#WeekendCoffeeShare – In Which I Played Tour Guide

Good evening my Blogger Friends!  It’s Sunday evening and I am in no mood for coffee.  Red wine for me!

First things first, however.  Thank you Emily from Nerd in the Brain for hosting our Coffee Talk!  For anyone wanting to join in on the fun, just click on the coffee cup above and you’ll be directed to her site where you can add your link or click on the link and read other stories.

Now, without further ado… My week.  Oy!  What a fantabulous week!  No, I shall not talk about my water woes other than to say that one issue has been fixed and one has been diagnosed – not in the manner in which I would prefer… Next subject!

If we were having coffee, or frankly, it is Sunday night, so, if you want that hot beverage spiked, just say so, I’ve got a lovely collection of liqueurs that could be added.  I might even be able to whip up some cream as a topping, should you wish!  I, on the other hand, shall go and get myself a nice glass of wine.  I also have white or rosé, should you prefer!

If we were sharing a nice beverage, I would tell you that I had a most wonderful week with Alison.  Who is Alison, you ask?  Would you imagine?  Last September, I went to Tuscany for almost three weeks.  The first week was a cooking week with Cook in Tuscany and where I met Alison.  I wrote part of my story  here.  (I’ve got a few posts still to go to bring it all up to speed – yeah, yeah, I know.  Way late!  Anyway.)  Well, as happens when you spend a full week with a group (we were 14 in all), friendships form.  We exchanged emails and quite a few of us are now Facebook friends.  Alison asked me if I was serious when I said, should you come to visit Montreal, let me know.  I responded absolutely!

She said cool… She’d be in Montreal from Tuesday, April 18th, till Saturday, April 22nd.  I offered my home for her to stay in but she is very allergic to cats and I’ve two of them.   She was very content to stay in an AirBnB in downtown Montreal and I was happy to go pick her up daily so we could do the tourist thing.

Alison really wanted to see our Montreal Symphony Orchestra and had asked me to look into buying tickets.  Then Punta Cana happened and I got all involved in the passport thing and the trip itself and…. When she texted me saying,  “So? Where are we sitting?”  I had to sheepishly admit I had failed at purchasing them.  I did manage to get us tickets for the first night but we’d not be sitting together.  She said what did it matter?  It’s not like we are going to talk while the music is playing… she had a point.  I had never been to our new Symphony House so I didn’t know what the seating was like.  There were some seats behind the musicians but I didn’t dare take them.  I should have.  It’s not like I could see the faces of anyone way up in the balcony!

Picked up Alison at the airport at 5pm, drove through the traffic to bring her to her apartment.  She changed and we made our way down to the “Quartier des Spectacles” in Montreal, parked and attempted to find something decent to eat.  Problem was it was also a hockey night so all restaurants were filled to the rim.  Ended up eating two steamies and greasy fries at Lafleur!  Sheesh.  Quite the beginning!

We made our way to the new (well, new to me, but open since 2011) MSO Symphony Hall to enjoy the concert Brel Symphonique.  Fans of Jacques Brel were treated to interpretation by mostly Québécois singers.  We were not disappointed.  Alison’s goal was to hear the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and she found the 81 members for this concert amazing.  I was not disappointed because I love Jacques Brel’s music and I found that the 10 artists did a wonderful job interpreting his songs along with the wonderful orchestration by the MSO.

As Alison had been up since very early, she was ready to hit the hay for the next day of adventures!

Wednesday morning, I picked her up and we made our way to St. Joseph’s Oratory.   We explored every floor, nook and cranny that we could.  Of course, once we were ready to go, it started to rain, so we didn’t take a picture of the oratory from the street!  Alison didn’t believe me when I told her that you could always find at least one person climbing the steps on their knees…

We worked up our hunger (it was near 2:00 pm!) so we made our way to Côte-des-Neiges Street and into McCarold’s Irish Pub for a delicious burger and fries.

My son’s friend was coming to do some of the plumbing – no, we’re not talking about my water woes! – and I wanted to be there when he did so we made our way to my house.  A tour of the mess and then we just sat and chitchatted.  And eventually got hungry so I made a vegetable & tortellini “Stoup” and heated up a frozen baguette.  Voilà!  Supper is served.  Alison was my expert stirrer…

On Thursday, we drove around the different boroughs of Montreal so I could show Alison the “Stairs of Montreal” and we wound up in Little Italy and the Jean-Talon Market.  It is such a fabulous place in summer but does remain open year-round (maybe 1/5 to 1/4 of it?)  We then made our way to Outremont, which has a totally different vibe, drove up Mount Royal, walked around Beaver Lake then made our way to the Camilien Houde Promontory to see a view of Montreal.  Though not raining, it was sort of clear…  Oh!  And as I drove around to the front of the entrance of Mount Royal where there are statues and, in the summer, the Tam-Tam players, I kept wondering why there were so many cops!  I sent Alison out to take some pics while I stayed in the car, illegally parked, and she came back stating there was quite the scent around the place.  D’oh!  It was 420 – Weed Day!

