Sunday, December 25, 2011

Look up, way up...

What wonderful things one can find when they take the time to look up amongst the rooftops of houses and buildings in any given neighbourhood. My fascination with looking up to the roofs of buildings began with my urban hunting of old painted advertisements. An interest in all things graffiti related soon followed and with that, a whole new world of looking up, had opened up to me.
There are endless possibilities in terms of what you will find on rooftops, whether it be downtown amongst taller buildings, or in a more residential neighbourhood. Next time you find yourself going for a walk, talk the time to look up, and embrace the opportunity to explore urban rooftops.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

When nothing goes NOT do a driving exam...

So yesterday I failed my driving test....yes very sad news...I felt the same. But...I came home, cried a little, took a 6 hour nap, drank a bottle of wine, wallowed in my own self pity, went out...and now I'm feeling over it and ready to move on...

so here are a few tips that, after a lot of analyzing why on earth this happened to me (again...shhh) I started to realize and decided to jot down for those who are currently going, or have gone through this turmoil...(please tell me I'm NOT the only one!?)

Tip #1: When you are driving to your driving exam and you encounter not 1 but TWO major accidents that are blocking both major intersections surrounding your driving exam location, I suggest that you (unlike me) cancel your test and take it another day...just a thought that did not even ONCE cross my mind...this tip is #1 because not following this tip will leave you driving with a 1000000 other cars that are stuck, confused and scared...NOT a happy driving test atmosphere....if you did not follow this first tip...please continue reading.

Tip #2: This one is for those who did not follow Tip #1 and chose to regardless of the situation do their driving test. If you are driving with a nervous (and they are always nervous) instructor, do NOT test their reflexes, or how well they know how to not ever so slightly cross that horrid white line (where the people are supposed to walk). Your driving instructor will yell at you...loudly...and make the overall mood in the car SUPER unpleasant...

Tip #3: At this point you have not followed Tip # 1 or 2 and are stuck in an uncomfortable setting for at least the next 10 min, in a car that is usually super comfortable....So make the best of the situation. I do this by either talking to myself...out loud, ever so quietly hum x-mas tunes under my breath as I stick my head out and bite my tongue while making a right on a red light (this makes me nervous after living in MTL for so long)...really you can sing anything, since these are all seasonal tips...perhaps an awesome angry RnB tune would be great...or just repeat everything the nervous man beside you says....ex "at the next street make a left, make a left at the next street".... I would loudly respond "OK! At the next street MAKIN a left" and then continue to hum my x-mas tunes. This behavior will in fact lighten the mood if not for the both of you, at least for yourself.

Tip #4: Always have a bottle of wine ready for when you get home (regardless of the time of your test...mine was at 9:20 am)....This is important because the results could go both ways...That bottle of vino should be there either for celebration purposes (that is if you have nowhere to drive that I do not condone drinking and driving) or as a drink and cry yourself to sleep tool. Either way, this is an essential attribute to any driving exam...this might not be the first thing you think of, but this is why I am writing it out for is always important and drinking it is necessary and justifiable no matter what the circumstance (unless you are driving...anything...or flying get the point)

That is all I got for now...let me know if you have any helpful tips as I will be redoing my test in January.

Safe driving everyone...and no matter the result...just remember it could have been worse!

also...if you have not seen this
funny...and in a car...and talking to herself...enjoy.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Put a smile on your face...

It's amazing, the things that can cause someone to smile and laugh. It can be something as simple as a thought, a sight, spoken words. While drinking a coffee today, I saw a group of youngsters huddled around a novelty "Hurricane Simulator" at a local mall. As four of them crept in and put money into the machine, their remaining friends (spared of the viciousness of "hurricane" force winds), slammed the door shut and began smiling as those on the inside developed worried looks on their faces. As
the winds started to blow, everyone began laughing including those enduring the terror. Their laughter slowly attracted larger crowds, who they themselves could not contain their inner children and began smiling and laughing. In viewing this scene I could not help but laugh as well, topping off a nice morning.

Enjoy the video below, it will be a challenge not giving in to the infectious laughter of individuals on a Berlin subway.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Love is all you need...

John Lennon had it right when he famously sung "love is all you need", in in the 1967 smash hit All You Need is Love. Take the time to enjoy the video, and to tell those around you that matter the most that you love them. Whether it be a sibling, a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, niece, nephew, grandchild, boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, friend; and whether they be near or far, take the time to tell them how much they mean to you.


Monday, December 12, 2011

A Christmas Miracle....

