Thursday, December 31, 2009


Well, yesterday was both sad and joyful. Sad that Uncle Dan is no longer here, joyful when we all started to tell our individual memories of Uncle Dan.
My Uncle Dan passed away December 27th after a lengthy lung problem. He was the twin of my Aunt Eleanor that passed away on August 29th.

There was a wonderful insert in Uncle Dan's funeral program and I have attempted to include part of it with this post.

Uncle Dan and Aunt Mickey were my favourite, favourite uncle and aunt.
They had five children of their own and took in a nephew whose mother abandoned him when he was quite young. Over the years, they opened their home to more people that needed temporary refuge.
As a kid, I spent most of my time with these particular cousins. We would go out to my Aunt Mickey's family farm and made so much fun with very little. We would play hide and seek in the corn stalks, go in the barn and jump for hours in the hay, had bonfires and roast marshmallows, walk along the river, and so on and so on...wonderful memories.
My Uncle Dan had one of the most contagious laughs ever! He really loved to laugh. He was indeed the family 'mad scientist'. He invented many things that probably should have been patented. If he couldn't find a tool to do a certain job, he'd make it. He was a card carrying pack rat. He was always fixing things for any member of the 'family' that needed it. He was a wealth of knowledge about our geneology, and loved history and geography. The 'talents' have passed down a generation. My brother is definitely the 'mad inventor' and my cousin 'Pat'(his daughter) is now the geneology nut.

Uncle Dan was my Dad's brother and they are not one bit alike. It's so strange that in this family thus far, they've passed away in reverse order beginning with the youngest. Although Uncle Dan and Aunt Eleanor were twins. Aunt Eleanor was born a couple of minutes before he arrived. Uncle Dan was a quiet and unassuming man, but so genuine. He was stubborn as all get out, meticulous about anything he did and an absolute sponge learning everything about the stuff he was interested in. He loved simple pleasures. I'd bring him Australian licorice every now and then and he'd get so excited. He'd tell me, "Now, that's REAL licorice!"

Uncle Dan was an amazing father to all five of his kids. He ALWAYS had time for each one of them, doing various and sundry things, depending on the child he was spending time with at that moment. He'd cut out horse heads from old plywood, affix an old broom handle, add a mane with old mop heads and they'd have a horse to gallop around.

He will be missed by all. If I sit quiet for a minute, I can recall that wonderful infectious laugh. Rest in peace, Uncle Dan.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Well, another Christmas has come and gone. It amazes me how quickly it passes considering all the planning, shopping, cooking, baking, wrapping etc. etc. Too bad we can't 'DVR or TIVO' the moments to review a few times and really get to take it all in and appreciate.
It was indeed a different Christmas for us without our daughters, sons-in-laws and grandchildren. Having said that, we've managed a couple of webcam(Skype) episodes with both the grandchildren. A different kind of Christmas, indeed!
We drove to Toronto Christmas Eve day and brought my girlfriend's mother with us as well. They always have their celebrations and dinner on Christmas Eve. My friend always does a wonderful job of preparing both the food and the atmosphere in her beautiful home. She had the house decorated beautifully and with a simple, classic and inviting mood. The table was set so elegantly!
We then came home Christmas Day morning. We had received news that my Uncle was taken to the hospital and may not make it through the day. With that news, we showered, changed and then went to be at the hospital with my aunt and the grown children. He was SO thin! They had started to give him morphine to help with pain, breathing and to get him some sleep. As of this writing, I'm still not sure how he is as there's no answer at the home.
We then went out to my brother and sister-in-laws in Buckhorn, Ontario. They have a really nice piece of property with a cozy log home and a little stream running through the property. My niece and her fiance were home so had the opportunity to catch up on their news. I contributed the salad, the rum and eggnog and the Christmas pudding and sauce. My sister-in-law did a wonderful job of putting a delicious dinner on for us to enjoy!
Today, I have been so tired and feeling so 'beat up' as it were. I had a wee nap and I'm STILL so tired. It will definitely be an early night!
I'll use the rest of this week to take down decorations, and begin to organize and purge stuff in my craft room.
My brain seems to be in overdrive with SO many decisions I'll need to make within the next couple of weeks. I'm struggling with what my focus should be for the upcoming year.
For me, although it's hard to see time zoom by, I'll personally be SO happy to see this year end. I pray that 2010 will be different and more positive for me personally. 2009 was not one of my happier years!

