Mud season in Quebec City

You scream...
You scream…

I’m old enough to have nearly 20 year old friendships… that started in college. Ouch. One of these friends is a true globe-trotter. Spending time together feels a bit like waiting for our orbits to align long enough to get a chance to sit down and share time with each other. He’s ended up in Quebec City for a while, so we decided to take advantage of a few days around April vacation week to drive back up to winter and visit him and his lovely family!

We’re having a delightful time! We’ve rented this loft in the trendy part of the city (which was only slightly more expensive than a hotel room would’ve been). We’ve shared some excellent meals together, and spent much of today navigating mud and seeing the glorious views in this historic city, while enjoying what rumor has it is the first really nice day of spring up here.

The boys are becoming a real delight to travel with. I don’t worry too much about where they are. They’re flexible and fun and insightful. They can read over breakfast with their parents. They’re both really good with the younger kids – it was super sweet to watch Thane playing with a charming 1 year old girl.

A trip where you get to reconnect with the dearest of friends and enjoy your family in the warm sunshine… ah bliss!


Like Bilbo Baggins, my wanderlust usually peaks in September. I smell the crisp air, see the long horizons, and desire to walk until the far hills are no mystery.

This spring, however, my feet have been itchier than usual. I have my theories about why this is the case. For one thing, it was a horrible, brutal, claustrophobic winter. The outside world became one shovel wide, from my front door to my car to my office and back again. My life is also highly regimented and organized. I believe I’ve complained (one or two…thousand times) about how strict and unrelenting my weekend schedule is. It’s gotten somewhat better with the elimination of swimming lessons, but it seems like a bajillion years since we had a break in the routine. And it can be really hard to deal with children outside their expected routines. My dearest and beloved son Thane is 2.5. In a completely developmentally appropriate and normal way, that means it’s almost impossible to do ANYTHING with him. So, we do things we know how to do in very predictable ways that don’t mess up nap time. This is what it means to be a parent.

We eventually got about twice this in snowpack
We eventually got about twice this in snowpack

No wonder my feet itch. I love my family dearly, and have no desire to throw away any portion of what I have. But there’s a lurking awareness in my gas-foot that if I just keep pressing, well, New Hampshire lies that ways. Then Vermont. I’ve never been to Montreal you know. (You’re not carrying your passport woman.) Fine, I haven’t seen Niagara Falls since I was three. I could probably make it there by mid-afternoon… aren’t the Red Sox playing the Indians tonight? That’s totally driveable!.

But of course my brake-foot rescues me and I make that turn off the freeway and into the parking lot.

Still. There are adventures afoot.

Last year's lilac festival
Last year's lilac festival

I’ve declared this weekend a “Sabbath” weekend. (Hey honey, tell Sensei you won’t be there on Saturday!) I’m thinking Old Sturbridge Village, but haven’t finally decided. On Sunday is the Lilac Festival at the Arnold Arboretum, which is a favorite of mine. Both not too far, but definitely out of the mold!

Then, my brother graduates from graduate school in three weeks. Now, New Jersey isn’t likely to be as splendid as his Vermont graduation was, but I’m going by myself. Road trip. With my crazy family who are the ones who planned the “Great Holes of the West” tour (which did not include the Grand Canyon), declared Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump a favorite family destination, drove the Al-Can (my Dad drove it home… in December), and, for my graduation, did a tour of all the New England states in one day. (No problem.) Bring it on!

Then, after that, there’s camping. I cannot WAIT to go camping this year. My husband cannot wait to go camping. Grey cannot wait to go camping. Thane says, “I not TALKING to you!” (at the top of his voice, repeatedly), but you can’t get 100%, now can you? I have three camping trips planned, and hopes to sneak a fourth in.

Long vistas await
Long vistas await

And after that, there’s Camp Gramp! We’re going out for longer than usual. I’m planning on going to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to catch, at a minimum, Henry IV part II and Pirates of Penzance on the frickin’ Elizabethan! And maybe, if my husband is super indulgent, we can go to Mt. Shasta and Crater Lake, and take 97 home, which I’ve never done.
Lithia Park is a lovely place, which I miss quite a lot
Lithia Park is a lovely place, which I miss quite a lot


Is it Friday yet?