it made me realize once again, how perspective is so relevant. From one perspective, I was simply wandering grounds with impressive buildings, from the perspective I had though, I was standing on the same ground where the Olynpics were held, where records were broken, where Nadia Comenici (sp.) and Bruce Jenner made history. Where a younger Greg Lougannis and so many others began their careers on that world stage. I was in a ballpark that housed a team that gave us the late Gary Carter and so many others.

I've left so many sports behind for various reasons, but growing up, sports was a significant part of my life and being in that place was emotional, inspiring and wonderful!

I ate a lot!

I'll catch up soon.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Good Morning Montreal (Trying to Shake the Blues)

It's early, I've showered, dressed, ate the included hotel breakfast and am now in my room with a cup of coffee finalizing the Itinerary I've put together for the start of the day.

Most of the plans involve food but there's an initial stop at a place that promises (according to a local) "amazing views of downtown Montreal and the mountains over on the south bank." Then a stroll through what I expect to be a pretty, yet hipster-y neighborhood. All the rest involves food - but by the time I get through this itinerary and make it back to base, I will have walked somewhere between 6 and 7 miles; I don't know for sure because Google insists on feeding me kilometers because I am in Canada and I don't do so great with Metric.

As for the blues I was speaking of yesterday, hard to shake them. I can't not think about wishing my kiddo was here with me.

I do have a full day planned for tomorrow, taking a day trip to Quebec city and something or other, includes a boat me being on a boat, perhaps that will help shake it.

I got pics, I'll share them later. Until then...

Monday, July 10, 2017

I Shouldn't be this Unhappy Right Now (But I Am)

Here I am in Montreal, starting week 2 of a 2 week, well deserved vacation, and I am just shy of miserable. Just 4 days ago I was sitting on a bench in front of a Cheesecake Factory in the middle of a suburb and was happier in that moment that I had been in a very long time. I guess it's all a matter of perspective, circumstance, and perhaps some emotion.

Last week I spent 4 days in Chicago, a city I have been to and know that I like. Plus, someone very special to me lives in a suburb north of there and getting to see her in person again, well, it just made me really happy.

I picked Montreal for this week because I have heard so much about it, and it's a place I had never been. I was stoked at the prospect of going and a part of me is still stoked to be here, but there''s this darn hole that got made as a result of what I can't label anything but selfish absent-mindedness by my daughter's mother.

Kiddo's mom and I split years ago, but it's always been amicable, kiddo always comes first and we've always made sure to put kiddo's needs first. If either of us are planning to be away or anything, we let each other know out of courtesy and to be sure the other is watching over kiddo.

Now look, kiddo isn't so much of a kiddo anymore, she turns 19 in 2 weeks - but she's always going to be my little girl, you know? I plan myself this 2 week vacation, I haven't had a vacation in a while, I book the trips, then do the right thing by letting kiddo's mom know that I will be away and then she drops it on me that she was going to be away for a portion of that time as well.

Again, kiddo isn't a baby, I know she will be fine, but had I known, I might have either planned my vacation differently so that at least one of her parents was close by, or I might have brought kiddo to Montreal, which would have been awesome, because she's got more than a 2 word vocab in French.

I just feel awful that my kiddo is home and I am here.

I need to plan some stuff for the next few days so that I can keep busy and try to see some of the things that are special about this city. I did go out and eat poutine, I don't like it!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Compensating for Blurring the Lines

This here (on the right) is the Sunny Side Up & Coffee Shoppe. It was also the location I chose for breakfast this morning (technically yesterday morning as it is past midnight when I write this) - it had lots of good Yelp reviews and was a short walk from my hotel.

About a block or two away, there was a mattress store on the corner and just out front, one of those bus stop alcoves, under which, a homeless man was sleeping.

I simply couldn't resit a joke, which didn't come from a cruel place, but understandable could have been perceived as mean. I looked down at him then up at the mattress store just 2 or 3 feet away and said out loud, "So close, yet so far."

Now before you think the absolute worst of me, first, I can assure you with 100% certainty he was not in hearing distance. I went along for my breakfast, filled my belly, then I brought him a nice hot meal as well.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Barside Comic: The Joy of being Hacky

I stopped by Miller's Pub last night after an old friend had recommended I do. Legend has it that this establishment was the inspiration for an episode of MASH; plus, there is a pretty rich history since the it has been around for as long as it has.

