On the Third Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

Three listing snowmen. Listing because certain snowman builders had likely overindulged in the holiday wassail Sven had warming over a low, slow flame all last evening. Yes, I fear Paolo and a couple of his cabana boysin-training had far too much wassail and not nearly enough cookies to soak it all up last night.

leaning snowman 1This gentleman was found in the formal garden. I can tell Paolo made this one because it shows a heavy bent toward the traditional while displaying a marked lack of creativity. Note the big, goofy smile and lumps of coal placed disturbingly close to the ground. Paolo: cute, but not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree!


leaning snowman 2I suspect newbie Henri of building this snowman out near the fire pit. He appears to be wearing a beret of some sort, as well as a saucy neckerchief, and displays remarkable flexibility. Henri has shown similar limber inclinations. How do I know? Erm…the boys were were practicing…diving. In the indoor pool. Yes, diving. That’s exactly where I saw Henri bending and stretching and flexing his beautiful…but I digress. Henri’s artistry, even when inebriated, far surpasses darling, dim Paolo’s.


leaning snowman 3And then there is this inebriated redneck snowman. I’m pretty sure we can blame our equally redneck cabana boy-in-training, Travis. Travis is already on Sven’s shit list and has managed to rack up more demerits in his three weeks in the Lair than any other cabana boy ever. We would get rid of him altogether but…


Travis the cabana boyWell, here is Travis as I found him this morning, passed out on a bench outside the cabana boy bunkhouse down near the pool area. Don’t you feel the teensiest bit sorry for him? I sure did. He looked plum worn out from all that snowman building! Plus, he’s probably still growing or something and just needs extra sleep. Poor Travis. He just lives life a little bigger and louder than some of the others. I’m sure he’ll get trained right up and learn to mind his manners well enough to please even Sven the Taskmaster!


Swedish GloggJust for funsies, here is the recipe for Sven’s wassail. It actually isn’t wassail at all (which is English) but is a Swedish drink called Glögg. Glögg is served in Finland and Sweden during the six weeks leading up to Christmas. This is a cold, dark time of year in Scandinavia. This glögg recipe resembles a variety of historical mulled wines, such as wassail and gluwein. Here is Easy Swedish Glögg, courtesy of MyRecipes.com (though Sven claims he posted it there!):


2 cups water or orange juice
1 (3-inch) piece orange rind
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
5 whole allspice
2 cardamom pods, bruised
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 (750-ml) bottle red wine, such as Burgundy
1/2 cup sugar

Combine first 9 ingredients in a pot over medium heat. Bring mixture to a simmer, being careful not to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Strain mixture, and serve immediately, or gently reheat before serving. If you prefer a stronger flavor, steep spices longer before straining.

Yummy! Nice and warming on a cold winter day. Just be sure not to overserve yourself or others. You may end up with listing snowmen and hungover cabana boys like we did! I must talk to Sven about appointing someone (other than Paolo) minder of the Glögg pot…

Forget Me Not_Meanwhile, I will give a copy of the Forget Me Not anthology (all proceeds benefit Alzheimer’s and brain health research and I have a Cross Springs prequel novella in there) to a commenter who tells me this: If you found a leaning snowman on your lawn one snowy morning, who would be your likeliest suspect for drunken snowman builder?

If you’d like to get your own copy of the FORGET ME NOT anthology, hurry! It will only be on sale through December 31. Here’s the Amazon link, but it’s available at all e-tailers: http://www.amazon.com/Forget-Not-Anthology-Supporting-Alzheimers-ebook/dp/B015WQQEBU/.

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  • Pissenlit says:

    Me! 😀

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      I’m actually surprised, given the rooster’s behavior, that y’all are actually willing to be the first commenter!

      Congrats Pissenlit!

      • Pissenlit says:

        Oh. I hadn’t realised that no one else had commented, I just meant, Me! The listing snowman was probably my fault. 😀

    • Caren Crane says:

      Wait, are you your own suspect, Pissenlit? That makes me happy! I’ll join you in drunken snowman building revelry. 🙂 And be careful with the Golden Rooster! He’s a mess this Christmas.

  • Jane says:

    Hello Caren,
    Are we going to get to see Sven a little tipsy? The drunken snowman builder would probably be my friend George. He likes to enjoy a few drinks every night and I wouldn’t put it past him to create an imperfect snowman.

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Jane, you know I’ve wondered this…you live in the big city. Do apartment dwellers get out and build snowmen on the sidewalks up there?

