Life in progress


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Paris – #JusJoJan Jot #15

My trip to Paris was, for the most part, a waste.

I was fourteen years old and bored with everything, not least of all, traveling with my mother. I do have pictures somewhere … I don’t think I’m in any of them because what bored teeny-bopper wants to have their picture taken with their mom? What I do remember about the trip:

My very first croissant. And boy, was I in love.

My first bidet. No, I didn’t try it, because ewww!! (I was fourteen.)

Stairs.

Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower through the window of a tour bus.

Dog poop.

Sacré-Cœur.

Stairs.

Crazy drivers.

Being driven to our hotel with a woman cab driver who had her German Shepard in the front seat with her.

Being the only one who knew how to speak French out of myself, my mom, and her friend who we were traveling with.

Did I mention stairs?

Were I to go now, as an adult, I’m positive I’d colossally appreciate it.

As for the stairs? I’ve been to Japan. It can’t be worse for stairs than that. Can it?


The prompt word, “Paris,” for today’s post is brought to you by Kelli! Thanks, Kelli! To find her “Paris” post, click here. And say hi while you’re there!

It’s never too late to participate in Just Jot it January! Click the following link to find out how, and see all the other participants’ links in the comment section. It’s fun! https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/15/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-15th/


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Three Times Lucky

This post has been brewing for about a week.  Since I can’t sleep tonight, here it is.

It was Tuesday. I know it was Tuesday because I took Alex to his weekly baseball game at 7pm. But it all started on the way to camp in the morning.

I was driving along the main strip during what passes for rush hour in this little city, late as usual. It’s a four-lane road, with two lanes going north and two going south, with lots of plazas, restaurants, car dealerships–you get the picture–on both sides. Anyhoo, I was traveling north in the left lane when I came to a line of cars stopped, waiting for someone to turn left. I was still going the speed limit, so I decided to go around them. I checked my rear-view mirror: absolutely nothing behind me. Checked my blind spot: nothing there either. So I put my blinker on to change lanes.  Just as someone pulled out of a driveway on my right.

Here’s a diagram: (I’m the one driving the purple space ship.)

Mad Paint Skillz Diagram 1

I managed to swerve and miss him, though I’m guessing he really slammed on the brakes. Close call number one.

Fast forward to the afternoon. I’d picked Alex up from camp and we were coming home.

There’s this one little awkward four-way intersection near my house with a two-way stop. I had to stop. I did. I looked both ways. I swear I did. I always look left first, then right, then left one more time because that’s where the nearest cars are coming from. Where the one I almost pulled out in front of that was coming down the street on the passenger side of my car, I have no clue. In my defense, it really is an awkward intersection. It’s hard to see both ways, AND I have this post on the side of my windshield that gets in the way.

Mad Paint Skillz Diagram 2

We both slammed on the brakes this time. And avoided a collision. Still, that was close call number two.

I KNEW there was going to have to be a number three. I just KNEW it. But, I got in the car anyway to drive Alex to baseball. I could have let my best friend, John, drive–he was coming with us anyway, and he’s a professional driver–but I didn’t.

How far from home did we get? About two minutes. Almost the same scenario as the morning, the difference being I was in the right lane this time, and the cars were stopped for a light.

I saw way ahead that there was construction in the right lane, so I decided to go around the loooong line of cars in the right lane. I checked VERY carefully – rear-view, blind spot, rear-view … Before I got a chance to change lanes, I saw a black SUV coming up fast behind me. He pulled the same maneuver I did in the morning–without slowing, he went around me and all the cars in front of me.

I said out loud to John, “Oh well, I guess I’m not changing lanes yet,” and at the same time, John said, “Oh shit.”

What happened ahead of me when I was concentrating on my lane change was this:

  1. The light had gone green.
  2. The black SUV saw this and didn’t slow down.
  3. A car in the long line of cars in the right lane stopped to let someone pull out of the Dairy Queen driveway on the right.
  4. Bang.

