Friday, December 19, 2014

Blah Humbug?

   I thought I'd share some beautiful photos from my friends Carolyn and Betty... early morning at their home outside the town of Searchmont, Ontario. If these don't get you into the Christmas spirit, (and make you shiver) then you are a Blah Humbug!

   Aren't these gorgeous? Thanks for letting me share them ladies!

   And if that isn't enough, read this post from mail4Rosey. If that isn't exemplifying the spirit of the season, I don't know what is. Thank you, Rosey, for being a kind, decent, and caring person.

   Last year Cindy, the wonderful Bee Lady From Hilltop Farm, had a terrific idea, and with her permission I'd like to carry it through this year. What idea? To share with one another the ways in which we reach out, help others, and seeing others do the same. I don't consider it 'bragging' to share about (and support one another in) doing good, and it's not like we aren't bombarded by negativity all day, every day, right?

   I'm the first to admit I'm no good at the linky stuff, but if any of you are interested I'm very willing to learn. 

Some Christmas-y stuff to make you smile... oh and Mitchell, the sweatshirt the kidling was wearing in the photo yesterday? She totally stole one of mine and was teasing me about it, lol.

                             Two of my brothers at Christmas.

   We're not putting up a tree this year, who knows what Geraldo would do with it! (But that doesn't mean there won't be any decorating...)

Enjoy this from the 2Cellos guys...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Squashetti and Stuff - Randomness

   In our ongoing quest for tasty and nutritious foods which are new to us, the Great Scot and I have been working our way through the winter squashes. The other night we tried spaghetti squash... or squashetti as I like to call it... and boy was it ever tasty; not to mention being really fun to make and a super vegetarian meal.

   So far, of the winter squash we've tried, butternut has been our favourite... what's yours?

   Lots of good things have been coming into our lives, not least of which is this lovely card from my sister in law, El, and her fiancee 'Kai'.

   I must have had the goofiest grin ever, spread all over my face, when this card showed up in our mailbox. Thanks El and Kai! Now to keep Geraldo's wee paws off it, as he believes anything which comes into the house is his by default... and if we disagree, well, de fault ain't his!

   Brought this home over the weekend, and I've been drooling over it since:

                                          image source

   Not only is it a superb source of rare, organic, non-GMO seed, it is stuffed full of great articles, advice, information, and great vegan recipes as well! 

   I've also been telling everyone about a fabulous book I recently read:

   It's fantasy, but with no hint of either dungeons or dragon; thoughtful, fascinating, subtle, and mind-blowing with some of the most complex and 'real' characters I've come across in any genre. Try it! 

More kidling pics... sadly, this series is nearly at an end, but here are a few more:

From the left: Dad, great-niece, Jenn, great-nephew, and me... glaring at my oldest brother. Oddly enough, my worst death glare never seemed to make his head explode, go figure!

   My Mom, great aunt Bess, and the sassy one, lol.

I see many of you are heading out for the holidays, so before everyone disappears... Happy and Safe Holidays for each and every one. Be well, and enjoy some Barenaked Ladies (with Sarah McLachlan)!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

More Animal Adventures... No. ?? + a recipe

   So I wonder how many of you clicked the recipe link yesterday, only to discover that traditional Scottish macaroon is made with....... da da dum!.... potato. Today you'll get another Scottish sweetie called 'lucky tatties' (potatoes) which have no ingredients which in any way resemble a potato, go figure! But first, a tale about kitty siblings named September and Manhattan, which a friend and I rescued when I was in my early 20's. (Thank you to East Gwillimbury Camera Girl for posting a photo which brought these two characters to mind. That first photo looks exactly like September.) Manhattan looked more like this: 

                                      image source

But with a far more vapid expression. No, Manhattan wasn't the brightest bulb in the box, but one can hardly blame her... my friend and I rescued she and her brother whilst a horrid old woman was trying to drown they and their siblings. Unfortunately, we weren't able to save the others, but we were able to get to those two half-starved and flea-infested babies. Feeding with an eye-dropper every 2-3 hours, bathing them to get rid of the fleas, a trip to the vet's office for various pokings, proddings, etc.... I'm pretty sure the two of them thought they were being tortured for the first few days. 

