When You’re Feeling Beyond “Meh”…

Even though the temps were ridiculously warm on this November 5th, 2022 – I mean, c’mon!  When was the last time it was 25℃ on this date?  (I always use the “feels like” rather than the posted – it was officially 23℃ but, whatever.)  My goodness.  I googled it and it happened – never!  Yesterday’s temps broke the previous record.  It was still 23℃ (yeah, yeah, yeah 21℃) at 5:30 pm, for goodness sakes!  And yet, I still needed to almost physically kick my butt out of the house.  Mind you, I DID go run for the first time in five weeks in the morning so it’s not like i had completely wasted the day!

I knew I wasn’t going to be productive in the house so, further to a loving nudge, I picked up my camera bag, filled my water bottle and out the door I went.  I hadn’t been to Michel Chartrand Park this year and, even though I knew it would be very “peoplely”, I went anyway.  Maybe there was still something to see and I could get out of these annoying doldrums.

The light was beautiful.  As for the colours, they were a mixture of pale yellows, beiges, browns with pops of bright here and there.  The muted beauty of November.

“The thinnest yellow light of November is more warming and exhilarating than any wine they tell of. The mite which November contributes becomes equal in value to the bounty of July.”
~Henry David Thoreau

My mood was steadily lifting as I made my way to a special section of the park (where I brought my mom and a friend at two different occasions) knowing that I would find me some chickadees.  What I found was a noisy young family that followed me from one section to the other, annoying me to no end.  I finally sat down on the bench and waited for them to leave.  It wasn’t too long, thankfully.

The chickadees, who had been invisible up to this point, sang their chickadee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee announcing their arrival.  It was the first time I had one land on my hand and just hang out, looking straight at me, then cocking its head from one side to the other, inquisitively.  Was very cool.

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Another family came by with three little kids.  They watched in awe as the birds came and left from my hand.  I asked them if they wanted to try, getting a nod from Mom, first.  I put a little pile of nuts in each tiny hand.  I told them they had to be really still, otherwise the birds would not come.  The youngest one was a little, shall we say, in the way, and scared off any chickadee brave enough to think about coming close.

I dunno… those little critters don’t look too trustworthy

The parents pulled him a little away and the older two patiently waited.  I asked the mom if I could take pictures and she acquiesced.  Just look at that face!

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Her brother was just as thrilled but he was behind his sister and turned his face and I couldn’t really capture it 🙂  The parents thanked me for sharing nuts and the experience and I left feeling a helluva lot lighter.

Which way to go next?  All the cool inside trails were closed because of the danger of falling dead trees so I was obligated to go along the regular road-like paths with all the other peoples.  This main path goes around the outside, making a full square.  Still, I held hope that some of the inner trails would be open and maybe I could spot a deer.  Nope.

What about me? What am I? Chicken liver?

I walked along, looking for colour, for something, clicking here and there: people walking, berries that popped, leaves still hanging on. and minding my own business, if you will.  However, I started hearing this insistent chirp.  I looked up and this nuthatch was basically giving me hell.  Or begging.  Maybe both!

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I continued towards my car, still thrilled that I was walking, dressed in shorts, on November 5th, and it was nearing five o’clock!  Crazy.  Snapped a few more photos and will leave you with these last ones.  I love how the little bit of colour really popped.

Thanks for hanging out with me.  Hope I didn’t keep you too long!

 

 

 

Walktober 2022 – Parc de la Freyère

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?”
Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Taking the time to write has been most difficult. Taking the time to go out for a walk has been nary impossible. I exaggerate, of course, because we can always choose how to spend our time outside of work. It’s been a tiring time so the want was there but the energy was not.

And finally! Weather, time and energy were all in cahoots this past Tuesday (October 18th) giving me a week to put this together and link up to Robin’s annual Walktober fun. I have a weird schedule where one day I work 9-5:30 and the other 6:15-2:45. Tuesday was the early day and the weather was ridiculously perfect. I stopped off at home, did a few things, changed my clothes, grabbed my camera and off I went. Where would the colours still be beautiful? It had been a very long time since I went to the Parc de la Freyère, and even though I did go there for part of my 2018 walk, it was worth a return. I cannot see anyone complaining. Right? Right. I was out from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. and managed to take about 500 photos, give or take. While I joked that it was impossible to take a bad picture, I took more than a few that were immediately chucked as I uploaded.

