Friday Without Plans

“A deliberate plan is not always necessary for the highest art; it emerges.”
Paul Johnson

I cannot remember the last time I had a day off and nothing scheduled.  Dye-job and a haircut, notwithstanding, I felt quite free to do whatever the hell I wanted.  Was really.  Really.  Nice.  Work has been busy enough… it’s rare that I work a forty-hour week and I think I was just shy of it by half an hour… Might not sound like much to office folk (one of which I was for over thirty years) but lemme tell you, schlepping tables and chairs, trays of food and drink, setting tables (who knew that by tale number 14, the shoulders would burn from putting tablecloths on?) walking to and fro and keeping that smile is not for sissies.  An eight-hour day is a LONG day in the service industry.

K,  no more bitching, I promise you.  So, like I said, the only thing on my agenda was my hair.  At 9-stupid-30 a.m.  On my day off.  Of course if I hadn’t chatted with a friend till 2:30 in the a.m., maybe 9:30 would not have been so stupid.  Whatevs.

I called my mother on my way back from the salon as she lives a hop, step and a jump away to invite myself over for a cup of coffee and ended up with a nice open-faced tomato cheese sandwich to boot!  Chatted with her and Yvon until his lift arrived at noonish (he goes for physiotherapy a few times per week).  Figured I’d leave Mom to watch her shows or relax or read or do whatever the hell she wants and made my way home.  After all, I had a no-agenda day to not plan!

Today was gorgeous.  Sun was shining, then there were some clouds to cool me off, then the sun popped out again.  Yep.  Was gonna take advantage of NOT having to wear black pants, three-quarter-sleeved-buttoned-up-to-my-chin shirt and strangling tie.  Put on my bathing suit, a spray of sunscreen and vacuumed my pool.  Then I jumped into said pool.  Wunderbar!

Zeke figured out how to keep cool…

As I’m having Tammy and Andre over tomorrow for dinner (Mick’s best friend and his wife), I took out some steaks, lamb and chicken.  We will be having a mixed grill…  Keep ya posted 😉

I have been on a mission to weed a bit every day or so and have made some mega progress.  It is starting to look quite lovely here.  The front is mostly weed-free and other than those little mother****s in my unistone driveway, walkway, backyard, things are looking good.  I will have to pull out all the stops to get rid of those suckers.  I can still see Mick cursing over the whole bidness.  Using a pressure washer to blast them away, then spreading sand and sealer over the whole thing to stop them from coming back… effort which, frankly, does not last long enough.  Note to self…. next house has NO unistone…

No, I shall not show you the drive-way per se because, well… it’s past midnight and I just realised I did not take any pics.  Just see above, same shit is my driveway.  Only WAY more intrusion…

So, I tackled some of the backyard, some of the front yard then got fed up and cleared out some of the roses and other flowers.  I am amazed at the sneakiness of weeds.  They try to meld right in, sometimes succeeding quite well…. can you spot the uninvited guest in the Black-Eyed Susans?  While the flowers are still not out, it’s even easier for those buggers to hide…

One of these things just doesn’t belong…

And others are just showing off, thinking they’ll be kept because they might be as beautiful as the flowers… And as penance for ripping them out anyway?  Say hello to scratched hands because they just know we are going to go as far down as we can to ensure we get their roots out and won’t notice those nasty thorns just waiting for unsuspecting hands (and even when we do suspect and are careful, there is always that one thorn hiding…

Come and get me, Bitch

But once cleared out, things are starting to shape up…

And, since we’re on the subject of lovely things…. we are, aren’t we?  The other day I took some pictures with my real camera and had not downloaded them until today.  So all pics taken the other day are still applicable to today because.  Because I said so and today there is no schedule, right?

Dragonfly outside my office window enticed me to go out with more than my phone camera.  I went very slowly to not scare it away and managed to get a few decent ones.

I shall end this with one last image.  On Friday’s, CBC Radio 2 does what they call a “Deep Dive”, with host Rich Terfry.  He plays a whole album – but not just any album – an album that has made an impact in one way or another – as one would have in the vinyl days (yes, I know, we can still do that today), meaning, each song will be played in the same order as on the record.  In between songs, he gives us tidbits on it’s creation, on the members of the band, on how it came to be, etc.  Tonight’s choice was The Band’s album Big Pink – 50 years old this year!

After that, it was the programme:  “Marvin’s Room” with the hostess Amanda Parris.  A one-hour show featuring R&B in all its formats, old and new.  During these two shows, I washed and hung up my clothes, nuked some leftovers brought home from work, and ate. No way I was planning any food cooking.

By 8 p.m., Odario Williams came on with his show “After Dark”.  A cool mix of all sorts of genres of music but most of it on the easy listening tempo.

