Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year's!

Well another year has come and gone. I have had the pleasure of finding long lost friends from highschool over the past few weeks and of putting together a reunion that will happen in April 2008.

Who would have thought that 2007 would bring me closer to the people who in part helped me become the person I am today. Family of course is the first mold that will form us, but friends along the way also have a tremendous effect on who we will become. Imagine the friends that you went to school with over the years. Many I have known since elementary school and then highschool. It was impossible not to be yourself with these people who you spent even more time with than your own family.

We may have seperated ways over 30 years ago, but deep down we are the same people if not perhaps a little wiser. I am astonished at easy it has been to reach out to my friends and at how welcome and good it all feels. What a beautiful gift to give to each other.

Another gift this year was Damas of course. We enjoy each others company and Gerry my husband is spoiling him to death. For someone who did not want anymore dogs, he sure has other ideas for Damas. Over the holidays Gerry decided that the dog should be eating lean meat, fresh vegetables and rice. The kitchen staff are in tears laughing when the dog's order comes into the kitchen at 6h30 each night. Damas eats fish, fruit and vegetables but no sweets are allowed.

Another gift this year was having my three son's who are all grown men now, very much involved in the Inn's business. Some more than others, but at least they are all there in some form.

We also celebrated our 35th anniversay at the Inn (25 years for Gerry and I) with friends and customers. Gerry received a medal from the National Assembly for community services and Thomas our Somellier and Mario our food and beverage manager received the wine award of excellence!
What can we possibly ask for in 2008? I think that time with friends, family and loved ones is what I could use more of. I am the workaholic that just cannot see myself sitting around without doing something productive all the time. I travel but go to cooking classes, check out vineyards and restaurant's all in the name of business. Maybe this year, I will just enjoy the company of friends and try to think less of work.
Do I keep my new year's resolutions?
Well I am certainly on the right track with my trip to Phoenix with Gerry to visit my sister in law in January, my trip to New York with a few of my Yaya friends in February, a quick romantic get a way with Gerry in Mexico in March, our Yaya sugar party and VCHS reunion in April, my Yaya beach trip to Maine in June, and perhaps a trip to Paris to see Coco sometime in the Fall as well as a trip to Virginia for my annual Innkeepers meeting with Nancy Byron in November (I just have to let Nancy know about this one!!!)!
Yup I think I am doing allright!
Now all I wish for in 2008 is good health for my family, myself and you my dear friends!

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

What ever happened to logik???

I have a saying that it is not against the law to use your brain!

How can people not think of the consequences their actions make?

Does Common sense still exist?

I wish I did not have to depend on others to do my job. Unfortunatly, I am in the service industry so what I need are good people to give good service. I know most people need to work for a living but can we not have pride in doing a good job the first time around? I try to explain that doing it right the first time is much faster than trying to take shortcuts that do not work and then having to start all over again.

I guess I have a bad habit of assuming that people do not need to be told the basics in life like where to put the return adress on an enveloppe. Wrong! You may say that it is on the back, I may say it is on the upper left hand corner, but do you know anyone who would put on the lower right hand corner???? Well that is how my xmas cards went out after asking someone at the front desk to do this for me. When I asked him what he was thinking he replied that he had never posted an enveloppe in his life! the guy is 23 years old and expecting his second child!! Worst, I had a customer staying for three nights for New Year's, who fell ill during the evening and checked out that night to go to the hospital. this young man helped him out with his bags, but did not check him out or let anyone know that they had left. We only found out the next afternoon when the guest called to say that he wanted to settle his bill...Imagine we did not even know he was gone. Imagine if there had been a fire and we told the fireman that there were two people missing!!! As an Innkeeper we must always know who our registered guests are. When the young man came back to work the next evening, I asked him if he was aware that the guest had left the night before? He knew but did not think to let anyone know. needless to say he is no longer working for me.

You may think what is the problem? well this is just the tip of the iceberg! I have staff missing in action because they do not want to work weekends, evenings, holidays... but they want to work in a hotel? and when do they think that guests are able to go to a hotel??? The best was a women who applied for a wedding planner position but was only available from Monday to Thursday from 10h00 to 3h00!!! I laughed so hard she left in a huff.

