Still Life – Friday Fictioneers

Welcome, Readers!  It is Wednesday and time to get away from the news for a few minutes. Yep, this week, Rochelle has challenged us with Jeff Arnold’s lovely image. One that she, by the way, turned into a beautiful painting.  Should you care to add your own 100-word story inspired by this image, click on the frog below and add your link. Easy peasy!  Wanna know the rules? Click on Rochelle’s name and get ’em while they’re hot!

Still Life

She placed her “Writer’s Life” items just so, hoping to create a lovely still life to photograph. Two of her three loves were photography and writing; cooking was the third. Why the hell did she place both a cup of coffee and a glass of wine? Right, silly.  Coffee for the morning writing session; wine for the afternoon-to-evening one.  Her subconscious mind seemed to understand all the elements.  She took her pictures then sat down at the desk, reaching for the glass of wine as she mulled over her life.  Could she make a living by combining her three loves?

 

Rainbows, Smiles and Sunday Everyday

My last day of quarantine was yesterday. Thank goodness because, much as I am quite creative in the kitchen, I was starting to worry that things would turn drab as I was running low on pretty much everything.  You see, my family and I were fortunate to go on a cruise together. (Post about it to follow soon as I kinda got distracted on my return, for some reason.)  Yes, there was talk but it was faint and precautions were taken upon boarding and we sanitized everywhere we went so we felt pretty outside of the situation. Till we hit New York. Waiting for our plane the drone overhead was relentless as were all the TV screens.  We thought, shit… what the eff is going on?

Took it easy on Tuesday (11th) and worked Wednesday through Friday, receiving the stink-eye from a couple of the cooks.  Sorry, mates. We were not told to self-quarantine.  Until we were.  On Saturday, my boss called me to ask me to stay home just as I was texting him to say I had to stay home for two weeks from the arrival date, meaning, until the 23rd. All good.

I try to go out daily with Zeke for a walk, choosing less populated streets of which there are many.  Distances are kept and every “hello” is not only received but returned with a smile, to boot.  No one tries to get in ayone else’s space and that is fabulous. There are a few “rainbows in windows” campaigns going on and I have seen the proof. It is precious and beautiful to see. Most are handmade and even if not, who cares? It’s a lovely way of uniting us.

Speaking of uniting, it’s a mixture of disconcerting and heartwarming to see all the cars parked in the driveways, making every day seem like a Sunday, with people walking about, cycling, playing hockey (I had to assume this was a family who lives together).  You can see the distance between groups or individuals – a good sign that rules are being respected.

This last image was taken shortly before the ambulance arrived. You can see a person sitting on the ground with one helping her while others look like they want to go close to help (or snoop) but don’t dare – a good thing at this time.  I hope it was nothing serious.

In some places, I have finally seen signs of spring flowers working their way out of the frozen ground!  Not at my house just yet, but still. And, I’m surprised this photo turned out as it was so bright outside, I could not see a darn thing!

Speaking of every day being like a Sunday, that includes Sunday meals en famille, of which we have not been able to partake in a dog’s age because we all work different shifts and most of the time are at work when it should be suppertime. Sundays especially.  Soooo… with my “Empty the fride/freezer/pantry” campaign, I was doing a bang-up job…

Which brings me back to my opening paragraph.  Now that I was allowed to go shop, I did.  All in one fell swoop as I do not want to have to go out and expose myself more than necessary until it is necessary.  I was pleased to see that Costco had organised the lines – and were counting how many they let in: one goes out, one allowed in, keeping the numbers at, well, I don’t know how many, but judging by the space in there, it was quite low.  However, as you can see below, the peeps in front of me were certainly NOT keeping six feet between them.  I did and let the guy behind me know when he was in my bubble.

Got my goods and the staff did no bagging so I figured, no big whup, once I get to my car, I’ll do it there.  However. DISASTER! My case of beer was on the cat food bag and, unbenownst to me, and slipped forward until CRASH! It fell to its side and made like the Caesar’s Palace Fountain Show only sans lights and music!  I got a good beer shower as I righted the damn thing and waited as it did its thing. A kind samaritan gave me a half roll of paper towels and said he hoped I was thirsty. Um… These cans are 500 ml (17 oz) each!  Even if all six, yes, SIX, of them emptied half-way, that represents 1.5 l (3 pints) of beer – Not saying I couldn’t if push came to shove but yanno… it was a “bit” much and plus, they were room temp. So. I put a couple in the fridge and drank them – they were flat by then. Blech. and the rest is put aside for more beer bread…

Victims, a sad state of affairs.