      • Jane says:

        Hi Cassondra,
        We do, but it’s usually the kids. It’ll be weird to see adults building a snowman unless they’re helping the kids do it.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Ha! George is my kind of friend. 🙂

      As for dear Sven indulging in his own Glogg…don’t count on it. He’s a teetotaler, as far as I can tell. Though he does make some mean mulled wine. Hm…it’s a question for the ages!

  • Amy Conley says:

    I would blame my sister-in-law, Allison! She loves he wine and painting nights, so if there happened to be snow on the ground, you can bet if I hadn’t been imbibing, it would be handywork. Although, she never knew she could paint til she started going to the paint and wine (whine) class she found at a local bar, so maybe he’s wouldn’t be listing so much as colorful. I could build a listing snowman WITHOUT any Glogg (sorry no idea how to get the to 2 dots over the ‘O’), because I just kinda lean everything I touch, including the saying over my bed, pictures hanging in my house, even my head tends to lean more to one side than the other, Maybe that’s my problem! All the fault of stupid writing class and trying to slant my words to the right. Never could manage it unless I turned my book basically perpendiculure to my desk! My teacher would yell at me everytime he caught me doing it too. I just calmly aasked him if he wanted slanted to the right handwriting or a straight book in front of me, both were and never did work out right. If the book was straight, I tended to right straight up and down or horror upon horrors, backhanded. If book was tilted as far as I could tilt it, he’d get slanted handwriting, because never the two would work out correctly! Did anyone else ever have to take writing lessons to learn to slant their words “correctly”? I HATED that class! Never had to take anything like it anywhere except Indiana. And now since kids are barely learning to write in cursive at all, I think they have finally stopped teaching it.

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Amy I was a weird child when it came to learning cursive. I never could decide how I wanted my writing to look, and I had the weird ability to write like anybody else I saw. Instead of my own handwriting, I’d pick a friend’s writing that I liked, and I’d basically write just like her for the rest of that year. People thought it was strange. So I didn’t have any trouble slanting my writing to the right, but I had friends who definitely did, and one friend who slanted it to the left just like you did. I never could copy her writing, and that frustrated me.
      I know that’s weird, isn’t it–looking at a friend’s writing and copying it? But that was me. :0/

    • Caren Crane says:

      Amy, now I want to see Allison’s snowman! He would probably be verra colorful. I was never any good at penmanship. My mother’s is gorgeous, which makes me jelly! I would love to see your slanted snowman. I’m sure he would be as wonderful and unique as you are! 🙂

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Amy, I LOVE those wine and painting nights! I’ve only been to two, but those were awesome.

      As to cursive, I love it. I have attempted to teach my sons, despite the fact that the school refuses to teach it anymore. Sigh.

      Reading old, olde cursive on antique wills and maps is something I do for fun. (I know. Weird)

      Cassondra, I could actually get mine to slant either way. I used to frustrate my teachers by slanting the whole page left. Snork!

  • flchen1 says:

    I would blame the nocturnal visitors for knocking the snowman askew… Hungry deer? Raccoons? Who knows???? LOL, Caren!!

  • Helen says:


    I have to say that Travis looks as if he would fit just nicely on my porch at the moment you know it is hot over here 🙂 just saying

    Crooked snowmen could be anyone in our family I don’t think any of us has every built one that is sad isn’t it, But you could send Travis over to show us how it is done we could perhaps wet a lot of sand and pretend it is snow 🙂 although there was a tornado here in one of the suburbs of Sydney today what is the weather coming to.

    have Fun

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Oh a tornado? Helen, I hope nobody was hurt! And Travis does look like he belongs on a beach rather than in the snow, doesn’t he?

    • Caren Crane says:

      Helen, I think Travis would LOVE to visit Sydney! He doesn’t seem to have much use for all the snow around the Lair and has been reprimanded for grumbling about the cold.

      He also refuses to put on a shirt, no matter how cold it gets. Travis may be another of the “cute but dim” variety of cabana boys. But really, does he need a lot of brains??

      We rarely have enough snow for making snowmen, so I know just what you mean about your family members. Ours would be listing, too, with or without alcohol! 😀

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Oooh, tornadoes are nothing to mess with. Eep! Glad you’re safe, Helen!

      Travis would probably look VERY good as a porch ornament. Even if he’s no good with wet…sand, he’d be good for other things. Grins.

