Wednesday, November 30, 2011

All about ME

Thanks to Queen T for her post yesterday.  I have often been the lead on many a Dead Cat Choir, some even Queen T herself have been a part of :)

If you haven't heard the news, I'm collecting recipes/traditions of Christmas from our followers, both on Facebook and beyond.  It doesn't have to be "baking" recipes or lengthy missives, but short, sweet to the point contributions.  Festive cocktails, hot drinks, breakfasts, appetizers or traditions that you share with your family.  The plan is to post one a day (along with our regular posts) for the entire month of December.

So please send me an email -  frantastic @ writica . com  (don't use spaces please, just trying to avoid the evil spambots!)
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Queen Tinsel, aka QT here. Sending a big Hello to all my peeps and peepette's! When I was growing up (back when horse drawn carriages were the mode of transportation), my focus was always on me. It's all about me I used to say. When my parents said to me "it's not always about you", I was shocked, bereft with grief and stung by their brutal honesty. I thought about those words often and trying to make sense of them and why my parents would even think of saying that to me.

As the years progressed (now we had cars), I began to see the light, albeit it was a tiny light. I looked more around me and my family and in doing so, the light got bigger. What it has led me to, was to gain more insight into me as a person. Was I the good caring, loving person I longed to be? Was I the person who looked outside of "normal" perception of people and saw who they really were? Perhaps not at first, but as time has gone by, I have grown. Now I look at people and see all of them. Sometimes I see things I dislike but more often than not, I see a person who is very much like me, a caring, giving and loving person.

My transformation has taken me on a path from selfish to helping others. Now I see what my parents meant. In this the season of giving, I make sure that I do my part to help those much less fortunate than me. I am not rich in money but I am rich in love and family and that is the most important thing to me. I make a point of rummaging through my closet for clothes and giving them to the "Help the Homeless", a program run by one of our local radio stations. I go through my pantry a lot and gather up any extra food that I can give to my local food bank. At Christmas, I buy groceries strictly for the food bank. I am not saying that is what you should do as one can give more of themselves in other ways. What I am saying is do something not only for yourself but for someone less fortunate. When you give of yourself, you give yourself the biggest gift of all. I get a very happy feeling in my heart when I know that I have helped someone else. I don't look for accolades but I feel good about myself when I look beyond "just me."

I don't mean to preach (I was never good at that), nor do I think I am great. There are others in this world that do far more than I. I do however, try my best to make a difference. Whether it be small or big, every little bit helps!

QT

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The art of singing

Thanks to all for the comments on yesterdays post.  Your feedback is always appreciated.  Even if (Aaaack!), you don't agree with me!  If you haven't heard the news, I'm collecting recipes/traditions of Christmas from our followers, both on Facebook and beyond.  It doesn't have to be "baking" recipes or lengthy missives, but short, sweet to the point contributions.  Festive cocktails, hot drinks, breakfasts, appetizers or traditions that you share with your family.  The plan is to post one a day (along with our regular posts) for the entire month of December.

So please send me an email -  frantastic @ writica . com  (don't use spaces please, just trying to avoid the evil spambots!)

We now join Queen Tinsel's post.....

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Hello my fellow blogees. I know you long for the lovely Frantastic™ to speak to you today but I was asked to grace her blog for some special insight into a favourite activity of the Holiday Season.

I would offer some background notes on myself but I lost that file in the rush to post this. I can go by many names however if I divulge them here my cover would be blown and I could be thrown out of the witness protection program. For this blog, I will go by Queen Tinsel.

With Christmas fast approaching, many of us will be subjected to or mutilated by........singing. Whether they are a choir, carollers, fellow parishioners, friends or gasp, you, singing comes in many varieties, shapes and forms. There is the professional choir (Vienna Boys Choir), Christmas Carollers; those who sing in harmony and in key, Parishioners; who often sing out of key but are blissfully covered by some hip slapping organ playing, and last but not least, Amateurs. It is in this last category we find ourselves, usually singing loudly and terribly off key. We do it in the shower, in the car, at work and at home. We are positive we are good singers but alas we know we suck and just can’t admit it. Our spouses, family and friends tend to turn a deaf ear to us when we sing (thank heavens) and seldom give us grief or if they do, we turn it into something positive, something that will stoke our ego. In this last category, there is also a group of singers known collectively as the “Dead Cat Choir.” Similar to a “Dead Cat Bounce” which is in fact an economic term, these people, are thrown together through work to sing Happy Birthday to fellow employees or dinner guests. The dreaded Dead Cat Choir is known for overly loud, off key singing/talking/humming red neck kind of noises that when thrown together form a somewhat “harmonized” sound. They are often accused of causing pets to run amuck and squeal in agony. I myself have had the pleasure & pain of singing in this group. All I can say is wear earplugs!