Mad Paint Skillz Diagram 3

If that black SUV hadn’t cut me off, I’d have hit the twit who trusted the other twit to let him out of the DQ. John saw it coming before I did, though I might have seen it too because I’d have had my focus front-ways, but would I have seen it in time? I doubt it.

I also doubt the guy who got T-boned enjoyed his ice cream very much.

Close call number three was three times extremely lucky.

 

 


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#SoCS – It Spoke of Life

It’s funny how life finds a way. Though it’s rarely spoken of, we instinctively seek out the things that keep us alive. The sun, for one.

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I found these when I went outside this morning. The same flowers that the other day, before the ice storm, were in such lovely bloom. Their warmth is apparent from the way they seem to have melted their way through the snow.

I went for a walk today along my usual path by the water. I always go alone, and today was no exception. But I just happened to be on the phone with one of my kids when I got to this gazebo, seen in an old picture:

It’s often used for wedding pictures–I see photographers there with couples doing practice shots on a regular basis, and I’ve even seen a wedding party there once. What I realized today when I was on the phone is that it looks much more romantic than it literally sounds.

Today, for the first time in the years I’ve been going there, I spoke while I was standing under the roof. It’s made of metal. My voice echoed tinnily (is that a word?)–my voice echoed off the metal roof making me sound like I was speaking somehow through a transistor radio. I hurried out of there before I said much. I seemed very loud to my own ears.

It occurs to me that that’s an illustration of how our words can ruin an experience.

Sometimes it’s best to just stay silent, and take in the beauty: let it speak for itself.

This introspective post is brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the following link to find all the participating posts in the comments and see how you can join in! https://lindaghill.com/2018/04/20/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-april-21-18/


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#SoCS – Shortcut of my Youth

In what was the little town of Newmarket, Ontario, where I grew up (it’s a city now, so don’t go there looking for something quaint) there is a small lake, called Fairy Lake. It really was never much more than a place where the river got wider, I realize now, but something tells me it used to be much more.

Every day, I walked to school from my house on Lundy’s Lane, up Red Deer Street to Patterson Street where both my primary and secondary schools were approximately situated. I walked that way except when I took the shortcut. You see, there is (or probably was, now) a large storm sewer under Red Deer with a teeny tiny creek running through it. I used to catch crayfish there and keep them in a bucket on the front steps of my house until they died. (I was a horrible child, looking back.) But back to the shortcut.

I can only think that storm sewer existed for when Fairy Lake flooded, because it was the only body of water around. Farther down from the storm sewer was a swamp (now has baseball fields on it) and a lock for boats that dried up long before I became a teenager. I digress yet again.

One day, I think I may have been in Grade 2, I was late for school so I took the shortcut. Something I never did at the time. I was a responsible 8 year old, after all. But this day I decided to dawdle. They had the police looking for me by the time I arrived at school with not a clue what the big deal was. Because of course, when they went to look for me on Lundy’s Lane, Red Deer, and Patterson Street, I was no where to be found.

I understand now the terror that I must have caused by stopping to pick weeds along the path behind the houses. And I suppose I must have kept my shortcut hidden from the adults, because they didn’t go there to look for me.

I’ve never told anyone this story before. There are no adults left who would remember it, nor any children of that time who I associate now with who would.

Thanks for the memories, stream of consciousness. And thank you to you, who have read my story. 🙂

Google map satellite picture of my walk to school. The creek is still there.

The locks, part of what is now the Global Pet Foods Dog Park.

This post is brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Join in, and maybe you’ll take your own trip down memory lane! It’s fun! https://lindaghill.com/2017/11/03/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-417/


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6 Things I Learned from my First Book Signing

As you might be aware, I had my first ever book signing event last weekend in Kingston, Ontario–the city where The Magician’s Curse takes place. The lady in the shop where I bought my rose asked me if I was nervous. I said without hesitation that I wasn’t. And I really wasn’t–I’ve worked in retail many times throughout my life, and selling my own book didn’t seem that different. Besides that, I feel at home in a book store. I lurve them.

