February 28, 2010

Blame it on the mittens

"I'm only watching this game because of the Blackhawks players." 

At the Olympic torch relay in our town...Louis is still wearing his White Sox hat! He's very loyal regardless of where he is...

We've enjoyed living here in Canada during the Olympics. Admittedly though, it gets confusing from time to time remembering that we're from the USA, and of course we should be cheering on our country. But when we're in a bar with a bunch of Canadians and before we know it we're singing "Oh Canada" with them (or the first line or two anyway), it's hard not to feel Canadian. (When we pay our Canadian taxes, it's definitely not hard to feel Canadian). We can blame it on the mittens. When you're wearing THOSE mittens it's easy to feel Canadian. We've been wearing our mittens since we attended the Olympic Torch relay in our town before the holidays.

But today it's all about the U.S.A. and hockey. Although, Paul is ready to take a hockey stick to the TV because he has had enough of the Olympics. "I'm only watching this game because of the Blackhawks players," he says.

We have Special Olympics skiing today which ends right when the game starts. We decided instead of watching it with a bar full of Canadians we are going to race two hours home, without the radio on, which will inevitably be broadcasting the game on most stations, walk in the door, flip on the PVR and watch the game from the beginning, hopefully without hearing the score. Our flag is out and we are proud. Our feet are in Canada, but our hearts are still in the U.S.A. Hopefully no one pour maple syrup in our yard today. We'll always have the mittens. GO U.S.A.

February 27, 2010

Curling is not that bad

It's both good and bad that curling is finally over. Good, because there was oh so much of it on television. Bad, because it took watching the gold medal game tonight for Kish to discover that this John Morris guy from Canada is a mighty fine curler...and not too bad to watch. For our single friends out there, he's been named one of Canada's most eligible bachelors. He's been curling since he was five! You can read more about him here.

He can come to Montreal and sweep our floors whenever he wants. He can even use a Swiffer. And wear his Gold medal.

Here we go again

Oh Canada crap, here we go again. As mentioned in an earlier post, being in Canada right now can be compared to being a Green Bay Packers fan walking into Soldier field on game day. Is this what Archie Manning feels like when he has to watch his sons play each other?

One Canadian response to the loss to the USA last week
It's no doubt going to be a big game and a perfect ending to these Olympics. 

Here's another commercial we've been watching on Canadian TV. It's funny, but oh so true. In our case though, we get searched coming back to Canada. We're just Americans trying to smuggle  pay realistic prices in the States and avoid 14% sales tax for dog food, laundry detergent, printer ink and Patron.

February 26, 2010

These dudes are serious

This hockey stuff is serious.

A friend of mine works in Washington, D.C. doing some sort of engineering job having to do with the defense department. She's one of the smartest women I know, and one of the funniest. She happened to spend her grade school years in Toronto so she understands Canadians.

When I sent her the link to the curling blog from the other day, she wrote back with this hilarious story...
One of my friends works in a NATO office for the US Navy.  When the Canadian naval officer showed up, ashamed and embarrassed after the defeat to Team USA, some one asked  him, if Team Canada could go to the volcano and sacrifice some curlers in exchange for a hockey win, how many curlers would they throw into the volcano?  The Canadian began to explain how important curling is to Canadians, then stopped and said, "all of them."
We get to see Super Bowl caliber commercials during these Canadian Olympics. This Coca Cola ad says it all...not sure if you see this is the U.S.A. Lots of hockey today...could we have another U.S.A. and Canada match up on Sunday?

In other Olympics news...how about those Canadian women? Quebec is beaming with pride following Joannie Rochette's bronze medal in figure skating. And the women's hockey? Those girls can play! What's been really cool to watch is how many of the Canadian athletes are staying in Vancouver cheering on Team Canada instead of hitting the talk show circuit back in the States. Yes, Canadian athletes can ink sponsorship deals after a medal win. Most will agree though that it's not at all as lucrative as it is for U.S. athletes. I'm just saying...it's the Olympics. Stick around and cheer on your TEAM. 

February 25, 2010

Bobsleigh or Bobsled?

Living in Canada during these Olympics has enabled us to view the television and newspaper coverage from the Canadian perspective. With that comes some differences, even though we're not that far from "home." So when the bobsled coverage started and we were watching the story on CTV and they kept saying "bobsleigh." We were all, "Huh? It's bobsled! Bob Costas and Al Michaels have always said "bobsled." Why are the Canadians saying bobsleigh?"

