Thursday, December 30, 2010

Skywatch Friday

This week's Skywatch feature is a shot of the peaceful winter skies that greeted me while I was out of a walk during my lunch hour exactly one week ago today. I wish you all peace and happiness for 2011! Be sure to check out all the other beautiful views of the sky that the world has to offer on the Skywatch Friday blog and see you all in 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Today I...December 29th

Today I... sharing this picture of the stairs to a large house in Westmount framed by two large spruce trees with you. feeling a bit better as my cold seems to be letting up a bit. Yesterday I felt like a wet rag, today I feel like mostly dry rag ;o)

...decided to get and renew my driver's licence and Medicare. I figured it would only take me about an hour to get that done, so I brought my grocery bags with me, planning to go and buy stuff to re-stock my fridge.

...spent THREE HOURS at the provincial services outlet waiting to renew my cards!!! Yup, you read that right, THREE HOURS!!! Ugh...I hadn't planned on it taking that long, so hadn't brought a snack or water with me and was mighty hungry by the time I got out of there at 6:00 P.M. since I had only had breakfast!!!

...went grocery shopping anyhow so I could buy myself a Knorr skillet meal. I got home, got changed, dumped the food in the skillet and had dinner ready in 15 minutes. God bless Knorr :o)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Today I...December 27th

Today I... sharing this trailer of the film 'The King's Speech' with you. I went to see the movie today and thought it was absolutely brilliant. You should all go and see it if you gt a chance, it's a truly wonderful depiction of how debilitating it can be to not be able to speak properly. While I never had a stammer, there was a student in my class in elementary in grades five and six who did and I remember how the speech therapist would help him and how he would proudly come and stand in front of the class to read for us regularly to show us his progress and he was always so proud to do it.

...had a bit of an up and down day emotionally. I saw my Sweetheart yesterday evening and so was on a Sweetheart induced high until this afternoon. I was quite pleased with myself for making it out to the movies and although, as I mentioned, I truly enjoyed the film, for some reason I was even more depressed coming out of it than I had been yesterday afternoon. When I got home I had a good cry and felt a good bit better after that. Maybe I just had some bottled up emotions that I needed to get out. sharing with you how therapeutic I have always found crying to be. My opinion has always been that if you have feelings, whether they be good out bad, you should express them. It is perfectly normal to feel so angry sometimes that you need to throw or hit things (this, in my opinion, is one of the reasons why God allowed man to invent the pillow and cushion). Better to give a beating to a pillow, cushion, or mattress than to vent your anger on a person who is not necessarily the cause of your anger. It is also perfectly normal to want to cry, whether it be, once again, out of anger, or sadness, or frustration. I find it is far better to let your feelings out than keeping them bottled up because then things simmer and eventually blow up, or, as is my case when I don't let things out, I become depressed or sometimes even angry and bitter although I very rarely let things get to that point.

...came down with a yuletide cold. A Christmas cold has to be one of the most common traditions after fruitcake...and just as appreciated. Apologies to anyone who actually likes fruitcake, I just never have ;o)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Today I...December 26th

Today I... hoping that you all had a very Merry Christmas. I'm sharing a few photos that I took over the pas few days with you all. The first photo is of one of the houses behind the Oratory. I took it during my walk on Thursday.

...the next photo is of the presents set out at my aunt and uncle's last night.

...and this last one is a close-up of a plate of ginger cookies and clementines that I set up at my mom's place yesterday afternoon. I didn't make the cookies, by the way. A customer of my mom's made them and gave them to her as a gift. They're really good!!! apologizing for going AWOL since Thursday, but I have been caught in a whirlwind of emotions and business since then. I will confess and that Christmas is not easy for me (or for my brother for that matter). I often feel wonderful leading up to Christmas, but then right beforehand I hit a low ebb when I feel lonely and teary and nostalgic and this year with Luce dying two days before Christmas is made it even worse. I now have two weeks of vacation ahead of me and while the rest will be most appreciated, I'm wondering how I will fill much of that time. All of my friends are busy with their significant others or off on vacation. I'm still waiting to see my Sweetheart although, as his nickname on here states, he has been a love since Luce died and wrote to me on Thursday night and then called me on Friday morning to see how I was doing and to wish me a Merry Christmas and to ask me to light a candle for Luce for him at the Oratory. Oh, if I could have kissed him and hugged him through the phone I would have. I will see if I can go back to Toronto with him for a few days from Wednesday to Saturday and make it home in time for a family dinner on the 1st as that would fill the gap between the two holidays. I'll see what he thinks of the idea, otherwise I may use some points off of my Via Preference card to take a day trip to Ottawa or something. moving on to a lighter note: I got some lovely presents for Christmas, a set of pots and a pan from my aunt and uncle, slippers, a purse, a blanket for my bed, some socks and mitts and a few other bits and bobs from my mom, some clothes and a gift card from my grandparents and I almost forgot, a gift card for groceries from my mom, which is absolutely brilliant because food is one of my biggest expenses. Do not ever underestimate the value of a gift card for groceries for someone, it's a really brilliant gift to get :o)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Today I...December 22nd

Today I...

