Thursday, November 22, 2007

Vive le vent, vive le vent, vive le vent d'hiver!

J'adore la neige! Quelle belle surprise en ouvrant les rideaux ce matin! À la campagne, l'hiver n'est pas l'ennemi comme en ville. Tout est recouvert d'une couverture blanche qui donne une luminositée incroyable aux champs et à la foret. Même les animaux et les oiseaux se réjouissent le matin de la première neige!

Ce matin Damas notre labrador, ne pouvait se retenir de joie. Les Oiseaux me suivaient de mangeoire à mangeoire, et même les chevaux ont sortis de l'écurie pour se rouler dans la neige. Dans quelques jours les chevreuils seront au rendez vous comme à chaque année, l'hiver arrivé.

J'aime bien avoir quatre saisons. Chacune nous fait vivre des émotions différentes. Pour moi l'hiver avec la neige et l'air froid me donne de l'énergie. Il n'y a rien comme une bonne marche le matin pour se réveiller.

Nous sommes pret pour les parties de Noël. Nous avons le nouveau menu, la danse le vendredi et samedi soir et le brunch avec des tours de traineau.

La campagne en famille ou entre amis est l'endroit idéal pour célébrer l'hiver!

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Well there is nothing like a snow storm to make everything white. I love it when we wake up to the surprise. There is something magical about our world turning white overnight. It is also so fresh and clean.

I was born in February, so I guess you can call me a snow baby. I love the winter much more than summer. I have so much more energy and when in need of a quick pick me up, a short brisk walk all bundled up is an incredible way to rejuvenate yourself.

We are feeding the birds now and have all kinds of blue jays, chickadees, a cardinal and many others. We will start feeding the deer any day now that the snow has arrived. I like the fact that for each season we have another reason for people to join us at the Inn.

We are now ready for Xmas, the decorations are up and the holiday parties have started. we now have dancing on the weekend for those who want to celebrate.

It is the only time of the year that we open the pub to the public for dancing. the rest of the year it is used for private functions. We will be open all through Xmas until January 2nd. then we will close for a week to do some renovations like changing the dinning room carpet, painting the kitchen and changing our door locks on the rooms.

There is never a dull moment at the Inn.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Meet Damas!

Here is my new big boy! Damas is a retired seeing eye dog from the Mira Foundation. He will be 5 years old at the end of this month. Unfortunately when going for walks, Damas would pull to the left, so did not cross streets in a straight line. For this reason they retired him. Years ago I had adopted Muffin, a yellow lab from this same foundation. We had 11 wonderful years before she died of old age.

It took me awhile to reconsider having a new dog. We have made so many improvements at the hotel; new carpets, furniture, etc., that I did not want to become once again a pet friendly hotel. Well, all that disappeared the day before I left for my cooking course in Italy last September. That is when the Mira Foundation called and offered us the chance to adopt Damas.

It will soon be two months that he has joined the staff at the Inn. The customers love him, the staff spoil him and even Gerry, my husband, checks to see if I have not forgotten to walk, feed or spend time with him. He has become our mascot and we all work for him now instead of the other way around.

We also adopted two cute tabby kittens for the stables. We have two Percheron horses, Doc and Andy, that we use for sleigh rides and weddings, a small goat called lucky who has lived way beyond her years, and Bob, a 15 year old tomcat. that is in fine shape. The two new guys on the block will add some much needed young blood and will entertain the older guys and perhaps give them a few extra years with us. If you can come up with a cute name for the brother and sister kittens, I would love to hear them. So far I have come up with Jack and Jill or Bobino and Bobinette (since we are in Québec).

