Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Entertaining

Today we busied ourselves, preparing for tomorrow’s BBQ where we expect 30 or so guests. Serge has turned into his angsty, pre-visitor persona, and rushes about to make sure that we don’t appear to be the dirty slobs we are. Well, I more than him to be truthful. Anyway, we were able to squeeze in Finding Dory in the afternoon but the nerves of receiving made it less than wonderful and it wasn’t as funny as Finding Nemo. An hour or so ago, we were sitting out on our new patio, BBQ layout of all the chairs already rearranged a dozen or so times by you-know-who, and I asked him, “When did we get these chairs, where did we live, at the loft?” He said, “No, it was Moreau street.” “Wow, sixteen years,” I observed. Serge looked like he was thinking about something and I wondered if it was the same as my thinking, which was both, sixteen years and still good as new, those chairs, and naturally, dang I’m old. My mind started to wander and I looked at the conifer across the street. It seemed to have what looked like brown moss growing under the branches.

“Serge, are those pine cones on that tree over there, or just dead needles?” I asked and added, “I wish we had some binoculars.” Serge leapt up and went in the house. I wondered if we did, indeed, have binoculars. If we did, I had never seen them. Then Serge waltzed out, “Ta-Da! These are my grandfather’s. I remembered we had them.” “Where were they?” I wondered aloud. “In the bathroom.” “Where?” wanting to be sure I heard right. “In the bathroom.” I finished it with, “Okay then,” and wondered where in the bathroom they had been. One of two places really, not worth pursuing a clarification. With the aid of the binoculars, Serge confirmed, “They’re pinecones!” It seemed as though they had appeared overnight, but that can’t be. And I was reminded that change is happening all around us, if only we take the time to notice.

XXXXXX

The BBQ day was splendidly warm and unhumid. By the time our guests started arriving, the sun had started dipping past our building bathing the deck in shade. As people arrived, everyone agreed it was the perfect day for it. A handful of guests bowed out that day, and I was a bit relieved as I thought I might not have prepared enough food. It is to laugh. There is so much potato salad left, I’m going to have to toss it which if you know me, I hate doing. I wonder if it would keep in the freezer? We made a mean punch which you could absolutely taste no alcohol in, but after just one, many claimed to be buzzed. I haven’t felt at ease at my own party since, well, ever. I marveled how at peace I was. Maybe it was because all our good friends up here came, people that I am grateful to have in my life and who are grateful that we are in theirs. Friends who know what it means to be friends. Our besties spent the night and we had our ritual mimosas in the morning and went out to breakfast.

The next day was wickedly hot and decidedly more humid. I spent the afternoon outside finishing up my book, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which got so good, I frequently had frissons tingling throughout my body at the lovely story, beautifully written. It was like a fine wine or grilled filet mignon, delicious. Now I am reading the second in the Outlander series, and while it holds my attention, it is more like drinking supermarket wine or eating a Big Mac. Honestly, she goes on way too long with the sex scenes, I mean really, a whole page that could be three words. They made love. But I am a sucker for the time travel angle, so it is a guilty pleasure nonetheless. Yesterday, as I was reading, I saw the lady who lives down the hill (I am not sure how far down, I’m guessing four or five buildings) a spinster I am sure who every time I’ve seen her has had a look on her face like she’s just been told she lost her job. Not so yesterday, she had gone to the drug store across the street and was returning home with something that looked like triumph on her face, and what was it she was carrying? I waited for her to get closer as she needs to pass our home to arrive at hers so I could see what she had in her hands. Then I smiled big, in one hand she had a six pack of Mountain Dew and in the other above her shoulder a box of Klondike bars. Poor dear, she must not have air conditioning. One of the nice things about living in a big city on a busy street is the never-ending people watching opportunities. My writer’s mind makes up stories about their lives simply on the evidence of their gait, speed, and how they carry on with others. I can see it as being a serious activity in retirement.


Oh and by the way, Georgie simply loves barbecues. You can imagine why.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Weekly journaling

I have been reading A LOT and this always puts me into the mood to write. So I think I will start a weekly journal here without announcing it on FB. In a wonderful mood today.

