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Friday, December 30, 2011



Guy Ritchie scores another smash with the sequel to the blockbuster Sherlock Holmes.

In A Game of Shadows, the ever witty and eccentric Holmes (played brilliantly by Robert Downey Jr) is seeking out his worst nemissary none other than Professor James Moriarty (played by Jared Harris of 'Mad Men' fame).

Along with 'Oscar' worthy performances by both Jude Law and Stephen Fry, the movie is engaging and action packed.  The beautiful Noomi Rapace is exquisite portraying the gypsy Madam Simza Heron.

Holmes and Watson feverishly work to thwart off a World War carefully being orchestrated by Moriarty (Harris). Epic gun fights and explosions ripple through the movie in perfect fluid motion.

The plot paralleled part of the story line in 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' (2003) where the 'League' led by Allan Quatermain was trying to stop a world war also orchestrated by the maniacal Professor.

A Game of Shadows has everything that a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's hero will love: Plenty of action, mystery, humor and captivating scenes to keep the movie watcher on the edge of their seats.

A definite must see on your holiday movie list!

RAVEN RATING 4.5 out of 5 claws



The Team Canada World Junior Team won their game 5-0 against the Team from the Czech Republic.

Mark Stone continues to rack up points by scoring another goal to make it 4 goals in 2 games. Mark Scheifele gets on the board with two stellar goals in the 3rd period. Rounding out the scoring for Canada was Ryan Strome and Brett Connolly. Tanner Pearson adds to his tournament total with a couple assists.

Czech goalie Petr Mrazek faced 38 shots by Canada allowing only 5 goals. Team Canada saw Scott Wedgewood in net for his first game of the tournament and made his mark with the outstanding shutout. Scott managed to keep all 26 Czech shots out of the pipes.

Once again, the crowds in Alberta (16,417) were treated to the Canadian Anthem and saw Freddie Hamilton (Niagara IceDogs) and Petr Mrazek (Czech) get 'Player of the game' nods.

Team Canada will face Denmark in their next match up.   



In a shocking upset, Team USA loses to the very enthusiastic team from the Czech Republic.

Petr Mrazek in net for the Czechs displayed energy and a light-hearted side with his celebrating of goals by his teammates.

Bill Arnold for Team USA gets Player of the game nod as well as Petr Holik for the Czechs despite the 'jeers' from the crowd after the games' 5-2 victory.

Mrazek faced 54 shots allowing only 2 goals. Team USA dominated the shots but they were unable to produce more goals.

Team USA had a crowd awakening penalty shot after Jiri Riha of the Czech team took a tripping call on the breakaway by Josh Archibald. Mrazek stood tall between the pipes and denied Josh's scoring attempt. The exuberant Mrazek double fist pumped the crowd ecstatic at the 2-2 tie remaining.

In spite of their efforts, Team USA just couldn't fight the force that was Petr Mrazek. With the Czech win, Team Canada automatically gets a bye into semi-finals. While the Czechs will face off against Finland in their final game of the Preliminary round.

Team USA will play Team Canada Saturday in the last of the Prelims.



The 2012 IIHF World Junior Championships saw Team Canada trounce the Team from Denmark in a painful 10-2 on Thursday in front of a crowd of over 16,000 in Alberta.

Team Canada was playing with passion and determination despite the large goal differential. The scoring for Canada kicked off with Quinton Howden early in the first period. Team Canada posted 4 goals in the 1st period with the lone penalty going to Ryan Strome (Hooking).

The second period, saw Canada's sheer domination and hard hitting squad completely man-handle the boys from Denmark. Goals by Scott Harrington, Freddie Hamilton and Mark Stone extended Canada's lead to 7-0. Canada took the only 3 penalties for the period.

In the third period, Denmark appeared to show some life and scored 2 outstanding goals against Mark Visentin who was net minding for Team Canada. Canada saw the penalty box 4 times in the 3rd while Denmark had 1 penalty for the entire game.

Sebastian Feuk for Denmark was in net for the entire game and had a total of 41 shots, while Mark Visentin faced 24 shots for Canada. Player of the game for Canada was Brandon Gormley and Nicklas Jensen for Denmark.

Canada's great passing, excellent puck handling and amazing scoring opportunities has aided in their continued success thus far in the tournament. The real test to the boys of Team Canada will come on Saturday when they face their rivals from Team USA.

The game will be shown at 6pm MT/5pm PT from Rexall Place in Edmonton Alberta and will end Canada's Preliminary round in this year's tournament. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011




Yesterday marked the opening of the annual Ridge Meadows Juvenile Christmas Tournament. Hosted between Planet Ice in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Arena in Pitt Meadows BC. 

A two tiered tournament that shows off the senior players involved in minor hockey. The 'Juvy' division is for the 18-20yr old to finish out their minor hockey careers. It has grown considerably in recent years with more and more boys wanting to continue on with the game they love so much. 

The tournament was the love child of Brek Stewart (who at the time was Managing the Ridge Meadows Juvy A1 team affectionately known as the 'MOOSE'). His love for the game and his commitment to volunteering brought this tournament to life. 

After six years of being the tournament's Director, Brek stepped away to open the door for others to take the reigns. This year the Director for the tournament is Bill Allen. A long time volunteer with Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey. His son, is currently playing on the A1 team. 

