Let the Music Do Its Thing

As I approached the border, I couldn’t help but notice the exit called Montée Glass/Montée Guay.

Immediately, I was transported back to the uncountable times we took this highway and this exit to go to my father’s boat, docked at Rouse’s Point, on Lake Champlain. I could see the map in my head clearly: take the exit, turn, almost in a circle to drive along Montée Guay until we reached a road, the name of which I don’t think I ever knew, which would take us to the smaller (and often less busy) border crossing. Those days of sailing were great. It would have been fitting that I had been listening to “Come Sail Away” by Styx – which was, to my surprise, in my box of CDs. However, as I was still in Canada, my radio station was still nice and clear, and CDs far from my mind.

How often we stopped at Sandy’s Deli to pick up sandwiches to go… Mmmm…. Hey, maybe I would snake across on my way back? The timing would be right and I would come home with supper all ready!

I was brought back to the present thanks to the fuzz of a disappearing station. I reached over into my box and what does my hand land on? Blues Traveler’s “Straight on Till Morning”. When putting my box together, I just had to take this one. It was one of Mick’s favourites for road trips. I often wonder at the Universe’s sense of humour. I mean, here I am driving towards my lover while my late husband keeps me company. And it wasn’t weird at all. It was an odd sort of right.

After that moment of nodding to the Universe, I burst out laughing when Canadian Rose came on because, well. Ironic. My American, however, isn’t ugly, and I live very far from Vancouver and we are not young and naïve and meeting in Burlington, but yanno, the spirit of it all…

And just as that high-pitched keyboard thing that is their signature sound was getting on my nerves, it also came at the end. What next?

The I-87 is not the most exciting of highways and one I have taken many a time. Pink Martini’s “Splendor in the Grass”, one of the two albums of theirs I did find (though not the ones I wanted) kept me company as I passed by all the familiar: Plattsburgh, where we occasionally went to the beach (I was never big on doing my Christmas shopping in the States, unlike many peeps I know), Lake Placid, remembering our climb up Whiteface in 2013. Our training for the following year when we did Mount Washington.

About two hours in, I need to make a pit stop and I ended up at the very lovely High Peaks Rest stop. Some of these places are worth visiting!

Necessaries done, I hit the road, passing by more familiar signs, Fort Ticonderoga, Lake Moreau, Lake George… Gosh, how old were we when we went to visit Frontier Town ans Ausable Chasm? I can still see our (my sister’s and me) jean jumpsuits with the STP logos on the front. Hah! When I hit the Twin Bridges (officially Thaddeus Kosciuszko Bridge), I knew I was approaching Albany and not all that much further to go.

The miles rolled by as the tunes kept me company. I was now on A.J. (son of Jim) Croce’s debut album that I’ve been listening to since it came into being way back in 1993. He was all of 22 when he recorded it, and sounded like an old black blues singer. I remember being in Sam the Record Man and this song was playing and I boogied and bopped my way to the cash to ask who this was and where to find a copy.

Much as the tunes were great, I was looking forward to getting off the I 87S and into more scenic territory…

Roadtrip

As I left the house, I came face-to-face with this note from my son stuck to the front door

I’m one of those peeps who has zero songs in her phone.  I know, I know, it’s ass-backwards in today’s world.  I just don’t listen to music on my walks or runs so why use up space?  Plus, I am weird (according to my kids) as I love listening to my CBC Radio.

So, what to do when you know a long drive is ahead of you in mountains where signals can be weak and all you get is fuzz in your ears and you watch the numbers scroll round the dial (so to speak), not landing on any station?  You go old school.  Yessiree.  I cannot believe I had the presence of mind to grab a bunch of CDs – some from my bookcase in my living room, some from one of the boxes yet unpacked since my move three years ago.  I know I have a second box somewhere hidden amongst the other yet-unpacked boxes but I was not gonna go foraging there, so I made do with what I could reach; and even then, I did not dig too deeply.  You must understand I have hundreds of them.  I could not find our handy little booky thingamagig where you slide in your CDs, so I just put them into a small box that sat on my passenger seat.

I don’t quite know how I managed to get the variety I did since my CDs were all organised by genre in their racks, ergo, in the same sort of order in the boxes.  It ended up being a selection of more bluesy-jazzy-crooner with an odd rock album or two.  Excellent.

I planned to leave the house by 7:15 and by Jove, I did!  I planned to drive through the car wash as well, and durned if I didn’t do that as well. I amaze me sometimes 😉

I got to the border by 8:10 then waited. And waited. It felt like ages but if I’m honest, it was just half an hour – forty-five minutes, maybe?  I was just impatient to be on my way and at my destination.

I hand over my passport.  “Where ya goin?”

