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… 😉

 

Done and Done and… What’s Next?

I am, in general, an excellent starter.  Finisher? Not so much.  Not that I don’t finish anything – each of my parents and my grandmother got a needlepoint I made for each of them.  My grandmother has one because she had the bright idea of taking up needlepoint but instead of buying herself a nice little 4″ X 6″ as a starter, bought a big-ass one (like 18″ X 24″ or is it 24″ X 36″). She figured her granddaughter (me) would teach her how to do it.  Easy-peasy. After doing one one-inch square (too tight, by the way), she gave it to me with a “I don’t have the patience for this!” So I did it and then gave it back to her for Mother’s day. My mother’s contribution was to pay for the framing.  She wrote on the back “To be returned to Dale upon my death”. Well, Mémère died twelve years ago and my aunt lives in the house now.  When she tried to give it back to me, I told her to keep it.  When she sells, we’ll determine what to do with it then.

As usual, I have detoured to China on my way to New York…

So. Back to the reason for this post. Today marks my 365th day, like, in a row (sorry, David, had to steal it!) of doing my 10,000 steps per day.  10K steps.  Every. Day.  The funny thing is, I didn’t decide when I started this on January 3, 2020, to do it for one year.  I actually decided to start it on a Sunday (simply to avoid starting it on the first of the year), and merged it with the 68-day challenge they do at work, which started on the Monday.  Two birds, one stone.  But then a funny thing happened.  The last day of the work challenge came and went and I was still on a mission.  I don’t know when hey, let me try to do this for a whole year came to be but suffice it to say, that it did. And I did it. I had my cheerleader and co-participant Marc, who actually had been doing 10K per day for months before I started and just joined in, determined to keep me company till the end. Thank gawd.  There were days where his “Go, Q, Go” was the difference between planting my butt on the sofa and getting out there.  I like to think there were days where I did the same for him.

I’ve gone from running in intervals of one minute run/one minute walk, for 10-16  sets to one 1:45 run, one minute walk, for 10-16 sets or plus.  I have also gone from doing increasing (by fifteen seconds) intervals starting at one minute run up to one two minutes and back with one minute walk in between each to 1:45 up to 2:45 and back with the one minute walk between each – that makes for a 47:15 total run/walk Pretty damn good as I was never a runner. 100 metre sprint? No problem. Run just to run? Not so much. So this gradual increase has been something I’m rather proud of.  I shall not be quitting any time soon and shall keep trying to increase my run times.

I’ve been chased by dogs and almost run over by absent-minded driver doing an “American stop”. I’ve run in the rain and on snow and in ridiculous heat and pretty frigid cold.  I’m still rather surprised at myself, that I did all that, tell you what.

I had a little minor surgery on my back to remove a chunk of fat called a lipoma on December 15th.  The surgeon asked me to not run for a few days.  Which turned into two weeks because the weather just wasn’t conducive to running – I don’t do slush/ice/snow which hides ice/ridiculous cold, etc.  So I walked outside and marched inside while watching episodes of shows.  Sometimes my steps went way over the goal and other times I just barely made it. I’ve had a few times where I prepare to go to bed, check my steps and gasp! Still have 1500 or so to go… March, march, march! Then sleep.

Saturday I was finally able to run, opting for the 1:45/1:00 X 14 sets for a total of 40 minutes 45 seconds (all my runs include a 15 sec prep and a two-minute cool-down.)  I also had to change routes as the only place I was pretty much guaranteed asphalt was on the main drags – not a pretty place to run.  Not a pretty day at all. We haven’t seen the sun in ages.

There was a lot of internal dialogue going on. A LOT.  The first set I thought, this is gonna be hell.  By set number five, I was convincing myself that I would go to six and turn around. 12 sets was nothing to be ashamed of.  By the sixth, I saw I was a ways from the overpass so why not go to seven as planned? It’s not like I would have to run up the damn thing. The photo does not do it justice. It’s the type of slope that even by bike, you want to speed up before the climb because by the top, your thighs are burning.  The voice in my head changed to Marc’s.  “You’ve got this, Q.  Last run day. FINISH STRONG.” I lost count for which set I was back on my return.  The Universe’s way of encouraging me to just keep on.  No point in quitting now.  When I hit the curve, I knew I’d soon be seeing my street. Yay! One more hurdle and done and done!

