Time to ‘Fess Up.

It’s true.  I cannot lie.  I am lazy.  No, no, don’t bother, ye who get “exhausted” reading my posts about all the things I have to take care of.  No, no.  That’s me being pushed against the wall, forced to take care of whatnot and whoseit, truth be told.  I so love a clean house.  Hate cleaning it.  I love a beautiful garden.  Hate weeding it.  Love a clean car.  What is UP with men getting all excited to clean theirs?  I think my mother rubbed off on me!  She always says she was meant to be a “Poule de Luxe” – which literally translates to a “Luxury Chick”  I could  be A-OK with sitting on my arse, book in one hand, something cool and refreshing in the other and while away the hours while someone else does the work.  Of course, I would never have that satisfaction you get from a job well done.  Or done as well as it could be.

I do this to myself EVERY SINGLE YEAR!  I take a stroll around my front yard and note the roses are surrounded, kept from showing off.  Those evil weeds just keep coming back.  I do have to hand it to them.  They are so very clever, insinuating themselves around the bases of plants that will gladly rip my skin off as I bring an end to their existence.  Of course I could use a claw-thingy (oh look, it’s called a “Cultivator” – thank you Google), and I do… but let’s face it, you can’t remove the corpses with other than your hands, encased in gloves, or not.

Having finally cleared out the weeds, I walked around my little “patio” in the front and was promptly refused access by the overgrowth of some tree – sorry.  I have absolutely NO idea what each and every plant is except for the lilac – and that’s coz I love them and I planted it there.  Anyway.  I sure hope my timing was okay but I spent a good hour pruning said trees and bushes so that I could, if I so wanted to set myself up to, sit on my little patio and watch any passersby pass by.

I can tell you.  I foolishly (or not) did not take any before pictures, but it shore to look perty now…

Now that I am looking at the picture, I am reminded that my, ummm, “shaping skills” must next be made to work on hedges and other shrubs… that one in the patio pic, in the back… looks like it’s having a bad hair day, morning-after-the-night-before style, don’t you think?  Maybe I should leave them to the experts.  Like when I call them, because I so want to spend more hard-earned dinero on this house before selling it, to trim my cedar hedges.  Mick used to do it every year but, since I need to pay, I think ever two is just fine.  Which means it’s this year.

Speaking of Mick, lemme just apologise to him right now – again.  He used to do almost all this stuff by himself.  The trimming of trees and laying down of mulch – reminder to self:  GET THE BLOODY MULCH so I don’t have to break my back for the rest of the summer.

And, finally, I get to the point of my post.  Talk about taking the scenic route…

Why, oh why, did your work ethic NOT rub off on us, Mick?  OK… maybe it was too late for me, (old dogs and all that) but could you not have been that little bit more influential on your sons?  They really did not have to take after me in this certain aspect.  OK… Maybe I’m being a little harsh on myself, maybe I’m not lazy per se, just not particularly organised, or rather, consistent.  It would definitely make my life a lot easier if I were.

So, I’m trying to change things up here.  I’ve been trying to show the boys that doing a little each day keeps things less discouraging.  That, I, too, work a full-time job but still get shit done.  That it’s okay to have moments to relax (post on my fabulous yesterday to come tomorrow) but that there must be times spent doing one’s share.  Would be insanely fabulous if they could do so without my having to nag and complain.

Trying to have MY newfound work ethic rub off on them…

… or something along those lines… 🙂

Brain Dump / Gratitude / Stuff

“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

 

Brain Dump

Why is it when we are über tired, can barely keep our eyes open, our limbs feel like mush and we drag/crawl our asses to bed that the brain decides… “Yep… this would be a great time to go into overdrive… dontcha think, Body?”

No.

Just.

No.

However, apparently, just like my kids, the brain doesn’t listen.  Doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what I am telling it/them.  The hamster wheel keeps a-turning.  I’ve tried many techniques over the years:

  1. Take out a pad and write all the things whirring round the brain;
  2. Do the 7-4-8 exercise:  inhale for seven counts, hold for four, exhale for eight.  I usually end up yawning in between though, will admit, occasionally this does work, IF there doesn’t seem to be any thoughts going on, sorta;
  3. Read for a bit;
  4. Drink a cup of hot milk – hey works for babies and occasionally for me!

