A Break From the Noise

“Peace comes from within.  Do not seek it without.”
Gautama Buddha

Started this post yesterday but got a surprise visit from François and, before I knew it, we were shopping for flooring for the damned basement, so I put this aside 😉   Now, having brought up the problem with the boys’ effing toilet, I write between being official helper to my handyman and cooking supper and seeing him off 😉

***

Woke up yesterday morning to a very drab day.  Thought “ah man, really?   Then, as I was pfaffing away on Facebook, the sun decided to make its appearance.  We-hell now…  Just the kick in the pants I needed to get off my arse.  I was really feeling the need to go out and walk out my thoughts.   I have so many things swirling around my brain, it keeps me up at night and I involuntarily stress about getting it all done.  Meditation or purging of thought is needed!  My type of meditation does not require contorted legs, sore back, numb bum and some mantra repeated endlessly.  I’m way too ADHD for that shizzle.  No… gimme a walk ouside in the fresh air towards no definitive destination or towards a potential woods, park, whatever, I care not.   All I need is my dog, my camera (‘coz you just never know what you’ll see that you want to capture when you’re a wanna-be photographer and sometimes you want more than your phone camera), the proper clothes for the weather, and I will be one with the Universe.

Somehow, the things that are preoccupying me are replaced sometimes by a song that gets stuck in my head, sometimes words form into a Haiku – I’ll find myself randomly counting out my syllables.  And if a good one does appear, I record it on my phone because sure as shit it’ll be gone by the time I get home!  Sometimes I’ll get brilliant ideas for blog posts – most of which never see the light of day.

But sometimes, my mind goes blessedly blank.  I hear the tweets and birdsongs, the traffic, the silence.  I see the colours, the shapes, the birds and squirrels.  I let Zeke go off leash once we reach a park and I’ve made sure no one else is present.  Not that he would run off, but just in case they are scared of big beasts.  He’s a big beast!  Both of us alone together.

Once I hit the first park just off du Perche (never remember the name), I had to concentrate on the shimmy/slide/shuffle/sashay just to remain upright!  The walkway was icy.  No room for random thoughts when you are just trying to not end up landing hard on your hiney.  But the air was a nice mixture of crisp and clear and the sky so blue and the colours of the abandoned playground just popped, that it made the efford worthwhile.  I felt everything lift off my shoulders – at least for a while.

I decided that I was only going as far as my favourite willow tree because, frankly, the shimmy/slide/shuffle/sashay was a workout in itself.  No need to do the full 10K to feel like a workout!  Plus, the weather app said it was a balmy +4ºC (39ºF) with the windchill of 0ºC (32ºF) and I felt overdressed.  The amount you sweat also helps measure the workout.  Right?

How nice.  Once we crossed de Normandie Street and onto the little roadway, there was no ice/snow.  Till we reached the end of the road, of course!  A rest, so to speak!

The wind was perfect for me to brush Zeke.  He HATES being brushed.  No, LOATHES it.  So a whine here, a move over here, he finally, in an attempt to get me to stop, he lay down on his side, presenting me with his belly.   He he he.  Sucks to be you, Zeke!  I got to remove MOUNTAINS of fur.  The wind was great, I had fur flying all over the place:  down the trail, over the rocks, all over my pants, in my mouth.  Great.   After I had removed the equivalent of a small wiff-waff (you know, a kickable, like a Pomeranian or a Shihtzu…) I put away the comb.  I hurried to tie Zeke as a woman and her dog were coming towards us.  The woman asked if it was okay for our dogs to meet and I confirmed that I had a big suck of a dog.  Billie, her golden, was not impressed.  At the tender age of two, she bared her teeth.  Zeke, however, was not impressed nor afraid so he pursued her.  His charms did not work overly well but he kept on checking.  Small world that we live in, Billie’s owner had a voice that I recognised.  When we introduced ourselves, we realised that we did know each other.  Nancy’s son plays golf at the club where I work and while he plays, she whiles away her time in the restaurant/bar…

 

As you can see by the sky in the background, the sun was making itself scarce.  Nancy though I was smart to wear snowpants and a tuque and decided she’d had enough.  The wind had picked up and I had a decent trek home so we exchanged “See you at the golf clubs” and moved our separate ways.

Walking back, I became even more focused on the colours that popped out of the strangest places.  Strange is probably a strong word but I felt like my senses were on alert.  Or my eyeballs were!