The place has clearly had some renovation done over the years but there is still a rustic charm and the decor did speak a story of history; though I often wonder how much of the decor of places like these tell a fully true story and how much is either given poetic license or is completely fabricated.

I guess all of that is part of the charm of such a place, lots of stories and despite how accurate or true, most are interesting enough to listen to or read.

I sat at the bar, ordered a beer, and decided I would also stay for dinner. It seemed to me that fish & chips was the appropriate thing to order at such a place and so I did. I chatted it up first with my neighbors to the right of me and then noticed that of all baseball games to be playing on a TV in a bar in Chicago, they were showing the Boston Red Sox against the Texas Rangers. I grew up a Yankee fan and moved to Red Sox Country just about two decades ago, it's fun rooting for the arch enemy in the arch enemy's home town. But here I am in World Champion Cubbies and the AL team White Sox and the only game they got going is the damn Red Sox, I can't get away from them! LOL!

I look up at the screen at one point and see this guy with the word "ODOR" on his jersey. I don't watch a lot of baseball anymore, so I was unfamiliar with him. I was stunned to think though that this guy has a name like "ODOR" and gets every lucky break to make it to the big leagues and be on national television and he decides to wear that name proud.

This is where I got chatty with the neighbors to my left, a group of younger folks just nursing their drinks, sharing an app and discussing where they were going next.

I began to make every hacky joke about the name ODOR I could come up with, pausing strategically in between. I don't recall the entire barrage, but here are some of them and the interaction:

Me: I can see the headlines now if they lose the game because of him, "ODOR stinks up the game with an crucial base running error in the bottom of the ninth."

Them: Laughing

Me: Or if he ends up winning the game, "Ah, the Sweet Smell or rather, ODOR, of Success!"

Them, "Oh, you are funny!" as they laugh through that and build my confidence.

Me: If their kid is not behaving, then they are a bad ODOR!

Them: "How do you think of these?" still laughing as if they mean it.

At this point, let's face it, it's already getting old. There were a few more that I can't even recall but they were just okay. This is where anyone should stop - take the acclaim for them thinking you are some kind of quick witted comedic genius despite the hackiness of it all...but me, I needed to stretch this out a bit and make it a little uncomfortable; this for me was the real fun.

Me: "If I were him, I'd name my first kid Pleasant, just to give them a positive head start."

I knew I was on my way to accomplishing my goal by the reaction to this one, there were three of them, two looked at each other and then over to the third, the third got the joke and explained it, then they all started laughing. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect outcome because the one guy that got the joke did the work of lulling the other two into a false sense of security and into believing I was still funnier than I was hacky.

I paused for a little longer, partly because I need to to come up with the right joke to deliver but also because it had to be the right amount of pause to break back into the discomfort zone. I was pretty much out of stuff but the group was two dudes and one girl. I knew if I could come up with something that the dudes would instinctively laugh at but the girl might either laugh to just go along with it or just go quiet...but either way, clearly express that they were uncomfortable - I knew if I could pull this off, my job was done.

Me: Do you think that Mrs. ODOR has a pet name for her chooch?

My strategy here was to delve into a potentially uncomfortable area and also get the two dudes to start impulsively coming up with those pet names which would really make it extra uncomfortable for all of them.

The two dudes sure enough started laughing hard while the girl just sighed and said, "Really?" while make the exact face you would imagine.

I felt my job was done, I finished my beer, paid my tab, them wandered out of Miller's Pub and out into the city.

Dusting off the Blog

Back when I started this blog, blogging was the thing. As a result, I've made a number of friends, many of whom I remain in touch with after more than a dozen years. In that light, how can I not say that blogging was worth every second I put into it?

It was also really nice to have a space to just talk and not have anyone else be able to censor me. To talk in a longer form than the current wave of social media really expects.

I am not here to say now that I am dusting off the blog as I consider spending a little more time here to open up in a longer form about whatever.

I don't know that anyone comes here anymore, but I expect to come by more often than I have in the last couple of years...not daily or anything like that, but I want to have this place that I can come to when I want.

I hope that some of you will join me.