September, who was something of a kitty genius, quickly figured out that food.... even delivered by eye dropper.... was yummy, but Manhattan? She howled and she yowled, and fought, fit, and bit every single mealtime, until we finally figured out to mix a bit of kitten milk replacement with dry cat food and stuck the bowl in the basement. If she saw, or even heard, a two-legged person Manhattan would quickly stop eating, and hide for the next day or two. 

See the stairs in the kitty photo? We had stairs like that, sans carpet, and our dear Manhattan had a unique way of descending them... First she would position herself, wee bum in the air, and then charge down them full throttle, then, when she hit the little turn she invariably lost control and rolled the rest of the way down, but that's not all! Nope, at the foot of the stairs was a small hall with wooden floors the poor puss would skid across - usually on her head or chest - until she smashed into the wall on the other side. 

You'd think Manhattan would learn eventually.

You would be wrong. She never learned... and she also never learned not to sleep in potted plants, where she always woke in a panic, sending said plant crashing to the floor... or to not try to jump on any male visitor's head. She did eventually learn not to attempt killing those tempting toes, and that the pooch in the house (Mitosha, an afghan hound) did not enjoy Manhattan's attempts to, erm, 'comb' her tail, with claws fully extended. Yup, I still miss her.

More kidling pics, followed by the lucky tattie recipe:

                                         Lady Liberty!

So now for 'lucky tatties', which look like this:

                                    image source

You'll need:

Icing sugar (what we call powdered, or confectioner's sugar)
White fondant (in the cakes and confection's section of the hobby shop)

Dust a cutting board or table top with icing sugar, like you would dust it with flour if making bread. Scoop up 1 or 2 Tbsp. of fondant and mold it into a coin shape on your board; make the shape slightly irregular for a more realistic look.

Turn the coin over in icing sugar, so both sides have a light covering but are still slightly sticky, then place on a clean plate. Dust with cinnamon... more or less, to your preference... and press lightly with fingertips, to make cinnamon adhere better, and so it has a more 'potatoey' appearance. Repeat until you have enough lucky tatties to suit. Store in an airtight container. *You could also use cocoa powder for a similar look, if preferred.

This was shared by my Great Scot's very musical cousin, love this version!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hair Today... + a recipe link

   So, the great hair change-up has begun and this is the first step:

   The cut is in place but the style is courtesy of a curling iron... not something I want to mess with on my shaky days, lol. So the next step, over the coming weekend, is a permanent with (possibly) a different colour thereafter. What should it be: magenta, fire engine red, plum-perfectly purple, or even a neon pink? What? Something more sedate and adult? Where's the fun in that???

   Ah, and the first photo taken with my cellphone... not too shabby! (My cellphone even talks to me. Really. I told it to "Beam me up Scotty!" and it replied... in a really awful Scottish accent... "Sorrry Captain, I need more power!")

   But now for a funny puppy story about the occasionally coy but (almost) always fearless Geraldo...

... and his encounters with the big black refrigerator of DOOM.

   The dead refrigerator was a virtually unnoticeable little white thing that gave up the ghost a while back; Geraldo could ignore it with impunity, but not so with it's replacement. Nope, although he's getting better with it, for the first few days every time it made a noise or someone opened one of it's doors, he ran for the other room. Then he calmed a bit and simply slunk off... now, he's watching it warily, just in case.

   I'll be checking your blogs later today, having the new refrigerator means having insulin again... yay!... but it takes a few days for my body to adjust; add that to a reaction to one of the meds the cardiologist put me on and, although it was a wonderful weekend, it's also been a very tiring and uncomfortable few days. Happens that way sometimes, but things are evening up now.

