Monday, February 20, 2012

A Weekend in February

Merry February!

Another whirlwind weekend has come and gone and by the looks of this week's forecast Montreal could welcome in a green March! Snow begone!  This Friday, while Phil was continuing on with the basement renovations (new hot water heater for the upstairs, relocating water and electrics for the washer and dryer), Fernanda was busy surprising us by cooking a special "Christmas in February" turkey dinner - a good reason to also celebrate Amy's third week with us! She is well and all we can hope for! Marie and I spent the morning at Sears ordering furniture for the new house - a red leather sofa and chair to be delivered in August! Saturday, while Marie and Rosalia drove out to the north part of the city for Pilar's baby shower (girls only), Cesar and I walked up to see Lara and Jessie, home baking a carrot cake and planning their upcoming trip to Florida. It felt like spring in the air even though the wind was still cold, but there seemed to be more people strolling about than usual.

Pilar and Pablo

Pilar, you are going to need more than 136!

On Sunday Marie, Cesar and Rosalie and I attended morning mass at St. Patrick's Basilica then afterwards walked a few blocks to Chinatown for lunch at Jardin de Jade-Poon Kai restaurant. They have a great buffet there - a must stop for anyone hungry visiting downtown. They specialize in Dim Sum, Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine and, as usual, the place was jammed with people all stuffing themselves. Believe me it's hard not to go back for seconds and even thirds!

outside St Patrick's Basilica

St Patrick's Basilica, rear view

entrance to Chinatown, one of the 4 paifangs (gates)

outside Jardin de Jade-Poon Kai

 After lunch we attended a free Serenata at St. Johns Lutheran church on rue Jeanne-Mance, featuring members of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and other well known local musicians in a repertoire of mixed string, wind and vocal chamber music. A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon after a heavy meal! Not for everyone - I tried to imagine Phil sitting through the program - but the selections were very enjoyable - the Four Seasons of Vivaldi (they actually played just Winter and Spring), followed by a quartetto in c major from Michael Haydn, the Austrian composer and younger brother of Joseph. The session concluded with Bach's Weichet nur, betrubte Schatten, a lively, bright Baroque cantata (202) superbly sung by the mezzo-soprano Julie Ryning. It was a fitting end to a beautiful late winter Sunday...gws

Yield, I say, ye brooding shadows,
Frost, and tempests, take your rest!
...the world again is new, To hilltops and the valleys
Would gracious charm be twice as fair united
The day is from the chill now free...
(from Bachs Sonata No. 202)

outside St John's Lutheran church

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Habs vs Canes!


Last night Cesar and I took in the Montreal Canadiens hockey game at the Bell Centre when they hosted the Carolina Hurricanes. It was also my first time at the Bell Centre to attend a game, although a few years ago Marie and I and the kids took in a Michael Bublé concert there. At that time we were in the nose bleed section and Bublé was only a small dot on the distant stage! Great show though. Since moving to Montreal a few years ago I have faithfully cheered on the Habs, much to the disgust of my brother Richard who lives near Toronto and must put up with rabid Leaf fans who think they might finally have a shot to win the cup this year. Hmmm, maybe they do... 
our tickets

Cesar and Gary outside the Bell Centre, Montreal

But fans in this hockey crazy city have had very little to cheer about this season and their beloved Habs are currently mired in 10th place - out of a playoff spot with about 25 games to go. They entered this game on a 4 game winning streak, 7 points behind Toronto who they embarrassed 5-0 Saturday night! But they still have to leapfrog over the Maplelumps to get in! I even used to cheer for them when no other Canadian teams made the post season but my team was the Vancouver Canucks who I followed faithfully for years, having seen their first game when they joined the NHL in 1970, then lived and died with their few precious runs to the finals in the 80's and 90's. It could be also that as I get older I find any attachment to the west coast pretty well non existant and, except for wonderful memories of 5 years on the Queen Charlotte Islands, home is now here...But last nights game was fun and Cesar had his first taste of what Canada is really about!  Besides bacon, maple syrup, Mounties and snow. But these are myths we keep perpetuating so no wonder the rest of the world thinks we wear toques and say 'eh' at the end of every sentence... We took the bus and Metro to the rink and arrived early enough to eat, visit the hall of fame outside and wander about the concourses to get a feel of the pre-game excitement that happens when 21,273 (announced attendance) people arrive all at once, milling about buying game programs, beer, nachos and hotdogs, and Timmys coffee before settling into their seats. We were in the 300 section, high up but we had a good view of the whole ice surface, though at that level you are a bit detached from the game on the ice and without the aid of the huge jumbo-tron overhead we would have been hard pressed to identify the players!

Cesar & Guy Lafleur, outside Bell Centre

Cesar & teams warming up

2nd intermission, Habs 3, Canes 2
All in all the evening was pretty exciting and except for the 3rd period collapse which cost Montreal the game, and maybe a last chance to advance to the next round. But I was glad to be able to take Cesar to his first NHL hockey game! The pre-game ceremonies, the player introductions and rock music, and the entertainment between periods - Cesar especially got a kick out of the cannons shooting hotdogs into the crowd - all added up to a pretty awesome night for him, Montreal style. It would be great to do it again one day. But alas, the game ended with Carolina winning 5-3 and the mornings paper tells it all:


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Amy - 2 weeks old!

sleeping beauty

off to the doctor in Grandpa's truck

and modelling for the next edition of Playbaby magazine....

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Amy - 1 week old today!

a wee bit of heaven drifted down from above...Amy, one week.

It has been seven happy days since Amy came into our lives and already this old house feels that much more like a home. She is growing steadily and as healthy as we could all have wished... January has slipped by and February begins like a mirror image: a bit of cold, litttle flurries of snow then sunny days. Marie and I took Cesar to the cabin yesterday to retrieve a month of accumulated mail, then drove over the border into Maine for gas and pick up a parcel for Phil at the general store. There is much less snow than in previous years and hopefully it will stay that way! It has become something of a routine for us to order computer parts, phones. tires, babyseats and whatever from the States and have them delivered there to save on excessive shipping charges to Canada. Coburn Gore is a short ten minute drive from our cabin and with gas there 30 cents less a litre on average it is certainly worth the hassels at the border. We will be going back to stay a few nights once the weather warms up towards the end of March but for now our attention is on our guests from Mexico and new grandaughter!  gws

Dakota & Runner at the cabin, Feb 4

Rafa & Amy & Muffy

Pilar & Amy

Cesar, Woburn, Quebec