Thursday, December 25, 2014

Gratitude Day-Merry Christmas!

Over at the Beautiful Vidya Sury's Blog, The last Thursday of each month we post about what we are grateful for. Isn't that wonderful! It is Christmas Day and this day is special in so many ways. What better time to post about being grateful for what one has in one's life. I have decided to do the ABC's of Christmas and I am winging it so here goes:

  1. ADVENT-4 Sundays before Christmas one celebrates the coming of Christ's birth. I actually make my own Advent wreath and it hangs from the ceiling. One is supposed to light a candle each Sunday until all 4 are lit, but since my candles go wonky and I don't want a fire...I pretend they are lit.
  2. BEAUTY- We all complain about, well, everything, but we forget the beauty of the season, the beauty in people and in a simple snowflake
  3. COOKIES- Ha! Thought I would say Christmas-fooled ya! Who can't long for a good cookie, I do and I don't care if it adds fat to my fat.
  4. DESSERT-From the 50lb brick called Fruitcake that never seems to go bad to trifle and Christmas pudding..what's not to love?
  5. ELVES-Those strange little men who don't mind working every single day just for toys. They really need a Union.
  6. FAMILY and FRIENDS- From the holy family to our dysfunctional family, Christmas is about being with loved ones and thanking them (well the nice ones) and this includes our dear friends and blogger friends-Thank you!! By the Way thanks Vidya for your sweetness, it touched my heart and I will be a guest on her blog in the near future:)
  7. GOODNESS-We can be touched throughout the year by the people who have touched our lives and have made us smile. This is the goodness in people which we must always remember. I am more spiritual but this time of the year makes many people think of God and be thankful.
  8. Holly-Holly looks so good but they are prickly...damm Holly:)
  9. Icicles-Thought I would be saying Ivy eh? Fooled ya again! I love how icicles look-so clean and pretty unless one falls and knocks you out, that wouldn't be good. I have to dream about them today as it is almost 50F-I want cold and snow!
  10. JOLLY-Why do we think that only fat men can be jolly, like Burl Ives? Anyone can be jolly we just have to set our mind to it. I guess I should have picked Jesus-he is a little more important but everyone would pick him:)
  11. KRIS KRINGLE- He goes by many names and he may be wanted by Interpol...just saying?
  12. LIGHTS-I love the little lights that twinkle. Some like all white, others like multi-coloured or just one colour. Some will have the lights go off to music and others will decorate the outside home so that the Martians can see us and try to conquer us (Ever see that film "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians?) . Some still love the old fashioned ones that could burn your fingers off
  13. MARY-Nope not Merry but Jesus's mother. She is the mother of ALL mothers and sacrificed all as all mothers do. Too bad it was immaculate conception (I wrote consumption and then thought..that's not right) she didn't even have fun first.
  14. much can be thought of with that one word but I am thinking of Chestnuts, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, beernuts..oops not the last one. This is the time we all love to crack open some nuts even the men
  15. ORNAMENTS-They are so beautiful! We all have favourites because they bring back memories. Even the tacky ones and we all have at least one that we hang in the back of the tree.
  16. PRESENTS- Under the tree and in the stockings-they are great and I love presents but what gives me more joy  is giving and seeing how happy the person is in receiving it and usually they are not faking!
  17. QUALITY- Whether it is in the fabulous food we eat, the tree we bought we all want good quality especially quality of life and what better way to appreciate what we have. Just remember this if you dare go out shopping the next day which I avoid.
  18. RUDOLPH-His bright red nose, how can one not like this slightly effeminate reindeer and the cartoon is as old as me. Personally I think he went more for Hermie than Clarice.
  19. SANTA- I love Santa, St. Nicholas, Sinter Klaas, Weinnachtsmann (see the letter K above). This redneck changes from being fat in a red suit to being thin travelling alone or with Angels or, in German Bavaria with Krampus-an Evil devil.....Yeah not sure I get it either but has to be some midieval thing going on here
  20. TANNENBAUM-The Christmas Tree where we hack down a tree from nature bring it into our homes and decorate it with tinsel, lights and ornaments. Sounds kinda nutty actually.
  21. UMBRELLA-It came into my head today because it's raining which sucks...I want snow!
  22. VELVET-This is the time we love to wear velvet dresses and it feels rich. We even think Santa or whatever his name is on his passport, wears. I even think men could wear their 70's light blue velvet suit and get away with it.  On second thought, nope still hurts my eyes.
  23. WENSECSLAS- That good king who looked out on the frost of Stephen? Who is this guy?? Oh yes he was a good King who probably went Wassailing....what the gumdrops is that?
  24. XMAS-Yeah, I hate spelling it that way too but it fits with X
  25. YOUTH-Why do I choose that word? So many people say "Christmas is for Children". This is when I daydream about wringing their necks and slapping them upside the head. They miss the meaning and lost it when they decided to "grow up". My dad used to say "If Christmas is for kids, then I am the biggest kid of all". He loved the whole spirit of it, the music, the decorations, and the meaning behind it which is very Holy. Peace and goodwill to men. I am young in heart and will always love Christmas and gift giving and the music
  26. ZITHER-HUH???- I love this musical instrument made famous by the film "The Third Man". Music is a part of Christmas. When I was in Prague, a few years ago, There was a man on the St. Charles bridge playing this musical instrument. It was a highlight of my trip to see him play around gorgeous surroundings. He had a Christmas CD and I love it and play it during the holidays and it is all with this instrument.
See how much I have to be grateful for. Merry Christmas and to all a Good Night!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Memory-so, so sick

