Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Reviews for The Kitchen

I was showing Kelvin how to do Goggle Searches tonight and told him I would find some reviews of the  Oct 6th HD Live production of Arnold Wesker's, The Kitchenthat we are going to see at the theatre.  In case anyone else is going and wants to read a couple of reviews before they get there, here they are:

The Guardian

London Theatre Guide Online

Yours for more theatre,


The Generous Gardeners

... beans in an ice-cream bucket, ready to be snapped ...
Last summer, I was passing by the Pillings, noticing that Laynie was picking vegetables to cook for supper.

"Join me," she called. "There are plenty of beans for everyone."

I went searching under the leaves, and down low, finding all of the beans I could, and pleased that I could at least keep up with the picking speed of Laynie.

Then I noticed she was holding ice in one of her hands, on a burn she had picked up while she and Dave were looking at her car, checking the muffler.

So that makes me at least able to keep up with a one-handed woman.

The beans were beautiful.

 ... not quite shoulder length yet ...
They were so long that before I snapped them, I tried to get David Camps to wear some of them, as we had done earlier in the summer with cherries.

There was no way he would cooperate with me.

But he does have a trick of his own.

Wearing beans as one might wear a pencil ... behind the ear.

 ... bean as pencil ...
The Camps Family said they are enjoying the generosity of Dave and Moiya  Wood whose garden has come into full fruit -- tomatoes, beans, onions, beets, carrots -- a vegetarian's delight.

Pears from Wyona's tree, plums from the Pillings and the dahlias are finally in full bloom -- a veritable vegetable and flower harvest.

Who could have a better Thanksgiving?


Cooking Wild Meat

Richard is sharing his wild meat – sometimes from last year's hunt, and sometimes it arrives from freezers of his friends who are gifting last year’s product to make room for what they will be catching this year.  

Another way wild meat comes to us is that Burley, one of Mak’s philosophy friends, had to move back to the U.S. for more graduate school. Burley used to name her animals, and thus the meat from the animals is marked with that name.  At first I thought, now this is odd.  But this morning when Mak was sharing wild game maple flavoured sausages, I was thinking ... ah, I am eating Sally.  I looked more carefully at the gifts of wild meat. I see that tomorrow we will be eating Tony.

When I am eating Richard’s meat, there are no first names attached.  I just think ... moose, elk, deer and I don’t have to think the word “bear” for that will be the last package I take out of the freezer to try.  Yes.  I will do that one on a day when I am looking for high adventure.  Kelve might go in on  that with me, for he is always willing to take just one step beyond normal when it comes to food (ie, remember when he decided to try a jalapeno, straight).  I have already found a bison burger recipe, thinking I could substitute bear for the bison and see what product we get.

When I bought the new red creuset, I searched the internet to find a beef bourgingnon recipe to use in that new pot.  Then it dawned on me ... I could substitute elk for beef ... not that the thought was amazing, but the amazing thing is  I actually thought about it and then cooked it.  We are on our third iteration of that recipe with most of us saying either, “This is just like beef, only not as fatty”, or as in the case of Amir, “This is just like lamb”, but not as fatty”.

Oh, sweet hunters that share their meat with us.  Send me a quick email and I will attach the bourgingnon recipe in a reply if you like.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Upcoming Dates for London National Theatre Live


I was looking for the dates for the Encore performance of One Man, Two Govnors.  I couldn't find anything in Calgary.  I did find the dates and small precises about the upcoming next three performance which I have copied and pasted below.  For more details go to National Theatre Live Website.

Such a joy to go to my local theatre and for $20, see performances like these.

So ... mark the following on your calendar:

The Kitchen - October 6, 2011

THE KITCHEN features an ensemble of 30 people and is set in a kitchen, using real food and with actors actually cooking and preparing food on stage -- it is a tour de force spectacle and has been frequently performed all throughout Europe since its first appearance.

COLLABORATORS - December 1, 2011

COLLABORATORS, opening in October is a new play by John Hodge (screenwriter of Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, The Beach) directed by National Theatre Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner. The play centers on an imaginary encounter between Joseph Stalin and the playwright Mikhail Bulgakov (best known for his novel The Master and Margarita); Alex Jennings (The Habit of Art) will play Bulgakov and Simon Russell Beale (London Assurance) will play Stalin

The Comedy of Errors - March 1, 2012

I in earth, in heaven, or in hell?
Sleeping or waking? mad or well advised?
Known unto these, and to myself disguised!

