Sunday, June 19, 2011

Close Encounters

It's unusual for us to see cats around here, since we really don't have any neighbours. So I was surprised to see this little orange and white guy checking out all the birds and critters in our front yard.

While he was staring up at a bird feeder, I noticed he was wearing a collar, so I went out to see if it had owner info on it. Our house is on a highway, so it's no place for someone's cat to be wandering around. What a friendly little guy, he came running right up to me, purring and rubbing on my legs, throwing himself down for a belly rub. His collar was made of reflective material, so his owners have to know he's playing in the road! And while there is a little ring attached to the collar where a tag USED to be, there's no tag there anymore. I'm sure he's no more than 10 months old, really nice temperament, but not only is he running around in a very dangerous area, he's not neutered either.

Reflective collar or not, I hope he's just happened to get out and far from home this one time. He will hopefully find his way back safely, and that will be that. Hopefully he hasn't been dumped "in the country" to try his luck against the coyotes. I'm hoping the collar means someone cares about his welfare at least a bit.

I was totally shocked to look out the window a while later and see the cat and a raccoon within a foot of each other! I had NO idea that a raccoon would just march right up to a cat like that!!!

Some hissing and posturing going on by the cat, the raccoon doesn't seem too worried. I am ready to make a commotion if I have to, but I don't want to startle them into a fight either.

They seem to decide they are okay with each other. A very good thing, as my money would be on the raccoon. I still can't believe it would do this, very glad that rabies is one shot I take seriously and keep mine up to date!! All I could think of is the big puppy pens I would make outside with ex-pens - covered against the birds of prey. Never did I think of this kind of encounter!

The raccoon decides the cat is not worth a tussle. I think this cat's owners would be quite surprised to know what he's up to when he's out wandering!!

I took a risk hoping the cat would get home safely, knowing I would feel horrible if I saw him dead on the road the next day. But he wasn't and there was no sign of him the following day either, so I was hoping that he got home fine and his owners would be more careful with him. I had also decided that if I saw him again, I'd bring him to the animal shelter for his own safety.

Well, he showed up again yesterday while we were working outside. I called him over and didn't he run right up to me and then past me, headed straight for a chipmunk that was at the base of a tree, and didn't he CATCH it and run off with it right in front of us!! I'm very partial to my chipmunks (of which we have a bumper crop this year) so that was pretty horrifying for me!

This cat has to go, he's bad for my front yard critters, who aren't used to predators at all, and it's not safe for him to be running loose around here, not to mention soon to be making kittens that no-one wants. So I took him to the shelter. I felt bad leaving him there, but I would have felt a lot worse if I found him dead on the road and hadn't done anything to help him. His owners have until Thursday to claim him and if they don't - he goes up for adoption. The shelter is new and really nice, they are no-kill so he stays there until he finds another home. I was impressed that the first thing they did was scan him for a microchip (none, of course!). Being a sweetheart and a pretty colour he should go quickly. I think any new owner can't help but be an upgrade for him over his previous owner!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Montreal Odyssey - Part III - Jo Ann

Finally getting back to our Montreal odyssey, on to the West Island of Montreal where I grew up. It's been quite some time since I've been to this area so a blast from the past for me. Terry was never familiar with this area so it was all new for him. Lots of good memories again. But, going back has it's pros and cons for sure. I know there are some West Islanders that read this blog, so .... fasten your seatbelts! (ggg) as we go back.

Our house today. My parents were the first owners of this house, newly built in 1962. The mature trees have been cut down, replanted, and matured again at this point. I was across the street taking pictures when a guy came out, saying hi and asking why I was taking pictures of the house, so I was super friendly, turned the charm on, chatted him up, said I had grown up here, my parents were the first owners and owned this house for over 30 years, yada, yada, my room was the room over the garage - was it still cold? The driveway wasn't that wide before, there was a hedge here, this was there, etc. - but he didn't bite. Although he was friendly enough, I did all but ask and didn't get an invitation for a closer look. Terry felt so bad, that we got into his house and not into mine. Never mind, it was more important we got into his at this point. If someone randomly arrived at your house and said they had lived there - would you invite them in? I figure maybe 25% of people would - and most people have said probably even less than that.