This Christmas season, do the right thing and join in your local Dead Cat Choir. You won’t regret it. Happy Holidays!

Queen T

Monday, November 28, 2011

Scrooge!

**WARNING - Spoilers ahead**

You are about to enter another dimension, one that is filled with my opinions and thoughts. It may not be for everyone.  I do not ask you to agree. This is not a post for children.   Please be prepared, this will be harsh.




Ok........ there is no Santa Claus. 



My family (Italian/Portugese) didn’t ‘do’ Santa. I was never raised with the hint of his existence. Gifts were from my family and friends not the chimney crawler. My father’s family used the lore of Befana. A little old woman who would come into your home on Christmas Eve and eat what you had left her (Christmas Eve supper requires at least 9 different foods on the table, at the end of the meal you leave the leftovers out as a gift), and if she liked the array she would leave presents for the family. We always had the 9 items out at Christmas Eve, but we never expected Befana, my father knew she wasn’t real. My mother’s family was poor and they didn’t exchange gifts. They had very little. Their belief was that baby Jesus would bring a small token on Christmas eve to celebrate his birth. A new pair of shoes for Sunday (the only day they would wear shoes) or a ribbon for their hair or perhaps a pair of underwear or socks. That was it.

Growing up, we didn’t do stockings until my "big city" Aunt made them for us. Then instead of hanging them by the chimney with care, and waking up Christmas morning to a plethora of goodies, I would watch as my parents would fill them with nuts, mandarin oranges and candy and then hand one to me on Christmas Day. Definitely not the way they were intended to be used.

Early on, my husband and I decided we were not going to allow our child to believe in Santa. It wasn’t real or true and to perpetuate a ‘lie’ would be inappropriate. We were very clear with her (at the age that she could understand) that other people did believe in Santa and she could not share the 'truth' (any X-Files fan will know that 'The Truth is Out There') with other people.  It was almost a dirty secret that he didn't exist and we couldn't tell anyone or we would be branded as weird. 

Many people scoff, guffaw and jaw-drop that we are so blunt with our child. We have always taught her that gifts are given with love from those who love you. We are not about to put great effort into a gift by tracking it down, buying it, wrapping it, sneaking it into the house and then giving someone else credit and saying that it’s from Santa. There’s something wrong with that.  The spirit of Christmas is not a jolly St. Nick. There, I said it.

From our good friends at Wikipedia: “Father Christmas, a jolly, well nourished, bearded man who typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, predates the Santa Claus character. He is first recorded in early 17th century England, but was associated with holiday merrymaking and drunkenness rather than the bringing of gifts”. Hmmm….ya, (sarcastic voice) that’s the kinda guy I want in my chimney bringing my kid presents.

As a family we always watch the Santa Clause parade on Main Street, even in gale force winds and 400 below zero(at least it feels that way), and we always know who’s in the suit. Would all the people/kids show up if the fella in the ‘suit’ wasn’t wearing the suit?  I would like to think that they would all still show up to celebrate Christmas together. To shop and have hot chocolate and walk around visiting and chatting.  Or is the persona of the ‘Claus’ so important that if he’s not there it’s not really Christmas? If that’s the case, that’s sad, at least in my opinion.

They have actually studied the effect that believing in Santa and then learning that he doesn't exist, has on children as they get older.  Studies have shown that it doesn't affect the kids.  Great news!  Very few, if any children, were mortified to the point that it would affect them in later years, most actually thought that since they now knew the 'truth' they were more mature.  Quite the social experiment huh? 

