valentine

valentine

December 31, 2009

Recipe for a Happy New Year

Take twelve whole months,
Clean them thoroughly of all bitterness, hate and jealousy,
Make them just as fresh and clean as possible.

Now cut into twenty-eight, thirty, or thirty-one different parts,
But don’t make up the whole batch at once.
Prepare it one day at a time out of these ingredients.

Mix well into each day one part of faith,
One part of patience, one part of courage,
And one part of work.

Add to each day one part of hope,
Faithfulness, generosity, and kindness.
Blend together with one part prayer,
One part meditation and one good deed.

Season the whole with a dash of good spirits,
A sprinkle of fun, a pinch of play,
and a cupful of good humor.

Pour all of this into a vessel of love.
Cook thoroughly over radiant joy,
Garnish with a smile,
And serve with quietness, unselfishness,
And cheerfulness.

You are bound to have a Happy New Year!



Have a great weekend. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

December 29, 2009

Cookie Recipe

1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle Crown Royal/Whiskey/Rum


- Take a large bowl, sample the liquor to make sure it is of the highest quality.

- Turn on the electric mixer... beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.

- Check the liquor again, pour one level cup and drink.

- Add one teaspoon of sugar... beat again.

- Turn off the mixer thingy.

- At this point it's best to make sure the liquor is still okay, try another cup... just in case.

- Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

- Pick the frigging fruit off the floor...

- Mix on the turner.

- If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a dewscriver.

- Sample the liquor to check for consisticis isity.

- Next, sift two cups of salt, or something.... who giveshz a sheet.

- Check the liquor.

- Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

- Add one table.

- Add a spoon of ar, or somefin.... ah whatever you can find.

- Greash the oven.

- Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.

- Don't forget to beat off the turner.

- Finally, throw the bowl through the window.

- Finish the bottle of liquor.

- Make sure to put the stove in the dishwasher.


Happy Baking!


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

December 27, 2009

Ring in the New Year

Want a free, fun New Year's Eve? There'll be a New Year's Eve Concert for Hope and Peace at Westminster United Church on December 31st at 6:00 p.m. Ring in the New Year with Andre Macasaet, Bandaline, Rusalka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, Jazz on Wheels and Fred Penner. Tickets are required and are available December 14th at Assiniboine Credit Union branches.


Okay, it's fun to go out during the holidays and to get together with your nearest and dearest. But, if you're using your car to get around, don't forget that the overnight parking ban is in effect.

Any car parked on a snow route between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. may be ticketed.

Stay tuned to local media for imformation on temporary Residential Ovenight Parking Bans following heavy snowfall.

For more information call 775-SNOW or register for automatic e mail notification of winter parking bans.


The Forks is one of those places that people either visit regular or keep meaning to see.

Come on down.

Every Tuesday is Seniors' Day at The Forks. Special discounts are available at participating Forks Market merchants. If you get there at 9:45 a.m., you can join a low impact fitness class at the Tower Atrium. Just bring a bottle of water and your runners.

Check out the Forks Market for their holiday hours.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

December 24, 2009

Would Santa Ever Find Me? (part 6 - by Margaret Ullrich)

After Mass, when we were leaving the church, I saw a pale cloud in the sky. It looked long and thin, with a sort of bump on one end. For a moment I thought it looked like Santa and his sleigh with eight tiny reindeer.

I kept looking at that cloud. It seemed to follow us from St. Leo’s to Uncle Des’ house, where we had panettone.

When we left, the cloud was still in the sky. I watched it from the car. The cloud followed us from Corona to College Point.


I had never noticed clouds before. Did clouds always follow people from one town to another? Was it really a cloud? Sister had told us that Santa had millions of helpers. They were tiny people called elves. Could that cloud have been an elf picking up the letter from La Befana?


Christmas morning, Pop was eating breakfast while Ma was cleaning Barbara. Ma sent me to the basement to get some dry diapers that were hanging by the furnace.


Being a big sister wasn’t much fun. I pulled down two diapers.


Then I noticed some lumps by the furnace. I thought some clothes had fallen off the line. I walked toward the furnace to pick them up. I hoped they hadn’t gotten dirty. Ma was tired and wouldn’t want to wash them again.


But the lumps weren’t clothes.


They were boxes.

They were wrapped.

They were presents!

They were for me!!


Santa had found me.


Have a Merry Christmas. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

December 22, 2009

Would Santa Ever Find Me? (part 5 - by Margaret Ullrich)

The lebkuchen , zimtsterne, springerle, pfeffernuesse, pfefferkuchen and jam-filled spitzbuben settled like a leaden weight in my stomach. It was all just too much change for a five-year-old to cope with in one year: a new sister, Kindergarten and now Santa Claus. Would the changes never end?


In Kindergarten we learned about God the Father, about how we should pray to Him and tell Him what we needed. I didn’t need another Father. I figured if my Pop was always so busy working, this Father who took care of everything and everybody in the whole wide world would really never have time for me.

I heard my classmates talk about how their Grandmas were always able to fix things in their homes. Both my Grandmas were in Malta.


I needed a Grandma.


The next time we went to Corona, Nonni diNoto saw that something was troubling me. She asked me to help her in the kitchen. There she asked me what was wrong. I told her about Santa Claus and explained that he was in charge of Christmas in College Point. I didn’t know if La Befana would be allowed to visit me there anymore. Nonni listened patiently as I explained how Christmas was handled in College Point.

She repeated the main points. “Santa Claus. A letter.”
I nodded.
“I fix. I write Befana. She give Santa. No hard feelings. Christmas come.”


I had my doubts. Nonni had never been to College Point. Maybe nobody ever had to change from La Befana to Santa Claus. Maybe Christmas was lost forever, like some of the packages we'd never gotten from Malta.


On Christmas Eve we again gathered in Corona at Uncle Des and Aunt Betty’s home. We had the Christmas Eve dinner. Then we went to St. Leo’s for the Midnight Mass. Everything was familiar. Latin and Italian.


Why couldn’t we have stayed there?


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

December 20, 2009

Would Santa Ever Find Me? (part 4 - by Margaret Ullrich)

My friends’ homes had interesting sights and smells, too. On the tables there were bunte tallers: dishes filled with nuts, candies, cookies and fruit. The stoves had bubbling pots filled with bratwursts and potatoes.


My friend Elise invited me to supper. She told me to smear the bratwurst with the spicy mustard. The green beans and carrots were familiar. The bread was dark. I was used to Italian bread and Maltese hobtz. But after I put butter on the rye bread I had to admit it was good, too. I’d had mashed potatoes before, but I’d never had hot potato salad. I was curious about how Elise’s Mom made the potato salad. It was sweet, spicy and tart. Elise’s Mom smiled and blushed when I told her it was so good. “Ach, it’s only potatoes.”


After Thanksgiving, Sister brought a box of kringeln to class. The kringeln were almond studded sugar cookies which had been twisted into figure eights. We helped her hang them on our classroom Christmas tree. It was beautiful and the cookies smelled wonderful. We all oohed and aahed. Then everyone sang a song, O Christmas Tree. I just smiled and silently moved my mouth.

Then Sister told us to gather around her. She was going to read us a story, The Visit from St. Nicholas. Sister showed us the pictures in the large thin book. They were drawings of Santa Claus and his eight tiny reindeer. Sister said Santa was a “right jolly old elf.”

My friends were delighted. I was confused. I had never heard any of this before. There wasn’t any mention of La Befana.

Santa was supposed to slide down every house’s chimney and land in a fireplace. We didn’t have a fireplace. We had a huge, oil-burning furnace in the basement. Ma hung our stockings, along with all the other wet laundry, on a clothesline near the furnace. The furnace made awful noises and had fire in it. If Santa landed in it he’d fry like a strufoli. That would end Christmas forever. I didn’t think Santa would take such a risk for a total stranger.


Oh, boy... I was in big trouble. The lovely cookies felt like a giant rock in my stomach.