This year sees the addition of two teams from the Interior Region. It's the first time  that the tournament is hosting teams from the area. Previous years, there has been teams from Vancouver Island but never from the Interior.  

The tournament runs from Dec 27-Dec 30th. 

more to come

Monday, December 26, 2011



Team Canada kicked off the IIHF World Junior Championships taking place in Alberta, with a decisive 8-1 win over the team from Finland.

Early goals and great goaltending by Mark Visentin (who faced only 25 shots compared to Christopher Gibson who faced 42) led the Canadian boys to their domination over the Fins.

Mark Stone, scores his first hat trick of the tournament. Jonathon Huberdeau makes his mark with a 5 point game. Points were also racked up by Brendan Gallagher, Ryan Strome, the Hamilton brothers (Dougie and Freddie), Jaden Schwartz, Tanner Pearson, Nathan Beaulieu and Brandon Gromley.

The lone goal for Team Finland was scored by Alexander Ruutu who was also the MVP for the game along with Mark Stone for Canada.

Canada's power play unit went 2 for 2 in the 2nd period. Team Finland, has a good power play and great rush but it was unproductive today. Team Canada played cohesively and confidently compared to their exhibition games prior to today's tournament start.

The only downside to this win was the crucial loss of defenseman Devante Smith-Pelly, who was seen leaving the rink on crutches with an air boot. No word at this time as to what the issue is but x-rays have been performed.

Team Canada will face the team from the Czech Republic on Wednesday @ 6pm MT 7pm PT at Rexhall Place in Edmonton

Sunday, December 25, 2011


My Christmas Wish

This year has been one of so much sorrow, pain and chaos for the entire World.  The needless loss of life through gang violence. Thousands displaced by tragic floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and fires. Too many lives lost through war, strife, greed, torture, hunger and disease. Tears continue to flow for lives tragically taken in accidents of all forms. The anguish from losing precious young lives because of bullying, hatred, ignorance and intolerance. 

My world is changing daily. It is no longer the world I knew as a child. As a child, Russia was one massive entity called the Soviet Union. A wall stood between families in Germany and the worse thing to happen at school was detention for passing notes. 

I stare out at the mountains and wonder when they will come crashing down. The stability of the earth is decaying faster than we can repair it. How many 'hint's does humanity need before it realizes the path to self-annihilation is within reach? When, will we stop causing so much pain and anguish to each other and to the earth? 

My Christmas wish this year seems so simplistic in theory. 'Peace on earth and good will towards all men'. Freedom from persecution for being a different race, creed, religion, sexual orientation. Freedom from bullying in any form. Freedom from famine, war and disease. 

In reality, these wishes are much harder to attain than it should be. Perhaps, one day before we blow ourselves to kingdom come. We can find the common ground that is the earth and start to enjoy it for what it truly is: A miracle.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy Safe and Prosperous New Year!


Friday, December 23, 2011


issue 3

It's Friday and the final preparations are being put in place for those of us who are celebrating Christmas. The roads are busier, the grocery stores jammed packed but the mood is light and oddly enough friendlier. A bouncy holiday tune began playing on the radio as I headed to my destination. GoldenEars CheeseWorks. 

The visit was spontaneous and figured I would get in and out quickly. Apparently, on the 23rd of December that idea was an epic fail! Pulling into their parking lot, I knew I was in for a lengthy wait at the tills. There were but a few choice spots left. Parking the Mustang, I headed in to the store.

As I walked into the store, the buzzing chatter of shoppers was loud but cheerful. The place was full of happy customers. The GoldenEars CheeseWorks had become one of my favorite local hangouts and apparently a lot of other Ridge Meadow's residents.  

I meandered into the store, knowing my sole purpose was to buy some pizza dough for my Stromboli's (hubby's treat for the guys at work over Christmas). There was just so much to look at. The chocolates gained my attention immediately, I acknowledged their silent urgings to buy but managed to walk past without grabbing any. 

The staff was running to keep up with their customer's purchases, questions and tastings. Wait, you get to sample cheese while you shop? Of course! Every day you can sample their cheeses! I eked by the cheese counter and the sweet aroma of cinnamon buns caught my senses. They were fresh and the cream cheese on top was bellowing. I resisted the temptation. 'I must be strong today', 'I can do this'. Nope, it was too late. The call of the 'Gouda Buns' was just too much to bear. I snapped a bag up and popped it into my basket. 

Returning to the cheese counter, I ordered my Cranberry Quark and fresh Baby Brie and went on my way to the till. Wishing the staff and those close by a 'Merry Christmas', I happily went on my way. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011


issue 2
Dec 22 2011

When you least expect it, someone turns up in your daily life to give you a glimmer of hope. A shining moment in the paradox of humanity. A moment that re-enforces your faith and restores the joyousness that is the season. 

Tonight, in Ridge Meadows, I found mine. Never inquired on her name, I just acknowledged her as the 'Delightful Salvation Army Red Bucket Volunteer'. Standing in the chilly, of this early Thursday evening, her charming personality lit up the Save-on-Foods parking lot. She was joyfully singing Christmas carols and shaking her bells. I had taken notice of her actions while driving into the parking lot and her exuberance was energizing. As I walked closer, she was tossing her bells in the air and not missing a beat of her song, catching them and ringing them merrily.  

