Thursday, December 29, 2011

Skywatch Friday



This week's Skywatch feature (posted from my new laptop!!!) is taking us on a little trip to Rome. It is a view of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica through the arms of one of Piazza San Pietro's lamp posts. I took it a few years back when I was on vacation in Rome with my Sweetheart :o)

I hope you enjoy it and that you are all enjoying the Holidays :o) To see more Skywatch photos from around the world, stop by the Skywatch Friday blog!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Today I...December 27th





Today I...

...am sharing these photos of my Christmas celebrations with all of you. The Christmas tree is my mom's and the two other photos are some of our dinner plates at my aunt and uncle's and M. Snowman, who likes to hang out on the backs of chairs, as you can see :o)I had a lovely time celebrating with my family over the weekend and I hope that you all did too!

...accompanied my Sweetheart to the metro station. He stayed over last night and we were very happy to see each other again. He told me all about his trip and we had a nice dinner and relaxed together. I will be seeing him again later this week, Friday for sure since we are going to a Christmas-New Year's Eve party with some friends and hopefully once in between.

...don't have very much planned. I may call my brother to see if he wants to go laptop and fish (for my aquarium) shopping with me, or I may have a nap (still recovering from how tired out I got through the month of December) or I may watch a movie...or I may do all of the above. Ah, the freedom to do what one wants when one does not have to go to work...how lovely!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Today it...

Today it...

...SNOWED!!! Finally :o) Everyone was so happy to see the snow staying around, we are going to get our white Christmas after all :o) I tried to get the picture I took with my cell phone onto here, but the format wasn't compatible and I couldn't change it. Sorry...my mom lives out in the country though, so I'll try and see if I can get some good photos while I'm out her way tomorrow :o)

I am now off work for two weeks and am so very happy about it and looking forward to some well earned rest and time with my Sweetheart. Looks like we're going to have to wait until at least Monday to be together though as his consulting firm ended up getting the contract to supervise some emergency work that needed to be done on the Louis-Hyppolite-Lafontaine Tunnel, a tunnel that links Montreal to the South Shore by running under the St-Lawrence river. He was at the tunnel until 11:00 P.M. last night and had to go back again today. He got home just in time to make a huge batch of chocolates he was meant to make last night, toss his clothes that had been sitting in his washing machine for a few hours into the dryer and run out to get some food since he hadn't even been able to do the groceries since getting home on Wednesday night. We are naturally going to be with our respective families over the weekend, so Monday or Tuesday are looking like our best bets for finally being reunited. And the 7th day, God started stocking up all the patience he was going to endow me with. My apologies if any of you were short-changed in the patience area because of me.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Skywatch Friday



This is my first Skywatch for a few weeks and I've missed sharing my views of the sky with you guys!

This week's feature is a photo Of Notre-Dame College with it's pine trees decked out for Christmas last year. It's not a 'fresh' picture, but I wanted to go for something seasonal and since we have no snow yet this year, I decided the best option was to go digging through my archives to find something nice and Christmasy.

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas or Happy Chanukah! I May not get a chance to post again before next week as I'm going to be pretty busy over the next few days with my family and I hope you all get to share the Holidays with those you love as well :o)

To see more Skywatch photos from around the world, go you can go and check out the Skywatch Friday blog.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Today I...December 21st



Today I...

...am sharing this photo of a snowy Oratory taken last December with you. Still no snow here of course.

...am thrilled that my Sweetheart's plane landed safe and sound, despite the freezing rain coming down in and around Montreal. He had to circle around quite a bit though, they made his plane turn back and circle over norther Vermont and New York for a half hour before finally letting it land.

...am hoping to speak with him tonight or tomorrow morning, depending on what time he makes it home.

...am curious to know if he found Christmas gift while he was down south.

...gave my last tour of the Christmas season today and then checked over the schedule several times to make sure it really was my last one!

...am happy :o)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Today I...December 20th



Today I...

...am sharing this photo of a WestJet winglet which I took during one of the flights back from Florida I took them at some point during the dozen years my grandparents lived down there.

...am hoping that my Sweetheart, who will be flying home with WestJet tomorrow actually makes it in, as they are now announcing quite a bit of bloody FREEZING RAIN here tomorrow. For crying out loud, where is our bloody SNOW??? Planes can land in the snow, they do it all the time as long as the runways are cleared, we're kind of good at around here. They do not land or takeoff in the freezing rain though, it's against Transport Canada regulations, which is quite understandable. I want my Sweetheart to be safe more than anything else, naturally, but at the same time I know darn well that this particular flight out of Punta Cana only leaves once a week and that at this time of year it is very difficult to find any flight out of anywhere that has a seat free on it. Knowing him though, he'll find some way out of the Dominican Republic before Christmas if it's at all humanly possible. I just want him HOME, I miss him like crazy, I haven't heard the sound of his voice in two and a half weeks and have had to survive on four text messages and one tiny little e-mail. So has he, mind you, but he had sunshine, palm trees, his buddy, load of work and then an all inclusive beach resort to help get him through it. I had tons and tons of work, not enough sleep, stress and more tons of work. I think I kinda got the short end of the stick here, wouldn't you say? Anyhow, if we're hugely lucky, the weather forecast will change and if not he'll hopefully have airport wi-fi to let me know what's going on. Maybe he can get a flight into Toronto and then get on a train?

...had a second quieter day at work. I still had plenty to do, but managed to get it all done by the end of the day, despite having a very long lunch hour since the boss was treating us all to lunch at a local restaurant.

