Canada Day in Quebec

I have a love/hate relationship with my province at times.  Especially on Canada Day.  I am blessed (thank you, Mom) to be perfectly bilingual.  I like to say I am what P.E. Trudeau wanted our whole country to be…as comfortable in English as I am in French.  Plus, look how much my father looked like him at a certain time of his life – in a handsomer way, of course…

I went to both English and French schools so I got different history lessons… History being that “unbiased” retelling of the past… I used to joke that I could not remember which were the “bad” Indians because I got both sides of the English/French history – just so I’m clear… there are NO bad Indians…  Who lost in the battle of The Plains of Abraham in Quebec?  Well, that depends on which side you were on… I can’t claim one or the other, frankly.  The English/French thing has been going on since… I’m a Square Head Frog, or a Bloke Pea Soup…

I get frustrated because St-Jean-Baptiste Day – exactly one week prior, is a Quebec holiday and everything under the sun is closed; come Canada Day, not so much.  St-Jean-Baptiste cannot be moved, Canada Day can – I mean for companies giving you the day off… if they fall on a week-day, St-Jean must be taken on that day but Canada Day can be moved to the Friday or Monday, whichever is closer.  Banks and such are closed but you may have to work.  I don’t agree with this.

My friend Joe shared this beautiful pic on Facebook yesterday, so I snagged it for my post.  Our parliament building beautifully lit up.  I apologise for not giving credit to the photographer (still waiting for Joe to tell me if he took it or he himself snagged it…)

I love where I live.  It’s a beautiful province within a beautiful country.  We have wild extremes when it comes to climate, which is normal, considering how vast a territory we have.  There are issues, yes.  I think pretty much every place has.  Here in Quebec the language issues and desire for separation from Canada drive me nuts.  The Separatists come and go and each time they try to rally the troops, they fail. (Thank God.)  It would break my heart if they ever did succeed.  While I don’t want this to be a political post, it kinda sorta is.

It’s Canada Day!

I thought I’d share a few little funnies with you… coz, that’s how I roll.

From 2010… so different Prime Minister but still same old story…

I have been trying, for three days now, to find a text I read a long time ago about a Quebecer on vacation.  When asked where he’s from, he says Quebec.  The other person says, “Oh, that’s a country?” To which he gets the reply of “no.”  So the first guys says, “Then why not say you’re from Canada?” And it goes on and on about trying to explain that the Quebecers like to call Quebec a Nation because they are distinct.  Sadly, I cannot find it to save my life.

And this little spoof from “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” from 2014 – shows how this separation issue goes on and on…

And, of course, as many of you are Americans… must have a little funny between the ‘twixt of us… ‘coz ya know, we really do love you guys and we do share the longest undefended border…

So to all my Canadian peeps, I say:  Happy Canada Day, eh!

And, let’s take Rick Mercer’s advice… Go out there and visit this beautiful country!

Oh!  How could I forget to add this!!

Temujin – What Pegman Saw

Good Sunday night, my peeps.  Between cleaning house, attending 50th birthday parties, opening my house to potential buyers, I have started and re-started this Pegman Post.  I’d leave a few lines, come back…  Nope, have no idea where I was going with this.  Start over, leave again…  This is what you get.  A quickie history lesson!  Thanks, always, to Karen and Josh for hosting this lovely prompt!

This week Pegman goes to the Great Wall of China. Feel free to choose from photospheres you find anywhere along it’s length. This link will get you started, or you can venture off on your own. No need to stay with your tour group on Pegman tours 😉

Your mission is to write up to 150 words inspired by your tour of the location. You’re welcome to write fiction, essay, poetry, or anything you choose. Once your 150 words is polished, you can share it with other Pegman contributors at the Linkup below. Reading and commenting on others’ work is part of the fun!

Temujin

Born to poverty, Temujin survived kidnappings, abandonment by his tribe, murder. and yet became the fiercest of warriors and a natural-born leader.

He put strong allies in positions of power instead of family, ignoring tradition. He granted religious freedom, abolished torture, encouraged trade, created an international postal system, abolished inherited aristocratic titles, forbade the selling and kidnapping of women yet caused terror wherever he went.

Temujin grew his army – up to one million soldiers – by killing the leaders of the enemy tribes and incorporating the remaining members. He used those not expert enough with horse and bow as human shields. The Mongolian empire expanded to over 11 million square miles, including parts of China, breaching the Great Wall as none other had ever succeeded in doing, not once but many times.

And yet, Genghis Khan, proclaimed Universal Leader, was no Superman. Thrown from his horse, he died of internal injuries.

