Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm Ba-aack!

Did you miss me?

Well, it's a sweltering day out there today, and I am mighty glad to be inside where there is air-conditioning. For those of you who have no idea where I've been for the past few days, the answer is: Montréal. Mostly. My weekend adventures ran a little like this:

Friday morning was a gorgeous morning. Bright, sunny, warm, but not too warm. It was a perfect day for a trip out to Lafleche Aerial Adventure Park for the second attempt at the tree-top obstacle course and ziplines (the first attempt saw the adventure park close due to torrential rain). It was so much fun I cannot even begin to describe it, but I'm a writer, so of course I'm going to try.

We started off with a basic safety course before our group headed off to the first obstacle course. Obstacle course number 1 was not difficult at all. As it turned out though, we were stuck behind a pretty slow-moving group. However, they were laughing and having a great time, so it was all good. Our small little group had stragglers of our own (ahem, G.H....).

All four obstacle courses ran pretty much the same. There were swings and bridges and tunnels and tight-rope walking, nets and hanging ropes and ziplines. My favourite had to be at the end of course number 3. There was a series of ziplines we had to race across in order to get to the fourth course. Man alive was that ever beautiful, gliding between and over trees, and over the lake there. It was like flying - only a little noisier.

Each obstacle course became progressively more difficult. By half-way through the fourth course, my forearms were burning like wildfire.

We were all a bit disappointed when it ended, but tired and very, very hungry. It took us roughly three hours to complete all four courses, and we were feeling fulfilled. It was a great way to spend the morning. We ate lunch in Wakefield, then headed home for a well-deserved nap.

Saturday saw the family gather at my Uncle's cottage at Danford Lake in Quebec. It was the annual 4th of July celebration (occurring on the 3rd for some reason....). No, the family is not American. They are very Canadian. The 4th of July happens to be my Grandpapa's birthday. Every year to celebrate, the family went out to the cottage. It's a tradition that has survived even though Grandpapa has passed away.

There is nothing to say about that party except this - I love my family. They are such warm, friendly, lovely people. I am so incredibly blessed to be a member of this family!

Oh, and an amusing side note, I almost fell out of the kayak when I got in for a trip around the lake. Clearly I am horribly out of practice. Must get down to the lake more often!

Sunday, G.H., her husband and I went on a roadtrip. Leaving straight from my Uncle's cottage at Lac des Iles (different uncle) where we had stayed the night, we drove (the long way around, might I add) to Montréal. The hotel my brother in law chose was perfectly situated. It was, basically, on the corner of everything. It also had an awesome shower.

That night, we headed out to check out the second last night of the 31st annual International Jazz Festival. We listened to two acts that night, before G.H. got ill and we returned to the hotel. The act I really liked was Amanda Martinez - a tri-lingual Latin-American singer. Her mother was from Mexico and her father was from South Africa. She had an amazing voice and was generally fun. My favourite part, she hates shoes... ahhhh... a girl after my own heart!

Day two in Montréal was late to start for us. We missed the free continental breakfast at the hotel (not a big deal, it wasn't a great breakfast), and so walked down to the Ports in Old Montréal for a bite. Then, we wandered around Old Montréal for the day. First stop: Rue des Artistes. I love, love, LOVE that little street. The cobblestones are beautiful. The buildings are beautiful. The artwork is beautiful. There was a small enclosed courtyard off that street that was full of teeny, tiny artisan stalls. It was just awesome!

It was a really hot day that day, so it wasn't long before we had to retreat to a fruit stand for some well-deserved smoothies. We then wandered around indoors for a bit to take advantage of the air-conditioning, and then found ourselves outside, sitting in the shade plotting our next move.

The next move was to go back to the hotel and call our cousin, C.C. who lives in Montréal. We arranged to pick her up, and then go out to dinner. Before the going out to dinner though, we had to check out her new apartment. It was just beautiful! Narrow, but really beautiful. The building was at least 100 years old, and had wooden pillars and beams and all that exposed wood was simply gorgeous! During the tour of the house, I stepped on a raised threshold with my left foot, and managed to aggravate the stress fracture I had acquired a few months ago. It didn't really start to hurt until after dinner (we went to Steak et Frites on the Plateau).

As a result of my stupid foot, I was unable to partake in the exploration of the Plateau that was planned for tomorrow. I did insist, however, that I meet my sister and her hubby for Dim Sum at he Ruby Rouge in Chinatown. They have good Dim Sum! (for all my non-North American friends and family, Dim Sum = Yum Cha)

Unfortunately, my sister and her hubby were still full from breakfast and so we didn't each much. Probably a good thing, considering how much I have eaten over the past few days!

Then it was back to the hotel for a rest before my sister and her hubby went out again. I stayed in and listened to music and daydreamed while simultaneously cursing my stupid foot. Try it. It's not easy. Then, all too soon, my sister returned and it was time to go.

We left the apartment at 6pm-ish and arrived at the train station at 6:05pm-ish. I bought my ticket home. No sooner had I done so than the train began boarding. I hugged G.H. and D.H. goodbye and jumped on the train. It was a short trip and I was home before 9pm-ish - to an incredibly hot and dark house (the lights were off to try and stop as much heat as humanly possible). It was so hot, that the cats were almost comatose. They kinda just flopped down in front of the oscillating fan and didn't move. No, really didn't move at all.

G.H. and D.H. return to Ottawa today for one last evening before flying out to Vancouver tomorrow. There will be a family dinner, and a lot of good-byes. Knowing G.H., there will also be a lot of tears.

Right, so that was the short version of my very brief holiday. I now have a tonne of catching up to do, then I have to get cracking on critical reading - I have been asked to be a Beta reader, but haven't had the time to even look at it until now. Have a great Wednesday everyone!

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