Monthly Archives: July 2009

Shoes, Glorious Shoes!

Don't get your heel stuck in there!

Don't get your heel stuck in there!

Today I was a human alarm clock. Nicole had leant her cell phone to her brother in Italy, so I went over to her house to wake her up at 11:00. To my surprise, she was already up, accompanied by Chloe and Aria. We chilled on the couch together, almost drifting back asleep, before motivating eachother to get up and go get coffee.

Nicole and I went to Art Java for their $1 coffee, and Aria went to Presse Café where she could free coffee with just her charm and seductive smile. Nicole and I sunk into the big armchairs at Art Java, only feeling rejuvenated once our cups were empty. We then walked home merrily chatting away, updating each other on our lives. Nicole had experienced the idealic small town life in Italy, living with a lovely family, while I was having crazy times in Montreal.

Once back at Nicole’s apartment, I helped Nicole do laundry while she told me a humorous tale of a couple in her building who like to have sex in the laundry room. Apparently, the superintendent had caught them on tape, so informed them it was okay if they did that, just as long as they used the one washing machine in the camera’s blind-spot, so that she wouldn’t see them. However, the couple must have had a strong exhibitionist side, as she caught them once again on tape. Ha ha!

Once I’d said goodbye to Nicole, I cycled home to make lunch. As it was 2:00, I was famished, so made myself a grilled cheese sandwich with a bowl of my homemade vegetable soup. I started feeling sleepy again, so had yet another cup of coffee before heading out on my bicycle once again.

My mission that day was to buy a pair of black stilettos. The pair which I had owned since highschool had become very odorous of late, thus I could not wear them in the presence of others. I went to the Aldo outlet on Mount Royal where there were black heels galore! I found various pairs, ranging from 2” to 7” in heel height, but it was the 2.5” I settled on (they didn’t have my size in the other ones). It had been marked all the way down to $26 and was made of matte leather with a round toe and pointed heel. Simple, comfortable, and cheap: whoo hoo!

Once home, I conditioned my new shoes, and polished my other leather shoes and boots. Unfortunately, I managed to get black shoe polish all over my hands and in my nails. When my phone rang, I was tempted not to answer it to avoid getting the touch-screen dirty. However, I’m glad I did as it was my friend Tay inviting me out for dinner on Sunday! We agreed on meeting at St. Denis and Duluth to spontaneously pick out a restaurant. I’m so excited! St. Denis has such great restaurants and it will be fun going to one with Tay. Yay for Tay!

As I had nothing to do Friday night, I decided to watch a movie. Nicole had mentioned watching the chick flick He’s Just Not That Into You while she was on the plane home from Italy, so I decided to check it out. I actually had to turn the film off before I got even half way as it was just too depressing. The female characters in the film were pathetic and the message of the film was a bit frightening. The women in the film were successful, beautiful, and educated, but were absolutely consumed by what I like to call ‘boy drama’ . Their main concern in life was not their career, society, or themselves, but instead the mission to find a boyfriend or husband.  Oh- and if I guy doesn’t call you shortly after a date, you are suppose to forget he ever existed. Aaa!

I am sad to say that I could relate to some of the characters I the film. For the first time in my life, I have found my life characterized by ‘boy drama’. I think the reason I have dropped to that level is because I am out of school, out of a job, and am in a new city where I am still trying to find my place to belong. It is also easier to find men to go out with then female friends… way easier. I’m young, naive, and new to the city. I can’t kid myself that they are interested in me because I designed a typeface for the visually impaired or that I can discuss wine, design, and alternative lifestyles in length. I’m nothing special to them, and will readily be replaced by the next pretty young thing to step through the door.

That is the life lesson I have learnt this year. Time and time again it happens, and will continue to happen until I meet that special someone who thinks I’m ‘good enough’. But don’t get me wrong- I do enjoy the company. The men in my life have always been interesting, fun people, but I just wish it was less emotionally draining. I don’t think I can ever get used to being ditched for the prettier one, although that would be useful. Sigh.

