Nov. 16th, 2018 04:57 pm
warriorsavant: (Springtime in Canada)
Pretty white stuff, falling from sky. Very pretty looking out thru the windows at it from inside my nice cozy house. Earlier, Hedgefund was bouncing up and down excitedly and wanting to go out and play. Not sure where we got her from. As we were dressing her to go out (takes a long time with all the stuff needed), we asked Wallstreet if he wanted go also. If a 3 year old can give you a look that says, “are you #$%&*@ insane?” he did so. After playing in the yard, she wanted to go to the park. As we headed out, of course Wallstreet suddenly decided he did want to join us, so came back and played while Nom got him dressed and then the three of us went to the park. (As for Nom, you know Wallstreet’s view on snow mentioned above? Yeah, that’s where he gets it from. She may not leave the house until late May.) I pushed them in the double stroller to the park, not easy through snow since strollers not exactly off road vehicle with big wheels. Got to the park where they: (1) ran around excitedly, or (2) promptly fell asleep in the stroller. Yeah, option 2 happened. So I then pushed them back home. Glad someone got exercise. Back home made us all hot chocolate as a treat. Which I was the only one who drank it. Sigh. Later Nom made a cake with them, which is to say Nom made a cake and they made a mess.

This is what we call “child rearing” here in Lake Wobegon, where all the... well you know the line.

Signing off now. Starting last week, decided to take a 24-hour break each week from computers and cell phones, so will be offline ‘till Saturday night.

Cheap Chic

Nov. 7th, 2018 11:05 am
warriorsavant: (Cafe)

Pastel,currently thenew 'in' restaurant in Montreal. We went there last night courtesy of MTL à Table, which as mentioned previously, is like restaurant week most other places, but with l'accent français(*1).


'Cheap Chic' is our term to going to classy restaurants on the cheap: luncheon specials, late night specials (well, before we had kids), or restaurant weeks. Usually have their best dishes at a fraction of the price. Usually, we don't have drinks or coffee there, so they really make no money on us.


Nom made the reservations. Initially we were told they were full up the day(s) we wanted. She called back with a different plan. Eventually they saw reason. Which is to say, the 6thtime she called, I heard someone in the background say, "It's heragain. Give her a dang table or she'll keep calling!(*2) Contrary to the cliché of Asian women, she is about as passive and submissive as the average mule. Make that 2 mules. Or 10. Anyhow, she can be rather persistent.


Been there when it was something else. Even in a city with as many good restos as Montreal, there are still just so many venues, and fancy restaurants rarely last that long. When we walked in, Nom introduced herself, and the hostess turned the manager, and said, "it's that annoying Vietnamese woman who kept calling, seat her quickly(*2)." They found us a place in the far corner where the kids wouldn't disturb the other dinners.


Avant garde food. Avant garde is French for "overpriced, tiny portions, and totally awful." In this case 2 out of 3. The portions were filling, only if you were a squirrel ("Hey Rocky, watch me pull a dinner out of my hat"). And only overpriced if you went on a regular night, something like 50$/course. Very involved food. I confess I'm a little tired of overly-involved, pernickety, lets-see-how-many-weird-ingredients-I-can-combine dishes. I've come to prefer fairly standard fare, maybe with a slight twist, but very well done. Still, quite good. The true star of the dinner was one of the desserts, Crème bruûléewith fennel sauce. As for filling part, well, let's just say that afterwards we stopped stopped at the burger joint up the street to get some extra fries, calories, and irony.


The kids were largely well-behaved. They had wanted to blow out candles. At the resto we went to the other night, they amused themselves by blowing out the little tea candle on the table. We thought we'd be clever and bring some extra candles (found some spare birthday candles in a drawer) that I could repeatedly light for them from the tea candle and they could then repeatedly blow out. Curses, foiled again! They didn't have tea candles, or any other candles, on the tables. Kids were disappointed, so when we got home, I found some matches, set up 2 candles, and let them take turns blowing them out(*3).




*1 Which is to say the waiters speak through their noses which are tilted in the air.

