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

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

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

Squirrel!

or is it Shiny Object Syndrome?

Either way, I am guilty.

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

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

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

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

Moday’s was a Thai-style shrimp and noodle

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

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

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

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

Jean

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

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

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

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

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

Chocolate Mousse & Caramel

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

Some of the wood

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

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

A slice, to see the inside

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hmmm… kinda funny. No?

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

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

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

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

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

Two sides of “my” river

Hearts can be found anywhere you look…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Birthday boy seemed to be quite happy…

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

Martin, Moi, Dany

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Weekend Share – January 14, 2018

“Be mindful. Be grateful. Be positive. Be true. Be kind.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Well now, I have not done one of these in ages.  Too long, methinks.  I miss writing more than a 100-word story for Friday Fictioneers – not that that will end any time soon!  I love it way too much to give it up.  However, I know there are one of two of you who enjoy my “Gratitude” or “Weekend Coffee Share” type posts and I kinda like doing them.  Helps to give me a perspective on what’s what in my life.  Plus, I promised myself I would write more in 2018, including continuing preparing my stories of Mick and our family to eventually turn them into a book of short stories.  Rochelle has been most convincing and I think I shall heed her noodge.

Till then, here’s a little recap of my past week.

On Tuesday, Zeke and I finally went on one of our long walks.  It has been so cold that I just couldn’t bring myself to bundle up and go out there.  We’re talking -25ºC (-13ºF) with a windchill of up to (down to?) -40ºC (-40ºF).  Nope.  I may have done it a few years ago, after Mick’s passing but since then have become such a wimp.  Wimp.  That’s a little harsh.  Let us just say I did not acclimatise my body to the redonkulous cold this year!  Tuesday it was a balmy +1ºC (34ºF)!  Come ON!  Woo hoo!  It was so warm, that I overdressed.  I was dying of heat and half the time, held my mittens in my hands and not covering them.  For a girl with Raynaud’s that is quite something…

We step out and I see my car.  Sigh.  I’ll have to take care of it later.  I had decided to park my car in front of my mother’s (oh when will it be towed away?) so that the guy could clear out my side.  What I hadn’t considered was the city passing and snowing me in.  Merde.

Zeke got most excited when we turned right at the end of the street as he knows this means a good looooong walk!

Of course, when we left the house the sun was shining brightly but not even half-way into our walk, it disappeared.  As a result, we didn’t go quite as far as I would have liked.  You see, all the pathways had not been cleared yet and man, that is a good workout!  But I did go past “my” favourite willow treet

We trudged along, resting here and there…

We didn’t make it all the way to the other side of Parc des Coutances, where we sometimes run into a bunch of other dogs and their mistresses.  Both Zeke and I were starting to feel enough was enough.

Of course, on our way back, the sun came out again. Hmph!

I didn’t manage my 10,000 steps, got to somewhere around 8,600 give or take, and it represented a good 5-6 km, and considering it was hard to walk in, I’m declaring it a full 10,000 step-effort!

On Wednesday, Aidan declared we needed to go to the barbershop as he had had enough.  Holy moly!

I swear he looks even taller than his 6’1″.  He’s happy, his girlfriend is happy but I think the happiest one is his brother, Iain.  Kept calling him a bum… Brothers…

Of course, everyone was so excited to get all that rain and watch our mountains of snow melt away.  And then we weren’t.  Starting Friday night and well into Saturday, we got bombarded with a ton, a TON, I tell you! Of snow.  I don’t know what the exact numbers were but my front steps disappeared!

There are steps – I swear!

It was an impressive accumulation, gusts obviously made it worse than it really was, but impressive nonetheless.  Once the snow was removed from my car, I found a nice layer of ice… sigh… why did I get rid of my Tempo last year?  Why???

Zeke was most helpful…

And I took a break looking up at the clouds.  They were moving so fast, it was hypnotic.

By the time we finished our big job, the sky had turned a beautiful shade of gold…

Didn’t torment any of you with pictures of food – this time – but suffice it to say that a nice pot roast was waiting for us after a job well done!

