Midnight (Close Enough) Walk

*I handwrote most of this post in my Whatever Pages Book last night instead of typing it directly, as I try to unplug from all electronics a good hour (lucky if it’s a half-hour) before bed.  And I didn’t want to, once again, have an idea for a post but wait so long that it becomes too late, so…

After watching the flag-fest that was the the Eagles/49ers game and then foolishly watching the refs-are-off-the-deep-end Bengals/Chiefs game, B and I hung up in annoyance.  There were better ways to spend our time, we both thought.  During the half time of the second game, I went out to shovel the walkway.  I realised it was perfect out there and declared that I was going to for a walk after the game.  The more the farce game went on, the less I felt like going out there so I ended up on the internets, pfaffing away my time with comments here and there, until finally deciding around 11 pm, to hell with it, I was wasting my time again.  A much better use of said time was to go out.

I checked the temps:  -9℃, feels like -11℃ (16℉/12℉) and decided my rather thick leggings would suffice, though I put on my big Canadian-style boots, my only-when-it’s-at-least -10℃ coat, ski mitts and tuque, of course, and out the door I went.

Face-to-face with the half moon competing with the lamppost, I clicked a few, thinking I’ll use them for the Boucherville FB photo group and made my way to the nearby park.

I marvelled at how bright it was (the reason I prefer snow to rain in the winter, is it brightens everything) and the clouds were fascinating.

Don’t scratch your screen, it’s not dust, they’re stars 😉

As I approached the outdoor hockey rink (now equipped with a fantastic heated changing shed), I was surprised to find it empty.  Yo, Rog, it’s close to midnight on a Sunday, what did you expect?  I still expected, what can I say?  They play in much colder climes and often at night!

The crunch of my boots on the packed snow and the faraway beeps of the snowploughs readying the parking lots for tomorrow’s employees and patrons were the only sounds keeping me company.   The snow sparkled under the moon and the trees cast their shadow under the lampposts.

I am amazed that my hands are not freezing when I remove my mitts to take pictures. It’s weird, really. I have Raynaud’s Syndrome which only comes into play if I hold something cold.  But the cold itself doesn’t really bother them.  Well, obviously, in really cold temps, I needs must have those mitts on (gloves are useless for me) but I am amazed at how long I can go without before needing to warm them up again.

 

This just might be card-worthy…

I decide to simply walk the loop of the park, then make my way home.  It is late, after all, and my thighs are thinking it might have been nice to find themselves in warmer snow pants (it’s not that bad but go too far…)

I am surrounded by beauty.

And loathe to go home.

But it’s getting late… Now it’s close to midnight!  But just one more before I pick up the pace.

Oooh… No, this one!

On the last stretch, I encounter the first and only other human.  To my bonsoir! I receive nothing.  I choose to think he did not hear me.

I feel my cheeks getting more ruddy with each step.  My legs are going to be happy to find themselves wrapped in warm blankets.  Surely I will sleep well?

 

A Little Something for Sheree

*Wow, just realised this is my 1200th post!

Yesterday afternoon I went for a nice two-hour walk, camera looped around my neck (no camera bag, so no zoom lens, as my back was barking), hoping to find something for today’s Wordless Wednesday, over on Sorryless.  Of COURSE, there was more than one occasion where I would have liked to have my zoom.  Live with our choices, I say.  So what if I couldn’t get a nice closeup of this tree filled with robins and one blackbird who was lording it up top, and that I had to manipulate the hell out of to help you see their red bellies?

I count 15 robins, what say you?

The forecast was for partial sun and lemme tell you, it was partial a’ight (or ayt, as my kids write it).  I walked around the corner towards my usual park (which feels like an eon since I last walked to it) it started to lightly snow.  By the time I turned to the next street, snowfall had become nil.  But the sun was a tease.  Or maybe it was the clouds that were just too damn possessive and wanted to keep the rays all to themselves?