“October had tremendous possibility. The summer’s oppressive heat was a distant memory, and the golden leaves promised a world full of beautiful adventures. They made me believe in miracles.”
Sarah Guillory, Reclaimed

On my way to the park, I had to stop and capture the three trees below. Could they more represent?

I decided to park on a side street, giving me the option to walk along Marie-Victorin Blvd which follows the St. Lawrence River through at least four towns – probably more but I’d have to check. That means walking by these gorgeous mansions with view spectacular.

As far as boulevards go, this one is rather intimate, shall we say…

Entering the park, I feared, Are the colours already over?

No, but we are definitely at the tail end, I should think.

I had to walk down this pier to see just what was frolicking in the water. Don’t those clouds look like a distant mountain range?

Herons and egrets and ducks and seagulls, oh my!

And a autumn walk would not be complete without some sumac – the first, along with vines – to show off their colours

“What the light looks like in the pear trees, in October, is a hundred teardrops of gold, the whole orchard weeping.”
Carole Maso, The Art Lover

There may be no pear trees here, but the light was just so beautiful.

I was not alone to take advantage of this autumnal perfection. This gentleman was flying his drone, surely taking breathtaking pictures, himself. Was a tad annoying when it flew above me like an oversized mosquito, though. (Hey, maybe he captured me capturing him!)

I had to include these for you, Crispina 😉

At this point, I figured I’d stick around and await the sunset, which was scheduled for 6:04. I continued walking around clicking away because it was all just so gorgeous. No editing is necessary because the light is just perfect!

The sun was starting to make its descent and the air chilled rather quickly. I did curse those clouds that were going to hide most of the sunset!

The sky was so soft (another for you, Crispina! 😉 )

I’m enjoying the quiet when I hear in the distance “Midnight Train to Georgia”. I film it, not knowing where it comes from (apologies – I thought I was going slow!) because for some strange reason, it just fits!

The culprit:

It’s starting to get rather cold so I decided to head back, but not before capturing this little seagull making his v-pattern.

The herons drying their wings and the egrets just relaxing caught my eye.

Suddenly the egrets took flight and were circling, trying to decide where to spend the night. Something was disturbing them so they would turn around and look again. It was getting harder and harder to focus and capture them.

As I also circled towards to road and my car, I watched them – all eight! – land in the trees and try to settle. My camera is not equipped for such low light and I had no tripod but I did manage to rest on a the bridge rail and sort of get a half-assed decent shot. Only by manipulating the photo can you see I managed to get 7 out of 8 in the shot. I, for one, am pretty pleased.

I declared myself done but as I got to the other side of that little pond, I figured, I’d try once more, this time leaning on a guard rail. And again, only by manipulating the photo can you see I got all eight. Joy!

I think I have more than abused your time for this year’s Walktober. I hope you enjoyed my walk as much as I did sharing it.

Weekend Writing Prompt #265 – Brevity

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.  Gotta love Sammi’s giving us so few words for such a word! I half-expected her to be more ironic than literal 😉

wk 265 brevity

Trim the fluff

keep the necessary

Brevity,

some writers feel, is

concessionary

How better to picture “brevity” than by having just one thing in a photo? Or, a random photo just because…

WWP #264 – Picturesque

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. As a photographer, how could I resist this prompt?  Thank you, Sammi, for hosting this weekly shindig!

wk 264 picturesque

Capture

Stop!  Lemme get my camera!

You are such a pain in the ass with wanting to capture every last thing. Every picturesque scene, every little moment.  Why don’t you just enjoy life?

Picturesque. Like it’s a dirty word.  It’s my art.  And I take people, too, smartass.  You’ll thank me one day.  You’ll see.

 

Soul Swell, Frolicking Fée, Marvellous Moon

I have so many plans.  Too bad I’m a lazy bum!  Was gonna write my WWP Saturday, then yesterday… but then the whole Blood Flower Moon Eclipse thing…  But first, let’s go back…

Thursday evening was girls’ night. A way long overdue girls’ night.  Okay, even if we had had one a couple months ago, I’d still feel it was overdue!  Our usual trio of Julie, Giselle and me was upped by one with Linda.  A very happy case of perfect timing.  As the weather was particularly clement (a good 27℃ (81℉)) at suppertime, we sat outside of La Louisiane, a Montreal Cajun-Creole eatery that we have frequented a number of times and which I suggested for our evening.  Ah man.  It wouldn’t matter where we eat because it’s all about the company but good food just adds to it, right?  Plus, Linda had never been so we got to introduce her to the joint.  Linda and I arrived first and ordered drinks while we waited for the other two… which didn’t take long.

