Tuesday, December 30, 2008

10 Pound Pledge

I just joined a new group. Really, at this posting, we are a group of two, but I figure with a combined weight loss pledge of twenty pounds between us, that makes Carmi and I a GROUP.

Go on over to her blog and right click on the little chubby girl and save the file. Then add her as a picture gadget in the top corner of your own blog. Even if you're not a blogger, you can join us by commenting.

This is all about accountability for me. Dana always says we are way too old to be paying someone (ie. Weight Watcher's) to lose weight. At this stage, we all know what to do, and it's a question of doing it! See you in the gym next week!

hat tip: Carmi

Monday, December 29, 2008


This is a board game that was recommended by a friend, so we decided to give it a whirl before the neighbourhood girls come over and 'beat the pants off us'. As I was researching for this blog entry, Wikipedia actually gave names to the shapes that are used in playing. It is no secret that my mathematical abilities are limited, (despite my illustrious lineage), but my grasp of the English language has always been quite keen. I must have been away the day they taught about "polyominoes". I knew "dominoes"...but "monomino", "triominoes", "tetrominoes" and "pentominoes"???? The mono, tri, tetro, and pento I get, but I don't recall these terms. Guess we'll have to dig out the Trivial Pursuit game next. For those of you who are as astounded as I was, there is a brief description following. Too much learning for a Monday??? It's a good game of strategy.
The game is played on a square board divided into 20 rows and 20 columns, for a total of 400 squares. There are a total of 84 game tiles, organized into 21 shapes in each of four colors: blue, yellow, red, and green. The 21 shapes are based on free polyominoes of from one to five squares (one monomino, one domino, two trominoes/triominoes, five tetrominoes, and 12 pentominoes).

In recreational mathematics, a polyomino is a polyform with the square as its base form. It is a connected shape formed as the union of one or more identical squares in distinct locations on the plane, taken from the regular square tiling, such that every square can be connected to every other square through a sequence of shared edges (i.e., shapes connected only through shared corners of squares are not permitted). Polyominoes with from 1 to 6 squares are called respectively monominoes, dominoes, trominoes (or triominoes), tetrominoes, pentominoes and hexominoes. Polyominoes have been used in popular puzzles since at least 1907, and the enumeration of pentominoes is dated to antiquity.[1] Many results with the pieces of 1 to 6 squares were first published in Fairy Chess Review between the years 1937 to 1957, under the name of "dissection problems". The name polyomino was invented by Solomon W. Golomb in 1953 and they were popularized by Martin Gardner.[2]

I've only thrown the tiles, the whole lot of them, fancy names and all, at the Professor once for blocking my most stellar move.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday Jigsaw

Let's Slide!

Each Christmas, we get a family jigsaw puzzle. The same thing happens every year. The Professor's job is to open the box, rip open the inner plastic bag, dump out the contents onto the card table and turn over all the pieces so that they are right-side up. He then has the honour of forming the frame, or "doing the edges". I guess it's because he's the oldest that he gets this distinction. He has his own way of organizing pieces into colours and gets quite a little system going. That's when the rest of the family like to poke around and try and find a proper fit. Since there are only two of us this year, I've already lost interest ....after day two. I just can't sit there and spend a day at it, I have too many other distractions.

The Ravensburger Canadian Artists Collection is my favourite brand of puzzle. You have to have 1000 pieces to make it any challenge at all. The best place to find them is Mastermind. They may be a bit pricier, but the quality is good and I rationalize the expense by passing them on to someone else when the deed is done.

The Artist - Pauline Paquin

A La Fenetre Des Magazines
Pauline Paquin

Technique: lithograph
Dimensions: 16x20in.
Description: artist proof 115/480
Price: $475 Cdn.
Masters Gallery Ltd.
Some day it would be nice to own an original.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Joyeux Noel

Today is a foggy day, a good day to stay on the couch and watch old movies. Today's film was one suggested for Christmas, but it's not too late, if you can find it. It was nominated for an Academy Award (2005) in the Best Foreign Film category.

This is a true-life story of the spontaneous Christmas Eve truce declared by Scottish, French and German troops in the trenches of World War 1, 1914. On a battlefield the men lay down their arms and fraternize to celebrate Christmas. It is at once shockingly brutal, tenderly moving, and all too humanly real.

