For Dad on Father’s Day

A few days ago, Ally, from The Spectacled Bean (why I kept seeing Speckled instead of Spectacled, is beyond me, and I apologize, Ally), shared some quirky deets about her father.  This was inspired by her watching the last season of Grace and Frankie (which I loved, too), in particular, the Paprikash episode where Grace reconnects with her long-lost brother on false pretenses because she has a hankering for chicken paprikash and desperately wants the family recipe which her brother knows off by heart.  He never got a chance to know their father and wants Grace to share her memories.  Grace doesn’t want to because it hurts too much.  Her brother comes to realise that he is not there because Grace has missed him and goes to leave but Frankie, in true Frankie fashion, finds a way for him to stay.  With every memory Grace shares, he gives her an ingredient.

Quite the intro to the raison d’être of this post, eh?  I purposefully waited until today, Father’s Day, to share my list.  I was lucky enough to have him until I was 49, unlike 15 for Ally.  To think my kids were 15 and 16 when they lost theirs.  Sigh.

So, without further ado, here are ten things about my dad

1️⃣  He was thrilled to be mistaken for Captain Picard – it’s hard to get a picture because Dad always smiled with his teeth, while Sir Patrick smiles closed-mouthed… During the Pandammit, when Patrick Stewart read the Shakespearean sonnets, shared on FB and Twitter, I kept being taken aback.  They have many facial expressions that matched; it was uncanny.

2️⃣  He loved to listen to the Boston Pops on Sunday nights – we really think it was to annoy the shit out of Mom more than love of the music.

3️⃣  He loved Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” and would dance around in his goofy way, while clicking his tongue to the beat.

4️⃣  He insisted on setting a nice table, using bowls for ketchup and other condiments – do NOT even think of putting a bottle of ketchup on the table!

5️⃣  After he died, we found a penny in every single coat pocket because he always kept the ones he found, saying they were Pennies from Heaven, from his grandson, Austin.

6️⃣  He did a 180° flip from saying how much he paid for stuff to how little.  Having been raised on welfare, he planned on having more than enough one day – and did, which he was so proud of and flaunted.  Then he got older and wiser and realised that saving a buck was nothing to be ashamed of – which, of course, he now went on and on about.

7️⃣  He excelled at playing the overseer when construction projects were underway at any of our houses 😏 Though, in fairness, he was very adept at putting hammer to nail as well.

8️⃣  He always dressed well.  Loved looking sharp, whether casual or formal.

9️⃣  He was a natural artist.  One day, he decided to paint. So he did.  He sold most of his paintings, too.  And then he stopped.  I guess I take after him for that – losing interest after a while…

Painting Dad made for me

🔟  He had no regrets, he said. Had a wonderful life and stood behind all his choices.  When he wanted something he went for it.  It took him years to finally get a sailboat.  Until it was a reality, sail magazines graced the house all over the place, top of the toilet, night stand, living room table.  I think it was a sort of vision board exercise.

I’m sure so many other things will come to mind once I press publish, but like Dad, I’ll stand behind my choices.  Thank you again, Ally, for inspiring me to write this post.

 

Raffi Said No – Friday Fictioneers

Welcome to Wednesday!  The day when most of the Friday Fictoneersers deposit a link to their 100-word story via frog.  I kid you not. We really do!  Once upon a time, they were deposited on Fridays but, over time, it’s become a thing to do it as early as possible. (I figure it’s coz we know it gives us more time to read all the others…  maybe Rochelle has an explanation. Then again, maybe it’s just simple evolution.  It matters not. Here we are!

Apologies in advance.  I fear I have not gone the fiction way, yet again.  This wonderful photo, supplied by the equally wonderful Bill Reynolds, has sent me down memory lane. Much as people heard me go on and on and on about Tuscany, we had to hear Mick go on and on about his desire for a Ford F-150 truck.  He wasn’t looking for one quite so “vintage” as this one, however 🙂

Blue Truck With Frog Watercolor Printable PNG | Etsy Ireland

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How did your meeting with Raffi go?  Is he pleased with the way the business is going?

He said I’m doing great, that if I keep working hard, my business will keep growing. He has faith in me.

Fabulous!  So, what’d he say about you getting your Ford F-150?

Raffi said no.

Damn.

He said it won’t be long.