The clouds did open their jaws for a brief moment…showing some blue

Allowing a small area to light up for a short period of time…

Oh no, wait.  Not that light!   This one.

And the one that made trees cast shadows, added sparkle to pine needles, and pop to playgrounds.

It got me to thinking man, oh man, where is the golden hour from last week.  LAST WEEK!  Oh! How could I forget?  I promised Sheree, from View From the Back, the church bells!  After last week’s Wordless Wednesday on Sorryless, she said how much she enjoyed church bells and I promised her some…

I had shared some images without including the Sainte Anne de Varennes Minor Basilica, so why not share them now, right?

The video is a tad long but hey, I was in the moment and the light was so beautiful and the wind crisp and when the second person was headed into the video, I stopped. Plus, they were dying down.

Hope you enjoy, Sheree!

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year – First Dinner

I was going to entitle this “Breaking in the New Kitchen” but that would be technically wrong as I did host the Christmas breakfast with my family… My sister might disagree with who should have been first for last night’s feast but hey, things don’t always they way we plan, yanno?

Anyhoo, this evening was planned after we learned of our friend’s death on December 18th (post still not finished but will follow shortly). We suddenly felt the need to see each other; the funeral home not counting.

I swear I am the queen of start and not finish. 🙄 So, before I lose the feeling of last night, here I go. I started on Friday. Lucky for me, I was “liberated” from a job I loathe on Thursday, giving me all day Friday to cook (if that was how I chose to use my time).

I started things off by making the parsley-celery oil for the soup as well as the parsnip chips, inspired by my chef friend Janet, of The Simmering Chef’s recipe. Click here to get it. I was determined to use chicken thighs (skin on, bone in) that I had in my freezer so The Google was brought into service. I found Ina Garten’s Chicken Marbella. I got all the ingredients together and placed them in a bag to marinate all afternoon and overnight. If I hadn’t had my date night that included watching the oh-so-horrible-please-don’t-waste-your-time movie “The Poison Rose” (surprising cast: John Travolta, Morgan Freeman, Famke Janssen, Brendan Fraser), I might have actually made my soup AND my cake but no…

No matter! I was up and at ’em really early so, first things first, I baked the cake. I am so mad at myself as I had been making Soeur Angèle’s version of the Sachertore for eons (though it had been ages since I last made it) and could not find my copy of the recipe. I was positive I had kept that page, but no. Sigh. So onto The Google (again) I went. No luck. Her recipe is not to be found. So I keep my search up until I found one that sorta-kinda resembled what I remember of it by Lidia Bastianich, but made a few modifications.

As the cake baked, it was onto the Parsnip soup.

The “Mise”

As the soup simmered, I went out to shovel the walkway – not that there was much, but still, I took my time. Time to purée the soup and set it aside for warming up later.

I then went on to make my cheese bowls (Raclette and Grana Padano) that would hold my mesclun salad with Raspberry-Honey Vinaigrette. Every time I make these, I am amazed at the quantity of fat I need to wipe out of the frying pan!

Cake cooled and iced it was time to do a quick sweep and mop of the floors and take my shower.

Good grief! Who was this broad who was so organized that her hair would not still be dripping wet when her guests arrived? I didn’t recognize her! She even set the table and shucked the oysters and made mignonette!

Just before Giselle and Dany, then Julie and Michael arrived, I put the chicken into the oven. An hour to cook, fifteen minutes to rest and Bob’s your uncle. The tour of the remodel was given and, as we are wont to do, stood around the island. We noshed on oysters and drank bubbles while catching up. (And, just so you know, it’s not because I still have not received my sofa that we had to. Plus, I did bring up the stools that will be getting their own makeover soon!)

There is nothing I love more than cooking for people I love. We ate, we laughed, we sang an early happy birthday for Dany (two weeks early) and then, because I had changed the Spotify from 70’s acoustic to French crooners, we ended up doing a sort of karaoke with one of Aznavour’s songs – which, as I wrote about when he passed away, is completely IMPOSSIBLE to sing along to (hell, you can’t even read the lyrics fast enough!)