...shall be thanking God, St-Joseph and St-Brother André for a miracle they have given my family and I. Will you thank them with me? sharing this picture of the Oratory I took in the snow last January. I'll be bringing my camera to work with me tomorrow to take some pictures of the Nativity Scene we have set up outside now that they have all the trees and lights up, so keep an eye out for them tomorrow or the day after I hope.

...found out that there is such a thing as chionophobia. And no, that is not a phobia of China or the Chinese, it is actually, wait for it...a phobia of SNOW!!! Yup, there was an elderly Italian lady in with a group today who has been in Montreal for 40 years and who started screaming and throwing a fit because it was snowing outside and she would not hear of going out even just for two minutes so she could be taken across from the building which houses the gift shop and snack bar into the Oratory for her tour. Oh, dear learn something new every day!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Today I...December 21st

Today I... sharing this picture of people skating on Beaver Lake in Mount-Royal Park with you. so three days until my two weeks off now though, I'll make it!!!

...was happy that it was mild enough for me to walk home (-3 Celsius).

...pilfered a glue stick from the office to glue a picture I took to the envelope that my Sweetheart's Christmas Present is in.

...finally got around to washing the bathroom.

...still need to vacuum, I'll get there eventually :o)

...did wash the dishes though! really, honestly going to try and get to bed early. Oh, the woes of the genetic Night internal clock is set for me to go to bed at Midnight and get up at about 9:30 A.M., but the outside world makes me try as hard as I can to make it to bed for 11:30 P.M. and get up at 7:00 A.M. . I make it about 40% of the time. Eh, what can you do? And for the record, I don't drink coffee, so that isn't a solution for me, it just doesn't sit well with me, so when someone asked me on the phone this morning what I used to help me wake up in the morning after I yawned while answering one of his questions, I said orange juice and he laughed.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Today I...December 20th

Today I...

...don't have much to report.

...So I'll let the pictures... the talking for me. I must go for another walk like this one soon.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Today I...December 19th

Today I... sharing this picture I took of McGill College Avenue with its Christmas Decorations lit yesterday afternoon with you. Despite the wetness of the road, it was note raining. The water is from snow that had fallen earlier and melted and the snow already on the ground melting a bit as well.

...went out to lunch with my mother and my brother for my brother's birthday. Unfortunately the food was nothing too amazing, but at least we had a good time!

...bought two movies for 20$ from the video rental store near my place, Twilight and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I saw Benjamin Button with my Sweetheart in the theater last Christmas and watched Twilight for the first time afternoon and really liked it!

...should have vacuumed and cleaned the bathroom, but watched Twilight instead. Dear me, aren't I a rebel? Oh well, at least I washed the dishes!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Today I...December 18th

Today I... sharing this picture I took of one of the Christmas decorations that adorn the street lamps on Ste-Catherine street in Downtown Montreal with you. I took it this afternoon, while finishing my Christmas shopping.

...was most impressed when I made it out to the stores and back, including a stop near my house to buy canned cat food, within two hours. A savvy shopper am I, I avoided all the trouble (I.E.: more people than sardines in a can) spots and all the nasty line ups in the stores.

...was happy that it was so nice out and that I was able to walk outside quite a bit and get some fresh air. If it had not been, I still would not have needed to be bundled up since Montreal has this marvelous underground 'city', a network of tunnels which links all of the Downtown core together. That's why people in Montreal, if you see photos of them in Winter, are very rarely bundled up unless they're heading out to the ski hills or for a walk on Mount Royal. We hardly ever have to go outside unless we want to :o) You can read more about our Underground City here. Oh, and a side note, after being asked a few times by tourists over the years where the people live in the underground city, no one actually lives there. The underground city connects to offices and malls and subway tunnels, but no apartments are underground.

...did two loads of laundry and washed my dishes.