But anyway… there’s my rant. My late night rant. I shouldn’t watch chick flicks. They make me angry. I should stay with Agatha Christie.

And in honour of the British’s macabre taste for murder and strange taste in comedy, here’s Monty Python’s take on Agatha. (it gets good near the end)

Aldo shopping wisdom: if the price tag is red- that means that shoe is the very last pair in store… so don’t bother asking if they have your size if it doesn’t fit you… save yourself and the grumpy salesperson!

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Cheddar to Console

Stuck in a hole.

Stuck in a hole.

Today was the last day of French classes and for the first time, the instructor wore baggy clothing. For once I was able to focus on the chalkboard as I have been constantly distracted from my lessons by the teacher’s tiny waist. In fashion school, I would get distracted by my graphic design profs’ shirt or glasses, but in French class- it’s the waist. She is the first person I have ever met in real life with a waist naturally so small in comparison to the rest of her body. She’s got better measurements than Dita Von Teese! Its so surreal that its impossible to focus on conjugating verbs when you swear you’ve got a 40-26-40 before you!

As the grand finale to French class, we had an exam. I left the examination room feeling confident that I had passed, but when my test was returned to me, I found I had failed miserably. I had gotten perfect on the genderization of professions and nationality, adding ‘ne pas’ into sentences correctly, and had only made one mistake on locationation (sur, sous, dans)… but when it came to those verbs and l’adjectif possessif- I had come out clueless. Dam it! Maybe I will try that school my Mum recommended to me… Perhaps things will sink in better in an artistic environment.

I went to ESL class, and as I had no students the first half, I took the time to go over my exam carefully. When I went home, I made a grilled cheese sandwich to console myself after the exam and listened to cheerful Ratatat while looking up pointless information on the Internet. When I returned to ESL class, I had 7 students waiting to talk to me, which felt pretty awesome. Whoo hoo!

After class I went to Nicole’s for her “Welcome Back to Canada” get-together. I found her, Chloe, Aria, and an Italian boy she’d brought back on the plane all sprawled out on the bare mattress in her room. Everyone was exhausted! It took us over an hour to get enough energy to go out for food despite the fact we were starving. As Nicole was just home from Italy, we decided to go to Allor Frites for poutine. I was craving meat, so decided to get a burger. It was alright, but I ended up eating half of Nicole’s Madagascar poutine  as it was much better. I love green peppercorns!

After we all hugged goodbye, I bicycled home and sat on Lianna’s bed for awhile to discuss life until we both got sleepy. Its been a sleepy day. I think I’ll go to bed now…

Social Suicide

A bumble-bee on my way to the grocery store.

A bumble-bee on my way to the grocery store (Cherrier/St. Hubert: Plateau).

It’s the end of an era. I’m moving out of the Plateau. Yesterday I signed a lease for a shared apartment in the Guy-Concordia area. I felt like part of me died. I didn’t want to leave the Plateau, but in my two months looking for rooms/apartments, I hadn’t found anything that was within my budget and near a metro. I just hope moving away wont be ‘social suicide’. My whole social life evolves around the Plateau. It wont be an issue now, but in the winter the subway and buses stop running at 1am (just when the party is getting started!) so I’ll either have to spend a fortune on a taxi or find a floor to sleep on each night I go out someplace fun.

I committed social suicide before, when I lived at Gerrard and Broadview in Toronto. I was still technically in downtown, but to my friends in the Annex and Kensington Market, I was on the other side of the world. The only way I could get friends to visit was if I offered free food (dinner parties). Fortunately my dear friend Caitlin would let me sleep on her floor when we went out dancing at the Boat, 751, or the Queens Head. I need to find a floor to sleep on here…

But hey- the apartment is nice: relatively spacious and sunny. I just met my new roommate the day before. She seems nice too. So, I’ve got a nice apartment and roommate… and I’m only two blocks from the metro… and the rent is still cheaper than Toronto! HA!

