Monday, July 14, 2014

New York City, Philadelphia and blogging

Over the past few months, my Sweetheart and I's travels have taken us to both New York City and Philadelphia. It was my first time visiting Philadelphia and it was okay, but New was my third visit to the city and I love it just as much as my last two visits there. I've always said to everyone I know that NYC is Montreal on steroids and even though I had not been to New York in twelve years, I knew as soon as I got there that my statement about it was as true as ever. I found my old friend cleaner, more vibrant and safer than ever and I was so happy to see the extent to which the city has come back to life since 9-11. Here are a few pictures from both trips, all but the last four are from New York City.


I'm really having a wonderful Summer so far, it's my first free one since I was sixteen years old and it's also my first one since I was nineteen where I have not had to wear a uniform, which I am having great fun with. I've been able to buy and wear shorts outside of the hour for the first time in years and have revamped my Summer wardrobe, since everything I owned for the Summer revolved around the dress code at work, meaning nothing above the knee, no tank tops or anything too low cut and it had to match the uniform shirt which was teal. I've really enjoyed shopping and Sweetheart has really enjoyed seeing my new outfits. I also feel that I've been able to really enjoy the Summer weather for the first time in ages, since for the last two years I worked full time I had a shift from noon to 8:00 P.M., which made it very difficult for me to spend any time outside in the daylight. I've been enjoying our patio table, our BBQ and reading books outside, I've been able to stroll in the city and plant flowers and go out for ice cream and I've also been able to go on vacation with Sweetheart and his family and laze around on the beach tanning and making sand castles with our nieces and visit my grandmother in South Carolina. This has all been doing me so much good I cannot even put it into words. I feel as if I'm coming back to life slowly after everything I went through last year. It's all still there just below the surface, everything is still healing, but at least I can handle the pain a bit more easily now and when I laugh, I really laugh and it is full of life. I'm still working on healing and getting my bearings and figuring out my new life and I'm also still trying to figure out what to do with this blog. It came about as a way for me to occupy myself in the lonely days when Sweetheart was living and working in Toronto, but since he has been back so much has changed. I would eventually, I believe like to be able to share about what I went through when we discovered how ill my father was with depression and when he passed away and how that affected me. It would help me and others if I could tell his story, but for now I don't feel quite able to do that yet. I don't know how long it will take me to be able to write about it, but what might help me do that is to start another blog entirely devoted to that story and put it together piece by piece before making it public. I also feel that I should tell my father's family before I put anything out there since the availability of the story could affect them and we do not all see my father's depression and its causes in the same way. I'll be sure to let you all know, though, when any of this pans out...if any of you still actually read here that is. I know I've not been a very good blogger for the past year, but I do the best I can :)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Up, down and all around

Hi folks,

Things have been crazy for the past few months with family stuff, work stuff, house stuff and some travelling thrown in for good measure. Somewhere in there I got myself a new camera lens and had some fun with it in both Montreal and Quebec City:

Notre Dame Basilica in Old Montreal

A close-up of Notre-Dame Basilica's Façade

Architectural details on a building on the Place d'Armes in Old Montreal

Qébec City's Porte St-Jean

It's a really fin, versatile lens which does some great closeups but can also give me a pretty good wide range. It fills in a gap in my ability to shoot up close which I often sorely missed, especially on occasions when I wanted to photograph flowers or wildlife...or both at once.

I wanted very much to bring it with me when I finally went to Haiti with my Sweetheart for a week in the middle of April (we got home Tuesday of last week), but it was too big and too heavy to come along, so I stuck with my wide-angle lens since I knew the only place I would be taking my big camera out would be on our two beach days. 

