December 23, 2017:


It's COLD here and getting colder by the day, brrrrr. By December 26th the high may be only 3 degrees above zero. Yuck! But it's nice and cozy inside, and filled with the scents and sights of Christmas and Yuletide!

Today I made a crock pot full of my easy-peasy Beef Burgundy, made with a soup can full of sweet red wine (to rinse out the soup can, of course), and four other ingredients: beef (this pot I used beef already sliced in the package for beef stroganoff, and then cut the long thin strips into bite sizes), a can of Golden Mushroom soup, an 8 ounce package of whole button mushrooms cut into halves and thirds (depending on cap size), and a packet plus a little extra of a second packet of dried onion soup/dip mix. I also added a generous helping of ground pepper, dried thyme and dried - and aged (a year and three months, yikes!) of whole basil leaves that I ground up in between my fingers. Then the pot cooked on the "low" heat setting for 4 hours, with only one stir half-way through. The scent permeated the house and even managed to waft out to the street - wowsers - guess I need to get some additional insulation in these 1956 walls! My mouth was watering by the time I made up my first dish (over on-purpose a bit dry mashed potatoes) and gobbled it down, then had half a second dish as well! Now I want a nap.

I have my dark chocolate covered Queen Anne brand cherries (a Christmas must!), Beringer White Zinfandel wine, plenty of new fuel for my gel fuel fireplace and a host of Christmas movies to watch. Best of all, Solstice is done and we had a bit of sunlight day, late this afternoon. Every day, although it is not noticeable right now, it will get lighter a few minutes earlier and the Sun will sink below the horizon a few minutes later each day until the Summer Solstice on June 21. The worst is over, except for the bitter cold of January and February. I think I will go visit my friend Isis in Las Vegas in March - that always perks me right up :)

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all, and may the Season's blessings shower you with good fortune for all of 2018.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Chessly Gift Bags Were a Hit!

Good old Mr. Don came through.  I didn't know if he'd be up to making the long trek to the Olympic Stadium in Montreal where "our" Goddesschess 2012 Canadian Women's Chess Championship started yesterday, but he did, and he took photos and video!  Those will be posted at our Chess, Goddess and Everything blog. 

Thanks to Mrs. Dumont who received the box of goodies I shipped to Montreal and (with the help of her daughter) actually put the gift bags for the players together and got them delivered to the playing venue:

The saga of the bags not all being the same, oy!  Originally I thought there were going to be 9 players, so I purchased 9 bags all the same (the black and white print with pink ribbon and handles) and that was the entire stock of this particular style of bag at the Walgreens near my home.  When it came time to add more bags because there were more players (I only learned that 2 days before I shipped the items to Montreal), I did not find identical bags but I was thinking no sweat, I'll just get more at the Walgreens downtown near my office.  Disaster!  The day I went to that Walgreens to buy 3 additional bags, they had only a very small selection and none of the style I wanted!  No black bags, either.  I ended up buying the white bags with the polka dots on them as a neutral compromise and added colored tissue paper and shipped those with the rest of items and bags to be assembled.  I did not want to wait an extra day to ship the box to Montreal  (it went out FedEx last Wednesday evening) just so I could go to the Pick 'n Save near home and buy three more gift bags in a similar but not identical black and white print -- it would have been my luck that the Pick 'n Save would have had only 2 bags of that style left when I finally got there!  It was nail-biting enough as it was to ship the box on Wednesday, and paying extra to get it to Montreal the very next day.

Mrs. Dumont did a fab job putting these together, and the white polka dot bags look great! Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!

It was reported to me that the bags were a BIG hit, particularly with the younger ladies.  There are a couple of 11-12 year olds playing in this important championship, and several other teenagers.  Age, of course, does not matter across the chessboard - its your skill and steady nerves and a will to win that count there. 

By the way, I don't remember if I mentioned this or not -- I did end up buying engraved silver-plated compact mirrors for each of the players, to accompany the little Sam Moon mini-purses/wallets and the cool crown style purse hangers.  The engraved compact mirrors turned out beautifully. I neglected to take any photographs, though.  That's what I get for rushing!  Next time I will plan more carefully and give myself WAY more time to execute something like this.  Whew! 


  1. That is awesome! I like the bags the black and white with a touch of pink. This probably sounds horrible but I don't even know how to play chess!!! I think that's great that young of girls are playing in a championship! It's a bummer when we don't have time or the chance to take pictures of everything (in reply to your comments of no pictures of the engrave compacts) but we have to remember we were "actually living life" when we forgot to take pictures for our blog, we were enjoying the moment. lol! I always get on myself about forgetting or not taking the time to snap photos for my blog....but sometimes I think we need to say "Hey!, it's alright.. NOT everything has to be documented and put put on our blog!" lol! xoxoxox hope your feeling better!

    1. You are so sweet, Erika! Thanks for the encouragement. I'm actually living life big time lately, with a lot on my plate. I love blogging but right now it's taken sort of a bag seat to other things going on, unfortunately. The pics that Mr. Don took in Montreal are so much better than what I would have taken anyway; and if there is an extra bag left-over (there were 10 players plus one reserve player for emergencies) I will ask for the compact to be sent back to me for a keepsake. Then I'll try my hand at getting a photograph of the engraving.

      As for chess, it has been a love for some time. It's kind of weird how it all started, and not really relevant to a decorating blog, LOL! Not many femmes play the game at all, even if they learned, and we are a very small percentage total wise compared to the number of dudes who play chess. The overall participation rate average is 7% femmes and 93% dudes, and perhaps 2 million players with an actual rating world-wide. That's out of close to 7 billion people! Some millions more play online and casually face to face, but not in 'rated' or 'tournament' games. So, we are a very tiny minority!

      A lot of people don't know how to play chess. There has been a push for years for "chess in schools" because chess does teach children some very cool life-skills, such as logical thinking, how to see things in 3-D inside their minds, how to make a plan and try to carry it out, how to overcome unexpected obstacles (when your opponent makes a move you didn't anticipate, for instance), patience (very important, I think), and how to win and lose gracefully and treat your opponent with dignity and respect despite the outcome of your game. I wish everyone could learn how to play chess and learn these skills. Of course, there are other ways to teach our children these valuable life tools, but chess also has been proven to prevent the development of dementia in older people and possibly can even prevent the onset of Alzheimers symptoms for active players. An engaged mind is a powerful thing -- it has something to do with the kinds of chemicals that are released in the brain, whether we are young or old -- but particularly helpful in preventing that dread Alzheimers disease when one gets older. So, there are tangible and intangible benefits to chess. That is why I love the game, and encourage everyone I know, but especially girls and women, to take up the game. There is a special moment that can happen with a girl or a woman who is used to deferring to males, when she realizes that when across the board from a dude, she can think just as well as he can, and execute a game plan just as well, and sometimes better. It can be an eye-opening experience and of course, a great confidence booster. But even if you lose, you learn and grow. I'm a crappy player, but I love it anyway. To me, while it is no fun losing (I've only won one game my entire 'tournament career' - which isn't very deep, let me tell ya!) - the engagement with the other player is endlessly fascinating! And socializing with chess players at the tournaments is fun. Generally, they are really neat people. There are a few schmucks, but mostly they are pretty darn cool. Age doesn't matter in chess -- it's what you bring to the table that counts in terms of your character, fortitude, and yeah, you have to know how to move the pieces around but after that, it's anyone's game!

      Geez, can you tell I'm passionate about chess! LOL! Thanks for visiting, I'll be by your place soon and I do hope to join one of your parties and actually post something that I hope will be useful!