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.






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


Weekend Share – on a Monday, Again! – February 12, 2018

“Be thankful for everything that happens in your life; it’s all an experience.”
Roy T. Bennett

So, I am late posting my weekend share again.  Can’t blame me.  It’s the Olympics!  And François decided to stay over Sunday night which would have been my posting time.  Since he’s been working full-time, we only see each other on week-ends, I’m not going to “diss” him by locking myself up in my office 😉

This past week was one of appointments and lunches, starting with Monday.   For those who don’t know, my mother-in-law, whom I inherited after the death of her only son, has been placed in a home for seniors – against her will – because she is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia and is physically unsteady on her feet.  It is too dangerous to leave her alone in her 3rd storey apartment, not that she’s buying it at all.

You see, she was found unconscious in her apartment on June 28th; spent two months in the hospital where they tested her and came to the dementia conclusion and would not release her.  She was brought to court to have her rights taken away and ended up being given one chance to return home (which I wanted, if only for one week, to be in her things).  She lasted 5 days before she had to be brought back to the hospital, looking dehydrated and sporting a black eye; and, after a couple of weeks, when a bed opened, to the home.  Her case ended up in social worker’s hands and then the curator’s where it was discovered that she had actually done a living will,  naming me her mandatory.  Well, me and her friend, who has refused the job (thank goodness).  There is so much bureaucracy and paperwork and back and forth.  It’s been a major headache.  I had two months to empty her apartment – major hoarder – and collect all important papers and some clothes for her and whatnot.  The rest was donated or shipped to the garbage or recycling.  All I can say is, François is a saint for helping me out with this most disconcerting task.

Some of the paperwork I need to go through

Monday’s appointment was with Jean’s (mother-in-law) financial advisor who will be helping me sort through it all as soon as the mandate is homolgated.  Thank goodness he’s been dealing with her for 20 years and knows the ins and outs of her stuff!  And her personality, which is not easy.

I then met my sister, Lisa, for lunch at Sesame around 12:30 for a yummy spicy salmon poké bowl, in my case, and Tonkinese Beef Soup, for her.  We sat and chatted till 3 o’clock!  Was simply wonderful.  We were beyond overdue for some one-on-one time.

Come Tuesday, it was time to pick up my mother and bring her for her appointment with a neurologist.  She’s been having a burning feeling inside her leg for years… Conveniently, Mom’s appointment was at 11:45 and was over by 12:30 – yep… just in time for lunch!

As Lisa had had a “soupe-repas”(soup as a meal) yesterday, I had a hankering for one, so suggested we go Vietnemese this time and brought  Mom to Le Petit Tournesol Doré where we each had the grilled chicken lemongrass soup.  Soooo good!

Wednesday.  My official day sans appointments.  It snowed. All. Friggen. Day.  Did I feel like going out there?  Nope and Nope and Nope.

Besides.  I had given myself a mission.  Clean up my desk.  Somehow, I totally lost control and didn’t seem capable of getting it back…

Not saying I have accomplished my task. Yet.

Thursday was my meeting with the Maîre d’ of the Golf Club to find out whether or not I am returning this coming golf season. I have tentatively said yes.  But it is still months away.  There is an upcoming event next week that I’ll work and any other events that pop up… but we’ll see.

I then met my sister, Tracy, for lunch.  Somehow, we ended up at Sesame… hmmm… like, where I went on Monday!  LOL… I figured, no big whup, there are lots of options.  What do I have?  Same thing as Monday.  It was that good!

Come Friday, I set the PVR for the opening ceremonies of the PyeongChang Olympics, had my breakfast and decided that Zeke and I were due for a walk towards my favourite willow tree and, if we felt up to it, further to the next park.  We felt up to it.  But we definitely avoided coming back through the thicker snow and chose the streets.  The sky was not particularly beautiful (the sun was extremely anaemic) for pictures but I took some anyway and amused myself with PicMonkey.