I have decided to try and slow down now that I have been doing this for 25 years. I am amazed at how many people it takes to do my job. A wedding planner for the weddings (I am still helping), a corporate sales person for the meetings ( I am still working here as well) a front desk manager (Icover for her on her days off) as well as the administration duties. I am not yet enjoying less work, it is actually more work at times but I know that we should not have all our apples in one basket.

enough ranting, it's time for a nice glas of wine!

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Damas à trois mois!

J'ai recue cette photo de Damas, de sa famille d'acceuil qui ont eu la tache de l'élever et le préparer à devenir un chien guide.
Il avait trois mois sur cette photo. Aujourd'hui il a cinq ans. Ils ont fait un excellent travail car Damas est très patient avec les enfants et les autres animaux comme nos chats et les chiens des clients.
Ce Noël je pense qu'il a abusé de bonne chose ... Hier soir il m'a réveiller à 2h00 du matin (ce qu'il n'a jamais fait à date) pour sortir dehors. Heureusement que je l'ai pris au sérieux!!!
Aujourd'hui j'ai laissé savoir à tous que les gateries c'étaient fini. tout le monde pense bien faire et lui donne des biscuits, peanut, canapés, sans savoir que ce n'est pas bon pour sa ligne et sa digestion . Imagine si on se permettait de nourrir les enfants des autres sans demander la permission des parents!
Enfin, les fêtes seront bientôt passé et nous aurons un petit congé entre le 2 et 11 janvier pour faire un peut de peinture et des rénovations pour ce préparer à une autre année chargée.
Nous serons disponibles pour prendre les rendez vous au Spa, Restaurant, Cabane à Sucre et l'Auberge, mais le restaurant sera fermé pour nous permettre de changer les tapis et faire un peu de peinture.
Pour ceux qui ont recue des Carte Cadeaux de l'auberge, n'oubliez pas que vous pouvez les utiliser pour tout nos services, alors faite vite et réserver vos soins, séjours, repas et visite de cabane à sucre!!!

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Turkey anyone?

Turkey anyone? I find it ironic that my last post was about stuffing four turkeys for christmas dinner. I guess I had turkey on the brain because I had wished on the 24th, That I would get to finaly see some of the wild turkeys that everyone has been talking about. I have found their tracks in the snow while skiing, but everyone else has been bragging about seeing them in the fields while coming to or from work. I unfortunatly have never had the pleasure.

On Christmas day as I was leaving the Inn to join my family for Christmas dinner, there right before my eyes were 11, yes 11 wild turkeys crossing St Henri road. I stopped and thankfully for once I had my trusty camera, and starting shooting pictures.

I cannot tell you how happy this made me! The perfect Christmas gift and exactly what I had wished for the day before!!! Do you think I had second thoughts of eating roast turkey for dinner that night? Never!

I hope you are enjoying the holidays in your own way as much as I am.

Now it is time to prepare for the New Year!

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Quelle beau cadeau!

Enfin! Cela fait des années que j'écoute les gens de mon entourage me dire qu'ils ont vu des dindes sauvage! Le 24 décembre en revenant de mes courses, je me suis dit quelle beau cadeau de Noël si enfin moi aussi j'apercevais ces dindes sauvage.
Hier, la journée de Noël, j'ai quitté l'Auberge vers 15h00 pour aller souper chez ma mère. Quelle ne fut pas ma surprise de voir 11 dindes traverser la montée Saint-Henri!!! Pour une fois j'avais ma caméra avec moi alors j'ai stationné l'auto et je suis sorti prendre ces photos.
C'était mon plus beau cadeau! Enfin moi aussi je peut dire que j'ai veut les dindes sauvage!

