Stuff and Things and an Update

It’s been three weeks since I last wrote a post.  Oh, there are quite a few drafts with great intentions and little else but other than that? Zip.  The first week, I was basically sans motivation, feeling some sort of ennui, no, not ennui, more of a malaise of sorts.  At the same time, I was actively looking for a job which I’m now thinking was causing more stress than I thought.

The result? My immune system must have been compromised and to celebrate the first day of spring, I got damn COVID. Thank you, son.  After being sick on arriving at work on Tuesday morning, March 15, Iain’s boss sent him home.  He slept all day and had a headache.  The next day, feeling fine, he went to get a test and sent me this picture with the text:

“noooooooooo”.

I respond with : “Fuuuuuuuuuuck”.

And he with:  “so weak. shameful performance” (must be said with Uncle Roger’s accent)

I showed the photo to my boss who said:  “Now you have to go home”.  I thought it was kind of ridiculous, being 4:00 p.m. with just one more hour to go.   Still. I packed my stuff and off home I went where I have been working since. Why, you ask? Technically I need quarantine for five days. Well, let me tell you why.  (Oh, and by the way, Iain took his required five days off and returned to work on Monday.)

Thursday and Friday, work from home.  I’m good with that, especially because I have two job interviews on Thursday afternoon and now I no longer need to find an excuse to leave the office for half an hour.

Friday, take a test – negative. So I am good to go for dinner at my buddy Linda’s for an overdue dinner and a chinwag. We are reasonable this time and I am home before midnight.

Saturday, go for a fantabulous 45-minute run/walk. I am feeling fantastic.

Sunday. Wake up sick.  Take a test:  negative.  Hmm.  Okay then, must be a head cold. Or a sinus thing because my head is ready to explode and my head is full of, well, let me leave that to your imagination.  I text my boss, apologizing for disturbing her on a Sunday evening and tell her that there is no way I can go in and that I am also taking a sick day.  I took three.

However, Monday, I was supposed to go for another interview – in-person, this time. I contact the placement agent and tell her no way can I go.  She asks me if I can do a Teams meet and I say, I think I can make it through one of those (rather sick but can manage to not cough or blow my nose for half an hour…)  I was supposed to, originally, go for a site visit with the people I interviewed with on Thursday but had to cancel that, obviously.

All is well. The Teams interview goes so well, they send me an offer!  Well, how do you like them apples?  Problem is, I cannot respond as the first one I had on Thursday really interests me and I cannot make a decision without going for the site visit. (Plus, I didn’t really want the one offered as it was, once again, a position obliging me to sit at the reception. Non merci.)

Random photo – Hanging with the cats

My agent asks me if I think I could go for a site visit on Wednesday morning.  I say yes (probably should not have but decisions need to be made!)  I make sure I touch no one and nothing and my mask remains in place.  They are just as welcoming as I felt during our original interview.  I thank them for the visit, ever anxious to get back home and into bed but wait!  I have yet another interview at noon!  Bloody hell.

The interview goes well but I have the feeling the potential boss is one of those hard-ass women who says (too often) how open her door is and how she arrives with a smile and leaves with one.  I have the distinct feeling of. Nope.  Which is fine and dandy because Clemex, the company I interviewed for on Thursday and visited that morning?  They make me an offer that surpasses the one I got on Monday. Woot!

I call my boss on Wednesday afternoon, after I got the offer and break the news to her.  She takes it well, is not surprised but is happy for me as she knows the company cannot really offer me anything challenging at the time.  I promise to her to try to update all the administrative documents so that the next person they hire has something to go on.

I work from home Thursday and Friday.  On Saturday, (it is now March 26), my sister invited me over to watch her daughter, my goddaughter, Ariane, play volleyball in the Canadian national championships.  However, she asks me to test myself again just in case.

I feel you, Omelette!

Dammit.  Positive.

So this past week I have been working from home, trying to train someone on some of my duties via Teams and wishing this persistent cough will just leave me the hell alone. As long as it’s present, I cannot go anywhere!

I now have my last three work days ahead of me, with a lunch planned for Wednesday and I don’t even know if I will be able to go in!  I have this frog in my throat with an occasional unproductive cough, still.

