Just For You – Friday Fictioneers

Wednesday and it’s Friday Fictioneers time.  Why does a scene like this look way too familiar?  Oh right. I live with two adult kids… Should you feel inspired to play along, click on the frog below and add your 100-words worth!  Till then, a thank you always goes to Rochelle for keeping us neat and tidy and this week A. Noni Mouse’s photo was rather inspiring, wasn’t it?

©A. Noni Mouse

Click me to play!

Just For You

I’m making you a feast!  All you have to do is sit back, relax, and here, take this glass of wine.  Go sit on the patio with your book and I’ll call you when it’s ready.  No wait, It’s beautiful, We’ll eat outside.  You don’t have to do a thing.  Well, maybe set the table?  I’ll do the rest.  Consider this a thank you for all you do for us.  We don’t take you for granted, Mom.  Oh, and later, I’m going out with my friends, okay? But don’t worry, I’ll do the dishes when I get back. I Promise.

City Mouse Goes Country – Friday Fictioneers

What day is it?  Wednesday!

What does that mean? Friday Fictioneers!

What? Yeah, well… yanno, sometimes there’s no explaining things.  This week our lovely leader Rochelle has chosen a picture by Todd Foltz.  You want to play? Click on the frog below and add your 100-word max story link.

©Todd Foltz

Click me to play!

City Mouse Goes Country

Betsy loved spending the summers at her grandparents.  She got to live a completely different life than the one she had in the city.  A life that was simple and felt more real.  She particularly enjoyed the chores Nana made her do.  Waking up with the sun, collecting eggs from the chickens was one of her favourites.  Who knew chickens could be so affectionate?

“Hullo Susie.  Hey there Gertrude.  You ladies have something for me this morning?” she asked as she scratched them under their chins.  They clucked their responses rubbed against her arm.

She wished she could live here forever.

 

I Wanna Do It Again! – Crimson’s Creative Challenge #83

Thought I was going to wait until tomorrow to post but got blown away by the wind outside and came in for a break.  It is time for Crispina‘s CCC number 83.  I seem to be in a reminiscing mood. Or the photo prompts are jarring old memories.  Either/or.  The horse in the background made me think of one of the horses at the ranch because he had the colourings of an Oreo cookie There was a fight between calling him Caffoon or Oreo, so they compromised and called him Cafforeo.  The things that remain in my memory banks, sheesh…

I Wanna Do It Again!

Summer of ’75, our family vacation was at Golden Acres Ranch in the Catskill Mountains of New York.  Think “Dirty Dancing” but with horses.  And I dunno if we were the only Gentiles there, but it sure felt like it.

(My youngest sister, Tracy, has been a horse fanatic since she can talk and walk. She tried to convince Dad that we could keep a horse in our backyard and she’d take care of it, promise!)

We were having a lesson in the main ring when Tracy’s horse, Cafforeo, took off like a bat outta hell, Tracy holding on tight, a smile the size of Canada across her face.

Mom and Dad and Mike, our teacher, ran like crazy to catch up with them, now safely in Cafforeo’s paddock.

“What did you do to make him take off like that?” Dad yelled.

“I dunno!  But I want to do it again!”

Didn’t have a picture of Tracy so here I am on my favourite horse named Muddy

 

Right There – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday early evening (Montreal time, anyway).  It is time for Friday Fictioneers.  I fear I have once again gone down memory lane.  It was that or bring in Tannille‘s muse for a repartee over here.  I chose the former.  Thank you, always, to Rochelle for holding the door for us and inviting us in to play week after week.  This week, thanks go to Ronda Del Boccio for the use of her photo. Should you want to play along, click on the frog below and add your link.

©Ronda Del Boccio

    Click me!

Right There

Dad loved gathering his family for barbecues in the summer, serving his “world-famous ribs” (to us), his mother’s Minute Rice salad, baked sweet potatoes and other delicious goodies.  I often brought dessert.

Every August, the International Balloon Festival of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, where Dad lived, was held.  If we were lucky, and the winds were acquiescent, they flew directly over his house.  Why pay an entrance fee, with no guarantee they would fly, when you could watch for free?

I’ll never forget the time we heard a loud “PSSSSSSSHHHHHTTT” that made us jump out of our skin.

There was one RIGHT THERE.

