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

A Break From the Noise

“Peace comes from within.  Do not seek it without.”
Gautama Buddha

Started this post yesterday but got a surprise visit from François and, before I knew it, we were shopping for flooring for the damned basement, so I put this aside 😉   Now, having brought up the problem with the boys’ effing toilet, I write between being official helper to my handyman and cooking supper and seeing him off 😉


Woke up yesterday morning to a very drab day.  Thought “ah man, really?   Then, as I was pfaffing away on Facebook, the sun decided to make its appearance.  We-hell now…  Just the kick in the pants I needed to get off my arse.  I was really feeling the need to go out and walk out my thoughts.   I have so many things swirling around my brain, it keeps me up at night and I involuntarily stress about getting it all done.  Meditation or purging of thought is needed!  My type of meditation does not require contorted legs, sore back, numb bum and some mantra repeated endlessly.  I’m way too ADHD for that shizzle.  No… gimme a walk ouside in the fresh air towards no definitive destination or towards a potential woods, park, whatever, I care not.   All I need is my dog, my camera (‘coz you just never know what you’ll see that you want to capture when you’re a wanna-be photographer and sometimes you want more than your phone camera), the proper clothes for the weather, and I will be one with the Universe.

Somehow, the things that are preoccupying me are replaced sometimes by a song that gets stuck in my head, sometimes words form into a Haiku – I’ll find myself randomly counting out my syllables.  And if a good one does appear, I record it on my phone because sure as shit it’ll be gone by the time I get home!  Sometimes I’ll get brilliant ideas for blog posts – most of which never see the light of day.

But sometimes, my mind goes blessedly blank.  I hear the tweets and birdsongs, the traffic, the silence.  I see the colours, the shapes, the birds and squirrels.  I let Zeke go off leash once we reach a park and I’ve made sure no one else is present.  Not that he would run off, but just in case they are scared of big beasts.  He’s a big beast!  Both of us alone together.

Once I hit the first park just off du Perche (never remember the name), I had to concentrate on the shimmy/slide/shuffle/sashay just to remain upright!  The walkway was icy.  No room for random thoughts when you are just trying to not end up landing hard on your hiney.  But the air was a nice mixture of crisp and clear and the sky so blue and the colours of the abandoned playground just popped, that it made the efford worthwhile.  I felt everything lift off my shoulders – at least for a while.

I decided that I was only going as far as my favourite willow tree because, frankly, the shimmy/slide/shuffle/sashay was a workout in itself.  No need to do the full 10K to feel like a workout!  Plus, the weather app said it was a balmy +4ºC (39ºF) with the windchill of 0ºC (32ºF) and I felt overdressed.  The amount you sweat also helps measure the workout.  Right?

How nice.  Once we crossed de Normandie Street and onto the little roadway, there was no ice/snow.  Till we reached the end of the road, of course!  A rest, so to speak!

The wind was perfect for me to brush Zeke.  He HATES being brushed.  No, LOATHES it.  So a whine here, a move over here, he finally, in an attempt to get me to stop, he lay down on his side, presenting me with his belly.   He he he.  Sucks to be you, Zeke!  I got to remove MOUNTAINS of fur.  The wind was great, I had fur flying all over the place:  down the trail, over the rocks, all over my pants, in my mouth.  Great.   After I had removed the equivalent of a small wiff-waff (you know, a kickable, like a Pomeranian or a Shihtzu…) I put away the comb.  I hurried to tie Zeke as a woman and her dog were coming towards us.  The woman asked if it was okay for our dogs to meet and I confirmed that I had a big suck of a dog.  Billie, her golden, was not impressed.  At the tender age of two, she bared her teeth.  Zeke, however, was not impressed nor afraid so he pursued her.  His charms did not work overly well but he kept on checking.  Small world that we live in, Billie’s owner had a voice that I recognised.  When we introduced ourselves, we realised that we did know each other.  Nancy’s son plays golf at the club where I work and while he plays, she whiles away her time in the restaurant/bar…


As you can see by the sky in the background, the sun was making itself scarce.  Nancy though I was smart to wear snowpants and a tuque and decided she’d had enough.  The wind had picked up and I had a decent trek home so we exchanged “See you at the golf clubs” and moved our separate ways.