...spoke with my sweetheart for a bit. He's getting here on Tuesday and I am so looking forward to seeing him. I'll try and talk with him again tomorrow and find out exactly when we will be getting together, but I have nothing but free time to see him after the 25th, so we shouldn't have too much of an issue :o)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Today I...December 17th

Today I... sharing this picture of my brother and my grandfather's birthday 'cake' with you. It's actually a fancy 'Bûche de Noël', but we figured it would put an interesting twist on the traditional birthday cake. It's my brother's 26th birthday today, so I figured I would go with a birthday themed photo :o) As for my grandpa G, he'll be turning 80...something on Tuesday. Yeah, I don't remember exactly how old he'll be, but I think it may be 85?

...greatly enjoyed the sushi that D brought to work for C and I. He's begun bringing us sushi for free once a week since his roommate works in a sushi bar in Laval (another island city just north of Montreal).

...was so very happy to see the sun!

...went out and did a bit of Christmas shopping after work and got two SAQ (the Quebec liquor commission) gift cards, one for my brother and one for my aunt and uncle and some wrapping paper, three rolls for 2.25$ at the dollar store! What a bargain!!!

...splurged on a quiche for my dinner.

...would have put the said quiche in the oven much earlier if I had known it would have to be in there for 50 minutes before I could eat it!!! Man, am I hungry! trying to prepare myself mentally to face the hordes of people in the stores tomorrow when I go out to finish my Christmas shopping. Hey, at least I know what I'm going out there to buy...pretty much. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Today I...December 15th

Today I... sharing this picture of the giant Christmas Wreath hanging on the front of what is now the office building where my father works with you. feeling down and lonely. It's a case of winter blues I think, we haven't seen the sun here in nearly a week. They're announcing that it's going to reappear tomorrow though, so I hope they're right this time. They seem to just be putting off by a day every day lately.

...finally spoke with my Sweetheart, but not for very long. He was trying to solve a grade 12 math problem for the daughter of a friend and just wasn't getting to the bottom of it. You know how men are when they need to find the solution to something, they just can't give up on it or focus on anything else until they get the darn problem solved. Anyhow, it turns out that there was an explosion in the basement of his building last night while he was at the shopping mall next door, so when he went to go back home, he was told that he could only go up to his apartment to get some personal items and that he would have to either stay at a friend's place or go to a hotel. There was no heat, hot water or power in his building for 10 hours, but at least he was able to go home after work today. Anyhow, he didn't sound like the happiest of happy campers tonight naturally and I can understand. finding it most entertaining to watch Quinn play with an old cork from a wine bottle and how curious a happening Magique seems to find her mother's fascination with the aforementioned cork to be.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Today I...December 14th

Today I... sharing these two pictures of the Christmas arrangement at my aunt and uncle's place from last year with you. The little bird you see belonged to my uncle's father, so it makes an appearance every year.
...could not believe how slow the traffic was on the way to work, right up to the subway station. I would have understood the situation had there been heavier snow and wind, but it was just light snow coming down and no wind, so it was just weird? I think some people have this switch in their brain that says 'OMG SNOW!!!' and it goes off as soon as a flake falls so they can't drive above 20 kms per hour anymore...

...had a pretty full day with a tour and a bunch of data entry to do.

...had a bus driver with what I refer to as 'yo-yo breaking syndrome' on the way home from work. That means that he would break almost completely, then let his foot off the pedal and then break almost completely and let his foot off the pedal and then finally stop completely. I sure was happy to get off of his bus, I'll tell you! It was the first time I had him since moving into my area two and a half years ago, so hopefully it was a one time thing!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Today I...December 13th

Today I... sharing this little video of what Montreal looks like after a snow storm...and how the pros clear away snow. You can always tell when your street is going to be plowed because they put bright orange 'no parking' signs up with a specific time frame. That can happen as much as two or three days after a storm though or even longer if your street is not deemed crucial to either public transit or ambulances (direct shortcut to a hospital), so you've got plenty of time to dig your car out of preliminary snowbanks when the plows push the snow out of the street so people can actually keep driving until the snow is carted away. You'd better get your car out of the way by the time the plows come through though, otherwise the city tows it away and impounds it and boy, is there one hefty fine to pay when that happens from what I've heard.

...was fine with being at work once I was there.

...gave a tour to an adorable group of kindergarten students.

...was aghast when their teacher was willing to have them cross between the building that houses the Oratory's eating facilities and gift shop in nothing but their t-shirts and sweaters so they wouldn't have to cart their coats around inside. I had them cross through the employees' tunnel between the two buildings instead. I told her that maybe my maternal instinct was in overdrive, but that there was no way I was making her students walk outside without coats when I even I wouldn't do it at a jog.

...went grocery shopping after work.

...was happy that the rain didn't melt away all of our snow from last week and that more fell today. I'm all for a white Christmas, but remind me that I wrote this in March when I'm sick of winter, would you?

