Tag Archives: writers

Canada Packers’ September Domestic Shortening Contest 1948 — I was DUPED again

Canada Packers’ September Domestic Shortening Contest 1948 — I was DUPED again

Almonte Gazette December 1948

As announced last week, Miss Lillian Scott of Almonte won first prize in the Canada Packers’ September Domestic Shortening Contest which appeared in the columns of Chatelaine. A letter from Brenda York who conducted the column, and the recipe follows:

Canada Packers Limited Food Clinic,

Toronto, Canada. 29th, October, 1948.

To -Miss Lillian J. Scott, Box 292, Almonte, Ontario.

Dear Miss Scott:— This is indeed good news: I am most happy to tell you that your recipe for “Domestic Date Dreams” (which we have taken the liberty of renaming) has been awarded the First Prize in my September “Domestic” Shortening Contest.

It also gives me a great deal of pleasure to enclose Canada Packers’ cheque for One Hundred Dollars—the amount of the first prize. I wish you could have heard the Judges’ comments on your most delicious cookies—and seen how quickly they disappeared. They were so light and flavourful— quite unlike any other cookie recipe received in the contest.

The Domestic Shortening contest provided a precedent in that the panel of Judges decided that with so many delicious cakes and cookies Selected as finalists, two First Prizes would be given this month.

So, we are also playing “Santa Claus” to Mrs. D. S. Cummings, of East Kildonan, Manitoba for her fine recipe for “Orange Coconut Domestic Cake.” Your recipe and your name will appear in my column in the December magazine. So, I hope you will look for it there. Once again, my most sincere congratulations. I do hope you will continue to look for my magazine column each month, and will send along your favorite recipes.

Yours very sincerely,


The recipe was sent to the ‘Good-Things-To-Eat reporter’ for Canada Packers – a fictional character named Brenda York, who was played by Kathleen Kay Hodgins (a U of T alumna), Mihalache says. Canada Packers was integrated into Maple Leafs Food in the early 1990s. Brenda York of Canada Packers, played by Kathleen ‘Kay‘ Hodgins, promoted the potential of that company’s margarine product, ‘Margene’ ..
  Read more here.. CLICK

“Domestic Date Dreams”


  • ¼ cup or shortening or butter
  • ¾ cup of brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cup of flour
  • ½ tsp. of baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. of salt
  • ¼ tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. of nutmeg
  • ½ cup if sour cream
  • 2/3 cup of chopped dates
  • 2 eggs


  • Preheat oven at 400°F.
  • Cream together, shortening/butter, sugar and vanilla.
  • Add eggs and mix well.
  • Sift dry ingredients and add to the shortening/butter mixture alternatively with sour cream.
  • Add the dates and nuts last. (The nuts were not initially listed in the ingredients)
  • Drop good heapings of the batter on a greased baking sheet.
  • Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes.

recipeby Miss Lillian J. Scott of Almonte, Ontario

Another recipe by Brenda York

Love, From Betty Crocker

Can Nancy Drew Solve the Case of Carleton Place’s Hardy Boys on High Street?

The Hardy Boys in Carleton Place

Vintage Culinary Blogging –Fun to Cook Book

Are You Mocked for Hugging? Take up my Challenge!


Years ago I wrote on a very popular American writing site and was mocked because each time I commented on someone else’s writing I chose to add a giant wordy HUGGGG to it. I mean, it just wasn’t a one-time thing- I was reminded many times that some thought it was ridiculous. I never stopped, nor will I.

People who know me in real life know I hug a lot– to an extent I should be carrying around at least 63  communicable diseases weekly. Yesterday one of my talented American friends, illustrator and author, Sharon Watts, sent me this video reminding me hugging was still just a work in progress. Watch this video and tell me if it doesn’t make your heart smile.

Why don’t you try it this week? What have you got to lose?

I love you Sharon, thank you for sending  me this.