Walking back, I became even more focused on the colours that popped out of the strangest places.  Strange is probably a strong word but I felt like my senses were on alert.  Or my eyeballs were!

The “vinaigrier” which literally translates to vinegar plant, but which I finallly decided to google and find out is really called a Virginia Sumac (though I can’t be certain and don’t really care) is basically an invasive bush that is boring in summer, outstanding in autumn and adds a pop of colour in winter.  I love photographing it 3/4 of the year.  On our way out of the park, I am always fascinated by this little cabin that looks like it belongs in some long-lost forest, is actually next to a boulevard!  I loved the little bush with so many colours, like it thought it was still autumn, and wanted to stand out and finally, there were so many reflections in puddles and one in particular actually made me stop.

Did I solve any of my issues that have been bugging me?  Not a one.  Did I, for a couple of hours completely release all my worries.  Oh yes.  Completely.

I like to think that my two hour meditation did manage to liberate some space in my brain so that I may actually feel I’lle be able to accomplish some of that which needs attending to.

Or maybe I just took some time for me (and Zeke) to just be.

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

26. Enjoying the colours of winter
27. Running into acquaintances
28. Brushing Zeke
29. Reflections in puddles
30. Taking time for me

A Tuscan Feast

“The preparation of good food is merely another expression of art, one of the joys of civilized living…”
Dione Lucas

 As this is a post about food and Italy, here’s a little dinner music to keep you company as you read 😉

I thought for sure that this morning I would be suffering from dysania, but no.  The alarm clock went off for François at 6:25 and I was wide-awake.  Dammit.  I had been planning on sleeping in and being totally lazy today.

For those of you who don’t know, in September 2016, I went to Tuscany all by myself.  BEST. TRIP. EVER.  My first week of that trip was spent with the fabulous Cook in Tuscany group, created by the wonderful and irrepressible hosts, Linda and George, and 13 other fantabulous participants, learning how to cook Tuscan food and experiencing a lot of what the area had to offer.  A dream of mine since forever.

Fast-forward to last night.  Okay, maybe not so fast.  It has been one and a half years since said trip.  It was about bloody time I had my sisters and their hubbies over to show off what I had learnt.  (Thank you, Tracy, for nudging me…)

I warned them to come bellies empty because I had a lot to show them!

“I like a cook who smiles out loud when he tastes his own work.
Let God worry about your modesty; I want to see your enthusiasm.”
Robert Farrar Capon

To get us started on the right foot, I served Aperol Spritz – did I take a picture?  No.  So right.  With our cocktails we had two kinds of bruschette.  Bean and onion and the classic tomato.  I only cut and toasted so many slices so that no one over-exaggerated…

Once they had a little food in their bellies, I put them all to work!  To truly appreciate Pici, one must roll with the dough 😉

“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”
Laurie Colwin

Having worked for their supper, they were then allowed into the dining room for the first course, a Tuscan tomato and bread soup.  Now.  I may have screwed up a bit.  I had toasted my bread ahead of time and was supposed to add it to my soup in bits and pieces till I felt there was enough.  In my usual over-zealousness, I dumped the whole bowl into the pot.  Um.  Can we call it Bread and Tomato soup instead?  No one seemed to mind and hey, Tuscan cooking is all about stretching out what one has….  All around, it was declared delicious.

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
Julia Child

As I had not quite finished preparing my crumbs for the pici, I had them all come back, with their glass of wine, into the kitchen to keep me company (next house, OPEN CONCEPT).  This was a very interactive meal, in case you’ve not noticed 😉

When in Sienna, I went to visit one of the Frescobaldi vineyards, Castel Giocondo, in Montalcino.  I splurged (BIG time) and bought two bottles of their Brunello.  These I kept for this special night.  We decided to decant each one and oh wow.  They were both fantastic.

Pici now cooked and sautéed, it was back to the dining room!  Before Tuscany became the “go-to” vacation spot, even for Italians, they were quite poor.  Salt was used sparingly on food, kept mostly for preserving.  Not everyone could afford cheese, so they “cheated” by cooking stale bread crumbs in olive oil.  It truly gives incredible flavour.  Everyone loved their pasta – it was theirs, they rolled it, after all!

