Friday, December 30, 2011

A Day in A Very Little bit of SNOW!

The first stay-on-the-ground snow of the season, had us out late one evening making a very small snowman with Zoë. The next day, he was a little bit worse for wear, but still there. After a ride to the skating rink in the sleigh, all bundled up like "Ralphies" brother, (thank you Schiller family for the borrowed snowsuits!)....

Barely able to see, due to scarves around necks and hats pulled well over ears and foreheads, (a good Canadian tradition), we come across Mr. Snowman on the front lawn.

We really want the snowman to get into the sleight too, but Papi says he can't walk yet.

Yes, he has sticks for arms. He's perfect, but not alive yet.

Now that we have our mitten off in order to touch the sticks....

This is what always happens when your mittens get away from you! Oh bother, let's just go inside. It's VERY sunny but oh so cold this day at Mamère and Papi's house! This is NOT California!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Had any Earworms lately?

Before you have to go an look up the legitimacy of the word, this is how Wikipedia defines it:

"A haunting melody or earworm is a piece of music that sticks in one's mind so that one seems to hear it, even when it is not being played. Other phrases used to describe this include musical imagery repetition and involuntary musical imagery. The phenomenon is common in normal life and so may be distinguished from brain damage which results in palinacousis."

My own "case of the worm" started with "Caballero" of our ballroom line dance melodies. I tried everything to vanquish it. I'd get up in the middle of the night and dance in the dark living room to try and squelch it. I'd sing it out loud, or use my inside voice...nothing worked for days. When I mentioned "Earworm" in class, no one had heard of this word for the syndrome before.

Now there is every risk of it becoming Frosty the Snowman....Thumpity Thump Thump...

Photo Credit: The Web

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Dana started it. Talking about eggnog.

Now I have to admit, we are so totally into it. I'm not sure if it's the soporific effect of the "additions" or the seasonal mellowness of the drink, it's just hard to resist.

Do NOT get low fat or reduced whatever. I know, I know, there are probably waaay too many calories, but it's just so

P.S. Don't run out of eggnog on a Sunday evening :)

Photo: The web

Monday, December 19, 2011

The best Advent Calendar without chocolate

It's still not too late to enjoy the daily fun with the Jacquie Lawson London Advent Calendar. Go to Jacquie to order one.

I just love the new activity every day and leave the screen up to hear Big Ben Chiming every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. I tried to send this to my gym buddies, as I totally forgot the annual card exchange this year. Only half were able to download the gift, but there are ways to overcome the pitfalls of the program. I've decorated the tree several times, my own version of snowflakes fall and I'm amazed each day to see either a boat floating by or a double decker bus in the background....I am so wishing the people walking on the sidewalk would go into the restaurant :) Try it! You'll love it.

It's a real delight and if you are not into the London view, then there is a village view as well. Some have both...just to keep the merriment at an all-time high.

P.S. This is also in the "decorating" category! Done.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jane does it again

I actually have this book, circa 1980 something.

Jane is a decade older than I. I used to like to think that someday I could look like her, including lengthening my legs. We actually wore those outfits!

I saw an interview of Jane with Piers Morgan the other evening, and she still looks pretty great. My legs still have not lengthened.

Now Jane has come out with a new exercise video aimed at "Seniors". I'm always happy to participate in Seniors discounts, so I guess I'll go for this one too. I have just had an ALL CLEAR report today from the Dr. I've had pneumonia for 4 months and now must reinvent myself...slooooowly back into the workout regime. Just in the nick of time, Jane does it again.

When I reviewed the video, it looks a lot like Devon's 10 a.m. fitness class that I used to attend. I love the dance aspect of exercise, so I hope my spot will still be available in the New Year. Something to really look forward to...back to normal!

The meditation part at the end of the video is so totally "Jane"...I'll have to find one of those little pyramids, AND, it would seem she never did succeed in blowing out that candle :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's true

It's true what they say..."never leave candles unattended". Especially if they are your advent candle and you get distracted.

Now we shall have to wait until Saturday to light our candle again!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How Cold is it?

No snow yet, but the oak leaves are all down now, heralding the beginning of the real winter. The birdbath is frozen over, making it the perfect little skating rink for Woodstock of Snoopy fame.

Listening to Vince Guaraldi "A Charlie Brown Christmas" one of my favourite Christmas albums.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tis the Season

December 12. Okay, now it's time to get serious about everyone arriving.

I was amused to see that even the New York Times had an article entitled "Scrub The Halls" Cleaning before Christmas with everyone arriving home.

In a previous post, I was swagging the halls, The Professor thought I should be "decking" them...I'll tell you who will be decked AND scrubbing! :)

P.S. The New York Times is my home page, so I hope this link works. I've been having trouble with tricky links this past while.

Photo Credit: NYTimes

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Feliz Navidad

While digging out the Christmas decorations last night, I decided to have the Michael Bublé special playing in the background. This is such a fabulous rendition of Feliz Navidad.