Have a most wonderful week and I think that I shall do like Robin over at Breezes at Dawn and start listing

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

  1. Golden light that I catch with my camera
  2. Zeke – for always being ready for a walk no matter how cold it is outside
  3. François – for coming into my life at the right time
  4. Heated house – when the temperatures dip as low as they have this month, it is more than appreciated
  5. Snow – it brightens up what would be a dreary season

 

 

 

 

50 Happy Things 2018

50 Happy Things 2018: Bloggers Unite to Flood the Internet With Gratitude

Somehow I seemed to have missed participating in this wonderful project last year.  Couldn’t understand why so I went to look at my past posts and realised that I participated two years ago without officially joining in.  Well this time, I am.  Thanks Dawn Quyle Landau for officially inviting me to play with you!  I think it is important to focus on what makes us happy and what fills our hearts with gratitude.  Happy is so much easier to attain when one actually focuses on it rather than on the negative and sad.

This is a 15-minute-timer exercise so the point is to simply start the timer and type without over-thinking it.  So, in no particular order and some seemingly simplistic things, here are the – would you look at that? – 60 things that make me happy and fill me with gratitude.

  1. My boys
  2. François
  3. Winter
  4. Warm clothes
  5. Zeke
  6. My sisters
  7. My family
  8. The closeness of my family
  9. Friends
  10. Having friends over and being received by them in return
  11. Holidays as an excuse to just have fun
  12. Cooking and Baking
  13. Boucherville, my home town
  14. Photography
  15. Writing
  16. Friday Fictioneers
  17. Walking Zeke, no matter the weather
  18. The golf club where I work – otherwise wouldn’t have met François!
  19. My co-workers
  20. My friend – François L. who offered me my job though I have zero experience
  21. Good neighbours
  22. My home
  23. My strength, not just physical but mental
  24. My resilience – seems to be everyone’s favourite word for me so I might as well embrace it
  25. My ability to see the bright side of any situation
  26. My ability to do what needs to be done
  27. My cooking skills
  28. Blogging Buddies
  29. Rochelle – our almost daily FB chats, occasional Skype sessions and her trusting me with her words
  30. My car – it permits me to go where I want
  31. Spring – new beginnings along with the stench 😉
  32. Music – all kinds
  33. Reading – so many genres
  34. My bed – so comfy!
  35. The possibilities awaiting me in the future
  36. Jean-Louis, for inviting me to keep him company in Punta Cana, no strings attached
  37. Facebook, for helping me keep in touch with far-away friends and family
  38. Cook in Tuscany experience, for making my dream come true and giving me new friends
  39. Being able to welcome far away friends to my home
  40. When my boys do what I ask after only one request!
  41. Warm clothes so I can enjoy our frigid winters
  42. Concerts – classical, rock, folk – I love ’em all
  43. Introducing François to English Canadian music
  44. Having a handy-man boyfriend who will help me fix this house to sell it
  45. My ability to easily adapt to various situations
  46. My bathtub for two – a luxury I must enjoy while I am still in this house!
  47. My gas stove/oven, which allows me to create my concoctions
  48. Mick’s organisational skills, which help me find and fix (or get fixed) things that need fixing, even though he’s been gone for 3 years
  49. My office space which allows me to comfortably create with words
  50. Even when Zeke doesn’t get to go on a long walk with me, he is still happy to see me.
  51. When my boys let me know they do care
  52. Autumn, for its crisp air and colours
  53. Snow in the winter, which keeps my world a bit brighter
  54. My sense of humour
  55. Delicious food at a wonderful restaurant with great company
  56. Netflix – for when there is really nothing on TV!
  57. Having my mother closer to us after years of being 2 hours away
  58. Employment insurance, which allows me to stay home until golf season starts up again
  59. François’ kids and mother, who accepted me on first contact
  60. The ability to feel love and gratitude

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#WeekendCoffeeShare – Spring Walk, Paperwork, Breakfasts & More Snow?

Hello my friends and welcome.  Please do come in.  You’ll have to stamp your feet to remove the snow.  Yes. Curse, cuss, swear, sigh.  We got more snow last night.  Hello?  First day of Spring was Monday?  Remember, Ma Nature?  Oh well, welcome to Spring in Quebec!

So, if we were having coffee, or tea, or some other beverage, we would complain a bit about yesterday’s snowfall.  It is what one does when one is done with it.  I, for one, am done with it.  No, no, don’t try. You can’t convince me how pretty it is.  It really is, isn’t?  I don’t care.  Come back next Winter.