The “vinaigrier” which literally translates to vinegar plant, but which I finallly decided to google and find out is really called a Virginia Sumac (though I can’t be certain and don’t really care) is basically an invasive bush that is boring in summer, outstanding in autumn and adds a pop of colour in winter.  I love photographing it 3/4 of the year.  On our way out of the park, I am always fascinated by this little cabin that looks like it belongs in some long-lost forest, is actually next to a boulevard!  I loved the little bush with so many colours, like it thought it was still autumn, and wanted to stand out and finally, there were so many reflections in puddles and one in particular actually made me stop.

Did I solve any of my issues that have been bugging me?  Not a one.  Did I, for a couple of hours completely release all my worries.  Oh yes.  Completely.

I like to think that my two hour meditation did manage to liberate some space in my brain so that I may actually feel I’lle be able to accomplish some of that which needs attending to.

Or maybe I just took some time for me (and Zeke) to just be.

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

26. Enjoying the colours of winter
27. Running into acquaintances
28. Brushing Zeke
29. Reflections in puddles
30. Taking time for me

Weekend Share – on a Monday, Again! – February 12, 2018

“Be thankful for everything that happens in your life; it’s all an experience.”
Roy T. Bennett

So, I am late posting my weekend share again.  Can’t blame me.  It’s the Olympics!  And François decided to stay over Sunday night which would have been my posting time.  Since he’s been working full-time, we only see each other on week-ends, I’m not going to “diss” him by locking myself up in my office 😉

This past week was one of appointments and lunches, starting with Monday.   For those who don’t know, my mother-in-law, whom I inherited after the death of her only son, has been placed in a home for seniors – against her will – because she is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia and is physically unsteady on her feet.  It is too dangerous to leave her alone in her 3rd storey apartment, not that she’s buying it at all.

You see, she was found unconscious in her apartment on June 28th; spent two months in the hospital where they tested her and came to the dementia conclusion and would not release her.  She was brought to court to have her rights taken away and ended up being given one chance to return home (which I wanted, if only for one week, to be in her things).  She lasted 5 days before she had to be brought back to the hospital, looking dehydrated and sporting a black eye; and, after a couple of weeks, when a bed opened, to the home.  Her case ended up in social worker’s hands and then the curator’s where it was discovered that she had actually done a living will,  naming me her mandatory.  Well, me and her friend, who has refused the job (thank goodness).  There is so much bureaucracy and paperwork and back and forth.  It’s been a major headache.  I had two months to empty her apartment – major hoarder – and collect all important papers and some clothes for her and whatnot.  The rest was donated or shipped to the garbage or recycling.  All I can say is, François is a saint for helping me out with this most disconcerting task.

Some of the paperwork I need to go through

Monday’s appointment was with Jean’s (mother-in-law) financial advisor who will be helping me sort through it all as soon as the mandate is homolgated.  Thank goodness he’s been dealing with her for 20 years and knows the ins and outs of her stuff!  And her personality, which is not easy.

I then met my sister, Lisa, for lunch at Sesame around 12:30 for a yummy spicy salmon poké bowl, in my case, and Tonkinese Beef Soup, for her.  We sat and chatted till 3 o’clock!  Was simply wonderful.  We were beyond overdue for some one-on-one time.

Come Tuesday, it was time to pick up my mother and bring her for her appointment with a neurologist.  She’s been having a burning feeling inside her leg for years… Conveniently, Mom’s appointment was at 11:45 and was over by 12:30 – yep… just in time for lunch!

As Lisa had had a “soupe-repas”(soup as a meal) yesterday, I had a hankering for one, so suggested we go Vietnemese this time and brought  Mom to Le Petit Tournesol Doré where we each had the grilled chicken lemongrass soup.  Soooo good!

Wednesday.  My official day sans appointments.  It snowed. All. Friggen. Day.  Did I feel like going out there?  Nope and Nope and Nope.

Besides.  I had given myself a mission.  Clean up my desk.  Somehow, I totally lost control and didn’t seem capable of getting it back…

Not saying I have accomplished my task. Yet.

Thursday was my meeting with the Maîre d’ of the Golf Club to find out whether or not I am returning this coming golf season. I have tentatively said yes.  But it is still months away.  There is an upcoming event next week that I’ll work and any other events that pop up… but we’ll see.

I then met my sister, Tracy, for lunch.  Somehow, we ended up at Sesame… hmmm… like, where I went on Monday!  LOL… I figured, no big whup, there are lots of options.  What do I have?  Same thing as Monday.  It was that good!