He doesn’t drink Coke or Tim Hortons coffee, shop at Walmart , Zellers or Radio Shack and he certainly doesn’t know who’s naughty or nice. One would like to think that someone with that much 'power' would use it for the greater good.   He is a token of a Christmas festival, a tool that has become a significant player in a key sales period for retailers and businesses. He is a figment of someone’s creation that perhaps came at a time when he was needed.

At this point you may be screaming “Scrooge!”  Well now, hang on.  Let me finish...


We still hang decorations, listen to festive music, put up a tree, bake cookies and decorate gingerbread houses.   We exchange gifts and cards and hugs and watch classic Christmas movies and visit with friends and family and have wonderful memories and oddly enough,  Santa never makes an appearance. 

We don’t play the Santa ‘game’ in our house, but that doesn’t stop it from being Christmas.  The spirit of the season is not in the red suit. I don't think it should be. 

I do not judge those that do have Santa in the season, so please don’t judge me. I’m not evil, I simply don’t believe.

I leave you with a quote I discovered recently; “There are three stages of a man’s life: He believes in Santa Claus, he doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus” - Author Unknown

Until next time,

Frantastic

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I never cease to be AMAZED....

Ok, so I like cheese as much as.....perhaps more than, the next guy. I dream about asiago, manchego, cambozola.......... Mmmmm I do love cheese. There's this incredible English white stilton with mango and ginger.....it's like dessert. Soooo smooth and rich and decadent. It IS a little pricey, more than many others, it runs about $7 for a little tiny 1/4" wedge that is really only enough for one person. Usually, I will buy a little piece as a treat for myself. It's a minuscule little slice of heaven that I tuck away in the back of the fridge where nobody else will find it; my own secret stash. Shhhhh.....

At this point I suppose I should probably get to the point. I was watching tv this morning while getting ready for work, the Marilyn Dennis Show to be exact, and there was a discusion panel chatting about random topics...... Remind me later to tell you about Tracey Melchor talking about some new (and exceptionally stupid sounding) reality show called "Mama Drama" oy vey what a ridiculous concept there! Where do they come up with this stuff....... Anyway, so Lynn Crawford and Marilyn start talking about this new cheese which is apparently the WORLD'S MOST EXPENSIVE CHEESE. No kidding. It costs $12 for an itsy bitsy little chunk on a cracker!!! It is also an English stilton but this one has......dramatic musical effect.......gold leaf and gold liqueur in it. To give you a little better idea of the cost I did a little research, Iain Hollingshead's article for the November 22 Telegraph, as well as the cheese producers website, says that the fab cheese costs £608 per kilo! Seriously?!?! Who would pay that?

Let me break it down...... If the British pound (£) is usually about double the Canadian dollar then that's $1200 per kg or $120 per 100g......and BAM $12 for a single gram of Golden Cheese on a cracker (yes my eyes are rolling)



Apparently, Long Clawson Dairy of Leicestershire was looking for something exciting and innovative to do for their 100th birthday this November 6 and some "outside the box" thinker came up with Golden Cheese ........my name for it, not theirs by the way....... So they took a white stilton - a milder relative of the common blue stilton - and added in gold leaf bits like confetti and a real gold, cinnamon schnapps. It is in very limited supply and the people at Long Clawson say it will be available just for the 2011 festive season. If you are adventurous and/or have a hefty grocery budget it is currently available only through the dairy's website - www.clawson.co.uk.   I've read some mixed reviews of the flavour but I'm certain that it would make a dazzling addition to the cheese board at your holiday party ;)

Á bientôt,

Anastacia Rex

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Beef Wellington

Thank you Molly M for your intro yesterday, you will certainly bring the bling!  I am so glad you are here today, my dearest Anastacia is going to share one of her recipes.  Having had the pleasure of enjoying  her impressive meals on more than one occasion, I must say that she is a Qulinary Queen (note the Q's).  Happy Saturday to all and enjoy!


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So you've had a chance to "get to know" me ....... I hope I haven't bored you yet. I hope that writica will be enjoyed by many people for a long time, I know we all have a lot to say.