*2 Perhaps a slight exaggeration for comedic effect. There will be some of that in this conte

*3 If I'd let them keep going, it would have been hours of fun for them, seconds of fun for me. Did have a dozen turns each, and felt satisfied at that.

warriorsavant: (Cafe)
First, Happy Victoria Day! A holiday not coinciding with the Widow's Birthday, Ascension to the Throne, or any other event. It is a uniquely Canadian holiday, not celebrated anywhere else, including Quebec. Oh, they take the day off, but they have given it various alternate names over the years, which nobody takes seriously.

Second, a Gentle Reader (and relative) pointed out that Great Britain's Prince Harry is marrying an American citizen, and was told that both UK & USA allow dual citizenship, which would mean their offspring could run for president here, and if inherits their throne could be simultaneously monarch of Britain and the USA.

Since I know this is a burning question in everyones' mind, like me address that. Technically the US doesn’t recognize dual citizenship. I think there are a few exceptions like the Philippines, having previously been a US colony. (The PI is one of the few countries the US formally owned as colony in the European, 17th-20th sense.) The US view is more “you are a US citizen, and if you and another country happen to think you have a relationship, we’re going to just ignore that silliness, as long as the other country is Canada, not N. Korea.”

Further issue is that the constitution requires the Pres to be American born, although doesn’t formally say what that means. If you are physically born in another country, but of US parents does that count? Never been clarified. I remember as a child being told that US embassies had birthing suites (remember, embassies are considered the territory of the country that owns that embassy), but don’t know if that was true.

Nom watched part of the wedding (did NOT get up at 0400h our time to do so). I watched a little bit with her, adding such commentary as: “our wedding was much classier,” “my uniform was much sharper-looking than Harry’s,” “you looked some much prettier than that Markle woman, and still do.”
warriorsavant: (Wedding/Romance)
Last boxes unpacked or semi-put-away. Large pile of stuff in my den to be filed, fixed, answered, or otherwise dealt with. Am on vacation, and busy resting. Which is to say, paperwork and child care. Need to get back to work seeing disgusting skin diseases and thereby get some rest.

Yesterday we had a New Years Day "at home," which is to say that we stayed at home, and hosted… no one! Perfect. Nom has been doing some fine cooking lately. For someone who could barely boil water when I met her, and still bemoans her lack of skills (and who does use every pot and utensil we own to make each meal), she has become a fine cook. Growing up her mom never taught her, and even as an adult living on her own, mom insisted on bringing food over every day (only rarely now, it was a bit embarrassing). She made gourmet mac & cheese for lunch: three types of cheese & seasoned bread crumbs (a specialty of Olive & Gourmando, well-known, small, local restaurant). For dinner we had surf & turf (steak and lobster tails). (Not sure if there is a trend with the ampersands in the meals, or if that is just happenstance.) I'm getting spoiled, he said with no embarrassment at all.

It officially become New Years around yesterday evening after dinner, which is to say, that's when we watched our taping of the ball dropping in Times Square. (Which as I've mentioned is the actual definition of the changing of the year.) The kids were entirely unimpressed, but Nom and I counted down, then toasted the new year with sparkling non-alcoholic "wine." Yeah, we're boring, but we're boring together.
warriorsavant: (Wedding/Romance)
Not quite playing hookey, it was legit. Mostly. Was supposed to have a meeting this morning (Rounds then Residency Program Committee), with going to my office in the afternoon. The meeting got cancelled 2 days ago, so I told Evil Secretary to book me until 11, giving me 2 hours for lunch (instead of my usual 30 minutes), and Nom and I went to lunch at a little Japanese place called Nozy. Had their yummy lunch special, which has a bit of sashimi, soup, salad, yakatori, pickle, and something else I forget. Really hit the spot. Wanted to go over the weekend, but we were running late and they closed before we could get there. (Five minutes before, Nom was seriously annoyed they wouldn't seat us.) Better today: leisurely and no kids. Gotta do this more often.

Eating out again tonight. (I'm such a boulevardier.) Tomorrow is our Cutaneous Lymphoma Conference and we're taking the visiting speakers out for dinner. I've been working on this conference for almost a year, but somehow feels like it snuck up on me. I'm also a bit annoyed that half our team isn't attending tonight; that's not very gracious, but the show will go on.
warriorsavant: (Wedding/Romance)
Evil Secretary had some family issues today, so we had booked lightly to allow me to see patients while also signing them in and out. (Answer phones? Heck no. That's almost a full time job itself.) I've done it before. It's stressful, I'm hopping around like a one-legged paper hanger, but doable.