My days unfold thusly: There is the first wake, nearly always nine or more hours since going to bed. It is usually my bladder that forces me up into the day. If I am tired, I sleep an hour or two more before really rising. I don't make coffee, instead sipping water and joining the birds outside. The sleep which cloaks me like a soft blanket befogs my mind and body. This is my favorite time of day especially if I get to see the sun rise. After an hour or two I may have a cup of coffee though I have finally decided that I don't like caffeine, the food of the butterflies. The butterflies, coccooned by the sleep will be up and about soon anyway as surely as the wind. For that is what the shattered heart (how else to call it?) has slowly transformed into, the fluttering wings of anxiety. The butterflies rouse slowly, usually sometime in the afternoon and when they do I am grateful that they slept in as long as they did. 

I am getting good at not thinking about the things that energize the butterflies and redirect my thoughts with ease. Such ease as I am constantly surrounded by beauty that only now am I able to appreciate. The shifting shape of a cloud, the cardinal's song as distinctive as its color, the dragonfly wing propellering down from the maple tree staving off the thundering silence of suffering. I turn over lessons in my mind, so many confirmed banalities of life. I should have died. Surely a physical wound as severe would have killed, and I ask myself, "Am I stronger?" It seems impossible that I am still here blessed with the earth to walk upon. 

If it is a work day, I go, grateful for the distraction and practicality of income. If not, I pore through books living other lives where characters are broken and healed in a page or two. (Is that what these last years have been? A couple of pages?) Food. What a glorious gift to feel hungry and satisfy it. I daydream about upcoming meals, enjoying them several times before actually eating them. George stays by my side reading my mind and reminding me of purpose. My husband, an equal wreck to mine, makes his way through the day with me and we have found that cooking together pleases us both. 

I still drink too much. Probably half what I drunk before but I still need help to bed in the evening. Serge didn't drink alcohol for two consecutive days last week. A goal I aspire to when sleep or the lack of it will not severely impact the day after. We spend the evenings together engrossed in this series or that until my eyes start drooping and then my second favorite part of the day arrives, bedtime. And the cloak of sleep that heals and prepares my mind and body for the coming day. I dream but I don't have nightmares. And for the first time in years, life is actually good.


 

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Spring travelogue


I've been lax on updating the blog. So sorry, but we have been awfully busy as you will see. Here is my honey and I at our annual Sugar Shack outing. After Cuba, I went on a diet to lose all the holiday weight I gained but made an exception for this. Boy did I have a stomachache after. It felt like my stomach had shrunk, but more likely the quart of maple syrup I ingested.


We went with our besties Annick and Jesus. They live about an hour away so we don't get to see them as often as we'd like. This coming weekend we are going out to spend a couple of nights and do the wine route.



We flipped another unit over to airbnb and they are both doing very well. Our occupancy rates are extremely high - May and June are sold out so I think next year we need to hike the prices a bit. Boy do people shed a lot of hair though.


We finally tackled replacing the deck. It was at least 10 years old and there was a leak in the garage so it was time to address it. A little over 3 grand that we did not have.


I was not allowed to help but I was allowed to pay. It turned out great and we are planning a summer barbecue to inaugurate it. We also were able to identify the leak problem and repair if for pennies. Yay!


Serge even made those shelves for people's drinks around the planters. Just before this project, we lost a couple friends again. Remember our ex-best friends (whom I think of as the sociopath and frankenstein dick) who have systematically convinced all our mutual friends to shun us over the last two years? Well the very last mutuals Facetimed me to tell me we can't be friends for a while. Said he wanted to do it face to face and not in a text (why? So I can have this freaking memory?) said it wasn't coerced (which I figure meant just the opposite). I said I had no words to respond to that and we hung up. I didn't ask why since I knew it had nothing to do with us as we have been nothing but kind to them. People we've known for 20 years. When Serge got up and I told him he said, "I knew it!," and promptly walked over to the computer and blocked them. I went ahead and unfriended all the friends we had met through them to save them the trouble. I do have a blackmail picture that would give them a reason to not be friends but I think I will just take the high road on this one. Just done with the whole lot of them.


Camper friend Nancy came up for a visit. It was great getting to know her better. She also has an airbnb unit so we did a trade. Hopefully we can cash in this summer and explore Southern Vermont from her place.


We had to cut our annual road trip to 4 days from 10 due to money, work and airbnb responsibilities. We made the most of it though. Got to stop in and see Sean and Jeffrey and the pups.