 

Sadly, I cannot find a picture I took of one that was right there because it must be in another hard drive.  Oh well. Trust me.. It looked as close (almost) as this one!

Weekend Writing Prompt #159 – Intrepid

My laptop is giving me a hard time, lately. OK, I did drop it and catch it in such a manner as the screen is disconnected, sorta from the keyboard but still. I’ve not been able to connect to the internet very well so when it works, great; when it doesn’t, not so great.  I’m behind in reading other participants in the various challenges… I’m doing da best I are!  This was written two days ago (just to give you an idea!

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend. How you use the prompt is up to you. Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like. Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise. If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments on Sammi’s blog.

 

You should have been a fish

But you were too cozy

More than two weeks late

You decided you were ready

You had to be born a ram

You’ve been charging forward since

Seeking the next thrill

Taking life by the horns

Wanting to try it all

Intrepid

Thy name is Iain

 

Spring is a Good Time to Go

I had planned on a Sunday post filled with flowers…. Here we are Monday.  Spring means life even if it also brings death. And in this case, my mother-in-law, Jean, aged 85 and almost two months, passed away just before midnight on Saturday – another COVID casualty.  I guess it was fitting for her to die on a Saturday; she did like to go to Church on Saturdays.  She went four-five times per week but loved the Saturday service best. Makes one wonder just why she needed it so much. I have my theories but I shall keep them to myself.

Mother’s Day 2015, first one without Mick

We had a strange relationship, Jean and I. She was not an easy woman to deal with. In one breath I was the best wife, mother, cook; and in the next, I was the bitch who had her locked up.  If she only knew it was me who pushed her son to go get her, to return her calls, to keep her updated on us.  Or that I did what I could to have her be able to stay in her apartment, even if just for a while.  Neither here nor there, now, is it?

She was not a loving mother to her only son during his childhood, though I think deep down she did love him, in her way – it was just a really tough kind of love.  Neither one of them forgave the other completely for past pains.  And they both had plenty.

She did love her grandchildren, even if she could never get them straight.  Austin was the easy one to remember because he died.  And she focused on death.  All. The. Time.  Conversations were always of the genre:  “Clara (or insert any name) died. Cancer/heart attack/insert malady.”  “Who’s Clara? (again, insert name never heard till now)”  “A friend.”  “So sorry to hear that.”

We only saw her once or twice per year; three, on special occasions.  Mother’s Day and Christmas Brunch, Mick would drive the 45 minutes to pick her up, bring her to our place or the restaurant, and, after the event, do the same trek.  We’d offer to take her out once and again and she always refused, preferring to come to our place.  Despite my being the “best cook and baker”, she didn’t enjoy food.

Her relationship with Mick was very complicated.  Mick had shared with me his version of his history and I tried to get her talk about hers. She didn’t divulge very much but got very defensive.  I came to the conclusion that both were pigheaded in their refusal to accept their part!  Still, when we take the time to see, she did the best she could with what she had and she was alone to do it.  And, when push came to shove, Mick was there for her (and then I was) and she was there for him (and for me after he died).  Even if it was by duty.

Mother’s Day brunch 2010

She was pretty pleased to be the mother of the groom.  This was definitely one of her happy and proud days.  Mick insisted on treating her to a shopping spree, make-up and hairstyling as she was not one to splurge on herself. At all. So it took some doing and a threat or two on his part for her to acquiesce.

September 14, 2002

It is hard to say how I feel as I wasn’t truly in a position to create a close relationship with Jean.  Her son kept her at arm’s length and I had to respect him.  He had his reasons, after all.  After Mick died, I kept up the annual pilgrimage to pick her up and bring her over for Mother’s Day until her fall in July 2017.  At that time, it was discovered she was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and would not be abe to return to her home.  I spent a lot of time going back and forth doing what I know Mick would have done no matter how much he bitched about it. Because deep down, we do care.

Mother’s Day 2014 – last one with Mick

So my visits with Jean, with or without the boys, were every few months.  With each visit, it took longer for her to remember who I was and always asked why Mick wasn’t with me. To which I would reply because he was “working” – what would be the point of making her cry about her son’s death when in five minutes she would ask me again how he was and why wasn’t he there? And, of course, she never, ever, stopped asking to go home. The staff at Lev Tov said she asked every single day.  Drove them nuts with it.  She was a proud woman who had always taken care of herself and loathed her lack of independence.  She was not a happy woman but those in her circle loved her and thought her such a nice lady.