Walking into the store, I smiled but went on my way to complete my 'sudden' but urgent errand. The order I had placed had finally arrived and just in time too. After 20 minutes, I left the store, with a large bulky, heavy box in my arms. She smiled and wished me a 'Merry Christmas'.  Fumbling through my purse, I managed to get some money and toss it into her shiny red bucket and offered my best wishes back. The smile that had adorned her face had mellowed my very sullen mood. As I unlocked my car and put my box inside, I gazed upwards to the sky and saw a brilliant star. It seemed like it was the only one in the sky and it had me in full view. 

Maybe there is some truth to 'Dr Seuss's Grinch' after all. Sher's heart grew and grew that night. Maybe, this year everything will be all right. 

I just won 10 points on the SuperLucky Button!

I just won 10 points on the SuperLucky Button!: Superpoints is a members-only club where you earn great rewards for doing things online like taking surveys, watching videos or shopping.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011



One of the hardest things to have control over during Christmas is the screaming, running and generally 'hopped up on sugar' children. Here are a few 'life saving' tips to get over Christmas dinner without too much added stress.

  1. Make up little activity gift bags for each child attending dinner. A visit to your local 'Dollar Store' and you are all set. Little games, puzzle books, coloring books, crayons, stickers, story books. (Age appropriate, keeping in mind any really young children around) 
  2. Christmas Crackers. These are great for using as place settings. Tie a balloon to each cracker along with a name tag for each child. They can all open their crackers, once everyone is quiet at the table. 
  3. Separate time for eating. This one can be tricky. Large dinners can be hard enough, but making a special time for the kids can be problematic. My suggestion is to do a 'buffet' style dinner and have all the kids get their food 15 mins before the adults. That way they are already eating, while everyone else is getting their food. It also allows them to finish first and run off to another room to play with toys, etc while the grown-ups finish dinner.
  4. Fresh Air. If the weather is permitting, before all the guests arrive. Head outside to your backyard, frontyard (if you have them) and 'gently' hide some Christmas props. Pine cones, ornaments (plastic or wooden ones), garland, bows, etc. Then print up a 'Scavenger Hunt' list and have all the children do a holiday hunt. The older kids can help out the younger ones with reading, colors, math and the fresh air will tire them all out! If you live in a condo or apartment building. This one is a little tougher. You can do it in a spare room and just make the hiding spots a little more interesting. (laundry hampers, shoe boxes, drawers, closets etc).
  5. Have emergency food rations. It never fails, there will be one or two children that decide to make a fuss about Christmas dinner and not wanting to eat 'that'. Prepare ahead a quick mac n cheese, hot dogs that you can just pop in the microwave to reheat and serve. Trust me, this one you'll thank me for.
  6. Borrow or rent a gaming system. If you don't own a gaming system like 'Xbox' or 'Wii'. See if any of your guests would mind bringing theirs over ahead of dinner. You can hook it up on a spare television and it will keep them occupied! (if you rent one, be sure to rent all age games that way you don't have to worry about the younger ones seeing any violent games).
  7. Rent [or borrow]a Karaoke machine. Check your local Party supply store. Renting a machine is relatively inexpensive and easy to set up. It's a great way to get everyone involved and the laughter from watching 'Uncle Joe' singing 'Bieber' will keep all the kids entertained. 
These are just a few ideas to get you started. These ideas work great for Kwanzaa and Channukah celebrations as well. *dreidel contests work well*

The countdown continues.....



Beastly, a modern twist on the classic tale of 'Beauty and the Beast'. Released to the Theatres in March 2011. It stars the charming and delightful Vanessa Hudgens and the hunky Alex Pettyfer as the Beast. 

Beastly, takes the teen angst and social acceptance due to beauty to a new angle. Kyle, the most 'beautiful' boy in school is a total narcissist and thinks the only way to get ahead is with your good looks. 

Kyle finds himself suddenly cursed by fellow student Kendra (excellently portrayed by Mary-Kate Olsen). [yes, I found it a large surprise that she could actually act]. Kyle has a year to make someone fall in love with him after his transformation into the 'beast'. 

With witty comments from co-stars Neil Patrick Harris and Peter Krause, the movie although not a Box Office blowout, is a great must see on DVD. 

The make-up and artistry work on Kyle after the transformation is incredible! 

Rated: PG13 and runs for 86 mins. 

RAVEN RATING:  3.5 claws

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Not a good today.

5 days till Christmas and I'm facing sitting alone in a house while my husband works. Sure, it happens when you work shift work. Yes, it's supposed to be a happy and joyous time. Christmas just doesn't cut it for me anymore. Too many memories, too much sorrow and far too much stress to contend with. Even more so with the Tribunal just around the corner.

Too top it all off, my immune system has decided to allow me the great honor of being sick. My throat feels like a grater went through it. My nose is stuffed more than a baby's first Christmas stocking and my head is about to explode to the likes of Mt St Helens.

I'm sure there is a padded room out there with my name on it, I just need to find it. Until I do, I'll simply say the following:

Happy Channukah, Blessed Yule, Happy Saturnalia. Let the long winter begin and may the Goddess have some mercy on me soon.

Monday, December 19, 2011



Switching from shopping for gifts to setting up for Christmas!

Christmas dinner is the focal point of the family gathering surrounding this holiday.  Having a table that is fit for a King can be intimidating, here are the first few tips to get you started.