...finally got around to buying some AA batteries. The batteries in my TV remote died...oh boy, nearly a month ago I think, but I gave the situation a lick and a promise by taking the battery from my battery powered back-up alarm and replacing one of the two dead ones in the remote. You're never supposed to do that, I know, but I needed to try it to be able to tell the Videotron technician I had on the phone if that had fixed my problem or not. It did, I was happy to be able to change the channels on my TV again and I figured that the odds of the power going out were low enough for me to be able to do without my backup alarm clock for a while. I went grocery shopping a few days after this incident and asked for batteries at the cash (the only place you can get them, don't ask me why) and the store wasn't carrying any at that time??? Don't ask me why that is either. So that was at least two weeks ago and tonight when I got off the bus I reminded myself how annoyed I was getting with not having my backup alarm working anymore because when I get up to go to the washroom during the night now (about once every second night) and want to know what time it is, I have to walk up to my alarm clock on the way back to bed to check since a) I'm slightly myopic and can't read the clock without squinting and b) it's too high up on top of the sound system which is on top of my dresser, so I wouldn't be able to read the time even if I wasn't slightly myopic. So into the corner store I went and I grabbed a magazine, the batteries and then splurged on a lottery ticket since it's up to 50 million and I figured since the draw is on Friday night right before Christmas, God might like to send me a bit of Christmas cheer. That way if my apartment building get converted to condos, I can either buy one or laugh it off and buy elsewhere. Even just a million will do. That and a working alarm clock and a magazine to read for once put a smile on my face...until the bloody freezing rain forecast for tomorrow came along :oJ

Monday, December 19, 2011

Today I...december 19th



Today I...

...am back!

...am sharing this video of the choir of New College Oxford's singing the Rocking Carol with all of you. It has always been one of my favorite Christmas Carols and the choir of New College is another one of my favorites! I don't know about those ruffs on their cassocks though, they just don't look very comfy in my opinion.

...am happy to report that last Thursday's concert went even better than our first one.

...am also happy to report that I have all of my Christmas shopping and wrapping done!

...am feeling more relaxed than last week.

...am getting hugely eager for my Sweetheart to get home! He'll be back on Wednesday :o)

...am looking forward to Friday at 4:30 P.M. when I will walk out of the office for two whole weeks!

...can't believe I made it through the past three weeks, what a rough go of it I've had!

...found out that my apartment building was sold and that my former landlord seems to still have some part in the running of the place since my rent checks have to be made out to someone else and mailed to the new owner??? I don't get it and I am NOT HAPPY about it! I'm afraid of a rent hike and lost checks and what will happen to the building! What if the new owner decides to make condos out of it and evicts us all??? I'm in one of the last conveniently placed, well maintained, cat friendly and affordable places in my neighborhood!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Today I...December 15th

Today I...

...am posting this from work very quickly in a rare quiet moment

...am thus breaking my self-imposed 'Thou shalt not blog from work.' rule.

...am doing this to let you guys know that you may not see another post from me until Sunday or Monday because tonight I am singing in a concert, tomorrow after work I'm going to try and finish off my Christmas shopping, Saturday I'm having lunch with my mom and my brother for his birthday and Sunday night I'm going out to a fancy-dancy restaurant with my father's family to celebrate my Grandpa G's 85th birthday and Sunday I'm going to try and get my wrapping, laundry and cleaning done on top of having an appointment out in the West Island. Phew!

...was very happy when my Sweetheart texted me to let me know that he and E were waiting at the Haiti/Dominican Republic border in a bus. He is out of Haiti, hooray!

...am hoping you have a lovely weekend and that it will be more restful than mine! I should have fun though, so that'll be nice!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Today I...December 13th

Today I...

...turned my computer on for the first time since Saturday. Sound familiar?

...am sharing this photo of what the Oratory and its surrounding area looked like on December 23rd last year with all of you. I seriously doubt it will look anything like this next week unless something major changes. We have a very tiny bit of snow on the ground and although it snowed most of the day today, nothing stayed and some of what we already had melted as it was above freezing. Not by much obviously, but still.

...am happy to report that my concert on Sunday went quite well. My next one is on Thursday and that will be the last one for this session.

...had a very good time at the employee Social Club's Christmas lunch, even though I didn't, as usual, win any of the door prizes.

...went out to dinner at Juliette et Chocolat with V after work. It was lovely to see her and we had a nice chat as we hadn't seen each other since October!

...am looking forward to my Sweetheart coming home. He will be back on Wednesday of next week.

...am off to watch Flashpoint!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Today I...December 10th

Today I...

...had a very laid back day and spent a lot of time lounging around...as did my furry felines. I love it when they cuddle like this :o)

...got the laundry done and was exempt from dish washing as I ended up doing that last night.

...watched two movies on Bravo!, 'The First Knight' and 'Serendipity', both were excellent.

...called my mom to chat with her when I started feeling lonely and missing my Sweetheart too much. As much as I need a rest from work, at least when I'm there, I'm so busy that I don't have time to think about the fact that my Sweetheart is away!

...am looking forward to my concert tomorrow.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Today I...December 9th


Today I...

...took half the day off because I was completely exhausted when I got home from choir practice last night and knew darn well that I would be flirting with the point of no-return if I made my tired self run on too little sleep for much longer. I haven't been sleeping very well lately, you see. I've been having crazy dreams, even when I have been sleeping deeply. Even four chamomile pills and exhaustion weren't enough to get rid of them last night, even though I did sleep for 10 hours straight. I don't know what's causing these dreams, but I hope they go away soon, because with them messing with my sleep, the heavy workload I have at the office and all my choir practices and concerts, it's getting to be too much!

...enjoyed watching the snow fall all day. Unfortunately it didn't stick very well because it was still just a bit too warm for it, but it looked pretty while it lasted!

...got a text message from my Sweetheart. He is someplace in Haiti called Mirainco that isn't even on a map. I'm not sure if that's the village where he and E are hoping to get a contract build a school or the village where he and E are hoping to convince the population to help them build them a public shower to replace the one they have now, which does not use water safe for human consumption.

...was hoping to get my laundry done, but I'm too tired. I think I am also too tired to wash the dishes, so I guess I'll just do all that tomorrow morning.

...am planning to have a nice, quiet day tomorrow, which will mean wrapping Christmas presents and doing to laundry and cleaning, all this of course after sleeping in to my heart's and body's content!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Today I...December 7th


Today I...

...am sharing this recording of Eric Whitacre's 'The Seal Lullaby' with all of you. Here are the lyrics to it:

Oh! Hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,

And black are the waters that sparkled so green.