After the horror of putting all my stuff away into the car, I had two more stops to make.  Some fruit and herbs and stuff that I can’t get at Costo. And what up, peeps? Has everyone decided to bake their own bread?  Not an ounce of flour to be found at either store I went to. And fuggedabout yeast… Yep. Looks like I’ll be making more beer bread should I run out of the store bought one.

The snow started to fall ever so lightly during my last stop.  The boys helped me empty my car and put away the groceries. By then, forget about cooking. I was spent and it became leftover time. And we had a variety (see above).

I was settled into an evening of watching “Lion” when I got a text from Linda: “Yo, Outside your window.”  Took a peak and waved, then opened the door, shouted for her to hang on, I’d get redressed and join her – yes, yes, six feet apart – with Zeke.  It was a winter wonderland!

Neither of us was upset with the snowfall. We know that March snows never last.  This was just about the prettiest snowfall we had all winter!  Of course, it’s officially Spring, so that must be it.

Nothing lasts forever…

 

 

 

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.

 

Driving East on Notre-Dame, With Odario

Yeah, that’s right, DK… I’m stealing your style. (My favourite posts of yours, as you well know.)

I met my friend France downtown at 6:30 at The Eaton’s Centre for drinks and dinner. The place is under a mega-renovation so we were lucky we found each other!  France’s friend had told her about the new Timeout Market that had opened.  Call it the Bougie (Bourgeois) Food Court, if you will. (Thanks, B, for such a great term). Instead of your usual, Greek, hot dog, Chinese, etc. counters, these are all from some of our fancier restaurants like Le Club Chasse et Pêche or T Burger which is the baby of Toqué or Olive et Gourmando, to name a few.  They have a bar for mixed drinks or beer, a soda bar and a wine bar where you can buy by the glass or the bottle.  The concept is simple.  Get yourself a drink, stand somewhere while you pray for a couple of seats to liberate and, should you be lucky, grab ’em as soon as you find ’em.  Then, you leave your coat on your seat, tell the person(s) sitting across from or beside you that you are just going to choose your meal (not that anyone would consider moving your coat or stealing your spot, so really, it’s just an unnecessary added assurance) and go peruse the possibilities.  There are tables outside of the bar area but you can’t bring your booze there so, needless to say, not an option for us.

Everything is made to order so, once you have chosen what you want, they give you one of those light buzzer doohickeys (mine was no. 40) that let you know your food is ready.  So off you go, back to your now-precious seat, sip your wine and chat while you wait. Or, as was our case, by the time we had our first glass of wine and found a seat, it was close to 8:00 pm so we chose to just wait near the counter for our food as there were no line-ups.  We both ended up getting our eats at “Charles-Antoine Crête and Cheryl Johnson”.  France went for the char tartare served with popcorn and shrimp “croutons” and I went for the Yaki-katsu which is a big bowl of Boston lettuce, fried beef, paper-thin pineapple and kimchi.

Our meals were tasty, and at $17/plate before taxes and tip, we ate every last crumb, and managed to refrain from licking the bowl.  The wine was wonderful – at $20 for a 9 oz glass (tax and tip included), not a drop was left. The place is happening and loud. Way too loud. We were both glad we could say we have been and neither one of us is in any hurry to return. It’s a great concept to give you a taste of a restaurant you would love to go to but that you know you need to sell your first-born to pay for the meal.

Despite the insane noise decibel, we did manage to catch up and promised each other we would not wait another year for our next one.  I had parked a few blocks away to get my steps in, but France went even further so we walked to my car and I drove her the good six blocks (at least) to her car.  Just as we got close to my car, I had to stop and grab a picture of the Cathédrale Marie-Reine du Monde (Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral). She’s a beauty though this nighttime shot of crappy quality barely shows it. What are you gonna do? You do what you can with what you have! However, I am now wanting to return during the day and try again.

