Rainbows, Smiles and Sunday Everyday

My last day of quarantine was yesterday. Thank goodness because, much as I am quite creative in the kitchen, I was starting to worry that things would turn drab as I was running low on pretty much everything.  You see, my family and I were fortunate to go on a cruise together. (Post about it to follow soon as I kinda got distracted on my return, for some reason.)  Yes, there was talk but it was faint and precautions were taken upon boarding and we sanitized everywhere we went so we felt pretty outside of the situation. Till we hit New York. Waiting for our plane the drone overhead was relentless as were all the TV screens.  We thought, shit… what the eff is going on?

Took it easy on Tuesday (11th) and worked Wednesday through Friday, receiving the stink-eye from a couple of the cooks.  Sorry, mates. We were not told to self-quarantine.  Until we were.  On Saturday, my boss called me to ask me to stay home just as I was texting him to say I had to stay home for two weeks from the arrival date, meaning, until the 23rd. All good.

I try to go out daily with Zeke for a walk, choosing less populated streets of which there are many.  Distances are kept and every “hello” is not only received but returned with a smile, to boot.  No one tries to get in ayone else’s space and that is fabulous. There are a few “rainbows in windows” campaigns going on and I have seen the proof. It is precious and beautiful to see. Most are handmade and even if not, who cares? It’s a lovely way of uniting us.

Speaking of uniting, it’s a mixture of disconcerting and heartwarming to see all the cars parked in the driveways, making every day seem like a Sunday, with people walking about, cycling, playing hockey (I had to assume this was a family who lives together).  You can see the distance between groups or individuals – a good sign that rules are being respected.

This last image was taken shortly before the ambulance arrived. You can see a person sitting on the ground with one helping her while others look like they want to go close to help (or snoop) but don’t dare – a good thing at this time.  I hope it was nothing serious.

In some places, I have finally seen signs of spring flowers working their way out of the frozen ground!  Not at my house just yet, but still. And, I’m surprised this photo turned out as it was so bright outside, I could not see a darn thing!

Speaking of every day being like a Sunday, that includes Sunday meals en famille, of which we have not been able to partake in a dog’s age because we all work different shifts and most of the time are at work when it should be suppertime. Sundays especially.  Soooo… with my “Empty the fride/freezer/pantry” campaign, I was doing a bang-up job…

Which brings me back to my opening paragraph.  Now that I was allowed to go shop, I did.  All in one fell swoop as I do not want to have to go out and expose myself more than necessary until it is necessary.  I was pleased to see that Costco had organised the lines – and were counting how many they let in: one goes out, one allowed in, keeping the numbers at, well, I don’t know how many, but judging by the space in there, it was quite low.  However, as you can see below, the peeps in front of me were certainly NOT keeping six feet between them.  I did and let the guy behind me know when he was in my bubble.

Got my goods and the staff did no bagging so I figured, no big whup, once I get to my car, I’ll do it there.  However. DISASTER! My case of beer was on the cat food bag and, unbenownst to me, and slipped forward until CRASH! It fell to its side and made like the Caesar’s Palace Fountain Show only sans lights and music!  I got a good beer shower as I righted the damn thing and waited as it did its thing. A kind samaritan gave me a half roll of paper towels and said he hoped I was thirsty. Um… These cans are 500 ml (17 oz) each!  Even if all six, yes, SIX, of them emptied half-way, that represents 1.5 l (3 pints) of beer – Not saying I couldn’t if push came to shove but yanno… it was a “bit” much and plus, they were room temp. So. I put a couple in the fridge and drank them – they were flat by then. Blech. and the rest is put aside for more beer bread…

Victims, a sad state of affairs.

After the horror of putting all my stuff away into the car, I had two more stops to make.  Some fruit and herbs and stuff that I can’t get at Costo. And what up, peeps? Has everyone decided to bake their own bread?  Not an ounce of flour to be found at either store I went to. And fuggedabout yeast… Yep. Looks like I’ll be making more beer bread should I run out of the store bought one.

The snow started to fall ever so lightly during my last stop.  The boys helped me empty my car and put away the groceries. By then, forget about cooking. I was spent and it became leftover time. And we had a variety (see above).

