Friday Without Plans

“A deliberate plan is not always necessary for the highest art; it emerges.”
Paul Johnson

I cannot remember the last time I had a day off and nothing scheduled.  Dye-job and a haircut, notwithstanding, I felt quite free to do whatever the hell I wanted.  Was really.  Really.  Nice.  Work has been busy enough… it’s rare that I work a forty-hour week and I think I was just shy of it by half an hour… Might not sound like much to office folk (one of which I was for over thirty years) but lemme tell you, schlepping tables and chairs, trays of food and drink, setting tables (who knew that by tale number 14, the shoulders would burn from putting tablecloths on?) walking to and fro and keeping that smile is not for sissies.  An eight-hour day is a LONG day in the service industry.

K,  no more bitching, I promise you.  So, like I said, the only thing on my agenda was my hair.  At 9-stupid-30 a.m.  On my day off.  Of course if I hadn’t chatted with a friend till 2:30 in the a.m., maybe 9:30 would not have been so stupid.  Whatevs.

I called my mother on my way back from the salon as she lives a hop, step and a jump away to invite myself over for a cup of coffee and ended up with a nice open-faced tomato cheese sandwich to boot!  Chatted with her and Yvon until his lift arrived at noonish (he goes for physiotherapy a few times per week).  Figured I’d leave Mom to watch her shows or relax or read or do whatever the hell she wants and made my way home.  After all, I had a no-agenda day to not plan!

Today was gorgeous.  Sun was shining, then there were some clouds to cool me off, then the sun popped out again.  Yep.  Was gonna take advantage of NOT having to wear black pants, three-quarter-sleeved-buttoned-up-to-my-chin shirt and strangling tie.  Put on my bathing suit, a spray of sunscreen and vacuumed my pool.  Then I jumped into said pool.  Wunderbar!

Zeke figured out how to keep cool…

As I’m having Tammy and Andre over tomorrow for dinner (Mick’s best friend and his wife), I took out some steaks, lamb and chicken.  We will be having a mixed grill…  Keep ya posted 😉

I have been on a mission to weed a bit every day or so and have made some mega progress.  It is starting to look quite lovely here.  The front is mostly weed-free and other than those little mother****s in my unistone driveway, walkway, backyard, things are looking good.  I will have to pull out all the stops to get rid of those suckers.  I can still see Mick cursing over the whole bidness.  Using a pressure washer to blast them away, then spreading sand and sealer over the whole thing to stop them from coming back… effort which, frankly, does not last long enough.  Note to self…. next house has NO unistone…

No, I shall not show you the drive-way per se because, well… it’s past midnight and I just realised I did not take any pics.  Just see above, same shit is my driveway.  Only WAY more intrusion…

So, I tackled some of the backyard, some of the front yard then got fed up and cleared out some of the roses and other flowers.  I am amazed at the sneakiness of weeds.  They try to meld right in, sometimes succeeding quite well…. can you spot the uninvited guest in the Black-Eyed Susans?  While the flowers are still not out, it’s even easier for those buggers to hide…

One of these things just doesn’t belong…

And others are just showing off, thinking they’ll be kept because they might be as beautiful as the flowers… And as penance for ripping them out anyway?  Say hello to scratched hands because they just know we are going to go as far down as we can to ensure we get their roots out and won’t notice those nasty thorns just waiting for unsuspecting hands (and even when we do suspect and are careful, there is always that one thorn hiding…

Come and get me, Bitch

But once cleared out, things are starting to shape up…

And, since we’re on the subject of lovely things…. we are, aren’t we?  The other day I took some pictures with my real camera and had not downloaded them until today.  So all pics taken the other day are still applicable to today because.  Because I said so and today there is no schedule, right?

Dragonfly outside my office window enticed me to go out with more than my phone camera.  I went very slowly to not scare it away and managed to get a few decent ones.