From a quick google search it appears as though the term is interchangeable depending on your mood. Sort of like that whole "you say tomato, I say tomato" debate. Not much of a difference.

After watching hockey and the USA take on Switzerland (we got to see the entire game on several channels) and then Canada take on Russia, seeing the Canadian women take gold and silver in the bobsleigh was really cool. What made it even more nostalgic was seeing the Americans join the Canadians the podium. Such nice neighbours, or shall I say neighbors?

February 24, 2010

About this Curling

Oh my rocks. Those things are called rocks you know. Or more formally, stones. And they are made from granite. Imagine all those countertops.

Curling was entertaining. It was amusing. Now it's annoying. Every time we turn on the TV, it's more curling. Our Canadian friends keep telling us it's one of the most popular "sports" in the world, just not in the U.S. Really? It's like shuffleboard. It's on television in Canada ALL DAY LONG. There's nothing like turning on the television in the middle of the day to enjoy a bit of Oprah, the news, and finding curling on AGAIN. The thing is -- it's somewhat addicting. It's like flipping through the channels looking for something educational and the remote happens to stop on Bravo and before you know it you get sucked into watching the full episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County. And then you realize you wasted an entire hour where you could have been out shoveling the driveway. That's what happens when you start watching curling. Kish was hoping that all that yelling about sweeping would motivate her to...well...sweep something.

We believe that sports where you can play and enjoy a beer (or two) at the same time should not be considered Olympic sports. Ooops. That rules out skiing as Kish enjoys a glass of red before skiing, and certainly after skiing. Après-ski, but pre-ski we like to call it. Now....Ski Cross...that's some crazy shi stuff.

The following is from the Montreal Gazette's Bluffer's Guide column...

Curling? That's the bedpan and house brush sport, right?
Stone and broom, if you please. The stones are made from Scottish granite and weigh almost
20 kilograms each. The brooms have synthetic bristles, unlike the old style, which were made with straw.

20 kilograms? So the winners are always the strongest?
Not necessarily. The idea is to get the stone as close to the centre (tee) of a circle as possible. A point is awarded for each stone closer to the tee than the opponents' best, provided that the stone is within 1.83 metres of the tee. This area is the house. Accuracy and timing are key rather than brawn.

Like all winter sports, the gold medal favourites will come from the coldest countries?
Mostly, but Great Britain's men's team won the first curling gold at Chamonix in France in 1924 and are the world champions. The sport disappeared off the Olympic radar until 1998, when Switzerland took the men's gold while Canada won the women's event. In 2002, the women's gold went to Britain.

Doesn't sound like the most gripping of sports. Any storylines I should know?
Sandra Schmirler skipped the 1998 Canada gold medal team, but died two years later at the age of 36 from cancer. In Turin in 2006, Denmark's women's team needed extra security following outrage in the Muslim world after a Danish newspaper published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

What should I watch for in Vancouver?
Dumping. Sounds unsavoury, but it's when a player lifts his broom to leave debris on the ice, slowing down the stones of an opponent. Canadian teammates Marc Kennedy, Ben Hebert and Richard Hart were recently at loggerheads over the issue in a club game.

February 23, 2010

A love letter to Canada

One of the best things about having these Olympics in Canada, while we live here, is learning even more about the relationship between our two countries. This report from Tom Brokaw is a great reminder. Or, as one Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reporter said, "A Love Letter to Canada." In this story Brokaw tries to explain Canada to Americans.

In response to the video, the CBC reporter wrote the following story and included an old video from  Canadian perspective.
From the CBC...
A new video is getting a lot of airplay on both YouTube and Twitter today, and it's one that's got normally reserved Canucks feeling more than a little chuffed and patriotic.

The clip, entitled "Tom Brokaw Explains Canada to Americans," was originally prepared by the revered former anchor of the NBC Nightly News as part of that network's Olympics coverage, and aired before the Olympic opening ceremonies on February 12.

What's got Canadians so excited is Brokaw's reverent tone throughout the video, in which he praises our country for being very neighbourly - a nation always willing to share natural resources, open its borders to immigrants, export its homegrown talent (Jim Carrey, anyone?) and loyally stand by other nations in times of political crisis and war. Some are calling Brokaw's Canadian shout-out's a "love letter" to our country, and with the clip's soaring score and loving close ups of our breathtaking geography, it's hard to disagree.

Though Brokaw's spontaneous show of affection for Canada should definitely earn him some kind of honorary national treasure status, it's interesting to note that he's not the first journalist to give this type of impassioned, border-busting shout-out.

