There were three certainties I could look forward to n every one of my elementary school years:

1. Compulsory phys. ed. class, usually comprised of such sterling athletic pursuits as dodgeball, the parachute, and the trampoline – which yielded one sprained neck, four bruised fingers, a severely broken arm, but no greater appreciation for the sport.

2. A field trip to the Dow Planetarium where, for one gloriously tedious hour, we sat in the dark, some napping, some discussing quietly amongst themselves, some striving to endure the labored astronomy lesson.

3. A field trip to Old Montreal, the city’s quaint historic center with its cobblestone streets and heritage buildings.

To be honest, I was never a fan of any of the above.  I found them all incredibly boring, with the exception of gym class which was a little more interesting only insofar as every class held the possibility of serious injury.  All grown up now, I’ve discovered a new appreciation for those mainstays of my youth.  Well, maybe not the phys. ed. class, the memories of which still make me cringe.  And certainly not the Planetarium that, while well-intentioned I’m sure, continues to be the recipient of one of my longest held grudges.

Old Montreal, however, is different.  Over the years, I’ve come to love this place.  Its unique and beautiful and home to many of the city’s best restaurants (and, to be fair, some of its worst tourist traps).  Just last night, I was thinking that if I were to buy a condo outside of Vancouver (say, if I win the lottery or actually get one of my shows green lit – whichever comes first) Old Montreal would be the place.

Also, Vegas and Tokyo.

And possibly Hong Kong and Italy.







27 thoughts on “December 29, 2013: Old Montreal!

  1. I’ve been to Old Montreal – just once, at night, in winter. It was beautiful! 🙂


  2. I completely agree about the Phys Ed. classes, and begrudge them even more now that I realize that those lame dodgeball type games do little to prepare and motivate someone in their adult years to continue staying physically fit.

    I was never forced to go to a planetarium – even as a kid I loved them anyway! I still enjoy one whenever I get a chance to go in a city that has one.

    Never been to Old Montreal, I’m sad to say – I have been to historic section in Quebec City (years ago) which was interesting, but VERY touristy.

    We’re supposed to get up to another 25 cm of snow tonight. Yay. That should go great with the build up of ice and snow from the last week and a half, and just when power is finally coming back on line for every one around here.

  3. I’ve never been to Montreal, but who knows? A few years ago I had never been to Vancouver either.

    Old town Montreal looks beautiful! Your pictures reminded me of the latin-quarter of Paris. Notre Dame anyone?

    and the trampoline – which yielded one sprained neck, four bruised fingers, a severely broken arm

    I’m just curious; were all those injuries from one incident? Or were they several “you must get back on the horse and try again” episodes by a sadistic gym instructor?

  4. Old Montreal is very pretty. I especially like that building in the second to last picture, all lite up with the blue Christmas trees out front. What is it now? Courthouse, apartments, library?

    I never thought of physical education class as dangerous, but then, I wasn’t the girl in middle school who was running track when she got hit in the mouth by kids playing golf in the infield of the track. I remember the coach walking her crying off the field holding some of her teeth in his hand… 😮

  5. as for the compulsory phys. ed. class; i think that it’s a source of bad memories for most of us. unless one was a superstar athlete.

    dodgeball should be outlawed as it does nothing more than allow the bully-types to target their victims with head-shots. even though you weren’t suppose to aim for the head.

    the only thing i was half-way good at was kickball, but the teacher i for the last two years of high school phys. ed. said it was “too elementary school” and didn’t put it in the rotation. bitch. 😡 like a ball flying around at like 15-20 MPH is a kid’s thing. especially when the teacher had you use a soccer ball instead of one of those red-ish rubber things. 😮

  6. I have to say that I really enjoyed gym class, and I was GOOD at dodgeball. The only part of gym class I couldn’t stand was tumbling.

    We visited the Gates Planetarium every year, and I always liked it. The lessons were good, and if you were lucky they wouldn’t turn the lights on until the Enterprise chased the Klingon ship across the galaxy.

    Old Montreal looks very cool, I’ve only visited Lethbridge, so I need to work in some better Canadian trips soon.

