Friday, 19 August 2011

Recipe: Almond Shortbread

As you have most likely noticed, A Goldberry Perspective, now has a new aspect: Recipes.  I found it necessary to add this page because I am very fond of delectables, and I am sure Goldberry was as well, in spite of her slim figure!  This is one of my favourite recipes; it's delicious, easy and quick.

Almond Shortbread

1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tea. almond extract
2 1/2 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 - 1 cup pecans (optional)

Cream butter sugar and almond. Stir in flour, 'till smooth, mix in chocolate and pecans.  Press into 9"x13" pan, bake at °325F (°163C)  for 25 minutes or until no longer shiny.  Sprinkle with sugar and cut while warm.   Enjoy!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Poem: Summer

Most people like summer
They like the sunshine
In fact there's nothing better
And the heat's just fine!

They like the grass to be green
And the sky to be blue
They like the leaves to be green
And the water to be blue

But I must confess
Summer does not agree with me!
That wretched heat is to excess
And the worst of it is the humidity

While most enjoy the summer
With all of it's "charms," they say
I can't help but think it a bummer
To waste three months this way

So if you must: enjoy your solstice
In all of it's drattedness
And I'll enjoy my equinox
No matter if the whole world balks!

By Goldberry

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Review: Old Rose and Silver

For Christmas I received a beautiful, old book (which I had long coveted) from my sister. I love old, first edition is best, books and I have a modest collection of turn of the twentieth century and older novels, poems and stories. I also happen to love books by the author Myrtle Reed, so you can imagine my excitement in receiving Old Rose and Silver.

Like many of Myrtle Reed's works Old Rose and Silver is a beautiful window into the hearts of mankind. The setting is in a small, turn of the 20th century, town among the mansions of earlier and glorious generation. Rose, for she cannot really be called old, the heroine of this gem is a many faceted lady with a truly honourable heart. When her heart swells so does the readers, when her heart throbs the readers will too. Our heroine's cousin Isabel is a selfish young creature, without a mind of her own, whose beauty draws even the noble, their friend Allison is a gifted young violinist who has captured life in his instrument. And of course Aunt Francesca - the mainstay of her adopted family, rises to meet every occasion with delicacy, wisdom and a dainty pair of shoes. The deep passionate undercurrent is exhilarating to read while the story is kept light and often humorous. To counter the intense emotion of this delightful tale are the endearing, albeit eccentric, Crosby twins with their inherited fortune and wild imaginations.

The story opens in the house of Aunt Francesca, and Rose, who have just recently received a letter from an old friend, asking her to reopen his house for him. Aunt Francesca's friend Colonel Kent returns with his son Allison, who has been training abroad, as a violinist. As Allison plays and Rose accompanies, their absolute rightness for each other appears in it's glorious light. But alas, youth and beauty ensnare the brilliant artist, and the reader follows the path of pain and trials that Rose must tread, when an engagement, tragic accident, and betrayal threaten to break her heart forever. The only chance of solace being "the house where love lived."

The book, although set in the early 1900's lives outside of time and is true ever and anon. Anyone who reads this book will be richly rewarded!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

More on The Christmas Tree

Well my tree's up and it's lovely! You know trees always look so small against the sky, but as soon as you try to get them in your living room you realize how large they actually are, mine ended up going in the family room instead because of its ten foot stature! There is something just so thrilling about going out in the cold and wading through the snow in search of the perfect Christmas tree that makes even grown-ups excited and breathless and rosy. I have always enjoyed reading the circular letter by American poet, Robert Frost, entitled simply Christmas Trees.  My favorite line is: 

    A thousand Christmas trees I didn't know I had!
... I can't help wishing I could send you one
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.

I would encourage you to find this short poem, and especially, to find the one formatted as a children's story illustrated by Ted Rand.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree is perhaps the most important part of the holiday decorations, so I thought I would take a moment to see how this charming tradition came about.

The first known Christmas trees to be erected were in the the 1400's in what is now Estonia and Latvia. They were originally set up and decorated in a public place, such as the town square, so that they could be shared and enjoyed by the entire village. The people of the town or village would have a great big party on Christmas with dancing around the tree that was decorated with fruits, paper flowers, and nuts. All of the dainties were eaten off of the tree and then the townspeople set it afire!

Although there is much debate about who erected the first Christmas tree in America it appears to have been in the end of the 18th century, and it continued to be a custom among German communities until Americans of other nationalities found it to be fashionable in Europe in the 1840's to the 1850's.