“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.”
M.F.K. Fisher

While we were enjoying our pasta, the pork tenderloin and grilled veggies were being warmed in the oven so there was no longer a need to dance between rooms.

I did, however, remember that I had a bottle of Grappa.  Instead of sipping it as a digestif after the meal, we used it as a “Trou Normand” – a shot which, as they say, serves to make room for the next course.

This was a cheat in the whole Italian evening and I may get a frown from a true Italiano but I’m willing to take my chances.  Besides, the deed is done.

We’re still smiling.  Certainly  not because we are overstuffed.  Yet.

You still with me?

The meal is not quite done!  Time for dessert.  I made panna cotta with two sauces, chocolate and strawberry.  Pick one, pick none or pick both!

“A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch. ”
James Beard

Coffee was served and one would think that it ended there, right?  Wrong.

A little Vin Santo and Cantucci to cap it all off… hoping no one would be feeling crapulous after such a feast!

“I lurched away from the table after a few hours feeling like Elvis in Vegas – fat, drugged, and completely out of it.”
Anthony Bourdain


This, That and Whatnot – to NOT Call it a Week-end Share

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Marcel Proust

It’s funny.  Every time I start something, it eventually falls through the cracks.   I guess it’s just the way I am.  I am blaming my Aries personality.  We are notoriously known for starting projects.  You want to get something going?  Get one of us involved.  You want to finish said project?  You better have back up because we will be off on a new project.


or is it Shiny Object Syndrome?

Either way, I am guilty.

Last week I was doing the Costco thing – you know, where you have a list, you will absolutely abide by it and somehow end up spending $200 more than planned?  Anyhoo.  I came upon the flower section and saw pussy willows!  Do you remember when you could see those all over the place?  Why don’t I see them anywhere anymore?  So, of course, when I bought them, they looked like a bunch of sticks with only one or two pussies – don’t even!  I got mocked by the men in my life.  Whatevs.  I am a happy camper.  I should have taken a “before” pic but didn’t.  So trust me.  They did look like sad sticks.  However, lookit ’em now!

Totally unrelated and yet is.  Way back when, my mother had Nat King Cole records – you know, the vinyl kind – and on the back of the jacket of a double-album, was a lovely text about Nat and his “pussy-willow voice”.  I always thought that was the perfect description and it has stayed with me since.  Was hard to pick a favourite, but here you go.  Enjoy.

On Monday, Zeke and I went for a walk.  The sky was glorious, the sun was shining, it wasn’t “freeze-your-butt-off” cold… We made our way to “Teletubbie Park”.  We’ve been calling it that since we moved to the ‘hood and the boys went to elementary school right beside it.  Funny the things families do or create or say.

On Sunday I had made mussels – they are my “fast food” and I almost always make two flavours, which I did this time.  I then keep the left-over broth to make a soup.

Moday’s was a Thai-style shrimp and noodle

and Wednesday’s was a sorta chicken noodle with Fennel-Marinière base

They may look similar but were world’s apart flavour-wise.  I have to admit I was quite pleased.  Firstly, the Thai one got my Pepper-head’s (Iain) approval for spiciness and the Marinière was no basic chicken noodle soup!  Will I be able to repeat it?  Probably not.

I also had taken out chicken thighs for Wednesday – “no, Aidan, I cannot make Chicken Parm every time I take out chicken!!”  But I did made a casserole thingy with my left-over Frenched string beans (yeah, I parboiled, and split them apart by hand then sautéed them with some shallots and red peppers) and left-over boiled potatoes that I sliced and used as a topping with a sprinkling of cheese.  Not overly pretty to look at and simple, yet tasty.  I was surprised by a visit from François as I don’t usually see him during the week, lately.

As Wednesday was also Valentine’s Day, I made the trek to visit my mother-in-law, bringing her a stuffed dog to cuddle, a small rose plant and some chocolate.  She loved the dog, decided to call him Harry (will see if she remembers next time I see her!)