There are poignant moments of great wit and humour in this life altering view of war from all sides.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Eating Tips

This silly thing has been circulating around via e-mail for some time....it still makes me laugh.


1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots

on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas

spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately.

Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly.

It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year

but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories

in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn

into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat.

Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than

you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it.

That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand

alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed

potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if

they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's

skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car

with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in

an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going

to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for

free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise

between now and New Year's. You can do that in January

when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long

naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table

while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of


7. If you come across something really good at a

buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape

and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't

budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of

attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If

you leave them behind, you're never going to see them


8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have

a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have

two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else

do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted,

it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but

avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible

when you leave the party or get up from the table, you

haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over,

but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this

motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave

with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive

and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways,

chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally

worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Happy Eating To You

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


iTunes has this neat little deal each week. You can download a free song. This is still available...I think it's a catchy little dittie with an infectious chorus.

"All my bells are ringing".....just for you!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Miss Potter

In the past few days, due to bad weather and staying indoors, I have been lulled into watching old movies. I watched a really good rendition of "Scrooge" with Albert Finney, Alec Guinness, and Edith Evans, followed by the 1938 version of "You Can't Take It With You" starring Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore and James Stewart-"Oscar-winning classic about a blissfully eccentric family." "Christmas in Connecticut" ('45) with Barbara Stanwyck made it a very late night.

The one I still like very much is "Miss Potter". I am even more convinced about visiting the lake district some day...what a woman.

Miss Potter's Movie Map country

Reneé Zellweger as Beatrix Potter doing her watercolours...inspiring

and of course.....the music. Katie Melua with the soundtrack and clips......

This is what is so good about the holiday season. I see that the new DVD for Sound of Music has something like 3 hours of extras added on! Won't the Professor be pleased!!?? :) I'm not sure why this is a holiday tradition, but it's a bit of a mixed blessing in our family. Our daughter can sing every part of every song in the entire movie score, which makes for a rather raucous rendition of "My Favourite Things" when actions are involved. Perhaps this is why Papa has such an aversion to the Von Trapps!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Holidays

For most of my readers, there is no discussion about the use of "Happy Holidays" at this time of year. Those who find it an issue, probably won't read this anyway, but I did think this column a well laid out explanation of the conundrum.

Ken Gallinger writes in the ethics column of The Star newspaper:
"Two weeks ago, I advised a cashier to honour her employer's wishes and greet her customers with the inclusive phrase "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas." That column generated a surprisingly strong, polarized response. Here are two of my favourites:

"Wishing someone `Merry Christmas' is not `inflicting your celebration' on everyone. It is an acknowledgment that the very reason we are enjoying a holiday is because of our rich Christian heritage ... Also, you have subscribed to the presumptuous habit of lecturing Christians, so annoyingly prevalent in left-of-centre thought these days. We both know that there are many fundamentalist Muslims in this world who have difficulty with others not of their creed, doctrines or calendar. But would you have substituted `Muslims' for `Christians' in your sentence? I think not. Quite simply, you haven't got the guts, and neither does the Star's editorial board."

"Just got around to reading your Saturday column and ... I think I'm in love. Never before have I read a more insightful, amusing, clear and accurate depiction of those insensitive folk who naively believe that everybody is a clone of themselves, as they mindlessly reel off their Xmas-time chant. (Don't bother running away; I'm 75 and can't move too fast!)"

There were lots more in both camps – although the fighters outnumber the lovers. As usual.

Clearly, we are living in "in-between" times. Many of us who grew up in Canada remember when this was a "Christian" country, in practice if not in law. And some still yearn for that time. But those days are gone; we are one of the world's greatest multi-faith societies. Arguing about the truth, advantages or disadvantages of that reality is pointless. And wistfulness is wasted.

The old faith-specific ethical standards of our younger days, rooted as they were in specific cultures, times and traditions, are suddenly much less clear or compelling than they once seemed. In a society like ours, it is not enough to define good and bad in terms of the Ten Commandments or even the teachings of Jesus, as fine as those teachings may be. Instead, we are, collectively, searching for more inclusive and widely owned ethical principles. Respect for human dignity, the true equality of the genders, races and orientations, rejection of violence as a way of exercising power, the sacredness of the earth and its inhabitants – these are some, but not all, of these more universal principles. When they clash with narrowly defined faith-based practices, they must prevail.

