penny in a castle

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Dear Santa…

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From the Desk of

Santa Claus

Being Nice is Nicer


1 Santa Claus Lane

North Pole, Arctic

Dear Diva  and Stuntboy and Spanky:

Hello to all three of you!  My goodness and Christmas Night!  You are all getting so big and tall I can hardly recognize you.  You must be growing while my elves aren’t looking – and that is saying something because those elves are always watching (seriously, it’s hard to get a moment’s peace with those guys around).   Trudy the Tooth Fairy says hi too – I hear she was by for a visit for not one but TWO teeth.  Way to go Stuntboy!  My brother Sinter Klaas also said he paid a visit close to the same time – he said he had never seen anything like it.  I hear though that there is no need to deliver two teeth in your stocking because they are coming along nicely.

I checked my list twice (okay maybe three times) and I can see you are all in the “nice” category.  I especially saw that you were good at church this evening.   This is so wonderful – church is an important time to celebrate what Christmas is really all about – Jesus coming into the world and being the greatest gift for us all.

I hope you can keep up all the good behaviour all year long.  Spanky – like my brother Klaas, I have heard through the elf-vine that school is tough for you.  Believe me though when I tell you that school is the most important thing right now – and many children would give anything for school to be their Christmas present this year.  Education really is a gift.

Diva, I’m so sorry to hear that you are ill this year.  It’s worse than  a sled sick reindeer to be going through what you are right now.  I really hope you will be better soon – although the true miracles are not my department – that is up to the Big Guy to deliver.  And sometimes we gather strength when things don’t go according to plan.  The main thing is to try to get some rest.

I’ve left a few things behind that I hope you like.

Diva, I know you have asked for a sewing machine.  And Stuntboy, I know you have expressed an interest in learning how to sew as well.  That is so great!  I don’t know what I would do if the Missus and I couldn’t sew to fix the holes in my clothes from chimney related accidents (you don’t want to know) and to ensure the reindeer traces all kept in shape.  Ho, ho, ho, I’ll bet you never knew we were BOTH designers for Stella McCartney (it’s a good side line during the down season).

The problem is that  a sewing machine is simply too heavy – we don’t have enough ballast and magic glitter to cover that.  We are bringing a couple of other options to try out for now – we  hope you like them.  In the meantime, maybe your mom and dad can source an option more locally.

I have also heard that you all love to READ.  Stuntboy – I hear in particular that you have been wishing for some good books.  I’ve left a few things that I am hoping you might like in that department (at least enough until your next trip to the library ho, ho, ho!)  Keep up the good work with the reading – it will open new and unexpected worlds to you.

I brought a few other unexpected things – I really hope you like them.

Speaking of awesome gifts – you should thank your dad for the skating rink he is working on right now.  It’s a lot of fun, but at the same time, it’s a lot of work for him.  He loves  you so much and I know this is a special gift he wants to give especially to you.

I want to thank you so much for thinking of me and my reindeer by leaving out a snack for us all.  I LOVE chocolate so it is always a good choice (and who knew they made probiotic cookies in such a pretty shape?).  I hear that your Nana made the special gingerbread man plate – she did a fine job, and I love it!

Thank you as well for the treat for the reindeer – not everybody thinks of them and they get hungry as they traverse the globe.   A little snack is really what they need.  Thanks again for hanging it from the hook. This year, Comet and Cupid competed to see who could jump the highest to retrieve it (guess who won?  I’m not going to tell you…).

Well, bust my buttons, I can see it is already after midnight (how the time flies).  I must get going or the Missus is going to wonder where I am – she always worries the sled is going to break down or hit a moose somewhere over northern no-where.  She really does look after me.

I hope to see you next year.  Stay on the good list!


S. Claus

Elf and Toy Builder in Chief



Written by pennyinacastle

December 25, 2013 at 4:35 am

Trudy the Tooth Fairy

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Trudy the Tooth Fairy often visits our house.  Just recently my son lost two of his teeth, and she sent this missive along with her offering.  Whether or not you believe the tooth fairy is a work of fiction is up to you.  In our house, she is very, very real – and you don’t want to mess with a unionized fairy.


From the Desk of

Trudy the Tooth Fairy

Local: 234TOOTHE

“The whole tooth and nothing but the tooth.”

December 2, 2013


32 Ivory Lane

Tooth Town, Antarctic

Dear Stuntboy:

You have had quite the busy toothy weekend I see!  It’s not often I get two such fabulous specimens coming out in such a short time frame.  Congratulations by the way on losing both tooth number one and two – I can see that you must be taking excellent care of them since they have come out AFTER your seventh birthday (I’ve talked to a few of my colleagues and this is unheard of in my local!)  I will let Santa know that all you want for Christmas is your two front teeth (ha, ha!)  Keep up the good work – take extra special care now that those permanent ones will be coming in. You will have them for the rest of you life.