January 2, 2022, was my last day of my challenge.  I was awakened by the incessant sound of snowploughs going to and fro. First the streets, then the sidewalks, then my driveway, then the streets again…. I got the message and got out of bed!  A couple coffees, a late breakfast and I bundled up and headed out just as the snow was slowing down.

Almost as soon as I stepped out, I found myself in a snow globe.  What a perfect day to end my challenge!

What’s my next challenge?  Not sure yet. Will keep you posted!

 

I am a Snitch

Much to my children’s dismay, I am officially a snitch. They cannot believe I would do what I did. I can only say that there is no way my conscience would let me do otherwise.

You see, on this cold December day, I decided to go to the Parc de la Frayère and it’s neighbouring Stephen-Langevin Arboretum. It’s where I have captured many birds with my lens, including a lovely Northern Saw-Whet that I shared on Sorryless for Wordless Wednesday.

As I walked, I happily captured a mourning dove and some male and female cardinals.

And a couple woodpeckers. I’m not very knowledgeable about birds so I did google them before writing this post. From what I can understand, I have both a Hairy and a Downy woodpecker. They do look so very similar but the downy one has no red on its head.

There were also the usual chickadees (sorry, forgot to take their pic), since all these feeders attract them, as well. I continued along the path, walking behind a couple. A couple who knew their birds. They, Carl and Nancy, told me they had had to leave their camera at home as they had forgotten to charge the battery. A bummer of a day to do so as the birds were numerous. While they could not photograph, they were more than happy to point. “Oh look at that fat robin. He definitely does not look hungry…”

Oh! A waxwing! Right there! Look at his mask, isn’t he beautiful? Of course, they were giving me the names in French and I was so busy trying to point my camera where they pointed that I heard a whole lotta nuthin’. I had trouble seeing and basically hoped that something would land in my memory card. Surprisingly, they did. Google images search has helped me out. I’m thinking this is a Cedar Waxwing. I seem to remember hearing Jaseur de Bohême. Of course, I could be wrong.

There were so many starlings in the trees. These guys I could see really well!

The last bird they pointed at was the Dark-Eyed Junco. At least, that’s what I think it is. It was on the ground and pretty far away and looked like a grey little bird. But, like I said, I know a whole lotta nuthin’ when it comes to birds! Cute little fella.

We continued walking, searching for owls, but all for naught. We parted ways and I went back to the bird feeders, hoping to find a cardinal couple on the same branch.

What’s that? You ask if I’m to leave you hanging for much longer on why I am a snitch? My apologies. I got side-tracked.

You see, as I rounded a corner, so to speak, I could smell smoke and hear the crackle of fire. I took a few more steps and there they were. Two “yutes” with a pretty decent fire. Another gent comes up beside me. “Are they allowed to make fires here?” I ask, knowing full-well the answer is “no”. This is a bird sanctuary. We’ve had enough trouble with people disturbing the owls last year, trying to shake them out of their trees. The man grumbled along-side me.

As we started to exit the arboretum, I decided to dial 9-1-1 and let the fire department know. While the boys were on the edge of the park, I feared they might get over-exuberant. The gent said he was of a mind to call as well. “Do,” I said. “More than one call will make it serious.”

I don’t know if he did or not, but as I walked on the other side, I heard them approach…

…and keep on driving. “What the–” I was too far to flag them down. I waited for a bit and kept on walking to the edge of the river, wondering if they would turn around.

Knowing the sunset would not be happening, I started walking back to my car when I got a call. It was the fire department. They couldn’t find the fire. I told the dispatcher that I had seen the truck drive right past and figured they would turn around eventually. He couldn’t understand where it was so I explained in detail how the park was set up, telling him the truck could not drive into said park, that they would have to go by foot. Once it seemed all was clear, we hung up and I kept on walking, turning around to see if they showed up.

They did.

I know not what followed. I’m not a snitch and watch kinda gal…