It is Christmas time. Jesus, the babe of Bethlehem, grew to be the man who, in an intensely jingoistic culture, regularly made foreigners and outcasts the heroes of his stories. He challenged the closed minds of legalistic and cultic religious leaders. He was respectful of women and children in a time when such respect was largely unknown. He dined with harlots, set criminals free and made friends with (gasp) civil servants. It's a good guy whose birthday we celebrate! So to my Christian friends and readers, I say Merry Christmas. And to everyone else, this: may you find in your faith, your friends and your families all the joy that Christians find in the celebration of this season. Happy Holidays."

Send your questions directly to Ken Gallinger at ethical@sympatico.ca.
[Comments on this story are moderated]
And one comment today:
No such thing as Christian country
What makes Canada a "Christian" country? What makes ANY country "Christian"? Christianity has no penal code, no economic principles, no rules and regulations on governance of a state, NOTHING. Secondly, JESUS did not celebrate Christmas nor was he anything close to Christian - HE WAS A JEW.
Submitted by Mubin Shaikh at 6:41 PM Saturday, December 20 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What is White?

White is a dove
And lily of the valley
And a puddle of milk
Spilled in an alley-----
A ship's sail
A kite's tail
A wedding veil
Hailstones and
Halibut bones
And some people's
The hottest and most blinding light
Is white.
And breath is white
When you blow it out on a frosty night.
White is the shining absence of all color
Then absence is white
Out of touch
Out of sight.
White is marshmallow
And vanilla ice cream
And the part you can't remember
In a dream.
White is the sound
Of a light foot walking
White is a pair of
Whispers talking.
White is the beautiful
Broken lace
Of snowflakes falling
On your face.
You can smell white
In a country room
Toward the end of May
In the cherry bloom.

By Mary O'Neill

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day!

4 P.M. update
Fading Light

Weather Radar Tracker

Right now we're getting about .5 centimeter of snow per hour. Stay tuned!!

Hat tip: B

Thursday, December 18, 2008


This is one of those cases where it is important to remember that possessive pronouns never take apostrophes, even though possessive nouns do (see it’s/its). “Who’s” always and forever means only “who is,” as in “Who’s that guy with the droopy mustache?” or “who has,” as in “Who’s been eating my porridge?” “Whose” is the possessive form of “who” and is used as follows: “Whose dirty socks are these on the breakfast table?”

Somehow I lost my "Whose" in a few of my recent postings. Mrs. Beach, primary teacher extraordinaire, kindly reminded me of my grammar and I'm back on track and quickly covering my egregious errors as she finds them in my writing. Thank you Mrs. Beach. I will try to improve in the future.

P.S. This is one sure way of keeping Mrs. Beach as an attentive reader!
I'm writing out "Whose" - 100 times.

Credit: http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/who%27s.html

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Last Thursday, we had our "gym buddies" CHRISTMAS luncheon at Milestone's Restaurant. I love one of their appetizers on the menu....Kobe beef sliders. No one seemed to be aware of this fabulous new/old presentation of teeny weeny little burgers. I've been enjoying them since reading about this new "rage" from an article in the

New York Times

The signature drink of Milestone's is of course the Bellini. It's basically a slushy drink that is supposed, according to the drink menu, to be “A cool blend of Lamb’s white rum, peach liqueur and champagne, topped with sangria. Some intrepid Bellini lovers have discovered the actual recipe.....

* 9 parts 7-Up mixed with peach crystals (frozen beforehand)
* 12 parts champagne
* 4 parts white rum
* “Sangria” topping (red wine, 7-Up, brandy, orange juice)

Milestones mix it all up in a slushy/slur-pee machine and slurp it out into a martini glass, then pour the sangria around the edge, and top with a plastic monkey (if available). The sangria goes slushy too, and brain- and stomach-freeze soon follow.

Two Bellini's and a Slider plate really make your friends much more interesting!! :)

Since I seem to be eating and imbibing my way through the holidays (I don't mind whose holidays we celebrate, I'm in for all of them) I'll be reporting on all my new gastronomic finds. 'Tis the season.