In a switch, Nom got her parents to come babysit and came by to help me. It made life much easier, although hard to resist the urge to smooch/fondle the help. She didn't do everything Evil Secretary normally does, but did a lot, which was great. Plus got to have lunch with my lovely wife during a working day.

When we got home, the kids were delighted to see us. Uh, deep down. Hedgefund was napping, and Wallstreet exclaimed "no!" and went to find his grandparents. After all, we only mostly indulge and spoil them, the grandparents completely do. All parties concerned loved it, but I think the PIL's then go home and lie down for 10 hours to recover.
warriorsavant: (Meh)

This weekend is the Grand Prix in Montreal. Grand Prix racing is even more boring than NASCAR. At least in NASCAR you can see the entire circuit as cars go 'round and 'round in an incredibly boring and predictable fashion. And if there is that one moment of interest (aka a life-threatening car crash) you will certainly see it. In Grand Prix, if you are there, you only get to see your one little corner of the track… as cars go 'round and 'round in an incredibly boring and predictable fashion. And if there is that one moment of interest (aka a life-threatening car crash) you will only see it if it happens at your one little corner of the track.

In the week leading up to it, there are various festivities designed to stimulate interest (you can see how well that works on me) and snarl downtown traffic. There is also the predictible moralists and feminists complaining about the increase in prositution (as opposed what happens during any other sporting - or rather "sporting" - event or convention that comes to town).

Yeah, so downtown was snarled yesterday by displays of cars with pretty woman standing next to them. Fortunately I was walking, so wasn't frustrated by the traffic jams. Unfortunately, I was walking, so I had to see the displays. Maybe I'm elderly and jaded, but I know what cars look like, and I know what women look like. If I really feel the need to see the one standing by the other, I'll ask Nom to come down to the garage with me. At least that's a woman I care to see.

warriorsavant: (Default)

Nom, ba ngaio, and the kids are out shopping. I could be doing productive work (well, did a little), but am enjoying lazing around the condo, relaxing, and not having to talk to anyone. This is not to say I did nothing. I ate, napped, drank coffee, took a bath, and watched the first episode of the current season of Dr. Who (thanks to [personal profile] captainsblog for letting me know it was happening). 

It was okay. Background music too loud and sometimes covered up the dialog. Am reserving judgement on the new Companion, the character isn't fleshed out yet. And who is the bald guy with glasses (possibly robot) and what's his backstory. The story itself was good, but not thrilling. We'll see. 

Did a few productive things. Cleaned up a little (Our cleaning lady is on vacation. I should have  paid her to take the kids. Travel is so relaxing for the parents broadening.) Backed up Nom's computer (strenuous work, hand-carrying all those bits and bytes to storage) Took out the trash (traditional husbandly duty, that one). Posting to DW. Was almost time for another nap, but Nom just called from the garage (basement of the building) for me to come schlep groceries. *Sigh* My life is so hard.

warriorsavant: (HHG-Throne of fruit)
One of the few problems with having been born and raised in the 19th century is the occasional attack of gout, one of which I seem to suffering from right now. (The offset of actually living in the 21st century is that the naproxen is starting to kick in.) I never had a joint tapped to analyze the fluid, which is the actual sine qua non for diagnosis, but the first major attack met the classical clinical findings of podagra, and the Rheumatologist & I agreed to just treat based on clinical findings rather than sticking a needle where I didn't need one stuck. (Which IMHO is any part of my body - I prefer being on the back/non-pointy end of needles.) Had a bit of ache yesterday morning, but it went away. Today full-blown, even if not at base of great toe. Might not be gout, could be some other arthritis/arthralgia. Could just be general I'm-achy-because-I'm-old-and-falling-apart. But I'm going with gout.