I am participating with a Christmas memory blogfest hosted by Cherdo on the Flipside. I am a bit late with this since it has been a very busy weekend for little ole moi. I must get caught up on all the reading and i am late posting this!. Anyway, This is a fun way to find out everybody's Christmas memory. Mine is all about a book!

It was Christmas 1972 and all through the house...was chaos with my mom getting everything prepared for Christmas Eve, wrapping all the gifts and having her usually 3pm crying melt down. This was tradition! My dad was all dressed up wondering why she was all upset as he had another coffee and continued to read his Winston Churchill books. This was still the time when we would all get into the car, Christmas Eve, to have dinner at my Uncle and Aunt's before we came home and started to unwrap the gifts into the wee hours of the morn. 

My mom made sure everything was decorated, the house clean, all the cookies were baked and she helped run the sawmill business with my dad. What is a busy lady to do but cry at 3pm every Christmas Eve day and then want to hit my dad with the rolling pin when he was all dressed and asked her why she wasn't ready? Now let's add to this mix that I was very, very sick and, apparently, had over 104 temperature. 

I do recall, when my mom was crying and her hands shaking that I got off the living room couch to do the dishes for her even though I did not feel well. I did a few dishes before she kindly told me to go back to the couch. My brother was so looking forward to that dinner so my dad and my brother went and my mom stayed home with me. My dad would call to see how I was and if they needed to bring me to the hospital. While my brother and my dad were feasting on turkey, I was upchucking and I was trying to avoid dreaming about any sugar plum fairies. My mom wrapped wet warm towels around my calves with a dry towel on top to suck the fever out(her Oma would do this and works!!). She had to change this often since the towel dried up so quickly. 

Baron and daddy finally came back and we were all exhausted except for my brother. For the first and only time, we agreed to actually open the gifts on Christmas Day. I was so dizzy that I did not want to open them. I know!! I am an 8 year old kid and wanted to wait so you know I must have been one sick puppy. Well, my brother, the ever diplomatic salesman just asked if we could open just one gift. He pleaded his case to great effect and looking at his face we all relented and said, "OK, just one". We each opened up one gift and this is without my mom having any bags for the bows or for the paper. We were trained from the beginning, to save the paper so we never tore the paper and I still have wrapping paper from that time! (Yes, I am ill in so many ways). Once that first gift was opened, my wonderful brother pleaded for just one more and so it went. 

Halfway through (again going by memory here), I opened a gift from my brother and it turned out to be the book you see above. My eyes grew wide and my mouth dropped open and nothing else mattered but this book. I loved watching old movies and never even thought that there would be actual books out there on actors and actresses. I was transfixed and no other gift mattered, only this book. My mom had to tell me to open other gifts which I did but I went right back to my book. By the end of the night, all the gifts were unwrapped, my mom was in a tizzy because she did not have her bags for ribbons and paper all ready, my dad was happy and so was I. My mom didn't care how the place looked though because I had no more fever! I went from almost spending Christmas is the hospital to having no fever and receiving one of the best presents I ever got. My mom and dad believed that we all should receive books but my brother instilled my passion for it. My collection of film books is large and it all started with this one book. I love it and love my brother for not giving in to our wish to open our gifts Christmas Day. It was a special Christmas Eve of giving and bringing joy and  bringing my health back. Have a Very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2014

My Favourite Christmas Movies

It is this time of year when we bring out our favourite Christmas movies to watch all over again and we never tire of them. Some we watch every year and others may be a few years but we always love them. I am centering on the actual films that came out in the movie theatre as opposed to the TV movies or specials which I might do later on along with animated specials:) Now I am certain I will be missing some movies that are your favourites so please let me know which ones you love.

