Soil, sorting, cards, white


I woke up walked outside this morning on to the back patio to let Corky do his morning absolutions, as I always do, to discover a backhoe operating in the still forested lot just east of my parent’s place, on Rue de la Goudrelle. It wasn’t there for long. The machine operator appeared to be filling Zip-loc bags with earth. He and the backhoe crawled their way back to the road shortly thereafter, to an awaiting flatbed truck. Dad figures that the new developer must be doing a soil and water check, which means a new house could be going up at some point 😦

These tests are being done because there have been some problems in Saint Lazare with new residential developments and water. The top soil, such as it, has very little absorption capacity, as it sits on a red clay base underneath. Perfect for coniferous forests and birch trees, which you’ll find all over, especially in la Forestier, a conservation area just south of here. Terrible if you’re looking for that perfect lawn (for example Mom and Dad had to have 12 inches of top soil imported to their lot after their house was built, and they’re still having problems in key areas in getting grass to grow. I have suggested using sedge instead to fill in the blanks). When it rains or the snow melts, lawns just become lakes and the grass drowns, or it’s swept away completely by the streams and temporary creeks that pop up all over the area. Some of the lots in this development will never have anything done with them, because of this, so their natural pristine quality should remain for a while, at least.


Mom’s upstairs, going through some of the boxes we had packed up last week at Noreens. Now comes the culling, reducing each box down to the bare necessities. Noreen will not need most, if not all of it, at le Vivalis. Most of what is being left for Noreen is more of a peace of a mind thing than for any other reason. Still, Mom was able to downsize four boxes to one.


Mom, Dad and Coleen are upstairs in the kitchen playing Whiskey, a card game that Mom keeps inviting me to learn to play. I wish I had more interest sometimes. I remember fondly the nights when the grandparents were all alive, and they would be over at our old home on Vincennes, in Pointe-Claire. I could be anywhere in the house, and could them all chirping and laughing away. You would think that my sister Laura and I would have picked up on that and carried on into the next generation.

Instead, nothing. When Laura and Jon visit, they just sit around the living room with Mom and Dad and chat. As for me, I exert most of my energies into doing chores and cooking. Manual labour stuff which I enjoy. Stuff that Laura and Jon would never do, even though they seem to expect Mom and Dad to help them when there are certain jobs which they do not posess skills for, to be done at their home in the Beach, Toronto.


Coleen gave me this Ionic White teeth whiterning kit that her friend Anne in Pickering, gave to her as a gift, forgetting that Coleen wore dentures. So Coleen gave it to me to give it a whirl. The instructions call it "a light activated tooth whitening system". Essentially the gels contain silver ions which activate when exposed to this harmless blue LED light in the mouthpiece (looks like an oversized retainer to me). All I know is that it works fine, and that’s good enough for me.

Setting up, tears , loss, arrival, small town ambience

19h03 Wednesday:

Been a l-o-n-g day.

I’m tired and kinda’ sore, but I’m feeling good.

Tomorrow Noreen will be bidding adieu to St. Mary’s Hospital and being taken to her new place of residence at le Vivalis in Pointe-Claire. Coleen spent the day with her at the hospital. Mom and I were at Residences Place Moritz (For those of you who noticed, this is the proper name. I screwed up in the previous entries by calling it Saint Moritz, but what the hey? Just about everything in QC is named after a saint, purported or otherwise.) trying to get as much of Noreen’s inmediate necessities packed up so as to make the transition as comfortable as possible.

Noreen’s a bit scared, but who can blame her? Well, I can, but then I think she’s been coddled all her life anyways, so just ignore me.

There were some tears shed while she passed her time with Coleen, who soothed Noreen’s fears to the best of her ability, but I can guarantee that there will be more. She is after all, in her late eighties, and a five foot three inches, the world can seem awfully bug and scary.

She’s sad that she will be giving up more of her belongings, like her mahogony dresser, and her….well, we’re not quite certain as to what it. Mom thinks it might have been a liquor cabinet at some point in the past, but as long as we have known Noreen it has served as a TV cabinet. The Rock maple round wooden table and chairs… gone.

The worst part is not being able to sell the to the antique dealers, but they say the market has crashed, to an extent in part due to such television shows as the Antique Roadshow which, although popular (my Mom and Dad were on the Canadian version when it came to Montreal a couple of years ago) has flooded the market with all sorts of crap and sometimes causing prospective sellers to hold out for ridiculous prices.