*** UDATE ***

Had to go to the pharmacy to pick up dye for my daughter today and decided to get myself a cough suppressant and a COVID test.

Great news!  I am now officially negative.

One last thing. I participate in a Facebook Photo Group and last week the theme was reflections.  I discovered this one taken last year and Wow! How had I not noticed this when I took it?  It’s what actually inspired me to write this post.  Well, the original plan was to simply use it as inspiration for a poem.  It is, after all, NaPoWriMo month, so why not a little poetry to end things?

 

Fighting through congestion

One thought begets another

A sleepless night, once again

Path has since cleared

With gratitude

Looking upwards and outwards

Where new beginnings

And challenges await

 

CCC172 – Catch the Moon

Oy. I love when I challenge myself to try something waaay outside of my comfort zone.  I saw Crispina’s photo and knew I had some sort of matchy-matchy response (very much IN my comfort zone).  Then dVerse came along on the same day I was going to respond to the CCC, and challenged us to try a Sparrowlet.  So, of course, I thought, I can do this and merge two challenges since the CCC is open to pretty much anything, as long as we don’t exaggerate and go over 150 words – why I would never! Okay, maybe once or twice…  That said, my skills as a poetesse need much fine-tuning.  I like to think my attempts will gain in sophistication as I keep stretching…

 

The winter moon, above shines bright

And I so wish, with all my might

That I could hold it still till noon

And offer it for your delight

And gone would be all sense of gloom

Above shines bright, the winter moon

 

Within my arms, I’ll hold you close

Breast to my breast, nose to my nose

I know you won’t resist my charms

For it is you, I love the most

To never let you come to harm

I’ll hold you close, within my arms

 

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #246 – Saunter

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. Always a pleasure to play with you, Sammi!

 

wk 246 saunter

 

Differing views on getting things done

Where I should like to see you at a trot, when I request it

You prefer to saunter, when you feel like it

I suppose, in the end, getting it done is what’s important

I am trying to convince myself

Hoping to find my zen

 

 

Divide and Conquer – Crimson’s Creative Challenge #168

So funny that I happened to take a helicopter flying in the same angle as Crispina’s plane.  When I saw this challenge, I knew I had to play.  I decided to go ironic this time.  It sure feels like this is how things work sometimes…

This is not the time to criticize.

Not the time to say who is better at what, ok?

We each have our talents and lacks.

That’s neither here, nor there.

The important thing now is to work together.

We need to divide and conquer.

That IS working together!  We can cover more territory this way!

You go left, I’ll go right.  We meet in the middle on the other side.

Good?  Excellent. Go!

***

So? What did you find?

Whaddaya mean you don’t know what you were looking for?

For fuck’s sakes.

 

Done and Done and… What’s Next?

I am, in general, an excellent starter.  Finisher? Not so much.  Not that I don’t finish anything – each of my parents and my grandmother got a needlepoint I made for each of them.  My grandmother has one because she had the bright idea of taking up needlepoint but instead of buying herself a nice little 4″ X 6″ as a starter, bought a big-ass one (like 18″ X 24″ or is it 24″ X 36″). She figured her granddaughter (me) would teach her how to do it.  Easy-peasy. After doing one one-inch square (too tight, by the way), she gave it to me with a “I don’t have the patience for this!” So I did it and then gave it back to her for Mother’s day. My mother’s contribution was to pay for the framing.  She wrote on the back “To be returned to Dale upon my death”. Well, Mémère died twelve years ago and my aunt lives in the house now.  When she tried to give it back to me, I told her to keep it.  When she sells, we’ll determine what to do with it then.

