Friday, June 24, 2016

new book out in the world!

My publication date was pushed up and my new novel, Five Roses, is available! I didn't know but my lovely publicist at Dundurn, Michelle Melski, sent me a picture of my book on a table at Indigo in the Eaton Centre in Toronto! That news made me feel like a fairy tale crown had just been set on my head.

Then I got a message that my book is already on sale--also on a table--at the Paragraphe Bookstore in Montreal! So now I'm wearing glass slippers too.

This will be a Happy St-Jean* I will not forget!

*la Fête Nationale du Québec, celebrated June 24th. Fireworks tonight!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

la gaspésie, June 2016

Here's me having my morning tea by a small fire. It's not cold enough to warrant having a fire, but when I'm in Montreal, I so often think of sitting by the fire with the sea out the windows. 

And here's R who is never modest about having a huge bowl of porridge when he's by the sea. Note that it's not really warm enough to be wearing shorts, but he wears shorts on principle because he's on vacation and we're by the sea.

We escaped Montreal for a few days. Followed the #20 past Quebec City until we picked up the #132 that follows the shoreline of the St. Lawrence River. First there are mudflats, then rockier flats, and the river keeps getting wider till we don't see the other side.

We keep driving into the Maritime mist and the land bulks up as the shoreline grows rockier.

To get a true sense of the scale of landscape to human, here's R walking down on the beach. That's the same #132 that curves around the base of the mountain.

My Alpie forebears would object to calling this small hill a mountain, but I think one should respect that what's no more than a small rounded hill in 2016 used to be a bona fide mountain. This range belongs to the Appalachians that cross the US border into Canada at Maine. Up on that slope you can hike along the International Appalachian Trail.

We had a few good walks and explorations.

Did you say crab pots?

Spring run-off was still heavy and some of the paths we usually take were blocked by streams. Here in the woods, the path had turned into a stream. As I picked my way along on the wet-spongy middle, I saw a moose had done the same--like me, only five times bigger and heavier, mincing along.

Fields of dandelions and forget-me-nots.

Dramatic skies.

Back at the house, work progresses slowly. The upstairs is still a work zone. We've got a clean corner where we sleep.

Two years ago it looked like this.

Before that, like this.

I never mind coming home to Montreal, because I love it here too. But I always look forward to when we can go again.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday, June 5, 2016

arugula pizza / Pointe St-Charles

Before the rain started today, I hustled over to the garden to get arugula to make pizza for supper.

On the way I saw a U-Haul backing up to an apartment building. Cheap construction, poorly maintained. When I used to work evenings and walked home from the subway at night, I took a longer route to avoid walking past that building. I'd seen baggies and money change hands in the doorway. Been accosted by strung-out tenants. One, on the third floor, liked to drop his bag of garbage out the window to the sidewalk. Now and then, a startled woman in a sari would be herding a child inside.

She's since moved away. I haven't seen any drug deals for a few years. The building is altogether quieter as the neighbourhood changes. Since last summer two older fellows have started sitting on the doorstep on sunny days. They smoke--cigarettes--and drink cans of pop. From their angle, low to the ground, they eye the legs that pass, but that's as threatening as it gets.
Today, a woman in her 40s--excitable, hair frizzed blond--was moving in. She had a gang of friends helping. The U-Haul was backing up at an odd angle--not to the door but a first-floor window. It had been slid open as wide as it could, which wasn't very a wide. She shouted for the driver to stop backing up so I could pass on the sidewalk.
On my way home, half an hour later, the move was finished. I could hear her in her new apartment talking loudly to her friends, deciding where things should go.

Here's the pizza. Homemade tomato sauce, sauteed arugula and leek, blobs of fresh mozzarella.