Monthly Archives: November 2012

Pictures of animals

After pictures of water, here’s a selection of photographs I’ve captured of the animals I’ve had in my life.

We got our first pet when I was 12 years old. Bach was the family downstairs’ cat and when the parent’s relationship went downhill and they split up, we decided to adopt him.

In 2001 we moved into our new house and brought him along with us. It was only a few months later that he disappeared, in what turned out to be a very strange timing.

Just a few days before, we’d told him that another cat was coming to live at our house soon. My stepmother’s cat Eurydice had just birthed 4 kittens and I had decided that I wanted to keep one.

I’m not a very esoteric person but I still found the timing pretty surprising! It was like he knew what was coming… 🙂

Since we’d lost a cat, we decided to get 2 (we named them Gaston and Ti-teurf). Then, when my step-mother moved in with us, we had 3 cats.

Over the years, I’ve lived with many other pets, including: 5 more cats (Bibi, Cleo, Leo, Clementine, Jack), 4 dogs (Maya, Pouf, Lou, Lupin), 1 gold fish (Nemo), 1 beta fish, 1 rabbit, 1 bird and 1 rat. Our house was sort of like a zoo at times, with 4 or 5 Homo sapiens sharing the small abode with all those critters.

The lively menagerie, of course, became inevitable models for my photography.

Cleo was my former roommate’s cat but I took care of her as if she was my own. May she rest in peace 😩

Eurydice the goddess. She’s tiny but has quite the attitude, often leaving behind dead preys almost her size (among those, a partridge!)

Pouf, the sweetest most intelligent dog of all!

Bibi, who lives with my mom and stepfather.

Lou, adopted from a family friend. A sweet (sometimes paranoid) lady.

Leo, my other roommate’s cat. Like Cleo, I also loved him as if he was my own. He’s now about to turn 3 and although he’s become much bigger, he’s still really cute.

The next two are the cats we currently share our daily lives with.

They are a brother and sister team with a beautiful bond.

This is ClĂ©mentine (Clemzy, Clem’s). She hates to be picked up but is still very sociable. When she wants to get our attention, she’s going to get it. Ain’t nothing gonna get in her way!

Jack is the playful, lover boy. He likes everyone, sometimes waiting less than 5 minutes after meeting someone before throwing himself at their feet in hopes of a tummy rub or a good scratching behind the ears.

Eventually, we want to have more cats. I like dogs too but I’m a cat person at heart, except for Pouf. He’s the best dog ever.

What are your pet stories? How many do you have?

Discovering Little Burgundy: Untapped Outtakes

I just published a new article about one of Montreal’s most interesting neighborhoods: Little Burgundy on Untapped Cities. Read it here.

Little Burgundy has a rich past, playing an important part in Montreal’s renowned jazz scene. After years of desolation, the area has been going through quite the revival in the last few years.

I thought I’d share some more pictures of the neighborhood that I didn’t put in with the article.

Sainte-Cunégonde church, at the corner of Vinet and Saint-Jacques.

The beautiful Rue de Coursol.

One of the eight sculptures from Jacek Jarnuszkiewicz’s installation at Atwater Market, Les Allusifs.

Pumpkin stalls at Atwater Market.

The fire station near Place Saint-Henri.

Beautiful food: the romanesco broccoli

When I’m not out looking for a new subject to blog about, I work at a small, family-owned grocery store.

I’m one of those people that gets amazed at the little things in life, and the fact that I get to play with fruits and vegetables all day long makes me happy.

Rarely will I get excited about an apple, an orange or an onion, but once in a while a new, cool looking variety pops up and I’m back to being a kid again.

The romanesco broccoli is one of those vegetables that amazes me.

I first saw a romanesco broccoli in a book called Pour en finir avec la cuisine de mémé (In english : Down with boring old food! Inventive little recipes for the 21st century) by Raphaele Vidaling.

Taste-wise, it has been compared to a mix between a regular cauliflower and a broccoli. It was first discovered in Italy, hence the name.

If ever you come across one of these, don’t be intimidated by it! Here is a list of interesting recipes:

Linguine recipe on La Tartine Gourmande

Pan-roasted Romanesco with peas on Martha Stewart

Roasted romanesco cauliflower with thyme and pine nuts on Almostveg

Pasta and Cauliflower soup federica on Epicurious

Roast chicken and romanesco cauliflower and potatoes on Sweet Potato chronicles

Weekend outings: art in the Eastern Townships

I’ve already spoken about my mother’s work on this blog before, when I wrote about the piece of her’s that I have displayed in my entrance.

This lovely fall weekend, I went to the opening of her latest exhibit, which is on until January 20th at the Musée Beaulne in Coaticook, Quebec.

My mother’s main theme for the last 15 years has been her love for trees. She likes to build pieces paying homage to their strength, their beauty and their importance on this planet. Many of these artworks also include a message pertaining to the destruction of forests, be it by mother nature itself (the 1998 ice storm) or by humans in their actions that are too often guided by greed and lack of environmental awareness.

In her latest showing, she has decided to add a human element to her work, thus acknowledging their presence on this planet and their fundamental goodness as people (as opposed to only showing them as destroyers).

I thought I’d share some pictures of the exhibit on here:

Of Trees and of Humans- HĂ©lĂšne Plourde

My blood is your sap

Sacred Ritual

My mother also wrote a children’s book named I am a child of the earth. Here it is on display.

Of Trees and Of Humans- Installation, 2012

Family heirlooms: my Italian roots

Most of the furniture I own is conceived by Swedish designers and built in factories. No great story there (yet).

This is one of the few pieces in my house that comes with it’s own past. It was sculpted by my great-grandfather (on my father’s side), Cesare Balestreri.

Cesare first came to North America in 1912. He was one of the millions of people that docked at and went through the immigration process at Ellis Island, near Manhattan, New York. Over the next few years, his wife and two young sons came to join him and the family settled down in Montreal.

My great-grandfather and I don’t share the same last name. In the 40s, after World War 2, racism was rampant against Italians so they decided to change it to an anglicized version of the word (Archer). The name may have disappeared but I will never forget where my family came from and looking at this little shelf as it hangs in my kitchen, I get a daily reminder of that. I’ve always been amazed and filled with admiration in thinking about what these people had to go through before, during and after their journeys of immigration.

In 2007, I went back to where the story starts: Como, in Northern Italy. This is where my grandfather was born and where some of his relatives still live. I was too shy to go and meet them, wanting to explore this beautiful city by myself but what I can say is that I instantly felt at home there. I was lucky to go back there for a few hours in 2010, after having been through a bad life experience. Once again the city’s charm and peaceful attitude soothed me.

I hope you enjoy the photos and if ever you are in the area, I urge you to visit this lovely town!