Research shows a proper deep hug, where the hearts are pressing together, can benefit you in these ways:
1. The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety. This helps with open and honest communication.
2. Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
3. Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
4. Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.
5. Hugging boosts self-esteem. From the time we’re born our family’s touch shows us that we’re loved and special. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our Mom and Dad while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.
6. Hugging relaxes muscles. Hugs release tension in the body. Hugs can take away pain; they soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues.
7. Hugs balance out the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system – parasympathetic.
8. Hugs teach us how to give and receive. There is equal value in receiving and being receptive to warmth, as to giving and sharing. Hugs educate us how love flows both ways.
9. Hugs are so much like meditation and laughter. They teach us to let go and be present in the moment. They encourage us to flow with the energy of life. Hugs get you out of your circular thinking patterns and connect you with your heart and your feelings and your breath.
10. The energy exchange between the people hugging is an investment in the relationship. It encourages empathy and understanding. And, it’s synergistic, which means the whole is more than the sum of its parts: 1 1 = 3 or more! This synergy is more likely to result in win-win outcomes.
There is a saying by Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” Eight or more might seem quite high, but while researching and writing this article I asked my child, “How many hugs a day do you like?” She said, “I’m not going to tell you how many I like, but it’s way more than eight.” That really made me smile and touched my heart. And, I realized how deep the need for hugs is.
Captain Patrick J. Brown of the FDNY had an uncanny ability to be exactly where he was needed at exactly the right time, most especially on 9/11/2001, when he perished, surrounded by scores of burn victims he was trying to evacuate from the World Trade Center. Everyone who knew Pat agreed that he would have been nowhere else that day. And yet, Pat was much more than a firefighter. Pat was a yoga devotee. A Black Belt in karate who taught the blind. An accomplished boxer. A USMC Vietnam War vet. A Broadway musical theatre buff. And throughout it all, a spiritual seeker. Many people whose lives he touched shared their stories and memories with his close friend and former fiancee. The result is an intimate and moving book, with first-person narratives illustrating Pat’s deep and varied life. Idiosyncratic, personal memories blend with career stories that illustrate what made him such an intuitive, beloved friend, and such a legend in the FDNY. He inspires us all. Proceeds go to Bent On Learning.
Sharon Watts–Express Yourself! was the message I wanted to convey to you, which triggered the 1970 song hook in my head, which led to this youtube, which had all these HUGGS! in it, which was perfect for you! And, as the last piece of synchronicity, Charles Wright was a member of the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. 

Did You See What Happened in Carleton Place Today?




Photo by Sandra Hurdis Finnigan


This morning as the snow gently came down from the sky; I anticipated a quieter day, where I could focus on some projects. At what seemed like the crack of dawn in my world, but probably not others, I got a text from our gal at Scott Reid’s office, Sandra Hurdis Finnigan:

Sandra–“If you are up and at them this morning they are taking the fire escape off my work building at 224 Bridge. I have a couple of photos but you might like to come and see yourself.”
Linda–“Crap okay… I have Kevin coming to fix my closet… I will try, but do send photos if you can. (author’s note– you don’t want to know what I have in my closet)

Sandra–“I will see if I can get a photo of them dangling the top portion from the crane”.

Linda–“Sandra.. I raced out of here with no make up on. I have lost my shoes somewhere LOL, but I got a picture… I saw someones head in the office and was waving frantically, but no one saw me LOL”

Sandra–“Lol.  I just got back from driving my son to school. And most of it is gone. They work quick”.

Linda—“Thanks for the “tip” Sandra!”

Tip? Tip?


I had to catch myself with the word “tip”. I don’t know how many times I have sat on the desk chair at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum and told Jennifer I am NOT a reporter–I am a writer. There is nothing wrong with being a reporter, but I do not have the chops or heart for it. I am honest—I would rather tell stories than report about fires etc., unless they happened years ago. Not to mention that I love writing about dead people– because they don’t complain.


Photo by Linda Seccaspina


But, as I sat there throwing together the FedEx challenge (please vote) for the Lanark County Genealogical Society and gathered information for the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market (please read) I began to fret. That building is a historical landmark, and I feel like it is part of me.

So I texted Kevin, threw some clothes on, and went out where no man had gone before (those words are pretty funny, but remember, I am a writer not a reporter:) in the snow without makeup on and slippers as I still could not find my shoes.


Inside Scott Reid’s office–Photo by Sandra Hurdis Finnigan


I parked next to the GastroPub and began to take pictures. I saw someone in Scott Reid’s office and yes, I began to wave frantically. But, even though I had a coat on as yellow as a Yield sign and drive a pink car, no one batted an eye.

I prayed no one would see that my hair wasn’t brushed, nor my teeth, and my face was still glo in the dark white as I had no make up on. I knew in my heart that my tiny piece of gluten free toast was now sitting burnt in the toaster, but I was happy I had the picture.

Thanks to Sandra I began my day with a smile on my face and as I walked like an Egyptian back to the car dodging snow and slush with my slippers on I got this:

At 11:22 Sandra texted me–“Last piece down and they broke my front window”.


Photo by Sandra Hurdis Finnigan


Years ago a safe was lowered down from the Maguire building in Carleton Place and broke a window, and they dropped the safe. Today Thursday, January 28th,2015 a crane cracked the window of Scott Reid’s office and the air turned blue according to Sandra Hurdis Finnigan.

In years to come someone will be researching history and come across this story and shake their head like I do each day reading the newspaper archives wondering if that is all we had to say LOL.

After all, nothing dies on the internet. 🙂

Thanks Sandra!