On the more positive, spiritual side of things, "Happy St. Patrick's Day." (Yeah, the day was yesterday, and the parade is tomorrow, so I'm splitting the difference.) The most important part of the day (yesterday, the actual day) for me, beyond my being pseudo-Irish, is that is the anniversary (5th anniversary this year) of when I met that wonderful woman who is now my wife-and-mother-of-my-children. (Yes, Nom, for those of you not keeping track.) We'd "met" and dialoged on line for weeks before that, but as [personal profile] ravensron  (and other lesser intellects) frequently points out, you haven't really met anyone until you've bet them IRL. Spekaing of the kids, they are adorable and all the other adjectives that doting parents say, and you're all probably tired of reading, even if entirely true in this case.

At the hospital the other day, someone was selling candy to help raise money for her son's high school something-or-other. I bought a box of chocolate mints (or minty chocolates, if you prefer). In my mind, that goes well with St. Paddy's Day. When I lived in Portsmouth NH, at one point I lived over a bakery. I was living with an exotic older woman musician, in one of the few true urban lofts in that small but lovely city. I forget the name of the bakery; it's not there now, although Ceres Bakery, my other favorite from that era, is still there. Anyhow, said bakery would do Leprechaun Brownies every year for 1-2 weeks leading up to St. P's Day. I adored them, often had one every day. After I'd moved up to Montreal, I was doing the long-distance relationship thing with the lovely lady for over a year. (That worked out as well as most long-distance relationships work. In the end, just as well, because (see 2nd paragraph) I'm now married to Nom.) I was down in Portsmouth the weekend before St. P's and decided to buy a whole tray of Leprachaun Brownies to bring back with me. I ended up scarfing down the entire tray in the course of 2 days, and then couldn't abide the taste of chocolate mint for over a decade. (No residual objection to exotic women, or even older ones, although Nom is in fact, much younger than I am.)
warriorsavant: (Wedding/Romance)
New Years Eve happened and the world is still here. If you didn't see the ball drop in Times Square, then it is still 2016 for you. Actually only saw it next day on tape, as had fallen asleep that night. (Yup, I'm a light-weight these days.) Watched about 10 minutes of the one-and-a-half hours we'd taped of the celebrations/show, drank our sparkling not-alcohol, kissed, wished each other Happy New Year, and tried to keep the kids from spilling the non-booze. (Did I mention being a light-weight now? Rarely drink real booze. Part of that is because Nom doesn’t drink, which has a pro and a con. Pro: she’s a cheap date. Con: I’m way behind on my drinking.)

Still on vacation, which is not long enough, but did teach today, and am now at my office getting caught up on paperwork, emails, bloggin, and misc administrative stuff. Nom is insisting on inflicting some socializing on me this week, something I keep claiming I want to do more of, but don't really mean.

Will probably post a recap of 2016 when I have a some free time (which possibly means not until 2047).
warriorsavant: (Wedding/Romance)
I sit. The fire is burning. I am drinking a glass of Pimm's No. 1 Cup, a novel at hand. My lovely wife is seated nearby also reading. Our children are wreaking havoc frolicking. To paraphrase [ profile] ravensron, I wish I go back and see my 20-year old self and say "kid, don't worry, it all turns out alright for you." I am happy.
warriorsavant: (Renovations)
Nom has been on maternity leave for almost 3 years now. Not all of it paid, but has been considered an employee of a certain corporation for all this time. (Long & complicated story about all the ins-and-outs of both Quebec and corporate policy and benefits.) All of this was ending recently. By happy coincidence, her company was going through a restructuring, so she was eligible for a buy-out package. Far from a golden parachute, but a nice sum of money for several weeks.

She really doesn't want to go back to work until the children are older, a position I fully support: it is happier and healthier for both her and them to have her home. She made a good salary, and now she won't be. Being a modern woman, this does not sit well with her. Me? I'm a post-modern man (okay, I was raised in the 19th century but have some post-modern sensibilities), so what I want is for her to be happy, and whatever is best for our family. Which is to say, unlike apparently the entire western world, I consider it equally valuable for a person to be employed outside the home or to be a homemaker or some combination of the two. (Had this discussion with [ profile] ecosopher recently.) I consider that since we are married, and therefore a unit, everything, including earning money and homemaking, is a contribution to the team. Nom is having great trouble with this emotionally. I do understand that this is an emotional crisis for her. She has been working since around age 14, and suddenly she will be "unemployed." Add to the fact that she's a war refugee (even if she was too young to remember), and financial insecurity is ingrained in her.

