Joining in on the Search for the Perfect Q-ban Sandwich – Take One

Marco and Linds over at Sorryless have been on a quest to find the perfect Cubano sammy. ‘Course they are way out there in Pennsylvania – a good 8.5-hour drive for me – so there ain’t no way I can play with them direct-like, so I am crashing their party from way over here in the Great White North …

I mentioned my latest adventure plans to my friend Julie who was more than willing to keep me company. Now… we were supposed to do this weeks ago, but you know how that goes. Life gets in the way and all that. Neither here nor there. We finally made it.

Turns out, there are a lot more places making Cubanos than I ever expected. I even solicited my Latina friend, Naira to see if she had an opinion. Despite her boyfriend being Cuban, she had NEVER been… Sigh. She did suggest a place and we shall be trying that place next. I was wanting to be nice to Jules and pick a place ‘twixt us so I chose La Cecilia, just outside of Little Italy on Bélanger Street.

I parked a few blocks away on purpose. Figured I’d need to walk off the extra calories and this is a ‘hood I don’t really know. Turns out it is more Latino than Montreal’s official Quartier Latin What up wit’ dat? I heard more Spanish a-speaking here than I ever did in the Berri area… Our colourful character (see below) confirmed this to us… He said this ‘hood had more Latino-influenced establishments than they did. Apparently, Mtl Blog agrees.

Julie needed to leave by 2:30-3:00, latest, to drive her son to his grad (ball), so we didn’t have all that much time, but really? How long does it take to eat lunch? We met in front of the restaurant at around 12:45.

Such a tiny place! We liked that. The owner (we presume) spoke in an extremely heavily Spanish-accented French. I made the mistake of saying hello in Spanish and he let ‘er rip… Señor! No habla l’español (though I can understand if spoken s-l-o-w-l-y). Second good sign.

I explain to him that we are on a mission to discover wonderful Cubano sandwiches and probably would have taken some kind of appetizer but we were able to take a “combo” of sandwich with soup or salad or fries and a drink. We both opted for the salad. As for the drinks, Señor Chef/Owner suggested a “Maracuyá drink”, or, as they call it, in his native Dominican Republic (uh-oh, not so good sign), “Chinola” – turns out that this is the term for Passion Fruit blitzed with milk into a sorta milkshake if, you please.

Absolutely delicious!

This character came in. What a hoot and a half. Obviously an employee (could be family, who knows?) and said that it was all wrong… How can you have a Latin-inspired restaurant such as this and have no music? Up on a chair he went and turned on the music. Ahhh… now it was perfecto!

Talk about adding colour to the joint

Along comes our sammy and “salad”. Um. OK. I had explained to Julie what the components are supposed to be, which is why she jumped on the bandwagon to have one: pork, ham, cheese (I won’t get mad if it’s not Swiss, but it better have flavour), pickles and mustard on a pressed bun.

I’ll start with the salad. Cut up iceberg lettuce, a few slices of tomato “artistically” placed on top and a little container of bottled Italian dressing. I couldn’t even take a picture. I know, I know, I should have. Hang on… lemme see if I can replicate it… Ya. Never mind. I am positive you can picture it.

The Cubano. Yes. Bread was pressed and nice and crunchy. Pork was the equivalent of pulled pork – I’m not too bothered by it because it was so tasty. Found a small slice of ham in the second half of my sandwich. Cheese? Was there cheese? Pickles… Yoooo hoooo? Where are you? They must have been held hostage by the cheese… I think there might have been some caramelized onions, but that may be because of the pulled pork. There were a few little pieces of lettuce but not even enough to give it crunch… There was some mustard on the bread. Wasn’t there? Yes, there was. A very light coating.

My expectations were not sky-high high… but they were higher than what we got. While the sandwich was missing too many ingredients to qualify as an Autentico Cubano in my books, it was tasty. That Maracuyá (or Maraculla, as another patron spelt it for me) drink was the BOMB. Don’t even talk to me about the salad. Combo, my ass. Next time I’ll splurge on soup or fries… In case you did not bother clicking on the link to the restaurant, here is what they show their salad and sammy to look like…

Which goes to show that I did NOT look at the pics because… does that look like a Cubano to you? Does it? No, it does not. So… my bad for choosing the joint.

I will score it a 4/10. NOT for the Cubano, but for the drink, the friendly owners/employees and the fabulous company. Plus, Jules did say she would accompany me on my next Cubano hunt which will be sooner rather than later. (Jules is more generous than I… giving it a 6 – but then, she had nothing to compare it to.)