Whenever I go downtown, I like to drive back towards the Jacques-Cartier bridge via Notre-Dame Street.  It’s just so pretty with its boutiques and antique dealers.  Odario Williams is the “Afterdark” host on CBC Music from 8 till midnight, Monday to Friday, turning out the music for our “nighttimes feels” as he says. From 8 ’til 10 there is a mix that is groovy and has good beats but come 10 pm, he slows it down.  Just so happens it was close to 11 by the time I got to my car.  My drive home was dreamy, starting with Imogen Heaps’ “Hide and Seek” then the very lovely “The City Holds My Heart” by Ghostly Kisses

A sweet French song “Les animaux” by Klô Pelgag and finally, bringing me to the last leg of my drive, “Stay Going Nowhere” by Jodie Landau & Wild Up, for which, unfortunately, no YouTube exists.  Well, it does, but not the studio recording, but the one I’ve provided is with Valgeir Sigurðsson, a close enough match. All songs I had never heard, some a little more ‘new-agey’ than I normally listen to but felt just perfect to bring things down from the buzz in my head brought on by the noise and loud talking we were obliged to do. Thanks, Odario… you never disappoint!

 

Not Talenti – Friday Fictioneers

It is Wednesday which not only means Hump Day and mid-week, it also means Friday Fictioneers.  I just had to have a little fun with my blogging buddies.  Thank you Na’ama for allowing us to use this photo. And Thank you, Rochelle, for being here week after week with nary a complaint!  G’head, peeps, add your 100-word story by clicking on the frog below!

Na’ama Yehuda

Not Talenti

I am so glad you let me know you were coming to Montreal and were able to stop by for a visit, DK. I’ve been dying to meet you in the flesh for so long.

Well, you did hound me and after you got to meet Sawsan, I was a tad jealous.

I believe I said “If ever you find yourself in Montreal, do please let me know”. That is hardly a hounding.

Same difference.

And, I even have some mint chocolate chip ice cream just for you!

Talenti?

Um. No. Häagen Dazs.

Look at the time! Gotta go!

Really?

2019 Attitude of Gratitude Challenge

Funny how things work, sometimes.  I can’t remember if it was Thursday or Friday (2nd or 3rd of January) when I thought to myself: I wonder if Dawn is doing her Attitude of Gratitude thing this year. Not two days later (or three) what do I get in my inbox but Dawn’s post! Serendipity at its best. Let’s just say that if she hadn’t, I would have been sad and maybe, just maybe, I would have done my own anyway. It’s kinda nice to be part of something that already exists, dontcha think?

The rules are really simple.  Set the timer for 15 minutes and start listing – very stream of consciousness, this thing.  I will do exactly that by listing whatever pops into my head and at the end, shall return to my list and clean up typos, remove duplicates or even maybe cheat by adding more deets to the items, because, well, if I stop to write all the whys, then my list will be shorter.  Then again, this isn’t a contest so, does it matter just how many I have? Maybe cheating won’t even be necessary!  Okay, Rogerson, just shut up and write already.

The following are the things for which I am grateful or simply bring me joy and peace:

  1. B – for what you give and what you agree to receive;
  2. My sisters – no matter what’s what, they will be there
  3. Mom – same thing, without you, I’d not be here
  4. Dad – no longer here, you still influence some of my decisions
  5. Mick – no matter that you’ve been gone five years, you are still a huge presence, not to mention a great muse for my writing
  6. Writing – the ability to share what I want to say and have people receive it
  7. Reading – we learn so much about life, the world when we open ourselves to reading
  8. Friday Fictioneers and Rochelle in particular for being the first challenge that opened me up to writing more
  9. Blogosphere – for introducing me to so many fantastic writers
  10. Friends made over the blogosphere – it’s amazing how close we can become, like you, Sawsan, now a flesh and blood friend
  11. Julie, Giselle, Linda, Cathy – my girlfriends who are there to drink, eat and be merry with
  12. My guy friends – who keep me laughing
  13. My boys – for keeping me real – whether I like it or not
  14. The scent of petrichor in the summer
  15. The sound of rain on a window when lying in bed
  16. Being able to sit outside on a covered porch when it rains
  17. Big fluffy snow in winter, especially on Christmas Day
  18. Zeke – for giving me a reason to get out and enjoy the fresh air
  19. Standing outside, and realising all is silent and being in the moment
  20. Coffee!
  21. Wine (and beer or spirits 😉 )!
  22. The sound of the wind in the marcescent leaves
  23. My house – it keeps me safe from the elements
  24. My health – it might have blips from colds but otherwise, I’m healthy
  25. DK – for introducing me to soooo many books and for being you, who shares such beautiful things
  26. My laptop – which keeps me connected to so many people
  27. Hang Outs – which allows me to chat with my bestie face-to-face
  28. Warm thick socks in the winter
  29. Dresses in the summer
  30. My capacity (capability?) to smile through the tough stuff
  31. My ability to love freely
  32. Photography – a way to capture everything that grabs my attention
  33. Sunsets
  34. Being by the water – lake, river, ocean
  35. Travel – introducing me to cultures and broadening my horizons
  36. Cooking – not only to nourish but also to show my creativity
  37. Discovering my creativity, which I was so sure I didn’t have till it was pointed out to me
  38. Movies – being able to escape into another world for a couple of hours
  39. Merril – for introducing me to poetry and inspiring me to keep trying it
  40. Frank – because you introduced me to sooo many fabulous bloggers and your concerts were the best that I was honoured to act as your Maître D’ and because I want you to know that I am going to miss you – blogging. I shall hound you elsewhere 😉
  41. Light to see
  42. Dark to rest
  43. Love, in general – amorous or friendly
  44. Sex and the joy of sharing intimacy
  45. My eyes – so I can appreciate what is out there
  46. My ears – listening to the sounds around me, music, my loved ones’ voices
  47. My limbs – though they sometimes let me know they need more limbering
  48. My sense of humour – which helps keep me out of trouble
  49. My ability to connect with people of all stations
  50. My intellect – which permits me to have proper conversations on all sorts of things
  51. My curiosity – which keeps me learning always
  52. My snarkiness, which keeps me from not being taken seriously
  53. To you authors who trusted me with your works and allowed me to be a beta reader – I am beyond chuffed

