October 31, 2009

Boo! It's Halloween here too...

We've had several phone calls from "down south" asking if we celebrate Halloween here...oui!  Our doorbell has been ringing and we've enjoyed plenty of trick-or-treaters. In addition to candy, many of the kids were carrying boxes for donations of coins for the local children's hospital. Another kid was collecting for diabetes, sort of ironic. 

It's been a mild fall thus far, unlike what our friends and family have endured in Colorado. We have yet to wear our winter coats. Hopefully this does not mean that winter will go on through May. The thing about the snow in Quebec is that once it starts, it doesn't stop. After the ground is snow covered, we won't see the grass until late spring.  And that includes five months worth of Duke's land mines.

Today, the rain stopped by 5 pm (or 17h00 as we're learning to read and write) and the leaves are being blown from the trees by the bag full. This photo was taken this evening and is the first time we've seen the sunset in months from our back yard since the leaf-covered trees usually block the western sky. 

We love our yard and all the trees...but the leaves! There is a deck under all these leaves. It's common to have a lawn service in our area and fortunately in the fall it includes leaf pick up through October. Unfortunately for our yard, the leaves keep falling into November. Oh well, that's what kids are for, right?

There is a deck under these leaves

October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Canada

It's a holiday in Canada, but the phone still rings from the U.S. -- even while taking a walk in the forest near our house. For our Louisiana friends, you'll notice that Paul is still representing the Bayou state

Yes, Thanksgiving is celebrated in Canada too. Unlike the traditional American holiday of remembering Pilgrims and settling in the New World, the purpose of the Canadian Thanksgiving is to give thanks for a successful harvest. Because Canada is that much further north, the harvest is earlier and Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the second Monday in October.

From a history website:

The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an English explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. He did not succeed but he did establish a settlement in Northern America. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony, in what is now called Newfoundland, to give thanks for surviving the long journey. This is considered the first Canadian Thanksgiving. Other settlers arrived and continued these ceremonies. He was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him - Frobisher Bay.

At the same time, French settlers, having crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada with explorer Samuel de Champlain, also held huge feasts of thanks. They even formed 'The Order of Good Cheer' and gladly shared their food with their Indian neighbours.

After the Seven Year's War ended in 1763, the citizens of Halifax held a special day of Thanksgiving.

During the American Revolution, Americans who remained loyal to England moved to Canada where they brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada. There are many similarities between the two Thanksgivings such as the cornucopia and the pumpkin pie.

Eventually in 1879, Parliament declared November 6th a day of Thanksgiving and a national holiday. Over the years many dates were used for Thanksgiving, the most popular was the 3rd Monday in October. After World War I, both Armistice Day and Thanksgiving were celebrated on the Monday of the week in which November 11th occurred. Ten years later, in 1931, the two days became separate holidays and Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day.

Finally, on January 31st, 1957, Parliament proclaimed...

"A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed ... to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October.

The Pisani family in Canada will celebrate, sort of. It's a day off school, yet Paul's business phone is still ringing with calls. Kish sent Paul and Louis to the store this morning to get a turkey, and they came home with a rabbit. "I thought we could just throw it on the grill," says Paul. "According to my Facebook friends it needs to be braised or stewed or something," replied Kish who is trying to figure out how to get this rabbit out of the refrigerator without wasting food. So, for Canadian Thanksgiving dinner, we're having steak. The rabbit is now in the freezer.

October 4, 2009

Race for the Cure/Montreal


It's Breast Cancer Awareness month in Canada too. Danielle's school participated in a Walk for the Cure in late September by walking around Mont Royal in Montreal.

Kish and fellow baseball moms participated in the Race for the Cure, a city-wide event in Montreal this Sunday. Over 15,000 walked and ran for this cause.

Unfortunately, statistics for this horrible disease are similar in Canada. We do keep in mind that there are fewer people in this country. It's estimated that one in every nine women is expected to develop breast cancer during her life time and one in 28 will die from it.

While walking for a cause is a great time to get together with new friends, we also look forward to the day when we don't have to participate in fundraising walks...in Canada or the U.S.

(We're watching football this Sunday afternoon and pleased to see so much pink at the N.F.L. games!)

October 2, 2009

Greetings from Edmonton

Paul's travels this week take him to the western part of Canada where he took some time in Edmonton for hockey site-seeing...not too difficult to find in Canada. He called to say it was damn cold...-15 yesterday -- (celsius). This metric system is annoying, making one family member, especially the writer of this blog, wish she paid more attention to that lesson in grade school.
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