Today was one of those days that makes you smile and cry all within the span of a few minutes. Misunderstandings that lead to heartache followed by the sweetest voice notes from a very special little boy.....laughing at a friend's mockable accident (so funny, I wish I could share) followed by frustration when things don't work out as planned. *sigh* I'm sure you all know the kind of day I mean. Up and down more than a new bride's panties....... Hopefully the emotional rollercoaster ride has come to an end. It's time to kick off my heels, slip into some pjs, pour a glass of shiraz and.....make dinner (sweep the floor, do some laundry, clean the bathroom......so glad I'm done work for the day.....she says facetiously)

Now, I know I had a plan when I sat down to write......what was it? Ahhh yes, I promised my beef wellington.......mmmm those crispy, golden pastry puffs that you can't wait to cut into, releasing the mouth-watering aroma of filet mignon and tender mushroom duxelles. Now I'll have to make them, I can almost taste it already.

I cheat a little and use "poppin' fresh" puff pastry from a tube but it makes the process so much easier. That way I don't have to spend ALL day cooking. You can actually prep this all ahead of time then pop it in the oven just before dinner. I start by seasoning the filets (both sides) with a little kosher salt and cracked black pepper, then searing them in a smoking hot pan. Once they're nicely browned, set them on a plate to rest and pop them into the fridge until you're ready to put it all together. Next I make the mushroom duxelles - finely dice some shallots and a couple cloves of garlic then add a couple cups of finely chopped mushrooms (crimini is nice but button mushrooms are fine too). Next, get your pan nice and hot again and throw in a couple table tablespoons of butter, once it's melted add in the shallots and garlic and saute for about 30 seconds before you add the mushrooms. Sprinkle in a bit of salt and pepper and stir together then reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes or so. You want all the mushroom moisture to evaporate so that they are nice and dry. There will be a fair amount of brown bits in the bottom of the pan so you'll want to deglaze with about 1/3 cup of dry white wine. When that's done, put the mushroom mixture in a bowl in the fridge too so they can cool.

When you're ready to put it all together, lay out a piece of parchment paper (so your pastry won't stick) and then get your puff pastry out......why does the POP of the can opening startle me EVERY time?!?......you'll need to split it into 4 pieces (assuming you're feeding 4 people as I am).......one at a time, lay a piece of puff pastry out and gently roll it out a bit with a rolling pin, it helps if you put a piece of plastic wrap over top. It needs to be able to stretch over your filet and the mushroom mix. once you have it rolled out big enough, spoon 1/4 of the mushroom mixture over the centre and then top with a filet. Brush a little egg wash around the edges to glue the pastry pocket together and then wrap the sides up and over to make a little package. Puff pastry is very stretchy and forgiving so don't worry if it's a little sticky. Once you have the ends folded up, take the side closest to you and fold it up and over, then just roll it over to complete the package. Next, set it on a parchment covered baking sheet with the seam side down.......repeat with the rest. At this point you can cover with plastic wrap and set them in the fridge until closer to dinner time if you like. When you're ready to go, say half an hour-ish before dinner preheat the oven to 350......take them out and uncover them. Then brush a little egg wash over top of each and sprinkle with a little kosher salt. To be medium rare they will need to bake about 20 minutes.

You can serve with some bernaise sauce (Knorr makes a nice one) or mustard or horseradish......I like a simple mustard/horseradish mix. Your side dish can be as simple as mashed and gravy with some steamed broccoli or........mmmmmm mushroom risotto ooooh ya, that's the way I roll hahaha.

Dinner in my house, especially on Sunday, is always a culinary adventure. Well, I think this article, with all its rambling, has finally come to an end........

À bientôt!

Anastacia R

Friday, November 25, 2011

Party like a Gemini




Ok, so I started writing my ‘Diva Introductory’ a couple of days ago, and it sounded too contrived. Then I got busy with life....so tonight the pressure is on!! Frantastic asked me to make a submission for Friday. Aaack!! What is it about deadlines? I personally HATE them, and really that is a kind word for what I really think about them. Pressures, anxiety, come on....who needs that??! I will admit though it does make me get my ass in gear. I am by nature a procrastinator. I think its Gemini trait and seeing as I was three weeks over baked at birth, it’s not my fault. Had I been born on time, I would have been a Taurus and this would have been submitted to Writica long before now!! They are stubborn you know, but often highly reliable. Unlike us Flippant-Life is a Party so Who Cares-Twins!! In all seriousness though my contribution may well be contradicting at times, but will always be totally honest and truthful.....I may be Ying in the first paragraph and be Yang at the end. What can I say? My thoughts are always wandering, so there you have it....expect chaos from me.