When You Just Can’t Do Another Chicken Noodle Soup

As many of you who read me know, I’ve been sick since Wednesday night and since then whining, whinging, sharing my woes with you.  You have all been remarkably kind and patient and your get-well wishes have been more than well-received.  I promise I’m on the upswing and will no longer bore you with my sickies!

I have missed my last two days of work at the club because of it. Yay! I mean, I’m so sad…  Yes, I am very sad about it. I believe the worst is over but I took no chances and decided to NOT go to a comedy show I had tickets for tonight and that way ensure I not share my germs with anyone else.  Besides, even if I were to sit isolated in a corner, every time I would laugh, it would be guaranteed to be followed up with a coughing fit and no one wants to be THAT person! So here I am.

I am completely chicken-souped out.  Seriously. Don’t show me another bowl. First I made (coz, yanno, I’m the mom so no one makes it for me, right?) the chicken broth, most of which was frozen but some kept to make Chicken with ginger and rice.  It was pretty darn good, I kid you not – enough for one of my kids to sneak a bowl or two…

Then yesterday, that first batch finally done, I remembered seeing a Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup box in my cupboard! YES!!! THAT’s exactly what I wanted. I was gonna make a batch, and stracciatella it by adding a beaten egg or two. Woot!  Open the cupboard. Damn. Gone. Sigh.

So, I made my own, of course.  I had the broth, I had the noodles. I had the eggs.  But of course, I decided to add a few itty-bitty veggies to it, coz, I just can’t help myself.

Now that is all fine and good. And between the lemon-honey-ginger teas and chicken-variation-soups, I needed me something else tonight. Plus my throat could take something with more texture by now.  I could have heated some leftover pork tenderloin but meh.

I’m still on an empty-the-fridge mission.  However, on Thursday, despite my feeling like crap, I had a hair appointment I did not want to miss so on my way home, I did a mini-get-only-the-necessities purchase spree.   This has given me a few more options.

I was in the mood for my take on Pol Martin’s “New York Style Croque-Monsieur”, which, to be honest, is a grilled cheese plus extras.

It should start off with decent bread, ok, I had some multi-grain sliced bread that was gonna be just fine. It needs cheese, preferably a gruyère or Swiss – I had Jarlesberg, black forest ham, bell peppers (both purchased with this sandwich in mind) and fresh cracked black pepper.

So, the first step is, one must cook the bell peppers in butter (I prefer the yellow, orange or red as they are sweeter) till they are soft but not mushy.

You then build the sandwich very specifically:  bread, cheese, ham, peppers. lots of cracked pepper, cheese bread. Don’t forget to butter the outside of each bread slice!

You then fry up this delicious sammy like you would any grilled cheese.

Once perfectly toasted, cut in half and try not to eat too fast…

Why the black pepper, you ask? Adds spice to the sweet of the peppers and ham. The cheese needs to have some personality to come in and give a slightly tangy bit to hang with both the sweet and spicy.  All I can tell you is the flavours play with your tastebuds in a most delicious manner!

Enjoy!