Things change.

It has been a good number of years since I have had Christmas with a blood relative. Probably the last one was with the younger of my older brothers in 2001. He is now in Mexico, a little far to travel for a week. The oldest brother is in Ottawa, again, a fair distance to travel. My sister is about a five hour drive (in winter) north of me and she has all of her husbands family in the area they live in. I have my urban family that I spend Christmas with. It fluctuates a bit each year, but the core of it stays pretty much the same.

Except this year. None of us likes hot turkey, so we cooked up a breast in order to have cold sandwiches for boxing day - it came out a bit dry. My friends decided that I should do the cooking this year - you would think they would know better by now! We had elk roast, the recipe sounded interesting, but it came out tough and had no flavour. The scalloped potatoes (that I have successfully made before) were just short of a disaster, but at least the roast and the potatoes were ready at the same time. Something I rarely manage. I even screwed up the salad - yes, I did! I can blame some of the disaster on it not being my kitchen, but alas, not all of it.

One of the traditions that slipped this year was the tree...we have a decorating party the last Sunday before Christmas and get the house all set up and the tree decorated. Not this year, we brought the tree in from the cold and the branches were still upright, so we didn't get it decorated until Tuesday. Whatever, we had decided not to stress about anything this year. This, in turn led us to discussing how things change no matter how much you want them to stay the same.

Click to enlarge

This is how the tree wound up looking, I like the way the lights reflect on the ceiling and floor.

Close up of the Angel.

More reflected lights.

One of the biggest traditions smashed for me, was opening gifts on Christmas morning. My urban family opens them Christmas Eve - after midnight, but still! The kid in me protests!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and no-one had illusions shattered or traditions broken beyond repair.

I also wish you all the best in the new year.

Edit: It seems (and to me too when I read it again) that I am whining. That is not how it was meant to sound. I had a wonderful Christmas in spite of the little things that went wrong and we all had a good laugh about dinner. I am very grateful to have my urban family.


It's Here!

The photo book! I just got a call that it has arrived at the store so I must rush out and go get it, but I thought I would let you all know. The manager is giving it to me for free and a little something besides.

When I get back I'll let you all know what that is!

I am so happy!

Edit: (yes it takes that long to get there and back by bus on Christmas eve)

It looks good! I would swear that I ordered the darker red, but I don't care at this point. They gave it to me for free and then gave me a $50.00 gift card! That is worth more than what I would have paid for the book! For as much shopping as I do there, I think that was fair. I have a photo or two that I would like to see printed large, so I will probably still go back to them, they do a good job - when they get it done. I just won't do anything at Christmas again.

Everyone have a Merry Christmas, or Hanukkah or whatever you celebrate.


WWC: Naughty & Nice

The words for today's Weekly Word Challenge are Naughty & Nice. Goes well with the season don't you think?

I am going to start with NICE:

This is a plexi ball of Christmas lights that my friend hangs in her entrance during the hols. I think it is very NICE.

She also has rope lights in red & green which are NICE, but the green string didn't photo as NICEly as the red.

These are the blanket lights she has in the back yard on her blue spruce and they look very NICE too.

This is my Christmas tree this year. It is NICE and simple. The shot however was a bit off, so I blurred it some more and played with the colours.

This turned out much more NICEly and is an accurate colour representation.

Now for NAUGHTY.

I ordered a photo book from London Drugs (big drug chain here in western Canada that sells everything along with drugs) on Nov 18th with several of the photos I have taken since I got my new camera. You can order this on-line and it is supposed to arrive in two weeks. On Dec 02, I asked at the store where it was and the young girl at the counter actually took the time to find my order at the developing store and explained that they had a delay in receiving supplies but that it would be printed next and I should have it at the beginning of next week. When I went in on Dec 16th to ask, the girl at the desk called the other store and was given a song & dance routine to pass on to me "we can't find your order without your confirmation number" - funny, the last girl had no problem and they don't send conf #'s until the order is finished. But, she was more than willing to let me handle the problem myself and give me the phone number to the store that does the developing....I told her no, I will speak to a manager now! and I remained very calm and the manager assured me she would find out the problem and call me tomorrow. Which she did....the manager at the lab had told her it was done, but appears to have vanished into the ether, so he would print another and it would be to their store by Friday. I got a phone call on Thursday....They will ship it out on Friday, but it won't be at our store until Monday, or I could go and pick it up at the other store. Today.......yet another manager.....well, no they are not in fact printed in the city, they are printed in B.C. (our west coast province) and it is going to be shipped tomorrow morning and will arrive on Wednesday. CHRISTMAS FUCKING EVE! Sorry, for yelling, but that is how I feel.