All that walking around made us hungry, so we made our way to Old Montreal.  We had a show at the Notre Dame Basilica (Aura) at 6 pm so we figured we’d have time to walk around and admire the old buildings and whatnot after lunch.  We ate outside in a heated terrasse (yes, I spell it the French way because we say it the French way!)  I wanted to bring Alison to the Jardin Nelson but it was closed for the day. Grrr.  So we went to Le Fripon.  No regrets!  After a delicious pizza, we made our way to the Basilica and enjoyed the Aura light show.  Truly beautiful.  A tad pricey for the amount of time we spent there, I have to admit but there was still no regret at having watched the light show.

I had never seen these two statues and the plaque explaining them….  They are so representative of the English-French thing that we have going on in our province!

Not yet hungry, we decided to go have a drink.  I decided we should go to Crescent Street where there are so many happening places.  I was telling her about Winnie’s and Margo and how she was THE bartender for years, knowing many Montreal writers and such but that she had taken her retirement and… bloody hell!  Who is at Winnie’s?  Margo!  Unknowingly, it was the 50th anniversary of the club and it was Bartenders Alumni Night!  Score!  What a perfect ending to a perfect day.  We decided to stay and have a late supper.  Introduced Alison to poutine, to boot…

So now it is Friday.  Our last full day to do stuff.   And I’m expecting a plumber to come and check out the mess – but we’re not talking about that, right?  As well, I have an 80th birthday cake to make for a friend of mine so my time is kinda wack.  I pick up Alison at 10:30 and off we go to the Biodome or Biosphere.  This was originally the American pavilion during Expo 67.  It was a spectacular sight then and in 1976, the outside walls (or membrane) caught fire but the original structure remained intact.  The Biodome became a natural museum and is most interesting.  I figured it was close enough to my house so we would be able to get to my house quickly should said plumber call.  There are a few halls closed for preparation of Montreal’s 375 birthday celebration so price is cut in half.  I’m jiggy wid it…   We enter one of the rooms for a 360º presentation but 2/3 of the screens are blank.  Not good.  I go out and advise the people in charge and they come and fix it.  In the meantime, we go to see other interesting things on the planet, global warming and such and make our way back to the original hall for the next presentation in English.  Very interesting and as we leave, my phone rings and it’s my son telling me the plumber is there.  Sigh. So much for him calling first…

We decided to lunch on my leftover stoup and, once the plumbing done, made our way back to Montreal.  It was a bleary day.  (Seriously, Alison was so not lucky weather-wise!)  We decide to take in the Chagall exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.  Park the car, make our way there and I find it weird there is no one at the reception.  Wait in line at the VIP line only to be told that the museum closes at 5 pm.  It was 4:50.  Ugh.  Only on Wednesdays is the museum open until 9 PM.  Dammit.   A lovely woman tells us, hey, if you want to, across the street at the Bourgie Hall, you can have a concert and a private tour of the exhibition.  Well.   We immediately crossed over and paid the fee.  Oh my goodness!  What a score!  We had the most wonderful guide Elena (Elaina? Elayna?) who knew her stuff.  It was a speedy tour, to be sure, and just whetted my appetite to return before it is gone.

 

After that, we settled into our seats in the converted church and enjoyed – well, I cannot lie, I am not a fan of Stravinsky but still.  The first half was a Stravinsky piano piece for four hands and the second was a piano duet for two pianos by Francis Poulenc.  The pianists were James Anagnoson and Leslie Kinton, celebrating 40 years of playing together!

They did a bang-up job!  By the end of the concert, it was almost 8 PM so we were hungry and I brought Alison to the Gay Village and my most favourite restaurant, Mozza Pâtes et Passions.  There is no place like it.  I told Alison she must go to the bathroom.  And to bring her phone with her… 😉

Bathroom at Mozza

The next morning I had to go to a work meeting from 9:30 till 11:00, rush home to meet the foundation guy – no, we’re still not talking water woes – then finish the cake for my friend Martin B.  I picked up Alison around 1:30 and drove her to the airport.  Our five-day-extravaganza had come to an end already.

I cannot believe how many things we did in such a short time!  It was a blast and I was told I was a good tour guide.  Phew!

I hope I’ve not rambled on way too long.  It took me almost three days to write this thing as the weather has finally turned (doesn’t that figure, Alison?) so I did come in and out of the house between raking and stuff to write this!

Oh. My bad.  I almost forgot all the goodies Alison brought me as a thank you.  Sheesh.  She spoiled me with Louisiana hot sauces, an apron and a bottle of wine!  All products from her home State of Louisiana.  Spoiled rotten, I tell ya!

Thanks to any of you who stuck it out and read the whole shebang!

See you next week!  I can promise you it will be way less exciting!

Lotsa love,

Dale

xoxo

 

 

#Weekend Coffee Share – Sunshine, Water Woes, Birthdays and Easter

Hello my friends!  Welcome to this weekend’s Coffee Share!  I did mention two weeks ago that I could not play with you last weekend as I was… sigh… “stuck” in Punta Cana! 😉

There was access to WiFi but, let’s face it, other than sharing my Instagram photos, there was no gathering of thoughts and such!

