Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Under the weather, in both senses. I have been sick for the past two days, and all day today I have been looking out the window at snow falling in big wet constant flakes, accumulating heavily on the long branches of the pine trees in our yard. It goes on like this for some time, and then when it becomes too much, rushes off all at once, leaving the branch bouncing in a big cloud of crashing snow. As a consequence, it looks like it's raining snowballs, and I'm glad I don't have to go outside for anything.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

So it looks like The Hold Steady and Will Johnson are going to be playing here in April. Follow that up with a trip to Athens, and it looks like I finally have something to look forward to. Sweet Jeebus.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"It's getting hotter," Sven said, matter-of-factly. "They say that the Atlantic blah blah blah is blah blah blah..... (Insert facty stuff here. Sven reads a lot and sometimes listening to him talk is like reading an encyclopedia. Hence, I occasionally zone out)blah blah blah. I can't grow tomatoes outside in ninety-four degrees."
"Actually, you can grow a lot of tomatoes in ninety-four degrees."
"But you can't grow Sven."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sixieme Sens.

Twice in the past week I have heard of French chefs at the Culinary School telling students, from across the room and with their backs turned, to sharpen their knives.

"Eleezebet, I can 'ear your onions screaming!"

"Mahc, your knife is like a shovel."

It seems the French are particularly sensitive to this.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cock and Bull? Closed. Booooo.

Public art = hats on bus stops and kiosks. Awesome.


View from the brewery window:

Mmmmmmmm... beer.

Also, art.

Random street photos. I want to get to Sir Winston Churchill's next time. Prolly not the disco, though.

Well, Saturday night was as painful as I have come to expect Valentine's Day in the service industry to be. I won't get into details, because they really weren't funny or anything, but I will say that if not for Taylor I would likely have quit my job. And tonight is his last shift, which sucks. I have no idea who I will work with henceforth, but I know it won't be as fun or as easy.

I awoke on Sunday morning to find the b.h. standing over me with a flat white box in his hand, prompting me to wonder where in the hell he got Pizza on Sunday at ten in the morning. It wasn't pizza, though. It was donuts. A dozen, fresh from Dunkin'. He had woken up early and walked down there in time to bring them to me in bed before I had to go to work. What a man. Sunday was fairly straightforward at the Local Grocery, with no major incidents to report. I did get a free beer from the beer buyer, which I will be sampling when I get home from work tonight. I bought the b.h. a Valentine's present as well. It's a Sopressata, an Italian salami-type thing, and he loves it, and it's expensive so he never buys it for himself. And nothing says love like fried dough, unless it's cured meat, so it was a happy Valentine's Day for everybody.

Yesterday the b.h. and I had a rare day off together, so we got up early and went to Montreal. It was cold but sunny, and under the circumstances (February and Canada) I don't think we could have asked for a better day. My friend A agreed to come by and hang out with the dogs, so we had no worries about being gone too long.
We left around nine thirty, and stopped in Burlington for a breakfast sandwich and a second cup of coffee. I also bought a four pack of Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and a bomber of Smuttynose Baltic Porter, since I can't get them here at home. The line at the border was longish, and since it was Monday morning there was only one window open, but we got through in about fifteen minutes or so. The guy in the booth asked us where we were from and where we were going and for how long, as well as how we knew each other and whether or not we had anything to declare, etc. We were on our way in about two minutes.
Our first stop was one of the many markets. I can't remember which one it was, but it was great. We ate lunch (I had a sandwich with fresh baked bread, goat cheese, mixed greens, and tomatoes confit, and the b.h. had one with pork and brie) and wandered around for a bit. Since there are restrictions on what goes back and forth over the border, we limited ourselves to very few items. I bought some small yellow tomatoes to snack on. They were amazing and tasted remarkable of tomatoes. This is highly unusual for the time of year, and I had an urge to build myself a hothouse. The b.h. got more cured meat, and we got some pickled limes and a jar of green mustard (herbed with cilantro and basil). Here are some shots of the market:

It was a meat lover's paradise. I think if we weren't looking forward to Indian food for dinner I would never have gotten the b.h. out of there.

This is the veg stand where I got my tomatoes:

This is the bike that belongs to the guy who was running the veg stand. I was very surprised at the number of people who were biking at this time of year.

Our next stop was the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal. We were surprised by the number of people who left when they found out that it cost five dollars to go in, but not disappointed because it was nice and quiet inside. Though we chose not to take the guided tour, we could hear the guide fairly clearly and learned a few things about the building. I can't possibly describe it, and photos can't do it justice, but at least looking at these you might get an idea of the scale. When i found out that it only took 35 months to build, I was even more impressed. There's nothing else I can really say. It was amazing. Here are my attempts at photographing it:

This is the front from one side. I couldn't get the whole thing in from the front, but I think you get a good idea:

This is the front of the church inside.

Here's a staircase:

This is the same staircase from the other side of the church.

That tiny blob with one arm in the air is the tour guide.

This is one of the many tables full of candles where you can make offerings:

This is the only shot of a stained glass window that was worth showing you:

There will be more later, but for now I think I'm going to walk the dogs in the woods.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Hellooooo?! I'm here for my dog chicken."
He said it like he had been waiting forever, when in fact he had just walked up.
Luckily there was another person standing there, and she answered him before I got to.
"I'm sorry, what did you say?"
"Is Betty here? I'm here for my dog chicken."
"Betty has gone home for the day. Is there something I can help you with?"
"Yes, I am here to pick up my chicken."
"Oh, so you made a special order? Can you tell me your name?"

Monday, February 08, 2010

I am sitting on the couch, flanked by dogs. We have just returned from a walk in the very snowy woods behind the house. I am not hiking nearly enough these days, and I am constantly reminded of this fact by the way my clothes seem to keep getting smaller. I have been very exhausted recently, and I think I am finally starting to burn out. Tonight I am going to a yoga class in hopes that I will feel more relaxed and energized and whatnot. I don't feel any seasonal depression (that I'm aware of), but I think the fact that it's so beautiful here makes the cold part more bearable. Plus, when the sun is out it reflects off of the snow and seems even brighter. The woods were full of various animal tracks criss-crossing in all directions, and with no leaves on the trees we could see for miles up there. I'll have to try and bring my camera up there next time.
"I'm thirsty. I'm Thirsty. Moooom, I am sooooooo thirsty!"
The child was thirsty. He was sitting in a shopping cart about 100 feet from where I was working, and about fifty feet from the water fountain, from which his mother could easily draw him a free cup of water, were she not an idiot.
This went on for about ten minutes, after which I assume she finally broke out of her haze and hydrated him. Next thing I know, they are ten feet away, and he is crabbing again. Now, I realize that this is not the kid's fault, because he's about six, and it is past dinner time and probably nearing bedtime, and his mother is taking forfuckingever to grocery shop. I continue to ignore them as best I can, and then I look up and find the child, without his mother, rummaging in the cheese display. Before I can say or do anything, she meanders over, gazing stupidly at both the child and the cheese.
"Yes, that's cheese. But I can't have this so let's go back over there."
"But look at this-"
"I know honey, but mommy can't have cheese, so let's-"
She is interrupted by a loud pop, similar to the sound a Christmas Cracker makes.
"I didn't do anything. I don't know how that happened," said the child, looking up at his mother with absolute innocence.
"I know you didn't honey. Let's give that to the lady." She hands me what used to be a package of local herbed goat cheese.
"I didn't do anything. I don't know what happened!"
"I know honey. It's not your fault."
And she was right, in a way.