Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Not all bad...

Well, in ten days things have been moving, or I have... whichever way you want to look at it.  On the condo front though, nothing moved.  No repair insight just yet, we are awaiting the moron's confirmation that it has been fixed correctly and it seems like he's ignoring the requests from the condo association...

My new wedding band is in creation and we actually got a nice credit for our old gold jewels. A nice chuck of that came from Hubby's mother, may she rest in peace.  I had kept her charms bracelet, you know the old style with huge charms, and that puppy weight 111 gm in gold! Between that and my wedding ring, with its diamond, it added up, which is nice since the new ring will be a little more pricey... Yeah this girl likes purdy and shiny things!

Speaking of shiny things, while at the jeweler, I had noticed a pendant he had made, and last time I was there I could no longer resist it.  It is so me, Stinkypaw!

Chuk's Creation
As you may have noticed, on the sidebar, there's a new gadget pointing to my new online store!  I've decided to take the plunge and open an online shop where I would sell postcards.  For now, as I'm building my portfolio, the selection isn't grand, but I'm working on it.  I have some strictly related to Postcrossing and since the selection of Montréal postcards in local stores is not only lame, dated and always the same, I've contacted different people I know and asked if I could use their photos.  The answers have been coming in slowly.  Things are moving and I'm excited about it.  If you have a chance go visit my little shop and let me know what you think.  There's also a blog on my store.

Today, I actually was pleasantly surprise by Canada Post.  I've been collecting pictorial cancels.  What is that you ask?  It is a cancellation stamp that some post office have to commemorate something of the area, like there's one not far from here of the Notre-Dame Basilica.  Here's what it looks like.
Some are really pretty, some are funny and it's an inexpensive souvenir.  I've started that because of Postcrossing, same as with the stamps.  Some countries have gorgeous stamps, like Russia, Finland for example. I've been contacting different post offices asking them to cancel my stamp (on a postcard, of course) with their postmark.  I will say this, Canada Post's website isn't up to date for this at all.  I had contacted this post office in Ontario, which had a postmark showing Canada's First Polish Settlement.  Today I get an envelop from Canada Post addressed with the label that I had put on when I had sent my request.  When I opened it, it contained my postcard, stamped as requested but with another cancellation, and on the note I had attached (my original request) there was a hand written note from the Postmaster in which she informed me that the Wilno post office had closed down, and their stamp was taken out of circulation.  She, instead, cancelled my card with her post office's special stamp.  How sweet was that?  I was really surprised, especially since I've started this, many were simply returned with no explanation.  It is nice to see that some people still care about their clients.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Patience, Pain, Hobby, Business etc.

On the condo front, the guy for our cabinet finally came to estimate the damages.  The insurance appraiser will be coming by on Tuesday.  They are so disorganize it's a little scary actually.  Was contacted on Friday by a man who also claimed to be an appraiser from the insurance company.  Turns out the insurance company seems to send out many request to different appraisers at one time.  First one who answers gets the job, it seems.  Scary.  Good thing I'm on top of things.

On the foot front, it does feel better even without a cast or anything.  My quack did send me a copy of the radiologist confirming the 5th metatarsal broken and not displaced, with a referral to an orthopedist.  I've been trying to avoid walking too much, thanks to Hubby's great help and many extra steps.

On the Postcrossing front, I'm still sending and receiving daily.  Yep, I'm addicted.  Saturday, I drove to Gatineau for a small meet up.  We were five, and four of us were from Montréal.  It was a crappy drive since it rained all the way there and back, but the meet was fun!  I gave a ride to another girl, and we talked all the way.  It was a chatty ride to say the least!

I personally sent twenty two cards.  And actually did manage to use my new personalized signature stamp.  The signature is pretty small actually which will be perfect for big meets.  Yesterday was a mini meet, and my sig looked small, but it was better than the first one I had which turned out bigger than anything I could sign myself.

Anyway, we did manage to prepare (i.e. addressed, stamped and signed) eighty-two cards among the five of us.  Not too bad.  It was a fun afternoon, spent with funny ladies in a cute little café.

Here's the stack of cards ready to be dropped at the post office.  It was my first time in the cozy little town.  We made it to a postal counter not far from where was the meet, and took the traditional pictures of dropping the cards in the mail box.  They had a rack of pre-stamped postcards with the zodiac signs and other cards we hadn't seen before, so like vultures, or rather a seagull on a fry as my drive partner said, we attacked that rack especially when the clerk informed me the cards were 75% off, so instead of $2.50 they were selling those cards at $0.62 each.  We cleared their rack!

Speaking of rack, it reminds me that I've been toying with this idea of opening a little shop and things are starting to shape up... I'm trying not to get too excited, and won't go into details just yet, but I'm working on its realization and things are heading in a good direction.  Slowly, but surely...