  1. To make a bow out of linen napkins, roll them diagonally, then slip one end through a napkin ring, then take the other end and loop it through the ring and gently pull until you have your bow. 
  2. Use recipe cards for place settings. Write a name on the card. Along with the menu and any special ingredients or activities for the day. 
  3. Mix and match your dishes. Dollar stores are excellent for picking up different colors and festive patterns. Value Village, can be a great resource as well. 
  4. Candles make everything special. Red, green, white, gold and silver candles are perfect choices. Keep the candles for the grown-up tables and use battery powered candles on the kids'. 
  5. Centerpieces can be made easily by a couple small branches of Evergreen. Lay the branches to make a circle, place fresh cut pomegranates at each end. place a silver or gold metal tray in the center of the circle. Place candles on the tray (melt a little wax from the candle to keep the candle in place)

More to come so stay tuned!

Sunday, December 18, 2011



With only 5 shopping days left, the need for local options is growing. In honor of late and last minute shoppers. This tip is for you!

Grocery stores, drug stores and restaurants are perfect to find those last minute gifts. From fresh flowers to chocolate to gift cards.

  • London Drugs/Shoppers DrugMart -Electronics department for great deals on movies, computer needs, televisions. Cosmetic department has lots to choose from. Perfumes, body sprays, bath products. Be sure to check down the 'Seasonal' aisles for fantastic bargains! Housewares aisles, you can find some incredible deals on kitchen appliances, dishware, silverware and everything ин between.
  • Safeway/Save-On-Foods/Great Canadian Superstore - Great for picking up a dessert, appetizers, last minute cranberries. Be sure to check out their selection of gifts, fruit baskets, fresh flowers and chocolates. Bakery department is awesome for finding a special treat for two or for the entire clan. Specialty cakes are available (call ahead to see what can be done). 
  • Restaurants. - Gift cards for a local restaurant  are a great last minute gift. Smaller denominations can be used for nice stocking stuffers too!  Be sure to check out the smaller eateries as well. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011



This time of year sees the malls and parking lots jammed full. Tempers flaring, anxiety growing, bank accounts emptying and stress higher than Santa's reindeer in full flight. 

For people with Chronic Illnesses, this time of year is a nightmare at best. The constant agony of trying to shop, carry bags (yeah right) and deal with the demands of family and friends is quite overwhelming.  In the seventeen days of December, I think I can count on one hand the non-flare up days. The closer it gets to Christmas, the worse it seems to be getting.

Yes, the added stress is certainly contributing and likely so is the wet damp weather (that is the West Coast). Of course, the bad news from the Specialist with regards to my Meniere's Disease and it's progression isn't really helping much either. 

The attempt has been made a couple of times to go out and do some shopping and other holiday related activities. Each time, the pain has been unbearable but I keep a 'brave' face on and keep going. 

Being someone who is a total 'foodie' and loves to cook and bake. This time of year is now extremely depressing. Gone are the days that I could bake and cook for hours on end and collapse around New Year's. Now, it's a struggle just to stand in one spot long enough to make a batch of cookies. I can no longer work dough with my hands because they cramp up too much. 

Wrapping presents is a challenge. I can remember sitting on the floor, surrounded by bows, wrapping paper and tags and spending the evening making sure every gift was wrapped in elegance. Now, I'm lucky if I can make sure the wrapping paper is cut straight.

Everything about the holiday season now is troublesome and problematic. There aren't enough medications on the planet to make me feel joyous this year. I'd be perfectly content to sleep my way into 2012. Alas, I don't sleep so even that idea blows. 

Any way you slice it, Chronic Illnesses impede your daily life. Even the holidays  can't fix that. 

Enjoy the holidays, the best you can in whatever means you can. Inner strength comes in waves but it is there. 

Maybe, we can luck out and Santa will bring us all cures!

Merry Yule, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Channukah, Blessed Ramadan, Happy Unbirthday! 



What's happening around Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows through my eyes. For my first installment, I present the following:

The Ridge Meadows Food Bank got a nice boost last Saturday, thanks to the boys of the Ridge Meadows Bantam A2 Hockey Team.

The boys sported their jerseys and were asking for a $5 dollar donation which translated into a large paper bag filled with dried goods for the food bank. The foods are pre-selected and placed into the paper bags ready for delivery to those in need.

The energy the boys had was terrific to see and they were all very polite and friendly to incoming and outgoing customers. With the addition and lure of a free candy cane, a $5 donation was an easy sell.

The boys kicked off their Food Drive at 10:30 this morning and by 11:30 had already collected $200 in donations! Thanks to them and their generous nature, alot more families in Ridge Meadows will have food on their tables.

Well Done Boys! 



Today's tip is all about smelling terrific! Christmas is always a great time to spoil someone on your list with a gift of perfume or cologne. Many department stores carry the popular brands of latest perfumes and colognes. For those, more 'hard to find' perfumes or colognes, I suggest the following:

Perfumania is the One Stop Online Store for all your perfumery needs. Great prices, good shipping rates, free samples and free gifts with qualifying purchases! 

From 'Snookie' to 'Beyonce' and everything in between, you are sure to find the right scent for the right price! 

Perfumania also has a great selection of gift sets, bath and body products and great scents for men!