It's 2:00 pm. The invigilators do not have the exam.
I wonder why this always happens.
No body knows where the papers are! What to do?
The poor nervous man stands in front of obedient students.
Fidgeting, blinking more than usual. Pacing and looking at his desk.
Re-reading a set of instructions that tell him to first hand out the exam booklets.
I feel like he wants to scream "WHAT @#$%*&! EXAM BOOKLETS?!...
But doesn't.
He walks out of the room.
Walks back in.
Looks out of the small window in the door.
No exams.
We all wait.
Heads are being held up by fists, deforming faces.
Eyes are blankly staring at nothing.
Thinking about nothing even remotely close to the exam.
That is old news now...Minds have drifted.
We should have been writing by now.
The man is still looking out the window onto the empty yellow hallway.
The girl in front of me to my left is picking violently at her finger nails
yuck...they might bleed.
He is good looking though. There is something about his nervous smile. He reminds me of someone.
His glasses are awesome. Big old school frames.
He doesn't even know they are cool. But I'm sure he was cool guy when younger.
Nice cheekbones for an older man.
He leaves again.
He's back with a man that resembles Santa
...and look! Jolly old St.Nick has brought the Christmas miracle.
Out prof, who wears tacky shirts in his online lectures
and who looks like a nervous pedophile is also "dumb"-Santa said so.
"Don't laugh...You have a dumb prof"
- No one laughed except for Mr. Nervous,
look out the window, nice cheekbones man.
Now we wait.
"Don't panic" says Santa.
Why would be panic? Is the room going to blow up?
Are the exams so hard that we won't have time?! Panic?
Who is panicking...
This pen is leaving black marks on my fingers.


Friday, December 9, 2011


Today was spent doing some of our favorite things in our favorite city....Breakfast at Vieux St. Laurent...walking around the Plateau...Visiting used book stores and finding amazing things...All topped off with a delicious dinner at Chez Doval...

           Big warm hugs and kisses to someone who more than deserves them!!!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Our Champ!

Just wanted to share some family talent. Our little star (well not that little anymore) made it to NATIONALS!!!

So a big congratulations, the hard work has paid off...You'd think they would give the kids a break...nope the poor guy was up at 5:30 in the morning and on the rink by 6....yikes. Def not my sport!

Well done buddy...we are all really proud of you <3

Click here to watch Dennis and Abby Skate :D


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

For Whom the Bell Tolls

An original copy of Hemingway's classic 1940 novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, now has a new home. I picked up the novel at a local bookstore for what I thought was a steal of a price, especially when I saw the words "1st Edition" scrawled on the inside front cover of the book. As soon as I got home, I cracked open my laptop and the research ensued.

After roughly five minutes of researching the 1st edition of Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, I found out that my copy was indeed published in 1940 but was a 2nd Edition publishing. The only thing this means is that my book is not worth the 100$ they seem to be selling on ebay (the seemingly low price is due to the fact that is has scratches, and is missing the  dust jacket. Oh well, it'll no doubt add a sense of antiquity and ruggedness to any bookshelf I decide to rest it on.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Re-engaging Boys at School

Below is an interesting point of view dealing with the re-engagement of boys in elementary school. Ali Carr-Chellman makes some interesting observations in regards to zero tolerance policies, the lack of male teachers, and the use of meaningful and educational gaming within schools.

 Carr-Chellman seems to share a similar point of view as Barry Macdonald, an educator in his own right, who started a website called Mentoring Boys, dealing with raising and properly educating boys to become responsible young men. I have personally had the opportunity to attend his Boy Smarts workshop, and it was definitely an eye opening experience to say the least. Carr-Chellman touches upon some statistics that seem to be awfully unbalanced, which were also raised by Macdonald during his lecture.

I'll sign off on a positive note, with an entrepreneurial tech-savvy twelve year old, who started up an Apple App designing club at his school, after having created two apps of his own. Enjoy.

"If we re-engage boys in their learning they will leave elementary saying I am smart"
                                                                                               -Ali Carr-Chellman


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's Wednesday

It's Wednesday...
It's snowing...the dog is sleeping, the house is quiet.
The fireplace is on...not real but the effect is still somewhat pleasant.
I just ranted on about my experiences as a teacher for over an hour
T is currently in the other room doing the same.
Planning to move to another continent has proven to be a long
and a lot more organized experience than I ever considered it would be...
The snow is not melting, it's finally white outside.
Nov. 30th...Would have been more appropriate, or I guess
fairytale like if it had happened on Dec.1...But I'll take today.
We have not written for a while. Life has been...well...slow more or less.

