A Travellerspoint blog

July 2005

Vamos a la playa...

... in good ol' Quebec.

rain 21 °C

One of the great advantages of working in an overly relaxed office is that we get Friday afternoons off all summer long. And for the last month or so, we've been packing up my friend Debby's car every lunchhour come Friday to head off to glorious Oka Beach just outside Montreal.

Now, Oka Beach is no Fort Lauderdale. It's not even Plattsburgh, NY. But it's got sand and water and a snack bar and the occassional good-looking lifeguard. Plus it's a great way to pass a lazy afternoon and the smell of suntan lotion and beer reminds me of those summers my sister and I spent in Florida with my grandparents (my grandfther was a big fan of beer).

Oka does have its drawbacks, though. Oka is part of a lake that jetties out from the infamously polluted St. Laurence river. The water quality for Oka is posted at the entrance of the park, and it can read anything from "Excellent" to "Watch out for visible floaters". Just kidding, just kidding. But last week the quality dropped from "Excellent" to "Good" and we all looked at each other and wondered what foreign entity was messing up the water and whether or not we'd have the privilege of running into one. Or getting one caught between our toes.

No matter - we were there and it was 35 degrees C with humidity and we had an inconspicuous water bottle full of vodka and enough change to get some cold Cokes. I bought Neal a bathing suit for Christmas, I think it was, that was made for swimming laps in the pool but lo-and-behold not so much for the beach. The closest I can describe it is that he looks like a floundering pot-bellied man minus the pot belly. Plus his tag is always sticking out.

But he's a fish out of water and I have to keep reminding him to put on more sunscreen, as our first trip turned his pasty-white Irish self into a well-cooked lobster. He's also good for curbing our occasional bout of complaining (cause that's what women do) with a hearty "Wise up!" and then we realize, once again, that it's Friday afternoon, and we're not working, and we're sitting on a beach in the sun with a vodka-and-Coke, and life is good after all.

Posted by tway 10:04 Archived in Canada Comments (4)

Putting things into perspective

or "the art of living"

semi-overcast 28 °C

Had to share this, as I've just gotten off the phone and a really bad day has sudenly turned into a very calm moment.

I interviewed a couple whose son has a progressive, as-yet-incurable disease. He can't take care of himself, and their lives are absolutely chalk-a-block filled with doing things for him that most of us take for granted. Yet what came out over and over again was how he's an inspiration to them - a strong, positive, caring boy who wants to help other kids who he sees as worse off that he is.

Here I was trying to get info to include in a newsletter and make our mailing date, and there's this family that is both physically challenged and spiritually (or whatever word you want to use) strong. And suddenly my deadline and my busted laptop and my MasterCard bill (the one with the plane ticket!) and the pile of dirty laundry on the floor at home are all put into perspective.

It's a great gift to be alive, and to have the privilege of worrying about things like planning a trip and trying to get that dang "list" button in the forums to work properly. I think I'll come back to this blog whenever I start to turn the little things into big things, and I'll remember that the art of living is about appreciating what it means to be alive.

Posted by tway 14:37 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

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