Even though she knew she was going to do this, she hesitated to actually sign and send in the paperwork until the last moment. It's a huge shock for her, and I understand, and was (mostly) patient.
warriorsavant: (Venice)
The day got better in the afternoon, when two different Italian families came. One bringing chocolate, and one bringing cannoli. Not that they weren't delightful people without that, but more delightful with. I reminded Evil Secretary that in future, has to be careful to book them on separate days to spread out the goodies. (Yes, they have the grace and good sense to bring some for her also.)

Being the wonderful father and husband that I am, I brought them home for Nom and the kids. Well, Nom, the kids just got a bit also. That was the second best part of dinner. The best part was when the kids crawled under the table and nibbled on Nom's toes. Okay, me and the kids. Well, okay, me, and the kids followed my lead. Can't blame me, her toes are almost as good as fresh Italian cannoli.

PS: Keeping with the Italianate theme, the icon is from Carnivale in Venice.
warriorsavant: (Venice)
The MMFA had the members' preview of a new exhibit of the ground-breaking photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe. He's best known for his then-scandalous homoerotic photography. His work encompasses much more than that, although that is a refrain throughout much of whatever he did. In his words, and in his view, there is nothing different between photographing a penis or a flower. As with so much art, much of what was startling and controversial then is "oh well, you can download more" now. Some of that seems forced even for work by someone who reveled in it. However, regardless of whether he was photographing penises or flowers, his eye was perfect. He gloried in, and deified, perfection. Every single shot is perfectly framed and composed. Yes, that's what a photographer, artistic or otherwise, is supposed to do, but few manage that keenly.

I'm not much of one for popular culture, but I like Patti Smith, and one bit of history I wasn't aware of, was that Mapplethorpe & Patti Smith had been lovers. (The grandmother of punk is turning 70 this year - don't that make you feel old, formerly-avant-gardies.)

They had a "New York Soiree" afterwards, with music (which we largely missed), and non-alcoholic cocktails (why???). It wasn't great, but was nice to sit and chat with Nom. We went out for dinner (nothing special, just a quick bite). I adore being a family man, but good to have a grown-up date with my wife once in a while.
warriorsavant: (Sword & Microscope 1)
Nom & I are going on our second decade together. Which is to say, that we recently had our 1st anniversary. (I said "going on," not "have gotten to." "Going on" is a not a precise term. Stretching the point, we could also be going on our second century together. Here's hoping… it's been great so far.)

With two ragamuffins, the fancy romantic get-away doesn't happen. I bought her a dozen red roses. (Anniversaries are not the time for originality when buying flowers. For a while had been buying her one more each month on the monthly anniversary, but unfortunately too much going on and I'm ashamed to admit I was not consistent about it. Fortunately too much going on and she rarely noticed.) We went out for an early dinner/late lunch. (linner? lupper? I still think "brunch" is supposed to happen half way between normal breakfast and lunch hours.) There's a newish resto near us we'd been meaning to try called Vin Papillon. ("Butterfly wine" - metaphorical. I don't think they actually grind up and ferment butterflies). It's in the restaurant row near our condo; the owners have 2 other places there that are heavy on the meat, this one's lighter fair and very nicely done.

We sat on the terrace out back. The kitchen is open-air, under a vine-drapped trellis (not sure what they do when it rains), so you have the feeling of sitting somewhere in the countryside. The food is really good. Small portions, like tapas or hors d'oeurves, which are usually better than the main course in ordinary restaurants anyhow. It's meant more as a wine bar than a restaurant, a place for smart young things (or ppl who think they are) to sip wine while chatting gaily. We sipped water while chatting while trying to keep the said ragamuffins from killing themselves or breaking anything.

There are no printed menus, in traditional bistro style, the fare is printed on a board, or you can have your waiter select offerings for you. We had: calamari with acorn squash, mussels with articokes, and smoked sturgeon with puffed gnocchi. All of which were really good, especially the sturgeon.

Resto Pix )
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Since everyone here has a nom de plume, or rather a nom d'lj, I thought I'd take a moment to explain how those for my family came about.

