Scanned christmas letter
If my spirit animal was not a sloth (sorry if I just insulted all sloths, some of whom in comparison to me no doubt look down right ambitious) I would have published this hundred and two year old treasure in a more timely fashion, on Christmas eve two years ago, when it was exactly one hundred years old.

Maybe I did, but I’m too lazy to check that out.

It is a letter written to my grandmother, by her grandparents.  Think about that for a minute.  My grandmother would have been twenty five years old in 1912, making her grandparents freaking ancient.  I’m also too lazy to look up their exact ages but it doesn’t matter anyway.  They were grandparents giving a Christmas gift to their grandchildren.  Time goes by and some things hardly change.

The gladsome time of Xmas has again come round and we the undersigned were young once but now are old.  We recollect the wants of  young folks and that often they must go unserved, therefore we thought it our duty to try to do a little for our young people, so concluded to enclose a trifle to each.  Providence having favoured more than normal we thought it but right to divide up a little of that with those whom Providence had used as instruments for our welfare.

Now enclose a trifle for you as a token of our love and esteem trusting that you will benefit in the same spirit as that in which it is given.

We wish you all the compliments of the season and many happy returns and may the Good Lord ever be with you to bless and comfort you. 

The transcription may not be perfect, but the sentiments are certainly clear.  Let me put that into “2014-speak”.

It’s Christmas!  Time for us old geezers (who surprisingly enough still remember what it was like to be young like you) to give you some Christmas cheer in the form of cash.  We’re doing okay, with some extra to share.  It may not be much, but it makes us happy to be able to help you out whenever we can.  Do some little thing for yourself that brings you joy.  Merry Christmas.  We love you and wish you nothing but the best, today and forever.

It’s been a long week off from all things bloggish, but this morning I made a pre-new years resolution to blog every day from now until the end of the year, thinking that was three blog posts, and then realizing it is in fact four.  Still, I think I can handle it.  Even though I’m ridiculously old and lazy as hell.  At least I don’t have to dip a fountain pen in an inkwell and compose something readable without spell check.  Horrors.

All the best of the season to you and yours.

Christmas Baking for the Christmas Baking Impaired

Butter Tarts in Progress! I preheated the oven to 400. Separated the frozen tart shells (but left them in their little foil containers) and jam-packed as many as humanly possible on to a cookie sheet. Yes, I buy the frozen ones because it cuts the tart making stress in half.  I learned my lesson the hard way, because no matter what, tart shells and filling never EVER come out even.  Before I perfected my method,  if there was too much pastry I would mix up more filling, and if the pastry ran out I would have to make more of that to use up the filling, and this would go on and on until I got fed up and poured myself several drinks and said to hell with it.  So yeah.  Frozen pastry is the way to go.

I put raisins and chopped pecans in the shells first.  There’s nothing more annoying than picking a tart that has only three raisins in it.  Or maybe I’m the only one who would get annoyed by that.  Anyway,  on to the filling.


2 eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup corn syrup

2 T melted butter

2 tsp vanilla

1 T vinegar

a pinch of salt

I’m sure there’s some fancy order in which you’re supposed to do this, but I throw everything into a gigantic measuring cup with a pouring spout and combine it with a hand mixer.  (I save my arms and wrist muscles for the fudge mixing which comes later.)

The reason there’s a pouring thing on my ‘mixing bowl’ is because I have also learned from trial and error that using a spoon is messy and inaccurate.  And often involves a lot of finger licking.  And if you fill these things too full (try for 3/4) they bubble over and stuff burns on to the cookie sheet and you have to toss it and buy a new one.  Just kidding.  But it is a pain to scrub the stupid thing clean.  They are supposed to take between 12 and 15 minutes to bake, so I set the timer for lucky 13.

imageSee that original pan on the far left?  Notice how many more butter tarts I had to make to use up all the filling?  See what I mean?? A good thing about taking pictures of this process is that I clean as I go.  Sort of.  You of course cannot see what is behind me on the kitchen table and in the kitchen sink at this point.

imageThe fudge recipe I make is super simple and easy.  There actually should be no other kind of recipe allowed anywhere.  Especially at Christmas.  I should be giving you quantities in metric, but I learned to cook with cups and spoons, so this is just easier.  I am all about easy.

1 & 2/3 cups white sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk

2 T butter

1/2 tsp salt

Bring these ingredients to a rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil for five minutes.  Do not try to make yourself a cup of coffee during this process, or attempt to take a picture during the rapid-boiling constantly stirring part.  No one I know is that coordinated.

This is what it looks like after five minutes.  I doubled the recipe, by the way.  I hate doing things twice.

imageWhile everything is still all bubbly and hot, stir in

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 & 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

(or chopped pecans which never made it into the butter tarts)


Stir until the marshmallows and chocolate chips are melted, or until your arms or your spoon breaks, whichever comes first.  Spread in a parchment paper lined pan.  Choose a really beat up old piece of crap you’ve had in your cupboard for a hundred years because it is so photogenic.  Let cool.  Four hours or longer is good.  Cut into squares (some of which will crumble because you were impatient and did not wait for four hours) and store in an air tight container in the fridge.