  • Deb says:

    Caren, thank you for donating the proceeds if your book to Alzheimer’s. My dad died from the hi s horrible disease.

    I could have a lopsided snowman built by my 2 1/2 year-old grandson…
    But, perhaps it was built by Jul Nisse, the Danish name for elves. After all, not many homes in America make good ol’ glogg, and sneaking several cups was too much of a temptation, huh?!!

    P.S I also know what cardamom Is and have it in my kitchen cupboard! Being Danish, I use it in coffee cake/stollen and cookies!

    • Deb says:

      Edit button, where art thou?!

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Deb I have cardamom in my kitchen as well!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Deb, my grandmother suffered from dementia. Not Alzheimer’s, just what they call the “garden variety.” It is devastating and usually a loooooong, drawn-out, exhausting process for everyone as your loved one slowly disappears. I really hope our sales are good, so we have more proceeds to donate. All of us who wrote stories have seen loved ones suffer! I hope they find prevention soon.

      As for your grandson’s snowman, the more tilted the better! I’m sure he would have a grand time building it and you would be proud of the results. I am so jealous you have a grandbaby!

      And yes, I have cardamom, too. I love it and use it often. Though I must admit, I have never attempted true Christmas stollen. One of these years I will!

  • Sandyg265 says:

    I’d figure that my boyfriend did it as a joke.

  • May says:

    My husband… He’s a practical joker all the way…

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Wow, I’m amazed at all these buddies who have husbands and boyfriends who are practical jokers. I’m kind of glad my husband isn’t one. I’d have killed him early on. ;0)

    • Caren Crane says:

      May, I would suspect mine, as well. I love his sense of humor and he surprises me with it often! 😀

  • Minna says:

    Nice to see some snowmen, the poor things are an endangered species. We finally got some snow today, but whether it’ll stay on the ground remains to be seen.

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Minna, do many people build them where you live?
      We get that a lot here–snow one day, then it melts the next. Unusual for it to lay on the ground for long here. So if it snows, the snowmen pop up everywhere as soon as people can get out in it.

      • Minna says:

        Well, mostly it’s kids who build them. Around here the snow has usually stayed on the ground at winter, but with global warming winters certainly seem to be getting shorter.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Minna, it has been a crazy autumn here. It was 63 degrees F today, but was almost 75 yesterday! That is far too warm for almost-winter days. Typically it is around 40 degrees F this time of year here in the Piedmont of North Carolina. I fear it will get bitterly cold, then be far too warm, too soon. All the flowers, trees, bushes and animals are terribly confused!

  • Brenda Rumsey says:

    It would be one of my three teenage grandsons. They love “doing things different” and make me laugh a lot. I can see them go out early in the morning and tipping the snowman before I stepped outside and noticed.

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Brenda that sounds like a really fun bunch of boys, and it also sounds like you raised good parents for them, because a sense of humor and having fun together is a really good thing for family. Says a lot about the home where they all grew up. :0)

    • Caren Crane says:

      Brenda, I love that you have a pack of pranksters! They make life much more fun, don’t they? Of course, if my kids had done it, they would also have a wild tale about someone else who they suspect did it. LOL

  • Cassondra says:

    Well, well.

    I take an out of town trip and Sven starts hiring guys like THAT? Hmmmm….

    Something feels off about that. Perhaps Sven didn’t actually DO the hiring this time?

    Lessee…the drunken snowman would probably be the fault of…alas…me. Oh and our yo yo weather here in Kentucky. Cold one day, warm the next. So build him tonight, he’ll be melting by tomorrow.

    I have to admit that I don’t understand how Henri’s snowman is actually standing. That seems to defy all the natural laws. *raises eyebrow*

    • Caren Crane says:

      Cassondra, I don’t think Sven had any part in hiring Henri or Travis. I suspect in one of his rare, overtaxed moments (perhaps before Thanksgiving?) he allowed the senior cabanas boys to do the hiring. They tend to like guys who are a good time, rather than those with a strict work ethic. Alas! Poor Sven has his work cut out for him.

      I know the snow/melt/snow/melt cycle that takes a mighty toll on a snowman. Not sure I could make one list on purpose, but a warm day could do it! 🙂

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Hilarious snowmen, Posh! If I saw such a snowman on my lawn, I’d have a heart attack. No snow here, I’m afraid. However, I do suspect Sven would drive up to Reno, pack up some snow, and make a somewhat bedraggled-looking ghost from what wasn’t completely melted!