As for mine, I started this blog to explain what it was like, as an Army Reservist, to mobilize, leave one's normal life behind, and deploy to a war zone. Proper explanation of the name warriorsavant is on my profile page Being retired these days, and more babbling about my kids than my warfighting, I briefly thought of renaming it warriordaddy (see icon, which is Rainbow Dash with a US Army cap and sniper rifle), but restrained myself.

My smart & lovely wife is named Nom b/c when she'd first told me her VN name, that's how I thought the first part of it was pronounced (the VN, like the French, often use compound names). I though, "Nom, nom, nom… you're delicious," and started calling her that. Many people think I'm saying "Nam" as in her ethnicity, but no, I've adapted a bit of internet slang. I mostly call her that IRL also.

Our first child is Hedgefund, b/c when we were talking about having a child, Nom said she was going to make sure the kid grew up to be a hedgefund manager, make a billion dollars, and support mom in her old age in the style she'd like to become accustomed to. I'm more mellow about her future: any medical specialty is fine. After the Army, and with time out to win an Olympic Gold Medal and be a supermodel. No pressure here kid.

After HF was born, we needed a name in keeping with the theme, so settled on Wallstreet. (Were hoping to have twins, which would have strained my verbal creative powers a bit, but was toying with some options.) Projected career path? About the same, but less eager for the modeling career. (Yeah, double standard. Tough.) Nom is fine with that too, just wants to pick out his wife for him, which means at least once, he is going to come home with the cheap-looking, big-chested blond, and announce he is going to marry her, just to shock his mom.

We frequently do refer to them as HF and WS, along with various terms of endearment, and even as their actual names (of which they are supplied with both English/French and Vietnamese ones on their birth certificates, as well as designated Hebrew names even if not on brith certificates).

As a general rule, I speak to them in English, Nom speaks to them in French, and grandparents speak to them in Vietnamese. Hedgefund seems to comprehend and speak all three
(as much as a toddler speaks). Wallstreet speaks fluent baby babble. If you care, grandparents speak VN, moderate French, and minimal English; I'm almost-bilingual; Nom is trilingual with no accent in any of the three - on the phone, you wouldn't know her ethnic background. I really hope the kids take after their mom in that respect (with their father's crisp literacy, poor things).
warriorsavant: (White Lion - Jabulani)
Am sitting studying (well, actually goofing off by writing this). Nom is reading to the kids. They are all happy. I’m happy being in this environment. I wanted a family (at this late stage in my life)*, but I’m still surprised how much I’m enjoying it.

*Well, it was on the "to do" list for quite a while, but it was a really, really long list. Actually was opposed to, or ambivalent about, it for most of my life. Live and learn/develop.
warriorsavant: (Springtime in Canada)
First: Happy Canada Day, including to those few, poor benighted souls (7-odd billion of you) who don't live here.

Note the icon. It is indicative of the two seasons we have here: winter and Canada Day. That's not really true, sometimes summer lasts an entire week, which is great if you're in town that week. Actually, it's been freaking hot and muggy lately, and our AC has been breaking down on-and-off.

We're not planning to do anything special, other than get together with some people we haven't seen for awhile.

Did celebrate recently, as was Nom's 29th birthday. Turning 29 doesn't happen every year... well, yes it does in her case, but still went out and celebrated, some just the two of us, some with her family.
warriorsavant: (Meh)
Firstly, I think I need an icon for "doing home renovations." Any suggestions, hive mind?

Second, Nom is going to take over riding herd on these idiots contractors and architects and engineers and everyone else. I know everything takes longer than expected, but we need to know things in a timely fashion, not, for example, finally reaching someone on Sunday night and being told, "no, I'm not sending anyone to start work Monday like you expected."

Up 'till now, I've been doing most of this, because there have been a lot of technical questions, and being the son of Mr. Fixit, I'm familiar with the terminology and concepts, whereas she isn't. Now it's more a matter of following up with people and being doggedly persistent. Of, course, Asian women aren't very good at that, being shy, quiet, non-pushy, demure... Hahahahahaha, yeah right! Another cliché bites the dust. When it comes to being doggedly persistent, on an increasing scale we have: me, a rabid hyena, Nom. Yet another reason I adore that woman.

Things are starting to move.


warriorsavant: (Default)

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