But like most things, the first time we do something is usually a learning experience. Right? Here are the things I learned:

  1. Smile at people and don’t be afraid to take the initiative to speak to them first. Otherwise, chances are they’ll just pass you by.
  2. Chocolate Kisses™ may seem like a good idea to have on the same table as a romance novel, but make sure to stress the “chocolate” part when offering one to a man who’s standing beside his wife.
  3. Bring something to take the lint off of a black top hat.
  4. Do what you can to advertise ahead of time. This is particularly difficult when you’re signing books in a store that’s a long way away from where you live: be inventive.
  5. Don’t do a book signing when there’s another major event in town that features a bunch of authors whose names are more popular than yours. (I’m looking at you, Kathy Reichs.)
  6. If you’re going to spend hours sitting beside a book written by an offspring of Stephen King, make sure it’s Joe Hill (particularly if your last name is Hill).

By the time this post goes live, I’ll be getting ready for my second ever book signing event. If you’re in the area of Belleville, Ontario today (October 8th, 2017), please stop by Chapters between noon and 3pm. And get a Kiss. A chocolate one.


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eXpedition – #AtoZChallenge

I like to think of myself as a world traveller, but there are only two places I regularly go – around my own province of Ontario, and Japan.

Yes, I know “expedition” doesn’t start with “X.” I cheat on this letter almost every year. It’s just the way I roll. Apparently also the way I roll is to post when I’m falling asleep, and this entry is no exception. So, tonight, I’m just going to post something really neat about my last trip to Tokyo.

If you were around for my 2014 trip, you might remember a video I posted: the traffic camera at the Shibuya intersection, made famous in the movies Lost in Translation and Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift among others.

Since I stayed a five-minute walk from the intersection last time I visited, I set up a “meeting” with my family at home. I emailed them early one morning, just before I left my hotel room, and had them watch the traffic camera. Although I walked around the intersection in almost every direction, only one screenshot was captured. This was me just before the lights changed–I walked directly across, towards the camera. Apparently it’s surprising that I didn’t hear Alex scream with excitement when Mom waved to him from across the other side of the globe.

I’m beside the lamp post in front of the yellow store front.

The only picture anyone took of me while I was in Japan was taken from 6,447 miles away. That’s one hell of a zoom lens. HA!

Here’s the traffic camera. It’s fun to watch:

***
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“A delightful read!!” ~ Cheryl Lynn Roberts, 4 stars, Amazon Canada review

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Click the picture to find it on Kindle, or get it on Kobo here: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/all-good-stories


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The Queen’s Inn – Kingston, Ontario, Canada

A couple of weekends ago it was my pleasure to stay in one of the oldest operating inns in Canada, The Queen’s Inn, in Kingston, Ontario.

It’s a comfortable hotel with friendly staff and, considering there’s a sports bar downstairs and I was there on a Friday and Saturday night, it was very quiet.  Despite the fact that they provide WiFi, the place hasn’t lost much of its ambiance from back in the 1800s when it was built. As you can see, drywall, in my room at least, isn’t necessarily a consideration.

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After dinner, I went outside to take a picture. My windows are on the second floor with the light on.

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In the morning I had Coppers Pub downstairs to myself for the complimentary breakfast, so I wasn’t at all self-conscious about taking pictures.

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While I was sitting in the pub, I wrote in my notebook:

I love these old buildings. They send my writer’s imagination into orbit, much like I want to believe the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel did for Stephen King. The feet that have walked these floors and gazed upon these walls – people with a million different thoughts in the their heads even as they looked but barely saw, astounds me. Humans stopped here for the night with their horses stabled nearby – weary souls traveling through came here, refugees from the cold as far back as 1839. The place has so much history, and I can only imagine…

I love staying in Kingston, so it fits well with The Bee’s Love Is In Da Blog prompt for today, “write about places you love.”

If you’d like to read about my most memorable and amusing, (and spooky) visit to Kingston to date, you can find the post here.

To visit the Queen’s Inn website, click here.

Thanks to The Bee for the prompt!