Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Only 5 more sleeps for Jane and Michael

Lullaby and Goodnight

Driving through a crisp cold moonlit night tonight, we suddenly realized that there are only 5 days left. The moon will be full soon! Sleep well my babies.

Photo: Anne Geddes

Saturday, December 26, 2009

How little things have changed since 1948

The Professor and I love watching all the oldies....imagine our surprise at this speech. How little things have changed. It's long...but wait.

It's Old Movies time again.....

We love Jack Nicholson and his line about "selling crazy" makes me laugh every time!

Boxing Day

Joseph Farquharson (1846-1935)
"Glowed with Tints of Evening Hours"

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas to all.

Albert Chevallier Tayler (1862-1925)
The Christmas Tree

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pouff de de Pouff Pouff....Pouff Pouff! DONE..almost

As is usual, it's always more difficult to execute something than it looks. The "Pouff" is home. It has one red pin still left in it, the last stitch to be secured, but here are the pictures. It's also difficult to photograph silk.

A project like this takes an entire village. I did not do this alone. From the zany get-go Irenka was with me in purchasing the fabric and trim which necessitated several trips to Hamilton and the famous 'Ottawa Street' fabric mile. From the days spent redesigning the entire project after the woodcutter refused to put a hole in the original cheese-box. To Grace and Janice who always were sympathetic and kept up the laughter no-matter-what. To Krystina for her understanding and enthusiasm...HEY ARTHUR! To all the others who inspired and commiserated. To Evelyn the real hero, who, although never having done anything like this in her entire career, kept the faith and insisted it could be done. The Professor says he is NEVER putting his feet on this. This is for Zoë and although it won't go to Belgium, it will stay at Grandmaman's house and await her first little attempts to climb aboard. While you can't tell from the pictures, it is quite a large piece, just perfect for a little girl to conquer and contemplate. I guess this is what makes it all worthwhile. Thanks to everyone involved.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter in one of the places I chose not to go...YET!

This is extremely hilarious. You will now realize that if Zoë is anything like her parents, we are in for quite the ride as grandparents! I have been rolling on the floor watching this because it is SO Jane and Michael. I have shamelessly stolen this from Jane's blog...I'm sure she won't mind because so many have been asking how she looks now...including ME!

Have a laugh. The dog and the cats are probably funnier than the people, but Jane in that HAT really does take the cake.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Where would you rather be?

Based on today's weather forecast for the places I look at on a daily basis, I guess I'd pick Washington, DC. There are igloo's in Ottawa, too much rain in Vancouver, Belgium is expecting snow the end of the week so I guess I'd pick the place which is ten degrees warmer than Mississauga. Just a game I play daily.

And, yes, the temperatures are marked in Fahrenheit, because I like to think the old way.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Problems with the snow

Oh no! The snow widget kept crashing. I LOVE the snow widget, but this is how I felt when it didn't work. I've been feeling like this a lot these days. Must be nearly Christmas.

Oh No! The snow is falling again

Credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/breathingplaces/

Monday, December 14, 2009

Vintage trip to the mall

You may or may not have seen these classic photos of hysterical children having their pictures done with Santa. This one in particular resonates with me, because it is so my era.

The oldest sister is not to be deterred. The middle one is standing too near the screamer not to look as she does, and the little one...well, haven't we all felt this way one time or another?

Santa, all I can say is "you signed on for the job!"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Last night

We had a very Christmas-y event last night, our annual "Stuart McLean Vinyl Café Christmas".

Along with many new stories Stuart had two very fine performers with him this tour. Jill Barber has distinguished herself both professionally and in our hearts as we have known her since she was a very little girl. Her Dad and The Professor were colleagues for many years at U of T. Jill has a real "retro" feel to her music and it's amazing to watch her grow on stage. She performed her latest "Chances".

I have to say that I have attended many concert events in Toronto and NEVER have I seen such an audience reaction as there was to this young man that Stuart is also profiling on his tour.

Matt Andersen is established on the east coast...we have so many great musicians from the Canadian East...

This guy stood up and blew the roof off Convocation Hall. I have searched in vain to find an adequate recording of his voice on You Tube. He performed two emotionally stirring renditions last night. One was his own song..."So Gone Now", from his album "Something in Between". The second one was "O Holy Night". I must admit I was a bit worried that he might "Blues" it up and I wouldn't like it....didn't have to worry one bit. You will all recognize that a Christmas Carol is hardly a whistle-down-the-hall sort of tune, but in this case, it literally sent chills up our spines as we all collectively rose once again and made him come back for several bows.