So, in one sense of the word NAUGHTY, I have nothing - quite literally.

In another interpretation, I was very NAUGHTY to tell them it had to be shipped out of the city as a gift. It is staying right here, it is still a gift though.

They are very NAUGHTY not to have let me know there was a delay in the first place and in not keeping better track of what is going on. Although, I think I will get a NICE discount on the price for all the hassle.

Well, that is that. The WWC is hosted by Tink over at Pickled Beef, drop over and she will give you the scoop on how to join us in our adventures.

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Festivus, Kwanzaa, Solstice or whatever your winter celebration, may you filled with peace and contentment.

P.S. May that be the last time I am sappy this year ;)

MTM: Bright Nights

I mentioned when I started doing the MTM posts that Edmonton is Festival City. Well, this is the only winter festival that I enjoy!

This event has been raising funds for charities and food for the Edmonton Food Bank for eleven years now. In the last few years they have been working towards being more energy efficient too and are claiming this season to be a "carbon-neutral event"!

“In our continued pursuit of environmental sustainability, we are pleased to have made so many strides with BrightNights,” says Chamber President and CEO Martin Salloum. “We are excited that this year we are not only bigger and brighter, but also greener.”

Alas, this year we have not managed to attend ourselves, the best night to go is the opening night. That is the night they allow you to walk through the park and they only allow city buses into the park. Or at least that is how they had it the one year we made it on the first night. The rest of the time it is open, you are driving your car through the park. Admittedly that is usually much warmer in this neck of the woods, but if you happen to be the one doing the driving your attention gets split and then you just get frustrated.

This year they have put some of these wonderful displays up in Churchill Square downtown and our Legislature grounds are always very prettily decorated. I might get a chance to get out a get some photos later this week.

Yes, I am still photo-less on my computer, so many thanks to the contributors above.

Have a good day all.

MTM is hosted by Travis Erwin.

EDIT: top three photos by: Douglas Dollars, bottom photo by: Susanne & Stefan Herz

Sorry I didn't get this in earlier, I am at work and actually had to do something!


Just a quick link

I would like you all to pop over to Mizfit and comment. For every comment she gets by Christmas Eve, she is donating a dime to a local womens shelter. Lets make her dig deep shall we?

Damn...missed it by that much!

I pay so much attention to my blogging duties, that my one year blogiversay slipped by unnoticed back in which ever fall month that was. Oh, well! I thought, I will make a big deal of hitting two hundred posts.

So, this is post 201! Well, at least I am close ;)

This is the first year in ... who knows how long, that I have actually sent out Christmas cards - let alone before Christmas. That is quite the accomplishment for me. Of course the Bag Lady's gift is still in production phase (things got screwed up - such is my year) and it has to be mailed up north. If all goes well, she might get it this year.

I was over at a friends tonight making Lefse. OMG is it good! This is the third of fourth year that we have made it and we are getting better at it. For those that are not of Scandinavian descent....Lefse is a flatbread (but we don't make the potato lefse which you can find a million recipes for), we make the sweet dessert type. It has 800,000,000,000,000 calories per piece, because it it made with buttermilk, whipping cream, flour, butter, syrup and egg. Then is is slathered with butter mixed with sugar and cinnamon. She sent me home with some home-made nuts & bolts when we were done....very tasty too and made with more butter! Between just those two recipes, that is 2.5 lbs of butter! I will be making shortbread....another lb of butter and she will be making some other things which will take at least one more lb, and another batch of nuts & bolts.

I will get back to watching my cholesterol in January!

So, now that I have you all drooling on your keyboards...what are your favorite things to make for Christmas?

Have a good day all.


WWC: Pine & Contribute

Well, sort of.... no photos today, because for some reason, blogger is not showing me any thumbnails, all I get are file numbers. Yeah, like that helps.