Me and my beautiful friend, Julie

B, I think you hexed me this morning when I told you the name of the joint we were going to…

It’s What Nourishes Me

Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.

— Virginia Woolf

I have come to realise that without my friends and family, I am lost.  The words used for me are often “resilient” or “strong” or “capable”…. There is only one way for me to be that.  To connect with my friends and family when I need the extra strength to move forward.

I have always been this way, apparently!

My mother likes to tell me a story, of which I have zero recollection by the way, of a punishment she doled out to me when I was, I dunno… 4? 5? 6?  I’ll have to ask her.  Turns out it was the ultimate, primo, perfect punishment for one such as me.  You see, I was a biter.  I wasn’t happy with you or what you said or did?  I’d bite.  Drove my mother batty.  She threatened more than once to break my teeth with a hammer… ‘course she didn’t.  (And by the way… I STILL bite – so it may have worked only short-term, Mom.  If we’re wrestling or I’m being held down and I feel I can’t break free – I’ll bite you!  Consider yourself warned…)

Anyway, back to my story.  I bit, probably Dougie Dixon, my neighbour, once too many times.  My mother decided that my punishment was for me to stay in my yard, no friends could come over, not even cross the line (grass) and I couldn’t go anywhere for THREE DAYS! (She later realised that one and half days probably would have sufficed as it became more of a punishment to her as I moped and whined and complained.)  THREE DAYS!  It was torture.  No friends?  None?  Not one?  Be alone… They came to the house and my mother told them… “No, Dale can’t come and play with you.  You see, she is an animal and bites…”  Oh, the horror…

Why am I boring you all with this now?  Because I was feeling rather “meh” and frankly, lonely, these past two days… It’s amazing how you can share your house with three young adults and still feel like you are all alone.

This afternoon, I went Bob Burrowes’ funeral (my late dad’s girflriend’s baby brother).  Like my dad, like Mick, every single picture of Bob in the video they had playing on a loop showed his big-ass grin.  This guy, gone too soon via massive heart attack at the age of 67, had a lust for life and people just like Dad and Mick.  The number of people who showed up is a testament to this guy.

Many knew both my dad and Mick so there was some reminiscing going on.  Moments of sadness mingled with smiles of remembrance.

I left from there to shoot down to Montreal to join friends for Giselle’s birthday supper.  And THIS is the point of my going on and on… Jeez… Written diarrhea anyone?

Surrounding myself with people who love me and who I love is what nourishes me.  Keeps me from losing my mind.  From finding myself going too deeply into sadness.  I am blessed.  I can’t help wonder if that is what was missing from Anthony Bourdain’s life.  From Robin William’s.  From so many others who took their own lives.

And, because I can’t always be serious.  As I was parked two streets over and two blocks ahead, Dany and Giselle gave me a lift to close to my car.  I insisted they not go out of their way.  I got out of the car, crossed the two streets and…. promptly walked north instead of south.  Three blocks later, I think… jeez… didn’t walk that far to get to the restaurant, did I?  Turned around and started worrying that my car had been towed.  Dumbass.  I was further south than I thought.  That’ll learn me to pay attention to, not only the street I am parked on, but the cross street too!

Julie mentioned a fabulous App called “Waze” that tells you where the cops are, the potholes, which streets are suddenly blocked off, which bridges are closed… so I used that and realise that… yay!  Despite seeing the tail end of some fireworks (effing annual competition…) my bridge home was NOT closed…

A few of the 10,000 things that make me happy and grateful

61. Finding reasons for getting together

62. Nourishment of friends

63. Finding my car

64. No closed bridges on my way home

65. Great readers who also supply me with love and friendship (yes, Frank, this does include you!)

 

What a Great Saturday!

“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything, than when we are at play.”
Charles E. Schaefer

As much as I went on about being “lazy” the other day’s post, Saturday I definitely took advantage of all that was offered to me.  To hell with house-work, garden-work, work-work.

Though I had gone to bed at 2 a.m. (thank you, Linda for keeping me up late regaling me with your fabulous three months in Italy – I would call you names in jealousy but I cannot as I am so happy for you to have done this trip all by yourself) and woke up at 4 a.m. with a sudden sneezing/runny nose fit (I swear, it felt like a bug had gone up my nose and planted a cold there, with no gentle warning signs), I was up and at ’em at 8:30-ish, though I had at least another half-hour before my alarm went off to prepare for a day of sailing with my friend, Jean-Louis.  He has a lovely 25′ sailboat that he keeps at Pointe-Claire Marina.   By the time I did the stuff I had to do, I ended up leaving the house by 9:50 instead of 9:30.  Texted him to let him know I was on slo-mo and got a response of “no problem”.  He lives a hop, step and a jump from the marina so no biggie for him.  Turns out it was a good thing as the little tender they offer to get you to your mooring doesn’t start until 10:30 anyway.

