Haiku For Remembrance

6 Dec

Blog Post #227

Remembering you / we honour your names today / fourteen white roses

On this day in 1989, fourteen young students, all women were shot and killed at École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women.

Annually on December 6th, Canadians recognize the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, and gather in Montreal to commemorate the 14 victims.

white-rose

Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte.

Rest in Peace.

Illumination

5 Dec

Blog Post #226

I was a little worried all day at work. Today, was the first snowfall of December and the traffic had been horrendous as people tried their best to drive smoothly and safely in the wet, sloppy, slippery stuff.

My co-workers and I checked the weather often throughout the day, peering out the windows, trying to decide if it was raining or snowing. It was — sometimes fluffy white flakes drifting from the sky, sometimes a sleety kind of rain pelting down.

sunset-dec-05

The snow was the main topic of conversation — we speculated on how slippery the roads would be, how much snow would fall, would it stick? We checked the forecast for tomorrow — just how cold would the night be? Cold enough to freeze the snow on the roads into treacherous ice? We worried about buses, pedestrians, cars and slippery streets.

At the end of the work day, I rushed out of the office, in a hurry to catch the bus. It was slow going — the sidewalk was a sloshy, icy mess. I took to the road which was clear and dry (well, drier).

At the bus stop, I watched as the sun illuminated the clouds bathing the sky in lovely hues of pink and orange. A gorgeous sight!

A moment to feel gratitude and a scene to remember.

Peace on Earth — Goodwill to Men

4 Dec

Blog Post #225

Getting into the Christmas spirit for me means setting up the tree, decorating the house, wrapping presents and watching my favourite Christmas movies. And feeling grateful for it all.

With all the festivities, Christmas songs, glowing lights, and cookies, that fill the 24 days until Santa comes, there is also an increase in Christmas marketing on TV and social media.

Among the enticements to buy more things to ensure a “wonderful and joy-filled season”, I love to see more companies airing emotionally sweet, poignant and amusing commercials during the holiday season — ads that promote goodwill to all.

This post is a short roundup of some of the funnier, warmer and endearing Yuletide ads that I’ve seen on TV and YouTube and one message to think about when viewing these heartfelt sentiments.

The Wish Writer

Macy’s 2015 Christmas spot is sweet, cute and shows the true spirit of Christmas, when a young girl finds a magical pen that can make wishes come true. Watch as she and her brother discover the joy in giving. Have a box of tissues handy!  Santa is real!  #thesantaproject  

A Priest and an Imam Meet for a Cup of Tea

Amazon Prime’s 2016 commercial portrays a friendship between the priest and an Imam. We are more the same than different and this ad is a heartfelt example.

Christmas with love from Mrs. Claus

This 2016 Marks & Spencer ad is delightfully sweet and features a thoroughly modern Mrs. Claus. (Check out the book she’s reading!)

I like this ad because the character of Mrs. Claus is portrayed as a strong, independent woman who does more than bake cookies and wait up while Santa delivers Christmas joy. Find out more about this special Christmas “operative” #LoveMrsClaus

The Greatest Gift

This stop frame animation musical is from Sainsburys, a supermarket chain in the UK. This 2016 commercial tells the story of Dave, who is searching for the best gift he can give his family. As James Cordon sings the lyrics, Dave soon realizes that the most important gift he can give his family is… him. Cheesy? Maybe — but it is true — giving of yourself IS the best present!

The animation is great in this spot and I love the diversity of the families depicted in the story. The tune and lyrics are catchy too!

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I love these commercials, but as I was searching for the official YouTube versions of them for this post, I came across a video by Stop Funding Hate and it gave me a lot to think about. Things like what does it say about a company if they support (with their advertising dollars) a publication or company that espouse discrimination and hate?

Stop Funding Hate heads up a movement that opposes hatred, discrimination and racism in the press. The organization works to encourage companies to cease advertising in newspapers that print perpetuate divisive hate campaigns. They also call on the public to further the cause by sharing their videos through social media.

Counting Down to Christmas

1 Dec

Blog Post #222

It’s December 1st!

Time to drag out all the Christmas boxes — set up the tree, put on some Christmas music, start wrapping all those gifts.

kris-kringle

One of our favourite traditions is hanging up the advent calendar to begin the countdown to the big day. The sad thing is — we had a break-in a few weeks ago. Thieves broke into our storage room and ransacked everyone’s lockers. We didn’t think much was missing — Bruce’s old guitar was gone for sure and every taped up box was searched. Of course, we don’t store anything of real value in there (except for the guitar!) You know, we had the usual stuff packed in our little space — knick knacks, framed pictures, books, and yes, Christmas decorations.

After searching through all the Christmas boxes, I was dismayed to find that our advent calendar seemed to be missing (along with some of our nicest ornaments!) We’ve had that calendar for at least 20 years! (Who would steal something like that?) It was made of red felt and had 25 little pockets that held a little yellow, wooden star that we moved from day to day until the 25th. The girls enjoyed taking turns moving the star every morning and I LOVED it because there were no little chocolates to fight over!!

Now, even though my daughters are grown, we still put up the advent calendar — and I move the star along every day. This year, I decided that since the calendar was gone, we would forego the tradition and look for something to replace it after Boxing Day when Christmas is on sale.