On my way back, while stopped at a set of lights, I looked to my right and burst out laughing.  Apologies for the quality but I had no time to open the window and was being honked at!

My favourite British cussword and pretty much how I feel every time I return from a visit with Jean.

On Saturday Iain bought a car, thanks to help from Andre, Mick’s best friend.  He’s pretty pleased to have wheels again!

Iain agreed to be my date (after inviting himself) to Andre’s birthday celebration.  I was more than happy to have him take my place in the Vodka Shot Foolishness that takes place every year.  You see, it was always, Lorne, Bill, Andre and Me…. while the “girls” Dorothy, Phany, Tammy and Mick refrained.  After Mick died, I no longer had my D.D. so I would sleep over.  I have since lost the taste for vodka thanks to these over-indulgences.  I don’t care how much the bottle costs, it all tastes like rubbing alcohol to me now!  Iain, you may take over the mantle and play with the big boys in my stead!

I may not partake in the vodka shots (okay, maybe two) but I will always bring the cake.

Chocolate Mousse & Caramel

But before making said cake, I helped François collect my friend Andrea’s wood.  Ironically, after writing a Friday Fictioneer about the Emerald Ash Borer problem, she had three of her trees cut down.  Wood is wood is wood, and François’ mother heats her house with it so he was more than glad to help her get rid of it!  After it has properly dried, he’ll cut it down to size.  He figured he got a good three cords of wood out of what he took!  Talk about a savings…. going price is easily $125 per cord, if you’re lucky.

Some of the wood

Once François felt the truck could take no more, off he went back home; and I, to finish the cake, shower and, along with Iain, make it to Tammy and Andre’s for 5:30.

I’ll not embarrass my son by including a shot of him snoring on the couch and missing dessert… because that would be mean. I’ll save that for a more opportune time!  These boys – especially Lorne – are a tough crowd to keep up with.  The birthday boy himself was blinking his eyes for long periods of time at the table 😉

A slice, to see the inside

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, but there was still more wood to collect; which we did, and once François returned from delivering it and returning the truck, we each had a different left-over, vegged on the couch and watched the Olympics.  Okay.  I watched, he snoozed!

I know it’s already Tuesday, but do have a fabulous week!  Maybe this weekend I’ll manage to post on Sunday.  Who knows?  I make no promises.

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

21. Mick’s friends – still keeping me in their group
22. Being able to include my son in this get-together
23. Blue skies, crisp air
24. Pussy Willows – just because
25. Being the official birthday cake supplier

Weekend Share – on a Monday, Again! – February 12, 2018

“Be thankful for everything that happens in your life; it’s all an experience.”
Roy T. Bennett

So, I am late posting my weekend share again.  Can’t blame me.  It’s the Olympics!  And François decided to stay over Sunday night which would have been my posting time.  Since he’s been working full-time, we only see each other on week-ends, I’m not going to “diss” him by locking myself up in my office 😉

This past week was one of appointments and lunches, starting with Monday.   For those who don’t know, my mother-in-law, whom I inherited after the death of her only son, has been placed in a home for seniors – against her will – because she is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia and is physically unsteady on her feet.  It is too dangerous to leave her alone in her 3rd storey apartment, not that she’s buying it at all.

You see, she was found unconscious in her apartment on June 28th; spent two months in the hospital where they tested her and came to the dementia conclusion and would not release her.  She was brought to court to have her rights taken away and ended up being given one chance to return home (which I wanted, if only for one week, to be in her things).  She lasted 5 days before she had to be brought back to the hospital, looking dehydrated and sporting a black eye; and, after a couple of weeks, when a bed opened, to the home.  Her case ended up in social worker’s hands and then the curator’s where it was discovered that she had actually done a living will,  naming me her mandatory.  Well, me and her friend, who has refused the job (thank goodness).  There is so much bureaucracy and paperwork and back and forth.  It’s been a major headache.  I had two months to empty her apartment – major hoarder – and collect all important papers and some clothes for her and whatnot.  The rest was donated or shipped to the garbage or recycling.  All I can say is, François is a saint for helping me out with this most disconcerting task.