So, for now, some of Noreen’s stuff will go into storage without her knowledge, until she has time to aclimitize to the new changes in her life.

I’m certain however she will adjust quickly. The staff and management at le Vivalis are superb. I would move in tomorrow, given half the chance. Mom and I are just family, and le Vivalis was so quick to cater to any of our needs while we were there this afternoon trying to set up Noreen’s room. Imagine how they’ll be hopping for Noreen, who’s paying the bills?

I think the one problem Noreen (and Mom and myself) will have problems with is the LG plasma screen HDTV. Noreen has enough trouble to trying to use the telephone, now that all Quebecois have to dial ten digits. How the heck is she supposed to be able to figure out a remote controller with forty-five buttons? We picked up an RCA universal remote from the new Wal-Mart in Vaudreuil-Dorion on the way home to see if we can stem any possible hysteria over that.

Other than that, I really can’t see this being too much of a problem, and although Mom may not mention it to Noreen immediately, Noreen does have the option to move to a larger accomodation, once the building starts opening up the other floors. Because it is a new establishment, and is just establishing itself in the West Island community, they are not speading the staff to thinly by haphazzardly placing new residents throughout the building.

13h24 Thursday

Decided not to bother completing my entry for yesterday. I just wasn’t in the mood. I was tired and in bed by 22h30.

I do enjoy journalling though. It’s fun and a means of relaxation and putting stuff into perspective through the written word. When I use links to highlight specific sections, I spend a lot of time using search engines, such as Google or to find the web page or site most appropriate to what it is I’m trying to describe. I just don’t pick one at random.

I do the same thing with stationary cards, etc…. They need to have some meaning to both myself and the person I’m sending it to, otherwise what would be the point?

Mom’s been gone since this morning. She’s with Noreen, hopefully by now, at le Vivalis, getting her established, letting her meet the staff and management that will see her to day to day requirements. Mom will be touching base with the nursing staff there, to update them on what will be needed to ensure that Noreen stays healthy, both mentally, emotionally and physically.

Coleen has spent the morning dusting and sweeping the main floor of the house. The dogs and cat have been demanding to go in and out so much that it would have been smarter to have an electric door monitor installed. Dad’s been going for walks up to the Canada Post superbox, where the neighbourhood mail is delivered. Spring fever is definitely here.\


Got off the phone with my mother after checking to make certain that Noreen’s new phone line was up and running. She’s tired. Noreen is as well. They had lunch at le Vivalis after arriving via medi-bus at around 11h30. Noreen anjoyed her meal. A good sign for as fussy an eater as her.

She’s not too impressed with the plasma screen television, and misses her own, probably because she knows how to use it. Understandable.

I’m hoping now to convince Mom to take the next couple of days off now, except maybe to drive in onto the island to pay visits. There’s nothing that really needs doing for now, at least until Meldrum the Movers deliver Noreen’s furniture and belongings sometime early next week.

Dad and I drove into the town proper of Saint Lazare, to the Sears catalogue center. A shack behind one of the local restaurants which doubles as a photocopy shop. Got to love small towns.

There’s a bunch of what Dad refers to as "tempos" all over the place. Covered extensions to people’s garages that provide additional coverage for the winter snows out here. They all need to come down as of April the 1st, or they can be fined. Plastic eyesores is what I call them. I can understand their use out here, where the snows can be extremely heavy. In the cities though, I feel they should be banned outright.

Surprise electoral results, QC’s future in CA, miscellaneous, moving date set, small screens cause discomfort


Despite it really being no matter of my concern these days, at least, not since I made my move to Ontario, I can’t help following, even if only peripherally, the provincial election results from yesterday.

To my surprise, for the first time since the seventies, the Parti Quebecois is no longer in either control, or is the official Opposition Party.

The opposition is now controlled by parti Action Democratique du Quebec, led by Mario Dumont.

In fact, the PQ took a tremondous loss despite a new leader, Andre Boisclair : young, full of vigour and fresh ideas on how he could bring the party to victory and to redefining Quebec’s place in Canada.

He won’t be party leader for long, I guess now.