Friday, September 04, 2015


Not much happened since I last posted here... The insurance haven't been by yet, waiting for the Syndic to submit their estimation before sending their appraisal person. 

Wednesday, I finally went to see our quack because my left foot still hurts.  I thought I might have broke something,  it wasn't just a bad sprained since when I walked for a while I felt like something was doing the split in my foot.  Talking with the quack, he said that where it hurts there isn't much muscle and from touching it he thought I could have a fracture so he wrote me a script for some x-rays.  Yesterday, I went for x-rays and he was right, the fifth metatarsal is broken and looks a lot like this...

... except that I don't have a cast on or anything... I called the quack's office today asking if they did get the results of my x-rays, which I have on CD for $10, and they did but, big surprise, the quack wasn't in today...  The receptionist suggested after looking at my file, not to walk on it too much.  Geez, Louise, really?

So, like I said, not much happening here...

* Same Shit Different Day

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hit me, baby, one more time...

Ever noticed how long it takes you, after being away for a while, to get back to the way you were before you left?  How long does it take for life to wipe that smile off your face once you're back?  How fast do you feel stress getting to you or how quickly the benefits of being away from it all disappear upon your return home?  That perma-smile doesn't last that long once back in daily life.  I can now confirm it.  It doesn't take that much, or rather that long to feel a known rush of stress.

Last week, Hubby and I drove to New Hampshire for the week.  A little get away, just the two of us.  Turns out, that the chosen location was actually very remote and there wasn't really much to do around there.  Given that my foot (still) hurts, hiking was out, and since we don't really golf that was out as well.  The nearest town was about 30 minutes away, and there wasn't much there either.  Thankfully, we were lucky with the weather and had a gorgeous week, an actual heat wave, and even luckier there was a pool at the resort.  So, for the week, we slept in, and lounge at the pool.  We rested.

We drove home Saturday.  It was a nice drive,
the one the Saturday before; it rained all the way.  While Hubby was unpacking the car, I made my way in the house, to realize that something wasn't quite right.  I looked around and noticed a spot on our kitchen tiles.  Oh no, crap, something leaked.  I couldn't quite tell where it came from, until I saw the ceiling above the cabinets. Crap!  I'm thinking "this is not good... this is not good!" as I make my way to our office.  As I walked in I see another spot on the floor, the hard wood floor.  I look at the ceiling to see it a joint all puffed up... as I'm looking at this, I also notice the wall and closet doors are all streaked... "oh no, what now?" That is when I opened the doors to find the self ripped off the wall, water dripping.  That closet is where I've kept all my books.  I'm actually remaining calm, until I start to make my way downstairs to meet up the unsuspecting husband to let him know that while we were away, relaxing in the sun of NH, our condo was being flooded again, for the third time.  Let's just say that the shit hit the fan, fast.

We didn't even unpack our luggage, started to look at what happened, contacted our neighbors who did confirm that yes they had a water leak, some problem with the thermo-pump that their owner/landlord had not fix... I took pictures of everything and then, with Hubby help started emptying that closet. That is one big closet and it contained a LOT of shit, let me tell you.

I've contacted the Syndic, to have the insurance appraisal for the repairs, which will not be minimum.  Our kitchen is seriously damaged; our cabinets are warped, and the tracks of the shelves are not working correctly, the hard wood floor is warped as well, the laundry closet, behind the appliances has a bubbling wall and the office's ceiling and floor is warped... so...

Let's just say we are not happy campers.  Not at all.  Our house is a big fucking mess at the moment, while we wait for people to come and see and evaluate and tell us what will happen and when... so frustrating..  We are both fed up.  Ready to snap we are wind so tight... not good, not good at all!

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Swimming against the current, or it's all relative?

As we were heading home after running some errands on the South Shore, I came to a realization, well, sort of: Hubby often said we were like salmons going up stream when we moved from the suburbs to downtown Montréal.  I didn't think much of it at the times, other then it might have been related to the fact that we don't have kids, unlike our friends, who wanted/needed more land, bigger house, etc. 

When we decided to go on our Norwegian adventure some people in our entourage mentioned they wouldn't do something like that; just leave everything behind and go away for a few months to live in a different country.

I, again, assumed it was related to the kid factor.  You know, having to deal with their schooling, etc.  During a  lunch with a friend, she mentioned how much of a pain it was for her to have to come to town.  She lives in a borough of Montréal, within fifteen minutes from downtown. 

I used to meet once every other month with a girlfriend, we would alternate once I would drive to her area and the following time she would come to town but when we moved downtown it went to once per season.  She didn't like coming to town.  She lives in the same suburb we used to, which is about thirty minutes away.  - By the way, please note that, of course, all the times I'm giving are traffic free, and since that is rarely happening, I have no clue how long it really takes to get anywhere.  Seriously.

