Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sea Lion

Hi everyone! So I couldn't believe I hadn't used this fella for any of my Camera Critters posts yest. His name was Tag and he was a Steller Sea Lion. I came across him at the Vancouver Aquarium which was one of the last places I visited while there in the summer of 2007. I saw Tag just one year before he passed away and let me tell you, he was BIG. The pictures actually don't quite do him justice as his nose was about the size of my fist. I found him extremely impressive, and before seeing him I actually didn't know that there was a breed of sea lion that could get this large, but his size was is actually quite normal for his breed.

So that's Camera Critters for this week, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a great Halloween and be sure to check out other Camera Critters posts here

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Hi everyone!

So to go with the Fall theme of the post I put up yesterday in a Skywatch fashion, here's a shot of one of the better known landmarks in Toronto, the CN Tower, on a cloudy late fall day last year.

I hope you've had a nice week and enjoy your weekend! As always, you can get your weekend off to a lovely start by heading over here and checking out more Skywatch photos!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A few seasonal photos :o)

Old stairs covered in multicolored leaves in a parc in North York, Ontario, another suburb of Toronto

A misty field in Milton, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto

My neighborhood...

I hope you're enjoying the Fall, wherever you are (or Spring, for my readers Down Under ;o)) and I hope you're letting all the media induced Swine Flu panic get to you...I for one have once again given up on reading and watching the news, I refuse to be scared into getting a vaccine that I do not want or need.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bumble Bee

Hi everyone!

So I'm back this week with a nice summer-like Camera Critters post to try and chase away the dreary fall weather outside! I took this shot in May of last year at my family's Mothers' Day barbecue. It took me quite a few tries to capture this busy bee as it flitted around on this lovely flowering bush, but he finally found the flower he thought was up to his culinary standards and I was able to get a shot that was up to my photographic standards.

I hope you all enjoy this camera critters post, you can head on over here to enjoy more of the same :o)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Hi everyone!

So last weekend I headed off to Toronto to visit my sweetheart and on Sunday before I sadly had to take the train home we went for a nice long walk through a lovely parc that's near his place in order to enjoy the lovely weather and the fall colors. This is one of several pictures I took of the beautiful multi colored leaves against the blue sky.

So that's Skywatch Friday for this week, I hope you all have a lovely weekend and as always, head over here to enjoy more Skywatch photos from all over the world :o)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Sooooo, this Skywatch shot is a rather innovative one, I hope you like it :o) I took it from the backseat of my friends' car on the way back to Montreal after our apple picking excursion earlier this month and as you can see, we were heading right into a rain storm.

So that's Skywatch Friday for this week, I hope you all have an amazing weekend and don't for get to check out other Skywatch photos here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Hi everyone!

So in my post from yesterday I mentioned going to the Botanical Gardens to see the annual lantern show and I promised pictures, so here I am today with them. As you can see, they aren't your standard paper lanterns :o)

This lantern show runs every year from the end of September to October 31st and the lanterns are different every year. If ever you're in Montreal during that time frame, be sure and check it out if you have a chance, it's well worth it, even if you do have to wait in line for a while. If you can, make it to the gardens at the end of the afternoon so that you're there at dusk because the longest waiting times come after dinner.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Not so quiet, but that's okay :o)

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had an amazing weekend :o) As for me, it was a Holiday weekend in Canada, we had our Thanksgiving which is one of my favorite Holidays because it's in early fall I love all the sights and smells that go with it! The colorful leaves in the trees and on the ground, the damp, earthy smell and the smell of smoke coming from chimneys. When I was in elementary and high school, Thanksgiving was also often synonymous with not a three, but a four day weekend since the school commission tended to tack a PD day onto the Friday before Thanksgiving Monday on top of the Monday that was already off for the Holiday and then when I outgrew those in Cegep and University I would often tack the extra day on Myself and take off to go and spend the Holiday in Toronto with my aunt and cousins. I did that last year, but this year I stayed here and spent it with my father's side of the family. We had ourselves a wonderful turkey dinner followed by pumpkin pie for dessert and shared a lot of laughs. As for the rest of my weekend it was pretty busy with errands to run on Saturday during the day and then a visit to Montreal's lovely Botanical Gardens to see the lantern exhibit in the Chinese Gardens. I had to stand in line for 45 minutes to get in, but it was well worth the wait, I'll get some pictures up soon for you guys to see. Then on Sunday before heading out to my family dinner I spent the morning on Skype with my best friend in Switzerland and then the better part of the the early afternoon on Skype with my Sweetheart checking out a website he had built for himself on Saturday and then purchasing a train ticket for my visit to him this coming weekend. It was a very spur of the moment purchase because we weren't sure if he was heading off to Mexico for a week or not until Friday and then I had to see if there were still train tickets left or not before getting back to him. Needless to say I am thrilled to be going to see him! Then yesterday I had to head out to the Western tip of the city for an appointment and I went to visit my mother at the same time since she had movie passes for my Sweetheart and I for this weekend and she also had some clothes she wanted me to look at and see if I wanted. She pretty much replaced her entire wardrobe a few weeks ago and put aside some of her old clothes that she thought I might like and I came out of it with three new sweaters and a new shirt, plus I of course left her house with food. A visit to mom's house is never complete unless I leave there with food :o) So with the leftovers from Sunday's Thanksgiving dinner from my aunt, plus some spaghetti sauce and homemade ketchup from my grandmother and the stuff from my mom, it's safe to say that I will not be needing to go grocery shopping this week and maybe not even next week!