I shall end this with one last image.  On Friday’s, CBC Radio 2 does what they call a “Deep Dive”, with host Rich Terfry.  He plays a whole album – but not just any album – an album that has made an impact in one way or another – as one would have in the vinyl days (yes, I know, we can still do that today), meaning, each song will be played in the same order as on the record.  In between songs, he gives us tidbits on it’s creation, on the members of the band, on how it came to be, etc.  Tonight’s choice was The Band’s album Big Pink – 50 years old this year!

After that, it was the programme:  “Marvin’s Room” with the hostess Amanda Parris.  A one-hour show featuring R&B in all its formats, old and new.  During these two shows, I washed and hung up my clothes, nuked some leftovers brought home from work, and ate. No way I was planning any food cooking.

By 8 p.m., Odario Williams came on with his show “After Dark”.  A cool mix of all sorts of genres of music but most of it on the easy listening tempo.

I was relaxing in my lounge chair when I realised there was a squirrel, just lying on the wires above my cedar hedge. I’m thinking he was enjoying the tunes, too!  That, and the neighbour’s kids screeching as they were playing in their pool…

Think I’ve kept you long enough with my rambling on…  A major heat wave is starting tomorrow in the Montreal area. We will be hitting some wicked temperatures for a good week… highs of up 35°C (95°F) with a humidex factor bringing it up to 45°C+ (115°F)!  NOT looking forward to working from Sunday to Thursday in that…  Till then, stay hydrated, don’t over-exert and enjoy… in no time at all we’ll be complaining about the cold…

A few of the 10,000 things that make me happy and grateful

61. Summer heat

62. Not working on a weekend

63. New haircuts, new look

64. Swimming pools

65. Left-overs made by someone else

 

 

 

 

Love Song – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday afternoon, ladies and gents!  The sun is shining beautifully here on the south shore of Montreal.  Tomorrow it is supposed to rain cats and dogs and then we are expecting a week-long heatwave starting Friday…  I’ll try to enjoy today as much as I can before work!  That said, before I go back out there and attack the weeds, I share with you this little 100-word story based on our hostess with the mostest’s own picture of her Luv’s music room.  Thank you, always, Rochelle, for not only being here week after week, encouraging us to write and up our game, but for always supplying your own fabulous take on the prompt.

As always, do join in by clicking on the blue frog below.  It’s a great challenge that teaches you how to choose your words carefully.  100 ain’t a whole lot to write a story!

©Rochelle Wisoff-Fields – Jan’s Joint

Put your click to the link here

Love Song

“…. and this is my music room.”

“You play all these instruments?”

“Yep!  Wanna hear some?”

“Yes, please.  I’d love to.  What is your genre?”

“You tell me after you’ve heard me play.  How about that?”

She nodded yes, thrilled that he was going to play just for her.

He picked up his guitar and she marvelled as his fingers caressed the instrument.

The melody was beautiful, his voice a rich baritone.

“So? What say you?”

“I’d say a country-influenced crooner is what you are.  You must have loved her very much.”

A shadow crossed his face.  “With all my heart.”

Weekly Writing Prompt #60 – Weave

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, right here.

Word Prompt

Weave

Challenge

You weave your way into my life

Resistance is futile

Through your magical words

You have created a beautiful motif

Like a master with his loom

 

Top of the Hill – What Pegman Saw

The weather’s iffy, I’m only working at 4 pm, I don’t feel like doing housework (like I ever really do, eh?) nor any garden work because, frankly, I shall be getting my workout in later and my back hurts already.  Wait!  It’s Saturday.  Lemme do a Pegman! 😉

This week Pegman takes us to Coniston Water, Lake District in England. This location was suggested by the talented Kelvin M Knight. Be sure to check out his blog where you’ll find articles, flash fiction and short stories. Thanks for the great suggestion, Kelvin!

Your mission is to write up to 150 words inspired by your Google tour of the area. Feel free to use the image supplied with the prompt, or use own from your own virtual travels. Once your piece is polished, please share it with others using the linkup below. Reading and commenting on others’ work is part of the fun.

Thank you to both Karen and Josh for hosting this weekly challenge. It is fun to choose our own pics, though I have a tendency to gravitate towards certain types.  Will go outside my comfort zone next week!