If all the above fail, and it’s been a few nights in a row, I resort to 0.5 mg of Clonazepam.  Within half an hour, if all is well, I’m finally gone… for at least four hours, five, if I’m lucky.   I really try to avoid taking this but a girl’s gotta sleep.

So, what has been preoccupying me lately?

I hate sounding redundant because the things that I listed here still apply but in a new form…

  1. The house, though officially has a “For Sale” sign in front, still needs to look “perty” all the time and is an on-going battle with my inhabitants.  Working on getting them to participate a bit more;
  2. The Mother-in-law, though some of the documents have finally be signed, is still not officially registered so I still cannot pay all her bills, nor cancel her phone, hydro, have her mail transferred to me…;
  3. The finances are getting better as I am back to working full-time at the Golf Club – though that now means my body hurts.  Everywhere;
  4. The boyfriend – no longer an issue as we are no longer together.  All good, friendly good-bye and now we move forward;
  5. The mother – things went all wonky for a bit when her hubby got sepsis.  He spent more than a month in the hospital and is now in rehab to work on gaining his strength.  His planned return to home is June 11th.  Things are finally working out there too.

Funny.  As I was listing these things, I realised, as we speak (so to speak), that each negative issue has become more of a positive one – even if there are still things to be settled.  They are progressing in a forward motion.  So why the hell am I not sleeping?  There must be more stuff in there (mind) that I cannot express at this time.  (Note to self, when these things pop up again, do number 1 above.)

Gratitude

It’s a little late but I must thank my lovely brother-in-law, Sébastien for changing my tires for me.  It’s always nice to be able to count on family for these things.  Plus, I got a meal outta the deal!

Tracy and Sébastien also hosted the Mother’s Day brunch this year and, for the first time in three years, I was not working and was able to participate.  Well… I worked, but only at 2 so thanks go to my boss for scheduling me later so that I could do some activity with my boys.

A funny thing seems to happen with me.  Well I think it’s funny, or rather, I am touched that it does happen.  Ach!  What I am trying to say is, I must have made some kind of impact on people over the years.  A few ladies I went to high school with decided to get together for a dinner.  We were supposed to be five but ended up being four.  The crazy thing is this.  None of the three other ladies finished high school with me.  We knew each other from grades 7-9, and one of them was only in my school and my class in Grade 9.  And yet, they included me in the get-together.   It was a lovely evening of playing catch-up.  One of them, Marie-Claude, I see once in a blue moon, but the other two I hadn’t seen since Grade 9.  At least a hundred years ago.

Me, Marie-Claude, Guylaine, Louise

I’m also lucky enough to have a friend who was able to open my pool for me for a reasonable fee.  It gets uncomfortable to be asking for help for so many things.  Yes, I know, I could learn how to open it, but frankly, the boyfriend closed it last fall and took the whole bloody thing apart, though not necessary, and, also frankly, I didn’t have one friggen clue (nor wanted to) of how to put the whole thing back together again.  Now, the pool water is clear as a spring… but, I cannot vacuum it yet as I cannot do a backwash as I need a new hose (dammit) to be connected to it.  Sigh.  Never ends.  That should take place on Monday….

And, I’ve been feeling all warm and fuzzy at work lately.  It’s the beginning of the golf season, and, though my body doth protest the abuse, it also means the return of the members.  Some have been there since day 1 but others have been returning from the wintering in Florida (it is a private club, remember… )  Why am I pointing this out?  Because with each return (okay, not every one), on top of a kiss on the cheek and a hug, I get a “I’m so happy you are back with us this year” or “Yay, my favourite is back!” or “So nice, we are guaranteed good service again this year”.  It is so very gratifying to feel appreciated.  It’s even better for my ego when they tell me these things in front of my bosses… 😉  Hmmm… Wonder if I can get a bonus based on the number of “smile” comments I get?

Stuff

For my last post, two things occurred at the same time.

Now, I know 500 posts is no big whup – especially for those who multi-post in one day or post daily… but I’m cool with that.

