If you’ve never been to Canada, you might not know Via Rail. It’s kind of like Amtrak, only Canadian. It travels from the east coast to the west, right through the Rockies. Apparently it’s beautiful. I’ve always been curious to cross Canada this way. Enjoying the sights without having the pain of driving myself sounds awesome. Now, if only I had a giant wad of cash to get rid of.
BTW, if you check out the building at the bottom, it’s Electronic Arts in Montreal. Now that’s a way to transport yourself to another world for about $49.
I’m sitting in my living room, watching Tina Fey on Late Night with David Letterman and I was looking at my photos from Montreal and I saw this. I don’t even know if the WINGS on the building is referencing hot wings or honey garlic wings or sweet chili wings but I want all of those things now and all I did was look at a photo that, I’m pretty sure, I took because I liked the look of the fire escape ladder. Shut up, stomach. I don’t need to feed you right now. Especially wings, which will send me to nightmareland and my wife will make me sleep on the couch or in the basement.
Anyway, what are you hungry for?
I went to Montreal in September and while there I visited the Temple de la Renommee (or Hall of Fame) in the Bell Centre. The Bell Centre is the home of the Montreal Canadiens. The Montreal Canadiens are a hockey team…um…they’re THE hockey team. If you’re around my age (36) and live in Canada, you probably grew up thinking that there were two Canadian teams in the NHL – the Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Oh sure, there were the Winnipeg Jets, the Edmonton Oilers, the Calgary Flames, the Vancouver Canucks, and the Quebec Nordiques, but if you grew up like I did, there were only two real Canadian teams. And if you liked the Canadiens, you hated the Leafs, and vice versa.
I was raised to believe that God had created the Habs (the Canadiens are nicknamed the Habs, after les Habitants, a name used for the French settlers and farmers from the 17th century) on the eighth day after he rested up. Presumably, God needed to rest up in order to create the greatest hockey team to ever exist. I went through a short phase of liking the Leafs, when Wendell Clark played for them. Being a Saskatchewan boy myself, I felt it necessary to cheer for a local boy. I think a good part of it, however, was that I needed to piss off my Dad by cheering for his nemesis. I still loved the Habs, but needed to rebel a little.
As I sat in the theatre in the Hall of Fame at the Bell Centre, watching the history of the Habs, I relived my childhood Saturday nights watching the Habs play the early game at 4:30 on CBC. Hockey Night in Canada. I felt tears well up as I remembered my Dad and me sitting together in front of a tiny t.v. set watching Guy Lafleur, Bob Gainey, Guy Carbonneau, Kirk Muller, and Patrick Roy win the 1986 Stanley Cup. I was a little overwhelmed by the whole situation – I had no idea how much I loved the Habs, how much they had been a part of my psyche until I was there, sitting in a tiny theatre watching a replay of my 12 year old memory of the Habs winning the Cup.
I called my Dad shortly afterward and we talked a little bit. I ended up buying him a Jean Beliveau shirt – his favorite player. I got choked up on the phone and had to cut the call short – I told him it was because I had to move on in the tour, but it was really just that memory had knocked me for a loop. He’s leaving on a trip to Guatemala tomorrow morning, so I’ll miss watching this season with him – I’ll miss him. I guess I’ll have to create those memories with my son this year.
The shot above was taken in the Temple and is a mask worn and signed by Ken Dryden in his first season as a Hab in 1971-2. The marks are from pucks nailing him in the face. I wonder if that has as much impact as a memory.
I was going through my photos from Montreal and found this one. It’s hard to believe that I haven’t posted this. I found Mary’s halo of stars quite interesting. I’ve not seen a great number of Catholic churches – I mean, I’ve been to Italy and seen more than my share – but I’ve not seen a church with a facade that looks like this. It’s simple and beautiful, and Mary has stars. I’m sorry. I can’t get over this. Does anyone know what it means?
On my recent trip to Montreal, I discovered Simons, this amazing clothing store. I got a little giddy in this place. My fellow shoppers and I agreed that we’d only spend forty-five minutes in the store, as we had a dinner at the Palais des congres to attend and had planned on visiting the Notre Dame before having dinner. Forty-five minutes was not nearly enough time. I managed to browse most of the men’s section and the amazingly-cute-but-too-expensive pillow section.
Here’s the thing: in my house, I’m the shopper. It’s not that my wife doesn’t like to shop (she doesn’t) but she knows what she wants and goes to a store and gets it. She hunts the things she needs, kills them and brings them home.
I am the gatherer, the lady (according to most of the guys I know). I love to shop and not buy anything. I will look for the same things in six different shops before I decide I don’t need whatever the item is for which I’ve been shopping. I am fixated on bags (messenger bags, backpacks, slingpacks, man-bags, murses – I have them all), shoes (I have three different pairs of skate shoes, a pair of Doc Martins, two pairs of brown dress shoes and two pairs of running shoes), jackets (black, brown, navy, and three sport coats) and hair care products (don’t ask).
My male friends all call me a lady when they realize that I’ve not worn the same jacket three days in a row. When I complain (which I no longer do) about forgetting to put on moisturizer before leaving the house, some of my male colleagues look physically uncomfortable. The best part: I think I’m beginning to enjoy making them uncomfortable.
I have little energy and little time. Sorry. Here’s the Notre Dame basilica in Montreal, Quebec.