Come Friday, I set the PVR for the opening ceremonies of the PyeongChang Olympics, had my breakfast and decided that Zeke and I were due for a walk towards my favourite willow tree and, if we felt up to it, further to the next park.  We felt up to it.  But we definitely avoided coming back through the thicker snow and chose the streets.  The sky was not particularly beautiful (the sun was extremely anaemic) for pictures but I took some anyway and amused myself with PicMonkey.

On our walk back – remember, “we” decided to take the roads back 😉 – I noticed that quite a few houses had “Widow’s Walks”.  Considering we are far from the river, never mind the sea, I wondered what possessed the builders to add them to the tops of these houses.  It’s not like they looked accessible (I may be totally wrong) or even attractive.  But hey, that’s my own humble opinion.  Not one, not two but three houses!  And the third one a good way away from the other two.  I figured they influenced each other but the third?

The next thing I noticed is how weird this particular ‘hood is.  On one side of the street you have the house on the left and directly across you have the other.

I did my 10K steps though!  Got home, took a shower and then left to pick up my mother as she and I had appointments with our new doctor for 3 pm.  It is so annoying that geting a family doctor requires sitting on a waiting list or having friends with connections.  For the past 10 years, I have been going to a private clinic where it cost me up to $110 just to say “hello”.  I no longer work in a company offering benefits so I no longer have insurance.  It has been three years since I’ve gone for a full physical.

Anyhoo, I dunno… Met with the doctor, he asked me why I was there.  I said to get a physical because I don’t have a family doctor.  He said OK.  Asked me if my pressure was good.  I answered it was last time I had it checked.  He asked me when that was.  I said three years ago.  He asked if I used the machines in the pharmacy.  I said no.  He then asked me if there was anything in particular I needed attending.  I said I have trouble sleeping.  He said you want something?  I said yes, I’d like x.  He said how many and then wrote a script.  He then filled in a paper for me to go for general blood tests and – ugh – am I that old already? – a stool sample – when I made a face he said:  You prefer a camera?  I said no, thanks.  He said ok and if there were no issues, I’d not hear from him and showed me the door.

I left there thinking I need to make an appointment with my private clinic where he will weigh me (and give me shit for gaining a pound or ten), take my pressure, measure my waist, listen to my heart, etc.  You know, give me a physical…

Friday evening, François came by.  He surprised me with a lovely gift.  He was supposed to get a price for me because a friend works in a sports store but instead said that no, I could not pay him as they were a gift.  Call them a Christmas/Valentine’s Day/Whatever you want to call it, he said!  I am now the proud owner of my own snowshoes.  I had mentioned that I was considering buying myself a pair from Costco – not too expensive, perfect for a first-timer like me.  He said that is fine and dandy but to hold off.  He would get me a good price from a friend who works at a good sport store.  That was weeks ago.  After my last couple of walks with Zeke, I almost said to hell with it and was going to go buy them anyway!

After a lazy Saturday morning, we went to catch my niece, and goddaughter, Ariane, in her volleyball tournament.  Oh the memories!  I played in high school and college.  I so vividly remember the tournaments.  Game after game, time only for a light bite or if more time, trying not to overeat.   Only in my day, parents never came to watch!  There was a bus that picked us up from school and brought us to wherever it was and then back.  Now, parents have to drive their kids all over the place!  I didn’t think of bringing my camera and my phone is not the best for action shots so I took a very short video.  Ariane is the one in the red shoes in the black and gold team on the right.

Sadly, they lost that game.  Still, I managed to see her make some nice moves!

That night I made a potato/haddock casserole thingy.  A layer of sliced potatoes, layer of sliced onion, another layer of sliced potatoes… cook those for a bit; add the haddock on top and then a sorta tomato/spinach/garlic “salad” and bake for 12 minutes.   Definitely doing this one again!

And, finally!  Sunday!  François wanted to treat his mother to a Dalida impersonator named Joan Bluteau and invited me to join them.  It was at a lovely hotel called the Manoir Rouville-Campbell.  An intimate concert for about 100 people.  I knew they held wedding receptions at this place but I never knew they held mini-concerts.  She was quite good!

One of Dalida’s most famous songs was “Gigi l’Amoroso” of which I taped a little snippet…

At the end of the concert, Ms Bluteau generously allowed folks to take their picture with her.  Mme. Martin was thrilled… and so, I suspect, was her son!

