Judgment By Garlic – Friday Fictioneers

Hello my peeps!  It’s Wednesday and that means Friday Fictioneers!  This week, I’m the teacher’s pet as it’s my photo being used as inspiration.  Woot!  Thank you, Rochelle, for hosting this week after week.  Should you wish to participate, please, click on the frog below and add the link to your 100-word story!

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There’s something about a braid of garlic hanging in a kitchen. It’s a reassuring sign. It tells me the person who does the cooking takes it seriously and does it with love.  Call me crazy but, just like you can judge a person by their bookshelves, so can you by their kitchen. It may be small and cramped with little counter space (let’s call it cozy, not cluttered) but if there’s a garlic tress? You know they are going to create gastronomical magic that will have your tastebuds dancing to a tune they have orchestrated, using only the best ingredients.

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

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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.

Picture Perfect – Friday Fictioneers

Wednesday is here already. Is it me or is time flying? Seems like it, doesn’t it? Some days are slow as snails but somehow those days become a week gone by in a flash.  OK, enough blah, blah.  Thanks always, to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers so diligently and this week, thanks to Ted Strutz for this quirky photo.  To play along, just click on the frog below and add your link.

©Ted Strutz

Picture Perfect

Are you gonna eat that or take pictures of it all day?

My Instagram followers expect me to keep them entertained.

Pffft! Stupidest thing I ever heard.  How the hell did taking a picture of your lunch become a thing?

I dunno, now you mention it. Did you know some people make a living at it?

Seriously? Here, take a picture of mine!

There’s almost nothing left! Did you even taste it?

Yeah, I did. While it was hot. Tell your fans the proof is in the picture.

Haha.  Funny guy.

Can I have a chip?

Whatsamatter? Eat too fast?

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.

 

 

I’m Sorry, But, We’re Done

That’s right, Sourdough.  You and me? We’re done. Finito. Kaput.  No matter how much love I give you, you refuse to do your thing.  I had to bring in Janet into the situation for one-on-one consultations and STILL, you gave me grief.  Janet asked me what I had named you and I apologise; I had no idea.  So I gave you my favourite name:  Charlotte.  And what did you do? NOTHING.

But let me go to the beginning.  When I first decided to try my hand at sourdough – yeast having become more impossible to get than toilet paper – (and like every other Tom, Dick and Harry during the great Sit-In – so unoriginal and such a follower, am I) I followed Janet’s instructions to the letter. 50g flour, 50 g water (filtered), mix, set aside, covered, room temp. Days 5, 7, 9, I did the 50g sour, 50g flour, 50g water – keeping the discard for future waffles (which were rather good, I might add).

Days 10, 11, 12, I left you alone.  When I uncovered you, your stink made me recoil.  “It should smell pleasantly like cheesy beer.”  Ummmm. No… this was closer to vomit.  I threw you out.  Oh wait… this would not be YOU, you.  But let’s call him/her your late cousin, who shall remain nameless as well, I didn’t know.  Plus there was an orange tint to it so, I took no chances. Of course, once I posted my failure on FB, everyone who could chimed in with a NOOO don’t chuck it!  Too late. NEXT!

We decide, Janet and I, to start fresh and do a double-feed per day for three days and then bake.  Let’s see…  You looked nice

So I did my kneading (stretch, pull over, eight “corners”) every half-hour for three hours.  Followed the video, EXACTLY, the bowls, the cloth, the flour.  I was not impressed with the rise at all. But I went with it anyhoo. My boules looked nice though not huge. (Haha! I wish!)  Used my special Dutch oven, preheated, baked and… phooey.

“Looks acidified,” says Janet.  Well hell and damnation.  The crust was nice, as you can see but the crumb?  To the bin with ya.

We start over.

We do the double feed, for three days to speed up the process with the intention of trying just one loaf.  At one point Janet said you looked cold, Charlotte,

so I gave you the oven with the light on.  Barely a bubble.  We tried all sorts of feedings. Nothing.  I left you alone for a few days, figuring you were in a mood.  All you gave me was a thin crust of hardened – something.  I think my oven lights are too hot.  Skimmed off the goo. Oh! But you did smell wonderful and guess what?  Yeah. You made FABULOUS pancakes.

Will I ever try this sourdough thing again?  Maybe. I dunno that I have the patience for this type of endeavour, to tell the truth.  Ironically, I was on Twitter when I caught Lesley Chesterman’s tweet (she was a food critic for the Montreal Gazette):  “I think I’m ready to break up with my sourdough starter. Too moody, too needy, too high-maintenance, sure to let me down in the end. And a bit stinky.”  Yep. Pretty much covers my feelings.