I will be looking for more of Thalia's work too! I adore this combination of voices. Enjoy. I'm off to swag a few more halls!

This is available on iTunes.

Friday, December 9, 2011


I have always loved the old fashioned vanity.

This one finally emerged from the garage, has been refinished, and is now ready to adorn. I must go and find a mirrored tray to put the perfume bottles in. Strange, I rarely wear perfume these days, but I do love the look of the bottles.



Little glass drawer pulls add a bit of glamour

The specially cut glass top is the finishing touch

The little stool needs to be reupholstered, so I'm on the hunt for the appropriate fabric. This may also necessitate a new bedroom linen set! Turquoise goes with everything! :)

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us.”

Jane Austen quotes (British Novelist and Writer, 1775-1817)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Caballero A Spanish Gentleman

Our ballroom line dance class had it's Christmas Dinner Dance last Friday evening at the Faculty Club. This time our darling instructor Sarina and her sweet husband Tony joined us for the event. Joined by other dancing friends, we had so much more confidence to have our leader with us that we all thought we did quite well. This is our latest (slightly more difficult) choreography "Caballero". I love the music, but have been unable to shake it from my mind ever since. It's like it was a traumatic experience after which we all bonded.

This YouTube is the one I prefer to use for practice purposes. If you proceed through the first part of the video, at the end, you can follow the lesson from Juliet Lam....

There will be another dance in the spring, and I'm sure this melody will still be coursing through my psyche. If you start now, you'll all have it by then :) We have yet to find this "Caballero" to join us:)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What is a Skiff of Snow?

When you wake up in the morning and look out at the rooftops...this is a "skiff" of snow.

Just a "skiff" on the chair

.....and in the garden

And finally what every Canadian dreads, is waking up to find a "skiff" on their car!

This is a term that was used widely where I grew up in the Ottawa valley. Someone from Kansas wondered what a skiff was. Helen and I are wondering if this was regional lingo. Have you ever heard of "A Skiff of Snow"?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Everything old is new again

Yesterday I was looking for a few supposedly newly released Somerset magazines, which have not hit my newsstand yet. The overwhelming theme in all the other books were either vintage fabric or mixed media fashioned holiday ornaments. I remembered that I had this Vogue pattern from years ago that I figured I could find and resurrect.

After a bit of Christmas clear-up and decorating, it will be nice to get back to a small bit of embroidery. I've been inspired by Pam Garrison's work of late. She will be in LA at the French General in January.

I'll be there in February....wonder who will be around then?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lights on the Lynn River

An hour and a half from Toronto, Simcoe, ON. The "Christmas Lights on the River" celebration last weekend. We have not been to Simcoe since our daughter was in a cousin's wedding some thirty years ago. The drive was a reminder of where some of the best farmland in Ontario lies. We got into town with just enough light to get a few shots of the park that would later be completely illuminated.

By the time we left town, it was all lit up and the entire community was buzzing with anticipation. No snow yet, but it will be lovely. Zoë must see this some day.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Sunday afternoon at the Ballet

I was in total heaven yesterday afternoon at the ballet. This production of Romeo and Juliet was utterly spectacular. I was a bit worried when I heard that the director of the ballet had given two of the younger dancers in the company the leading roles. We were so entranced, they did not disappoint. After all, Juliet was only 14 at the time of the story and these "youngsters" made it all the more believable. It is extremely difficult, at the best of performances to get Toronto audiences to their feet for ovations. Everyone was on their feet after this one..the longest I've ever seen!

This happens to be some of my favourite ballet music.
"Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64: No. 13. Dance of the knights"

Photo Credit: National Ballet of Canada

Friday, November 25, 2011

Dinner was a hit

Michael made a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner for the little family yesterday. By all accounts it was a hit! They were thankful to be celebrating with all the right ingredients after coming back from three years in Europe with hard to find fixins.

Zoë is like Jane and seems to love "Elsie's Potatoes" from the Best of Bridge cookbook.

5 Lbs. Potatoes or 9 large
8 oz. Low-fat Cream Cheese
1 cup fat-free Sour Cream
2 tsp. onion salt
1 tsp. salt
pinch of pepper
2 Tbsp. butter

Cook and mash potatoes. Add all ingredients, except butter, and combine. Put into large greased casserole. Dot with butter, bake, covered at 350F for 30 minutes. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate or freeze. Thaw before baking. Serves 10-12

The instructions should also read...give potato masher to youngest child!

When my mother started the tradition of these potatoes at home, it was because you could make the recipe, scoop out balls of the mashed potatoes with an ice cream scoop, place them on a cookie sheet in the freezer until solid and then into a large zip lock bag and back into the freezer. This way, you can thaw and use as many as you need. The recipe is meant for a crowd, but can be just for two if you do it her way!