Sister talked about Santa checking his list of good little girls and boys. Santa had a list? I knew we were on the Registered Aliens’ list. Every January a man on the television reminded Ma to fill out green cards so that the American Government would know where we were. If we didn’t fill out the cards we’d be in big trouble. We could either be sent to jail or back to Malta.

How could I get on Santa’s list? Could Santa get my name from the Registered Aliens’ list? Did I need to fill out another card?


The afternoon went from bad to worse. Sister told us we could put our letters to Santa in the special mailbox in the classroom. A letter? What language did Santa speak - English or German? He’d never heard from me. I wasn’t on his list. What could I say? “Hi, you don’t know me, but I’d like some toys.”

I’d never written a letter to La Befana. She just gave me toys. When we had moved to College Point, Ma had to fill change of address forms. Was there a change of address form for Santa? Could La Befana still visit me? Did Mr. Santa Claus want to shoot La Befana because she had come to College Point?


Oh, boy... I was in big trouble.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

December 17, 2009

Would Santa Ever Find Me? (part 3 - by Margaret Ullrich)

After Barbara was born we didn’t have time to go to Corona very often. It was easier to walk to the local church, St. Fidelis, instead of driving to Corona to go to St. Leo’s. Even though Pop didn’t have to commute every day, he didn’t have any time to waste. He was working a lot of overtime.


I missed seeing the rest of my family.


That September I started Kindergarten in St. Fidelis School. Some of the good Sisters had wanted to travel and meet exotic heathens in far away places.

Well, one Sister almost got her wish. I was the first Maltese child she’d ever seen. College Point had been settled by German and Irish families. It was time for me to learn about America through their eyes.


By mid-October my classmates started bringing samples of their mothers’ holiday baking to school. They told me their attics were filled with apple slices which had been strung like beads on a white thread and hung to dry in their attics. Their mothers also had pillow cases filled with cookies hanging from nails in the attic. My friends said their mothers did this so that the cookies would be aged and perfect by Christmas.

I loved the idea of an attic packed with bags filled with cookies. I had never been in an attic. Our house had a store front, but we didn’t use the attic. Nobody I’d known in Corona used their attics, either.


Some of my classmates brought in samples of their mothers’ cookies, the cookies that didn't have to age. I brought some biscotti. My friends were polite and ate the dry, double-baked bread. Then we ate the pfefferkuchen, spitzbuben, sweet honey lebkuchen, and almond pfeffernuesse. My favorites were zimtsterne, cinnamon stars decorated with almonds, and spitzbuben, sandwiched cookies with jam peeking through three holes in the top cinnamon cookie. My friends called them little rogues.


Anise was a popular holiday spice in College Point. It was used in the springerle and the peppernuts. When I told Ma about anise, she said she used it, too, but she didn’t use as much in her cookies.

Pop said, “If you like the taste of anise so much, you’d probably like to drink anisette.”

Ma didn’t think that was a very funny thing to say. I knew about the anisette liqueur. Sometimes Uncle Des put some in his coffee when it was really cold outside. He said it helped him feel warmer. But, when I asked him for a taste, he said it wasn’t for little girls.


There were also special holiday rewards. When I helped Sister put away the puzzles, she gave me a small marzipan pig, wrapped in cellophane.

I’d never seen a marzipan pig before. Neither had my Ma. When I brought the marzipan pig home, Ma put it in the china cabinet. I was sad when it started to get moldy. We didn’t know I was supposed to eat it.


As Christmas approached, the windows of the German bakeries were filled with the most beautiful cookies I’d ever seen. They were in all kinds of shapes: stars, angels, animals and wreaths. They were decorated with coconut, jam, icing and tiny silver balls. There were also holiday breads: glistening loaves of gugelhupf, a sweet bread filled with raisins and almonds, and fatschenkinder, small loaves that looked like babies wrapped in swaddling clothes.

The stollen reminded me of panettone. They both were rich butter breads, filled with raisins, almonds and citron. I was amazed at what German bakers could do with bread. I thought a German Christmas was beautiful and delicious.


I planned to eat German and Italian holiday food every Christmas for the rest of my life.


Have a great weekend. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

December 15, 2009

Would Santa Ever Find Me? (part 2 - by Margaret Ullrich)

The Christmas Eve dinner was a feast. Fish was traditional. Eel for the parents, bluefish for the children. There was also soup, chicken, pasta and vegetables, followed by ricotta pie, anise biscotti, pizzelle and cuccidati cookies, strufoli, creamy roasted chestnuts and torrone candy.

My favorite was the huge strufoli, a golden mound of tiny doughnut balls covered with honey and multi-colored sprinkles. Nadia’s favorite was the prune cuccidati. Aunt Betty’s Cuccidati were filled cookies that reminded me of fig newtons. Aunt Betty filled the cookies with a mix of prunes, raisins, dates, citron, ground almonds and cinnamon. Aunt Betty also made cuccidati using apricots or dates instead of prunes.


After dinner we played games while our parents talked. Then it was time to walk to St. Leo’s for the Midnight Mass. After Mass we returned to Uncle Des’ for hot chocolate and panettone. Nonni’s panettone was a wonderfully rich bread made with butter, raisins, almonds and citron.


Then Nonni would tell us to look at the manger scene for the surprise. The blessed Bambino, Baby Jesus, had suddenly appeared!


Christmas Eve was a wonderful night. But the big day for us children was January sixth - Epiphany, Old Christmas. The night before we had hung our socks and gone to sleep expecting La Befana to fill them with treats and toys. In the old days, Nonni told us, the children would place their shoes on the fireplace hearth for La Befana. But in America we didn’t have a fireplace. Nonni said she liked using the socks since they were cleaner than our shoes.


We knew all about La Befana, a little old lady who had been sweeping her house when the Wise Men suddenly knocked on her door. They had been looking for Baby Jesus and had stopped to ask La Befana for directions. They then invited La Befana to join them. The old woman refused, saying she had work to do. Later that night a shepherd passed by and invited La Befana to come to Bethlehem, but she again said no.

Later that night, when it was dark, a great light and angels appeared in the sky. La Befana realized that the Wise Men weren’t kidding about somebody special being born that night. Broom in hand, La Befana tried to catch up with the Wise Men. She never found them, Bethlehem or Baby Jesus. Every year she searches for Baby Jesus and leaves presents for good little boys and girls.


La Befana took wonderful care of me for four years.


Then, when I was five years old, I was hit with a megadose of change: I got a new baby sister, I started going to school and I got Santa Claus.


A few months before I started school, it was time for my sister to be born. While Ma was in the hospital I stayed with Aunt Betty, Uncle Des and Nadia. It was nice living in Corona again. A few days after Ma went to the hospital, Nonni diNoto took me to the local five and dime. She gave me a quarter.

“Buy for sister.”

I didn’t have any idea what a baby sister would want. I liked watching westerns on television, so I grabbed a toy gun.

“No. Buy rattle.”

A rattle? That sounded boring, but I bought a pink plastic rattle.


In those days children were not allowed to visit anyone in the hospital. When Aunt Betty visited Ma, she gave the rattle to my new sister. I waited outside the hospital and waved to the window of Ma’s room.

When Aunt Betty returned she had a gift from my new sister for me: three fancy pieces of chocolate. Well, wasn’t that nice of my new sister, Barbara. Not as nice as a toy gun, but I thought that maybe that was all Barbara could get from where she’d been.


Maybe having a baby sister wasn’t going to be too bad.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

December 13, 2009

Would Santa Ever Find Me? (part 1 - by Margaret Ullrich)

At times I really envied my cousin Nadia’s family's rooted past. By the time I was five I’d had enough changes to last a lifetime.


My folks had to learn a lot of new things after they had come to America. For example, in Malta Christmas was celebrated without Christmas trees. Tree shopping was something very new for my parents. But, after their first two American Christmases, Ma was comfortable enough to get her usual real bargains.