Two sets of twins separated at birth collide in the same city without meeting for one crazy day, as multiple mistaken identities lead to confusion on a grand scale. And for no one more so than Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant Dromio who, in search of their brothers, arrive in a land entirely foreign to their distant home. A buzzing metropolis, to the outsiders it appears a place of wonderment and terror, where baffling gifts and unexplained hostilities abound.

Do you know me, sir? Am I Dromio? Am I your man? Am I myself?

Consistently recognised by strangers, the visitors question their very selves as the turmoil escalates. Meanwhile, Aegeon, father to the Antipholus twins, has been captured searching for his sons and, as an illegal immigrant, is sentenced to death at sunset. Shakespeare's furiously paced comedy will be staged in a contemporary world into which walk three prohibited foreigners who see everything for the first time. Lenny Henry plays Antipholus of Syracuse.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Shuswap 2011 eating

Here is a picture of Miranda with her lovely hat from Michael's baby shower. It was a lovely event. I will do more pictures later.
The only thing better than than eating waffles and whipped cream with cherries on the side like Audra, is going out to the strawberry patch, picking and cleaning your own strawberries and making a waffle for yourself…just like Gabe
How about cheescake dripping with caramel sauce. This is what one does with the almost dated cream cheese from Arta's house and the outdated sweetened condensed milk from the Bates's house.
Cherries, cherries and more cherries. Don't forget the waffles and whipped cream. Audra and Zach do it all.

Really the leftovers.

September 1st Margaret, Peter, Zoe Charise, Kalina, Greg and I went out to Cochran to see Lurene and Tim play in the parade. It was so much fun and great for the kids. Next year I am taking all my grandchildren.

Trent rides his children to the bathroom on his feet. Anyway to get them to brush their teeth before bedtime stories.

Now how could one get a sweeter face than this. Senya loved to have her hair braided in the only style which I am able to braid.

Leftovers from Austin and Shuswap

I really goofed loading these pictures but here goes anyway. Kalina with a sunflower grown from the garden Glen and Janet planted at Shuswap.

Three friends on a rock.

Audra smiling on a rock. And then Audra with her beautiful curly hair and such a cute tongue.

Such a fast lovely summer!

summer 2011

Cousins on a rock.
Five girls on a rock. Sabrina, Chelsea, Audra, Alicia, KalinaSunny days are not the best for taking pictures but we do it anyway.Hey, I am still a beginner at blogging. I am having a hard time choosing and writing. Isn't Zoe just the best aunt, holding the movie star, Kalina.

Austin for a week

Greg and I just spent a fun week in Austin. Here are a few of the highlights. I noticed as I was looking through my pictures that I have no pictures taken outside. It was tooo hot hot outside to take a picture.

I took a short story book to Austin. One of the stories was Peter and the Wolf so I brought it up on youtube. There were many different versions. However, the version from my youth was still there. Notice the delicious banana pancakes that Jamie cooked up for us. Yummy delicious!

Lucky Grandad Greg! He got to enjoy Senya, Ivan and Ezra on the couch. Too bad I never took pictures of them outside fixing the screen windows.
Ezra is so like Kalina in about everything he does. Both of them like nothing better than than to chew on a knuckle. Above is Kalina chewing on Lurene's knuckle at the lake and below is Ezra doing the same thing. They both have a knuckle cracking chew, especially on my arthritic fingers.

Such a cute little boy Ezra. He is just learning to hold a toy or something so he can put it in his mouth. Kalina does the same thing.
Ivan loves his blue dog, to sit in Ezra’s chair and to be a ‘naked baby’. Trent dressed this same way in Malaysia.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

like riding a bicycle

I was bemoaning how lost I feel out on the internet. Joaquim said just now, "come on. it's like riding a bicycle." Lucky us. Moiya and Dave loaned us their rogers stick for one glorious month. How fun reading all about Michael Hunter's birth. Gorgeous pictures -- one 60 seconds after he was born. Wow. A miracle.