So, I Pine for a new computer, so that I may Contribute to the WWC again ;)

Of course, if I reinstall Adobe (and all of the other crap) it might work again. We'll see what happens in the next few days.

Take care all.



Baby, it's cold out there!

Well, I managed to reprogram my computer, but it didn't help. By the time I got all the updates and stuff added on, I had used up over 8 Gb of hard drive. I didn't even load all the crap that came with the computer in the first place. BTW, 8 GB is outrageous! As soon as I can go a buy a disk (all of mine are in use), I will be downloading Linux and loading it in hopes of extending the use of this box. I really can not afford to replace it. In the mean time, I have no photoshop - sob! I guess I'll have to make do with the editor that came with the camera.

Except, who wants to go outside and take pictures when it is -26C (-14F) with a windchill of -37C (-35F)? I'm not even walking the 100 yards to the office today, I am checking for messages on the phone from home. (the boss okayed that) I doubt sincerly that we will have anyone drop in to look at suites today. With the slow down we are experienceing in renting...I doubt we would have anyone even if it weren't this cold. The good thing about that, my rent won't be going up!

The manager & her husband took the staff out for Christmas dinner last night - in the cold. I would have taken my camera, but both sets of my batteries were dead...I guess I have been a bit too busy to take any photos lately. Why is it that restaraunts can't seem to grasp the concept of allergies? J & myself are both allergic to shellfish and mushrooms....most dishes are served with one or the other at this place. We both ordered the beef tenderloin, with no sauce and asked that it be cooked on a grill that had not just been used for shellfish or mushrooms. We both had to send it back. They serve the steak on a bed of mashed potatoes and the juices had run into the spuds, so they had to change the entire meal. We could both taste fish and poor J, her tongue started to swell, good thing she had some meds with her. I didn't escape my headache either, but at least I won't die from it. The good thing about it having to be redone, it didn't have to sit under the heater long enough to dry out waiting for one of our party to finish their appetizer and change my steak from med rare to med well. Of course, J's wasn't quite well done, but she ate it anyway. Why do people insist on ruining a good steak by overcooking it?

I still have projects to finish and I seem to have started to ramble, so I will sign off now. I will be back soon, but I still have some stuff to load on this computer so that I am fully functional.

Take care all and stay warm.



I am about to lose my patience! I don't have time to do it, but better to do it than lose all my data and photos etc. I have to reprogram my computer...all the tests I can find tell me it is virus and trojan free, but something is eating up the processor and it is taking forever to load pages and do anything. Of course, if I could afford it, it is time for a new one, the 40 gig of hard drive I have is pretty much full (yes, it's that old). I hate windows so much though that I might just download Linux and try that for awhile and see what happens. If I can just get a little more time out of this cpu, I will be fine.

If you don't hear from me in the next few days, well, I will be back, even if I have to post from my phone - ouch!

Take care all, have a great Monday!


Oh, what a night!

I hate having insomnia. What I hate even more are the nights when I get inside my own head and start stirring up the dust. Opening drawers and cupboards that have been left closed for good reason.

I had one of those nights last night and I am exhausted today! All of my muscles ache from tension and my nerves are screaming. If my nerves were bedding, they would pass even the most stringent of military inspections. When you are lying in bed with all of your muscles tensed up, do you actually hover? I know you don't sleep or even rest. On the other hand, if my nerves generated a shield (like around the Enterprise) no quarters would touch me.

Why does the military make their beds so tight you can bounce a quarter? Is there actually a purpose or is it just a tool to shape men & women into obedient automatons soldiers? Really, it is not like the country will be defeated if the beds aren't made! I can't see the Hitlers and Bin Ladens of the world chortling over an unmade bed, rubbing their hands together in evil glee "we are going to rule the world, there are unmade beds in the barracks over there!"

And why are people not curious? One of the new tenants called a while ago, saying there was no power in the living room wall outlet. They had checked the breakers (at least) and they were all on! Our maintenance fellow went to check it out and pointed out the fact that the outlet was controlled by the light switch on the wall - the one that has no other purpose. When you see a light switch and no light fixture, do you not automatically assume that the switch controls an outlet? It is not there for decoration! I then found out that the tenant has lived in the complex before...for years and has just moved back in! WTF did he think the light switch was for in his other suite? I won't even start on the people that don't know how to flip a breaker!

