Beauty in the Ordinary

This is not about being brilliant, or extraordinary, it's not about wanting to be famous, or making headlines, or trying to impress...this about sharing a 'gift' each day with the lift the spirit of people when they read this blog, to show them the beauty in the ordinary.
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Raold Dahl

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Traditions of the Season

A light dusting of snow has been forecast for the end of this week.

...and so the vanilla sugar has been put up...

...the sacred, ancient recipe has been unearthed...


¾ c  vanilla infused sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
10 oz butter
1 pkt vanilla sugar
3 c flour
Icing sugar and jam to finish
  1. Mix all dry ingredients
  2. Rub in butter
  3. Add eggs and egg yolk
  4. Roll on lightly-floured board
  5. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 325 for 12-15 minutes until pale yellow
  6. Sandwich with jam and dust with icing sugar

...the baking will begin so tradition may be honoured and the soul invoked to embrace the spirit of this season.

Such a beautiful time of the year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Calling All Angels

I've just found out that our house, this Christmas, is going to be quite full.

It's a good thing, a very good thing...but I'm going to give being organized a go this year.

Here's my greatest dilemma... while I love to cook and feed people, 
I do find it all quite exhausting.

And, try as I may, I can't seem to ever get out of the kitchen.

So, in an effort to change things up, I'd like to prepare and freeze some dishes.

And here is where all you angels come in.

I really would appreciate your help here.

Could you please?...would you please? in the comments section, post a link to your 

Most Tried and True Freezable Recipe

I don't care if it's a casserole, breakfast dish, dessert, soup or bread.  
I don't care if you just give me a rough outline of something that works, or go into incredible detail.

All and each suggestion will be most gratefully received.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Brown Paper Book Club

Lovely, globe-trotting, blog-friend Jeanne of
the amazing Collage of Life blog;  she, who sometime in the next year will be winging her way to Vietnam for their next posting, planted this seed of an idea about
book-sharing when she created

You can find her list of recommended books

Today, I received my first book in 
The Brown Paper Book Club from my dear friend Petra.

Even though Petra didn't know she was participating!

It's about Food and India and France.

Three things Petra knows I adore.

She even inscribed it for me...a little tentative about her choice as I am typically so hard to please when it comes to books!  However, I know I am going to love it.

And when I have finished reading it,
I will inscribe it, tie it up lovingly in brown paper and string
and send it on it's way to you Victoria.

And then you can do the same to, perhaps Jessica? and she can send it to Tally, who can send it to Lindsay, who can send it to Annie...and on and on it will travel. 

 Each time a little more dog-eared, a little more underlined, a little more loved.

I love the romance of this idea.

Thank you Jeanne.
Thank you Petra.
Thank you Postman.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mumblings and Musings of Two Sisters...Letter #5

P.O. Box 1354
Where the River meets the Lake Behind the Falls
On the Mainland

Did you watch that debacle Sunday night?  I mean...Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Song of Lunch...a recipe for ecstasy, right?  WRONG!  What self-indulgent rubbish...soooooo disappointing.
Moving on...the season is beginning!  I have been so busy getting ready for Christmas.  I've pulled all the bins and baskets out and the house is beginning to smile...really, I'm not kidding!  

Thank you Universe...the weather has been so accommodating.  I've been able to decorate the front porch, while cleaning up leaves and putting all the garden 'stuff' away at the same time.
We picked up the local paper the other day and participated in the Home Depot Christmas Light Trade In.  They took your old, non-working strings of lights, and for each one traded a coupon for 30% off five new ones.  I was positively giddy!  The house couldn't twinkle more if it tried.