And you’ll heed his wisdom.

Of course. He’s not steered me wrong yet.  He said he only wished Armen would listen as well as I do!

Haha! I’m not even worried.  You’ll get it.

***

And he did. He was so happy!

 

Just Roll With It

“I try not to make plans. Because, even the best laid plans etc. etc.”

Author: Brent Spiner

My plan for Sunday was rather easy.  Get up (always a good way to start the day), have a coffee, eat some breakfast, have a second coffee, then get my heinie outside for a good walk.  Upon my return will deserve a nice bowl of my veggie soup, take a shower, prepare supper, pick up my mother, enjoy our meal, drive her back, relax and go to bed.

As Sundays go, it started off nice and slow.  Slept in until 9 (never mind I was awake from 2 till 5).  Stoked the fire and made myself a cup of coffee.  Got onto the Interwebs to catch up on my readings.  Ate my bowl of Raisin Bran by 10, continued reading and next thing I knew it was past noon.  Well, dang.

 

If I was going to walk for any reasonable time, I’d have to eat sooner.  Continued reading and commenting and whatnot and then around 1:30-ish, had a small bowl of soup, then dressed up to go out.

Shovelled the back porch and along the back of the house up to the side gate (must have all exits free from snow, in case). Once that was done, grabbed my camera and was off.

After the cold we had on Saturday, Sunday felt positively balmy!  Off I went in the direction of  my willow, planning to keep walking until I reached the discovered secluded walkway.  I got to the first park and decided to take a pic of the play area as this week’s theme in my photo group is “a touch of blue”, and there is blue on the monkey bars.  I slid-shuffled across the skating rink, passing by a lady who was clearing the snow off the rink.  I took a few pictures then noticed a flash of something on my camera….

“No card in camera”.

What. The. Fuck?  What an amateur move! I completely forgot that I had taken a few pics of the sky from my living room window the evening before, uploaded them into my computer. Where I left the card. Sonova–

I grumble and take out my cell phone to snap a couple pics.  Would have been a grand day with the camera as the day was beautiful, for sure.

However, there was no way in hell I was lugging my camera bag without being able to take pictures!  Get a sore back for nothing? No.  So I turned around.  As I crossed the park, I thought, hey, all is not lost, I have lots of time. I shall go home, change and go back out for a run.  Once I turned on the next street, the wind in my face determined otherwise.  The day was bust. I just wasn’t feeling it, anymore anyway.

So I took my shower then slowly started preparing my supper. It was nice to not feel rushed.  Chopping and sautéeing and browning. It’s when I feel the most zen.  Just as I was putting my coat on to leave to pick up my mother, Iain’s CAA arrived to boost his car (dead battery).  I told him that, since he had to drive his car to get his battery full, it would be a wonderful idea if he could go and get his grandmother.  He agreed.

We had a lovely and simple Sunday dinner.  To be repeated!  I made my “Chicken à la Tuscan à la Dale” – one of those recipes that I actually wrote down.  (Years and years ago, Mick asked me to please stop winging it and write things down so that I could potentially repeat the good stuff.)  Of course, I never follow it, but the fact that I wrote it down means that I potentially remake it sorta-kinda the same way (ish).  It just so happens I was looking for this recipe to share with someone else – and ended up not doing so coz I never did get around to sending out Christmas cards in which I was supposed to include a recipe on a 3″ X 5″ index card; said index cards that I actually bought for the occasion and will be potentially used next year – so it was top of my mind when I asked Mom if she wanted dinner.

Plans are great and all but hey, when they are broken, doesn’t mean all is lost!

 

 

 

 

Mom and Me Time – Friday Fictioneers

It’s Wednesday and I’m on the ball here to play Friday Fictioneers.  I had to go down memory lane again only this time, I imagined I was my younger child.  I am still, to this day, reminded that it’s been an awful long time since we had our adventures. (Did I mention said child is now 22?)  Never mind the store no longer exists but hey, I take it as a compliment that I am actually worthy of spending time with.  Wonder if Indigo would do?  Wonder if I would still get a “Yes, let’s go!”  Till then, a special thank you to Ted Strutz for supplying this week’s photo as well as an always thank you to Rochelle for hosting! If you’d like to play along, click on the frog below to add your 100-word story link.