But then, as I was catching up with my friends on Facebook, I saw one of them had posted a link to a “Kindness Advent Calendar” from the website: Make Today Happy!

kindness-advent-calendar

Think about it — 25 random acts of kindness to count down the days to Christmas. I LOVE it! I’m definitely going to put this up — without a doubt, this will put me in the Christmas spirit. I see some possible tweaks that I could make to this for next year — like make it out of felt, with 25 pockets for the RAKs so that it will be reusable.

Kindness Advent Calendar. Share it with your friends.

The Best Advice …

30 Nov

Blog Post #221

This quote is possibly the best advice anyone can ever give or receive. If only we would listen to good advice!!

It is never too late to follow your dreams — have faith and take the leap!!!

dreams

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Tea For Haiku

29 Nov

Blog Post #220

A simple haiku for a cozy night by the fire with a book and a cup of tea.

tea-pot

A November chill / wintry breezes swirl and blow / I put the tea on

General Tso Goes Meatless

28 Nov

Blog Post #219

Food.

That’s what was on my mind as I traveled home after a long Monday at the office. Food…

I was hungry — pretty sure my blood sugar level was dangerously low — and I couldn’t decide what I was going to make for dinner. I was craving something vegetarian — you know, it’s Meatless Monday, after all.

So… as soon as I walked in the door, and kicked off my boots while shedding my coat, I headed to my laptop and logged into Pinterest to pore over the many recipes I have collected in my “board” Weekday Vegetarian.

After a little distraction (I really can’t resist looking at all latest trends and pinning my favourites) I found a recipe that made my mouth water AND I actually had all most of the ingredients needed to cook up General Tso’s Chickpeas an Asian inspired dish, from the website: Yup.. Its Vegan!

general-tso-chickpeas

I have to admit, that I get great satisfaction whenever I find a recipe, art/craft/sewing project on Pinterest that I actually try to make. I sometimes fear that I am becoming a Pinned Project Hoarder.

As I mentioned, I was out of a few of the ingredients, so I substituted where I could (or thought I could!) and whipped up my version of General Tso’s Chickpeas.

All I have to say about this dish is: “You should have this for dinner tomorrow!”

This recipe is simple to follow and fast — dinner on the table in about 20-30 minutes. Prepping all the ingredients first makes the stir frying a breeze!

Ingredients:

Please Note: my ingredient list is a bit different from the ingredients on Yup; It’s Vegan — because I was missing a few of them. The recipe still turned out and was delicious!

For marinating the chickpeas:
1 tb. soy sauce (or tamari for GF)
1 tb. mirin (or dry sherry)
1 and ½ c. cooked chickpeas (equal to 1 15-oz. can), rinsed and drained (I used 1 19-oz can)

For the sauce:
¼ c. + 2 tb. vegetable broth
1 and ½ tb. tomato paste (I omitted this because I did not have one on hand)
½ tb. natural peanut butter
1 tb. soy sauce (or tamari for GF)
1 tb. rice vinegar
1 tb. + 1 tsp. coconut sugar (or other sugar) (I used a scant tb. of cane sugar)
2 tsp. sriracha or other chili sauce
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil (I was out of this, substituted 1tsp. of organic Asian sesame marinade)
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. cornstarch
⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper or white pepper

For the General Tso’s chickpeas stir-fry:
~1 tb. neutral oil (I used sunflower seed oil)
¼ of a large onion (or 1 shallot), thinly sliced
1 large broccoli crown, cut into florets
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 tsp. minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
General Tso’s sauce (above)
marinated chickpeas (above)
(optional) green onions, sesame seeds, and fresh red onion, for serving
(optional) cooked rice, for serving

Entire recipe including method.

Not only is this dish simple to prepare, it is flavourful and satisfying —  definitely a keeper!

plate-of-food

Delicious!!! Yum!

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Sunday Notes

27 Nov

Blog Post #218

Thought for the day!

we-are-born-of-love

Saturday Night Round-Up

26 Nov

Blog Post #217

Chilling at home on Saturday night — cruising around the web, catching up on all my social media, following interesting websites and reading up on things that are going on in the world.

There is a lot of information out there on the world wide web — I want to share some of the things I found most interesting, heartwarming or just plain fun!

Wise Words

This quote popped up in my Facebook feed — one of my FB friends posted in on his wall (Thank you, Allan!) — and I believe these are words to live by.

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. ~ from the Talmud

Brotherly Love

Also from my Facebook feed, this story centers around the reaction of the congregation of Heartsong Church in Memphis learned that a Muslim Islamic centre was going to be built right across the street. You may be surprised at what transpired. I was.

Random Acts of Kindness

You know how much I love RAKs — so you won’t be surprised that I’m sharing this video from the YouTube channel, Wow So Amaze — Mind-Blowing Facts and Countdowns. This list of  5 Incredible Acts of Kindness restored a bit of my faith in humanity.

Brain Food

For a little bit of fun, try these ten brainteasers. Some of them are a little tricky! How many can you answer?

Your Lyin’ Eyes

Did you know that you can hear up to 200 lies per day? Watch this Ted-Ed video that explains the language of lying.

View the full lesson on Ted-Ed.

That’s it — that’s my round-up for this Saturday! Hope you enjoyed it!

 

A Wise Quote For Wednesday

23 Nov

Blog Post #214

Have you been dreaming of something? Something big? Something you have wanted to do for a long time, but can’t drum up the courage or nerve to try it? Maybe these wise words from Walt Disney will help you take that leap of faith and believe in yourself! You will be amazing!!

dream-it

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