I was relaxing in my lounge chair when I realised there was a squirrel, just lying on the wires above my cedar hedge. I’m thinking he was enjoying the tunes, too!  That, and the neighbour’s kids screeching as they were playing in their pool…

Think I’ve kept you long enough with my rambling on…  A major heat wave is starting tomorrow in the Montreal area. We will be hitting some wicked temperatures for a good week… highs of up 35°C (95°F) with a humidex factor bringing it up to 45°C+ (115°F)!  NOT looking forward to working from Sunday to Thursday in that…  Till then, stay hydrated, don’t over-exert and enjoy… in no time at all we’ll be complaining about the cold…

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

61. Summer heat

62. Not working on a weekend

63. New haircuts, new look

64. Swimming pools

65. Left-overs made by someone else

 

 

 

 

Time to ‘Fess Up.

It’s true.  I cannot lie.  I am lazy.  No, no, don’t bother, ye who get “exhausted” reading my posts about all the things I have to take care of.  No, no.  That’s me being pushed against the wall, forced to take care of whatnot and whoseit, truth be told.  I so love a clean house.  Hate cleaning it.  I love a beautiful garden.  Hate weeding it.  Love a clean car.  What is UP with men getting all excited to clean theirs?  I think my mother rubbed off on me!  She always says she was meant to be a “Poule de Luxe” – which literally translates to a “Luxury Chick”  I could  be A-OK with sitting on my arse, book in one hand, something cool and refreshing in the other and while away the hours while someone else does the work.  Of course, I would never have that satisfaction you get from a job well done.  Or done as well as it could be.

I do this to myself EVERY SINGLE YEAR!  I take a stroll around my front yard and note the roses are surrounded, kept from showing off.  Those evil weeds just keep coming back.  I do have to hand it to them.  They are so very clever, insinuating themselves around the bases of plants that will gladly rip my skin off as I bring an end to their existence.  Of course I could use a claw-thingy (oh look, it’s called a “Cultivator” – thank you Google), and I do… but let’s face it, you can’t remove the corpses with other than your hands, encased in gloves, or not.

Having finally cleared out the weeds, I walked around my little “patio” in the front and was promptly refused access by the overgrowth of some tree – sorry.  I have absolutely NO idea what each and every plant is except for the lilac – and that’s coz I love them and I planted it there.  Anyway.  I sure hope my timing was okay but I spent a good hour pruning said trees and bushes so that I could, if I so wanted to set myself up to, sit on my little patio and watch any passersby pass by.

I can tell you.  I foolishly (or not) did not take any before pictures, but it shore to look perty now…

Now that I am looking at the picture, I am reminded that my, ummm, “shaping skills” must next be made to work on hedges and other shrubs… that one in the patio pic, in the back… looks like it’s having a bad hair day, morning-after-the-night-before style, don’t you think?  Maybe I should leave them to the experts.  Like when I call them, because I so want to spend more hard-earned dinero on this house before selling it, to trim my cedar hedges.  Mick used to do it every year but, since I need to pay, I think ever two is just fine.  Which means it’s this year.

Speaking of Mick, lemme just apologise to him right now – again.  He used to do almost all this stuff by himself.  The trimming of trees and laying down of mulch – reminder to self:  GET THE BLOODY MULCH so I don’t have to break my back for the rest of the summer.

And, finally, I get to the point of my post.  Talk about taking the scenic route…

Why, oh why, did your work ethic NOT rub off on us, Mick?  OK… maybe it was too late for me, (old dogs and all that) but could you not have been that little bit more influential on your sons?  They really did not have to take after me in this certain aspect.  OK… Maybe I’m being a little harsh on myself, maybe I’m not lazy per se, just not particularly organised, or rather, consistent.  It would definitely make my life a lot easier if I were.

So, I’m trying to change things up here.  I’ve been trying to show the boys that doing a little each day keeps things less discouraging.  That, I, too, work a full-time job but still get shit done.  That it’s okay to have moments to relax (post on my fabulous yesterday to come tomorrow) but that there must be times spent doing one’s share.  Would be insanely fabulous if they could do so without my having to nag and complain.

Trying to have MY newfound work ethic rub off on them…

… or something along those lines… 🙂

Out of the Ash – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday, my Readers.  I’ve been struggling with this image for HOURS!  So.  Yeah.  Published it, not satisfied so have re-written it.  Those of you who read the original… I hope I can redirect you back!

Thank you, always, to Rochelle for keeping us all in line, for being there week after week with yet another challenge.  And this week, tormenting us with her own picture.  Thanks, Buddy!