Pray that the fudge and the tarts won’t all be gone before you leave to visit your grandchildren.

Sharing My World 12


Share Your World – 2014 Week 49

What is your preferred hot drink: coffee, tea, water, hot chocolate, or other?

Coffee addict here.  Start, spend and end my day with some form of it or another.  I love the idea of a cup of tea, or afternoon tea, or a tea party, and I’ve tried to like tea itself,  but I just can’t do it.   Plain hot water would be preferable to any kind of tea, no matter what blend or flavour you try to tempt me with or whatever wonderful things you add to it.  Hot chocolate is okay, but generally too sweet.  I went through a stage at work once drinking nothing but mochas (half coffee and half hot chocolate) but I’m a coffee purist at heart.  Whatever that is.  Probably made it up.

What was your favorite toy as a child . . . and now?

One Christmas I asked for a black baby.  This was in the early 1950’s when I was three or four.  I don’t know where the idea came from, but there was nothing I wanted more and Santa must have known that because he delivered.  Yay!  She was the most beautiful doll I’d ever seen, with her black hair and chocolate face and little red and white checkered dress.  I must have loved her to pieces, because I don’t know what became of her.  All my Christmases have been pretty much down hill since that one.

Now my favourite toy is my I-Pad.  I use it so much that sometimes I have to recharge it during the day if I want to watch NetFlix on it later.  The corners of the cover are starting to fray and the rubbery stuff is peeling off at the edges and the screen is filthy most of the time.  It’s like having a little mini computer permanently attached to my right arm.  It is well-worn and much-loved.  But not quite to pieces yet.

Candy factories of the entire world have become one and will now be making only one kind of candy. Which kind, if you were calling the shots?

Oh gawd, I don’t care.  Something with vegetables in it that tastes disgusting so I won’t be tempted to eat it.  But do you know how sad this world would be without Mars Bars?  Pretty damned sad.

Would you want $100,000 right now or $120,000 in a year (tax Free)?

I’ll take it now, please.  Who knows how many buses I could get run over by in the next 365 days?

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week was a rather lazy one for me, not unlike all the other weeks of my entire life.  However, I am getting things ready and organized for Christmas this week.  We will be travelling north and spending time with kids and grandkids and grand dogs.  I’m grateful for the weather staying less than horrible.  I can’t say it’s good, because it IS winter after all.  It’s less than a week to go to the shortest day of the year.  And before we know it, 2014 will be over and gone.  Just like the remaining hours of this day.  Those gifts are not going to wrap themselves.  Guess what I’m doing next.  If I had that hundred grand I bet I’d seriously consider paying somebody to do it for me.


Santa on a Saturday

This is my favourite Santa. I painted him many years ago and gave him to my mom.  She hung him up for a lot of Christmases. When she died, somehow I got him back with little effort on my part.  He was a gift and I didn’t expect he’d ever come back to me.  But I’m glad he did.

I love the softness about him, and the impossible floaty star-shaped balloons.  And the fact that he might not even be wearing pants or boots under that too-long dragging coat, for all we know.

Most of all I love the warm happy feeling I get when I see him and remember my mother.  Maybe he made her think of me too.

It’s just a funny little old Santa who surprised me by turning in to my best Christmas treasure.

Sharing My World 11


My world sharing got put on hold for a while and I’m not sure what I missed, but no one has been beating down my door to find out, so I’m just going to carry on.

Share Your World 2014 Week 48.

What is your favorite toppings on pizza?

In my ongoing quest to cut things out of my diet, I have given up pizza crust.  The gluten-free pizza crusts are okay, but I have also been experimenting with burned cheese crusts.  So far I have been unsuccessful at actually burning them!  I know, I can’t believe it either.  I’ve also experimented with zucchini as a base, baked with pizza toppings.  Yes, my life is just one bizarre experiment after another.

I like a pizza that’s loaded with lots of stuff – pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, onions, green peppers, fresh tomatoes, ham, bacon.  Double cheese.  I haven’t cut dairy out of my diet because if I find out I’m allergic to cheese I’ll cry.

I want to learn more about …

I used to think I’d be good at watercolor painting, but that was a delusion.  Everything I try is a disaster.  Best to stick with acrylics and develop my basic skills with that medium I guess.  Improving my drawing should also improve my painting.  This is a strange time in life to be finding myself in art, but now I  have the time to do it and I’m learning new things every day.

What are three places you’ve enjoyed visiting?

If it wasn’t for my sister I would probably never have gone anywhere interesting ever,  except to her house.  We went to Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) together, then with our spouses to Canada’s east coast (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland), and this May to Greece (Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Crete) with our sister-in-law, nephew and two nieces.  All wonderful trips, and I’m happy to have been to every one of those places.  However, when it comes to planning a trip on my own, or having a burning desire to go somewhere new, it’s not likely to happen.  I missed the travel gene, or bug, or whatever it is that a wandering gypsy has that I don’t.