Photo by Sandra Hurdis Finnigan

That’s the new one with the old one they are going to remove from the back still there. It will be nice to have something safe for the tenants. It has taken many years to get done. One guy said 9 years but I’m not sure on that.-Sandra Hurdis Finnigan


The Man Who Would Be The Revenant

September 2011
On Saturday a very tall man walked up behind our car and asked if he should be worried that I was taking photographs of the area. I heard Steve laugh and say loudly,

“Don’t worry she’s Canadian!”

I chuckled to myself and wondered why Canadians are always considered a trusted lot, no matter what the scenario. I looked at this tall man with a weathered face and long hair gathered into a ponytail under his hat. He seemed like he would be more comfortable riding the range with Sam Sheppard than patrolling the roads for rogue female photographers in the Oakland Hills.

Without skipping a beat I told him I was indeed Canadian, had just passed my 60th birthday and I meant no trouble to anyone. I showed him the landscape pictures while he looked at me squarely in the eyes. He said he knew I was a storyteller because he was one himself.

The man told me he had come here by the way of Wyoming, and had lost another two of his friends from the Vietnam war two days ago.  With tears welling up in my eyes I told him how I had lost a good friend in the same war and he looked at me with blank eyes and said he no longer wished to talk about the subject.

Instead he began to tell me about the legendary Hudson’s Bay, like he assumed every Canadian should know that the waters run cold and the polar bears are hungry. Not wanting to break his verbal beat I nodded my head in agreement and felt like I could listen to this man for hours.

As the story goes; within minutes upon his arrival on the shores of the Hudson’s Bay in Canada, he immediately came face to face with an enormous white polar bear. Apparently they stalked each other for a few hundred yards and he eventually made it safely to his cabin. He continues the story with moving hand gestures, and increasing verbal volume how this particular bear had spent days throwing himself at the door of his cabin. I had a hard time digesting this part as I had to wonder why the bear would continually stick around for days on end when he probably had better places to feed than to wait upon a tall thin man with no meat on him at all.

By this time the story begins to flow into a strange literary tributary from years of it being told over and over to anyone who would listen. Through a small hole in the roof of his cabin our storyteller spies a plane flying overhead and decides he will face his fate to be rescued.

Apparently, the bear had moved on, and our storyteller finds himself wading into the cold depths of the Hudson’s Bay waving at the plane that still is flying overhead. The pontoon plane lands on the cold chilly waters of the Bay and our raconteur pulls himself up to safety inside the plane.

Of course the pilot of the plane belonged to the Royal Mounted Police and as he throws our man of tales a blanket he laughs and simply says,

“I figured you might need a ride eh?”

The man’s story stops dead in his tracks at that point, and he tells me his publisher is waiting for him to finish his book but, he is having problems with his editor who is also his wife. He explains that she was an English major once upon a time and they are both arguing over the grammar he uses in his stories. We both agree sometimes proper grammar gets in the way of telling a story the way it is meant to be told and both of us will continue to tell stories from our heart and to hell with punctuation.

With that he utters a few more words to conclude the story, but I can’t tell you what he said as the story belongs solely to him. So if one day you see someone looking much like Sam Sheppard wandering around the Oakland Hills stop him and you will hear one hell of a yarn about a man, a bear and the cold waters of Hudson’s Bay. I am sure by that point the story might be a tad longer because as we know the storytellers of the world are individuals with really good memories–or bad ones. They just hope the people listening or reading their tales don’t remember or care about bad grammar and punctuation.

Text and images by Linda Seccaspina 2011
Images taken on the Hayward Fault,Oakland Hills

I Just Want to Be a Paperback Writer – Zoomers



I Just Want to Be a Paperback Writer – Zoomers.



“Throughout the years I have always written short stories or funny letters but never began to earnestly write until something tragic happened to me. For days the nightmares lived through me until one afternoon I sat in my car and began to write on a scrap piece of paper. Pretty soon the paper was full, and I continued to write on my hand as the words flowed with intensity and much anger. For paragraphs I said exactly what had been on my mind for years and wrote under a third persona called Emileeeeee McPheeeeee.

My Friend Naomi de Plume – I Still Call Her Kate – Zoomers



My Friend Naomi de Plume – I Still Call Her Kate – Zoomers.



“A few years ago I met a young gal by the name of of Kristen Thomas Easley who also writes under the pen name of Naomi de Plume. Years younger than I, and political views separated by the size of the Pacific Ocean I consider her a sister and nicknamed her Kate for some ungodly reason.”

For What It’s Worth – Zoomers



An “Adventure” meeting my internet friends Mr. and Mrs. John Manchester in the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco, California

For What It’s Worth – Zoomers.