 

 

All the Rage – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday-Friday Fictioneers Day, my peeps!  Today I have attempted a “Rochelle-esque” story.  Plus, it’s my photo and I swear, when Rochelle asked me for it, I knew exactly what I was going to do.  Well sorta-kinda exactly.  I also swear, I did NOT read her story first.

Should you like to attempt your own 100-word story based on my picture of the New-ish Montreal Symphony House, then click on the blue frog and add your link.  Easy-peasy.  If you want the official rules and regs, click on Rochelle’s name above….And THEN add your story 😉

Click here to get the link to your blog

©Me, Myself and I

A “Rochelle-Style” Historical Fiction

100 words

All the Rage

Charlotte looked at the metal contraption warily.  “It looks heavy.”

“Oh contraire, Mademoiselle.  It is actually going to reduce the weight of the dress as you no longer need to wear so many petticoats.  Now turn around and lift your arms, s’il vous plaît.”

Charlotte did as Monsieur Milliet requested as he lifted his invention and placed it over her head.  He then tied a ribbon around her waist to hold it in place.  “Voilà!  Is is not magnifique?”

“Oui, Monsieur.  Let’s try it with my dress.  It would be scandalous to waltz about in just my petticoat and hoop!”

Originally created by Mr. R.C. Milliet

Story Time – Friday iFictioneers

It’s Thursday, so it’s Friday Fictioneers time – one day late or one day early, you choose!  It was the perfect day to clean out my garden (I’ve the scars to prove the roses resisted my efforts) so I forced myself to stay away from the computer.  This came to me as I soaked away my aches and pains.  Good thing I had my cell nearby to type out my rough draft!

So… Thank you Rochelle for both hosting and providing this second-hand photo (first for me, though).  Any of you want to join in, click on Rochelle’s name for the how-to.  Or, just click on the blue frog to read more wonderful stories!

Get the inLinkz Code

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Word Count:  100

Genre:  Memoir with extras

Story Time

Though still light outside, Mama lit the oil lamps.

“Night falls so quickly,” she explained.

Turning to my grandmother, I begged, “Oh, Mémère, raconte-moi une de tes histoires. Je t’en prie!”*

“Chérie, you already know them all off by heart!” she laughed.

“Surely not all of them – please!”

She patted the seat beside her, beckoning me. I ran across the room and snuggled next to her warm, comforting body.

“Which one do you want tonight, ma ‘Grande Bardiche’?”

“Tell me one I’ve never heard before, like the one where, to help put food on the table, you were a bootlegger!

*Oh Granny, tell me one of your stories. I beg of you!

As for the ‘Grande Bardiche’ – my grandmother called me that and could (would?) not give me a proper explanation.  Thanks to the Google, I have found out this is some kind of pole weapon, which now makes sense as I once was a tall string bean of a girl…

Friday Fictioneers – Participating

 

Friday Fictioneers time already!  The weeks sure do fly.  Just so happens there will be lots of stories of war, heroes, Remembrance Day; as well there should.  I was going to resist, but I could not.  Thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers weekly and to J.Hardy Carroll for providing us with this thought-provoking photo.

Should you wish to add your two cents’ worth, please, click on the blue frog.  Should you simply want to enjoy reading fabulous 100-word stories from excellent writers, click on the blue frog!

©J Hardy Carroll

Word Count – 100

Participating

Today marks Remembrance Day or Veterans Day, depending on where you live.

All over social media are commemorations of loved ones who’ve participated in one war or another.

I feel so strange that there is not one member of my family, on either side, to my knowledge, who has served in the military and/or given up their life for my country.

Though I’ve graves to visit, none are for this type of hero.

Yet I wear the poppy.  And I volunteer at my boys’ school where we celebrate veterans.

“Lest we forget.” Words repeated the world over, as we should.

 

Walktober – Old Boucherville, A Second Look

walktoberrobin

Robin, over at Breezes at Dawn, celebrates October with a Walktober.  Lucky for me, she decided to extend the dates so that I and a few others could join in.  I was positive I’d be able to write my post by October 25, the official deadline, but no, I have been living in my kitchen.  Got a few busy days ahead of me so I figured it’s now or never!

Here’s where I admit to being even later than planned but lucky enough to be included on this November 2nd post!!

I truly enjoy walking around, with my ever-present, dog, Zeke, my hometown of Boucherville, a suburb of Montreal with a population of a little less than 41,000.  I’ve lived here my whole life (minus about five years when I foolishly left) and have trouble believing I’d ever live anywhere else.  Well, except Tuscany, as I keep threatening my family.  But that’s a whole ‘nother story!