Well, I must go off to work, have a good day all.


I'm Back!

Well, mostly anyway. Not that I have ever been consistent here. I have all of the projects at that almost done phase - you know - they just need the hem to be sewn, or the edges trimmed, the last things that seem to take forever. In my case, usually because I've gotten bored. These will get finished though, because they are gifts (although, that hasn't helped me finish some other things). I should be able to post a few photos, but some will have to wait until after Christmas, I don't want to ruin any surprises.

In other news my Aunt Doris died and she will be missed. She was my mom's youngest sister and probably the only Aunt on that side that I really felt I knew. You see, my mom came from Nova Scotia and married an Alberta farm boy. Most of her siblings stayed in that part of the country and I think we only ever met them five or six times. If you would like to read a beautiful tribute to my Aunt, pop over to my sister's blog at Bag Lady's Blather. She is better at these things, she is also the one that keeps the rest of us siblings informed about the goings on within the families.

Well, that's all for today folks, gotta see about finishing something today.


Not quite ready yet...

Hi all! Just thought I would drop in and let you know I am making progress. I have 5 or 6 projects completed, but only about half of my deep cleaning done in the apartment. I still have one or two projects to complete too. As the recipients of these projects all know of my blog and I know at least one of them reads it....I won't be able to reveal them until after Christmas. I hope you can all stand the suspense. On the other hand, will I even remember to tell you all about them after the season has passed? Who knows? On the good side, no lasting white stuff here yet.

Take care all, I should be back regularly soon! And thank goodness for "readers" or my withdrawal would be agonizing!


At the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month...

Lest we forget!

Photographer: Ian Britton

Have a day full of memories and remember why we have our freedoms.


Going AWOL

I've been neglecting real life for too long, so I've decided that I have to put the blog on hold for a few days. Once I have my abode looking presentable again though, I will be back and hopefully, I will have much more room to move in here. Who knows, I may even finish a project or two!

Take care while I'm gone!


No snow yet!

Here it is Friday already and I really have nothing to say. I took this photo last Saturday, I'm thinking the bunnies aren't ready for snow yet, so maybe it will hold off for awhile yet.

And as I have nothing else to offer, how about we find out how much you know about art?

Your result for The Famous (and Not So Famous) Art Quiz...

Art Lover

68% Artiste!

Art Lover: You scored 68% Artiste. You may not have any formal training, but you are a big fan of art, at least what you've been able to see in your local museum. Try broadening your horizons a little and exploring some lesser known artists.

Take The Famous (and Not So Famous) Art Quiz at HelloQuizzy

Enjoy your weekend everyone!


WWC: Hands & Feet

Weekly Words Challenge! This week the words are Hands & Feet and I discovered that I don't much like feet or hands. Shoes, boots, funky socks and slippers, can't get enough - feet, not so much! Rings, gloves, massages, bring 'em on! Maybe part of that is due to fallen arches and ugly veins popping up, not to mention the fact I can't seem to grow my nails anymore! Anyway, here we go! Click to enlarge.

I give you HANDS, that need a manicure! (Why, yes, they are two different colours! That is because the right doesn't get a tan.)

HANDS that tell you not to walk.

HANDS that give you garden fresh potatoes! (Thanks Sis!)

And dry macro HANDS.

For FEET, I present little plastic dolls FEET.

I've often said if I was any paler I would be translucent - proof is in the photo. Getting out of a hot bath, you can see the veins in my FEET!

This is an arty shot of my FEET!

I couldn't decide which I liked better, so here is another shot of my FEET.

If you would like to join in the silliness that is the WWC drop by and see the soon-to-be bride Tink at Pickled Beef.

Have a good day all.


