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A Proper Brush for the Skullery

on December 21, 2011 - 9:23am

Got an early Christmas present from my oldest friend who knows me very well.

A smiling skull scrub brush. 

Of course, it's so much fun I don't want to actually use it to clean up dirty plates.

I've been brainstorming various other cleaning tasks where I could use it but it would last longer (bathroom sink cleaner, pretty thing I look at and play with instead of actually cleaning, etc) but have yet to come up with a winning idea. His fate may be in dish-scrubbing in the end. Even if he wants to be a dentist instead. 

We're in the final stretch of Christmas prep when everyone starts to go mad with stress over what they haven't gotten done, so I'm hoping all of you can find some time to just relax a bit and enjoy yourself before Christmas.

I don't know about you, but I tend to enjoy the days just before Christmas more than the actual day. 

Today I'm taking my mother to go and see the live theatre production of Mary Poppins for her birthday. Perhaps I can bring back a little of that sing-a-song-and-everything-gets-done magic for us all. Wouldn't that be nice?

Or at the very least, a chalk drawing we can jump into to escape it all. 

 

 

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Christmas Markets and Krampus

on December 18, 2011 - 8:39am

Today I'm off to frolic in the Distillery District for the last day of their Christmas Market. It's the closest thing Toronto has to a traditional market like the ones in Europe (I've been blessed with having the chance to attend one in Munich).

It will be a full-on Christmas injection: carolers, mulled wine, reindeer, Santa and probably the act of spending too much money.

The one thing it will be missing is Krampus, so I thought I'd share this video of the Krampus parade in Austria. I know we often throw around the word amazing, but in this instance it's not only fitting, but perhaps understated.

Now excuse me while I plot a way to convince Yetch to take me to Austria for next year's parade.

Darth Vader Leads Christmas Choir

on December 17, 2011 - 6:56am

"Algonquin College. Exam week can be stressful on students. Inspired by the Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus, the Television Broadcasting students at Algonquin College wanted to showcase the new Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence by lightening the mood with the help of the Ottawa Regional Youth Choir and Darth Vader."

(thanks Cooter ;) )

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Bartley Barnacle by King Unicorn

on December 16, 2011 - 9:34am

No sudden movements.

There's a fairly frightening creature near my desk.

His golden Dagon adornments confirm my suspicion he's connected to Innsmouth and make me ill at ease, as do his claws and teeth.

And that stare. 

He got here by way of Georgia. I don't know yet what he wants. Or if I can use his arrival to my advantage.

For now, we both wait. And watch.

Oh Christmas Tree, Mine Enemy

on December 7, 2011 - 4:09pm

See it glowing, so lovely, so welcoming? It's all a ruse to lull you into a sense of calm.

It all started a week ago.

Yetch and I brought the tree upstairs. Since I'm a light fanatic when it comes to Christmas trees (thank you Mom), I tend to have more lights than most people. In fact, I have so many lights my tree looks as though it's decorated before I hang the first ornament.

Because of this, I don't take the lights off each year. Instead, we carry it into the storage room every January, throw a large orange jack o'lantern plastic bag over top, and leave it alone.

What follows is a mundane, boring tale of how Christmas has an evil side lurking beneath it, and how it all started with a string of lights.

A Toast to Old Man Ludo

on November 18, 2011 - 3:15pm

I am one of those people who, when pressed, will admit to being a skeptic and pessimist; that I believe, overall, the world is full of terrible beings. 

While people can be wonderful in moments, I still think we encounter more negative spirits than positive ones. Or at the very least, tend to show each other our more selfish sides than sharing our giving, loving selves.

There are few things (and I mean a trickle in the stream) in this world that always reminded me that we're not all lost in this bungled existence. At the top of the list was Ludo. 

I've had many dogs throughout my life, but this creature was different. He was some strange little benevolent gentleman in a furry body; my touchstone whenever I had just about given up on hoping the universe would redeem itself.

Today we took the old man for his last car ride. Before heading to our final destination, we stopped at his favourite place in the world (besides home): a leaf-lined path through the woods up north. We didn't stay long or travel far, but even in the short stroll he was able to take in his weakened state, he seemed more alive than he has the past few weeks (though still heartbreakingly ill). Or maybe more at peace than he has been. 

Death is sad, yes. And losing a creature you've a bond with is devastating. But more than that, the world moves on, not knowing it's lost one of the few lights in the gloom. So today, in my own small way with this post, I wanted to make sure as many people as possible knew that one of those lights has been extinguished.

So raise a glass to the old man. Bid him a deserved farewell. Toast all things and people that bring light into our lives. And tonight I'll light a candle because my world has gotten noticeably darker.

Burnt Brittle!

on November 8, 2011 - 4:41pm

The last traces of this year's Jack O'Lantern - the seeds - have been mistreated. 

I had been saving them to make the Pumpkin Seed Brittle recipe I've been eyeing for years, resisting the urge to snack on their toasted goodness while they waited patiently in a container in my office (Yetch would have devoured them otherwise). 

Today I found the time to make it. Had it heating up on the stove when I thought "oh! I should have my camera and take pictures for the website".

By the time I ran into the other room and retrieved the camera, my brittle went from light toffee to deep amber.

*sigh*

Yetch is still very pleased with the results.

Sunday Brings Pumpkin Treats

on November 6, 2011 - 8:13am

Up early on this Sunday morning (thanks to change in the clocks and Yetch's inability to turn his alarm off). While making pumpkin pie I saved some of the filling to infuse in milk and make myself a pumpkin latte.

Halloween over? Never. It simply lurks.

 

Ventriloquist Dummy Cake

on November 6, 2011 - 7:45am

Birthday cake? I'd say this rates as one of the creepiest Halloween cakes of all time. You can check out more cake coolness at Jana's Fun Cakes.

Frank and Beans

on November 5, 2011 - 7:11pm

If you have some extra time, check out the kitschy collection of photos and figures by judibird. There's more where this gem came from.

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