Hurry, there is only 7 days left till Christmas



Pressured by last minute shopping? Let Bruce's Market help out with their 'Top 12 gifts' List. Everything on their list, is available in their store as well as getting all your dinner necessities. Bruce's Market is more than just a fish market. Their fresh produce, gourmet fare and dining area, make Bruce's Market 'A one stop shop'. 

Bruce's Market is open seven days a week and hours vary per season. Be sure to try pick up some of their Seafood before you leave! 

Be sure to sign up for their newsletter! 

  1. Knights Chocolate   
  2. Gift Baskets
  3. Dancing Tea Pots 
  4. Becky's Bowls
  5. Becky's Bean Bots
  6. Festive Lollys
  7. Guy Shirts
  8. Smoked Salmon Trays
  9. Magnet Salt and Peppers
  10. Name Pens
  11. Melissa and Doug Toys
  12. Checker's Fudge


Thursday, December 15, 2011


part 9


Food has always been part of every one's cultures and traditions and this time of year it tends to take the forefront and shine like the Star of David on a dark cold December night.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Saturnalia, there is something to tantalize the taste buds. 

Sweet breads, decadent puddings and trifles, chocolate and marzipan are just a few selections to be found on a dining table. The aromas of cardamon, prune, walnuts and date engulf the senses to create lost childhood memories of 'Grandma's cooking'. 

Pagans have used food in their rituals and celebrations for millenia. Used to ward off evil, offering to the gods, and in general celebrations. Wine, mead and ale were consumed alongside all the rich goodies.

My personal favorites for this time of year are:

Kurtos Kalacs (sweet dough dipped in caramel and rolled in walnuts) 
Dobosh Torte (layered angel food cake with walnut filling and chocolate ganache topping)
Tarte au Sucre (French Canadian sugar pie)
Tortiere (French Canadian meat pie)
Panatone (Italian sweet bread with or without raisins)
Stollen (German sweet bread)
Buche de Noel (Yule log) (usually chocolate with creme filling, frosted to resemble a log of wood)
Cranberry Bliss Bars (Starbucks does it right!!!!)

It doesn't matter what you celebrate. What matters is family, love, honor, tradition and embracing different cultures. 

A Taste of Romania


Deep in the heart of the West End of Vancouver is a quaint little Bakery that brings the sweet tastes of Romania to Canada.

The Transylvania Bakery, has been operating on Davie Street since it's opening in 2008. Owned by Narsica Stoian, who immigrated from Romania in 2007. Her childhood was filled with the richness and decadence of traditional desserts and it was this that she wanted to share with her new home.
From Kurtos Colacs to Dobosh Torte, there is something to satisfy anyone's sweet tooth. The dessert shop also serves fantastic coffee and has fresh baked breads (that go quick so grab them when you can). With sodas, water and teas rounding out the drink options.

The Bakery does special orders and birthday cakes! It's a one stop goodie haven!

Transylvania Bakery is open seven days a week from 11am to 9pm.  

Sarbatori vesele



Lounging around has come a long way from just wearing a housecoat and slippers. Today, lounging clothes have taken on a new life all to their own. Finding the right lounge wear to suit everyone can be difficult so here are a websites to help you decide. Adorably cute loungewear at fantastic prices!
Womens Camouflage Micro-Polar Fleece Adult Footed Pajamas in Pink Sexy and sleek for a romantic twist. Great selection for everyone on your list.
Human-i-Tees Women's Flannel Lounge Pants Macy's is always a dependable choice for any purchase. We can't forget the men either.
Club Room Sleepwear Box Set, Long Sleeve Crew and Flannel Pajama Pants

My Recipe Collection: Vinatarta - An Icelandic Christmas Tradition

My Recipe Collection: Vinatarta - An Icelandic Christmas Tradition: Vinatarta is a delicious, delectable Icelandic Christmas cake that my mother-in-law faithfully and lovingly makes every Christmas season. ...

Andre “Andy“ Demers - Obituaries - Welland, ON - Your Life Moments

Andre “Andy“ Demers - Obituaries - Welland, ON - Your Life Moments

Wednesday, December 14, 2011




Here are my top 20 perfect stocking stuffers guaranteed to make you and Santa shine on Christmas morning!

