All posts tagged: Christmas

Well of Lost Thoughts – 2017

When I find ideas that speak to me, but I’m not ready to blog about them,  I save them on my Fueled by Chocolate ‘Well of Lost Thoughts’ Facebook Page. Here are just a few of the ones I have ‘rescued’ from there to share with you. How Cold was our Christmas this Year? “On Boxing Day, extreme cold warnings were issued for a section of Canada stretching from the Alberta/B.C. border all the way to the St. Lawrence River. That’s a swath of Canada roughly 3,500 km wide.” from the National Post: Mars and the North Pole are warmer than Winnipeg It was -30C (-22F) here at the Red House on Boxing Day (December 26). It takes a lot of fuel to heat our country in the winter – renewable resources are not going to be able to provide that much energy in the near term. In the meantime, we depend on fossil fuels. This video by Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans, (filmed near Devon, Alberta on May 30, 2004) is a favourite …

Christmas Tree Ornaments

A Digital Marble (Amazing Circle) made from a photo of a decorated Christmas Tree. Photo manipulating programs have a polar coordinate filter that can turn a photo into a circular shape that is reminiscent of a fortune teller’s orb or marble. They are also commonly called Amazing Circles. I recently found a post by Russel Ray with full directions and illustrations for how to create An orb in Photoshop. Be sure to go to his post to see his intriguing results! I’m very excited with my marble photos, though I will soon have so many of them that I expect the novelty will wear off – for you. I don’t think I will tire of it soon because each one is so unpredictable. I never know what will be inside the marble photo until it is complete! Here are the directions for making these using one purchased program and one freeware program. 1. Photoshop Elements 10: a. Open your picture in Photoshop Elements or Photoshop and enhance it as desired. I usually adjust the lighting …

Christmas Tree

Christmas – there is, perhaps, no other time of the year when Peace and Goodwill is more prevalent. That is what makes Christmas my favorite time of the year and my Christmas Tree my favorite photo this month. My Christmas Tree is full of decorations that are either home made or from little shops all over the world. There is even something from Qatar where local merchants take a multi-prong approach to marketing for every major holiday, even non-Muslim ones! O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Your branches green delight us!   They are green when summer days are bright, They are green when winter snow is white.   O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Your branches green delight us! – English version of O Tannenbaum by Ernst Anschütz –   The Christmas Tree in Canada:  Advent calendars, gingerbread houses, cookies and Christmas trees were all introduced by German settlers who migrated to Canada from the United States in the 1700’s. But it was Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, who solidified the Christmas tree …

The Christmas Spirit Can’t Come too Early this Year

The World of Commerce starts promoting Christmas earlier and earlier each year, it seems. In Canada and the United States, the ‘Great Pumpkin’ products can be in one shopping aisle and ‘Jolly Old Saint Nick’ can be in the next. Personally, I don’t like the crass materialism of the season, and I really feel sorry for the Sales Associates in the stores. Imagine having to listen to the same Christmas music for almost 2 months! This year, however, I’ve put up my small table top Christmas tree already. Every time I walk by it, I am cheered by the tiny white snowmen decorations that my daughter and I made over 18 years ago. At night the twinkly lights brighten that corner of the room. It is peaceful. I have several reasons for putting up this tree so early. First, it is a calming reminder that this final journey with a loved one is down their path to a peaceful place. The tree is also a reminder that the greatest contribution I can give others right now …

Christmas 2016 – Santa and the North Pole

Christmas is very nearly here, and I’d like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, and All the Best in the New Year. As you can see from this photo of my Christmas tree, I’m all ready for Santa to visit.  I anticipate one very nicely wrapped medium sized gift of the hair drying appliance variety! For better or for worse, Christmas is a time for gifts and giving. Who knows that better than Santa – and Wal-Mart, Costco and Tesco, to name just a few of the larger retailers! While it is easy to walk into the familiar brick and mortar stores in communities around the world, it is quite impossible to visit Santa’s establishment. There are several reasons for this. First, of course, is the fact that Santa is not a retailer. He is the owner of a factory and distribution outlet. His business model simply does not include on-site sales. Then there is the issue of the location of his  facility. It is, according to lore, at the North Pole …

Anticipating a Better Picture – Over the Air Television

One of the things on our Christmas wish list this year was a gift for our TV set. Television – in my lifetime, I’ve ‘seen’ it all! Our first TV had rabbit ears which were enhanced with wire and tinfoil. In later years we had roof top antennas, then big satellite dishes, little satellite dishes, and cables. Our first TV gave us one station. In later years we had dozens of stations, then hundreds of stations. Our TV screens were sometimes as small as a laptop computer, sometimes big boxes that took two men to lift, and finally flat screen lightweights that hung on the wall. We wanted to see if we could ‘cut the cord’ on our Satellite TV service. To do that, we needed a digital antenna that would pick up free Over the Air (OTA) television. The Car Guy chose a TERK omni-digital antenna for 1080 HDTV broadcasts. Like children who peek at their presents before Christmas morning,  we opened this  gift a few weeks ago. The installation was very easy once …

Christmas Greetings – 2015

The Car Guy is in the kitchen making S’More Pinwheels; the snow is gently falling; NORAD is already tracking Santa’s progress; we have no place we have to be until tomorrow morning – Life is Good. I don’t mean to sound like a Grinch, but if we are going to be ‘entertained’ by Christmas Carols for almost a month, don’t you think they could play this one now and again? I want a hippopotamus for Christmas Only a hippopotamus will do No crocodiles or rhinoceroseses I only like hippopotamuseses And hippopotamuses like me too! – Written by John Rox, sung by Gayla Peevey in 1953- To the member of our family who got my name in the Christmas draw – you didn’t ask me for a Christmas Wish List. Did you finally get me a hippo? To my small group of faithful readers – and to the thousands of followers of this blog who might stumble onto this post by mistake – Have a very Merry Christmas! Post 525