We gathered all our stuff and climbed aboard.  Lovely boat indeed.  I was suddenly brought back over twenty-five years ago on my father’s sailboat “Footloose”.  Many happy memories attached to that beautiful Bayfield.

I knew we were gonna have some fun when I noted the sign just inside the cockpit… and J-L poured his home-made sangria into these insane 32 oz thermal glasses…

So we left the marina in Pointe-Claire around11 a.m. and wanted to go all the way to Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, which is the most western tip of Montreal Island.  Both towns are part of the area known as the West Island (or as I like to call it, the Waste Island 😉 )  The wind was not the best and since we had some time restraints, we decided to motor out, knowing we would be able to make our way back by sail.  We had to stop in Beaconsfield (half-way) for gas and then continued on our way.

Jean-Louis really knows this lake, called Lake Saint-Louis, pointing out various areas.  When we were across the way from Dany and Giselle’s hometown of Notre-Dame-de-l’ïle-Perrot, I texted them sending them a picture with a “Hey!  I’m in your back yard!

View of Île Perrot

Apologies for the crappy picture.  I stupidly did not bring my real camera and, as nice a pics are with my phone, they suck big time when it comes to zooming, not so fabulous.

We had to “drive” through a canal – the water is so very high right now…

And finding parking… who’d a thunk it would be such a bitch to find parking for a boat?

We went through, turned around, went towards one slot but didn’t like it as it was on the point of the bay and would have had a helluva time with the currents, realised a space had opened up and got a great spot!

Some peeps hang out in groups so they can raft up.

We had lunch in a new restaurant called Taverna, a blend of Greek and Italian cuisines.  Sitting on the terrace, we froze our buns off but the food was decent.

Heading back, we had a good wind right behind us, so Jean-Louis opted for his genoa sail.  We flew all the way home.

Many beautiful homes and St-Joachim Parish of Pointe-Claire – a church that actually faces the water instead of the street:  originally built in 1713, replaced in 1750-1755, a third church was added between 1868-1881, the whole thing destroyed by fire in 1881.  The one we see now, was consecrated in 1885.

I needed to be back at the marina by five o’clock, latest, so I could take a shower and make my way to St. Lazare where friends were meeting for pizza before a benefit concert at Bar Chez Maurice to raise funds for palliative care for a local organisation.  Four bands participated but we were most interested in Cinema V – friends of ours being members.

The other bands were CHESS, RUSTY (with Cinema V guitarist) and LIKWID (with Cinema V guitarist, bassist and singer).

Each band played a 45 minute set with a 30 minute break and set-up for the next one.

So… little history lesson… Dany (drummer) and I were prom dates waaaaay back in 1981! For those of us who have been following me for a while, you’ve seen pictures of Dany, his wife, Giselle, and a few more of us.  We’ve always kept in touch but, in the last three years, more effort has been made.

A few years after we dated, the band won a competition with the local rock station CHOM 97.7 and went to Japan… how cool is that?  Ya gotta love that ’80’s look…

Cinema V John, Marcello, Nigel, Dany, Radford

Now, all in their 50’s (just recently for you, Rad!) – all have aged rather well, if I do say so myself!

John, Marcello, Nigel, Dany, Radford

‘Course, I had to zoom in a bit on Dany…

As “groupie-wife”, Giselle, all sparkly-eyed, basked in her husband’s prowess… I kept trying to catch her as she watched Dany but I swear, that woman sees a camera, she instantly turns and smiles…

I figure I’ll end this little ramble with a snippet of one of Cinema V’s original songs…

To think they hadn’t played together in 26 years!

A few of the 10,000 things that make me happy and grateful

  1. Music concerts with friends
  2. Sunshine and wind on my face
  3. Sailing – had so missed it
  4. Taking the whole day to do stuff just for me
  5. Going to bed with ears still ringing from the musical night

 

 

 

 

Brain Dump / Gratitude / Stuff

“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

 

Brain Dump

Why is it when we are über tired, can barely keep our eyes open, our limbs feel like mush and we drag/crawl our asses to bed that the brain decides… “Yep… this would be a great time to go into overdrive… dontcha think, Body?”