We would go to the parking lot where the trees had magically appeared, like the ground beef at the A & P. There we’d browse until we’d found a tree we liked. Ma would quickly switch our chosen tree’s price tag with that of a cheaper tree which no one liked. Then we’d carry the chosen tree to the clerk, who gave us the fish eye as he noticed the fullness of such a ‘good find’. Then he’d sigh and take Ma’s money. The whole deal would be done in ten minutes.

Another American Christmas had begun for us.


In Corona Christmas was a festive season. It began with the first Sunday of Advent, was packed with feastdays of special saints such as St. Barbara on December fourth, and ended on January sixth with a visit from La Befana.

December twenty-fourth was an all-day family affair. At lunchtime we visited Aunt Demi. She was the eldest sister. It was a sign of respect. The visit there was always short. Aunt Demi never let us forget how much she had slaved over the holiday. She had a talent for inducing guilt with a weary ‘Do you know how long I slaved over this dish’ look. Everyone understood. The Aunts knew how many platters of cookies Aunt Demi had in the pantry. We all knew that she was determined to unload every one them.


Maltese desserts are simple: fresh fruit and cheese with an occasional cookie. One Maltese cookie, the biskuttini tar rahal, could be described as hardened library paste with a hint of lemon and a dash of rock hard royal icing. A variation on the biskuttini cuts the sugar by half and replaces the royal icing with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Both cookies are wonderful teething rings.

Another favorite is the biscotti. The big thrill with a biscotti is seeing how much milk it can suck up before breaking in half and falling into your glass. It’s like eating the sinking Titanic. For the holidays, we borrowed recipes from the Sicilians and made kannoli tar-rikotta (ricotta in a fried pastry tube) or a qassata (a sponge cake covered with vanilla custard).


For our main Christmas Eve festivities, we gathered at Uncle Des and Aunt Betty’s home. A whole corner of their living room was filled with Nonni DiNoto’s manger scene. St. Francis would’ve loved what Nonni DiNoto had done with his presepio idea.

Nonni DiNoto’s daughter Betty had married Pop’s brother Des. Then, two years after we had arrived in America, Nonni's son Salvatore had married Pop’s sister Helen. So, Nonni was a double Grandma in their families.

Since all my grandparents were in Malta, Nonni treated me as a grandchild, too.


Nonni’s manger scene was not just a simple shed with Mary, Joseph, three kings and one shepherd standing around Baby Jesus. Nonni had a complete village with houses, shrubbery, trees, hills, paths, ponds and animals. There were people walking around just minding their own business and doing real things. Some of the figures were really old and we couldn’t play with them.

But each year Nonni added something new: an old woman carrying a basket of eggs, a farmer carrying a head of cabbage, a man carrying a bundle of wood for a fire to keep the baby warm. There were rich people, too, walking through Nonni's Bethlehem and looking very important.


Nonni’s manger scene was better than any Manhattan Fifth Avenue store's window display.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

December 10, 2009

Healthy Holidays and Double Chocolate Brownies

The holiday season plays hell with everybody's healthy eating habits. What with old family favorites and old family guilts, it's hard to resist another serving... or two.


Here are a few hints to keep you on track:

Keep your eye on portion sizes: Your girlfriends are right - size does matter.

Plan ahead of time: Try to visualize the whole event's menu. Go easy with the appetizers and the drinks. Remember to leave lots of room for the main course and the desserts.

Go for Color: Head for the fresh veggies and the fibre-packed hummus dip.

Go for the Crunch: Reach for the crispy pita triangles, flat bread and melba toast. Top with salsa, bean dips or bruschetta for a lower calorie appetizer.

Switch drinks: Choose a light beer, dry wine or liquor served with diet pop or soda water. Alcoholic beverages can dehydrate you, making you reach for another drink. Alternate the alcohol with sparkling mineral water with slices of lime or lemon.

Keep Active: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity each day. Do something you enjoy.


For more healthy eating tips, call Nor'West Co-op's Registered Dietitians at 940-2020.


Got some e mails reminding me I haven't mentiond chocolate in quite a while.

Sorry about that. Chocolate goes well with the holidays, too. And what is better than chocolate? Double chocolate, naturally.


DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

greased 9 inch pan
preheat oven to 325º
bake 35 min.

combine
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
----
combine in a medium saucepan
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
bring just to a boil
remove from heat
----
add
1 cup chocolate morsels
1 teaspoon vanilla
stir until smooth
----
add one at a time
2 eggs
beat well
gradually blend in flour mixture
----
stir in
1 cup chocolate morsels
1/2 cup chopped nuts
spread in pan
bake


Have a great weekend. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

December 8, 2009

Fun at the Forks

The Forks is one of those places that people either visit regular or keep meaning to see.


Well, come on down.


Local school choirs will be there singing. The singing kids are guaranteed to put everyone in the holiday spirit. Speaking of kids, every Saturday and Sunday until Christmas, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., you can snap your own photo of them (or other family members or friends) with Santa. Just bring your camera. On December 18th Santa will be communicating in American Sign Language with his special friends.


Every Tuesday is Seniors' Day at The Forks. Special discounts are available at participating Forks Market merchants. If you get there at 9:45 a.m., you can join a low impact fitness class at the Tower Atrium. Just bring a bottle of water and your runners.


The music, fun with Santa and exercise are all free!!


Don't forget to bring a new unwrapped toy to add to the Tower of Toys for the Christmas Cheer Board. If you have an extra toy, bring it to the BED IN with 92 CITI FM. It's a live on-air fundraiser being held from December 9th to 11th, in support of the Salvation Army.


Check out the Forks Market holiday hours. Just so you know, The Forks will be closed on December 25th.


Remember Eaton's Santa Village? It's still here in Winnipeg. While you're in the neighborhood, drop into The Manitoba Children's Museum and revisit your nursery rhyme friends.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

December 6, 2009

Family Fun and Easy Sugar Cookies

Tired of seeing Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol on TV? How about an old-fashioned dramatic reading. Ron Robinson, Marilyn Maki, Margaux Watt, Gord Leclerc and Carson Nattrass will be reading at Crescent Fort Rouge United Church at 7:30 p.m. on December 11th. Tickets are $10 and are available at McNally Robinson and at the door.


Crescent Fort Rouge United Church will also be presenting Holy Day, Snowy Nights on December 12th at 7:00 p.m. An evening of choral music featuring The Winnipeg Boys Choir, Sandra Boyes, Scot Braun, Lottie Enns-Braun, Cary Denby and the Sisler High School Chamber Choir. Tickets are $5 and are available at the door - under 12 years old are free.


A Jazzy Christmas is more your style? Come to the Muriel Richardson Auditorium at the Winnipeg Art Gallery for a Nat King Cole Christmas. Denzal Sinclaire will be perfoming on December 13th, 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at McNally Robinson or call 632-5299.


Catskill wil be performing at the West End Cultural Centre on December 13th at 8:00 p.m. Free admission.


Remember Wayne Newton in Dead Ringer? Okay, if you'd like to see this rare 1981 episode of the TV show Vega$ come to Into the Music on December 14th at 4:30 p.m. The screening will be followed by an hour of music. Hey, it's a free show.


Want a free, fun New Year's Eve? There'll be a New Year's Eve Concert for Hope and Peace at Westminster United Church on December 31st at 6:00 p.m. Ring in the New Year with Andre Macasaet, Bandaline, Rusalka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, Jazz on Wheels and Fred Penner. Tickets are required and are available December 14th at Assiniboine Credit Union branches.


Okay, it's fun to go out during the holidays and to get together with your nearest and dearest. But, if you're using your car to get around, don't forget that the overnight parking ban is in effect. Any car parked on a snow route between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. may be ticketed. Stay tuned to local media for imformation on temporary Residential Ovenight Parking Bans following heavy snowfall.

For more information call 775-SNOW or register for automatic e mail notification of winter parking bans.


