Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Today I...November 30th

Today I...

...had a much better day than yesterday, thankfully. 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! 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... 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. 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) 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. 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... 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... 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. 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... 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! 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) 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... 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... 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) 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. 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... 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! 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... sharing this photo of this happy little family with all of you :o) 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... 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. 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) 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... 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! 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! looking forward to a new episode of Flashpoint tonight!