Some of the paperwork I need to go through

Monday’s appointment was with Jean’s (mother-in-law) financial advisor who will be helping me sort through it all as soon as the mandate is homolgated.  Thank goodness he’s been dealing with her for 20 years and knows the ins and outs of her stuff!  And her personality, which is not easy.

I then met my sister, Lisa, for lunch at Sesame around 12:30 for a yummy spicy salmon poké bowl, in my case, and Tonkinese Beef Soup, for her.  We sat and chatted till 3 o’clock!  Was simply wonderful.  We were beyond overdue for some one-on-one time.

Come Tuesday, it was time to pick up my mother and bring her for her appointment with a neurologist.  She’s been having a burning feeling inside her leg for years… Conveniently, Mom’s appointment was at 11:45 and was over by 12:30 – yep… just in time for lunch!

As Lisa had had a “soupe-repas”(soup as a meal) yesterday, I had a hankering for one, so suggested we go Vietnemese this time and brought  Mom to Le Petit Tournesol Doré where we each had the grilled chicken lemongrass soup.  Soooo good!

Wednesday.  My official day sans appointments.  It snowed. All. Friggen. Day.  Did I feel like going out there?  Nope and Nope and Nope.

Besides.  I had given myself a mission.  Clean up my desk.  Somehow, I totally lost control and didn’t seem capable of getting it back…

Not saying I have accomplished my task. Yet.

Thursday was my meeting with the Maîre d’ of the Golf Club to find out whether or not I am returning this coming golf season. I have tentatively said yes.  But it is still months away.  There is an upcoming event next week that I’ll work and any other events that pop up… but we’ll see.

I then met my sister, Tracy, for lunch.  Somehow, we ended up at Sesame… hmmm… like, where I went on Monday!  LOL… I figured, no big whup, there are lots of options.  What do I have?  Same thing as Monday.  It was that good!

Come Friday, I set the PVR for the opening ceremonies of the PyeongChang Olympics, had my breakfast and decided that Zeke and I were due for a walk towards my favourite willow tree and, if we felt up to it, further to the next park.  We felt up to it.  But we definitely avoided coming back through the thicker snow and chose the streets.  The sky was not particularly beautiful (the sun was extremely anaemic) for pictures but I took some anyway and amused myself with PicMonkey.

On our walk back – remember, “we” decided to take the roads back 😉 – I noticed that quite a few houses had “Widow’s Walks”.  Considering we are far from the river, never mind the sea, I wondered what possessed the builders to add them to the tops of these houses.  It’s not like they looked accessible (I may be totally wrong) or even attractive.  But hey, that’s my own humble opinion.  Not one, not two but three houses!  And the third one a good way away from the other two.  I figured they influenced each other but the third?

The next thing I noticed is how weird this particular ‘hood is.  On one side of the street you have the house on the left and directly across you have the other.

I did my 10K steps though!  Got home, took a shower and then left to pick up my mother as she and I had appointments with our new doctor for 3 pm.  It is so annoying that geting a family doctor requires sitting on a waiting list or having friends with connections.  For the past 10 years, I have been going to a private clinic where it cost me up to $110 just to say “hello”.  I no longer work in a company offering benefits so I no longer have insurance.  It has been three years since I’ve gone for a full physical.

Anyhoo, I dunno… Met with the doctor, he asked me why I was there.  I said to get a physical because I don’t have a family doctor.  He said OK.  Asked me if my pressure was good.  I answered it was last time I had it checked.  He asked me when that was.  I said three years ago.  He asked if I used the machines in the pharmacy.  I said no.  He then asked me if there was anything in particular I needed attending.  I said I have trouble sleeping.  He said you want something?  I said yes, I’d like x.  He said how many and then wrote a script.  He then filled in a paper for me to go for general blood tests and – ugh – am I that old already? – a stool sample – when I made a face he said:  You prefer a camera?  I said no, thanks.  He said ok and if there were no issues, I’d not hear from him and showed me the door.