Photo Credit: Bellini:http://gusdigital.com/tag/bellini/
Recipe: http://www.northspace.com/2004/09/bellini-recipe/
Photo Credit: Sliders: http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2007/04/bouchon_sliders_available_this_friday.html

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The End of the Dance Lessons

Last night was the final lesson of 12 classes in Dancing for Special Occasions. Since this is our 4th. or 5th. round of dancing class,(it's actually embarrassing to keep count since it's all beginners) and we've only ever had a couple of special occasions, it has been decided that we will move on in the New Year to "Ballroom Line Dancing"......Who KNEW????

At one of our "special occasions", a group took to the floor and did what we considered a fabulous line dance, incorporating the same steps commonly used in ballroom dancing such as the Rumba, Cha Cha, Salsa, Mambo, Waltz and Fox Trot. This is something we had never seen done before, but the 'dancing fools' group present was enthusiastic to research classes. Low and behold, the same place where we take our current classes, offers two levels of this instruction.

The Professor and I are signed up! January 14th. at River Grove Community Centre in Mississauga.........7:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday evenings. Join us!! The Pub afterward is still in effect, so it's a great mid-week evening out AND no partner required, so there will be no excuses.

It's always a bit embarrassing when you find that a bird can actually dance better than 90 percent of the people in the class (I'm not naming names, but notice how the bird can find the beat?.... Larry, Tony and Ingrid).... have a look at Snowball, doing his moves. It's a lovely story too.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Toronto Symphony Orchestra and The SNOWMAN

Yesterday, Hélène and I had a magical experience with the TSO and a production of Raymond Briggs' "The Snowman". If we had known how good this afternoon was to be, you all could have joined us, but now via the magic of YouTube, you can see the video right here. I've put up three links to the DVD, and I think both the book and short DVD should be in everyone's library. It makes a perfect gift for young or old. A timeless story.

Our production had the movie on screens above the orchestra who accompanied with the original score, never missing a beat. Just the right length to keep little people's attention.

The Snowman Part I 10 mins.

The Snowman Part II 10 mins.

The Snowman Part III 7 mins.

The video clip is Celtic Woman singing the song
"Walking in the Air" from the movie.

Picture Credit:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Friday Night Board Games

Under the full moon, the Professor and I had our "advent" surprise evening of board games with our "junior girlfriends". We resurrected one of Gordon's old games "The Game of Life" and the laughing commenced. The girls are 9 and 11 years old, with a very sophisticated sense of humour and are a delight to spend an evening with. They are so full of energy, it doesn't give one time to think about how exhausting it may all be!

There is much more learning value in this game than you would imagine. Disappointment when someone "takes" your salary, or home, or you have to pay the police officer a speeding fine. Just like real life. In these times of economic uncertainty, it was a lesson in how quickly you can fall from grace and end up in a trailer park. The happy outcome was that, this night, the child whose role in the game through the spin of the wheel became a single Mum, with twins, living in a trailer ended up becoming a millionaire. That's the magic of Christmas time. Next activity is cookie making and tea - to be scheduled.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sherman the Monkey Sneezing

If you watch David Letterman, you will know that this is his latest little aside. I guess the days of "great presidential speeches" bloopers will soon come to an end, so we have to have a new short. This little Sherman has my heart and I howl every time I see it. I don't know why....maybe the full moon???

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008 FULL MOON

The full moon Friday night will be the biggest one of the year as Earth's natural satellite reaches its closest point to our planet.

Earth, the moon and the sun are all bound together by gravity, which keeps us going around the sun and keeps the moon going around us as it goes through phases. The moon makes a trip around Earth every 29.5 days. But the orbit is not a perfect circle.

The moon's average distance from us is about 238,855 miles (384,400 km). Friday night it will be just 221,560 miles (356,567 km) away.

It will be 14 percent bigger in our sky and 30 percent brighter than some other full moons during the year, according to NASA.

— There is no proof the full moon makes people crazy.

Credit: Fox News

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Silent Night - ENYA

This to me is so achingly beautiful. Take just three minutes to listen to this extraordinary angelic voice.

