Crimson’s Creative Challenge #14 – Juste Milieu

Ahh Crispina.  You’ve done it again.  You have enticed me to join in on your CCC challenge again this week.  Of course, it is Valentine’s Day today.  Of course, love is on so many people’s minds, and to a certain extent, mine as well.  That Google “Remember this day” sure didn’t help by reminding me that five years ago today, my husband and I celebrated our last one together with him decorating the dining room with all things heart, making me a meal and gifting me with my camera.  On my own since December of that same year, many thoughts on what I want or don’t want have criss-crossed my mind, going from, I really hope I meet someone, to, well, how about I meet someone who doesn’t need to have me 24/7?  There is something to this doing her own thing that quite appeals, even if occasionally, it can be lonely.  Enough rambling.  To my submission!

 

Choosing Me

“You don’t need a man to make you happy”

“You’ll be lonely remaining alone”

“Don’t be so picky”

“Don’t lower your standards”

Words thrown from all directions, including internally

 

What happened to making your own choices?

Trusting your own judgment?

 

A tasty meal with the perfect wine, wonderful conversation, followed by delicious sex

Why can’t that be enough for you?

Friendship, movies, a walk in the woods, holding hands, kissing, star-gazing

Why can’t that suffice?

 

Must it be all one?

And none of the other?

Where is the “juste milieu”? for me? for you?

 

One wants it all

The other wants just some

Neither can be forced

 

So, for now, I shall remain firmly planted at that junction

Forced neither left nor right

And should someone come along that makes my heart sing

And for whom I do the same?

Then let that path open wide.

(150 words)

Don’t Dismiss (or Diss) the Kiss

La beauté n’a pas d’importance. Quand on est un homme aimable, on finit par avoir une beauté dans le regard, dans la manière d’être en vieillissant.¹

— Charles Aznavour

The lyrics, in both French and English, are here Qui Who

Il faut savoir, coûte que coûte, Garder toute sa dignité Et, malgré ce qu’il nous en coûte, S’en aller sans se retourner Face au destin qui nous désarme.²

— Charles  Aznavour

Helluva preamble to my post, eh?  Lemme explain myself before I continue.  Yesterday, the world lost the fabulous French/Armenian singer, Charles Aznavour – also known as the “Frank Sinatra of France”.  You can’t really feel bad.  The man was 94 and had a most prolific life.  If you click on his name, you have access to a wonderful article on his life as well as a link to his most famous English song “She”.

But I digress…

Because of his passing, I ended up on YouTube to listen to my favourite tunes by him, such as “La Bohème” and “Emmenez-moi” (the latter being, by the way, IMPOSSIBLE to sing along to in a Karaoke session.  Trust me.  I’ve tried) and left YouTube to do its thing and play whatever it felt like… well.

Along came Cesária Évora and her sultry voice singing “Besame Mucho”.  My Spanish is so-so but passable enough to know that Besame had to do with kissing.  So, of course, the Google came into use when I searched the English translation of the song for confirmation.  While I continue blathering on, g’head, enjoy the late great Cesaria…

 

I started thinking about kissing.  And how much I love it.  And miss it.  I think we don’t spend nearly enough time kissing, to tell the truth. I’m not talking about those pecks on the cheeks or those chaste, dry, barely-there touches of lips, unless those are just to lead up to the real thing.  I’m talking about those deep, long, slow kisses that turn your insides to liquid mercury.  I’m talking From Here to Eternity beach kiss scene…

Those mornings when we kiss and surrender for an hour before we say a single word.”
David Levithan

When you first start dating, you spend so much time just kissing:  while taking a walk, while doing dishes, while sitting on the couch.  It doesn’t matter where but you sneak them in  wherever and whenever you can.  You can’t seem to get enough.  And it’s not automatically a foreplay of foreplay, either.  Not saying that it can’t be, mind you… You kiss just to feel connected to your partner.  You’re getting to know them on an intimate level.  The dance appeals, you keep on dancing.

“If we’re going to kiss, it has to be book-worthy.”
Colleen Hoover

Now, what I write here is my own personal experience and I am totally generalising but somehow, I am sure many can relate.

After a while, your relationship falls into that long term category.  Kissing is still very enjoyable but the spontenaity has decreased.  As has duration of most kisses.  They are not so deep and long.  You may still find yourselves kissing for kissing’s sake but let’s face it, it is now more of a foreplay to foreplay.