Okay. The kids want holiday cookies and your fancy, Christmas-themed, only-use-once-a-year cookie cutters are in a safe place.

No problem.

These cookies look festive and are just the right size to dunk. All you need is the bottom of a drinking glass - any size, glass, metal or plastic.

If all your glasses are in a safe place - getting a little paranoid, are we? - then grab a jar or bottle. Flatten, bake and enjoy.


EASY SUGAR COOKIES

grease 3 cookie sheets
preheat oven to 400º
bake 10 min.

in a large bowl combine
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon extract
(if you prefer orange, almond, anise, rum, brandy
extract or totally vanilla, fine - they're your cookies)
----
blend in
3/4 cup (minus 1 tablespoon) sugar
----
sift together
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
add to beaten eggs mixture
----
pour into a medium-sized bowl
1 jar red or green-colored sugar
Scoop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls and drop into
the colored sugar
roll the dough balls around to cover them in sugar
place the dough balls on the cookie sheet
flatten with glass
bake
remove at once and cool on racks


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

December 3, 2009

1930s Dollar Fruitcake (Winnipeg Free Press)

It's that time of year.
 All together now: "Tradition... Tradition..."

During the early 1930s this recipe cost $1 to make.
By 1974...
the cost of those same ingredients had increased to more than $4.
By 1979...
the price passed $8.

Now?
Don't ask. Just enjoy.


1930s DOLLAR FRUITCAKE

Line 9-inch tube pan with greased brown paper or heavy-duty aluminum foil
Preheat oven to 300º

Wash by pouring boiling water over
1 pound sultana raisins
Dry raisins thoroughly between towels.

In a large bowl combine washed raisins with
1/2 pound candied cherries, halved
2 Cups mixed peel
1/2 Cup blanched almonds, chopped
1/2 Cup walnuts, chopped

Sift together
2 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Sift again over the fruits and nuts, mixing until each piece is coated.

Cream
1 Cup butter

Gradually blend in
1 Cup sugar

Add, one at a time
3 eggs
Beat well after each addition.

Combined
1/4 Cup fruit juice (orange, apple, grape or juice from canned fruit)
1/2 teaspoon brandy flavoring or almond extract

Stir flour / fruit mixture alternately with combined liquids into the beaten eggs mixture.

Spoon batter into prepared pan.
Bake 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 hours (until cake starts to pull away from side of pan)

Let cake cool in pan on rack.
Remove from pan.
Wrap well and store in airtight container.


Merry Christmas!

December 1, 2009

Lectures and Concerts

Want a no-cost break from shopping?

The Downtown Library is more than just a building full of books. On Wednesdays, from September to March, their Reader Services Department is hosting a lecture series featuring teachers and researchers from the University of Winnipeg. On Thursdays the library is providing a showcase for Manitoba's musicians.


Their next lecture and concert features:

Dec. 2 - Prof. Pauline Pearson, UWinnipeg Psychology, talking about Visual Working Memory

Dec. 3 - Wuchu Manitoba Dragon & Lion Dance - expressing Chinese culture, legend, myth and elite skills through acrobatics and dance


Dec. 9 - Prof. Christopher Wiebe, UWinnipeg Chemistry, talking about The World through the Eyes of the Neutron

Dec. 10 - Come to the Cabaret - a variety ensemble led by chanteuse Meaghan Reimer


It's all free, but seating is limited. The events are from 12:10 - 12:50 PM, so bring your lunch and come early to the Carol Shields Auditorium.

The schedule is subject to change without notice. To confirm, or learn about future events call the Reader Services at 986-8386 or dpilon@winnipeg.ca


Wondering what to do with the kids after the Big Day? Check out the Children's and Teen Programs at the Winnipeg Public Library. There's lots happening there, too.


Did I mention it's all free?


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

November 29, 2009

The Winnipeg Humane Society: Pet Pics, Party and Parenting

You just know that your favorite spaniel wants a word or two with Santa? No problem.

Share the holiday spirit with your whole family! Bring your furry family members—your dog, cat, guinea pig, hamster, whoever you want—down for a photo with Santa Paws.

And, while you take part in this, feel good knowing the proceeds go towards helping the animals at The WHS. Yes, that’s nearly 9,000 animals who will benefit from your photo with Santa.

Come on down to The Winnipeg Humane Society at 45 Hurst Way. Santa will be happy to pose with your buddy from 12 to 4 p.m today, November 29.

The cost is $12 for 1 5x7, $25 for 3 5x7s.

An additional $29 photo package that includes a variety of photo sizes can be purchased from Adam York Photography.


The Winnipeg Humane Society is also asking everyone to join them at their Paws for the Season – Holiday Open House.

Enjoy seasonal treats from their bake sale and peruse the holiday craft sale. Hang an ornament on their tree to honour the people and pets in your life.

There'll be holiday music, refreshments, and activities for the children. Bring holiday cheer to the animals at The WHS.

The fun takes place on Sunday, December 6, from 12 to 5 p.m.

Free Admission! Everyone welcome to attend - please leave furry friends at home.


Want to have a four legged house guest? Contact The Winnipeg Humane Society at 204-982-2041 to become a foster pet parent. It could be the start of a beautiful friendship.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

November 26, 2009

Proof That God Is Not A Woman (part 3 - by Margaret Ullrich)


I know it's more blessed to give than to receive. 
But, unless you have ways of shopping that should be kept secret, giving means money.

It's a little late to start a Christmas account and utility companies really lose that ho-ho-ho holiday spirit if you skip paying their bills. 

If the charge cards are maxed out, gift getting is going to take a little ingenuity.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. 
As we're all stuck with holidays, I'll share some of my desperate measures.

Live off your hump. 
You know what I mean. 
Things like the 19 cans of tuna you have left from the time you bought 20 cans so you could earn 50 bonus airmiles. Now's the time to crack open those babies. 
I know the family hates tuna.
That's why there are 19 cans of fish swimming in your pantry. 
Well, the family would hate a Giftless Christmas even more. 
Think about it. 
Lousy dinners happen. But the family Grinch who's giftless at Christmas gets blabbed about throughout the neighborhood, the schoolyard and the generations.
You don't want to be known as Granny Grinch.

Try creative cooking. 
Pretend you're on the show Iron Chef...  You've got a tube of ground beef, a bag of marshmallows, a jar of salsa, a bottle of raspberry vinegar, a carton of frozen spinach, a jar of maraschino cherries and a box of rice-a-roni. 
Think only a nut would throw just anything together? 
How do you think raspberry vinegar was invented?

If the family gets snarky, tell them you found the recipe in a magazine. 
Drop names. Martha's good for moments like this. 
And if they can't appreciate all the time and effort you put into making a dinner interesting... Well! 
You know the speech.
Remember, guilt, when another person has it, is a good thing.

Go ethnic. 
Granny's recipes aren't just for Folklorama
God bless ancestors.
Go to an Italian restaurant and see what they charge for a plate of pasta fagioli.
Grandma would die laughing if she saw what they charge for noodles and beans. 
Beans got millions of people through tough times. Go thou and eat likewise.

Beans not good enough? 
Go past the recognizable cuts and shop the mystery meats.
Put enough spices on them and the family won't know what hit them. 
I once made spaghetti and meatballs using animal organs only a mother could love. 
Guess what? 
Hubby had invited a friend. Well, the buddy was getting a free meal, so I made like a politician running for re-election. 
Don't apologize and don't explain. 
The buddy said it was delicious, like the meatballs they serve at the Bay. 
Hmmm... I notice the Bay is still in business.

Grab a bag and browse your house. 
Look for things somebody foisted... uh... gave to you. 
Well, why should you be stuck with it until you're six feet under? 
Unless it was made by your kid - Don't even think it, they do remember - you're free to pass it on someone else. 
Just don't give it to the person who gave it to you.