On our walk back – remember, “we” decided to take the roads back 😉 – I noticed that quite a few houses had “Widow’s Walks”.  Considering we are far from the river, never mind the sea, I wondered what possessed the builders to add them to the tops of these houses.  It’s not like they looked accessible (I may be totally wrong) or even attractive.  But hey, that’s my own humble opinion.  Not one, not two but three houses!  And the third one a good way away from the other two.  I figured they influenced each other but the third?

The next thing I noticed is how weird this particular ‘hood is.  On one side of the street you have the house on the left and directly across you have the other.

I did my 10K steps though!  Got home, took a shower and then left to pick up my mother as she and I had appointments with our new doctor for 3 pm.  It is so annoying that geting a family doctor requires sitting on a waiting list or having friends with connections.  For the past 10 years, I have been going to a private clinic where it cost me up to $110 just to say “hello”.  I no longer work in a company offering benefits so I no longer have insurance.  It has been three years since I’ve gone for a full physical.

Anyhoo, I dunno… Met with the doctor, he asked me why I was there.  I said to get a physical because I don’t have a family doctor.  He said OK.  Asked me if my pressure was good.  I answered it was last time I had it checked.  He asked me when that was.  I said three years ago.  He asked if I used the machines in the pharmacy.  I said no.  He then asked me if there was anything in particular I needed attending.  I said I have trouble sleeping.  He said you want something?  I said yes, I’d like x.  He said how many and then wrote a script.  He then filled in a paper for me to go for general blood tests and – ugh – am I that old already? – a stool sample – when I made a face he said:  You prefer a camera?  I said no, thanks.  He said ok and if there were no issues, I’d not hear from him and showed me the door.

I left there thinking I need to make an appointment with my private clinic where he will weigh me (and give me shit for gaining a pound or ten), take my pressure, measure my waist, listen to my heart, etc.  You know, give me a physical…

Friday evening, François came by.  He surprised me with a lovely gift.  He was supposed to get a price for me because a friend works in a sports store but instead said that no, I could not pay him as they were a gift.  Call them a Christmas/Valentine’s Day/Whatever you want to call it, he said!  I am now the proud owner of my own snowshoes.  I had mentioned that I was considering buying myself a pair from Costco – not too expensive, perfect for a first-timer like me.  He said that is fine and dandy but to hold off.  He would get me a good price from a friend who works at a good sport store.  That was weeks ago.  After my last couple of walks with Zeke, I almost said to hell with it and was going to go buy them anyway!

After a lazy Saturday morning, we went to catch my niece, and goddaughter, Ariane, in her volleyball tournament.  Oh the memories!  I played in high school and college.  I so vividly remember the tournaments.  Game after game, time only for a light bite or if more time, trying not to overeat.   Only in my day, parents never came to watch!  There was a bus that picked us up from school and brought us to wherever it was and then back.  Now, parents have to drive their kids all over the place!  I didn’t think of bringing my camera and my phone is not the best for action shots so I took a very short video.  Ariane is the one in the red shoes in the black and gold team on the right.

Sadly, they lost that game.  Still, I managed to see her make some nice moves!

That night I made a potato/haddock casserole thingy.  A layer of sliced potatoes, layer of sliced onion, another layer of sliced potatoes… cook those for a bit; add the haddock on top and then a sorta tomato/spinach/garlic “salad” and bake for 12 minutes.   Definitely doing this one again!

And, finally!  Sunday!  François wanted to treat his mother to a Dalida impersonator named Joan Bluteau and invited me to join them.  It was at a lovely hotel called the Manoir Rouville-Campbell.  An intimate concert for about 100 people.  I knew they held wedding receptions at this place but I never knew they held mini-concerts.  She was quite good!

One of Dalida’s most famous songs was “Gigi l’Amoroso” of which I taped a little snippet…

At the end of the concert, Ms Bluteau generously allowed folks to take their picture with her.  Mme. Martin was thrilled… and so, I suspect, was her son!

Mme. Martin, “Dalida”, François

I’ve included a video of the real Dalida.  I could have used the Italian version of the song but Dalida did move to Paris and sang mostly in French – besides, to have a comparison 😉

We had not had lunch and it was nearly 5:00 pm so we decided to try out the restaurant in the hotel.  They had a restricted “Pub” menu which ended up being fabulous.