The weeds have taken over the back yard so, if I want to set up an open house, I shall have lots of work to do.  Have asked for the boys’ help.  Moondust does not mind them at all, actually…

June 1 was yesterday, and was my only day off this week, and they called for rain all day.  Not a drop fell.  And holy toledo, June came in with a bang!  Yesterday’s temp was 30°C (86°F) with a humidex – humidity factor or what the temperature really feels like – of 38°C (104°F).  Would have been nice to have a clean pool but all good.  Thankfully there was a fabulous breeze which kept it bearable.  I was able to work for a bit in the garden.  The weeds have taken over and it’s not a pretty sight.  I should be doing more of that as we speak but instead, I am writing this post!  Plus, I have to leave in half an hour to bring my mother to her hubby… Oh well, another day, right?  I work at 4 so, no time.  My story and I’m sticking to it.

***

Just got back from driving Mom.  Lord love a duck.  The traffic is INTENSE.  They have closed the tunnel direction to Montreal so the next available bridge is the Jacques-Cartier… the line-up to get on said bridge is gonna take way more than 45 minutes.  How glad am I to work on this side of the island of Montreal?  On top of that, there was a sign saying the J-C bridge is CLOSED at midnight tonight… I dunno.  I can’t help but think this will affect tonight’s reservations for Lobster Night at the club… I know one of the members – a friend – who was considering cancelling it…

Oh well… off to take my shower so I can stink of Lobster in about 3 hours…

Have a fabulous week-end, folks!

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

46. Old friends wanting to include me
47. Things are moving forward
48. Friends who help out
49. Sunny Days
50. Feeling appreciated for my work

 

 

Birthdays, Easter, Camp NaNo, Stuff

“Families are messy. Immortal families are eternally messy. Sometimes the best we can do is to remind each other that we’re related for better or for worse…and try to keep the maiming and killing to a minimum.”
Rick Riordan, The Sea of Monsters

Haven’t done a Sunday Gratitude or a weekly update in a while and figured, why not?

I can’t remember ever celebrating Easter on April Fool’s day – which makes sense because The Google told me the last time it happened was 1956.  Before my time.

So I got curious about how often it has fallen on MY birthday because I remember celebrating it when I turned ten – I remember because it was also the same year I had my First Communion (I wore the same dress 😉 ).   Matante Nicole shopped with me for it and brought me for the big shindig because my folks were off on some Caribbean holiday…

Turns out, it happened three times in 11 years:  the year before I was born, when I was four and, as mentioned, when I was 10.  The time before that was way back in 1895.  The next time it’s scheduled?  2047!  I’ll be an old lady of 83 by then.  Of course, when that time comes around, 80 will be the new 60, right?

I’m sure that has totally fascinated you, hasn’t it? 😀  Between that and that cute kid… I know, you can’t take it.   We’ll just table that into the “useless information file”…

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”
Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

On Saturday we suddenly remembered Sunday was Easter and had planned absolutely nothing. Got a call from Tracy that Sébastien was doing the ham, I offered to do the veg and, of course, as Iain’s birthday was the day before, I was bringing a key lime pie and Tracy said Sabrina (who turned 18 exactly one week before) wasn’t into lime, was into chocolate so I said, no problemo, I will bring something chocolate.  The Sachertorte.  Lisa was doing the potatoes and rice (because, just because) and the salad and supplying the “venue” so that was more than enough.  Mom was making break and her “pouding au chômeur” – which translates literally to “Poorman’s Pudding” which really is a white cake with a sugar bottom.  This stuff is to die for.  And if you’re really piggy about it, you can add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top (especially when it’s cold) and if your sweet tooth wants an extra kick, you can do like Sébastien and pour maple syrup on top.  Ridonkulous.

Isn’t Iain’s key lime pie pretty?  Well guess what?  It’s a FROZEN key lime pie… so I told Shane to put it in the fridge instead of the freezer.  Why?  Sonofa….  It was more like key lime soup.  Taste was there and since this isn’t Iron Chef and we have no blast chiller… we ate key lime soup.  Sigh.

Took a couple pics of all the kids (9, including Willow, Aidans girlfriend) and realised Sabrina does not appear in them.  Dang.  She arrived a bit later and, when I took a pic of her brother and Iain (they are 2 months apart) I got just the top of her head.  That won’t do.  So pretend there is a beautiful blonde in the mix!