No.

Just.

No.

However, apparently, just like my kids, the brain doesn’t listen.  Doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what I am telling it/them.  The hamster wheel keeps a-turning.  I’ve tried many techniques over the years:

  1. Take out a pad and write all the things whirring round the brain;
  2. Do the 7-4-8 exercise:  inhale for seven counts, hold for four, exhale for eight.  I usually end up yawning in between though, will admit, occasionally this does work, IF there doesn’t seem to be any thoughts going on, sorta;
  3. Read for a bit;
  4. Drink a cup of hot milk – hey works for babies and occasionally for me!

If all the above fail, and it’s been a few nights in a row, I resort to 0.5 mg of Clonazepam.  Within half an hour, if all is well, I’m finally gone… for at least four hours, five, if I’m lucky.   I really try to avoid taking this but a girl’s gotta sleep.

So, what has been preoccupying me lately?

I hate sounding redundant because the things that I listed here still apply but in a new form…

  1. The house, though officially has a “For Sale” sign in front, still needs to look “perty” all the time and is an on-going battle with my inhabitants.  Working on getting them to participate a bit more;
  2. The Mother-in-law, though some of the documents have finally be signed, is still not officially registered so I still cannot pay all her bills, nor cancel her phone, hydro, have her mail transferred to me…;
  3. The finances are getting better as I am back to working full-time at the Golf Club – though that now means my body hurts.  Everywhere;
  4. The boyfriend – no longer an issue as we are no longer together.  All good, friendly good-bye and now we move forward;
  5. The mother – things went all wonky for a bit when her hubby got sepsis.  He spent more than a month in the hospital and is now in rehab to work on gaining his strength.  His planned return to home is June 11th.  Things are finally working out there too.

Funny.  As I was listing these things, I realised, as we speak (so to speak), that each negative issue has become more of a positive one – even if there are still things to be settled.  They are progressing in a forward motion.  So why the hell am I not sleeping?  There must be more stuff in there (mind) that I cannot express at this time.  (Note to self, when these things pop up again, do number 1 above.)

Gratitude

It’s a little late but I must thank my lovely brother-in-law, Sébastien for changing my tires for me.  It’s always nice to be able to count on family for these things.  Plus, I got a meal outta the deal!

Tracy and Sébastien also hosted the Mother’s Day brunch this year and, for the first time in three years, I was not working and was able to participate.  Well… I worked, but only at 2 so thanks go to my boss for scheduling me later so that I could do some activity with my boys.

A funny thing seems to happen with me.  Well I think it’s funny, or rather, I am touched that it does happen.  Ach!  What I am trying to say is, I must have made some kind of impact on people over the years.  A few ladies I went to high school with decided to get together for a dinner.  We were supposed to be five but ended up being four.  The crazy thing is this.  None of the three other ladies finished high school with me.  We knew each other from grades 7-9, and one of them was only in my school and my class in Grade 9.  And yet, they included me in the get-together.   It was a lovely evening of playing catch-up.  One of them, Marie-Claude, I see once in a blue moon, but the other two I hadn’t seen since Grade 9.  At least a hundred years ago.

Me, Marie-Claude, Guylaine, Louise

I’m also lucky enough to have a friend who was able to open my pool for me for a reasonable fee.  It gets uncomfortable to be asking for help for so many things.  Yes, I know, I could learn how to open it, but frankly, the boyfriend closed it last fall and took the whole bloody thing apart, though not necessary, and, also frankly, I didn’t have one friggen clue (nor wanted to) of how to put the whole thing back together again.  Now, the pool water is clear as a spring… but, I cannot vacuum it yet as I cannot do a backwash as I need a new hose (dammit) to be connected to it.  Sigh.  Never ends.  That should take place on Monday….

And, I’ve been feeling all warm and fuzzy at work lately.  It’s the beginning of the golf season, and, though my body doth protest the abuse, it also means the return of the members.  Some have been there since day 1 but others have been returning from the wintering in Florida (it is a private club, remember… )  Why am I pointing this out?  Because with each return (okay, not every one), on top of a kiss on the cheek and a hug, I get a “I’m so happy you are back with us this year” or “Yay, my favourite is back!” or “So nice, we are guaranteed good service again this year”.  It is so very gratifying to feel appreciated.  It’s even better for my ego when they tell me these things in front of my bosses… 😉  Hmmm… Wonder if I can get a bonus based on the number of “smile” comments I get?