Next stop NYC where our Montreal friends recently bought a condo. They offered it to us for the weekend since they were not using it. We rented a car to go to New York and I chose the wild card category. This meant we would get a compact or better car. When I arrived they told me the wild card is a 7 passenger van. Doh! So that raised the gas cost and I had to park it in Manhattan. It was easy though, the method Tony and Chris showed me (criss cross the numbered streets between Central Park West and Broadway starting at 68th) worked like a charm again. Parked and took the subway to our borrowed condo.


They had a roof top patio on the 16th floor of the building and this was the view. Wonderful. The first night we attended a talk on the "history of gay porn". The room quickly achieved capacity but it was one of the dullest and oddest presentations I've seen. The presenter simply read the papers in his hand and then would stop and play a 15 minute gay porn clip to the end. We were 65 men watching and it was awkward. Nobody spoke during the clips. When they got to Lukas Ridgeston, I had had enough and left. It could have been so much more interesting. Fail.


Afterward we looked for a bite to eat and ended up in a tapas place where oddly enough I had a margherita pizza. The next day was the big camp camp goes to Fun Home event.


Before the show we met up with a few campers for brunch and I had huevos rancheros. Yum! We also sleuthed out an Izakaya (Japanese gastro pub) and had okinomiaki and sushi. Heaven.


We were 33 campers from all over the country who came together to see the show. What a great show it was too. Serge isn't in the pic because he went out to smoke. After this the cast of the show came out and talked with us. So very cool. When I got home I went to the library to get the book but I am #7 on the reservation waiting list.


After the show some of us went out for drinks and dinner. It was great to see everyone.


We especially enjoyed hanging out with our Alaskan friend Jim. It's amazing the tight bonds you can make with people all through the miracle of camp. I think there are a couple spots left this year if you would like to join us. Campcamp.com


Then we had to hustle home to turn over the airbnb units. A couple days after I got an offer for tix to Cirque du Soleil for 30 percent off so jumped on it. It was one of the best shows I have seen from them. It had EVERYTHING and the music and costumes were inspired by Mexico and it worked really well.


Afterward we went to this Portuguese joint we like and had the chicken and chorizo poutine. It is huge, and even though we shared, we couldn't finish it. So delicious and only $13 tax included. You couldn't eat dinner at McDonald's for that price and it is infinitely better.


Finally, a little picture of Georgie. He has been extra clingly lately to me. Lucky for him, that is fine by me! Thanks for stopping by peeps - until next time......MWAH!

Saturday, April 02, 2016

This is probably an overshare




So I recently had a colonoscopy. (My first!) The video is me taking the first of several glasses of what I thought tasted like lemonheads. By the end it was kinda sickening though. You'll be happy to know everything checked out and I don't even have any polyps. The "anasthesia" they gave me didn't work. Seriously, but I didn't care because it doesn't even hurt. Well it sorta does when they blow all kinds of air up there to "puff things up". I watched everything on the monitor. When it was over, they wheeled me into a room where 6 other people were who had just had the same procedure. Some people were pretty out of it, don't know why the stuff didn't do anything to me. Anyway, the nurse instructed me to get all the air out now that they had shot up there. Wut!? You mean, you mean, we are in the farting room? (I did not say out loud.) This delight danced through my head as I let them slip out as noiselessly as possible. I felt bad for the ladies (and stifled giggles) who were surely more uncomfortable about the farting room than I was. Anyway, no cancer and that's all that counts.



Shorts? What are you talking about? Oh right, we took an impulse trip to Cuba. The dogs just love me. Though I was in shorts, it wasn't very tropical and in the sixties until the last two days. Funny story and I can write about it cuz it's my blog. So Serge and I got pretty tipsy on the plane on the way down and once we all got checked in, Serge went to go get us a nightcap before bed and when he got back, the security guard was in our room with me with his pants down. Serge joined in until his walkie talkie came to life and he ran out. Neither of us remember exactly how he ended up being there. He just kept repeating the whole time. "Me gusto hombres, me gusto hombres."


