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.

 

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…

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #79 – Translucent

I seem to prefer the shorter challenges… Could not resist this one.  Thank you, Sammi Cox, for hosting this one.  I love it.

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Translucent

Challenge

You cannot see it
An invisible barrier
Translucent
No less difficult to break through
Love, trust and patience required
No easy task, this conquest
Have you what it takes?

 

Sunday Musings

I used to do a Gratitude Sunday/Sunday Gratitude/Weekend Coffee Share, in which I gave thanks for whatever happened during the week.  Somehow these posts have fallen to the wayside.  I think it’s time I brought it back, different format, though.  Doing challenges like Pegman and Weekend Writing Prompt are all fine and dandy but as a result, I was feeling a loss.

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

Maybe that loss is being felt because I’m frankly exhausted  – a term I find gets overused by those who are merely tired.  We seem to have entered the age of extremes so why should one not be exhausted instead of merely tired.  I must admit defeat.  I am bloody exhausted.  A co-worker and I were talking last night before the big 260-person benefit evening, that this October, in particular, has been particularly grueling.  It’s supposed to be the slowing down of things at the golf club.  Instead, it has been one event after another and we are just plain exhausted.  I just did a nine-day run and frankly, today could not come soon enough!

So what did I do on my one day off that is supposed to consitute my “weekend”?  Well, once I got up at the crack of 11:00 am (I worked until 1 am the night before…) I made myself a couple of coffees and had a bite to eat.  Then.  I have a fabulous brother-in-law, Sébastien, who changed my tires for me.  As I sat there watching Sébas and his son, Nicolas work together, joking and ribbing each other, innuendos galore, I could not help but smile.  I then drove home with tears in my eyes.  I couldn’t help it.  I couldn’t help but think that my boys did not get long enough with their father to learn stuff.  I will never forget Iain telling Mick, lying comatose, that he couldn’t leave yet as he still had so much to learn from him.  Broke my heart.  It’ll be four years and I can still hear this clear as day.

Could not decide between the following two quotes, so have included both.

“Boys do not long for fathers who will usher them through the gauntlet of psychological disconnect. They long for fathers who have themselves survived intact. Boys do not ache for their father’s masculinity. They ache for their fathers’ hearts.”
T. Real

“You can’t love your mother or father if you don’t also have the capacity to grieve their deaths and, perhaps even more so, grieve parts of their lives.”
Glenn Beck, The 7: Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life

I got home, unloaded my summer tires and Iain was clearing out the shed.  I asked him if he wanted to come with me to the market to get the goods to make salsas and jellies and he said that nah, he had some stuff to do…

“God know that a mother need fortitude and courage and tolerance and flexibility and patience and firmness and nearly every other brave aspect of the human soul.”
Phyllis McGinley

I hid my disappointment and went to the market.  It’s amazing… Just yesterday – I swear it was yesterday – it was September.  I had told myself I would get all the stuff necessary to make salsas, that we’d go apple picking and visit David at his Britannia Mills mini-farm to pick up hot peppers to enhance our goodies.   Well. So much for that.  Here we are October 21 and my hopes for getting anything besides pumpkins were, to say the least, slim at best.   Luck was on my side.  I snagged a couple of boxes of not-so-beautiful tomatoes for ten bucks, plus 2nd rate apples that are “not fit for sale” for $15 instead of $22, as they are not perfect (pffft!), a box of bell peppers, a couple of braids of garlic, onions, a couple of pumpkins, some honey – because, when in these markets, everything looks fabulous.  Was so bloody cold, I forgot to take a pictures of the market!  Darn.  Iain did go to David’s on Friday, so the pepper situation was taken care of.

Goodies to make more goodies

Home once again, I unloaded my stash and Iain was washing his car.  Brought in the goods and he moseyed over to see just what I had managed to find.  Was as pleased as I was so…  I canna lie, there was a liltle bit of pleasure on my front – again hidden.

I started chopping veggies for the salsa, asked Iain which peppers he wanted me to use and made two different batches of salsa.  I took it as a good sign when I went up to his room where a serious video game was going on with Aidan and his friend, gave him a spoonful, he took, coughed, and said “Was not expecting quite that much heat!”  Mom still can rock it.

While working on my second batch of salsa, Iain came in to chop peppers and ingredients that he planned to turn into hot oils and  sauces.  His dehydrator has been working on drying out one of the peach somethings (not sure if they’re ghosts, morughlas, reapers or what – all’s I know is they are friggen hot) so he can turn them into chili powder – not anything you’d find in your standard grocery stores…

I looked at him and said, “I know you don’t like anything mushy, but I really enjoy when we work on something together.”  I just got a look.

“Isn’t this the truth of any good mother? That in all of our lives. We worry only about those we brought into this world, regardless of whether they loved us back or treated us fairly or understood our shortcomings.”
Adriana Trigiani, Big Cherry Holler

I know I can never fill in their father’s shoes, nor do I want to.  I can give them what I can.  I can be there for them in my capacity.  There will always be those moments where I’ll think, “Damn, Mick should be here teaching them this lesson” but that is, I know, futile.  And I can hope that I’ll be enough.  And that one day, they will think back and say – Mom was there when we needed her and did the best she could.