After a hair-styling at the residence

I hope she has finally found peace, wherever she is.

Running Diary and Mother’s Day

I was going to do little updates on my running highs and woes as a little footnote on blog posts but then felt they didn’t belong tagged onto prompts so I resisted.  Now, I have three sessions’ worth! Enough to merit their own post. Sorta.  Though this makes it a too-long post.

I am surprising myself with my commitment to this running biz. Every two days, rain or shine, ass-freezing cold or sun. Okay, let’s be honest, the only rain I have encountered thus far is a few drops at the beginning of one run and even less at the end of another. Real rain?  We’ll see how much of a wuss I am! I did, however, run through some snowflakes so that makes me a warrior, right?  Said snowflakes didn’t even last a second once arrived at destination (ground) but still.  Right?

Wednesday’s (May 6) run was it was warm enough to do without a jacket and I found a little fanny pack for my phone, the armband still missing.  I am so very pleased to say that not once did I wonder “how many more miles” so to speak and got all the way to the other end of the secret garden. Though I was managing to breathe rather well, I was running out of gas and may have fudged the last 10-15 seconds of the run part on the last two sets.  Out of guilt, I added another 2.5 sets to make up.

Random picture taken during my walk back. Will be noting the evolution

On Friday, I had to get up early as my car was being towed to the dealership. It died and no matter what we tried, would not start. Fun stuff. Not. This also meant I had to get my run in earlier as I knew, if they were able to fix it (which they did), I’d have to pick it up before 3:00 pm.  It was damn cold.  I also joined a 30-day 15-minutes/day free workout program I found on Facebook.  Betty Rocker Challenge.  Oh boy!  This is gonna be good!  I love how she has variations on each move to match your fitness level.  I am especially glad that I lost any ego I used to have which would make me do what I shouldn’t.  I did that workout – man can a person sweat in fifteen minutes!  Put on my jacket plus my ear warmers and out the door I went.  Since I had already more than warmed up, I started to run immediately.  Surprise, surprise, this was my best day, yet! Phone in my pocket, I never once looked at it.  The first two sets are still a bitch but by the third all the way to the tenth, I was good. Because I had started right outside my door, I made it just to the entrance of the garden before turning back.  I reached the park where the above bud was pictured – and forgot to take an updated pic – and decided I would tack on three more sets again.  I even ran around the “skating rink” to give myself more room to run off the asphalt.

I realised in the last few running days that I catch my breath faster so starting Sunday, I was going to reduce the walk time to 1.5 minutes, keeping the running at 2.

While walking Zeke, I got a call at 1:30 saying car was ready so had to cut the walk short.

Bye-bye car!

And that brings us to yesterday. Mother’s Day. Does that mean I slacked off? No siree!  This chick is on a mission!

Iain got up early (any time before 3:00 pm is early 😉 ) and made me his fabulous cheffy scrambled eggs.

I then putzed around on the computer, giving myself time to digest before hitting the 15-minute workout followed by my run. Oh. Em. Gee!  Betty! Can’t the Full-Body Explosion happen on a non-running day? Sweat and cursed my out-of-shapedness.  Bundled up and out the door I went.  Again, the run started outside my door. Jesus, Mary and Joseph!  It was fucking cold! And the wind… good gawd, the wind!  How was I supposed to turn the inner dialogue off and not give up right away? The litany of “keep going”, “don’t give up”, “around the corner, it will be better” just went on like a broken record.  Again, first two sets – murder.  Wait! Shit!  I forgot to change my walk time to 1.5.  Damnation.   I changed it.  Now I know I could have easily set it to 8 sets, having done two, but thought, no… let’s just start over.  My steps were short, my pace was slow but it was in a forward direction, so there’s that, right? Right.  Though I am fairly certain I saw a turtle pass me, look back with a snort and said “slowpoke”.