I will start with some honourable mentions. They did not make my top 10 but they should be, well, mentioned: The Santa Claus films with Tim Allen especially the first one is quite a hoot, The Home Alone series which is funny but not my favourite and I am not a Macauley Culkin fan, The Grinch-It's ok but I prefer the cartoon, Bad Santa-it is really funny but so, so nasty even though the kid does find a friend who is a drunken robber, Polar Express which is magical and Love Actually which I adore but for some reason I don't associate with Christmas even though it ends with Christmas..that's just me. I do not place The Sound of Music here at all. It is a wonderful film but takes place in summer, has no Christmas music-it has Nazis. This film used to be shown at Easter and now it is shown at this time because the executroids have no idea where to place it. Anyhoo, without further ado here is my top 10!

                                                             10. ELF-2003

I can't help myself, it is stupid in some places, well many places but I laugh. Will Farrell plays an idiot (what else is new) who is told he is not an elf but a human and to go to NYC to find his dad played by James Caan. My favourite part-when he thinks the future Game of Thrones guy is an elf and gets his butt whipped.


This stars Cary Grant, David Niven and the sanctimonious Loretta Young but, even though she is in this film, I truly enjoy it. David Niven plays the bishop who is having trouble and prays which brings an angel, in the form of Cary Grant, down to help him. Niven's character soon regrets this as he sees the angel fall in love with his wife. I enjoy it when Monty Whooley's character knows that Cary Grant is an angel-well acted.

All these films just make me laugh and this is no exception. Chevy Chase is so funny and the things that happen we can, scarily enough, all relate to- to some degree. I know my parents added so many extension chords for lights that I am surprised the house never caught fire. I have to say my favourite scene is when the tree goes up and the Uncle (Great William Hickey), wonders what's wrong while he is on fire.


This is a great story that many of us can relate to when we were kids and yes, I did put my tongue on the pole but when I realized my tongue was actually stuck, I cupped my hands around my mouth and blew my hot air that I am in abundance with and it came unstuck. We all wanted one toy that we had to have and this film brings it all to the forefront. The parents are hilarious especially Darren McGavin as the dad who is so happy to have his leg lamp. My favourite scene-when the little brother can't get up off the snow because he is so bundled happened to me. oh and it was film where I live now.


This is the film where White Christmas was introduced and it is beautifully done. It is all about a duo act played by Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire and Bing has had enough and retires to a farm not realizing how much work it would be. He decides to remake the farm as a club that is only open on holidays. The result? You hear White Christmas for the first time, see Fred Astaire dance brilliantly with Marjorie Reynolds to a Valentine dance and a 4th of July dance (where he lost an additional 40lbs due to the number) and a cringe worthy singing about freedom for Lincoln's birthday. To see Bing in blackface and Marjorie Reynolds done up in black face and hair that is very racist for today tells one of the times. One has to realize that in their simple minds, the people who created this whole scene were probably trying to help the African Americans. Time is not kind to this scene. My favourite scene is actually when Fred dances with Marjorie Reynolds as I love dance.


This is the film everyone knows the song by and it is filled with fun, songs and dances. Bing never liked to rehearse much and he didn't like to do many takes so the others would  do what they needed to while Bing was on the golf course. Rosemary Clooney(George's Aunt) has a superb voice but couldn't dance while Vera-Ellen could dance but could not sing (she was dubbed). The one think that distracts me about this film is how painfully thin Vera-Ellen is. If you notice she only wears turtlenecks or something high because she was too thin that her shoulders and neck looked horrible. I believe she had anorexia. Now enough about that, my favourite scene is the one above-"Sisters" with Bing and Danny Kaye (amazing man) and when Bing cracks up at the end, he really is-they kept it in the film!