The tradition of decorating fir trees in Europe began in the early 1800's and with Queen Victoria's marriage to German, Prince Albert Christmas trees became increasingly popular in England. The image of the British royal family's tree in Godey's Lady's Book, December 1850 and by 1870 most households decorated their own Christmas trees.

It was considered bad luck to put up your Christmas tree before December 23 or to take it down before January 6, the Twelfth Night, commercialization has since encouraged the custom of putting up of the tree much earlier.

I hope today to go to my neighbors and cut one of their trees for my own house this afternoon!

Words of Christmas

I hope these words of Christmas brighten your day and help you "get in the mood," for this cheerful season!

And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, Which shall be to all people. "For unto you is born this day in the city of David A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, Lying in a manger.
~ St. Luke 2:10-12

Heap on the wood! - the wind is chill; But let it whistle as it will, We'll keep our Christmas merry still.
~ Sir Walter Scott

The earth has grown old with its burden of care But at Christmas it always is young, The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair And its soul full of music breaks the air, When the song of angels is sung."
~ Phillips Brooks

 Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart."
~ Washington Irving

 "You know the reason Mother proposed not having any presents this Christmas was because it is going to be a hard winter for everyone; and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when our men are suffering so in the army. We can't do much,but we can make our little sacrifices, and ought to do it gladly. But I am afraid I don't"
~ Louisa M. Alcott

It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, "God Bless Us, Every One!
~ Charles Dickens

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Review: North of Fifty-Three

I just recently finished an old book that I had picked up at book fair about a year ago. It was nondescriptly titled North of Fifty-Three, and it was by Bertrand W. Sinclair. The cover intrigued me little more than than the title, and I imagined it to about some remote war with men as the most prominent characters (which, of course, is perfectly fine by me... when I'm in the mood!). Why I bought it I'll never know. Was I ever in for a pleasant surprise!

The story opens in a moderately sized city in Victorian Canada. The heroine, Miss Hazel Weir, is a young and blameless stenographer who seems to attract disgrace. Due to no fault of her own Hazel leaves her city for a teaching position in the untamed west. In Caribou Meadows Miss Weir is met with more ill reputed companions and one evening she tries to escape her own misfortunes by a walk in the beautiful wood. Just as the heroine has reached some degree of peace, night unexpectedly falls and she is lost and alone in the great wilderness. Wandering in vain, she stumbles upon a man she learned of in Caribou Meadows, a man completely unlike she has ever ween before; Roaring Bill Wagstaff. Bill Wagstaff offers to take her home the next day and Hazel is forced to comply. The following few days they spend in trying to find the town and finally Hazel grows impatient with her guide and demands why they are not "finding" the settlement. Bill Wagstaff replies simply that he is taking her to his home. Of course the poor heroine vows to hate her kidnapper for life and reluctantly finds this difficult as she sees how honourable and good he is. The harsh winter climate determines that she will have to spend several months with her captor, and in the spring she demands that she be delivered unto civilization once again. On the way he saves her life, tells her he loves her and asks her to marry him. She refuses even though she finds to her horror that she doesn't want to. 
Reunited with some old friends Hazel prepares to go back to Granville, on the train east our heroine discovers that she left the only person she loves in the Canadian wilderness. So Miss Weir hurries back to the little cabin and Hazel and Bill are married. The story could end there but it doesn't! The reader is lead along a winding trail of happiness, heartache and gold mines before a most satisfying finish.

This was a wonderful book and very well written, I would encourage anyone who likes a great romance or adventure story to find and read this obscure gem! Happy reading! 

Monday, 29 November 2010

Pauline Baynes

With the movie for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, coming out on December 10th I thought I might say a word or two about it. I wont write something on C.S. Lewis, even though I think him a most worthy subject, because I feel everyone has just about already said everything that is to be said, on his life. I will instead tell you a bit about the first illustrator of the Narnia books; Pauline Baynes.