  1. Coffee gift cards. Whether it's Tim Horton's, Starbucks, Blenz, Second Cup. These cards are perfect for any one's stocking and come in any denomination you want.
  2. Toiletries. Travel sized toiletries aren't just for travelling. They make perfect little stuffers. Especially for students (toothbrush, mouthwash, hand sanitizer, shampoo etc)
  3. Chocolate! Everyone loves chocolate. From chocolate balls to expensive Godiva Truffles, it is sure to be a hit! (don't forget the sugar free chocolate for those diabetics on your list too)
  4. Movie Passes. Quick and easy to use and buy. Either for one night out, a date or a gift card for several movies. Always nice to receive
  5. Fruit. Fresh fruit consisting of apples, oranges, pomegranates are perfect sized to put in the stocking. (mini tangerines are even better)
  6. Socks. The dryer always takes prisoners, so it's always nice to get a fresh pair or two. 
  7. Hand Scrapers. These are great for heavy snowfall areas. A good handheld ice scraper will fit nicely in a stocking. 
  8. Batteries. All those presents need them so put some in their stockings and really make them wonder what they are getting.
  9. Disposable cameras. These are great to catch spontaneous moments of gift opening and dinner faux pas. 
  10. Hot Chocolate/Teas. For those who don't drink coffee. A couple special packages of holiday hot chocolate or their favorite herbal tea are ideal and appreciated on cold winter nights.
  11. Tools. From small screwdrivers to tape measures. The handymen (or women) will totally love getting these household necessities.
  12. Kitchen Gadgets. Pizza cutters, measuring spoons, spatulas, towels etc (anything small works great). Digital thermometers are perfect!
  13. Naughty naughty! OK so for the 'special' stocking on your list, how about miniature packages of lubes, condoms (Grown teens/students/adults), lotions and potions. Most adult oriented stores have a good selection of naughtiness to fill that stocking.
  14. Underwear. They are perfect to ball up and wrap! Finding cool undies with graphics and cartoon characters are a hit with kids and adults! 
  15. Silly string! Yes, I said silly string. No Christmas is complete until someone is covered in silly string. Most party supply stores carry it year round and the kids will love using it outside in the snow.
  16. Alcohol. For those stockings that are the legal age to drink. A small bottle of wine or even a small bottle of their favorite alcohol. Most liquor stores have smaller versions of wine and alcohol close to the checkouts. You can also add a corkscrew, bottle opener and coasters.
  17. Bath products. Bath bombs, salts, oils and soaps are perfect for pampering.
  18. Makeup. Girls love getting makeup and it fits so nicely in a stocking. From groovy nail polish to razzle dazzle eye shadows. 
  19. Toys. Small toys are great for the stocking and makes the dollar stretch just a little further. Hit up the local 'Dollar Store' and grab age appropriate toys. School supplies like erasers and pencils are great because you can find some awesome seasonal ones!
  20. Cold Hard Cash. Nothing will bring a smile to a child's/teens/grownups face more than cold hard cash. Wrap up Loonies and Twoonies. Shove other denominations in other stocking stuffers for that extra punch!
Stocking stuffers can vary as much as the individuals buying them. Whatever you choose to stuff into those Christmas stockings will be found with joy and love. 

Another Major Blow..A Chronic Illness Update


2 Specialist appointments and 1 traumatizing result. My Meniere's disease is progressing and my hearing is worse than the same time last year. The unfortunate part, is that the symptoms are also much worse. Thus, the specialist is advising surgery to alleviate some of the symptoms. 

Labrithectomy (what a glorious mouthful that translates to me being completely deaf in the operated on ear). They basically remove the part of the ear that causes the Vertigo, Dizziness, Nausea but leaves you deaf. 

There is also a procedure where they put a shunt (tiny silicone tube for emptying fluid) into the ear which is supposed to help prevent the excess build up of fluid. 

My Specialist is recommending the prior not the latter. He indicated that I`m at the max for medicinal treatment and that surgery may be the only solution.  I, however, have a HUGE issue with being `forcefully`deafened as opposed to the `progressive` path I`m currently on. Needless to say, the news was devastating to hear and led to a lot of tears all the way back to Pitt Meadows from Richmond. 

I`m not entirely sure how many people I hurt in my past life but apparently it was too many. I really didn`t think I deserved all this shit.

The journey continues yet again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sher's Stromboli



  • 1 package of pre cooked chicken
  • 1 large red onion
  • 10 large button mushrooms sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups mozzarella/tex mex cheese shredded
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1 small can of pizza sauce
  • 1 whole wheat pizza dough (proofed and risen to twice its size)
  • large baking sheet


preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  1. place dough in a pre floured bowl and let it rise until twice its size (at least)
  2. punch down the dough and let it rise again
  3. in a frying pan, sauté pre cooked chicken, onion and mushrooms in olive oil
  4. add garlic and wine
  5. continue until moisture out of mushrooms and onions nicely caramelized
  6. roll out pizza dough till you get a large square (or as close as you can get)
  7. spread pizza sauce all over dough
  8. place chicken, onion and mushrooms in centre of dough
  9. cover with cheese
  10. flip both sides of the dough into the centre till it looks like a burrito
  11. pinch the ends  to seal in the cheese mixture
  12. cut 3 slits on the top of the Stromboli
  13. bake for 30-35 mins.


  • 2 cups of ricotta cheese, blended with cheese for topping
  • omit pizza sauce inside and use it for dipping
  • can use pepperoni, steak, bacon, ham, peppers (whatever pizza toppings you like you can use in this)

 **I like the pizza dough from Golden Ears CheeseWorks. They have white and whole wheat available** 

Chronic Illness Update

Chronic Illness Update

So today was my appointment with my Rheumatologist in downtown Vancouver. The drive is painful at best and gives me just enough time to push my anxiety level to maximum overdrive. (roughly 45mins drive). 

Mercifully, she is fantastic and took me earlier than my appointment time. (how many Doctor's can do that?)  We spent the majority of the visit, discussing my Fibromyalgia and Disability Tribunal in February. After having such a horrid visit with my family Doctor a couple weeks ago, I was determined to make sure my specialist knew everything that I was feeling and experiencing before being 'pushed out' the door. 

She allowed me the time to sit and cry hysterically at one point while talking about my lack of appetite and inability to eat most days. She is quite concerned about my weight loss and vomit/nausea issues. 

While acknowledging my Chronic Illnesses (Osteoarthritis, Meniere's Disease, Fibromyalgia, Depression, Chronic Fatigue and Chronic Pain), she is also now checking me for Lupus. 