The meal:

Fun times. I’ve never had all the lights on in the house at once. Bloody hell it was bright. (Note to self… use the damn dimmers!)

P.S. I started this post, officially yesterday morning (as it’s close to 1 am now) whilst enjoying my raisin bread toast (courtesy of Giselle) followed by one of her delicious almond cookies (and she claims she’s not a baker!) I pressed publish before I realised I forgot to add these!

Survey Says! Because I Please…

When the mojo is not to be found and you read a fun survey post in which you know you can answer, well, you, hopefully, use this as a way to get things going.  So thank you Ally from The Spectacled Bean for nudging me to answer Maggie’s (From Cave Walls) blogging questions.

Hey, use what works, eh?

1. How many times per week do you post? Do you post multiple times a day? If so, how many?

  • When things are flowing and I am in the mood for participating in challenges or when I just have things to share, I could post up to three times per week.  Most times, it’s once per week.  However, this is my first post of 2023…

2. How many blogs do you follow?

  • I had to look this up.  I apparently follow 139 sites.  However, I do not receive email notifications from all of them – I did a major cleanup and some I access through the Reader.  Those multi-posters?  The ones I really appreciate and love, I had to change the settings to get only one email per day which gives me a link to three of their posts – I still can’t keep up.

3. Do you read all the blogs you follow every day? If not, how often do you read other blogs?

  • I read blogs every day.  Do I read all of them?  No. I spend so much time trying to catch up that every now and again, I just flush my whole inbox and start anew.

4. Do you seek out new blogs to follow?  If so, how do you find them?

  • While I don’t necessarily seek them out, I discover them from comments they leave on my blog or other blogs I follow. Have made some lovely discoveries that way.

5. Do you comment on the blogs you read? If not, why? Do you respond to all the comments left on your blog?

  • I comment on almost all the bloggers I follow (though maybe not all their posts – multi-posters, that means you!) and I respond to every one left on mine – note to anyone I might have missed, the key word is missed!  I often go back to make sure I left none behind…

6. Do you ever close comments on a blog you post? If so, why?

  • I close comments on reblogs, encouraging people to go visit the original post.  I’ve never closed comments on mine (and am now going to join the 21-day club and see if my spam reduces…)

7. Do you ever unfollow someone? If so, why?

  • Yes, I have unfollowed some that just don’t have anything to offer me, are too long-winded, too political.  Others I simply remove the option of receiving emails for their posts and can access them through the Reader on those days when I have more time.

8. What content inspires you to follow a blogger?

  • Hard to pick:  Some make me think, some make me laugh, some inspire me…

9. What content turns you off from following someone?

  • Not taking the time to even “like” a comment I left them (I mean systematically, not missing a comment as I mention in no. 5).  Why should I bother?  Also, if they are all about the “woe is me” and super negative and depressing, or very political and ramble on, I am outta there.

10. How important is it to you that you add a photo to every post?

  • What?  Post without a photo?  GASP!

11. Leave me a link for one blogger (other than yourself) that you think I should check out.

  • Now, I may be biased but that doesn’t mean it’s not for good reason.  He is funny, smart, well-read, snarky, but best of all, he has beautiful writing skills.  More than one writer has said they want to throw their own computer into the lake after reading his prose.  He writes at Sorryless.

Choosing the Light – Friday Fictioneers

Good Friday morning, my peeps.  I sure hope your neck of the woods isn’t too wet or cold or snowy.  It’s a gross morning here.  First there was snow and now it is raining and windy.  It’s gonna be a crappy drive into work.  Why do I not work from home, again?  Oh yeah. Cuz I have the knack to choose the wrong job.  Will fix that right quick in the new year, tell you what!  So… For two days now I’ve been struggling to come up with something for this photo for Friday Fictioneers.  Can’t not play, eh?  It is my photo and it would just be rude to diss the boss.  This time of year is a challenging one for me (and for many others, I do not doubt) and it’s nigh on impossible to not focus on all the happenings that have happened in December for the past thirteen years – with a new one added less than a week ago, no less.  Not very original, either, as this is pretty much autobiographical.  C’est la vie!  Should you wish to play along or read what others have come up with, just click on the frog below and add your link.  If I don’t manage to come back to blog, I shall wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah or whatever it is you celebrate!