The moon, o’er the combers, looks downward to find us,
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.

Where billow meets billow, then soft be thy pillow,
Oh weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of the slow swinging seas!

I hope you take the time to listen to it, because it truly is a beautiful, haunting piece of music.

...had another crazy day at work.

...had a real coffee at lunch, not a decaf one. I very, very rarely drink coffee. We're talking once every two months normally and 95% of the time when I do drink coffee, it is decaf. If you ever hear of me having a real coffee, it is for one of two reasons: my Sweetheart made it and it was a tiny little cup of espresso or I am really, really knock out tired. In this case, I was really, really knock out tired.

...gave a tour to a group of volunteer tour guides from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. It was a tiny group of five and they were really great and to top it all off they gave a free issue of the museum's magazine and two passes that are valid for any temporary exhibit at the museum until January 31st! I will have to see what is going to be going on there and head over with my Sweetheart when he gets back into town!

...could not believe the damage that the group of high school students that used our group lunch room this afternoon did to its bathrooms. Two of the urinals in the men's' room are damaged beyond repair, one with a hole knocked into its drain and the other with an even bigger hole knocked into its drain and a large crack in it and the ladies' room had every single one of its toilets blocked with huge amounts of toilet paper jammed into them. They were so badly plugged that they began leaking into the store room for the gift shop that is underneath the bathrooms, that is how we found out there was a problem. We were all completely flabbergasted of course and we fully intend to bill the school for the damages. They are coming with another group tomorrow and a third one next week and before they do anything tomorrow, we're going to see to it that the staff know to keep a serious eye on their students.

...am letting you know that I will not be posting tomorrow as I have a dress rehearsal all evening for my concert with my choir this coming Sunday. I should be back on Friday :o)

ETA: I have no clue why my post came out highlighted in white. I tried to fix it, but blogger wasn't having it. Weird...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Today I...December 6th

Today I...

...turned my computer on for the first time since Saturday night.

...looked at my blog roll and realized that there is no way that I will be able to catch up with all of your blogs. Sorry, work is crazy right now and I have very little desire to spend much time in front of the computer when I get home. I will try and comment on one or two blogs every night though, if I can :o)

...am sharing this picture of some palm trees in Naples, Florida with you. It is not a recent photo, I have not been to Florida since my grandparents moved away from there two years ago now. I will not hide that I miss it, while I do love their place in South Carolina too. I just miss the palm trees and the beach! I was so happy to sit on the beach in Santa Monica this past summer and I am not ashamed to tell you all that I hugged a palm tree or two while my Sweetheart and I were in L.A.

...picked a picture of a palm tree as a way to link this post to my Sweetheart. We got together on Sunday night rather than Saturday night and he left for Haiti yesterday evening. It was a long road for he and his business partner E to get to Port-Au-Prince. They had their friend J drive them to Plattsburgh, NY where their flight to Fort Lauderdale took off at 1:30 in the morning. They landed in Fort Lauderdale somewhere around 3:30 in the morning and then had a two hour layover until their flight to Port-Au-Prince took off at 5:30 in the morning, or at least that's how it was supposed to go. I will have to ask my Sweetheart how things went, because he was flying with Spirit Airlines *shudder*. I have never flown with Spirit and hope never to have to, because from what I've seen of their boarding procedures and their on-time (haha) rating, the whole company looks like a Turkish Bazaar. My Sweetheart said he fully expected to process to be quite similar to a bazaar and since he lived in Morocco when he was little, he knows what he's talking about. Anyhow, I'm quite curious to know whether his flight was on time and if anyone got body-checked in the stampede for a window seat since Spirit doesn't assign seats, not even if you're willing to pay. I'm also curious to know how long it took my Sweetheart and E to get their checked bag, because never have I waited for my luggage as long as I have had to wait on it at Fort Lauderdale airport! One of the last times I went, I would have had time to turn around, get on a flight to Montreal and be most of the way back home before my bag came out (remember that, Grandma and Grandpa?). They really, really needed to change their baggage carousels and according to my flight attendant friend M who flies into Fort Lauderdale quite often, they still do!!! It's a good thing my Sweetheart and E had a long layover...

...am actually kind of glad that work is busy right now and that I have two concerts and two dress rehearsals with my choir while my Sweetheart is away. It will keep me nice and busy until he gets back on December 21st and will hopefully keep my worries at bay. He will be in Haiti until December 16th and will then be resting up in the Dominican Republic until December 21st. Yes, I am jealous of his holiday in the Domican and yes, he knows and feels no shame :oJ That's okay, I never felt any shame for going on vacation to Florida without him twice a year either! The payback sucks though :oJ

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Today I...December 3rd


Today I...

...am back after a two day blogging break.

...am happy to report that the concert on Thursday was amazing. The acoustics in Montreal's Maison Symphonique are the best I've ever heard, my Sweetheart and I were both floored by them and we cannot wait to go back for another concert!

...was stunned when I slept in until 10:40 A.M. this morning. I woke up at 8:40 and was still a bit tired, so figured I would let myself drift back off figuring I would wake up again around 9:30, my usual weekend wake up time, but I was obviously more tired than I thought!

...did my laundry and cleaning and then went Downtown to pick up a music score that I had come in for me at Archambault, one of a chain of music and bookstores unique to Quebec. Their flagship store on the corner of Berri and Ste-Catherine is a little piece of heaven for classical music lovers as they have an extensive classical music section for both CDs and scores. I can easily spend an hour browsing up there if I have the time.

...splurged on a CD for myself, Eric Whitacre's 'Light and Gold'. I'm sharing a piece from it above. I sang Whitacre's 'Lux Arumque' with my choir last year and was charmed by it. I love Whitacre's music and if you enjoy this piece, you should look up some more of his music, it's all over YouTube. Just uh...make sure and check the reviews of the video's you come across before watching them, not all choirs can master Whitacre's music properly and it would horrible if you were turned off of him because of a slip-up by a choir!