Thank you so much for your patience in waiting for me to come.  You see, I knew you were feeling under the weather.  Speaking of which, the weather has been just hideous between Hamilton and the Antarctic recently.  The jet streams just haven’t been the same what with all the global warming and all.  Also, based on my GTWS (Global Tooth Warning System) I was pretty sure that the second tooth was going to come out very soon after the first (it is rarely wrong).  Why make two trips when one is much more efficient?  We really are about efficiency here in Tooth Town.

Now, the root of the question is – who to give these two awesome toothy bits of goodness to?  Your cousins are currently cutting a couple of chompers so I think it may be a little too late for them.  But, as you know, a teether is born every minute. It won’t take me long to find a baby with just the right gums  – you can trust me.  These are in good hands and will soon be in good mouths.

Well, I must fly. Ta-ta for now and remember, take care of those teeth!

Yours and that’s the tooth,


Written by pennyinacastle

December 3, 2013 at 3:39 am

Vanishing cream

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(Nota: A work of fiction)

Every Friday afternoon before catching the bus home, she trolled the cosmetics counters at the mall looking for free samples.

Wait, what was that? she thought.  She stopped and looked down the end of the aisle. A new company was selling its wares.  The translucent counter glowed gently under the harsh fluorescent lights of the department store.

“Hello, looking to try something new?” the girl at the counter asked her.

“Hmm hmm,” she said, hardly looking up. The girl seemed a bit non-descript – with her mousy beige pony tail and grey, shapeless clothes – compared to the peacocks and cougars lining the other kiosks.

“Well, we sell only one thing, but it is guaranteed to work.  Magic Blur.  It will soften your lines, and lessen those creases.  If you don’t like it, you can return it, money back,” said the girl in her practiced monotone sales voice.

“Do you have a free sample?”

“No honey. But I will throw in a free make-up bag.”

“Well, okay. Ring me up.“

The price was outrageous but the truth was, she wasn’t going to see the good side of thirty ever again and she needed all the help she could get before she turned the bad side of forty.

She nearly missed her bus home.


That evening, she peered at herself in the mirror, looking at all the lines she imagined were deepening even as she looked.

She unscrewed the lid of the Magic Blur jar and dipped her finger in. The cream seemed heavy, a translucent white.  She spread it over her face and looked in the mirror. She imagined that the crows feet walking their way around her eyes were less prominent, the lines around her mouth softer.  Well, it was something – whether it was worth its extravagant price was less likely.

“Waste of money again,” she muttered. “Why do I do this to myself and my wallet?”

She was going to pitch it in the waste bin and then thought better of it. Winter was coming and she could use a moisturizer.  Might as well get her money out of it somehow rather than face the faint embarrassment and confrontation of bringing it back.


The weekend faded quickly.  As she climbed aboard the bus Monday morning, she had a harder time than usual getting on board.  People didn’t move out of the way and they seemed to jostle more than usual.

When she arrived, work wasn’t much better.  She had lost her security card in some nether region of her purse. Someone had swiped the picture of her and her boyfriend Dave off her desk. Some of her files had disappeared on her from the system and IT wasn’t in a hurry to bring them back. Her manager ignored her requests. People seemed to take no notice of her when she spoke at meetings or sent them messages.  Her usual lunch mates all seemed to be too busy to talk to her when she came by for a visit, barely looking up from their screens and coffee cups.


When five rolled around she thought she would visit her mom at the seniors’ residence to cheer herself up.  Mom was getting up there, but still a ball of fire and energy.   She ran the nurses and staff a merry hell on a daily basis.

“Hi, how are you today,” she said loudly as she entered her mom’s room.  Mom was going a bit deaf and, not surprisingly, didn’t like to wear her hearing aid. She didn’t like to be surprised either.

Her mom looked up confused. “Fine. “ Pause. “Nice to see you.”

“Nice to see you too. What did you get up to today?”

“Oh you know, a little of this a little of that.”

A long pause followed. She frowned a bit. Normally Mom would chat her into a corner – give her intimate details of what horrible thing she had had to endure for lunch or which residents were getting caught in the wrong bedroom.  Mom always asked difficult questions about her flailing love life and career.

“Are you feeling okay?” she asked worriedly.

“Fine, fine.”

Where was the usual queen of gossip and chief interrogator?  Was this how it all started, she wondered, the long slide into forgetfulness?

She gave Mom a long hug.

“Well, okay, I just wanted to check in on you and see how you were doing.”

“Well that’s very sweet of you. Thank you dearie.  Please do pop by again.”

After a long day, her spirit fell a little.  It unusually cold, being dismissed by Mom like that after five minutes.

