Weekend links, checking in and a holiday author event

Hello. It’s me.

I’ve missed you so. Despite having no recipe to share, I had to update you on the transplant recovery process – and just say hello, Adele-syle.

When I signed off in October, we were in the height of fall beauty, and now the days are true November grey. The clocks fell back when we were in the hospital, and we returned home to eat our dinners in darkness. I have to force myself to see the beauty in the bleak landscape, and indeed in our lives right now. We’ve just been a little out of sorts – even in the kitchen.  I’ve been having one recipe failure after another. But we’ll get back on track soon.

hospital time

The great news is that both father and son are home and recovering well. Danny was out of hospital after four days and his father after ten days. Then there was a brief period of ‘holy crap we’re on our own to deal without any nurses’, followed by an intense few days of figuring out our new normal. Right now, that normal looks like a slow-moving Danny, a fast-moving Aimée, and children with three unique storm systems. In pre-op consultations, experts had warned us that the whole parent and grandparent surgery situation could result in the kids acting out, and whew, it’s blustery around here.

Truth be told, we’re all feeling a bit fragile, as I keep telling friends who call. I’m trying to focus on everything that is right and good, like Sunday dinners, that mid-day main meal around a table set with cloth napkins and candles. Even if we all showed up in pajamas for the first post-op Sunday dinner, at least we were together.

Sunday dinner

Danny and I want to thank you all very, very much for the support. So many of you emailed or commented and shared an encouraging live organ transplant story and we read them all. We so appreciate the prayers, well-wished and love sent our way. It hasn’t always been easy, but we made it through, thanks in part to your attentiveness.

To cheer things up around here, I’ve decided to jump into holiday mode a bit early. Whatever raises the spirits, right? I’m organizing my annual cookie swap, working on a cookbook gift guide (here’s last years) and planning my edible Christmas gifts for the children’s school teachers.

On that note, I’m very excited to announce a local event where we can meet up in real life.

Toronto book tour

Holiday pop-up book fair and cookbook signing

Save-the-date! November-twenty-eight! Join me for a Holiday Pop-Up Book Fair in the auditorium of the Atwater Library (1200 Rue Atwater, Montreal) on Saturday, November 28th. The event is presented by the Association of English-Language Publishers of Quebec (AELAQ) and sponsored by the Montreal Gazette. More than 25 participating publishers will be represented – more than 50 local authors will make appearances. The event will be on all day, however I will be there signing copies of Brown Eggs and Jam Jars specifically from 11 AM-1 PM. I’d love to personalize a copy for someone on your Christmas list.

Of course there will be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, books for kids, award-winners, bestsellers and more. And, just for stopping by, you can enter to win a fabulous gift bag of books. Book lovers unite. I hope to see you there. Oh, and I will have a special bonus gift for anyone who purchases my cookbook…it maybe even cookies.

November produce box

Weekend links

I’ve been away for nearly a month, so I won’t attempt to play catch-up, but here are a few favourite reads and recipes from the month so far.

How are you? Let me know in the comments if anyone is still reading. Kidding, sort of.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. *Of course* we’re still here! It’s good to ‘hear’ from you on the blog. I’m glad to hear your family members are doing well, but I hope YOU are taking it as slow as you can, too. You had a car accident, taking care of the family after major surgeries, and writing a book, etc.? That’s a perfect crazy storm, I’m sure. I hope you can find some rest in whatever spare moments you have, though they may seem few and far between. Somehow you still make time for beautiful photos and book signings! Best wishes. Until then,
    Sarah M

  2. I am so glad to hear that the surgery was successful. When I was about 10 my dad donated his kidney to his brother.My uncle had gone 2 previous kidney donations that he rejected but my dad’s kidney gave him over 20 extra years. Every year my dad and my mom, his brother and his brother’s wife (who is also my mom’s cousin…whole other story) would go out the dinner on the anniversary. They called it the “kidney dinner.” Your husband gave his dad an incredibly special gift.

  3. Prayers as you all continue to recover during this time of transition. May you continue to have patience, strength and hope during this difficult time!

