The Chain Smoking Angel is a Christmas Tradition in my house

I have spent considerable time reflecting and remembering on Christmas past. I decided to take on the Weekly Challenge at WordPress: Just Do It. My buddy over at Brown Road Chronicles inspired me and reminded me of the oddball assortment of Christmas decorations that adorn my tree. I am one of those Christmas Geeks who ‘theme’ out my tree. This year I have a Tiffany & Co tree,151071_10151349105206337_749003960_n

a Disney Tree,577823_10151359535226337_541165187_n

a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree404982_10151307316561337_1108099625_n019

and of course, the regular tree.

Decorating the tree was always a huge deal in my house. It was my mom’s favorite time of year. Now that her favorite little one’s (the grandkids) are all bigger than her, some of the magic sparkle has left the holidays. We cheer her up by sitting around after dinner/breakfast/lunch/dinner and reminisce about Christmas Past.  (Proof that I existed):73256_10151359512121337_124215547_n

That is me (pre-clown hair) in 1968 with my groovy cool dadeo.

When I was 4, we moved to row housing in Sherwood Park. This was my first Christmas memory. I remember getting Baby Tenderloin and 64 crayola crayons. All I remember of my brother was him in flannel pjs. I remember my mom hanging a box of angels on the tree. It was the 60’s, angel’s came in bulk. These fancy angels all were holding ‘so called’ candles. They never fooled me for one minute. These angels were chain smokers.

In those days everyone smoked, so it never occurred to me that angels wouldn’t. This drove my my crazy, “THOSE ARE NOT CIGARETTES!!” The more she denied it the more my brother and I were convinced she was lying. Mom carefully bent the ‘candle’ perpendicular with the angel and my brother and I spent hundreds of hours bending the candles so the angel could smoke. Tell me what you think.

Non-smoking angel:photo 1 (2)

Smoking Angel:photo 2 (1)

She even had a groovy black filter and kind of looked like Phyllis Diller. See for yourself:Phyllis-Diller-post-new

This year the after dinner conversation will start with “mom, why did you hang Phyllis Diller on our tree every year?” This should generate some heated frustrated conversation from my mom. You can’t call it Christmas and not have the mom go a little crazy.


Merry Christmas to all my Edmonton Tourist readers. I appreciate you more than you can every really know. Happy Holidays 🙂

The Edmonton Tourist Birthday Indulgences that are indulged in all year because once you hit 39 birthdays happen quicker and there is not enough time to get them all in List

My buddy Paul sang this for me today:

That’s right, shameless plug, I am having a birthday. Half of 90, so I guess it’s official – I have reached the middle-age plateau.

There are a few birthdays that stick out for me, only a few because as you get older the memory fades and everything blends together. I cannot for the life of me remember what I did on my 40th. But I remember my 21st like it was yesterday. I was a camp counsellor and was thrown off the pier by my pals. All the little campers made me pictures and the I received a special camp cake – it was gross but oh so special!

I remember my 16th birthday. I sat on the steps of the paramount theatre in a mini skirt to watch Risky Business, they over old seats so I sat on the sticky floor with my best friend. We went of for drinks – the alcohol kind and I had a Chi-Chi. My first underage public libation – good times.

I remember my 43rd very well. My kiddos brought me breakfast in bed that was cooked! When they were little they were not allowed to turn on the stove so they made “egg bread” soaking bread in raw egg – the preamble to french toast. My kids have always been so thoughtful.

Typically I have always been on vacation for my birthday. Not this year, I’m just back. I share this day with Fess Parker – Davy Crockett and of course it is Dead Elvis Day. All Elvis All Day – bring it ON!

I often indulge myself on my birthday, I never use to but I treat myself now to only do things I want to do. This includes NOT HAVING A PARTY. I hate parties. But I love spending time with a few well chosen chums and loved ones. I love little surprises like birthday fairies leaving treats on my porch without ringing the bell, magical coffee appearing and free junk. Sephora sent me an email to pick up lip balm from them today – free! Sure it will be a tiny sample, but it’s free!

Today I will go for a bike ride, spend some birthday money on an umbrella stand for my Mary Poppins Umbrella (Thanks Mom and Dad!!!), have dinner at the Keg, go Fringing, eat cake pops and perhaps read in the tub with candles and bubbles up to my eyeballs.

