California dreaming

The kids and I made our first visit back to California since our move to Maine 7.5 years ago. We were joined by Sal, O’da and Bri in Carpenteria, south of Santa Barbara. The kids’ home state allowed us to re-live so many fond memories: winter sunshine, Mexican food on every street corner, mountains, vibrant February community gardens and farmers markets, loaded citrus trees, tart dried apricots, friendly strangers, Amtrak rides, outdoor winter swimming, seals and pelicans. All of this combined with time with our Quirk family made the week pretty perfect. If only Tim and Anna, who had to stay home for work, had been there!

Carnaval do Québec, 2018 – The Saint Lawrence Canoe Race

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The first stage is to race across the ice of the starting harbor, before getting out into the open river.Yes, they are pushing across the ice as it cracks underneath them.
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The second stage, after the harbor, is to paddle upstream into the oncoming bergs. They do this on side of the river with less ice, so they can get as far upstream as possible before stage 3.

Stage 3 is when they cross the solid ice floe. This youtube video gives you a sense of how intense this is.

Finally, they tag the post on the far shore, and complete stages 4-6: going back the way they came.

Here’s what the river looks like on a nice, sunny day:

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Carnaval du Québec, 2018 – Palaces

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The Châtaeu Frontenac.
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The ice palace.
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I like these geodesic blocks, but the palace is often new-age-y in a bad way.
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See what I mean? This is an interactive art thing, where you large ping-pong type balls at those windows, which light up and make a note. They are all different tones, of course, and there is ambient music and a lazer show. New age-y, in the bad way.

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Carnaval du Québec, 2018 – the games

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Maple sugar on snow.
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Curling.
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The famous ice-taboggan run
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Human fooz-ball. Always more limiting than satisfying.
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And the lumberjack challenge! This was awesome. You had to throw a never ending supply of rubber hatchets at the giant screen to hit the flying logs and split them. Very satisfying!
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We took on teams full of impressive-looking men, just our family with two kids, and two random Québeqouis. I was hoping to make the top 10, but we came in third for the day! We are the “Les Dragons.”

How Reid made me love Valentine’s Day

I HATE Valentines day. It feels like a pastiche of real emotion. It mixes romantic love with friendship love. Kids are not supported in distinguishing those ideas. In elementary school in Maine, and I think throughout the US, kids made to bring valentines day cards for every one of the their class mates. Because that is such an impossible task, most parents buy junky pre-made commerical valentines cards with the latest star wars or disney figures on them. These are popular with kids because of the narrative, and we all get to throw away a lot of paper. It’s really quite disgusting.

But this year, Liam made 10 Origami dragons of his own design. We are talking 8 points here. 4 legs, 2 wings, a tail and a head, with ears. They are lovely.

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One Valentine card, front side.

And Reid and I came up with a different scheme. A home-made but mass-produced valentines card. First Reid drew up a black and white outline with fancy 3D lettering. Then I took a photo of it, did some minor doctoring to keep the white really white. Then We printed a double-sided card for each of his classmates, and colored them in with markers. The result is quite awesome, especially when you see the diversity of cards together (sorry no photo) because the color combinations are different on each.

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The interior of the same card. All of the cards have the same picture, and are colored with different colors. It’s a canoe race, like the one we saw in Carnaval du Quebec!

Real Snow Sports

Winter is certainly under siege by the changing climate, but we do make good use of it when we can!  Some recent snow sports below.

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Roof jumping is a seasonal favorite.
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Reid takes to the gentle downhill slopes of Mt. Hermon. However, because it had been two full years, a full quarter of the guys life, it was a whole new challenge again. He did marvelously.
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Liam had to ride the lifts on his own so I could help Reid. But luck was on his side. He got the #1 chair once, the #30 chair (the half-way chair) once, and the super special pink #26 chair once. A good outing.