The Little Moments – Friday Fictioneers

I’m not one to do the “woe is me” thing and this is definitely not one of them.  It is, however, the fourth anniversary of my “two weeks of WTF” that started on the 11th and ended on the 27th.  I can laugh and talk about Mick all the time with nary a tear but at this time of the year, there is more of a tightness in the chest, so to speak.

So, now that I got that out of the way, thank you to Rochelle for hosting this weekly challenge and this week, thanks (again) to Doug MacIlroy for allowing us to use (re-use for some) this lovely photograph.

Join in on the fun by clicking on the blue frog below!

 

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The Little Moments

“Good God!  How you can work with that stuff you call music blaring?” I yelled.

“I like it, helps me to draw.  Keeps me in the groove.”

Shaking my head, I went back to writing my Friday Fictioneers story, while chatting on Facebook with my buddy Rochelle.  A new message pops up:

“Yo, Rog, what’s for lunch?”

“Dunno, Mick, hadn’t thought of it.”

“Let’s go out!”

“Lemme guess, The Cage?”

“Ya baby!  Meet me downstairs!”

“Lemme finish my story, first!”

“Gonna let me read it?”

“Of course.  You’re my muse again.”

These little moments are what I miss the most.

 

Feel the Rumble – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday evening, my peeps!  It’s Friday Fictioneers time and I have finally come up with something.  Having already written a post about my son’s love for trains as a boy and another on wanting to run away via train, I was a tad stumped.  What to write about?  My creative muse having abandoned me completely, I had to rely on a fond memory.

Thanks always to Rochelle for being the hostess with the mostest and this week, a thank you to Dawn M. Miller for the use of this beautiful picture.

Do try your hand at a 100-word story based on this photo by adding your link to the blue frog below!

 

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Feel the Rumble

Sitting around the dinner table the sounds of her guests enjoying themselves pleased her.

Suddenly, everyone stilled, silence reigned and they turned to her wide-eyed.

“What the hell was that?” one queried.

“What do you mean?”

“That rumble.  Earthquake?  Didn’t you feel it?  And it sounds like glasses are crashing inside your china cabinet.”

“What rumble?”  She frowned.  “Oh that!  Ha ha!  That was the train!  I don’t even notice it anymore and I didn’t hear the glasses because of the party.  Every few months or so, I have to push them back because they jiggle with each train passing.

A Colourful Monday Walk

“The World is divided in to two, One is vibrant with colours and the other is drab and colourless..”
Biju Karakkonam, Nature and Wildlife Photographer

There are days where nature is most gracious in sharing her colours.  Monday was one of those days.  Strange, really, as the sun was not shining and the skies were mostly grey.  Or maybe it was just me.  Searching for and finding colour to brighten the day.

Though my full-time days at the golf course came to an end October 30th, I feel I’ve been running around doing stuff yet getting nothing done.  Back and forth to hospitals for Yvon, my mother’s spouse; notary, financial adviser and bank to finally settle my  mandatary duties for my mother-in-law (still not completely done, but close); readying the house for visits – all for naught – bloody thing is still not sold and that mandate is up in three days.  Next!!  Time to take the time for these walks of mine.

On Monday, Zeke and I decided to go for one of our long walks.  He kills me.  I cannot say the word “walk” without him getting excited.  He sees me pick up my camera bag and he loses it.  Before doing any of that, all I said was:  “Do you wanna?”  and this is the look I got:

Then I picked up my camera bag…

We decided to go way over to the other side.  The weather was pretty decent.  I didn’t need my snowpants nor my big mitts so happy days!

Crossing the pedestrian shortcut we came face to face with this fella.  You can tell there are snow enthusiasts who will do what they can to create their own Frosty!

We got to my favourite willow tree in de Normandie Park.  I know, I know.  I take its picture every single time I see it.  Can’t help it as I’m a tad obsessed.

Ya gotta admit it’s pretty spectacular, eh?  And look how colour-coordinated Zeke is!

We moved on towards the Parc des Coutances and I was struck by these trees.  One marescent- not planning on losing any leaves this winter, one, that didn’t finish shedding theirs before the snows came and then the two different conifers.  Colours and textures.

“Let me, O let me bathe my soul in colours; let me swallow the sunset and drink the rainbow.”
Khalil Gibran

We moved on towards what I once called my dog park because way back before we lost Mick, I used to get up much earlier and would end up meeting up with the ladies and their dogs around 8:30 am.  Those days are gone!  Maybe I’ll get back into an early to bed, early to rise rhythm one day.  Just not yet.  Was amused to see the two seasons mixed together.  A carpet of leaves on a rug of snow.  Or is it the other way around?