Oh my, see what I mean.....I got off topic. Well not entirely, I was introducing myself. So where were we.....Ah yes, name is Molly, I am an urban professional with a penchant for cupcakes and blue martinis, however, not usually consumed at the same time. Although....? I was introduced to our Grand Diva Frantastic, years ago through a dear friend; I think we all know ‘her’ Facebook?

I don’t believe in absolutes, I believe possibilities are endless. It saddens me that too often we get caught up in the mundane day to day activities in our lives, and miss out or don’t recognize when brilliant opportunities arise. I am a creative person, like many Gemini’s are, paint and draw a little and I write.

I have blogged on other sites that are more restrictive to certain subjects, so this venue of expression is not entirely foreign to me. What I like about Frantastics blog is that several contributors with different experiences and opinions will engage in a variety of conversations and observations. Whoohoo, Party like a Gemini!! We can be vessel for discussion, but dialogue can’t happen without your input, so feel free to comment and add to our conversations.

Voices are a beautiful thing! Like shiny diamonds! Looking forward to seeing some bling around here.

Molly McIntyre


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I hope you enjoyed Molly's ramblings....another Frantastic™ addition to the crew.  I'm looking forward to tomorrow's post;  A delightful (easy) rendition of Beef Wellington from Anastacia.  Please join us for that. 

I've started a Writica Facebook page so please be sure to hope over there and 'like' us so that you can keep up with the latest.  I'm hoping that the Facebook wall posts/forum will allow for easier comments and feedback.

Thanks so much to all who have joined us on our journey so far.

Until next time.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

To read or not to read.....

Those that know me know that I’m not a reader and never have been. Was quite the procedure in high school doing book reports on books I hadn’t read. (Sorry Mr. D) Let me say; I do not condone the following process, it’s what I did. It’s not right, nor would I suggest or recommend it. PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! I would read the first few pages, the last few pages, the intro by the author and then the back cover. At that point I would have enough information for a full-fledged book report. Though I am a fan of words, I am not a fan of reading books. Short attention span, too laborious, process of turning pages wasn’t technological enough for me; whatever the reason, I was never into it.

I did, however, start (and actually finish) a book recently. The book was thrust upon me by an acquaintance. It was thick, many pages. It was interesting. I got into the story and wanted to keep reading, so I did. After finishing that one and expressing my enjoyment at the whole ‘process’, my friend, gave me another book. I was giddy, 2 books?!?! Cue the choir! Here I was with my SECOND book. Look out Oprah’s Book Club!

Sadly….book #2 still sits on the shelf, waiting to be opened. Attention friend who gave me the book months ago: I will be returning it shortly.  It sitting there does not inspire me in any way to crack it open and read it. 

My daughter, on the other hand, LOVES books, always has. She enjoys reading and I will completely support her in that. She reads all styles of books and enjoys it. She will rather sit and read than watch a TV show. I think that is fantastic. I hope she doesn’t outgrow that, that it is with her through life and that she will read the books that I didn’t. Some say, my favourite books are the ones with pictures of things with prices underneath. Ha! That is probably true, or at least it probably WAS true. But I don’t even spend time on those anymore. It is all about the internet and the screen and the web and pages and sites and Googling and cookies and downloads and uploads and…..

I don’t even go through the Sears catalogue anymore, I go to the site, search for what I’m interested in, compare several items, read reviews and then order the one I want. There is SO much information available on the great scape of the web that it can be overwhelming, confusing and sometimes even dangerous (but that rambling is for another day). I would much rather sift through 4 hours of blog posts and You Tube crafting videos and podcasts than flip pages. Even my magazine subscriptions are electronic now. The iPad makes a fantastic magazine reader, by the way. The shiny glass and perfect pictures and ‘special features’ that magazine publishers throw in to entertain you. Some even put in sound effects and links to things that go with the particular article. So that if you see something interesting you can click on it and BOOM, you’re navigated quickly and efficiently to the site that goes with it. They even have an option so you have to ‘flip the page’ as if it was a REAL magazine and it makes a page flipping noise when you do! Wow! A page flipping noise! Isn’t that fantastic?!?!