I have decided to do Camp NaNo again this April.  Okay, okay… I have decided to not just add my name to the group and start for a day or two but actually work the whole month of April.  I’ve mentioned it before and this time I’m going to get even further in my “Dear Mick” book of short stories which are basically memories of our almost twenty years together.  I figure worse comes to worse, the boys will one day have a book to remind them of their dad.  Which they may even read.  One day.  So our cabin is called the Plot Bunnies – but since we were all joking around about wanting to live our jammies, we are also known as the “Camp Plot Jammies” but only ‘coz we’re JAMMING on our plots!  Woot.  Our band of merry writers are: Joy from Tales From Eneana  Gabriele from Flights of Fancy Lynn from Word Shamble Sammi from Sammi Cox Megan from Invisible World Crispina from Crimson Prose.  Should be fun to give and get encouragement to go-go-go!

Oh!  And on a final note, sometimes things happen for a reason.  The fridge guy was supposed to pass by on Thursday morning.  My ice machine in the fridge had decided that it would make ice until you can no longer open the door!  I had a quick appointment five minutes away so I told the company to have him call when he left his his current appointment as, should I needed to step out but would be five minutes away.  Well.  He called at 9:44.  His phone is a “private number”.  My cell phone rejects private numbers.  So I waited for the message to appear.  It ddn’t.  Shoot.  My appointment had five minutes left and I got home at 10:03 to find the fridge guy’s business card with 9:55 written on it.   Really?  Come ON!!!  I call the company and the receptionist says she’ll try to reach him.   She couldn’t.  I dunno… but if you are using a company cell phone, should you not be a “private number”?  She told me he also called the house line and there was no response (and no message).  Well duh.  I’m thinking there are more and more people who no longer have land lines.  That means, even if I had been home and gone to the bathroom, foolishly sans cell phone, I would have missed his call.  Yes, I would have been here when he “took the chance” to stop by as he did.  But still.  I took the trouble to tell the receptionist I had a 5-minute appointment.  They cannot guarantee what time they will pass so why cancel a five-minute appointment?  BECAUSE THIS CAN HAPPEN!

Well guess what?  I don’t need no stinking repair guy because my guy fixed the problemo…  So

I keep forgetting to add to my list!

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

41. Fellow NaNo Campers – encouraging each other to write
42. Not needing the fridge guy after all – saving big buckaroos
43. Easter – especially when the whole family is present
44. Birthday cakes – even when they don’t quite turn out, they can still taste good
45. Sense of humour – see number 44

Sunday Stuff and Gratitude- March 18, 2018

“Good morning.
Lead with gratitude.
The air in your lungs, the sky above you.
Proceed from there.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda

And so goes another week.

Tuesday I worked at the golf club for a small event.  A little four-hour shift.  I’m jiggy wid dat.   Got home and the boys were there as well.  Bad mother that I am, I was a willing participant in my sons’ impromptu vodka shots and chebureki (again!) night.  Aidan is on Spring break and so had his evenings free to hang out at home and things just happened.  Marie-Soleil, Iain’s non-girlfriend, girl friend came over and before we knew it, it was a party.  The “kids” were getting rowdy and Miss Marie Sun-Shine got ahold of my phone.  Needless to say there quite a few to go through!  So made this little “animation” to give an idea of the evening.   I’m not a “gif” fan but apparently that’s how this puppy downloads.  Sorry ’bout that!

Wednesday woke up to a winter-fricken wonderland.  Ugh.  I am SO done with this white stuff.  Only good thing was on our walk, Zeke and I came across this bizarre little igloo-maker thingamajig…   I tell ya, it was heart-attack snow to shovel as well.  Yeah, that’s right.  I have two adult sons who left for work and left me to shovel the shit.

Thursday morning, got a call from François L., my former boss but long-time friend, who suggested dinner at his place.  Well not “his” place as he is between domiciles at this time.  He is house-sitting for a friend and wanted to take advantage of his pied-à-terre.  He was going to call a few others to join but with it being beyond last-minute, we ended up just three of us.  I’m good with that!

