Weekend Writing Prompt #270 – Jamboree

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.  And it’s still the weekend, so, yay me!  Thank you, Sammi, for hosting this weekly jamboree… okay, it’s more low-key than that, but still 😉

wk 270 jamboree

There is a time and place for parties that go big and loud.  And for me, that place is in the past. Let’s just say I’ve become less enthusiastic.

Our last family cruise vacation in March 2020, (just before the shit hit the fan and the world stopped) was an exception.  Three generations at the back of the ship drinking and dancing and raising hell qualifies as big and loud.

That aside, the kind of jamboree I seek out now is one brought on by nature.

 

 

Tending the Home Fires

This past weekend was brutally cold and I remained cocooned in my house. No way in hell was I going out to run in -30ºC (with the wind chill) no way, no how.  For the first time this year, I decided to make a fire in slow burning wood stove.  Man, the wood I have is fairly useless.  Burns just like that (snaps fingers).  My cubby holds three large loads of this wood carrier doohickey.

I burned the whole lot Saturday.  Sunday was supposed to be warmer and I thought I’d go for a run and then fill up the cubby for the next cold snap.  ‘Parently the cold snap wasn’t done.   Whilst the kids were still snoring, I lugged in the three loads, snow-covered, and got that fire going again.  Thankfully snow doesn’t make it that wet.  It was a few degrees warmer than Saturday…

I decided to make a leek and potato soup, which got me to ruminating as I chopped.  I remembered how I followed Pol Martin’s recipe for Crème de poireaux (cream of leek), having graduated from the Sel et Poivre magazines to real cookbooks.  Sel & Poivre was fine and dandy but often included ingredients such as custard powder rather than include how to make the custard.  Funny thing is, in another recipe from a later issue, there was a recipe for crème pâtissière (pastry cream/custard)!  I used to take out both copies so I could combine them.  Especially after having searched high and low for the prepackaged powder crap (and finding it lacking).

Anyway, back to my soup.  I remembered cutting the veg rather small, and never puréeing it in the end.  It never mentioned to purée it and so I didn’t.  I no longer have the book – frankly, because this was the only recipe I ever tried in the otherwise dull and lacklustre book and I now know it off by heart and have probably modified it since, anyway – so I cannot confirm that that part of the recipe was omitted.   Not so much a crème then, was it?  However, I remember really liking it and receiving no complaints.  Funny then, that was the only time I didn’t whizz it up into a smooth and creamy texture, adding a swirl of cream and a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley.  (I have also since figured out that the veg didn’t have to be cut so finely, especially since it was going under the immersion blender, or blender, that I no longer have.)  And then Sunday’s soup.  On a whim, I chopped everything fine and left it as is.  No cream necessary. I loved it.  And guess what?  Different audience, still no complaints!

As much as I could have remained in my cocoon for yet another day, I instead checked my fire and decided that it was warm enough(ish) to go out there, well-bundled up.  By 2:30 pm, I grabbed my camera, hopped into my car and determined where I would walk.  On a whim, I parked near the “country road” and started walking.  Realising I’d have to go a good ways before seeing anything, I trudged back to my car.  Off to the bird sanctuary, instead.  Note to self, these boots, while warm, are so heavy.  Time to go shopping.

I parked on the street behind another car, having noticed the parking lot was pretty full. Ugh. I long for the days when I worked shifts and could come here on a weekday.  It’s way too people-y on the weekends.

I took a good many photos, some of which ended up on the Facebooks and the Instagrams and I shall share them here, saving more for another post… 😉

 

Through the Generations – Crimson’s Creative Challenge #100

You ever have an idea, clear as the light of day, in your mind, but come time to put it down, nothing works? Take three, four, whatever, I have decided to just put it out as is.  Thank you, Ms Crispina, for your wonderful challenge.  It always is, for me, to come up with something and I couldn’t NOT participate in number one hundred, right?

Like father, like son. You have the lean perfectly, my boy.  But why, for goodness sakes, did you plant yourself in the middle of the path?

You told me I needed to forge my own way so…

You might have tried a little further up, just saying.

Haha!  You did the same, my son.  Only befitting your son do the same.  Of course, you can’t see it now with all the new arrivals.  But once, you, too were right in the middle.  Maybe you’ll end up like me one day, alone on the edge.

Or like us. No longer feeling part of nature as asphalt has been spread on what was once beautiful earth.  ‘Tis the way of it, I suppose.

One day, though, I like to think we will take it all back.

Making Things “Better” – Crimson’s Creative Challenge #95

I had so many “matchy-matchy” pics I had trouble deciding where to go with this one.  And then, as I sorted through and brought them down to two, this is what happened.  I hope you don’t mind, Crispina, that I sandwiched your beautiful pic between my two! 🙂 (I know you don’t!)

Do you remember when as far as the eye can see we saw nothing but the sea?

Yeah, it was so beautiful.  We were one with nature.

Exactly.  And then those windmills popped up.  Didn’t seem too bad, though. They are definitely a good way to harness the wind into energy and not too intrusive.

Yeah, that’s true.  Why couldn’t they stop there?

Why’d they have to build that big-ass hotel and develop that area? Why couldn’t they leave it alone? This was our sanctuary of sorts.

Yeah. Man’s need to supposedly make things better.  Heaven forbid we not use up every last natural beautiful place for some new development ..  Pffft. Betterment, my ass.  Better enjoy this beach while it’s still available.

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

Friday Fictioneers – Music Maker

Welcome, welcome, my friends, to Friday Fictioneers.  Yes, yes, I know, it is Wednesday.  What can I say?  Some of us in this group like to confuse!

This week, Rochelle, our lovely host, has given us an image by her main squeeze, Jan W. Fields.  Oh the directions I could have gone with this.  ‘Twas hard to choose but sometimes, you just have to let the fingers do the talking!

Her story is fabulous as are the other participants’.  Please do go have a read and, should you be willing to try your hand at this 100-word craft-thing, please do.  Click on the blue frog for instructions and whatnot!

Get the inLinkz code

©Jan W. Fields

As you leave the house for your walk with your faithful dog, the hum of the highway drones on in the distance and you note your steps beating a rhythm, highlighted by the dog’s collar tinkling like the high notes of a piano.  Before long, the wind picks up and the denuded branches bang together adding a back beat.  You notice, as you near the park, the swish of the marcescent leaves like brushes on a drum.  Approaching the river, the steady flow beneath the ice replaces the hum of the highway, the birds’ chirping adding high notes.

Nature’s orchestra!