Stuff

For my last post, two things occurred at the same time.

Now, I know 500 posts is no big whup – especially for those who multi-post in one day or post daily… but I’m cool with that.

The weeds have taken over the back yard so, if I want to set up an open house, I shall have lots of work to do.  Have asked for the boys’ help.  Moondust does not mind them at all, actually…

June 1 was yesterday, and was my only day off this week, and they called for rain all day.  Not a drop fell.  And holy toledo, June came in with a bang!  Yesterday’s temp was 30°C (86°F) with a humidex – humidity factor or what the temperature really feels like – of 38°C (104°F).  Would have been nice to have a clean pool but all good.  Thankfully there was a fabulous breeze which kept it bearable.  I was able to work for a bit in the garden.  The weeds have taken over and it’s not a pretty sight.  I should be doing more of that as we speak but instead, I am writing this post!  Plus, I have to leave in half an hour to bring my mother to her hubby… Oh well, another day, right?  I work at 4 so, no time.  My story and I’m sticking to it.

***

Just got back from driving Mom.  Lord love a duck.  The traffic is INTENSE.  They have closed the tunnel direction to Montreal so the next available bridge is the Jacques-Cartier… the line-up to get on said bridge is gonna take way more than 45 minutes.  How glad am I to work on this side of the island of Montreal?  On top of that, there was a sign saying the J-C bridge is CLOSED at midnight tonight… I dunno.  I can’t help but think this will affect tonight’s reservations for Lobster Night at the club… I know one of the members – a friend – who was considering cancelling it…

Oh well… off to take my shower so I can stink of Lobster in about 3 hours…

Have a fabulous week-end, folks!

A few of the 10,000 things that make me happy and grateful

46. Old friends wanting to include me
47. Things are moving forward
48. Friends who help out
49. Sunny Days
50. Feeling appreciated for my work

 

 

Birthdays, Easter, Camp NaNo, Stuff

“Families are messy. Immortal families are eternally messy. Sometimes the best we can do is to remind each other that we’re related for better or for worse…and try to keep the maiming and killing to a minimum.”
Rick Riordan, The Sea of Monsters

Haven’t done a Sunday Gratitude or a weekly update in a while and figured, why not?

I can’t remember ever celebrating Easter on April Fool’s day – which makes sense because The Google told me the last time it happened was 1956.  Before my time.

So I got curious about how often it has fallen on MY birthday because I remember celebrating it when I turned ten – I remember because it was also the same year I had my First Communion (I wore the same dress 😉 ).   Matante Nicole shopped with me for it and brought me for the big shindig because my folks were off on some Caribbean holiday…

Turns out, it happened three times in 11 years:  the year before I was born, when I was four and, as mentioned, when I was 10.  The time before that was way back in 1895.  The next time it’s scheduled?  2047!  I’ll be an old lady of 83 by then.  Of course, when that time comes around, 80 will be the new 60, right?

I’m sure that has totally fascinated you, hasn’t it? 😀  Between that and that cute kid… I know, you can’t take it.   We’ll just table that into the “useless information file”…

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”
Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

On Saturday we suddenly remembered Sunday was Easter and had planned absolutely nothing. Got a call from Tracy that Sébastien was doing the ham, I offered to do the veg and, of course, as Iain’s birthday was the day before, I was bringing a key lime pie and Tracy said Sabrina (who turned 18 exactly one week before) wasn’t into lime, was into chocolate so I said, no problemo, I will bring something chocolate.  The Sachertorte.  Lisa was doing the potatoes and rice (because, just because) and the salad and supplying the “venue” so that was more than enough.  Mom was making break and her “pouding au chômeur” – which translates literally to “Poorman’s Pudding” which really is a white cake with a sugar bottom.  This stuff is to die for.  And if you’re really piggy about it, you can add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top (especially when it’s cold) and if your sweet tooth wants an extra kick, you can do like Sébastien and pour maple syrup on top.  Ridonkulous.

Isn’t Iain’s key lime pie pretty?  Well guess what?  It’s a FROZEN key lime pie… so I told Shane to put it in the fridge instead of the freezer.  Why?  Sonofa….  It was more like key lime soup.  Taste was there and since this isn’t Iron Chef and we have no blast chiller… we ate key lime soup.  Sigh.

Took a couple pics of all the kids (9, including Willow, Aidans girlfriend) and realised Sabrina does not appear in them.  Dang.  She arrived a bit later and, when I took a pic of her brother and Iain (they are 2 months apart) I got just the top of her head.  That won’t do.  So pretend there is a beautiful blonde in the mix!

