Friends of the Richelieu. A river. A passion.

"Tout cedit pays est fort uny, remply de forests, vignes & noyers. Aucuns Chrestiens n'estoient encores parvenus jusques en cedit lieu, que nous, qui eusmes assez de peine à monter le riviere à la rame. " Samuel de Champlain

"All this region is very level and full of forests, vines and butternut trees. No Christian has ever visited this land and we had all the misery of the world trying to paddle the river upstream." Samuel de Champlain

Monday, February 19, 2018

Le monde des bilingues

"Il semblerait qu`il y ait quatre catégories de facteurs qui contrôlent séparément ou souvent groupés, le choix de la langue chez le bilingue: les interlocuteurs, la situation dans laquelle a lieu l`échange, le sujet, et enfin, la fonction de l`interaction. Concernant les interlocuteurs, un facteur important est la maîtrise qu`ils ont des langues. Normalement, on choisit la mieux connue par les deux afin d`assurer une communication efficace." - François Grosjean, Parler plusieurs langues - Le monde des bilingues

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The distant sound of water flowing over the dam

"Before she closed the door behind her, Jane turned for one last look at the river. The eternal promise of spring hung in the air and the rain that fell seemed perfumed with it - almost the smell of green itself.

Closing the door, she heard- before it shut - the distant sound of the water flowing over the dam, and she closed her eyes to watch the river in her mind, flowing downstream to continue its everlasting journey towards open water, open skies and the promise everywhere of life. "
- Timothy Findley, Spadework

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Owning a home

"And if you owned your own house - had taken up residence elsewhere - at whatever distance you could achieve - then you were safe. No more clawing fingers - no more cloying demands. Freedom. Freedom from the dead weight of the past." - Timothy Findlay, Spadework


It was in the middle of winter. A Friday or Saturday evening. I must have been 18-19 or 20 years old. About the time I would go find work for a while to pay for going back to CEGEP. Just trying to get a DEC certificate - in anything!

My father had made a fire in the fireplace, prepared drinks for my mother and himself, and they were sitting face to face each side of the fire. Soft background music was playing.

I had taken a shower in the awful shower stall my father had built in the basement, and realized I had to cut my toenails. So still in pajamas and robe, I sat on the floor in front of the fire and cut my nails, throwing the cuttings in the fire.

I don`t recall the exact words my father used, but he wanted me to do the job elsewhere. He did not keep the house very warm, and the central furnace thermostat was in that room with the fireplace, so I did not particularly want to be elsewhere right now.

But it occured to me that I was not wanted. And the house I considered was my home clearly wasn`t. Not really.

That gave me an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. To feel unwanted. And homeless. I never felt so bad in all my life. And promised myself I would do ANYTHING to not feel that way ever again.

And so my main goal in life was to become a homeowner. So if nobody wanted me, at least I had a home I could call my own. And nobody could kick me out. Or tell me what to do - or not to do.


I shall add here that when my husband and I first bought the house in 1979, my parents invited us for dinner to celebrate, and after the meal, my father told my husband and I that because my husband had such a "shitty job" (job de trou de cul), my husband and I should not count on my parents to help us pay for the mortgage, or to babysit our children, for that matter. Their years of raising children were over, he said.

I can`t imagine saying that to your only child. But there you are...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Ten Catmandments

- Thou shalt have no other gods before thyself

- Thou shalt not kill, or at least, if thou art going to kill, thou shall have a game of football with the thing thou is going to kill before thou properly finishest it off

- Thou shalt repeat the internal mantra " I hate this! It`s fucking great!" about the majority of life experiences.

- Thou shalt not drink the water put out for thee by thy humans. Thou shalt instead demand to drink the freshest water in Christendom straight from the tap, although if that is not forthcoming, thou shalt protest by drinking any old rainy algae-spattered crap thou might find in next door`s garden.

- Thou shalt ignore any toy thy human has bought for thee, especially the really expensive ones, but thou shalt dearly cherish the packaging of said toy, and have hours of fun with it.

- Thou shalt forget thy mother and father quite quickly when seperated from them, and if thou happens to see them again, thou shalt sniff their bottoms then hiss at them intimidatingly.

- Thou shalt snack voraciously, stealing at least one fish before the age of three, always remembering to leave something black and hard to remove behind after every meal, and getting irrationally excited when thy biscuit dispenser is topped up, even though thy new biscuits are just the same as those underneath.

- Thou shalt not commit adultery, except in a kind of "dry hum" way, with thy owner`s cleaniest knitwear and bedding.

- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour`s cardboard box.

- Thou shalt never forget the rule that thy affection towards thy human should rise and fall in direct proportion to the amount of miscellaneous crap stuck on thy fur at the time.

Tom Cox, The Good, The Bad and The Furry

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Let the cards fall where they may...

Life is like a game of Solitaire: if the cards fall in the right way and you play smart, you`re a winner. But if the cards simply do not cooperate and no matter what you do, you have to tell yourself that it was simply not meant to be, and move on.

Thursday, November 30, 2017


I`ve started playing Solitaire again. The kind with a real deck of cards that you have to shuffle by hand. I play on the dining room table. When the cats let me.

I hadn`t played since I was a teenager. Once my homework done, and if what my parents watched on TV did not interest me, I would play Solitaire for hours on end on their dining room table, listening to the rock and roll hits of the Dave Boxer show on CJAD, signing along to the love songs.

While the cards went slap slap slap on the tablecloth, I dreamed of my first boyfriend, and yearned for those summer days spent necking while listening to the Beatles on the portable record player. He was the only boy I really enjoyed making out with.

For my father, seeing that I was smitten, forced me to go out with other local boys. But none compared to that soft, tender touch, those blue eyes looking back at me. Only with him did I feel secure enough to be myself. With him, I felt I could do no harm. In his arms, the world was a good place to be in.

But once summer vacation was over, he went back to the big city. Living a life completely different from my own, I thought. Did he think about me then? Was he as fond of me as I was of him? Or was I just a summer fling, convenient time out from school and city life? Those are the questions I was asking myself at the time...

All these memories come flooding back now while the playing cards go slap slap slap on the tablecloth, some 50 years later. Some say they would give anyting to be young again. Not me. For me, being a teenager was a very lonely, frustrating time.

For my parents had the very strict way of thinking that girls did not call boys they were interested in. A young lady had to wait for the phone to ring, playing hard to get.

And he never called.