On we went towards the Parc de Provence, leading to our secret (hey, I’ll call it secret if I want to!) woodland path.  Upon entering the path, I was struck by the white branches against the blue wall.  How strange!  I have been down this path many times and never did I see a pure white branch like these.

We kept walking towards the centre of the pathway and I, again, saw a series of colours.  One grouping after another

Cutting through, we returned to the Park des Provences from another entrance and there, again… an unexpected duo of colours

Back to Parc des Coutances and this time it was a pop of yellow that caught my eye.

The anemic sun that was, was slowly disappearing and I could feel a chill so we picked up the pace towards home.

“One should be a painter. As a writer, I feel the beauty, which is almost entirely colour, very subtle, very changeable, running over my pen, as if you poured a large jug of champagne over a hairpin.”
Virginia Woolf, The Letters of Virginia Woolf: Volume Six, 1936-1941

Before getting making it to Parc Marguerite-A.-Tellier and that much closer to home, the skies darkened.

No wonder I felt so cold suddenly.

Just before crossing the boulevard towards home, this pop of red shouted at me.  Another caught by the snow before it could lose it’s petals!

Zeke was quiet for the rest of the evening.  The boy was spent.  Maybe the walk was too long?  I’ll have to ease him in more gently.  The boy is now 9 and probably felt like I do when I overdo it!

Have a fabulous weekend!

 

 

Third Annual Oyster Feast Chez Moi

Still basking in the warm hug of having my friends in my home for our third annual Oyster Feast.

Took me a while, despite Christiane’s most helpful aide, to clean up my kitchen.  Frankly, I said goodnight to my guests, looked at my kitchen and walked away.  “They will be there tomorrow,” I told myself.  Knowing full-well there ain’t no such thing as fairy godmothers who come in, wave their wands and “Poof!” all is gone…

This third gathering of ours is near and dear to my heart.  These are friends that I have known for forty years (though, how that can be when I can’t really be old enough, right?) except Julie, whom I discovered when going through my “souvenirs” book one day, that I went to Kindergarten and Grade 1 with before finding ourselves again in high school.  Truth be told, neither one of us remembers each other from way back then.  But still.

Though I pick up the oysters, this is a shared evening.  Everyone brings a little something to eat and drink.

Giselle and Dany brought a fabulous plate of Italian antipasto, Christiane and Martin brought delicious popcorn shrimp.  Julie (and Michael) made these beautiful individual salads with all kinds of goodies and a large green salad – both of which I somehow have no picture of  😦  However, she also made mini crostini with goat cheese, fig and balsamic glaze. And THAT I do have a picture of!

Nibbled on these goodies, chit-chatted about everything and nothing, sipped on cocktails while I worked on my Rockefeller topping for some of the oysters.  Time to get shucking.  Dany had “conveniently” cut himself a few days earlier with his new set of knives, earning his very first stitches at the tender age of 54, so he could not shuck.  He definitely entertained us with his hundred-mile-an-hour talking and videotaping!

Deciding we have enough oysters – for now – we move to the dining room…

But first, a group picture.  Sheesh, we almost missed Christiane!  Speaking of which, check out her oh-so-cool necklace made out of egg cartons!

The first batch of oysters gobbled up, I served my spicy pumpkin soup…  As we were eating, another high school friend of ours, Marc, texteded me asking what I was up to…. so I sent him this picture below…  He said, hey! I wasn’t invited!  Sorry, Bud.

Now, this annual thing has been just us, the core four and spouses with the addition of girlfriends or boyfriends, depending, but no one else.  So after he texted, Marc called and asked if he could join us.  I put him on speaker so that we could all tell him that he was more than welcome…

But before he arrived, more horsing around…

Da Girls

Marc arrived in time for the second batch of oysters…

Time for a “Trou Normand” – where you basically take a shot of some rotgut to burn a hole and make room for more food.  Or calle it a palette cleanser.  However, Dany brought this fabulous “Amerable” – a bitter maple liqueur.  Starts off sweet and the bitterness slowly creeps in, in a rather surprisingly pleasant way… Dangerous stuff, is all I can say.