The miracle on our front is that David lost his fourth tooth today, his second this week. He had his first "dictee" at school today and came down with a "sore tummy" as he approached the classroom door. It took took his parents 2.5 hours to do a differential diagnosis. We ruled out the rule and ruled in "worry wall". Worry wall is one of the "unthinkables" that SuperFlex can help you quiet. Strategies? (1) close your eyes and take deep breaths, (2) if something is too difficult, think of a person who is around who is nice and say to yourself, "they might be able to help me".

Any tips from others who have suffered from the grade one stomache ache?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mike Johnson, Part III

Are you guys really talking about the Bible?
There is time to talk when three people are in the delivery room and the baby is on its way.

Since we knew a little boy would be arriving we began to talk about his name.

"Michael," his mom said.

"A good Biblical name," I said.

"Yes," she replied, "Michael, the Arc Angel."

"Well, that is odd," I replied. "Not too many people have last names in the Bible."
I am learning to sleep through Bible quiz, even with this thing on my hand.

There was a long pause.

Miranda said, "Well, we have Mary Magdalene."

"Hey, Richard," I said. "I don't like it that the little girl from the Catholic School is beating us at Bible Quiz Time. And she has the handicap of being in labour besides.  Quick.  Pull something out of your Mormon seminary arsenal."

Nothing was forthcoming.

"Pontius Pilate," I said. "And Judas Isacriot."

"Looks like only the bad ones have last names," Richard teased.

Home Sweet Home for now.  The ICU --  all the care a guy could ever want!
Then our conversation continued down another path.

But I have been left trying to figure out other Biblical last names.  All I can come up with is Simon Bar Jonah. I am not getting an A for my effort in this regard.

Mike (last name, Johnson) and his mom are staying in the hospital tonight and maybe tomorrow night.

Why not?

The food is on time and can be ordered off the menu.

The beds are warm.

And Mikey needs to be attached to his intravenous for a little while longer.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Michael Hunter Johnson, Part II

"Finally, some alone time with my mom."
Miranda was in the birth room through three shift changes so she got acquainted with a lot of staff.

What Richard loved is that as time progressed, new equipment was brought out – each time just with enough razzamatazz to make the birthing parents think they are on the last leg of the journey, ... which they are not.

First the receiving blankets were put on top of the warmer that receives the baby, then a big silver basin was brought out for who knows what.
Cleaned up after my first bath.

Next came a U-bar at the end of the bed, magically appearing from behind an unobtrusive table.

Another step was instruments ceremonially laid out in style on that table (8 different scissors in all – which kept Richard wondering which set would be put in his hand when it came time for cord cutting).

A further movement forward was having a portable ultrasound rolled in ... and then a suction machine (with assurances that there was very little chance it would be used).

The last leg of the journey is really there when a room that previously held 4 people now has14 people in it.
Alone at last in the ICU. The nurses are regulating my blood sugar.
I am trying to get some peace and rest away from my new parents.

Today the new mother, the new father and the new baby are sleeping.

A one word description of the event?


Just epic!

Michael Hunter Johnson, Part I

I am 60 seconds old here.  
My nails are like my Aunt Mary's nails.
Yesterday, and three weeks early, Michael Hunter Johnson began his trip down the birth canal the long way, tilting his head up, back and to the side, which may have been a good view for him, but it is also the road less travelled.

By time he arrived this morning he had the obstetrician, the anesthesiologist, 3 residents, and 2 nurses in the room to support Miranda and Richard.

Three other nurses were giving Hunter a thorough check-up and clean-up on other side of the room.

What do you mean, I'm not allowed to crawl yet?
Since I am a new baby lover, I think he looks cute: purple extremities, no meat on his scrawny legs, and a brown toque with a tassel on his head (how Canadian).

He was making the minimum of noise – enough to present himself as alive but no lusty crying, just a peep or two and then a good look around.

Miranda has waited a long time for him and she was enjoying his soft new touch.
You can hold my hand, but just for a while since I don't know you very well.

Richard has predicted he will be a lover of the arts. I am happy that he will play in my backyard.

There is more fun to the story – Sunday, Miranda’s assignment to Richard was to get the baby seats installed in both her car and his Toyota Scout.

Miranda drove Richard to work in the morning and things went downhill for them so they went right to the hospital.

She didn’t have time to take the hospital outfit she had just purchased, nor did she have time to pack some toiletries.
OK.  Whose in charge here?