...am hoping to see my Sweetheart one more time tonight before he leaves for Haiti on Monday night. It would go a long way to making me feel better about his leaving, or at least I think it would. I would just love to be able to spend some more time in his arms before he leaves and talk with him, but he has a lot of work to do. He was sent some stuff by his former employers two weeks ago and underestimated how long it was going to take him to get it done. He is now bogged down on his last few days before leaving and is finding it to be quite the drag, as am I. Anyhow, hopefully he'll call to tell me I can head over to his place soon, if not I'll try and get some good phone time in with him tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Today I...November 30th


Today I...

...had a much better day than yesterday, thankfully.

...am sharing this video of the choir of King's College, Cambridge singing 'I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In' with all of you, as it is December 1st tomorrow. December 1st is the date at which I begin to really get into Christmas, I don't know if it does that any of you guys?

...spoke with my Sweetheart for a bit and we planned our meeting place and time for tomorrow evening as we will be going to see a performance of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in their new concert hall! I can't wait :o)

...will naturally not be posting tomorrow, so no Skywatch Friday for me this week. I will try and get a post up on Friday, but my Sweetheart might be coming over, so we will have to see.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Today I...November 29th

Today I...

...had kind of a crummy day, so am trying to pick myself up with this photo of a hibiscus blossom from one of the trees that grew in my grandparents' backyard in Florida. Thinking about being there makes me feel nice :o)

...was late to work because some guy's car broke down right in the middle of the overpass that splits my route to work in two and he just sat there with no hazard lights and without popping his hood, so naturally people didn't realize he was broken down until they were right on top of him and he didn't move when the traffic light turned green. You should have heard the horns honking and seen how backed up the traffic was.

...was in a hideously long and boring meeting from 8:45 A.M. until I rushed out to handle my tour at 10:15 A.M.

...came back from the tour and lunch to find seven messages in my voice mail box.

...spent the rest of the day returning calls and taking new ones.

...had to go get groceries and make a stop at the pharmacy after work and while I was in the pharmacy, it started pouring and blowing like crazy. I was hoping it would stop while I was in the grocery store next door, but it only got worse. I had my umbrella, but got soaked anyhow. I was in a horrible mood by the time I got home and it took a nice hot shower to calm me down.

...did have a high point in my day when I opened my Metro fidelity program reward envelope to see that I had earned myself a 26$ rebate coupon for my next grocery purchase. I only got that much of a rebate because I went through two or three reward periods without getting a coupon since I had entered my address wrong in the online database for the program. I put a hyphen instead of a pound sign in front of my apartment number and the system didn't digest that too well!

...am hoping for a better day tomorrow!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Today I...November 27th

Today I...

...put my Christmas Tree up, much to Magique's delight. Her delight was not my delight however. I hollered at her a lot and locked her in the bedroom three times, once while I finished getting it set up and twice afterwards because she wasn't leaving it alone. This video will give you a hint of what it was like. While Magique has never been able to climb up my artificial tree, I have no doubt she would manage it if I got real trees she could sink her claws into. Anyhow, she settled down a bit after being locked in the bedroom for the third time and was much more responsive to my yelling 'NO' at her when she tried to bat at an ornament. Every year I hope she'll be better about respecting the tree and every year I'm resigned to losing a Christmas ball or two. I put anything I really don't want to see broken up out of the way where she cannot reach it and hope for the best with the rest. As for Quinn, she dutifully ignores the tree, thank Heavens. If I had two cats who went bonkers over my Christmas tree, I just might give up the whole thing and just put up my wall decorations!

...had a quiet day otherwise. I got my laundry done and read my book and watched a bit of TV and am now trying to motivate myself to make dinner as I am getting hungry! And speaking about dinner, my roast beef turned out lovely last night and I had some leftovers for a snack this afternoon. Yum!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Today I...November 26th

Today I...

...am sharing this photo of the tower of Montreal's Olympic Stadium taken from one of the paths of the Botanical Gardens with you.

...slept in nice and late.

...went out to Costco with my mom and made some major savings!

...enjoyed spending time with my mom.

...am making roast beef for the first time! It's cooking right now and boy, does it smell good! I can't wait to taste it :o)

...am thinking of watching a movie tonight.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Today I...November 25th

Today I...

...woke up wishing it was Saturday. I didn't feel like going to work.

...got up and went to work anyhow and was fine once I got there.

...had a nice chat with the departmental secretary and then helped her come up with the catch phrases for the cake and Yule Log competition that will be held during the Oratory employees' social club Christmas lunch in two weeks.

...realized that I will not be able to make a cake for the competition because I have a dress rehearsal for a concert the evening before.

...had to scrap my calendar of groups that will be visiting the Nativity Scene museum twice before finally getting it right the third time. I can't wait to not have to work on it for a whole again. TGIF, eh?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Skywatch Friday

This week's Skywatch Feature is this view of the Tower of Montreal's Olympic Stadium from the Chinese Garden section of the Botanical Gardens during the Fall lantern exhibit.

To see more skies from around the world, you can stop by the Skywatch Friday blog.

Have a great weekend and Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Today I...November 23rd


Today I...

...am sharing this Simon's Cat video with all of you. I love Simon's Cat, these videos can always get a smile out of me no matter what's going on :o)

...was impressed by how easily I made it to work this morning! I was fully expecting there to be traffic mayhem as we got our first significant snowfall overnight and it was still coming down this morning. Normally as soon as the first flakes start coming down people forget how to drive and it causes major problems for my getting to work on time, but this time I got lucky!

...had a relatively quiet day at work.

...was very happy when I got to speak with my Sweetheart a bit :o)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Today I...November 22nd


Today I...