   Okay, I have a link to a great recipe for you, for a Scottish sweetie called 'macaroon'. This is not the same thing as the macaroon cookies we're used to seeing here in the US, so read on...

Tartan Tastes in Texas is written by Angela, a Scottish ex-pat who lives in Texas with her husband and son... I go here to find a LOT of Scottish recipes, and if that's one of your interests I encourage you to go visit her!

**Edited because, oh no! I forgot to add kidling pics. How could I be so bad??? The kidling and my Dad... they couldn't have been more opposite when it came to photographs. She never met a camera she didn't love, and he only loved cameras when he was behind them, lol.

This woman has the most incredibly powerful voice...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Good Things Are On The Horizon

And some of them have already arrived, see? (Click to super-size!)

   The beautiful Mildred, of the charming Cattails blog, held a giveaway on 3 December, with these gorgeous hand-painted ornaments as the prize. Created by Mildred's friend Celeste, from Southern Daydreams, (also owner and artist-in-chief of the CelestinaMarie Design Etsy shop) these delicate and unique Christmas ornaments are designed and handpainted and crafted by the stunning Celeste herself. Think Marlo Thomas, I did! Along with being an entrepreneur and a woman of superb taste, Celeste has had her handmade ornaments used in decorating the White House's Blue Room Christmas tree... not once but twice! I'd say that was a pretty good thing, wouldn't you?

But that's not all! I've been getting horribly, terribly, irreversibly bored with my hair... which, unlike normal people's, get curlier as it gets longer:

  Short = straight as a stick, longer = curlier and more unruly. SO, it's time for a change, and the change begins tomorrow. It will take around a week for the new style to come to fruition, so I get to tease you for a few days. Bwahahaha! Okay, not life-changing, but humour me; I have to amuse myself somehow. Speaking of life-changing, I'm beginning to notice an improvement in my balance and posture; both good things!

Another good thing: tomorrow our new refrigerator arrives! Our old one conked out on us and getting a replacement is so exciting... not least because it's difficult to keep insulin without one. Annnnd my (very) old cellphone has been dying, slowly and painfully, so guess what! Yup, a new one - I'll finally be able to take photos and send them to myself; guess this means my Luddite days are over?

Last, but certainly not least, the Great Scot is still using up vacation days, so my sweetheart was home today and will be again tomorrow. These times are precious to me so, yes, very good things; and that's not the end of them!

A couple more photos of the kidling, nothing flowergirlish in these pics, lol.

The last one, especially, reminds me of a favourite tee shirt which reads: "Yeah, I play like a girl... And run like a girl... And I can blooter (kick) a fitba' (soccer ball) past your face at 90 miles an hour. Just Like A Girl!"

Tomorrow: Another funny animal story, the recipe for a traditional Scottish sweetie called 'lucky tatties', and a video of a woman with an absolutely stunning voice; but for today how about some pipes and drums?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What Do You Want To DO That For?!!

   I promised you a funny flower girl story, and are you ever going to get one! Btw, the kidling enjoys hearing this story as well, so no fears she'll be mad at her old Momma. (The photos are some of those which were damaged when we had a house fire, so please forgive the dribs, drabs, and foggy bits.)

   It all started with my best friend, Amy, who was soon to be wed to Chris... a sweet and funny guy. Amy and the kidling were best buds too, so it was inevitable that she'd want Jenn to be her flower girl. Amy's mother Linda whipped up a beautiful dress, found child-size lace gloves, and so on... Jenn looked like an absolute doll, even if I do say so myself. Now, I must add a sidenote... Jenn had never seen unrelated adults kissing... *grin*. So the ceremony started out the usual way, all the participants milling around, and so on... (Click to embiggen the photos.)

