Sunday, 31 July 2011

On the meeting of my nieces

If you've read the description of the nature of this blog, you'll know that I reserve myself the right to use this blog to occasionally indulge in my nieces, nephew and mooses. The latter do not feature in this entry though the first is prominent. The middle one is only tangentially mentioned. (Sorry Edward.)

My sister Alice and my new niece Anna arrived in Montreal on Friday. Owing to traffic, Pappy only picked me up after picking up Alice and Anna up at the airport. I barely got a chance to look at her before getting in the front seat, with her behind me. It was a little strange and slightly hard to take to have this little bundle of joy behind me, and not be able to properly see her!
When we got back to North Hatley, Désirée, my first niece, (now three years old) was at my parents' house as my brother Philip and Dominique were off having dinner together. As the senior cousin, she greeted her new cousin with interest as well as bit of refusal to be photographed. (I suspect that she is slightly fed up with being photographed by parents and grandparents.)
Alice said that Anna was reasonably good on the flights from Gander, so Alice wasn't overly exhausted. She therefore agreed to pose for a few photos on the sofa. After a bit, I got Désirée to join in the session.
Anna is about three months old and, as you can see in the photographs, is in a slightly roly-poly stage, with plump "hamster" cheeks. She is a mite fussy, but can be utterly charming. My meeting was at the oldest age of any of my nieces or nephews to date. Edward was three weeks old when I first met him and Désirée was one day old!

On Saturday, Alice put Anna in her complicated wrap thingy, and went to the market along with "Granny", Désirée and your humble correspondent, a.k.a. the doting uncle.
This being North Hatley in summer, we ran into quite number of friends, all of whom were eager to greet the new arrival. Among them were my best friend James, Jenn, his wife and my quasi-niece Isla. We made some arrangements to have lunch with the latter two and the former had to drive into Montreal to pick up a friend at the airport.

After lunch, there was a drift towards the PV for swiming and socialization. Isla and Désirée are of an age (give or take six months) and had a lot of fun playing in the water...
...sometimes by themselves...
...and sometimes with Alice, Dominique and Jenn. Here they are playing ring-around-the-rosie.
Granny, Anna and myself watched from the shore. There was a short-lived and relatively unsuccessful attempt to introduce Anna to Lake Massawippi. Still lots of time.
Anyway, here is me holding Anna in my parents' front hall. (Note the smile on Anna. Of course this may be because her Mummy is behind the camera!)

Friday, 29 July 2011

On preparations afoot

As Alice and Anna are arriving this afternoon in Montreal, I decided to arrange to take the afternoon off work in order to greet them at the airport. This also means I will be 3 for 3 in the first uncle (or aunt) on my side of the family to meet new nieces or nephews!

Anyway, I have been using the time to do some preparation for Newfoundland in the form of washing and treating my soft shell jacket. I am also cooking some curry for the first night on the road. (Once the curry is cooked, I will freeze it. It should keep long enough that way without external refrigeration.) There is a pile of biking gear in the living room, waiting for me to figure out how exactly I should pack it all up for transport.

Hmm, and I probably should start boxing Leonardo for the plane, as I won't have all that much time to myself before next Friday as I am heading out to North Hatley this evening.

And to top it off, the price on tickets to Sydney has just dropped a bit. If they are still that price next week, I think I will book my to Oz.

Friday, 22 July 2011

On assorted topics, heat-induced ramblings

It has been excrementally hot here in Montreal this last week. Consequently, this post may seem disjointed. (And may contain typos.)

Luckily, I bought an air conditioner about a month ago, so I have been able to sleep, despite the noise of the thing. I resisted getting one for years on the grounds of environmentalism, machismo and sheer inertia. However, either I'm getting older and less tolerant of extreme heat or Montreal is getting more heatwaves.

I bought my unit at a nearby big box hardware store. As the unit weighs roughly 70 lbs, I quietly borrowed one of the store's shopping carts and used it to transport the air conditioner the few blocks to my flat. After hauling it up the stairs, I immediately returned the cart to the store.

It took me a couple of weeks, some duct tape, several magnets, some leftover corroplast and the spirits of Macgyver and Michael Weston to get it properly installed in my window frame. It is now cooling my bedroom, even as I write.

This foresight avoided me having to be a last minute shopper of the variety that I saw this afternoon. As I was locking my biking and going into my gym in the Forum, I saw no less than three people waiting for taxis or significant others to pick them and their new air conditioners up!

Of course, my foresight didn't stop me from biking to the MEC after work on Thursday, in order to pick up a squishy bowl and spork from Margo, through the hottest day so far. Shortly after leaving MEC, I passed a park with a water play area. I parked my bike and dunked my head in a spray of water. Still, the trip was a mite "mad dogs and Englishmen".

On the short arm of coincidence
Earlier this week, Margo and Chris flew in to Moncton to start their Atlantic Canadian trip that will see them meeting me in Deer Lake. As it happened, yesterday, I happened to glance at my brother's blog where I saw that he was in nearby Shediac. I made rapid e-mails and comments to both parties as it would be such a waste if they crossed each others' paths without realizing it. As it turns out, they did see each other near Shediac, so I hope they stopped for a chat and possibly a photo or two. Philip and his family have rarely seen Margo and Chris, so this was a good and fun opportunity. I am not even sure if Chris had ever met Désirée before. I do know that Margo met Philip's family at Alice's wedding.

I like to think that my string pulling caused this meeting. I call the encounter the short arm of coincidence as it isn't extremely unlikely on the whole. Not like bumping into someone from North Hatley in the main square of Cuzco, Peru!