This was the only old picture of the house I could dig up - it was when we first moved in and not much in the way of trees yet. I believe the tree that is no more than a sapling attached to a stick above is the same tree in front of the house today. Other trees and foliage have come and gone in the interim. My sister and I are in the doorway here. I was 5 years old when we moved into this house, and lived there until I moved to my first apartment.

Speaking of which - my first apartment in Dorval. Looks pretty much the same. An older building, the rooms were big and the other attraction - dogs were allowed, and more than one was okay too, and lots of grassy areas all around. Not the first place I've chosen because it suited the dogs. It was close to the highway to drive to downtown Montreal to work too.

Lake St. Louis - as can be seen at the end of the street from the door of the apartment building above. Montreal is an island, so you are always close to water. Something you don't always appreciate when you live there. (Lake name pronounced "Lewie" not "Lewis").

Stewart Hall in Pointe Claire. One of my very favourite places. A mansion right on the lake that was donated to the City, it was the Public Library. I loved this place, picking out books every two weeks, the smell of the library, the quiet, the shelves, the gorgeous rooms and stairways. The sheer beauty of this building. I wondered what it would have been like to live in Stewart Hall, as people at one time did.

The back of Stewart Hall, right on Lake St. Louis.

Incredibly, the 50th anniversary of my High School (NOT my class - the school itself) was this same weekend. So, my High School, which was very close to my house, was totally opened up for visitors on the weekend we were there. It's a huge school, taking up an entire city block, so this is part of it. Ecole Secondaire St. Thomas High School. Green and white, green and white, fight, fight, fight!

The halls of St. T. Beat-up lockers and all. Not one single thing has changed about this school. Not one tile, not one piece of linoleum. All of it is 50 years old, except bathroom door graffetti painted over each year for the next batch. Having to use the bathroom, NOTHING has changed with all the same same sayings on the door, and the usual "if you can't spell", "so and so is a ...." and then I saw "LOL" written a couple of times. Okay, that would be new!

The principal's office. Bench on the outside and move to the bench on the inside and then go through the door to face the music. I swear the paint is the same colour. And is that the imprint of my butt on that bench....???

And we ate, we ate. Although we had a couple of upscale meals, the really memorable ones were the "only in Quebec" foods - the smoked meat sandwich at Dunn's that I'm still thinking about, the coleslaw, the fries, the sugar pie (OMG!) and the things we wanted to get and just couldn't stuff enough in - we just might have to go back. On our last night we ate at the Manoir - which has been in Pointe Claire for almost 40 years and was a very popular hang out when I was young. Cheap and excellent. It hasn't changed at all except for the big screen TV's literally every couple of feet and the addition out back. Terry loved it and I sure wish we had something like this here - I might never cook again. How to explain a brasserie, wikipedia does it best:

"In France and the Francophone world, a brasserie is a type of restaurant with a relaxed, upscale setting, which serves single dishes and other meals. The word "brasserie" is also French for brewery and, by extension, "the brewing business". A brasserie can be expected to have professional service, printed menus, and, tradionally, white linen (unlike a bistro which may have none of these). Typically, a brasserie is open every day of the week and serves the same menu all day."

The windmill by Lake St. Louis in Pointe Claire Village that is the symbol for the City of Pointe Claire.

We agreed that we both grew up in great places. And that we both still love "La Belle Province". How could you not?

It's hard to go back, and you can't, really, but me souviens.

It was good.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Congratulations are in Order

At one time I would have.

Celebrating 8 years smoke free today.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hummingbird Interlude

A hummingbird ballet, series of shots on a too dull day that worked out quite well regardless. Pretty good stop-action, wish the lighting had been better, but happy none-the-less. I could watch these little ones forever.