Top of the Hill

Shanna reached the top of the hill and took in her surroundings feeling like she was one with the clouds.  Not a soul in sight.  She inhaled, taking it all in.  As she exhaled slowly, she felt her heartbeat slow, her muscles relax and her mind clear.  She really needed to do this more often.

“Excuse me.  Ma’am?”

Heart in her throat, she spun around.

“Bloody hell!  You can’t just sneak up on a person like that.”

“So very sorry.  Didn’t mean to scare you.  I thought I was alone on this hill till I reached the top from the other side.”

“Are you from here?  Gosh, that sounds so corny!” she laughed.

He smiled, “I am.  My name’s Damian.  And you’re not from here.”

“Shanna, from Canada.” she blushed, “And, thank you.”

“Mind if I join you in your reveries?”

“Please do.  I’m done with being alone.”

 

Joining in on the Search for the Perfect Q-ban Sandwich – Take One

Marco and Linds over at Sorryless have been on a quest to find the perfect Cubano sammy. ‘Course they are way out there in Pennsylvania – a good 8.5-hour drive for me – so there ain’t no way I can play with them direct-like, so I am crashing their party from way over here in the Great White North …

I mentioned my latest adventure plans to my friend Julie who was more than willing to keep me company. Now… we were supposed to do this weeks ago, but you know how that goes. Life gets in the way and all that. Neither here nor there. We finally made it.

Turns out, there are a lot more places making Cubanos than I ever expected. I even solicited my Latina friend, Naira to see if she had an opinion. Despite her boyfriend being Cuban, she had NEVER been… Sigh. She did suggest a place and we shall be trying that place next. I was wanting to be nice to Jules and pick a place ‘twixt us so I chose La Cecilia, just outside of Little Italy on Bélanger Street.

I parked a few blocks away on purpose. Figured I’d need to walk off the extra calories and this is a ‘hood I don’t really know. Turns out it is more Latino than Montreal’s official Quartier Latin What up wit’ dat? I heard more Spanish a-speaking here than I ever did in the Berri area… Our colourful character (see below) confirmed this to us… He said this ‘hood had more Latino-influenced establishments than they did. Apparently, Mtl Blog agrees.

Julie needed to leave by 2:30-3:00, latest, to drive her son to his grad (ball), so we didn’t have all that much time, but really? How long does it take to eat lunch? We met in front of the restaurant at around 12:45.

Such a tiny place! We liked that. The owner (we presume) spoke in an extremely heavily Spanish-accented French. I made the mistake of saying hello in Spanish and he let ‘er rip… Señor! No habla l’español (though I can understand if spoken s-l-o-w-l-y). Second good sign.

I explain to him that we are on a mission to discover wonderful Cubano sandwiches and probably would have taken some kind of appetizer but we were able to take a “combo” of sandwich with soup or salad or fries and a drink. We both opted for the salad. As for the drinks, Señor Chef/Owner suggested a “Maracuyá drink”, or, as they call it, in his native Dominican Republic (uh-oh, not so good sign), “Chinola” – turns out that this is the term for Passion Fruit blitzed with milk into a sorta milkshake if, you please.

Absolutely delicious!

This character came in. What a hoot and a half. Obviously an employee (could be family, who knows?) and said that it was all wrong… How can you have a Latin-inspired restaurant such as this and have no music? Up on a chair he went and turned on the music. Ahhh… now it was perfecto!

Talk about adding colour to the joint

Along comes our sammy and “salad”. Um. OK. I had explained to Julie what the components are supposed to be, which is why she jumped on the bandwagon to have one: pork, ham, cheese (I won’t get mad if it’s not Swiss, but it better have flavour), pickles and mustard on a pressed bun.

I’ll start with the salad. Cut up iceberg lettuce, a few slices of tomato “artistically” placed on top and a little container of bottled Italian dressing. I couldn’t even take a picture. I know, I know, I should have. Hang on… lemme see if I can replicate it… Ya. Never mind. I am positive you can picture it.