There is one thing I want for my birthday. I wish on a star for it every year. I have told the universe about it. I will likely never happen, but I keep hoping. This might actually be the year. However I am patient and can wait another 45 years for it. I will never speak it out loud because that will ruin it. People who know me well will be able to figure it out. When it happens I will cry. It costs nothing. There is not a dollar amount to be had, yet it would be priceless to me. I tear up thinking about it. Sigh…..

Meanwhile, I am thankful for so many wonderful friends and family, my cup is really over flowing. Now that I am 45 have figured out what is important to me, what I dislike and will no longer tolerate and what I cannot live without. Well… I could live without it but I choose not to. Here is my list, The Edmonton Tourist Birthday Indulgences that are indulged in all year because once you hit 39 birthdays happen quicker and there is not enough time to get them all in list:

  1. Long lovely chats with friends. I have a few friends who I NEED to spend time with. I need it like I need air to breath. I will stop everything to answer their call, text or email. I will not give them up in spite of how crazy they make me. I love them and they love me. I will defend them to the death and I know they have my back too. In fact I have had war of words and made enemies with people because of my need to defend and protect these 3 people. I won’t say who they are, they know it and that’s all that matters.
  2. Music. I had lost music for a while and I blame myself when I want to blame that fellow who TOOK my stereo to his office to use for the switch board and never replaced it until a decade later when I received my first iPod. But really…I should have told him to fek off and demand music in my life not TV. I am  not a TV watcher. I watch movies and news and even not so much news because I read my news on social networking sites. But Music is my passion, it lifts me, it relaxes me, transports me to other places, dimension and feelings. I have everything from Disney to ZZ Top in my rotation and tons of other genres in between – except Michael Jackson. I never enjoyed his music, even when he was a black dude. His “woos” and “aaahhhhs” make me want to punch him in the face. I endured 2 showings of Captain EO and that is 40 minutes of my life I will never get back. NEVER. Today will be about some Disney ride soundtracks and park loops so I can reminisce about birthdays past and future.
  3. Bikes. in high school I would ride my bike from Sherwood Park to Edmonton through the river valley. My babies stopped me for a while, mostly because of cash to have the proper safety equipment. I gave up my career to be the best mom I could for them, but that meant giving up other stuff so they could stay healthy and have things like food and shelter. I’m going for a bike ride today and I cannot wait! I’m taking Chatterbox’s bike because Genetic offsprings bike is too big and he doesn’t share. I have no idea where I am going but that is part of the adventure of cycling.
  4. Books. I am reading my 30th book of the year – not including text books and books for my classes. 30 books for pleasure. |I have expanded my genre horizon and tried books that scared me before. I read books that bored me, scared me and horrified me. I read books that made me weep, made me explore my sexual side and taught me new lessons. I read books that made me want to travel to distant places and stay away from places. Today will be spent with Steve Jobs. I am half way through his biography and am shocked, enthralled, inspired and motivated.
  5. Arts. Today is about dramatic Arts. I will fringe today. I haven’t been able to get to the art gallery in quite some time, but i am going on Monday. I write daily on my book, blog and in letters to friends. I am working on a painted piece for a friend. I draw, sketch and paint on a regular basis. Being creative releases the ugly and keeps me smart and focused. I use it to take my mind off anxiety causing events, to be closer to people from my past and present and people who are no longer with me. i do it because i think of them and in return, they inspire me.
  6. Snuggles. There is nothing finer than having your kiddos meet you at the airport and hug you in public, except when they let you kiss them on the cheek.
  7. Laughter. I had lost this for a bit during my depression. I would laugh, but never hard. I missed it. I get the occasional note or text from a friend that makes me howl and brings tears to my eyes. Keeping it light and silly is fun for me. Now that I have climbed out of the dark abyss I am laughing again. Love it!

Seven things that I indulge in always. I know the list will grow as I figure out stuff. I indulge in things that make me smile and say no to those things I hate, that I use to do because it was expected. Well I am I 45 now, time to put on purple lipstick and get my cranky pants on because just because YOU expect something from me doesn’t mean I will indulge you. Find the things that make you happy – they are events, circumstances not stuff you buy, things you make people do. Having someone do something for you un asked and uninvited is lovely beyond words. I have discovered my life is to short to waste on things that have no meaning for me. 45, my life is half done – if I am lucky, so I will spend the next 45 years extending my 64 days of awesome into a life time of awesome.