This might represent a change in public attitudes now. Maybe citizens of Quebec/Canada are no longer interested in hearing the drums on seccession? After all, what has dragging that old issue done, but leave Quebec nearly destitute, with businesses scrambling to move their operations somewhere less chaotic? With students now demanding from the provincial education department that they be allowed to learn english, since they cannot do utside of Quebec, not being to speak the lang franca?

Monies that could have been earmarked for other major issues, always being used to keep either one side promoting federalism, or the other, sovereignty, while, for example, overpasses crumble to pieces, killing people.

With a $127 billion debt load, how would Quebec, in the unlikely chance that it won independence tomorrow, be able to maintain the current status quo?

It cannot.

Quebec needs to realize that without Canada, it is nothing!

The fact that Quebecer opposed to Canada are allowed to rail, to continously play the referendum card, shows a true democracy, one that doesn’t crush a people’s spirit because it happens to disagree.

Canada needs to come to terms as well. that Quebec is the birthplace of Canada. It all started here. The contributions that the French have made to our country’s development, should be honoured and protected. We need to recognize this.

Canada spends far too much time protecting the interests of new minorities that have emigrated from all over the world, to the point that it has forgotten its shared past. Our heritage. One that is unique.

Two very different systems of government and justice, and yet somehow, they managed to forge one of the purest forms of democracy left today. One that stands out from all the other G8 nations.

I love the joie de vivre of Quebec. I love it’s peoples. I understand the citizens of Quebec’s fear that thier uniqueness will fade as the global economics forces that drive our nations make it irrelevant. Money is becoming the reason that we are losing our identidies.

Do you think you’re irrelevant?

Would you not scream and fight to preserve your tomorrows?

Probably not.

My name is Christopher Peter King. I AM CANADIAN and I AM A QUEBECOIS!

The two are NOT diametrically opposed.


I was outside shovelling snow off the back patio, so that it will dry off faster and make it hospitable and inviting, should one wish to sit out there for a spell.

It reminded me of something my Mom and I saw as we were driving home from Noreen’s apartment at Residences St. Moritz Sunday. A family was outside, busily shovelling snow off their lawn, and onto the street.

It’s not like the ground will get any drier tomorrow so that the children can play in the front yard on their hands and knees.Are people that desperate for Spring and the warmer weather that they would their time so?

For Check Point Zone Alarm Pro firewall users, there’s yet another update to download. What pisses me off is that you have to download the entire installation software, rather than just the stuff that needs to modified.

When you’re on dial-up, this can lead to a series of colourful metaphors.


Started getting back to work on categorizing what’s been done so far ‘tween myself, Drew and the students on loan from Seneca College’s Library Technician program.

Right now it’s catch-up with all the backlog of handwritten records. I have to make certain first that the records have been accurately recorded in the Microsoft Office XP database file that we are using to store everything for now, until we can come up with a better alternative. After the records have been entered. I then go to the National Canadian Library and Archives web site, called Amicus, and their catalogue section, so as to ensure all the proper extraneous information is entered.

It’s quite the job, and time consuming. UGH!!!!!!!


Mom called around 15h00 from St. Mary’s. She said she had been trying to get through to the house for the past hour or so. I had been offline since just after signing off from Windows Live Messenger and Drew, which was around 14h15, and gone upstairs to the kitchen to prepare the rosemary baked potatoes, so I have no idea as to why she was unable to place her call.

Noreen will be moved to le Vivalis this Thursday. I’m guessing that the hospital could not provide reasonable answers as to why Noreen was being mistreated while in their care.


I’m feeling much better now.

I had a headache starting to roll in around 15h00. It’s from watching too much telly on a seventeen inch computer screen. Wouldn’t happen if I wasn’t so frickin’ lazy and transferred my movies off the computer and onto a CD or DVD so I could instead watch them on the much larger screen in the family room.