A couple of times during the week I had a hankering for something. First thing was french fries which cost more than hamburgers, make that five times more than hamburgers. Fine, I paid the equivalent of $7 for a plate of them with ketchup drizzled over the top. The last day I wanted pizza. Could it be had here? I asked the representative for our tour company and he asked thick or thin crust, and told us to go to Nonna Tina at calle 34. We walked down there and waited about half an hour for a table at two in the afternoon. OMG it was so good. The pizza was just like it is in Italy. It was huge, look at it! We couldn't finish it. Pizza was $13CUC or $13 USD. I thanked the representative after and asked how it was so good. He said the owner is Italian. I said, "How is that possible?" And he replied simply, "Things are changing here." When I tell people here that I had amazing Italian food in Cuba, they don't believe me.


The last couple days were nicer and we got some rays. The best thing about the trip was all the friends we made. Last year we were with the in-laws so it was different. The open bar helps. We should probably spend less than a week in an open bar situation. I have blackmail video of Serge one afternoon, he really was lit and surrounded by a bunch of people carrying on and on. I had just woken from a nap. When I got home and prepared my taxes and realized I owe five grand this year, ugh, we probably shouldn't have gone. It was a nice break from the winter though.


A couple weeks ago we went out to visit our friends and went to a sugar shack. I stuffed myself silly and man did it ache for several hours after. I have been following a reduced calorie diet to take off the holiday pounds, so my stomach had probably shrunk. I reached my goal weight but am still not overeating as summer is coming. Swimming may happen.


This is the only duplicate photo to ones I have posted to facebook. Our big gay game night was the night before easter (I am calendar challenged) so only six of us but wow, what fun until 2:30am. It has been a long time since I have done that. We played Never Have I Ever which you can buy now and you really can be surprised by people. Buck "won" which kinda translated to had the most dirty laundry. I never would have guessed he would win.

Okay then, I am really joyous about the impending springtime warmth and growth. Sure, we still have another cold snap to get through but surely it will be the last with snow. And now to bring things full circle here go read this list of horrible poop happenings. I cried laughing naturally. Here and here.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sliding into 2016




Happy 2016 everyone, I hope you had as delightful a holiday season as we had. We have gone back to Regine Cafe a couple of times and everything is so delicious and creative and beautiful. Food has become such a source of pleasure for me since I have been a non smoker for over three months now. (Yay me!)


I so enjoyed the holidays this year. Not only did I get two solid months of Christmas decorations and music, but we splurged on new tuxedos. Splurging isn't all that accurate since they were such a bargain. We got them through studiosuits.com which is an outfit (get it?) in India. You send them your measurements, they send you your custom made suit. We only paid $100 each for them and they fit just great. We only wore them for a half hour on Christmas though as I was cooking the full turkey dinner and we didn't want to stain them.


It was nice to be home on Christmas even though it was a brown Christmas. The 28th we headed to an airport hotel as a storm was announced for our departure date, the 29th. When we got to this guy to head into security, he asked Serge to put the luggage in the sizer and then told us it didn't fit so we would have to check it. Needless to say we asked for a supervisor who stood by the decision of this idiot. Logic and reason were useless on them. We have used this suitcase for years and it has always fit in the overhead bins with no trouble. It's very irritating to have to deal with morons. It was a total blizzard and whiteout and I thought that there would be no way that we could take off, but I was wrong. Nothing shuts this city down.


First stop this year was Donna's house. She recently got Stella, a puppy that was sold as a labradoodle but turned out to be a terrier. Cutest little thing. We ended up hanging out all day and playing games and watching movies. This is pretty much the perfect evening for folks our age. We played "Never have I ever" which is good raunchy fun. I ended up buying the game later.


The next day we met my dad at the racetrack. I had read up on all the different betting options and played the trifecta. In one race I boxed a superfecta for every combination but that only paid a tenth of my total bet. I probably didn't think that through, lol. There were some very big trifecta jackpots but I didn't win any. Fun afternoon though.


The next day we met our friends and hopped on the Catalina Express. We did something I have wanted to do for 30 years and that is to go the New Year's Eve gala in the Casino ballroom. The casino is that building in the background between Allan and Angela's heads. When I was young, I could never afford to go. We got the package deal which included the party, dinner, champagne, lodging and round trip on the boat. I thought it was pretty reasonable for a little over $300 each, especially since tickets just to the party were $180.