While we decided what to eat, we decided on a few appetizers:  hushpuppies, sweet potato fries and grilled corn bread.  Yeah.. um… Good stuff to absorb alcohol, right?

We then went for another round, this time with Cajun chicken wings, Gumbo – so more cornbread, beet and arugula salad, coconut beer battered shrimp.   Delicious. All of it.

Giselle was ready for sweets so she indulged in a chocolate pecan torte (which we all took a bit of).  However, we (Linda) felt we were still not done with the savoury and we ended up ordering some fried clams and crab cakes.

Lots of love, laughter and feel-good vibes were felt and must be repeated soon… Right, ladies?

Saturday morning I was supposed to run but the pool was in the shade and I thought that would be the best time to vacuum all the crap without me being cooked in the sun in the process.  And, after I had done half, my sister Tracy called saying she was going to the barn for just an hour or so to see Fée (pronounced Fay) and would I like to join.  She couldn’t ride her as she’d (Fée) had her vaccine so that’s why the visit would be shorter than usual.  Um. Yeah!  Plus, I promised Gigi from Rethinking Life that I would finally show her pictures of Fée.

Lemme tell you, I was rather glad it was to be a short visit.  It was hotter than Hades out there – 32℃ (90℉) to be standing around in the blazing sun.

Tracy went to get Fée to bring her into the little ring.  “She’s going to roll around in it.”  “Really?”  “Yep.”  And she did.  She ran around, going back and forth and then lay down and rolled.  Up again and then rolled again.  It was quite the sight to see!

As mentioned in the intro, this post was late because I was going to attempt to capture the Full Blood Flower Moon and Eclipse.  And failed miserably.  I even went up onto my roof but my tripod is tired and my butt got wet and then the clouds came just when I capture a sliver of it… and not all that well, either.

I did have fun with my phone before, begging the clouds to please be nice and disperse, which they did, before completely taking over.

And the best of the worst with my camera.

Oh well, maybe next time!  If you really want to see some beautiful shots, check out Tim’s blog at Off Center & Not Even.  Outstanding, I say!

 

 

 

Back in the Saddle Again

Three weeks.  Three. Whole. Weeks.

I just want all o’ y’all to know I am not belly-aching. Nor whining. Nor whinging.  Nor any other -ing that means the same difference.  Just statin’ the facts, y’hear?  Took me a whole damn three weeks to shake this thing (and I still have a little frog in my throat) but have decided enough was enough.

Today was (is?) the day that I put my lungs to the test! The only thing I had to decide was do I do 20, 25 or 30 minutes?  I promised myself to go slow and if there was anything whatsoever that didn’t feel right, I was going to walk it. Hell, I even brought my ear buds so I could continue listening to “Beloved” by Toni Morrison (such beautiful writing but… what? Anyway.)

The morning had started off with dark skies and rain but by noon, blue skies and puffy clouds and sunshine.  So nice. So inviting and enticing. So perfect.

I set my running app to “run”, my timer to 16 minutes (so I know when to turn around) and started my Tabata timer, choosing the 10 sets of run/walk, for a total of 30:25 and off I went.   I made sure I kept my pace slow and steady.  1:45 minutes of running, 1:00 of walking. Since I am reading “Breath” by James Nestor, I and have been practicing nose breathing.  Oy. Not so easy when running but something I can see improving with time.

The temps were perfect and the wind was lightly gusting, but not enough to bother me.  I put up my hood when it was a bit more chilly than I liked but other than that? Really nice.  I was even able to run through my little park, the mud being minimal. A robin added with a trill of encouragement!

I had barely reached my destination park when my halfway timer went off.  At that point, I decided to make my wall all the way to my discovered path and walk my way back.  So glad I did.

Walking back, I remembered I had my ear buds and turned on my book.  I was in no rush and it felt so good to just be out in the sun without a huge coat.

Of course, I had to take a photo of “my” willow 😉

In all, a distance of 6.7 km (4.15 miles) were run/walked and it felt great.

I got home and not half an hour later?

Talk about great timing!

I was going to end with a poem or response to a prompt like I did last week but hey, look at the time! It’s almost 10:00 p.m. Tomorrow is my first day at my new job.  I need to rest!