So yes, my weekend was quite busy and I came out of it kind of tired because I didn't get to bed at a decent hour one single night out of it, but that's okay, because I had a good time :o) Now, I'll just have to try and be good and go to bed relatively early (meaning 11:30 P.M. at the latest) this week so I won't get to Toronto all wiped out because that just wouldn't do :o)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A different kind of jet lag...

As any of you who have read my profile know, I'm from Montreal and my boyfriend of five years is currently living in Toronto. He's been working on contract there for almost ten months now and has another fourteen to go...unless he asks to have his contract extended for three months so he doesn't have to move in the dead of Winter again like he did last year. He and his brother and a friend actually have to drive a van full of his stuff all the way up the 401 in a snowstorm...not be recommended, apparently.

I love going to visit my boyfriend, naturally. I miss him like crazy, some days more than others and mostly in the evenings when my day is winding down and he's not on Skype so I can't talk to him. On nights like those, I often end up dreaming about him, dreaming that I'm with him and I have dreamed that he was sleeping beside me, have actually felt his arms around me and have woken up bitterly disappointed to find an empty space in the bed beside me or that the heat I was feeling against my chest was being created by one of my cats having crept under my blankets and curled up against me. This is very sweet of them to do, but is a bit of a let down when a few moments earlier that feeling was coming from what I thought to be my significant other's arm around me.

You may be wondering why in Heaven's name I didn't move to Toronto with my Sweetheart. I nearly did, actually. Last year I ended up between two jobs right when he was moving. I applied for a job in Toronto, got an interview right off the bat, headed over there and would have been hired on the spot had I not requested a few days to consider the offer before accepting it. I came home and within twenty four hours wrote to my prospective employer to says that I would accept the job...and then it fell through. It turned out that I would have been employed under the table and at two places at once instead of one and I would have needed a car to get between the two which I could not possibly have afforded on the salary they were offering me. I kept looking and applied for a few more jobs, but didn't get that lucky again and then the Oratory took me back and I've been on a career path there ever since. I couldn't possibly give that up to move to Toronto for two years or what is now a bit over a year and my boyfriend agrees with me. I may as well stay here and wait it out. My boyfriend and I have never lived together either, so it's not like he left with all of our stuff or anything or I was actually really being left behind, in case you were wondering about that :o)

So I'm here and he's over there and I head over to visit him about every month and a half and he heads over here once a month. We are definitely raking in the Via Rail Preference points ;o) Yes, it's a good thing we both love taking the train! What is not so much fun however is how I often feel on my return from a visit to my boyfriend's. I have a very hard time when it comes time to leave, the last time I had to come home I cried pretty much all the way from Brockville to Cornwall before falling asleep...that's about an hour's worth of tears. Then I spend a few days in a kind of haze, the best way I can describe the feeling is that it's something like jet lag and it comes from the fact that I get pulled from a place where I feel safe and at peace and just plain right back into my new kind of normal where I have to get used to not having my boyfriend a simple phone call away, where I can't just get home from work, get changed, feed my cats and then grab stuff for the next day before heading out to spend the night at his place. He isn't just a subway ride away anymore, he's five hundred kilometers away and a visit to him has to be planned around his calendar and my calendar and when we have meetings and who else is going to visit him. Every time I go to see him I have to get used to that all over again and I miss like he's just left all over again and I have to wonder when I'm going to be able to see him again all over again. It is not easy to do and I've considered packing up and moving over there again, but I then gather up my courage and tell myself that we're almost halfway through this so I have handle it for a few more months until we get to the point where we're getting closer to his coming home for good. What will happen at that point, I don't know, but we'll have to wait and see, all we can do is take this one day at a time.