Way back in 1973, Canadian journalist (and Front Page Challenge panelist) Gordon Sinclair constructed his own passionate tribute to the U.S. The stirring speech, called "The Americans," and playing out to the strains of the The Battle Hymn of the Republic, was so popular with our neighbours south of the border, the clip eventually rose all the way to no. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100:

Now...back to Curling and the Olympics...

February 22, 2010

Canada is grumpy today

Leave it to a hockey game to put an entire country in a bad mood. Seriously. Everyone is grumpy today...radio talk show hosts, sports writers, kids, the clerk at the grocery store...seems all these normally easy-going Canadians have a hockey stick up their....I won't say it. And to lose to the USA? Yikes. That's like the Chicago Bears losing to the Green Bay Packers. Let's just say we didn't go out of the house with any Team USA apparel today. If there's one thing we have learned after being here for a year and a half -- it's that Canadians are easy-going about anything but hockey.
After last night's game, Canadians are just mad. One sports reporter said, "the only thing the Team Canada put IN the goal was Crosby," referring to a shot when he ended up sliding in the goal instead of the puck. 

At least we got to see the game on half a dozen channels and in English or French. We heard that in the U.S. the game was only available on MSNBC? Certainly after yesterday they'll rethink that plan. There's still hope for another Miracle on Ice, but it's safe to say if the U.S. and Canada meet up again, it might be a whole new hockey game. 

February 19, 2010

A Montreal Saint

The New Orleans Saints have not recruited a new player from Montreal. But, the Pope has made a Montrealer a, dare we say, real Saint?  Brother Andre, a significant figure in the Roman Catholic French community of Montreal, was one of five new Saints announced by the Vatican today. The "vetting" process has taken almost 100. John McCain probably wishes his people had done that kind of vetting.

Brother Andre (Alfred Bessette) was responsible for the creation of St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal. What started as a small, wood chapel in the very early 1900s has grown to a magnificent building today. Brother Andre, who died in 1937, came from humble beginnings, was illiterate and had the reputation of being a miracle worker. He was a lay brother. To this day it is not uncommon to find crutches, wheelchairs and other medical equipment placed outside the church. When he died in 1937 it was estimated that over one million devout Montrealers stood in line to pay their respects.

Photos of St. Joseph's are common in most Montreal tourism materials. Kish had just visited the Oratory on Wednesday and had a chance to see the display of Brother Andre's heart in a "box." Yes, the real heart is preserved and on display. It's behind glass and roped off since sometime in the mid 1970s it was stolen and then mysteriously returned a couple of years later. Kish was a little freaked out to even take a photo, which doesn't happen that often.

Outside his tomb is a large room full of lit candles which is not that uncommon in Catholic churches, especially in Europe. What was unusual was the sheer number of candles. Hundreds of them, so many that when you walked in the room you could feel the heat. It was overwhelming and clearly people come to light candles for those who are sick.

St. Joseph's Oratory is really a beautiful building and a nice tribute to the man who has finally become a saint. The official canonization and Montreal festivities will take place in October. It is cool to be living here in Montreal when a Saint is named. We're not sure if we'll try and go to any of the events. You never know, miracles do happen.

February 17, 2010

Curling is hot

We have the opportunity to watch a lot of curling on Canadian Television (CTV) and The Sports Network (TSN) almost 24/7 as part of the Olympics coverage. While our friends "down south" watch profiles of Shaun White over and over again, we see the early rounds of curling, the biathalon and the discussion about whether or not there was enough French at the opening ceremonies. Paul came home yesterday and said "have you seen some of those curler chicks? They're hot." Ummm....never quite looked at it that way. But, we've never had the chance to watch so, so, much curling. Curling is a popular sport in Canada. It's sort of like bowling in Wisconsin. There are curling clubs everywhere in Montreal. We have to admit, we have yet to try it, but the ongoing coverage of the sport has us intrigued. 

Kish thought the clothes were hot. These hot dudes are sure to bring some attention to the sport.

February 15, 2010

Today in Canada

Canada is celebrating today and especially in Montreal. Mens Mogels skier Alexandre Bilodeau is from a suburb of Montreal and practices less than an hour from our house. While he's a great skier, we're more impressed with Alexandre as a person and a sibling of someone with special needs. Hearing him talk about his brother is both inspiring and humbling. Congratulations to Canada.