MTM: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

That's right, twenty years! The city has provided curbside pickup of our recyclables for 20 years here in Edmonton. They have many collection sites scattered around the city at malls and community centres, for those that live in apartments, where the complex may not provide a recycle bin. I am proud to say I browbeat talked our manager into getting them put in here ;)

I know, you are all thinking "that's nice, weird, a little boring, but whatever". Well, actually it is a little boring, until you read that Edmonton has the most modern facility in all of North America, here is a pdf photo file of the site. We are turning garbage into fuel, we are capturing the gas from the landfills and turning it into energy to power part of the city. There is an area for recycling old electronics and reducing them to their component parts to be sold and reused in new stuff. We have eco stations throughout the city where you can take hazardous waste to have it recycled and rendered harmless. The city encourages composting and grasscycling, by providing compost bins and courses to homeowners. What does this mean? Well it means that we manage to diverte 60% of our waste from reaching the landfills.

Photo courtsey of City of Edmonton

We also have opened our first Reuse Centre this year, it takes an incredible list of things that are still usable and sells them to someone who will use them for a very nominal fee. You know you have the little bits hanging around from your last project...there is not enough to do another project, but, you hate to see the wool, wood, paper, or whatever go to waste. Well, that is what the resuse centre is for. They will even take paper towel rolls, the last couple of inches of sequins, the extra spool of thread that you find you didn't need. While you are dropping off, you can look for that elusive button to match your coat, or find the exact right sized frame for your picture. Some scraps of fabric to finish the project that has been languishing in your closet for lack of 1/2 yard. Or enough leather to make a project look like a million bucks.

Having been brought up by parents that lived through the "dirty thirties", I know a thing or two about hanging onto stuff because you never know when it might come in handy. That would be why I had moms mascara to use in my WWC post last week. That stuff is probably older than I am for goodness sake! Of course, having been forced to downsize my abode, I had to get rid of a bunch of stuff and the reuse centre would have been very handy then. I did my best to recycle or give away most of it.

So, how about you all. Does your town, county, city have a recycle program? Do you use it, or are you making noise to have them start one?

My Town Mondays are the idea of Travis Erwin and you can visit his blog to read about other places around the globe.

Have a good day all.


I'm still here

It has been a little busy the last few days. I haven't gotten anything done on the sewing project, but, just yesterday, I figured out how I can alter the pattern for now to accommodate my two very different sized girls. I will be drawing out a new pattern tonight and hopefully will have time to sew it over the weekend. I think once I have shed a few pounds, that I will be able to go back to the original project and adjust it to work around the hole it has. So, good news there!


More, even better news!

My creepy upstairs neighbour has moved to a different building! *happy dance* (same complex still) I didn't realize how much better I would feel and I haven't even seen much of him since the last incident I blogged about. I will be able to enjoy going outside again next summer!


Tomorrow is All Hallows Eve, ghosts and goblins will be trick or treating. Adults will be giving out candy to the little beggars that come to their doors. Do you make them sing for their treats? and count the number of kids? If the kids are taller than you do you still give them candy? what if they aren't in any sort of costume? Do you dress up to scare the kids?

All this stress for one night a year!


Not only is it Halloween, it is the last day of Breast Cancer Awareness month. I would like to thank each and everyone who showed support or donated time or money to the cause. A few posts this month have brought tears to my eyes and a few have made me realize just how lucky I am. Thank you all!

Have a good weekend everyone.


WWC: Then & Now

WWC again! I thought this was going to be very difficult, but then at the last minute, I had some inspiration. The words this week are THEN & NOW. The Weekly Word Challenge is brought to us by the cold suffering, soon to be married, Tink of Pickled Beef. How do people in Florida get a cold anyway? the air conditioning too high? On to the words, remember to click to enlarge:

When I was but a mere child, mom would let us play with her old make up. This is what it looked like THEN.

This is what makeup looks like NOW. The biggest difference is in the mascara, they are both Maybelline btw.

Back THEN if you wanted ice cream, you had to make it yourself and it took quite a bit of effort.

I had to get this photo on-line because I don't own one of these new-fangled machines. If I want ice cream NOW, I just go to the store.

If you were inclined to eat back THEN, you also had a fair amount of work cut out for you.

Unlike NOW, when I just have to go to the freezer. (yes that is ice cream in the tub in back)

Of course, back THEN, if you were lucky enough to go to school, all the grades were taught in one room.

Unlike NOW, where there are many rooms, the grades are divided amongst several buildings and kids no longer consider themselves lucky to get an education.