OK… getting ahead of myself.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you what an absolutely beautifully, gorgeous day we had on Monday!  Oh my!  First day of spring and the sky was blue, the clouds were white, the sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the snow was melting!  Zeke and I were way overdue for one of our super long walks and man… oh man… did we ever take one!

That 10.9 km is 6.8 miles… just sayin’…

I had decided I wanted to make my way to the St. Lawrence River so we could watch the ice pieces float by and hopefully catch some wildlife.  We did so and we ended up all the way into the Old Boucherville section.  What a walk!  Leaving my house, we walked along Industrial Boulevard to Fort St-Louis.  Those who are on Instagram got pretty much a play-by-play of my walk!

And there were honest-to-goodness buds on the trees.  Really!  Considering last Wednesday’s snowstorm, who’d a thunk?

Crossing the tracks, we walked along a road that runs parallel to the highway until we reached the overpass to the river’s edge.  I always stop and admire this house.  It speaks to me!

We continued on, past the ever-present construction until we reached Marie-Victorin.  This street/boulevard goes through at least six towns (I will have to verify that one!) running the length of the St.Lawrence River.  Boucherville, Varennes, Verchères each have their special cachet that I shall have to share with you further!

From my home town, we get to see the various Boucherville Islands that are now a Provincial Park and we can access via mini ferry (holding bicycles and people only) during the summer season.

I started taking a bunch of pictures of many of the old houses and realised that I shall share them with you on another post.  They deserve to be front and centre!   However, I do think it worthwhile to share our big Paroisse Ste-Famille, where I was baptised many a moon ago…

We walked around the little streets, snapping pictures of old houses and I was struck by the gold of the hedge that seemed to pop out of nowhere.

By now I’m wishing I had someone I could call to pick us up and take us the rest of the way home!  We were both pooped and decided our evening was going to be one of vegging on the couch!

Tuesday was paperwork day.  I realised my passport was due to expire by June of this year and decided to bring it in directly to the passport office.  I mean, come on, what if someone comes into my life, sweeps me off my feet and wants to take my on a trip of a lifetime!  I must be ready!  Of course, reading all about Cady Luck Leedy’s story about HER passport woes is what really made me look at mine in the first place!  The whole sweeping off my feet thing is more of a, well, okay, I’ll admit it, a girl can dream, right?   I was shocked and pleasantly surprised that the whole thing took a mere one hour and fifteen minutes from beginning to end.  How do you like them apples?  To think I was going to set my alarm at stupid o’clock to wait in line for the doors to open at 7:30 am.  Pfft…. I got there at 11:30 and was in my car by 1:00 pm.  And that’s because I did some window-shopping on my way back to my car.  Pretty darn good, let me tell you!

As I had sold my car for scrap, I also had to go the S.A.A.Q. (DMV for ya’all) to register the transaction to no longer be liable for the hunk-a-junk.  And, lucky me, I got $165 back for the registration!  Woot!

On Wednesday, I had breakfast with my youngest sister.  Always nice to break the fast with her.  Actually, am overdue for breakfast with second sister as well… Hmmm… will have to make arrangements.  My mom, Yvon and their grandson arrived at 1:00 pm to visit the apartment my sisters had found for them.  It was a big moment and we all (sisters) hoped that Mom and Yvon would fall in love with it (or at least in good like) and agree that it was the place to move to.  For those of you who read my Friday Fictioneers this week, you will note it was totally based on this happening!  They not only liked it, they signed the lease for June 1st!  Wonderful.  Now we will all be within 15 minutes of each other.  It will definitely take a load off my mother’s shoulders.  Of course now we have the lovely prospect of moving them from a house to a 3 1/2 apartment.  That will be so much fun.  Not.

Nothing much I feel the need to share for Thursday but Friday – yesterday.  Well.  We’ve come full circle to the beginning of this tale.  I must repeat.  What in the name of hell is up with Mother Nature?  Oh man!  That snow is pretty.  To be sure.  If it were elsewhere.  I will admit that Zeke and I enjoyed taking a walk in it and of course I had to take a couple of pictures.  Cool the different effects of no flash and flash and a little fun with PicMonkey…

I would have sent this out earlier but this afternoon we all went bowling for my niece’s volleyball team.  What is it about bowling that is so much fun?  Almost the whole family participated and a good laugh was had by all.  Now, I’m not one to toot my own horn but I did have to ask for a printout of my scores because man oh  man… I was on fire!

