Tuesday, December 08, 2009

December 6th

What a wonderful day we had on Sunday.

The sixth of December is always special because a) it's Daniel's birthday and b) it's St Nicholas
Day, and the official start of our holiday season.

There was gingerbread house building.

It felt especially festive this year because of the cold temperatures outside, the blanket of fresh snow, and the wonderful glow of family inside.

Ada showing off her new (Grandma's old) boots.

We do have some video of a spectacular rum cake on fire (well, the candles for Daniel were quite a blaze!) but Josh has them on his camera.
I'm sure you can imagine it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

You Know What is Sweet?

Tiramiso, also known as "nectar of the gods" around here. I interpret the recipe loosely. How can these ingredients go wrong?

I start whipping. This mixer is my best friend in the kitchen...I tell my hubby it's my version of a mid-life crisis red convertible. I like to live on the wild side!

Dip these...not lady fingers, but chocolate wafer cookie things...in really strong black coffee, with a little or a lot of coffee liquor thrown in.

Layer stuff in a pretty bowl.

Don't be stingy!

More whipped cream in there is never a bad decision.

Sift cocoa over the top.

Serve it up and watch them swoon and promise you anything.

This is a v-e-r-y sweet way to create a happy mood! (And regret. But that comes later.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Remembrance Day is such a peaceful day. That is kind of ironic since the point of the day is to honour those who die in conflict.

Maybe I'm wrong there.

The purpose is to honour those who have given their one, precious life so that all may have peace, all the time.

We went to the cenotaph at the Civic Center for the ceremony this morning. It always chokes me up. I see a crowd of people who gather there to pay respect. There is no big payoff for going to a Remembrance Day ceremony. There are no balloons or cake or clowns. It is a somber gathering, to stand with those who share the love of freedom and acknowledge that it came, that it still comes, at a cost.

I didn't take pictures. I can describe it though, if you have a moment to picture it for yourself.

There were about two hundred people who quietly and without fanfare gathered around the modest cenotaph in the center of the turnabout at the civic center. The sky was even a quiet, modest grey, no rain fell, no snow underfoot. It was all understated.

A schoolbus with cadets in uniform, and one of veterans, pulled up. The RCMP, in their brilliant scarlet dress and high boots, assembled and stood visiting in the minutes before the formal gathering. Some of the officers had children, who ran up to their dads, and then quietly went back to stand beside the young mothers who found a place on the curb where the children could watch.

A group of four young air cadets, the honour guard, with rifles on shoulder, did a slow, hesitating march to the cenotaph and stood at the four corners, rifle butts down, heads lowered, still.

The uniformed service men and women, RCMP and firefighters, with the cadets in formation, marched in and formed a half circle behind the cenotaph. They stood at attention.

The Captain at Arms of the local Legion was called to march the colours. He led as the flags were carried proudly forward, and they too stood at attention in front of the monument.

Taps was played, to a silent audience. The flags were slowly lowered till they were resting pointing downward. The crowd joined in singing Oh Canada, and I stood with my boys and Daniel, singing, and looking at our flag against the calm grey sky.

There was a moment of silence, unannounced but expected. We, my family, community and I, stood quietly and thoughtfully remembering and contemplating the real cost of our freedom. How the wars being fought now seem politically motivated and unpopular, but to the soldiers who are in the hot zones, it is a daily reality to fight for peace.

The bagpipes played. Is their a sadder instrument?

The Silver Cross Mother was called to lay the wreath, and as she was helped to the front of the monument, others were invited to line up behind her to place a poppy of their own. The first to move was a little girl of four or five, who went forward all alone, walking bravely up to the front of the crowd. A dozen or so little children followed, some alone, many with grandparents, and quietly added their spot of red to the stone below the cross.

"A little child shall lead them".

Then my son moved away from me and walked alone up to the cross. Daniel followed, and Josh as well. I blinked, and took the poppy off my lapel and humbly followed them.

The ceremony ended, and the crowd applauded as the flags were raised high and marched off for another year.

I always feel touched by the quietness and ceremony of the day. It's always the same. I am proud of the crowd that turned out, my community, who take a little time out of their day off and show up to support those few remaining vetrans who still make it out.

Respect is a beautiful thing to observe, and though Canadians are generally not as enthusiastic about showing their patriotism in loud and public venues, it is still special to stand shoulder to shoulder on a chilly autumn day and sing out loud for no other reason than that we appreciate those who give their lives in the service of their country.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918)

Monday, November 09, 2009

A Shadow of a Thing

I love the way the low angle of the sun at this time of year extends shadows. I love how objects stretch and grow and reach.
Shadows are mysterious things, just think of Peter, and Wendy, trying to stitch his shadow back on.