Time for dessert.  I figured we would be stuffed after all that food and I wanted to keep things light so I made orange Madeleines with Grand Marnier whipped cream and warmed figs with a drizzle of honey.  My second batch kinda sorta got forgotten in the oven, and, while not burnt, were, well, rather “tanned”… 😉

Dany, ever the comedian, likes to put blurbs on his pics occasionally.  Admittedly, they are spot on.  So, I’ve included his original in French, then did the English version 😉

Another successful evening with my peeps.  No one left hungry, that’s for sure!

And, judging by my recycling box the next morning, I’m rather surprised no one suffered!

And, lucky me, for the first time, there were actually leftover oysters!  We had some that we shucked and didn’t eat, so into a container they went and I made a soup with them… The others, I’m sure I’ll be able to treat myself to a couple more…

Until next year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Take Me In

I headed south, not north; was not running away from anything but towards; not planning to never return but stay for a few days… yet I still love this song and it resonates with me, so there.

Woodstock last July was a wonderful getaway so we decided to have another. Where to meet this time? Brooklyn became the number one choice and so it was booked. There were things on our list to do:  cross Brooklyn Bridge by foot, see Bohemian Rhapsody, eat authentic New York pizza pie, go out for a nice meal.  However, we didn’t have a firm schedule. Go with the flow is how we roll…

As I mentioned to David Kanigan, a little nod to his style (my favourites of his posts) is how I’m gonna go about this…

Heading south – Toll-Free on Taconic State Parkway

I set my car GPS to my destination AND my phone one too.  Because the one that comes with the car is a programme and not necessarily up to date – I know this cos I’ve taken Autoroute 30 West and when I hit the “new” part the highway, the GPS freaks out and thinks I’m in space…

As a result, I was amused when the two “argued” over which route to take, and I sided with the phone.  All good, the car one would recalculate. It kept trying to get me to change and I kept saying:  “Yo, give it up Car”.  Then I woke up. Shit!  I’ve driven to New York twice now and I had never taken this road… I dunno how but I had the “avoid tolls” button checked on the phone.  “Sonova…..” Taconic State Parkway is a lovely scenic route.  No use in being angry with myself at this point.  So I enjoyed the fact that the trees were still mighty colourful compared to back home and at my next gas stop, I texted my partner in crime to tell him I’d be later than planned…

It started to rain and finally, around 2:00 p.m., I was on the Brooklyn Bridge.  Woot!

(Shhhh I pointed and shot, hoping I’d catch something decent…was watching where I was going, not what I was shooting…)

We could not have access to our Airbnb until 5 pm instead of 3 (seriously??) so we looked for a place to have a late lunch.  Well, not true.  We didn’t look.  Said partner had had loads of time to scope out the area and we ended up in some nameless joint for forgettable chicken empañadas and shared a sorta Cuban sandwich we didn’t order.  No matter!  Groceries, parking, schlepping and settling in and a joint effort towards nachos, salsa and brewskies were on the menu.

Riding the Subway Trains R and A – Eventually Make it to Brooklyn Bridge

A late breakfast of coffee, bagels and frittata we made our way to the subway.  Before leaving, we did Google Map how to get there.  Problem is, neither of us is familiar with the subway system and while we consider ourselves relatively intelligent peeps, could not figure out exactly where to go.  So we asked a teller at the station.  Thought we got it straight.   Hopped onto the R train and realised we were going the wrong way!  Buddy could have told us to go on the other side to take it, no? Got off, hopped over to the other side and then continued on.  Then got off at the stop we were told to.  Could not see any connection to the A train.  Back to a teller who told us to go back on R, do two more stops and hop onto the A train and get off after three stops.  Sheesh.  Good thing we can laugh at ourselves… I was thinking, what would DK write? 🙂

Random Subway Station

Of course, they had called for rain.  But no matter.  We were going anyway. There is something about fall colours popping when the skies are grey.

There is something special about this bridge.  You see it in pictures, in countless movies and TV shows but it was still a thrill to walk it.  And I think I’ll do it again and again!  I must admit I fell in love with the Manhattan Bridge as well and am promising myself that on my next visit to New York, I shall try to get better pictures of both bridges!

It was later than we thought so we skipped the movie and opted for a small pie at Grimaldi’s Under the Brooklyn Bridge.  It was a short walk away and boy was it worth it!  We decided to get a small plain pie as we were planning on my chicken parm for dinner.  It was rather late.  Don’t ask me why… I forgot to take a picture of the pizza!!  The waiter delivered it and – in heavy Brooklyn accent, please, said:  “Sorry, I made a mistake and you got a large instead…”  We forced ourselves NOT to eat the last two slices.  But we coulda… easily.