The Plural of One


As a singular numerical pronoun, we don't have trouble with one: "Those donuts look delicious; I think I'll pick this one." But what if I want two donuts? It is possible, sometimes, to pluralize one:

* I really like the chocolate ones.
* The ones with chocolate frosting have cream fillings.
* Are these the ones you want?
* Do you want these ones? WRONG!!!!

When the word "ones" is preceded by a plural determiner (like these), we usually drop the ones and the determiner turns into a demonstrative pronoun: "Do you want these?" CORRECT!!!!

Even Peter Mansbridge said this on the CBC National News!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Walnut Drops

I was singing "Wild Thing....you make my heart sing...." and it should have been "Walnuts...you make my heart sing..." This from California Walnuts
on the health benefits of walnuts, which clearly make my Christmas baking a healthy alternative. You'll all be glad to hear that I'm even a little less wild these days.

Walnut Drops
Yield 3-4 Dozen

3/4 Cup Butter or Margarine
1 Cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1-3/4 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1 Cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350F. Combine butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in mixing bowl and cream together until blended and fluffy. Sift flour, cream of tartar, soda, baking powder and salt adding to creamed mixture. Add nuts and blend well.
Drop by teaspoonful on lightly greased cookie sheet or shape into small balls. Press with fork. Bake 8-10 minutes until nicely browned.

This is a recipe that my Aunt made for my Mum last Christmas and she rationed them out ...claiming they were that delicious. I hope mine turn out as well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Paper Place Contest

While Irenka and I were at the Holly Jolly, we were introduced to calligrapher, bookbinder and paper artist extraordinaire Cherryl Moote. Carmi, who was making the introductions was extolling Cherryl's work and encouraging us to look into her publications and classes through the Paper Place.

Coincidentally, this morning Susanhad a wonderful post on an amazing Chiyogami contest at said shop.

This is an extraordinary idea. Thank you Carmi for the intro to Cherryl and thanks to Susan for the tip off to the contest. Paper Place here we come. Now to enter the contest!

Jane Calling from Space

This is a picture of our daughter Jane, calling from space!

Not really. She's calling from Brussels, Belgium where she and her husband now live and work. She works for "Mars"...yes the chocolate bar company. That's as close as she gets to space these days. We can't figure out what Dr. Moran, the astrophysicist does with M&M's but we're quite sure it's 'far out', as is demonstrated by this example of her sense of humour.

Jane got a new Mac that can apparently take your picture while you are on the phone to your Mother, and then transpose these backgrounds. You can also warp your face, but they are truly scary!
Just sharing a bit of family humour today.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Weekend Art Festival

I'm late! I'm late!!

All the other girls have their blogs adorned with their wares from the "Holly Jolly" sale Saturday. I've had a difficult time with my camera today so do be sure to click on the pictures to see the full effect.

Magnetic Monkeys by Carmi

An interesting thing about the box here. Carmi had her "Dove of the East" boxes on display and I knew that Irenka was coveting this piece. On the sly, I gave head and eye signals to Carmi to spirit one away without Irenka's knowledge. At the end of the day, we both arrived back at the car carrying to me what looked like an identically shaped Carmi bag. Not having noticed this before, I nonchalantly inquired as to whether or not Irenka had actually gotten a box. She had. Oh well. Merry Christmas Irenka! Now we both have a box. The monkey magnet/buttons will eventually make it to Vancouver.

Cori did these amazing wool felted balls. When you can't decide you get one of each.

This is Karen's work. She found antique keys in Barcelona and came up with these wonderful designs. You do know how I love saying "Vicky-Christina-Barcelona"...so couldn't resist.

The Dove of the East box comes into play again as a display background for Sharon's darling tree ornaments. We are decorating our tree tonight and I'll raise a glass to you dear friend. Ludgera was going to be really nice and embellish her parcels with these. I'm keeping mine.

This piece is entitled "Listening to Verdi"...what can I say. Do you realize that this is the first occasion that Susan Williamson and I have had to meet face to face?? We have a mutual admiration society going on our blogs, and may have unknowingly crossed paths in the flesh, but I was overjoyed to go to the Holly Jolly and finally hug this woman who is one of my art guru's. This piece speaks such joy to me you cannot imagine.