The food was excellent as was the orchestra. The wraparound ballustrade was nice for Serge to smoke and we took some artsy black and white pictures. At least I thought they were black and white on my iphone but when I uploaded them to the computer, the color was there.


We drank the night away and then Serge went around to people's tables asking for their balloons so Angela could take them to her friend. It was funny watching from afar to see first, the proposition, second, either nods or head shaking, and finally, the take. He got a good dozen of them. This is the first time we've travelled with these friends before but we all got along great and had lots of laughs. We are toying with the idea of New Year's in Hawaii next year with them.


We didn't get any pictures at the 3 Kings party at mom's house. We hardly got to see mom at all this year as there was a lot of other stuff she needed to attend to. This year was chilly for Southern California standards but the weather stayed dry until the day we left.


We hung out again with dad and grandma the last day. We went down to the Orange Circle and walked around. When I saw this I thought, "There's got to be a good one-liner here somewhere." I still haven't figured it out yet. Any thoughts peeps?


The last night we took a room at the airport (4*, $75 on Priceline.) When I checked in, I asked how much self-parking was and the guy responded $45 a day. I replied, "you actually said that with a straight face." The car rental place was across the street so I said no thanks and returned the car. In order to go have cocktails and happy hour with my friend of 30 years, Jose, we took our first Uber. What a delight to meet interesting people and pay a third the price of a taxi. If you want to try Uber let me know and I'll send you a $15 coupon for your first ride.


I highly recommend happy hour at the Culver hotel. Little jazz duo and very reasonably priced snacks and cocktails. We were pretty sloshed afterward but all we had to do was order another Uber to go back to the hotel. It was a fast visit this year but we sure did cram a lot of things in.


You are all caught up now. We couldn't forget sir George now could we? He has been very clingy to me this year and that's usually just fine by me. I finish up the semester today at one of my main contracts and don't go back for three weeks. I still have some work with other contracts though. And, yesterday I booked another week in Cuba with my honey at the same place we went last year. (Remember how we became the tipping police?) How could we not go when it is only $668 each Canadian ($467US) for everything, plane, transfers, hotel, and all the food and drink you want. I will tell you all about it at the next blog post. Thanks for stopping by and here's to the best year ever! Mwah!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

2015 Home Stretch


Happy holidays everyone. Here's the card that went out to many. I can't afford to send a card to everyone I know so posting it here is one way to spread some holiday cheer. Serge has been very patient with me this year with the decorating and holiday music. The tree was up before Halloween and although he wouldn't let me listen to the music in October, it has been on pretty much always since the beginning of November.


It's been so cozy this year and look at how adorable he is. I haven't had a tree up for several years because I always seem not to be home for the holidays. This year we aren't heading west until the 29th though. Also, this is the first holiday in a few years that I am REALLY enjoying. The people that caused us so much grief are still at it, campaigning mutual friends to unfriend us and telling vicious lies. At this point it's so ridiculous I feel sorry for them. We have moved on, but some people just can't let go of their resentment it seems. 


In early November, camper friend Charles drove up to celebrate his birthday. We tripped around town playing tourist and we went to Regine Cafe, definitely my favorite breakfast place in Montreal. Their plates are so interesting and creative. In the picture above I had sauteed mushrooms, cheese on baguette and Scottish eggs which I had never heard of but would definitely eat again. 


I thought he would be too late for fall color but our walk through the forest up to Levi tower was magical as the ground was piled with leaves and the sun streaking through made it seem like a fairyland. I thought the tower was used in some military capacity as the whole area was a fort to guard against an American attack but it's not. It was built in the 1930's as a water tower. 


Did you know we have a surf spot here in Montreal on the mighty St Lawrence River? We spoke with the surfers and learned that the permanent wave is different every year and they surf it until chunks of ice appear in the river. They must still be doing it today as we are still devoid of any white stuff this year. (Which I am VERY happy about. God love El Nino.)



I went to my usual place to get more long underwear this year and everything was changed and the only kind they had was superhero. I feel like such a kid wearing them. Today I'm Batman, tomorrow I'm Superman etc. It's fun.


Then it was honey-bunny's birthday the big four-nine. I got him that watch which I just knew he would love and he does! Of course one of the first things he did was look for it on-line and that's how I found out I could have had it for $75 less. Doh!