   Here we are at Grandad's, showing off how beautiful the kidling looks, then her first meeting with the ringbearer:

   Pretty sure, from her expression, the kidling is thinking "Get a load of this guy, he looks goofy!" and from his grin methinks the ringbearer is thinking "Right back atcha babe!" Of course, Amy and Jenn had to pose together:

                              Amy made a beautiful bride!

   The wedding party...

  So, the kidling did very well throughout the ceremony, she even kept the wee ringbearer entertained so he wouldn't wander off. They sat in the front row with Linda, Amy's mother, and the ceremony proceeded calmly, until...

   The pastor uttered those fateful words 'You may kiss the bride' and Jenn jumped to her feet as the kiss commenced, a look of utter horror on her face. As Linda tried to calm her, the kidling put her hands on her hips, looked a little seasick and exclaimed as loudly as only a lively young child can : "EWWWW! What do you want to DO that for??????"

    The dignity of the occasion abruptly and completely shattered as everyone broke down laughing, and the photographer/videographer tried to capture footage... I'm not sure Amy has ever completely forgiven the kidling or I, lol.

   On another note, good things are happening and I'll fill  you in on one of them tomorrow! In the meantime, the Wedding March was playing on Amy and Chris' big day, but I'm pretty sure this was the song playing in Amy's head when Jenn made her big pronouncement!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

12 Gifts of Christmas

   Thanks for your kind comments and suggestions on my last post, you always lift me up! 

   I may have mentioned once or twice that there are a number of nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews in my family. Oh, mentioned it more than once or twice? I'd apologise, but really, I'm not sorry... it just so happens that I'm really quite fond of them; even the ones who forced me to play with Barbies when I was far too old and dignified for such shenanigans. Okay, kindly cease with the laughter folks!

   So why bring them up now? So these two can be introduced:

   Who are they? The lovely lady is Stephanie and the handsome guy is my nephew, Dana. They're both intelligent, driven, determined, athletic, and have great big hearts, but that's not all! Nope, Stephanie is also a trainer and fitness coach. She's also something of a rarity, in my experience, in that she's willing to work with folks who have health issues and movement disorders like, well, me.

   A few days ago she sent me an invitation, via Facebook, to join a 'jumpstart' fitness group. Now, getting to a gym is a real problem for me but this doesn't require a gym. Nope, it's done from one's own home, but with a fantastic meal plan, instructional videos Stephanie made, and lots of ways to stay on track and remain accountable. Did it bother her that I can't do a lot of the exercises, or follow the meal plan exactly (since I have a meal plan which has to take precedence)? Nope, didn't faze her a bit! Instead, her mantra is: Do what you can. When I offered alternative suggestions for exercises she was very supportive, and she also offered alternative suggestions for exercises on her videos. This is exactly the kind of coach which anyone in my situation needs; and the accountability factor is a huge plus! 

   Seriously, there are so many can'ts with a movement disorder that just finding a way to turn them into cans is one of the best gifts one can be given. Discovering new exercises I can incorporate into my workouts is another great gift. This is a 12 day regimen, hence the title of the post, and no... I don't expect to see huge changes in that amount of time, but I do expect to see some changes, and get a much-needed boost for continuing to work on improving my health, balance, and self-esteem. Stephanie is a great encourager, and that's not a gift to be sneezed at either. Thanks Stephanie! 

   To find out a bit more about Stephanie and her 'Aspire' Fitness program, go:  Here

   On another happy note, the kidling's bestie just had a baby girl! Congratulations Ashley, and welcome to the world Skylar Rose! Both mother and daughter are doing well, and Jenn is thrilled to be an honorary Auntie!

Speaking of Jenn, when she was wee my friends frequently requested her services as a flower girl, here are a few photos of the kidling in flower girl finery:

   I think she was over it by the time this last photo was taken, don't you? Btw, Grandma (my Mom) was probably over sewing her dresses by this point as well! Tomorrow, a set of flower girl photos and a funny story to go with them!

Because this song seems appropriate today: