New addition

They taste delicious…

I volunteered to go to the liquor store to get the group gift, and this was what I picked up for myself while I was there. Affordable and tasty, I had a small splash of it tonight, neat.

I drank it while editing someone else’s work. Possibly the right way to do it. ;)

By no means am I a scotch or whiskey connoisseur but my cabinet is beginning to acquire them somehow. Even getting single malts like this. I don’t know how it happened. But it’s interesting. :) Slainte!

The trip back

We got back last night from Quebec City and unpacked and then sat down with a “whew!” The train diverted at the last moment and instead of taking the remaining passengers to the other station in town, they had everyone get off at our station stop.

Now, we treated ourselves to travelling in business class (previously known as first class). Let me tell you, it appears that folks in business class aren’t used to not getting their own way. For example, on our trip down, we overheard a very unhappy lady explaining to her friend on the phone her dissatisfaction with not getting a meal on the two hour trip from Ottawa to Montreal. This is, of course, despite the fact that they had allowed her to switch her ticket at the last moment because her train (the one after ours) was at that point an hour and a half late due to the weather.

So, when the lady announced over the intercom last night that everyone must get off at the main terminal and that there would be taxis and buses available to transport folks the rest of the way, the not-too-classy couple behind us had a major problem with this. (We had unfortunately been overhearing them the entire trip, and we were “introduced” to them in the Montreal station as the woman loudly exclaimed in the business lounge, “Oh my god, how do they expect us to know where we’re going if they aren’t broadcasting the messages in English?!” To which I replied, “They broadcast English second…”). Whereas I suspected there must be a problem on the track or maybe an accident, the man said, “They want us to spend an hour in a cab getting there? Are they out of their minds?”

We all disembarked, with the man very loudly and passive-aggressively broadcasting his dissatisfaction at the change in his plans. Even going so far as to boorishly theorize that they just “didn’t feel like driving the train any further” and hurling aggressive statements and accusatory questions at all the staff. One quiet lady (fellow passenger) tried to intervene and he basically told her to butt out, by thanking her for her “kind and caring concern”.

Thankfully, the traffic controller fellow got them into a cab and on their merry way to the suburbs, but my boyfriend and I were just horrified by this couple’s terrible, entitled behaviour.

But the ride from Quebec City to Montreal was quite pleasant and picturesque. It was too dark to take pictures between Montreal and Ottawa.

Many flat fields where the wind must whip. As must the snowmobiles.

Only the tracks visible in the snow.

The power of Thor will save us in case of emergency.

These mountains were so gorgeous – also on our trip there, they were a fairyland of snow-wreathed trees.

Pulling into Montreal at sunset. Gorgeous.

In Quebec City

This year, my boyfriend and I decided to do something very different. We decided to spend the Christmas holidays away, just the two of us together. Initially, we were thinking Paris, because, well, Paris. But I was still feeling a bit tight after Ireland. So we thought about Mont Tremblant. But trying to rent an appropriately sized condo there kept falling through.

So we ended up buying first class train tickets, renting a little suite, and coming to Quebec City.

Yes, I was here six months ago with my mom and sister. It was a tiny bit warmer then.

We came to Quebec City for relaxation and for the atmosphere. We packed movies, books, comfy clothes, wandering clothes, and going out clothes.

We’ve gone for a few walks around the old city, a couple of which were bitterly cold, requiring us to stop in a pub to warm up. D’Orsay warmed us yesterday, with Hefeweizen brewed in Quebec and mushroom ravioli in a green onion sauce as munchies.

We’ve had some lovely dinners at Le Quai 19 downstairs. And we just got back from a quite amazing dinner at a restaurant my boyfriend suggested -Echaude.

Cute street in our wanders today.

One of the archways in the ramparts, near the Assemblee Nationale.

We are on our way back home tomorrow. It has been an exquisite and relaxing time away.

Winter Solstice

Is it just me or did the year speed up in there somewhere?

Happy Winter Solstice! It is the longest night of the year. The sun will be directly overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn at 12:11pm Eastern Standard Time today. Tomorrow, the days will start getting longer as we head back towards summer. Tomorrow morning, the sun will be reborn with the hope of a new spring, although we will still be in the dark half of the year.

There have been so many things I’ve thought to blog about in the last few days, but no time. But not really no time, just I chose to have no time to blog. Because I chose to use my time for other things. ¬†And now all those thoughts have vanished – I really ought to write them down when they occur to me…

I reached out to the lady that coordinates the yoga class at my office building to see if she thought there was enough interest to institute another yoga class with me as the teacher. She said no. *sigh* So I will have to be creative and think of an alternative.

Not that adding another commitment on my lunch hour during the work week would be a good idea right now. My boyfriend warned me against stressing myself out over this, and I take his point. I’m not even doing my fifteen minute meditation breaks on Thursday and Friday anymore because I’ve gotten so busy. I really should rethink this.

But, first things first. I am on vacation because of the Christmas holidays and we’ll be running around to see family this weekend. I’m remaining optimistic that the forecast storm won’t interfere with those plans. And then we’re going to do our own thing for Christmas Eve and Day, which I will be blogging about later, with pictures. Let’s just say, we’ll be able to do a comparison of the differences six months later. ;)

Happy Summer Solstice to the southern hemisphere! Happy Winter Solstice to the North!

Down East

For the first time in years, I’ve been sent to a conference. So I got on another plane today at the end of my workday and flew to the east coast, to Halifax for the ArcticNet conference.

Right behind the wing.

I watched out the window again, having once more held back my liquid laugh of glee at we punched forward and found lift. And I flew over my boyfriend’s father’s house. I could see everyone’s Christmas lights colouring the snow on their lawns.

Christmas lights in the ‘burbs.

I watched sparkles fly past my window, and I wondered if it was the way the strobe reflected off the twin prop engine and back onto the frost on the window. But they were always in different spots. It was only when we were preparing for approach and the pilot turned on the headlights that I realized we were flying through snow.

We landed and the tires of our wheel drove black marks through the white snow on the Tarmac.

As we were landing, the strobe was still flashing.

Then it was a long, slow, snowy drive from the airport, which is very far outside of Halifax, to my hotel downtown. My cab driver refreshingly didn’t overestimate what the car could handle. He also said after a drive like that, he was calling it a night.

My room is comfy with a king sized bed (but I’m trying to figure out where i will be doing yoga tomorrow am) and I’m looking forward to a soak in the bathtub before calling it a night.

But first, I was just pleasantly surprised by the hotel restaurant, Tempo, and the fact they had my favourite wine by the glass. I perched at a side high top table in the lounge and watched as the taxis lined up in a very civilized way to pick up the folks from the casino next door.

Ah, wonderful way to finish off my day.

Good glass of wine.


Saturday was my last day of yoga teacher training. We had a workshop where we talked a bit more about being yoga teachers, class sequencing (my submission didn’t need too many changes) and we had a celebratory lunch. And we gave our teacher a gift of an orchid for his collection, as a thank you.

And he gave us our certificates!

So I am now a certified yoga teacher. I’m going to hang the certificate next to my degrees, because it is an important step in this year, and generally, my life.