  4. What a surprise to hear back from you so soon! I hope you and family are well in health and spirits. It would be a privilege to meet but I am a little short on plane fair! Have fun!

  5. Deborah Abbott says

    So glad to read your blog and to learn that recoveries are going well. Now don’t forget to take care of yourself. And do what makes you happiest.

  6. Christin Jacobson says

    Somehow I missed the oh-so-important blog where you told of your family’s upcoming transplants and I regret that we were not praying for you and your family during that time. But we will pray now! For your husband and father-in-law’s recovery and for the restoration of equilibrium to your home and family life. My husband and I have four young boys and can appreciate the joys and challenges that a prolonged medical event can have on a family. We’ve learned in such times that we need not fear to lean heavily on the Lord…I believe He loves to feel the weight of us and I’ve yet to hear a tale of our burdens being too much for Him to bear or share. Thank you Bourque family for your gracious and courageous example of selfless sharing. May God bless you and your upcoming holidays.

  7. Oh Aimee!!! I’ve been away from blogs as we moved last month to New England from the Southwest and I missed the news about the surgery. I’m so grateful to hear the patients are healing well. I wish I could wrap you up in a big hug followed by a warm blanket accompanied with tea and scones. Sister, this life has its challenges, but you are persevering! Praying for an adundance of grace for your family in this season and many joyful moments this holiday season. Forever a reader, Erica 🙂

  8. I’m so glad you are all well and recuperating. i must say I’m surprised to hear from you so soon, and am happy it’s so soon! Thank you for updating us all. I wish I could be at that book signing, what a nice way to celebrate authors!

  9. Aimee, I’m so touched by your post and your husbands generosity. Thank you for writing about this. Its so important to hear stories of giving, family, and love. I try to do good deeds every day, but I’ll try and do an extra one just for you. I wish you well.

  10. Hello Aimee! We are all still here, not to worry, wishing you well and cheering you on! I know how stressful this sort of thing can be, having nursed my mother when she was ill for months on end. We’re still praying for father, grandfather, and all the family to be happy and healthy by the Thanksgiving holiday. We all have so much for which to be thankful! We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and that things get “more normal” every day 😉 Best wishes, Michelle G [An American in Derbyshire, UK] PS: Had planned to buy your book for a Christmas gift to myself, and now seems like the best time, so have just purchased — have a great book signing! -M

    • Postscript: I received your book the other day, and just finished the Sugaring Off section — I felt such pangs of homesickness for North America! I have visited Canada several times, but have yet to visit Quebec. It just went to top of my list! 😉 Thank you so much for writing such a beautiful word-picture of what life is like where you live and the wonderful family life you enjoy. Praying and hoping all is well with your family and loved ones this Thanksgiving and beyond, Michelle G [An American in Derbyshire, UK]

  11. So glad you’re back, Aimee and that Danny and his father are recovering well. You all are still in my prayers!

  12. I’m reminded of that scene from Auntie Mame, when she declares, “But we need a little Christmas NOW!”

    So happy to hear that both patients are doing well. Hang in there, Aimee – things will settle down sooner than you think.

  13. We’re *so* still here! And still praying for all the Bourques. You’re doing a wonderful job of getting through it all. I’m surprised, too, to see a post from you so soon, but so grateful for it. 2015 has been quite the bumpy year down here & your posts, tweets and ‘grams are the bright light leading me through. So we’re here and rooting for you!
    To the holidays! 🙂

  14. Yay! Glad to hear that you are all recovering. I have marked Nov 28 in my calendar and I have already started planning what to bring for the cookie swap!
    In the meantime, lots of love and prayers xo

  15. Glad to hear both are doing well and your family life is starting to turn to normal. My mom is donating her kidney to a stranger in just over a week, so it’s been meaningful to me to hear the story of what’s going on for your family. Praying it will go as well for both her and the recipient.

  16. Of course we are still here! So glad to hear both patients are doing well. We used a similar situation to change up Christmas that first year. We focused solely on gathering as a family with good food and drink and chucked decorations and presents. (Easier for us as our children are older.) We loved it so much that it has become our new normal. It’s times such as these where you learn what is really important. And, as another commenter said…take care of you.