Sweetheart heading into the water at Cocoyer

The boat we shared with some friends to get to Bananier 

More of Cocoyer

Our trip to Haiti was something else...or at least it was for me. I won't try to gloss it over, Haiti is a Third World Country. You do not go there for a comfy, cozy vacation, what you hear about from people who go to Labadee on a cruise is a science-fiction version of Haiti. Most people who go to Labadee probably don't even realise they are in Haiti, which is not surprising. There is little to no infrastructure in Haiti, there is no garbage collection anywhere, there is very little running water, most of the time there is no electricity either unless you are fortunate enough to have either a battery or a generator and those are serious luxuries. The food is delicious though and totally, totally organic. You will not get travellers' diarrhea off it I can promise you that. The beaches are heavenly as well and, for all intents and purposes, deserted because the vast majority of Haitians do not know how to swim and stay away from the water. Also as I stated above, vacationers are non-existent. Anyone going into Haiti is either visiting family or going there to work with the UN or an aid organisation, like my Sweetheart and I was there to see the work he has been doing and understand what he goes through when he's there. It's not easy, not easy at all especially when you go for the first time like me and you have never seen generalized poverty and a country left to fend for itself by its government. It was a truly eye-opening experience and believe when I tell you that we are incredibly blessed to live in a place where everything is basically handed to us on a silver platter. Medical care, food, clean water, electricity, we've got it all here whereas in a place like Haiti, you have to fight for it all...except maybe food. No one in Haiti is ever going to starve to death there because food is abundant (mangoes, bananas and tons of other exotic fruits, seafood, fish, goat, chicken, beef, root vegetables, beans...they  all grow or wander freely all over the place), but the rest of it is a struggle and I never felt more thankful for all the things we take for granted here than when I walked off the plane in Montreal...including, believe it or not, cool Canadian Springtime air. Because, even though it was the least of my worries, no air conditioning or even a fan for a week in a tropical climate for a born and raised Montrealer will make you grateful for cool air believe it or not :) I know, I couldn't believe it either!

So that's my latest travelling adventure! I'm now in the midst of a house adventure: the gutting and renovating of our basement which is actually going far more smoothly that I ever expected it would! It should be done in the next week and a half or so and then we'll just have to deal with the dust fallout for the next few months lol

Friday, February 21, 2014

What I've been up to

Hello everyone,

I've just played catch up with my blog roll after working on my choir's blog. I signed out of there and ended up here! It was not part of my plan to blog today as I have some work to do (bills to pay, a kitchen to clean, a fish tank water change to do, hunting around for a new alarm company, etc), but apparently I was meant to give you guys an update!

As you can see, I've been quite busy since the last time I came by here and so have you all, but I was glad to see that you've all been doing quite well as am I! Sweetheart and I have traveled a bit, we were in South Carolina for the last week of November and the beginning of December visiting my grandparents, which was lovely as you can see:

                                          Cotton plants at Boone Hall Plantation near Charleston, SC

                                          Oak trees covered with Spanish Moss at Boone Hall Plantation

                                          Japanese Maple tree leaves in a pond at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, SC

The weather was quite nice mild (for us Canucks) while we were there and we love spending time with my Grandparents, Sweetheart especially liked talking with my Grandfather as he never really knew either of his grandfather. One of them passed away before Sweetheart was born and the other when he was so little that Sweetheart barely even remembers him.

Since then, we have been very busy with work and planning Sweetheart's move to my place in June or maybe even sooner. We need to find someone we know and trust to lease his condo to and organize my ample storage space (my things are in there helter skelter right now, which is what happens when you have ample storage space) to make room for his things as well. We've also been working on the house a bit, we have changed two light fixtures, one in the entrance staircase and one in the dining room. We've also picked out the new bathroom sink and mirror for the downstairs bathroom and have fixed on what we want to do with the rest of basement as we are going to have it redone. We've also done some work at Sweetheart's condo, we put some moldings in along the floors and replaced the light fixture in the bathroom. We then ended up unexpectedly changing his old bathroom sink when the bottom, quite literally, rusted out of it. Funny as it may seem, we actually kind of miss the old squeaky taps that used to be in there.

In other news, we're also trying to plan some more travel time. We may go to Las Vegas in a few weeks as Sweetheart has always wanted to go there, then in the Spring we are planning on going to Poland to visit Sweetheart's Grandmother as she is turning 90 this March and is getting a bit frail. Sweetheart would really like her to meet me. After Poland, we are going to go to Paris for about a week before coming home, which will be an absolute dream come true for me since I have always, always wanted to go there. I'll probably end up crying when I get there, because that's just me and then Sweetheart won't mind at all being there for the 10th time because it will have made me so happy :)

On the work front, I was in the office for full weeks for most of December after we got back from South Carolina and since the New Year I've been going in once a week, but I'm about to end up on full weeks again until mid-March because the Feast of St-Joseph is coming up and that's always been my busiest time. I've also been doing some work for Sweetheart's engineering firm, which is a nice change from my usual job!

Aside from working part-time and taking care of the house, I've also taken up downhill skiing and am loving it! I've been once a week every week since the beginning of January except for this week since I have a bunch of appointments, got called in to work yesterday and it is raining cats and dogs today. Being outside and getting tons of fresh air once a week in really wonderful and has made a huge difference in how I feel about winter! It is a season that is quite easy to enjoy when you rely on the snow and the cold for a sport you enjoy!

That's all for now, but I have added a link to my Twitter account at the top of the page so you can follow me on there and have an easier time of keeping up with me, all of my Instagram pictures end up on there!