Monday, July 24, 2006

Quebec & Ottawa

I've been back a week and getting back into the swing of things both at home and at work. Lacey stayed with Jude and Ed and their two dogs, Wilson an Airdale and Lily the Miniature Schnauzer that comes to work with us everyday. I knew she would be fine with them and have a good time with the other dogs and that is exactly what I wanted for her but I was still stressed about leaving her and was worried she would have such a good time she wouldn’t want to come home again. I know how stupid that sounds but there ya go. She was fine and was very happy to see me when I got home.

Nemo on the other hand I wasn’t worried about as he was at home safe and sound and had Ryan with him to continue his routine and make sure he was fed etc. Well Nemo went into a snit and every day when Ryan got home, Nemo had torn up paper and spread it all over the apartment. The first day he got on the table and got all the paper napkins and shredded them all over the place. The next day he got the roll of paper out of Ryan’s bathroom and shredded it all over the apartment. And so it went. When I got home he had one more shredding fit with the toilet paper in my bathroom. I guess that was his final “screw you!!!! Go away and leave me and see what happens!!”

When I got home late on the Saturday night I opened the door and put Lacey down and she and Nemo took one startled look at each other and then threw themselves at each other and rolled into a ball playing and chasing each other around the apartment for half an hour. They were so happy to see each other. He was happy to see me too but he really missed his buddy. They are back to normal and Lacey is making sure she gets all the treats and stealing all of Nemo’s. I have to give him his treat up high where Lacey can’t reach it or it’s gone.

So the trip…….. Well it was very nice to go and see my brother and my niece. She is very bilingual and did a lot of translating for me in stores and such. My brother has been married to his current wife for 4 years. A year ago they split up for a bit and then got back together again. Last winter they bought a beautiful little house on a lake not too far from Mt. Trembant. It has a wrap around porch and hardwood floors. Very cute. Well I guess just before we got there they had been fighting a lot and by the time we got there they were on the verge of breaking up again. It was not very comfortable. The wife is French and basically pretended she couldn’t understand most of what we said. Thank god she worked most of the days we were there so we did get a break from it all. Her son who is 27 is staying with them was very nice to us. He has quite a bit of English so he spent some time trying to teach us some stuff and translating for his mother.

Lots more to that story but not my story to tell. Suffice it to say that after we left they had the discussion and have called it quits. They will sell the house and both go their separate ways. Steve has been talking about maybe coming home to BC now that Gabrielle is 10 and can fly out for summers and holidays. He shares custody of her and gets her on all holidays and for 2 out of every 3 weekends. We’ll see what happens, but it would be nice to see him home again although I know how much he would miss Gabrielle and I’m not sure how well she would take him moving away.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with Gabrielle. She is a lovely young lady and very smart and pretty with waist length hair. The lake was very warm and we swam lots and then I would brush out her hair for her. We played with beads and she spent quite a bit of time plugged into my discman listening to the disc I had made for the trip. I made her a disc and am mailing it today with all her favourite songs. She cried when we left and as I stood there and watched Mom and Steve hug and say their goodbyes I had this flash of “this might be the last time he ever sees Mom”. It really made me think about how old she is getting (75) and so I’ve been making sure I call her each day and chat for awhile. Spending that week with her also made me realize she is getting elderly. She just doesn’t have the energy or stamina anymore for long days or stressful situations.

We flew out of Vancouver at 9:10 on Saturday morning on WestJet which was very nice. The plane wasn’t full and we had our row of three seats to ourselves. Mom let me have the window seat as I wanted to take pictures and she really didn’t care if she had a window seat since she flew back 4 years ago when Steve got married. It is a five hour flight and was uneventful. TV in the back of the seats, headphones and carts to bring around drinks (pop, coffee, water, tea etc) and snacks. You buy sandwiches from them if you want more. I’ve never been across Canada and even though everyone tells you how flat the prairies are you just don’t grasp it until you see it for yourself. From the air it is totally flat with patchwork areas of farmed fields growing different crops. Manitoba when you go over has hundreds of little lakes. Coming into Laval airport you could see the smog. It was almost like a purple/brown line in the air with gorgeous deep blue sky above and haziness below.

With landing at Laval we never actually went into Montreal. You fly over it to land but then when we got our luggage, we headed north towards Mt. Tramblant. Lots of very pretty little towns and really you could pretend you were in BC in most areas and not know the difference. We have higher mountains but theirs are quite a bit older than ours. I loved all the little farm houses most with wrap around porches. We headed to St. Jovite and had dinner there and got a few groceries and headed home to Steve’s. Ginette worked that day until 11 pm so didn’t really see her until the next morning. She was cool but polite. Anyway we headed to Gabrielle’s to pick her up and saw her Mom and their new house. Had a nice visit and then headed back to Steve’s for a swim in the lake.

Monday we headed up to the mountain. Reminded me quite a bit of Whistler. I took Gabrielle to the Build a Bear and we picked out a new puppy to go with her puppy that daddy got her 2 years ago from the same place. The old dog was Rosy and so she picked Rosy and friend and called her Roxy. We had to get them both an outfit or two of course and then she spent the next couple of days making them very pretty collars from my beads. We toured the town and then headed home to a Lobster dinner to celebrate Steve and Philippe’s birthday (that is the wife’s son) which was on the Tuesday. Tuesday we were into St. Jovite for some groceries and a walking tour of the town. I really liked St. Jovite. An old town with lots of nice old buildings and a thriving night life with outdoor cafĂ©’s and bars. Took a lot out of Mom though as it was very hot and humid. Back for a quiet evening and early to bed as we were heading to Ottawa the next day. The wife elected to stay home which considering the tension by that time, we were very happy about.

Because Steve works for the Fairmont chain we got a very good rate at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa. It is a very old luxurious hotel right in downtown Ottawa, next to the locks and then the parliament buildings. They gave us a corner room on the bottom floor with a sitting room area in it. Very nice! Gabrielle kept saying, “Aunty they are treating us like royalty!” We headed out and got the Greyline Tour bus which we thought was the best way to see Ottawa as we had no idea of where anything was. The tour bus was an open double decker bus and we sat up top right in the front so we could hear and see everything. The tour guide checked to see who was English and who was French and as it turned out we were all English so he only had to do it in one language. We saw all the stuff we’ve heard about on the news for years. The parliament buildings, Rideau Canal and River, the RCMP musical ride horses, barns and fields, the Governor-General’s residence, the Prime Ministers residence along with many of the embassies and museums. The American embassy was interesting to see. They have a huge cement building that looks like a fortress, surrounded by a high wrought iron fence. Then a sidewalk and that is then surrounded by high thick metal pylons and that is then surrounded by huge cement abutments. I can understand why they are nervous but really it seemed overkill to me.

After the tour we headed back to the hotel and had a drink and a cleanup and then headed out again. As it happened there was a boat in the locks getting ready to go through so we got to watch the whole process. Very interesting and still done by hand cranking after all these years. Then on to the parliament buildings. Very glad I got to see them up close. Very beautiful and old.

Well I’m at work and better get back to it. Will finish this later.


Anonymous said...


Sounds like a grand trip. Most trips to visit families we can't escape the drama of human relationships but we love them anyway.

Your two little ones sound so cute


uncertain4sure said...

Welcome back Elizabeth Anne-Sounds like you had a good time. While you were away I had some good news on my liver biopsy, which will allow me to wait a few months b4 starting treatment, and also started a blog. I think it's on blogger, also, but I'm not sure. I'd make you a link on it, but I don't know how to do this! Maybe you could PM me the instructions on Ron's site or something. I think I've done OK so far, since I really don't know what I'm doing.
Take care,