Archives for the month of: January, 2012

My camera was packed away in the little suitcase I’d been dragging around for an hour in the snow and slush and strange back street of Sherbrooke.

[I will never forsake my trusty backpack again.]

But the beauty in the ice on the river got me to stop, dig it out, and snap a few photos.


This week, I was sent to Montreal for my day job.  Which is amazing, because while I had to do actual work once in a while, I also got to walk around and feel nostalgic about the city that I got to call home for almost 8 years.

It probably didn’t help that work took me to my good old campus, which made me feel very old indeed.

For those of you who haven’t been to Montreal in the dead of winter: it’s kind of cold.  The kind of cold that prevents you from taking off your mittens and taking photos.  And anyway, those pictures would be washed out by the beautiful but not-so-photogenic whiteness of the snow. [Although I just saw Karen’s stunning photos of ice-encased flowers, so I probably just haven’t figured out the secret to snow and cold shooting.]

Snow on Mont-Royal

Most of my weeknights were spent catching up with friends, sick in bed, or snuggled up watching the wondrous Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan for the third time in The Trip (Best movie ever. Or of 2011, at the very least.)

On Saturday, as a birthday celebration of sorts, my mother took me and my brother to see Orphelins, the current production playing at the most exciting theatre in Montreal, La Licorne.  It was great to be back in that place after their year of renovations: cool and clean (and a much better use of the space).

La Licorne theatre, Montreal

We sat in the front row, from where we could smell the rice they ate and catch every little wince or moment of suppressed panic to cross the actors’ faces.

Évelyne Rompré, Étienne Pilon, and Steve Laplante. Photo by Suzanne O'Neil

It’s a play that keeps your guts in its fist and your head juggling your priorities and morals.  Translated by Fanny Britt, Dennis Kelly’s play begins when Liam  interrupts his sister’s romantic evening, his sweater covered in blood, his hands shaky, and his attention darting.  As the story unfolds, it slowly dawns on us and the characters how that blood actually got there and by that time it may be too late to call the cops.

It’s a tough piece, filled with questions of what you’d do if…, unfinished thoughts and sentences, and proof that things aren’t so clear cut, black or white, good or evil.

I made it clear to my brother what I would do should he turn up at my place covered in blood.


1- The new door chimes in the metro (subway) sound like the first three chords of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.  And the sound the train makes when it leaves sounds like the beginning of the Star Wars theme thing.

2- Croissants.

Breakfast in Montreal is better than breakfast anywhere else.

3- My friends are there and they like to go out for a quiet pint of local beer (Brutopia), rent The Trip at the local video store (Passport video), or have brunch (La Petite Marche, Le Figaro).

4- The Biodome. Penguins!

5- The theatre here is daring and dark and there’s lot of it. [The French theatre, that is.  We’re still working on the English side of things.]

I didn’t write much about my Christmas getaway beach vacation in Cuba on this blog. That’s because I’m pretentious and I didn’t think it actually really counted as travel since we stayed at a resort and spent all our time deciding between the ocean and the pool when we weren’t eating.  And yet my one day in Hamilton counted…

Cuba was actually awesome and jumping waves with a toddler is insanely fun (despite the constant worry that your nephew may drown if you let go of his little wet hand for even a split second).

So instead of going on about how being on the beach in December was really lovely and how the nightly entertainment at the resort didn’t live up to an Alain Platel production, I’ll share a few pictures of the most beautiful stuff I’ve been able to see from a plane.  I think it’s the Bahamas.

The Next Stage Festival, Toronto

For five years now, the magic of the Fringe Festival has been appearing in the the (usually) cold (but strangely April-like this year) winter.

The Next Stage Festival takes over Toronto’s Factory Theatre with a line-up of fantastic shows.  I got to catch a couple on Saturday that both made me laugh and remember how awesome the theatre kids in Toronto are.  These talented women were inspiring as they made me guffaw through tears (of laughter and also the sad kind).

The first was Modern Love, presented by Theatre Caravel, written and performed by the luminous and quick-witted Jessica Moss.  She and her character are smart, funny and absolutely heartbreaking.

Moss plays Trish, a girl who, like many of us in this wired-up, social-media-saturated, disconnected generation, is stuck in front of her screen with 660 Facebook friends but ultimately alone and trying to connect for real.

If you want to see a clever, well-acted, tightly-directed (by Eric Double) solo show that flies by and where you miss jokes because you’re laughing too hard, check it out.  It plays until the 15th of January.

In the evening, I was one of the lucky ones who’d booked ahead and nabbed a ticket for Go Bake Yourself by Fringe darlings (and just plain darlings) Morro and Jasp.

These clown sisters have very different ideas of how a cooking show should go and it makes for a very entertaining, hilarious, and endearing half hour.

Before you can shout “salmonella!,” the show’s over and your tummy’s hurting,  and not because you’re starving because the tray of hors-d’oeuvres of cracker avec fromage never got to you (luckily, they kindly provide the audience with the recipe to try at home). Your stomach is aching because you’ve laughed so hard.

It also plays until January 15th, and there may be a couple of seats left.  Who knows?  The Next Stage Festival people do- you should call them!


And for those of you who are scared of clowns, or hate them (because you are scared of them, most likely), please do yourself a favour and check out Morro and Jasp: Behind the Nose.  You might learn something:

As the 3 readers of my blog know, I’m travelling without travelling until I can travel for real. I’m trying to capture that excitement, inspiration, and openness you get when your wandering in unknown territory right here in my home city.  It sometimes works.

Today I thought I’d share some photos I took in a parked car.  Waiting to roll, sitting still.  Kind of like a metaphor for my life, right?

It was a sunny day, and quiet. A baby sleeping in the back seat.