I need to share what one of my awesome friends sent me for my birthday. He lives in Argentina and we share a love of vintage animation. His humor comes through in  translation, Mr. Google translator is our friend to keep the conversation going. Yet Mr. Google is not the best at helping us, it gets the point across. This little song he made for me made me laugh. I can visualize the animation sequence that needs to go with it.

Vocaroo Voice Message.


My life is rich and full with family and friends. Happy Birthday to me! I am one very lucky girl.




Be Mine…or else

Oh Valentines Day, how I do I love thee? I don’t really…

I have one Offspring heartbroken about tomorrow and the other baking cookies for their valentine.  I was told on the weekend that my Valentine is taking me to Cats! All of this for an over rated holiday in the middle of winter.

Back in the OLDEN DAYS called the 1970’s, Valentines were paper with the occasional box of chocolate or flower given out. I had a boyfriend who looked at flowers as a waste of money, so he would give me a plant. I would kill it out of spite. I wouldnt even get a card from him. Then there was the year he had his wisdom teeth removed on Valentines Day…ya I became jaded. He did want to ever give me a box of chocolates, but he did give me an exercise bike. I know…he was a keeper – she said dripping in sarcasm.

I feel for one Offspring and am excited for the other, it made me a little nostalgic for the cards we would make as kids and give out to our pals. I made a card for everyone…sadly I never received a lot in return. That was saved for Leslie, the blonde Goddess of the third grade. Oh if Brad had only noticed me then… Who am I kidding. Short Italian kid who is likely still only up to my knees… but he was cute in a Marty McFly kind of way.

As I was searching for Valentine Cards to make to give to my Valentine, I stumbled up on vintage cards and had a real laugh. Corny with a capital C! That is what makes them so amazing! I am SURE you will find the perfect sentiment for your Valentine!

Valentines for those Domestic Types

Give Your Valentine a Politically Incorrect Card!

Seriously? A Hanging is romantic?

I Hope I win the Hobo!

Nothing Says I Love You more than a good killing

Domestic Abuse Valentine

Sure ya did….”rash” looks like bruises to me!

The Classic Double Entendre Valentine

I am leaving you with the ever Creepy Valentine – from me to you

Because really, who are we kidding, Valentines Day is all about the creepy stalker if you don’t get what you want from who you want it from. I know you will be creeping facebook and twitter to see where your valentine is.

Please be my Valentine…or at the very least Don’t be my Valentine and see if I care.

Happy Valentines Day!

Strange and Mystical Topsy Turvy World of the Future, or as other people call it,Australia

Today’s Guest Post is from my blogging oracle, Christian Emmett. He writes a fun and fantastic blog over at Adventures and Insights. He is my Oracle in all things future related because in Australia it is TOMORROW already…how fantastical is that? Over the Christmas Holidays, he wrote 12 lovely pieces on Australian Christmas his way. I invite you to take a peek, they start here. It is a fun way to see how those future  Aussie’s celebrate in a way that is vastly different from us in the Northern Hemisphere. I also found it interesting that 6 White Boomers was not mentioned ONCE!  I was so facinated with his story, I asked him to relay the Holiday Traditions of his ilk here at the Edmonton Tourist. He graciously said YES!  So on with the words!!


Ah, Christmas. A wonderful holiday comprising of snow, carols, cosy fires, layers of clothing and warm, snuggly blankets at bedtime. Days playing in the cold, white powder, adding carrot noses and stony smiles to round-bellied Christmas mascots, sledding, skating and snowball fights; night spent gathered in houses warmed by fire and human kindness. Trees and houses are decorated with colourful lights and baubles, wreaths of holly and assorted colourful paraphernalia designed to invoke merriment and a sense of generosity that is seemingly absent for 11 and a half months of the year. Oh, and don’t forget the mistletoe! 😉

At least, that’s how I understand Christmas works in the northern hemisphere and in the movies. Living in the future Australia, Christmas is usually something a bit different to what many people expect.

