Thanks to one of Fred's friends (he lives in Belgium, but has a house in Portugal) we were lucky enough to be staying right by the beach in Cascais while we were in Portugal. If we had the windows open, we could hear the roar of the ocean, and we could see the beach, Guincho, from our back yard.
I'm sure you've heard all about the riots that took place after game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals in Vancouver. If you haven't, then:
The Canucks lost.
Please note that I don't think the latter happened because of the former. I think the winds of a riot were in the air no matter what the outcome of the game. It was so palatable, I could feel it all the way down here in Texas. Let's review:
There was a huge gathering of people in the streets.
There was alcohol.
Stupid teenagers with no supervision and nary a brain cell in sight.
And I'm guessing there wasn't enough police presence to keep people in line. Because let's face it... mix all the above ingredients together and something is going to happen.
I actually got caught up in the riot that happened in '94. At the beginning, the whole gathering was rather positive. It all turned ugly when some jerkwad decided to climb up and traverse the overhead bus wires. He fell, and as the police tried to escort the paramedics into the crowd, the shoving began and the rest is history.
At least my 16 year old brain had the good sense to get the hell out of there.
I was very sad to read about the riots. Disgusted. I feel for all the store owners and businesses that were damaged that night.
But unlike some people, this incident did not make me want to revoke my Canadian citizenship. Nor am I ashamed about being from Vancouver. I recognize that a few (hundred) incredibly, stupid, horrible eggs does not a city or country make.
Did you know that the night of the riots, a facebook group was started? Its aim was to get people out to clean up the city the next day. There are reports that over 13,000 people signed up to help (although the actual number of people who showed up is not known), and almost all the damage was cleaned up by 11:00 am the day after the riots.
That's the Vancouver I know and love. Let's hope the people that tried to destroy it get exactly what they deserve.
My beef this time is with the dimwits you have hired as hockey commentators. And yes, this post was written after my beloved Canucks lost game seven to the bunch of hooligans (or angels, in your commentators eyes) from Boston, so you'll have to excuse the heavy dose of sarcasm.
So much was made of the Rome hit on Horton by your "people", that one would have thought Horton was a puppy. And Rome had tried to drown him. But it wasn't until well after game 7 had started that one of your commentators thought to mention the Canucks player, Raymond, who had his vertebrae broken by a Boston player. Actually, the hit wasn't even mentioned. Just the fact that Raymond was injured.
One hit resulted in a concussion. The other an almost career-ending injury. You showed the hit on Horton over and over again... ad nauseam. The Raymond injury was given very little coverage.
This just illustrates the extreme bias shown by your team of commentators (never mind that Mike Milbury used to COACH the freaking Bruins). The whole series could be summed up like this:
The Canucks sucked and the Bruins were the team of goodness and light. Good hell, one of your commentators even compared their goalie to Jesus.
I was unaware that the "B" in your name now stands for "Boston", because that is what anyone would have thought, had they tuned into your coverage of the finals.
When you show the Super Bowl, do your commentators favour one team over another? When you show Federer playing Nadal, are your guys all, "Federer, good. Nadal, bad."?
No? Then why the bias towards the American team? Look, I get that a Canadian team winning the cup is a bad thing for you and your ratings. But really, you're just trying to shove a game down a nation's throat that doesn't want it. Some of us watching down here actually understand the game, and it is annoying to no end to listen to what is supposed to be an unbiased call of the game. At the end of the first period, your guys had already awarded the cup and named the MVP. That is just shoddy broadcasting. As is cutting the Canucks down every chance they got. I seriously think my 9 month old and my dog would have done a better job.
In closing, my advice is to fire the whole lot of them (except Pierre McGuire, who does a pretty good job - if they would only let him talk more), and hire a braying donkey and a foghorn to call all future games. At least that way it would be less painful to listen to.
The title of this post is supposed to be said like Mr. Rooney in Ferris Bueller's Day off when he's informing Ferris's mother that her son has missed school 9 times that semester.
It needs to be said slowly. Deliberately. Emphatically. Because, crap-on-a-stick... I cannot believe my baby is 273.93 days (well, more than that now) old.