Have a fantabulous night, folks (and Monday)! And thanks for sticking with me.

 

Wonky – Friday Fictioneers

It’s Friday Fictioneers – the time where we fool you because it’s only Wednesday but we play for Friday. In advance. Coz we can.  This week our loyal and tireless leader, Rochelle, has shared Anne Higa’s lovely photo.  Now, it woulda been easy to wax poetic on Tuscany coz those who know me, know I’m rather obsessed with the region.  However, I’m not giving you the option of calling me predictable. No siree.  This came to me as I was pouring my coffee, truth be told.  I’m still struggling with finding the pretty words for yesterday’s challenge so I figured I’d give that a rest and jump on this one. Ain’t it grand? K. ‘Nuff small talk.  If you want to write something more betterer or inneresting, just click on the frog below and add your 100-word story link.  G’head, I dare ya!

©Anne Higa

A Shy Frog and The Leaning Tower Of Pisa Background in 2022 | Leaning tower  of pisa, Background, Tower

 

She’s been a bit off lately, dontcha think?

What’d’you mean, off?  She’s not feeling well?

No, Haven’t you noticed?  Her pictures are a bit wonky.

Wonky? How so?

Well, last week, the picture was all like on a crazy angle like all the people were gonna fall off the edge and now look at this one!

You’re such a dumbarse!  Last week she was being all artistic like, see?  But this week it’s fine.

But, look at that!

It’s normal.  That’s how the building tilts. It’s not called the Leaning Tower of Pisa for nothing!

Oh. Right. I knew that.

CCC172 – Catch the Moon

Oy. I love when I challenge myself to try something waaay outside of my comfort zone.  I saw Crispina’s photo and knew I had some sort of matchy-matchy response (very much IN my comfort zone).  Then dVerse came along on the same day I was going to respond to the CCC, and challenged us to try a Sparrowlet.  So, of course, I thought, I can do this and merge two challenges since the CCC is open to pretty much anything, as long as we don’t exaggerate and go over 150 words – why I would never! Okay, maybe once or twice…  That said, my skills as a poetesse need much fine-tuning.  I like to think my attempts will gain in sophistication as I keep stretching…

 

The winter moon, above shines bright

And I so wish, with all my might

That I could hold it still till noon

And offer it for your delight

And gone would be all sense of gloom

Above shines bright, the winter moon

 

Within my arms, I’ll hold you close

Breast to my breast, nose to my nose

I know you won’t resist my charms

For it is you, I love the most

To never let you come to harm

I’ll hold you close, within my arms

 

 

Just Roll With It

“I try not to make plans. Because, even the best laid plans etc. etc.”

Author: Brent Spiner

My plan for Sunday was rather easy.  Get up (always a good way to start the day), have a coffee, eat some breakfast, have a second coffee, then get my heinie outside for a good walk.  Upon my return will deserve a nice bowl of my veggie soup, take a shower, prepare supper, pick up my mother, enjoy our meal, drive her back, relax and go to bed.

As Sundays go, it started off nice and slow.  Slept in until 9 (never mind I was awake from 2 till 5).  Stoked the fire and made myself a cup of coffee.  Got onto the Interwebs to catch up on my readings.  Ate my bowl of Raisin Bran by 10, continued reading and next thing I knew it was past noon.  Well, dang.

 

If I was going to walk for any reasonable time, I’d have to eat sooner.  Continued reading and commenting and whatnot and then around 1:30-ish, had a small bowl of soup, then dressed up to go out.

Shovelled the back porch and along the back of the house up to the side gate (must have all exits free from snow, in case). Once that was done, grabbed my camera and was off.

After the cold we had on Saturday, Sunday felt positively balmy!  Off I went in the direction of  my willow, planning to keep walking until I reached the discovered secluded walkway.  I got to the first park and decided to take a pic of the play area as this week’s theme in my photo group is “a touch of blue”, and there is blue on the monkey bars.  I slid-shuffled across the skating rink, passing by a lady who was clearing the snow off the rink.  I took a few pictures then noticed a flash of something on my camera….

“No card in camera”.

What. The. Fuck?  What an amateur move! I completely forgot that I had taken a few pics of the sky from my living room window the evening before, uploaded them into my computer. Where I left the card. Sonova–

I grumble and take out my cell phone to snap a couple pics.  Would have been a grand day with the camera as the day was beautiful, for sure.