P.S. : The title of the video, for those of you who don't speak French, is 'Snow and snow removal in Ahuntsic'. Ahuntsic is one of the boroughs of Montreal.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Today I... December 12th

Today I... sharing this picture of Quinn lolling about in the sun with you. happy to report that my concert went quite well. The audience seemed quite happy with us (two standing ovations) and nearly everyone who had bought an advance ticket made it in spite of the slightly iffy weather. The only person I know that didn't make it was my friend V who got caught in traffic on the bus.

...wrote a 'happy birthday' e-mail to my Sweetheart and sent him my program for our spring concert and he answered both, which made me smile :o) I called him on Skype before but there was no answer, so I'm guessing that his two friends are still over. If he doesn't call back tonight, that's okay, I'll just give him a call tomorrow. not ready to go back to work tomorrow, I don't feel like it. I sure am looking forward to my Christmas holidays. Even though they're only two weeks away, they seem a lot further.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Today I...December 11th

Today I... posting late, because I got caught up playing Tetris on Facebook of all things. Does that make me sound like a nerd or what??? lol sharing this recording of Noël Nouvelet by 'Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal', the Oratory's boys' choir which my Sweetheart was a member of for their full eight year program. Incidentally, the album this song comes from is the last one he recorded with them and he is singing as a bass in this recording. The carol being sung, Noël Nouvelet, is one of my favorite traditional French Christmas Carols.

...don't have much to report really. I had a quiet day at home, did some vacuuming, spoke with my Sweetheart for a half hour on Skype and shined my black shoes for my concert tomorrow. Now if the nasty weather can just hold off until after my concert tomorrow, I'll be happy. There's a storm coming and the blasted meteorologists don't really seem to know exactly how it's going to behave. We'll just have to wait and see, there's not much we can do about it either way. off to bed and will post tomorrow to let you know how the concert went!

Friday, December 10, 2010

'Santa Claws' (Today I...December 10th)

Today I... sharing this utterly priceless Simon's Cat video by Simon Tofield with you. To see more wonderful and entirely truth-based videos about what life with a cat is like, you can visit his YouTube channel here. I often think that my cat Magique should be featured in his videos because she has done pretty much everything that Simon's cat has done...except tease woodland creature (although she teases her mother, Quinn, plenty) and break the front door since she is not and never will be an outdoor cat. But yes, she does wreak havoc with my Christmas tree every year. I've had two Christmas ball casualties so far this year and two fallen Christmas balls that have survived their feline induced ordeals. I'll give you the full tally once the tree is safely back in its box, but suffice it to say that I graduated from a four foot to a six foot high tree so that the tree could no longer be toppled and any breakable ornament with any sentimental value whatsoever could be placed at the top of the tree. Magique is doing better with the tree this year though, as I have mentioned before, she sleeps under it and doesn't chew on the branches as much, probably because I mostly ignore her when she does it since I'm not worried any escalation of her attention-seeking antics will result in the pouncing upon and toppling of the poor tree.

...had a pretty full day as I did all week. Two more and then I'm on holidays for TWO WEEKS! Well, minus one day, but that counts as two weeks for me and that hasn't happened to me since 2003! apologizing for missing out on Skywatch Friday two weeks in a row, but last week, as you know, I was in Toronto and last night I had a dress rehearsal for my choir's concert which is this Sunday. I will be back with a Skywatch post next week though, never fear! off to watch CSI NY and Blue Bloods while waiting for my Sweetheart to call me back. I love Friday nights :o)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Today I...December 8th

Today I...

...finally have a new picture to share with you! It was too cold and snowy for me to bring my EOS to work with me today, but I remember my faithful little Powershot G7 that can fit in my purse, so I brought him to work with me (he was clapping for joy) and snapped this shot of the Oratory on my way home. Did someone order a white Christmas? We're definitely in for one here!!! All of this has fallen since Monday, believe it or not and it was coming down pretty hard this afternoon too and was snowing when I took this shot. Enlarge it and you'll be able to see the snow coming down in the spotlights and by the lamp on the left and you'll also be able to see the height of the snowbanks compared to height of the group of people walking down the path.

...had a crazy day at work. I was with a group from 10:45 A.M. to 1:45 P.M., took them to the Nativity Scene museum, gave them a tour, dropped them off squeezed a 20 minute lunch in there somewhere and a 15 minute break afterward and then went to replace C who had only had a 10 minute lunch between shuttling groups up to the museum and back and taking care of our boys' choir's Christmas concert for the local schools. Let me tell you, I'm pretty tuckered out!