Another of Susan's creations just has to be a little trilogy for me. This black and white may look easy, but is technically a very difficult process. I am so lucky to be able to look at these and be inspired every day. Susan is working on a book to be published in the New Year. I can't wait.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wild Thing

Every expression portrayed by Cary Grant in this video is one that I have sported myself in the past 24 hours. The frame at the end where Cary is gagged is courtesy of The Professor after a particularly animated ride home from TO last night. Even the car scenes are a true enactment :) My new moniker....WILD THING!

Just so that you know, we are going out to practice our dancing tonight. I'll make sure to vent all my anger on the dance floor. If that doesn't help, perhaps a little retail therapy! Wonder if I can aid the ailing car sector?? Jaguar XKE

Thursday, December 4, 2008



I am beyond angry. I am WILD. I am beyond disappointed, disgusted, annoyed, disbelieving, disapproving, incredulous...I am WILD.

I did not vote for Stephen Harper. If you are reading this, you already know that. I can now say this with all the conviction that I used before. I did not vote for Stephen Harper for the very reasons that you are seeing today.

This is an attempt by a REFORM party to control my country in a way that I deem highly inappropriate. Now the public relations game will begin. This is an unprecedented time in our history.

Not only has Stephen Harper managed to turn this personal, unilateral, uncompromising position he maintains into a fear mongering grab for power, but he has also shown Canadians his true spots. Spots that will not change.

So, he goes to the Governor General, gets his wrists slapped, and comes out spewing his concern that everyone get along. If he were truly sincere, he'd have been getting along when it mattered. If he listened to Parliament, which is his obligation, he'd understand that everything he said upon emerging from the GG's is exactly what he should have been doing prior to this debacle WHICH HE CREATED.

As he always says "Let's be clear"...."Let me just say this".....Harper walk home...across the street and lick your wounds.....this has only started, because now I'm WILD.

This cannot happen. You close the doors to MY Parliament!!!! I PROTEST!!

Look Who's Saying it Now!

Governor General Michaelle Jean:
"The prime minister and myself need to have a conversation."
Clearly I can see I am needed in Ottawa IMMEDIATELY!! Don't these people read my blog! :)

Nov. 16th. 2008

Thanks to:A BCer in Toronto

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Food and Drink

Monday night after dancing, the Professor and I repaired as usual to our after-dance pub for the feast of Honey Garlic chicken wings and Rancher Fries, all capably washed down with a cold beer. How very Coronation Street. I can't tell you how much I look forward to this "tradition" each week. Not only are the wings 2 for 1, but they are also piping hot and dripping in honey. We end up a sticky mess, honey dribbling down our chins...which is not because we are messy eaters, it's just the way it happens. The truth of the matter is that this is also the only way I get the Professor to attend dance class.

I also admit that the only way I enjoy an early morning exercise class is the lure of coffee and companionship afterward. There is a common thread here....exercise with the promise of food and drink as the reward! I know this is a perverse way of looking at all things exercise, but it's as the cartoon says...Eat, Drink and be Merry! Medicine for the soul.

“Now Christmas comes, 'tis fit that we
should feast and sing, and merry be:
Keep open house, let fidlers play.
A fig for cold, sing care away;
And may they who thereat repine,
On brown bread and on small beer dine.”

from the 1766 Virginia Almanack

New Yorker Cartoon: Peter Steiner

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Used Bicycles

Last night I saw a clip on Bicycles for Humanity . This is such a GREAT idea. I have many old bikes hanging from the ceiling of my garage, rarely if ever used, another of those things that you keep around "just in case". I can't think of anything better than this. The ultimate in "recycling"....pun intended!

As the video shows, the bicycles are collected and shipped in large metal containers which are then turned into bicycle workshops to repair, outfit and dispense the much needed form of transportation, as well as local employment opportunities. This is something I can DO!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Project finished

Good thing that I managed to get these advent boxes done yesterday. Today is the first day of December. It ended up being way too late and wet to deliver them, so I took advantage of the low light today to photograph them before they are given away to my two little neighbours.

[click to enlarge]

Two little girls from a couple of doors away, visit me on a regular basis. They are very keen on my tea, which, they say, is the best in the world. Sometimes, they concoct extravagant tea parties, other days, they come by and rake my leaves. They are always wishing to "help" the Professor and me whenever the door opens and the magic that is our garage-stuffed-to-the-gills is revealed. They always end up going home with something or other that has long since been forgotten by our own children, and would otherwise end up in that 'someday garage sale'. It's a winning situation.