Mme. Martin, “Dalida”, François

I’ve included a video of the real Dalida.  I could have used the Italian version of the song but Dalida did move to Paris and sang mostly in French – besides, to have a comparison 😉

We had not had lunch and it was nearly 5:00 pm so we decided to try out the restaurant in the hotel.  They had a restricted “Pub” menu which ended up being fabulous.

François had “only” a duck confit sandwich, his mother a fish and chips plate and I had the trio of tartares.  Included was a delicious cream of broccoli soup to start and a molten chocolate cake for dessert!

I apologize for going on and on like this.  Goodness!  If you are still with me, than I thank you!

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

16.  Fhameeda – for getting me into her clinic
17.  Finding the financial advisor who will help me with my mother-in-law’s stuff
18.  My sisters – I cherish when we have a chance to sit one-on-one
19.  New snowshoes – to share snow time with my sweetheart
20.  The music of Dalida – I thought I knew none of it and found out I knew a few!

 

 

 

#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 – Snowstorms, Work, and Hello Kitty

Hello, my friends.  Welcome to this week’s coffee share where I am so late it is Sunday and it is five o’clock in the early evening and I’ve had just about enough coffee for my day.  I have decided to splurge on a nice Kilkenny beer.  However, please do not be shy, should you want a coffee or tea or hot chocolate, I will be more than happy to provide.  There is also wine and some limoncello and aranciacello left so, those are options as well.  I don’t want to ruin your appetite, so I am only offering some delicious Miss Vicky’s lime and black pepper chips.

I cannot believe I forgot to mention my Skype session with my friend Raye over in Portland, Oregon, last Tuesday. Should have been mentioned in our last coffee share.  She is very special to me and we were way overdue.  That said, we have decided that we are going to try for a monthly get-together!  Should be wonderful indeed.

OK.  So back to business!  This week started off with work at the Golf Club.  Monday was a nice day.  We were basically there to set up for a trade show on Tuesday. A very physical day.  Tuesday’s group people very nice.  Their show ended at around 3:00 pm and we were able to start setting up for Wednesday’s event.  The snow started slowly round noon.  I had been there since 9:00 a.m and by 5:45, I was sent home.   as they had called in another woman to help with the set up.  To justify her being there from 4:00 pm, it was considered best I should leave.  Lucky me!  By then, the snow was becoming quite the mess.  This was the road leaving the golf club, towards the highway…

Took me almost one hour to get home… a usual 15-minute drive.  I consider myself lucky as I did get home.  My boss and co-worker never made it!  The boss got so disoriented leaving the club, he was driving towards the highway, through the golf course!  When he realised he had no idea where he was, he got out of his car and walked back to the club, where he stayed to sleep.  My poor co-worker managed to get to the highway but got off (probably near my house!) and parked her car in a gas station and slept in her car!  I wish I had known because I would have gone to pick her up and bring her to my house…

Needless to say, all activities at the club were cancelled on Wednesday.  I got a call at 7:30 telling me to stay home.  This was another trade show and people were coming from far and wide so no choice but to cancel.  Only person who did not get a snow day was Iain!  Here are his steps out of the house!

After sitting at my desk watching the snow accumulate on the windows, Zeke and I decided there was some shoveling to do.  Some.  I have two teenagers.  Just had to leave some for them, right?

Depending on the regions, there was up to 75cm (2.4 feet) total snowfall.  Though I live on the “sunny side” of the street, it also happens to be the “gusty side”!  I usually have six steps going down to my driveway.  There were none to be seen.

More views to give an idea…

Each of the boys did a section and even the neighbour’s son helped out… To think that two days later, there would be so much melted, is crazy!

I also got an order for a Hello Kitty cake for a two year old.  So Friday night I baked the cakes and Saturday, I put it all together and decorated it.  I had a dinner date with a friend Saturday night, so I offered to deliver it on my way.  Otherwise, the client would have picked it up Sunday morning.  Admittedly, depending on how late Saturday was, I wasn’t sure I wanted to have to be out and about at 9:30 am!

I have to admit, I was quite pleased with the end result.

Zeke and I went for a nice walk before I had to get ready for my outing.  It was a glorious day but I underestimated the coldness.  That sun was shining something fierce so I was fooled into thinking the temps were warmer than they were!  As I had changed coats for one that is lighter, I had no gloves stashed in the pockets.  Poor Zeke ended up with a much shorter walk!  Will make it up to him this week!

Upon our return home, I notice a humongous icicle hanging from the now-detached gutter.  Sigh… there is always something, isn’t there?

I have taken up way too much of your time but I do appreciate your stopping by!  Have a marvellous week and find joy in the small things!