Today is a busy day for all of Canada. As it was written in the Montreal Gazette..."It's Flag Day* in Canada,  Family Day** in Saskatchewan and Ontario, Louis Riel** Day in Manitoba, Islander Day** in Prince Edward Island and Presidents' Day*** in the United States. Here in Quebec, it's Monday.****

* Flag Day -- February 15 was declared National Flag of Canada Day in 1996. It marks the day in 1965 when the red and white maple leaf flag was first raised over Parliament Hill in Ottawa hundreds of communities across Canada. Red and white were designated as Canada's official colours in 1921 by His Majesty King George V. Quebec could care less.

**Family Day, Louis Riel and Islander Day -- Nearly 60% of Canadians have a statutory holiday on the third Monday of February, thereby coinciding with the US holiday Presidents' day. The holiday is called "Family Day" in most provinces, and "Louis Riel Day" and "Islander Day" in Manitoba and Prince Edward Island, respectively; there is no federally-established Family Day.

*** Presidents' Day -- our American friends and family know this as that random day off in February, ideal for quick trips to Florida or skiing.

****The day after Sunday.

February 12, 2010

Are you ready for the Olympics?

We are ready. We have no choice. Olympic fever is everywhere. The clip below is from one of our favorite shows, This Hour has 22 Minutes, on Canadian TV. Canada has put all its pucks in the goal in hopes of the Canadian Hockey team bringing home the gold. What are the chances of the US and Canada meeting in the final?

February 8, 2010

We Believe

Other than the fact that the SAINTS won the freaking Super Bowl...the next best thing about the televised game is always the commercials, right? NOT in Canada. Instead, during every single commerical break, and we all know there are a lot of them, we heard promo after promo like the one above. As if we didn't know the Olympics are in CANADA. Okay, we GET IT. WE BELIEVE. The Olympics are starting this coming Friday...did you know that??? (By the way, that's Donald Sutherland doing the voice over. He's been hard at work all year making these promos. We had to explain to Danielle who Donald Sutherland is. As you know from previous posts, his ex father-in-law was a member of Parliament and one of the dudes to get socialized medicine going in Canada).

The first few of these We Believe promos had us all going "wow, that's cool." After a few more we were all "where's the Doritos commerical? The Clydesdales? Come on...we want Tim Te(ar)bow!" We flipped through the guide since with this cable system we get stations in Seattle (for Vancouver) and Boston (for Eastern Canada). Nothing...everything was hooked into CTV (Canadian TV) which means no Doritos, Bud Light or Oprah/Dave/Jay. By the third quarter we could tell a promo was about to start and we were all saying "ENOUGH." Paul was ready to turn off this amazing Super Bowl game asking, "Isn't Jeopardy on or something?"

It was a GREAT game when we were not being indoctrinated by the Canadian Olympic commercials. Seriously, did you know the skeleton thing has those people in skin tight leotards going 120 KM down the ice track with no brakes or steering? Really, who would do such a thing? It's possible Canadians might be thinking, who would pay all that money to go to a game where a bunch of guys in spandex try and get an odd shaped ball across a line? And they get paid MILLIONS to play that game. When you take a step back, it all seems silly.

In the meantime, Kish has seen enough Olympics commercials and is ready to take up ski jumping. Because...WE BELIEVE.

February 7, 2010

The French Connection

The only thing that could make Super Bowl Sunday any better for our family would be if the Bears were playing. While we're huge Saints fans, 3/4 of this family are loyal Bears fans first and Saints fans second. The writer of this blog is in the minority. Regardless, seeing the Saints earn their way to the big game is more than just a sporting event for us. As most of you know, we started our lives together in New Orleans in 1989. Paul signed up for Saints tickets before we even had a place to live. We had season tickets for seven years, making the drive from Baton Rouge to New Orleans on Sundays to watch the Saints. They weren't a great team then, but we didn't care because there's no place like New Orleans in your 20s and early 30s.

Danielle was born in Louisiana and is proud of it. We made life-long friends in Louisiana and we keep in touch to this day. We had many "firsts" in Louisiana. Our first ride in a boat through the bayous and rivers with our friend Judy, our first Abita Beers with our friends Margaret and Jason and our first crawfish with our dear friends Bob and Debra. There were several Mardi Gras celebrations, Jazz Festivals, Hurricanes (the drink and the real thing), LSU games, crawfish boils, King Cakes and more. And many, many Bourbon Street experiences we'll blog about when Danielle is much older.