However, there was no way in hell I was lugging my camera bag without being able to take pictures!  Get a sore back for nothing? No.  So I turned around.  As I crossed the park, I thought, hey, all is not lost, I have lots of time. I shall go home, change and go back out for a run.  Once I turned on the next street, the wind in my face determined otherwise.  The day was bust. I just wasn’t feeling it, anymore anyway.

So I took my shower then slowly started preparing my supper. It was nice to not feel rushed.  Chopping and sautéeing and browning. It’s when I feel the most zen.  Just as I was putting my coat on to leave to pick up my mother, Iain’s CAA arrived to boost his car (dead battery).  I told him that, since he had to drive his car to get his battery full, it would be a wonderful idea if he could go and get his grandmother.  He agreed.

We had a lovely and simple Sunday dinner.  To be repeated!  I made my “Chicken à la Tuscan à la Dale” – one of those recipes that I actually wrote down.  (Years and years ago, Mick asked me to please stop winging it and write things down so that I could potentially repeat the good stuff.)  Of course, I never follow it, but the fact that I wrote it down means that I potentially remake it sorta-kinda the same way (ish).  It just so happens I was looking for this recipe to share with someone else – and ended up not doing so coz I never did get around to sending out Christmas cards in which I was supposed to include a recipe on a 3″ X 5″ index card; said index cards that I actually bought for the occasion and will be potentially used next year – so it was top of my mind when I asked Mom if she wanted dinner.

Plans are great and all but hey, when they are broken, doesn’t mean all is lost!

 

 

 

 

Tending the Home Fires

This past weekend was brutally cold and I remained cocooned in my house. No way in hell was I going out to run in -30ºC (with the wind chill) no way, no how.  For the first time this year, I decided to make a fire in slow burning wood stove.  Man, the wood I have is fairly useless.  Burns just like that (snaps fingers).  My cubby holds three large loads of this wood carrier doohickey.

I burned the whole lot Saturday.  Sunday was supposed to be warmer and I thought I’d go for a run and then fill up the cubby for the next cold snap.  ‘Parently the cold snap wasn’t done.   Whilst the kids were still snoring, I lugged in the three loads, snow-covered, and got that fire going again.  Thankfully snow doesn’t make it that wet.  It was a few degrees warmer than Saturday…

I decided to make a leek and potato soup, which got me to ruminating as I chopped.  I remembered how I followed Pol Martin’s recipe for Crème de poireaux (cream of leek), having graduated from the Sel et Poivre magazines to real cookbooks.  Sel & Poivre was fine and dandy but often included ingredients such as custard powder rather than include how to make the custard.  Funny thing is, in another recipe from a later issue, there was a recipe for crème pâtissière (pastry cream/custard)!  I used to take out both copies so I could combine them.  Especially after having searched high and low for the prepackaged powder crap (and finding it lacking).

Anyway, back to my soup.  I remembered cutting the veg rather small, and never puréeing it in the end.  It never mentioned to purée it and so I didn’t.  I no longer have the book – frankly, because this was the only recipe I ever tried in the otherwise dull and lacklustre book and I now know it off by heart and have probably modified it since, anyway – so I cannot confirm that that part of the recipe was omitted.   Not so much a crème then, was it?  However, I remember really liking it and receiving no complaints.  Funny then, that was the only time I didn’t whizz it up into a smooth and creamy texture, adding a swirl of cream and a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley.  (I have also since figured out that the veg didn’t have to be cut so finely, especially since it was going under the immersion blender, or blender, that I no longer have.)  And then Sunday’s soup.  On a whim, I chopped everything fine and left it as is.  No cream necessary. I loved it.  And guess what?  Different audience, still no complaints!

As much as I could have remained in my cocoon for yet another day, I instead checked my fire and decided that it was warm enough(ish) to go out there, well-bundled up.  By 2:30 pm, I grabbed my camera, hopped into my car and determined where I would walk.  On a whim, I parked near the “country road” and started walking.  Realising I’d have to go a good ways before seeing anything, I trudged back to my car.  Off to the bird sanctuary, instead.  Note to self, these boots, while warm, are so heavy.  Time to go shopping.

I parked on the street behind another car, having noticed the parking lot was pretty full. Ugh. I long for the days when I worked shifts and could come here on a weekday.  It’s way too people-y on the weekends.

I took a good many photos, some of which ended up on the Facebooks and the Instagrams and I shall share them here, saving more for another post… 😉