Pack your own. 
Ever notice the stuff the stores sell as ready to go gifts? 
A popular combo is a box of pasta, a tin of sauce, some cheese and 2 wooden spoons sitting in a large bowl, all wrapped in cellophane. 
Are you too dumb to do the same thing? 
I don't think so. 
It's one way to get rid of some of those extra airmiles purchases.


Still thinking about the folks in the flyers looking wildly happy and jumping around over a toaster? Want your family to go nuts, too? 
Toss the flyers. 
Those folks are models who were paid big bucks to smile like ninnies.
Stores want you to buy. A nice family holiday is not their goal.
If they had their way you'd replace everything and pay 50% interest.


Remember how the best presents were things that showed that someone cared?
Maybe somebody hunted down a second-hand, out-of-print book by your favorite author.
The gadgets that looked amazing seem totally strange on December 26th.


While you're shopping, get yourself some treats. I have a friend who picks up a bag of pfeffernusse cookies every November. Whenever she feels like all she's doing is giving, giving, giving, she pops a pfeffernusse and gives herself an old-time Christmas. 
It doesn't take much.

God bless us, everyone.

November 24, 2009

STEAM ON THE PRAIRIES

If you want to see steam, steam and more steam, then come to Winnipeg next May for Steam on the Prairies!


The 1000 Lakes Region's 2010 convention will be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba on the Memorial Day weekend, from May 28 to 30.


On Friday they'll begin with a chartered bus excursion to Portage la Prairie, rated by Trains magazine as one of North America's 10 best railfanning locations. The CN and CP mainlines come within a few hundred feet of each other at the Portage yards, so be sure to bring your camera and extra memory cards! They'll also visit the former CP railway station at the CP Heritage Park Museum. The tour will be guided by Morgan Turney, Editor and Publisher of Canadian Railway Modeler and Railfan Canada.


As a non-rail option on Friday, they have scheduled a guided tour of Lower Fort Garry National Historic Park, a beautifully restored 1830s Hudson's Bay Company Trading Post on the banks of the Red River. It is the oldest stone fur trading post in North America.


On Friday night you'll feast at a barbecue held at Bill Taylor's Assiniboine Valley Railway. After a delicious meal, you can enjoy riding the AVR's 1:8 scale trains well past sunset. The AVR has no less than 3 live steam engines in its roster of locomotives, including a scale model of CP's famous Royal Hudson.


On Saturday morning they'll have clinics. The special guest will be Bill Schaumburg, Editor of Railroad Model Craftsman, presenting a clinic on commuter rail lines.


After the clinics, everyone will head to the Prairie Dog Central Railway. There you can tour the shops and take part in a swap meet. Be sure to bring your want lists and all of your model railroading goodies that you want to sell.


Then you can ride the rails in vintage woodsided cars behind their recently restored 1882 4-4-0 steam locomotive to the towns of Gross Isle and Warren. The Prairie Dog will then take everyone to the Hitch 'N Post Restaurant for the annual banquet.


On Sunday morning The 1000 Lakes Region will be holding their annual general meeting. The afternoon and evening will be free for layout hops.


The CN Lines SIG, the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club and the CP Station Committee of Portage La Prairie will also be attending the convention.


The convention will be headquartered at the suburban campus of Winnipeg's Canadian Mennonite University. Their dorm rooms are available for far less than half the price of an average hotel room. Double occupancy prices start at less than thirty dollars. A limited number of larger suites with kitchenettes are also available at extra cost.


If you wish to book a room on campus, the registration form has all of the contact information listed, including an e-mail address, a fax number and a toll-free number. If guests wish to purchase reasonably priced meals, the campus cafeteria will be open.


Any NMRA member whose registration, with payment, is postmarked by Dec 18 will only pay $80, a savings of $20. If you are not a NMRA member, no problem. You can buy a 6 month trial membership for $10.


The basic registration includes the Friday night barbecue held at the Assiniboine Valley Railway, all clinics, the excursion on the Prairie Dog Central, the banquet at the Hitch 'N Post, and the Sunday layout hops. It does not include the extra fare trip to Portage la Prairie or the non rail tour of Lower Fort Garry National Historic Park.


You can find the registration form by going to the National Model Railroad Association's web site: www.nmra.org, then following the links to TLR (1000 Lakes Region), then to Conventions.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

November 22, 2009

Railfanning in Winnipeg

Looking for family fun in December? From December 5 to January 3 The Assiniboine Valley Railway will be holding their Christmas Light Run at 6:30 p.m. Just call Bill Taylor at 832-3872. He will be happy to tell you all about it.


The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club is inviting everyone to attend their monthly meetings, which are held at Westworth United Church, 1750 Grosvenor Avenue, at 7:30 p.m. on the second Friday of every month.


On December 11 there'll be a slide show about a trip to the Powder River Basin. That night Rob Gearns will also teach you how to build a steam locomotive from scratch. What a neat Christmas gift!


Winnipeg Model Railroad Club membership also makes a great stocking stuffer. Members receive a monthly magazine The Lantern. It's packed with news for railfans. Every WMRC member in good standing also gets a 5% discount on all non-sale in-store model rail items at Toad Hall, 54 Arthur Street, 956-2195 toadhalltoys@hotmail.com.


Looking for more magazines for the railfans on your Chistmas list? One of the WMRC members, Morgan Turney, is also the Editor and Publisher of Canadian Railway Modeler and Railfan Canada. Morgan is also the Program Director of the WMRC. Come to the meeting and chat with him.


The Number One Northern Division of the 1000 Lakes Region of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) is composed of a few members of the WMRC. They are organizing their 2010 convention, Steam on the Prairies which will be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba on the Memorial Day weekend, from May 28 to 30.


Any NMRA member whose registration, with payment, is postmarked by Dec 18 will only pay $80, a savings of $20. If you are not a NMRA member, no problem. You can buy a 6 month trial membership for $10.


The basic registration includes the Friday night barbecue held at the Assiniboine Valley Railway, all clinics, the excursion on the Prairie Dog Central, the banquet at the Hitch 'N Post, and the Sunday layout hops. It does not include the extra fare trip to Portage la Prairie or the non rail tour of Lower Fort Garry National Historic Park.


You can find the registration form by going to the National Model Railroad Association's web site: www.nmra.org, then following the links to TLR (1000 Lakes Region), then to Conventions.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

November 19, 2009

Proof That God Is Not A Woman (part 2 - by Margaret Ullrich)


Santa Claus has come to town. Yikes!!

Ok, grab a pen and paper and sit down. Why are you doing this?
For some "Jesus is the reason for the season". Okay, that's a start.
God became human.
Humans can't become God.
So get rid of the crap that's crept into the creche.

What's important to you and your family? 
Not to the neighbors, not to the in-laws and not to the stores. 
Set your own priorities. 
Don't let the urgent, like making fancy decorations, keep you from the important,
like spending time together. 
If anyone tries to talk you into doing something extra, just say NO.


Back to the old time Christmas. Maybe chopping and crushing was their idea of a crackerjack good time. But, if your kids just want oreoes, why stay up till midnight making weird sugar cookies that can't fit into a glass of milk? 
I know. It's tradition. 
So, delegate the mixing. Bang open a tube of cookie dough and let the kids get creative while you take pictures. They'll actually eat those cookies.


Did you invite someone who thinks store bought is not fit for the holidays? 
Stock up now, destroy the wrappings, toss your cookies into bread bags and freeze them. 
Remember how in the 60s we distressed furniture? 
When it's Show Time, pop the cookies into the oven for nice burnt edges. 
And muck up the fruitcake's icing. 
The snob will praise you and wolf down anything that doesn't look like it was made by a professional.

Speaking of professional, avoid The Stewart
If you do watch Martha, remember: It's TV. Look at the credits. She has an army helping her. They bake 30 cakes and she shows the best one. She doesn't do all that work when she's bone tired after putting in a 12 hour day. 
Martha is human, too. 
You've seen blooper shows. Trust me. Martha bloopers.