  7. I loved my phys ed classes. They were great fun. Especially when I made unintentional saves in dodgeball or cricket while my head was far away in daydream land. I really liked playing murderball. Chucking balls at people without my glasses (they kept getting broken at one stage) on when they thought I wouldn’t be able to see them (i just couldn’t tell where they started or ended) was great fun when i could predict which way they were going to move. getting donked on the head while daydreaming wasn’t bad either. Gym classes were scary and i only wish they had taught us more. the worst parts though, were the yearly fitness tests – especially the beep test. I don’t like running unless I’m after a ball.

    Btw, going to Tokyo for the last week of March. Everything is booked now. Just need to learn to speak and read some Japanese now.

  8. The planetarium trip I remember(a little) i had fever and slept the whole visit(nice dark room). The city looks great with your snow falling. ANd good luck on that winning the lottery stuff, I am hoping for my ship to come in also. You know,,smooooth sailing. We need a real BIG ship..

  9. I’ve enjoyed Old Montreal as well. It helps a lot if you have read up on the history of the area first so you understand the significance of the area and the buildings. You are right about the restaurants, Joe. I have generally enjoyed the Jewish quarter the best, when it came to the food. Those really tall smoked meat sandwiches are the best. Bad for the heart, but awesome to eat.

  10. Aw, planetariums were always my favorite! They’re still my favorite; I wish my town had one. I’m considering visiting the St Louis one soon.

    Old Montreal is quite lovely. Glad to see everyone had what appears to be a wonderful (and filling!) Christmas. Wishing you, Akemi, and your respective families the best in 2014! 🙂

  11. I adored my trip to the planetarium in grade school. Far more than Phys Ed (wherein my teacher constantly compared me to my athletic older sister who excelled at the balance beam/ We reached a truce, that gym teacher and I, that we would politely ignore each other.

    Now, as I have two degrees in history, the Old Montreal does appeal to me.

  12. I was in Montreal in August for Coupe Rogers tennis tournament. Didn’t have enough time to go to Old Montreal, just enough to walk down to the Old Port so I could see the St. Lawrence for the first time. I’d love to go back sometime and see the heritage sites. It’s a beautiful city, but the drivers are nuts! I learned to ignore Don’t Walk lights, just like the natives, as long as there weren’t any cars being aimed at me!

  13. It looks lovely! Belated Merry Christmas to everyone!. I was kinda busy with holiday festivities and cooking and such and now am kinda sick with bronchitis so I have a lot of blog reading to catch up on.

    Hey, das! Did I miss anything important?

  14. <3 <3 <3 MTL. I never manage to get up there at Christmas, though-usually in the summer. Thanks for the pics!

  15. When we went to Vermont, we did a day trip to Old Montreal. I wish we’d had more time, there’s all sort of places we barely glanced at.

  16. Gorgeous pics, those blue lights are gorgeous. My nephew got a little planetarium globe thingie this Christmas, he used it once and now his little sister is using it as a royal scepter.

    @gforce, we are getting snow too and temps are dropping, we have snow globe bits falling now.

  17. Those are stunning pictures.

    Gym class: I remember all of those. I didn’t like dodgeball until I became my team’s hero by accidentally catching a ball with moments to spare as I was running backwards. FLUKE. But I enjoyed the moment of glory. Trampoline–put me out of gym class for 9 weeks when I tried to do a flip in mid-air, the spotter got freaked, wore a bracelet when they were not supposed to, pulled the mat with her when she pulled away. My shoulder slammed down on the metal and then I bounced off the trampoline and onto the floor. I hated the trampoline from that point forward. Loved volleyball. I could play that well. Loved running. I was able to shave a 12-1/2 minute mile down to a 7-1/2 minute mile in 9 weeks. I also took an aerobics class where we had to do our own jazzercize-like routines. I wound up getting an “A” in both classes (what they considered the most difficult). This actually earned me the physical education student of the year award (much to the dismay of my jock friends) for most improved. Also really liked softball, but only as the 1st baseman. With Dina Wolf as pitcher and me as first baseman, no one got through. It made up for my constant strike-outs. I was on swim team in junior high. What I hated were those yearly physical education standardized testing we had to do. I could do pull ups with holding the bar with my palms facing me, but when they changed the rules to grabbing them with your forehands facing you, I could not do them. I didn’t have much patience in not being able to do things. In elementary school I won an award for 75-yard dash and standing broad jump. I was very competitive. Still am in some respects.

