|Jahil and Shaima|
We didn't know the word the waiter said. When R asked him to describe it, he said it was very good, not too spicy and he would like it.
|I don't know what I'm eating here but I'm sure it was excellent.|
|Jahil and Shaima|
|I don't know what I'm eating here but I'm sure it was excellent.|
I met a friend for an impromptu catch-up-on-news in a pub and we talked and we talked. Although I'd pulled out my shabby wallet that must be 20 years old because the store where I bought it has been reinvented several times since, she paid--very nice!--and we admired her new, chic turquoise wallet from Germany. We hugged and said bye. Our schedules don't often crisscross, so this was fun.
I was walking toward the metro but there's also a bus that would get me directly home, except it doesn't go by often. But yay! it was coming. I reached into my bag for my bus pass. It wasn't in the little pocket where it should have been. It wasn't in the corners deeper down, the outside pocket, my jeans, my coat. I was rooting through all the different possible pockets, beginning to feel like a Dr. Seuss story.
I told the driver that I was looking for my bus pass. He said he could see. The only place I hadn't checked was under my clothes. He told me to sit down, it was okay. But it wasn't okay, because where was it? I kept patting my pockets and digging through my bag. At which point I realized that my house key was also gone. The key itself, okay, I have another one at home, but the key fob is a hand-painted ceramic knob a friend gave me.
I needed to tell someone that I had lost my house key too!! But everyone around me was avoiding looking at this dotty woman who was squishing her pockets and checking for holes and poking her fingers into the corners of her bag. So I went back to the front to tell the driver that I'd lost my house key too. "C'est pas ta journée, Madame." Actually, I'd had a great day, I just happened to have lost my bus pass and my house key on its special gewgaw that I loved.
I was too embarrassed to call the pub back and admit that someone who was old enough to be served liquor couldn't even say where she was sitting. R offered to call and this time someone answered and said yes, indeed, they'd found my bus pass and key--no comment as to where it was found.
It's no big deal but I'm chuffed people care enough. Merci to the bus driver who let me have a free ride and a huge thank you to NYKs with their excellent food and drinks. You can find NYK's on Bleury south of Sainte-Catherine. (I think it's south.)
There was extraordinary snowfall in the hills this past winter and when the spring sun melts the snow, water tumbles down down down to the sea. It gushes streams, it carves the sand, it turns our yard into a sodden mat. I sit outside and hear gurgling and chuckling. We lost power for about 12 hours because the snow melt caused a rock slide. We went for a walk and found the path washed out.
There were so many streams--getting broader and deeper every day--that I didn't do my usual rock-clambering walk along the shore because I couldn't get across them. I walked by the road, and so saw a car parked at the cemetery where there are usually only gravestones. A man was slicing squares of grass with edge of his shovel, putting the chopped pieces aside in a neat mound, making a coffin-shaped rectangle. I assumed he was a cemetery employee, but no, he told me, there is no staff. Family dig each others' graves. He was digging his aunt's grave. He'd already buried six aunts and had two more to go. Next, he said, it's my turn. He laughed. He was very cheerful.
I do not want my body buried, but I find it fitting that a loved one, whoever that may be, should dig the grave if there is going to be a grave. I asked what happened if there is no family. He said a volunteer would do it. He dug quickly--the experience of six aunts already? he didn't mention his parents--and on my return an hour later, although his car was still there, I didn't see him. Until I noticed the shovelfuls of soil flying out of the hole. He was digging a proper grave.
I also had a conversation of sorts with a man whose French I only half understood because he didn't quite form his consonants. They were like shadows around his vowels. In English the way he spoke would have sounded like... 'I on no ut yoooouuu 'ink' for 'I don't know what you think'. We were talking about the environment, by which I thought he meant climate change. He said you had to pay attention to the environment because if not, the environment would come back to haunt you, and what you had to do then was going to be worse than doing the right thing now. It took a while before I realized he meant the Ministry of the Environment and government rules and fines.
R knocked down the walls and took apart the tin roof. It wasn't easy. The construction was solid. The joints were dovetailed, the nails six inches long. Each nail in the tin roof had been individually caulked. 28 rows of 10 nails = 280 nails. He counted in the way one counts when a task seems like it might last forever unless you define it.
For now the house is boarded up tight again.
When we arrived in the Gaspé, there was still a bank of snow beside the deck. For the two weeks that we were there, the snow shrunk and melted, and the buds of the trees began to unfurl. Driving 800 k to Montreal was a time-lapse trip into early spring, mid to late spring, and bingo! Summer full on in Montreal.
They seem not to have minded their view onto the neighbours' fire escape. Well, hey, this is the city.
I grew them in my plot in the community garden next to the train tracks. The grumble/shriek/heave to a stop of the freight trains en route from the Prairies. The VIA train shuttling along the Quebec-Windsor corridor. I also grew chillies with the green beans climbing the fence in the back alley.
A deeply fond chilli memory is the sriracha a friend made. Delicious green chilli paste too. Hot hot hot!
After years of trying different simple ways to preserve chillies so they retain maximum heat, I've decided that threading them onto string and hanging them to dry is the best. Next year I will be hanging them in every window.
We spent a couple of weeks in the land where wind and snow rule. Except for when the ice starts to break up along the shore and the tide starts to swell again.
The kitchen window was covered to the top with snow when we arrived and R dug it out, only to have to dig it out again two days later.
We had wind gusting up to 75k/hr, we had one whole day of no wind to disturb the snow falling on the trees, we had magnificent sunsets.
In the woods we snowshoed across moose tracks so deep that we couldn't see the bottom of their steps. How long their legs must be!
I tripped on my snowshoe, fell forward with my pole jabbed up to my wrist in snow, and as I pushed to get up, the pole dug deeper.
There were chickadees and crows and one robin feeding on a bush of winter-shrivelled berries. There were songbirds trilling about spring that was supposed to be coming if you looked at the light in the sky. There were a lot of last year's nests covered in snow. This one was so small that even heaped with snow it would have fit in my palm.
We snowshoed a lot.
Every day. In the woods when it was windy, along the shore when it wasn't too windy.
He holds a coffee cup out to drivers stopped at the light. Some roll down their windows and give him money or hand him a half-smoked cigarette, a pastry, a bagel, the pinched end of a joint. I see him most days because he works the crossroad at the head of our street. He's slender with a gentle way of moving between cars. He could be a dancer in baggy clothes. How old is he? Maybe 30? He's from St. Vincent. He has thick dreadlocks.
I know his name, but I won't say it here. When we walk by, R calls out Yaar! which is something he does and there's no discussing it. Once the fellow said to me, I don't know that French word. I told him it wasn't French, just something R liked to say. Pirate talk. So he started saying it back.
A few days ago R told me the fellow said he really liked the hat. R told him I'd made it. Then I saw him when I was out walking and he said, Oh, how I wish I could have a hat like that, I would be so happy.
Today when I went out for a walk I grabbed the ENORMOUS hat, because I thought that with his head of hair, it would fit. It's not always you get the chance to make someone really happy.
He gave a dance step when he saw me coming down the street, waving the hat. I explained how it was I had an extra hat that was ENORMOUS. Except he couldn't pull it over his head, hard as he tried--and I forgot all about distancing in my efforts to help him tug the hat down. A couple of motorists wondered what was going on and didn't move along when the light changed. I didn't know what to say. He still wanted to keep the hat.
Later, when R was returning from his walk, the fellow yelled, Yaar! She come by but the hat don't fit! R told him his hair was probably warmer.