And in the “How To Have A Baby Class” next week is the lesson on birthing positions, so they got first hand-coaching without having to listen to any of the theory on that matter.

More pictures to come, for by now, Mike has only been in the world about five minutes.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What Day Is It Today?

I have no reason to remember dates. I don’t work so I have no Mon-Fri going-ons to remember. I don’t book conference rooms at work, so I am not looking at dates two to three months ahead, fiddling in other people’s calendars or tying to make meetings work. I don’t take university classes so I don’t have to remember Monday, Wednesday, Friday, get to class. I don’t have a teaching assignment for a class at church so I don’t have to remember Sunday.

Bonnie told me that one of the first things medical people check on to see if people are aging well is if people know what day it is. So, ... that is reason to remember. I want to pass all tests. I was thinking about trying to stay young and saying to myself, it is Sept 13, it is Sept 13, it is Sept 13, and then remembered, yowza, tomorrow is Rebecca’s birthday. Which takes me to Trell’s birthday 2 days later (and my fiftieth wedding anniversary as well), Darla’s birthday the next day on the 17th. I have already missed Wyona’s anniversary on the 10th. Yup. Good to keep trying to remember what day it is. Miss some. Remember others. My best bet to wish Doral Happy Birthday on Oct 1st and Bonnie on Oct 11 and then I won’t have to remember another date until 2012. Now I have done that, remembering to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries is over with for this year!

Now what day is it, today?


Friday, September 16, 2011

One Man, Two Guvnors -- National Theatre Live

One Man, Two Guvnors
Photograph:Tristram Kenton for the Guardian
As Ceilidh, Dalton and I passed the ticket taker at the theatre last night, he passed out an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper detailing what we were going to see in the theatre.

“Fired from his skiffle band, Francis Henshall (James Cordon) becomes minder to Roscoe Crabbe, a small time East End hood, now in Brighton to collect 6,000 from his financee’s dad.”

What is a skiffle band?  What's a minder?  Where is Brighton?

There was more information in that first sentence than any of the three of us could process. To start with, I am the musician and I was asking them what a skiffle band is. They didn’t know either, so we settled down in our seats and hoped the play would do its own job of letting us know the plot.

For the first five minutes I couldn’t understand a word on stage, even if it was English. I was thinking, hey, at least in the opera we get subtitles, but I am not catching one bit of dialogue that is going on down there under the proscenium arch. I hope Ceilidh and Dalton don’t revolt on me.

But it wasn’t long until my ear settled in and that must have happened to the kids as well, because soon everyone on our row was doubled over with laughter. The verbal humour was good when I got it. The body humour painfully close to home, especially in one of the minor characters, a 87 year old waiter who was beginning his first day on the job. He walked across the stage, on hand trembling by his side, the other hand on a dish carrying soup and his hand was shaking so much that the two dishes were clanking together in uninterrupted motions of going backward and forward, almost tipping out of his hand at every step, yet never doing so.

The old man got knocked over a banister and down the stairs, only to walk right back up them; he was smashed behind doors when they opened, and at one point, died on stage, only to be revived when Henshell turned up the electricity on his pace maker, making the old man jump up and run around the stage like bunny with batteries that never stops. Just when he seemed well again, someone ran into the room and clopped him on the head with a cricket paddle, decking him again.

James Corden (Francis) Suzie Toase (Dolly)
 Photo: Alastair Muir
We were still laughing on the way home. What we had seen is a modern version of a classic 1746 comedy written by Carlo Goldoni, translated as The Servant of Two Masters.

Two hundred and sixty years later we were enjoying an update on an old classic. How cool was that for an anniversary date.

And about the skiffle band, the one referred to in the chap sheet?  Well, our play was set in 1963, a time when skiffle bands had been popular in England. Skiffle is a type of popular music with jazz, blues, folk, roots and country influences, usually played using homemade or improvised instruments. 

Why I am telling you this is that we had a skiffle band play for us before the show started and then as every scene changed, back on stage the musicians came with music that moved the plot along.  They returned with different iterations of actors and musicians – playing the washboard, the spoons, the bicycle horns, steel drums.  If a person went to the show just to hear the musicians who did the inter-acts, they would have been well rewarded. One Man, Two Guvnors well deserves its next move -- to the Adelphi Theatre in London next month. 