Monday, December 21, 2009


Well, it is now officially winter! It's quite cold here, but we haven't had any snow for over a week now. Everything left on the ground is now frozen rock solid. It makes for some interesting maneuvering on both the roadways and the streets...better have really good balance.
The good thing about today is from here on in the days start to get longer again. I actually like fresh fallen snow but I like longer days full of sunlight much more. Sitting on a beach at Christmas, isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I spent the entire day, yesterday cleaning my house from top to bottom. I started at around 10am and finished around around 7pm. I must admit that it takes me longer to do these tasks than it used to, but I still can manage. My bones and muscles feel it but in a day or two, I'm back to normal.

I think I'll try doing a little baking tomorrow, but the operative word is 'little'.
Maybe I'll make some shortbread, ginger cookies and this delicious 'bark' that is my daughter's recipe. I think the actual name is 'Tutts Toffee'..........yummmmm!!

The 23rd of December is an annual event for my family. It's an open invitation to one of my cousins homes where we all get to catch up and eat and drink and have a few laughs....Did I mention the eating and drinking part? Last year there were about 80 of us there. My husband and I will pick up my nephew and his daughter and take them as well. Before the evening of fun, I've decided to treat myself to a manicure and pedicure. I LOVE, LOVE mani and pedi's!!!

I look forward to seeing some family over the holidays and really hope to connect with my girls and their families. My youngest daughter called on Sunday and suggested we get on webcam to watch my grandaughter open her 'stocking stuffers' while we watched. It was such fun seeing what little gifts she gravitated towards and the excitement in her eyes and her cute! I recall both my girls getting so excited. They too, used to love the stocking stuffers more than the big gift. When my girls were little, little, I wrapped every single stocking stuffer and would allow them to open those gifts BEFORE they would come and wake us up. It worked for a couple of years but then we wanted to be part of the celebration as well. The girls knew I wasn't too civil until my first cup of coffee and my first cigarette. They got very good at making coffee even though it didn't appeal to their palettes. They just wanted Mom up and alert...ready to get Christmas started! I have SO many great memories of my girls and holiday traditions...(grinning with pleasure).

As many of us are so blessed, I hope each one of us takes the time to personally do something nice for someone having a tough time right now.

It's also my sister-in-law's birthday today and called to give her best wishes.

Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I must admit that I'm not quite as enthusiastic about Christmas this year, and yet I really am OK with that feeling.
I am taking the time to really understand what Christmas is and how commercial it's become. It's BIG business!
There is a new Christian singing group called 'Go Fish' and they have a song that's been listened to millions of times on 'YouTube' called 'It's called 'Christmas'. I really love the words of the song and the beat is so great as well. Take a listen...

If I were more technically gifted I could figure out how to post the actual video on my blog..........not happening, today!.

I haven't put up a tree this year for a few reasons. We aren't doing any entertaining this year, and no family are coming home. We still have the old style artificial tree that requires one to string on the lights...yuk! I've been looking for a pre-lit tree at a price I'm willing to pay, but no luck as yet. Who knew, there were so many things to consider when purchasing a pre-lit!.. how many tips, how many lights, what type of lights, etc. etc.

Personally, I have ALWAYS preferred a real tree, but by the time we'd get one picked out, set up in a proper stand safely. my husband and I weren't speaking to each other. It kind of took away from the whole happy tradiiton. I will admit, it's much easier to put up and take down a 'fake' tree. Also, if you have wee children or animals a 'fake' tree doesn't present quite so many issues. Don't you just love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree, though?

I'm SO calm about Christmas this year. I have no baking done, other than the fruitcake, I still need to clean my house, and maybe put up a few more decorations and yet if I don't get it done........oh, well. I think I'll now go back to reading the book I'm into at the moment.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Well, I've given up trying to get the stocking made for my grandaughter before they leave for their Christmas vacation. Although I feel badly that I can't get it finished in time, it's not quite so bad considering she's only two and really won't understand.
I was tracking the parcel's I sent to each of the grandkids for Christmas and discovered each should receive them by tomorrow. Whew! At least that's going to happen!
I had also sent a small package to each of my daughter's but when I tried to track them today, they appear to be 'lost'. I called Canada Post today and they have now set each shipment up as a 'case' to be looked into and will follow up with me. Fortunately, the way I shipped them, they are insured and if they've actually disappeared I'll at least get my money back. That doesn't help with my gesture of love to send something a little bit special to my girls. The simple fact is I can't do anything about it.
Many things I've learned this year, but especially the fact there's SO much out of my control. I'm working very, very hard on 'letting go' of those things out of my control and focusing on what I can control. The bottom line is that the only control I have is over me....period... full stop. It's beginning to sink in and moving forward I will continue to do the work needed to make me happy. There very well may be some people disappointed in the 'new me' I'm working on.
Today, I finally got everything cooked and made that I promised to take to my brother and sister-in-laws on Christmas day. That's another thing off my list.
I purchased just a few stocking stuffers for my husband and need to get them wrapped and that's all my gifts looked after for this year.
I was hoping to get a bit of Christmas baking done, but we'll see. Since we're not doing any entertaining this year for Christmas or New Year's, I had just planned to put some plates together for my neighbours. If it doesn't happen, it's not the end of the world. I may just have each of them for dinner early in the new year.
I must admit, I'll be glad to see the end of 2009. Overall, for me personally, not a particularly good year.
I don't plan on making any New Year's resolutions, but I DO plan on evaluating what I need to do for me next year. At 62 years old, I've finally decided to make me the priority.
I feel spread to thin and will definitely be dropping some of the things I've been doing and focus on only a few.
I have been doing a tremendous amount of soul searching and will write myself a 'bucket list' and then begin trying to achieve the things on my list.