Koi Pond

Hi everyone! So, I'm posting at my usual time this week, sorry I was so late last week, a lot of you seem to have missed out on my post because of that...this week's feature is the Koi pond at Miromar Outlet mall in Estero, Florida near where my Grandparents lived up until last week...they've now moved to Aiken, South Carolina because, being from Canada, they just couldn't take the heat down in Southwest Florida anymore after living there for about twelve years! They wanted to move somewhere that actually kind of had four seasons without having to deal with all the snow we get up here. Anyhow, I always really liked to visit the outlet mall when I went down to visit my grandparents because they always had great deals and also because it's such a beautiful place. It's a huge strip mall with beautiful plazas and fountains, one of which is full of Kois that were actually really easy to get pictures of because as soon as they noticed people coming up to the pond, they swam over expecting you to drop bread crumbs or other food in for them :o)

So that's Camera Critters for this week, be sure to head over here to see other camera critters and have a great weekend, Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Skywatch Friday

So, you remember how I thought that my apple picking outing with my friends was going to be washed out last Saturday? Turns out that we checked the radar, saw there was a really good looking gap in the clouds and rain and headed out to the orchard! We had just enough time to get there, pick apples galore and get int he car to head home before it started raining again. We were most impressed with our timing :o)

So have a happy Skywatch Friday and a great weekend everyone and head on over here to see more great Skywatch shots!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The ups and downs of working in the tourist trade

As most of you, my dear regular readers know, I work as a tour guide at St-Joseph's Oratory and love my job very much indeed, but even when you love your job, there are ups and downs to it. Fortunately for me, there are more ups than downs, but downs do still happen. So here's my current list of ups:

I get to meet people from all over the world, Like Australia, Germany, New Zealand, England, Russia, Poland, South Africa, Haiti, China.

I get to tell people an amazing story and see their eyes light up in amazement or fascination or soften with emotion when they are touched by it.

I get to give tours to groups of curious children who ask some of the most hilarious questions and shoot out some of the most amazing theories I have ever heard, but they sometimes also have incredible insight.

I sometimes get to give tours to dignitaries, like last Friday. Being followed around by a security detail is very cool indeed ;o)

I make people happy with what I do, the value of a heartfelt 'thank you' is worth far more to me than all the tips in the world.

And last but most certainly not least, I have made some of the best friends I have ever had here at the Oratory and met my sweetheart here as well and even though most of them no longer work at the Oratory and have moved on to build a carreer in other areas, we still keep in touch and get together and have an amazing time.

Here is my current list of downs:

Sometimes, tour organizers cross the Oratory off the list of stops they are going to make during their trip Montreal. This can happen, we totally understand it. Buses break down, schedules are tight, sometimes your group will not move faster no matter how much you plead with them to do so. Usually organizers call us to tell us they won't come, but sometimes they don't, as one of my groups did not two weeks ago and I was left high and dry, waiting aorund for them until the time they were supposed to have been leaving to Oratory when my boss finally told me I could go home because my shift was over anyway. That was not the first time it happened to me and it certainly won't be the last. The general rule of thumb is that the later a group is booked to come in, the more likely they are to be late getting here or to not show up at all. I have a group coming in at 5:00 P.M. on Wednesday, I'll let all know how that turns out :oJ

Most tour organizers are very kind people, but every once in a while we get very difficult ones who, no matter how hard we try, cannot be pleased. They look right down their noses at you, belittle you and try to make you feel insignificant. In such cases I have learned to ignore the organizers and just pay attention to the group. As long as they're happy, that's all that matters :o)

And finally, the Oratory attracts all sorts of wonderful people, but it does attract some rather special cases as well. Sometimes they are harmless homeless people who come up here and try to beg for money until one of our security guards gently sends them on their way, somtimes we get thieves up here who steal from the pilgrims and tourists, although this happens much less frequently than before and sometimes we do end up with people who are desperate for help and unfortunately we also end up with people who are not well at all, like the person who attacked one of our security guards last week. Fortunately he wasn't hurt and the police were able to catch the culprit and incidents like that one are very rare indeed, it's only the second time in seven years that I've seen something like that happen.

So there's a little picture of what my work days are like :o) Some are quiet, some a little less, but thanks to the fact that I work with the public, no two days are ever exactly alike. Variety is, truly, the spice of life :o)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Calm waters

I came across this fine feathered fellow while out on a walk while my boyfriend was attending a conference in Kelowna in 2007. This was the quietest I saw Okanagan lake while we were there, the only wake being created was that caused by the duck as he swam.

So that's Camera Critters for this week, sorry I'm late in posting, but I had a rather busy day! See you all next week and be sure to check out other Camera Critters posts here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Skywatch Friday

So it's Skywatch Friday time again! This week my feature for you guys is a photo that I took almost exactly one year ago while out apple picking. It was originally a color shot, but with the big billowy grey clouds I found that it had far more potential as a black and white shot, so I transformed it with Corel and here you have it! I was hoping to get more nice fall shot this coming Saturday when my friends and I went apple picking again, but unfortunately the weather is not going cooperate with us and it looks like we're going to get rained out :o( Oh well, maybe we'll go and pick ourselves some pumpkins in a few weeks instead.

On that note, have a great Skywatch Friday by going to check out other Skywatch photos here and have a fun weekend...even if yours turns out to be rainy too!