Help at a Gas Station

When I am doing a fill-up, I can ask someone at the Husky Gas Station for help when I can’t get the gas cap off the tank.  “No problem,” said the man.  “Ask anytime”.  But later, when I got trapped inside the car wash, as I was today, I had nowhere to go for help.  I drove the car a little backward, a little forward and neither the back nor the front door opened.  I envisioned gunning the car and driving in right out through the door, but I didn’t think my 1990 Honda has that body strength.  I squeezed my body out of the car, ducking past the sopping big blue washing pads, all the time thinking of movies where I have seen something go wrong in a car wash -- bubbles streaming out of windows and doors.  People choking to death inside.

There was a door to the left – locked.  No matter how I tried to turn it, it wouldn’t open. 

I spied a small crack of light between the cement and the door that was to open.  Ahah!  I got my fingers under it and did a manual lift  ... then escaped, driving my car right home because my body needed a rest on the bed!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Meighan and "The Tinder Box"

The soldier climbs the tree in "The Tinder Box"
Meighan was hard to wake up this morning. She wouldn’t get out of bed no matter what I did to coax her awake. After many back rubs, I started to read Hans Christian Anderson to her, specifically "The Tinder Box". She put her hands over her ears so that she couldn't hear me, and when that didn't work, she started humming louder than I could read.

At least I knew for sure she was awake.

I told her no humming while I was reading and I made a new rule -- she had to sit upright by me on the bed, so we got a long way into the story, with our legs hanging off the bed this morning.

I had to laugh again for we read during breakfast at which time she said, "Oh, I thought the solider was a girl". This was in response to the soldier, now dressed as a grand gentleman, wanting to court the princess. It would never have entered by head as a six year old that a solider could be a woman.

We finished off the morning practicing looking like the witch in the story who has a lip that hangs down to her waist. "Oh, I thought it was her tongue", said Meighan after looking at the picture. Nope. The text said that the witch's lip hung down that low. We tried to pull our own lower lips down that far, our final act of truly waking up.

Bad luck on the lip hanging.  Neither of us could get ours past our chins.

Good luck on waking up.


Goobye to the Fair

From Bonnie Johnson, posted for her by Arta:

Goodbye to the Fair and at the same time, Hello Bernie Road. I got to talk to so many people at the fair, people with different opinions than mine, and many of them were local and knew where Bernie Road is. One woman told me that lisps are lazy speech ... and that stuttering is caused by psychological abuse. It is good to see where popular thought is coming from, at least in that woman.

Driving Dave’s truck to pick up my things and take them back home was empowering. I just fit in at the fair in Dave’s vehicle. Can you hearing me saying, “Would you shut that door so I can drive my truck on by.” The sofa Moiya lent me allowed me to gave away 80 cards.

At the fair, people walk far enough away that the busker’s can’t draw them in. But when passers-by see a couch, and they are tired, they walked right into my booth of their own accord. I met a guy from Golden who says he almost bought a place down on Bernie Road this week. He is a tradesman who fits gas pipes. He had a tip for me. He says when he is in a fair, he has people fill out a lottery slip, and one of the questions is “would you like me to contact you”. Of those people who wrote yes, he said that he signed contracts with 43 of them. “That is a testament to your salesmanship, not to your lottery technique,” said I. “Few people get a 50% success rate on this kind of call back.  You are just good.”

One lady from Sicamous said she also knows Bernie Road. She bought some water floats there.

“Are you busy putting in a dock before Bylaw 900 comes in,” I asked. Thanks to Glen, at the fair I could talk about the local politics of the community.

“Yes,” she said. “My husband and I own 35 acres across from Totem and we have never done anything about it. Now we have to take action and put in a dock so that we won't be left out.”

Goodbye to the Fair ... hello Bylaw 900 ... come visit us on Bernie Road.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lightning Strikes

The night my heart almost jumped out of my chest and landed on the dirt at Shuswap is chronicled in this post on my personal blog.  You will also see the best photos I took of the lightning storm later that same evening.  I am now addicted to storms and figuring out how to capture them in all their glory on film/in bits and bytes.