 

Most days will find me walking about Boucherville, either towards “my” river, or to “Teletubbie Park”, or to the industrial park, or to the Parc des Coutances, way over on the other side where, if I’m lucky and early enough, I run into the ladies and their dogs and can stand around chitchatting whilst the dogs chase each other.  This is an unofficial dog park to us and only when the cranky old broad comes by do we re-leash the dogs!

Last year I actually did a post on my walk in Old Boucherville and was going to choose another of my walks or a mish-mash of the ones done in October, but by the time I had sorted the pictures, I realised that Old Boucherville would win again!

This particular walk was actually on October 1st, which explains the lack of fall foliage colours!  All walks start from my front stoop…. The roses were still blooming beautifully and I just had to snap one more!

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As I turned the corner, I was struck by one single leaf in a bush that had decided to stand out.

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Walking along Industrial Boulevard, there were just a few trees showing off.

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By the end of the boulevard, I decided to walk down to the special pathway that brings me directly into Old Boucherville and was pleasantly surprised by a family of Canada Geese.

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Unfortunately, Zeke also noticed them and decided he would like to join them.  They disagreed with the idea and hightailed it down the stream!

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Before arriving at Louis-H. Lafontaine’s house (if you want to learn more about that, click here), there are lovely trees aligning the stream.  This one in particular called me.

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Couldn’t resist Zeke as he posed so prettily in the old Fort ruins.

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We decided to cross Marie-Victorin Blvd. and walk along the St. Lawrence River’s edge and were treated to a few mallards swimming by.

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I got all excited because I thought I saw an eagle!  Thanks my Facebook friends for setting me straight by pointing out it was not a majestic eagle but a huge turkey vulture!  It was teasing me by swooping around and around… I was impressed, anyway…

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A little further on, there seemed to be a party going on in which the seagull was a little shy in joining the ducks…

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Crossing back over, I noticed two lovely old houses that I had never paid attention to, and each had a plaque explaining their original inhabitants.

The first one, called La Chaumière was built around 1742, as a dependent to the Seigneurial Manor.  At the end of the 19th century, it was transformed into a summer residence and it was at the time that the “oeil de boeuf” (small round window) was created.

The Seigneurial Manor was built around 1740 for the third Seigneur (Lord), François-Pierre Boucher of Boucherville, descendants of the founder, Pierre Boucher.

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I foolishly cut across at this point, on my return home and did not get close to the grand church.  How, oh how, did I think I could do a walk in Old Boucherville, skipping a whole section?

Guess I’ll just have to go back and continue!

I hope you have enjoyed my walk around a section of Old Boucherville.

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret and Me

Friends.  There are all kinds, aren’t there? Some were your neighbours as kids; some you met in elementary school/high school/college/university; some through various jobs; some at the gym because they have daycare and you can work out (or yack in a corner, pretending to work out); through activities; etc.  Some you keep forever; some for a little bit; some you lose and never see again and others you lose and re-find.

And then there are the friends that you meet in the oddest places, in the most unexpected circumstances.  You probably would never have really ended up as friends because you did not run in the same circles but now, because of what you are both going through, you connect.  That would be Margaret and me.

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Friends

 

You see, Austin was born May 25, 1996, and 10:15 pm.  By 2:30 a.m., the transport team came to pick him up to bring him to the Montreal Children’s Hospital.  Joanne was born on June 16, 1996 and during the night of the 17th to the 18th, she was medevaced from Pangnirtung, Nunavut, to the Montreal Children’s Hospital.  What a place to make a friend!

Both our babies had heart issues.  Until they were big and strong enough for major surgery, each had temporary measures:  Austin had a shunt put in at 10 days old; Joanne a pacemaker at four weeks old.  Both spent their first two months on the Ninth floor.

Our babies were not set up next to each other in 9C (the NICU) but I could hear Margaret singing to Joanne in Inuktitut.  It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard amidst all of the various hums and beeps and blips.  Through the weeks, we would meet up, chit chat, go downstairs for breaks and just come and go.  I felt so bad for Margaret as she was here in Montreal, alone, while her husband and three-year old daughter, Natasha, were up in Nunavut.  I couldn’t imagine how difficult it was for her to have to deal with all of this by herself.  I had Mick and my family so I sort of took her under my wing. We didn’t know it was the beginning of something special.

When the babies “graduated” (Margaret reminded me that Mick used this term!) to 9C2 which was across the hall from 9C (Here the babies are healthy enough for there to be three babies to one nurse; whereas 9C was two to one; and 9D (ICU) was one to one) we started hanging out together even more.  This was a great sign to find ourselves in this unit.  We could hold our babies at will.

