Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Bonjour tout le mond! Just back from Montreal. This French weekend getaway was well-placed, so much so that if it wasn't for it, I might have found myself in the loony bin or receiving a visit from the coppers. Last week was tough. It contained several scenes that I am ashamed to even recall. Sometimes you gotta hold on for dear life, and last week was one of those weeks. Clutch onto sanity, balance and equilibrium; scrounge around for even a shred of patience and kindness, dig deep and try to find your better nature. It ain't easy. There are a whole lotta excuses: The flooded basement fills the house with the rank odor of cat piss, it's that time of the month-my exclamation point. The first draft of the book is due in three months and I am paralyzed wondering what to do next? And the collective culture in chez nous is that Maman has no other purpose in life other than the blind and unyielding service to Hub and Kids many needs. And last week there was a lack of female adult conversation that serves as a crutch sometimes. Crutches are necessary when one feels themselves stumbling and hobbling around in discomfort and pain. But it doesn't stack up, for me the measure of a successful person is how she overcomes her situation. I didn't overcome nuthin' this week.
The purpose for our visit up North was a wedding, our long-time friend Zelig was getting hitched to une fille Canadienne. They had the good sense to pick the perfect spot in the Montreal Summer Calendar: Jazz Fest. Friday morning I threw a few sundresses in my bag, my pink batik caftan with the plunging neckline for the wedding which called for "Shabby Chic" attire (?), and as an afterthought a few lacy undergarments for Hub's sake. And of course Judith Jones memoir: The Tenth Sense, My Life in Food". She was Julia Child's Editor, as well as many other reknowned food writers.
To further set the scene: As La Mother-in-law pulled up to pick up les jeunesses, I hosted the battling impulses of Motherdom; wanting to hold onto them and be with them and make up for all the horrible lost moments of the past week. But also needing to breathe, wanting to be unattached and unhindered to experience life on my own terms. And then they were gone, and we were off. Vive La Liberte!

A recollection of the weekend's best moments: Waking up in an elegant and stylish hotel room, to the thrilling notion that the day was all mine, to do as I pleased. With that delicious thought, I closed my eyes and drifted back to sleep next to Hub.
Sauntering through the fashionable shops and boutiques near L'hotel (two summer blouses and a bangle). Forcing myself to speak French, dreadful accent be damned!
Brunching with Hub at a Super-Duper French Brasserie. Decent Mimosa. Sampled a Montreal bagel, and am not ready to give up the New York ones yet. The Montreal bagels are smaller and sweeter and chewier. Hub's Oeufs en Cocotte were delicieux! His Bloody Mary was just right.

Our meandering path to Old Montreal cut right through Jazz Fest. The sights! The sounds! The chance to just walk, observe, and enjoy! The revived inclination to flirt!

Dinner at Kitchenette was good. Texas home cookin' fare; comfy, cozy, flavorful stuff. But the dessert is what made the good 'n tasty meal great. Sticky Toffee Pudding Sundae with Cracker Jacks- it was gone in two minutes. A sweet and dense square of toffee pudding topped with a dollop of classic vanilla ice cream and bathed in warm homemade caramel sauce, with a homemade cracker jacks as a garnish (which I thought were more of a distraction).

Then there was brunch and a brief hike up Mont Royal with NY friends also in for the wedding.

The wedding. Zelig was previously married, and after his divorce he went through a bit of a rough patch. This wedding was a triumph of Romance and Second Chances and all that good stuff that makes a lump rise in your throat. It was clear to all how happy and in love Zelig is with his bride. Instead of the usual speech Zelig crooned a love song to his new wife. It was a heart-melter. The wedding band was phenomenal. Even if I wanted to, I could not stop dancing. It was as though all the stress and aggravation of the previous week was released on the dancefloor.
Late to bed, early to rise. It was back to New York the next morning. I return with the desire to be better. To be a better mom, to write a better book, despite feeling overwhelmed by both assignments.

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