Wednesday, June 29, 2005

ze tourist speaks

Montreal kicked ass, but I had no internet access from the apartment after all, hence my silence. I had hoped to go nuts with the camera, but just couldn't be bothered schlepping it around along with two instruments, a bunch of music, reeds, tools, etc. So I did manage to compose an appropriate still-life of my Baroque oboe, a bottle of "Cat's Pee on a Gooseberry Bush" New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a pear, a shallot, and my copy of French Women Don't Get Fat, against the charming exposed brick in my little appartement:

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Speaking of the appartement, it was cute, homey, and had lovely French doors out to a wee balcony:

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And that's about all I did, photo-wise. It could have been almost anywhere. But I was there, I swear!

The trip was splendid. I worked hard, played well, was complimented by the conductor, and had as profitable a time as I could have. I wish I'd been able to dine out a bit more, but it was sweet having a little kitchen and a grocery store half a block away.

I brought asparagus, with the intention of creating cream of asparagus soup. I neglected to bring a food processor, though, so it was more like mashed asparagus in a cream base, but it was still to die for. Because only I had to eat it, so it didn't matter one iota that it looked like Kermit vomit.

In Montreal, you can walk to the corner store and buy a wine beer, and VODKA COOLERS any time you want. I felt sooooo eighteen.

I also felt sooooo huge, being of more considerable body mass than most women I saw there. Montreal women don't get fat either, it would seem. Nor do they wear running shoes, ever - Only sandals at this time of year. I did bring sandals, but they weren't the greatest for the hours and hours of walking I longed to do. I tried to remedy that by going to the Bay for its St-Jean-Baptiste sale, but the floor of the shoe department was littered with odds and ends and sale-loving ladies, and no shoes I liked. So I de-Romanized and wore ze Keds I came in. No regrets. I was a Tourist, a Whale, and a deviant Sneaker-Wearer, but comfortable.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

A dream job, with any luck!

I can't think of many things nicer than spending a week playing Bach and Handel in Montreal in June and getting paid lots of money for it, but that's what I'm about to do! Not only that, but the Festival has arranged for me to have an apartment for the week with a kitchen and internet access, so with any luck I'll still be blogging away. I'll pack French Women Don't Get Fat and attempt my own Quebec version of restrained decadence on a budget.

How this good fortune fell on my head, I'll never quite know - nor do I know who put my name forward for this job. There are enough folks who do what I do and are at loose ends in June, so - why me? Who cares! This is, after all, exactly what I want to do fo a living. This project has me recording three Bach cantatas, performing Handel's fireworks late Thursday night, the eve of St-Jean Baptiste Day, complete with real fireworks (I think) and picked up by the CBC for live broadcast, and then performing the cantatas next Saturday night. Yay! More!

I'm scared.

It will be a busy working trip, with not much time to be a tourist, but that's fine. A little work shouldn't kill me, and I can always find time to shop. Always.


Always.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

grease! and wah!

Ho-Lee-Chow, how do I love thee! Could it be the fact that there is no MSG in your food, or that ginger is employed with a lavish hand in so many dishes? Or the speedy delivery? Or the fact that your General Tso Chicken is why chickens were made? In any case, I was a-cravin' Chinese takeout last night, thanks to coming across a piano method at the library by one "J. Ching", sporting a red-and white cover that remimded me of an eggroll carton. And it was so.

Suggestible, moi? Burp.

In wah! news, the big Chapters on Bloor Street is closed! I suppose there was no great benefit to the company in keeping it open with the Manulife Centre Indigo - same owners - a block away, but wah! That store was on my route to work, and I loved to dawdle there. Wah! again, and now to the gym to burn off my leftover Lo Mein lunch.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Hogtown the warm, damp, and interesting.

Och aye, I'm melting! This heat has turned me into the slug of all slugs, and I can barely lift a finger in this sweltering apartment.

The humidity is telling me what I'd look like if I lived in Britain's damper climes. Though ostensibly straight, my hair has a natural wave - too wimpy to encourage to greater glory, too present to give me sleek hair that hangs nicely - that comes to life in humid weather. Yup. In the right climate, I'm pale but rosy-cheeked with Ye Olde Victorian halo of curls framing an otherwise sombre visage.

But I'm only part British. At best, I'm Ye Olde fifth-generation-Canadian mutt, and I'm finally living almost like a Beacher. My husband has successfully talked me into walking down to the lake twice with him twice this week, and I never regretted it. What a beautiful area. Tomorrow, barring ugly weather, we'll do it again!

Last night, the boardwalk was packed, and it was a multicultural extravaganza! Normally the area is pretty WASP-y, almost enough to remind me of what most of the city was like whan I was a girl. But on a sultry, humid, overcast, Sunday evening in June, it was a gathering place for every colour, age, and fashion statement, and had the air of an amusement park. The air just buzzed with joy and conviviality, and the people-watching was wild. The smell of charcooal grilling hung lightly about, dishing out another nostalgia wallop.

Man, what a city. It catches me by surprise even now, after all these years.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

four random snippets

I'm so tapping my fingers this evening. I had thought I'd walk down to the lake, but I never got around to it.

Oka cheese rules my universe, and I just ate any sensible person's weekly cheese allotment in short order.

In the background, I hear Jamie's Kitchen on the Food Network. It seems the show was created for no greater purpose than to let Jamie Oliver say 'fuck' on television with gay abandon.

I love my balcony, and how it overlooks lush gardens and green, leafy bowers. I sit hidden in darkness with a glass of wine and two cats, knowing no one can see me, and enjoying a little thrill as I see the bus whiz by, brightly lit and full of people who will never know I was there.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Gossip, coffee, and where do I live again?

Gossip fuels me, I am ashamed to say, at least at the gym. When I work out on any cardio machine, time flies so much more quickly when I have a weekly rag in front of me, even an outdated one. As much as I enjoy house porn, Canadian Living doesn't do it for me on the elliptical - I keep checking my watch. But while I'm looking at worst-dressed lists, before-and-after-possible-plastic-surgery photos, and seeing Paris Hilton trying to pump gas with a chihuahua under her arm, I don't want it to end.

Today's workout was brilliant, and I think it had much to do with the coffee I had immediately before as with Us Weekly. I've never tried that deliberately, but now I will. There's a Tim Horton's right there. Why not?

While standing I line at Tim's, I saw two markets and three restaurants I had never noticed before. Danforth is a busy street, and it was a great Saturday to be out and about, seeing my neighbours. Today it all seemed new to me. I live here, for Pete's sake; for me, the Most Observant and Place-Oriented Person Ever, this was just shocking.

I conclude that my head has been firmly up my rear for two years. Time to stop railing against the noise and crowds of the city and act like I live here.


In the meantime, I will make cream of Asparagus soup, because I just can't walk by local asparagus at the market without weakening. I even bought a shallot. Go me.