Poutine, Tires, and Pardon My French

Here is a photo of my favourite road sign, at 70 Mile House, BC.

I’ve never actually seen anyone in a horse and carriage there. Still, the sign is cool and it suggests the possibility exists.

There is an eating establishment along the highway in that tiny community. We were leaving its parking lot when I shot the picture. It used to be a tire shop till a dozen years ago. It’s now a great place called The Sugar Shack and it is owned by one of the most charismatic characters I have ever had the privilege of meeting.

Robert is l’entrepreneur from Quebec who has built the Sugar Shack here in BC, practically with his bare hands but also with the help of some dented but heavy machinery that dots his property along with the outdoor wood-fired furnace, the sawmill, the log truck, and the piles of perfectly machine-delimbed logs. His various mixed breeds of dogs wander the property, too, calmly greeting visitors and never running out onto the highway.

While we sat there eating poutine today, waiting for summer tires to be installed on our car by the tire dealer (a friend of ours who is a preacher in a small fellowship of Christians, is owner-operator of a logging truck, and has a tire shop at his house a short drive down the road past that sign in the photo), I said, “I’d rather be here than in the finest restaurant decked out with crystal, china, and elegant cuisine.”

The poutine at Sugar Shack is like none other, and Robert is not just boasting when his signs say “You just missed the world’s greatest poutine” on the highway as you drive by.

The fries are from fresh potatoes, golden and crisp on the outside, and perfectly soft and fluffy on the inside. The cheese curds are rumoured to come all the way from Quebec, as is the gravy recipe, and the optional topping of smoked meat really should not be optional if you know what’s good for you. Even if you are a vegetarian, I don’t know if you can honestly say this is not delicious when you taste it.

As we sat there, we listened to Robert and a friend of his talking on the other side of the big wood-ensconced room.

The topic being loudly discussed was a battery charger Robert had apparently loaned to his friend.

Robert said, in his very French-Canadian accent where most of the multi-syllabled words received their emphasis on their last syllable, “I told you to take the batteRY chargER with you to PG.”

PG is what we in the Cariboo region and other parts of BC call Prince George. Of course, Robert pronounced it with the emphasis on the G.

The friend replied in a bland Canadian English voice, with a hint of humour, “Well, I always have a hard time understanding you with your French accent so I didn’t know what you meant.”

Robert let several seconds of silence pass. Then we heard his gravelly voice declaring a solid, “F*** YOU!” with hardly a French accent at all, and with no asterisks, either.

I burst out laughing and turned my head to look over across the room at them. My husband did, too, and laughter was echoing throughout the building by everyone present, Robert included.

I said quietly, “That’s so much like in our family, giving each other the middle finger all over the place. If ya can’t swear at your friends, are they really your friends?”

(This video was made after the other customers left. You can hear Robert talking in the background from the kitchen.)

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Horsing Around The ‘Hood

I run my hand down the length of this horse’s nose, from his bangs to his upper lip, and he breaks into a smile every time. So I took a picture.

He’s not my horse. I don’t have any horses of my own. He lives near me, though. He’s a good NEIGH-bour.

Empty Spaces

The Mall in a small town in British Columbia, Canada

“What shall we use
To fill the empty spaces
Where we used to talk?
How shall I fill
The final places?
How should I complete the wall?”

Oh! I know! How about social media! Yes, we can fill those empty spaces with Facebook. We won’t need to talk anymore. That will complete the wall I build around myself.

I can put writing on my wall, and post pictures of me and my friends and my family and all the fun things we seem to be doing all the time…

But it won’t really be me.

Or how about we don’t do any of that?

How about we find some empty spaces into which we can put ourselves?

How about we go out into the wilderness and fill the space between a handful of trees for a moment, touch their greens and browns, and drink in the sounds of their moving parts as their trunks shield us from the wind?

Or how about we walk in a field and make our silhouette become part of the landscape?

Or how about we walk down the paved sidewalks of town and look up at the sky, however much sky can be seen between the structures of what was once trees but now is wooden framing, what was once rock but is now part of the concrete, and what was once ore underfoot but is now steel? Weave through the structures of flesh and spirit that move past you. Touch them with your eyes and your smile.

(I couldn’t just put “Empty Spaces” on as a link. I needed to include “Young Lust”, for to leave it out would be an OCD faux pas.)

 

At Calvary

As I carried a cup of tea from the kitchen to my digital piano, gentle rays of sunset landed on my hymnal, beckoning me to take this photo. It seems to me that such moments are a fleeting taste of heaven, where the undying light of our Lord Jesus will illuminate all as we sing His praises so lovingly.