François had “only” a duck confit sandwich, his mother a fish and chips plate and I had the trio of tartares.  Included was a delicious cream of broccoli soup to start and a molten chocolate cake for dessert!

I apologize for going on and on like this.  Goodness!  If you are still with me, than I thank you!

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

16.  Fhameeda – for getting me into her clinic
17.  Finding the financial advisor who will help me with my mother-in-law’s stuff
18.  My sisters – I cherish when we have a chance to sit one-on-one
19.  New snowshoes – to share snow time with my sweetheart
20.  The music of Dalida – I thought I knew none of it and found out I knew a few!




Weekend Share – January 14, 2018

“Be mindful. Be grateful. Be positive. Be true. Be kind.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Well now, I have not done one of these in ages.  Too long, methinks.  I miss writing more than a 100-word story for Friday Fictioneers – not that that will end any time soon!  I love it way too much to give it up.  However, I know there are one of two of you who enjoy my “Gratitude” or “Weekend Coffee Share” type posts and I kinda like doing them.  Helps to give me a perspective on what’s what in my life.  Plus, I promised myself I would write more in 2018, including continuing preparing my stories of Mick and our family to eventually turn them into a book of short stories.  Rochelle has been most convincing and I think I shall heed her noodge.

Till then, here’s a little recap of my past week.

On Tuesday, Zeke and I finally went on one of our long walks.  It has been so cold that I just couldn’t bring myself to bundle up and go out there.  We’re talking -25ºC (-13ºF) with a windchill of up to (down to?) -40ºC (-40ºF).  Nope.  I may have done it a few years ago, after Mick’s passing but since then have become such a wimp.  Wimp.  That’s a little harsh.  Let us just say I did not acclimatise my body to the redonkulous cold this year!  Tuesday it was a balmy +1ºC (34ºF)!  Come ON!  Woo hoo!  It was so warm, that I overdressed.  I was dying of heat and half the time, held my mittens in my hands and not covering them.  For a girl with Raynaud’s that is quite something…

We step out and I see my car.  Sigh.  I’ll have to take care of it later.  I had decided to park my car in front of my mother’s (oh when will it be towed away?) so that the guy could clear out my side.  What I hadn’t considered was the city passing and snowing me in.  Merde.

Zeke got most excited when we turned right at the end of the street as he knows this means a good looooong walk!

Of course, when we left the house the sun was shining brightly but not even half-way into our walk, it disappeared.  As a result, we didn’t go quite as far as I would have liked.  You see, all the pathways had not been cleared yet and man, that is a good workout!  But I did go past “my” favourite willow treet

We trudged along, resting here and there…

We didn’t make it all the way to the other side of Parc des Coutances, where we sometimes run into a bunch of other dogs and their mistresses.  Both Zeke and I were starting to feel enough was enough.

Of course, on our way back, the sun came out again. Hmph!

I didn’t manage my 10,000 steps, got to somewhere around 8,600 give or take, and it represented a good 5-6 km, and considering it was hard to walk in, I’m declaring it a full 10,000 step-effort!

On Wednesday, Aidan declared we needed to go to the barbershop as he had had enough.  Holy moly!

I swear he looks even taller than his 6’1″.  He’s happy, his girlfriend is happy but I think the happiest one is his brother, Iain.  Kept calling him a bum… Brothers…

Of course, everyone was so excited to get all that rain and watch our mountains of snow melt away.  And then we weren’t.  Starting Friday night and well into Saturday, we got bombarded with a ton, a TON, I tell you! Of snow.  I don’t know what the exact numbers were but my front steps disappeared!

There are steps – I swear!

It was an impressive accumulation, gusts obviously made it worse than it really was, but impressive nonetheless.  Once the snow was removed from my car, I found a nice layer of ice… sigh… why did I get rid of my Tempo last year?  Why???

Zeke was most helpful…

And I took a break looking up at the clouds.  They were moving so fast, it was hypnotic.