Lotsa love,

Dale

 

 

 

#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…

 

 

#Weekend Coffee Share – Overdue and Yet Timely

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It has been eons since my last coffee share (I’m even afraid to look, it’s been so long…) but let us not let that stop us, righty?  After all, it is the last day of 2016 and a brand-new, unblemished New Year starts at Midnight tonight!  Click on the image above to be taken to Diana’s blog “Part-Time Monster” for more weekend shares, and maybe add your own.  Thank you for accepting my contribution, Diana!

If we were having coffee, I’d suggest we splurge and add a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to it… Bailey’s? Grand Marnier?  Name it, I’ll add it.  Allow it to warm our tummies so we can feel all cozy and warm on the inside as well as the outside.  Don’t worry, I’ve lit the fire to keep us toasty warm.

If we were having coffee, I’d first say happy birthday to my friend Leslie Gadoury.  What a thing to have a birthday on the last day of the year!  It’s always a celebration in double!  I just wish we could see each other face-to-face sometime soon.  It’s been way too long, hasn’t it?  Thank goodness for Facebook (cuss it all you like, folks.  For me, it is one way of keeping in touch!)

If we were having coffee… oh, did you prefer tea?  Skip the caffeine and move right to wine or a cocktail?  Please, no worries!  I might even have a bit of eggnog left over!

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Anyway, I would tell you that Zeke got a good walk yesterday.  Also a first in a long time.  Somehow I was letting my lethargy take over and not going on our long jaunts of yore.  A situation to be remedied, I assure you!  Zeke and I were both very happy and the weather was perfect.  Almost too warm (or is it that my jacket and boots are just too efficient?).  We went to our favourite park des Brouages where “my” river flows…

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It felt so good to get out there and enjoy the fresh air.  Made me wonder why the heck I hadn’t been finding the time… oh yeah, between ice storms, rain, holidays… I may have been a tad busy!

If we were having coffee with a hint of spirits, I would say that I am ever so glad that I signed up at the gym at the same time as I did my son.  It was his Christmas gift but at two for one… why the heck not?  I have gotten my program from the very helpful Mathieu so will have no excuses on what to do and how (not that I really did, but you know, it had been a long time since my last subscription…whatever it takes to give me the oomph to go!)

We had a lovely Christmas between the sisters’ houses.  Always fun to end up at Tracy and Sébastien’s on Christmas Eve and play our silly game of steal the present.  There is always that one present that everyone covets… Plus Tracy introduced us to a fun Chinese gambling game that made us all run and laugh… Darn Stéphanie who one three out of four games!  Lucky her!  Everyone brought food, me my eggnog and a marzipan cake inspired by Sarah Potter – I’m positive hers was not dangerous to the teeth!  Next time I follow the recipe and use cherries and NOT dried fruit… sigh…)

The next morning, after opening our presents and me picking up my mother-in-law, it was brunch at my house where Iain, for the second year, has taken up his father’s position as head chef and omelette maker!  Basically the same crowd (save Sébastien’s sister and brother and family) and, normally I invite friends but somehow this year, that didn’t happen… Christmas, though arrives at every time, every year, somehow crept up on me…) Still, we stuffed ourselves big time on sausages, bacon, omelettes, croissants, chocolate-buttermilk pancakes, pâtés, etc.  Lisa brought her famous kourabiedes cookies (Greek butter, powder sugar cookies) – sooo delicious!

Time to relax/clean up/nap/do whatever we pleased to then find out way at Lisa and Chris’ for Christmas dinner.  Chris’ bird was delicious and we almost ate my salad that I brought – totally forgot it in the fridge!  That and my cranberry sauce… What up wit dat?  Like there wasn’t already enough food to fill our bellies with… It’s always a nice relaxed end of the holidays evening and we, though we were sure we would not be able to eat after Iain’s brunch, stuffed ourselves once more.

A lovely holiday season for sure and it is culminating tonight with a party at Linda and Nicola’s – they have an annual New Year’s Eve party and it is my first time attending.  I was blessed to be invited to three parties this year!  Three!  And me, who spent last NYE in my tub…

Giselle and Dany’s party had to be cancelled for flu.  I think they would benefit from one of my special coffees… or maybe some home-made chicken soup.  Shall  see what I can do for them!  Get well love birds!

I wish for you all a most wonderful 2017, filled with love, laughter, good health, general happiness, friendships and smiles for no reason… oh and of course, good fortune!

Lotsa love!

Dale

xoxo