...am sharing this video of the Oratory's boys choir, Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal, singing Minuit Chrétien (O Holy Night, for those of you who do not speak French :o) ). I don't have much to report on my end today, so I will take advantage of the fact that I'm feeling Christmasy tonight since we're going to get our first dumping of snow (5 to 10 cms) and tell you a little bit of these guys and their annual Christmas Eve ritual. They are troopers. They are elite musicians to the degree where some kids and young adults are elite athletes. All these boys went through an audition either in grade two or grade three (a few years ago they added a third grade class at the choir school, thus the difference in audition ages) to enter the choir school. The school does not require previous musical experience, just that the auditioning boy has a love for music, a good ear and obviously a voice that has some potential for training. All candidates must also be in very good academic standing, because if they are accepted into the choir school, they follow the same academic program as all other students in the province of Quebec, but in condensed form since they all devote three hours a day during their remaining elementary years to their musical training. At the elementary level they are taught to read music, sing, play piano and their ear training is developed. As of the 5th grade, they fully participate in Sunday services at the Oratory, all special celebrations where the choir is required and also perform dozens of concerts a year and go on tour every summer. When they reach high school, they attend Notre-Dame College, a private high school which is across the street from the Oratory and owned by the same Catholic religious order, on a very generous scholarship and are initiated to music history and composition while devoting more time to mastering the choir's vast repertoire. The boys spend nine years in the choir, which means nine years of spending the equivalent of every other Sunday morning at the Oratory warming up and then singing mass. On an average Sunday about half the choir or around 50 to 60 boys participate in the 11:00 A.M. mass, but as you can see on the above video, for major celebrations such as the 9:00 P.M. and Midnight masses on Christmas Eve, they bring in all the active boys, so around 130. I counted 133 last year :o) On Christmas Eve, the boys are at the Oratory from about 7:00 P.M. to 1:30 A.M....even the little guys. They warm up from 7:00 P.M. to 8:15 P.M., then put on their albs and troop up to the Basilica. They sing from 9:00 P.M. to 10:15 P.M., then head back to their rehearsal space, lose the albs, snack a bit, fine tune anything they might have been shaky on until 10:15, then put the albs back on, troop back upstairs to the Basilica and sing again from Midnight to 1:15 A.M. As I said, they are troopers and if I ever have a son, I will absolutely see if he's up for the choir school, as long as my Sweetheart agrees. He went to the choir school and enjoyed his experience...mostly. He still says it was really hard at times and is very firmly retired from the choir circuit, but he still plays piano like nobody's business and becomes positively giddy at the prospect of being able to try his luck at a pipe organ. He hums all the time too and still spends a lot of time with his three best buddies from his choir days. But singing at Midnight Mass twice in one evening like the fellas on my video are doing? Every year for 8 years (they don't sing services the first year, remember!). Nah, he doesn't miss that. He a retired trooper and happy to be able to just sing and play piano for his family on Christmas Eve!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Today I...November 20th

Another picture of the lantern exhibit at the Botanical Gardens :o)

Today I...

...slept in.

...made my monthly trek out to the spa in the West Island.

...stopped by Monkland Village on my way home to pick up a few things.

...should have vacuumed but didn't.

...found out from my Sweetheart that the cake we made together yesterday was very well received and that there is plenty left for me :o)

...spent an hour on Skype with him going over one of his friends' applications for a job teaching English in Japan.

...am going to head to bed ASAP as I am developing a migraine due to the plummeting temperature here. It was 13 degrees this afternoon, it's 1 degree now and it's going down to -5 overnight. Brr and ouch...time will tell if I make it to work tomorrow or not, but I hope I do as I know that I have a tour to give and I'll leave my colleagues up a creek if I can't make it in to give it :o(


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Today I...November 19th

Today I...

...am sharing this photo of one of the archways that lead into the Chinese Garden lantern exhibit at Montreal's Botanical Gardens with you. These large red lanterns come back every year and I find they are a great way to lead people into the exhibit!

...got home around 5:30 P.M. after spending a lovely 24 hours with my Sweetheart. He came over to my place last night after I lured him in with a promise of poulet chasseur (hunters' chicken if you want a literal translation) made in my crockpot and this morning we headed over to his place.

...went grocery shopping with my Sweetheart.

...helped him bake a cake. It was a very complicated cake and his first attempt at baking one and he was such a whirling dervish in the kitchen and doing things in such a peculiar order rather than following the steps of the recipe, that I eventually decided to sit down, eat my lunch and then just did whatever he asked me to to help him instead of trying to help him on my own as I was getting far too overwhelmed by how all over the place he was. The cake turned out lovely though, or at least it looked lovely. We tasted to many ingredients while making it that by the time it was ready to taste, neither one of us had the appetite to! He'll keep some for me though and I'll get some later this week :o)

...am doing my laundry and will greatly enjoy 'clean sheet' night tonight. I find there's always something lovely about the feeling of going to bed in freshly laundered sheets, don't you?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Skywatch Friday


This week's Skywatch feature is this photo of the Fall colors set against the sunny sky I was treated to during my outing at the Botanical Gardens a few weeks ago. Now, if only it could get this sunny again some time soon, we've had lots of clouds in Montreal lately!

To see more Skywatch photos from around the world, you can visit the Skywatch Friday blog.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a lovely weekend :o)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Today I...November 15th

Today I...

...am sharing another one of my lantern photos with you! Have any of you ever ridden on a camel? I never have, but I did ride on an elephant once when I was little. I wasn't any place exotic, it was at some sort of a fair or something. I don't remember where it was exactly, but I do remember that I felt like I was going to tip right off the elephant every time he took a step until I got used to his gait!