Both the girls and I have agreed that presents will be a low priority this year.  We each want to make this Christmas special in all the other ways, so I am raiding my games cupboard; trying to come up with easy recipes we can cook together and planning some long, interesting local walks.
I've been thinking about the Christmas movie list too.  Not sure why, but 84 Charing Cross Road keeps speaking to me...I'm pretty sure it's not a Christmas movie, but, what the hey!  Of course, Love Actually will be top of the list.  Any other suggestions?
Saturday morning, one of the local churches (do you know we have six within walking distance in our little town and only two pubs...rather disproportionate don't you think?) is hosting its Annual Bazaar.  I'm sure it will be full of lots of hand-crocheted ornaments and the like.  I'm actually on the hunt for an antique linen or handmade hand-towel for the powder room.  I had a look at  some new ones in town yesterday, but nothing spoke to my heart.

Then we have the Candlelight Stroll on December 3 and our lovely Christmas Parade December 10.  Likely we will participate with local friends for the former and Lindsay, her man and his little girl are coming for the is Rudy's dad.  It will be Immie and Papa...can't wait for those photos.
So tell me all of your lovely holiday plans on the west coast.  Are you cooking this year...or are the 'gang' entertaining you? 
And how is 303 Little House looking?  What are you and Molly planning for decorations?  You know I always look to you for inspiration.  I would like to have all the decorating finished, including having the tree up, by the beginning of December, so that I can fully concentrate on stocking the freezer.  Too often I find myself confined to the kitchen over the holidays.  I'm really going to try and be organized so I can cut back on my KP duties.  As well you know though, pre-planning meals is not my forte...I love it when they just sort of happen, and having our little supermarket just across the street is such a temptation to last-minute ideas.  I must stay focused.

Thanks for the walk and the rose-hip tonic recipe in your last letter.  Rose hips don't seem to be in abundance in the wild down here, so if you should read a news report of "local woman arrested for creeping into her neighbour's garden in the dead of night armed with secateurs", you will promise to come and bail me out won't you?

What I wouldn't give for a real walk with you.  Rudy and I have been out almost every morning and while I really appreciate the exercise...I practically have to run to be able to keep up with him...conversation is a little on the sparse side.  Oh well, one takes what one can get, right?

Write soon, missing you desperately as always, love j.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Out One Door...In Another

Have you ever left one room with a quest in mind,
only to reach another and wonder
"what the heck am I doing here?"

Did you think you were losing your mind?

Did you rush to the telephone to make an appointment with the
Alzheimer Specialist?

Well...wonder no longer...this explains all.

Apparently, it's the act of moving from one room to another that causes all the problems.  You know, you leave the kitchen to get another tea towel from the linen cupboard upstairs and while on the second floor, you pick up something that belongs in one of the bedrooms.  So, after putting that away, you pop into the bathroom to, well you know what you do in the bathroom, and afterwards you open the linen closet door and stand just stand there, staring at the linens, thinking:

"What?  what?  what the heck am I doing here?"

You are not going mad.  We are not going bonkers.  It's all about Doors.  They are the mystifying component.

Doors play big tricks on your memory.

Shut the door on one room and just leave all that belongs there there.
"All clear Body...mission complete."

Open the door to the next room, Brain clicks into new, fresh mode.
"Okay Body...what are we doing here?"

I don't know about you...but I have a whole new, fresh, scientific explanation for being just a bit loopy.  I love it!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Changing Things Up

"So, darling...what do you think about changing things up?"

"What?...hmmm? Changing what up?"

Well, you know, winter is coming;  getting out and about is a bit more challenging. It could mean the pounds could pile on."

"Yes? And?"

" would be a good thing if we re-thought all the eating and sitting around don't you think?"

"Possibly...what exactly are you suggesting here?"

Well...just a suggestion don't you know...but how about this...
Monday to Thursday...lunch instead of dinner?  No wine, perhaps a soup and sandwich (you know I'm pretty inventive in this category).  And then, Friday, Saturday and Sunday a nice dinner with a bottle of wine?  What do you say?"

"Alright old girl...let's give it a go".

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, November 11, 2011

If You Like a Good Read...

go here...

She also has really good pictures of her beautiful dog.

I LOVE this blog.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Eleventh Hour, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Month

...never was so much owed by so many to so few...


Loy Krathong

Today marks the south-east-Asian festival of 
Loy Krathong.

