Sunday, November 17, 2019

Getting the MMIWG in Hard Copy

I love being around Rebecca. No problem is too hard to solve. I want to read the Inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. I could find it online, but that is not my preferred place to study a text. I love to have a few coloured markers, pens and pencils and a ruler around so that I can write to myself in the margins, or draw a long line from one idea to another or leave a question to consider later – or for someone else to consider when they pick up my copy of the book.

I could also find the book as a download but that wouldn’t work for me either.  For all the same reasons.

I must have opined these thoughts to Rebecca for she said she joined me in the idea that hardcopy is best.

... my copies of the MMIWG ...
So she had the copy centre at the university print shop bind a printout with a simple coil binding: $106 for each of our copies.

Four books.

Part 1a is so large that it had to be split at page 346 and the rest of the pages follow in another coil binding.

I am so happy with the books. I am up to page 80 on !a.

This is an inquiry that didn’t go well. People who were appointed to it, kept stepping down. Process can always go wrong and in this case the authors of the report apologize to those for whom the process was not clear.

I don’t know that much about the report itself yet. ve miles and miles to go before I finish reading and then go to sleep.

A bit of a hyperbole.

Saturday, November 16, 2019


Occasionally I check in with Doral by telephone to see how his lungs are doing.

He usually deflects the conversation to tell me the name of the most recent board game that his family is play which is Parks right now.

I have gone to see the video that describes how to play the game.

Part of the charm of the game, it would seem, is the gorgeous art work and of course, the chance to visit a National park as a destination in a board game.

Fun. I may try it.


Othello – a first at UVic

Image retrieved from
This is the first year that the drama department at the University of Victoria has mounted Shakespeare’s Othello. Rebecca had three tickets. At the last moment, Duncan said he was staying home, so that gave us an extra seat to put our jackets on. He has seen Othello twice already. He said that in the NT Live production, Othello took too long to smoother Ophelia and that he want to spend the evening suffering along with her, since it was probable that the play was going to end the same way again.

Rebecca’s colleague, Bob, had told her that he has seen the show last week and that it was absolutely the best production he had ever seen. Bob spends a lot of time, flying to the US or to London to see opera or theatre. I respect his opinion and was curious as to what it was that made Bob say that.

By the intermission Rebecca and I had much to say to each other. I could hardly contain myself from leaning over and talking to her while the first act was going on, worried that I would forget my thoughts before I had time to express them. The show was done in black and white, both the scenery and the costuming. The music was live, either madrigals strolling along in the market scenes, or a drum, set up on the one of the stairs that the audience might normally use, beating as though it were a heart.

Iago was sufficiently evil. I spent a lot of my evening watching the actor; he was clever, often use his body to express a word or a phrase. He had some movement of his hand or his head or his hips that would underscore the text – or perhaps his feet would take a different stance, or his lungs would fill with evil, it seemed. Rebecca called his performance being into the text, taking it on as his own.

As we were entering the theatre, I heard someone asked the ticket taker how the performance would be. I heard her say that she has seen it five times. I know why. I would return in a heartbeat. Oh, except for the scene where Ophelia gets smothered.

I might shut my eyes next time.


Dogs were in the Dog Pen

When I grew up, dogs were in the dog pen and we were in the house.

My dad loved dogs, just outside. I think my mother told me that the first time she ever saw my father, he was walking a dog, and she thought, I would never marry a man who has a dog.

Doral liked pedigreed dogs. He wanted them to have papers. He might spend months getting a dog with just the right pedigree. As well, the cocker spaniels or setters were hunting dogs. He liked to show them at Fields Trials, most of which were run on Sundays. He went to them until there was a time when he thought it was better to be in church with his children, than out competing for trophies.

Still he loved his dogs and he liked to train them for when he went hunting. I can remember being a little girl out behind the house and standing beside him. He had a piece of a hot dog in his hand and when the dog would obey his command, he would reward the dog. He was proud of his dogs and of their ability to fetch when told, or to retrieve a duck or a pheasant and put it right at his feet.

I am wondering now why I can’t remember any of the names of the dogs, though one may have been named Spot. Or was that the dog that Dick and Jane had in my Grade I reader?

We never played with the dogs. If they got out of the kennel they were long gone across the field before my dad knew we had tried to peek inside the pen at them. The dogs weren’t pets for us, so much as they were my dad’s hobby and his companions when he went hunting.

On that note, I can remember his red hunting coat and hat – a precaution for all hunters so that they didn’t get shot while they were hiding in the bushes. Those red jackets didn’t always work. One day Doral was hunting with a new hunter who saw the bushes rustle and then shot his gun, so Doral had lots of pieces of shot in his face. I can remember my mother picking them out with tweezers the day of and the weeks after the incident, for the ones that were buried deeper would eventually make their way to the top of his skin. I don’t think he ever went hunting with that guy again.

My gosh, I forgot about the duck decoys that were in the shed that was under our walkout south side back door. There was a steep decline from that back door, down the hill and to the basement door. That shed didn’t have a door. It housed tires, and the duck decoys. I think I can still smell that cold, dank musty, dirty smell of the shed. I know the walls were cement.  Perhaps the floor was dirt.

I didn’t set out to say all of that, only as background to the fact that we had dogs that were kept in a pen when I was young.

Steve and the boys have a dog here – a different kind of dog – an indoor family dog. She gets mixed up about her place in the house, sometimes forgetting she is a dog and confusing herself with being human. She wants to cuddle on laps. She is like any two year old who has a toy and wants someone to play with her.

"I think I will take a bite right here under the M".
She is in my bad books today.

