Monday, June 20, 2011

Double Exposure

As predicted, my second weekend was just as lovely and languid as its predecessor.

Firstly, can we talk about how nice weekends are? I miss A LOT about being in school, but one thing I do not is the lack of guilt-free weekend time. My last semester especially was devoid of an entire day off ever (I only took a weekend of reading-week off, aside from that it was my carrel for 10 hours each day), so doubling up as I just did was especially delicious and delectable.

On Saturday I slept in, spent some time on the interwebs, and then hightailed it over to Lilly's fabulous back yard for some extra doses of sangria and friendship. Lilly, Nathan, Kesha, and I then took in the sights and sounds of a closed-off St. Laurent. This has to be one of the highlights of Montreal in the summer. I love a closed-off street, be it for block parties or big summer festivals. We took full advantage of Café Republique's makeshift patio and the open doors of a Yeh Yogourt whilst on our little meander too. The long walk up and then back down (through more pedestrian streets and parks) was also quite called for after a healthy (read: not healthy) dose of waffle fries and frozen yogurt.

St. Laurent - not packed but definitely popular

Montreal is certainly good at green space, no?

Sunday fell upon much the same lines. More sleeping in (apparently my internal alarm clock is tuned to 11:00 and no other time), and then un peu de shopping and then eating at the lovely Café Theatre. This lovely little endroit is just around the corner from my place, and it makes a killer club sandwich, y'all. I'm talking avocado and cranberry sauce all up on that mother. It becomes a bar at night too, so the gang are thinking of making this our Cheval Blanc of the west.

Café Theatre in all its kitschy glory

Love the decor of this place!

I didn't entirely bring the house down, but I did find the dress I'm going to wear to Lindsey's wedding later this summer and a killer 50s-inspired nautical shirt. I seems as if, at least in the realm of fast fashion, 60s and70s are à la mode maintenant and the only way to get your hands on 50s-inspired stuff is through lingering nautical trends. There are some styles I quite like from the later decades (especially in hair) but clothing-wise the best for me is definitely mid-century.

Everything that summer calls for: halters, sweethearts, gold buttons, stripes, and cinched waists

I think it has a lot to do with what I studied. I know it's super simplistic, but the 50s just seemed like such a magical time in Canada. There was booming post-war population growth and construction, and at least in film and visual media (my areas of historical specialty) a very simple, positive, optimistic, and hardworking ethos pervaded throughout. It also seemed like a really interesting time to be a Canadian. There were still really strong ties to Britain, but on the whole the nation was trying to figure itself out as it's own independent place - much on the back of Canadian soldiers' heroism and good work during the war.

All of this to say, I like my new shirt.

Dreaming of stripes, florals, heels, and requisite manhattans,

Your friend Lina

Saturday, June 18, 2011

In Transit

The weekend came early for me, boys and girls. My bestest lady from my exchange, Ariana, was passing through Montreal on her way to her fabulous internship in Brooklyn this summer, and so I got her! My boss gave me the time off so we could hang out. It was the best!

Ariana (in her favourite pose) outside the CCA

Obviously, you all know how much I love to travel. And that even when you can't travel, the best thing to do is to treat wherever you are like you are a tourist. This is why I love love love having friends come to visit, cause that's exactly what you get to do!

Ariana arrived in the evening on Wednesday, so after an afternoon of cleaning up the place, I went to go meet her at the bus station. We then went on a mad dash to grab groceries and booze, resulting in a three-store trek. And two of those stores weren't even reasonable (24-hr dep and Jean Couteau anyone?). However, the fruits of our labour were wondrous. We had a mean v. reminiscent of Bristol dinner nights: shrimp and veg pasta with a few bottles of cider. Back in the day we (Ariana and myself, but also our two other best gals Clara and Adrianna) would always phone each other up, figure out who had what ingredients and make a feast before going out on the town. Next day we would get together for tea-time (again, compiling everyone's disparate ingredients) and piece together the night before (compiling everyone's disparate memories this time). Though of course it's never the same, I love reenacting the traditions of my favourite times with some of my favourite people.