Do you have a friend who thinks she's Martha? 
Whoopee for her. 
Like your Mama done told you, if your friend jumped off a bridge would you do it, too? 
There has to be something your pal hates to do. Swap your expertise for hers.
Yes, you are good at something. She bakes, you wrap. See?


Ever feel that if you don't do everything the family's been doing since the Stone Age, the holidays will be ruined forever, it will be all your fault and the family will never recover? 
That's Mama Guilt. 
According to a psychologist, "Guilt feelings are a messy mixture of insecurity, self-doubt, self-condemnation, self-judgment, anxiety and fear."
Dump the guilt. 
Make a list of the things you think you have to do, including making that relish that's been in the family since the Black Death.
After dinner, before everyone runs off, read the list. 
If something gets big smiles, it's a keeper. 
If you say "Relish" and people make barfing sounds, cross it out. 
If your family's polite, think about last year.
If you were serving leftover Christmas relish with the Easter ham, lose the recipe.


Office and Organization Parties were once a fun way for spouses to meet the other important people in one's life. Now both spouses have been invited to parties - and guess what, they're always on the same night - and 'The Wives' and 'The Husbands' can't face another plate of appetizers. 
Stay home. 
Your pals will save you a copy of the secretary's xeroxed butt.


Cards used to be nice and simple, with pretty pictures and cheery messages. 
Just sign and send. Then some fool started printing up long bragging letters. 
Don't write The Letter. Your friends will love you.


Back to the three-handed Mom pulling toys off the shelves like they were free samples.
There are 5 weeks left until Christmas.
Think that's a long time? 
How many New Year's resolutions have you done in the last eleven months? 
Neither have I.

November 17, 2009

The Leonid Meteor Shower and The Winnipeg Humane Society

It's time to look up again. The annual Leonid meteor shower is happening. Every 33 years it rounds the sun and goes back to the outer solar system. What exactly are we looking at? Tiny bits of material, no bigger than a pea, which have blown off the comet Tempel-Tuttle and are just floating through space.

To enjoy the celestial fireworks dress warmly, find a dark area with a clear view of the eastern horizon, set up a few folding chairs and enjoy!


The Winnipeg Humane Society is asking everyone to join them at their Paws for the Season – Holiday Open House.

Enjoy seasonal treats from their bake sale and peruse the holiday craft sale. Hang an ornament on their tree to honour the people and pets in your life. Enjoy holiday music, refreshments, and activities for the children. Bring holiday cheer to the animals at The WHS.

Where: The Winnipeg Humane Society
When: Sunday, December 6th 12pm to 5pm

Free Admission! Everyone welcome to attend - please leave furry friends at home.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

November 12, 2009

Proof That God Is Not A Woman (part 1 by Margaret Ullrich)


Whenever I wonder if God is a man - which I admit isn't often - all I have to do is remember the ho-ho-ho good time we women have during holidays.

Yep . . . God's a man.

He sits and expects a holiday to happen. It happened last year, right? No problem. He just sat and wallah! A holiday complete with a big dinner, a fancy dessert and gifts.


Okay, ladies, we know holidays take a ton of work. Remember the commercial in which we heard Nat King Cole singing about Mrs. Santa Claus? We saw a woman throwing toys into a cart with one hand, keeping a toddler from jumping out of the cart with another hand and clutching a preschooler with another hand.

Of course she had three hands. She was a Mom.


Admit it. We don't have holidays because we like 'em. They're part of our culture, our civilization. Yeah... So is cleaning the toilet. 
But women are tradition keepers, so we keep responding like Pavlov's dogs when we read stuff like:

"While winds howled, we gathered around the fire 
and sorted recipes. At the oak table the children chopped 
fruit and raisins, while Papa happily crushed nuts and 
spices in the grinder."

Let's think about that little scene... 
Sorting recipes? We now have mixes. 
Children chopping raisins? Sure. Yank a gameboy out of a kid's hands, give him a big sharp knife and some raisins and you'll both end up on the 6 o'clock news. 
Papa crushing his nuts in a what? No, thank you.


Remember how we thought technology would give us loads of leisure? 
Uh huh. 
Technology means that in a public washroom, you and a dozen other women can hear your cellphone playing 'Up a Lazy River'. Oh, for the days when we could pee in peace.

Think you can rest when you're retired? Surprise! You've unloaded your youngest, just to be begged by your oldest - the one with the Masters degree you worked to pay for - to babysit her kids while she and her partner hold down a couple of macjobs apiece.

Oh, and your Mom could now use some help.

And now the holidays are back.

November 10, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins and Meteors

I got a few more e mails from folks still stuck with pumpkin. Yeah, I know. I can't face another pie, either.

Here's another goodie. Maybe it isn't right for breakfast with a cup of tea. Then again, maybe it is.


PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

grease (or paper line) 12 medium-sized muffin cups
preheat oven to 400º
bake 20 min.

in a large bowl combine
1 1/2 Cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 Cup brown sugar
----
mix in well
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate chips
-----
in another bowl blend thoroughly
1 egg, beaten
3/4 Cup milk
1/4 Cup oil
1/2 cooked pumpkin
add to dry ingredients all at once
stir until moistened
spoon into prepared cups
bake


Pack a few muffins and a thermos of hot coffee and go out to watch the Taurids meteor shower. It's happening now. You don't need anything special like binoculars or telescopes. Just dress warmly and go to a dark location. Then look up... look way up.

Ain't nature grand!


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

November 8, 2009

Lectures and Concerts

Winnipeggers love a bargain and what's a better bargain than FREE!

The Downtown Library is more than just a building full of books. On Wednesdays, from September to March, their Reader Services Department is hosting a lecture series featuring teachers and researchers from the University of Winnipeg. On Thursdays the library is providing a showcase for Manitoba's musicians.


Their next lecture and concert features:

Nov. 18 - Prof. Joan Grace, UWinnipeg Politics, talking about Policy Advocacy and Multilevel Governance in Canada: Insights from Scottish Devolution

Nov. 19 - Classical Piano Trios, by Trio Azzurro, with Meredith Johnson, doublebass & Susan McCallum, violin with the WSO, and pianist Maximilian Fleischman


Nov. 25 - Prof. John Anchan, UWinnipeg Education, talking about Mobile Technologies: Excuse Me - Is that the World in Your Pocket?

Nov. 26 - Liam Berry, a talented 14-year-old pianist, who will entertain you with classical, ragtime and jazz on the baby grand


It's all free, but seating is limited. The events are from 12:10 - 12:50 PM, so bring your lunch and come early to the Carol Shields Auditorium.

The schedule is subject to change without notice. To confirm, or learn about future events call the Reader Services at 986-8386 or dpilon@winnipeg.ca

Did I mention it's all free?


Want an evening of Jazz? No problem. On Nov. 14 at 8:00 p.m. The Winnipeg Art Gallery is the place to be. Glenn Buhr and Martha Brooks will be perfoming. Tickets are $17 WAG members/ $18 Senior & Student/ $19 Adult and are available at the WAG and Ticketmaster. The tickets include Gallery admisssion on concert day. Make a day of it and stroll through the gallery.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

November 5, 2009

Margaret Ullrich (nee Margherita Sultana)

Margaret Ullrich was born in M'sida, Malta. Three months later she and her parents immigrated to the United States, to Corona, New York.
After two years they moved to College Point, also in Queens, New York.

While in high school, her essay was published in Young America Speaks (National Essay Press) and her play Better You Should was produced for a student assembly.
She graduated with honours from St. Agnes Academic High School.

While attending Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, Margaret had her own column
Off the IRT Track in the university's weekly newspaper The Prattler.
She also served as The Prattler's Business Manager.

After graduating with a BFA in Fashion Merchandising, Margaret worked in Manhattan as a copywriter for Columbia Minerva, a publisher of knitting instruction booklets.