On our holiday in September we spent a few glorious days with my cousin and her family in Vancouver, and traveling up the Sunshine Coast in their boat. We stayed at Secret Cove and I took this picture on the dock, against a neighbouring boat. It is of Josh and Levi's shadows, and it's all in good fun...no sibling rivalry going down.

Then I found this link tonight and all these amazing photos and I started thinking of how I can take more shadow pics.

Watch for them in the future.

Do you have any shadow pics? Would you leave a link in the comments to share?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Sunday Funnies

Mr Wonderful's taste in reading is usualy...how do I put this...*snore*
But he follows the Grandich Blog and lately he's had a few funnies to share with me.
I am reposting this here, and please note THIS IS ENTIRELY WRITTEN BY PETER GRANDICH. Not Me.

Please enjoy, and hop over to his blog post if you want to leave him a comment. He's hilarious and smart.


1. Vancouver : 1.5 million people and two bridges. You do the math.

2. Your $400,000 Vancouver home is just 5 hours from downtown.

3. You can throw a rock and hit three Starbucks locations.

4. There’s always some sort of deforestation protest going on.

5. Weed.


1. Big rock between you and B.C.

2. Ottawa who?

3. Tax is 5% instead of the approximately 200% it is for the rest of the country.

4. You can exploit almost any natural resource you can think of.

5. You live in the only province that could actually afford to be its own country.

6. The Americans below you are all in anti-government militia groups.


1. You never run out of wheat.

2. Your province is really easy to draw.

3. You can watch the dog run away from home for hours.

4. People will assume you live on a farm.

5. Daylight savings time? Who the hell needs that!


1. You wake up one morning to find that you suddenly have a beachfront property.

2. Hundreds of huge, horribly frigid lakes.

3. Nothing compares to a wicked Winnipeg winter.

4. You can be an Easterner or a Westerner depending on your mood.

5. You can pass the time watching trucks and barns float by.


1. You live in the centre of the universe.

2. Your $400,000 Toronto home is actually a dump.

3. You and you alone decide who will win the federal election.

4. The only province with hard-core American-style crime.


1. Racism is socially acceptable.

2. You can take bets with your friends on which English neighbour will move out next.

3. Other provinces basically bribe you to stay in Canada .

4. You can blame all your problems on the “Anglo A*#!%!”


1. One way or another, the government gets 98% of your income.

2. You’re poor, but not as poor as the Newfies.

3. No one ever blames anything on New Brunswick .

4. Everybody has a grandfather who runs a lighthouse.


1. Everyone can play the fiddle. The ones who can’t, think they can.

2. You can pretend to have Scottish heritage as an excuse to get drunk and wear a kilt.

3. You are the only reason Anne Murray makes money.


1. Even though more people live on Vancouver Island , you still got the big, new bridge.

2. You can walk across the province in half an hour.

3. You can drive across the province in two minutes.

4. Everyone has been an extra on “Road to Avonlea.”

5. This is where all those tiny, red potatoes come from.

6. You can confuse ships by turning your porch lights on and off at night.


1. If Quebec separates, you will float off to sea.

2. If you do something stupid, you have a built-in excuse.

3. The workday is about two hours long.

4. It is socially acceptable to wear your hip waders to your wedding.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Nothing Gold...

Nothing Gold Can Stay

by Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold,
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Our Ace of Pumpkins and Guy Fawkes.

A few days ago we were doing this...

Guy Fawks (Or V) has a very pretty companion here.

Here's a very strange creature carrying off a baby who looks a little familiar.......

Then November came.

Josh loves projects.

It was a gorgeous day today (almost 20!) and he spend the day in the garage working on his Pumpkin Art.

Not a Jack-O-Lantern.


Do you recognize these hands?

Here she is!

Here's one from last year.

Monday, November 02, 2009

I'd wear it!

As seen on a T-shirt that I would actually wear:

"God said it.
I interpreted it as best I could in light of all the filters imposed by my upbringing and culture, which I try to control but you can never do a perfect job.
That doesn't exactly settle it
but it does give me enough of a platform to build my values and decisions on."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What a great idea!

Please forgive the lack of an arty post. I have been having a great time at Dawn's ART at the Lyceum classes, just not a lot of time to post about it.
I have my sweet Ada and Liam here today. I called Ness and asked if I could borrow them because I missed them. Nialle dropeed them off early this morning, in the dark. Nessa had a day planned where she would get lots and lots accomplished, home all alone.