“Okay Mom sure thing.”

Mom looked up again startled.

“Do I know you?”

Her heart stopped.  She ran down to the nursing station. The only nurse there barely looked up from her crossword and coffee.  “Can I help you?” the nurse sighed.

“Yes, my mother, at the end of the hall. She seems to have…changed.  Has anybody noticed a difference in her the last couple of days?” she knew she sounded more panicky than she needed to be, but after a difficult day she felt as though things had slipped away from her grasp.

The nurse looked to where my finger was pointing. “Oh, her. No, she hasn’t changed a bit,” said the nurse in a slightly exasperated tone.

“Well, I’m a bit worried about her – she seems forgetful.  Can you keep an eye out on her? Let me know if she gets worse.”

The nurse looked at her, trying not to roll her eyes audibly. “Sure thing.”


The bus nearly didn’t stop for her outside the seniors’ residence that evening.

“Sorry, I didn’t see you standing there,” apologized the driver.

There was no room to sit down, and no one moved to make space.  As she clung to a seat, she looked in the window and saw her reflection – indistinct in the translucence of the night time glass.

She went to bed exhausted and failed to dream.


The rest of the week was a haze.  Her phone rang less and less.  Her desk cleared of paper and no more piled up in the in-box.  Her manager took no notice of her despite her request for more work.  Her co-workers looked confused when she showed up outside their cubicle.

On Friday, when she when she showed up without her lost pass-card for the fifth straight day, the security guard hardly looked up.

“Driver’s license.”

She held it out.  He grunted and peered into the computer screen.

“Sorry, you don’t work here.”

“Wait. What? Let me call my manager.”

He eyed at her suspiciously.

“If you don’t work here, you don’t have a manager.  You had better leave.”

She couldn’t believe it.  Ten year she had worked here without any complaints or bad performance issues. The guard turned back to watching the security cameras and the progress of the elevators going up and down.

For a long while she watched as people flowed by her, in and out of the security gate. No one took notice of her.  Even the guard seemed to forget she was there.

She decided she couldn’t face another bus ride home, but no taxi would stop for her.  She trudged into the twilight.

At least it was Friday. Date night.  Dave would never leave her.


It turned into an awkward evening.  Dave had barely noticed her. He had spent the night watching the hockey game on the television above the bar. He had barely responded to any of her questions or attempts at conversation.  He seemed to drink more than usual.

Going home they had walked quickly, and he was a silent shadow beside her.  He didn’t hold her hand and he hesitated at her door way.

“Aren’t you coming in?” she pressured him.

“Sure, I guess so,” he shrugged.


“Just a minute while I make myself beautiful,” she joked half-heartedly.  Her hands reached for the Magic Blur.  She would put some on now, so she wouldn’t forget later and could fall asleep immediately.  Make up for the dreams she had been missing all week.

She opened the door.

Dave looked up from the blaring television, totally bewildered.

“Lady, I’m really sorry. I’m not usually this kind of guy.”

“What kind of guy” she said confused.

“The kind that picks up random strangers.  I’m sorry, I really need to go. “

“No, wait, we’ve been dating for three years. What are you talking about?”

“Lady, I’ve never seen you before tonight. “

“This isn’t funny. Three years, I keep nagging you to move in. I want to get married. Have children. Now.  Are you crazy?” Tears pricked in the corners of her eyes.  She couldn’t believe it was ending so suddenly, so badly.

“No,” he said gently, getting out of bed and throwing on his coat quickly, “but I think you might be.”

“But I love you.”


He closed the door behind him. She sat on the bed and wondered if he isn’t right.  She looked at her hands folded in her lap. They were so smooth.


Saturday morning she ducked out quickly for coffee – everything in her apartment seemed to be running out at once.

Coming back up the stairs, she saw her landlord in the door way with a stranger.

“So, you’ll take it?” the land lord was asking him.

“What a minute, what’s going on here?” she demanded.

The landlord and the stranger looked past her.

“Are you interested in the apartment too? “ the landlord responded.

“This is my place!” she shouted. “I live here!”

“Lady, ain’t nobody lived here for weeks, and ain’t nobody paid the rent. I’ve changed the locks.  I don’t know who you are, but if you want to rent the place, you gotta apply like everybody else,” the landlord retorted angrily.

He turned to the stranger and muttered quietly “Downtown apartment, there’s always a risk there’s some nut wandering the stairwell or hallway. It won’t matter where you go. You okay with that?”

She pushed past them and the doorway.  She stopped suddenly.  Not a stick of her furniture remained. The room had been painted.

She turned and left silently.  The landlord and stranger barely noticed her drift past them as they haggled out a price.


“Ah, you’re back.  Another satisfied customer?” asked the girl at the translucent counter.