Another Christmas has passed and for me, it’s been a time of celebration. As a lover of Christmas, I look forward to the season for many reasons that are universal at this time of year. And yet, experiencing Christmas in the southern hemisphere provides a stark contrast to the winter wonderland seen by most of my cousins in the northern hemisphere. Take a trip to my neck of the woods during December and you’ll likely be greeted by something like this:

In my topsy-turvy World, Christmas is celebrated during Summer, not Winter. As a result, many families prefer the warm exterior (the beach is extremely popular at this time of year!) as opposed to the cosy interior when it comes to making the most of their Christmas. Camping grounds and beachside resorts are inundated with Christmas patrons, all sharing the famous Christmas spirit of generosity, friendliness and all sorts of merrymaking!

While our northern counterparts are enjoying a hearty meal of roasted meat, steaming vegetables, hot puddings and perhaps the occasional festive sherry to warm their internal organs as well as the cockles of their hearts, we here in the Great Southern Land are usually to be found tucking into a delicious cold salad, chilled ham and some particularly nice seafood as we raise a toast with a glass of wine or cold beer. We do cook, of course – we may be running around in scant clothing but we are masters of the barbecue.

Of course, we decorate like everyone else. Those who prefer the “traditional” touches can buy manufactured trees that mirror the firs of the frosty climates to decorate with lights and baubles. There’s a fair chance though that when visiting an Australian family, you’ll notice presents piled beneath a tinsel-laden palm tree instead. That’s how many of us roll.

I’ve said before on my own blog that I’d love to experience a winter Christmas. There’s a magic attached to it that I expect only someone who’s never properly played in snow can appreciate. At the same time, there’s nothing like an Aussie Christmas. The sunshine, the warmth, the outdoors – all contributing to an environment of good spirits at a time of year when they are best shown to others. We’re not rushing from one warm place to another, there’s no urgency in our travels. It makes it easier for us all to be nicer to each other as we pass in the street.

Yep, there are merits to be seen no matter how you celebrate Christmas. If you’re ever down my way, let me know – there’s always room for one more at our Christmas table in the sun.

Even Santa Cries…

Today’s post is from my blogging friend Mary from Red Awakening. She wrote this lovely post a few days ago and gave me permission to repost here on Christmas Day. It’s lovely and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I hope your Christmas was as special as mine was with my family.

On with the words…….


It was Friday, December 23, 2011 and Santa is in his office with Bernie, the elf office manager. As they stand looking at the map on the flat screen mulling over the different routes Santa can take they hear a small child’s voice behind them say “Excuse me, Santa?” Startled Santa and Bernie turn to find a multitude of children, from every nation, culture and religion before them.

A very startled Santa stammers “Yes?” and then it starts; the children’s questions.

“Santa, where are my Mom and Dad?”

“Why can’t we have enough food for my family, Santa?”

“Santa, my parents hate me and I try to be good, so why?”

“Santa why is there so much fighting where I live?”

Over and over again Santa hears their fears, wishes and desires. They all come down to one question “Santa where is the peace?”

Finally it is too much and Santa breaks down crying. The children fall silent stunned. Have they broken this man who can fulfill every need and desire? Suddenly they notice that each tear Santa has shed has begun to glow. The glowing tear forms their Deity. Then they hear in many voices “My children the peace is there, but to grasp it the need for material things and domination over others must stop.” There is crying and such sorrow from the Deities as they look at the children’s upturned faces. So many, so different and all like a flower turned to the sunlight for nourishment. Then the Deities and Santa begin to glow, to merge, and in voice that contains all voices the children hear “The light doesn’t need to return for there to be peace as it never left. The light is within all here on earth. The challenge is recognizing it and allowing it to grow.”

In my religion the Winter Solstice or Yule celebrates the return of the sun, or light. Yesterday I had the thought how can the sun return if it has never left?  Starting yesterday the light began to increase in the northern hemisphere, but the sun/light never completely left. Let us take a page from nature and increase our work in the Light this year.

My request is that for 5 minutes every day you release all of your hate, prejudices, fears, and all negativity and just love. After the five minutes you can bring all the negativity back in if you like. But maybe, just maybe, you won’t want to.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Solstice and Yule, Happy Kwanza, and any holiday you may celebrate I wish you peace and love.

