Wednesday, November 27, 2019

You should be dancing, yeah

Life is like a disco ball . . .
No matter how the music changes, you just keep dancing.

Greeted by a giant disco ball how could patrons to the annual fundraising gala not know that an entertaining evening was in store?? Movers and shakers filled the spaces, and some of them even danced. Big band sounds, swing dancing and melodious female blues delighted almost as much as the free-flowing prosecco. A good time was had by all.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Display Candy

Christmas is like candy: it slowly melts in your mouth sweetening every taste bud, making you wish it could last forever. 
Richelle E. Goodrich, American novelist and poet in Smile Anyway 

Our gift shop sparkled with new window displays this evening. The twinkle lighting and curlicue stencils create an enticingly lovely presence along the sidewalk, looking very much like a sugary confection. Such cheery displays are visual candy for these old eyes.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Nostalgic for Christmas Catalogues

May you never be too grown up to search the skies on Christmas eve.

The Christmas catalogue on Mom and Dad’s kitchen table filled me with the warmth of nostalgia. I fondly remember hours spent leafing through the Eaton’s catalogue, folding page corners as markers and making my wish list for Santa. 

A very similar gleeful sensation filled me five decades later as I eyed the Embossing Rolling Pins that “let you press detailed, seamless designs into rolled-out sheets of dough, embossing deeply so that pattern stays crisply defined, even after baking.” Can you say, “new toy”? ;-)

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Sweet Joy

There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
Khalil Gibran, Lebanese-American writer and poet (1883-1931)

Santa’s cookie elf has hung up her apron, stashed her cap, and thrown her striped socks in the wash. Collapsed on the sofa with a whiskey in hand, she is happily content that another successful Cookie Walk is complete.

Every permutation of butter, sugar and flour seemed to be present on the bountiful tables.

The financials have yet to be calculated, but the sugar-fueled enthusiasm of our patrons certainly indicates our success. The cookie elf team beamed throughout the day, reflecting back the joy on the faces of our customers.

We’ll be back again next year! Stay tuned!

Ho ho ho! :-)

Friday, November 22, 2019

Being Best

Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.
St. Jerome, biblical scholar regarded as the most learned of the Latin Fathers (c. 347–419)

I was tickled to read the subtitle of our church bazaar sign when Mom and I arrived to set up the Cookie Walk tables. Based on customer reviews, the Melrose Cookie Walk is indeed ‘the best’ in town. Yet while revelling in a moment of gleeful pride, the responsibility of maintaining our ‘gold star’ status percolated through my mind. And so the oven was fired up again tonight to produce a few last batches of heavenly sugar to add to the bounty of tomorrow’s table.

Fingers crossed that we host another great event – and remain "the best".

Stay tuned. :-)

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Building Bridges

Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.
Joseph Fort Newton, American Baptist minister (1880–1950)

Following a thought-provoking and heartrending three-day symposium examining artistic responses to the migration crisis, my key learning is the imperative to make human-to-human connections to dispel fear and build empathy.

I was filled with pride for the organization I work for in bringing together Pulitzer Prize photographs, the newly released film Hearts and Bones, journalists, dancers, writers, Indigenous activists, political scientists and front-line humanitarians to share experiences and ideas for strengthening the connectedness of humanity. Connectedness will stand strong against those who empower themselves by enflaming fear and building walls. As Portuguese statesman, Antonio Guterres has warned, “As a global community, we face a choice. Do we want migration to be a source of prosperity and international solidarity, or a byword for inhumanity and social friction?”

My experience this week leads me to seek out connections and to build my own small bridge.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Family to the Rescue

Family is a life jacket in the stormy sea of life.
J.K. Rowling, British authors, screenwriter, producer (1965–)

My nephew is a hero. He rescued three souls adrift last night. A stranger, a work friend and myself were stranded just outside of Toronto after an auto-vs-train accident brought commuter traffic to a halt. Facing an uncertain and lengthy wait, a phone call to Bro led to the one-man cavalry setting out in a Jeep to rescue his aunt. While J fought his way through Friday night traffic, the three of us abandoned the inert train and took refuge in the nearby Fair Grounds Organic Coffee shop. The stranger bought us treats and the hero got us home. To quote the hero, "That's what families are for." :-)

Friday, November 15, 2019

In Praise of Chianti

Good Chianti, that aged, majestic and proud wine, enlivens my heart, and frees it painlessly from all fatigue and sadness.
Francesco Redi, Italian physician, naturalist, biologist and poet (1626–1697)

After days of monitoring the newsfeeds of the flooding in Venice, a colleague and I toasted the life-affirming, soul-inspiring qualities of Italy. We shared our travel memories as we shared a lovely Chianti.   

Good wine, good food and good conversation definitely combine to dissolve the fatigue and sadness weighing on the heart. There are challenges, but life is good.

Cin cin!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Breathing in a Mid-November Sunrise

The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different.
J.B. Priestly, English novelist, playwright and broadcaster (1894–1984)

How precious it was to drink in the beautiful sunrise with my morning coffee prior to leaving the warmth of my wee abode for the train. It won’t be long before darkness settles upon my morning commute, so I breathed in the view and gave thanks for daylight savings time.

And I do love how snow seems to quieten the world. All seemed reverently hushed as I made my way to the station. There seemed to be fewer cars passing and my own usual brisk pace slowed out of caution for slippery ice. The quietening felt good.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Lest We Forget

In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row, 
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard among the guns below. 

Col. John McCrae, Canadian poet, physician and WWI soldier, In Flanders Fields (1872-1918) 

My boss gifted me with a beautiful poppy broach made by an Indigenous artist of red and black beads, porcupine quills and leather.

You might notice that the edging of the poppy includes one bead, different from the others. As the artist, Marissa Magneson, wrote: This is a spirit bead. Spirit beads are intentionally placed to recognize that everyone makes mistakes, but it is important to embrace these imperfections as they make us human.”

I will treasure this broach and honour its many meanings.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Timing is Everything

Observe due measure, for right timing is in all things the most important factor.
Hesiod, Greek poet (living around 700 BC)

 Mom certainly timed things right. We were at the garage at 8am for her annual appointment to put on snow tires. The blizzard started before 8:15am.

While the snow mounts in the streets, I am sitting cozy in my wool socks and sweater with a quilt over my legs. A hot toddy is keeping the tummy warm and cheeks rosy.

In the moment I can say, “Bring on the snow!” Timing is everything.

Wishing everyone warmth on this wintery night.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Vineyard Treasures

Every season hath its pleasure;
Spring may boast her flowery prime,
Yet the vineyard's ruby treasuries
Brighten Autumn's sob'rer time.
Thomas Moore, Irish author and composer (and son of a Roman Catholic wine merchant) (1779-1852)

"Corkie" joined the Three Winos on our annual fall tour of local vineyards for the Wrapped Up in the Valley event. The skies were grey and the wind was cold but the ruby treasures of our local vintners warmed our souls.

Twenty Valley's "Wrapped Up in the Valley" passport to great wines and food pairings marks the beginning of the holiday celebrations. I'd opine that this is a fine way to begin a season of cheer.

Once again, the pairings rank superb: mouthwatering and highly complimentary to their vintners' showcase.

"Corkie" (aptly named by my wordsmith S-I-L) has been a bit of bear to create but I am happy with the result. After all is done, he brings a smile. The mom of the soon-to-be-born vintage is a treasure at one of our favourite wineries, hence the inspiration for the fabrics.

The quilting reflects love for child and love of the vineyard's treasures.

May all our souls be warmed by love!