A new life at 67.Can a woman start all over again?

Archive for December, 2007

Christmas Wishes

I wanted to write an interesting, half way intelligent,thoughtful post about Christmas,but somehow the right words won’t come to mind.Probably because my mind is already full of unnecessary but unnerving things that are all fighting to get the upper hand in their game to make me forget the real meaning of Christmas.
This year I don’t really have any reason to forget because the only planning I have to do is to see that we have enough appropriate clothes to survive a Canadian winter for three weeks,but until we are actually sitting at the airport gate I know there will be no way to stop my thoughts wavering.

I have made and we have eaten the mince pies,they don’t have them in Canada.I have bought the obligatory chocolate,and enough cat food to feed the cat,who will have to spend Christmas by himself for once.There are a couple of presents still to buy, maybe I’ll find something at the airport. Last minute washing has been done and now I just have to see that everything fits into the cases and that they are not over the weight limit. The taxi has been ordered and now I just have to wish you all lot’s of luck in remembering in the hectic what we are all celebrating.

The gift of love,the gift of peace,the gift of happiness,may these be yours at Christmas.


Women and High Heeled Shoes

I do love shoes, I might even be a little irrationally devoted to them but there are quite a few women I believe who think like I do. Of course I can always explain that it has something to do with my past, a father that mended my shoes with leather soles half an inch thick (money was short in those days, but it didn’t stop other children laughing at them). Then there was the uniform years when I was sick and tired of lace ups.Then at last I had enough money to buy myself a pair that I really liked. They were the first of a long row of “must haves” and I won’t ever forget them, gun metal grey, with a very pointed toe and a small heel, and in them I felt like the cats’ whiskers.

The trouble was, my favourite shoes were always ones with high heels, and the higher the better, but I came from two families where all the men were six footers, and I measured 5′ 9″ in my socks. Still bearing the scars from being called “Long Tall Sally” in school, I hardly dared put on a pair of high heeled shoes unless the current boyfriend was at least 6′ 4″. Funnily I still don’t like to seem taller then men, and I sometimes wonder why?

What do men really prefer? Women loafing around in flats, or a good pair of legs in very high thin heels? Would they rather have the second even if we tower over them?

Over the years I have grown enough self confidence to wear what I like, and it seems the Actrice Cate Blanchett does that too.

The Australian star who is nearly six feet tall was seen in London at the Premier of the Bob Dylan film “I’m Not There” wearing a miniskirt and a pair of “breathtakingly high heels”

I wish I had bought the pair that I turned down last week.

A Quote for Advent

I read this in a Swiss newspaper yesterday;


Regelmässig zum Fest der Liebe wächst meine Mordlust”

Agatha Christie.

I haven’t been able to find the actual quote in English,or when and in what context it was said or written, but roughly translated it is;

Advents Quotation
“Regularly to the Festival of Love (Christmas,Advent)

grows my urge to murder”

I would love to know what she really meant by it, but I think I understand her.

Present giving is a risky business

The shopping malls are getting more and more crowded,and we might already think twice about entering one if it were not for the fact that we now have only twenty one days to Christmas.

What are all these people doing? A few of them are buying food, some of them are looking for clothes, and the rest are searching frantically for the fitting present.

Some clever beings started making things last Summer and I’m sure these self made gifts are the most widely appreciated. There is nothing to criticise in something that has taken a person precious time and thought,even if you wouldn’t be seen dead in Aunt Louises’ knitted socks,or blow your nose in a lace edged handkerchief.

Why do we then bother to give presents,if it is always an extremely risky business.?

Helmuth Berking,Professor of Sociology at the University of Darmstadt in Germany has been scientifically examining the theme “Present Giving” for many years. His book Shenken.Zur Anthropologie des Gebens, published by the Campus-Verlag,Frankfurt. is a standard work on the phenomenon.
Professor Berking sees present giving as pure ambivalence.With it we can express a number of feelings- Love, Trust,Hate, Sympathy,Empathy and Aggression. But as giver we can never change the fact that the receiver will give a completely new interpretation to the situation.

Present giving he thinks is positive,but as it is a high risk procedure, but certain rituals are held, for example,by disappointment we show good manners and at least act as if we were thrilled.

Giving can also be an important form of “Impression Management” I make a picture of myself and a picture of you,and the two must fit together. Risky but exciting.