First, let me thank the lovely Emily for hosting this shindig!  Just click on the box above if you want to join along and add your link!

Without further ado…

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I had a most relaxing and wonderful time in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (I specify, because so many think this is in Mexico!)  The weather was perfect, the beaches wonderful, the food excellent.  Check-in was a nightmare and totally disorganised.  We got there for noon but didn’t get checked in until 12:50 where we were told our room would not be ready until 3:00 pm but to go ahead and eat and drink (now that we had our bracelets).  Check-in was so long the guy at the counter ordered us two beers while waiting!  Once checked in, we went to the dining room.  Which wasn’t open until 1:00.  10 minutes to wait.  Let’s just say not a grand debut to our week…  Things looked up immediately after, though!

Only thing I would complain about, and this pains me greatly to say, were the Russian guests.  Oh my gosh.  The rudest, most pushy and disagreeable sort they were in general.  I don’t like to generalise but here, I must.  There were constant looks of shock and disgust by all other guests every time one of them pushed their way into the food line.  If all were going in one direction, they inserted themselves and pushed in the opposite!  Every. Single. Time.  At one point, there was no one in front of me, I was making my way and two botox, bubble-lipped, boob-implanted-barbie dolls planted themselves in front of me, facing me.  Wrong direction.  I waited for them to move out of the way and nope.  They practically ploughed me over.  Ridiculous.  It does not give one the urge to go visit their country; as ambassadors, they suck!  On a positive note, here are a few pics!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you the morning after I arrived home, I walked into my dining room and saw this:

I poked the hole and let out the water.  Then let out a wail.  This is my favourite room that Mick and I had redone the year he died.   Where was the water coming from?  I called my cousin Marc, who just happens to work in construction, to ask him if he was free in the next few days to come and assess the damage.  He said he would come the next day (Good Friday).

My son also advised me that he didn’t know what happened, but that he did not have an accident with my car while I was away…

He did use it to get to and from work as he was working two jobs.  In good faith, I am willing to admit that it does look like someone backed into the door.  Dammit.  Another thing to fix.

Good Friday came along.  Just so happens to be my birthday.  Oh no, no fuss, please!  I can’t handle more right now!  Marc came by before lunch and cut away at the ceiling, trying to find the source of the wet.  He determined it came from the boys’ bathroom shower.  Seems there is a joint that has been dripping for a good while.

I had also noticed that the carpet in the basement was wet.  It had been a bit before I left and I figured someone had spilled something.  However, now it was wet halfway across the room and on the other side!  Oh for Pete’s sake!  Stop already!

Trying to find the source

Marc determined that there must be a crack in my foundation.  Bloody hell.  On Monday I shall be calling my insurance company.  It appears there is work to be done before I can put this Mothaf*** for sale.

As I refuse to end this post on a negative note.  Just not my style, I tell you, I shall finish with this:

My sister, Lisa, made supper and my most favouritestiest spice cake for my birthday.  So nice!

Never too old

While having the last of our coffee (or really, should I not deserve something stronger by now?  I would tell you that Zeke and I took a nice walk yesterday and I was thrilled to see that I finally had a crocus!

Crocus!

And today, is Easter.  And I had to work.  It was the first official event of the new golf season for our members.  A lovely Easter brunch.  Everyone was in a grand mood.  It was nice to work with more of the regulars who didn’t work with me during the winter events.  After the event and the cleanup, we all sat down and ate a nice meal together and I got to take home a bouquet of tulips.

On that note, my friends, thank you for sharing some of your time with me (I promise I will be catching up on your Weekend Coffee Shares as well!)

Happy Easter!  Happy Passover!

Lotsa love,

Dale

xo

 

#WeekendCoffeeShare – Sugar Shack, Taxes

Welcome dear friends, to another epsisode of Weekend Coffee Share or If we were having coffee… hosted by the lovely Emily over at Nerd in the Brain.  To join in on the fun, just click on the box above which will bring you to her site and the linkup!

If we were having coffee, cappuccino, lattè, tea or whatever your heart desires (we are quite accommodating over here at Casa Rogerson/MacIsaac) I would say, please do come in, make yourself comfortable and let’s get our chat on!

I would tell you my week started with a nice visit from Tonia who managed to get a weekend away from basic training (she started week 1o this week!)  Kudos to this woman who joined the military at age 50 and is whupping a lot of 20-somethings’ butts!!  Thank goodness for Facebook and me seeing her post Saturday night that she was waiting for one of her friends at the Starbucks – a whole two minutes from my house!  I, of course, messaged her and made arrangements to pick her up the next morning.  It was wonderful hearing about all her exploits of running with a bazillion pounds on her back and being considered one of the Bad Asses of Training!