  17. Kimberley Mulla says

    Still reading 🙂 so happy to read the positive news and we are sending our prayers and healing thoughts for your family. The little storms are very lucky to have such loving parents and I’m sure with time you will all settle into a new rhythm. Big hugs!

  18. So glad to “hear” from you! And very glad everyone is recovering, even if the process is a little slow. I am sure your Christmas will be extra special this year. <>

  19. I am still here! Glad to hear things are going “good”. Glad you have taken time for your most important priority, your family, although I have missed you!

  20. I am so glad to hear that everyone is doing so well. These can be difficult times and it is so good that you are giving yourselves time to breath. I will continue to keep you guys in my thoughts and prayers. xo

  21. Excellent news! Baby steps, baby steps… And how interesting that you mention your cooking. I really believe our emotions can be reflected in our cooking… Like Water for Chocolate? Stay cozy. You’re in my prayers : )

  22. I only just recently found your blog, but I love your style and your recipes – even as a new reader I wanted to let you know. 🙂 All the best to you and your family through this tough time – glad it sounds like things are moving smoothly, and I wish I was closer to visit your book event!

  23. How wonderful to hear that your DH is recovering and doing well. Good luck with the littles (that part sounds exhausting) and getting back to normal.

  24. Hi Aimee,

    So sorry to hear about the health crisis of your husband and father-in-law. I hope they continue to mend well. It’s especially hard during the holiday (when there seems to be so much more to do!) but it’s never easy to go through regardless. As long as you all stay focused on getting well and stronger, everything else will take care of itself. Or, at least, that’s what my late mother used to day 🙂

  25. Hi Aimee, I donated a kidney to my husband in late September and can vouch for the people who have been telling you it’s harder on the donor. He’ll feel better gradually and occasionally all of a sudden realize he can do something that he couldn’t do a few days before (like stand up straighter or lean to the side or lift something) and it feels great. The thing that continues to catch me off guard – even at 7 weeks – is where they cut through a tendon that connects part of my abs to part of the muscles in my leg on the side where the kidney came out. Apparently tendons heal really slow – especially when you forget they’re not fully healed and try to do things that stretch them out too much.
    Good health to all of you 🙂

  26. Still reading and wishing rest for you and yours.

  27. Good to hear that all are doing ok. Take it easy, and God bless!

  28. I am always still reading! Confession – I have your posts sent to my work e-mail so I can read them as soon as they come out :). I am glad to hear that things are moving forward, be it slow or fragile – life has a wonderful pitching arm and curve balls are a favorite. Many blessings to you and yours!

  29. First time commenting, but here to say I’m still reading and loving diving into your recipes (as always) as I “host ” my first thanksgiving meal, at 31. Excited to try a few new recipes even as I stick to many family favorites.

  30. Hello 🙂 welcome back, it’s great to hear from you again. It’s so great that the surgeries were a success! I hope that you all find comfort in each other and the beauty of family, working through difficult things as a family is such a beautiful thing. Give yourselves lots of time and smiles and hugs :), hope you guys take it easy, things will settle into a good groove again soon.
    My daughter and I just lost her father last month, it’s been hard, but encouraging when we just sit together and hug or sit next to each other and just let time go by and appreciate life, the beauty of the earth and Gods great mercy.
    It’s Ok for things to change,and for sadness and confusion. Soon everything will right itself and troubles will lift.
    What a great idea getting started with things that make you excited!
    Have a good week,and thank you for sharing!

  31. I’m so glad to hear so soon from you and your family 🙂
    I’m happy to see everyone is doing ok and that all went well! As much as I am excited about your new projects, I hope you are taking it easy on yourself. These are difficult times and I believe it’s important for you to find your balance in all of this, and keep your strength. Take it easy my dear, we want you well too! 🙂
    Best of luck with your book signing, I’ll be busy with craft shows but will be sending good vibes (and hopefully sunshine) your way…! Hugs from Longueuil! xx

  32. I’m glad to hear that everyone is doing okay!
    I’m going to be in holiday baking mode this weekend.. Could I come to your cookie swap? Hehehe! Excited to meet you Saturday!!

  33. I’m still reading! 🙂

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