…lost focus there for a second.

I am in awe of those that read REAL books, with covers and pages. I admire anyone that can focus that long, repeatedly and get something out of it. Many of my friends are readers of books. I appreciate that about them. When they need my knowledge of info on the techy world, they appreciate me.

I suppose my success was in finishing the book I started. One doesn’t change overnight, or even after 30ish years (numbers here are actually larger than they appear). Sadly, one book does not a library make, but I hear libraries have computers in them now!

I hope you enjoyed the introduction to Lady J yesterday. She will be an asset to the bunch I’m sure.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for another Diva introduction, Molly McIntyre will be sharing a bit about herself.  I must say I am thrilled beyond words at my Divas and look forward to great things from them.

Tonight is the local Talent Show and my own personal Partridge Family are slated to perform. I'm very excited.   My husband and daughter are very musically inclined. I too  (only in the comfort of my vehicle with the windows up and the music blaring) am a singer.  Just call me ....F Lo. Not quite the same ring to it.  Ahhh well.

Until next time.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Introduction to Lady J....

I would like to introduce another of the Writica Divas, Lady JYYC. Lady J is opinionated on many things and I for one, look forward to any words that she is willing to share.

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Welcome to Writica!

Hello to you all, my name is LadyJYYC and I have been invited by the Editor In Chief, President, CEO and all around bossy boots (you may know her as Frantastic™) to become one of the roving correspondents for her blog experiment. This is an invitation that I have gladly accepted.

First a little about me... what can I say, I was Playmate of the Year for 2010, fly around the world in private jets supplied by one of my rich lovers, millions of bucks in the bank, you know the type, your basic nightmare!

Okay, that was a bit of a lie, I live in Calgary and am a mature single woman who shares a fabulous home in a trendy neighbourhood with two spoiled terriers. I was an independent computer programmer and business analyst but am now retired due to severe arthritis in my hands and hip. I have many interests and always have opinions on a vast number of subjects including books, science & technology, travel, gossip, TV, shoes, decorating, women’s rights & issues and on-line shopping to name a few. I tend to steer away from politics (they are all lying, all of the time) and don’t even get me started on religion! I am a fabulous cook and may send a recipe or two your way from time to time... I will admit to a slight addiction to the Food Channel & HGTV. I also love to give advice, everyone would be much happier if they just asked my opinion first.

I hope to be a cross between general know-it-all and Dear Abby... throw me some subjects or questions and we’ll see how this goes!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The gift that keeps on giving.

 Let me preface my post by saying that anything given in the true spirit of giving is a kind and generous thing and that far too often the gifts value is far greater than we realize simply because of the gesture and not what it is actually 'worth'. 

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It’s referred to as ‘RE-GIFTING’; the art of giving someone something that had once been given to you. With Christmas just around the corner, what better time to discuss this time honoured tradition. We’ve all done it, right? Surely. We all have a drawer, cupboard or closet where we put these gems. Tuck them away for an emergency. The embroidered guest towels, floral cream and sugar set, electric knife, porcelain vase, assorted fruit scented candles, miscellaneous chatchkas and the like. Things that our generous friends, acquaintances and family members think that we need and could use, but that obviously serve no purpose in our daily lives. We tuck them away, couldn’t possibly throw them away that would be wasteful. What if….one day we need to serve tea (yes, a tea emergency) to someone important and rather than scoop sugar from the open bag that’s sitting on the counter, you need a sugar bowl. A FLORAL sugar bowl. BOOM! You have one.