“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.”
Ingrid Bergman

Years pass and you are happily coupled – married or not, same diff, to me…  Kissing somehow has taken a backseat.  No matter how much love is between you, those long, slow, deep kisses are now reserved for the bedroom as foreplay.  Or maybe they start in the living room or kitchen (if you’re lucky) but they’re still an invitation to make your way to your love nest.  And they don’t last that long anymore.  Mind you, my circumstances made that I didn’t get a chance to find out what happens when the children leave the family home… Does your kissing game go up a notch?  Do you do like those silly movies and transform your son’s bedroom into a “play room”?  I sure like to think so.  I like to imagine that you rediscover that freedom you had when you first met.

I’m not saying some couples don’t kiss and kiss often.  But do they last more than a few seconds?  Rarely.  But hey, they are still good.  Kudos to the couples who have kept up their kissing game.

“Now a soft kiss – Aye, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss.”
John Keats

One last thing.  Another reason I decided to write this post it this:  I never thought to find myself back “on the market”, so to speak at my age.  Thanks, Mick.  Dammit.

That said.  I will TOTALLY judge you on your kiss.  If you don’t try to kiss me on our first date, that might be okay, depending on how the date went…. then again, it will show me you are not that into me.  Cool.  We move on.

If you do kiss me?  I will decide then and there if we move on to the next stage.

 

——————

¹ Beauty has no importance.  When we are a lovable man, we end up with a beauty in our gaze, in our way of being while growing older.

² One must know, no matter the cost, how to keep one’s dignity.  And, despite the personal cost, to move forward, without looking back and face the destiny that disarms us.

Weekend Writing Prompt #72 – Shell

Could not resist this one.  Shout out to Sammi Cox for hosting this weekly challenge.

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

Shell

Challenge

My shell protects me

And

My heart

Love,

Can crack it open

Love Song – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday afternoon, ladies and gents!  The sun is shining beautifully here on the south shore of Montreal.  Tomorrow it is supposed to rain cats and dogs and then we are expecting a week-long heatwave starting Friday…  I’ll try to enjoy today as much as I can before work!  That said, before I go back out there and attack the weeds, I share with you this little 100-word story based on our hostess with the mostest’s own picture of her Luv’s music room.  Thank you, always, Rochelle, for not only being here week after week, encouraging us to write and up our game, but for always supplying your own fabulous take on the prompt.

As always, do join in by clicking on the blue frog below.  It’s a great challenge that teaches you how to choose your words carefully.  100 ain’t a whole lot to write a story!

©Rochelle Wisoff-Fields – Jan’s Joint

Put your click to the link here

Love Song

“…. and this is my music room.”

“You play all these instruments?”

“Yep!  Wanna hear some?”

“Yes, please.  I’d love to.  What is your genre?”

“You tell me after you’ve heard me play.  How about that?”

She nodded yes, thrilled that he was going to play just for her.

He picked up his guitar and she marvelled as his fingers caressed the instrument.

The melody was beautiful, his voice a rich baritone.

“So? What say you?”

“I’d say a country-influenced crooner is what you are.  You must have loved her very much.”

A shadow crossed his face.  “With all my heart.”

Last Chance – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday morning, my readers.  Hope you’re enjoying Hump Day!  This week our lovely leader, Rochelle, chose Roger Bultot’s lovely picture.  His photo can only used for this prompt.

Should you wish to participate, and why don’t you?  Just click on the blue frog and add your link.  It’s easy, using Roger’s beautiful picture, come up with a 100-word story, not including the title, and not one more word, and add your link.  Ta-dah!  Easy-peasy.

 

Get the link for your blog

Last Chance

“Please, everyone, we need you all to take your seats before their Royal Highnesses arrive.  No lingering about.”

From their hidden alcove, Lianne and Anthony watched as the guests left the lobby and headed for the hall.

“We really must hurry, Tony.  They are expecting us!”

“Who cares?  We are the Prince and Princess-to-be.  They have no choice but to wait.”

“Yes, but, Sweetheart, we really sh—”

Anthony kissed her, silencing her protests.  He pulled her down to the chaise lounge, and lay beside her.

“Let ’em wait.  This is our last chance to be alone before we’re constantly guarded.”

 

Tell Me a Story, Mémère – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday-Friday Fictioneers Day, my Peeps!  This lovely photo by Fatima Fakir Deria brought to mind my beloved late grandmother, Noëlla, who also happened to be my godmother.  She was definitely my hero and how she managed to do what she did always amazed me.  So many stories told, and quite matter-of-factly.  She just did what she had to do.  I am very proud to say I inherited that from her.