Saturday morning, we wanted to have Dim Sum, since we had not yet gotten our fix.  The day we tried, walking to Chinatown, I sprained my foot (which is doing better and I was actually able to go walk around in a running shoe!).  We decided to go to Chinatown no. 2, i.e. Brossard.  We got in our car and drove to the South Shore.  It is about twenty minutes away.  We had our delicious fix of Chinese food, much needed after more than three months without any and then we proceeded to run some errands.  I had to get some supplies, so we shopped on Taschereau Blvd., then went for groceries on Nuns' Island and made our way back home.

As we were crossing the bridge back, that is when I thought "Hmm, I guess it's true were swimming against the current." Not only we don't stay in our hood for our everyday errands, but we go "far"! We both still drive to the West Island for our hair cuts, as well as for other things. I prefer to drive to Fairview for shopping than going downtown, not only because there is parking but mostly because they don't only cater to young skinny things. I've been known to drive to Laval, for a store in particular, because I like their clothes which are not only age appropriate but actually fit me.  Many people we know will only shop in their area, they go out in their neighborhood, they might work outside of their hood, but for the rest they stay in their area.  We are just the opposite.  We often say we're "grocery sluts" - we get our groceries wherever is near us at the time.  Since we've moved downtown, we've been to so many different grocery stores, in neighborhood we just drive through or happen to think of something we'll need and will go in the first store we see.  We are no longer loyal to a specific store; we do have our preferred places for different things, but we are not always going to the same place. 

I wonder why it is that we, as people, need to have this routine like behavior, this need to go at the same place, close by and not venture further?  Does it go back to the days when we had to fend for our food and would try to remain close to our caves, to be in a safe area?  I can't help and wonder what makes us want this?  One of the thing I absolutely loved from our Norwegian Experience, was the fact that I didn't know anyone, nor anything about where we ended up, and had to discover things. I liked that we tried Rema 1000,  and Coop and Eurospar each offering different things.  Some were near where we lived and yet we would go further to try some other store, to see what they also offered. 

I will admit, for my hairdresser I am loyal and somewhat scared to try someone new; especially for a cut.  We changed dentists (both of us) last week to give a try to a clinic walking distance from home.  I had the same guy since 1984, but his office looks run down now and in serious need of a revamp so I decided to change.  Hubby's dentist retired while we were in Norway, so he didn't have a choice.  I went for my exam and cleaning and what a difference - not only the decor, but the service, the high tech equipment... and the price!

Why is it we, well, most of us, need to have this security sense, this comfort I guess for things we know, near us?  Why is that some need to venture out while others are scared to do so or are simply not interested?  Doesn't it get boring, being so repetitive?  Do I feel like a salmon when I come home after running errands in an area outside my comfort zone?  I don't know, but I do know I'm not finding it hard to swim against the current in that case... 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Oh Great! Welcome Home, Sucker!

We've been back for two weeks.  We've caught up with some friends. Enjoyed some food we hadn't had during our time away. I will admit it is nice to be back in our crap, even if it's dusty and all.  Our sofa is comfortable and well padded, we have more than four of everything as far as dishes are concerned, and despite what everyone has been complaining about, it's warm here. 

One thing we did not have while we were away is dim sum or any Asian food for that matter. 
This morning, being a nice sunny day, we decided to walk to Chinatown and go for dim sum.  Like every friggin' summer (and winter for that matter!) it is humid in town. 

We made our way, slowly, chatting along the way, when whack I felt this sharp pain in my left foot, and fought hard to remain standing.  Turns out I've twisted my left foot on a fucking crack in the sidewalk!

We've kept walking to the restaurant we had planned to go to, but it's no longer in business.  It's been there for years but I guess it did close during our three months away.  The pain was bad, this throbbing was increasing with each step.  Once we made it to St-Laurent Blvd. I told Hubby I was taking a cab home.  Naturally there was none to be seen!  We then walked towards René-Lévesque and again not one cab in sight, so Hubby decided to go home to get the car.  While he walked home, I limped my way to the corner of St-Laurent and St-Antoine and waited for him to pick me up.  I've watched people.  There were many.  Of all styles.  I (normally) love people watching, it's so interesting.  I saw a few brides making their way to the Court House, many tourists, even gave directions to a few, and many Asian families.  They travel in packs.  And they don't travel light. 

When we got home, I took out the ice pack and put my foot on ice.  Man oh man, that is not pleasant. We had a 50th birthday party tonight, a long time friend of Hubby who's in town with his family, but between the pain and having to ice my foot, we decided to stay home.  Sucks!  Oh well. 