This is a MEGA-Talent. I hope you like the blues...go to his website and

Listen here. The sound quality is much better than anywhere else.

I think the phenomena is that when Stuart profiles these young talents, you almost feel as if you personally have made a discovery. The entire audience was buzzing that this was the best Christmas Vinyl Café tour yet!

Photo: iTunes Copyright © CBC 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Day at the salon with Grandmaman

Sometimes, when you are only three years old and you go to the hair salon with your Grandmaman, you feel like you want to spin the chairs while the grownups are doing the hair washing.

When the grownups are finished the hair washing and tell you to "stop spinning the chair!", you have no choice but to just look adorable.

All these shenanigans might have been the result of wearing these shoes. I mean, shoes like these shoes make you want to do very glamorous things in a hair salon.

If you happen to have a very beautiful scarf and your Grandmaman doesn't mind, you can do any number of wonderfully creative things.

You can dance, and twirl, and pose........

You can ask if the salon clients would like to see more.......

You can even delight everyone with your stunning sweet smile.

But twirling girls get a little tired after so much fun. Sometimes they just need to lie down with their scarves and have a little rest and a tiny snack...even if it is amongst the hairs...who cares....it's a salon and you're with your Grandmaman!

In the end there is always a safe place on your stunning Grandmaman's lap.

Did I mention that you can only do this if your name is Zoé.


I've been contemplating the sad news of a friend's loss. How quickly things can change. At times like these, it's difficult to know exactly what to say, other than that your group of friends, students, admirers and colleagues are thinking of you and wishing you strength in this very difficult time.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How Romantic

This is so romantic to think that you could actually skate in this outfit! Love the colours. Perhaps the weather will remind us of this today :)

Jules Chéret (1836-1932) Ice Palace, Champs-Elysées, Paris 1893

Friday, December 4, 2009

One Month to go

This is the little tag on Jane and Michael's blog that has been counting down the weeks and days until our first granddaughter will be born. Today it says,
"One month until the end of life as we know it".

It will also be one month until the end of life as The Professor and I know it. Since Jane and Michael live in Belgium, we haven't seen our "first-born" in over a year. Hard to imagine our first child becoming a mother. When Jane was a baby she loved this song. Many a night the Professor cradled her in his arms and danced around the apartment in Switzerland....they danced together to the same song at her wedding. I suspect we'll be doing a bit of dancing with sweet "Zoë" in a little more than a month. Can't wait to meet her and hold her in our arms, just as we did her sweet Mama.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

So Elegant

Are you getting the drift yet? I have been unable to access my Google account for a couple of days so onward with this spectacular luncheon. Lest you be worried that this is turning into a culinary blog.....be assured that this is the last post.
It's so nice that Jilly retired and is now feeling like cooking. I love friends like that!

What is more festive than the jewel colours of pomegranate?

"The Welcome"

The Recipe

½ oz pomegranate juice
½ oz Cointreau
Sparkling Wine

Pour pomegranate juice and Cointreau into a Champagne flute, then top with chilled sparkling wine.

Could this be any easier????

This one is so pretty because it has the festive red, green and whites of Christmas.

Dilled Cucumber and Belgian Endive Salad

¼ Cup packed fresh dill sprigs
¼ Cup canola or light olive oil
2 Tbsp rice or white wine vinegar
½ tsp granulated sugar
½ tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 heads Belgian Endive
Half of an English cucumber
4 radishes, thinly sliced
Butter lettuce leaves

1. Combine dill, oil, vinegar, sugar and mustard in a blender and purée until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Trim off bottom of endives and separate 12 outer leaves. Wrap separated leaves in a damp paper towel and refrigerate until serving. Cut remaining heads of endive in half lengthwise and cut out cores. Cut crosswise into slices and add to dressing in bowl. Cut cucumber in half lengthwise and cut crosswise into thin slices. Add to the bowl with radishes and toss to coat. The salad can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 hour.

3. To serve, place leaves of butter lettuce and reserved whole endive leaves on plates. Top with cucumber mixture, drizzling with any dressing left in the bowl.

Serves 4

The Main Course

Lobster Tarragon Crepes

A little too much to type..you can print it out if desired. Enjoy!!

Credit: What would we do without the LCBO???

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Perfect Ending

In honour of the full moon tonight...a bit of foolishness. Eat Dessert First!! Not only was this the perfect dessert to finish up Jilly's stellar luncheon last week, but I also photoshopped my photo following:

Marie Otero's Photoshop tutorial, thanks to Nancy.