I would tell you that following my coffee with Tonia, my friend Martin picked me up so we could join a bunch of his friends to partake in a fabulous Quebec tradition called the Sugar Shack or rather, Cabane à sucre, en français.  Yes, I know they do something sorta similar in Vermont and such but over here, it is a feast.  Not for the lettuce crowd is all I can say…   Over here, you get to sample the down-to-earth true Québécois fare.  Stick-to-your-gut eats made for the working man (and woman, of course!)  This is a traditional spring-time affair.  It’s time to celebrate when the sap from our sugar maples is flowing and maple syrup becomes the nectar of the gods (at least to us!)

The feast is basically the same, no matter which Shack you go to.  It is a very traditional meal.  Of course there are places like Le Pied de Cochon that are out-of-this-world-crazy and zero anything to do with tradition.  The waiting list is ridiculous to get in, and yes, one day I will try it!  But even there, the seating is always the same.  Long tables that you share with other groups or families.  Rustic decor – if there are no wooden seats, bare beams, wood walls… hightail it outta there!  It’s not authentic!  You do not want some place that is all shiny and white and pristine.  Oh, and expect mud.  Lots of mud outside.  These place are always set deep in the woods to be close to their trees and definitely do not include asphalt.

That said, there is nothing like having the standards.  We went to the Érablière Charbonneu, listed in the top five.   Do click on the link.  I stupidly didn’t take any pictures of the food.  D’oh!

They all start off with pickled beets and pickles (either sweet or salty) and coleslaw, cretons (a fatty, delicious pork spread) with hot bread, followed by delicious pea soup.  Then comes the smorgasbord of stuff:  fluffy plain omelette, ham (regular and/or smoked), sausages cooked in maple syrup, bacon, “oreilles de crisse” (deep-fried pork jowels), bacon, baked beans, meat pie, ragoût de boulettes (pork meatballs in brown gravy), roasted potatoes.  And all served with the Cabane’s own maple syrup – poured liberally over whatever one likes.  All very, ahem, “light” and “low-calorie” fare. NOT!  This is obviously a once-per-year treat… or in my case, it had been over ten years since my last visit.

Now, that said, the BEST part – the reason Sugar Shacks came into existence, in the first place, was to boil down the sugar water until it becomes syrup.  Boil it down further and it becomes super thick… pour it onto snow and it hardens and becomes taffy.  Oh man… slurp!  Most Cabanes will have their taffy station set up outside with a roof to protect the pourers from the elements.  In this case, the taffy was in a separate little shack complete with fireplace.  Lucky for the employees!  I took a photo of my stick but didn’t realise it was totally out of focus… Must be a result of the overeating that you always promise yourself you will NOT do but cannot help yourself…

Monday’s coffee with Andrea turned into breakfast as neither one of us had eaten.  That was a nice treat!  We have determined that we are due for a girls’ get outta town something like a spa or a visit to Quebec City just for the day or whatever.  That will definitely be something we’ll be planning.

Tuesday I had to go visit the accountant.  Thank goodness for Raffi, my accountant.  For years I used to do my own taxes.  Then Mick started his company and things got too complicated for moi.  So, thanks to Armen (Mick’s business partner), he was introduced to Raffi.  And since he was doing Mick’s taxes, it was nothing to add mine.  Now the company is finally closed though there are still a few issues to iron out.   It is so long and complicated to close a company after death and I’m still getting invoices to pay taxes and stuff for Mick.  More than two years later!  Hopefully this is the last year to deal with this…

Wednesday and Thursday I worked at the golf club.  The banquets themselves went really well but I swear, I feel like a part-time mover sometimes!  We had to reorganise the room on Wednesday evening for Thursday’s event and then on Thursday, after the event, we had to move all the tables and chairs to line against the walls in the restaurant and all onto the dance floor in the banquet room.  Somehow I found the energy to make not one but two chicken thigh meals – oops… forgot to take pictures to torment you with 😉  Needless to say, I deserved a nice, hot bath by Wednesday evening…  A massage would have been nice but, alas…

Yesterday I managed to do all my laundry and vacuum the upper floor… the rest of the day, I must admit I pretty much faffed:  read Friday Fictioneer submissions and comments to my own story, chatted on-line with friends, watched some boob tube… and then… oy!  Besides, it was eldest’s 19th birthday party and he was expecting friends.  Why the hell should I bother cleaning the floor BEFORE they come in?  I escaped the house and caught the 10:10 viewing of Beauty and the Beast.  Needless to say, I have a variety of tunes totally stuck in my head since…   I figured if I caught the later showing, the party would have moved on to another venue by the time I got home.

Wrong.

It was in full swing at 12:30 a.m. And.  I came home to THIS.

Needless to say, I am not pleased.  I admit I may have snarled at him, grabbed myself a beer and gone up to my room, slamming the door (yes, I know, totally childish, but I figured it was better than taking a swing at him… 😉 ) to watch an episode of something on Netflix on my iPad…

After the quiet returned to my house, I’d say about 2:45 am or so, I also turned off my light and was asleep by 3-ish.  Up and at ’em today as I had an appointment to have my hair dyed and cut.  This short hair business is more work than when it’s long!!  Not bothering to share a photo.  First because, it’s basically the same thing, maybe a tad shorter than last time and second, because the picture I took, looks like shite!