If you want information on adopting these well trained dogs from the
Mira Foundation, just call them and put your name on a list. There is a fee for the dogs due to all the time, energy and training that is spent on these animals and you must have someone at home with them since they are use to being with someone all the time. They also look for homes for the older retired dogs that can no longer service their master. There is no fee for these wonderful dogs who only need a loving home for the few years of retirement that they have left. I am happy to be able to share my affections with such loving animals.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

VCHS big 50 reunion in April 2008

Last week I had the pleasure of seeing two old (I mean young!) classmates. Sue Lavigne and Christine Lalonde have decided that it is time that the class of 75 get together. Our class unfortunately did not have a year book made due to a terrible error from the janitorial staff of VCHS during our spring break. They were too efficient and trashed all the hard work that had been left in the staff lounge.

2008 is a milestone in our lives and so we decided that it was high time to get the class of 75 back together again. Over the years I have had many of my classmates drop in to the Auberge. It is always a pleasure to see and catch up with old friends. I think that we have aged very well and at this stage in our lives, we should have the time and interest in getting back with old friends.

Please feel free to look me up on facebook and join in our group. We would love to hear your comments, find out where you are and what you are doing. The more the merrier!!!

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Friday, November 2, 2007

High speed internet - finally!!!

I feel like I am born today! After struggling for so long to get high speed internet, we are finally connected. You would think that being so close to Montréal that we would have had this service years ago. But noooooo that would have been too easy. Ok, now let’s get Bell, Tellus and Rogers to do something about the cell phones here. If everyone complains about the service and at the same time let them know that we now have towers where they could hook up the antennas or whatever, then I am sure they will do something.

If someone out there is having trouble on the road from Montreal to Ottawa near route 201 and Rigaud, this is the area I am talking about. Ste Justine, Ste-Marthe, Très St Rédempteur among a few other municipalities have very few residents and business over miles and miles. It was not profitable for Videotron, Bell or Cogeco to invest with so few customers. But Très St Rédempteur, decided that they would create a Coop in order to offer the service to their residents and businesses at the same price as regular customer. I think it is less than 29$ a month!!!

This project became a social project, with the help of a few good people. One of them is my husband Gerry who donated the land to install 2 towers that are well hidden not to obstruct anyone’s view. These towers will provide all residents within miles the use of high speed internet. Of course we did this for us but knowing that it will also serve others makes it even more worthwhile.

Now you are starting to understand that being an Innkeeper involves all kinds of projects. I am glad to finally see this one completed.

On to the next!

The Y generation. I have 5 of them and more under my roof! Help!!!

I have just come back form another provincial Hotel yearly meeting. It was the most depressing one ever! The first conference was on the environment, and an Antarctic expedition looking for ice that almost never arrived. This basically confirmed what Mister Gore has been saying in his inconvenient truth DVD.

The next conference was about the Y generation. I have 3 sons, 2 adopted daughters and many employees in this generation. To hear the speaker describe them so exactly was scary. I always seem to be in a state of war with these young people. I could not understand their lack of peer recognition. After all I am the MOM, Boss and whatever… but this does not faze them. Now that I understand them better, maybe it will be calmer here.

The next conference was on the hotel’s association green mission. Believe it or not, companies like me are given one recycling can. And the recycling companies will not come to us to pick it up. We can have all the best intentions, but they are after the residential contracts not the business ones. I am fighting to have them pick up here so we can implement our recycling program, so far no luck.

Next, Revenue Québec informed us of new equipment that will be installed on our computers from 2008 to 2011. This will control restaurant invoicing. They figure they will recuperate billions of dollars. They will have inspectors visiting restaurants and collecting invoices, watching how the billing process is done and then handing out fines on the spot. The cost of the equipment and the upkeep will be in our case over 2000$ and must be paid by us. My argument was with all the extra cash the government supposedly figures they will make, why don’t they pay for this???

Whoever thought inn keeping was all about greeting guests and taking care of them, I have news for you. I spend more time at my desk filling out forms, answering the phone (not for reservations) and catching up on new laws and training. Thank goodness that my hubby and I have a standing appointment at the bar for 6h00 and dinner at 7h00. This way we get to meet some very nice people we would otherwise miss because of all the office work inn keeping entails now.

What ever happened to the good old days???