I was settled into an evening of watching “Lion” when I got a text from Linda: “Yo, Outside your window.”  Took a peak and waved, then opened the door, shouted for her to hang on, I’d get redressed and join her – yes, yes, six feet apart – with Zeke.  It was a winter wonderland!

Neither of us was upset with the snowfall. We know that March snows never last.  This was just about the prettiest snowfall we had all winter!  Of course, it’s officially Spring, so that must be it.

Nothing lasts forever…

 

 

 

Walktober – St. Helen’s Island and Marie-Victorin Park

It’s October and that means it is time for Robin’s Walktober!  I had plans. Big plans. Was gonna go to St. Helen’s Island on one day (okay, that part I did, but not as much as I wanted to) and the next day was going to go to Mount Royal in Montreal (which didn’t happen because I was just too damn lazy to get up and out of the house early enough). So instead of crossing the bridge and half the island of Montreal to get to Mount Royal, Zeke and I just went to the next town over as there is a lovely area by the St. Lawrence River in the town of Longueuil, called Marie-Victorin Park, we enjoy walking along.

Actually, I am totally going to cheat here. Yep. Imma combine THREE walks, adding in Parc de la Frayère in Boucherville because I got some amazing shots that I want to share with you. And this walk did take place in October.  I do hope you don’t mind…

On October 5th, Zeke and I went to the Parc de la Frayère (which means spawning ground park) for a sunset walk. For once the stars were aligned, or rather, the sky was clear and I was able to take advantage of the golden hour followed by the sunset.

Yesss! We parked, went right to see if maybe, just maybe the heron was hanging about and he was. I did catch a little black duck but that photo is a tad dark as well.  So we turned around towards the little bridge when I spotted the moon between the trees

A half-pie slice of moon.  Crossing the bridge, we made our way towards the water’s edge and were rewarded by a woods tinged with gold.

Even Zeke took on a golden hue

The sun then put on a spectacular show and it was difficult to NOT inundate you with a bazillion pics…

Satisfied, Zeke and I climbed back into the car but I glimpsed a little marina on my return and had to stop. (Sorry, Zeke, you stay in the car for a minute or so…)

I couldn’t make up my mind on which one to share, so you get two.

October 8 was a Tuesday and the first of my two days off that week.  Into the car we went and off to St. Helen’s Island between the south shore and Montreal. There are so many things to see but we stayed within one little section.  It was a glorious day with the bluest of skies and brightest of colours all around.

Up the steps for a nice view.  I took this angle of the Tour de Lévis (built in the 1930’s, usually we have access to the steps inside bringing us to the top where we can have a spectacular view of Montreal and surroundings) but now gated shut for repairs

We walked along the lovely leaf-strewn trails (seriously? a construction cone? are there no construction-free zones in all of the province?) and then down a hill past this huge boulder. I loved how the moss draped over it.

We walked some more and whoa! I have been on this island countless times and have never ended up here. And if I did and don’t remember it then I must have been otherwise preoccupied. A little oasis in the middle of seemingly nowhere.

 

I let a friend know I was in his neighbourhood so we ended up going to his backyard to have a beer before heading home. The view from the communal backyard is lovely.

As mentioned at the start of this walk post, Wednesday was supposed to be a totally different walk but I hemmed and hawed and took my time – so much so that the idea of driving into Montreal no longer appealed to me. Plus the sky was not quite as blue so, I decided to go to another lovely park in the city of Longueuil. This is also along the St. Lawrence River so we had a chance of seeing geese, ducks or simply lovely trees.

The entrance of the park has this… thing. There are no signs and I have no clue what it is.

As I walked towards the official path, my eyes were drawn to this bright red…

And then the entrance to the park

There were a couple of ducks but the light was shite and they were far and I took ’em anyway. Thank goodness for PicMonkey to play with settings.

We walked along and I was struck the by colours… yellows, reds, sticking up out of nowhere.

We kept on walking and arrived at this easily walked into water… which Zeke, as per, did not hesitate to enter. Which is fine because I had arrived at a busy section with some sort of seagull (I think) and a heron.  While Zeke played in the water, he didn’t disturb the birds or me!