The Cubano. Yes. Bread was pressed and nice and crunchy. Pork was the equivalent of pulled pork – I’m not too bothered by it because it was so tasty. Found a small slice of ham in the second half of my sandwich. Cheese? Was there cheese? Pickles… Yoooo hoooo? Where are you? They must have been held hostage by the cheese… I think there might have been some caramelized onions, but that may be because of the pulled pork. There were a few little pieces of lettuce but not even enough to give it crunch… There was some mustard on the bread. Wasn’t there? Yes, there was. A very light coating.

My expectations were not sky-high high… but they were higher than what we got. While the sandwich was missing too many ingredients to qualify as an Autentico Cubano in my books, it was tasty. That Maracuyá (or Maraculla, as another patron spelt it for me) drink was the BOMB. Don’t even talk to me about the salad. Combo, my ass. Next time I’ll splurge on soup or fries… In case you did not bother clicking on the link to the restaurant, here is what they show their salad and sammy to look like…

Which goes to show that I did NOT look at the pics because… does that look like a Cubano to you? Does it? No, it does not. So… my bad for choosing the joint.

I will score it a 4/10. NOT for the Cubano, but for the drink, the friendly owners/employees and the fabulous company. Plus, Jules did say she would accompany me on my next Cubano hunt which will be sooner rather than later. (Jules is more generous than I… giving it a 6 – but then, she had nothing to compare it to.)

Me and my beautiful friend, Julie

B, I think you hexed me this morning when I told you the name of the joint we were going to…

Hide ‘n Seek – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday morning, my peeps! It is Friday Fictioneers time! Yessiree… Rochelle chose this wonderful picture by Fatima Fakier Deria this week. So many possibilities, don’t you think? You do? Then do, by all means, join in the fun and let us read it!

Click on Rochelle’s name for the rules and regs… or, if you already know them, just click on the link below and add yours!

Get the link for your blog

Hide ‘N Seek

Simon and Jeffrey loved playing hide ‘n seek along the waterways. They delineated certain blocks, making sure they stayed within, otherwise they’d never find each other! So much fun, especially on delivery days. So many crates to hide in or behind. They played almost every weekend when the weather permitted.

It was Simon’s turn to count. “…97, 98, 99, 100. Ready or not, here I come!”

He ran between crates, laughing, “I’ll find you, Jeffrey!”

Suddenly Simon was scooped up and thrown into a box on a boat. The wind knocked out of him, he thought he heard a muffled sound behind him.

“Jeffrey?…”

Seeing Things Clearly – What Pegman Saw

Good Monday, my peeps!  Was “oot and aboot” on Friday and Saturday (as you may know if you read my post…) and yesterday was working the crazy Father’s Day supper at the club.  I hurt. Everywhere.  This schlepping of tables and chairs and stuff… As a result, I’m a tad late in participating in this week’s Pegman (having missed the last two!)

Kept things light this week…  Thanks to both Josh and Karen for hosting this weekly special.

This week Pegman takes us to Taşlıçay, Ağrı, Turkey. You’re welcome to Karen’s street view and photo spheres anywhere within its borders to write your story. The Pegman challenge is to write 150 words or less inspired by the prompt.

Once your piece is polished, share it with others using the Linkup below. Reading and commenting on others’ work is part of the fun!

©Vera Haber

Seeing Things Clearly

Scuba diving was their thing, their passion.  It was the reason their relationship still held after all these years.  Whenever they had differences, they would suit up and dive in, letting the water wash away any possible resentments, the bubbles from their tanks capturing all negativity and bringing them up to the surface where they would pop and disperse.

Twenty years into their relationship, they had visited countless masses of water, seen unimaginable species of fauna and flora.

“Hey, wanna try Balik Lake in Turkey?  I know we usually go for salt water, but this one is super clear, 70 metres at its deepest and 2250 metres above sea level.  Would definitely be something new.”

“We’re gonna freeze our buns off!”

“Nah, we’ll go in summer – though the option does exist to dive under the ice.  Wouldn’t that be cool?”

“Cool, eh?  Funny girl.” He gave her a big kiss. “Let’s go!”