I guess, the best part of the visit, was the fact that she sat and let me vent about my family doctor. She made worthwhile and logical suggestions as well as ordering tests that haven't been done (that should be done on a monthly basis).

I told my doctor that I was fully aware of the progression and deterioration of the diseases and I'm at peace with that. What I cannot contend with is the day-to-day issues of the illnesses. I never know what to expect from one day to the next and that is the frustrating part.

I would love to know that tomorrow my pain level would be a 6 (that's amazing and as close to pain free for me as I get). I would like to know that I won't be strapped to the bed/sofa because even the slightest movement causes excruciating pain. I would love to be able to plan events days or months in advance without worrying about having to cancel because I'm completely immobile.

The guilt I feel is tremendous. Not because I can't work but because of the fear that I may have doomed my child to the same issues. Goddess, I hope not for her sake.

So now the countdown starts to the Tribunal. I'm far from confident on my case but know that whatever happens is supposed to happen. Of that, I have no doubt. Fate and destiny are the two things I never dispute. 

The journey continues.....



Today's tip is for all the 'Foodies' on your list. 

What is a 'Foodie', you ask?

A Foodie, is anyone who has a passion for food and enjoyment from food. From baking to cooking elaborate meals for friends and families. You don't have to be 'schooled' to be a Foodie, you just have to have a passion for food.  The Gourmet Warehouse in Vancouver is the place to go for those Foodies on your list. Founded by Caren McSherry in 1989, she strives to provide top quality products and gourmet food through both the online store and the store front itself. (located on East Hastings St)

The Gourmet Warehouse, serves up everything from 'Le Crueset' cook ware to 'Pain is Good' hot sauce. They offer gift baskets that are delivered in wooden crates! 

The Gourmet Warehouse also dishes out Bath and Body products as well as Cookbooks and of course gift cards when you just can't decide.

They will ship anywhere in Canada through 'FedEx', so be sure to check the different rates for the different provinces. 

Tomorrow is the cut off to make sure your purchases make it by Christmas to be sure to login to their site and scoop up some delicious treats for all the Foodies. 

Wooden Crate


Monday, December 12, 2011



Getting squeezed on time for those last minute gifts. Most online companies are offering 'free shipping' to Canada that normally charge for shipping outside of the United States.

With the ability to ship to any destination, it means that your online purchases can get shipped right to the recipient from their warehouse. It also makes shopping for family/friends that are scattered all over much more efficient and definitely easier.

Be sure to check out some of my advertised sponsors for their great deals and free shipping! 

12 days of shopping left!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


part 8

Blending Religions  

Nowadays, more and more families are becoming both blended in marriage and blended in religious outlooks. Years ago, most men and women wed within their respective faiths. While that may still hold true for some, it isn't seen as 'taboo' to marry outside of one's own faith. So celebrating the holidays usually wasn't a problem because your spouse would be of the same faith. 

Which do you celebrate? Which is more important or more widely accepted? What won't offend parents and siblings? What about children? Do you teach them one or both religions? All these questions have merit and can be the basis for 'heated' discussions.

Being in a blended religion family can be tough if you are the only one that is different. My family is Catholic, my husband's family is 'Anglican' and I'm personally Pagan (Dianic Wicca to be exact). My problems started early on when it came time for 'church'. 

Growing up my brother and I both went to Catholic school but I always had questions regarding my faith and Catholicism in general. I never fully digested the 'food' I was being fed by my teachers and clergy. As a result, my path wandered into several different religions before landing on where my feet stand now. Of course, some of it could have been rebelling against parental guidance etc., but as I got older, it became clear that my beliefs were not Monotheistic in nature.

I still celebrated the Christian holidays with my family and would have my own little 'ritual' celebrations for whatever holiday I was celebrating at that time. I spent many years 'hiding' my true beliefs and thus hiding my true self as well.

Now, at 44, I'm firmly entrenched in my beliefs and have a firm grip on religion  and theology as a whole. I became an Ordained Minister, a High Priestess and an Educator in Pagan Religions. I've studied everything from Ancient Egyptian Mythology to Buddhism and everything in between. What I have found, is that Pagan religions are more tolerant of other religions. We like to share 'our' gods with everyone else. I've also found that it is easy to celebrate Pagan holidays alongside Christian ones without too much difficulty.

In our home, we have the traditional Christmas tree and assorted decorations. We also have a Yule Altar. It sits prominently in the house for all to see and blends with the rest of the holiday decor. I conduct my rituals as needed and celebrate with my family on their holidays. 

It isn't always easy to blend religions but it is possible. No one said life would be easy and if they did, I highly doubt that included religion. More wars have been fought over religion than any other reason. If we stopped looking at 'labels' and 'colors' and only looking at humanity; perhaps we would be a much nicer earth. 

In the end, we all die. So it doesn't matter what you believe in when you are alive. It's what you do with your life that really matters, not who you do or do not worship.

Plain, simple, easy. Right? 



Today's tip is for the philanthropies on your list. Giving has always been better than receiving and that point is amplified by those who spend their lives giving to others. So today is highlighting some wonderful organizations worthy of a donation this holiday season. 

Making a donation in someones name is a wonderful way to show your appreciation for them and a way to make our world a little nicer. There are so many charitable organizations out there, it can be a task to decide on who to give to.

Here is my list of worth while causes: 

These are just a few of my personal favorites but there are thousands of other great charities to donate to. 