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Well the turkey's are stuffed and in the oven and the guests are arriving. We have a full house with piano and violin musicians playing during dinner while the deer are feeding and then the DJ arrives for those who wish to party.
A few people will go to midnight mass. I doubt I will be among them. My day started at 6h00 am so the turkeys could go into the oven. We have a tradition here where I make the traditional family stuffing and have been doing this for 25 years. The recipe is on our web site at
Neil who has been hard at work these past few weeks prepared a nice menu. We are completly booked and have refused many customers unfortunatly. He will have tonight off since he will be working christmas day.
I hope that you are surrounded by loved ones and that this holiday period is a safe one for all of you. May 2008 be all that you desire, may we be so lucky as to see an end to war and suffering.
see you next year!

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Monday, December 17, 2007

A picture is worth a thousand words!

Well Sunday was cancelled! Only the in house guests spent the morning and then decided to brave the storm and head home. One couple remained to celebrate their 30th anniversary. For two weeks now we have been doing nothing but shoveling parking lots and roof tops. People do not realise that this much snow is very heavy and can cause structural damage.
The maintenance staff are exausted as is my husband Gerry who is the one in the snow blower.
Monday morning is spent cleaning up this mess so we can get back to business.
The funniest thing is people think that because we live in the country that our roads are blocked during and shortly after a snow storm. Well I have news for you, Our roads are actually better and easier to drive through because the when the plow passes, there are no cars in the way so it is cleaned instantly. The cities have much, much worse conditions than us.
Keep that in mind in winter, there is no problem with parking or the roads in the country, so what are you waiting for to get out of the city???
by the way, I thought my birds were eating quite alot of bird seed? well I have discovered the culprit who has been emptying my feeders. The squirrels have been getting the blame but look who I found at the feeders this morning???

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

New to the feeders

Well after such a busy week, I awoke this morning to another snow storm! Thank goodness that most of the staff chose to sleep at the inn last night. I will not have to cook breakfast!!!
I did get up bright and early for my morning outing with Damas and found these new guys at the feeders. I have never noticed this bird before so out came the camera and then a little research in my bird book by Roger Tory Peterson.
At first I thought they were White Winged Crossbills (Loxia Leucoptera) but then I found the Pinicola enucleator known as the pine grosbeak. If I am wrong I hope someone will let me know.
This new camera of mine Lumix FZ18 is fantastic! I stubornly refused to learn how to use a digital camera because I do not feel like learning any other techno gadgets like the blackberry ect. I feel my life is run by these things and that I am less and less an Innkeeper and more and more a Tech geek! Well now that I have this camera, I am amazed at how easy it is to take pictures and share them with others.
I think this is a great way to share bird shots within minutes of taking the picture. Imagine you then have time to come and see for yourself!!!
Well so far the only customers for brunch are those that slept here last night. Most of the other parties have cancelled except for local customers who enjoy the drive.
I hope you are taking advantage of this beautiful break to crawl up by a fire or in bed to read a good book. That is what I will be doing today.

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Pinicola enucleator (Dur-Bec des pins)

Le réveil est plus dure ce matin. Mon mari se lève et m'annonce que la tempête tant attendu est enfin arrivée! Nous sommes complet et heureusement que plusieurs employés ont choisi de passer la nuit à l'Auberge. Je n'aurai pas à faire les petits déjeuners!

Je suis étonné de voir autant d'oiseaux aux mangeoires. j'imagine que beau temps, mauvais temps ils doivent manger. Cette année je remarque des espèces que je n'ai jamais vus. C'est surement parce que je prend le temps de jouer avec ma nouvelle caméra que je m'attarde plus à ce sujet.

Je vous invite à me corrriger si je n'ai pas le bon nom. sur cette photo au départ je croyais que ces oiseaux étaient des Becs-croisé à ailes blanches mais si je regarde la femelle, elle me semble plus à un Dur-bec des pins.
La première photo est un junco ardoise.
Enfin, j'espère que vous profiterez de cette belle journée de tempête pour vous reposer et passer du temps avec votre famille ou comme moi avec un bon livre à coté du feu.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Damas recoie une première plainte!