“Prattsville.”

“Pratts– what?  Why?”

“It’s in the Catskills.  Meeting my guy. It’s the halfway point.”

With a sweet and goofy grin, he returned my passport and replied, “Well, you enjoy yourself.”

“Oh, I plan to…”

Not long after I cross the border, my station starts going AWOL so I reach over and grab the first CD.

 

 

Itchin’ – Friday Fictioneers

I’d like to first offer my condolences to Liz on the loss of Don.  My deepest condolences to you. Sending much love your way.

Secondly, I must wish happy birthday to my sister Lisa… Happy birthday, Sis! I love you to bits!

And finally… welcome to Friday Fictioneers, a place where peeps gather round the fire tended by Rochelle every week.  Rochelle could not have made a better choice today (even if she didn’t know it at the time). I saw this and was immediately on a cruise in my mind… since we actually were on one, returning just before the shit officially hit the fan on Friday the thirteenth of March, 2020.  Lordy.  ‘Nuff of that. Click on the frog to play by adding the link to your 100-word story.  G’head. It’s a great way to learn how to trim the fat from your writing…

©Liz Young

Fall is here.

Yes, and it’s my favourite time of the year.

Mine, too.  The weather is perfect.  If it could only stay like this through till spring. Skip winter alltogether.

Not how it works in this neck, you know that.  Why bother harping on it?

Coz this is the time I start itchin’.

Itchin’?

Yeah. Itchin’ to book our next cruise for Spring Break. 

Hah! You just said fall is your favourite.  Enjoy it.  Why rush?

One word for you:  Planning ahead.

That’s two words.

Don’t be a smartass. Shall I call the sisters?

Duh! And don’t forget Mom!

 

A Family Trip – Friday Fictioneers

It’s Wednesday!  And the last day of work for me, followed by a four-day weekend. Again. Wooo hoooo!  So, why not play a little with this lovely Russell Gayer image?  Thanks, always to Rochelle for hosting this weekly party.  I do appreciate your efforts, my friend.  Should you be interested in writing your own 100-word story to go with, just click on the frogs below and add you link!

Click to play

 

All five of us in a van for four weeks?  Have you lost your mind?

It’ll be great.  We’ll get a chance to see most of our beautiful country and part of the States on our return.

Five of us. Together. Four weeks.

Yes.  It’ll be great.  We each get one hour of music and no one is allowed to complain.

Hah! You think that is enough to stem potential arguments?

Have faith.

And you, have reality.

I do. And I think this will be a trip of a lifetime.

Or will feel like it lasts that long…

Shut up.

 

Wakey, Wakey, Time for Breaky! – What Pegman Saw

This week Pegman takes us to Saskatchewan Canada. You may use the photo provided with the prompt or take to Google maps and search within the borders of Saskatchewan for your own inspiration.

Your mission is to write up to 150 words inspired by the prompt. You may contribute poetry, prose, or essay. Once your piece is polished share with others at the link up below. Reading and commenting on others work is part of the fun.

How can I resist when Pegman goes to my country AND I have been to said place – even when just driving through. So, sorry… once again, I have given you a “travel post” for this challenge.  Thanks to Karen and Josh for hosting this weekly party that I don’t attend often enough!  I shall strive to come by more often.

Click me to play!

Wakey, Wakey, Time For Breaky!

“Good morning, girls!  Time to get up, get breakfast and hit the road!”

“Aw, Dad! Do we have to get up at six o’clock every morning?”

“Yeah, Dad. Why can’t we sleep in a little. This is a vacation!”

“Oh, come on, you two, this is a fun trip.”

The two others, in unision:  “Shut up, Nicole!”

“Alright girls, that’s enough. Just get dressed so we can go eat. I need a coffee,” chimed in Mom.

“I’m having pancakes!”

“Me, too!”

“I’m with Mom, need coffee. This is so stupid that we have to get up so damn early,” grouched the eldest.

They piled into their Ford Econoline Super Van and searched for a diner as the motel had no restaurant.  They didn’t have far to drive.

Weird. No cars.  Sign indicated: ‘Opens at 6:00 am.’

“Dammit, Dad!!  Regina, Saskatchewan does NOT observe Daylight Savings Time!

You woke us up at 5:00!!”

Similar to the van we had to cross Canada back in 1983

*Sadly, a mostly true tale. I was 21 at the time; my sisters 18 and 15 (well, the following month) and it was the last family road trip we took together.  I moved out of the family home on my return.

 

Route Nationale 5 – What Pegman Saw

This week Pegman takes us to Madagascar., an island country in the Indian Ocean known for harboring cartoon zoo animals. Okay, just kidding. I’ll leave it to you to find the story in Madagascar. You’ve got up to 150 words, be it prose, poetry, essay, or a brand new format invented by you.