The House of Ho

I am the kind of mom who places an importance on honesty of information. Meaning, my offspring know if they need an answer to a question – no matter how awkward the conversation may be – I am the “go-to” gal. I have answered questions from childbirth and masturbation to definitions of words with sexual content. Awkward for those listening in to our conversation but quite normal for me and my offspring.

A few years back, one of the offspring had inquired what a “ho” and what a “ho house” was. Being the awesome, hip and understanding mom I am I gave several definitions of Ho House:

Noun 1. whorehouse - a building where prostitutes are availablewhorehouse– a building where prostitutes are available

building, edifice – a structure that has a roof and walls and stands more or less permanently in one place; “there was a three-story building on the corner”; “it was an imposing edifice”
massage parlor – a place where illicit sex is available under the guise of therapeutic massage

After going into a long and informative explanation, I glaced up at the faces of my children and had to laugh. Theirs eyes were enormous with a slight look of disgust on their face. Genetic Offspirng spoke up and said,

Santa uses a Ho House?

Ummm….NO! Lesson learned, always start the Q&A session with:

Tell me what you think it is.

That way I know what train of thought they are on. Apparently the Offspring had read a sign on a house that read HO HO HO and knew there was something bawdy associated with that term. Yet they also knew that was what Santa always said. Now that they are teenagers, the term House of Ho is a hilarious use of double entendre.

Saturday night, the family piled into a sleigh for a trip down Candy Cane Lane in Edmonton’s west end. My family – extended included, filled the 25 passenger wagon. My dad’s sister organized the entire evening. Her kids were in town and it was great seeing faces that I have only seen on facebook for the past while. I met her grandkids and fell in love with the youngest. We sang every Christmas Carole we knew and sang blablabla for those we didn’t. We were treated to some Queen – brought to us by the Offspring as well as Carole of the bells blablablaed in several parts. It was fantastic!

Then we saw it, half way down the street – there is was. The House of Ho. Across the front of the home was HOHOHO to the left of the door and HOHOHO to the right of the door. My offspring started cracking jokes and laughing – much to the dismay of my Aunt whose grandbabies were sitting behind us. As funny as it was, I had to put a stop to the hilarity and we snickered to ourselves.

We ended the evening at my Aunts home visiting with family, drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies. All the things the Christmas season is made for.

Let’s get on with the Show!

Lower Central Park at 1:00 p.m. Photographer's...
Image via Wikipedia

My Christmas Vacation is almost over and here I am feeling sorry for myself.

In spite of my best efforts to dig deep for the Christmas Spirit and downsize the amount of holiday hullabaloo, I still find myself run ragged and dreaming wistfully at destinations beyond my scope of reality.

I find myself fantasizing about living in a home where it is always clean and tidy. Where items are located where they ought to be. A home where peace and quiet mean the TV isn’t on and people use their “inside” voices. I had a bit of a meltdown today when it all got to be too much. I stood in the shower and a thought about a vacation to a far off place where I could explore it alone.

I’ve told you before about the family I come from. We are a clan of people who like our space and we like LOTS of it. That means, alone time is incredibly valuable. Christmas with my family was great fun but it ends almost as quickly as it starts. We meet for dinner, we eat, we unwrap gifts, we laugh we go home. It ends in a few short hours. Conversely at my Honey’s family gatherings we meet, we visit, we get around at some point to eat, we visit some more and then watch the hockey game, then visit some more, THEN hit the road! I had a lovely time. It was nice being pampered at their home, teasing people and teased backed and laughing. Two very different experiences, but both overloading me on social niceties. Doesn’t that make me sound like an Ogre?

There is something about me that enjoys solitude. The older I get the more I crave it. I crave it so much, that a dream come true would be a week or two on vacation by myself. Indulge me if you will and shall describe to you what a solo dream vacation sounds like.

