Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Montreal, Tout Alors!

Heidi and I went to the remarkable St. Joseph's Oratory on Mount Royal, Canada's third largest church, and the third largest dome in the world. St. Peter's is the largest, and this remarkable place is number two. I'm not a regular church-goer, but I appreciate the emotional intensity of a place where millions of people have focused their hearts and minds on both their own troubles and the power of God to alleviate them. Or perhaps they were filled with joy and thanks when they sat in those pews, or climbed, kneeling, up those many steps. I always light a candle when I visit.

Then we came home and fell on our beds because we were very hot and tired. Lovely, lovely air-conditioning. We had perfectly delicious sushi for dinner.

On Monday, Heidi and Pam hit the airport early - but sadly were delayed for hours, both on the plane and in the airport. That kind of ennui makes me desperate and homicidal. I had booked a later flight, so I went downtown with my suitcase, and ditched it with the pleasant people at the Museum of Contemporary Art. I saw wonderful installations large and small. There was a short film of an artist talking about her memories of her mother's reel-to-reel tape recorder; how fascinated she was with it as a child, and how her distant mother found a connection through the device with her daughter. This film ran side by side with footage of the artist manipulating the recorder in various ways. I found this very touching. My parents also had a reel to reel and I have equally fond memories of it.

I had a leisurely lunch across the street - I pointed to another diner and said "I'll have that salad and a glass of wine." Then I took a moderately sweltering bus (comfy seat by the window at least) to the airport and came home.

It was such a great trip: the company, the city, the food, the sights, the shopping.  I talked with Pam and Heidi a fair amount about the expense and coming to terms with it. I suppose it was a turning point for me in feeling comfortable with taking a nice vacation and all that entails. I'm so close, so close to being out of debt completely, and then a two thousand dollar trip once a year will truly be no big deal. It wasn't much of a deal this year. The apartment was cheap, the flight not too bad, and obviously, I took the bus or walked everywhere. I didn't buy a fur coat. I bought two pairs of shoes, a really nice scarf and a variety of souvenirs. I had an amazing meal/experience. That was key, feeling like I was spending my money on an experience, not just stuff. And when I came home and found the orange suede Fluevog boots at my local store for $200 off their original price, that felt like pure lagniappe.

Fluevog Milla Boots in rust

Of course, I haven't gotten my credit card bill yet.

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