Feel free to use the location supplied in the prompt, or chose your own from the limited amount of photospheres and streetview in Madagascar.

Once your piece is polished, share it with others using the linkup below.

Raid RN5 – Off Road – @hiluxdago

Click me to play

Route Nationale 5

“I’ve decided what our next adventure vacation is going to be.  Madagascar!”

“Land of the lemur, of the best vanilla?  Where my favourite Disney movie takes place?  I’m in!”

“I thought you might.  Now, while we are there, we shall participate in the RN5 Run.  It could take up to two-three days to complete.”

“Da hell is that?”

“It’s a route that you can only take by Four-Wheel Drive.  Only the most courageous take it.  We have to time it because it’s completely impassable in January and February.  The first leg is from Soanierana-Ivongo to Mananara and the second is from Mananara to Maroantsetra.  We’ll see sheer cliffs, deep sand, mud (lots of it), jungle, animals, beaches, palm trees.  We’ll cross rivers with man-made ferries, some using old oil drums—”

“Sounds dangerous and stupid.”

“Yeah. So, you in?”

“Hells yes, I’m in!  As long as after, we take it easy.”

Weekend Writing Prompt #96 – Seashore

I promise ya’all, when I have a new house bought and signed for, I shall let go of this obsession… Or will go on and on about my new digs.  So, maybe I cannot make any promises, after all!  Thank you, Sammi, for giving me reasons to work a little harder!

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

Word Prompt

Seashore

Challenge

Trying not to feel woe is me

Mother, sisters, their families

On a cruise, taking in the sun

While I’m at home, not having much fun

I may feel a little bit sore

Not playing with them by the seashore

But! I might have missed the sale of my house

Now that would be something about which to grouse

Cook in Tuscany – La Chiusa, A Surprise, Innocenti and Farewell

*** EIGHT – yes, EIGHT!!  months have gone by since I returned from Tuscany.  I had so many issues with my computer that I had put this aside to finish later and later never seemed to come.  I am now, if you don’t mind, ready to finish the telling of this fabulous life-changing (for me) trip! ***

♣♣♣TWO YEARS – yes, officially TWO YEARS have, as of today, gone by since I started my Cook in Tuscany Trip.  I am not counting my day in Zug because that would have made yesterday the official two-year mark.  Though I am not pro-resoution, I have promised myself to finish every project I have started and that includes this one.♣♣♣

Now where was I….

Sigh, the last full day in Montefollonico, at La Costa with this fabulous group that made the start of my trip so wonderful. The next morning most would be hopping the van to Chiusi-Chianciano Station to continue their adventures elsewhere or return home.  But till then, we had a full day of wonderful stuff!

As per usual, we had our breakfast in the closed-in veranda before making our way to our last cooking class.  It is kinda funny that we had the van, considering how close we were!  We could easily have walked there and back but hey, why not?  And it’s not like any of us knew where we were going anyway.

This time we made our way to the restaurant La Chiusa, run by Michelin-star chef Dania, a woman who is somewhere in her 70’s but does not dress “accordingly” (whatever that is supposed to be)!  She is one sexy lady!  Though divorced, her husband still works with her.  How very European, eh?

Dania is very artistic and she showed us how to decorate plates with zucchini and beet purées.  We made stuffed zucchini flowers, pesto risotto, chicken stew, caramel nests, fig and caramel ice cream.  The colour of the egg yolks… I have no words.  And this standard for them!

Once most of the mains were started, Dania brought us through to her gardens, which were still amazing in September.  Huge kale, leeks, rows and rows of rosemary, basil, eggplants, peppers, fig trees, zucchini with their blossoms – it was amazing to walk through, while Dania chattered away, occasionally translated by the lovely Geraldine – same who had translated on truffle-hunting day.  I think I would spend hours on this bench, dreaming of what to pick next…

Group photo!

We then went into the “pasta” kitchen where Antonietta had us making ravioli stuffed with ricotta and lovely gnocchi.

All that hard work meant we got to eat al fresco on the terrace.

To return “home”, we decided to walk this time.  It was just up a hill, less than a kilometre and let’s face it, walking was not a bad idea.  As we entered the gates of Montefollonico, we were chattering and laughing when I heard “Dale?”.