Hopefully something more exciting than the fact that it is snowing beautifully outside
will soon occur...
Until then the day currently consists off:

1) Interview with London Agency (check)
2)Write paper? (sooo don't want to)
3)Frolic in the snow!!
clearly in need of some inspiration. Maybe I will paint. Once my paper is done of course!
Also listening to this on repeat. Old school...pleasant, warm...sweet...


Thursday, November 17, 2011

What a teacher makes....

Sirens of "How much will you make as a teacher?", or the even more amusing "What will you make as a teacher?", always seem to chime when discussing my chosen line of work. Never is the first question, "What kind of satisfaction do you get in helping students reach their potential?", rather the focus on money (or the seemingly lack-thereof) always tops the list. Enjoy Taylor Mali's take on 'What A Teacher Makes', when asked that very question.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Marc Chagall at the AGO

While visiting Toronto, an afternoon trip was made to the AGO to peruse the Chagall and Russian Avant Garde exhibit. Prior to visiting, I knew close to nothing about Marc Chagall except that he was a rather renowned artist who lived in France for the better part of his life. I left the exhibit knowing much more in regards to Chagall, but also understanding what his motivations were, and who he was as an artist.

The Exhibit provided a nice mix of Russian artists inspired, much like Chagall was, by their homeland and their culture. Chagall specifically drew upon his love of his town or shtetl of Vitebsk, located in present day Belarus. His admiration and dreamy outlook on life in his shtetl is all Chagall needed to inspire beautifully constructed artwork. He painted through a lens of an Eastern European Jew, showcasing his culture and everyday life which he was used to as a child and a teenager. The exhibit did a good job of displaying video art, and sculptures among the paintings, providing a variety of mediums in which artists of that period expressed themselves.

It was fascinating the way in which the "Russian Avant Garde" artists were able to draw upon their past, and their homes, to inspire their works. This inspiration is something that everyone can relate to; having a special location within our memories, influencing our everyday lives.



Sunday, November 6, 2011

The “Good-Bad-Good” analogy...

It boggles my mind how fast paced, how unpredictable and how often (not always) but how often a single day can encompass a million different emotions. Bring out all your good and bad sides, have you laughing, crying, pissed off beyond words, flabbergasted, excited, contempt, bored, scared, strong....Those days are truly the best.

That was yesterdays day:

-when you catch yourself smiling because you walk by three grungy boys singing, playing guitars and tambourines on St. Laurent when its 5 degrees outside.

-when the thought of taking a bus for 20 minutes is making your tummy cringe but when you get off the bus you meet up with a friend you have not seen for months and the initial meeting starts with a gleeful leap and a 30 second embrace making the bus ride out totally worth it.

-when the walk that used to be the inescapable route to class all of a sudden is the most pleasant stroll you’ve ever had because it fills your head with memories.

-when you see familiar faces on busy streets of people you have never spoken to, but they leave you with a sense of comfort because you realize that not that much has changed since you’ve been gone. 

-when store owners are excited to see you and catch up as they noticed that you have not been around for a little while.

and then all of a sudden, even though everything seems to be going perfectly well and your day could really not get any better...little things begin to occur that bring out unpleasant emotions like:

-your gloves that you are wearing for the first and a half time all of a sudden disappear...did they fall out of your pockets? Did you leave them on the ground when you were tying your boots? You will never know but this is quite upsetting.

-your living situation, your nook, the roof you rely on even though leaking periodically all of a sudden becomes a hostile environment. The leak on the ceiling starts to look a lot worse as you are forced to pack everything you own because of a unexpected, angry, frustrating, and totally unnecessary, perhaps miscommunicated roommate situation.

Once this happens you scramble to figure out your 5Ws...What, Where, When, Who and WHY!?!

Then you have a huge sigh of relief when you realize that you have people around you who have your back:
-Who hold you when you need to be held
-Who will help you because they love you.
-Who laugh with you about how ridiculous your situation is
-Who will even wait to play with their new iphone that is waiting for them, still unwrapped...because you come first.
-Who will give you advice
 and Who are willing to take you in....

One of my CTs once told me, during parent teacher interviews...leave the parents happy...
tell them a good thing about their kids...
then perhaps the not so good thing...
but always leave them with a good...

So thank you, thank you, thank you friends and family for always being there to leave us with the good.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Official Holiday Drink...

At Starbucks, sort of a new home away from home for the last few month. It is warm (now)...the last time I was here (2 weeks ago) the AC was on full blast which did not mix well with the flooding and overbearing wind outside...Today however is different. Its cozy inside, Bob Marley just started playing, its a beautiful sunny day outside...Crisp.