Kintsukuroi – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wed… oh dear… it’s past midnight!  So, good Thursday, my friends.  Today’s Friday Fictioneers had me stumped somewhat.  Well, I knew where I wanted to go but the words eluded me.  Nothing like taking a step back and letting it swirl around, hoping to make it somewhat coherent…

Thank you, always, to Rochelle for keeping us wanting to come back week after week.  And this week, thank you to Sandra Crook for this wonderful photo.

Do join in by clicking on the blue frog below and adding your own interpretation.  It’s fun!

 

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Kintsukuroi

He stood there, stunned, chunks of his heart strewn about like shells tossed back from the ocean.

He bent down, determined to pick up the pieces, when a wave of anger overtook him.  He balled up his fist, prepared to slam it down and destroy what was left.

He felt two hands wrap themselves around his fist, stopping further destruction.  Surprised, he looked up and found her there.  Her intense gaze kept him prisoner as did her hands.

“Kintsukuroi,” she said.

“What?”

“It’s not over.  What seems permanently broken, is not.  Let me be the gold that makes you shine.

**********

I don’t usually on these posts, but Hey Rosetta has a lovely song that just fit…

 

Don’t Dismiss (or Diss) the Kiss

La beauté n’a pas d’importance. Quand on est un homme aimable, on finit par avoir une beauté dans le regard, dans la manière d’être en vieillissant.¹

— Charles Aznavour

The lyrics, in both French and English, are here Qui Who

Il faut savoir, coûte que coûte, Garder toute sa dignité Et, malgré ce qu’il nous en coûte, S’en aller sans se retourner Face au destin qui nous désarme.²

— Charles  Aznavour

Helluva preamble to my post, eh?  Lemme explain myself before I continue.  Yesterday, the world lost the fabulous French/Armenian singer, Charles Aznavour – also known as the “Frank Sinatra of France”.  You can’t really feel bad.  The man was 94 and had a most prolific life.  If you click on his name, you have access to a wonderful article on his life as well as a link to his most famous English song “She”.

But I digress…

Because of his passing, I ended up on YouTube to listen to my favourite tunes by him, such as “La Bohème” and “Emmenez-moi” (the latter being, by the way, IMPOSSIBLE to sing along to in a Karaoke session.  Trust me.  I’ve tried) and left YouTube to do its thing and play whatever it felt like… well.

Along came Cesária Évora and her sultry voice singing “Besame Mucho”.  My Spanish is so-so but passable enough to know that Besame had to do with kissing.  So, of course, the Google came into use when I searched the English translation of the song for confirmation.  While I continue blathering on, g’head, enjoy the late great Cesaria…

 

I started thinking about kissing.  And how much I love it.  And miss it.  I think we don’t spend nearly enough time kissing, to tell the truth. I’m not talking about those pecks on the cheeks or those chaste, dry, barely-there touches of lips, unless those are just to lead up to the real thing.  I’m talking about those deep, long, slow kisses that turn your insides to liquid mercury.  I’m talking From Here to Eternity beach kiss scene…

Those mornings when we kiss and surrender for an hour before we say a single word.”
David Levithan

When you first start dating, you spend so much time just kissing:  while taking a walk, while doing dishes, while sitting on the couch.  It doesn’t matter where but you sneak them in  wherever and whenever you can.  You can’t seem to get enough.  And it’s not automatically a foreplay of foreplay, either.  Not saying that it can’t be, mind you… You kiss just to feel connected to your partner.  You’re getting to know them on an intimate level.  The dance appeals, you keep on dancing.

“If we’re going to kiss, it has to be book-worthy.”
Colleen Hoover

Now, what I write here is my own personal experience and I am totally generalising but somehow, I am sure many can relate.

After a while, your relationship falls into that long term category.  Kissing is still very enjoyable but the spontenaity has decreased.  As has duration of most kisses.  They are not so deep and long.  You may still find yourselves kissing for kissing’s sake but let’s face it, it is now more of a foreplay to foreplay.

“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.”
Ingrid Bergman

Years pass and you are happily coupled – married or not, same diff, to me…  Kissing somehow has taken a backseat.  No matter how much love is between you, those long, slow, deep kisses are now reserved for the bedroom as foreplay.  Or maybe they start in the living room or kitchen (if you’re lucky) but they’re still an invitation to make your way to your love nest.  And they don’t last that long anymore.  Mind you, my circumstances made that I didn’t get a chance to find out what happens when the children leave the family home… Does your kissing game go up a notch?  Do you do like those silly movies and transform your son’s bedroom into a “play room”?  I sure like to think so.  I like to imagine that you rediscover that freedom you had when you first met.

I’m not saying some couples don’t kiss and kiss often.  But do they last more than a few seconds?  Rarely.  But hey, they are still good.  Kudos to the couples who have kept up their kissing game.

“Now a soft kiss – Aye, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss.”
John Keats

One last thing.  Another reason I decided to write this post it this:  I never thought to find myself back “on the market”, so to speak at my age.  Thanks, Mick.  Dammit.

That said.  I will TOTALLY judge you on your kiss.  If you don’t try to kiss me on our first date, that might be okay, depending on how the date went…. then again, it will show me you are not that into me.  Cool.  We move on.

If you do kiss me?  I will decide then and there if we move on to the next stage.

 

——————

¹ Beauty has no importance.  When we are a lovable man, we end up with a beauty in our gaze, in our way of being while growing older.

² One must know, no matter the cost, how to keep one’s dignity.  And, despite the personal cost, to move forward, without looking back and face the destiny that disarms us.