Champagne and Blueberry Fool

1 Cup (250mL) frozen wild blueberries
¼ Cup (50 mL) Champagne or sparkling wine (may use an off-dry or sweet dessert wine )
1 Cup (250mL) Cold whipping cream
3 Tbsp (45mL) icing sugar
Frozen wild blueberries
Coarse Sugar

1. Combine blueberries and Champagne in a bowl. Cover and let stand for about 1 hour or until thawed, or refrigerate up to 1 day. Mash slightly with a fork.

2. In a straight-sided, chilled bowl, whip cream with icing sugar just until soft peaks form. Fold about one-quarter of whipped cream into blueberry mixture until blended. Gently fold in remaining shipped cream, leaving streaks. Spoon into Champagne flutes or other serving glasses. Cover loosely and chill for 30 minutes or for up to 4 hours.

3. To serve, garnish with a few frozen blueberries and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Serves 4

Credit: LCBO Food & Drink Holiday 2007

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Good Reason to Fall off A Wagon

Last week we had the most delicious luncheon at a friend's house. This is part of the reason why the ten pound challenge is still sitting at -3, but in all reality it should be +3 so I'm not going to complain. Starting over with a good attitude and nothing much in the way this week, onward and hopefully downward on the scale.

This recipe should come with a warning. Highly edible, you may eat the entire thing, I'm sure I ate at least half of the one which was served that day. This picture is nothing like the finished product, just simply a mouth watering example of a perfectly ripe Camembert. I don't own the edition of the LCBO Food and Drink magazine that this particular recipe came from, I only seem to collect the holiday ones, which by the way, are out now.

From the LCBO Food and Drink Autumn 2009

Camembert Tarte Tatin

Glossy cider-glazed apples top thyme-spiked cheese in this easy twist on tarte tatin where rich Camembert takes the place of pastry. Serve with crackers or crusty bread as an hors d'oeuvre of cheese course.

1 Wheel Camembert, 8 oz (250 g)
Tiny thyme sprigs
½ cup (125 mL) hard cider
2 Tbsp (25mL) packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp (45mL) unsalted butter
1 Golden Delicious or McIntosh apple, peeled, cored and sliced
1 Tbsp (15mL) cider vinegar
1 tsp (5mL) minced thyme leaves
¼ tsp (1mL) freshly ground pepper
Thyme sprigs for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 425ºF (220ºC).

2. Put Camembert in a shallow ovenproof dish. With a slim skewer, make holes all over top of Camembert; insert thyme sprigs into holes, using a skewer to poke them down into centre of cheese. Drizzle 1 Tbsp (15mL) cider over Camembert; set aside.

3. In a small saucepan, combine remaining cider and the sugar; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil for 5 to 7 minutes or until cider has reduced to about 2 Tbsp (25mL) and is syrupy. Set aside and keep warm.

4. Clarify butter by melting it it in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Skim off any foam; pour clear butter into a small nonstick skillet, leaving cloudy residue behind. In a medium bowl, toss apple slices with vinegar, thyme and pepper.

5. Heat clarified butter over medium heat. Add apple slices to skillet more or less in a single layer; cook for 6 to 8 minutes, turning gently, until apple slices are golden brown and tender but not broken up.

6. While apples are cooking, put Camembert in oven; bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until warm and you can hear cider in holes just start to sizzle.

7. Remove Camembert from the oven. Preheat broiler to high. Carefully arrange apple slices decoratively on top of Camembert to cover the top completely. Brush apples with reduced cider. Broil Camembert 4 inches (10cm) from element for 1 to 2 minutes or until apples are glazed and bubbly. Watch carefully to ensure apples don't burn.

8. Garnish Camembert with thyme sprigs; serve cut into wedges.

Serves 4 to 6

The only disclaimer to this recipe, would be that it says serves 4 to 6. I guess that's true if you have 4 or 6 people who have enough self-discipline to resist. The only reason I was able not to inhale the remainder of the dish, was the promise of what was to come....lobster crepes, and endive salad. In fact, tomorrow, I'll post the drink recipe that, after two rather energetic aerobic classes that morning, had me practically flat on my face, but happily tucking-in to the appetizer. Thanks to Jilly for hosting a most delicious luncheon and Marsh for the great appetizer recipe. Looking forward to the next one! :)

Photo Credit: http://www.demijohn.co.uk/content/recipes/images/3.jpg

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday at the Ballet

Off to see Sleeping Beauty this afternoon. The Professor is at a conference so I'm going solo. I can't wait to see this lavish traditional performance. The following video is not the National Ballet of Canada, but it shows "The Rose Adagio" which is one of the most technically difficult of the dances. We will have Sonja Rodriguez (Kurt Browning's wife) dancing the role today. I'll be holding my breath as she holds her balance. I'm in awe of anyone who can balance.