Il fallait s'en attendre, Damas a eu une plainte cette semaine.
Pour ceux qui ne le savent pas, mon mari, Damas et moi, demeuront à l'Auberge des Gallant. Nous prennons tout nos repas à l'auberge, dans le salon ou il y a quelques tables et ou Damas peut rester avec nous.
Damas aime jouer avec nous et lorsque nous mangeons, il aime nous enlever notre serviette de table qui repose sur nos genoux. Il le fait tellement doucement et ensuite nous l'offre comme si nous l'avions échapée. De plus si j'échape mes clés, un crayon, il est le premier à les prendres et me le remettre. Nous avons trouvé ces petits gestes comiques et n'avions jamais pensé qu'un jour nous pourrions regretter ces gestes.
Cette semaine un jeune couple ont décidé de prendre le dîner à notre table habituelle. Oui vous l'avez deviné, Damas c'est installé à coté d'eux gentiment, et a doucement voler la serviette à madame! une fois, deux fois, trois fois... La serveuse est venu me dire que la cliente se plaignait alors j'ai du retirer Damas du salon sans éclater de rire!!!
Les clients l'aiment beaucoup. Il est vraiment fou de la neige comme vous pouvez voir par la photo. Les clients vont marcher avec lui et cela a fait une différence car il a perdu 4 kilo depuis son arrivé.
Nous avons eu la chance de trouver la famille d'acceuil de Damas dernièrement. Quelle surprise d'apprendre qu'ils l'ont reconnu sur notre blogg. peut -être ils auront des histoires à partager avec nous?

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Offre d'emploie

Dominique est notre gérante de la réception. elle recherche actuellement du personel pour combler des horaires à temps partiel et à temps plein. Si vous connaissez quelqu'un passionné de travailler avec le publique et qui est flexible pour travailler les fins de semaines et quelques jours ou soirs sur semaine, n'hésitez pas à nous les recommender.

Les détails pour ce poste sont disponibles sur notre site web.

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Brunch du dimanche avec tour de traineau

Le brunch du dimanche avec les tours de traineau sont plus populaire que jamais. Aujourd'hui plusieurs personnes se sont fait refusé, faute d'espace. Il faut toujours faire des réservations pour éviter cette déception.

Nous avons deux services. le premier est à partir de 9h30-10h00 et 10h30 et le deuxième service est à partir de 13h00-13h30.

le cout est 25$ par personne et les enfants moins de 12 ans est 12,50$.

Nous serons ouvert pour le brunch de Noël et le jour de l'An. le cout sera de 29,95$.

faite vos réservations, car les places sont limitées!

Joyeuses Fêtes!

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What's going on this week?

we are celebrating Dana's (my adopted godchild) 21st birthday. This week is going to be my busiest before the actual holidays. I need to do some xmas shopping since I have done absolutly nothing. In between all this I have my IT person coming to work on the computers because we have been having some slow downs and problems.

I have a meeting with a Tourisme person to go over some training that our staff could subscribe to. I also have a photoclub class in the evening. all week we have corporate groups in meetings. we are going to be very busy.

Is my annual xmas dinner with my board of Hotellerie Champêtre. we shall be dinning at Chasse et Pêche restaurant in old Montreal. We will start by visiting our new offices on University, have a board meeting, meet some people from Tourisme Québec and then have dinner. will let you know how the dinner was.

I have a meeting with a consultant abut the role of Hotellerie Champêtre in the scheme of things in the Québec Tourisme Industry.

I have a lunch with my Yaya's to celebrate Marina's birthday. Will pass around our xmas presents as well. This year the girls will be getting smoked salmon from me. We also have the busiest weekend for xmas parties.

I will meet with brides so they can look at the possibility of having their wedding here at the inn in 2008, 2009 or 2010! There is not much left for 2008 on a saturday between the month of May and October but there is always a possibility. The xmas parties will be in full swing with dancing after dinner.

The maple pavillon will be open for dinner and dancing on Saturday December 15th, for groups of 4 or more persons by reservation. This is a first and already we have 70 persons.

we will have two sittings for brunch including a sleigh ride. We have been fortunate that the snow has stayed and given us ideal conditions for the rides. The deer and birds are of course a big draw with the people.

If you ahve not made plans for new years eve, get to it. we have some rooms available for a one night stay. check out the web site and our specials!

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Winter Wonderland!

