Monthly Archives: May 2010

A Ripple of Colour

Working on the webpage header for Modasuite where I intern at.

This week lacked variation in routine. I spent my mornings searching, following-up, and applying for work, my days telemarketing to rude American Express Costco cardholders, and my evenings looking for work again. I’m feeling rather  hopeless, for of the 63 resumes and coverletters I sent out, everyone replies back “We have no job openings at the moment.” Perhaps I lucky even to have a job in telemarketing!

Things started to get interesting on Thursday. Modasuite had some graphic design assignments for me to do for them, so I got up early to do some web-design work and create a promotional pamphlet for their launch in Ottawa. It was a good thing I was home, because the postman came by with two packages for me from the UK! There was the Wallpaper tourism guide to Chicago which  I’d ordered (I’m going to Chicago next week for the first time) and Hancock’s Half Hour, a CD I’d bought Dad for his birthday next week of a radio show from his childhood.

I wrapped up my Dad birthday gift and popped into the post office on my way to pick up my new Canadian passport. During my walk, I attempted to make an appointment on my cell phone in French for a hair cut at a cheap salon-school, but neither the receptionist or I had any idea what each other were saying. However, I felt good that I tried.

After work that day, Dunter picked me up and drove down to Old Montreal. We ordered a frappichino at Starbucks to share and strolled around the lamp-lit cobble-streets. We went down to the canal and sat by the water, admiring the ripple of colour on the water from the lights above. It was a quiet, pleasant evening.

Now I sit at home on a Friday morning, enjoying a cup of coffee with a spoonful of the ginger sugar I bought last week at the Jean Talon Market. Its a sunny day and I can hear a bird chirping cheerfully outside my window. Its another beautiful day in belle Montreal.

Wandering the Halls

Wandering the halls of an old building on Ste-Catherine at Bleury.

Today was filled with culture. During my lunch break, I went to take pictures of an old building where Dunter and I went to coffee the day before. While wandering the halls, I discovered that this building was rich with dance studios and art galleries!

I went into two galleries, and was captivated by Isabelle Hayeur’s exhibit at the Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain. It consisted of a series of large-scale photographs of  old ruins in Quebec that were situated in a modern landscape, which I greatly enjoyed, and a film. I usually overlook video-art, but I actually sat down and watched it for a long time.

The video started with a beautiful view of birch trees, leaves rustling in the breeze. The camera zoomed out and you found it was the view from the window of a collapsed stone house. The camera then spanned the ruin, stopping at a subdivision in the distance, which it zoomed into a partially built  ‘monster house’. The house was wrapped in white plastic blowing in the wind, which I grew to find great beauty in. The image of the house was then overlapped with that of the view of the subdivision from a road, like a huge ghost above new homes. It was incredible!

After work, I went to the Papeterie Nota Bene to buy a pen. Its my new favourite store. It has all sorts of fancy pens, notebooks, and envelopes- all very chic. It also has a gallery on the second floor, which I went up to. The current show was a rather dull series of humour paintings of oddly related or unrelated items side by side such as nuns and a pack of condoms.

I then cycled to the Grand Bibliothèque where I borrowed the newest book by Susan Carrol, and checked out their DVD selection. To my surprise, they had an amazing selection of British mysteries! I got a Poirot, Old Dogs New Tricks, and a Foyle’s War, and put my name down for Midsommer Murders (my fav!) and A Touch of Frost. Its funny how Montreal had a better selection of British dramas than Toronto!

I was suppose to go to a art opening with Eve & Giro tonight, but I am too exhausted after all my cycling around. So, I’ve settled down in front of the computer to write this post about my wonderful day. Now I think I’ll go start reading my new book! Yay!

My Mound of Sugar

Marzipan cakes

Marzipan delights at Cafe Baleze.

Today was an ‘entertaining’ day. I started training for a new campaign at telemarketing today, selling credit card insurance for American Express. When I arrived at the classroom for 9:30 this morning, I found the room empty. I asked people around the office, but no one had any idea about the campaign I was talking about. So, I phoned my friend Ana who told me that the time had been changed from 9:30 to 10:30am, which had been announced on my day off.

I went to Java U, a nearby café where I had a coffee and muffin, then spent the rest of my spare time wandering the handbag section of The Bay to admire the designer purses. However, when I returned to the classroom, I found there was still a lack of work-colleagues! Fortunately, I found my friend Barb in the cafeteria who exclaimed “Why, didn’t you receive a call from our supervisor the other day? Training has been switched from 10:30 to 11am!” … I felt very unloved by my telemarketing agency…

When 11am rolled finally around, our supervisor informed us that there had been a miscommunication (not another one!). He had been told that American Express would be giving us the training, but American Express thought that he was giving us the training… Which resulted in us waiting another half hour until he and the American Express representative figured things out.