On the other side was quite the situation:  you could, if all was OK, hold your babies but quite the organisation was required.  As they were hooked up to meds and respirators and whatnot, the nurses settled you into a chair, gave you your baby and then taped the respirator tube to your shoulder, Like this:

Polaroid taken by nurse in NICU

Tubes and all

Yep, 9C2, or Club Med was a stepping stone to going home!

We were released in July ’96 and Joanne and Margaret in August ’96.  Back to Pang for them and now we each had to learn how to live outside the hospital walls.

We kept in touch and every time Joanne had an appointment, down they would come and stay in Baffin House (a place for the Inuit to stay when they had hospital visits in Montreal) and I would go get them to spend some time with us.  First time they came for an appointment was November ’96.

November 96 Visit

Reunited

 

Then on January 17th, 1997, we lost Austin.  When I called Margaret to let her know, she started to sob and said it was like losing one of her own family members.  She said everyone in her community mourned for us.  I was extremely touched.

Life goes on and we would get to see the whole family this time in July 1997.  Finally, we got to meet Andrew and Natasha!  We ended up bringing them over for a supper of corn on the cob (Margaret insists to this day that she has never eaten so many ears!) and

It would be another six months before Joanne’s next appointment and this time, I suggested (insisted) that Margaret and Joanne stay at our house instead of Baffin House.  Of course she tried to resist but I was having none of it.  Thank goodness this was before the ice storm!

Margaret & Joanne Jan 98

Winter visit

 

Sadly, the Government decided that from now on, many of the Inuit would now be sent to Ottawa for all treatments and follow-ups. Montreal.  Noooooo!  What a cruel thing to do.  You have your cardiologist and whatnot for three years and sorry, you have not choice now.  We were all saddened.  A couple of times I almost made it there to visit but by then, I had Iain and then Aidan and it was more difficult to just pick up and go.  Plus, many times the visits were decided quite last-minute.

In the summer of 2003, Ottawa had a major blackout so Joanne and Andrew (Margaret was pregnant with AJ so she had to let Andrew do her job!) got re-routed to Montreal and, of course, there was no way I was not going to see them at their hotel!  It was a very quick in and out so we didn’t even have time to do much but chat for an hour or so.  But  oh my!  To see Joanne at 7 years old!  What a wonderful thing!

Andrew & Joanne

July 2003 Surprise Visit

 

Then, as things happen when you are thousands of kilometres apart, we sort of lost touch.   We sent each other emails now and again but not as often.

One day, my fax kept ringing, as if someone was trying to call.  Our fax does not do double duty so I was not able to pick up.  It was Margaret desperately trying to reach me. In one of their moves she had lost her phone book so she looked me up and the only number still under my name was the fax.  She finally ended up sending me an email.

On March 24, 2008, they lost Joanne.   Oh, my heart broke.  We had shared so many experiences but this one, this one, was not one I wanted us to share.  I felt as she did 11 years earlier.  One of mine was gone and now MY community was mourning for her.  I immediately called her and we sobbed together as she told me the whole story.  Heartbreaking.

Life goes on and then Facebook arrived in our lives and now keeping in touch with each other’s lives was so much easier.  We could share photos as well as words so they, of course, heard about Mick too.

Then, this March 20th, I got a message telling me that she, Andrew and AJ were coming down at the end of the month!  They were spending a few days in Ottawa at Margaret’s sister’s house and they had a Habs game on Thursday night so there would be time for us to get together.  Woot!!!   Yesterday I picked them up at their hotel and brought them over so we could spend a few hours together, share a meal and a glass of wine and reminisce.  To think our angels would have been 19 this year…

My boys brought AJ down to play video games and all got along swimmingly.  During the meal, Andrew explained to Iain the ways of the Inuit: hunting, fishing, making clothing out of the various skins: seal, wolf, polar bear.  Andrew showed him videos of them hunting and fishing and trying to scare off a young (teenager) polar bear from atop a small cabin!  Iain was absolutely fascinated and had many a question that both Andrew and Margaret took pleasure in answering.  I think if I were to suggest to Iain a little visit up to Iqaluit or Pangnirtung, he’d be more than willing to go!

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Together again after 16 years

 

We have known each other for nineteen years, and other than the first two months of our kids’ lives, only saw each other again a total of three times!  And yet, we feel as close as can be.  It is a special bond, that is for sure.  Hopefully there will be more opportunities for them to come down in the future!  I have definitely added Baffin Island to my bucket list and hope to make it up there one day!  They would love for that to happen.  It is extremely expensive to go so I’ll have to start up yet another travel fund!

Till then, we will continue to exchange over Facebook!

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Hugs and laughs