Firefly Jar Solar Frog with Encased Fireflies Statue

How does she do it, you think?

Do what?

Always find the light, the silver lining, the positive.  It’s annoying, actually.

You’re just jealous because you’re an old crabby-ass.

Am not!

Okay, you’re not. Always.

Hmph!  Still.  With all the shit she has been through, you’d think she would be sad.

Maybe that’s why she focuses on the light.  Because she knows the dark. Sounds cliché, but truth, don’t you think?

True.  She probably does have sad moments but keeps them to herself.

Exactly.

What say we drop by and say hello? The light’s on.

I think she’d love it.

 

Ghosted – Friday Fictioneers

It’s Thursday and I’m a day “late” for Friday Fictioneers.  Which is silly, I know; it’s not Friday, for goodness sakes!  I wasn’t even going to play, waiting for something to help me move my previous story forward, but then the muse hit with this and it would be foolish to diss the muse when she shows, right?  Right.  So.  Hey, click here to find the ins and outs on how to play this here game and once you’ve got the how-to’s all set up, then click on the frog below and add your link to your 100-words story.  Thank you to Rochelle for hosting and this week, thanks go out to Lisa Fox for this great image.

2,518 Frog Hanging Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

Click me to stop hanging and start playing

 

I cannot believe she ghosted me!  Me!

Why are you so special?  You may be handsome but you can be quite the dick.

I don’t get left.  I do the leaving.

Excuse me.  Are you not the one who left her hanging?  Not once.  Not twice.  But at least thrice?

Thrice?  Listen to you.  You think you’re so smart.

I’m smart enough to be honest and treat a woman with respect.  It’s about time you get a taste of your own medicine.

To hell with her.  I can get any chick I want.

You will never learn.

What’s to learn?

 

Eilene Lyon read this and said it made her think of a Lynyrd Skynyrd song and I think it fits so well, I just had to add it!

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #289 – Engrave

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

This was supposed to go out yesterday but one thing lead to another and before I knew it, it was bedtime!  It seems that this time of year, a certain someone takes over my muse.  Yesterday was the eight-year anniversary of Mick’s heart attack and well, hell if this prompt didn’t apply.  So, thank you, Sammi, for once again, bringing forth a word that I can use…

 

wk 289 engrave

 

There’s nothing quite like

that person

who’s joie de vivre

is so infectious

They remain engraved

in your memories

long after they’re gone

 

Proof of how much Mick left his mark on any and everyone who met him, his (our) friend Leonard Yelle wrote this on his FB page yesterday:

“About 7-8 years ago I was misbehaving at my company’s Christmas party telling the band that it was a coworkers birthday. . As the band in the restaurant played happy birthday to my confused colleague my phone rang. It was my buddies wife Dale informing me that her husband had suffered a terrible heart attack. I left the party trying to understand it all. I went to see him the next day but he never came out of the coma.

I had met Mick about 10 years earlier on a fishing trip. We had loads in common and became great friends. He’d drop into the shop and as the press ran I’d hear the familiar cheerful sound of Mick’s voice shouting “Buddy” over the running machine , I’d turn and there would be standing Mick with his shit eating grin and mischief dancing in his eyes greeting me. He’d always try to include me into his adventures. Concerts, football tailgating , carting… whatever the outing might be laughter flowed like a tsunami,. His annual Christmas outings with the boys where he’d manage to siphon some money from the company he worked for and pay a few rounds of drinks instead of spending it on his clients and suppliers were an annual highlight. He was a force of nature and a gem of a man, son, father, husband and great friend. I got a chance to speak at his funeral and all I remember was starting off in a room of mostly strangers saying… Hello my name is Leonard and I’m a Mickaholic.
I loved him the minute I met him and I’ll love my dear friend to the day I die. His energy and outlook was infectious.
I hope you’re behaving with my brother buddy and I’ll be see you on the other side down the road.”