In 1972 Margaret and her husband Paul moved to Surrey, British Columbia.
In 1975 they moved to Winnipeg. She graduated from Red River Community College's Photographic Technician course in 1980. During the following years she also studied Creative Writing with Maara Haas, Playwrighting with Bruce McManus at Prairie Theatre Exchange, and Basic Film Making with Ann Hodges at the Winnipeg Film Group.


In the late 70s and early 80s Margaret served as editor for
The West End Co-op Resource Centre Newsletter
the Age & Opportunity Newsletter - The Senior Link
the Family Services of Winnipeg Newsletter - Newsbreak
the Manitoba Naturalists' Society Newsletter - The Bulletin

During this period Margaret wrote for The Manitoba Women's Newspaper.
She also wrote and performed in comedy skits with her husband Paul on the VPW Public Access programs Comics and Cartoons and Roger Rocket Pilot.
Following Margo Oliver's recipes, she cooked various recipes to illustrate Margo Oliver's column in The Winnipeg Free Press.


In 1990 Ullrich's play The Spare Room received an honorable mention in CBC's Writers for Radio contest. Her three short pieces - Sensibilia; Love, You Make My Day and Cross in the Sand - were runner-ups in CBC Radio's Afternoon Edition Valentine's day writing contests from 1991 to 1993.


From 1993 to 2001 she was a member, volunteer and Officer of the Board of the Manitoba Association of Playwrights. Ullrich was accepted into MAP's Mentorship program. Her plays, including her three longer works The Legacy, My Father's Daughter and The British are Coming, were workshopped at MAP's Open Door.

In 1995 her play Good Breeding, directed by Mauralea Austin, was produced by Popular Theatre Alliance of Manitoba for TESTING GROUND II.  In the same year, Ullrich edited copy for RE VISIONS, the Festival Program for The Winnipeg Women's International Film & Video Festival.


Ullrich's recipes for Rabbit Cooked in Garlic and Wine; Smothered Potatoes and Fennel, and Caponata (all Maltese style recipes) were included in Enter Cooking!  Volume Two, Another collection of favourite recipes from the Manitoba Theatre Community, which was published by The Manitoba Association of Playwrights in 1996.

In 1996 she also performed in Limblifter's rock video Vicious.


In 1998 Ullrich's play Pat Answers and her short story Worms with Angel Wings were broadcast on the UMFM radio program Saturday Night Variety Show.
In 1999 these pieces were again broadcast on the UMFM drama show Play It Again, along with Good Breeding and Women of Culture, a full length play. 


In 2000 she attended the Radio Technical Operation Course at Video Pool and CKUW (Steve Bates, instructor).

From 2000 to 2007 Ullrich read her own essays and humorous stories on the CKUW radio program 2000 and Counting - Older and Wiser, which was broadcasted live on Tuesday afternoon and repeated on Saturday mornings. She produced the Christmas 2001/New Year's 2002 programs. Her play Pat Answers was performed live on the program.
Her essay Living with Cholesterol was broadcasted on CBC Radio One.

During this period Ullrich attended the University of Winnipeg where she studied Creative Non-fiction with Catherine M. Senecal and Screenplay Writing with Don Bailey. She was also published in The Metro, Autumn Leaves, The Prime Times News, The Manitoba Co-operator, The Nor'West News and The MSOS Journal.

Four of her works, Bus Sightings, On My Way, Portuguese Fisherman and Cholesterol Blues (a shorter version of Living with Cholesterol) were included in the anthology Autumn Leaves which was published in 2003 by Creative Retirement.


Margaret and her husband Paul created and performed in a play spotlighting community problems with The Nor'west Co-op Community Health Centre's theatre group in 2003. They also performed at the Nor'West Community Centre AGM and at a Meet and Greet hosted by the Keewatin/Inkster Neighbourhood Resource Council.


From 2007 to 2008 Margaret was co-host and co-producer with Sophie Kolt of the CKUW radio program Better Than Chocolate.  It was voted CKUW's People's Choice for Favourite Spoken Word Show 2008.
It was broadcasted live on Thursday mornings and included local personalities and news. 
Margaret also wrote for and read her stories on the program.
Her full length play Women of Culture was also broadcasted on the show.


Margaret's story A Traditional Family Easter was included in
‘A/Cross Sections: New Manitoba Writing’, launched November 1, 2007.

Another of Margaret's stories, Home Place Two... Plus One, was published in the
"Home Place 2" section of Prairie Fire magazine Vol. 29, No. 1, which featured work by Winnipeg creative non-fiction writers.  It was launched at McNally Robinson April 24, 2008.

Since 2009 Margaret has been producing two blogs:
Winnipeg is Better Than Chocolate, a continuation of her radio program Better Than Chocolate, is about happenings and people of Winnipeg.
I'm Turning 60... is a more casual, personal blog which includes stories and Maltese recipes.


From 2010 to 2016 Ullrich was the Public Relations Person for The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club.  She has written articles for The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's publication The Lantern and The Thousand Lakes Region, National Model Railroad Association Thousand Lakes Region's publication The Fusee.


In 2011 Ullrich's story Easter Bread was included in Dust & Fire, Writing & Art by Women 2011, which was launched on March 25, 2011.  The book was published by the Women's Studies Department of Bemidji State University.  The launch took place at the American Indian Resource Center.
She was also awarded the President's Shield for Outstanding Contribution to the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club by W.M.R.C. President Suzanne Lemon for her work in promoting the Club’s annual Spring Open House.


Ullrich has also completed the following online courses offered by the University of Iowa: 
How Writers Write Fiction 2015
How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women
Power of the Pen 2017: Identities and Social Issues in Fiction and Nonfiction
Power of the Pen 2017: Identities and Social Issues in Poetry and Plays

***
In 2009 Margaret's photo Take the E Train was awarded first place, film print prototype, in The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's annual photo contest.

In 2010 her latchhook rug of of a CN Alco FA-2 engine, with boxcar and caboose, was awarded first place, Arts & Crafts, in the 'Steam on the Prairies', National Model Railroad Association Thousand Lakes Region's Regional Convention's model contest.  

Her photo Take the E Train was awarded third place, black and white prototype print, in the 'Steam on the Prairies', National Model Railroad Association Thousand Lakes Region's 2010 Regional Convention's photo contest.

In 2012 her model entry Depot on CD was awarded the Tyro - Initial Modelling Achievement award by The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club.

In 2013 her model entry N scale Grain Elevator was awarded the Goodall Trophy / first place kit class by the W.M.R.C.  It was also awarded third place, Structure On-line, in the 'Twin Rails to the Twin Cities', National Model Railroad Association Thousand Lakes Region's 2013 Regional Convention's model contest.

In 2014 her cross-stitch steam train, with two cars and caboose, received honourable mention, in the ‘Exploring the Rails', National Model Railroad Association Thousand Lakes Region's Regional Convention's model contest. 

In 2015 her model entry S scale the Mercantile received honourable mention by the W.M.R.C.  It was also awarded third place, Structure Off-line, in the National Model Railroad Association Thousand Lakes Region's 2015 Regional Convention's model contest which was held in Thunder Bay.

November 3, 2009

Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars and Prairie Fire Launch


Ah, yes... Halloween. It's loads of fun to carve a pumpkin. But now it's November and folks are stuck with a huge hunk of raw pumpkin. Food prices being what they are, nobody wants to just throw food away.

I received a few e mails asking if I had a recipe.
 Here's an old favorite. Hope you enjoy it, too.

PUMPKIN OATMEAL BARS

grease 2 9 x 13" pans
preheat oven to 350º
bake 50 min.

in a large bowl combine
3 Cups flour
3 Cups oats
3 Cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
make a well in the center
-----
add
3 Cups cooked pumpkin (= 28 oz. can)
3 large eggs
9 ounces oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
stir until just mixed
----
stir in
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
turn into prepared pans
bake - cool - cut into bars


Just a reminder... Prairie Fire Press is inviting you to come to the launch and celebration of "Home Place 3", Thursday November 5, at McNally Robinson Booksellers' Grant Park location, in the Travel Alcove. It's free to the public.