“Not exactly. I’ve lost my family, my job and my boyfriend.  Today I was kicked out of my apartment,” she whispered.

“That happens to us all honey.  Although in record time for you I’d say.  You must have liked it quite a bit. Or maybe you were already a little soft around the edges to begin with,” the girl at the counter laughed softly.

She knew she should have been angry but couldn’t find enough definition for emotion.

“What do I do now?” she asked

“You could join the rest of us” the girl said.

“Whatever do you mean?”

“Magic Blur is opening kiosks daily at stores across the country. It’s a bit of a revolution – or a devolution I guess. We prefer to staff them with those who know our product and use it. Makes it easier to sell you see.”

“Well, I don’t have a job. Or anything.”

“Well, the company has room for you and we can’t keep track of each other anyway.  Join us. You’ll see, it’s easy to blend in.”

Written by pennyinacastle

February 20, 2013 at 2:04 am

Posted in Fiction

Tagged with

Santa’s Letter

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Note:  This is the letter left to the kids this morning by Santa.  I thought I would share it with you.  I leave it up to you if you want to believe in him or not.  Wishing you a Merry Christmas.

From the Desk of Santa Claus: If you’re good, we deliver

December 25, 2012

1 Santa Claus Lane

North Pole, Arctic

Dear Diva and Stuntboy and Spanky:

Well, bust my buttons, I can’t believe how big the three of you are becoming!  I almost didn’t recognize you sleeping in your beds.  If my brother Sinter Klaas, and my good friend Trudy the Tooth Fairy hadn’t seen you recently (and of course the Elves have been keeping an eye out too) and told me how much you had grown, I might not have recognized you!

I can see by my list that you are still on my “good” list. Spanky, it was a near thing for you Christmas Eve evening –  my elves tell me that you need to quit hitting and biting quite a bit.  I will be keeping an eye out for next year.

Thank you so much for all your wonderful pictures of me!  My Elves tell me that you were drawing them in Church.  I’m so glad that you went to Church on Christmas Eve – celebrating Jesus’ birthday is really what today is all about.   The Missus, Elves and I always go to Church on Christmas and Sunday mornings too, to give thanks and celebrate God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  Jesus is the best gift of all, and He loves all of us.  You should always remember that.

I do love the pictures, they are so much fun – and they look so much like ME. I wanted to bring them with me, but there isn’t much room on my sled – I still have a lot of gifts to deliver and not much flying sparkle dust left for the reindeer.  Eating cookies along the way makes it worse, so  paradoxically, the sleigh gets heavier as we go.  Instead, I took some pictures with my phone to download and take back to show the Missus and the elves.

While I was here I left a few things for you that I think you might like.

Diva, I hear you LOVE to READ.  I have heard from my elves that you read everything your eye touches.  A love of reading is so important – I hope you keep it up and I hope your brothers learn to love it too. To help you along I’ve left a few reading items I hope you will enjoy (and I hope you will read this letter a few times too).

Stuntboy, I know you have been asking for a pet dragon – I have to say, I LOVE DRAGONS.  We keep a few around the North Pole to keep the work shop and stables warm for the elves and reindeer.  Much cleaner than nuclear, and much more efficient than oil heating.  But they do require a lot of care and feeding (you wouldn’t believe how much tundra they eat!). When they are bored, they like to blow off a little steam – and a few fire balls. I didn’t think that your parents would want to have that out in the back yard. So I came up with a few different dragon options.

Spanky, I’ve heard you singing about me and my reindeer quite a bit lately.  Jingle Bells also seems to be a favourite. I LOVE to hear songs about me and you have a wonderful voice.  But maybe you should not sing quite so loudly at nap time – your parents need the extra sleep.   I’ve also heard that you really like Thomas the Tank Engine, so I’ve brought you a gift I think all your trains are going to enjoy.

I want to thank you so much for thinking of me and my reindeer and leaving out a snack for us all.  Cheese and crackers with milk are a nice change (Mrs. Claus said I need to watch my sugar these days).  The reindeer always love carrots as a treat – and it gives them some good sustenance to finish their journey across Canada and back to the North Pole.  I’m so glad that you have continued with the tradition of hanging the carrot on the hook – Donder and Blitzen had a hoot jumping for it (could you hear them banging around while you slept? They were super loud and I thought for sure they would wake you up).

Well, it’s been delightful visiting you. Must fly so I can get back to the Missus (she worries about me if it starts getting past mid-night Vancouver time and I’m not back home).

Remember, it’s important not just to be good today, but to be good every day.


S. Claus

Elf and Toy Builder in Chief

Written by pennyinacastle

December 26, 2012 at 4:35 am

Posted in Fiction

Tagged with ,