What the… I spun around and there was Pierre.  One of Mick’s close friends and former clients.  Oh. Em. Gee.  You cannot make this stuff up!  I mean, come ON!  This is not THE rocking place of Tuscany.  This tiny village is tucked away in the middle of nowhere!  I can still hear Donna saying:  “You turned French Canadian in front of my eyes!”  Speaking of eyes, the whole gang got all misty-eyed at seeing us hug.  Pierre looked at me, then up at the sky and let out a “Mick, tabarnac!”  He said he was a little bit of a believer but now was full-fledged.  I had no idea he and his wife, Geneviève, were there on vacation.  And it was his in-laws who wanted to go visit there.  What were the chances?

Pierre and Me

We exchanged emails and made arrangements to hook up in two days.  So. Very. Cool.

We had a few hours to kill before our next adventure and Sandy wanted to deliver an apron to Dania in thanks.  So I joined Donna and her for a walk back to La Chiusa and Dania.

Our last excursion was down the street from LaCosta to Innocenti Wines.

We were greeted by Vino, Vittorio Innocenti’s sweet dog.  We entered and a few feet in, found ourselves in a fairly dark and musty wine cellar with the big casks.  Vittorio and Laura (Geraldine’s mum) were waiting for us to give us a tour.  Not a very big one!  The place is quite small and feels very intimate.

It was our last night together! How quickly it passed.  How much fun we had.  The memories created will remain forever, of that I am certain.  Friendships created and with the magic of Facebook, maintained.

Our last supper was at La Costa in the closed veranda as the evening was quite cool.  We had a lovely feast of pork chops and the lemon roasted potatoes and balsamic roasted cipollini, three types of crostini (mushroom, roasted tomato and olive), salad and a birthday cake for Cindi and Alison!  A perfect ending to a perfect week in perfect company.  Linda and George gave us each a lovely ceramic plate as a memento.  We would save our good-byes for the morrow.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

 

 

Vacation in Roswell, New Mexico – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday-Friday, my peeps!  You know it, it’s Friday Fictioneers time!  This week I’m doing something new.  Frank over at A Frank Angle, wanted to play indirectly by suggesting a collaboration of sorts with me.  I send him this week’s photo prompt, he then gives me the title or idea.  So voilà!  This here is the result 😉  I really did try to stay away from dialogue.  Couldn’t do it for this one. Hope y’all don’t mind!

Thank you always to Rochelle for keeping us in line – or doing her best to 😉 .  This week, she chose this photo from Ted Strutz.  Thank you, Ted, for allowing us to use and abuse it for this challenge!

Should this picture jump up at you and makes you think of something to say, then please, by all means, join our merry band of misfits and share it with us!  Click on Rochelle’s name for the rules and regs or click on the blue frog below to read more interpretations…

Add the frog to your blog by clicking here

Vacation in Roswell, New Mexico

“You have GOT to be kidding me.”  Shanna watched Charlie set up his camera and tripod in the middle of the field, using the car lights to see.

“What?  So far, we have done all the stuff you wanted to do:  Farmer and Artisan’s Market, Peco Flavors Winery, and we toured the International Air Center – ok, that was for me.  Still, can’t I just do this?

Shanna sighed.  “Yes, of course.  But c’mon, you know it was proven that it wasn’t a UFO that landed way back in ’47.”

“So they say, Shanna, so they say. Can’t hurt to look, right?”

 

Colour Me Green – What Pegman Saw

Why am I writing at 3:00 a.m.?  Because my boy has some friends over, and though I went to bed hours ago, they are still going strong.  Somehow sleep eludes me.  Weird, eh?

So, I checked my email and what do I see there?  What Pegman Saw!  Might as well be one of the early-birds!  Thank you to Karen and Josh for hosting this great writing challenge.

This week Pegman takes us to Abaco, Bahamas. You won’t find much in the way of streetview out in this neck of the Bahamas. Mainly because you won’t find much in the way of streets. You can use the photo provided, or dangle Pegman over the map to find your own slice of paradise.

Your mission is to write 150 words inspired by what you find. Will you treat us to comedy? Tragedy? Sci Fi Slipstream Historical Fiction? Your only limit is your imagination. And of course the previously mentioned 150 words. Once you’ve polished your story-poem-essay, share it with other Pegman contributors using the link up below.

Colour Me Green

So, you go away for two weeks every year?

Yeah.  It’s like a timeshare.  I’m never sure where I’m going until a month or so before I leave.

So, you’ve known since we’re together that you’re going, though.

Well yeah.  Like I said, I go every year.  Found out it was the Bahamas a little over a month ago.

I see.  And, you couldn’t tell me when things got serious between us that you would be going on vacation.   You chose to tell me two weeks before you leave.

I’m telling you now.  What’s the big deal?

Maybe I would have liked to have known about it.  To go with you.

You can’t. You’re not on my invitee list.  I’m going to ask them if I can add you for next time. Why you are so upset?

Maybe it’s just envy.  Surely can’t be any other reason to be upset.