That was quite a week with my parents here. We didn’t really do internet stuff until the last couple days. I set up a blog for Phil on blogspot and showed him how to use it (lesson 2 will be blockquotes, links, and italics) and spent some time with my mom explaining how to browse (as opposed to searching through google), why she should use Firefox, and how to bookmark her favorite sites. So no time for a guest entry for her.

Mostly, though, we hung out and talked, which is what makes their visits so nice. Both of them were quite interested in the sovereignty question so we talked about that a lot (Phil, being from the south, immediately wanted to compare the local feeling with that of the confederacy), but we talked about all manner of things. Some other events of interest:

–We went to the Pointe-a-Calliere (sorry, still don’t know how to do accents on my Mac while in WordPress), which they loved. At one point, my mom sat down to rest on a bench next to the tour guide. They began chatting and he asked where they were staying. When she said on Frontenac, his got a serious look on his face and said something to the effect of “don’t worry, it’s not dangerous over there anymore.” And then proceeded to talk about how it used to be the worst neighborhood in Montreal, sex workers walking the streets, etc. Later, my mom said that any woman who was willing to walk our hill for the trade deserved whatever she could earn.

–We got to see our apartment in a different light as well, since my mom has had both knees replaced but still has trouble with one. Turns out that those steps in the bathroom make it not all that accessible. On the other hand, if you have joint pain, apparently our futons are great to sleep on. I think I’ll try it next time I throw out my back. Actually, many parts of the city aren’t very accessible. I was very glad that we didn’t rent a place with an outdoor staircase, for instance.

–On the same subject, my mom uses a cane and we jaywalked on St. Denis at one point. Drivers actually slowed down. I told her when I do that by myself, I could swear that the drivers speed up.

–Carrie got her Christmas dinner with a crowd (I think there is a guest post coming on the subject — we had a small ground of people over) and even got to go shopping on boxing day. I’d never been in the Bay before (Phil, my stepdad, was just interested in the fact that the Hudson’s Bay Company still existed) and, well, yes. It’s a big department store.

–On the museum front, we were both underwhelmed by the McCord, though again my parents liked it. There were some nice displays, but I was just looking for. . .well. . .more.

–Over the course of the visit, we watched three Quebec movies. Barbarian Invasions was, as everyone says, outstanding. Though after all that people have said about how it critiques the Quebec health system, I expected it to be a lot worse than it actually was. Decline of the American Empire seems like a warmup for Barbarian Invasions, but seeing them on consecutive nights and in reverse order takes the wind out a bit. All the conversation seemed like more of the same. Memoirs Affectivs was just lame. It tried to be all mystical and confusing, but it just wound up being mystical and cofusing, instead of cool and profound.

–I was reminded that I come by my love of dessert honestly.

–Last night, after dropping my parents off at the airport, we went to a Chanukah dinner, where in addition to learning all sorts of other wonderful local lore, I learned that the majority of synogogues in Montreal are Orthodox (apparently, this is fairly normal in Canada, whereas in Minneapolis where I grew up it was all Conservative and Reformed congregations, with just a few Orthodox) and that much of their membership is made up of nonpracticing Jews. No wonder the Jewish estabilshment is so politically conservative. All the money’s going to the right-wing elements of the religion. But that’s for another post sometime.