The seagull was busy fishing and every time he’d dive down to pick at a fish he’d caught, his wings would flap. I took so many photos but will not bore you with more than two 😉

And then Bob (for you, Mr. Paxson) was standing there waiting for me.  I took pictures as I got closer and closer with the intent – I know, I am mean – of hoping he would fly away and I could attempt to capture him in flight…. I got my desire.

I was pretty pleased with myself even though I felt a tad guilty.

There is a wonderful new overpass that has been rebuilt after an unfortunate accident – a dump truck with its dumper raised hit it and it smashed it.  My sons and I were on our way to the movies and never made it because we were stuck in the traffic it caused. I wrote about it here.

It is quite spectacular at night and I have promised myself to go there and cross it.  But till then, here is the view during the day.  It was built specifically for bicycles and pedestrians.  Zeke and I planned on going to  the top to see the view. Unfortunately, once we got to the second floor, the stairs were metal teeth-like things and poor Zeke tried the first four. I couldn’t let him go up so I told him to stay on the landing whilst I went up. I don’t usually get the willies but you can see through the stairs and my stomach did flip-flops. Since when am I such a wuss?

It was time to go home and the golden hour was arriving. Walking back I noticed there were crabapples and had I a sac, I would have filled it. (Thief that I am.)

I hope you enjoyed my walk and didn’t find it too long! I apologize. I got somewhat carried away.  Should you want to join in, the link is above on Robin’s name.

 

Train Tracks – Crimson’s Creative Challenge #20

Welcome to Crispina’s weekly challenge—open to all—just for FUN, FUN, FUN

Here’s how it works:

Every Wednesday she posts a photo (this week it’s that one below.)
You respond with something CREATIVE. Click here to see just how wide open this challenge is!

This week, a bit of nostalgia 🙂

Train Tracks

Growing up across the street from the railroad tracks, so to speak, watching the long freighter trains go by, feeling the rumble through my body, listening for the tooting of the horn; all these were part of a daily sensory adventure. Even my tastebuds were affected if I was close enough to get a mouthful of dust stirred up by those furiously turning rail wheels.

There were no fences back then. And no fears. And no rules.

And then one day, the the whistles were no longer allowed to blow in the middle of the night – not that we heard them anyway. And yet we missed them. Times change.

My sons don’t have the same freedom we did. They would have to go out of their way to walk the tracks. As a mother, I can’t help but feel relief that they can’t. I’ve fallen into the trap of over-protection.

Shades of Blue – That Make Me Happy

I sit in my own house, a stranger, as my agent takes over and shows it to potential buyers who are waltzing around opening cupboards and checking my stuff – I was going to leave but Serge (agent) told me there was no need.  I had already sent off the boys and Zeke so I made myself small in my office, yet available for any questions…

Most weeks I have a whole lotta nuthin’ on my agenda. One day goes into the next and nary a more exciting outing than a trip to Costco or the grocery store.  At other times? BOOM!  Not only do I have three days in a row of activities, the three times involve crossing the bridge into the City of Montréal.  Snow causes a mess as it takes at least eight days to clean up the city after one dumping.  A mess means traffic.  Traffic means short-tempered peeps.  Short-tempered peeps means frustration abounds.

Well, guess what?  Not this chica!  Sure there was traffic and it was, shall we say, interesting navigating the streets of Old Montreal and downtown (west) but hey, I did find parking in parking in lots, and twice underground.  I’m thinking I’ve scored freakin’ well, dontcha think?  No fusseration happening over here.

On the Thursday, I had a date with Edi, my new friend, made through my neighbours five houses down.  Turns out Edi is divorced and has no one to play with (when it comes to plays) so I told her that the next time a decent one came to town, did she want I should call her?  An emphatic YES was the response.  We-he-hell… I was good on my word.  The Centaur had a special “Valentine’s Day” Sale for any tickets purchased for the February 14th representation of “The Last Wife”  a play created by Kate Hennig about Catherine Parr, Henry the VIII’s sixth and last wife.  Told in today’s times, it was funny, brilliantly acted and the set decoration was truly creative.