The next day we woke at the crack of eleven, luxuriated about the place with mushroom scrambled eggs and coffee, and by one were eventually able to hoik ourselves over to the Canadian Centre for Architecture to see the splendiferous exhibits they've got on the summer. The main one is 'Architecture in Uniform,' about architecture during the second world war. They cover construction projects like building new factories, hangars, bunkers, as well as the change in technologies such as camouflage, plastics, and glass. I love the way the exhibit ends as well, with a focus on post-war construction in North America. Throughout there is also tonnes of propaganda posters (of course my fave), and NFB films. They have my favourite one too, so of course I'm smitten with the exhibit. This was my second time going to see it, but as I am adamant that everyone I know check it out - and since it's right across the street from me - I'm sure I'll go many many more times.

Our Local Lunch - Quebecois brie, strawbs, baguette, and cider plus an Ontarian gal

We then came back to mine for lunch and then headed up to Parc Lafontaine to meet up with more friends - Lilly, Erin, and her sister Hannah. Erin had just come back from her exchange in the Netherlands, so it was not only awesome to see her, but also to get to reminisce about what were undoubtedly shared experiences. When I was in Bristol Lilly had come to visit, so we all could share about our travelling experiences. That combined with Ariana off on a new adventure of her own really made me start to crave again. . . . I even dreamt about flying and visiting Halifax last night! Maybe I should make that my next sojourn. . .

Nice Bum Where Ya Frum: A Study in Saunderses and Wilsons

For dinner we walked down to Lilly's to take full advantage of her wonderful little backyard. She's currently growing cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, tonnes of herbs, and tomatoes - so our veggie-burgers were super tricked-out with all her fabulous home-grown and organic produce. We made some seriously delicious (and a little deadly) Sangria and, true-to-form, laughed and talked all night.

White wine, rosé cider, 7up, white cranberry juice, frozen fruit, and sliced lemon and lime

There was even a little 'You Don't Know Jack' on the Wii thrown in at the end, which not only brought back fond memories of my childhood, but also satiated my thirst for trivia. Hmm, maybe it was the copious amounts of trivia my mother foisted upon us as kids that whetted my appetite. . . if you allow to play a little armchair Freudian psychologist. Honestly though, who doesn't love learning new, interesting things day in and out? Probably most people, but I am not counted among them.

The next day actually met us bright and early to whisk Ariana off to the train station. I still had the day off work, so I luxuriated about the place until a certain fellow showed up on my doorstep. We whiled away the evening talking and Tremblaying about the balcony, and yet I still made it to bed at an unhip and reasonable hour.

And now that that wonderful weekend is over, I'm ready for my next!

Get out and enjoy the city, sun, and fun boys and girls!

Your friend Lina

Beating the heat with the best way to keep hair back and Ariana's awesome Sevillan fan

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

True North, Strong and Free

Two weekends ago, boys and girls, the gang went up to Josh's cottage for our first of the summer!

I headed over to Lilly and Nathan's earl-eye in the morning on Saturday laden with treats (Lilly's delicious mango/avocado/black bean salad and the fixins for s'mores) and we all heave-ho'd into our little rented car for the trip (which was a nice 3-hour drive). We brought Lilly's dog with us who is becoming something of a grumpy old lady, so she was in constant motion trying to find the best way to lie down in a tiny space that didn't hurt her old lady hips. Needless to say, when we got out at the cottage it looked as if Nathan and I were also shedding animals. Which I'm not particularly in need of, what with my already-ridiculous mane.

Upon arrival, Josh and Ian and Josh's dog (a delightful doofus) were already there, so we promptly unloaded all the food, grabbed beers, and then basically just spent 24 hours on the dock. A few of the crew joined the lobster team (a beautiful radioactive glow to get the summer off to a good start!), but I was super diligent with the sunscreen so I was just a mite bit more tan/pinkish in regions. There was one spot that I consecutively missed on my upper arm, so it became the apocryphal story of how red I am capable of getting.