Some days the girls just ring the doorbell on their walk home from school to see how I am. They want nothing, they just come by to say hello and give a hug and just touch base, before heading home to finish their schoolwork. I think this is a rather endearing thing, an unusually grown up thing, and a very bonding thing that they do. They love to get into my house and my 'stuff' and just spend time with us.

The advent box is a project that Irenka and I did with Lara, at Bizzy B's. Not only is there candy in each little drawer, but also a few gifts of "lunch out - your choice", a "Kids movie - here or in the theater", "A trip to the ROM - dinosaurs and other things", "an afternoon of tea and cookies", and "an evening of board games".

For Teo

For Cristina

This year, I'm invited to hear Teo sing in her school's Christmas choir concert. How sweet is that! I can't wait to see their faces this afternoon. It may perk up this very dark first day of December.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

One of a Kind - Three

This is a really interesting artist who you can visit at the Distillery District the next time you are down there buying Eccles cakes. By the way, if you are down there getting Eccles cakes, please get me some too!

I always like to speak to the artists and learn about their process. For some reason, this year all the vibrant colours and wonky constructs were appealing to me. The animals are made first, and then individually glued in place....if you notice, all are facing outward...hopefully. Perhaps this is what drew me unknowingly to the piece. Hope.

All Credits Artist: Wendy Walgate

Wendy's Blog with great commentaries on her work.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

One of a Kind -Two

If money were no object.............
I wonder where you would put this if you did get one? In an effort to find just the right spot, I'm cleaning my house today. See what ART can inspire??!!

Sorrentino Sanche

Friday, November 28, 2008

One of a Kind - One

Today, Irenka and I went to the One of a Kind Show. Our first stop was of course Carmi's Art Cards

We are Carmi groupies and we buy and buy and buy her cards and then can't bear to give them away. I have a box labeled "Carmi's Cards". It gives me the greatest pleasure to just look through the collection. If you've ever received a Carmi card, then you can count yourself as "special".

After our Carmi fix, we did our "routine". We start at aisle "A" and go to the end and then down the next aisle from the top...and so on. It was a pretty amazing show this year. Lots of new talent, and everyone exceptional.

I'll do a daily report on my findings, so that you can be inspired, even if you can't attend the show. Perhaps you'll be inspired enough to go to the show.

This is the work of Kathi Kuti She does the most amazing polymer clay sculpting. We had her full attention at one point and she explained all the intricate details of each of her pieces. We were also delighted to hear that she will be giving a workshop in the spring. The Humpty Dumpty workshop will be in Elora, ON. Two day classes $150.00 kit included where students will learn to sculpt a 3 inch Humpty Dumpty in polymer clay. (No sculpting experience needed.) Check out the link to see this amazing work, and consider a trip to Elora in the spring.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

New Finds

Recently I went into the LCBO to get a bottle of wine for my neighbour who, each year in the fall, valiantly goes up on our conjoined roofs to check out the condition of the eaves troughs. I think that deserves a little present. I waited until he'd finished the job to give him the wine. His response, by the way, was that he's been doing this task for 25 years and this is the first bottle of wine I've given him. By his calculations he gets 24 more! On this particular visit to the "Government Dairy", what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a new version of the Smirnoff Martini mix!

Holidays here we come!

Everyone is touting the health benefits of pomegranates these days, so what could be more exciting that a pre-mixed concoction like this. It HAS to be good for you. You could probably even rationalize it as a breakfast drink. It is a mixture of vodka, pomegranate juice, and Meyer lemon. The taste is sweet on the palate to start and then the lemon kicks in to keep you wondering.