But first I went for lunch with my friend Jean-Louis, who wanted to try out the Pavillon 67, “gourmet” buffet in the Montreal Casino.  Ironically, my sister has been a croupier (dealer) there for the past 22 years and I’ve never been.  No, not true, I went with her to change money before one of our cruises together as they had the best exchange rate – service they no longer provide.  I texted her, letting her know we were there and wouldn’t you know it?  She just happened to have a union meeting and was on her way there.  She stopped by for a hello and introduction and was off.  As for the food.  Meh.  I’ve seen better.  Hell, J-L and I saw better in Dominican Republic last year.  Gourmet is not the proper descriptive.  No matter, I was there to catch up with an old friend.  Next time I go through there, I’ll pick up a sammy at the sandwhich stand – they looked pretty good!

Got home, made a quick “Dad’s Wacky Cake” to bring to François’ and made it there for 5-ish.

“Dad’s Wacky Cake” remade for home

We were joined by William who was one of the line-cooks at the Club.  It’s fun to be able to get together with twenty-somethings as well as sixty-somethings.  We’re planning another next Monday.  But this time, we should be a good 8-10 peeps.  Ironically, François decided on a Chinese fondue as dinner!  Ya know, like I made on the previous Saturday!  Talk about all or nothing… Or never or often.  Waves, baby, things happen in waves!

Saturday was reserved for my niece’s vollyball team’s “bowl-a-thon”.  A yearly event.  What is up with this stupid “sport” that I always end up feeling for two days after?  Not only that, I pulled a muscle in my hip.  How in the name of all that is holy does one do that?  Anyway.  It’s a great occasion for the family to get-together and laugh together and at each other for our lack of prowess, for the most part, though some managed to score some big numbers, Chris in particular whupped all our butts big time!  I actually did decently on one game so, I was not in total despair.  Last year I did so well, I had them print out my sheet!  This place is always fun because of the neon lights and music.  It can’t help but put you way off your game.  Yes, our story and we’re sticking to it!

Aidan was the hero of the week.  He helped to clear out the basement – the carpeted side.  Last week you saw the new vinyl-floored side, this week it was the clean the disgusting carpet side.  This side had become the dumping ground after we had to clear out the dining room and office and, frankly, a lot of it remained piled up helter skelter.  Now it was time to clear it up, move and hopefully see a difference once Aidan’s friend’s father cleaned it.  Of course, this now means the vinyl side is stacked with boxes and stuff but we will now take the time to figure out what stays and what goes and what remains boxed until we move.

I must admit, I am quite pleased with the end result.  It was beyond gross, which Christopher, the cleaner, took pleasure in telling me.  More than once.   That will be for another post…

For now.  I am feeling like things are really moving forward.  I’ll be calling the real estate agent this week and see what more should be done before that “À Vendre” sign goes up!

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

36. Having fun with my boys – I cherish these moments most
37. Lunches with friends – catching up and just enjoying ourselves
38. Aidan – my hero for helping me clean the basement and his room
39. Clean carpet – a sign we are moving forward
40. Disco bowling – why the hell not?

 

 

Gratitude on a Monday – March 12, 2018

“Being grateful all the time isn’t easy. But it’s when you feel least thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you: perspective. Gratitude can transform any situation, It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. It’s the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to effect change in your life – this I know for sure.”
Oprah Winfrey, What I Know for Sure

I used to do my Sunday Gratitude, which then changed  to Weekend Coffee Share, which then became an occasional Weekend Share (because I had stopped participating in the Coffee one and when wanted to do it again, I realised no one was hosting it.   Mix in all of that my lack of stick-to-it-iveness and just plain laziness or easily-side-tracked-ness and you get one of these.  A Sunday share I started too late to finish on Sunday.  So had to change the title.  Again. 🙂  Welcome to my world of DADD Dale’s Attention Deficit Disorder.

In my defense (okay, okay, call it an excuse), François left Sunday for a two-week, sun-filled vacation.  Alone.  It was an already planned thing but I still spent part of my day moping and feeling all woe-is-me.  Then I spent another part of the day trolling the vacation websites, because, why not?  Why not also go away for a week to resource myself?  Then, I changed my mind and decided no…  save the moolah and go back to Tuscany in October.  Yeah, Baby.  Now, we’re talking!  We’re cooking with gas!  We have a plan!  And not just knee-jerk reaction brought on by envy.