How about you join in this week in telling a 100-word story based on this photo?  Rochelle will be more than happy to accept any newcomer!  She’s welcoming like that.  Click on the blue frog and add your link!

Click here to get the link for your blog

Tell Me a Story, Mémère

It was a perfect day to accompany her grandmother outside  for a stroll.

“How about we sit here in the shade, Mémère?”

“Looks like the perfect spot, Suzie.”

“Please, tell me some of your stories of how you managed to survive with six kids, living in the woods, with barely nothing.”

“Aren’t you tired of hearing them?”

“Not even close.  I want to record you so I can write them into a book.  Would you like that?”

“Silly girl, I’m just ordinary.”

“Au contraire, Mémère.  You are my hero.  You were way ahead of your time.”

“Hmmm… Where to start….”

***

Sadly, I never got around to recording her stories.  She died in 2009, at age 92, three months’ shy of her 93rd birthday

Idyll – What Pegman Saw

Good evening (or morning, depending on where on the globe you be) my Readers.   Pegman leaders Karen and Josh were busy basking in the sun last week and left us to our own devices for a week but are now back with a new challenge.  Thank you both for your efforts.

This week Pegman takes us to Yellowstone National Park in the US. You’ll find both streetview and photo spheres to inspire you. Choose any place within Yellowstone and write 150 words inspired by it. Once your piece is polished, you can share it with others at the link up below:

Idyll

Giselle felt the warmth of the sun through the roof of the tent.  She smiled dreamily as she reminisced on the previous night’s passions.

“You’re so beautiful when you smile like that, Gi.”

“You know, Dany, you saved me and gave me back my smile.”

“And I’ll make sure you never lose it again.  Wasn’t last night’s concert great?  The drum of the falls, the pop and fizz of the geysers…”

“Oh you!  Everything turns to music with you.”

“True dat!   I am a musician, after all.  Check this out…”  He slid the zipper of the tent.  Tzzzzzzzzip.

They laughed and together opened the tent flap, quickly falling silent as they saw the deer grazing right in front of them.

“Could this trip get any better?” whispered Giselle.

“It sure can.”  He nuzzled her neck, pulling her back inside.  “How about we take up where we left off last night?”

A Café of One’s Own – What Pegman Saw

I haven’t done a “Pegman” in a couple of weeks, and frankly, should be cooking as I am having my Tuscan feast for my sisters and their hubbies tonight but I “just took a peak at what the destination was”.  And then looked around to see if anything caught my eye and well, something obviously did because here I am!

This week Pegman is back in Europe, visiting the Czech Republic for the first time. You’re invited to stroll the city of Karlovy Vary and choose your own view. Take your inspiration and write no more 150 words. Once your poem, story, or essay is polished, share it with others at the link up below:

A Café of One’s Own

Monique looked around the room with satisfaction.  Her first visit to this place had charmed her, but never did she think she would one day own it!

Funny how life works.  She always thought she would one day end up in Italy, working in a café in Venice, yet somehow ended up in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.  Love can do that to a person.  You meet someone, fall in love, he brings you to his hometown, and next thing you know, you are no longer just a tourist.  Life could not be any better.  Over the years, the streets along the canal have become your streets, the people, your people.   You have now mastered the language you never thought you could and you feel like you belong.

Then he tells you that he no longer loves you.

Monique admired her new café and smiled.  Life could not be any better.

 

#WeekendCoffeeShare – Christmas Holidays

weekendcoffeeshare

My thanks to Diana from Part-Time Monster for hosting this weekly gig.  I’m so happy to have been introduced to it as it replaced my “Gratitude” posts because essentially, when I invite you in for coffee, I am sharing the things I love and am grateful for!  Should you want to read more stories, just click on the picture above and you will be brought to Diana’s post, below it, will be a little blue frog that you can click on to get more stories and, maybe, add your own!

IMG_1593

If we were having coffee, I would have forewarned you that today is a perfect Sunday to be a pyjama (or pajama, if you prefer) day.  So please, feel free to arrive in yours! We are having our first snowfall (no, I do not consider that pretend dusting we had way back in November as the first).  Not that much has fallen but there is enough to coat the rooftops and leave paw prints visible!