I would purchase a single ticket to fly me to New York City. I would get to sit in an airplane seat, sitting next to a stranger, not having to talk about anything. I could read or listen to music uninterrupted! That alone sounds like a vacation! Expedia says I could fly at spring break and stay in Midtown for a week for under $1700. There is so much to see and do I wouldn’t know where to begin. But of course I would have a plan. The first nice sunny day would be spent exploring Central Park. I want to see it all from the Belvedere Castle to Strawberry Fields. I want to grab lunch at a great Jewish deli and eat on the Great Lawn. I want to take myself out to a great dinner, somewhere so fantastic that I will need to shop at Bergdorf Goodman first. This will indulge my Doris Day A Touch of Mink fantasy. I want to go to a Broadway show or six. I want to wander the halls of the Met and the MoMA. I want to go and play at F.A.O. Schwartz and take a peek at Rockefeller Plaza.  I want to go to Mulberry Street and look at the wondrous things Dr. Seuss said I could see.

Then I would come home. Rested, excited and wishing I would have brought my family with me.

I am going to do this. It may not happen this year or the next. There are several steps I need to make before I can indulge myself. The first step has happened. I am in school. I will finish my degree. The second step will happen tomorrow. I am making a call to change my lifestyle habits. My Doctor will assist me. The third step will happen on my way home from work everyday. I am going to swim again.

That’s not asking for much. I want to be healthy, wealthy and wise.

The Edmonton Tourist rides again!

Wishing You the Best This Holiday Season!

It is no secret, I LOVE Christmas! I love everything from Stocking Stuffers that make you laugh, to the “I can’t believe I just ate that” feeling after Boxing Day. I love the unexpected surprises and the hard fast Christmas Traditions that never change. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, my wish for you is to enjoy your family, friends and all the other surprises life forces gifts to you.

I leave you with some home-movies of my family Christmas, so from me and my Muppet Clan, Merry Christmas!


Diamonds are My Best Friend

I have a mental blockage. I have one last assignment to complete, one last paper to write before Christmas Break. I have done the research, I have notes, but why can’t I do it? WHY WHY WHY? I think I need to release the mumbo jumbo in my head so I can focus on the task at hand. My way of doing that is to blog.

As the daily list of “to do’s” increases as the Holidays approach, I find myself with less and less time and cash. Every time I turn around there is another school form asking for another $125 or $6. There are meetings to attend, family obligations, work commitments, and school work to do. I realized I have 3 weeks to go before winter break. I am usually done Christmas Shopping by now. I did get started on the Christmas Baking but Evil Genius and Genetic Offspring took care of that. So now I need to make MORE. This time I shall keep it in my secret lair.

I need a diversion. I need an escape. I am going to imagine for the next 15 minutes that I am well to do and money is no object. I am going to write my Christmas List and give it to my future ex husband, George. He has the cash and the connections to provide me with these delights I want for my fantasy Christmas. Ready? Imagine,if you will, that we are in New York.  Slap on that Brioni dress, slide on those gorgeous Prada boots and walk with me through my favorite store on 5th Avenue. That’s right, we are heading to Tiffany & Co. Come indulge with me.

The Edmonton Tourist’s Fantasy Christmas List!

Dear George, I have been exceptionally good this year. I have made a little of list of special items that I know you will want to shower me with. I will provide pictures so we are VERY clear of my expectations. Thank you Santa Baby George dear.

1. The Ornate Key Pendant

Just the key, not the chain is about $8000.00 I love the Platinum ones

2. Tiffany & Co. Cuff Notes

Again, loving the Platinum $7850.00

3. The Tiffany Embrace

I like the various choices of carat weight, that is so thoughtful Tiffany! Thank you!  This one is only $12000.00 – I don’t want to seem greedy.

4.The Atlas Ring

The White Gold is my ring of choice! This is only a stocking stuffer at $1600.00

5. The Tesoro Watch

I love an every day watch and think this will do nicely! $15000.00

6. The Knots Ring

For those days when I feel like slumming it. $350.00

7. Celebration Rings

I think all of them at once. I like the eclectic look. They start at $11000.00 each. We will have plenty to celebrate. Trust me.

8. Diamonds by the Yard ( best value, buying diamonds in bulk!)

Starting at $5800.00 but such good value! You only buy what you need.

9. Marquise Ring for those quiet nights at home

A BARGAIN starting at $20000.00

10. Circlet Bracelt

$15600.00, see I am not greedy

11. Tiffany Jazz Necklace, coordinates nicely with the Circlet Braclet


Santa Baby George,the total comes to $78850.00 Canadian dollars.

I’m worth it, I promise.

Love, ET