Every year, at this time, Leonard changes his profile pic or cover image to the following:

 

One Day… Soon – Friday Fictioneers

It’s Wednesday.  That means Friday Fictioneers and this week I almost had to play as there were more than a few requests for a follow up to my previous story.  I had not officially planned to but when I saw this image, well… how could I resist?  Should you desire, the first part can be found here.   This week our illustrious (or is it illustrated?) leader, Rochelle, has chosen an image from Roger Bultot.  Thank you to both of you!

©Roger Bultot

25+ Best Kermit Looking Out Window Memes |

Click to play!

Her chin rested on her palm, elbow on the table, daydreaming. She occasionally took a sip of her coffee as she watched passersby on the other side of the window.  It had become her Friday morning ritual; a time to dream, breathe, read, write. It gave her a sense of grace and gratitude. Her gaze fell on him standing there, looking in. Again. Was he stalking her? Somehow, it didn’t feel menacing. What was he waiting for?  He took a step, stopped, shook his head, squared his shoulders and, with a determined step, made for the door.  Soon was now

If I Were….

Earlier this week, Ally Bean of the Spectacled Bean revisited a prompt she had first done in 2011.  Said 1/3 of her responses had remained the same but that time had given her a new perspective, if you will.   I figured why not?  Interesting subjects…

If I were a month I’d be October

If I were a day I’d be Sunday

If I were a time of day I’d be Twilight

If I were a font I’d be Georgia

If I were a sea animal I’d be a Dolphin

If I were a direction I’d be be Up

If I were a piece of furniture I’d be a Mirror

If I were a liquid I’d be Gin

If I were a gemstone I’d be an Emerald

If I were a tree I’d be a Weeping Willow

If I were a tool I’d be a Level

If I were a flower I’d be a Sunflower

If I were an element of weather I’d be a Light Breeze

If I were a musical instrument I’d be a Cello

If I were a colour I’d be Orange

If I were an emotion I’d be Joyful

If I were a fruit I’d be a Pear

If I were a sound I’d be a Bubbling Stream

If I were an element I’d be Fire

If I were a car I’d be a Comfortable Sedan

If I were a food I’d be Pasta

If I were a place I’d be a Cottage with a wrap-around porch

If I were material I’d be Cotton

If I were a taste I’d be Spicy

If I were a scent I’d be Petrichor

If I were a body part I’d be a Heart

If I were a song I’d be Jazz/Blues/Soft Rock Mix

If I were a bird I’d be a Chickadee

If I were a gift I’d be Just right

If I were a city I’d be Not too big, with lots of green spaces and farmer’s markets stalls

If I were a door I’d be Solid wood, painted bright red

If I were a pair of shoes I’d be Hiking boots

If I were a poem I’d be a Cadralor

 

Wonder if my answers would change in ten years’ time?  I think many probably would…

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #271 – Sibilance

When this prompt from Sammi came out in August, I knew not what to write, so I skipped it.  And then I started a new job in September.  I am slowly, desperately, quite possibly, going mad.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to find a way to survive.  Might seem drastic to you but to me?  I just cannot.  That said, I searched on Sammi’s site to find this prompt because I so knew what to write this time!!

wk 271 sibilance

I sit

kitty-corner from a

monologuing soliloquy

to the right

and

not-so-subtle sibilance

to the left

All day

I cannot tune them out

I fear I’ll go mad

Dylan’s face so perfectly represents my sentiments (thanks for letting me use it, J&A!)

 

No, seriously.  Is it not rude to think you are alone in your cubicle? Can you not shut the eff up?