Now I understand that Starbucks might not be the most interesting topic to write about, but I have to say that I am beyond words happy with the holiday drink options this year...well one drink in particular. Here is the story....

SO, November 1st rolled around and I had a sad realization...The pumpkin spiced latte would now no longer be on the menu and since that was my October drink and I was quite fond of it I was not happy...Now what was making me even more upset was the idea of those candy cane lattes that are usually on the menu for Christmas...or eggnog latte...lets just say I am NOT a fan.
BUT as I walked into our home away from home the first thing I read was "Latte au Caramel Brulee"...WHAT! AND IT HAS BURNT CARAMEL FLAKES ON TOP!! 
That is it...I have found my holiday drink. For all those who are for some reason hesitant to try it because it looks tooo good to be true...let me tell you, it is sweet...quite sweet...but if you have a few minutes to spare, get some whipped cream on it, sprinkle a crap load of those delish burnt caramel flakes on top and enjoy!
All in all I see it as the perfect winter drink minus the cliche of Christmas attached to it...Nobody actually wants to drink a latte with candy canes in it...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Helpful tips for your next dental appointment...

So I am sitting at home...first day of somewhat silence in the last week. The only thing I hear now is the Solo dog snoring under my feet and the little brother frantically clicking away on his new lap top.
Other than that, the house is silent...Now the reason I am sitting at home is simply because I just spent the last hour of my life with vibrating metal drills in my mouth...

The dentist, I know I don't like going, but it is one of those pains that I tend to forget, perhaps because it's not so much pain as it is incredible discomfort and weirdly invasive...

I spent an hour laying down with weird little drills making the wildest noises while attacking my poor teeth, who I am sure had NO IDEA what was coming for them...
So here are 5 things that I noticed today that I will write down in order to be able to read and prep myself for my next visit...and yes there is a next visit...:(

1) Do not spend any time on make-up before going to the dentist because you will end with weird coloured residue all over your cheeks and lips and whipping it off in the bathroom while your face is frozen is both unpleasant and ruins your makeup.

2) If your a glasses wearer like myself....take off your glasses because in addition to the discomfort that is happening in your mouth, it will also look like it is raining.

3) Ignore your dentist when he/she asks you a question while their hands and what appears to be whole head is inside your mouth. Not only do they not care about your answer, it will also come out sounding like something out of a zombie horror movie and you will be asked to 'please NOT move your tongue"...I might be the only one who knows this...but its SUPER hard to speak without moving your tongue.

4) Do not take off your sweater, even though it might initially be quite warm, when the drilling commences and your body automatically gets covered with goosebumps, you are going to look longingly at your sweater hanging up right in front of you and wish desperately to have it on.

5) Do not attempt to drink, eat or talk after getting a will end up spilling everything on yourself, be disappointed by the fact that the tea that you just made and REALLY want is something that you cant have, and just look altogether unapproachable for anyone to really want to talk to you...

If anyone has any other helpful tips to remember when embarking on a dentist adventure please do share...


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Impromptu favorite

So T, being an AMAZING thrift shopper...and by amazing I mean he has a huge amount of patience, a great eye and is super practical...brought me home a little unexpected, but very much appreciated 'sac a dos' coupled with a beautiful book. 

The booties were added due to a gift card found in my wallet!!! It must have been in there for at least 3 years...


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Works

This is where it all comes together.
Check the post on my recent acquisitions to see where
most of my items are from.

  • H&M Jeans
  • Calvin Klein Bag
  • Gap Leather Jacket and Scarf


    Recent Aquisitions

    After having acquired a few interesting pieces recently, I decided to share them, mainly to induce jealously, to help inject some fashion into the blog.

    Starting clockwise from the top we begin with a grey, 100% wool sweater, branded West Coast. This item was found at a local thrift store.

    My brown leather boots have quickly become a staple of my wardrobe, staking their claim as my signature piece. They were found in decent condition (the heels needed replacing), at another local thrift shop.

    The iPhone 4S needs little introduction. I picked up this bad-boy on the second day it launched. Needless to say, that it's nice to be using an iPhone again!

    Finally, I have begun to notice hats that never quite garnered my attention. The brown one was purchased at Zara, while the grey one was found at local discount chain.


    Crazy, stupid, and most of all lovely

    Crazy Stu: Go watch it
    So we took the plunge, upon receiving some encouragement from our faithful followers (and after having stumbled upon a fantastic review), and decided to watch the film aptly entitled Crazy, Stupid, Love (further referred to as Crazy Stu, influenced by the movie ticket on the right).