Friday was my day to get things done.  Went to see Raffi to bring him our (the boys and mine) income tax papers and he did them right there on the spot!  The best.  I then went to my mother-in-law’s to empty her mailbox and collect any tax papers to bring to her accountant.  Did that but saw this beauty on my way.  I’ll definitely have to go back and get a better picture.  You know, when I’m NOT in my car.  Though I was not driving, I promise!

I then decided to go and visit Jean as my timing was good.  Saw this at another stop light.

Now I know we Canucks are a tough lot, and we Quebeckers really like to take advantage of clement weather, and all that… However.  It was only 4°C (40°F)!  These two must have had the heater blasting!!  Again, I was stopped at a stoplight 😉

Spent an hour with Jean, and she was happy for the visit.  She is much nicer in person than on the phone.  Did not once give me shit for “putting her there”.   She’s gonna get lucky with a second visit on her birthday with the boys later this month.  As traffic was going to be a bitch, when I left her at 4:30 I hightailed it to the Forum AMC Theatre, hoping to catch the 4:45 viewing of “Lady Bird”.  Managed to park inside, run up, get my tickets and buy myself a child’s portion of popcorn and drink (came with a little canister of m&m’s) for the ridonkulous price of $8.25, get a seat at the back and only missed the commercials and maybe the firest preview.  Woot!

I loved the movie.  Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalfe were great in their roles as daughter and mother.  A coming of age story that takes place in “no-where” Sacramento, California in 2002, it deals with the insecurities of pre-adulthood, of social class, of wanting more yet not ralising we love what we have until it’s gone.  That love-hate relationship that girls and mothers can share is something I’ve more heard about than experienced as my mother was (is) a very “non-invasive, figure-it-out-by-yourself” kind of mom.  At least from what I remember!  Will have to ask her.  Maybe I remember it wrong.  No wonder I’ll never be that type of writer who can describe in great detail their lives.  I’m so in the moment, I move forward and let go of what was.  Dunno if that’s a good thing or not.

Got home at 7 and ate some left-overs.   Vegged on the couch watching stuff I’d taped till a couple of Iain’s peeps came over .  Don’t know what was so funny but they were laughing up a storm.

They began playing drinking games and after a few, hailed me over to join them.  Not every day your son wants you around so you have to grab it when it comes!  First was some pyramid game where 10 cards are placed, ya, in a pyramid.  The rest of the deck is dealt to the players.  First card is flipped over, anyone with a matching card places it on top and names a person who takes a shot (or beer sip glug).  If you have two and give them both, the person takes two glugs.  Second row, same thing, one card is flipped only now each card is worth two and so on, going down to four.  That game turned out not too bad and the boys didn’t all pick on me and I was able to dish out a few myself.

They then decided I was the next “bus driver”, but took pity on my and only lay down 7 cards.  First card is flipped and I have to say if the next card in the deck is higher or lower than that one.  Jeez.  If you’re wrong, you take a glug and start over.  If you are right, you move the the next flipped card and do the same.  All is well as you go down the line and get them right but as soon as you make a mistake, it’s time for a shot and you START OVER!!  I did my part and figured enough was enough by 1 am.  Saluted the boys and I attempted to go to sleep.  They were still going strong at 3 am and I couldn’t sleep so I got up and wrote my Pegman Story!

On Saturday I woke up to big, fluffy, Christmas-like snowflakes.  Really? F*&?%!  Enough already.  It was pretty, I cannot lie… but. No.

After coffee and breakfast, Zeke and I made our way for a nice walk.  Always a good day for a walk as far as he is concerned.  On our way, I noted the hockey rinks are done for the season.  I decided we would go as far as my favourite willow.  I had stuff to do before François showed up so I couldn’t take more than an hour or so.

On our way back, we met Gus, an 8-yr-old Great Dane and Lou-Lou, a young pug.  So funny.  Zeke and Gus were getting to know each other and Lou-Lou was tugging at her leash, wanting to play with the big boys!  What a day to NOT have my camera.  Sigh.  I thought I caught a good pic of Gus and Zeke so we could compare their sizes but sadly, no.  However, got a good one with Gus and Lou-Lou and their humans!

And, because I like to torment you with food pics, I made Aidan really happy by announcing we were having Chinese Fondue for supper.  That’s one way to guarantee they (the boys) sit at the table for more than 15 minutes…

I think I’ve kept you longer than I should have.  But may I show you my new flooring, installed just this morning?  I’m telling ya, this house will be on the market by the end of the month!

