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!

 

When Natural Was Normal – Crimson’s Creative Challenge #57

I wasn’t going to participate this week as I’m just so darn sick. But the story kept running around in my fuzzy brain and insisted I wrote it. Plus my body is tired of lying down, though I am going right back to that position after I hit publish. I so wanted to find a picture of Matante Bertha and Mémère together but didn’t have the energy to go through the albums so, you’ll have to make do with my grandmother and me 😉  Needless to say, there is no way in hell I could “matchy-matchy” this photo!

When Natural Was Normal

Honestly. What has the world come to? Once upon a time all eggs were free range and all beef was grass-fed. Now? You have to pay a premium to get your food in its natural form.  As for proper milk? No longer available here in Canada.

I remember going up to Mémère’s when she’d get her milk from her sister, Matante Bertha, who’d put it into glass bottles.  I never knew how long it took for the cream to separate from the milk.  That luscious, thick, pure cream… My mouth waters at the memory.  Mémère would get us to pick fresh raspberries from her garden, which we would carefully pick through (unlike my cousin Mike who ended up with a bowl full of worms!) and put them into a bowl. Then Mémère would sprinkle some sugar and spoon that fresh cream onto the berries. Yum!

We’ll never get those days back!

Mémère and me at her 88th birthday – my grandmother/godmother/hero

*Mémère means Granny

*Matante is how we say Aunt or Auntie in my family. Though it should be written in two words as in ma tante (my aunt); many of us in Quebec have put the two together to form a single endearment.  We even go so far as to say Ma Matante Bertha… 🙂

 

Chopped! – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday morn, my peeps!  Rochelle has given us a most interesting picture to use today. It is thanks to Ronda Del Boccio that I found myself immediately sent in the direction I went. Sometimes we just have to let it go, eh? To play along, just click on the frog below and you’ll be taking to the squares where you can add your own story to the mix.  G’head, you know you wanna….

      G’head, Try me!

Chopped

“What the hell, Mom?”

“What?” Mom’s voice was muffled as her head was deep into the refrigerator.

“What are you doing?”

“Looking for one more ingredient.”

“For what?”

“I am challenging you to create a dish with the black olives and the peach jelly and something else.”

“You have got to be kidding me.”

“You’ve seen the show. Made your snarky comments. Time to put your money where your mouth is.”

“Who’s gonna judge?”

“Jeff. He’s in town.”

“How about some beef? And we can use the pantry, right?”

“There’s the spirit!”

“Prepare to be chopped, Lady!”

“I think not.”

 

 

 

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #121 – Teapot

I started writing a story about my late friend Roxanne, only to realise I have done so three times. Methinks that has been taken care of, don’t you? So then I remembered another teapot story 😉 Thanks for this prompt, Sammi!

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.

Word Prompt

Teapot

 

“We’re having a teatime-theme bridal shower for Fhum and want you to make the cake and cupcakes.”

“I’d love to!”

“Can you make the cake in the shape of a teapot?”

“Absolutely!”

(Am I crazy?)

“That will be so cool! She’s gonna love it.”

“I sure hope so…”

 

 

 

For Abuelita – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday morning, my peeps. The leader of this band of misfits, Rochelle, has borrowed one of my very own pictures this week. This lovely restaurant, called Ta Chido (That’s Cool 😉 ) in the Mile End area of Montreal is where my buddy, Julie, and I ended up when we were on a Cubano Sandwich Search. We had given up on that quest and landed in this Mexican Snack-Bar, which turned out quite delightful.

Should you be tempted to come up with a 100-word story for this pic, just click on the frog below and add your link!

G’head, click me!

For Abuelita

Consuela stood back and admired her handiwork.  The colours were bright and there were bits and pieces of home, reminding her of all the stories her Abuelita Rosaria told her.  Her customers loved it, calling it kitschy yet charming.

“Go, Niña. Leave this dead-end town and start anew somewhere else. There is nothing for you and your talents here.”

“I can’t leave you, Abuelita!”

“I am an old woman. I have done what I was meant to. You, on the other hand, are being stifled here.”

Misty-eyed with memories, she smiled, determined to live her dream, just like she promised.

The 2018 Annual Attitude of Gratitude: Bloggers Flood The Internet With Happiness & Positivity!

