Saturday, February 28, 2015

The B-Word

Picture this -

Well after noon on a Saturday, I drag myself out of bed, throw on some clothes that are clean-ish, and stick my hair in a ponytail to mask the fact I didn't bother showering. I grab my keys and head for the door.

My first stop is the gas station. I spend a full two minutes trying to figure out where the gas cap release is located on my new (to me) vehicle and feel like an idiot in the process, but hey - now I know. I swipe my card, fill my tank, and am done with the first stop on my itinerary.

Next, I drop by the local health clinic. I need a TB test for work. After thirty minutes of sitting in the waiting room - leaning as far as I can from the gentleman to my right who's hacking up a lung while simultaneously trying to avoid the toddler to my left, as he repeatedly rubs his eyes then smears his hands all over the shared armrests - I'm called in. Within five minutes, I've been injected and band-aided, with instructions to come back in a few days. Stop two - check.

I go over to Target and grab a few things I realized I needed five minutes after I left the last time. Then I'm off to the grocery store. I fill my mini-cart with a week's worth of food before steering it to the checkout.

Of course, the shortest line is four people deep, and I've been burned too many times by the professed "self check-out" at this location to bother. The woman directly in front of me turns around and shoots me a look of sympathetic misery.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Finding Family History in Vermont

When I was fresh out of college, under-employed, and living with my parents, I got into genealogy. Aside from being a nerd about history, I'm the oldest grandchild on both sides of my family, so the role of 'family historian' was a natural fit. And while my family is as WASPily boring as they come, that also means they're fairly easy to trace.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Winter Road Trip: Covered Bridges and Maple Syrup

When traveling, I try to avoid snow. It makes for tricky driving conditions, cancelled flights, and a desperate desire on my part to get out of the cold, hole up in my room, and not come out till it hits 60°. However, there's something to be said for getting out of your comfort zone and enjoying a place under less than seasonable conditions.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Québec's Hôtel de Glace

Inquiring about the best day trip from Québec City, the answer was unanimous - if you're there in the winter, you've got to visit the Ice Hotel. While the idea of paying to spend the night sleeping on a block of ice, surrounded by walls of packed snow, does not appeal to me in the slightest, a quick visit couldn't hurt, right?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Québec's Basse-Ville

Because you know I'm all about that Basse.

If Old Québec's Haute-Ville seemed charming and lovely all covered in snow, the Lower City was a veritable winter wonderland. This is the oldest part of the city, so cute and old, in fact, that it doesn't seem entirely real. Located at the base of Cap Diamant, there are two ways to get there on foot. The first is by walking, starting with a slightly steep and winding street, and ending with a staircase known as 'Casse-Cou', or Breakneck, Stairs. Today's version is perfectly safe, with railing and space to stop and take pictures, but the old ones were supposedly treacherous enough to earn their name.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Québec's Haute-Ville

As we enter February and snow blankets much of the east coast, I feel inspired to share my family's trip to Québec City, from March of 2008. The original plan had been to go in the summer, but Québec was celebrating its 400th anniversary that year. Prices were high and availability scarce. No problem - my mom decided to book for spring break instead.

What we couldn't have foreseen was what Mother Nature decided to dump on Quebec that year. Google 'Quebec 2008', and you don't get pictures of the quadricentennial celebrations. Nope. You get pictures of houses literally buried in snow. An additional 40" had fallen a few days before our trip, creating some of the highest snowdrifts I'd ever seen.