...had a long day at work. D had put J in charge of a group by accident even though it's his week off this week. The group naturally got shifted over to me and I was expecting it to be pretty straightforward since they were only supposed to need help getting into the lunch hall as they were from a retirement home and had people with wheelchairs and walkers. Unfortunately they were very poorly organized and had only come with two three staff members to help with the nine residents. That is a definite no-no, especially if they don't let us know beforehand that they're going to be short-handed. Anyhow, I ended up having to ask both D and C to help with the group as we had to help them get around all over the place. To make matters worse, they had ordered their lunch in and the delivery came fifteen minutes early and when the person delivering found the lunch room closed, he just took off with the food again, so I had to call the restaurant, have them track down the delivery person and have him sent back. I took care of the group until their lunch time ran over and then delegated them to C because by then it was 1:30 P.M. and I hadn't eaten since breakfast and was about ready to keel over. Normally a high-maintenance, poorly organized group is not a major problem for me, I've seen plenty of those go by, but this one was particularly difficult to deal with because the lady in charge of the group was so disagreeable. She was in a terrible mood, did nothing but complain and instead of thanking us for all of our help when she left, C said that all she could say was how angry she was about having to eat in the dining hall reserved for groups who bring their lunches when she saw people with their lunch bags upstairs in the main dining hall. C explained to her that if they had brought their lunches they could have eaten upstairs, but that having their lunch brought in from a restaurant under the nose of the Oratory's own restaurant owner in his dining hall was another matter. Oh well, what can I say? There are just some people that you cannot please no matter how hard you try!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Today I...November 13th


Today I...

...am having a musical post. It had been a while, hadn't it? I discovered this song today while going through the soundtrack from Twilight: Breaking Dawn on iTunes. Yes, I like Twilight. What can I say? The romantic side of the story got me. Anyhow. I fell head over heels for this song by Christina Perri and I hope you enjoy it too :o)

...slept in with my Sweetheart until 10:00 A.M.

...went to Indigo and got my dad's Christmas present.

...crashed at home for a bit.

...went back out, bought an orchid for C for her birthday, snuck into the office and left it on her desk for her to find tomorrow morning.

...congratulated myself on making it in and out of the office without getting caught be anyone who would have spoken to me about work related stuff. I can be pretty stealthy when I need to be :o)

...met G for hot chocolate and a brownie.

...stopped at the grocery store on the way home from my outing with G.

...cooked dinner for tonight at the same time as I cooked dinner for tomorrow. I can also be quite a good multi-tasker when I need to be :o)

...am looking forward to watching Pan Am at 10:00! If you haven't given that show a try yet, you should, it's amazing!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Today I...November 12th


Today I...

...enjoyed a nice, quiet Saturday.

...did a bit of cleaning.

...read my book.

...spoke with my Sweetheart for a bit this morning and am now waiting for him to call to see if we will be getting together this evening or not. He had a very late night last night though and has to head out a bit early tomorrow though, so it will depend on how he is feeling.

...felt how little daylight we get at this time of year a lot more than I have all week. You really notice how early the sun goes down when you get up at 10:00 A.M. (I got to bed kind of late last night too) and the sun goes down at 4:30 P.M.!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Skywatch Friday

This week's Skywatch Friday feature is another photo of the beautiful Fall skies that were above me during my visit to the Chinese Lantern exhibit at Montreal's Botanical Gardens two weeks ago. To see more Skywatch photos from around the world, you can visit the Skywatch Friday blog.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Today I...November 9th


Today I...

...am sharing this photo of a fisherman lantern that was set up on the shore of the lake in the Chinese garden during this year's lantern exhibit at the Botanical Gardens with you.

...went out to lunch with my uncle.

...tried out a peppermint mocha from Starbucks after lunch and loved it! It was decaf, of course. I don't take caffeine of any kind very often as it doesn't entirely agree with me.

...had a meeting shortly after lunch and found seven messages in my voice mail box when I got back. I was definitely right yesterday when I figured that I was going to be spending a lot of time on the phone in the next few weeks.

...went to the fax machine and found that the light for my voice mail box was flashing again, but ignored it. It was 4:20 P.M. and I finish work at 4:30. If I had returned the call, I would have had to stay late for sure and was in no mood for that. In my books, anyone who calls and leaves a message at that time should not expect a call back until the next day.

...had my suspicion that C has a very low pain threshold confirmed today. She came in complaining of a splinter in her foot and tried to get it out herself. Then the security guard came in and tried to get it out, but she was complaining and yelling so much that he gave up and she went back to taking care of it herself and made more of a fuss. I have never heard anyone get so worked up about a splinter in all my life, not even a child! D and I gave a hearty round of applause when she got the splinter out and the security guard was still laughing about the whole thing at lunch.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Today I...November 8th

Today I...

...don't have much to report, but do happily still have lots of photos from my afternoon at the Botanical Gardens left to share with you.

...took lots of bookings for the Oratory's Nativity Scene museum. I get the feeling I'm going to be spending lots and lots of time on the phone in the next few weeks!

...am suffering from 'Fall Back' syndrome and am therefore feeling sluggish. It happens to me every year when we turn the clocks back. I should be back to normal within about a week.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Today I...November 6th

Today I...

...am sharing this photo of this happy little family with all of you :o)

...am back home after spending the better part of the weekend away from y apartment. I had a choir practice followed by a lunch with the choir director and a few other choristers yesterday and I was only home for a few hours before going back out again, this time to my Sweetheart's for a movie night and naturally a sleepover ;o)

...had a lovely morning with my Sweetheart.

...headed over to Jean Talon Market. It's no secret that Montrealers are foodies and gourmet ones at that. We love our food and we love hunting around for fresh ingredients and like them to be local when possible. We have four public markets in Montreal: Atwater Market, Jean-Talon Market, Maisonneuve Market and Lachine Market, along with a whole slew of smaller ones. I had been to Atwater Market many times, but never Jean-Talon, so when my father raved about it a few weeks back and also mentioned that there was a little shop there devoted entirely to mushrooms (in my mind, the world is a better place thanks to mushrooms ;o) ) I decided that I had better get my gourmet self over there. I decided to go today because I was planning on making spaghetti sauce and I needed mushrooms and a tube of tomato paste, among other ingredients and boy, let me tell you, I will be going back! I got 500 grams of organic ground beef for 7.50$, fresh garlic for 40 cents, a 10 carrots for 1.25$, a tube of tomato paste for 1.65$ and a pound of mushrooms for 10$. Okay, so the mushrooms were pricey, but man were they worth every penny! Fresh and local and a kind I had never tasted before. Yum, they taste great in my sauce!!! If ever you are in Montreal, you must check out at least one of our markets, they are open year-round and well worth your time and money!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Today I...November 4th

Today I...