There I am! The week after, I flew out to San Francisco to visit my brother. The first night we went out and I drank too much and I got smacked and smacked someone and was thrown out of the bar (a first!) and then I don't remember much but discovered the next day I did something bad but I had drunk so much I don't remember doing it. Sigh. I can't fathom my brain when things like that happen. Thankfully it's very rare. It made for a less than ideal visit. Luckily a couple weeks later, he came out to visit us and we had a great time. 


See Serge and my brother? Oh how we ate and drank. We discovered this place and had an appetizer platter where we discovered that we LOVE sweetbreads. Then just as we were leaving the owner came and bought us shots. Wow, that never happens here. Definitely will be going back there. 


We went back to Ma Poule Mouillé to have their one poutine on the menu. SO amazingly good with Portugese grilled chicken and chorizo in addition to the regular ingredients. It's a Portugese chicken restaurant with many different plates but over half the people in there were eating this. And why not, at $7 it's the best buy in town. 


He was even game to go to Dan's holiday party. It was potluck and we brought a tourtière from this awesome butcher shop at Jean Talon market and Serge made mini hotdogs wrapped with bacon. When I heard he was doing this I thought the queens are going to turn their nose up at it, I mean really. Of course it was the first plate emptied on the buffet table. Shows what I know.


Inside our holiday card I put a collage of pics with all the people we hung out with during the year. At the beginning of 2015 I had said it was going to be the best year yet with big changes and that didn`t pan out per se. But when I look at this and see all the amazing things we did and all the wonderful friends and family we have, I am just so grateful and it really has been a great year. Here`s to an even better 2016. Happy holidays again everyone, MWAH!




Friday, October 30, 2015

Autumn social butterflies

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted. Dang Facebook sucking all my social time. Of course if we are friends on there, there won't be much new for you here unless you like my more expository writing on the blog. As you will see, we have been quite social in real life too.


A couple weeks after Camp Camp, we went out to Granby to stay the weekend with our friends. It's only an hour drive but since we like to drink with them, we stay there or they stay here. We brought George with us.


It's funny though, I didn't really think that at my age we would be making REALLY good friends anymore, you know, the kind you can call up anytime for any reason? Well we can! I met Annick when she was my student. We became friends and we have all just gotten closer and closer. Annick is the one who got me into doing the travel agent business so now we work together too. I got my first commission check this week. Imagine making money for doing something FUN. I get such a kick when someone asks me to check on travel prices. And extra, extra fun if I find it cheaper than the public travel search engines. I'd say I find it cheaper 90% of the time. And I just tell people where to buy it if I can't get it cheaper. I'm a good egg that way.


We can talk about ANYTHING with them. And as you can see, we hide very little. We went over to Annick's uncle's house (remember last year at the domaine?) and there was a crew there taping a wedding for a series on tv. We weren't allowed to take pictures of any of that though.


As I said. Ahem. This may have been after a few drinky-drinks. Can't wait til our next visit together!



Our friends from Halifax came out for several days and we enjoyed eating several delicious meals with them. They also like to drink and although I worry about my consumption, John can drink me under the table and then I don't worry so much. I didn't take very many pictures of their visit. My bad. I like to take pictures because then I can remember events better, what with my swiss cheese brain.


A week later we had our Moularian potluck. This is our annual get together and although it was a rainy night, Jacynthe had put a tarp up over the table in the back yard so we could sit outside. Missing this year was Sophie, but we all got together another time when she came into town. The Moularian reference is because we all used to work at the now defunct restaurant La Moulerie, which was a mussels and fries place. Although we took "nice" pictures, we always do  a make a face one too. This one cracked me up. Also, thanks to Anny who renewed Serge and my wedding vows with the most foul mouthed ceremony it was hilarious. I have video of Anny's foul mouth by I am not allowed to post it on the internet.


Here we all are again when Sophie came into town from Turkey. Jacynthe had left for Spain so it was just 6 of us again. This was at a place that had oyster happy hour - a buck an oyster. So Serge and I gave it a go again. (We have been trying to like oysters for years now.) And this time was the charm! We ordered plate after plate. So now we are oyster eaters. For us it was an acquired taste now firmly in the yum category.