Thanks for sticking to the end.  I promise next one won’t be so long (though I may have made that promise before, eh?)

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

31.  Giant snowflakes – even if they are in March
32. New flooring installed – one step closer
33. Being invited by my son to join him and his buddies
34. Fondue night – a time to chat while we cook our own food
35. Willow trees – they just make me happy

Pride, Pleasure, Peeved

There have been times I’ve found myself in the midst of a group of people chatting, and suddenly start feeling “less-than”.  The conversation has turned to our kids.  And so starts the boasting session – as I like to call it:  My daughter graduated magna cum laude at Hoity-Toity U in blah-blah, my son was seen by a scout and now two universities are fighting over him.  My child’s work ended up in the hands of a guru of Doohicky and is now working for her.  Straight-A student. Valedictorian.  Winner of scholarship.  It becomes extremely difficult to not feel the pressure to “keep up with the Joneses” and try to show off my own kids’ exploits.  Except, there are none to mention.  What?  Do I not think my children are as good as theirs?  How can I even think that thought?  Then I feel like a total shit.  How dare I compare my kids to others?  I try not to do it with my own self and here I am doing it to them?  Not that they know this whole discourse is going on, thankfully.

After I’ve done chastising myself, I stop and think about the various good (and sometimes bad) things the boys have done so far… I know deep, sometimes DEEP down that they are good people.  They sometimes work hard, sometimes not so much.  They succeed at some things, and others, not so much.  They make me happy, they piss me off.  They do what I ask when I ask, I need to nag.  You know, like most humans/beasts borne of our loins.  We can’t always be on point all the time and can’t expect them to be either.  I know I sure as hell can’t.

So today, I am going to show off my son, Iain. (Total cheat… taken tonight instead of Saturday 😉 )

He’s a funny one, that one.  He is so like me at times, it’s scary.  Then, at other times, he is very much his father – on a lot of good points – sadly, not the neatness part.  That he gets from me.  But, with all that he’s inherited from his folks, he is also very much his own man.  He’ll spend hours watching videos, learning about a subject.  From exotic animals (knew all about the critters brought to my nephew’s birthday eons ago), to anything Bear Grylls, to guns (it must be a guy thing), to all sorts of things Russian.  Lately, he’s been alternating between watching Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares (hah!) and Cook with Boris.  How do I even know this?  Because sometimes he watches them while he snacks and he’ll even share by casting an episode on the TV.  Of course, once the snack is over, he just leaves me hanging.  Oh well, I’ll take each little moment as it comes.  He’s cheap in doling out “special Mom-Time…”

First he introduces me to some of his Russian – um – music on our way back from Andre’s last February.  He was sleeping in the car on our way home – felt like I was driving his dad home, back in the day – when he suddenly woke up and decided to connect his phone to my car, practically taking my hearing.

Then we have friggen vodka tasting sessions…. The boy spends a fortune on vodka.  He likes to sample all sorts.

This past Saturday, while François and I were out with co-workers, he decided to try his hand and Chebureki.  Why?  Because he watched this video.

Wow.  My kitchen. Wow.   Such a mess.  He had just finished frying his batch up and was eating his very first one when we arrived.  He shared with us.  Oh my.  Delicious!

But my kitchen. Wow.  Mess?  Doesn’t even begin to cover it.  Oy!  That said.  How proud am I of this man-child of mine who made the dough, prepared the filling, fried the chebureki…

I look at him, then at the kitchen, and back to him and he says “later” as he leaves for his room.  I decide to retire to MY room and leave him to it.  I hear banging around at 11 p.m.  Then nothing.  Hmmm.

I wake up the next morning.  Mess is still there.  I basically bust a gasket.  I bang on Iain’s door and get the response “There’s no more dish soap.”

François decides to go to the store to buy some because he sees that I am fit to be tied and he’s unhappy if I’m unhappy.  He is truly a nice guy.

When François returns from the store, Iain comes down, declaring he was going out to go “get stuff”.  I look at François and tell him that under no circumstances is he to touch the dishes.  Bloody hell.  I am NOT touching them either.  I loathe to wake up to a mess like this and I want to make us a pot of coffee.  I pile the mess into some semblance of order and leave the mess for Iain.