I left Rebecca’s gloves on top of the shoe rack when I came in from my walk.

Usually I take my gloves to a mandarin orange box which is acting like my glove box in my bedroom, and at a medium height in my since I have a new interest in mittens and gloves.

But instead of acting on that habit, today I was disconnecting my earphones from my telephones and forgot about where I had placed the gloves.

Walking with my phone and listening to music is something I have only barely learned to do. As I have said before, my life is full of simple pleasures. Learning how to get earphones on and do an hour’s walk listening to music is a new one.

I forgot about the gloves. Rebecca brought one to me and said, “Look, here is another glove of mine you might want to wear, but it has a hole in it and it is newly wet.”

Whoops. That is one of her gloves I wore this morning. The dog must have playfully chewed a hole in it.

As I said, when I grew up, dogs were in the dog pen.


On Writing Essays

... the sun rises at our house ...
I love writing essays.

I can’t help myself.

There is a certain amount of pleasure in taking a topic, and then having a one-on-one discussion with the instructor, trying to get into or around some problem or to pick out the threads that bind a problem that seems unsolvable.

I am thinking about this love of writing in the case of living here with Duncan who is in his first year at Camosun College. He is registered in a course called History through Film, which is a little different than what I was interested in about film, more what does film do with history, than what can we learn about history through film. Those are two absolutely different topics. Still we have great discussions – and lots of movie night here as he makes his way through his viewing list.

He was writing an essay and both Rebecca and I got to read his work. When the essay was done, I had the question, I wonder what Duncan learned while writing this essay. I reversed the question and asked it of myself.

I think that question is still important to me – what do I know now that I didn’t know a few days ago.

The answer to the question can be taken as embarrassing, to me – but I am trying to change it around into thinking that it is astonishing that I could miss pieces of information.

In Duncan’s essay, one was that he quoted Stokely Carmichael, as one of his primary sources. I haven’t ever read much about him, only heard him quoted. Though not often enough, for I thought his name was Stokey. So that was the first thing I learned.

I also learned how to quote a film in the Bibliography using Chicago Style, as opposed to APA. I love burrowing down into a style manual and finding out which of the variations will apply to the film or book I am quoting. My life is full of small pleasure, but still pleasures.


Friday, November 15, 2019

Perfect Reading Material

Rebecca is generous.

When I go shopping with her, she is always inviting me to put anything in the cart.


I can never find anything I want to buy, more than she is putting in the cart.

Oh sometimes, I might want to take out of the cart some things she is putting in. That is only an initial impulse I have. If someone wants to buy every kind of mushroom on the shelves, it shouldn’t seem like an extravagance. She is merely buying food, not going down the candy isle as I might.

Now I could go down the candy isle and fill the cart with chocolate bar.  As I said, she is generous.

But that wouldn’t be all that good for me, would it? And would it be good for her?  She hasn’t had any sugar for a whole year, although there was her first small slip yesterday.

Someone brought to the office a home made chocolate, and she tasted one of Duncan’s Cadbury Mini Easter Egg as well. And if I add everything in,  she ate an apple, and one pommelo – all of which are off the Keyto diet. Other than that, she is transforming her food choices.

One day we lingered over the peppers in the store: habanero, jalepeno, peppers, the peppers from really tiny ones, to longer sweet ones from Chili. We just aren’t admiring them. We are thinking of food we could put them in, and of the gloves that we will have to use so that our hands don’t burn from the capsicum oil.

Add caption
I only wanted one item: a book I have picked up from the magazine rack and then put down on several of our grocery store trips: Cook’s Illustrated All-Time Best Chocolate Desserts.

How could a book like that make a person so happy?

It is the text around the recipes that thrills me.

A first person-voice telling me every step they have taken to produce what they think is the ultimate way to make any of those recipes.

There are side bars explaining the best food products to buy, as well as tips on pots to use.

I read the book last night, just before going to bed. 

What a way to get downtime. I curled up in a chair beside the gas fire and carefully read each sentence until my head began to nod. Then I slipped into bed, so happy to have read recipes I will never make.  Still I was so close to the food, I could almost taste it as I licked it off of the beaters.


A Bun Christmas Treel

... roll the buns and place on the tray ...
... make sure to leave lots of room for the dough to rise ...
Moiya has gone to Calgary to hug and cuddle the new little Elizabeth Wood at Matthew and Stacey's house.

I don't know if she will be called Elizabeth or any of the lovely nicknames that go along with Elizabeth:Lizzie, Beth, Betty, Eliza -- the list is endless.

Before Moiya left Salmon Arm, she was in the middle of making something with a Christmas tree theme for a weekend party.

She settled on a Christmas tree made out of cheese buns.

Now this is a lot of work, but it really made me laugh.

There is not much cheaper to play with than bread dough.

I asked Moiya for the recipe.
When the buns are finished proofing,
they will look like this.

She said that it is just Marina's cheese bun recipe.

Well, thankfully she sent me pictures of steps one, two and three.

It does look like Moiya is using parchment paper.

I don't know when parchment paper because a staple in my pantry.

Perhaps 10 years ago?

Having the tree on parchment paper looks like the secret.

... I can almost smell that fresh warm air above the buns...
As well, Moiya put little stars on the top bun, by rolling tiny piece of dough and then artfully making them into a star.

She did a couple of extra buns in case the first one didn't work out.

Now why she did any of this I will never know since the first person in the buffet line will ruin that art of the creation and it will just be a pan of buns after 10 people have taken one.

Still, it is something I would have tried.

Something I may still try.