Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Musings: December 28 2014

From the ChrisChat Family to Your Family, Merry Christmas

There's a warmth and well-being to the holiday season, but let's face it...we love gifts. Giving and getting. And there are always those times the gift is silly, goofy, insane, and totally the most confusing, even worse gift ever.

We're sharing our best, silliest, most fun gift given or received.

I'll start...ChrisChat aka Chris Steeves-Speakman (last name depending on hat I'm wearing here at Muse ;)

Best gift I ever my maternal grandfather. Now, I was great at giving  away surprises, especially to my grandfather (Pa). But, that Christmas I kept a major secret...his pocket watch. I still remembering sitting at his feet while he opened it. He was in that quiet shock moment, then leaned over to me and said "and you didn't tell me?" I looked at him with what I hoped was an innocent smile.  That year I also gave him a little tin pin that said 'World's Best Grandfather'. My Nanny (grandmother) said he showed it off to the entire neighbourhood that week.

Best gift given?  Well, it could be the sapphire earrings hubby gave me...each one in its own film canister in a box with close to 100 other empty film canisters. But, I'll go with the belated present...the birth of our daughter. After too many years trying to get preggers, wouldn't you know the one time I didn't think I was, didn't want to take the stupid test to be proven I wasn't...turns out I was and according to all books (and doctor confirmed via their info) our baby was due December 25th. She waited until January...the b-day of the woman who introduced hubby and me. This also brightened my dad's Christmas in another manner. Back when I was about 9, dad's mom died in his arms on December 25th. My family's had too many deaths and burials around Christmas, so the waiting for our little one gave more than just herself.

Okay, boy did I go mushy.  I won't hold up my Muser Family, but there has also been a few "what the heck is this" type gifts...nope, wasn't a good poker player at those times ;)

Onward Musers...


My family has a tradition revolving around an ancient fruitcake. Each year, the person who received the fruitcake the previous year has to disguise it and give it to an unsuspecting family member. My uncle did it best. He put it in a chocolate box, which was a nasty surprise for the person opening it. This year *I* have the fruitcake. I'll have to decide who the "lucky" recipient is!


The most fun gift I ever gave.

When my son--sixteen at the time and a musician--and I were in Toronto one summer, we visited Church St: the pawnshop district. We were looking for God's Good Guitar on a youth's budget. We walked the length of the district and everything was too expensive. The (non-musician) shop keepers would say 'Ah, Gibson. They're very good, you know, so I have to charge new guitar prices for those".

As we finished, discouraged, Jonathan spied a used photography equipment shop, across the street from the end of Church, We entered and, on the wall, was a 1978 Fender Musicmaster. The year he was born. With the case and the original manufacturer's tag, it came to $200. I decided to haggle. She was adamant on the price, which was absolutely reasonable. I showed him how to walk away.

On the way home to New Brunswick, Jonathan asked me to explain why he had the money, found THE guitar, and yet was going home with nothing. I had no reply, at least, not a satisfactory one.

The minute I arrived home, I phoned my sister-in-law and coerced her into driving into Toronto and buying the guitar for $200 (a $1000 value). She kept it 'til Thanksgiving, handed it to me then, and I put it away 'til Christmas.

He slept with it for a week.

Sometimes you get to fix mistakes you make.


My silliest gift had to be from one of my second language first grade students.  I opened it in class and I was speechless.  It wasn’t the usual chocolate cover cherries or other little ‘fun’ things but rather someone sitting on a toilet bank.  Serious, a bank with someone sitting on the toilet. I mean, what do you say to a gift like that? 

Most fun gift, although I didn't think so at the time.  My husband gave me a sewing kit for mother's day. Since I detest taking even one stitch and he knew it, I stormed and left the room. He followed me laughing, as that was a joke present and he gave me the real one, something I'd been really wanting. We joked about that damn kit for years,, and everybody used it but me.

Baby was due soon after Christmas and I received no personal presents that year as all the family enjoyed themselves hugely buying things for the infant. (Note, DH still got nice books etc).

That year my own mum was a bit frazzled by Christmas and wrapped stuff up in a great hurry. This was why she asked a day or two after whether any of my presents had been a bit strange. Do you mean the Y-fronts? I asked innocently. (Gents underwear). Turned out she'd meant to give me some white cot sheets, but had lifted the underwear by mistake.
Took her a couple of years to live down.