Do you prefer eating the frosting of the cake or the cupcake first?

I would eat both of them together last, although I would prefer to be too full of other nutritious things to want to, and pass them up altogether.  Sweet things don’t tempt me, but anything salty is another story.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for a quiet week of nothing much and looking forward to another one like it.  It’s hard to keep up with me, hey?   I don’t know how I ever learned anything interesting before we had Pinterest and YouTube, and I am grateful for a seemingly unending wealth of information about things I had no idea I needed to know in the first place.  There is Christmas shopping coming up soon (I am procrastinating because there’s nothing that has to be mailed) and Christmas cards to write.  And fudge to make because apparently W can’t have a proper Christmas without it.



Mega Lopho What?


Holy cow, I have been so incredibly busy with so much to do I just can’t tell you because I don’t even know where to start….

(So did that sound convincing?)

Maybe you’d prefer the truth.  I have done pretty much nothing for the last couple of days.

Except, my new printer arrived and is as hooked up as a smart wireless printer needs to be.  I have no idea how I survived for so many years with my monstrous old one which in comparison was not very smart at all. But it was a good scanner and it printed excellent photos.  I liked it just fine until the day it decided it could no longer recognize a new ink cartridge and refused to carry on no matter how hard I kicked it.  I’m kidding, I don’t kick inanimate objects.

On Saturday our brand new much-anticipated great-niece arrived! I saw her picture on Facebook before I got the message on my phone! She is in Ontario so I don’t know when we will get to meet her in person.  Why this wonderful news made it impossible for me to accomplish anything is a complete mystery, but I’m using her birth as an excuse anyway.

Then today my daughter cleaned my house and W took granddaughter K shopping for a new winter coat.  One of these years she will stop letting her arms and legs grow ever longer.  And yes, I know I could probably get off my ass and clean my own house now that I’m no longer working,  but I pay her well so I think she’s happy to have me as one of her clients,  plus we sometimes feed her.  I absolutely love how everything looks when she’s done.  And I like to talk to her constantly while she’s here (talk about a captive audience) so once again – no drawings or painting or writing.  I did cook supper though.   I’m not completely useless.

All of the above, including the picture which illustrates some of W’s Christmas decorating skills, has very little to do with the incredible word I discovered and would like to share with you.


Having a loud voice; vociferous; clamorous.

Of grand or imposing sound.

The word ‘megalophonous’ comes from Greek roots meaning ‘big’ and ‘sound’.

The reason I like this word so much is because it so perfectly describes the one and only W.  He isn’t always loud, but when he is,  it’s definitely mega.  He uses his megalophonous talents when greeting people in public places, talking to a group of people, or to just one person in a room full of people so that all other conversations are effectively drowned out, AND when he is talking on the phone.  This is the one that drives me crazy.  He has a friend he talks to who also has a super loud telephone voice.  When the two of them get on the phone I can hear their entire conversation from the other end of the house.

He will tell you that he does this because he is used to talking to his hearing impaired dad, but his dad wasn’t always deaf, whereas W has always been loud.  Perhaps he is partly to blame for his dad’s hearing loss.

My head hurts and my ears pound and ring when people are too loud.  I don’t like music turned up or concerts or crowds of people making a big racket.  Sometimes I think my own hearing loss is a form of self-defence.

So yeah.  That’s all I wanted to say about that.  Because if I say any more and W reads it I’ll be in for a loud lecture on all his virtues.  The entire time I’ve been writing this, W has been sitting across the room as quiet as a mouse.

Okay I take that back because he just made a long and loud speech about the pros and cons of dishwasher liquid versus powder detergents and how he prefers laundry detergent in liquid form.  I agree with everything he said, so there was no reason to shout.

Gawd, we will end up as two little old half deaf shouting people having random conversations about nothing.  Unless that’s happened already.  If so, I really don’t want to hear about it.

Art du Jour 21

Don’t be fooled by the glasses – I am not missing my optician days.  Although I do sometimes dream about work.  Not exactly nightmares, but close enough.

I am very impatiently waiting for my new printer to be delivered from gawd only knows where.  (I know the company, but not its location.)  Ordered it on-line a couple of days ago.  Received a prompt email letting me know the order had been received and another one telling me the order had been shipped.  By ground.  So maybe dog sled. I don’t know.  Shipping is free, so I guess I won’t start complaining yet.

It’s nice to have a printed colour picture in front of me of whatever I’m drawing instead of trying to use my I-Pad screen which keeps going off.  My life is just so damned hard these days.

Hope everyone is having a happy first Thursday in December!  The fourth one is Christmas!

I know, it was happy until I mentioned that.  Sorry.  Pour yourself a nice glass of wine, you’ll feel better soon.