As usual, I have detoured to China on my way to New York…

So. Back to the reason for this post. Today marks my 365th day, like, in a row (sorry, David, had to steal it!) of doing my 10,000 steps per day.  10K steps.  Every. Day.  The funny thing is, I didn’t decide when I started this on January 3, 2020, to do it for one year.  I actually decided to start it on a Sunday (simply to avoid starting it on the first of the year), and merged it with the 68-day challenge they do at work, which started on the Monday.  Two birds, one stone.  But then a funny thing happened.  The last day of the work challenge came and went and I was still on a mission.  I don’t know when hey, let me try to do this for a whole year came to be but suffice it to say, that it did. And I did it. I had my cheerleader and co-participant Marc, who actually had been doing 10K per day for months before I started and just joined in, determined to keep me company till the end. Thank gawd.  There were days where his “Go, Q, Go” was the difference between planting my butt on the sofa and getting out there.  I like to think there were days where I did the same for him.

I’ve gone from running in intervals of one minute run/one minute walk, for 10-16  sets to one 1:45 run, one minute walk, for 10-16 sets or plus.  I have also gone from doing increasing (by fifteen seconds) intervals starting at one minute run up to one two minutes and back with one minute walk in between each to 1:45 up to 2:45 and back with the one minute walk between each – that makes for a 47:15 total run/walk Pretty damn good as I was never a runner. 100 metre sprint? No problem. Run just to run? Not so much. So this gradual increase has been something I’m rather proud of.  I shall not be quitting any time soon and shall keep trying to increase my run times.

I’ve been chased by dogs and almost run over by absent-minded driver doing an “American stop”. I’ve run in the rain and on snow and in ridiculous heat and pretty frigid cold.  I’m still rather surprised at myself, that I did all that, tell you what.

I had a little minor surgery on my back to remove a chunk of fat called a lipoma on December 15th.  The surgeon asked me to not run for a few days.  Which turned into two weeks because the weather just wasn’t conducive to running – I don’t do slush/ice/snow which hides ice/ridiculous cold, etc.  So I walked outside and marched inside while watching episodes of shows.  Sometimes my steps went way over the goal and other times I just barely made it. I’ve had a few times where I prepare to go to bed, check my steps and gasp! Still have 1500 or so to go… March, march, march! Then sleep.

Saturday I was finally able to run, opting for the 1:45/1:00 X 14 sets for a total of 40 minutes 45 seconds (all my runs include a 15 sec prep and a two-minute cool-down.)  I also had to change routes as the only place I was pretty much guaranteed asphalt was on the main drags – not a pretty place to run.  Not a pretty day at all. We haven’t seen the sun in ages.

There was a lot of internal dialogue going on. A LOT.  The first set I thought, this is gonna be hell.  By set number five, I was convincing myself that I would go to six and turn around. 12 sets was nothing to be ashamed of.  By the sixth, I saw I was a ways from the overpass so why not go to seven as planned? It’s not like I would have to run up the damn thing. The photo does not do it justice. It’s the type of slope that even by bike, you want to speed up before the climb because by the top, your thighs are burning.  The voice in my head changed to Marc’s.  “You’ve got this, Q.  Last run day. FINISH STRONG.” I lost count for which set I was back on my return.  The Universe’s way of encouraging me to just keep on.  No point in quitting now.  When I hit the curve, I knew I’d soon be seeing my street. Yay! One more hurdle and done and done!

January 2, 2022, was my last day of my challenge.  I was awakened by the incessant sound of snowploughs going to and fro. First the streets, then the sidewalks, then my driveway, then the streets again…. I got the message and got out of bed!  A couple coffees, a late breakfast and I bundled up and headed out just as the snow was slowing down.

Almost as soon as I stepped out, I found myself in a snow globe.  What a perfect day to end my challenge!

What’s my next challenge?  Not sure yet. Will keep you posted!

 

Giving Thanks… and Pie?

I do this to myself all. the. time.  I get a prompt in my inbox and I think, “Oh yeah, baby, I know what I’m gonna write”. And then some annoying person comes and asks me for a stupid pen or lead for their pencil or whatever. And so I have to put it aside.  And then two days pass by, nothing written, and a new prompt shows up and I think, “Oh yeah, baby. I know exactly what I’m gonna write…” And then. I gotta send out a box… Well, you get the idea. I have come to realise that work is getting in the way of me doing what I really want to do. And it is NOT fetching office supplies (supplies, by the way, that they could get all by their own damn selves if they just walked into the supply room room which is not ten paces from where I sit).  But I digress with my impromptu mini-rant.

