Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene: Come at me


As many people know, Hurricane Irene is the latest news story to hit the East coast and it's doing some pretty bad damage in places like the Carolina's.

I mean just look at that. Just the sight of that vortex is menacing.

Luckily when the storm came to us it had simmered down a bit and is now only being called a tropical storm. However, I don't think I'd want anything more than this being as the trees in our backyard look like they could collapse at any moment as it is.

We spent the morning listening to the waves of water on the roof and exchanging soaking towels for dry ones in an attempt to stop our basement flooding. The storm is supposed to be at it's worst around 2 this afternoon. Luckily, we're prepared with trail mix, welsh cakes and leftover chili.

And the plus side is that if teacher training is postponed tomorrow, school doesn't start until Wednesday!

Best of luck!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Montréal Vacation 2011- Day 3

On our last day in Montréal, we went to a restaurant for breakfast called "Eggspectations" (Punny, I know). And apparently it did meet our eggspectations being as we all thoroughly enjoyed it. However, our waiter seemed a bit scrambled (no pun intended) because he forgot to bring our toast. We had a table that allowed us to see out onto the street and watch them set up for the Montréal film festival making us wish we'd stayed another night.

After we'd eaten, we took a stroll down to Old Montréal and looked in some shops. You can tell when you've entered old Montréal because the road turns into cobblestones and the French because much more abundant despite the fact that it's less than a kilometer to regular Montréal.

Old port of Montréal. 
More old Montréal.

Later we decided to see if we could get a spot on an Amphi tours bus/boat. It's basically the equivalent to the Duck Tours in Boston: a tour of the city that goes from bus to boat. However, we didn't have to get tickets months in advance for this one and we managed to get tickets for the 2:30 tour.

To pass time before our tour, we stopped in here.

...for some maple syrup ice cream and to have a look around the (not-so-impressive) maple syrup museum.  

Our tour guide spoke in both French and English... that was interesting. We started by going around the city in bus-mode and pointing out famous old buildings etc. etc. We saw the old stock exchange building, the floating bank safe and the huge silos by the water (also where 300 was filmed). In the water, we cruised about the harbor and saw some more building and the docks and, my favorite, THE UNFINISHED GAME OF TETRIS!

The "unfinished game of Tetris"
Overall, it was a good last day and our tour was really interesting and unique.

Our tour bus/boat.
After the tour, we explored the old part of the city and saw some sites.

Street performing.
Fountain... thing.
To finish off the day, we went to a Thai place (that I don't have a picture for) and I had Pad Thai! Spent the rest of our night preparing for our long journey home the next day...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Montréal Vacation 2011- Day 2

It's official! My parents are totally hooked on sending me to college here in Montréal. "Oh, look how close the campus is to the city" "And look, there's the computer science building! Pretty snazzy." Okay, that might have been a little bit of an exaggeration. I mean, who says 'snazzy' nowadays? Anyways, my point is that they think that me going to college here would be a good choice...

Anyways, to recap our day, we started off by lounging around our hotel a little too long like most days. This tends to be the fault of my sister spending too much time snoozing.

After finally getting out of the hotel, we went to a very colorful breakfast place on avenue du park called "Chez Cora Déjeuners"

After breakfast, we took the most strenuous uphill hike through the city to a mountain so that we could hike up a mountain. By the time we got to the park at the bottom of the mountain, we were knackered. Good thing it flattened out for the main part of our walk. 

After about half an hour of walking we arrived at a large park with a lake and a visitor center (of which we didn't bother to go in). It was surprisingly populated being as it was half way up a mountain. 

Some artsy photography.
Once reaching the summit, we learned that the hike was well worth the views we got!

Some big famous cross that we thought was scaffolding.
We managed to get a couple (good) night shots from our hotel of the cross lit up at night.

It's in the corner... on a mountain...
While enjoying the view and having a sit down in the huge visitor center (a different one) at the top of the mountain, the rain started and absolutely bucketed down for a good half hour. Luckily we took cover and left once it had stopped. This is when we took a really off-the-course route and it started raining again. After walking on a forest trail, unaware of whether we were going up or down the mountain in the rain, we made it to the bottom... exhausted. Some more than others.

After resting our feet and going for a quick (ish) swim in the pool, we were ready to go out to dinner at "Tequila Taco." Obviously Mexican...

It was alright apart from them forgetting our guacamole and appetizer. Anyways, that's all for now! Looking forward to another day in Montréal!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Montréal Vacation 2011- Day 1

After our long drive yesterday we were all pretty keen to get around and walk somewhere. We started the day by going to a local café called the "Café Imagination" (Didn't have to get our dictionary out to read that one). It was pretty good apart from how hot the room was.