Missing Josh and Lilly . . . and a special mention goes to Nathan

However, for the most part, my only casualty from the weekend were from mosquito bites. I've always been particularly delicious to them (all that good CO2 I produce), and this weekend was no exception. I counted 27 bites on ONE of my legs. This does not include feet, my other leg, arms, or back. Which had also been summarily munched upon. I blame the having to pee in the woods. Hopefully by the next time we go up they will have sorted out the septic system so no more disturbing mosquitoes in their natural habitat and then standing really still for a while will be required.

The day culminated in lots of more beers, burgers and the aforementioned salads, pie, and a hookah. All of this combined with six white kids' first foray into sun exposure for a year meant that we all went to bed SUPER early. I was third to last awake, and I was asleep by 11:30. We all still slept till 11:00 on Sunday morning, but we wouldn't have done so unless we needed it right?

Sunday brought a delightfully greasy breakfast, coffee made with paper towel cause we didn't think ahead, and more dock lounging and boating. We went for a couple rides around the lake yesterday, so all of that meandering culminated in us running out of gas down a channel from Josh's cottage. We tried as best we could to get the boat up and running, but in the end we had to paddle the thing back in. And this is a 70hp motorboat we are talking about, so no small feat there. Despite that setback, you know summer has arrived when you have your feet up in the bow of a boat with nothing ahead of you but still lake-water, trees, and docks, and nothing ruffling your being but the wind in your hair (and the ruffles around your neck cause I am lady, after all).

Easily my favourite photo from the trip - entitled If Men Were Housewives

We then drove back with no great excitement, I showered, and then I was to bed - willing my legs to scratch themselves.

We're hopefully going to be heading back for the Canada day weekend, so I'll be bringing you more of the same then! I must say, I don't mind a repetitive summer when a weekend such as that is running on Dave.

Blotchily tanned,

Your friend Lina

Featuring my new favourite way to wear and scarf and keep my hair back - pretty bow to dress everything up, including the H&M romper I lived in and my old baggy AA hoodie

(NB: Most of this post was copied from an email I sent to a friend - sorry originality laws!)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer of Dreamz

Well that may be a bit presumptuous, but I am have a friggin' great summer boys and girls.

I'm living in THE BEST apartment with my most excellent cousin Emma. There is honestly nothing like living with family. We understand eachother in a way that I've never had with a roomie before (even though I've always had lovely ones). And this is honestly my dream apartment as well. It's VERY Montreal. It's a walk-up with high ceilings, exposed brick, nice mouldings, washer and dryer, big kitchen, and my cousin is in Fine Art so we have beautiful decorations everywhere. Don't ever make me leave!

Justin (Bieber, Trudeau, or Emperor Justinian), QI book (because the show alone is not enough), and skelingtons!

I graduated last week with First Class Honours in History from McGill. And William Shatner was our Honourary Doctor. It was a really fun day (I wasn't expecting that!) and I've really never beamed quite so much as when one of my favourite professors was waiting at the end of the stage to give me a hug. My parents came down for the occasion (they really are so good at doting upon me), and I think a really great time was had by all. I've got to hand it to McGill, they really know how to put a nice cap (har-de-har) on four years of incredible work.

Me and my lovely Miim!

Soon after school ended (about a month and a half ago) I also got a job at a local cafe, and it too is going so well. I adore everyone who works there (although about half of them are leaving soon); for the most part the customers are nice and courteous and friendly; and there is no boon like free and cheap coffee and food. I'm now on a four-to-five caffeinated beverages a day, so I expect withdrawl symptoms to be quick and fast if/when I'm finished working there myself.

I've also been taking full advantages of my weekends off to go here and there, both about Montreal and elsewhere in the Queebs and the Onts. My cousin and one of my best friends have already come to visit, and there are more arriving this week! We've also started the Canadian summer tradition of cottaging at every available turn last weekend at Josh's place outside of Ottawa, and hopefully we will be going back there, and elsewhere, as the summer rolls on!

So, you know, it's may not be adventures every day but I am feeling the most charmed I've ever been!

Keep in touch, boys and girls!


Your friend Lina