If you want to play along, get your creative juices going and write a 100-word story (not including the title) with a beginning, middle and end.  That means, that is stands alone, peeps!  Then, once you are satisfied, click on the blue frog and add your link.  It’s fun, addictive and really challenges one to cut the crap!

Get the link for your blog

Out of the Ash

 

I watched in horror as they cut down my favourite tree – OUR tree.

“No!!”

“I’m sorry, Lady, no choice. Bad case of EAB – Emerald Ash Borer.”

“And you’re sure there was nothing else we could do to save it?”

“Unfortunately, no. Was too far gone. Just plant another one.”

“You don’t understand. It’s not just a tree. It was our tree. Now they are both gone.”

He looked at me with kindness. “Hang on, we’re not supposed to, but would you like some of these pieces?”

I hugged him in gratitude. “I know exactly how I shall honour both.”

***

Trees in my ‘hood are being cut down left, right and centre because of this bloody bug…

Gratitude Sunday – August 23, 2015

After a two-week hiatus, back to my Sunday Gratitude ~ not that I haven’t been grateful all this time, just haven’t written them down here in this blog!

It’s still a whirlwind of adjustments, waiting, learning to do things, and coping with Estate crap while still moving forward.  I’ve been learning new skillz (such as trimming trees and hedges and bushes)!  The pool is almost always clear ~ so hard to do in this heat and humidity but I managed to keep it from getting to the point of no return.  The front yard has been tackled and is almost picture-perfect.

I am so looking forward to the school year starting so that I can back into a normal rhythm.  These late nights (chatting till 2:00 am!) and late wake-ups (often past 9:30 am) are wreaking havoc with my inner clock!  Need to bring things back to some sort of normal.

Gratitude List

  1. Feels great to be writing my blog again and reading all the great comments left by my readers.

  2. So happy to Skype with Ms Raye and catch up on each other’s happenings.

  3. I love when a friendship pops out of seemingly nowhere ~ starts with a simple hello and next thing you know you are chatting away till the wee hours of the morning.

  4. Thanks for letting me use your face, Tonia, for my MK makeup class.  You look beautiful! (Not just because I did a fabulous job… 😉 )

  5. Speaking of Tonia, what a short and sweet run we had.  Too bad you didn’t pick up Christopher sooner so you could stand in my doorway for an hour while your car was running.  We had to meet so soon to your moving to Edmonton.  Thank goodness we have FB!!

  6. And who would not love that wrap?  I swear I could (and often do) eat one every single day!  Roasted pepper hummus, avocado, broke yoke fried egg, tomatoes… Yum!

50 Things That Make Me Happy

I’ve been feeling happy all day, for no apparent reason.  Just because.  This feeling of euphoria got me thinking about what exactly does make me happy?  A list of things started popping up in my head at random and I thought, why not share with you, my readers?  Not that there is anything earth-shattering; not that any of these things will cure any disease; not for any reason other than to share a little piece of me and, well; just because!  These are not to be confused with my weekly gratitude list though I am grateful for each of these things!

I remember reading a few  posts a good while ago about the “50 or 100 things that make me happy lists” and figured I’d do it one day.  That day has come!

Happy

In no order whatsoever, totally at random, here goes:

  1. Sitting with my boys, even if it’s only to watch one of our “TV shows”, sharing ideas and generalities as well the occasional “big” subject.
  2. Walking Zeke, listening to the surrounding sounds, smelling the various scents.
  3. Sitting with a friend, man or woman, enjoying each other’s company over a nice meal, a glass of wine (or not!) and wonderful conversation.
  4. Sharing ideas over the blog with people from all over the world.
  5. Colouring quietly, allowing my brain to totally shut up or wander at will.
  6. Dancing, not caring that I am slowly but steadily becoming a sweaty mess!
  7. Slow dancing, close enough to be engulfed by the other’s scent and feel their heat mingling with yours.
  8. Gardening, yes, down on my knees pulling the weeds with my hands, getting the dirt stuck under my fingernails, not because I have to but because I want to, a meditation of sorts.
  9. Listening to music; whatever music that suits my mood, from classical, to classic rock, blues, to crooner, cool jazz (not that wild stuff, gets on my nerves) to soft rock; pretty much all is welcome to my ears.
  10. Watching a movie and unabashedly allowing tears to flow because the storyline is so beautiful or so sad; so cleansing.
  11. Having a clean house ~ as long as it’s done by someone other than me!  Sorry folks, me and housecleaning ain’t the best of friends!
  12. Getting a phone call from a friend you haven’t seen in months or years which results in a lovely lunch or dinner where the conversation takes off like we saw each other just last week.
  13. Reading a good book.
  14. Lying in a hammock, in the shade, with the perfectly tempered breeze caressing my skin.
  15. Preparing and serving food to my friends and family.
  16. Sitting around a table with those I love.
  17. Exploring my own neighbourhood, camera in hand and taking the time to see what is around me.
  18. Walking in the woods on a cool enough day that you need a good sweater but not cold enough to require a coat in Autumn, the crunch of leaves under foot.
  19. Standing outside, in early morning, and realizing that there is absolutely no sound and just enjoying the moment, knowing it won’t last.
  20. Walking on a beach, collecting shells.
  21. Family get-togethers that are loud and noisy and full of laughter.
  22. Flirting
  23. Having that song come on the radio just as I am thinking about it!
  24. Hearing my boys laughing together.
  25. Getting positive feedback from something I’ve written (especially when I was convinced it was just so-so!)
  26. Sleeping through the night ~ this one needs to happen more often!
  27. Waking up, without an alarm clock, stretching in bed and realizing there is nothing urgent awaiting me.
  28. Sitting in front of a campfire, watching the flames lick the logs and hearing the hum of quiet conversations going on around me.
  29. Warm soup on a cold day.
  30. Ice-cold beer while sitting on a hot beach.
  31. Kissing.
  32. Sheets that dried on the spring-time clothesline and then placed directly onto the bed for that one perfectly scented sleep.
  33. Flannel sheets in the coldest of winter.
  34. Lilacs.
  35. Sunflowers.
  36. Real Christmas tree.
  37. Driving on a traffic-free road with good tunes playing and the sun shining (just not in my eyes!)
  38. Sense of humour.
  39. People with a joie de vivre.
  40. A returned smile.
  41. Chatting with strangers who cross my path while I walk my dog (he does usually cause people to stop in the first place!)
  42. Making connections ~ whether face-to-face or through shared comments.
  43. Authentic people.
  44. Listening to Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt, eyes closed.
  45. Having someone tell you:  “I am so happy to see you, I missed you” and know they truly mean it!
  46. Being able to help someone by listening and then giving them the words they need to hear.
  47. Smell of coffee just as I want my cup.
  48. Cool shower in the hot summer.
  49. Travel.
  50. Knowing if I dream it, I can make it a reality.

Sunday Gratitude – May 3, 2015

What an absolutely glorious week-end!  So beautiful I cannot even remember if the beginning of the week was nice or not!

It was a fairly busy week with lots of fun activities but also moments of just sitting with a book (one must sometimes force one’s self to do that, ya know!)  Played with cupcakes and icing, played with make-up and played in the dirt.

Gratitude List

  1. So thankful Mick was such an organized guy.  “His” shed was a jigsaw puzzle with all the pertinent pieces placed “just so”.  I was able to take out the BBQ, table, chairs, etc. all by myself and place them in their appropriate places.  Am now able to have an outdoor dinner party!

  2. As mentioned earlier this week, it was my Mary Kay launch, which went well; and, our little team got together so we can better prepare our .  Feeling like it won’t be such a hurdle.

  3. Made cupcakes for Cathy (36!) which were well-received.  She took the time to send me a note to let me know that she wished I could hear the compliments.  Well, that is all I needed! xo

  4. I worked in the gardens all week-end.  Well, not ALL week-end but a good portion of it and most of the left-over leaves and such have been cleared away.  Starting to look nice and tidy!  Iain helped out in the veggie garden, working hard to remove the remaining wild grasses ~ those suckers go deep and tangle together and do not want to let go.  (Ugh.  I hated those!  Sorry Mick…)

  5. I have made a few friends through the blogosphere.  I never expected this to happen.  I was just putting my stuff out there to see if what I had to say would resonate with anyone out there.  Well, somehow, I got more than that.  Real friendships have emerged through all the bantering and discussions and laughs.  I am truly blessed! xoxo to you all!

 

A Walk Before the Rains

They are calling for a most dreary week, weather-wise. Rain every day for the full week.  On the plus side, all that brown grass will be brought to life and transformed into lovely shades of green.  (One can always look at the bright side!)  April showers and all that….

Soooo, instead of going to the gym first thing, Zeke and I discussed it and decided it would be best to go for the walk before it started to rain!

I swear, it felt more like Fall than Spring!  Ran into a gentleman that we know through Iain’s grass-mowing days and I filled him in on the Winter’s Happenings.  He was saddened and worried for his former “employee”.  Bummer for Zeke is we ended up talking longer than he would have liked and the walk turned into a turn around the larger block!  Oh well…

We did manage to see the little budding flowers (no way I can compete with those of you in Ireland, Portland, England, etc.) and, though the light was not the best, I did get a few pics in.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Except for the red branch and the violets, all were taken in my front yard.  The little white flowers just popped up.  Have no clue what they are and, though I spent some time on the Internet trying to identify them, I did not succeed!

Have a most marvellous day, all!