We learned some French while we were there as there's so much history in Louisana. Many of the street signs we see in Montreal are not unlike what we saw in New Orleans. So... the French Connection...it's ironic that now we find ourselves in Canada...the beginning of much of that history in Louisana. The Acadians of Louisiana -- later to become Cajuns -- are the descendants of French colonists who settled in the Canadian Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Quebec in the 17th-century. During the Great Expulsion if 1755-1763, mostly during the Seven Years' War, British colonial officers and New England legislators and militia deported more than 14,000 Acadians from the maritime region in what could be called ethnic cleansing. About one third perished and many later settled in Louisana -- now known as Cajuns. Others were transported to France and some back to the Maritime provinces. (thank you Wikipedia, what would we do without it?) When Paul first started his job in Louisiana, he traveled to many of these Cajun areas. We're talking deep into these Cajun towns. He would come home and talk about how strange it was to talk with them, he could pick up English words here and there, but it was like hearing another language. Imagine when the "Yankee" from the north opened his mouth in the deep south.

So watching the Saints and what the team has done for New Orleans is nostalgic. A couple of years ago we went back to New Orleans for a Saints game. In another bit of irony, Louis' favorite football team is USC, one of his favorite players is Reggie Bush, and of course Bush now plays for the Saints. It was eerie to be in the Superdome just a year after Katrina. The city still was not up and running and it was actually sad to see much of it, or what was left of it at the time. They've come a long way!

Now we find ourselves in French-speaking Montreal and more irony. Danielle's name is common in French -- especially when added with her middle name Marguerite which is very French. Louis, while named after his grandfather Pisani is meant to be Italian, it too is obviously common in French, although he's often called Louie. And, there's another Louisiana connection. The French people here at sporting events love to say Louieeeeee Pisaneeeeeee. There's several other "six degrees of separation" things we could write about later.

But today, Super Bowl Sunday, it's all about the Saints. We've got a Cajun pork roast ready and Jambalaya. No Abita Beer from Louisiana though, so we have to settle on Molson.

February 6, 2010

A Quebecer in the Super Bowl?

That's not a typo...we do mean the Super Bowl, not the Stanley Cup. Believe it or not there are a few football players from Canada playing in the NFL. We give them credit for going against Canadian tradition and trading in hockey pads for football pads. Sam Giguère is a Colts player, promoted from the practice squad just before the end of the regular season. (While he hails from Canada, we'll still be cheering for the Saints). It's not likely he will get much playing time, if any, since four other Colts players need to be knocked out of the game in order for him to play. But hey, he's technically a Quebecer in the Super Bowl.

If you go to the Colts website it says he's from "Sherbrooke." Unfortunately it doesn't say Quebec, and most people will likely assume this French guy is from Indiana. Or Illinois. He does sort of look like he could be Brian Urlacher's distant cousin, eh?

February 4, 2010

Canadian alarm clock

Who, me? Doesn't everyone appreciate a little Canadian patriotism in the morning?
Nothing says GOOD MORNING like being awakened at 5:30 am with Louis singing the first line of "Oh Canada" over and over and over again. Perhaps we've been watching too much Canadian hockey?

February 3, 2010

Things not seen in the U.S. #7

Adding to our ongoing list of Things not seen in the U.S. is this beignet rouge et blanc. That would be a red and white donut. Paul and Kish had an upscale breakfast at Tim Horton's this morning and Paul ordered this donut..."I'll have that Valentine's one." To which the guy said, "Those are maple leaves, it's Canadian, you know, for the Olympics?" All that was missing was the "eh" And Paul's glasses. Those are maple leaves, not just ordinary sprinkles. Oh Canada.

February 2, 2010

We have Sam

The U.S. celebrates Groundhog day today with Punxsutawney Phil and Canada celebrates in Nova Scotia with Shubenacadie Sam. He saw his shadow this morning, which is not much of a surprise. Canadians are used to long winters and they don't let the weather stop them. We're actually hoping for more snow to extend the ski season. (check in with us in mid-March and see if we're still thinking that way). As one weather forcaster said yesterday on the news when asked for his forecast..."It's February, it's Canada, it's cold."

Nova Scotia's groundhog calls for six more weeks of winter weather
By The Canadian Press
SHUBENACADIE, N.S. - Groundhog Day has produced a big chill.

Nova Scotia's furry forecaster, Shubenacadie Sam, got a glimpse of his shadow today, heralding six more weeks of winter. But Sam isn't the only groundhog with a weather forecast.

The other prognosticators include Ontario's Wiarton Willie, Alberta's Balzac Billy and Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil.

They'll be coming out for a look around a little later.

The origins of the tradition aren't clear, but it's likely related to the fact that Groundhog Day falls midway between the start of winter and the beginning of spring.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...