Voting in QC, a Successful Sale, Screwing around at St. Mary’s and 2 Dogs Having Fun

Mom and Dad left earlier this morning. Haircuts, lease signing at le Vivalis and some other items were on the schedule. There’s also the small matter of casting one’s vote, as today is Quebec’s provincial elections.
My father has always said that really, there are only two parties to really vote for when you’re in Quebec, the provincial Liberals or the Parti Quebecois. Everything else is really a vote wasted, since no other party matter when you tally it all up.
Sure, there’s now the Action Democratique Quebec, and a few others, and apparently the ADQ has made quite a
number of inroads since it’s inception, but really what it comes down to is idealogy. Do you want Quebec to start part of Canada, or do you want it to be it’s own country.
Either way, it bogs the system down for another few years, tying up finances and resources that could better used in working towards easing the provincial debt, an astonomical figure of $127 billion, the unemployment rate, fifty percent, infrastructure, etc…
Instead time is wasted in arguing about Quebec’s future and it’s place in Canada, which, as far as I’m concerned when you’re driving along highway 20 into the city, seeing how dirty it is, looking at all the empty industrial buildings, is really a moot point. Seems to me that while everyone is arguing about what is good for Quebec, they have forgotten what would be GOOD for Quebec, like a stable economy and political structure. One that doesn’t scare people away.
Tossing good money after bad to flog a dead horse is doing no one any good.
I can understand where french Quebecers are coming from, but once a decision has been made, perhaps it would be better for a parti here to shrug it’s shoulders, console itself that it fought the good fight, and now work on making things right.
Just a thought.
Just finished playing ball with Quincy and Chelsie. Quincy is hilarious, chasing that huge exercise ball around the house, Chelsie with her smaller one, now punctured from a glancing tooth, chasing after him.
Coleen got some good news. The owners of the house that her daughter Michelle and her boyfriend Kirk had looked at accepted their bid at $127k. About a thousand dollars more than their original bid, but still better than the $135k the owners had originally wanted until their agent talked them down.
Now Coleen has to come up with a thousand dollars to loan Michelle, to make up for the balance, payable over five years. It’s a good thing Mom has offered Coleen a job for 2 weeks, taking care of Noreen until she’s moved into her new place. Seems that in order to have someone from We Care, a private nursing care company, come in for 14 hours a day, to attend Noreen, who not only needs company but also someone to help with her feeding, it’s going to cost over two thousand dollars.
Mom would prefer that sort of money goes to someone closer to home. I would have offered, but despite having renewed my Ontario Driver’s liscence, Mom and Dad won’t let me drive any of the cars.
Well, as usual, the shit’s hitting the fan when it comes to hospitals.
This is the second day in a row that we’re hearing that the hospital staff up on the seventh floor of St. Mary’s are doing a less than pathetic job of taking care of Noreen.
So much so that Mom is making a special trip into the city of Notre Dame de Grace, where the hospital is, to go speak to Noreen’s original doctor down on the fifth floor, where she had been bed prior to her transfer, and demand answers as to what is going on exactly.
Noreen’s meals are being played around with, to see what she will and will not actually eat, but no alternatives are offered, just in case. There is also no one currently helping her eat in her weakened condition.
She’s being left to lie in bed for hours, while suffering from diahrea, and no to attend to her, or she’s being wheeled out into the hallway in a wheelchair, to sit there for no reason.
Mom is almost prepared to have ger checked out of the hospital the moment the lease at le Vivalis is signed, regardless if Noreen’s furniture and stuff has not been moved as of yet. There’s already temporary stuff in there, so Noreen could make do until everything catches up, and Mom would be less stressed.