I have decided to do Camp NaNo again this April.  Okay, okay… I have decided to not just add my name to the group and start for a day or two but actually work the whole month of April.  I’ve mentioned it before and this time I’m going to get even further in my “Dear Mick” book of short stories which are basically memories of our almost twenty years together.  I figure worse comes to worse, the boys will one day have a book to remind them of their dad.  Which they may even read.  One day.  So our cabin is called the Plot Bunnies – but since we were all joking around about wanting to live our jammies, we are also known as the “Camp Plot Jammies” but only ‘coz we’re JAMMING on our plots!  Woot.  Our band of merry writers are: Joy from Tales From Eneana  Gabriele from Flights of Fancy Lynn from Word Shamble Sammi from Sammi Cox Megan from Invisible World Crispina from Crimson Prose.  Should be fun to give and get encouragement to go-go-go!

Oh!  And on a final note, sometimes things happen for a reason.  The fridge guy was supposed to pass by on Thursday morning.  My ice machine in the fridge had decided that it would make ice until you can no longer open the door!  I had a quick appointment five minutes away so I told the company to have him call when he left his his current appointment as, should I needed to step out but would be five minutes away.  Well.  He called at 9:44.  His phone is a “private number”.  My cell phone rejects private numbers.  So I waited for the message to appear.  It ddn’t.  Shoot.  My appointment had five minutes left and I got home at 10:03 to find the fridge guy’s business card with 9:55 written on it.   Really?  Come ON!!!  I call the company and the receptionist says she’ll try to reach him.   She couldn’t.  I dunno… but if you are using a company cell phone, should you not be a “private number”?  She told me he also called the house line and there was no response (and no message).  Well duh.  I’m thinking there are more and more people who no longer have land lines.  That means, even if I had been home and gone to the bathroom, foolishly sans cell phone, I would have missed his call.  Yes, I would have been here when he “took the chance” to stop by as he did.  But still.  I took the trouble to tell the receptionist I had a 5-minute appointment.  They cannot guarantee what time they will pass so why cancel a five-minute appointment?  BECAUSE THIS CAN HAPPEN!

Well guess what?  I don’t need no stinking repair guy because my guy fixed the problemo…  So

I keep forgetting to add to my list!

A few of the 10,000 things that make me happy and grateful

41. Fellow NaNo Campers – encouraging each other to write
42. Not needing the fridge guy after all – saving big buckaroos
43. Easter – especially when the whole family is present
44. Birthday cakes – even when they don’t quite turn out, they can still taste good
45. Sense of humour – see number 44

Sunday Stuff and Gratitude- March 18, 2018

“Good morning.
Lead with gratitude.
The air in your lungs, the sky above you.
Proceed from there.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda

And so goes another week.

Tuesday I worked at the golf club for a small event.  A little four-hour shift.  I’m jiggy wid dat.   Got home and the boys were there as well.  Bad mother that I am, I was a willing participant in my sons’ impromptu vodka shots and chebureki (again!) night.  Aidan is on Spring break and so had his evenings free to hang out at home and things just happened.  Marie-Soleil, Iain’s non-girlfriend, girl friend came over and before we knew it, it was a party.  The “kids” were getting rowdy and Miss Marie Sun-Shine got ahold of my phone.  Needless to say there quite a few to go through!  So made this little “animation” to give an idea of the evening.   I’m not a “gif” fan but apparently that’s how this puppy downloads.  Sorry ’bout that!

Wednesday woke up to a winter-fricken wonderland.  Ugh.  I am SO done with this white stuff.  Only good thing was on our walk, Zeke and I came across this bizarre little igloo-maker thingamajig…   I tell ya, it was heart-attack snow to shovel as well.  Yeah, that’s right.  I have two adult sons who left for work and left me to shovel the shit.

Thursday morning, got a call from François L., my former boss but long-time friend, who suggested dinner at his place.  Well not “his” place as he is between domiciles at this time.  He is house-sitting for a friend and wanted to take advantage of his pied-à-terre.  He was going to call a few others to join but with it being beyond last-minute, we ended up just three of us.  I’m good with that!