The latest holiday version of the Food and Drink magazine is worth the trip to the store. Not only are the recipes inspiring, but they are also paired with the wines to serve etc. Copies of this publication are apparently flying off the shelves, so perhaps you should call your "local" before getting too revved up about it.
It will make you want to have a party, or at least attend a party, martini mix in hand.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Despite my own warnings not to do so, I am still cutting out recipes from the newspaper. Most of them end up in a file folder in the category of "splendid ideas that may or may never happen". I was about to file yet another load of misguided good intentions when I realized that one of them was banana muffins...I had 4, (well on their way to the freezer) bananas screaming at me from the fruit bowl. On re-reading the recipe, I thought, what could be more simple than this recipe??? No unusual ingredients, just put all of this in a huge measuring cup and "Viola" as our painting group just has to say! (There was a misprint in an American painting book that meant to say "Voila! ...it was printed "Viola!" That one stuck :))

Blinding Brilliance Publishing

Muffin Mania Muffin Mania - just re-released!
Cathy Prange & Joan Pauli
Muffin Mania was one of the first books we carried when we opened the store in 1983 - hand delivered by the authors. It quickly topped our bestseller list where it resided for almost two decades! In the years it was out of print we had streams of calls from people searching for replacements for their tattered and stained originals, or copies for offspring leaving home. We are overjoyed to have the new generation of the Prange/Pauli family bring Muffin Mania to the next generation of bakers! Spiral bound, 71 pp. $16.95.

The Cookbook Store: 416.920.2665 / 1.800.268.6018
850 Yonge Street at Yorkville Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
M4W 2H1

Best Ever Banana Muffins

2 Cups mashed banana (4-5)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

[You can also add 1 cup of chocolate chips to the batter!]

In a large bowl, mash bananas.
Stir in sugar and egg.
Add melted butter.
Stir in baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour to make a thick batter.

Fill each cup of a 12-cup muffin tin about three-quarters full. Bake in a 375F oven for 20 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

I DID add the chocolate chips. Why wouldn't you when it's an option ??:) These are so easy you have to want to try the others including "Morning Glory", "Sandy's Seafood Muffins" and even a "Nothing Muffin" to which you can add your choice of flavours.

Where to find locally:
Pantry: 416.364.2495
974 College Street
Toronto, ON
M6H 1A5

Good Egg: 416 593 GOOD
267 Augusta Avenue
Kensington Market
Toronto, Ontario
M5T 2M2

Bookers Book Store: 905.844.5501
172 Lakeshore Rd E
Oakville, ON
L6J 1H6

To Set a Table: 905.338.0275
182 Lakeshore Road East
Oakville, ON
L6J 1H6

Added Touch: 888.238.6824
156 Lakeshore Road East
Oakville, ON

Cards n’ Such: 905.849.0851
511 Maple Grove Drive
Oakville, ON
L6J 6X8

Original story: The Toronto Star Wed., Sept. 3,2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008


When you access this site, make sure you click on all the titles to view the full extent of this project. This is a book by Andrew Zuckerman that you are surely going to want.


Hat tip: Fiona Reid
Photographs:Andrew Zuckerman

In memory of my parents. November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Blogs to look at

I will be away from my desk for a few days, so to keep you busy while I'm away, you might like to take a look at these wonderful blogs that I've found recently. The first one will be of special interest to my bookbinding friends. You'll flip when you see the wonderful papers and ideas here:
From Kamloops, BC

Speaking of dogs, "The House of Edward" will keep you busy reading for many days.
The House of Edward

A couple of weeks ago on Coronation Street, Liam and Maria were out walking around in the Lake District of England and Liam had a fall down a cliff. Not only was the military rescue helicopter called, but they actually use these dogs. This is the exact terrain Liam had his accident in. Hmmmmm perhaps a border collie???
Lake District Mountain Search Dogs and Rescue

For sure a trip to the Lake District in England and a hike near an old inn.

On this one just take a look at her enchanting blog banner. This goldfish bowl is amazing. Goldfish Bowl

Have a good weekend everyone. Stay warm and be well.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tuffets and Foot Stools

Another of my impossible ideas is to convert some antique cheese boxes into something more useful... and decorative... and whimsical...

Something like this is pretty fantastical

Now THIS is quite amazing

This looks like just the right sort of center to coddle tired feet

This project has been on my mind for some time and a recently a catalogue from
Mackenzie-Childs was popped into my mailbox by someone who had the delicious occasion to visit a shop full of this whimsical furniture. It makes me want to paint something......So many ideas...so little light of day to accomplish things by.

Photo credit [http://www.jefflindsay.com/photography2.shtml]