For my blog followers, I want to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and all good wishes for 2010!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Well, I felt it only appropriate to feature a shop that specializes in the holiday Christmas theme. This particular shop is fairly new to Etsy, but the story behind the shop and the artist are so inspiring. These are beautiful pieces that show the heart and the soul of this artist. Love these!

As per usual, I am using the artists own words to describe what motivated these works...

Please go visit the shop at:

In this sometimes cynical world in which we live, you might think simple economics to be the reason that someone like me paints Christmas ornaments. In fact, to a degree, that is true. But bear with me. There is a story here…
My dad painted ornaments. You see, he was a frustrated artist; truly gifted and truly skilled, but frustrated by WWII and the brood of children that followed. Later in his life, though, after my mother had passed away, he began to paint again. And oddly enough, he began to paint Christmas ornaments. Each year my father would create a select number of Christmas “balls” to give as gifts to his family and friends. It always struck me that he seemed to enjoy giving them to us as much as we liked receiving them. They were beautiful! But it was more than that. It was the spirit. His spirit. The spirit of Christmas.
Years later, towards the end of his life, at a time when it was obvious that I had caught my dad’s “art bug”, I would sit with him and we would paint together. Our styles varied greatly. (Life imitates art, or is it the other way around?) He painted manger scenes and choirboys while I went more towards the wildly-colored abstract. But this wasn’t about our differences. It was about what we shared... what my father gave to me and what I tried to give back. Sure, we shared art. And we shared time. But what we really shared was love. The love of a father for his son and of a son for his father. It is this spirit that comes alive for many of us at Christmas. It is the spirit of my dad that I carry today. And it a spirit that, as I paint my ornaments, I hope to share with you.
I hope you enjoyed looking at my site. And yes, I hope you buy one of my ornaments. But even more important, I hope you felt a little bit of that loving holiday spirit and that you share it with those that matter most to you.

I hope you enjoy browsing this shop, as I did.

We had our first snowfall yesterday, and yes, it now feels like Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Well, my cousins and I returned last Wednesday night with a lot of shopping, a lot of talking and a lot of laughing under our belts. It was SO much fun, we're now talking about making it an annual event....better get saving for the next one!
I finally got our annual newsletter finished, cards all addressed and the last of them mailed out today...yeah!
Since I've returned, I know I've been very busy and very tired. I'm not even sure at this point exactly what I've been busy doing,except I've been going pretty much non-stop.
When I returned, I had many, many emails to answer,which finally got finished today. We needed a few groceries and I had just a bit of last minute Christmas shopping to get out of the way.... done!!
Yesterday, I went to the Tea Room and traded out my floral plates with 10 Christmas plates. I decided to put them there instead of posting them on Etsy. Although, many people leave wonderful comments about my decoupage plates, no one seems to purchase them. I think it might have something to do with the fact that Canada Post charges SO much to ship! Not sure, however.
I was up early this morning to attend our local Chamber of Commerce breakfast. I joined to represent my event planning business. There was a huge crowd there which is great for networking. I definitely went about the start up of this business all wrong. I should have done a complete business plan prior to registering the company with our government. Live some...learn some...hopefully! I will just go about a business plan which is a fairly instense process. It's better late than never. I'm going to attend a workshop in April to learn more about running a local business.
Tonight I'll wrap my grandchildren's stocking stuffers and get them shipped off. I still haven't finished the heirloom stocking for my grandaughter so will ship it separately. I'm having some difficulty getting this stocking finished. Three years ago, I made each of my immediate family members their own heirloom stocking. The stockings are very large and made from upholstery fabrics and heavy satin linings..definitely won't consider making and selling these as they are expensive to make and VERY labour intensive! If there are more grandchildren in the future, I will make a stocking for them as well. These stockings will last for years and years.