But first I went for lunch with my friend Jean-Louis, who wanted to try out the Pavillon 67, “gourmet” buffet in the Montreal Casino.  Ironically, my sister has been a croupier (dealer) there for the past 22 years and I’ve never been.  No, not true, I went with her to change money before one of our cruises together as they had the best exchange rate – service they no longer provide.  I texted her, letting her know we were there and wouldn’t you know it?  She just happened to have a union meeting and was on her way there.  She stopped by for a hello and introduction and was off.  As for the food.  Meh.  I’ve seen better.  Hell, J-L and I saw better in Dominican Republic last year.  Gourmet is not the proper descriptive.  No matter, I was there to catch up with an old friend.  Next time I go through there, I’ll pick up a sammy at the sandwhich stand – they looked pretty good!

Got home, made a quick “Dad’s Wacky Cake” to bring to François’ and made it there for 5-ish.

“Dad’s Wacky Cake” remade for home

We were joined by William who was one of the line-cooks at the Club.  It’s fun to be able to get together with twenty-somethings as well as sixty-somethings.  We’re planning another next Monday.  But this time, we should be a good 8-10 peeps.  Ironically, François decided on a Chinese fondue as dinner!  Ya know, like I made on the previous Saturday!  Talk about all or nothing… Or never or often.  Waves, baby, things happen in waves!

Saturday was reserved for my niece’s vollyball team’s “bowl-a-thon”.  A yearly event.  What is up with this stupid “sport” that I always end up feeling for two days after?  Not only that, I pulled a muscle in my hip.  How in the name of all that is holy does one do that?  Anyway.  It’s a great occasion for the family to get-together and laugh together and at each other for our lack of prowess, for the most part, though some managed to score some big numbers, Chris in particular whupped all our butts big time!  I actually did decently on one game so, I was not in total despair.  Last year I did so well, I had them print out my sheet!  This place is always fun because of the neon lights and music.  It can’t help but put you way off your game.  Yes, our story and we’re sticking to it!

Aidan was the hero of the week.  He helped to clear out the basement – the carpeted side.  Last week you saw the new vinyl-floored side, this week it was the clean the disgusting carpet side.  This side had become the dumping ground after we had to clear out the dining room and office and, frankly, a lot of it remained piled up helter skelter.  Now it was time to clear it up, move and hopefully see a difference once Aidan’s friend’s father cleaned it.  Of course, this now means the vinyl side is stacked with boxes and stuff but we will now take the time to figure out what stays and what goes and what remains boxed until we move.

I must admit, I am quite pleased with the end result.  It was beyond gross, which Christopher, the cleaner, took pleasure in telling me.  More than once.   That will be for another post…

For now.  I am feeling like things are really moving forward.  I’ll be calling the real estate agent this week and see what more should be done before that “À Vendre” sign goes up!

A few of the 10,000 things that make me happy and grateful

36. Having fun with my boys – I cherish these moments most
37. Lunches with friends – catching up and just enjoying ourselves
38. Aidan – my hero for helping me clean the basement and his room
39. Clean carpet – a sign we are moving forward
40. Disco bowling – why the hell not?

 

 

Gratitude on a Monday – March 12, 2018

“Being grateful all the time isn’t easy. But it’s when you feel least thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you: perspective. Gratitude can transform any situation, It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. It’s the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to effect change in your life – this I know for sure.”
Oprah Winfrey, What I Know for Sure

I used to do my Sunday Gratitude, which then changed  to Weekend Coffee Share, which then became an occasional Weekend Share (because I had stopped participating in the Coffee one and when wanted to do it again, I realised no one was hosting it.   Mix in all of that my lack of stick-to-it-iveness and just plain laziness or easily-side-tracked-ness and you get one of these.  A Sunday share I started too late to finish on Sunday.  So had to change the title.  Again. 🙂  Welcome to my world of DADD Dale’s Attention Deficit Disorder.

In my defense (okay, okay, call it an excuse), François left Sunday for a two-week, sun-filled vacation.  Alone.  It was an already planned thing but I still spent part of my day moping and feeling all woe-is-me.  Then I spent another part of the day trolling the vacation websites, because, why not?  Why not also go away for a week to resource myself?  Then, I changed my mind and decided no…  save the moolah and go back to Tuscany in October.  Yeah, Baby.  Now, we’re talking!  We’re cooking with gas!  We have a plan!  And not just knee-jerk reaction brought on by envy.

Friday was my day to get things done.  Went to see Raffi to bring him our (the boys and mine) income tax papers and he did them right there on the spot!  The best.  I then went to my mother-in-law’s to empty her mailbox and collect any tax papers to bring to her accountant.  Did that but saw this beauty on my way.  I’ll definitely have to go back and get a better picture.  You know, when I’m NOT in my car.  Though I was not driving, I promise!

