Mini Me…

One of my gifts this year was this photo. I had completely forgotten about it. Must have been taken about 1966-67 before I got my glasses. I’d be in Grade 5.

The photo was in pretty bad shape and my brother-in-law repaired it considerably and my sister framed it.

How cute was I?

The Polish Christmas Cards

One of the many family keepsakes that I value are two beautiful hand-made Christmas cards.

As some people will remember, during the war, my mother and her family became friends with a young Polish airman who was serving with the Polish air force with the Allies. Alojzy Dreja corresponded with my grandparents until near the end of the war when my grandfather died and my grandmother and mother had to move from the Manse. Presumably, his letters were not forwarded to their new address.

For years, I wondered about him and wondered if he survived the war.

The cards also contained a letter from Alojzy, as well as a Polish Christmas wafer. That latter sadly, though for years was intact, has been crushed. We still have it wrapped in its original paper envelope.

Envelope with Christmas wafer

Alojzy did survive the war, settled in England and married.

I managed to track down his son… Chris Dreja of The Yardbirds who very kindly sent me  a photo of his father, taken on the day he married.

I will be taking the cards and wafer to my friend Krys’ house tonight for her traditional Polish Christmas celebration.

Norwegian Chocolate Cake

This is a family recipe which my mother has made every Christmas until she stopped being able to manage cooking.

In the past, I managed to find a single recipe which seemed to be much the same as this one. Currently, there seem to be hundreds of recipes on the internet for things called Norwegian Chocolate Cake. Every single one in a recent search was a VEGAN (!!!!)  recipe. Firstly, I don’t see the point. And secondly, they are all basically a chocolate cake. These are squares and they are… to die for….

The recipe was a traditional one given to my grandmother by the wife of the leader of the Norwegian Army in exile in Dumfries, Scotland, during WWII.

Grandmother’s Recipe

This is what they should look like. This photo is from an Indian Food website and are called Kek Mari, because they use Marie Biscuits. I can’t find a corresponding recipe. The only difference visually is that there appear to be sesame seeds on the top.

“Kek Mari”

There is another similar recipe to mine that I just found for “Chocolate Hedgehog“.

Norwegian Chocolate Cake

1/2 lb. arrowroot cookies (broken into quarters)
1/2 lb. butter
1/2 lb. sugar
1/4 lb. semi-sweet chocolate squares
1 tbsp. cocoa
3 eggs

Line a 7″ square baking tin with lightly greased paper. Place half the broken biscuits evenly into the pan and place the pan into the refrigerator.

Break the butter and chocolate squares into same-sized pieces.

While the water in the bottom of the double-boiler is coming to a boil, mix together the eggs, sugar and cocoa in the top half, of the (cold) double-boiler and then place it onto the bottom.

Stir constantly, until the sugar has melted and the mixture heated.

While continuing to stir, gradually add the chocolate pieces and butter alternately, allowing each piece to completely melt before adding the next. When all the butter and chocolate has been melted in (about an hour) and completely smooth, remove the pan from the heat.

Pour half the mixture into the chilled baking pan.

Add the remaining biscuits into the remaining half of the chocolate mixture and stir gently and briefly, just to coat the biscuits, and then spoon this mixture into the baking pan, distributing everything evenly in the pan.

Let cool, and covering the pan with pan with parchment or plastic wrap, leave in the fridge for several days.

After a few days, turn the cake out of the pan onto a plate, cover again, and refrigerate for two more days.

Cut into squares and serve.

There is simply no way of adequately describing the taste. I suppose the chocolate part is sort of like a very thick ganache but as it matures for several days, it becomes chewy and the cookies softer. They are to DIE for….

Merry Christmas!

"Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!"

WTF is wrong with America?

Tiger Woods commits adultery and his wife tries to kill him.

Admittedly, adultery is not a good thing. But then neither is trying to kill your spouse with a golf club.

But two weeks on, Tiger’s career is gone because he spent too much time thinking with the little head instead of the big one and his wife is pitied because he cheated on her.

In fact, beyond this pity,  his wife is barely mentioned, despite her having caused him to drive into a hydrant and a tree while trying to whack him (take that in either context) with a golf club.

MEANWHILE, Michael Vick is responsible for the death and torture of perhaps hundreds of dogs in his dog-fighting “facility”, and aside from spending a short stint in jail, has a career intact and is cheered by thousands who dismiss his actual crimes simply because he can run fast.

What the Hell is wrong with a society which pillories a man because he chose to do something which isn’t illegal and the only peoples’ whose business it was was his wife’s and his, ignores the fact that his wife nearly killed him, and lauds someone who tortures and kills animals in the most horrifying ways (which IS a crime)?

I recognize that SOME may think that because Vick “payed his debt to society” he should be allowed to get on with his life. The fact is that Vick , as part of a team, makes money for others and lots of it. Tiger Woods makes more money but he basically makes it for himself.

Therein lies the difference. If Tiger were a football player, he’d still be on the field. People wouldn’t give a shit what he did with his penis as long as he didn’t tear a hamstring doing it.

Shame on the companies who dropped Tiger’s endorsements.  Shame on the companies who are willing to overlook the acts of a real criminal for the sake of money.

And shame on America for being the sort of society that worries more about someone’s sex life than someone else’s criminal acts.

PhotoHunter: “Undesirable” Warning! Photos may be disturbing!

Warning! The second photo may be disturbing for some.

undesirable [ˌʌndɪˈzaɪərəbəl]


not desirable or pleasant; objectionable

Nature has a way of reminding us that life is sometimes short and often ends unpleasantly.

I posted the first image in the November 22nd PhotoHunter, “Bird(s)”. This poor bird was trapped in an abandoned building. I found it when I was photographing the town of Claremont, Ontario, which is mostly boarded up and slated for demolition for the Pickering Airport. I cannot imagine how it suffered before finally  succumbing to exhaustion and/or starvation.


Early one Spring, when I was out taking photos near Wakefield, Quebec, I came across this cat carcass. Whether it had been hit by a car and went into the field to die, froze to death, or what, I don’t know.

What was particularly disturbing to me was that, aside from the black toes and gums, it looked so like my Benjamin.

Still, it is life and death… The way of the World.



BPS December card

Vintage-y card from Steph B.

I received this lovely vintage-y card from Steph B. in California. Isn’t it sweet? I love the sparkly accents around the buildings and on the tree. So pretty!

It reminds me of the card we would have received in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

I should say that the scan made the yellows a little glaring. The postcard is actually a little softer in colour. I couldn’t adjust it without washing it out.

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

PhotoHunter: Curved (Curves?)

"Polka-dot dress"

There are some curves in that thar dress…



Steven checking out some hot curves

"Hot curves, at rest"

The “hot curves” belong to the bass player for The Luster Kings

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