...lost the two teachers who were supposed to chaperone the group of students I was giving a tour to, luckily they were a very disciplined group of young girls, astonishingly so actually! But then again, I've been handling groups of kids for 8 years now, so I can turn pretty much any group of kids into a passably disciplined tour group. That's the 3rd time in 8 years that I lose people, so my track record is pretty darn good, plus I only lost them for half the tour, my group crossed paths with the other from the same school in the middle of the tour circuit.

...had an enormously good giggle when a girl in my group called out to the rest of the students that the deceased person in the hearse at the entrance to the Oratory was named 'Magnus Poirier'. 'Uh, actually sweetie, that's the name of the funeral home!' was my response in between giggles.

...caused a lady who was trying to prove she knew more than me to my tour group to clam up when I told here that there were indeed only two Canadian saints, Brother André and Marguerite D'Youville, because Marguerite Bourgeoys was French by birth. I don't think she'll be butting into anymore tours anywhere any time soon ;o)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Today I...December 7th

Today I... having a pictureless post. It was too snowy and cold for me to take my camera to work with me today, but hopefully the weather will cooperate more tomorrow as would like to show you all how much snow has fallen here since yesterday! feeling a bit down in the dumps. My little post-weekend in Toronto low I think. I just spoke with my Sweetheart for about 15 minutes and he was rather distracted as well. glad that my neck has pretty much loosened up.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Today I...December 6th

Today I... sharing this picture of two cross-country skiers that I took on New Year's Eve last year with you. For any of you hoping for new pictures from my weekend in Toronto, I do apologize, but believe it or not, I didn't take a single one!!! I know, I'm just as shocked as you are, but my Sweetheart and I never made it to the Christmas Market in the Distillery district like we had planned to. We did so many other things, namely loafing around his place, (we hadn't snuggled so much in ages, which is probably why I felt it was less of a wrench than usual to come home, my love batteries we fully recharged) that we missed out on our two windows of opportunity to make it out there. Oh well, it turns out that it was just a little bitty thing and we didn't miss out on much. I saw it from the train leaving Toronto yesterday and that was more than enough, it wouldn't have been worth our freezing our butts off for.

...caught up on as much blogging as I could, you guys were busy while I was away!

...did all of my catching up at work, I was quite impressed that I got it all done!

...was caught off guard, along with the rest of Montreal, by a snowstorm which drifted off course and dumped a whole ton of white stuff on us. They were forecasting 2-4 centimeters for us today, so I left in my shoes, but by the time I left work, there was at least 10 centimeters on the ground and high winds. Oh, how my feet froze on the way home!!!

...spent an hour coming home when it usually takes me 15 minutes to a half hour.

...didn't go back out for choir practice, because the buses were running in a trickle towards the East since they were all stuck in traffic heading West.

...spent an hour in the bath trying to loosen up the nasty crick that developed beside my left shoulder blade right up into my neck. I think it comes from my sleeping too much leaning against the window in the train last night. Anyhow, needless to say that the two times the phone rang tonight, I had quite the time keeping up the conversation because that's all I could do! No talking on the phone and cooking or cleaning or even getting changed for me! My neck is still sore and I still have to do some ironing if I want to have anything decent to wear tomorrow, so I'd better get to it. I'm hoping my neck will be better by the time I go to work tomorrow, otherwise I'm gonna have to bring my bean bag to work with me so I can warm it in the microwave there and keep my muscles relaxed to get through the day. Ugh!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Today I...December 1st

Today I... announcing that in 24 hours I shall be at my Sweetheart's place! I'll be there for the weekend, so expect very little in the way of blogging from me for the next four days. I'll try and get around to commenting on Friday while my Sweetheart is at work and may even be able to work up at post, but my main objective of the day (after sleeping in) will be to make my Sweetheart his surprise birthday dinner, so everything else will come second after that.

...put the first ornament on my Advent Calendar.

...was a horrible grump (in my head at least, I'm very good at at hiding grumpiness a lot of the time, or at least I hope I am) for the better part of the day until I gave a tour. enjoyed giving my tour. It was with a group of elderly people suffering from cerebral palsy and Alzheimer's. I like giving tours to groups from long-term care facilities for the elderly the most because I find that the Oratory means the most to them. The tours often bring out memories and emotions for them that they just don't for others, so the visit is meaningful to them and to me on a whole different lever than with other groups. poured on on the way home just getting on the bus. All of two minuted without an umbrella and I was soaked!!! Bring on the the snow storms rather than the rain storms, at least then I won't get all wet anymore taking the bus! hoping you all have a lovely weekend, I know I will :o)