I began to play “At Calvary”, a hymn I have always rendered in a slow, gentle manner, but which until tonight had not worked through my fingertips in years. As I read the words I’d sung so many times, really read them, by the second verse I stopped playing, overcome by emotion. I took a sip of tea and read on, but couldn’t swallow for tears.

“It’s about me,” I thought. “Oh, how this song is about me. How did I not see this before?”

I thought about the hour I first believed, back in 1987, reliving my conversion from doomed sinner to saved saint. I finally swallowed my tea and thanked the Lord out loud. 

1. Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.

Refrain:

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

2. By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.

Refrain

3. Now I’ve given to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing of Calvary!

Refrain

4. Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!

Refrain

Writing With A Pen

For me, there is something therapeutic about picking up a ball-point pen and watching the letters form on a fresh page, especially those first words in a new notebook. The word “sacred” comes to mind.

Whether I write via ink or through the wonders of electronic transmission, getting the words out is the main thing. Still, something about pen and paper beckons to me. Perhaps it is the relative simplicity, where no electricity or electronics are involved, giving more of a sense of creating something from my mind and connecting to the result.

bursting-heart-pen

I read an article today on the subject of writing by hand. I find it to be inspiring. Here it is.

The Simple Joy of Writing by Hand

 

Coffee Concoction for Weight Loss

A friend told me about this Valentus coffee stuff she’d been drinking that helped her lose weight. I had a few pounds to lose myself, but was frustrated by the lack of progress despite my best efforts that had worked in the past. After seven babies and nearing the age of 50, maintaining my ideal weight became a challenge.

I decided to give it a try and was impressed with the results. It’s not what I’d call cheap, working out to about $4.00 per day (our Canadian dollar is not good lately, but the product comes from the States, so it is cheaper for those who live there), which is less than what one would spend on something hot and delicious in a cafe, and, as it cuts cravings, it causes you to spend less on other treats in said cafe or fast food joints, and can make a dent in your grocery bill in general.

It is one of those “multi level marketing” things, and I am not a fan of those, but as it does help with weight loss and thus increase one’s health level, I feel I’d be amiss to NOT share it. Here is a link for it if you’d like to know more:

http://www.myvalentus.com/steeny

Motorcycle Mama

Me at my ideal weight in 2013 – 5 more lbs to go

 

 

Gratitude is not always easy

me and charlie
Today I am grateful for:

1.  The colourful hat I have on my head.  It was left here by my third daughter, who had borrowed it from my first daughter.  My first daughter is in long-term rehab and I miss her.  Wearing her hat warms my head and my heart with thoughts of her.

2.  Tears that are flowing from my eyes while I write, to help wash out a smidgen of the pain I have been enduring of late.

3.  Having heard from a friend with whom I had once thought I had lost touch forever, but from whom I now occasionally hear, and he even subscribed to my blog.  (Hola, Señor Heelez).

4.  The sip of Zevia ginger rootbeer that was just brought to me by my eight-year-old son.  He said, “Here’s some fresh Zevia that I just opened.  It’s fresh.”

5.  The smell of lentils and barley cooking in the kitchen, to which I am about to add carrots, onions, garlic, celery, and chopped ham.

And an extra mention of gratitutde to the blogger at Inspirationenergy, who inadvertently prompted me to write this — Inspirationenergy’s Gratitude Page.

Picture 7 (3)-1

me and charlie2 me and charlie3

For more gratitutdes, check out:  my Gratitudes category.

Hug Time

Image

I wish I could sit on the couch every day for an hour in the evening and have hug time with my kids.

Not getting up to do anything.

No conflict.

Just hug ’em and hug ’em and hug ’em, and officially call it “Hug Time”.

fam

The last time I had all seven of my kids with me, Mother’s Day 2012.

Racism/Bullies

So many are half-breeds or quarter-breeds or other more dilute breeds. My dad is Serbian and my mom is as Canadian as they get, but what is Canadian? So much mixture in that, too.

Having grown up as a blonde haired, blue eyed girl with a Serbian surname that ignorami (my plural of ignoramus) loved to mispronounce, I was the target of bullying.

Really, though, there is nothing wrong with that mix, or with any other mix, in my opinion.

The bullies of the world will always find their lame reasons for bullying.

Dogs will be dogs.

(My comment on the blog of HarsH ReaLiTy)

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My dad (little boy holding a book way up high in the back) with his family.
Serbia, circa 1940.