4. GOING MY WAY-1944

Not too many people see this film nowadays and it is a shame! Bing and the wonderful Barry Fitzgerald won Oscars for their roles and it is filled with humour, gentleness, music and ends with Christmas. Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral is one of my favourite Christmas songs and Bing sings it to Barry's character after he was a bad boy and left home (you have to see the movie!). From the kids stealing turkeys, to the priests playing golf, it is such a feel good film. The great Mezzo-soprano star Rise Stevens (pictured-she died this year at 100) sang Carmen in this film and Ave Maria. I have to admit my favourite scene is when her character and Bing's meet up after a long absence. You find out quickly they were once involved and she is dressing while he waits outside in her dressing room. She talks about the letters she got from him and when she stops at Budapest and she goes all dreamy, I made up my mind that one day I will go to this magical place...and I did when I was 18!

There are so many versions of this classic one can compile a list on just this book but my favourite is this 1951 version with the great Alastair Sim. He can convey such nastiness, humour, fear and happiness all at once- it is a tour de force performance worthy of an Oscar. This film should never be bastardized by being made in colour! The black and white is how it must be seen to show all the shadows and darkness and light. I have to admit I was frightened by the Ghost of Christmas future-his bony finger was enough to set me off into fear land. My favourite scene? When he wakes up, finds himself alive and proceeds to be exuberantly happy that he scares his housekeeper half to death.

This is the best version and it must be in black and white! Edmund Gwenn is THE best Santa who is gentle but knows how to stick up for himself and the underdog. The beautiful Maureen O'Hara who is still alive and just received an honourary Oscar is part of a romantic team with John Payne playing the lawyer who defends Kris Kringle and falling for the spunky O'Hara. The cute child is played by a young Natalie Wood who was excellent as the child who wants to believe but is scared to. My favourite scene-Early when Kris Kringle is seeing all the little children and a young refugee from Holland, who is an orphan, believes that he knows her favourite Christmas song and he does. They sing it and he brings joy to the little girl's heart.


You knew this would be #1 didn't you? :) This is my all time favourite film never mind Christmas movie. I watch it every year and am never tired of it. How could I be? It is about a man that, although he does good to all the town and is fair and loving, he hates his life and resents it until he sees what it would be like without him. We could all learn from this. This is the first film James Stewart made after coming back from Word War 2. It was his favourite film too. We can gripe about how unhappy we are in our life, job, significant other. We dream about travel and what we want to do not what we have to do and we can easily forget how much we have helped others not even knowing how much. This is another film to be seen only in black and white never colour! From the Charleston dance, to the bank run to where George Bailey sees his brother's grave, there are so many great scenes but I was always captivated by the scene when he is in the cold world and no one knows who he is. He leaves his mother's place and there is a close up of Jimmy Stewart's face, the music is eerie and haunting and one half of his face is lit and the other side is dark. you hear Clarence say "You see, George, you really did have a wonderful life. Wouldn't it be sad if you throw it all away?"  When he sees all the people at the end, I cry every time out of joy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IWSG-Sunday was the first of Advent

This is the final IWSG for this year and what a year. This is a great place to showcase one's fears and offer encouragement to many writers and the average Joe, like me, who likes to be part of this great post which is hosted by the Merry Ninja, Alex J Cavanaugh.

I love Christmas...I mean love! This time has meaning to me and is very dear to my heart. I am a proud Canadian but I love my German heritage so I make my own advent wreath which I hang from the ceiling and light a candle each Sunday until all 4 are lit. I still fill my hubby's shoe with chocolates and he finds it Dec 6th (on top of the coffee maker) for St Nicholas Day. I have my Christmas Village (which I painted and I even have the local Cathouse in it which I think, every village should have one), my Nativity scene, I bake and have all the extra trimmings. Did I say I love it?:)

I had written a poem a few years ago and I hope you like it even if the grammar is not right:)-I am showing my insecurity....

The Spirit

Silence of the night
to my delight
my heartfelt
thoughts of long ago.

Advent starting right
now with songs
that reach the height and setting
happy dreams aglow.

When the stars shone bright
on the tree,
they danced alight
the tinsel
hanging row on row.

Our only fight
was to seize
a tempting bite
of cookies
shaped from sugared dough.

Presents cast a sight
taking on
a wondrous might
and giving
smiles that melted snow.

Feelings taking flight
the twilight
visions few do know.

Oh, in case you are wondering, my cathouse is the bright pink house in the back. I also have a hobo on a park bench covered in a newspaper which is in front of City Hall (not pictured). I know...but I can't help myself.

This song, sung by Ivan Rebroff, is one of my all time favourite, if not my most favourite song. It is sung in German and it is a Russian folksong. Hope you listen and enjoy:)