Here is a teaser:

Lightning Flashes near Moiya and Dave's House

A Squiggle in the Sky

Land or Water?  What Was Hit?
Enjoy the story and the pictures.  I really, REALLY had an amazing night.  Thank you shareholders for making it all happen.  Year after year after year after year.....

The Trade Show Experience

Frontspiece for Fall Fair Programme
Bonnie called me this morning.  
I have been dying to call her to see how the trade show experience is going, but haven’t done so, thinking that she must be trying to conserve her energy.
Bonnie: Well, today is a short day – 10 am to 5 pm.  
When I began on Friday, Joaquim suggested that I take some data on my trade show experience.  How many people do I talk to? How many people walk by in a five minute period?  How many people glance at the sign?  So gathering that data has been fun.

The Rotarians are right across from me.  They know how to do the hard sell.  $200 dues for the year and you sign up to attend a weekly lunch meeting.  Promise? They have a different person in their booth every four hours and they know their market.  It is mostly businessmen who will join.  They are working their crowd.
Arta: Since I heard you were doing this, I have been thinking about watching my own dad at the Stampede where he had a booth in the late 1940’s.  He was selling insulation and had a small mock-up of a house.  The roof was hinged and would lift back.  One side of the roof was just wood.  The other was rock-wool insulation.  He would take a blow-torch to the insulation side and farmers would touch the opposite side to that and see that no heat was getting through to the wood.  Then they could see that the heat from the inside of their homes would not escape, if there was rock wool insulation in the roof.

Bonnie: I am having lots of memories of my own return:  working the Stampede; working the Academic Fairs.  I have the best marketing tool of all – chairs for people to sit down in.  Plus I am making money from recycling the empty pop cans they leave for me.   $.35 so far.  People eye my chairs and I say, “Rest yourselves.  I have one requirement.  That you take my business card.  And my card is good for you to come back and sit here anytime today.  If you come tomorrow, you will have to take another card." 

I got into one conversation with a man who asked me if I could teach him how to lip read.  “Tell me more,” I said.  “Well, my wife and I have had a great marriage for 50 years.  But in the last five years we have been fighting and it is because we are both having hearing losses.  “Email me,” I said, and I will see if I can find out some information on lip reading.  But why don’t you want to learn, instead, of how to live with a hearing loss.”  “What will that cost,” he said.  “$100 an hour,” I replied.  “Is that $100 each?”  “No, that is $100 for 2 of you, $50 each.” “If I get a bunch of neighbours, I will get it down to an affordable price.  I can see I am not willing to spend $100 on how to lip read but I am willing to spend $1000 on the stock market.”
Bonnie:  I have some advice for you.  I can give it to you now, or you can come to me with your wife and I will give it to you for $100.  Never speak to your wife again unless you are within arm’s length and never speak to her back.  The second piece of advice is, never talk to her when there is water running..  Now you can take that advice home or you can come back with her and I can give the information to her in 15 minutes which will only be $25.

Wants-to-learn-to-lip-read man:  Of course my wife isn’t going to believe me.  You know husbands and wives can’t give each other advice.
Bonnie, now to me on the telephone:  What I have learned at the Trade Fair is that people are not willing to pay anything more than $30 an hour.  People have to have extended health care to pay more and most of the people who walked by me don’t have extended health care.  Generally, people don’t value necessities that should be publicly funded.  One woman who walked by the booth works for Public Ministries and she told me that there is coverage by the public system for kids who are in care of the ministry.  The Ministry is responsible for getting to that child what it needs, when the child is in its care and though they are hoops to go through, the money is there.  And speech therapy is a necessity.

I had a psychologist stop in to see me.  She is at the end of her career and says that she has more business than she can manage, that I will eventually get enough clients.  “How long have you been in business.”
I laugh and say, three days and so far I have had three non-paying clients.  She told me to stay with it.  There is plenty of work in the community.

Thank goodness for Moiya.  She had me bring the best hook of all:  couches and chairs for people to sit on.  She also had me bring the Barton Reading Tutoring boxes and she set them up like children’s blocks, one on top of the other.  I get good questions about those.  As well, she had me bring a basket with toys in it, so children can play while I talk to their parents.  She also loaned me a cute lamp, one with circles on one side and a flower on the other.  I say to a child, take a good look at this lamp and try to remember the picture that is on it.  Then I ask them to close their eyes and when they open them again, another picture is there.  They really laugh, even if it is an old trick.