If we were comfortably settled on the sofa, coffee mug in hand, I would tell you that this past week has been a fun-filled one.  It all started when my friend Leonard invited me to the Comedy Nest in Montreal as Joey Elias was holding a #SupportLocal evening of comedy being held on Sunday evening.  The show started at 8:00 and Leonard’s best bud, Steve (also my comedy date twice now!) would arrive around 7:30.  I got there sometime around 7:45-ish and settled in for an hour and a half of laughter.  They delivered.  The host for the evening was Christ Venditto and he did a fine job.  First up was Leonard Yelle, a good friend of Mick’s and now one of mine!  He thought he was lacking, I thought he did fine (I may be biased), next up was Guido Durante – ohmygosh he was hilarious!  Without taking away anything from the other comics, he was hilarious!  He was followed by a funny Scot, Darren Henwood, then Emma Wilkie, the one brave woman comic (but don’t call her that!  She is a comic, no need to distinguish – hats off to her for that) and finally the headliner was Joey Elias himself.  I love how he just picks on the audience and builds his act upon that.  It is a quick wit he has to do so.  I can definitely see why he is one of Canada’s best and a regular at Montreal’s Just for Laughs!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I was truly touched by all the sweet, heartfelt comments I got for my letter to Mick on the first anniversary of his death.  As the boys had no exams on that day, thus no school, I ensured I would not work and be there for them.  We went Christmas shopping together, splitting up at the mall, then for dinner at one of his favourite restaurants, Le Barbù.  Turned into a nice mother and sons kind of day.

On Wednesday, Sophie and Charles came by to pick up their last meals for 2015 and gave me a lovely bottle of champagne!  How sweet are they?  So nice to have friends/clients who are so generous.

By the 24th, the boys and I finally finished decorating the house – as much as it was going to be this year.  I cannot believe how working just a few hours per week put me into a total disorganised state.  Oh well, all’s well, that ends well!  Mom and Yvon arrived, arms full of pies, meat pies and bread,  just in time to join Lisa and family for dinner at Del Frisco’s.  No one was in the mood to cook as as we all had no where to go, really, we decided to treat ourselves to dinner made by someone else!  Delicious!

Christmas morning came and we had our little gift exchange then prepared for the onslaught!  You see, since, um, geez, I don’t know how long ago, Mick made Christmas brunch for family and friends.  Whoever felt like dropping by for eggs, bacon, sausages, waffles, “Momosis” (Mick never called them Mimosas) and coffee, were welcome.  A tradition that we have continued.  Last year was obviously bust, but this year, Iain took up his father’s mantle at the stove.  He did a fabulous job and all left with very full bellies!  One of the fun things about this brunch is some arrive in their PJs, some dressed up, there is a rotating group at the couch and another at the dining table and the whole thing is quite cacophonous – there is nothing neat about it and that’s what I love!

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After a supposed rest, I made cranberry sauce and my infamous, already-full-of-booze eggnog and off we went to Lisa and Chris’ for Christmas dinner!  We had our fun gift exchange – where presents are not supposed to cost more than $25 each, we play a game where our names (twice) are put into a hat and we draw.  You have the choice between taking a new present or stealing.  Always fun when your name gets picked last!  There was a highly popular popcorn machine and my 64 oz flask did a couple of rounds too.  Laughs galore then more eats.  Lisa also made her annual Greek butter almond cookies “Kourabiedes” and we all went home with a tin!  Yeah!!  I forgot my camera and am extremely disappointed in my new cellphone’s camera (or, maybe I have simply not mastered it yet as it is supposedly a fabulous camera…) so apologies for the crappola pictures!

If we were still having coffee, and I hope I haven’t bored you to tears by now, I’d tell you that I worked my first ever Boxing Day yesterday.  Truth be told, it was a lot less insane than I thought it would be.  And on top of it I sold a rug and a papasan!  Last night, Gabriella came by to wish us a Merry Christmas as she didn’t come with her family for brunch.  She ended up staying for a bottle of wine, some Parmigiano Reggiano and we watched From Here to Eternity.  Not a bad end to a lovely week, I say!

I wish for you all a most Happy New Year, keep safe, surround yourselves with loved ones and take the time to just enjoy life!

xoxo

 

 

#WeekendCoffeeShare – Lunches and Love

weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee, or tea, or wine or whatever you wish to drink, I would tell you I do not want to start this post with an “oh my gosh, I’ve been so busy” because that has become over-used in my vocabulary.  I used to loathe people who claimed to be so fricken “busy”.  Well.  Glass houses and all that.  I know that my busyness is based on my total lack of organisation and choice to occasionally sit at my computer and chat with friends from far away.  I could tell them no, I’m not available right now but I choose not to.  Then pay the price.  A price, by the way, I am most willing to pay as I shall always choose people over stuff and work.