Said son returns and proceeds to clean up the kitchen.

It’s amazing how one can go from super proud and pleased to peeved beyond belief.

Sigh.

 

 

 

 

A Tuscan Feast

“The preparation of good food is merely another expression of art, one of the joys of civilized living…”
Dione Lucas

 As this is a post about food and Italy, here’s a little dinner music to keep you company as you read 😉

I thought for sure that this morning I would be suffering from dysania, but no.  The alarm clock went off for François at 6:25 and I was wide-awake.  Dammit.  I had been planning on sleeping in and being totally lazy today.

For those of you who don’t know, in September 2016, I went to Tuscany all by myself.  BEST. TRIP. EVER.  My first week of that trip was spent with the fabulous Cook in Tuscany group, created by the wonderful and irrepressible hosts, Linda and George, and 13 other fantabulous participants, learning how to cook Tuscan food and experiencing a lot of what the area had to offer.  A dream of mine since forever.

Fast-forward to last night.  Okay, maybe not so fast.  It has been one and a half years since said trip.  It was about bloody time I had my sisters and their hubbies over to show off what I had learnt.  (Thank you, Tracy, for nudging me…)

I warned them to come bellies empty because I had a lot to show them!

“I like a cook who smiles out loud when he tastes his own work.
Let God worry about your modesty; I want to see your enthusiasm.”
Robert Farrar Capon

To get us started on the right foot, I served Aperol Spritz – did I take a picture?  No.  So right.  With our cocktails we had two kinds of bruschette.  Bean and onion and the classic tomato.  I only cut and toasted so many slices so that no one over-exaggerated…

Once they had a little food in their bellies, I put them all to work!  To truly appreciate Pici, one must roll with the dough 😉

“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”
Laurie Colwin

Having worked for their supper, they were then allowed into the dining room for the first course, a Tuscan tomato and bread soup.  Now.  I may have screwed up a bit.  I had toasted my bread ahead of time and was supposed to add it to my soup in bits and pieces till I felt there was enough.  In my usual over-zealousness, I dumped the whole bowl into the pot.  Um.  Can we call it Bread and Tomato soup instead?  No one seemed to mind and hey, Tuscan cooking is all about stretching out what one has….  All around, it was declared delicious.

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
Julia Child

As I had not quite finished preparing my crumbs for the pici, I had them all come back, with their glass of wine, into the kitchen to keep me company (next house, OPEN CONCEPT).  This was a very interactive meal, in case you’ve not noticed 😉

When in Sienna, I went to visit one of the Frescobaldi vineyards, Castel Giocondo, in Montalcino.  I splurged (BIG time) and bought two bottles of their Brunello.  These I kept for this special night.  We decided to decant each one and oh wow.  They were both fantastic.

Pici now cooked and sautéed, it was back to the dining room!  Before Tuscany became the “go-to” vacation spot, even for Italians, they were quite poor.  Salt was used sparingly on food, kept mostly for preserving.  Not everyone could afford cheese, so they “cheated” by cooking stale bread crumbs in olive oil.  It truly gives incredible flavour.  Everyone loved their pasta – it was theirs, they rolled it, after all!

“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.”
M.F.K. Fisher

While we were enjoying our pasta, the pork tenderloin and grilled veggies were being warmed in the oven so there was no longer a need to dance between rooms.

I did, however, remember that I had a bottle of Grappa.  Instead of sipping it as a digestif after the meal, we used it as a “Trou Normand” – a shot which, as they say, serves to make room for the next course.

This was a cheat in the whole Italian evening and I may get a frown from a true Italiano but I’m willing to take my chances.  Besides, the deed is done.

We’re still smiling.  Certainly  not because we are overstuffed.  Yet.

You still with me?

The meal is not quite done!  Time for dessert.  I made panna cotta with two sauces, chocolate and strawberry.  Pick one, pick none or pick both!

“A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch. ”
James Beard

Coffee was served and one would think that it ended there, right?  Wrong.

A little Vin Santo and Cantucci to cap it all off… hoping no one would be feeling crapulous after such a feast!

“I lurched away from the table after a few hours feeling like Elvis in Vegas – fat, drugged, and completely out of it.”
Anthony Bourdain