    I also loved field trips. Some field trips in my NY/NJ area schools included the Museum of Natural History in New York, the Bronx Zoo, concerts, ballet, symphony, art museum, a trip to Dunkin Donuts to see how donuts were made and being allowed to make 1 of our own (mine was overstuffed jelly). I know there were a lot of other ones, but I can’t remember a lot of them now. Oh, how could I forget the Statue of Liberty trip where our boat almost capsized. Rough seas, and as they were pulling it into the dock with ropes, the boat was tipping over to one side and they yelled to everyone to run to the other side of the boat and my mother was on that trip and I remember not being able to find her. Gave me a horrible fear of boats which I’ve been able to conquer along the way. Then there was a week of camp with my elementary school in Omaha to Camp Harriet Harding. That was AWESOME. Fifth grade. Where I wrote my first haiku. Fifth grade was my first official boyfriend so lots of sneaking out of cabins there. If you could just cut out my home life from my childhood, my life that I lived via the enrichment programs at school made up for that crappy life and really made me want to learn. Such a shame that the arts suffer nowadays.

    Speaking of planetariums, I think we’re going to see about taking Patrick down to the museum in Houston tomorrow. I have to check their hours. He loves Cosmic Collisions.

  18. Hi, 1st post. Sorry this is a reply to several blogs at once. Hope you dont mind. Im immersing myself in scifi atm. Sad time of year. Very interesting to read your many detailed blogs and share an insight into your work + family life. A little creepy perhaps (only to me as im more private) but shows a genuine sincere person comfortable with their life. Hope you had a great xmas, looks like you did. I live alone now – never married always working. Pretty boring worthless stuff when i look back. And only my own memories. Would be nice to have such a fantastic legacy and visual reminders of such worthwhile work.
    Great shows,, luv all the incarnations. Watching them helped me a lot after loosing my mom last year.
    Im a little bit techy /geeky and admire the sets as much as the stories. For all future reference, ductwork is NEVER clean and shiny on the inside, but filthy dirty and also many many rivets, sharp edges and frames (mez frame) that join sections. + much more i could mention but boring so wont. haha who else would notice or care?
    So sad to learn sg sets, never mind shows are no more. I guess its work for all, but they were so well made and decorated they were very convincing. Except maybe that plants (mine anyway) wont stay alive for long never mind flourish as they look.
    I wonder if perhaps sga theme has ever been taken up for shopping center (mall) or a real office interior. Though never figured out what water features were for, as no fish. Air purifiers ?
    Did any set influences come from home or end up there?
    from cold wet England, UK

  19. Hey by the way, I’m going to Space City Con this weekend and Jason Momoa is going to be there. Can’t wait to meet him. Also Dylan Neal who played Joe Flanigan’s brother in Atlantis. Along with just about every living actor that remains from Babylon 5. I am gonna have so much fun. Three full days away from the boys (husband, child and dog).

  20. @Joe:

    Your list of injuries is validation for my long-standing “NO!” every time the kids wanted to get a trampoline.

    Also, it seems everyone is relating their middle and high school phys-ed experiences, so I might as well add mine.

    I was an early developer, and as such I was just 2 inches short of my adult height in 6th grade. In fact there was only one other kid in my grade who was near my height and build (he was about an inch taller if I remember correctly).

    Anyway, with such an early spurt, I often felt like Gulliver among the Lilliputians, or perhaps Gandalf among the Hobbits. It was difficult to play team sports without feeling like I was going to kill someone by falling on them. This coupled with the awkwardness that comes from sudden growth, and I often found myself an uncoordinated mess.

    Dodgeball didn’t bother me (I could take a hit), but I wasn’t all that great at it either since I was a big target. The uneven parallel bars were my true nemesis though, I hated those things for various painful reasons!

    My favorite PE activity was flag football where I usually played defensive tackle and due to my size, I could just run forward and plow through most line-ups. On one occasion in 9th grade, when I was rushing forward, I expected the offensive guard (a kid named Jimmy) to push back and instead he just folded. Due to my momentum I ended up running right over him, breaking his ankle in two places.

    Of course I didn’t intend to break his ankle, and I felt incredibly bad about it; apologizing every time I saw him. It didn’t help that for the next 6 weeks, every time he saw me he swung his crutches at me, yelling “Get away!”. (Jim if you’re reading this, I’m still sorry!) This incident made me feel even more cumbersome, and it was about a year before I could enjoy playing football again. PE wasn’t so much fun after that.

    In sophomore and junior years the rest of the boys caught up and I became just an average height kid, so I didn’t feel so out of place then.

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