Monthly Archives: November 2009

Mum’s Visit : 1.0

"Pigeon" as seen during our trek from Laurier Station to Le Cagibi.

My mum came to visit this weekend, for the first time since I moved to Montreal. She arrived an hour before I go off work, so I text messaged her secretly on my iPhone until my shift was over, then met her at the train station.

We went home, and I gave Mum a quick tour of the small apartment I share with Chloe, before Mum went off to bed. I couldn’t quite bare the idea of going to bed before 11am, so stayed up for another couple hours on the Internet on my iPhone while sitting in the dark living room so not to disturb my slumbering mother.

I slept in until 10am the following morning. Mum had been up since 5am. We had breakfast together, then went to Laurier Station to walk up St. Laurent to St. Viateur. We went in various design shops along the way, and admired some from just the outside as well. One in particular, called Galerie CO, had a bunch of cardboard Christmas trees and little wire Christmas ornaments. It had all sorts of stylish gifts, priced from reasonable to extravagant. I was very impressed by this, as it is rare to find a design shop one can actually afford things at!

We went to Le Cagibi for elevenths and sat in the backroom. I had been there once before with Tristan, and was greatly amused by a philosophy debate going on in a nearby table, being headed by a dark-haired version of Tristan. He looked, dressed, and talked similar to Tristan- but wasn’t as tall. Their heated conversion ended just as Mum and I were about to leave, and who rose from the table- but a girl I knew from co-op! So ironic! (I met Tristan, and many other amazing people at co-op, the housing co-operative I lived at from 2007 to 2009)

After we’d finished our cappichinos and croissant, we walked in the direction of the larger of the bagel bakeries on St. Viateur. We of course got distracted along the way to go into the health food store to buy beer (?!), a pastry shop to buy some mouth-watering delicacies for Sunday, and a little grocery store to buy a mini Christmas tree.

The tree was particularly thrilling. It was a little evergreen, about one foot high, in a little green pot, selling for just $7! I walked down the street very proudly holding onto my prized possession, and it made quite the conversation piece at the bakery. It’s like having a baby!

We were feeling a little tired by then, so went home to have lunch (bagels!) and tea. Mum had a nap and I puts around the house until 3:00. Then we went out again, this time to Jean Talon Market. We got rather lost along the way, but fortunately the Maps application on my iPhone saved us (Mum was very entertained by the moving blue dot. It was difficult to get my phone back once I showed her!).

Ever since I first set foot in the Market, I wanted to take Mummy. We went to the fancy meat shop and bought horse and bunny, then bought veggies to make stew, fresh goat cheese, port and pepper pate, as well as some Christmas presents I wont go into detail of (don’t worry, they’re not perishable).

My shopping bag was very heavy by then, and I was happy to get on the subway home. Once in our cozy, warm apartment, we set about making supper. Mum instructed me form the computer (she was working on some artwork) while I put her words into actions within the kitchen. It took a long time to make the stew. In particular, it was the rabbit that was the nuisance. I found it very difficult to separate the meat from the bone. Perhaps this is why I only cook vegetables for myself…

While the stew stewed, I wrapped some Christmas presents and set the table. The stew didn’t turn out too well. I put too much olive oil in, and not enough rabbit. I made Mum a black velvet, then drank the beer we’d got from the health food store, and sat down to watch the Miss Marple mystery; A Caribbean Mystery. Both the beer and the movie were very good!

Now Mum lays (hopefully sleeping) in my bed as I type away four feet away. The space-bar on my keyboard is particularly noisy. I never quite noticed it until now. Hm…

Piano Through the Window

Mount Royal statue

An old picture I took while at Mount Royal, but fitting for classical music.

After work today, Nicole requested that I come to McGill to hear her practice piano. She had a class-concert to give and wanted to play in front of someone before hand. We found an empty practice room (that smelt of cabbage!) with a glossy black grand piano in it, and sat together on the bench.

Nicole assigned me to turn the music pages for her, but I got so distracted by watching her posture and hands move as she played that I often missed my cue! I was in awe of the elegance and movement of her hands. They were like graceful birds in flight; dipping, gliding, and caressing the clouds. It was so beautiful!

Nicole played a Sonate by Mozart, then Clair de Lune– which happens to be one of my all-time favourites of classical music. It was stunning to hear Clair de Lune be played live in such a small space! I decided to watch the piano cords instead as they were less distracting than Nicole’s hands, which made me a better page-turning.

After Nicole had played each piece, we sat on the piano bench with our backs against the window. The sounds of other students practicing drums, opera, and piano wafted through the open window, and although they were all random, they somehow went well together. Nicole and I discussed the men in our lives until I started to yawn (I’d been up since 5am!). So, I walked Nicole to the main library and headed home.

I walked home in the rain along Sherbrooke Street, listening to Philip Glass and Arvo Part on my iPod as I admired all the window displays. There are various designer shops and posh art galleries along that street of street, and at night, they are all lit-up, which allows for a closer study of the splendor within. I enjoyed my walk.

Eventually I turned off Sherbrooke and walked down St. Mathieu to the little Lebanese grocery store  by the metro there. I wanted to get some spinach bread, but as it was 11pm at night, they were sold out! So, I settled for some puffy bread pastries filled with spinach and tomato for my lunch tomorrow, a jam cookie for dessert, and some spinach-flavoured couscous for the weekend (I like spinach).

Once home, I unpacked my bags from Toronto as I text message conversation with Dunter on my iPhone (he’s still sick and his throat is too sore to talk). Once everything was put away, I sat own at my computer with a bag of baby carrots to munch on while I typed… and wrote about my day!