BUT, to get to the Centaur, I had to drive along de la Commune Street in Old Montreal and I was struck by the colour of the sky.  I was able to pull over and get this picture of the Montreal Clock Tower – ok, I lied.  I was at a stop sign so I rolled down my window (really, Dale?  Rolled down your window?  More like pressed the automatic button…) and took a quick click – hence the blur.  But that blue!

Just before turning up on St-François-Xavier Street, across from the Montreal Science Centre, I noticed the blue was even deeper so did the same thing as earlier – managed a bit less blur…

Met up with Edi, we found a restaurant (Méchant Boeuf) that would seat us before the play – remember, it was Valentine’s – no easy task to find!!  We enjoyed our meal and made our way back to the Centaur in the slush and snowbanks and mess and enjoyed, as mentioned, a fabulous play.

On my way back to my car, I was struck by the purply-blue (dark periwinkle?) of the sky which really made the whitened-by-streetlamps old buildings pop (I did not play with any filters for any of these pictures, by the way!)

On Friday, I had a dinner and a movie date (Roasters, followed by “What Men Want” – total chick-flic and we laughed our heads off) with the girlfriends.  I also had a house visit scheduled for 4:30, which screwed up my timing to be in town at the Forum Movie Centre for 5.  My son assured me he would be home by that time and didn’t get here till almost 4:45.  That would be the day I was late!  Here I was pushing the ladies to be there for 5:00 so we’d have time to eat before the 6:50 movie and I’m the one who arrived at close to 5:45.  I won’t lie.  I may have cursed a bit lot before leaving, while I  was being redirected because of road work, etc.  That said, just before 4 pm, I was sitting at my desk when I looked up and was struck by yet another shade of blue!  Looks almost ominous, doesn’t it?  I loved the depth near the bottom, paling as it goes upward.

Saturday was a beautiful day!  I promised Zeke we would go out for a nice long walk, and long walk we did, breaking in my new FitBit proper-like – making my 10K steps.  While making our way to one Everything had a bluish tint…

Sunday morning, blessed with another beautiful blue day, I found myself driving along. Shaking my head, I am oh-so glad I have a driveway in which to park my car unlike these poor buggers on the left, parked willy-nilly as this side of the street has yet to be cleared…

I definitely must return to this spot (Ontario Street) to retake this beautiful mural of Alys Robi, a Québecois chanteuse, sans damn truck in the way.  I had to pull over because I was struck by this work of art.

“Let Her Sing Forever”

My house once again my own, I leave you with two Alys songs, first a young Alys doing a cover of “La vie en rose” and a more mature Alys, doing “Laissez-moi encore chanter” – because that’s what the mural represents, and this recording, awful as it is, was on my birthday!

I wish for you all, a most wonderful week!

 

A Colourful Monday Walk

“The World is divided in to two, One is vibrant with colours and the other is drab and colourless..”
Biju Karakkonam, Nature and Wildlife Photographer

There are days where nature is most gracious in sharing her colours.  Monday was one of those days.  Strange, really, as the sun was not shining and the skies were mostly grey.  Or maybe it was just me.  Searching for and finding colour to brighten the day.

Though my full-time days at the golf course came to an end October 30th, I feel I’ve been running around doing stuff yet getting nothing done.  Back and forth to hospitals for Yvon, my mother’s spouse; notary, financial adviser and bank to finally settle my  mandatary duties for my mother-in-law (still not completely done, but close); readying the house for visits – all for naught – bloody thing is still not sold and that mandate is up in three days.  Next!!  Time to take the time for these walks of mine.

On Monday, Zeke and I decided to go for one of our long walks.  He kills me.  I cannot say the word “walk” without him getting excited.  He sees me pick up my camera bag and he loses it.  Before doing any of that, all I said was:  “Do you wanna?”  and this is the look I got:

Then I picked up my camera bag…

We decided to go way over to the other side.  The weather was pretty decent.  I didn’t need my snowpants nor my big mitts so happy days!

Crossing the pedestrian shortcut we came face to face with this fella.  You can tell there are snow enthusiasts who will do what they can to create their own Frosty!