Montréal's streets are not only full of pot holes and under construction but the sidewalks are just as bad.  It's infuriating not being able to do anything, not even worth a complaint, it's sad.  We pay more taxes yearly and it feels and looks like the services we are getting is decreasing.  To drive around time is an adventure daily.  New holes pop up like flowers in a bed of flowers.  And let's not forget the orange cones.  They also pop up everywhere.  This city has so many construction sites going, it's crazy.  We can't estimate how long it will take to get somewhere as we can and most likely will be surprised by either a construction site, some traffic or deviation that will make a simple drive turn into a nightmarish adventure.

As I sit here, my foot on ice, once again, am feeling this was Montréal's way of welcoming me home...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Scandinavian Traveller: Likki the Trimmed Beaver - Chapter Ten, The Final One.

As I write this today, ten days after returning home, after a few days visiting Oslo, sitting in our living room, watching a movie, and after running errands part of the afternoon in hot and humid Montréal, we are back!

Before I get into how it has been since our return, I will share our last few days in Oslo.  Unlike Bodø, the weather was warmer and sunny!  We were able to wear shorts!  We walked around town, explore some.  We visited the Nobel Peace Center.  It's an interesting place, dedicated to peace.  Their main event was about children's rights with Malala and Kailash.  It was quite interesting even if their was a lot of reading to be done.  They also have a boutique, where they sold lots of postcards, and I did get a bunch, mostly famous quotes from Peace Nobel Winners.  Then after a refreshment, we made our way to Akerhus Fortress, where we had a nice view over the port and the city.

View from Akerhus Fortress
Akerkus Fortress
It was quite a large fortress and you could see why its location was so important.  Even if we didn't take the tour, walking around by ourselves on the grounds it was quite impressive.  

Not far from our hotel area, I spotted this little bookstore which had some postcards, or so I thought.  Turned out they had many artistic ones, very different from anything I could find in Bodø, so I bought lots. 

I had contacted J. a while back, asking her if she wanted to meet me when we would be back in Oslo.  She send us so many postcards from Norway, showing us different areas of their beautiful country, with explanations, I felt I just had to meet her.  And we did.  Likki got to send a few cards with her, which was nice.  We had planned a two hours meeting with her, and it lasted well over six.  We talked about so many things, such an interesting encounter and warm lady.

 J. and Likki, in Oslo

Our hotel had a nice lounge we could access anytime, where they served (Nespresso) coffee or tea and fizzy water.  After 6pm they also served dinner, which was also included in our room's price.We went twice but only ate there once.  It was actually a decent meal.  Because it was warm and humid, one afternoon we went up to enjoy a cold drink and since it was completely empty, I took some pictures of the view we had from there.  On one side we had the Palace and the other the North.

View from 8th floor lounge of our hotel towards the Palace
Overlooking Kristian Augusts gate
One evening we had made reservation at a little Italian restaurant, Ruffino, which we had tried to get in back in May with our friends, so we walked to it.  Along the way we passed this impressively nice building which had a little plate on its side, in Norwegian, of course, that I could read had something to do with the Gestapo back in 1942.  We had a delicious dinner at the restaurant, a nice way to end our few extra days in Oslo.

Victoria Terrace, the site of the Gestapo headquarters in Oslo. 
The morning of our departure, the street was mostly deserted.  As we walked towards the train station, we passed the university and I managed to quickly take a picture.

Oslo University, on Karl Johans gate
On the train, Flytoget, Likki made friend with a local, a little Norwegian moose, who was heading our way.  Lucky little fellow.

Once at the airport, we recuperated the rest of our luggage and made our way to check-in, security and duty free through which we simply walked through not even stopping anywhere.  We didn't even have time to get our tax reimbursement, since, once again, the line at check in was too long, and since we had a connection in Heathrow to Canada we couldn't use the automatic check-in machine, but had to go to the counter and see a person, which meant we had to do the queue.

Heathrow is a beautiful and big airport and we had over four hours there before our next flight.  We , hit duty free, grab a bite to eat and did some shopping while walking around.  We looked for a quiet place where we could get refreshed and rest a little before our long flight home.

A tea with some biscuits, please.
If not in London, where else would one truly enjoy a good cup of tea?  She knows her stuff that Likki, despite her your life, she knows!  It was strange, at the gate, hearing not only French, but Québécois and to see people with Montréal's Canadiens tee-shirts.  A fair sign we were heading home...
Last gate before heading home...
Our return home is done.  Our adventure in Vikingland is done.  We are now back to Montréal's never ending road construction, traffic and fast pace.  It was an experience of a lifetime, to be able to do so without the worries of what would await us upon our return. And this closes Likki's Scandinavian Adventure.