At Peace on Christmas Eve – 2013

All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king. – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring – Forgive but do not forget. Forgiving changes the perspectives. Forgetting loses the lesson – Paulo Coelho – Post 456

The WestJet Christmas Miracle

Part of a WestJet flight attendant’s arrival announcement: “We’d like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you’ll think of WestJet Airways.” Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus – but he wears a blue suit, not a red one! Watch how Santa and his WestJet Elves put the magic back into Christmas: WestJet Airlines was founded in 1996 by a team of Calgary entrepreneurs as a western Canadian regional carrier with three aircraft flying to five cities. Today, WestJet is Canada’s leading high-value, low-fare airline offering scheduled service to more than 80 destinations in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. They lead in the ‘fun factor’ category too! Post 455

Home – The LEGO Businessman and the Oranges

December found us far from Home, though at a place we are learning to call home – our Snowbird place in Arizona. The gathering of the clan at Christmas was a smaller event than usual and Christmas morning was a quiet affair. At least it was until a stranger appeared in my Christmas stocking. He said he was just a Businessman, but there was something about his bowler hat that hinted he had a secret agenda. We decided to spy on him! Armed with only our cameras and our wits, we syrupti… serrepti… surreptitiously followed him around for the next few days. Here is what we found: Businessman spent a lot of time investigating a bowl of oranges.  On the surface, it all seemed innocent enough… But apparently there was one bad one in the bunch. Businessman coldly bisected it and skewered it with a cocktail fork. Later that day, we found him up on the roof of the house with the stalk of another orange in his hand. We heard him whisper, “This is …

How to Make Melted Crayon Art

Last fall each of my grown children purchased new crayons and artist’s canvas, and it wasn’t for the grand-children to take to school. No, they used a glue gun, a candle and a hair dryer to create a merger of the crayons and the canvas. Here is what they made: The result was my Christmas Present last year.  I’m hoping they will do the same this year. I loved the results! One daughter, the one who lives to cook, presented me with this beautiful bundle of vegetables. I can only imagine how long it took to melt the crayons with a candle, then plant each melted bit onto the canvas! Another daughter glued black, grey, white, green and yellow crayons onto the top of a canvas, then used a hair dryer to melt the pointed ends so they dripped. Note the new colours that formed near the bottom where one colour ran into another. The third daughter – whose husband rides the same model of Harley that The Car Guy did (see A Perfect Storm) …

Santa and His Sleigh Added to a Moon Photo

I took a photo of the moon on an overcast night, then created a new layer in Photoshop Elements to superimpose Santa and his reindeer – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph. The 1823 poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas”, now better known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, introduced the concept of Santa and his Reindeer: More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name. “Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on, Cupid! on Dunder and Blixem! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now, dash away! dash away! dash away all! Dunder and Blixem later became Donner and Blitzen. Rudolph was introduced in a children’s book by Robert L. May in 1939.

Line Up the Usual Suspects – Gingerbread Men and Pyrogy

We decorated the Gingerbread Men on Boxing Day. In Canada, Boxing Day is December 26th, and at The Red House, it is the day that we normally cook The Wokadoo. And just what is a Wokadoo, you might ask? Many years ago, one of our young nephews was having trouble saying, or perhaps even remembering, the word ‘turkey’. But he was sure, when the bird was still alive, that it made some sort of noise and he was equally sure the sound was ‘cock a doodle doo’. But again, he couldn’t put his finger on that word exactly. The very best he could come up with, was that the bird I had in the oven was a ‘wokadoo’, and that is what I have called a turkey ever since. It was an Open and Shut Case. The Confectioner had no trouble identifying the culprit who was making off with the Candy Canes… ____________________________ This year, however, we didn’t cook a Wokadoo, opting out for a ham instead. A ham is quick and simple, and compliments …

A Very Short Christmas ‘To Do’ List – 2011

It will come as a shock to no one that cancer isn’t something you put on your “LIST OF THINGS TO DO TODAY”. – Erma Bombeck, Chapter 13, I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to go to Boise – Children Surviving Cancer- Early December, 1992. The diagnosis was acute lym­phoblastic leukemia. Our youngest child, a teenager who had been feeling ill for only a few weeks, was suddenly a cancer patient. My Christmas “To Do” list was pretty short that year – put up our Christmas Tree at home and a little tree at the hospital. I suppose I cooked a turkey on Christmas Day, but I don’t really remember. I wrote my annual Christmas Letter, but it was very short. It started out with, “Then, life took one of those turns that you never really expect…” Christmas happened anyhow. The rest of the family stepped in and upheld the traditions they felt were important. Friends and family visited and brought baking (which was a special treat because it …

We Say Merry Christmas – 2011

Our Family celebrates Christmas. We aren’t all practicing Christians, but we say Merry Christmas, and we sing Christmas Carols. We decorate our house, and eat turkey. We visit friends, and we exchange gifts. We believe in the miracle of the birth of all children. We hope for Peace on Earth, and we extend our hands to all in Good Will.  We don’t think you have to belong to any particular religious denomination to accept and celebrate all that is good about this holiday – this holiday we call Christmas. Some of the most wonderful things have to be believed to be seen. Like flying reindeer and angels. Like peace on earth, goodwill, hope, and joy. Real because they can be imagined into being. Christmas is not a date on a calendar but a state of mind. – Robert Fulghum –