Monthly Archives: June 2010

Bursting Atoms & Alliums

Emily's birthday bicycle sitting pretty on the balcony.

I had my internship on Friday. I spent the day answering customer service emails, measuring shirts and steaming suits. After work, I took time photographing elements of Centre St. during my walk to Charlevoix metro. I really enjoy that part of the city. It has it trendy cafes and posh business buildings, as well as its turn-of-the-century houses, mammoth churches, and small storefronts that look like they haven’t changed since they first opened 30 years ago. Its a wonderful mix of things!

I didn’t make a sale at telemarketing on Saturday (this makes 4 days in a row!), so went for comfort food with Ana once our shift ended to eat away our potential-job-loss gloom. We sat on the patio at Frits Alors on St. Laurent and watched the people go by, commenting on the clothes people wore as we ate our poutine and strawberry cheesecake. When I got home, I stared at my wardrobe which felt incredibly outdated after all that people-watching. I had great difficulty figuring what to wear that night, as all the cute outfits I owned looked so-two-years-ago.

I was rather glum when I met up with Dunter later that evening as I was unsatisfied with my outfit. Dunter proposed that we went down to Old Port to see the fireworks at the L’International des Feux. It was a nice idea. That day of the festival was Taiwan’s display and the fireworks were unlike any I’d seen before. There were 3-dimensional fireworks in the shape of bursting atoms, alliums, blossoming hearts, smiley faces, and sparkling cascades of light showering down the night-blue sky. It was quite impressive!

Dunter and I went out for brunch on Sunday. We went to a café in the Jean-Talon Market where we had fruit tarts and café a lait. I bought a loaf of olive bread and organic strawberries before meeting my friend Emily to see a play at the Montreal Fringe Festival.

Emily took me to see Hot Pink, a one-woman show about a runaway youth battling her inner demons. I was highly impressed with the writing and acting. It was quite comic, very dramatic, filled with descriptive language that painted vivid pictures in the mind. The protagonist reminded me a lot of a friend I once knew at Campus Co-op.  I sure she reminded most people of one person or another.

Emily and I walked around the Plateau after the show, looking in shops and window-shopping. We went to a little ice cream parlour on St. Denis at Mount Royal where I had black tea and lavender ice cream, and she rhubarb sorbet. Both flavours were divine. We found a park bench to sit and happily chatted away, enjoying our cones. Once all the ice cream was gone, we meandered back to her house and said our farewells.

Now I sit at home on a Sunday night, the taste of lavender ice cream still in my mouth. It was so good! Its certainly been a wonderful day!

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A Wicker Basket

Even the back alley's of Montreal see tender-loving-care.

Even the back alley's of Montreal see tender-loving-care.

It was sunny and beautiful on Tuesday, so Jason and I took advantage of the good weather and bought me a ‘new’ bike. We called a guy (Tom) who repaired old bikes and sold them on Craigslist. His repair shop was down a little alley in the Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood in Montreal, nestled between tilted garages and practical gardens. I arrived before Jason, and listened to a long political rant from Tom until Jason rode in on his new road bike.  I can always trust Jason to be a jaw-dropper. The men love him for his fancy bicycles, and the women love him for his incredibly good looks. Tom was no exception, and was ga-ga over Jason’s bike.

Jason helped me haggle the price and trade in my new bike for a 1970’s blue and chrome bicycle. It was difficult saying goodbye to my beloved green bicycle, but he assured me it was the right decision.

We then rode to the Velo Quebec Café to have lunch and purchase some accessories for my new bike in their boutique. I bought a wicker basket for the front, and a back attachment for me to add a milk crate or panniers to at a later date. We then sat on the patio with our bicycles, sipping coffee and munching on sandwiches as we watched the people go by. Come noon, we rode back to his and Val’s apartment where I left my bike so he could put my baskets on and tweek my bicycle while I was at work.

When I returned from work, I found my bicycle in the same condition as I’d left it. Jason had apparently been distracted all afternoon, so he Val and I did a group effort preparing my bike. Afterwards, Val invited me in for tea and showed me the new sewing machine Jason had bought her for her birthday. It does 200 different kind of stitches and button holes even! Its very impressive.

On Wednesday I went to see the dentist about my toothache. I’d been having pain down the side and back of my mouth for almost 2 weeks. I figured it was just my wisdom tooth growing in and the pain would eventually go away, but it soon became intolerable and worrisome.

Jason warned me that such things could get easily infected, which had happened to him and the surgery was so bad he couldn’t go to school for a whole week! Fortunately, my mouth wasn’t infected. The dentist instructed me to rinse with warm salt water (as I’d already been doing) and sent me home with a $109 bill. I felt rather gypped, but happy to know I didn’t need surgery.

On Thursday, I had a job interview for a position as a Sourcing Assistant at a small Quebec-based company called Joshua Perrets. Leaning from past experiences, I took a taxi to the corporate  office, extensively researched the company, and recited over and over again why I was a good match for the company. I knew I was perfect for the position, but expressing this in a convincing manner when my nerves were on high was a rather pressing manner.