Leftovers packed away and most generously given to me, we made our way to the subway and back “home” like a couple of pros who knew where they were going!

A Date with Freddie and a Steak in Coney Island

Wednesday brought beautiful blue skies and warmer weather.  So, of course, we decided to go to an afternoon viewing of Bohemian Rhapsody!  A shortish drive brought us to Cobble Hill Theater to enjoy this fabulous movie.  It doesn’t matter that timelines were played with and certain events were fudged.  Rami Malek inhabited Freddie Mercury’s spirit and a shy bravado that no one else could have mastered.  Everyone has been talking about Rami looking so much like Freddie…. Did anyone not notice how Gwilym Lee is the spitting image of Brian May?  Holy smokes…  (Roger Talyor, played by Ben Hardy and John Deacon, played by Joseph Mazzello were no slouches, either…)

Dinner was a most delicious steak on Coney Island at the lovely Atlas Steakhouse.

Time to go – But First, A Walk

All good things must come to an end and we had to leave the Airbnb by noon.  After a good breakfast using up all the leftovers we had, we packed up our cars and went for one last walk.  Down 52nd Street to 1st and then right towards about 40th, give or take (I wanna say direction North but frankly, my sense of direction there was zero).   We were hoping to find access to the water’s edge for some nice pics of Manhattan.  A bunch of warehouses of all sorts and no access.  We did go down towards the “Bush Terminal Piers Park” (have no clue what they do) and was able to take these pics.

We turned around and walked past 52nd towards 58th and discovered the Sunset Park/Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier.  Score!

Walking back to our cars, I had to snap a couple of streets.  I love the look of Brooklyn.  It actually has a similar feel to our Plateau Mont Royal area with the staircases.  Not the same as ours go up to second and third floors but still.

Driving on I-87 North – Homeward Bound

Now it was truly time to say good-bye and wish each other a safe trip home.  Set that GPS for home and oh my GAWD… It took me one and a half hours to get from 52nd street to and over the Brooklyn Bridge, to and over the George Washington Bridge!

Traffic not moving. Cool church

However, as soon as I hit the I-97 North, it was relatively smooth sailing.  Must say New Yorkers like to drive fast – and I have zero problems setting my cruise control to 130 km/hr (80 mph) to keep up!

Things were going great till I hit that dead zone in the Adirondacks where no radio stations come in.  Reminder again that my iPad was left on my bed!  Aaargh.  It’s 7:00 pm and I’ve got one station that is scratchy.  I press search and the numbers go all the way ’round.  Ain’t nothing coming in.  Turn off the radio.  Try again fifteen minutes later.  Same thing.  Try periodically.  Get some gospel station.  I ain’t that desperate.   Try again.  Talk, talk, talk, Trump, talk.  Ugh.  I’m not old enough to be into that stuff.  Try again.  Get some talk radio where a son and his mother are talking to the host, about the process of being transgender and how everyone deals with it.  Nope.

Signs for Whiteface Mountain but construction.  Ugh.  Down to 50 mph.  Good grief!  Spot a motorcycle ahead of me.  It’s 6 degrees Celsius! (43ºF)  The guy is wearing army-style pants, boots and a jacket.  His face is red from the cold as he has nothing protecting it and is holding the bike with one hand while the other is tucked into himself… I feel for the poor bugger.  I imagine he is riding a motorcycle at this time of the year because he has no other option.  Or he’s an idiot.

Sign says Montreal 98 miles.  Woot!  Try the radio again and I get Delilah!  Oh my goodness!   She is still on the air?  Not listening to her but now have options.  Get to the border around 8 pm-ish, sail on through and am home by 9.

Unpacked the car and was very pleased to see my gift had remained undamaged…

 

Belt It Out Serena!

I really enjoy getting to know Canadian singers and songwriters.  I didn’t always appreciate it.  Probably because I listened to radio stations like Q92 or MIX96 which play(ed) the latest hits over and over ad nauseum, or CHOM that were stuck in their old “Classic Rock” genres.  You know the type of typical radio station?  Led Zeppelin seem to have only four songs, Aerosmith as well, AC/DC has two and Kiss has one.  Ugh.  As for new stuff?  Fuggedaboutit.  You never heard anything new.  Of course Classic Rock does imply they play the “classic” stuff.  But again, they would only play the same few songs from the same old groups.  Hey, I love me a dose of “For Those About To Rock” once in a while, just not necessarily once or twice a day.