Silly gift department. One year my husband gave me a beautiful pair of pierced earrings. I do not, and never have had, pierced ears. We had been married about forty-five years at the time.

He's a darling man, but his domestic blindness is epic. I am now allowed to choose my own present.

For my tenth birthday my parents gave me a microscope.  I don't have the words to describe how disappointed I was! I think that is one of the reasons why I never took the slightest interest in science at secondary school,


For my 40th birthday, my husband bought me a leather jacket and a skateboard. I've always wanted to skateboard so I was just thrilled. It made me forget I was entering middle age.

DAWN KNOX, author

I used to work in the ICT department of a senior school and each year, I wrote a ‘play’ with parts for all my friends. It wasn’t the sort of play that could - or would - ever be performed because the scenarios were all so absurd but there was an element of truth in each of the parts and sometimes things that had really happened throughout the year cropped up in a fantastical way.

Here’s a snippet of one that was entitled ‘StrICTly Not Come Dancing’

The conversation carries on for several hours.

 Dawn1 – I’m hungry

 Dawn2 – So’m I

 Sharon – Oh no!

 All – What is it?

 Sharon – It’s nearly midnight and I haven’t completed my 10,000 steps for today!

 All – And?

Sharon – Everyone needs to do 10,000 steps each day. Right, on your feet and follow me!

Everyone jogs round the room after Sharon

Sharon - Now, everyone sing after me like American GI’s 
We’re the staff of ICT

All – We’re the staff of ICT

Sharon - We’re all trapped in 213

 All – We’re all trapped in 213

Sharon - Students have just locked the door

All – Students have just locked the door

Sharon - Help! We’re stuck on the second floor

All – Help! We’re stuck on the second floor

Sharon - We will jog our cares away

All – We will jog our cares away

Sharon - We will all run 20K

All – Sharon can run the 20K

Sharon - We must do 10,000 steps


Sharon – Pant, Gasp! Where did everyone go?

Dom – Isn’t it amazing how many people you can get under one table?

Jo – What’s that in my ear?

Rob – I think it’s my foot. Is it safe to come out yet? I’m getting cramp and I’m eyeball to eyeball with a rather grotty lump of chewing gum.

Sharon – Seven thousand and three, seven thousand and four…

Dom – No, she’s still got two thousand ninety six steps to do. Trust me, it’s preferable being origami-ed up under here than out there. If she catches sight of us, it’ll be 100 press-ups each – and that’s for starters.

Dawn2 – We’ll have to think of something soon. Dawn1 has turned blue.

Thanks for joining us and see you next week!
 If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman  at

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sunday Musings: December 21 2014

From our Muse Family to you and your families

May the season bring your wishes and dreams. May the warmth of all we each hold dearly shine bright and bathe you in its love and strength.

May we never forget the beauty which resides in each precious being.

This one is so easy to write on. All of the caring world must be hoping for peace and joy to all. No exceptions, please.

I wish that all the children will have a blessed Christmas and peace from fear. I wish for peace in America and around the world. I wish that people will love one another, instead of hating each other. I wish for everyone to understand the true meaning of Christmas and the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Imagine a world like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wished for.

Wishing those of you who celebrate Christmas the compliments of the season. To those of you who don't celebrate it I hope you will have time to relax and enjoy the public holiday,

My wishes for the holidays are for families to know the joy of not feeling stress, for children to understand the wisdom of those older than they, for those without to have what they need, and for those with not to feel the pressure to indulge too much. No matter what holiday you celebrate, it is about love and closeness rather than the size or cost of the gift. Rather than an orgy of overindulgence, take the time to find the simplicity of the beauty around you.

DAWN KNOX, author

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the focus was on the message behind Christmas - love and respect for everyone, rather than the shallow trappings which get in the way? Futile, I know, but my wish for Christmas and any other celebrated holidays would be for that.

My wishes for the holidays are that the beef be cooked enough for those who like it that way and yet rare enough for those who like it that way, too. In addition, may the visitors remember what they promised to contribute to the meal in order that we do not have cheese mountains, cream lakes or sprout whirlpools. If Santa were to throw in a glass or two of something sparkling, life would be complete.

Happy Christmas from Scotland.

Thanks for joining us and see you next week!
 If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman  at