After I signed the lease, I met Philippe, one of my ESL students for a drink at L’Escalier at Berri-UQUAM. It was a fabulous little place that reminded me a lot of the Red Room in Toronto. It had a really laid back and eclectic look to it, and served coffee, booze, and vegetarian food. Philippe got a glass of red wine, while I had a pint of beer. We sat by the window, enjoying the breeze and the live music coming in from outside, and discussed language. When some of his friends turned up, they took it upon themselves to teach me how to count up to 20 in French. It was like having my own cheerleading squad!

Today, I went to look at mattresses at Dormez-Vous, which is the Sleep Country of Quebec. I had laid awake last night haunted by images of my fated social life and sleeping on the bare floor in my new apartment. So, this morning I decided to go look at mattresses, as it could potentially help fix both those problems. I was shocked at the prices. I knew mattresses were an investment… but I had no idea how big that investment actually was! I think it’s a futon from IKEA for me…

I decided to get some comfort food to cheer me up. I went to the grocery store and bought cheddar to make myself a grilled cheese sandwich. I ate it on the couch, looking out the window onto the tree and bike path outside my sublet. The cat snuck up on me and started pawing my sandwich. When I brushed him away, he decided to ravish the bag of Starbucks treats Lianna had brought back from work. When I tried to get him away from those, he got his head stuck in the handle of the bag. It was rather funny watching him drag around a paper bag, but I kindly freed the little rascal.

At work today, I had a Level 2 ESL student come to my conversation class. Up till now, I had only tutored Level 4 and 5 students. I found my Level 2 student from Morocco very stressful and difficult to have a conversation with. It made me feel very worried about my prospects of learning French. Two years down the road, will I still be uncomprehendable? Aaa!

Breaking the Hermit Routine

Last night I received a spontaneous invitation from my friend Dunter, inviting me out to meet some new friends. I was quite thrilled when I received the e-mail as I had nothing else planned that night and spent the afternoon in anticipation. I got ready relatively early, and went to sit on the steps to wait for him. While entertaining myself on my cell phone, I noticed a bright green light reflected on the metallic side of my iPhone. I looked around, confused, trying to figure out what on earth was flashing- and saw it was Dunter pointing a laser at me from across the street! What a way to get a person’s attention! Haha.

Dunter drove me to Philip’s Lounge for a small get-together. It was right downtown, just off of Sainte-Catherine where the big Hudson’s Bay is. Once we parked, he gave me a lesson on how to get on and off a motorcycle as it was a lot more complicated than a bicycle. I kept on screwing up!

I was quite impressed with the venue. This lounge was aptly decorated with large abstract art pieces, blobular white lights with red detailing, and light-up tiling leading to the coat check and ladies room. In the washroom, each sink had a waterfall tap that you could turn off and on with a stick-like handle. The staff were all well-dressed in nicely tailored black shirts, and were courteous and attentive. It was quite a change from the places I’d frequented in Montreal so far, and during my time at co-op in Toronto.

The crowd there was much older than I, with an abundance of attractive small waisted women with large breasts. I sort of felt like I was on a movie set surrounded by A-list actresses. I got introduced around, drifting in and out of conversations, sipping the glass of fine red wine Dunter had kindly treated me to. It was all very pleasant, and I had some interesting conversations about the ordeal of writing, culture, and wine tastings in Italy.

There was a journalist there who didn’t seem to know anyone, so I sat with him most of the time and had a fascinating conversation about the history of Montreal. He had been researching for a book he wants to write for 10 years, about a Montreal boy in the 1700’s who joins a merchant ship to go to France and the West Indies. It sounded like a great tale! I kept thinking about it the whole night.

