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October 6, 2023

A glum morning

7:30 a.m. at the coffee shop

Believe it or not, the rain is pouring so hard this morning that I’m afraid to get out of my car. The parking lot at the coffee shop is empty and my eyes scan the horizon for Noah’s ark. I wait a bit while the deluge lessens. I move the car seat as far back as possible and try to open my pretty new red umbrella. It’s so big that I have a hard time getting it out of the car. I quickly grab my tote bag and make a beeline for the door with my head down.

7:58 a.m.
I finally sit down at my favourite spot. A curtain of droplets covering the window blocks my view of the outside world. I place my iPad on the table, my notepad, a few pens and a smaller notepad, on which I write words that I need to look up or correct.

It’s Sunday, the day when families usually come in for their weekly treat: lemon pie, Paris-Brest, cheesecake, tiramisu, Napoleon cake, torts and delicious tartlets of all sorts. Will they still come here today with this weather? Perhaps I should implore Aeolus, the Greek god of the winds whose wings are always wet?

8:50 a.m.
A few brave fathers, carrying their little ones in their arms, enter the coffee shop in a hurry while the remnants of a storm still swirl outside. The kids run towards the counter filled with pastries, water trickling down their wet hair. They laugh, they scream and their tiny dirty fingers smear the pristine glass of the pastry counter. Little by little, the usual Sunday morning rituals, with treats and celebrations, return. The coffee shop is filling up with small mouths laughing at every table. Comfortably seated, mothers sip on their lattes and look like teenage students on a school break.

I love my life, being a witness to the glorious banality of everyday life and capturing it in words. I collect all the delicious gestures, the smiles biting into life, the sweet hellos wrapped in ribbons. It delights me to be able to throw them into the wind and share them with my readers. I firmly believe that happiness dries up all the downpours of life.

10:20 a.m.
With his inflated chest full of air, the Greek god succeeded in drying the entire parking lot and the coffee shop’s two patios. Time has come for me to leave this place and head out for my Sunday drive.

The Mini Cooper heads north towards Sainte-Agathe and we circle the beautiful Lac des Sables. I really love driving around and admiring the landscape. The leaves are turning yellow to contrast with the bright green of the gigantic fir trees. Mother Nature marvels and amazes me with all her beauty. I stop at 7 Principale Street to visit the enchanting “Couleur café signature” coffee shop. I love this store with its welcoming large tables, comfortable chairs, beautiful large lightbulbs, suspended plants, delicious treats and its out-of-this-world coffees.

11:45 a.m.
The weather is suddenly so nice that I decide to go even further north and drive towards the charming village of Mont-Tremblant. That is where “Carpe diem,” a precious independent bookstore, is located. It is a little hidden treasure, isolated from the main road, and you have to know where to find it in order to get there. I love the impressive variety of magazines they carry, literary essays, poetry books and serious novels. The voice in my head always tells me that I don’t need a single more book or magazine each time I find myself in such a place. But I never listen! I can’t resist well-written books, so I find myself inquiring about Julia Kerninon’s latest novel and – hurray! – it’s arriving at the end of October. She’s my favourite author, along with Icelandic writer Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir.

1:50 p.m.
I hit the road in the opposite direction, with two magazines, a few books and a small craving. I never eat before 1 p.m., but at this hour, my stomach starts to grumble. A tasty spinach quiche awaits at home.

Did you know that this old queen of breakfast has never learned to eat a morning meal? I’m telling you! Although I launched a delicious breakfast restaurant concept 36 years ago, I was always in the kitchen, concocting delicious delights for our hungry clientele. It was our unwritten rule. First, we had to feed all our clients, and then the employees, my kids and I, would eat around 1:30 p.m. It became a habit that has stuck for the entire family.

I eat after 1 p.m. I nap for a short while and then I read for a few hours to improve my writing. At 6 o’clock sharp, I turn on the talking monster to catch the global news and then I turn it right back off. I write for a few hours and have a dinner consisting of fish or seafood around 8 p.m., or I opt for a light snack such as a smoothie, a plate of fruit, nuts, dates and my precious energy balls. Afterwards, as I lay comfortably in my pajamas on the couch, I fall asleep in Morpheus’ arms, a book resting on my nose.