Pretend those clouds are the wind…

I did not make it as far as I had on Friday but I did manage to refrain from looking at my timer all the way. Why is this so hard?  Oh yeah, that little thirty seconds less of recup time made quite the difference.  Plus, like the proverbial camper who changes seats only to have the smoke blow in my face, so did the wind shift. Ugh. Once I made it to the park that tells me I am almost home, I decided to add that one extra set as the last three runs included three extra.  Why not? Besides, look at that path. Isn’t it lovely and inviting?

Stretch and shower and off to visit Mom.  I had her yeast to deliver and brought a case of beer for Yvon.  We took all the necessary precautions. I opened the case, had her take a couple beers out and then put the case aside to “air out and release the virus” so to speak. We washed our hands, sat at either end of the table and toasted motherhood with glasses of wine for us and a beer for him.

Got home around 7 pm and Iain prepared his feast of homemade linguine with seafood in a creamy sauce. He was so displeased with his efforts, he is planning on a do-over.  I, frankly, love all the effort he made for me.  We then had the most delicious coffee and brandy crème brûlée for dessert (my picture sucks, the angle was wrong, but trust me, that caramel was burnt to perfection).  I then sat on the couch and thought I would die from over eating.

Thanks for staying till the end… I promise to ramble less, next time.  Well, I will try not to, anyway.

 

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #156 – Home

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend. How you use the prompt is up to you. Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like. Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise. If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Wow. Congrats to Sammi for doing this prompt for three years already!  Looking forward to what’s to come!

There is always that one house on the block where people congregate. As kids, it is the meet-up or the hang-out place – if the mom says it is okay – and if she says ‘no’ today, it will not stop you from coming back tomorrow. There is nothing obviously special about this house. It is like everyone else’s in size and shape and number of rooms. And yet, the kids know. Here, they are welcome. Here, they can be kids, and whether related or not, will be yelled at if they get too much. Here, they feel like they belong, part of a family. Here, this is not a house. It is a home.

Mine.

 

 

What’s the Word, Bird? – Friday Fictioneers

It’s Wednesday. Hump Day. First day to get your Friday Fictioneers on! As per, I seem to have a bit of a problem with creating fiction. I am once, again, taking the memoir route. What can I say? I must follow where the muse takes me.  If your muse takes you to an interesting place, then please do share! Click on the frog below and add your 100-words worth.  Thank you, Rochelle for hosting this weekly party.  And thank you, Douglas M. MacIlroy for lending us your image.

 

What’s the Word, Bird?

It’s funny how seemingly out of the blue a thought can cross your mind. Spark a dormant memory. You don’t even notice what triggered it (bird on a windowsill) but your mind starts roaming and a smile crosses your lips and a warmth spreads from your heart to your fingertips.

“What’s the word, bird?” was how he always greeted me.

“Tweet! Tweet!” was how I always responded.

‘Twas a silly exchange but one that shall forever remain a fond memory.

Mononcle* Royal, I cannot believe it has been twenty years since your twinkling eyes dimmed and your ready laugh silenced.

 

*I think I’ve mentioned it before but here in Quebec, or rather, in my family (and many other French families), an uncle or an aunt becomes “my uncle” and “my aunt” in one word. If I were to say I love my uncle, it actually will come out as I love my MyUncle.  J’aime mon Mononcle.

Breakfast at the Diner – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday, my peeps!  I hope you are not all going stir-crazy in your homes while respecting your governments’ dictates.  Are you taking the time to eat meals as a family? Do things together? Take walks in the fresh air?  If some of you are like me and not able to work because a) you are quarantined (for me until Monday the 23rd) because of travel and/or b) your work is closed (as mine is at this point) then hey, let’s look at the silver linings and focus on other stuff while doing our part in sharing the love while staying apart!

In the meantime, we have stories to share on this photo provided by J.Hardy Carroll.  Thanks, Josh.  And thank you to Rochelle for keeping us busy, at least for a couple of hours, eh? Click on the frog below and read more stories or, better yet, add your own 100-word tale.

Click me to play!

Breakfast at the Diner

He came to the diner every day for a simple leisurely breakfast. Though he brought the newspaper with him, he barely read it, preferring to watch the folks sitting around him.  He especially loved weekends as there were more families.  The dynamic of these little units pinched his heart and constricted his throat.  Why did he torment himself with these images?  It was simple, really.  They brought him back to the time when he had the same thing. When he answered the endless “why” questions and she wiped their faces of sticky jam.  When they laughed and planned and dreamed.