Monthly Archives: July 2010

Restless Nights

Bright, happy flowers in a Montreal garden.

This week started off well by Dunter surprising me by taking me out to a lovely little restaurant called Le Rendes-Vous du The. We were the only people there and were received with great hospitality and service. I was highly impressed with everything!

The menu was incredible, in both taste and price: our dinner started off with a delicious salad of lettuce, thin slices of pear, Swiss cheese, endives, and ground pepper. For the main course, I had pasta in a cream sauce with fresh tomatoes, green pepers, and rabbit sausage. Dunter ordered duck topped with goat cheese and raspberry sauce. Everything was very yummy.

Dunter and I met after work on Tuesday. We walked down to Chinatown to have almond bubble tea and enjoy dragon beards candies before walking around the Just for Laughs Festival. The street was a swarm of people, but we managed to find a spot in front of a stage where a hoop-dancer was preforming. Watching her made me want to run away to the circus!

The rest of my week was less exciting. I spent my mornings viewing apartments, my evenings looking for apartments, and restless nights worrying about finding an apartment. The pickings are rather slim at this time of year. I am determined to find my own apartment, but my options at the moment appear to be an affordable, but run-down apartment in a sketchy neighbourhood, or overpriced hole in a wall in a nice neighbourhood. Sigh…

And The Dark Clouds Roll In

Nature's pom-poms!

This week has been full of little tales. On Monday, my colleagues and I spent the last few hours of work gazing out the window watching the dark rain clouds roll in. I was determined to go to the library that day as I had some DVDs to return, and anyways- wouldn’t it be the perfect place to be trapped in during a rainstorm?

After my shift I bicycled over to the Grand Bibliotheque only to find that it was closed as it was a Monday- strife! I was far from home and the clouds were getting darker and the air heavier, so I wandered into the Village to look for shelter. I hadn’t had dinner yet, so settled down in a healthy-looking pizzeria, aptly called Piazzetta.

I ordered the first thing I saw on the menu: thin crust pizza topped with a rose sauce, capers, and smoked salmon done in the traditional aboriginal way of the lower north shore of Quebec, which I was curious to try and see how it differed. It was very yummy, tender, and delightful! I sipped a glass of red wine as I watched the rain splash down outside, illuminated by the streetlamps and lights of passing cars.

The restaurant had interesting desserts, including gelato topped with balsamic vinegar! If I was feeling more adventurous I would have ordered that, but instead I had caramel panna cotta. I finished it just in time for the rain to stop, and happily cycled home.

On Tuesday evening, Dunter and I went to see Tears for Sale, a Siberian film at the Fantasia Film Festival. It was a dark comedy, playing on the stereotypes of Siberian film and culture. It was beautifully shot, with good characters and acting. It was very funny, strangely enough reminding me of British humour.

I was talking to a colleague at telemarketing the next day and he told me that things had gotten quite heated at the Q&A after the film (which I’d left as it was late). Apparently the screenwriter was harshly criticizing Siberian cinema (depressing films, poorly shot, ect) and people went up in arms! I’m sorry I missed the excitement!

After work on Wednesday, I met up with my friend Julian at Kafein. We hadn’t seen each other in over 2 months so had lots to talk about! He’s always doing interesting art and design projects and always have funny life stories to tell. We had many a laugh together.

I had a funny call-centre experience on Thursday. The floor-manager put me on a performance plan, requesting I make one sale by next Tuesday. I signed the paper, and confidently said “I can defiantly do that!” in which she retorted to by saying “Well, you haven’t made one in the last four days!” – I had to keep myself from laughing as I thought in my head “Thanks for the positive re-enforcement!” And you wonder why there’s a high turn-over at call-centres?

Friday was my first full day at my new internship, and I was rather surprised at the amount of responsibility I was given. I spent the morning looking over textile swatch books, researching fashion designers for us to contact for business, sourcing a networking consultant to re-do the office hardware, and trying  to find a hang-tag printer in Canada who would do small quantities. I know enough people in IT to get a good networking referral, but hang-tags?! I’m still scratching my head on that one.

I was so tired after my 9-hour day, that I took the metro home in the wrong direction. Dunter was a sweetheart, and had dinner all ready for me when I got home. We enjoyed oven-fresh pizza together before going out for daiquiris with Giro and Eve. It was a pleasant evening!

Now I sit at home listening to Vitalic trying to drown out the thump, thump, of the music from the tenants downstairs. I think it will be earplugs and chamomile tea tonight!

Coo & Flutter of Wet Feathers

Lettuce leaf with cutlery.

Salad: perfect summer food!

I am currently sitting listening to the pigeons coo and flutter outside my window. They seem particularly lively today. Perhaps it’s the rain that cooled everything down? Living creatures now feel capable of moving. There’s nothing better than a good rain on a hot summers day!