I shan’t be playing with you next week as I shall be toasting my buns in the sun in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic!  I’ll tell all a ya’all about it the following week!  Now, they said my passport would be delivered by Monday…. I am leaving on Wednesday….

Omigosh!  I have just realised it is April 1st!  Somehow I have to find a way to write as I’m participating in Camp Na No!  Oh Lordy…

I think I’ve kept you more than long enough, eh?  Time to turn the keyboard over to you!  Do tell me, how have you been?

Have a marvellous week and we’ll see ya soon!

Lotsa love,

Dale

xo

 

#WeekendCoffeeShare – Snowstorms, Work, and Hello Kitty

Hello, my friends.  Welcome to this week’s coffee share where I am so late it is Sunday and it is five o’clock in the early evening and I’ve had just about enough coffee for my day.  I have decided to splurge on a nice Kilkenny beer.  However, please do not be shy, should you want a coffee or tea or hot chocolate, I will be more than happy to provide.  There is also wine and some limoncello and aranciacello left so, those are options as well.  I don’t want to ruin your appetite, so I am only offering some delicious Miss Vicky’s lime and black pepper chips.

I cannot believe I forgot to mention my Skype session with my friend Raye over in Portland, Oregon, last Tuesday. Should have been mentioned in our last coffee share.  She is very special to me and we were way overdue.  That said, we have decided that we are going to try for a monthly get-together!  Should be wonderful indeed.

OK.  So back to business!  This week started off with work at the Golf Club.  Monday was a nice day.  We were basically there to set up for a trade show on Tuesday. A very physical day.  Tuesday’s group people very nice.  Their show ended at around 3:00 pm and we were able to start setting up for Wednesday’s event.  The snow started slowly round noon.  I had been there since 9:00 a.m and by 5:45, I was sent home.   as they had called in another woman to help with the set up.  To justify her being there from 4:00 pm, it was considered best I should leave.  Lucky me!  By then, the snow was becoming quite the mess.  This was the road leaving the golf club, towards the highway…

Took me almost one hour to get home… a usual 15-minute drive.  I consider myself lucky as I did get home.  My boss and co-worker never made it!  The boss got so disoriented leaving the club, he was driving towards the highway, through the golf course!  When he realised he had no idea where he was, he got out of his car and walked back to the club, where he stayed to sleep.  My poor co-worker managed to get to the highway but got off (probably near my house!) and parked her car in a gas station and slept in her car!  I wish I had known because I would have gone to pick her up and bring her to my house…

Needless to say, all activities at the club were cancelled on Wednesday.  I got a call at 7:30 telling me to stay home.  This was another trade show and people were coming from far and wide so no choice but to cancel.  Only person who did not get a snow day was Iain!  Here are his steps out of the house!

After sitting at my desk watching the snow accumulate on the windows, Zeke and I decided there was some shoveling to do.  Some.  I have two teenagers.  Just had to leave some for them, right?

Depending on the regions, there was up to 75cm (2.4 feet) total snowfall.  Though I live on the “sunny side” of the street, it also happens to be the “gusty side”!  I usually have six steps going down to my driveway.  There were none to be seen.

More views to give an idea…

Each of the boys did a section and even the neighbour’s son helped out… To think that two days later, there would be so much melted, is crazy!

I also got an order for a Hello Kitty cake for a two year old.  So Friday night I baked the cakes and Saturday, I put it all together and decorated it.  I had a dinner date with a friend Saturday night, so I offered to deliver it on my way.  Otherwise, the client would have picked it up Sunday morning.  Admittedly, depending on how late Saturday was, I wasn’t sure I wanted to have to be out and about at 9:30 am!

I have to admit, I was quite pleased with the end result.

Zeke and I went for a nice walk before I had to get ready for my outing.  It was a glorious day but I underestimated the coldness.  That sun was shining something fierce so I was fooled into thinking the temps were warmer than they were!  As I had changed coats for one that is lighter, I had no gloves stashed in the pockets.  Poor Zeke ended up with a much shorter walk!  Will make it up to him this week!

Upon our return home, I notice a humongous icicle hanging from the now-detached gutter.  Sigh… there is always something, isn’t there?

I have taken up way too much of your time but I do appreciate your stopping by!  Have a marvellous week and find joy in the small things!

Lotsa love,

Dale

 

 

 

#Weekend Coffee Share – March 4, 2017

weekend-coffee-share-nerd-in-the-brain-2

Well hello friends, do come in.  It is freezing outside today.  I swear, when Mother Nature has teased us with temps like 14°C, it is way not cool to, a few days later, drop down to -18°C but feels like -21°C!  Welcome to March in Montreal…

So, I should think a warm beverage is in order.  Would you like an espresso, cappuccino, lattè, good straight up filtered?  Maybe a little splash of somethin’, somethin’?  It’s Saturday, why not?  Of course, if you prefer tea I’ve quite the selection as well, Earl Grey, Orange Pekoe, Breakfast, green and 5-6 herbals, should you prefer.  Please, it is no trouble.  The kettle goes on, voilà!