Beautiful offerings are assembled in little boats created from banana leaves.

In this boat, you put your grievances, recriminations, grudges, sorrows, fears;
anything that is making your heart heavy and sore...

and you let it go...

In Bangkok, you set your offering on a body of water.

In Chang Mai you create a beautiful paper balloon

and release it into the heavens...

You empty your soul of any bitterness you may have been storing there
in order to begin again with a fresh and open heart.

Beautiful no?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Page 8

As November settles in with her long-dark evenings, we now have to come inside from playing earlier that perfect.

And so we turn to some TV and Radio for entertainment.
(sitting cosily wrapped with a good book sends me off to sleep far too early!)

On Sunday evening, we watched the first offering of the new

Page 8

Bill Nighy, Michael Gambon, Rachael Weiss

Here's the official synopsis:

"What happens when spies grow older in a post-9/11 world? Sixty-something MI-5 agent Johnny Worricker has amassed an impressive art collection, an amicable collection of ex-wives, and a droll, unflappable relationship with the work he enjoys alongside his boss and best friend, MI5 chief Benedict Baron. But when Benedict brings to light damning evidence of British complicity with illegal American torture operations, it falls to Johnny to do the right thing. And the right thing, in this morally ambiguous new era, is unclear — as unclear as the motives of Johnny's neighbor, Nancy, who draws Johnny in with her sad beauty and a secret of her own."

It was excellent.  British TV at its best.

Next week:

Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson star in

"Waiter, I'll take the nostalgia special with a side of recrimination and finish with regret, for a lunch that celebrates love and ambition with poignancy, humor, and affection."

I can't wait!

I think I'm getting the hang of November.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mumblings and Musings of Two Sisters...Letter #3

P.O. Box 1354
Where the River meets the Lake Behind the Falls
On the Mainland

A bit of a heavy heart this morning...I'm not too sure what it's all about, perhaps this fall back out of daylight-saving time into more of a synchronicity with the revolving earth?  Something in my head is screaming for more authenticity.  I feel like I am surrounded by people who don't view life the way I do.  These are not bad people...they just live and think so differently from me.
So much so to cause me to feel un-real (if that's even a word!) when I spend time with them.  

Anyway...on to sunnier things...
As the weather here has been absolutely beautiful over the past couple of days, I finally got most of my little garden tidied up.  Now the puzzle is where to store everything over the winter.  The garage is absolutely heaving, (mostly cardboard boxes - but that's a story for another day).  Rudy put up a lot of shelving over the summer in there, so it probably just needs some shifting around.  Then we need to decide what to do about the cars.  As you know, part of the de-construction of the Florida house meant car #2 came home to Canada with us.  We need a second car like a hole in the head, but my darling man just hates to part with either of them.  I will give him the fact that they are very different vehicles and so serve different functions.  Personally, as much fun as the little convertible is, I would like to sell it and just hold onto the SUV.  While it is a bit of a gas-guzzler, we don't drive very often and it's far more practical.  I can feel a serious conversation coming on in our house...and one I probably won't win!

I disassembled the entire sound system last week...many furtive hours spent downstairs with cables with funny-coloured ends lying all over the floor.  I did manage to put it all back together, with the aid of 3 instruction manuals (TV, cable box and sound system) and multiple cups of tea and have everything working except for the picture for the DVD player.  So right now, we can hear a movie...just can't watch it!  My poor head was banging so badly afterwards I've decided to leave it for Monday morning and just start all over again!
The good news is,  Steve changed the inner tube on my bicycle tire - you know it costs the same to buy a new inner tube as it does a patch kit these days? - so I'm back to riding in this glorious weather.   AND, I fixed the leaky dishwasher myself.  Again...I hauled out the instruction manual and discovered a trap that I had no idea existed that, to my shame, was quite gucky.  Once cleaned, no more leaks.

If you have any thoughts on the heavy-heart-situation, you know how much I appreciate your guidance.
Write soon and let me know how the fam-dam is.  Hugs and kisses to everyone...especially you.  J.

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