Snow, smite, shifts & salvation

We have about 3 cm’s of snow still on the ground from last nights flurries. Right now, if you looked out a window, you
wouldn’t think that Spring had been making an impact up until 18 hours ago here. It will be gone by lunch time though, I’m
My neck is kind of sore this morning. Comes from sleeping with my head curled up into my chest as I seek escape from the
light for another few minutes of sleep. Defensive position I guess, or fetal. Either way, it’s no wonder a baby starts to
scream after it first emerges from a womb. After nine months in that cramped position, that has to be one STIFF neck that
kids is squacking about.
Mom and I left this morning to go to St. Mary’s Hospital to see Noreen.
She is now up on the seventh floor, north ward, facing l’Oratiore St. Joseph, North Am’s largest Catholic church. It’s quite
a sight to take in, honestly.
I’ve been there twice, once just to look around, the second to see what Midnight Mass was all about. My friends and I had
found seats up on the stage(?) behind the officiating Cardinal. It was crowded, and had taken a long time just getting in there, what
with trying to find a parking spot. You would not believe the trouble you have with finding a spot with thousands of
catholics trying to get the same place. There was some rather unreligious language used that someone would be repenting for
later on.
So I was already in a foul mood. This had not been my idea originally, and when I learned that the entire mass was in Latin,
I had had enough, dragged my friends off stage, in front of thousands, left, and headed for the nearest Tim Horton’s to salve
my temper.
I have tried to avoid Holy Mother Church since then. I’m quite certain there is a poster with my face on it with the words
"Smite this person immediately upon entry".
Noreen’s looking well, although before we had arrived, she had worked herself into a state, feeling sorry for herself. Mom
clued in to this when she mentioned that she had been feeling nauseous all morning.
Noreen generally gets that way when something is stressing her out. In this case, it’s having to adjust to a new routine and
new people since she was moved from the fifth floor.
She’s like me in that respects. We like having things a certain way, and don’t take it well when something causes our
regualarity to be shifted astray.
Still, by the time we pulled out of there, Noreen was in much better spirits. I hope she’s able to maintain them, as we, and
I mean Mom won’t be able to visit again until Wednesday earliest, I think. There is far too much going on in the next couple
of days. Coleen may drop in though on Tuesday, when she is in the area. She has an appointment not too far away from there at
the Jewish General.
Headed over to Residence St. Moritz after that.
Mom wanted to go through Noreen’s clothing. She needs to get the amount whittled down considerably, prior to the move, as
Noreen will only have a room rather than an apartment.
We managaged to stuff three orange garbage bags worth of clothing and drop them off at the Salvation Army boxes just off the
exit into Saint Lazare. Mom feels that at least what’s left back at the apartment now is becoming manageable.
We’ll deal with the remainder of Noreen’s stuff on Tuesday, prior to Meldrum the Movers coming in on Wednesday to give the assessment
for the move to Le Vivalis.

Honking, health matters, hotels, heroes, smoked meat, new homes and a baby thrown in for good measure

I just heard the Canadian geese honking away while I was outside in the backyard. The surest sign that Spring is returning finally to Sainte Lazare.
Mom & Dad came back from a long morning/afternoon at St. Mary’s.

They’d had a meeting at 10h30 with Susan from Le Vivalis, to go over Noreen’s medical needs and to ascertain whether or not the private residence would be able to meet her needs.
They were also to meet someone else in billing at the hospital, to make certain Noreen’s private room and the accompanying expenses were all met.
This afternoon, after they were finished paying a visit to Noreen as well, who was celebrating her move and room upgrade by wearing her dentures, sans Poli-dent (another item mysteriously disappeared), they drove around the mountain to Montreal l’Ouest to the Montreal Association for the Blind, to see Nana.

Aunt Penny, my Dad’s sister and her husband Jack, had just drove into town from their home in Milford, Massachusetts and were just arriving as my parents were leaving. There was a bit of a delay, due to a snafu at the hotel they were going to be staying at. Their Visa acount had been billed, but there were no rooms had been reserved. Odd, and quite agravating, honestly, but the hotel got things straightened out. They have stayed at this place in the past, not only due to it’s proximity to the M.A.B. but also because it is all on one level, which makes it much easier for uncle Jack, who has multiple sclerosis.
Good morning once again class.
Today’s lesson should be how to finish a journal entry on time, like it matters. I don’t have that big an audience these days, and I intend on keeping it that ways for a bit, if not longer.
Despite having a bit of a head-achey feel for most of the day yesterday, I did manage to go back with my mom into downtown Sainte Lazare (one strip mall, 35 hair dressing boutiques.) to get some pizza and poutine from this restaurant called Bravos. Nice place. Busy. Couple of Huge 52" plasma HDTV’s.
Too bad the majority of stations are broadcasting in regular definition still. Sure, it makes the men look more muscular, but shorter, and the all the women I’ve seen so far look like little Russian babushkas, thick as black oak trees.
Think I’ll wait at least 5 more years before I even start entertaining the notion of getting one for myself, although certainly not something of the same size. I have enough problems trying to get wall hangings to stay on my concrete walls. A plasma television is just asking for it.
Coleen has been feeling better the last couple of days, finally. She joined us for dinner, although she ate instead of pizza a lighter meal of buttered spaghetti with baby carrots.
Later, after we had cleaned up, we all mosied down to the family room to watch the second installment on Disney’s "Pirates of the Carribean" series, "Dead Man’s Chest".