Alrighty, now that we are comfy on the couch, let’s chat.  How has your week been?  Busy? Relaxed? A little of both?

If we were having coffee, I’d say it has been mostly a nice week, starting with Sunday night at the Oscar’s – yes, in my home, on  my couch, alone.  But that was okay.   I actually enjoyed this year’s and apart from that Kimmel and the tourists bit, didn’t find it boring or too long.  The tourists… five minute would have been enough!  This year I only saw two of the movies.  I am promising myself – for realz this time, that next year, I will do better!  Mind you, the two that I did see were La La Land and Fences – for which Viola totally deserved her Oscar!

If we were having coffee, and you happened to be here last week, you know that I foolishly attempted to go shopping at Ikea.  On a Saturday afternoon.  Wrong!!  So… take two!  I went on Monday and bought 18 bottles!  And some candles.  All those baths I was taking when I was really sick put a serious dent in my candle inventory.  Oh, and of course, I did absolutely have to buy those bloody cinnamon raisin rolls that they ensure we sniff all through the store…  Decided to do a Costco/grocery/gas run and on my way through the back way was teased with a fabulous setting sun.  Parked my car, zipped out and snapped a few pictures.  Oh, where I was parked, I kinda blocked anyone from passing!  When I realised a woman was behind me, I smiled sheepishly (she smiled back) and hopped back into my car!

Got home and bottled my lemon and orange nectar….

20170304_153528

I cannot tell you how disappointed I am that my orangecello did not even have the slightest tint of orange.  Sigh.  Can only tell them apart by scent – HUGE difference – and by the labels I will be putting on them!

Iain and I had been talking about making grapefruit cello and I wanted to make some lime so, these fruit I picked up, along with the alcohol and now, two new batches are blending to do their thing!

img_20170227_223402_066

Think I’ll be making some sorbets or salads, or juicing them and freezing for later use.

While I was out gallivanting, I had a lovely blade roast cooking away with, of all things, pepperoncini.  (Thank you Facebook!)  It smelled so good when I got home!  Plain old potatoes to soak up the juices and some GI Joe Cabbage (brussels sprouts to the regular folk) sautéed with Serrano ham, shallots and apples.  Iain and I enjoyed immensely.

16995959_1316268511752810_771129214761498584_n

So that brings us to Tuesday.  Fat Tuesday.  Mardi Gras.  Pancake Day!  Only.  I had brined a chicken the night before so I really had to cook it.  But, come on, we’re supposed to have pancakes for supper!  Well, not wanting to disappoint anyone, I served both.  The option to use my fabulous gravy (no, really, you know when you make something and dang if it doesn’t surpass your expectations?  This was the case on Tuesday…) or maple syrup.  Made no never mind to me, ‘sall I can say!  There were sugar snap peas for that veggie element but… didn’t bother asking them to pose for the camera…

Wednesday, Wednesday… what did I do Wednesday.  Oh yes!  Wrote my Friday Fictioneers, went on a coffee date.  Determined after one coffee that it was lovely to meet you, but move along.  Ugh.  I hate this dating thing.  It’s exhausting.  I know I haven’t really told you anything at all but I was on some dating sites.  I am no longer.  It was fun for a while.  Now?  Not so much!

How could I forget!  I finished reading “Swimming Lessons”, by Claire Fuller.  What a fabulous book.  So very original.  I definitely recommend it!  I have now started on “The Gift” by Louise Jensen, like Claire, this is her second book.  It it’s as good as her first one “The Sister”, I shall not be disappointed.

Thursday came along and I saw my friend (through Mick) Leonard was on-line so we chatted a bit.  I asked him when we were going to finally get together and have a beer and catch up on stuff.  He said he was meeting his buddy Steve (usually my “date” when we go see Leonard do stand-up) to watch the hockey game and that I was more than welcome to join them.  I asked him if he was sure I would not intrude on their “Guy-Time”!  Was told I would never…   We met at the Irish Embassy Pub on Bishop Street downtown.  Let me tell you, when there is a home game, ya gotta leave early because traffic is intense!  It ended up taking me a good 40 minutes, which was pretty darn good.  However.  Parking was a whole ‘nother kettle of fish!  After going around the blocks a few times, and just missing one – blast you, guy who cut in front of me!  May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your nether regions!  So, I gave up and decided to go to Mick’s old favourite inside parking three blocks over.  First time I ever end up on the top floor!  Eesh.   Hustle my way to join the gents.  See scads of empty parking spaces.  Pump fist up at the gods of parking but decide it’s a waste of time and keep walking.  Later find out that two streets over on the other side, there is indoor parking five bucks cheaper!  Sigh.  Had a great evening with these two jokers.  They tag-teamed against me occasionally.  Buggers!  Habs were losing 1-0 when Leonard decided he was done and left us.  Good thing too.  Not five minutes later, the Habs tied the game!  I told Steve, had we known all we had to do was get rid of Lenny, we would have sooner…  With six seconds left in the game, we beat Nashville and our beloved PK Subban.  Was kinda nice to see the fans cheering him on despite his wearing a different jersey.  His ex-teammates weren’t so enthused…

img-20170302-wa0001

A nice Irish stew and a couple of Kilkenny Pints and lots of great conversation.  It was one of the first times I had the chance to have such a great conversation with Steve.  He is a good man, lots of responsibilities but has the most wonderful mantra every morning:  Today I will try to be the best husband, father, brother, son, employer I can be.  Some days, no matter how hard you try, you do not succeed fully but come the next day, the slate is clean and you can start over.  I like that.