Why do we bother then if it is such a risk. Because it is an everyday thing,but totally underrated.

Why? Because it is the key to an enormous area of social relationships.

Do we give presents for personal gain? Berking thinks that is the core of it. We live in a society where economic profit and rational behaviour is the central interpretation pattern. Present giving is really an economical stupidity, but we also live in a culture of mistrust that has to do with the economising of our society. It misuses the economy of present giving and symbolic importance. We live with the idea “Buy one get one free” and are forever asking ourselves ” If he gives me something what does he want from me”.

What have badly chosen gifts for consequences? Obviously if Mr Smith gives his wife perfume for Christmas ten years in a row,then Ms Smith should seriously wonder what is wrong with their marriage.

Women do give differently. Age plays a role too. Men also give very much with a goal in mind,especially when it comes to conquering someone of the opposite sex.

Presents usually turn out to be something unnecessary that lie around for years, but later when found are feelings to be touched,even remembrances to be touched.
Here lies their real importance.

Swiss Fruit and Savoury Tarts (Wähen)

Years ago in Switzerland Friday was the day when Swiss housewives were busy washing, by hand of course. Men accepted that the normal three course meal would not be served at mid day and were willing to make do withWähen,as they are known of in the German speaking part of the country. (Pronounced vayern, singular is vayer))

They are really just open pies,or tarts,and quick and easy to make. They are not cakes to be served at tea or coffee time as a lot of Tourists think they are but a complete meal in itself. All Swiss love them,and so do I

All you need is an oven proof tart or flan tin or dish. We have special ones here measuring about 27cm in diameter with a side 3 to 4cm high. The dish must have a side, an ordinary plate won’t do. Pastry, eggs, cream or milk, and a filling, plus sugar if you are making a sweet one, salt and other spices as liked if it is going to be savoury.

The pastry can be any, bought or home made. My Mother in Law made the savoury ones out of Bun Pastry, which makes a thicker bottom,good for vegetables or fruit with a lot of juice .

If you want to be bothered, it is of course more authentic.

You will need :

250gr. of flour

10gr. of yeast

1-1 1/2 dl. of water and milk

50gr of melted butter

1/2 tablespoon of salt.

Mix yeast with slightly warm water/milk, add slightly warm melted butter .

Pour into bowl with salt and sieved flour, and need till smooth.Leave to rise,covered with wet cloth or cling foil.

Roll out 2 cm. thick. Cover base and sides of greased dish, making sure not to pull pastry. Prick bottom and fill with your choice.
Your favourite might be Onion

5 Large Onions,sliced

Fry lightly in Butter or fat , you could also add snippets of bacon.

Spread over pastry.

For the “Guss” you will need

250ml single cream,or mixed milk and cream,

1 1/2 tablespoons of flour

2 eggs

Salt and pepper.

pour “Guss” over onions in dish,and bake for about 30 minutes at 200-220 ° C

Eat warm or cold.

The Guss is the basic covering, or fluid that goes into every Wähe. In a fruit one you can leave out flour but two tablespoons of sugar must be added.

You can experiment yourself of course using all vegetables but covering it with Guss. One very traditional Wähe is Cheese

here you will need to scatter about 250gr of roughly grated cheese on to the pastry (we use a mixture of Gruyere and Emmental but I’m sure Cheddar would do nicely)

Pour Guss over it ,add salt and pepper. Mix it all together a bit with a fork,and bake as directed.

Even a filling of fried minced meat with leek or onions and grated carrots or red peppers work well.

If you are going to make a fruit one, it is a good idea to sprinkle the pastry with ground hazel nuts or almonds which absorb the juice a bit.

Sliced apples, apricots cut into quarters, rhubarb cut into 2cm long pieces, plumbs cut into halves or quarters,or stoned cherries make good tarts.

Fruit should be arranged in rings from outside to the center to cover pastry entirely and look decorative. Depending on fruit sprinkle with one to two tablespoons of sugar, and cinnamon if liked,before pouring the sugared guss over it. (We are not worrying about calories, it’s a meal)
For fruit tart I use shortcrust pastry.For quickness ready made ,so I always have some in the fridge,together with eggs and cream.
You can adapt the Guss,with richer cream, or more milk than cream. If you find it’s not setting sufficiently you can always add a little flour to the mixture.

Have fun experimenting, and I wish you all en Guete

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