Ok, the likelihood of a tea emergency that requires a sugar bowl, a FLORAL sugar bowl? Slim. But the likelihood that you’ll be caught needing an emergency gift for someone else? Pretty good. You know what I’m talking about. A friend is in the hospital and you need a gift to bring to cheer them up. You just found out it’s your babysitter’s birthday and you probably should give her something since you will be needed her services tomorrow night. The list goes on. Here’s where it gets interesting….RE-GIFTING. You tuck into your secret stash of goodies and whip out an appropriate choice for the occasion in question, trying desperately to remember who gave you the gem in the first place. This is truly important as the greatest sin in RE-GIFTING is to re-gift to she/he that gifted you in the first place. You visit a friend who has been under the weather and rather than go to the shop and buy something you dip into the magical cupboard. “These candles would be fantastic for so-and-so, actually I’m sure she would love these, they are her colours”. You arrive on your friend’s doorstep brandishing your gift like a trophy expecting high praise and gratitude for actually bringing anything in the first place. A glazed look comes over your friend as she mumbles and says….’didn’t I give these to YOU?’ Doh! Such poor taste. This fiasco could easily have been prevented. This is where you could employ the sticker/tag method. Write the name of the original giver on a post-it note and stick it to the item. Nice save.

Another drama in the land of RE-GIFTING is (cue dramatic music) getting caught sans original gift by original gifter. Oh the drama that unfolds, when the lovely neighbour who so generously gave you the floral cream and sugar set stops by for tea and sees that not only are you not using their cream and sugar set, but that you can’t even produce it when they ask about it. “It broke?” “Doesn’t match my dinnerware?” “Lent it to a friend?” This is where it’s important to remember that RE-GIFTING should only be employed in instances where the original gifter isn’t able to check up on the original gift.

Though there are many more scenarios, the last I’ll focus on today is Sentimental RE-GIFTING. This is where the original gifter has given you something of great sentimental/personal meaning and you either don’t realize or don’t care and re-gift anyway. This is easily avoided by simply asking if the gift has any special meaning at the time you receive the gift. Nothing worse than accidentally RE-GIFTING a vase that unfortunately didn’t go with the Art Deco Moderne décor in the apartment only to discover that it was actually an heirloom, one-of-a-kind piece that your friend’s great-great-great aunt had to smuggle under her skirt to get out of the ‘old country’ . What’s worse is when your friend learns that you RE-GIFTED to your babysitter for her 14th birthday. Ouch.

RE-GIFTING is often a necessity but must be done properly to prevent hurt feelings. Even though the original gifter didn’t give you something that you could find use of, they still gifted for the right reason and isn’t it the thought that counts? Of course it is. Therefore thought and care must be exercised in the world of RE-GIFTING.

A few rules to follow:

Always re-wrap a re-gift. If you’re saving money by using an in-house item, the least you can do is to find new wrap and put some effort into it.

Never re-gift to the original gifter…..seriously. Ever.

Do not re-gift something that the original giver has given you with sentimental meaning attached. This never ends well.

Finally, never re-gift something that was originally gifted by someone who is able to check to see if you still have the original gift. They will ask to see it, I promise you.


There you have it, my ramblings for today. Thank you to Anastacia for her contribution yesterday, I’m going to enjoy her words, I hope you do as well. Please look for another Diva to be introduced tomorrow; I’m hoping you will enjoy her words too. I love the feedback and commentary, so please continue both on Facebook and on the blog. I have the blog comment option set for moderation, simply to prevent spam and general naughtiness, but I (the Divas included) would love to see your thoughts turned into words as well.

Until next time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Introducing Anastacia R.......

I didn't have to look very far to find those willing to help in my new adventure.  I, as I have mentioned before, have friends who also appreciate words.  The first of these friends (perhaps I should call them Writica Divas) is  Anastacia.  
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Have you ever spent days putting off doing something that you know you have to do.....that you WANT to do even but, you're afraid to start? I've considered writing a blog many times but, life always gets in the way. So when my friend started this site and asked me to contribute, I was giddy......ohhhh so many possible topics, so many things I want to say......and that is the crux of my internal debate.

When you have so much to say, where do you start?

I suppose I should back up a bit, start with the basics, perhaps introduce myself. My name is Anastacia...... Anastacia Rex, like Elizabeth not Tyrannosaurus. I am a bit of a goldfish when it comes to memory capacity and attention span. I am highly opinionated and have a very low tolerance for Stupid. And, yes, I capitalise Stupid. It is a noun rather than an adjective. It is, I believe, the greatest pandemic that the human race is facing today.