I think I have gone on long enough.  We must have gone from coffee to water to wine by now, eh?  I hope you enjoyed my little tour of Boucherville and my sharing of my week’s stuff.  Now, it’s your turn.  Tell me how your week was!

Thank you to our lovely hostess Emily of Nerd in the Brain for hosting this weekly coffee gig.  You can click on her name to make your way to her blog where you can find the link to add your coffee talk, should you like!  (I haven’t figure out yet how to get the link working on my blog as yet.  Mostly because I’ve not really tried!)

Have a marvellous week and see ya’all next week!

Lotsa love,

Dale

xo

 

 

 

 

#WeekendCoffeeShare – Milestones, Letting Go and Fun Stuff

Good early afternoon!  I slept in this morning as my son had a party and I hung around with the (how cool that they even want me to?) last stragglers till 3:30 this morning!  Eldest basically tried to kick me out of my own house and, not to accommodate him but because it worked out for me, I went hung out with Tina, Liz & Peter (old friends of Tina’s), Emma and Luciano (Tina’s daughter and son-in-law).  It had been a while since our last get-together so was nice to catch up.  I brought a bottle of my aranciacello (orangecello) and that was a big enough hit, I may just have to sell some!

When I got home, the remaining four friends (and one girlfriend, sitting quietly by watching them) were playing a serious game of beer pong.  Let’s just say I was very happy no one was driving as they were feeling no pain whatsoever.  Nice guys, I have to say.  Very polite.  They think I’m “chill” so I’m “allowed” to stick around!  And when Iain told them I made booze… well!  My “chill points” went up!  I happened to have an already open bottle of limoncello so gave them each a small shot.  Now one of them wants me to teach him how to make it.

Needless to say, my coffee is strong this morning!  Care for a cup?  Would you prefer tea?  It’s bloody cold today:  -17ºC (1ºF), but with a windchill of -25ºC (-13ºF) so, I’m sure you want something hot!  Now that you’re all settled in, let me catch you up on my week.

I worked at the Golf Club on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Was nice to see some of my coworkers.  On Tuesday we set up for Wednesday’s event.  I know I’m supposed to be a waitress but frankly, sometimes I feel like a mover!  Man do we schlep around tables and chairs!  I definitely could feel it in my muscles the next days!  Wednesday’s group was members of some landscaping companies.  A truly friendly sort which is so pleasant to deal with.  Would that they all were!

Tuesday morning, my son needed my car to pass his driver’s test.  Good thing his appointment was at 10:30 as I was only working at 12:30.  However.  We got to the DMV (SAAQ, for us Quebeckers) and I waited patiently.  For 10 minutes.  What?  Seems son forgot a paper proving he had passed his driver’s courses.  “But, it’s okay, Mom, they gave me an appointment for 1:30 so we’re good!”

Um. No, dear.  I am working at 12:30!  Now what?  Luckily Iain’s godfather, my brother-in-law, Sébastien, was on spring break!  I called my sister, asking for her hubby, and all was arranged.  We would drive over to their house, I would take one of their cars (Tracy was working at 1:00, otherwise she would have taken my place) and leave mine as Iain had practiced with my car and was allowed to use it for his test.  Sheesh.

Off I go to work, waiting patiently and I get a text.  “I failed”.  Awwww… poor kid.  I’m feeling so bad for him and he doesn’t respond to my “what happened?”  Sébastien calls me to tell me he’s stopping by the club to change cars and says:  “By the way, your son passed.”  Little shit.  Not only did he pass, he got 91%!  So proud of him (after wanting to smack him…)

Wednesday was a glorious day.  It was 10ºC (50ºF).  I finished work at 3:30, got home, picked up my camera bag and Zeke went nuts.  Don’t even have to say the word “walk” – though that gets him going too!  Off we went.  On our way to what we call Teletubbie Park, I could see signs of life.  Yes!  All those folks over the pond in England and such showing off their snowdrops and such… so not fair!  OK… we don’t have much in our frigid clime but look!  I see tulips shooting up!  It’s the little things, ya know?

Tulips!