Lemon Squares

On my way to work... (picture taken from bike lane on boul de Maisonneuve)

My week was spent between home and work, and not all that exciting. Friday however, was most pleasant:

I started my evening by going on a hunt for a lemon pastry, as I had an irresistible craving for a Dufflet lemon square. The closest thing I could get was a lemon tart at, well, Second Cup. I sat victoriously with my little lemon tart on a white plate and read the Review section of the Globe & Mail, and left feeling quite content.

Afterwards, I went to meet Jason & Valerie for pizza at a popular little Italian restaurant on Milton. It was a very obscure place, and I bicycled past it twice without knowing (the line-up around the block apparently doesn’t start until a little past 7pm). We shared a large mushroom pizza between us. I wasn’t all that impressed with the pizza- it was too fluffy and cheesy for my tastes.

Afterwards, we went to Java U for brownies and hot chocolate. Somehow I found room to finish off all the brownies when Jason & Valerie went on strike. I went home, and tried to figure out what to wear out that night that wouldn’t show the fact that I’d eaten more than an athletic male (Jason). I decided on black skinny jeans and a simple white blouse, and walked over to Hotel de la Montagne to meet Eve, Giro, and some friends.

The hotel lounge was a Baroque-inspired room, over-decorated with Christmas ornaments, playing the top 40 from the last 30 years very, very loudly. Eve was dancing up a storm when I arrived, but I wasn’t feeling at all inspired to dance, so sat with some recent acquaintances and discussed shoe designers. I was the only one in the circle who knew who John Fluevog or Camper was, which I found most shocking.

Dunter picked me up from the hotel around 10pm, and we walked past Ogilvy, a high-end department store on the way to his motorcycle, which resulted in me going on a long rant on how I don’t see the big deal about Louis Vuitton… even the real things look cheap! So frustrating…

Dunter and I went to Club Tool, a goth dance club, to meet some more friends. It was ‘medical’ themed night, but there weren’t that many nurses. There were more patients that medical staff…

The music and venue was way better than Club Sin, and I wondered why no one had ever brought me here before. I actually knew some of the songs that were played! They played Justice twice, which was my favourite group 2 years ago.

Around 2am, we went to a nearby diner, with an authentic 1950’s interior. Dunter had a sandwich, but I wasn’t at all hungry after the big meal out with Jason & Valerie, so just kept to my glass of tap water. It was a humble end to a busy evening.

So there’s my day in a nutshell!

Bobbing Skirts & Lollipops

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Statue near Philips Lounge, as seen during the day.

I haven’t felt all that inspired to write anything of late, but feel like I must share my Halloween weekend with you.

Friday was a chilly, rainy day. The streets were strewn with colourful leaves sparkling in the lamp light after the rain. Dunter took me out for dinner at a popular creperie called Creperie Bretonne Ty-Breiz. While we waited for our crepes to arrive, we munched on warm baguette and had a short language lesson (on describing my ideal future condo in French). I ordered a huge crepe filled with yummy spinach and a sweet cheese sauce. It was so big, I have no idea how I managed to eat it all… but I did! It was so yummy!

After dinner, we went to meet our friends at Philips Lounge. In spirit of Halloween, the night was school-costume themed. There were many schoolgirls running around, a couple of teachers, and principles milling about. The combination of short skirts, alcohol, and lollipops made me very giddy indeed!

I changed into a flirty schoolgirl outfit before meeting our friends in the VIP lounge. I was very excited to wear a mini-skirt, as it’s something I never do regularly. I paired it with a white blouse, a red scarf around my neck, white knee-high socks, my beret, and red patent shoes with a 5” heel.

My friend Eve had a full-plaid outfit on with even higher heels than me, with glasses and pigtails. Looking at her, you’d never guess she is more than twice my age! She and Giro both won the Best Costume award. Giro was a principle; smartly dressed and equipped with a pipe and wooden paddle. They certainly dressed the part!

I wasn’t feeling too social that evening, so casually drifted about the room not really engaging in any conversation. There were lollipops on all the tables in the lounge, so while I wasn’t sipping a Black Russian cocktail, I was sucking on a lollipop. Dunter found this very distracting.

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Eve, P, and I posing at Philips Lounge

Dunter and I had no party to go to on Saturday, so went to go see Zombieland instead. It was a ridiculous yet funny film, and both of us thoroughly enjoyed it. I was having an irresistible craving for peanut butter dumplings, so we went to one of the Asian restaurants near me for dinner afterward. I love peanut butter…

On Sunday, I modeled for Eva. Her apartment was in a part of Montreal I’d never been to before. It was row upon row of low-rise brown-brick apartment buildings that looked like they’d been built in the 1950’s or 60’s. It was a long, dark walk from the metro, and the only people I passed were a colourful congregation of people exiting the Jehovah witness hall.

Once at Eva’s, we did a 1950’s pin-up inspired photo shoot in her apartment, and she made me a lovely chicken curry dinner as a thank-you for posing for her. I had a great time, and even got to wear one of those 1950’s cone-brassieres! My only challenge was facial expressions, but Eva says that will come with practice.

Eva used to be a professional photographer, but has been doing retouching for fashion photography and graphic design for the last 7 years. Her friend had forgotten to drop off his equipment that day, so we were stuck with an old digital camera with a very small memory card. It was quite funny, as every 5 pictures, we’d have to go to the computer to download the images and delete them off the card. That said, we didn’t take that many photos, but we got two good pictures out of the shoot!

So that was my Halloween weekend. “Schoolgirls, zombies, and pin-ups” sums it up well.