This is how you went about building camp back THEN.

NOW, of course, there isn't as much work involved and you can take it with you.

Yes, these people are my relatives and as some of them are blog shy, I blurred their faces.

That's all folks, hope you have a good day, drop by and see Tink if you would like to join our band of shutterbugs.


MTM: Old Strathcona -Part III

Whyte Avenue or 82 Ave, is the "main drag" in the Old Strathcona area. It is four lanes of heavy traffic all of the time. On Summer evenings and weekends, you would think it was a set for "American Graffiti". It is where everyone with a tricked out or restored car comes to cruise. It is where bikers hang around in parking lots, unless they are cruising as well. You can see the most amazingly restored vehicles, hear the roar of Harley's and choke on exhaust fumes from any of the outdoor cafes, restaurants or bars along Whyte.

Click to enlarge

From the Old Strathcona website:

Princess Theatre 1914: 10337 Whyte Avenue

When it opened in 1915, the Princess Theatre was said to have the largest stage in western Canada. Early fare included high-class musical vaudeville and musical concerts. When television arrived in the 1950s, the lobby of the Princess was converted to retail use for more than 15 years.

The first commercial film shown at the Princess Theatre was The Eagle's Mate, starring Mary Pickford. Until 1940, the Princess was the only commercial theatre in south Edmonton.

click to enlarge

Periods building abound in the area. Unfortunately a few have been lost over the years to fire and bad planning.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

If you happen to be in the neighbourhood in the spring during Stanley Cup playoffs and the Oilers have made it that far, you can be assured that the city police will be shutting the streets down to vehicle traffic and will be out in full force. During any of the playoff games, there is a huge potential for a riot, if we win, you want to be safe at home.

click to enlarge

Some of these are from the 50's through the '70's and were built to the style of the time. They are a couple of blocks to the west of the period buildings, but they represent an era of their own too.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Since 1974's founding of the Old Strathcona foundation, buildings only get replaced, if they have been damaged beyond repair as in the case of fire. New buildings whether replacements or not are being built to "fit" in with their older neighbours, both in style and by being clad in brick.

click to enlarge
I have so far only covered the main shopping area, there is so much more to cover, but I think next week I will take a look at a different area of my city. Strathcona will continue in the future.

For more My Town Mondays drop by Travis Erwins blog for links to other places around the world.

Have a good day all.

P.S. For those following the sewing saga...I had to take the bodice off yet again and this time put a hole in it. Back to the drawing board to redesign. *sigh*


Sewing - AARRRGH!

Well, it has actually gone better than I imagined. Here is the suit so far...here is what it will look like when I am done (I hope).

Unfortunately, I have to pick out all of the stitching along the bust sides and tighten it up and raise the fabric along the straps, cause the girls are falling out.

Not a very good photo of what that will entail, but I used an overlock stitch on the machine, so there are about 7 million stitches for each inch of fabric. Through four layers and the gathering.

I don't think I will be done today. Which is a real pisser as I only had one strap to add and the legs to hem. *sigh* I think I will go vacuum.

Have a good day all.


Sewing Update

I think I am a bit intimidated by this project! I have never sewn stretch fabric before, so I have been procrastinating a bit. It has taken me all weekend just to cut out the fabric! Monday, in between sessions on the computer, I spent time finding the sewing machines instruction book and reading up on what it had to say. Yesterday, I took some scraps left over from cutting out the pattern and tried the suggested settings on the machine. After several false starts, I think I found the right settings and might just be ready to give it a whirl today.

Have a good day all.


WWC: Plain and Adorned

Tuesday once again folks and that means Weekly Word Challenge. The words this week were Plain & Adorned.

This house is certainly ADORNED with decorations.

Which makes this one look rather PLAIN.

Home made fries ADORNED with ketchup just for this photo.

They are much better just PLAIN.

A lot of roof tops are ADORNED with satellite dishes.

You don't get any more PLAIN than this!

That's it! I have been trying to sew and am getting a bit frustrated, so I didn't have a lot of time for photos this week. I'll post about the sewing probably tomorrow.

If you would like to join the WWC visit Tink at Pickled Beef, she is the word master for us all.