Archive for Life

May 28th, 2015

We’re moving to Vermont!


I’m currently sitting at a café at the mall and I’m grumpy. I hate the mall! This place is depressing. Remind me to never come back! (Though I probably won’t need the reminder, as I’ll soon be so far away from this place that the idea of coming here will likely never cross my mind again.)


So I’m here at this crappy mall because I couldn’t focus on anything at home, and I thought that a change of scenery might help. Working from home is both a blessing and a curse, so once in a while Denise and I pack our laptops and find a new place to hang out at for the afternoon. We waste less time when we’re working outside, since we don’t need to constantly chase the cats down to put their ugly sweaters back on (don’t judge us, they’re Sphynx cats so they get cold), so we end up being a lot more productive that way.


Arnaud Augustin

Arnaud (with his sweater) and Augustin (out again).

Yes, we’re fully aware of how ridiculous they look.


It appears that I didn’t plan our little outing well enough this time, because my battery died exactly 5 minutes after I turned my computer on. There’s no plug at this café – the only thing that’s available in big supply around here is old people – lots and lots of old people. Apparently it’s cool to hang out at the mall when you’re over 65. Even my wife, who adores the elderly, just pointed out that “we’re surrounded by geriatrics”.


Since I can’t work (surely it’s life’s way of telling me that I need a break, or that I get distracted too easily), I decided to write this much delayed blog post on good old notebook paper while Denise does actual work on her fully charged MacBook next to me.


Did you ever notice that old people tend to talk about the same topics all the time? So and so just got married again, so and so is having health problems, so and so just died, and everything was so much better back in the day. I’m sure I’ll sound exactly like them – just give me a few years! Right now I’m slightly jealous of my wife who can’t understand a word that’s being said at the table next to us since everyone is speaking French. Maybe I should stop writing and tell her that so and so’s brother worked at that company for 30 years, and now lives somewhere by the water?



A small portion of the people around us. We love that man’s jacket so much!

We’re big fans of the rainbow. Do you think he’s gay like us?


But I’m getting distracted again. A wonderful thing about Denise is that she doesn’t procrastinate or go off on tangents like I do. If she was the one writing this blog post, you’d already know that we’ll be living in Burlington, VT by the end of the summer or the beginning of the fall.


Yes! Somehow we had the crazy idea of leaving the land of poutine and maple syrup and Céline Dion to go live in the United States. On a side note, I’ll definitely miss poutine, but not Céline Dion. And apparently Vermont is the biggest American producer of maple syrup (even though they only reach about 20% of Québec’s production), so I should still feel in familiar territory. I need real maple syrup on my waffles!


The Burlington area seems like the best option for us, since we’re used to civilization and hanging out in the gay village in Montréal. At only 40 something thousand inhabitants, Burlington is the most populated city in Vermont. Living out in the woods without any neighbors for miles sounds like an adventure to me, but Denise likes people, and I’d probably get bored after a couple of months, so Burlington it is!


It’s funny to think that I’ll be living in another country and experiencing a new culture while only being a little over an hour away from here. Denise is American, so it shouldn’t be too much of a cultural shock for her. We’re definitely looking forward to having access to Panera Bread again! Staying close enough to QC will also be great since my son’s dad and I will continue to share custody – Louis-Justin will be with Nicolas during the week, and will spend his weekends with us in Vermont. Hopefully Denise’s son can come visit a few times a year now that we’ll all live in the same country.


Being in the States should also be good for our social life. Even though most people know some level of English in Québec, everyone around us speaks French as a first language, which hasn’t always been easy for Denise. We want friends who speak English! So if you live in the Burlington area or know anyone who does, please get in touch with us! We have questions that Google might not be able to answer, and it would be great to know a few people before we take the next step. I promise we’re nice – my wife will bake you cookies, and I will make you laugh with my French Canadian accent. (I thought that the word “sew” was actually pronounced “soo” instead of “so” – anyone else, or is it just me?)


Julie & Denise

A silly selfie of us, and a normal one.

The lesbians are moving to Burlington, woohoo!


I’m a bit scared but very excited about this new journey that we’re about to embark on. If anyone has words of wisdom for us, please share in the comments!


So adios Canada… And hello USA!

Posted under Life | 7 Comments
April 21st, 2015

Cabane à Sucre


When I came to Canada, I was exposed to authentic maple syrup and it’s in a league of its own – delicious! There’s no time for the cheap pretend maple syrup business that I’ve only known my entire life. I’ll just say this… I’ll never buy Aunt Jemima again.


This last weekend I got to experience maple syrup in all its glory, we went to a Sugar Shack (AKA Cabane à Sucre)! The Sugar Shacks are where the sap of the maple tree is boiled and made into maple syrup. Most Sugar Shacks in Quebec are only open during sugaring off season – which is normally the spring.


As promised in yesterday’s post, I want to share some photos from my first Sugar Shack experience!



This is where the magic happens. A friendly gentleman (who knew English fairly well!)

poured the syrup and I wrapped it around my stick and enjoyed every morsel.


The Sugar Shack experience is not just about the syrup, it’s also about a grand spread of food to share family style around the table. There was ham, baked beans, cole slaw, beets, pickles, 2 kinds of potatoes, sausages, dinner rolls, pea soup, 4 types of dessert… and oreilles de crisse.


I didn’t really understand what oreilles de crisse could be as Julie described them to me before we went. Translated they could mean “Christ’s ears” and I was like, what the hell? But really, they are just deep-fried smoked pork jowls. Crunchy salted fat.



The food was delicious and abundant! My favorite part was the maple grandfathers, 

a dumpling covered in the most savory maple sauce!


We ate so much food and still brought a full take home box with us when we left. This was a fabulous experience, but my blood sugar level and waist line could not handle it on a frequent basis.


I hope you have enjoyed hearing about my first experience with the Sugar Shack. I’m off to go help Julie put some stationery packs together for the SSS!

Posted under Life | 2 Comments


My name is Julie and I'm 35.
I live in Québec (close to Montréal) and I speak French.

I write letters, I love stationery and I have a handwriting fetish. I often eat sushi, still feel like I'm 16 and only wear skirts & dresses (with colorful tights when it's cold).

I'm happier with a mind full of ideas, a mailbox full of letters from my penpals, a shop full of stationery, a house full of cats and a day full of hugs.

Read my Top 10 Quirks here.

This is me with my wife,
Denise. We met through the
League of Extraordinary
Penpals and are living
happily ever after amongst
piles of cats and stationery.

Denise blogs here
from time to time and is
the one in charge of the
social media: Facebook,
Twitter and Pinterest.

She's 39 years old,
from the United States,
and in love with me, washi
tape & imperial rolls.

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