...am sharing this photo of the main exhibit of lanterns at Montreal's Botanical Gardens with you. It was on the pond behind the Friendship Pavilion in the Chinese Gardens, which is a stunning place to visit any time of year :o)

...had a fairly busy day at work.

...am doing my laundry since I may not have a chance to do at any other time this weekend. I had a choir practice all morning tomorrow followed by a lunch and am hoping to be heading over to see my Sweetheart in the evening and then spending the day with him on Sunday. This is all to be confirmed (except for the practice, of course), but hopefully will work out. We did get together on Wednesday by the way and were so very happy to see each other :o)

...am very happy that it is the weekend!

...saw Montreal's first two snowfalls. We got flurries twice today...and so it begins!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Skywatch Friday


This week's Skywatch feature is this photo of the tower of Montreal's Olympic stadium against a beautiful Fall sky.

To see more Skywatch photos from around the world, you can visit the Skywatch Friday Blog.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to my blog and that you all have a lovely weekend :o)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Today I...November 1st

Today I...

...am sharing this photo of this lovely 'feathered' couple I came across at the lantern exhibit at the Botanical Gardens last week. There were a few more couples like them scattered along the path of the exhibit, but these two were my favorite one :o)

...had a fairly busy day at work which started off with a very long meeting this morning, like nearly three hours long. Ugh, I hate meetings!

...got a wonderful surprise when my Sweetheart called me from Sept-Îles as he waited for his delayed flight. He should still be home within the next hour or so though, I can't wait!

...am looking forward to a new episode of Flashpoint tonight!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Today I...October 31st

Today I...

...am back after a busy weekend spent with my family!

...am sharing this photos of a peacock lantern at the Botanical Gardens. I took a great deal of photos during my visit there last week, so I'll be armed with fresh photos for a little while :o)

...am so, so looking forward to my Sweetheart coming home tomorrow. If all goes well, he'll be back in Montreal tomorrow evening and we'll be getting together Wednesday after I'm done work. So don't look for me Wednesday night unless I tell you guys otherwise, because I will be nowhere near my computer :o)

...am probably going to be heading to bed earlier than usual tonight since I had issues getting to bed last night. I spent the evening with G at a tea house in the Quartier Latin and drank nothing but white tea, but still wasn't able to get to bed until 1:00 A.M.? Odd...maybe my internal clock was just out of whack because I went to bed late all weekend? Anyhow, hopefully I'll be able to reverse the cycle tonight!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Skywatch Friday

This week's skywatch feature is this photo I took of the Chinese Lantern display on the lake in Montreal's Botanical gardens.

To see more Skywatch photos from around the world, you can visit the Skywatch Friday blog.

Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Today I...October 26th


Today I...

...am sharing a few of the photos I took at this year's 'La Magie des Lanternes' Chinese lantern exhibit at Montreal's Botanical Gardens with you. The theme of the show this year is 'The First Emperor's Procession' and it is held, naturally, in the Chinese garden section. It is a lovely exhibit to take in either during the day or at night, but I must admit that if you are going specifically to take photos, it is much easier to get that done during the day since the exhibit can be very, very crowded at night. It is also best to go towards the end of the afternoon once all the school groups are done visiting as they can crowd the place up during the day as well. I went around 2:30 P.M. and it was a perfect time as there was still plenty of daylight and not too many people around! And here is an interesting little fact: 'La Magie des Lanternes' was among the first dates that my Sweetheart took me out on back in the Fall of 2004 and it was also my first visit to the Botanical Gardens! He couldn't believe I had lived in Montreal all my life and never been to the gardens before :o)

...was off work, naturally. Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to make it to the gardens!

...did a bit of cleaning in my apartment.

...clipped my cats claws, much to their disgust.

...finally got my chicken cassoulet from the other day out of the crockpot and into some containers for the fridge and freezer.

...have a headache again, darn it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Today I...October 25th

Today I...

...am having a pictureless post.

...finished making a series of calls for my boss.

...walked home from work for the first time in quite a while because, miracle of miracles, it was SUNNY today!!! Well, kind of sunny anyhow, which works out just fine for us! It looks like we're finally going to be getting some fairly nice weather for a while now, thank heavens! Nicer, but chillier, which is not surprising for this time of year, but as long as there's no rain, that's fine with me!

...spoke with Father D about the group of high school students from France that I gave a tour to yesterday. They were the third group of students from France that I gave a tour to in three years and they were the third group of unholy French terrors I had to deal with. There completely undisciplined and had very, very little respect for me and the teachers with them were doing nothing to discipline them. Father D told me that he taught in Paris for a while and that, unfortunately, my experience was not unusual as a lot of french teenagers are like that. Yikes, I would hate to teach in a French school!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Today I...October 22nd

Today I...

...am sharing this sunny picture of a bright orange maple tree in Pointe-Claire village with you. I told you, sunny pictures until the sun comes back!

...was actually fortunate enough to be outside during a brief sunny break this afternoon. I quite enjoyed it, despite the fact that I was hauling a very heavy cart of groceries behind me.

...spent 82$ and small change on the aforementioned heavy cart of groceries. The chicken cassoulet I'm planning on making in my crockpot had better be worth every extra penny I spent on the ingredients!

...was absolutely thrilled to get an e-mail from my Sweetheart a few minutes ago, he says everything is going well in the great white north, that lichen is cushy to walk on, Tundra more colorful than he expected, but that his flights are something else because the airplanes are tiny, the flights full of turbulence and the landing strips gravel. I know, even though he didn't mention it, that he is thinking that if I were on those planes with him I would have died of a panic attack by now. He's right. He's also two days ahead of schedule with his work and only eleven bumpy flights away from home, hopefully they'll be able to keep up the speedy work and get home early!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Today I...October 21st


Today I...

...am sharing this photo of some sailboats and windsurfers on Lake St. Louis with you. We're still waiting for another sunny day like this here, so while we're waiting, I'll keep sharing sunny photos with you :o)

...got 10 hours sleep, it was divine.

...went to get my hair trimmed and styled, it looks awesome!