So Last Monday, dVerse was Haibun Monday – Giving Thanks.  I know where I’m going with that one.

And then on the Thursday that followed, dVerse was Pie Poetry – didn’t have to be related to Thanksgiving, though it was the ‘Murican Thanksgiving, of course.  I gots me pie stories to tell…

So here I am the following week, having written three (four?) other posts with this one still hanging out in drafts.  I almost left it in drafts to die a slow death but then decided, nope. Let’s go crazy and actually finish it!  So I decided to mush the two prompts together, somehow.

Giving Thanks With My Family Pie

My family means the world to me.  And I’m talking the whole gang:  from my grandmother, to my parents, to my aunts and uncles, to my sisters, my cousins, down to nieces and nephews, and my children.

Many are sadly gone now but they left their mark and they deserve a place at this table, in this peculiar pie.

No matter the situation, either one of us is a phone call and a drive-past-the speeding-limit drive away, urgency dependent, of course.

The birth of a baby, the death of one.  An injury sustained by a saw or a skull-cracking fall takes but one phone call, and the invisible director has called “Action!”.

It’s not only in moments of distress that we come together.  We join in celebrations: shopping for prom/wedding dresses, attending each other’s children’s recitals and games. And yes, we can even travel together!

They’ll call me on my shit, tell me I look like shit, give me shit, tell me my decision was shit.  But here’s the thing; so will I when they merit it.

They’ll celebrate my victories, tell me I look fabulous and let the world know they are proud of me.  Just like I will for them.

My family is a complex pie (it’s not even round) made up of varying slices (they’re not even, even) that you might think shouldn’t work together, but do.  Maybe they don’t all belong on the same plate, (some are savoury, some are sweet, some are spicy; all of them tart and not a few of them nutty) but they definitely belong in the same meal.

Holidays are fine

To give thanks to those we love

But every day’s best

 

 

 

As Far As Delicatessens Go… – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday, my peeps!  It’s Friday Fictioneer’s time and Rochelle not only hosts, she even supplies this week’s wonderful art/inspiration.  After reading her story, I felt the need to add my two cents’ worth 😉  In all fairness, I’ve not been to Katz’s – yet.  So, this is all in jest, of course.  Maybe.  If you’ve a more original idea for a story, by all means, please click on the frog below and add your 100-word story link.

PEPE Jimmy John's Part 1 by DestinyWrites on DeviantArt

click to play

As Far As Delicatessens Go…

This week Rochelle went on and on about Katz’s Deli.  Course, ‘Muricans know nothing ’bout smoked meat.  They are all about the pastrami – which ain’t a bad thing, just not the same thing.  Not trying to shit-disturb over here y’understand, just trying to enlighten.

Lemme tell you, if ever she manages to get her butt up to Montreal, Imma take ‘er to Schwartz’s Deli so’s she can see the difference betwixt smoked meat and pastrami.  Like night and day, I tell ya.

Next thing you know, Rochelle’s gonna try to tell me that New York bagels are better than Montreal’s!

*

*

In the spirit of sharing, here’s a little video and link for ya about Schwartz’s.

Tunnel Gift

I haven’t written anything since the FF two Wednesdays ago.  I dunno what’s up… I was looking at my blog and found that I had twenty-one (yes, 21!) drafts!  Seriously?  I do this to myself like all. the. time.  I start something, get side-tracked, go back, don’t feel it, put it aside and next thing I know the story is too old.  I decided I’d do a clean-up but not before getting my steps in, which, being a non-running day, can prove difficult.

For those who don’t know it, I have challenged myself to do 10,000K steps per day for a whole year.  82 days left to completion! (And I cannot wait for that day to arrive without making time go any faster, if that makes any sense whatsoever.

I finally convinced myself that I could sacrifice an hour of my time (on a beautiful day, no less) to “git ‘er done”.  I made the decision to walk towards a park that I thought was not too far. Right. Wasn’t too far by bicycle!  No matter. I wanted a new path today because no matter how much joy I find in taking the same path over and over again and discovering something new, today was not that day.