We got to my favourite willow tree in de Normandie Park.  I know, I know.  I take its picture every single time I see it.  Can’t help it as I’m a tad obsessed.

Ya gotta admit it’s pretty spectacular, eh?  And look how colour-coordinated Zeke is!

We moved on towards the Parc des Coutances and I was struck by these trees.  One marcescent- not planning on losing any leaves this winter, one, that didn’t finish shedding theirs before the snows came and then the two different conifers.  Colours and textures.

“Let me, O let me bathe my soul in colours; let me swallow the sunset and drink the rainbow.”
Khalil Gibran

We moved on towards what I once called my dog park because way back before we lost Mick, I used to get up much earlier and would end up meeting up with the ladies and their dogs around 8:30 am.  Those days are gone!  Maybe I’ll get back into an early to bed, early to rise rhythm one day.  Just not yet.  Was amused to see the two seasons mixed together.  A carpet of leaves on a rug of snow.  Or is it the other way around?

On we went towards the Parc de Provence, leading to our secret (hey, I’ll call it secret if I want to!) woodland path.  Upon entering the path, I was struck by the white branches against the blue wall.  How strange!  I have been down this path many times and never did I see a pure white branch like these.

We kept walking towards the centre of the pathway and I, again, saw a series of colours.  One grouping after another

Cutting through, we returned to the Park des Provences from another entrance and there, again… an unexpected duo of colours

Back to Parc des Coutances and this time it was a pop of yellow that caught my eye.

The anemic sun that was, was slowly disappearing and I could feel a chill so we picked up the pace towards home.

“One should be a painter. As a writer, I feel the beauty, which is almost entirely colour, very subtle, very changeable, running over my pen, as if you poured a large jug of champagne over a hairpin.”
Virginia Woolf, The Letters of Virginia Woolf: Volume Six, 1936-1941

Before getting making it to Parc Marguerite-A.-Tellier and that much closer to home, the skies darkened.

No wonder I felt so cold suddenly.

Just before crossing the boulevard towards home, this pop of red shouted at me.  Another caught by the snow before it could lose it’s petals!

Zeke was quiet for the rest of the evening.  The boy was spent.  Maybe the walk was too long?  I’ll have to ease him in more gently.  The boy is now 9 and probably felt like I do when I overdo it!

Have a fabulous weekend!

 

 

Walktober 2018

The deadline is nigh but I have made it!  October was the busiest one at the golf club I have ever experienced.  Totally nuts and I’ve the bruises and fatigue to show for it.  When there was a day I could have gone for my official Walktober Walk, I ended up doing other stuff, or the rains came or… never mind.  That’s all moot now, isn’t it, because I am here!  Thank you, Robin, for hosting this fun challenge!

Between making salsa and apple jellies, baking a ham and doing laundry, yesterday afternoon, the sun decided to shine right into my face, basically yelling at me to get off my duff and out there into the “wild”.  I had timed it to coincide with the sunset, to boot.

First, before leaving the house, I was stopped by both my dried hydrangeas and my vivid burning bush – getting close to spectacular…

Zeke was beyond excited and when I opened the trunk of the SUV, realised we were going on a REAL adventure.  Now, if only driving in a car did not make him puke…

We drove first to Marie-Victorin Park which has a decent view of Montreal and is right on the St.Lawrence River.

It is sad that I missed all the bright reds of autumn but there were little snippets of red here and there…

Zeke and I took a forbidden path – what?  It was a path obviously taken often!!  I was surprised to see a visible section of white across a bunch of birch trees.  Does the water go that high at times?  Seems rather much but, who knows?  At the end of the path we arrived at what frankly looks like a swamp.  Zeke, though tempted, refrained from jumping in the water.  He did look at me once and figured it would not be a good idea…

Making our way back the light had become particularly beautiful.  All became so soft and glowing.  I took a bunch more pics of the geese and noticed this seemingly suspended branch.  When I zoomed in, I could see a fishing hook twisted near the top… but felt this pic was more fun 😉

 

It was nearing five o’clock and sundown was at 5:53 so I decided to make my way to another park, closer to home.  I figured I’d be able to get some great shots of the sunset from there.  Back into the car and.  Traffic.  What the??  NOT an area where I was expecting any.  I wasted a good 25 minutes where it should have taken but 10.  Still.  We did make it in time to Parc La Freyère, in Boucherville.