...got a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks on the way home, decaf of course. It was lovely!

...got my laundry done.

...washed some dishes in an attempt to kill some time while waiting for my brother to swing my and pick me up so we can got and get some sushi for dinner.

...am hoping he gets here soon because I am STARVING!!!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Skywatch Friday


This week's Skywatch Friday feature is this series of photos that I took of these parasailers on Lake Saint Louis in Pointe-Claire over Thanksgiving weekend.


The weather was absolutely stunning that weekend and the parasailing club was more than likely all too aware that it would be their last chance to go out before the weather and the lake got too cold!

To see more Skywatch photos from around the world, you can visit the Skywatch Friday blog. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Today I...October 19th

Today I...

...found myself thinking, as I was drowning in data entry again (I will hopefully get the last of it done tomorrow), that I would love to be able to get away somewhere warm and sunny. Since I am still nine weeks away from my next 'vacation' (I have no trip planned so far, I will try and work on something with my Sweetheart when he gets back), I am breaking out one of my palm tree photos from our trip to Los Angeles in May instead. Ah, what I would give to be back there with my Sweetheart now!

...enjoyed the sun by going out for a walk during my lunch hour. It was our first sunny day since Thursday and it's going to start raining again any time now and keep it up until Friday night with some very blustery winds, so I figured I had better enjoy the nice weather while I could!

...stocked up on cat food after work as I was almost out.

...am so happy that it's finally Thursday tomorrow, I get Friday off since I worked on Sunday so three day weekend for me, yippee!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Today I...October 18th

Today I...

...am sharing this picture of some houses in Blanc-Sablon, a town in Quebec which is right on the border of Labrador and across the Gulf of St-Lawrence from Newfoundland with all of you. I think it's lovely and am wishing that I was heading there tomorrow with my Sweetheart. I will, of course, like the place even better if my Sweetheart manages to reach me from there!

...had a busy, but uneventful day at worked filled with phone calls, last minute group bookings and loads of data entry, which is know for its ability to plunge me into a coma. I defy anyone to do more than one hour straight of data entry without being plunged into a stupor!

...had a very good laugh when a man who called this morning to book a guided tour for this coming Thursday (he said he didn't know he had to book a tour in advance, imagine that!) sent an email with a scanned PICTURE of his signed booking form to me instead of scanning THE ACTUAL FORM and e-mailing that to me. There's a first time for everything :oJ

Monday, October 17, 2011

Today I...October 17th

Today I...

...am sharing this photo of some lovely Fall foliage with you :o)

...spent most of the day feeling very cold due to the cold, damp weather. Ick...

...was stuck on the phone with a very, very conservative Catholic for an hour and a quarter. I am Catholic, don't get me wrong on that one and I'm very happy to be Catholic, but I am not an über conservative Catholic, not by a long shot. If I truly was a mortal sinner for not doing everything she said I should have been doing in order for 'Jesus to love me', I would be going to Hell for sure. I believe that God and Jesus love us for who we are and take account of our efforts to be faithful Christians, not that they turn their backs on us for not being Christian enough. In my opinion, overly conservative believers do religion, no matter what the religion, more harm than good.

...had a good time at choir practice, despite the fact that we spent the better part of the practice working on a very long, difficult piece of music.

...spoke with my Sweetheart one more time before he leaves for his two week business trip on the North Shore tomorrow. His plane is taking off at 6:30 A.M. for Sept-Îles and from there he is going much further north to Blanc-Sablon, which is right next to Labrador!!! He will then gradually work his way back South until he comes home, probably on November 2nd unless things go faster or more slowly than planned. I, naturally, am hoping things will go faster, like they did last time!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Today I...October 16th

Today I...

...am letting you know that I am still alive and well. Sorry for the long wait between posts, but I got home very late on Thursday, for a work night at least and then I was at my Sweetheart's from Friday evening to last night, hence the lack of blog posts! I have been having a wonderful time though and also went out with my friend G after work tonight. Yup, I only had one day off this weekend and am now back to work until Thursday. My Sweetheart is leaving for his two week trip on Tuesday and will be back on November 2nd or 3rd, so I'm hoping it will go fast as I will then have him in town for a month before he's off to Haiti in December. Phew! Hopefully work will help it go by and he'll find some way to get in touch with me once or twice.

That's it for today, I'll try and catch up with your blogs gradually this week :o)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Today I...October 12th


Today I...

...am sharing this photo of one of the two points that give the town of Pointe-Claire its name. The other point, which is just across from this one, is home to St-Joachim church, which I featured in yesterday's post, as well as to a convent and windmill. All of the photos I have featured on my blog so far this week were taken this past weekend and I also have some very Skywatch worthy photos that I took in the same Pointe-Claire series that I will use either for this week or next week's Skywatch Friday feature.

...am letting you all know that I may not be blogging tomorrow and will not be blogging on Friday since I am going out with my mom and one of our friends tomorrow night and am going to my Sweetheart's place on Friday night. I should be back on Saturday :o)

...had a fun time with my friend V. We went to dinner at a sushi restaurant we hadn't tried yet and it was quite good.

...stained my white t-shirt after losing my hold on a gyoza (Japanese dumpling) with my chopsticks and having it plop unceremoniously into my dish of soy and vinegar dipping sauce. Luckily, I was able to get to stain out with my delicate laundry soap. I soaked the t-shirt in a sink full of warm water and a bit of the soap for about 20 minutes and voilà! no more stain. It is quite surprising that I dropped the gyoza though, I am a champion chopstick user, I can pick up and hold pretty much anything with them!

...very much enjoyed the 45 minute walk home from the restaurant. V was with me most of the way before turning off to go to her father's place, so we were able to keep chattering almost until I got home.

...am very much looking forward to the arts and crafts sale I'm going to with my mom and our friend H tomorrow as well as dinner afterwards!

...am looking forward even more to seeing my Sweetheart on Friday. I really have to stock up on time with him before he leaves for his next work-related trip on Tuesday. Two weeks this time, ugh. Fortunately it will be his last trip for a while!