Dawn Quyle Landau of Tales from the Motherland has issued the 5th annual “50 Happy Things/Attitude of Gratitude” challenge and I am more than pleased to join in once again.  For instructions on the “how-to”, please click here.  Once you’ve figured out how to do it and have been inspired to do it (Why not?  How much can it hurt to bring forth things that make you happy?) click here to add your link.

There is absolutely no order to my following list.  I have set the timer for 15 minutes and this is basically stream of consciousness stuff (i.e. as it comes, I type).  All embellishments are added after the clock has run out and I’ve spell-checked my list 😉

  1. My boys – they remind me that I am human
  2. My home – protects me from the elements
  3. My family – all the way down to second cousins thrice removed
  4. My sisters – despite whatever goes on in life, they are there for me
  5. Mom – without her, I would not be
  6. Friends who are the chosen family
  7. Blogosphere – a world I could not have imagined ten years ago
  8. The friends I’ve made on the blogosphere – I cherish the connections I’ve made
  9. Going to Old Montreal for New Year’s Eve with good friends
  10. Getting on the ferris wheel for the midnight fireworks
  11. Friday Fictioneers – for teaching me how to cut the fluff and get to the point
  12. B – for pushing me to be a better writer while becoming a close friend
  13. My ability and joy of cooking
  14. Sharing my food with those I love
  15. My boys when they help me before I have to ask
  16. My computer – as a tool to connect and write
  17. Internet – bringing the world to my fingertips
  18. Brothers-in-law who help out for stuff that I just cannot do on my own
  19. Girlfriends – to share those things that you just can’t with family
  20. Blogging community – I keep learning
  21. Rochelle for her friendship and for trusting me with her lateest WIP (and any other writings)
  22. Julie for being my “culture friend” and my trusted date for stuff no one else is interested in
  23. Feeling part of my close knit gang
  24. Food – the diversity, the sensuality
  25. My taste buds – which permit me to enjoy all the flavours out there
  26. Good wine
  27. fun work colleagues
  28. New colleagues who seemed to really appreciate me
  29. Clients who appreciate me
  30. My legs for allowing me to take my walks
  31. My big-ass bathtub for when I need to get away from it all
  32. Reading – opening my world to other realms
  33. Writing, which allows me to let go of stuff
  34. Writing prompts that push me to do better
  35. My bed, where I get the rest I need or at least pretend to
  36. My hands which are capable of so much more than I thought
  37. Heating which protects me from the cold
  38. My capacity to love no matter how many times my heart is broken
  39. Being appreciated for what I offer
  40. My wit and sense of humour – keeps me sane
  41. Travel – I need to do more; experience other cultures
  42. The communities I’ve built – virtual and real
  43. Connections I’ve made with people from around the world
  44. A cozy fire, to gaze into, to snuggle with someone
  45. Zeke – who is not getting as much love as he should but will
  46. Eyes – to appreciate the beauty around me
  47. My smile, which seems to be what people remember about me
  48. My camera, which helps me to look at things differently and record the memories
  49. Being able to express myself and be open to others’ opinions
  50. Widow’s pension, which helps to make ends meet
  51. EI which permits me to take the time to rest between jobs
  52. Working a seasonal job which allows me to take the other seasons off
  53. Sense of smell, without it, I would never appreciate food and cooking so much
  54. My body – it may be quite as I would like it to be, but it’s mine and it functions
  55. Dishwashers – because sometimes, doing the dishes just blows
  56. My car – I can go anywhere when I want
  57. My resilience – even though it’s a word that bugs the shit out of me, it is the right word for me
  58. The close friends who will always include me in their happenings
  59. My ability to adapt to whatever life throws my way
  60. My boys – I am so proud of them both for the young men they are becoming
  61. That Iain has decided to go back to school to get a diploma in electricity
  62. That Aidan has decided to pursue an education in animation (yeah, yeah, it has another title that I always forget)
  63. That I know I can count on my sisters for anything
  64. My lack of cynicism – despite the world we live in
  65. My charm that can be helpful when I screw up
  66. Dark chocolate
  67. Camaraderie – that can be found
  68. Facebook – say what you will, I have kept in contact with many because of it
  69. Book, books and more books
  70. Potential for love – I’ve not given up