I walk past the golf course and know that soon, I will be off this loud and noisy and dirty boulevard.

I see there is graffiti in the tunnel and decide to go take a closer look-see.  This is where part of this post turned into an hommage to Resa’s Graffiti Lux Art & More blog.  What a find!  It started off with a quote that translates to mean:  “Yesterdays follow me and ressemble me less and less”.

A lovely and colourful ’50’s style scene unfolds.  The first frame feels like it doesn’t belong and was created by a totally different person.  Or actually, like a commercial before the main event.

First one side:

And, then, the other side:

Truly amazing work.  It took me three tries to film this without interruption from cyclists and golf cart drivers. It finally worked when I went backwards. Apologies for the movement. It’s hard to walk and hold a phone!

Time to keep moving as my destination was still a ways away.  I went another block or so and turned onto a street, getting away from the boulevard.  At the end of the street, I looked left and ta-dah!  I could see the park.  Two blocks away.  Finally.  I couldn’t find an entrance so I cut in, knowing I would eventually catch up with one of the many trails within.  I chose one that is used for mountain bikes in summer and snowshoes in the winter (note to self:  definitely must come back with snowshoes this winter).  I had lost interest in exploring this park more fully (Michel-Chartrand) knowing I had a good trek back. I shall definitely return but will take my car to get there and give myself that two hours completely in the park instead of wasting most of it on a sidewalk.

FYI, I totally busted my goal, getting over 13K steps.  Woot!

Walking and Walking: YUL to ATL to PHL/PHL to IAD to YUL

Inspired by David Kanigan, I thought I would write a “Walking” post. Because Lord knows I’ve walked in the past eight days! Of course, mine won’t be as sophisticated as his. I don’t have some cool reference to the latest book I’m reading, inspiring me. No, no. Mine is the Good Gawd Version.

It all started with a decision to go hang out with my fella… Justin opened up the border to the Yanks and I just had to wait until Joe did the same for us. But he didn’t. Damn him! So, arrangements were made to fly – destination Philadelphia followed by a short drive to Delaware, just for the hell of it.

I did the necessaries, i.e. get a proper Covid test (the US, while not open to us Canucks, are less demanding of which test was needed). Found me a drive-through and was planning on getting tested on the Saturday, August 21, on my way up to Yvon’s funeral. It only takes 15 minutes to get the results. However, I decided to follow my sister Tracy’s suggestion that I not wait till the last minute. So I went on Thursday after work, enduring traffic to and fro. But all good. Negatory, so I was set.

Why, pray tell, do we have to present ourselves at the airport three hours prior to boarding when there is no one officially working until 5:30? My flight was at 7:30… There was one woman who was asked to come in early so she dealt with as many as she could, including me, before the rest arrived… And then? Great, she checked us in but the security isn’t open until 6:30? What in the eff?

There is a screen between the cow chute and the agents…

Sunday morning, I was on my flight to, get this, ATLANTA, as a layover to Philadelphia. Nuts, I tells ya. Nuts. I have gone to Florida, to the Dominican Republic and my layover was IN Philadelphia. Now that it was my destination? No, no. we can’t have us no direct flight. Let’s send you for a ride!

Blue skies over fluffy white clouds – gonna be a great week!

I won’t complain too hardily as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is a beautiful place. I mean, if you are to have a four-hour layover, this is a grand place to have it. I’d get my 10K steps easy-peasy! I arrived in Concourse A and walked around there, not quite knowing how to get to the other concourses. So I took the train to T and walked all the way back to E. And back. Wow.

Concourse T to A contains a series of Zimbabwean sculptures, each one so beautiful. I took ’em all but won’t torment you here!

Concourse A to B has a rain forest theme, including the sounds of tree frogs and other beasties. So cool.

Between Concourses B and C, you find a serious history lesson. Along the walls the images take you from 11,000 BC to today.

There was nothing special after that that. Was more straightforward.

My flight was on time and it was off to Delaware for a week of reconnection, rest and relaxation.

Fast-forward to Wednesday. I had a Covid Test to take. This time the PCR one. Thanks to my co-worker, I knew that Vybe Urgent Care took appointments and gave results in two hours. Woot! (Booked it on Monday,) Off we went, I took the test and then we walked around South Philly for a few hours. Picked up the results. All good. I was negative.