I made a sale at telemarketing on Thursday, which was a relief as I’d yet to make one that week. After work, I met up with Dunter and Raquel at the Fantasia opening party. It is arguably the most popular film festival in Montreal. I had been excited about the party all week, but I was so exhausted after work that I spent most of the evening backstage lounging on the big velvet sofa while Dunter and the performers got ready and rehearsed their routines.

After the first act, Dunter took me out for a late-night dinner, hoping food may energize me. We went to the 3 Brasseurs where I had a delicious salad of fresh greens, smoked salmon, mini shrimp, avocado, and hard boiled eggs. It consisted of everything I liked!

The food didn’t energize me much, but a voice-mail on my phone about a job interview did! I had replied to an ad on Craigslist for employment at Canadian Fashion Design, claiming to be a high-end fashion company. The possibility was exciting.

Friday began with a phone-interview for the ‘fashion company’. It was perhaps the strangest interview I have ever had in my life. The interviewer started off by being overly apologetic about taking 3 days to get back to me after receiving my resume (really, that’s not long at all), then went on to ask me if I was currently employed, with her second question asking how old was I (!!).

I was rather shocked at the age question, as I know it is illegal for employers to ask that. I politely answered “I don’t see how this pertains to the interview.”, followed by her asking the question a second time as if she didn’t hear what I said. So, I rephrased and answered again “I’m sorry, I don’t wish to answer that question.” which she abruptly said “I don’t think you’re right for our company. Goodbye.” and hung up before I had a chance to say “Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today…” Our conversation lasted exactly a minute, and I closed my iPhone in a state of bewilderment at how unprofessional and odd the interviewer had been towards me.

I had a hard time shaking off the icky-feeling the interview left me with. I went to the laundry mat, did some grocery shopping and housecleaning, cleaned out my closet an shoe rack, went on an unsuccessful search for a clothing drop-off box, then went to the mall to buy a fan. Unfortunately, both Canadian Tire and Zellers were sold-out of fans and I was told they were not getting anymore in.

Dunter and I ate a simple dinner on Saturday, followed by ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s. We then went to the Fantasia film festival to see The Message. It was a Chinese spy-thriller set in the 1942, which the critics had described as an Agatha Christie-style WWII drama. I’m all for Agatha Christie and historical dramas, but the film proved to be a bit too intense for my tastes. The cinematography was lovely but certain aspects of the film were far too graphic for my tastes, even if they were merely suggestive. I shut by eyes during the scary bits.

Sunday morning, Dunter and I went for a walk in Il-des-Visitation. I saw a black crown night heron in the same place as before, but no blue herons or ducks this time. I amused myself taking photos of flowers and scrambling over rocks by the river. It was pleasant.

I had a lazy afternoon napping and preparing more cold-coverletters and application follow-ups. I’ve been keeping all the windows open in hopes of catching a breeze, but all I catch is the arguments of neighbours, other’s music, unknown animal noises, and mumbled conversations of people at the garage. Oh the joys of apartment living…

Strawberries on the Side

black crown night heron

I am very pleased with this picture I took on Sunday of a black crown night heron.

It has been really hot this week in Montreal thus far. I usually enjoy the heat as it’s such a rarity, but its actually beginning to get to me. (I’m currently sticking to my desk chair as I sit writing this!)

I had a pleasant weekend. Jay was down from Boston, so he, Dunter, and I spent the weekend eating well. We went out for dinner at a quaint restaurant just off the island of Montreal on Saturday evening. We sat on the patio of the main street of the small town. It was peaceful and quiet except for the occasional rustle of leaves and car driving by. It was strange to think we were only five minutes out of town.

Jay and I each had a lovely pesto pasta dish topped with scrumptious spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and peppers, and Dunter ate a whopping club sandwich. On Sunday, we went to the French cafe near Dunter’s house. I don’t recall what the fellows ate as I was too enamored with my own plate. I had a tender crepe filled with warm, cinnamon covered apple slices and Swiss cheese, with strawberries on the side. It was delicious!

Afterward, we went for a walk through Ile-des-Visitation, a small island off of the mainland of Montreal. It was beautiful. There was an old mill, paths through the forest and along the river-edge dense with reeds and lily-pads. There was plenty of wildlife too! I got a scare from a hedgehog running across my path, got a thrill from seeing two types of herons (one I never knew existed- see above), and plenty of ducks. It was bird-watcher’s paradise!

I went out for ice cream with Giro and Val on Monday to a place on Mount-Royal called La Peche Glace.  Giro bought us big waffles cones each with two flavours of ice cream. I had ginger and pistachio. It was so hot that our ice cream dripped all over us. We all looked a state afterwards. It was funny.

After ice cream, we went for a drive through West-Mount, admiring all the pretty houses and sharing our dreams. We stopped for a while on the lookout at the top of the incline to take in the view of the city. You could see right off the island! It was a clear evening.

Now I sit at home on a Wednesday evening, forever refilling my glass of water searching frantically for the fan I bought last summer and only used once. Perhaps tonight I can  do without my feather duvet?