I then decided to go and visit Jean as my timing was good.  Saw this at another stop light.

Now I know we Canucks are a tough lot, and we Quebeckers really like to take advantage of clement weather, and all that… However.  It was only 4°C (40°F)!  These two must have had the heater blasting!!  Again, I was stopped at a stoplight 😉

Spent an hour with Jean, and she was happy for the visit.  She is much nicer in person than on the phone.  Did not once give me shit for “putting her there”.   She’s gonna get lucky with a second visit on her birthday with the boys later this month.  As traffic was going to be a bitch, when I left her at 4:30 I hightailed it to the Forum AMC Theatre, hoping to catch the 4:45 viewing of “Lady Bird”.  Managed to park inside, run up, get my tickets and buy myself a child’s portion of popcorn and drink (came with a little canister of m&m’s) for the ridonkulous price of $8.25, get a seat at the back and only missed the commercials and maybe the firest preview.  Woot!

I loved the movie.  Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalfe were great in their roles as daughter and mother.  A coming of age story that takes place in “no-where” Sacramento, California in 2002, it deals with the insecurities of pre-adulthood, of social class, of wanting more yet not ralising we love what we have until it’s gone.  That love-hate relationship that girls and mothers can share is something I’ve more heard about than experienced as my mother was (is) a very “non-invasive, figure-it-out-by-yourself” kind of mom.  At least from what I remember!  Will have to ask her.  Maybe I remember it wrong.  No wonder I’ll never be that type of writer who can describe in great detail their lives.  I’m so in the moment, I move forward and let go of what was.  Dunno if that’s a good thing or not.

Got home at 7 and ate some left-overs.   Vegged on the couch watching stuff I’d taped till a couple of Iain’s peeps came over .  Don’t know what was so funny but they were laughing up a storm.

They began playing drinking games and after a few, hailed me over to join them.  Not every day your son wants you around so you have to grab it when it comes!  First was some pyramid game where 10 cards are placed, ya, in a pyramid.  The rest of the deck is dealt to the players.  First card is flipped over, anyone with a matching card places it on top and names a person who takes a shot (or beer sip glug).  If you have two and give them both, the person takes two glugs.  Second row, same thing, one card is flipped only now each card is worth two and so on, going down to four.  That game turned out not too bad and the boys didn’t all pick on me and I was able to dish out a few myself.

They then decided I was the next “bus driver”, but took pity on my and only lay down 7 cards.  First card is flipped and I have to say if the next card in the deck is higher or lower than that one.  Jeez.  If you’re wrong, you take a glug and start over.  If you are right, you move the the next flipped card and do the same.  All is well as you go down the line and get them right but as soon as you make a mistake, it’s time for a shot and you START OVER!!  I did my part and figured enough was enough by 1 am.  Saluted the boys and I attempted to go to sleep.  They were still going strong at 3 am and I couldn’t sleep so I got up and wrote my Pegman Story!

On Saturday I woke up to big, fluffy, Christmas-like snowflakes.  Really? F*&?%!  Enough already.  It was pretty, I cannot lie… but. No.

After coffee and breakfast, Zeke and I made our way for a nice walk.  Always a good day for a walk as far as he is concerned.  On our way, I noted the hockey rinks are done for the season.  I decided we would go as far as my favourite willow.  I had stuff to do before François showed up so I couldn’t take more than an hour or so.

On our way back, we met Gus, an 8-yr-old Great Dane and Lou-Lou, a young pug.  So funny.  Zeke and Gus were getting to know each other and Lou-Lou was tugging at her leash, wanting to play with the big boys!  What a day to NOT have my camera.  Sigh.  I thought I caught a good pic of Gus and Zeke so we could compare their sizes but sadly, no.  However, got a good one with Gus and Lou-Lou and their humans!

And, because I like to torment you with food pics, I made Aidan really happy by announcing we were having Chinese Fondue for supper.  That’s one way to guarantee they (the boys) sit at the table for more than 15 minutes…

I think I’ve kept you longer than I should have.  But may I show you my new flooring, installed just this morning?  I’m telling ya, this house will be on the market by the end of the month!

Thanks for sticking to the end.  I promise next one won’t be so long (though I may have made that promise before, eh?)

A few of the 10,000 things that make me happy and grateful

31.  Giant snowflakes – even if they are in March
32. New flooring installed – one step closer
33. Being invited by my son to join him and his buddies
34. Fondue night – a time to chat while we cook our own food
35. Willow trees – they just make me happy