By the way, as it is late (again, I’m posting late), I am having a nice “Nighttime Herbal Tea”.

2015-12-13 22.53.06

On Monday evening, my friend Mario stopped by for dinner and a great bottle of wine, or two.  I’m so glad I decided to make the port tenderloin with prune sauce! Went very well with the wine he brought!  Phone call to his wife and he was set up in the guest room.  No driving for him, that’s for sure! (Sorry… forgot to take a picture of the pork to tantalise you!)

2015-12-08 00.07.14

On Wednesday, I had lunch with my friend Michèle.  We rushed to go to her favourite little Asian place because it is always full by noon.  Hah!  Only about 5-6 tables ended up being filled… go figure!  Every time we get together we just laugh and laugh and laugh…  Okay, truth be told, I make her laugh.  She so reminds me of my dearly departed friend Roxanne who’s laugh just filled a room.  I really must tell her that…  My car was so filthy, I decided to take it to a car wash just around the corner from my house.  Between going up north where we park in the sand, bringing Zeke in the car, and just plain driving around, it was in dire need.  I am not a fan of washing my own car – I think it’s a “guy-thing” – plus it’s not the season so I think it was a most well-invested Nineteen bucks plus three bucks for tip!  Plus, while waiting, under the parasol, I ended up chatting with this really nice guy.  He looked at me and asked me point-blank what my name was as he was sure he knew me from some place.  Turns out he was right.  We went to the same high school!  He’s a year younger so, of course, he recognised me faster than I him! We were actually both gym rats and he played on the handball team.  What a small world.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I might have gone overboard on Thursday!  I went out for both lunch AND dinner that day.  Armen took me out for lunch and we went to one of Mick’s favourite places, Le Barbú, and talked about our guy.  You see, the next day, the 11th, was the first anniversary of our worlds being turned upside down – the day Mick had his heart attacks – a day that was just unbelievable.  I think it was quite cathartic for us to spend the afternoon reminiscing.  Later that evening, I met with another friend and we had dinner in the Gay Village of Montreal.  There’s this great little restaurant called Mozza, Pasta and Passion where you can bring your own wine and the whole menu is table d’hote – meaning each meal comes with the best Caesar’s Salad, the escargot du moment (snails “of the moment”) and a pasta of your choosing.  Crazy combos like brie and green apple or chocolate pasta and oka cheese or, if you are not too adventurous, the old stand-bys  like romanoff or alfredo.  We were very pleased that we had our waiter Raphaël as we knew he was leaving soon as a student exchange to Australia.  Such a sweetie-pie, he is.  This is the one restaurant where you really want to take a bathroom break!  There is a sign beside the door, on your way out that states:  When you have finished dancing, please make sure you close the door on your way out!

On Friday I received much love from family and friends via Facebook, texts, in person. Virtual hugs are as good as physical ones, I can assure you!

I was thrilled to make my old chocolate-banana cake for my ex-sister-in-law.  I had teased her last year on her birthday by sending her a picture of her holding her cake that I had made for her about 25 years ago!  I baked the cake on Saturday after work so that all I had to do was make the icing this morning – a white chocolate and dark chocolate ganache topping.  It is decadent.  I had a devil of a time as my white chocolate ganache split!  I managed to get it back together but was not 100% pleased with myself.  I didn’t bother taking a picture of the cake this morning so I just went through my archives to find one.  Not the best picture but frankly, I need to get to bed before midnight!  That gives me 6 minutes so I better hustle!  Nicole sent me a picture of the cake – what’s left of it with a thank you.  Let’s just say her family were surprised when they opened the box, most of them recognising said cake from the past…

And, of course, I’ve not teased you enough with the food pictures, so here are the two meals I prepared today for my customers.  Just so happened I, for once, made myself one of the rigatoni pies too!

Hopefully I’ve not left your tummy rumbling too much!  I’m hoping I’ll be a tad more organised this coming week food-wise.  One of my families has taken a break from my services until the end of January, so I would like to believe I will be.   HAHAHAHAHAH!  Who am I kidding?

If we were having coffee, I would want to end this with something that totally inspired me.  I was watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday with Zainab Salbi – a most inspiring, beautiful, amasing woman and I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that I managed to find the video of her reading her own poem, “What If I Am Not Sadness”.

Have a wonderful week, my fellow Blogging Buddies!

xoxo