Friday afternoon, I receive an email from Air Canada telling me my flight next day’s was cancelled. For weather. What? What weather? There was nothing in Philadelphia. Nothing in Toronto (my connecting airport) and nothing in Montreal. What in the blessed eff? Sonova…. They give me my new flight for SUNDAY at 8:30, with a connection in Dulles, Washington. An eight-and-a-half hour layover. Oh. Em. Gee… No matter how much I searched, unless I was Croesus, which I am not, there was no way I could change this. Double Damn. Thankfully, we were able to stay at our joint for another night.

Saturday morning I wake up with a start. Aaaarrrggghhh! My Covid test is now no longer valid! I call Vybe and am told that “sorry, we cannot fit you in”. I call elsewhere and hit a wall. I call back the first Vybe – which is the closest in Ridley and basically beg. Successfully. We have to leave immediately, so off we go.

As expected, it took less than five minutes. So I treated us to breakfast in a diner (meh) and we then walked around until the paperwork was ready. Yay. Negative again (like… of COURSE).

It was great to have an extra day of vacation but the running around necessary? Not so much. Plus, now I had to leave at 8:30 instead of 10:15 yet another early start!

So. Here I am. In Dulles. It ain’t no Atlanta, is all I’m saying. But now I have to distract myself for eight-and-a-half hours. After a lickety-split flight from PHL to ATL (arrived early, of course). I thought I’d be seeing this spaceship (please, take me away!) over and over again but no. I found other places to get my steps! Not too exciting.

I walk from one end to the other and back. I see there is a Bar Symon and I think, that will be a great supper. It’s in Gate B and I still don’t know where I am leaving from. By 10:30 my 4 a.m. bagel is no longer sustaining me so I decide to have a Five Guys burger – a small one. Thank goodness!

Walk some more and wish and wish I could find some place to lie down. All the damn benches have armrests! What is it with this well-maintained airport already? I could like on a wooden bench like some rubby (homeless Canadian drunk) – right the middle of the hallway…. or maybe this cushy one, also set up in full view. I keep walking and find this overpass between Gates A1-A5 and A6-A-whatever)… Dang. That would have worked

Too late. I sit down in my empty gate A5 and start to write this post. I realise, as I am looking for deets, that I cannot find my blue travel wallet. What the? Wait. Oh man. I think, when I took my laptop out of my bag at security in Philly, it fell out. Never saw it. It contained all my paper proof of vaccination, tests, etc. Thank God I had it all digitally but I knew it would make my life easier to have the paperwork. Could this day get any worse?

Why yes. Yes, it could! By 4:30 they call us to verify our vaccine situation and test and all that schmegegge and tell us… hey… by the way, let’s delay your flight by an hour! Sallamabeetz…

Papers verified, I look around. I am NOT taking the chance to walk over to Michael Symon’s joint and find a nearby pub called Firkin and Fox. Imma have me a Yuengling! And a “turkey” (pressed meat) avocado club sandwich. Was edible and quenched my thirst. All for the measly sum of $30. Gotta love airports, eh?

Return to my bench to finish my post and accidentally flush it. Had to start the whole damn thing over (I think this version is better, though still way too long!)

Oh… that a boarding call? Not quite yet as, well, there is something they need to look at…

Weekend Writing Prompt #221 – Thwart

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.  I so wanted to use the more obscure definition of thwart but was thwarted by my lack of ability to find a way suitable to say what I wanted to say… another day, perhaps.

wk 221 thwart

Not to be Thwarted by Gadgets

 

A challenge issued from me to me for the year

(started on January 3rd, so’s not to hex myself)

Ten thousand steps per day

Totally doable

Marvellously on track more than seven months in.

My Fitbit however, decided to thwart me and falter before the end

What to do?

Get a different brand – counts steps, not movements

Keeps me on the honest path

 

Started at the same time… hmmm.. Koretrak 237 steps behind Fitbit. The gap grew exponentially as the day went on! No free steps given here.