But, I digress.......the stupidemic is not what I was planning to talk about, we can save THAT topic for another time. I had started out planning to tell you a little bit about me - it'll make it easier for you to understand my writings. Since this is my first, I'm not really sure where I'll go with it or those that will follow but, I hope that you will always find something to amuse you, entertain you, make you laugh or make you think.....even some things that will make you go "hmmmmm". I will probably write about everything from food to fashion to the heartbreaking butchery (defined here as wanton and indiscriminate slaughter as opposed to an Ottawa burger joint) of the English language, relationships..... mine and (my opinion on) those of others....... I mock and make fun of most everyone and everything around me. If there is mockterial available I WILL use it!

So, now that you know a bit about me, what should it be this time?
The best place to find a fantastic tapas platter? The sad loss of Alexander McQueen? Stilettos vs wedges? How badly it makes my brain hurt when someone says "irregardless" ..........frick, my nerves are on edge just thinking of it!......ok ok Rex, get on with it!  *sigh* it's hard to focus......there is truly nothing better than lying back in a big comfortable bed, Playbook™  on my knees, the man I love beside me and a movie on the tv. Is it any wonder why I'm having a difficult time deciding what to put on the page?

There is something almost magical to a cold winter night; frost rimes the branches of the lilac tree outside the window while moonlight dances over the snowy mountain tops. Romance fairly crackles in the air like the wooden wick of the candle beside the bed, plum and cedarwood scent the air........a warm, strong arm draped around my shoulder, holding me close while I TRY to concentrate and write....... thoughts flit through my slightly distracted brain: beef wellington for dinner tomorrow? Is it too soon to start hauling the Christmas decorations upstairs? Oh my gosh, the guy on the commercial did NOT just say "it's real good" did he? Why oh why can't they manage the ly? Oops, there I go again......one too many laps around the goldfish bowl. Anyway, I suppose that's enough for now. You should have a pretty good idea of who I am and, whether or not you care what I have to say.......... And yes, I believe I WILL make beef wellington for dinner. Maybe I'll tell you about it (and how to make it) next time ;)

À bientôt,

Anastacia R.

A beginning....

Everything has a beginning.

After many weeks, our local election has finally come to an end.  It seems as though this election has been going on for months.  But the campaigning, voting and counting is done.  We (75.6% of us) have voted and chosen those who we believe should lead us for the next 3 years.  I had  heard it said, that we should respect those who were elected and support them as the voice for the community.  Wise words.  I have learned a lot about words in these last few weeks.  Words that are inflammatory, derogatory and offensive; and words that are positive, affirmative and effective.  I choose my words carefully.  I'm not a fan of making disappear what I spent time reflecting on and putting to paper/screen.  My words are important to me, enough so that I allow them to be.

Today is a new beginning.  A new beginning for this community.  We have been given the opportunity to elect a leadership and we have done so.  They now have the opportunity to begin. They deserve our respect and they deserve the right to be allowed to begin.  I have learned that words can divide a people, but that different, better words can bring people together.  

This is where I will put my words. 

This is the beginning of Writica.

This is where I will post my rants/ramblings, thoughts and words. I am hoping that what lands here, is something that you find, if nothing else, understandable.  It doesn't need to educate you, although that would be lovely. It doesn't need to inspire you, although that would also be good. My goal is not to change your opinion or make you see mine or anyone elses  point of you.  My only goal is to have someone stop here, then walk away saying 'that made sense' or at very least, have what they saw here pick away at their subconscious for an entire day without them even realizing. 

My intention is  to gather support and contributions from my friends.  I have friends who know and love letters and words as much as I do. I plan to use my friends as special Writica Correspondents and I believe that they will help me do great things here. In the coming days I hope to gather my regular correspondents and learn what they are willing to bring to the table (screen). I  may even post contributions from others who want to share their thoughts. Wouldn't that make it a magical venture??

This all sounds very heavy and dark. Not at all, Writica is destined to be amusing and entertaining as well as subconscious picking. The hope is to cover topics that touch us all in some way.

There....the beginning. I hope that you will join me for the middle of Writica, and all I envision and hope for it to grow up to be.

Stay tuned.