Giving short readings that evening are Steve Benstead, Todd Besant, Warren Cariou, Sharon Chisvin, Anita Daher, Elizabeth Denny, David Elias, Hedy Heppenstall, Mary Horodyski, Faith Johnston, Esme Claire Keith, Barbara Romanik, James Scoles, Niigonwedom James Sinclair, Katherena Vermette, Andrea von Wichert and John Weir. They'll start at 7:00 pm.

Join the writers for cake and coffee after the reading.

Hope they'll serve their delicious carrot cake. I had a story in Prairie Fire's "Home Place 2" in 2008 and remember the launch as being a lot of fun. Writers love to meet their readers.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

November 1, 2009

Autumn Leaves and Tomato Soup

Autumn is really here. Yesterday the neighbourhood was out in full force raking leaves.

Wouldn't it be great if they did an extra garbage run right about now to pick up all the bags of leaves? Sometime there just isn't time to 'leaf it with them'.


We were pretty lucky with our garden this year. We enjoyed homegrown rhubarb, beans, lettuce, beets, cabbage and tomatoes. I credit our success to our compost. We have two boxes going and, what with all the grass clippings, the leaves and the kitchen waste, we always manage to have two full boxes of compost to spread in the Fall.

How do I compost, you ask? Just call the Compost Infoline at 925-3777. Your garden will thank you next year.


Last month, when we heard there was going to be frost at night, I had to pick a few hundred green tomatoes and store them in the basement. They turned red alright. Some are a little too soft to serve in a salad. But they're just perfect for making soup.


TOMATO BUTTERMILK SOUP

in a large pot heat
2 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
cook until the onion is slightly browned
-----
stir in
2 tablespoons flour
-----
stir in
2 cups buttermilk
stir over low heat
-----
add
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons minced parsley
heat but don't boil


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

October 29, 2009

There Be Circles (part 2 - by Margaret Ullrich)

One story - oh, it couldn't be more than a local urban legend - is that Sally, a young woman new to the north end, met Bethany from the cul de sac, when they were both out walking their dogs. The dogs, both healthy puppies, took to each other and started playing together. Well, you know how it is. The pups were on their leashes so while the dogs played, the women chatted. They were both about the same age, so they had a few things in common. They'd walk and chat about work, husbands, kids, the usual stuff.

Well, as sometimes happens, the economy took a downturn and Sally's husband lost his job. Bethany offered Sally the usual tea and sympathy and said she'd pray for them. Sally didn't think the prayers would make much difference but she thanked Bethany and didn't give it another thought. Within a few days Sally's husband got a job at twice his former pay. Well, Sally was thrilled and phoned Bethany to tell her the good news.

Now, here's where the story gets a bit hazy. It seems Bethany told Sally that she had to do certain things. Sally was a Catholic and she was used to things like saying a rosary or publishing a notice of thanksgiving to St. Jude. But, what Bethany said struck Sally as being, well, a little odd. Sally said sure, no problem, she'd do them. But she didn't. Sally couldn't take what Bethany said - things like retribution - seriously.


A month went by. Sally felt a little funny when she bumped into Bethany. She had the oddest feeling that Bethany knew she hadn't done any of those things. Well, Sally couldn't really trust her feelings. She'd just found out she was pregnant and you know what that can do to a woman's perceptions.

Then things started going wrong. First Sally's freezer went off. It was the strangest thing. Sally opened the lid and the stench nearly knocked her out. All the meat had gone bad. Yet the other food was fine and the freezer was cold. None of the clocks were flashing 12, so Sally knew it wasn't a blackout. The repairman said there was nothing wrong. Sally figured it was just one of those things and bought fresh meat.


A few days later, Sally's husband was downsized out his job. Well, the economy was a roller coaster. Then Sally's puppy was found dead under a bush. The vet couldn't explain how a healthy puppy could die like that. No poison, it hadn't been sick, no explanation. Then Sally miscarried. The doctor reassured her. It happens all the time, probably for the best, Sally was still young, nothing's wrong, probably stress.

Sally was distracted and almost didn't recognize Bethany when she bumped into her on the way to the market. Sally told her about how things had taken a turn for the worst.

Bethany listened without comment. After a long pause, Bethany gave Sally a cold stare and said, "What did you expect? You didn't do as you were told."

And, with that, Bethany just walked away.


HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!


Have a great weekend. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

October 27, 2009

There Be Circles (part 1 - by Margaret Ullrich)

I don't know if you've ever noticed but there are an awful lot of cul de sacs in this city. I've never understood why they're so popular, especially after a Winnipeg snow storm. After the city plows all the snow into a small mountain on one curb, blocking the view, you have to take your life into your hands to drive out.

When we first moved to our present home neighbors told me about a cul de sac a few blocks north of us. When kids have to sell candy in September they avoid going there. It's not far but I don't walk our dogs near it. Well, our neighbors had said to avoid it. The people there have a reputation for being 'different'. Nothing dangerous. No, nothing like that. It's just that they have a bit of history.

I've heard stories, but I'm sure there's no truth to them. I mean, things like that don't happen. It is the twenty first century, right?

Still... better safe than sorry.

The interesting thing is that the families in this cul de sac are all descendants from some of the Selkirk settlers. Imagine that. A few families that have managed to stay near each other and intermarried for almost two hundred years.


The Selkirk settlers faced hard times when they arrived in Winnipeg in 1815. Cold weather and lack of food and housing to name just a few. The Selkirk settlers were strong and brave and never complained about these physical hardships. Some people find comfort in religion at times like that.

There again the Selkirk settlers, mostly Presbyterians, had a problem. They had to wait until 1851 for a minister to be sent over from Europe. Imagine that - 36 years without an ordained minister. Two generations with no one to properly officiate at weddings, christenings or funerals. In the spiritual void they had to take care of themselves. If I were in their place, I don't know what I'd have done. Do you? Some continued as best they could with Bible readings and trying to observe the Christian calendar.

But, some of the settlers went further back, as if some primitive force was just waiting for them to need more than Bible stories. Well, that's what some people say two or three of the settler families did. That that's what their descendants are still doing. It actually looks cheerful to drive by and see neighbors gather around and celebrate things like solsistices and equinoxes. That's all it is, right?


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

October 25, 2009

Prairie Fire Press' "Home Place 3: Part 2" Launch

Back to our own home grown writers...

Prairie Fire Press is inviting everyone to come to the launch and celebration of "Home Place 3", Thursday November 5 at McNally Robinson Booksellers' Grant Park location, in the Travel Alcove. Readings start at 7:00 pm. It is free to the public.

This is part two of a special two-part issue of Prairie Fire celebrating Winnipeg's fiction writers.

Giving short readings that evening are Steve Benstead, Todd Besant, Warren Cariou, Sharon Chisvin, Anita Daher, Elizabeth Denny, David Elias, Hedy Heppenstall, Mary Horodyski, Faith Johnston, Esme Claire Keith, Barbara Romanik, James Scoles, Niigonwedom James Sinclair, Katherena Vermette, Andrea von Wichert and John Weir.

Join the writers for cake and coffee after the reading. I hope it will be the delicious carrot cake served after the launch of "Home Place 2" in 2008. I had a story in that issue and remember the launch as being a lot of fun. Writers always love to meet their readers.


It sometimes happens that meeting an author stirs the "I can do that, too" spirit in a reader. Well, maybe you can. Prairie Fire Press, in conjunction with McNally Robinson Booksellers, is hosting its annual poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction contests.

In each category: 1st prize $1,250, 2nd prize $500, 3rd prize $250.

For information and guidelines contact:
Prairie Fire Press
Phone: (204) 943-9066
E-mail: prfire@mts.net
www.prairiefire.ca
Deadline: November 30, 2009

The $31 entry fee entitles you to a one-year (4 issue) subscription to Prairie Fire. Nothing to lose. Give it a shot.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!