Six teenagers sat on my couches and chairs last night: grades 9 to 12, flirting with each other on a group date.  That was intense.  They don’t have anything to say.  One of them has to be the fall guy for the jokes of the others.  I was talking to them about Social Thinking, asking if any of the group know about Rock Brain, the guy who gets stuck on one idea and can’t get off.  They laughed and pointed to one in the group.  Then I asked them about Glass Man, the one who is fragile and shatters – and yes there was one of those.  And the Defeater of Fun?  Yes, they had one of those in the group, too.  I finally said, “You guys should go next door to where there are helium balloons”. 

When they got there, the woman said, I know you guys are just after the gas in the balloons to change  your voices.  I will just give you one.
The Agricultural Fair continues today, though the blow-by-blow description of it may be over.  

Arta has made me promise to take my camera to get at least one picture.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Mary's Hobby

Designer: Mary Johnson
Lampwork Beads in Blue

From Mary:

I made some beads and turned them into a bracelet to auction off at a work fund raiser. Arta made lots of jewelry from my beads when she was here in the winter, but this is my first time actually making something.

Here is the description for work:
The beads of this bracelet have been made by using a torch to melt the tips of colorful glass rods. As the glass melts, the fluid glass is wound around a mandrel, a narrow stainless steel rod. Once a base of glass is established, more glass is added, creating an endless variety of patterns and effects. Later, when the bead is removed, the space occupied by the mandrel becomes a hole in the center of the bead. Lampwork beads are handcrafted by Infrastructure Canada’s Mary Johnson.

Ceilidh's Hobby

... beading is a good hobby to do with friends ...
Doral and Anita are gone. I am on a cake walk for a week, while I watch their children. These kids pack their own lunches, make their beds, don't fight, create their own suppers, and occasionally ask me when I am going to start making rules, since their parents told them that there will be an entirely new set of rules when grandmother comes to watch them.

Ceilidh got out some craft beads last night and she and her friend worked on them.  Ceilidh ironed the beads until they had melted into place.  I have the skill to set up an ironing board (a tool used in the past, but not much now, though luckily something Anita has).  Ceilidh could work the iron once I showed her how to raise its temperature to high.  So we had some fun with crafts.

I am sleeping in their parent's bedroom suite, which is about half the size of my whole house at home. I may have one rule I want to instigate and that rule will be, when I come to visit next time, please smoke all of the mirrors in the ensuite bathroom. This morning I noticed that the mirrors are arranged so that I can see my body from every angle and was sad to observe that in my case, mooning someone would be giving them my best angle.


A new rule I give unto you.

Smoke those mirrors.


Lady Bugs

Have I got something to show you!
I came up to the Citadel Johnson's at 6:30 am to watch how everyone packs their lunches and gets off to school in the morning.

My most pleasant surprise was to have Meighan share with me her new hobby: collecting lady bugs.

She has a bucket of them and I was pleased to get my camera out to take a picture.

five lady bugs in a bucket ... well  at the very least, five in one corner
Why do you have so much garbage in there", one of her siblings asked.

"That is not garbage. Those are things they like. A bottle cap, a smooth field stone, a few feathers, a dried up-peach stone, some grass," she replied.

Later when their friends came to pick them up to walk them to school, I heard her say to one of them, "My mother doesn't let me take the lid off of my lady bugs, but my grandmother does."

Whoops. Is taking the lid off of the lady bug bucket off limits.

I had no idea how important the bucket really is. She took it off to school yesterday morning. It came home with her at night.

This morning, even though we were running late, leaving for a 15 minute walk to school with only 10 minutes to do it in, she grabbed that bucket and ran off ahead of me.

I am fast, but I couldn't keep up with her little legs, running ahead of me, gaily swinging the bucket and looking back over her shoulder to see how far behind I was.

The first bell had rung, but when she got there, her friends gathered around her, all of them checking to see how the lady bugs were doing today.

"Don't you know that the teachers hate to have children bringing bugs to school," Wyona asked me when I told her about transporting lady bugs to school.

Well, Wyona is the last person I would suspect who could would bawl me out about a child taking bugs, salamanders or frogs to school.