The moment of his turning 9 months happened somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, as we were flying back from Portugal. I was most likely wrestling with him; trying to keep him from pulling the hair of Spanish Dude, the guy that was sitting in front of us. I really should have let him have a go at it, as it was Spanish Dude and his merry band of idiots that kept waking Mattias up with their misguided notion that our flight was party plane central. But I digress...
This was a big month for Mattias, as he added a plethora of new skills to his repertoire. He now pulls himself up (yikes), crawls (ugh), claps and waves. He can also say; Mama, Papa, hi, olá (he's bilingual!), and Bob.
That last one needs some explaining. Mattias loves to bob up and down as he sits in his high chair. So we started to call him "Bob". And we would say, "Bob, bob, bob, bob" in tandem with his bobbing. So now he just bobs and says it to himself.
He seems to have turned a corner with his issues with eating, which has removed a huge amount of stress from my life. He has his 9 month appointment tomorrow, so we'll know if he's doing better weight-wise then.
I love this boy. So much. I love how Elise is his favourite person in the world. I love how busy he is, how inquisitive. I love his social nature... in Portugal, he was adored everywhere we went; waving and smiling at people from his stroller.
As always, I have uploaded some pictures of his royal cuteness. And a video that shows he can bust a move.
Hands down, one of my favourite places in Portugal is Sintra. Set in the lush hills outside of Lisbon, it is home to palaces, castles, steep, winding cobblestone streets, and one of Fred's favourite pasty shops; A Piriquita. We went up there at least three times during our trip. Here are some pics from the first visit.
At Cabo da Roca - the western most point of Europe
It was a wee bit windy
Don't worry, I was holding her tight
Cabo da Roca - the most western point on the European Continent
Poppa and his girl
Mattias trying some Portuguese cuisine... Caldo Verde (kale soup). He likes it!
He REALLY likes it
Castle of the Moors (way up in the top of the picture) looking down on Sintra
Trying some unknown dessert at A Piriquita. For all my D-Moms, NO idea on the carb count!
Want to know how to age yourself 10 years in about a 20 day period? Buy a house, lease out your old house, pack up the old one, plan an overseas trip, schedule a move for when you are out of the country, and then go on a 17 day trip with a 9 month old and a 3 year old with diabetes.
And don't forget to come home from your trip exhausted, jet-lagged, not having slept in 24 hours to a new house with all your possesions in boxes. Add in having no hot water or stove because your gas isn't turned on, and no phone/TV/internet because a company that sounds like "Verizon" screwed up your install, and you'll look a decade older in no time!
And I mention that our old house (which we still own and are leasing out) was broken into the night everything was moved?
Although the trip was amazing... it was also so very hard at the same time. I'm not sure what I was smoking when I agreed to it, but I sure wish I had some more right now. Planes rides that are 10+ hours are tough with babies and kids with diabetes.
This trip also had a very strange theme... locking ourselves in/out of things. We did this at least three times. I blame the very strange Portuguese locking system. Two of the times we did it, Elise was locked in somewhere with insulin active in her system (meaning she needed to be eating in the next few minutes). It was a little scary.
We visited some beautiful beaches, amazing castles, ate all sorts of yumminess, and had a great time with Fred's family and friends.
I will say this about the Portuguese people. They are some of the warmest, most welcoming, friendly, gregarious, and giving people I have ever met. Lest you think we're independently wealthy (buying a house then taking a 17 day vacation); our trip was booked with miles The house on the beach we stayed at in Cascais belonged to a friend. Another friend loaned us a car for the entire duration of the trip. A cell phone was also loaned to us, and when we went to the Algarve, we stayed at a friend's condo. I think the entire cost of our trip was about $2000.
And I was so proud of Elise's Portuguese speaking ability. She pretty much spoke Portuguese the entire time; with family, her little cousins, even strangers. One time she went up to a kid at a playground and asked him in Portuguese if he would be her friend!
It's hard to wrap up a 17 day trip in one post, so expect the next few posts to be all about Portugal, with a whole bunch of pictures thrown in! Hope you enjoy them.
The beach (Guincho) that was located right outside the house where we stayed in Cascais