I left there thinking I need to make an appointment with my private clinic where he will weigh me (and give me shit for gaining a pound or ten), take my pressure, measure my waist, listen to my heart, etc.  You know, give me a physical…

Friday evening, François came by.  He surprised me with a lovely gift.  He was supposed to get a price for me because a friend works in a sports store but instead said that no, I could not pay him as they were a gift.  Call them a Christmas/Valentine’s Day/Whatever you want to call it, he said!  I am now the proud owner of my own snowshoes.  I had mentioned that I was considering buying myself a pair from Costco – not too expensive, perfect for a first-timer like me.  He said that is fine and dandy but to hold off.  He would get me a good price from a friend who works at a good sport store.  That was weeks ago.  After my last couple of walks with Zeke, I almost said to hell with it and was going to go buy them anyway!

After a lazy Saturday morning, we went to catch my niece, and goddaughter, Ariane, in her volleyball tournament.  Oh the memories!  I played in high school and college.  I so vividly remember the tournaments.  Game after game, time only for a light bite or if more time, trying not to overeat.   Only in my day, parents never came to watch!  There was a bus that picked us up from school and brought us to wherever it was and then back.  Now, parents have to drive their kids all over the place!  I didn’t think of bringing my camera and my phone is not the best for action shots so I took a very short video.  Ariane is the one in the red shoes in the black and gold team on the right.

Sadly, they lost that game.  Still, I managed to see her make some nice moves!

That night I made a potato/haddock casserole thingy.  A layer of sliced potatoes, layer of sliced onion, another layer of sliced potatoes… cook those for a bit; add the haddock on top and then a sorta tomato/spinach/garlic “salad” and bake for 12 minutes.   Definitely doing this one again!

And, finally!  Sunday!  François wanted to treat his mother to a Dalida impersonator named Joan Bluteau and invited me to join them.  It was at a lovely hotel called the Manoir Rouville-Campbell.  An intimate concert for about 100 people.  I knew they held wedding receptions at this place but I never knew they held mini-concerts.  She was quite good!

One of Dalida’s most famous songs was “Gigi l’Amoroso” of which I taped a little snippet…

At the end of the concert, Ms Bluteau generously allowed folks to take their picture with her.  Mme. Martin was thrilled… and so, I suspect, was her son!

Mme. Martin, “Dalida”, François

I’ve included a video of the real Dalida.  I could have used the Italian version of the song but Dalida did move to Paris and sang mostly in French – besides, to have a comparison 😉

We had not had lunch and it was nearly 5:00 pm so we decided to try out the restaurant in the hotel.  They had a restricted “Pub” menu which ended up being fabulous.

François had “only” a duck confit sandwich, his mother a fish and chips plate and I had the trio of tartares.  Included was a delicious cream of broccoli soup to start and a molten chocolate cake for dessert!

I apologize for going on and on like this.  Goodness!  If you are still with me, than I thank you!

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

16.  Fhameeda – for getting me into her clinic
17.  Finding the financial advisor who will help me with my mother-in-law’s stuff
18.  My sisters – I cherish when we have a chance to sit one-on-one
19.  New snowshoes – to share snow time with my sweetheart
20.  The music of Dalida – I thought I knew none of it and found out I knew a few!




Weekend Share – On a Monday! – February 5, 2018

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
John F. Kennedy

Good Monday to you.  I hope you all had as nice a week as I did.  Well most of it, anyway.  Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday and normally, that means a whole lotta nothing to me.  Okay, always means a whole lotta nothing but I still watched it.  Yay Eagles!  Why?  Because the Patriots were favoured to win, so I took for the other team 😉

Monday was a mostly lazy day, I would say.  Doing paperwork and such but not too much – almost as bad as this cat

On Tuesday, Julie and I went to see “The Shape of Water”.   We were going to walk towards a Korean restaurant we enjoy but that would have meant getting cold.  And losing the time walking.  So we decided to go up to the fourth floor of the old Forum to eat crap instead.  By crap, I mean burgers and fries and beer 😉  Man that place is tired!  Still.  It gave us a chance to catch up and enjoy a good hour and a half before the movie.  Which we stupidly didn’t buy tickets for beforehand.  Why?  We still can’t figure out why we didn’t.  After waiting in two lines – first one to get to either the wicket with a human or the machine… was me.  We were surprised that the theatre was pretty full and were happy to get decent seats once one guy moved over.  We really enjoyed this sci-fi flick.  I didn’t think I would, frankly.  I was going to include the official trailer but frankly, now that I’ve seen the movie, I find the trailer gives too much.  Just go see it.  Everyone was fantastic.