The office was full of Anglophone young people and everyone seemed laid-back. The interview was very short, which generally not a good sign. However, I left the interview room unsure on whether it had been a success or not. I had answered all her questions with relative eloquence, and truly felt I had expressed my candidacy well. The only thing she had shown distaste was in my answer to salary expectations. Apparently $12 – $15 an hour is high…

After my interview, I went home and ate a tub of yogurt, a cinnamon croissant, and coffee to drown my post-interview anxiety in sugar and dough before going to work. I didn’t make a sale at telemarketing that day, which makes 3 days in a row, which is very worrisome. Perhaps Joshua Perets will save me?

Cranberry Torsade

Summer flowers in Montreal.

I had a lovely time after work on Saturday. Dunter picked me up after work and went to the Atwater Market. Unfortunately it was closed, but I had fun walking among all the flowers and taking pictures before getting back on his bike and driving down to Verdun for dinner.

We randomly chose a Peruvian restaurant on a quiet street and sat on the patio. The staff were friendly and the tables were covered with indigo blue textiles covered in brightly coloured geometric designs. We sat mostly in silence, enjoying the food, and watching the people pass by on the sidewalk. It was very pleasant.

After dinner, we drove down to the boardwalk in Verdun. There was a big dancefloor in the park there, where people of all ages were dancing together. There were little children, adults dancing solo, and passionate seniors all having fun. Dunter wanted to go do the tango with me, but I was much happier watching than dancing myself!

We continued our walk by the river. There were lots of red-wing black birds, who’s call brought back pleasant memories of the countryside and youth. We saw a heron too, standing stoic-ly in the water, framed by the leafy green trees that shaded the riverbank. We sat on a bench for awhile, admiring the dogs being walked by and watching the setting sun.

We decided to go in search of ice cream, as we hadn’t had dessert. Ice cream parlours appeared to sparse in the area, so we switched our focus to lattes- and you’ll never guess where Dunter parked his motorcycle, but in front of Dunkin’ Donuts!

I was rather surprised at this. I imagined Dunkin’ Donuts to have a similar reputation to Coffee Time in Toronto. The clientelle looked a little less harmless though, although not part of the coffee culture I associate with. However, I was about to be pleasantly surprised!

They had the most unusual array of donoughts. There were chocolate-lemon donoughts, banana, and apple filled donoughts, and honey glazed chocolate donoughts even!  I had a hard time deciding, but in the end got a cranberry torsade. They didn’t have chia lattes (Dunter’s favourite) but they had regular lattes that were just as good as Starbucks and competitively priced. I was one happy coffee drinker! It ended our night well.

Now I sit at home on a Sunday evening listening to Loreena McKennit. I spent my day preparing coverletters, and follow-ups to last week’s batch, doing some stuff for Modasuite, and now getting ready for bed. Tomorrow I will send out another ‘little batch of hope’…

Quiet Reflections

Photo I took while at La Chute Montmorency on Friday.

Photo I took while at La Chute Montmorency on Friday.

I returned from Chicago this week. It was an enjoyable trip. My fondest memory was our first trip into the city. The city was so different from any I’d seen before! The amount of skyscrapers was overwhelming, particularly ones from the early 1900’s, which were all magnificent and well-restored. It was like you were walking back in forth in time, as the streets were such a mix of iconic architecture from various design-eras, past and present. It was so exciting!

I went to Quebec City three days after returning from Chicago. Nicole and I both had the day off work, and her friends from Austria were down, so we decided to rent a car and drive down. We went to La Chute Montmorency, which was just outside of Quebec City and stopped in a quaint little village along the way for lunch. We bought a fresh baguette and local smoked cheese from the town’s épicerie before settling down in the shade to merrily munch away. It was a very special moment.

I had a funny bicycle moment on Saturday, the day after my trip to Quebec City. As you know, my bike is a bit of a disaster, and the current problem is that it has been stuck in third gear for the past three days. This makes it rather a challenge to ride, and also makes me look rather silly when bicycling on flat ground. The only way to change gears is to go over a big bump, but none of the usual potholes have been working as of late.

Once at a stoplight, I got off my bike and lifted it up and slammed it down on its wheels a few times. An attractive cyclist on a beautiful bike stopped by and asked me if I something was wrong with my bike. I smiled and said “Oh, I’m just trying to change gears.” The cyclist had the most funny expression on his face and quickly rode off. It was then I realized how stupid I must have sounded- and looked!

Now I sit at home on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Its been raining all day, and the pigeons outside my window look very grumpy with all their feathers wet. So far today, I have prepared 39 resumes/coverletters to send out on Monday morning. Its always so exciting sending out a bulk of resumes! There’s such a feeling of hope that maybe one of these will lead to success… Cross your fingers for me!