Towards the park. Nothing Zeke likes better than to be off leash and given the opportunity to sniff and run at will.   Once we got over one of the little hills, I could see the baseball diamond had three dogs running around.  Of course Zeke wanted to go play.  Being a mean mom, I said no.   I didn’t know the dogs and people and I was already having trouble choosing where to put my feet as the ground was very soft and wet.  I did not want to make my way there.

We turn to leave and I see, in the bluest of skies, the moon.  Tried my best!

Not a speck, the moon!

On Thursday morning, I got a little… ok, more than a little, emotional.  After Mick died, two years ago, I had to get rid of his beloved F-150 truck.  Much as it was really cool to drive it and get double-takes when other drivers realised a woman was driving it, it cost a fortune to run.  So I changed it for my Escape, which I love.  I kept my old Pontiac Sunfire for the boys.  They both would be driving soon – or so I thought.   For two years that car sat in my driveway.  In the beginning, Iain would ask me to go practice driving with him.  Then he didn’t.  Then, he didn’t seem to be in any rush to get his bloody permit.  What IS it with today’s youth?  I could not wait to get that puppy in my hands and be independent and drive all over!  Anyway.  I kept telling him to at least start it every couple of weeks.  Didn’t do it.  After paying for the registration and insurance for two years for nothing, I had had it.  I called an environment company that pays you for your junk and tows it away.  It was no longer safe to drive anyway.  When I think of how much I could have gotten for it had I sold it two years ago.  Whatever. Won’t go there.

I cannot lie.  I shed more than a tear.  Not for the car itself.  Matter of fact, I was pissed at Mick for convincing me to get it in the first place way back in 2003 because I wanted something else.  He was good at getting his way.  I did learn to love that thing and it was a little bomb that got me to wherever I needed to go.  But it is so weird.  I felt like it was yet another little piece of Mick gone from my life.

By Friday, I was more than ready to go for lunch with Michèle.  We share the gift of the gab, I tell you!  We sat in that Louis XIV restaurant in St. Bruno from 12:30 till 3:50!  Good grief!  It’s a lovely little bistro where you can bring your own wine.  Delicious.  We each had a tartare, her the salmon, me the beef.  Then we splurged on a piece of white cake with strawberry sauce on top.  Perfection.  I brought her a bottle of each of my ‘cellos – which she forgot at the restaurant!  She was beside herself.  Thankfully, she had left it on the floor beside her chair.  The restaurant was full of supper diners when she went back (because when she called, they said they did not see it).  All the tables but ours were full.  She walked up to her chair, bent down and voilà!  The bag was there!  Relief, you say?

So… I think I’ve been at this long enough.  Luch (Luciano) should be here any second now to pick up a bottle of each ‘cello, I really must take my shower and finish my strawberry crumble as my sister has invited me and our sister and hubs over for dinner.  Adults only – even though 5 out of the 8 kids are already adults.  And for those of you who read Friday Fictioneers… NO!!  Not THAT kind of adult party!

Oh!  And before I forget!  As promised, the recipe for the limoncello is this one!  I do the 40-day version and depending on the fruit (more limes, less grapefruit, a few less oranges) I’ll play with the sugar levels as well…

Have a great week, my friends!  I wish you much happiness, smiles, laughter and love!

Dale

xox

Oh!  Before I forget!  Thank you, Emily, from Nerd in the Brain for hosting this weekly get-together!  If you want to play with us, just click on the here and add your link!

A Mindful Walk

The day was too beautiful to waste my time in a gym (and really, like I was going to go, eh?) or in the house, cleaning, so, why not go outside for one of our (Zeke and me) walks?  We were way overdue and hadn’t gone on one of our mega long walks in a long time.

I chose to go over to the other side the main drag (de Mortagne, for those of you in the know) which helps me get my 10,000 steps in.  Though Météo Média “told” me it was -9ºC, but felt like -18 ºC, I found myself overdressed.  I should learn to NOT to put on my thermal shirt under my coat unless the temps dip to -35ºC!!  Didn’t take long to remove the scarf and stuff it in my camera bag!  Taking pictures usually requires me to warm my hands between each shot but not today.  The sun made a huge difference.  That and the lack of wind!

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As I was walking, I started thinking of my blogger/Facebook friends and how amazing it is to have connected with people all over the world.  People I have yet to meet in person.  People who have touched my life in one way or another.  People who graciously and generously sent me love when I needed it and who encourage me to try new things and challenge myself.  This post has become a sort of thank you to a just a few of them!