Now, I’m not saying things are still the same over there.  I have occasionally tuned in and been surprised to hear a Serena Ryder song.  So, I’m thinking they are realising that we do have some really good Canadian rockers that are not old enough to be classics.  Yet.  As for Canadian content?  Maybe a little bit of Bryan Adams or Rush or Sam Roberts Band because they are actually known south of the border…

What doesn’t help is that here in Quebec, the English rock or folk hardly gets played at all.  Except on my now favourite CBC Music.   So I can actually watch the Junos (Canadian version of Music Awards) and know who is being nominated!

I digress.  I know, I know… I often do!  Back to my originally scheduled programming!  I bought my two Serena Ryder tickets ages, nay, eons ago, without knowing who would join me. Put up a Facebook message and one friend, Tony, agreed to join me.

We met at the Burgundy Lion Pub which is right next door to my now-favourite venue, The Corona Theatre, for a burger and a steak.  It was early so we got a table… right beside the courtyard.  I dunno man, I know we Quebecers will stretch out our eating outside as long as we can but heaters or no heaters, it was bloody cold.  And they kept opening the door – first to turn on said heaters, again for the fools to attempt to sit out there, and finally for those said fools to come back in once they realised how foolish they were being to find a spot inside!

The Corona is a first-come, first-served theatre so I didn’t want to go in last minute.  I figured there would be a line-up starting around 6:30-7:00 so we made sure to leave the pub by 7, latest.  Turns out, they were letting everyone in because of the rain.  Cool. Walk in.  Damn.  It’s a standing concert.  I am too old for that shit…  Kinda wished I was up in the balcony but that section was closed off.  Guess they didn’t sell that many tickets after all.

I had no idea there was an opening act for Serena Ryder.  What a wonderful surprise she turned out to be!  Jordane (Labrie), with her guitarist Clément Desjardins, blew me away.  The girl’s got a set of pipes on her!  Her first album comes out mid-January.

And, for a reason I cannot fathom, I did NOT capture any of Jordane’s original French songs but took two little snippets of her singing in English.

During their train trip across Canada, Clément’s guitar got badly damaged and he acquired the banjo from a pawn shop.  He was quite pleased with himself for learning how to play it 😉

And then Jordane had to sing that song that she had been listening to since she was a young girl… Patsy Cline’s Crazy:

A lovely twenty-minute set, I must say.  To hear her sing in French, just click here.

A short break and in came Serena by herself with nothing but her guitar.  She interacts with the audience and of course, she was right there so we felt we were in her inner circle.  She sang a few songs alone on the stage before her band of two came in… a guitarist and drummer (which, unfortunately I cannot remember their names and have given up with the Internets).

A little “Weak in the Knees”…

The Corona is such a great venue.  Would be fabulous if there were seats, but hey… I sat for Andy Kim’s Christmas special and I sat up on the balcony for George Ezra.  Now I can say I’ve had the full experience!  Numb toes and all (you realise after a certain amount of time that the floor is on a slight slant…)

Of course, I shall leave you with a few snippets…  “Oh What I Wouldn’t Do” and “A Little Bit Red”

I was most pleased to have been able to see Serena live in such a perfect venue.

 

 

It’s Subjective – Friday Fictioneers

Had me a little free time during my little getaway, so I figured I’d try to write a little quickie FF…  Thanks always to the lovely Rochelle for being the magnet to our metal and pulling us in every Wednesday.  This week Rochelle usurped acquired legally, J.S. Brand‘s lovely photo.

To play along, why don’t you click on the blue frog below and add your 100-word story with beginning, middle and end.  You’ll see, it is a good challenge, it’s fun and it’s quite addictive.  G’head, you know you wanna…

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It’s Subjective

That’s some kinda erotica you’ve got going there.

What?  No!  This is a piece of art.

Art, eh? Erotic art.  Pretty Picasso-ish, you ask me.  I mean lookit that.  You’ve got a pastie on one boob, and some kinda bandage on the other.  The belly-button is exposed and I do not know what the heck is up with the “nether regions”.  Some kinda fancy venus mons?

Get your mind out of the gutter, will ya?  Those are eyes, one with a patch!  That’s a hat, can’t you tell?

I guess it’s not what you look at, it’s what you see…