On Friday, I was very proud of my eldest son.  I drove him to the SAAQ  (DMV, for the Americans) so that he would not have to get up so early.  15 minute car ride vs. 1+ hour bus ride.  Came home and pfaffed around for a bit.  The whole gang was home for dinner – on a Friday night!!  I still had some chicken left-over with that fab gravy so I made us some hot-chicken sandwiches.  Went to the convenience store for some crappy McCain fries to bake and go with.   (I did not have a potato in the house.)  Seriously, those fries are the worst.  No matter how long I cooked them, they would not get crispy.  Note to self:  Don’t buy ’em again!

img_20170303_200932_969

So this Saturday, we were supposed to get a group of us together to participate in the Illuminart going on in Montreal.  Sadly, one of our gang hurt her leg and hip and could not walk for any distance.  That made it easier for one to decide to cocoon in his home all day.  That left Julie and me.  They were calling for “freeze-your-butt-off” temps and neither one of us was that enthusiastic to go in those conditions!  So we opted for dinner and a movie!

There is this great little Korean restaurant with amazingly reasonable prices and fantastic-tasting food.  Julie had never been and I’ve now been three times.  Mon Ami (My Friend) restaurant… How cute a name is that?  Their Bibimbap is delicious and they tell me their fried chicken is the bomb – maybe next time!  There was a line-up at 7:30 pm but we didn’t have to wait too long.  It was so hard to choose what to eat as everything looks good!  I’m hoping the next time I go, my dinner partner wants to join me in their BBQ platter that cooks on a hot plate in front of you…

stcathrine

Mon Ami on Ste.Catherine – their photo

We had time to have a coffee before our movie.  We went to see “Hidden Figures”  and both of us loved it.

Oh my goodness.  We’re on our third cup already and I’ve totally gobbled up way too much of your time!  Thank you for sharing this time with me!  I hope I managed to keep you entertained and that I did not torment you too much with the food pics 😉  I wish for you a most fabulous Sunday and week ahead!

Thank you to Emily from Nerd in the Brain for hosting this shindig – I have to find out why I am not get notifications for the coffee shares but do for other posts… Hmmm…

If you’d like to join in, just click on the coffee share box at the top and you will be brought over to Emily’s blog.

Lotsa Love,

Dale

 

#Weekend Coffee Share – Overdue and Yet Timely

weekendcoffeesharelogo

It has been eons since my last coffee share (I’m even afraid to look, it’s been so long…) but let us not let that stop us, righty?  After all, it is the last day of 2016 and a brand-new, unblemished New Year starts at Midnight tonight!  Click on the image above to be taken to Diana’s blog “Part-Time Monster” for more weekend shares, and maybe add your own.  Thank you for accepting my contribution, Diana!

If we were having coffee, I’d suggest we splurge and add a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to it… Bailey’s? Grand Marnier?  Name it, I’ll add it.  Allow it to warm our tummies so we can feel all cozy and warm on the inside as well as the outside.  Don’t worry, I’ve lit the fire to keep us toasty warm.

If we were having coffee, I’d first say happy birthday to my friend Leslie Gadoury.  What a thing to have a birthday on the last day of the year!  It’s always a celebration in double!  I just wish we could see each other face-to-face sometime soon.  It’s been way too long, hasn’t it?  Thank goodness for Facebook (cuss it all you like, folks.  For me, it is one way of keeping in touch!)

If we were having coffee… oh, did you prefer tea?  Skip the caffeine and move right to wine or a cocktail?  Please, no worries!  I might even have a bit of eggnog left over!

img_20161224_154233_434

Anyway, I would tell you that Zeke got a good walk yesterday.  Also a first in a long time.  Somehow I was letting my lethargy take over and not going on our long jaunts of yore.  A situation to be remedied, I assure you!  Zeke and I were both very happy and the weather was perfect.  Almost too warm (or is it that my jacket and boots are just too efficient?).  We went to our favourite park des Brouages where “my” river flows…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It felt so good to get out there and enjoy the fresh air.  Made me wonder why the heck I hadn’t been finding the time… oh yeah, between ice storms, rain, holidays… I may have been a tad busy!

If we were having coffee with a hint of spirits, I would say that I am ever so glad that I signed up at the gym at the same time as I did my son.  It was his Christmas gift but at two for one… why the heck not?  I have gotten my program from the very helpful Mathieu so will have no excuses on what to do and how (not that I really did, but you know, it had been a long time since my last subscription…whatever it takes to give me the oomph to go!)