Nota bene (or post scriptum):  Since last Monday… I have yeast, so…

****

Running Diary

For those of you who ready my post where I shared my new “love” of running… ok, ok… I don’t love it. Yet. I thought I’d bring you up to date on the last two.

Saturday was a gorgeous day and there were way too many people out.  Some were being good, some, not so much but all of them I kept my distance from. That said, off I went, enthusiastically, for my 10 X 2/2.   I made it all the way to the park where I discovered a beautiful field of flowers last year. By the looks of it, there will be more this year – Yay! Plus I ran into a couple from the golf club – chit chatted for 30 seconds, luckily during my walk part. Soon as the bell rang, I was off.

On my way back I was feeling like there was no way in hell I would complete my ten sets.  I fudged a little on the times, cutting the run parts twice by 10-15 seconds in an attempt to catch my breath.  By the time I was just past my Willow the guilt set in so I added a rep and a half to make up.  I was glad it was over.

Today was another story. Like a recalcitrant child who doesn’t want to go to bed, I dug my heels into the entry rug.  It was cold outside with a light wind and rain was threatening. Really? Do I have to? I don’t know what force pushed me out the door but it worked.  And you are right, B… nothing more satisfactory than pushing yourself to do that thing you don’t feel like.  Not only did I do my ten sets, but after the first two, I felt I could actually control my breath.  And then, after walking for four minutes, I thought… why not? And I added three more!  Woot!  My knee felt a slight twinge just as I finished the third so I made sure my stretching session was properly done.  Extremely pleased with myself today.  Oh, and, following a discussion with Monika over at Tails Around the Ranch, about her lack of belief there is anything good about running (my former belief, as well), and did I ever notice that runners never smile?  Well, guess what Monika!  I kept thinking about you and put a smile on my face every time I heard the alarm that yet another set was completed 😀

Itty-bitty magnolia

 

 

 

The Wait – Friday Fictioneers

Would you look at that? It’s Wednesday-Friday again!  I am honoured that Rochelle chose my picture for this week’s prompt.  Should you be inspired to write a little 100-word story with a beginning, middle and end, please do so. And click on the frog below to add your link.  Or, just go take a look-see at other stories…

   Click me, please

The Wait

The snow hadn’t stopped all day.  They’d be lucky if half their reservations showed up.  While she wouldn’t have minded being told to stay home, she looked forward to a quieter shift – one in which she could take the time with each customer.  When the place was full, there was the incessant buzzing of multiple conversations, interspersed with loud hoots and laughter from those who acted like they were in their own living rooms.  The clink of glassware, the clatter of cutlery against porcelain just added to the cacophony.

Some thrived on this energy.  She, just realised, no longer did.

Weekend Writing Prompt #153 – Obsolete

Good Saturday, my peeps. I hope the sun is shining for you like it is for me!  Would be nice if there was warmth attached to the rays but hey, I’ll take it anyway!  While my first attempt at sourdough has been set aside to do its thing, I figured it would make a good subject for Sammi‘s prompt. Of course, I’m feeling like such a cliché, such a follower, so like another Tom, Dick and Harry; or rather Tina, Dawn and Holly (Sorry, I refuse to accept there is no female version) by joining the ranks of those attempting breadmaking for the first time.  And, like so many others, since yeast has become an item in high demand, therefore, ridiculously difficult to find I, of course, have to go to the next step, which is sourdough. Right?

Breadmaking, for many

is an antiquated art

reserved, at most,

for professional bakers

Isn’t it funny how

seemingly suddenly

it is no longer

obsolete?

Top of the World – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday, my peeps!  Thank goodness for Friday Fictioneers or we’d have no idea what day we are… Mind you, that in itself is confusing, isn’t it? Wednesday for Friday… Oh well, just trust me. Go with it. A little feel-good towards our fellow man and woman today.

©Roger Bultot

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Top of the World

“Hullo, Ralph! Everything good?”

“Yes sir, Mr. Bertie. This way, please.”

“Let’s go, Rosie. I’ve got a surprise for you. Bring your cart.”

Ralph led them to the service elevator, pushed the top button, handed Bertie a bottle of wine. “For you. Remember. Midnight, Cinderfella!” With a wave, he left.

Once on the rooftop, Bertie led Rosie to a table and emptied his own cart:  ripped sheet as tablecloth, candle stubs, which he lit, plastic cups, and left-overs he received from some of his restauranteur pals.

“We’re on top of the world tonight, Rosie! You and me and no street.”

 

 

 

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…