    • Caren Crane says:

      I’m not sure Sven could handle Sacramento, Jo. Far too hot in the summer and the dearth of snow would make a Swede crazy! 🙂 He would definitely need to pack some in from out of town.

  • LOL Caren – What fun!

    I’d suspect my son if I saw a snowman like that – not that he’d have been drunk, but that he hurries everything. I’m not sure he’d have the patience to roll a solid foundation.

    We have a bottle of Glogg, BTW. My husband once worked for a Swedish company and his boss gave him a big bottle of glogg one year as a gift. It’s still in the wine rack.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Donna, I have a son just like that. He would be one of my prime suspects, as well. Onto the next thing! 🙂

      You’ll have to let us know how the glogg is when you crack it open. I’m sure it’s best warm, like spiced cherry wine!

  • Colleen C. says:

    That second snowman has talent… he is keeping himself from touching the ground! LOL… my little nephew probably would make a snowman that is falling over… he actually made one out of dough yesterday and it looks like he belongs with the drunken ones above! 😀 Happy Holidays!

  • Caren, I love these snowmen! If I found a drunken snowman on my porch, I would know who did it. The boy and his dad love building things from snow, as in totally love it! And the boy’s sense of humor would absolutely, er, lean that way.

    I love the glogg recipe! Must try it.

    But Travis…hmm. I get your drift there, but I don’t know if it’s worth having Sven’s head explode. We’ll have to see.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Nancy, I would love to see your guys tackle a listing snowman. I’m sure it would be a structural masterpiece!

      As for Travis, I feel confident Sven can handle him. Sven has dealt with much worse things in the Lair than a cabana boy-in-training with a questionable work ethic. My kroners are on Sven! 😀

  • EC Spurlock says:

    Caren, thanks for being part of a benefit for a cause that’s very close to my heart. Not only because of my hubby’s stroke and subsequent brain tumor, but also my dad died of vascular dementia, a disease similar to Alzheimer’s that is linked to heart disease.

    If I found a drunken snowman on my lawn, I’d suspect my sons built it, but then some drunk from the bar down the street missed the curve and ran into it. Lord knows they take out our mailbox at least once a year…

    • Caren Crane says:

      Oh, EC, I so hope they find causes and preventions for the myriad types of dementia soon. It’s heartbreaking to see a loved one endure it, I know.

      As for the drunks taking the curve too fast, I know all about that! There is a mailbox in our neighborhood that is the most-hit mailbox around because of a curve in the road. My son’s HS girlfriend hit it, then a few years later my older daughter did. There were many before, between and after those, too! Having a bar before the bend can only make the problem exponentially worse. I would suspect the drunk drivers, too!

  • Shannon says:

    It’d be some of the dog owners. The only place where there’d be room to build a snowman, much less a listing one, would be in the dog run. And I’d can’t name names because I don’t know them, e.g. Toby’s mom, that Beagle’s daddy. Lots of potential suspects though.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Ha! I love that you have suspects and only know their dogs’ names, Shannon! That’s how we roll in my neighborhood, too. I may know their dog’s or kid’s name, but not necessarily the grown-up in charge. I assume any listing snowman in your yard would have a nice yellow patch! 😀

  • Lopsided snowman ? At my house it would be the usual suspects. Boudreaux, Frodo and Company. No snowman, no matter how sturdily built can withstand the onslaught of this diabolical crew. From snatching that carrot nose off his face for a game of fetch to digging out the coal buttons and facial features simply because they are there to using the scarf for a bout of tug-o-war and the final insult? Using said snowman as a tree for watering. That snowman will be lucky if he is only leaning. He’ll probably be crawling around grovelling for mercy!

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Caren, I’m snickiner and snorking over the beret snowman! OMGosh, he’s a masterpiece!

    As for me, I’m right there in the mix when it comes to making snow creatures. I say it that way because we’ve had snow batman, snow weebles, snow daleks, and snow people of all ilk. One, as I recall, ended up being a snow Viking. Grins.

    Making it lean, though? That would probably be either my youngest (the prankster) or one of my pals who’d ROFLHAO at doing that to a snow person so I could find it.

    Remind me to tell you about the snow…thing…that appeared at the middle school a couple of years ago…SNORK!!

  • Lianne says:

    I’d blame it on Jack Frost

  • Kate Sparks says:

    My next door neighbor does have an amazing sense of humor!!!