Don't forget that even donating of time in the name of someone is a wonderful gift as well. Volunteering is a terrific gift that gives back!

Saturday, December 10, 2011



Today's tip is for all the 'gamers' out there. From Super Mario to Zelda and from Portal 2 to NHL 2011, video games have come along way since the dawn of 'Pong'. 

Now you have the choice of game systems (Wii, PlayStation, XBox and all their siblings), extreme graphics, amazing soundtracks and of course all the different games. 

Games can vary in difficulty, age range, amount of players and what type of controllers are required. Speaking with a game specialist is a great way to decide on what to buy. Most electronic stores have a few 'gamers' on staff, so take advantage of their knowledge. 

There is a game out there for everyone. 

Some key things to remember when shopping:
  • RPG - Role playing game 
  • MMORPG - Massive Multi player online role playing game
  • Ratings for games are similar to ratings for movies e.g., E (for everyone)
  • Several movies have games that follow the plots e.g., Batman Arkham City, Smurfs, Prince of Persia Sands of Time
  • Some games require online registrations and have pay to play features
  • Games range in price and some retailers carry pre-owned or offer trade-ins

Sher's Picks

Batman Arkham City
Call of Duty
Lego Harry Potter
Assassin's Creed
Super Mario Kart
Legend of Zelda
NHL 2010
World of WarCraft
Elders Scroll V-Skyrim



No holiday would be complete with the Christmas tree so today's tip is all about the mighty evergreen.  Alouette Christmas Tree Farm is a great family run farm to pick out your favorite tree. They have pre-cut or if you want to experience a true tradition, cut your own. (make sure to bring the necessary equipment like an ax and twine). 

Alouette also knows that picking out a tree can take awhile so for your convenience, they also have hot chocolate, hot dogs and candy canes. Take a night time 'Polar Express' train ride around the farm, or lounge around the roaring fire drinking a hot cup of cider.

Prices range between $25-$60 for the trees and they are open 7 days a week. Be sure to check out their website for tips on caring for your 'fresh tree'.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Sher's Satirical 12 Days of Christmas


On the first day of ChrisKawzanakah my non-traditional spouse gave to me a Starbucks Eggnog Latte in a car.

On the second day of ChrisKawzanakah my non-traditional spouse gave to me two broken candy canes and a Starbucks Eggnog Latte in a car.

On the third day of ChrisKawzanakah my non-traditional spouse gave to me three Purdy's Hedgehogs, two broken candy canes and a Starbucks Eggnog Latte in a car.

On the fourth day of ChrisKawzanakah my non-traditional spouse gave to me four new winter tires, three Purdy's hedgehogs, two broken candy canes and a Starbucks Eggnog Latte in a car.

On the fifth day of ChrisKawzanakah my non-traditional spouse gave to me FIVE GOLD CANUCK TICKETS, four winter tires, three Purdy's hedgehogs, two broken candy canes and a Starbucks Eggnog Latte in a car.

On the sixth day of ChrisKawzanakah my non-traditional spouse gave to me six Sexy Sailors, FIVE GOLD CANUCK TICKETS, four winter tires, three Purdy's hedgehogs, two broken candy canes and a Starbucks Eggnog Latte in a car.

On the seventh day of ChrisKawzanakah my non-traditional spouse gave to me seven gingerbread men, six sexy sailors, FIVE GOLD CANUCK TICKETS, four winter tires, three Purdy's hedgehogs, two broken candy canes and a Starbucks Eggnog Latte in a car.

On the eighth day of ChrisKawzanakah my non-traditional spouse gave to me eight baby bries, seven gingerbread men, six sexy sailors, FIVE GOLD CANUCK TICKETS, four winter tires, three Purdy's hedgehogs, two broken candy canes and a Starbucks Eggnog Latte in a car.

On the ninth day of ChrisKawzanakah my non-traditional spouse gave to me nine Big Feast gift cards, eight baby bries, seven gingerbread men, six sexy sailors, FIVE GOLD CANUCK TICKETS, four winter tires, three Purdy's hedgehogs, two broken candy canes and a Starbucks Eggnog Latte in a car.

On the tenth day of ChrisKawzanakah my non-traditional spouse gave to me ten Tinhorn Creek wines, nine Big Feast gift cards, eight baby bries, seven gingerbread men, six sexy sailors, FIVE GOLD CANUCK TICKETS, four winter tires, three Purdy's hedgehogs, two broken candy canes and a Starbucks Eggnog Latte in a car.

On the eleventh day of ChrisKawzanakah my non-traditional spouse gave to me eleven pounds of back bacon, ten Tinhorn Creek wines, nine Big Feast gift cards, eight baby bries, seven gingerbread men, six sexy sailors, FIVE GOLD CANUCK TICKETS, four winter tires, three Purdy's hedgehogs, two broken candy canes and a Starbucks Eggnog Latte in a car.

On the twelfth day of ChrisKawazanakah my non-traditional spouse gave to me The FLIPPING HUGE VISA BILL for the eleven pounds of back bacon, ten Tinhorn Creek wines, nine Big Feast gift cards, eight baby bries, seven gingerbread men, six sexy sailors, FIVE GOLD CANUCK TICKETS, four winter tires, three Purdy's hedgehogs, two broken candy canes and a Starbucks Eggnog Latte in a car.