August 31, 2011

Happy trails

I just love the northeast. The kids and I took a quick overnight trip to Burlington, Vermont to save a shitload of money by avoiding 15% sales tax and inflated prices in Canada shop for school clothes. It's worth the trip as there is not sales tax on shoes and clothing in Vermont and as we all know, that stuff adds up. Plus, it was a reason to hit the road and head south and also go to our favorite Burlington Mexican restaurant.

We like to take the ferry these days. After crossing Lake Champlain from New York to Vermont, there's a pretty country road we take when I ran across this store and had to stop and take a photo of it. Unfortunately, the store was not yet open. Brilliant name.
We made our usual trip to Walmart for our usual provisions and when I turned the corner I saw this....cue the sound of a choir singing "Alleluia." In WALMART folks. God bless the U.S.A. When we go there it's like the whole world is on sale.

August 25, 2011

the Daily Duke 8.25.11

Duke would like to thank the Korte family from Lemont, Illinois for being so thoughtful and bringing him a box of Trader Joe's dog treats when they come to visit earlier this month. What we would give for a TJs in Montreal. Duke thought they were mighty tasty. Merci!

The perfect season

Louis has had a great summer of baseball. His team finished the regular season and the regional playoffs undefeated! So this spirited team is headed to the Provincial championships tomorrow. We've had so much fun this season with the players, the parents and the siblings. Paul didn't get thrown out of any games this year. He did have a lot of fun with the boys. One kid in particular is named Laurent and speaks mainly French and his name is very French. After saying it a few times and asking for the pronunciation Paul said, "okay......Larry." Nothing like bringing a little American influence to the Canadian baseball team. Go Blue Jays!

August 17, 2011

the Daily Duke 8.17.11

Have I mentioned that he was supposed to be Paul's hunting dog? He's a bit domesticated now.

August 14, 2011

Da plane

There's something eerie about driving down the interstate near the airport and having this plane appear in the windshield. It's the very large and regal Airbus makes a daily flight from Paris on Air France. No, I was not driving when I took this photo.

August 12, 2011

A nice night

It was a beautiful night for tennis in Montreal last night. Chilly temps. Good tennis. Our American won. Full moon. Full stadium? Yes, this match was sold out even though it doesn't look like it. Good times though.

August 10, 2011

the Daily Duke 8.10.11

Duke is very bummed out to learn that they don't allow dogs into the Rogers Cup Tennis Tournament in Montreal this week. He's thinking of all those balls he could add to his collection.

Rogers Cup

One of my favorites things each summer in Montreal is the Rogers Cup tennis tournament. Louis and I enjoy going early in the tournament where we get to see some great tennis. Lucky for us our session last night was rained out and we learned the real meaning of "raincheck."

August 6, 2011

the Daily Duke 8.6.11

We have had an awesome several days visiting with out of town friends and an overnight in Quebec City with the Korte's and the Oltman's of Chicago. Duke enjoyed the attention from the dog-loving Korte family and was never far from food. Duke had a sleepover with a friend while we were gone for the night and struggled to stay awake the day after as we hung out late into the night (or morning) with these great friends.

August 3, 2011

August 2, 2011

Construction criticism

This is what happened in Montreal over the weekend. A giant piece of concrete fell near the entrance of a tunnel on a major road frequented by 100K cars a day. Fortunately it happened on a Sunday morning when thankfully most people were off the road. 

The sad irony? It happens to be the middle of what is called the "Construction Holiday" in Quebec. A time when most construction shuts down for an entire two weeks so employees can take paid vacations (in addition to other vacation time). Bright orange signs and barricades remain up clogging traffic, but there is very little construction action on the roads in Montreal. We have always thought it was silly as winters are harsh and summer is an ideal time to jam on those projects. But, it's a union/political thing for the most part and these people need a break. In the summer. In construction "season."

Louis and I just returned from some time spent traveling in Canada (Toronto) and the northeast U.S....Niagara Falls, Cooperstown, N.Y. and the coast of Maine. I noticed right away in Toronto the clean and well maintained roads and infrastructure. It's the polar opposite of Montreal where freeway overpasses are dark and dingy due to age and lack of maintenance and have nets attached to them to catch the falling concrete rocks that can easily slam into the cars below. On our drive we appreciated the state of the U.S. roads too. Despite the debt ceiling issues, I never once felt like concrete was going to fall from the "ceiling" of a freeway. (Obviously, there are many roads in the U.S. in need of repair and there have been bridge tragedies and more, however, we will never complain about that after living in Montreal.)

Montreal is an island. The only way to get to the island is via a selection of bridges...most of which are in dire need of repair and it's not uncommon for bridges to be closed in any given day to to "expansion joint" issues. The government knows it's an issue...but instead they keep putting band-aids on the bridges  while keeping inspection reports out of the media so that we don't know the extend of the dangers all while blaming budgets when there is so much corruption in the construction industry and bureaucracy beyond belief. Several weeks ago someone said the area in the above photo was just fine.

I crossed the Camplain bridge yesterday to come home and noticed all sorts of noises coming from my car that I had not heard for a was as if I decided to take my little Ford Escape Hybrid 4 wheeling. Each and every time I cross that bridge, I cross my fingers. 

My mom was visiting once and commented on the scary bridge. I though she was going to start with the rosary as we approached the structure. She said she couldn't the believe the condition of the roads. To which I said, "yes, but we have 'free' health care." And she commented "good, you're going to need it."

August 1, 2011

the Daily Duke 8.1.11

Duke got to experience the ocean for the first time in Maine and loved every minute of it. He tried drinking the water a couple of times and didn't like it. He's been drinking a lot of water today. Sort of like the day after a few too many salty margaritas.
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