We had a lovely Christmas between the sisters’ houses.  Always fun to end up at Tracy and Sébastien’s on Christmas Eve and play our silly game of steal the present.  There is always that one present that everyone covets… Plus Tracy introduced us to a fun Chinese gambling game that made us all run and laugh… Darn Stéphanie who one three out of four games!  Lucky her!  Everyone brought food, me my eggnog and a marzipan cake inspired by Sarah Potter – I’m positive hers was not dangerous to the teeth!  Next time I follow the recipe and use cherries and NOT dried fruit… sigh…)

The next morning, after opening our presents and me picking up my mother-in-law, it was brunch at my house where Iain, for the second year, has taken up his father’s position as head chef and omelette maker!  Basically the same crowd (save Sébastien’s sister and brother and family) and, normally I invite friends but somehow this year, that didn’t happen… Christmas, though arrives at every time, every year, somehow crept up on me…) Still, we stuffed ourselves big time on sausages, bacon, omelettes, croissants, chocolate-buttermilk pancakes, pâtés, etc.  Lisa brought her famous kourabiedes cookies (Greek butter, powder sugar cookies) – sooo delicious!

Time to relax/clean up/nap/do whatever we pleased to then find out way at Lisa and Chris’ for Christmas dinner.  Chris’ bird was delicious and we almost ate my salad that I brought – totally forgot it in the fridge!  That and my cranberry sauce… What up wit dat?  Like there wasn’t already enough food to fill our bellies with… It’s always a nice relaxed end of the holidays evening and we, though we were sure we would not be able to eat after Iain’s brunch, stuffed ourselves once more.

A lovely holiday season for sure and it is culminating tonight with a party at Linda and Nicola’s – they have an annual New Year’s Eve party and it is my first time attending.  I was blessed to be invited to three parties this year!  Three!  And me, who spent last NYE in my tub…

Giselle and Dany’s party had to be cancelled for flu.  I think they would benefit from one of my special coffees… or maybe some home-made chicken soup.  Shall  see what I can do for them!  Get well love birds!

I wish for you all a most wonderful 2017, filled with love, laughter, good health, general happiness, friendships and smiles for no reason… oh and of course, good fortune!

Lotsa love!

Dale

xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cook in Tuscany – To the Farm! Then Hunt For Truffles!

Apologies for the delay… Major problemos with my computer and I just couldn’t upload photos!  What’s the point of tormenting you with my trip if I can’t supply the photos, eh? 😀

Darn, with each new day came new adventures but also brought us closer to the end.  This day was a fun one, for sure!  We were off to Podere il Casale, a 100% organic, self-sufficient working farm where sheep and goats were raised to make the famous Pecorino cheese.  As well, the outdoor wood-burning stove was ideal for bread making.  Aww shucks.  We were going to learn all about cheese and how to make Tuscan bread and foccacia. How sad.  Broke my heart, really. 😀

The owners of the farm, a lovely couple named Sandra and Ulisse (originally from Switzerland) were wonderful hosts.  Ulisse is a self-taught cheese master and Sandra does hostess duties.

Allora, first things first.  As bread and foccacia need time to rise, first thing to do was to get the breads started.  Piero, our bread teacher was so very sweet and charming. Most of us were put on foccacia duty while four were put on Tuscan bread duty.  Mixing and kneading and resting – interesting note:  as salt was once so expensive it was used as currency, the Tuscans did not salt their bread.  They’ve kept up the practice.

While the dough was doing its magic, Sandra took us on a tour of the farm, introducing us to all the animals and showing us her impressive garden, then showing us where the cheese is made and stored to age.  The farm is fully functional and many young people were on hand doing their stages, learning all the inner-workings.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We then hung out with the Cheese Doctor, Ulisse.  It was amazing to watch the cheese come to life before our eyes.  There is an obvious joy to his doing his craft.  To think he is self-taught and is now one of the top pecorino cheese guys in all of Tuscany!

Time to bake our foccacias! Piero showed us how to roll out our dough, prick it all over with a fork, pour olive oil over it and smooth it all over, sprinkle with fresh rosemary and salt… except Piero filled the salt bowl with sugar!  We couldn’t figure out why it was so sweet… That situation got rectified soon after amidst lots of laughter

So, of course, now that we have opened out appetites, it was time for lunch!  This ended up being a vegetarian meal, ending with a sampling of some 15 different cheeses!  Is there anything better than dining al fresco?

As if the day wasn’t already fabulous, we were off to truffle hunt with PierPaolo (not sure how he spells his name) and his interpretor, the lovely, Geraldine. When not giving a tour, PierPaolo takes all four dogs out with him but since he had all of us to worry about, he only brought two!  It was the funniest thing to see these dogs get all excited and not want to give up their truffles!

After such an exciting day, it was back “home” at La Costa for pizza and salads and frankly, I think we’d had quite a bit of excitement for the day!