It all started as I was taking pictures of trees.  Suddenly I thought of Phyllis, because she loves trees!  We met through an on-line photography class, and I’ve followed the tenuous arrival and amazing growth of her beloved grandchild, Madeline.  What an inspiration they all are in that family!

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I came upon some benches.  They were not the prettiest ones out there but benches make me think of Raye, a wonderful artist and writer, (though she doesn’t write much any more – much to my chagrin) that I met through another blogger, named John.  Raye’s writing grabbed me and next thing I knew, I was stalking her, reading every single one of her posts and leaving my two cents’ worth all over the place.  She played along and we found that we must have been separated at birth in one of our past lives.  We have been known to use another’s site for our bantering (right, John?) and have since become friends – by the way, RRR, we are WAY overdue for a Skype session, hmmm?

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Speaking of John, I wish I had one-third of his photographic talents.  I’m working on it!  This Irish guy has an eye for beauty in the simple things.  Here’s a little something for you.  I was playing with the shadows… At least the blue sky was my friend 😉

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Walking along, I came upon the little “bridge” in the middle of nowhere in Parc de Coutance.  Well, of course I though of Jean, another Irish blogger (methinks I may have met John through her, I could be wrong, but does it really matter?)  She is fascinated with all things bridge and not just the structural kind made of wood or metal or whatever but mostly the social kind between people, cultures, etc. No one, and I mean NO one loves her homeland as Jean does.  It just oozes through her words and pictures of her beloved Tramore County.

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I was starting to enjoy myself immensely because my walk suddenly had a new purpose.  Well, purpose, that’s a big word.  Let’s just say I had made a game of it. Exercise, fresh air, great company and now a game.  What fun!

Photography has been a part of my life ever since I got my first Kodak Instamatic.  Remember those?  With the flash cube you added on top?  Fun.  I took one lesson at Dawson College and truly enjoyed myself.  I’ve been the “Kid Kodak” in my family for a long time (still am) and have the boxes of negatives and photos to prove it.  That said, when Joy  showed up… (The how I met Joy is a four-blog-hop process!  So.. Thanks Jessica for getting the ball rolling!) …and offered on-line photo classes, I jumped in.  I learned a lot through her and – no worries, Joy, I WILL do my classwork on the last one I signed up for.  My timing was shot, my computers were shot, the light was shot and next thing I knew it was over and done with.  But I’ve kept my lessons and will do them.  Promise.  PicMonkey has become my new best friend for editing photos and having fun with my images!

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The clouds were making cool patterns and Janet, chef, teacher, artist, writer (another who needs to write more!) came to mind.  I would link to one of her blogs but, cannot. This link is a guest blog she did and truly gives a sense of who she is.  Her sarcastic humour is what got me at first and that was through her comment on another blog (please, do not ask me which one!)  Next thing I knew, I was once again a stalker.  We have since become friends as well and like to Skype for a good chin-wag when we can.  She is brilliant and I am lucky to count her in my circle.

I then was on a mission for the colour purple.  Figures. No matter where I looked, I could not find anything purple!  Ah come on!  How am I supposed to honour Rochelle? She’s the queen of purple.  Her blog is called Addicted to Purple!  I can’t use just any old image!  This woman has become my writing mentor and friend.  I was half-way home and thinking dang… I am going to have to play with the colours of something or other and make it purple!  And then… I burst out laughing!  Okay, I admit, I may be pushing it a bit but you gotta laugh, no?  Lucky for me, these little girls flocked to Zeke and one just so happened to be dressed in the appropriate colour.  So I used both.  Because.  It’s my blog.

Now I am going to cheat here as there is another I would like to mention.  That would be Sarah.  It is all her fault that I write haikus and am now a member of Friday Fictioneers.  Last Friday, during our walk, I composed a couple of haikus in my head – then dictated them to my cell because, frankly, they would be lost otherwise –  but didn’t post them when I got home because I was invited out and just didn’t take the time.  Sooo. we’ll just pretend the following was from today, okay?

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And lastly, before you all fall asleep in boredom, I cannot write such a post and exclude Zeke now, can I?  He’s way more popular than I am!  How can he not be; such a handsome and faithful companion…