Pauline Diana Baynes was born September 9, 1922 in Hove, Sussex. Pauline spent the earliest years of her life in India where her father was a commissioner in the Indian Civil Service. When she was five Pauline and her sister Angela where sent back to England to school. Pauline studied art at Farnham School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art before returning to the school of her childhood to teach. In 1940 she and her sister joined the Camouflage Department and Training Centre at Farnham Castle as model makers. She was eventually placed in the map-making department which would help her in drawing of the maps of Narnia for C.S. Lewis and Middle Earth for J.R.R. Tolkien. After the war Baynes kept house for her widowed father. Pauline was quite exacting and she had very high standards for herself and her pupils at Beaufront. Her first book as both author and illustrator was Victoria and the Golden Bird (1948), she also illustrated for magazines, greeting cards and advertisements. The book most remembered and perhaps most loved that Baynes illustrated was The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis, published in 1950. In the six years that followed Pauline illustrated the following six Narnia books ending with The Last Battle (1956).

Miss Baynes loved animals and especially dogs, it was through this love she met Fritz Gasch, who had a job selling pet food. Pauline and Fritz were married in 1961 and remained contentedly married until his death in 1988.  Pauline continued writing and illustrating until just before death, her last book was The Elephant's Ball published in 2007. Pauline Diana Baynes died on August 1, 2008 at the age of 85.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Merry Christmas Time is Here!

With Thanksgiving over it is time to start getting ready for Christmas! My family  has always started their Christmas traditions the day after Thanksgiving. The first is to take down our fall decorations and  put out our Christmas and winter ones. The wax candle villages, the nativity sets, stockings, and Christmas dishes.  Another tradition to get into the holiday spirit is to make Happy Holidays cookies. My family has close to two dozen Christmas cookie recipes and this is the first recipe to be made each year.

Happy Holidays Cookies

1c sugar
3/4c butter (softened)
1 egg
2t vanilla

Beat with mixer one to two minutes at medium speed, then add
2 1/4c flour
1t baking powder
1/4t salt             Mix

Divide into two or three bowls for red, green and white or chocolate (melt 1 oz. chips and stir into batter). Roll into balls to form shapes. We do all kinds of different shapes like snow men, Christmas trees, wreathes, candy canes, poinsettias and anything else you like. This is a great recipe for small children!

Happy tradition starting!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Eight Amendment Essay

On this election day I thought that I might post an essay on the eighth amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and here it is:

           The eighth amendment of the Constitution promises to protect us from: excessive bails and fines and cruel or unusual punishments. Is this right still employed today? First what does the eighth amendment mean and what is it supposed to do. Second how, through bails and fines, court cases have become sources of profit for the state and finally what are the consequences of cruel and unusual punishment?
            The eighth amendment to the Constitution states: Excessive bails shall not be required nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. But really we must ask, who determines, what is excessive and unusual? According to Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary excessive means "Beyond the bounds of justice, fitness or propriety," unusual is defined as "not common; rare." That leaves much room for interpretation.
            The courts have become a big business generating profits through revenue. Because bail is so excessive, and we have seen in cases in the average bail amounts, most arrested persons cannot post bail and are forced to use the service of a bondsman as well as an attorney. This creates more for the state to collect. It would appear, no longer are people innocent until proven guilty, which leads to an unnecessary trial and excessive fines, for the presumed guilty party in many cases. In these instances all that is required is an accusation without evidence and an expensive hearing is the result. This obviously burdens the accused person and taxpayers if a public defender is used.
            Cruel and unusual punishments hurt many more people than just the person being charged. Criminals are often inflicted with excessive punishments that may even require another trial. This provides job security for the judge, which would appear to be a conflict of interest. In cases where the criminal is sentenced to an unusually long time in prison it does nothing to reform the convicted person, but it also burdens the taxpayers by increasing their taxes and the profit made by the state. The clearest example of this case in Minnesota is the case involving Jason McLaughlin, a boy, age 15, who was sentenced to two back to back life sentences in an adult prison without opportunity for reform and no chance for parole. Most would agree that this was excessive punishment, however, the decision remains in the judges hands.
            Now that we know what the eighth amendment is, how bails and fines are for the states profit, and what the consequences are for cruel and unusual punishments, we can question if the eighth amendment is still in operation. If the American Constitution isn't protected we may become the next victim.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

An Ode to Fall

Here are a few fall quotes before this lovely season is passed:

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
~ Albert Camus

"When the bold branches
Bid farewell to rainbow leaves -
Welcome wool sweaters."
~  B. Cybrill

"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air."
~  Nathaniel Hawthorne

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
~ George Eliot

"Tears, idle tears,
I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair,
Rise in the heart and gather in the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more."
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

"It was November--the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul."
~ L. M. Montgomery