Training was very dull and there were many contradictions between our supervisors and the Amex representative. It was hard to stay attentive during class, so I went for coffee during our afternoon break. I went to Cafe Baleze, a little café with a true bohemian vibe to it. It is darkly lit, with a collective array of random vintage furniture and art on the wall, similar to Le Cagibi. However, Cafe Baleze always have the most amazing marzipan cakes in their counter, often shaped as fruits. This visit, they had pastel-coloured hearts decorated with edible heart-confetti and sparkles! They were $3 each, so I took photos of them instead of eating them. They looked delicious. One day I will eat one.

When 5:30 finally rolled around, and I went downstairs to meet Dunter. The Contemporary Art Gallery of Montreal was offering free admission from 5 to 7 that day, so we decided to check out the spring exhibits. I was excited to go view art with him as it was something we’d never done together. Unfortunately, only two of the 7 galleries within the building were open, and the two that were open suited neither’s cup of tea. We were in and out of the gallery within 10 minutes.

After the art gallery, we decided to walk around for a bit. Dunter was hungry, so we went to a small café where he got a sandwich. I wasn’t hungry, but there was a gigantic cinnamon bun covered in chocolate which I just had to have! Dunter, of course, bought it for me and I sat happily away with my mound of sugar and chocolate as he contently munched away on his healthy sandwich. I couldn’t fathom the idea of dinner afterwards- I was too full! So, I went home and had a nap.

After my nap, I hung out with Jen, my new roommate. We sat in the living room for a while and discussed work, internships, and school. Now I sit at my computer, where I can hear the Montreal Canadian fans screaming outside. The team must have won the game. Montreal will be filled with very happy tonight!

A Springtime Snowfall

Stairwell in sunlight, painted the colour of snow.

Stairwell in sunlight, painted the colour of snow.

Today I woke up and it was snowing. I was not pleased about this, so went back to bed. This was the second time it had snowed in the past couple weeks, and it lacked the glamour of the previous fall. It was snowing heavily; big fluffy flakes, so that when you looked out the window all you could see was white.

As I thought it would be the last snowfall this winter, I felt the need to do something special. So, while traveling from my internship to telemarketing, I stopped into Starbucks  where I got a hot chocolate. I got both whipped cream and snowflakes on my nose!

What I found most interesting about a springtime snowfall was the contrast of colours; the fresh green grass poking out of a blanket of snow, with little droplets of water twinkling at their tips, and the melting snow amongst the fallen buds below a leafy maple tree. It was a beautiful sight.

Blossoms & Bicycling

Sunday mornings at the laundromat.

Today was simply splendid. I had a lazy morning tidying-up and doing laundry before heading out to Canadian Tire to get bike products. I needed a bike pump and washers- and my goodness, what a selection of washers they had! There were sealed, fender, bound, cut, and flat washers: umpteen kinds! I ended up having a series of hilarious text messages with Jason trying to figure out which kind to get.

I ended up getting a cut washer  and met Jason at my apartment. Jason is a bike enthusiast, and got down-and-dirty with my bicycle, putting the back wheel on (it had fallen off while bicycling to work last fall) and tried fixing my breaks. Unfortunately, my breaks weren’t fixable, so we went bike shopping.

I couldn’t afford a new bike, but figured a small debt would be better than an collision with a truck. We went to a used bike shop in a sketchy part of Old Montreal. I didn’t know Old Montreal could be sketchy, but beyond the expensive condominiums and upscale buildings were run-down houses and industrial spaces nestled in with the trees.

There were two possibilities available at the bike shop, but neither were perfect. Jason tried to haggle with the sales people, and offer a trade-in for my old bike, but the best they could do was a $20 discount. So, I decided I best bike slowly instead of paying $100 for a bike in slightly better condition than my own.

We decided to go a leisurely bike ride around downtown, which then turned into a search for a bar with a terrace in the Plateau. We ended up a café instead called Maison des Cyclistes run by the Velo Quebec Association.

I treated Jason to a beer as a thank-you for fixing my back wheel, and got myself a slice of almond cake and coffee. The café overlooked the bike-path and Parc La Fontaine which was a lovely combination. We sat on the patio for a long time, chatting and people watching.

I had a serious craving for poutine (its been plaguing me for the past 2 weeks!) so we went to La Banquise, which is known for the best poutine in Montreal. I prefer Frites Alors myself, but the ambiance was far  better at La Banquise. It was busy and full of attractive people for me to study their fashion styling of while we waited for our poutine.

I ordered a black pepper poutine and Jason had poutine with hot peppers and sausage on top. We took them for take-out and went down to sit by the pond in Parc La Fontaine. Unfortunately, there was little water in the pond, and what water there was covered in green algae. It was a depressing sight, but we amused ourselves watching the birds and the little children on their bicycles. There was a harp-player near-by as well which added beauty to the air. It was lovely.

After our poutine, we cycled back downtown. I savored the scent of the blossoms and the pretty houses we past as we cycled along. We said farewell at McGill and went our separate ways. Now I sit at home with a big glass of water relaxing after my exciting day. Hope you had a nice Sunday too!