Afterwards, Dunter drove me home and I had a very sound sleep, awaking bright and early the next morning. My day was pretty boring, but tonight I went to a movie night at a friend’s house. I was quite late as I’d enjoyed a very long afternoon nap and hadn’t woken up until dinner time. To my surprise Dunter was there, so I happily sat with him. I got there just in time for the second film showing, which the very manly action flick Torture about FBI agents trying to infiltrate an international drug ring. The one female character in the movie wore midriff shirts and carried around an oversized sack-like designer bag, which confused me greatly. The fashion in the film looked very out-of-date, but it was actually released in 2008. Hm.

After the film, I went to meet Lianna and Andrew at Brutopia to celebrate the birthday of a friend of theirs’. It was hell trying to get from Papineau to Cresant on my bicycle. There was so much traffic, and the Maisonneauve bike lane was closed for the Just For Laughs Festival. I did manage to get there safe and sound though, and ordered myself a gin and tonic to make-up for the hair-raising ride. Andrew told us all about his trip to Milan, particularly his meeting with yet another pornstar (he’s a magnet!). It was indeed entertaining.

Now I sit at home with a glass of water, merrily typing away. Its been a fun last two days! Its nice to break out of the hermit routine now and again.

Spiffy & iffy

This caught my eye on my way back from the cafe today.

This caught my eye on my way back from the cafe today.

I woke up with a bit of a hangover as I’d had a bit too much wine the previous night. Getting out of bed was an ordeal, but I was meeting a friend for brunch that morning up in Mile End. The prospect of food can motivate me to do anything!

My friend Dave and I went to La Croissanterie Figaro. It was a sweet little restaurant which reminded me of Bonjour Brioche in Toronto, yet here their specialty was croissants, not brioche. After the gluttony of yesterday, I didn’t much fancy a croissant so had the elusive soup of the day. Dave got an almond croissant, which was unusually long and thin… and packed pull with delicious almond paste! It looked so good! A croissant for a connoisseur!

After brunch, I bicycled over to Guy-Concordia to view apartments. The first one I saw was on Rue Tupper, a nice residential street with old Victorian houses and proud front gardens. The apartment had a nice old look to it; a little scruffy but had character. It was very sunny and all utilities (and laundry!) were included. The only issue was the price. As it was a 3 bedroom, it was a bit hefty. We’d need a third person to share it with- but I don’t know of anyone!

Inbetween apartment appointments, I went to Starbucks to sit on the patio and watch the people walk by on Rue St. Catherine. Once I’d finished my drink, I went to the McGill campus to sit on the lawn in the nice park that lies beyond the main gates. I sat in the grass, enjoying the sun, and watching the kids play. It was very pleasant.

The second apartment was on Rue Summerhill. Apartment buildings lined the street on either side, and the one I was going to had your stereotypical 1950’s look to it. It was a semi-basement with large window at street level, but still a bit dark. It was a relatively good price, but its location/light made me a bit iffy. It had more perks than downsides, but the cons outweighed the pros.

Once home, I got busy doing housework and made supper… and now sit at the computer writing this as I munch away on my bowl of pasta seasoned with lemon juice and olive oil. Simple is good.

Writen by Malbec

My mum e-mailed me this photo today. Its me (in a beret) taking photographs in Quebec at age 7. How some things never change...

My mum e-mailed me this photo today. Its me (wearing a beret) taking photographs in Quebec at age 7. How some things never change.

Today, I ate the best croissant of my life. It was born at the little Portuguese Bakery on Rue Duluth, near French lessons. It shone out to me from within the glass counter like the Holy Grail… It was a very large croissant, crispy and moist with chocolate drizzled all over it, with little bits of cookie and almond slices sprinkled on top. The outside itself was yummy enough- but when I bit into it- oh heaven itself was inside my mouth! The flavour of chocolate burst in my mouth… then almond paste… then chocolate… then almond again! It was like a Kinder Surprise… but only better! Such happiness can be found in food.