What an incredible day! Friday was crazy with more snow and all the preperations for the weekend. Our maintenance staff had to remove the snow from the roofs due to the excess weight. This is not how they like to end their week.

Last Thursday the Montreal Gazette published a very nice article featuring the Inn, the sleigh rides and our gourmet spa. Well the phone has been wringing off the hook and we have been selling gift cards for xmas like never before. I guess the fact that they are valid for 3 years and can be for any amount of money and used as often as you would like, make them the perfect gift for that special person.

I know that is what I will be giving friends and family this year.

What are you getting for xmas???

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Quelle superbe journée!

Il fait tellement beau aujourd'hui! Nous allons profiter de cette température pour préparer la patinoire sur notre lac. L'an dernier il a beaucoup servi aux familles qui ont pensé à apporter leurs patins. Les sentiers de ski de fonds ne sont pas balisés au moment ou on se parle, mais ils sont très beaux tout de même. Ceux qui ont la chance d'avoir des raquettes sont choyés cette

Hier nous avons du faire abatre un chevreuil qui souffrait d'une fracture à la jambe. Il fallait la permission des gardes chasse et de la sureté du Québec qui finallement ont du tiré le pauvre animal. Les gens ne realisent pas que ces animaux peuvent sortir du boisé en tout temps et provoquer des accidents.

Attention sur les routes, c'est l'hiver!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Je vous présente mon fils Neil.

Voici notre relève au travail! Nous sommes très fier de pouvoir dire que nous avons notre fils Neil qui seconde son père. Neil a fait ses études à l'ITHQ et il a travaillé au restaurant Times dinner club et le restaurant Rosalie à Montréal.

Il vient de nous composer un nouveau menu pour l'hiver avec le gibier à l'honneur et bien sur des fruits de mer pour faire plaisir à son papa Gaspésien. Au menu vous trouverez des raviolis de Homard, le foie gras, faux filet de bison, ris de veau, cailles farcies aux canneberges et beaucoup plus. Le menu complet est disponible sur notre site web sous restaurant.

Bonne appétit!

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Blue Jays in the storm

Nothing will keep these guys from feeding! I go through 40 klg of birdseed a week and 6 suet bolcks. I cannot put all the blame on the blue jays. we also have black squirrels that get their fair share.
Today the sun is shining and we are still digging out of the snow. Everything is so beautiful!
I hope you take advantage of a nice drive in the country this weekend. Why not stop in for a sleigh ride on Sunday?

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Les Chevreuils sont arrivés!

Mardi le 4 décembre et la neige tombe encore. Ce matin comme hier, nous avons la visite de nombreux chevreuils. Avec toute cette neige, il est important de les nourrir. Avec ce changement précipité de la nature, les chevreuils ne conserveront pas leur panache bien longtemps. C'est peut-être le changement de nouriture qui fait que les panaches tombent plus tôt que plus tard.
L'an dernier avec peut de neige, nous avons eu des bucks qui au 14 février avait encore leurs pointes. je parie que cette année ce ne sera pas le cas.

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Monday, December 3, 2007

Enough already!

We are having quite the snow storm this Monday morning! Our roads are blocked so I am doing the cooking for the customers that are snowed in since the staff cannot make it. I still managed to get a photo of deer feeding at 7h00 am. I am no longer wondering if we will have a white xmas!

The sleigh rides were on yesterday at brunch and a photographer from the Montreal Gazette came by for some pictures to complement an article that will be in this Thursday's edition in the west Island section. A journalist came by last month to do an article on the SPA and Inn.
The xmas parties are going full swing and the staff have managed to keep all under control. I find this time difficult because the clients that we have are guests of their company and may not appreciate what we have to offer.Many have never stepped foot in an Inn and expect room service at 2h30 in morning. I also find many decorative elements of the inn disappear at this time of year. I guess some folks figure that they are included in the price of the room!
Last year we had one couple who drank so much that we had to close the room for a week in order to repair the damage. Of course the company had to pay the bill. They did not reserve again this year.

I wonder if I will be serving lunch as well as dinner this evening! I hope the snow lets up so the staff can give me a break!

Ba Humbug!

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