Well, that didn't work out. She got a call as soon as the kids left this morning for a subbing job at the High School. Which turned out to be a good thing as she didn't have to scramble for someone to take the kids (Pick Me!!) and she made some contacts there for future jobs. Good stuff. The students are nice to her there! Not like the nasty school we don't talk about where they scream and treat her hideously.

So here is something wonderful and interesting to consider while you go about your day. Carbon Info on Consumer Product? What a great idea! Check it out and let me know if you think it's as good an idea as I do. Thanks to The Thrifty Chicks for this!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Art at the Lyceum

The lovely Dawn of Art of Humungous Proportions started teaching a new class at the Lyceum yesterday, which Josh and I signed up for. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, full of light, colour, laughter and friends.

The subject was Van Gogh, and we talked abut his life, his struggles and his unwavering passion to create the beauty that he saw in the world.
We chose a painting and proceeded to try to recreate it. Recreating masterpieces is a time honoured tradition among artists. It really gave me a window into Vincent, and a chance to see the world through his eyes. His vision was vibrant.

I was thrilled with the medium of choice for the class. I had made a set of chalk pastels a couple of years ago at a class in Wetaskiwin. I haven't used them nearly enough, and it was amazing to see that saturated colour transferred to my page.

Everyone chose briliant colours, and each picture was so incredible! Sunflowers and Starry Nights are perfect subjects for playing on paper.

It is so satisfying to get dirty doing something so inspiring!

We were all happy to share our thoughts on what the process (and that was what it was about) taught us about colour or perspective or light.

The best thing? We get to do it again next week!

Monday, October 19, 2009


I may be behind in posting, but since I started posting again it doesn't worry me. No one will care that my pictures of our Thanksgiving dinner are so late. Or at least they won't say anything if they do. (will you?)

Thanksgiving weekend is usually a very laid back affair centered around turkey and gravy. And cranberries. Sometimes we go to Slave Lake and then it includes a big adventure on the Quads up into the hills through the autumn leaves. This year we had that adventure early, for my mom's birthday in September, and decided to stay home and celebrate with Nialle and Nessa and the kids. Since they had just returned from their first holiday without the kids, we opted to do a communal dinner at their house and skip the turkey altogether. (Scandalous, I know!)

It was a succulent feast with actual courses, each served independently and leisurely. So unlike the usual loud and rowdy buffet we do when the whole family is together with all my siblings and nieces and nephews. That is every man for himself, and is completely charming and exhilarating. Sometimes dangerous, but always fun!

We packed up our contributions to the meal and headed out to our kids house. We found some pretty flowers for our hostess.

Our first course was baked brie with fresh cranberry topping, roasted garlic and bread.
Gooey and yummy!

At our second course, Ada made sure her Mommy didn't go hungry. She fed Mommy the green salad with pears, caramelized walnuts and balsamic maple dressing.

The table was beautifully set, and with the low October light it was magical.

We all had big smiles!

Next up was a brilliant creamy carrot soup and fresh, hot bisquits with fresh herb butter and homemade raspberry jam. Be still my heart!

Oh Ada! You make me laugh, even if you won't hold still for a perfect photo op! You're such a happy girl, though you just cut your first two teeth!

Between courses, we had time for stories. Grandma read Curious George to Liam (with a lot of help), and we were both shocked to note that that silly little monkey has no tail! How can this be? I ought to complain to the proper authorities! I read these books to Nialle when he was little, but I had never noticed this until Liam asked me about it. Three year olds are so smart.

Liam checks to see if he has a tail.

Uncle Josh and Liam had time for a game of Rush Hour. It wasn't even rushed. Aaaah. I love slow, stress free holidays.

Miss Ada is always on the move. She is a blur passing by, and my shutter speed is no match for her. Darling girl!

The last courses, Walnut crusted pork loin with apple stuffing, homemade crab-apple sauce on the side (made by my mom...it was a four generation meal!), autumn veggies roasted in balsamic vinegar...(mmmm...like candy), and sweet garden peas with bacon, didn't get photographed. We were beginning to moan. By the time Vanessa served her homemade pumpkin pie we were almost comatose. Considering our meal took two hours to eat, I think we did pretty well.

I give thanks and thanks and thanks again for my wonderful family. I am blessed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Change the World

Go ahead.... I know you can do it!

Check here to see how easy it really is.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Under the tree.

Grandma must want a close up!

The tomatoes are a huge draw.


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More to share

Giant, happy faces in Mom's garden.

A view of what a burned out forest looks like 5 years later.

September sky.

He likes to help with the projects.

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Some of my favorite photos from this fall...

The beach at Slave Lake at the end of September. Deserted and peaceful.

Miles and miles of it...

The water was still warm and inviting to bare feet.

Mine weren't the only bear feet on the beach that day.

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