It was a celebratory evening. Serge and I were celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary and it was also Marie-André's and Sophie's birthday. So champagne was had along with the oysters. The beer here was after the champagne. Yes, alcohol probably figures too highly in our lives. I had been four days as a non-smoker at this point. (I quit smoking October 5th)


Once I had a week of non-smoking under my belt, I decided to reward myself. My friend Sue had put a recipe up on Facebook called Maple Caramel Bacon Crack. It had four ingredients - pillsbury crescent rolls, maple syrup, brown sugar and bacon. It was SO unbelievably delicious that Serge and I ate the whole thing in one afternoon and evening. And there was a full pound of bacon in it. Now how will I top that when I have a month of non-smoking under my belt?


It may seem like our lives are all sunshine and roses, but it isn't always. In the last few months two large diagonal cracks opened up in our walls in the office and the closet. The cracks went all the way through to the neighbors'. We have one common wall. We pow-wowed with the neighbor and decided to fill in the crack and patch it up. When the guy opened it up we discovered that it had cracked and been repaired before. Since our building is on 50 feet of clay, shifting and settling is common. Hopefully it will stay stable for a while. Just love those thousand dollar bills that come out of nowhere, not.


I didn't get a three day weekend for Thanksgiving because I had to work all day that Saturday. I wanted to go hiking at the place we couldn't get into last year because we arrived too late and there was absolutely no place to park. We almost didn't make it in time this year either. But we made it and had a lovely walk around the lake and through the forest.


The colors were quite spectacular and I finally found the setting on the camera that let me capture them. If I used this setting with our faces in it, our faces were too red, so really just good for colorful nature shots.


The area is known for all the apple orchards and as we were walking back to the car, one of them had a sign mentioning the patio and bar out back. We walked back to have a look and WOW, look at that amazing view over the Richelieu valley. It wasn't quite noon yet but we just had to sit and have a glass of hard cider and admire it. Then we walked to the crepe place we like and had crepes with sparkling hard cider. Pretty much a perfect day. Easy to be thankful when that happens.


A week later, Serge's cousin came to town and we met up at our favorite watering hole La Distillerie. Had those amazing burning margaritas again. It was a short visit but fun that we got to go out.


After Alaska, Serge and I started doing the fit for life diet, suspended it for Camp Camp and then continued. I got to my lowest weight as an adult, 159 and feel great. Since quitting smoking the pounds are slowly creeping back, but what should I expect when I am eating maple caramel bacon crack. Very happy with all the positive changes I'm making. I LOVE being a non-smoker again.


Then last weekend our friends Mark and Joe drove up from Delaware for their first visit to Montreal. Mark and I met by blogging and we have been to their place twice near Rehoboth Beach. I just love to initiate people to the pleasures that Montreal has to offer, like this watering hole called The Lab. Such interesting cocktails they make there and all in the theme of a speak-easy during Prohibition.


And we had to take them to La Banquise for poutine. The twenty minute wait in the rain was totally worth it. Serge got his with smoked meat and corn dog slices in it. He had the regular size. I made the mistake of ordering the large with smoked meat. So delicious but my digestive system got mad at me for a couple days. Worth it still. I will not have another until my brother visits in December.


We took the metro and bus all over town and I showed them all around old Montreal, the Olympic park, Marche Jean Talon where they scored the amazing maple creme cookies and even a drive out of town to Mont Tremblant.


When we got there, we were disappointed to learn that the chairlift was closed. Apparently it is only closed between Thanksgiving and the first skiable snowfall. Probably a three week window. Stupid. However, they had the beaver tail place in the village! I was quite happy to turn our friends on to one. We shared it so although I only permit myself one per year, I didn't feel too guilty. Plus they chose the flavor and it is now my new favorite. Nutella, peanut butter and Reese's Pieces. Heaven.


A good time was had by all. We may even plan a week long getaway to Mexico with them this winter. Serge thought I was a freak when I put up the Christmas tree the day after they left. Instant good mood for me. It is a bit early since tomorrow is Halloween but as many of you know we take a picture for our holiday card. Since I am going to visit my brother for US Thanksgiving weekend in San Francisco, I need to have them all done and addressed by then. Postage is far cheaper if I mail them from there to my US peeps. Plus I get two months of Christmas music! This shot didn't make the cut but I like it anyway.

So now you are all caught up as am I. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy autumn.