    After having viewed the movie (in its entirety) I can safely say that it is entertaining and worth watching. Whether or not it's worth it to spend 10-15$ on a ticket to watch it is entirely up to you.

    Finally I have to give my praise and definite approval on how the two main male characters were dressed throughout the movie, as well as the quasi-wife.


    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Just a little something on repeat...

    All her songs are pretty awesome...Her newest single "Video Games" was released Oct. 11, 2011.


    The other day I heard a song that I loved and could not for the life of me remember who the artist was. So of course I had to ask the waiter, who, while giving me the "Gaaad your not cool enough, I can't believe you don't know who this is look", said Citizen Cope. I am once in again love with every one of his songs... So thank you waiter boy.
                                                          PABLO PICASSO.


    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Crazy Stupid Love.....pretty much

    When looking through a list of current movies on a Montreal cinema website, we stumbled across an unquestionable masterpiece so cleverly titled "Crazy Stupid Love". We hadn't heard much regarding the movie, therefore we decided to read some reviews to help sway our decision. One review in particular helped to cement our decision not to go see it:

    "I pretty much like it. Not the best movie in my life, but I had a great time."
    nudo_abc@ - first review
    10.9.2011 - age: 26-35
    Here's the trailer, we pretty much liked it, but clearly not enough to actually go see the movie. Consequently, we hope you have a great time.


    Back home...

    Our weekend was...warm, cozy, colorful. Time moves at a different pace when one is surrounded by nature, separated from technology and given time to breathe.


    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Not so impromptu cottage getaway...

    Its a long weekend, the weather network promises Saturday to be 23 and we are off to the cottage...
    Hopefully the leaves will be in full fall bloom. My favorite time of the year. Cozy sweaters, big socks, fire places, bright mornings and chilly nights. ahhh...cant wait.

    I guess since every other post has had pics, here is a shot of a few items that we will be bringing...

                                                                       cozzyy sweaterzz...

     I don't travel without this game....
                                               T doesn't travel without spray paint....

    Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend + Happy Thanksgiving.


    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Montreal's Graffiti Epidemic

     An article featured in Wednesday's Montreal Gazette described Montreal's Graffiti problem as an "epidemic". Although I will agree that there seems to be an underlying lack of respect (on the part of some taggers), for the most part graffiti can be beautiful. To call this issue an epidemic, is somewhat of an overstatement. A predicament, conundrum,  concern, hindrance....sure, all fantastic ways to describe what is occurring in terms of the widespread disrespectful tagging. I know what many might be thinking right now, who am I to deem ones' work as disrespectful in comparison to others. To answer that question, enjoy some photos I took of NDG's fast spreading epidemic.


    Monday, October 3, 2011

    A little unexpected bed time story find... we roamed around Chapters on a cold and rainy afternoon, we stumbled upon this wonderfully hysterical/wildly inappropriate children's book titled "Go the Fuck to Sleep" by Adam Mansbach...I could not resit snapping a few shots...Here is a sneak peak to 2011s best selling children's book for adults.

    You can also listen to a reading of the whole story by none other than Samuel L. Jackson...enjoy :)


    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Rice Crispy Clouds....yumm

    After a long day of rain, cold and assaulted parrapluies...we brightened our moods with a little OUTBURST...and some impromptu 'rice crispy cloud cupcakes' at 1:30 in the morning.
    All we had was cake mix, brown sugar, butter, and rice crispies. We were missing frosting for the cupcakes, and at 1:30 am, buying some was out of the question. Therefore we decided that caramel would make an excellent substitute for the frosting, boiling the butter and brown sugar to create it. The rice crispies simply topped off an already scrumptious concoction. Thanks Annie for the inspiration and creativity...


    Friday, September 30, 2011

    Meet the boys...

    Here are our boys...Though all incredibly different, and not actually...technically...ours...=S...they add many impromptu moments to our lives...

    Also...I managed to catch them on their down time..(this does not happen enough)...but how cute?!

    This is Solo (Solomon)...he is a Labradoodle. We love him and all his crazy

    This is Milo or Milu...he is pretty much a tiny version of Solo

    This is Spike...he is a huge cuddle..r...

    This is Gavin...he is a crazy, loving mutt baby...and Spike's adopted little brother

    Thank you boys


    Tuesday, September 27, 2011


    An identifying part of Montreal's heritage (not to mention skyline), St. Joseph's Oratory tends to evoke feelings of a grandiose nature. It's humble glow in the night sky, provides the perfect backdrop for an impromptu photo-op on a perfectly crisp evening.