Growing up as an addict in California, I never got the fix I needed. A Christmas addict, that is — and more importantly, a Christmas carol addict. I’ve been dreaming of a white Christmas since I first sang the song. But in coastal California, the closest we ever get to a white Christmas is a foggy one, and trust me it’s just not postcard worthy. I’ve wanted a white Christmas forever, and this past year I finally had one thanks to a family reunion in Montreal. Family was fantastic, and the snow was as good as I’d hoped it would be.


A real reason to wear knit hat. Snow!

Having grown up in temperate California, I was afraid I’d look like a dorky gigantic Michelin man in my down coat. I was assured that I’d look just like everyone else. I did, in fact, look like everyone else. And within a few minutes of being toasty warm despite the snow, I didn’t care how poofy I appeared.


Snowball in his hand. Not really a fair fight, because he has much more experience than me.


Clock tower along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River.

I managed to get a picture of this non-existent triathlon, but I missed an awesome video opportunity. There was an outdoor skating rink near the river, and people were skating in the snow. The loudspeakers were blasting the theme song from Frozen in French. I laughed out loud, because the lyrics “The snow never bothered me, anyway,” have never been more appropriate than in that very moment. (But it was way too cold at that point to take off my gloves and fumble with camera settings.)


Strangely enough, we didn’t see many competitors. (Bad race director.)


This racer gave up the fight.

Speaking of opportunities, we did not miss our chance for a Christmas treat — pulled maple. The snow-town moral equivalent of saltwater taffy. Yum. Tasty as it was, though, it wasn’t nearly as delicious as many of the meals we had while there. The food in Montreal is delicious, and not just the poutine. All the food.


Maple on snow, a Quebecois treat.


It ends up a sticky delicious maple lollipop. One a year would be plenty.


Tire sur niege means taffy on snow. It also translates to happy husband.

And some holiday magical moments…


Christmas Eve fireworks over the river. Snow & fireworks, both! My head nearly exploded from joy.


Christmas Day hike up Mount Royal.

We would have had fun together no matter where we were, but special thanks to my crew for indulging me my long-time dream of a white Christmas (even though they’ve each had plenty of them and would have been just as happy with a sunny beach).


Cervesiesta – noun

1. a midday or afternoon beer
2. day-time drinking to escape the hottest part of the day, napping afterward is optional
Word origin – Cerveza + Siesta. Coined in Miami Beach, 2015. By me.
Example of usage – It’s so hot, I’m dying out here. It’s time for cervesiesta. (It’s like “It’s five o’clock somewhere” with a Spanglish twist.)  OK, I’m probably not the first to mashup those two words, but I’m still enamored of the result.

I made a list of the most memorable things we saw during our stay. At the top of the list are my brother-in-law and his girlfriend, but I didn’t manage to get a picture of them. Likewise my friend Marilou.

In no particular order:

  • We took the city bus. On the first ride, an older guy with a swastika tattoo on his neck spent the whole ride rummaging through his backpack. There was a knife or some such sharp projectile sticking out of said backpack. I didn’t try to get a closer look.
  • On the second ride, another older guy with even more tattoos and really long hair said to the woman in front of him, “Tell that kid to give you his seat. He’s supposed to give his seat to seniors. If you don’t ask him, I will tell him he has to get up.” The kid got up immediately, and then the guy turned to me and asked if I wanted his seat. I declined.
  • All over Miami Beach, there are fishbowl-sized drinks, some with beers sticking out of them. Yet, surprisingly, we saw very few drunk people. That may not the case in high season.

    I’ll just have a beer, thanks.

  • The Art Deco Walking Tour was great. The buildings are beautiful, and the guide was super knowledgeable. I just wish it had started earlier, because I was melting by the end.

One of my fave art deco hotels

  • A guy on a bicycle was riding around, and on front edge of his bike basket was his pet lemur. The guy’s friend was riding with a giant python around his neck.
  • Jellyfish in Biscayne Bay. We motored out in my brother-in-law’s boat. He swore he always sees dolphins. Not a one. I almost jumped into the water anyway, but decided against it. Not 30 seconds later, we saw giant jellyfish off the side of the boat. Phew. With my luck, I’d have been attacked. It would have been ugly.
  • Iguanas, butterflies, and an alligator at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. The garden is exquisite, completely worth the drive out and the cost of admission. It’s so beautiful, I could have spent days there. If I lived nearby, I’d be a member and take photography classes.
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Don’t know his name

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Morpho butterfly

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  • Storms! Living in California, I miss rain. I dream of rain. In Florida, we got a lot of it, plus thunderstorms. All the rain made it hard to take pictures, but when it wasn’t raining I got some cool stormy sky shots.
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One of my best shots was on my cell phone.

From Miami Beach, we traveled to Boston. Highlights from that trip in an upcoming post.

Updated 09/29/2015 – my friend Barb informed me that “cerveziesta” might be pronounced “cervethiesta” by Spaniards. That just won’t do. So the spelling has been changed to “cervesiesta.”