©Ted Strutz

Book Frog Reading Stock Illustrations – 147 Book Frog Reading Stock  Illustrations, Vectors & Clipart - Dreamstime

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When Mom said:  “Let’s go to Chapters!” my heart leapt in joy.  It was the coolest place.  There were four floors of books!  I always looked forward to this adventure.  We’d start off on the main floor, me tugging Mom’s hand to pull her towards the stairs that lead down to the kids’ section.  So many books!

When I was old enough, she’d leave me to walk around alone, to choose the ones that I want.  “I don’t suppose you want us to go and have a hot chocolate when you’re done, right?”  Don’t know why she bothered to ask!

Tuesday Poetics – Food!

On Tuesday, Sarah from Sarah Writes Poems hosted  dVerse Tuesday Poetics – Food being the subject du jour.  Well now. Anyone who knows me, knows I do food. I love food. I love to make food to feed others. I love to share pictures of my food.  I am all over this prompt!

Funny how I knew exactly where I wanted to go and then, started writing and it went here. That muse just took over and ran roughshod over my idea!  She might have had the right idea, we’ll never know because she squashed my original words. Hope she used a quality masher, is all I can say.

My Food is Love

Chatting about food with my cousin one day

She says: What do you mean, you cook for others?

You should cook for your own pleasure

 

I retort:  What is the point to go all out

If it is just for me?

I show my love with my food

 

As did my father with his famous BBQ ribs,

His secret recipe held close to his chest

Or that one special meal made for my birthday, which I’ll never forget

 

And my mother, who can magically

Rummage in her freezer and find the ingredients

To feed a last-minute group of fifteen

 

I like to think I am a mix of both parents

Able to create something with nothing

Or to go all out with a six-course feast

 

My joy of creating fancy meals

Has caused others to fear receiving me for a meal

As if I would ever judge what they serve

 

The purpose of an invite is never to show off

Nor make others feel intimidated

It’s to gather my loved ones and share, even in the prep!

 

So, in my house, do not be surprised if on Tuesday

There is duck breast with raspberry sauce

Because Saturday it might be grilled cheese or frozen pizza

 

Creating food, simple or complex

All has the same goal, in the end

To show my love, sitting around my table

 

So, if I’ve gone through efforts, big or small

And no one comes to join me (kids? where are you?)

I guess my cousin was right, in the end

 

I best cook for my own pleasure, then
I suppose I could even convince myself it is a form of self-love

Yeah well… I’m not buying what I’m trying to sell

 

Subdued Celebration

On Monday, Lisa hosted a dVerse Haibun with the theme “Celebration”.  Like most people, Christmas and New Year’s were not the celebrations we were hoping to have.  for this prompt, I kept it to Christmas mainly because New Year’s was a whole lotta nuthin’.

The plans were set in motion. This year, we were going to retake Christmas, government be damned. It had been cancelled last year, thanks to measures to combat COVID. Not this year!  Christmas Eve at Tracy’s (all dressed up) with game gift exchanges, a potluck feast and scratching of Chinese gambling cards. This would be followed, the next morning, with brunch at my house where we all squeeze in (still pyjama-clad) my kitchen and living room while Iain makes the omelets and the rest of the breakfast goodies.  Don’t forget the “mimosies” as Mick used to call mimosas. After naps, we make our way to Lisa’s (casual) for our turkey dinner that ends with a Texas Hold ‘Em poker game.  We were so excited.

Then December 23rd happened.  COVID hit and we had to cancel.  A scramble to buy a turkey, hope it thawed out in time. Iain made us three our brunch and, later that day, while the delicious scent of Christmas permeated the house, Iain went to get my mom and we shared a perfectly roasted (if I say so myself) thirteen-pound bird with mashed potatoes, canned peas (don’t ask, traditions are what they are) and homemade gravy. I even found jars of my cranberry sauce and pickled beets, preserved previously. All was not lost.

Parties are cancelled

Celebrations now subdued

Love remains present

Traditions – Friday Fictioneers

Oh that Rochelle.  Why she does this to me, I cannot say… Putting up my picture between Christmas and New Year’s. Da hell, Rochelle? Of course, I tease. I am honoured to be asked to use my photo at any time of year. I shall gladly play along. Would be rude not to, anyhow 😉  So, here goes. For Friday Fictioneers, a little discussion betwixt a few friends… Click on the Christmas frogs below to play by adding your own 100-word story link.