On Thursday, just as I was about to close my drapes and hit the sack, I see THIS in my driveway!

Now I know it’s a random turn-around in my driveway but still… No way someone could do that on purpose!  😀

As we were sitting on my couch Saturday, François pointed to my painting by my friend Véronikah…

Hmmm… kinda funny. No?

Friday Zeke and I went for a walk to “my” river over at Parc des Brouages.  For some strange reason, I have been sleeping like shite lately, waking up really early – too early – and giving up on going back to bed, catching up on sleep, meanwhile hoping that by getting up early, I’ll fall asleep at night and stay asleep until morning.  Dreamer.  I’m nothing but a dreamer.

That said, and trying to look at the bright side.  I’ve been getting stuff done.  Sorta.  The good thing is we get to go out and get some frest air!  But first, before it disappears, Zeke next to my “hearts”!

And off we go, passing through the “des Iles Percées” park with its marescent trees.

And making our way to said park.  Perfect timing.  We walked along “my” river, snapped some pics, fell on my knees on the hard ice (ouch), and walked back just as the recess bells rang.  We made sure to be out before the school brats kids were released!

What’s this?  We are not alone… rabbit?

Two sides of “my” river

Hearts can be found anywhere you look…

Worth the banged up knee… Zeke actually came towards me when he heard my “ouch”.  I then sat back and listened to the relaxing sounds of the water.

Walking back towards home, we came upon these mega Christmas balls…

And a typically Canadian thing… toboggan next to the door!

Get home and I finally pick up the glove that has been on my snow removal stick, figuring that I shall finally chuck it as no one has claimed it.  Umm. It’s mine…

And with so much beautiful sunshine, despite the cold, the snow and ice have started to melt.  Houston, we have a problem.  The temporary fix did not last overly long!

Saturday, we were off to celebrate Dany’s birthday at La Porte Grecque. Of course I said I would make the cake!  What flavour?  Oh, chocolate-anything, was the response.  I said I knew exactly what I would make but just needed to know how many peeps we would be.  Final countdown, 15.  So, though my recipe says my 4-layer chocolate-banana cake in 8 1/2″ cake tin is for 14-16, I didn’t trust it… so I went with the 10″.

Birthday boy seemed to be quite happy…

How could I resist being the middle of these two handsome dudes, making a “sangweech” as Giselle called it!

Martin, Moi, Dany

The whole gang together to celebrate.  Just think.  All of us with arrows pointed at our heads?  Besides Dany, who arrived in the 3rd year of high school, we’ve known each other since 1976… 42 years this year!  (Well, actually, Julie and I went to kindergarten and grade 1 together!  Nuts!!

Standing: François M., Julie, Michael, Me, Marc, François A., Tania Sitting: Dany, Giselle, Sophie, Thierry, Caroline, Martin Kneeling: Jean-Luc, Sonia

Oh yeah… The hearts were still in my driveway come Friday afternoon when François showed up.  So, upon returning from the restaurant, his answer was this:

Which, if I haven’t put you to sleep yet, brings us to Sunday!  Do nothing day.  Well, sorta.  Giselle sent me us a message thanking us for celebrating her man’s birthday and also to tease us with the fact they were having left-over cake for breakfast.   In retaliation, I made chocolate-banana pancakes and served the left-over white chocolate whipped cream (icing) on top!  This caused another flurry of exchanges… tee hee…

After stuffing himself, François slaved away painting in the basement and I did the preps for that night’s supper.  The Super Bowl and chicken parmesan – not quite a usual paring but it worked for us!

And, just sayin’  I called the Eagles’ win… 😀

It’s now so late it is almost Tuesday!  Sheesh!!!  Have a fabulous week, my lovies…

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

11. Friends – and get-togethers
12. Cake – who doesn’t love cake?
13. Sense of humour – gets me out of a funk every time
14. Comfy couch – to cuddle next to a loved one
15. Movies – to escape into another world