By the time we finished our big job, the sky had turned a beautiful shade of gold…

Didn’t torment any of you with pictures of food – this time – but suffice it to say that a nice pot roast was waiting for us after a job well done!

Have a most wonderful week and I think that I shall do like Robin over at Breezes at Dawn and start listing

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

  1. Golden light that I catch with my camera
  2. Zeke – for always being ready for a walk no matter how cold it is outside
  3. François – for coming into my life at the right time
  4. Heated house – when the temperatures dip as low as they have this month, it is more than appreciated
  5. Snow – it brightens up what would be a dreary season





50 Happy Things 2018

50 Happy Things 2018: Bloggers Unite to Flood the Internet With Gratitude

Somehow I seemed to have missed participating in this wonderful project last year.  Couldn’t understand why so I went to look at my past posts and realised that I participated two years ago without officially joining in.  Well this time, I am.  Thanks Dawn Quyle Landau for officially inviting me to play with you!  I think it is important to focus on what makes us happy and what fills our hearts with gratitude.  Happy is so much easier to attain when one actually focuses on it rather than on the negative and sad.

This is a 15-minute-timer exercise so the point is to simply start the timer and type without over-thinking it.  So, in no particular order and some seemingly simplistic things, here are the – would you look at that? – 60 things that make me happy and fill me with gratitude.

  1. My boys
  2. François
  3. Winter
  4. Warm clothes
  5. Zeke
  6. My sisters
  7. My family
  8. The closeness of my family
  9. Friends
  10. Having friends over and being received by them in return
  11. Holidays as an excuse to just have fun
  12. Cooking and Baking
  13. Boucherville, my home town
  14. Photography
  15. Writing
  16. Friday Fictioneers
  17. Walking Zeke, no matter the weather
  18. The golf club where I work – otherwise wouldn’t have met François!
  19. My co-workers
  20. My friend – François L. who offered me my job though I have zero experience
  21. Good neighbours
  22. My home
  23. My strength, not just physical but mental
  24. My resilience – seems to be everyone’s favourite word for me so I might as well embrace it
  25. My ability to see the bright side of any situation
  26. My ability to do what needs to be done
  27. My cooking skills
  28. Blogging Buddies
  29. Rochelle – our almost daily FB chats, occasional Skype sessions and her trusting me with her words
  30. My car – it permits me to go where I want
  31. Spring – new beginnings along with the stench 😉
  32. Music – all kinds
  33. Reading – so many genres
  34. My bed – so comfy!
  35. The possibilities awaiting me in the future
  36. Jean-Louis, for inviting me to keep him company in Punta Cana, no strings attached
  37. Facebook, for helping me keep in touch with far-away friends and family
  38. Cook in Tuscany experience, for making my dream come true and giving me new friends
  39. Being able to welcome far away friends to my home
  40. When my boys do what I ask after only one request!
  41. Warm clothes so I can enjoy our frigid winters
  42. Concerts – classical, rock, folk – I love ’em all
  43. Introducing François to English Canadian music
  44. Having a handy-man boyfriend who will help me fix this house to sell it
  45. My ability to easily adapt to various situations
  46. My bathtub for two – a luxury I must enjoy while I am still in this house!
  47. My gas stove/oven, which allows me to create my concoctions
  48. Mick’s organisational skills, which help me find and fix (or get fixed) things that need fixing, even though he’s been gone for 3 years
  49. My office space which allows me to comfortably create with words
  50. Even when Zeke doesn’t get to go on a long walk with me, he is still happy to see me.
  51. When my boys let me know they do care
  52. Autumn, for its crisp air and colours
  53. Snow in the winter, which keeps my world a bit brighter
  54. My sense of humour
  55. Delicious food at a wonderful restaurant with great company
  56. Netflix – for when there is really nothing on TV!
  57. Having my mother closer to us after years of being 2 hours away
  58. Employment insurance, which allows me to stay home until golf season starts up again
  59. François’ kids and mother, who accepted me on first contact
  60. The ability to feel love and gratitude

This slideshow requires JavaScript.