The light was fading fast so apologies on the duck shot… I just couldn’t  seem to get a clear shot… (my story and I’m sticking to it!)

It seemed Mother Nature was NOT on my side as clouds refused to allow any spectacular sunset…

So, no sunset for me and my hands were frozen.  Back into the car for our return trip.  I decided to drive along Marie-Victorin street as it follows the river.  Oh man!  I had to stop, park in a side street and get out.  Sorry, Zeke, you’re staying in the car.  Back in a few!

I walked onto the warf for one last picture.

And called it a day.

Hope you enjoyed my Walktober walk from Longueuil to Boucherville!

A Friday Falter

I woke up this morning, at the ungodly hour (for me, as I work late and don’t get to bed till numpty o’clock) of 6:30 to a headache.  And a queasy stomach.   Decided to take Tylenol because they are not so harsh on the stomach and went back to bed.  Slept(ish) until about 10:30 and felt this headache was more along the lines of a migraine.  I don’t do migraines.  My sister unfortunately does, my mother used to big time, as did my late husband.  Me?  Not so much.  Popped two Advil Liquigels and lay down again. The rain was pelting against the window – I so love that sound.  Plus it made my room extra dark. But, I gave up by 11-30-ish, got up and felt a slight bit better.  At least the stomach was not so iffy.

I’m completely blaming last night’s event at work.  I worked the wine bar, which was fine, then the end-of-evening bar, which was also fine.  What was not so fine was the loudness of the music. It was ridonkulously LOUD.  After the speeches and celebrations of X many years of working with the company, the party officially started.  A party for 240 peeps, though there were less that showed and many who left after the awards…. There were also the flashing lights.  I’m not usually so susceptible to such noise and lighting but maybe I’ve been tired.  Or, maybe someone came to work with a gastro and passed the bug!  No, no, I’m fairly certain it’s not that.  When the last stragglers were still dancing about, I was able to snap a pic.  It had been quite pretty with all the lit-up vases and such.  Oh well.  When working, there is no time for photography and I should have taken them before the guests arrived but there was much to do in little time.

So, back to the state of my stomach and head… Poor Aidan had made himself a nice big thermos of Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup to bring to school.  There it was on the counter.  Hours after he left.  Sucks to be him.  Great to be me.  I poured some of the bouillon (broth, if you prefer) into a mug, sipped it.  Perfection.  Felt a thousand times better so I made myself a coffee.  I know, I know, that was pushing it but all was good.

Sipped my caffè while catching up on FF stories.  I then ate the rest of the soup while watching the conclusion of MasterChef – so glad Gerron won.  Considered taking a nap but frankly felt good enough to take the Zeke-meister out for a walk.  Thing I had not done in eons, it feels like.

Off Zeke and I went, towards one of the many parks.  To say he was excited, is to put it mildly.  When he sees me grab my camera bag, he becomes a basket case!

We made our way across the boulevard and to the passageway leading towards the park.  I can’t help but take pics of these weeds… they are just so pretty!

This house, with it’s waterfall garden in the front always fascinates me.

We continue on our way, and I was reminded of the pictures I have taken of various fences and benches and entrances for an eventual post, still sitting in my “pending” folder since forever.  I’ll have to look for them!  So I took this weird little wanna be fence

We finally get to the park and there is no one so I can let Zeke run around.  It was so windy but so very warm.  Very un-September 21st-like, that is for sure!  There is a water fountain that Zeke can drink from and we did take a sip.  I then took a seat as I realised I still was not up to par…  Looks like we would not go as far as Zeke would like.

Waiting patiently

Still, it was nice to get out and get some air.  And there is always tomorrow!

Daisies look so happy…

Oh, and since this afternoon’s walk, I have learned that our capital city and neighbouring Gatineau were bombarded with a major tornado.  Thus explaning all the wind and rain we are getting here right now.  It is a mere two hours away.

There is much devastation as this link can show you… I have friends and family in that area, most of whom have marked themselves safe.  I so hope everyone who hasn’t is.