 I was trying to get a shot of the interpretive artwork and unique, jazzy decor but it was blocked by a tired, depressed girl due to lack of mushrooms on the menu. 

For the record, I would like to point out how most of our conversations go when we walk into a restaurant. It always amuses me and goes something like this:

Hostess: Bonjour. Combien personnes pour le déjeurner aujourd'hui? 
My mother: Hi. 4 please.
Hostess: -starts speaking in perfect English like nothing happened-

Never gets old.

After breakfast, we took the Métro for the first time to the Montréal Biodôme and the Olympic Stadium. We didn't bother going up the lift thing at the Olympic Stadium but the Biodôme was impressive. It's basically a giant horseshoe-crab-shaped building that is split into different ecosystems for those of you who were curious. The first ecosystem we encountered was the tropical rainforest and it was clearly the most impressive (and most humid). The animals were also by far the most impressive.

Trying to navigate the Métro.
Capybara. New favorite animal? YES
Awesome oiseau rouge
The next section was the Deciduous forest section (which is basically what we live in). We should have offered to donate a few chipmunks being as we have more than enough to go around!

The main attraction of this section.
I think the one on the top was winning.
 The next section was the "Golfe du Saint-Laurent" section... so basically it was just local fish (not too exciting) followed by the Arctic section which lack a certain polar-bear-esque that I feel it needed.

The gulf exhibit.
We think he was meditating.
After our day at the:

... we took a stroll through China town, saw a few good restaurants and found our way to the Basilica on Rue Nortre-dame. It was an enormous church that was so ornate and intricate down every last detail that pictures cannot do it justice.

China Town. 
The Basilica.
Ornate Staircase.
We finished off the day with a meal at the "Factory bar and restaurant" not far from our hotel. Tomorrow we'll be going up some big mountain of some sort (weather permitting of course) so I'll be sure to take lots of pictures!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sundays are Always Lazy

Not much has happened for the past few days. My grandparents journeyed back across the pond to sunny Newport so not much has happened.

*Running shoes update* I don't think that I was really running correctly with my other shoes meaning that these new professional shoes are forcing me to run differently than I'm used to causing some pain in my legs. I should be comfortable and ready for the race(s) in september though hopefully!

In other news, last night, an opossum stumbled upon our cat's food on the deck last night. It was surprisingly timid and didn't seem to bother the cat at all. The closest it got was about 4 feet from the screen door that we were looking out of before it waddled its way back up the garden and into the bushes. I'm hoping to try to lure it back tonight to get some pictures tonight with some dry cat food. I tried to get a photo last night but it was too dark and far away. Let the stakeout begin. This is what an opossum looks like for those of you who don't know.

In other news, the plan for today is quite boring. I'm going to go to Staples and shop for some school supplies. I don't actually have a list this year so I'll probably end up piling a ton of stuff into the shopping cart that will have minimal or no use in the aid of my education but looks cool; Such as an easy button for example!
I'm contemplating an idea for my next blog post so I might put another one up fairly soon.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Crystal Caves Mini Golf.

This past Monday, being as it was one of my grandparents last days with us after almost six weeks of seeing them, they brought my sister and I to an all time favorite day trip: Crystal Caves mini golf in Auburn. It wasn't that busy on a Monday and a big group of people came immediately after us so I guess we came at the right time!

The weather was really nice and luckily there was a big shaded section at least every other hole.

The winner was my grand dad with a score of 48 followed by my nan with 52 and tied for third (or last if you want to be pessimistic) was myself and Emma both with 59 points despite Emma getting 3 holes in one in the game. We followed up this with a cool down and some lunch in the 99 right across the street.

All in all, it was an enjoyable day and when we got home we created this. 

It was a failed attempt at a cheesecake factory cheesecake/ red velvet cake but it still tasted alright. 

New shoes me thinks.

I've recently purchased a new pair of running shoes and I can already feel the difference! I looked at my old running shoes side on and the entire base of the shoe was flat unlike my new arched one.

They absorb the shock more and are overall very comfortable. I think they're called "adrenaline" and I got them from PR running in northborough.

When I went in, one of the staff members brought me outside to see what kind of running style I have. Turns out, I'm a pretty average pronator meaning I turn my foot in but not too much. I then tried on a couple of pairs of shoes all with good arch to support my foot when it turns in. After three pairs, I'd found a perfect match and we were out of the store after 20 minutes. One of the staff members even recommended a good 5 mile race to go to. So, if you're ever looking to buy some new running shoes I definitely recommend PR Running in Northborough!