Jonny Depp was born to the role of Captain Jack Sparrow. Coleen loves him, and although my Mom mentioned something about his swagger looking a bit efininate, I consider the character more of  dandy or fop, which although similar in appearance is something different at the same time. But what do you expect of a culture that thought wigs made them look more staturely?)
We got in a short while ago from seeing Nana, aunt Penny and Jack. Nana was asleep almost the entire time we were there. At 89, these family visits can take a lot out of here.
She woke up and gathered her wits together though in time for her dinner. The rest of us headed over to Restaurant Serre Picasso, for smoke meat dinners, before we all headed our seperate directions.
Oh yeah, my cousin Debbie is 3 months pregant with her and her hubby Matt’s third kid. Hope she gets her tubes tied after this one. Penny and Jack are already exausted from all the others.
Coleen was back by the time we got home, She had gone out to spend some time with her kids, Susanne and Michelle, and look at some houses that are up for sale.
Michelle and her boyfriend Kirk, are looking for a place to set up some roots, and they think, with aproval from their mom and her ex-husband John, that a house they had an eye on in Rigaud is the one.
I glanced at the specs, and it seems like a really nice deal, and at $129K, what they are getting is far and beyond anything someone could conceive of in the Dot.
Tomorrow they’re going to tender their bed, and since apparently no one else has looked at the place, chances are they should be able to get it.

Pets food, weather, more on Noreen and power outages

My air conditioner was dropped back off here this morning, all serviced, clean and happy.
I’m hoping for much better success this year when the annual summer sweat-fest hits the Dot.
There has been a huge scare, south of the border as usual, with some beloved furry companions dying from eating nutritional products from one of the United State’s largest pet food suppliers, while others have been left with debilitating health problems, such as kidney failure, etc….
Mom has had me do a quick once-over on my computer to the web site, to ascertain whether any of the brands of dog and cat food they use regularly are on the recall list.
Firstly, for those of you who are reading this, let me reassure you that almost none of the Canadian brands of the same names as those of the States are affected by this.
Secondly, if you are not buying your pet food from retail outlets, you also should have no problems, as there is a difference with the quality of the food being sold at, let’s say, Wal-Mart Canada vs the a product from the same company being sold at Pet-Smart.
One style of retail outlet demands quantity, the other sdemands quality. The first can afford, due to quantity, to offer the products at a lesser value. The second, because it does not, may charge you more due to specialization, but you can be damn well guaranteed that the product is of a much better grade than the one being sold at the first.
My condolenses are extended to those people who lost their beloved companions, and to those who have now been burdened by their treasured friends pain and hardship due to this mishap.
Spring in Sainte Lazare, QC
I wish the weather would make up it’s mind today, as to which way it wants to go. Mother Nature must be having her period or something, based on the meteorological mood swings.
We start off with early morning freezing rain here, enough so that you can hear car tires squealing away to gain traction, yet by time Dad finished sanding the drive, the ice was already on its way to melting. Next we have a big boom of thunder, then just grey overcast. Next up, brief, yet intense rain falls, and now we have the sun peeping through the cloud banks.
Oh, and lest I forget, the high today is supposed to be somewhere around 13 degrees Celsius.
Well, according to CTV Montreal, that brief period of sun was it. Oh well. There will be plenty of tomorrow’s where there will be plenty.
Power failures / brown outs
Power came back on about 20 minutes ago or so.
This happens often out here. My parents live so far out from Saint Lazare that they would be considered rural to those actually living in the rural sector of the wilderness. The slightest thing can cause the power to go astray, whether it be strong winds, branches falling or suicidal squirrels bent on inspecting the power tranformers too closely (I shit you not.).
Yet another Noreen Update:
Noreen will be moved tomorrow from her current floor, to a temporary long term care ward on the seventh or eighth floor of St. Mary’s Hospital.

My guess is that this is due to an improvement in her overall eating habits, for now. Dad spoke with her earlier, and she was even reading her scandal magazine.
However, she was really worried at first. Thought she was being sent up to some loonie bin ward, since it was the same floor they had moved her bedmate to (and the only reason Noreen considered her loonie was because she couldn’t speak a word of english or french. Just italian.).

This will certainly be beneficial to my mother’s stress level. It’s been eating her up.