In-between shifts, I had a job interview at a footwear wholesaler as an admin assistant. The head office was nicely located at the Atwater Metro, and everyone in the office was in their 20’s or early 30’s, casually dressed and jolly. The whole age thing really helped to  put me at ease so that my nervousness and self-doubt did not overtake me as it had at my previous interview. I was able to answer each question with eloquence, and left the interview feeling very positive. I think they liked what I had to offer.

After the interview, I went to Canadian Tire to look at rope and I cycled around the area. There were some very fine residences in that neighbourhood. They all looked very expensive and ornate, with beautiful gardens out front. It is really quite sad to see how it still the English areas of Montreal that have the wealth. Things maybe more integrated now, but the proud old buildings and street names are a lasting reminder of the past… and present.

After my second shift at work, I decided to treat myself to a hearty meal, as I have had enough of vegetable soup this week. I picked up some fresh pasta and a bottle of merlot malbec and sat down to enjoy myself… and watch the film The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. What a day!

Martini Muffin

I saw this during my apartment hunt today. Fitting for the conversation.

I saw this during my apartment hunt today. Fitting for the conversation.

I woke up this morning to find 5 strangers sleeping in the living room of my house. It was a bit of a surprise to say the least. I tried to be as quiet as possible while I did my morning chores… made coffee, loaded the dishwasher, fed the cats etc… I don’t know how they slept through it all!

I hadn’t slept well that night myself, as I was so excited about the apartment I had viewed the day before. It was a gigantic, beautiful, sunny 2-bedroom apartment with hardwood floors, utilities included, and within walking distance of Guy-Concordia metro… all for a very reasonable sum of $775. I was so excited! I had been dreaming up all the parties I could host in that vast space, and how I could decorate my bedroom… Yet, when I called the property manager later that day to close the deal, he informed me he had given me the price for the one bedroom apartment- not the two bedroom I had looked at… and the price difference was astronomical! It was way out of me and Chloe’s price range, so I was back to square one.

At French class that day, we learnt how to ask/tell the time in French. Ironically, class went by very quickly, and before I knew it- it was break time! I quickly rushed off to the café to get a cup of coffee as I was still suffering from lack of sleep.

There is a little Portuguese bakery on Duluth, where I take French lessons, that sells cheap coffee and baked goods. Today I spotted an interesting looking custard dessert that looked like a cross between crème brule, a Danish, and a muffin. I was a little peckish, so decided to try one. It turned out to be the most peculiar elevens ever! I swear this dessert had been soaked in alcohol! I could hardly enjoy the custard due to the martini-esq sponge cake around it! Ewee!

After French class, I went to work. two girls came to my class to ask for shopping advice, then the nice Quebecois boy popped in to chat. We discussed apartment hunting in Montreal and he helped me with my French homework (which wasn’t quite in  my lesson plan).

In-between shifts, I bicycled around Guy-Concordia to get quotes for apartments. Everything was ridiculously expensive. I did find one two-bedroom that was just within our price-range, so made an appointment to view the apt on Friday. All utilities were included; a perk.

During my second shift, a girl visiting from Korea came in to my conversation class. We discussed Canadian vs. Korean taxes and educational system, and I explained the Quebec separatist movement best I could, which interested her greatly. We talked for almost a full hour!

I was very hungry by the time I got home (food seems to be the highlight of my life today) so I heated up some of the vegetable soup I made and sat down in front of the computer to apartment search, job search, and prepare for my interview tomorrow.

At 7:00, I met a friend for tea at Café Depot. We had a lovely conversation about Montreal architecture and the city’s history. He’s a diplomat, but did his masters in history, so had many interesting things to say. We could have talked forever- but I had to get home to prepare for my interview.

I am currently taking a break from preparing for my interview… sitting at the front of the house with my computer. The street seems particularly noisy tonight: lots of people yelling and traffic… There must be some event going on.

Nose back to the grindstone!