280 Christmas frogs ideas in 2021 | christmas, frog, frog and toad

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Traditions

How’s it work in your houses?

Mom starts December first.  Christmas everything and everywhere.   I can’t wait for it to come down.

We put up our tree with Dad on Christmas Eve, while Mom makes her meat pies. It comes down January second.

My guy’s birthday is December 18th, so we don’t put it up until the 19th. Keep the two separate, yanno? Spent his life getting one gift as a “two-fer”. He hated that so I made sure to separate them. 

Wonder what their story is? Friends with nowhere to go? So they share together?

Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

 

Hot Chocolate (and Toast)

One of Mick’s Coca Cola mugs, worn down, much loved

I was reading Pam’s wonderful Christmas tale, “The Last Christmas Gift”.  Do please go and read it here … it might help explain my sudden inspiration to “pen” this.  Pam’s story was so beautifully written that I found myself sitting in the circle she described, drinking my own cup of hot chocolate or coffee, or both, that I stopped reading and went to make myself a mocha coffee before returning to her tale.

Fry's Cocoa - Baking Cocoa (227g) – GoJava TorontoMemories were now evoked of the times my mother made for us, and that I later made for my kids, hot chocolate, using real cocoa from the yellow and red Fry’s can, sugar, and a small amount of cold milk to create a smooth, mud-like texture before slowly adding the hot milk while stirring it all together.  No lumps guaranteed if you make it this way.  Sometimes there were marshmallows, most times not.  Mom wasn’t into instant anything, except Minute Rice, but that was only for her rice salad, never anything else.

Why is it that things that take just a bit longer to make, meaning you had to wait for it, taste so much more?  To make this come-in-from-the-cold treat all the better, Mom served it with buttered toast.  And that’s another thing, what is it about afternoon or nighttime toast smells and tastes like it comes from a whole other dimension?  You can’t even compare it to the toast served with your eggs and yet it’s the same product.

Now I’m mad at myself for not making a toast to go with… then again, it’s not late enough in the afternoon to justify it.  I think this is my cue to go out and get my 10K steps.  There are only seven days left for me to be able to say I did it for one whole year.

For the Canadians and Brits and the areas in the States that celebrate, Happy Boxing Day!  For those with no holiday, Happy Sunday!  I hope you have been able to take time away from the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations and over-eating and just be.

 

Tinsel

Quadrille Monday for dVerse and I’m actually posting on the same day?  Will wonders never cease.  It must be because we had to use the word Tinsel…

 

 

Silent Night plays while
tears stream down her face
like tinsel cascading from the branches
of a Christmas tree

 

Where the silver strands hang on
hers roll off her chin
disappearing into her shirt
over her heart

 

It is but her yearly ritual
Remembering

 

 

 

 

Overstock – Friday Fictioneers

It’s Wednesday and I was not going to play Friday Fictioneers this week. (No apologies after all, Rochelle!)  I was going to work on one of the two dVerse poems that have piqued my interest. However, after a crappy night of sleep and a repeated pressing of the snooze button, my morning walk was forsaken.  Plus, it’s damn cold out there.  My motivation was lacking (of course, when it hits mid-day and I realise that I still have not half of my steps, I shall curse this morning’s decision. Until then, however, I hope you enjoy my little exchange that, while not exactly verbatim, is pretty damn close.  Should you feel like sharing your 100-word story inspired by Claire Fuller’s photo, do click on the frog below and add your link!

 

©Claire Fuller

Frog made out of old tires" | Frog decor, Tire craft, Tire art

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I want my garage back.  Now.  I bought a house with a garage so I could actually park my car inside and it’s getting cold.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I’ll take care of it.

Whose tires are those?

Mine.

And those?

Mine.

These ones?

Yours.

And those?

Mine.

Bloody hell. It’s December seventh. By law we have to have our snow tires on our cars by December first.

Ours are!

I know! So eight of these tires are our summer tires!  The others are what?

Going to be sold.

It’s too late!

They’re out of the way now, right?

Sigh.

As you can see, the garage situation was taken care of and yes, the tires are out of the way… as well as all the other stuff that had taken over.