The National Ballet Trailer

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"The Fruit of the gods"

If I asked you what a persimmon is, you'd probably know that it was a fruit.  We've all heard about persimmons at some point in time.  If I asked you, what colour is a persimmon...would you know?  Could you draw a picture of a persimmon?   What does it taste like?   For some odd reason,  I'm not sure that I've ever actually eaten a persimmon.  In my mind, the word persimmon conjures up pursed lips and bitterness.  A recent trip to Longo's and a taste test dispelled all these notions.  Persimmons are sweet.  Quite delicious.  I was told that you wash them, cut off the top, slice and eat.   Always curious, I happened to do a bit of research on the persimmon.  How in the world did I ever arrive at them being bitter?   They seem so adorable, all squat and lovely "pumpkinish" looking.   Turns out, this a quite an interesting little fruit.   My research found that they are full of  beta-carotene, Vitamin C, and potassium. 
Wikipedia says:

A persimmon, known to the ancient Greeks as "the fruit of the gods"[1] is the edible fruit of a number of species of trees of the genus Diospyros in the ebony wood family (Ebenaceae). The word persimmon is derived from putchamin, pasiminan, or pessamin, from Powhatan, an Algonquian language (related to Blackfoot, Cree and Mohican) of the eastern United States, meaning "a dry fruit".[2] Persimmons are generally light yellow-orange to dark red-orange in color, and depending on the species, vary in size from 1.5-9 cm (0.5-4 in) diameter, and may be spherical, acorn-, or pumpkin-shaped.[3] The calyx often remains attached to the fruit after harvesting, but becomes easier to remove as it ripens. They are high in glucose, with a balanced protein profile, and possess various medicinal and chemical uses. While the persimmon fruit is not considered a "common berry" it is in fact a "true berry" by definition.

Then you read:

Medical precaution

Unripened persimmons contain the soluble tannin shibuol, which, upon contact with a weak acid, polymerizes in the stomach and forms a gluey coagulum that can affix with other stomach matter.[10] The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy notes that consumption of persimmons has been known to cause bezoars that require surgery in over 90% of cases. More than 85% phytobezoars are caused by ingestion of unripened persimmons.[11] Persimmon bezoars often occur in epidemics in regions where the fruit is grown.[12][13]

[14] Horses may develop a taste for the fruit growing on a tree in their pasture and overindulge also, making them quite ill. It is often advised that persimmons should not be eaten with crab meat,[15][16] nor should they be eaten on an empty stomach.[17]

I ate my persimmon.  It was tasty, but I think I'll leave the second one for the Professor.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Starting to take shape

This week, at last, my project is starting to take shape. Oddly enough, this is the shape I want!

Evelyn was kind enough to stay after class and get the factory cotton on my lump of batting.

One of the women who also stayed said it reminded her of something out of Alice in Wonderland. Correct answer!

You'll notice that Irenka is doing all the hands-on with forming the darts. She is also going to sew the shape for me. Thanks Irenka. I think the entire class will be thankful and pleased with this progress.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chapter Six. Leslie's Footstool?

The look on Evelyn's face here is priceless. This is pretty much how we are all feeling about this project at the moment. Where to start? What IS this???

Needless to say, after having to start all over with one of Tony the woodcutter's productions, we have absolutely NO idea how we are going to make my magical footstool. Each week, we come up with something different in an attempt to achieve the "pouffiness" required. This project intrigues Evelyn, who, despite never having done anything like this before, is more than willing to attempt it.

The wooden footstool base has been covered in rings of felt, in order to match the level of the edge roll. Evelyn demonstrates sewing with the round upholstery needle. Linen loops will be sewn, into which horsehair will be tucked and secured. This will add stability, firmness and a nice scrunch to "Miss Muffet's Tuffet".

The usual meeting of the minds. These people have NO idea what this is, or what it will be, but they are only too happy to tell me what I might do next!

Alas, in the end, there is no problem than cannot benefit from a piece of cake! Happy Day Irenka...I'm sure we'll be doing this until we reach that 100 Polish Years that Christina wished for you! :)