She did not to my knowledge use the low-fat version of anything!:)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving USA

I sometimes celebrate the American Thanksgiving (as opposed to the Canadian Thanksgiving) in the USA, but not this year. I am really going to miss the Black Friday trek to the outlet mall in the middle of the night :)

Technically, I think from very dubious ancestors to present day family, I sort of qualify to celebrate. I most likely should have cleaned the silver and made a turkey.

It started when we lived in Princeton, for six years of our very young and informative lives. The faculty and students we lived and loved among became family and have remained so for the past 43 years. We are still in touch with all of them despite having been dispersed to places like Norway, Switzerland, California, and Washington DC.

The Professor has been publishing his text book for so long now that the American publishers are like family...he spent one stint in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as writer in residence.

My niece married an American and all her children are American. Our daughter married and American, our son married an American and our granddaughter is an American! I think this qualifies us on some level to be unequivocally attached to the USA, while remaining staunchly Canadian.

There is nothing more quintessentially American than Norman Rockwell. Happy Thanksgiving to all our American friends, in-laws, outlaws, and relatives. We are ever so thankful for all of you!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Speaking of Calendars

The 2012 Milk Calendar was in the Toronto Star today! I love the photo on the cover. I too have saved just about every Milk Calendar for years. It always sends me into a frenzy of wanting to cook again.

One of my all-time favourite recipes is the Mushroom and Leek soup. In the day, I was pasting the recipes in photo album binders with plastic page covers...(the original Martha that I am), and I still have this recipe fall out of my now, rather unorganized folder of odds and sods clipped from newspapers and magazines.

I love the tureen this is served in.

This was the picture that had no recipe for it...the one that attracted me the most of course, so in case you don't get the calendar, here's the link for the recipe.

Chocolate Raspberry Celebration Cake

If you are not in the distribution area to get this calendar, you can access the recipes at If for no other reason, how can you resist this line-up of meals....Classic Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Herb and Sweet Onion Scalloped Potatoes, Nice and Easy One-Pot Macaroni & Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomato Cauliflower Cheese, Chicken and Vegetable Casserole with Basil, Garlic Shrimp and Spinach Linguine.....
Hungry yet???

Photos: My Milk Calendar Canada

Friday, November 18, 2011

Calling America

I'm not sure why the movie Larry Crowne got so dissed. It was the perfect Friday night flick when the Prof. is away.

Now this is a flash from the past ELO...Electric Light Orchestra. This is my theme song. I'm constantly calling America to see and talk to my girls!

We really are living in a modern world. Last month I was calling overseas with a 6 hour deficit, now I'm calling LA with a 3 hour lag. At least I can see my muggins' with Skype...the new era of Grandparenting. It would still be nicer to hug them all in real time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wall Calendars

I have to have a large box wall calendar by the kitchen phone. Lately, the selection of calendars has been anything from weird kittens to lakes of the world, but NOT the sort I want. I'm not sure why I have had so much trouble finding Pomegranate Press, they tend to have the most beautiful. I had to order the 2012 version from Amazon.

Now I'm happy to have my Reading Woman on the wall. It's amazing how 2012 is filling up already. Places to go and people to see!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Twirly Scarf Saga

It all started with a quick trip to Chautauqua this summer. I always see what the latest knitting trends are in the shops there. Sadly, upstate New York and the lake area showed signs of real economic turn-down this year. Many of my little haunts were either closed or totally uprooted. One remaining store had an easy "flippy" scarf that is perfect for knitting while listening to lectures. Of course, the wool that the sample was knit from was no longer available so I decided that this colourful yarn with a bit of silk in it would be fine. The colours are what attracted me more than the piece. I'm not sure if or when I will ever actually wear this, but the combination of hues is inspiring.

The other attraction is that it was knit on darling little Am6/4mm (7 inch long) bamboo needles. I'd never done that before either!

A project gone horribly wrong became the second swirly scarf, just to see how this variegated yarn would turn out. It's heavier guage, so I just used the needle size called for in the baby sweater pattern.

The easy little swirly scarf is a good pattern to use up some of your bits and bobs of wool, or as I did, just another use when the intended went wrong.

Here is the pattern:

Cast on 22 Stitches
K4 Turn
K6 Turn
K8 Turn
Knit all 22 Stitches

Keep repeating until all your yarn is used up. It will twist and turn on it's own.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just a bit too woolly

I'm not sure how long I sat and looked at this basket of woolly skeins. They were really too woolly to be comfortable as a sweater, so finally I found a blanket pattern that I thought suited their Gallic tendencies.

Pneumonia has forced me to sit and do nothing for the past few months, this is the result. It's more of a shawl really. There wasn't enough to finish off a proper throw, but it will be just woolly enough to cover the shoulders and stave off the cold of the coming snows.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

1982-2011 I wish it wasn't so

This is sad news indeed. R.E.M. is calling it quits.

Losing my Religion
Everybody Hurts
Man On The Moon

R.E.M. - We All Go Back To Where We Belong (Kirsten Version)

This is the "going out" album. There are so many great songs...this one will be out November 15th. I wonder if my son would like this for his birthday ? :)