Sunday, September 30, 2012

Travel Clinic

Image from Solstice Website
... I will walk the deck each morning ...
... no inside gym for me ...

I booked an appointment with the Travel Clinic at Crowfoot Village Family Practise, since I am going to be gone a long time and my doctor suggested I meet with the nurses to get my vaccinations and shots updated.

I took along my travel itinerary so they would know what shots I needed.

"An amazing trip," said the nurse.

 "I see a lot of trips, but it has been a long time since I have seen one like this one," she continued,  giving me first a shot in one arm, then a shot in the other arm, and then booking me to come back in a week for more shots.

Image from Solstice Website
... anyone for a hot tub ...
What else did I learn?  

I will have to remember two things -- no drinks with ice when I am off the boat, and always drink bottled water, at least on the second and third parts of the trip.

How did I get to go on such an adventure?

Wyona did all of the planning. I just had to sign on.

Rebecca says she would rather come along and see the sites with me, as read about them on the blog.

I wish I could arrange that for more people than just her.

My blogging will slow down, but my writing won't.  I love keeping track of at least something in each day, something out of the way that I don't see in a usual day.

Below is the itinerary -- as the nurse at the travel clinic says ... an amazing trip.

Oct. 6 to London, England for four days
Oct, 11 Venice, Italy for four days

Cruise I: Royal Caribbean / Grandeur of the Seas
Eastern Mediterranean Cruise

Oct. 17 Kotor, Montenegro
Oct. 19 Athens (Piraeus), Greece
Oct. 20 Ephesus (Kusadase), Turkey
Oct. 21 Bodrum, Turkey
Oct. 22 Mykonos, Greece
Oct. 23 Santorini, Greece
Oct. 25 Split, Croatia
Oct. 26 Venice, Italy
Oct. 26 Venice to Barcelona

Cruise II: Celebrity Solstice
Barcelona to Dubai 16 Night Suez Canal Cruise

Oct. 26 Barcelona, Spain
Oct. 30 Alexandria, Egypt
Nov. 1 Suez Canal (passage)
Nov. 2 Safaga, Egypt
Nov. 4 Aqaba, Jordan
Nov. 11 Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Image from Solstice Website
... theatre each night after dinner ...
Note to self: don't eat so much you fall asleep
Cruise III: Celebrity Solstice
12 Night Middle East & Asia

Nov. 11 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Nov. 13 Muscat, Oman
Nov. 17 Cochin, India
Nov. 22 Port Klang, Malaysia
Nov. 23 Singapore  Flight: Hong Kong, Vancouver, Calgary

I fully plan to stay home for December!


A Vehicle in Pieces

... a beloved hobby -- taking a car apart ...
Richard bought a hobby a few years ago – a 1982 van to fix up.

Actually he bought two of them, one to drive and one to use as parts.

The car to use as parts has been on my parking pad, with parts from it gradually being moved to the vehicle that runs.

For two days Richard has been taking out the motor and taking off the wheels so that he can use the axles.

And that is going to be the end – someone will come by and pick up the body of the car for scrap metal. Richard will get rid of it.

The other person will get the price of the scrap metal. I thought Richard should just move the car body onto the back lawn and let Michael use it as a toy – climb out, in and around it.

 But that is not how it is going on.

... Yes, I AM listening to Steven Covey ...
As I walked past Richard doing his work today, I could hear motivational lectures from Steven Covey being broadcast as Richard worked.

“That is a fine way to have church,” I said, “though the lecture is far to dense with things to change in my life for me.”

... now where will he store this motor? ...
I told Richard that I could only do one of the things I was hearing, and that one would take me a whole month to get into action.

“Yes, pick and choose,” he said.

But then I spotted ear plugs in his ears, and wondered if he were really lisgtening.

... tricky, getting this oil off of the driveway ...
But he claimed the ear plugs were there for the grinding he was about to do.

Well, Kelvin went to real church today.

Richard had his church with Steven Covey in the back alley.


Oliver Bowen CTrain Facility

... Zoe and Arta, ready for their morning adventure with Open Doors ...
I pulled out a newspaper supplement called Do YYC 2012 Visitor Guide which explained that on Saturday and Sunday all quadrants of the city are opening their doors, free of charge, to the public and providing revealing tours.

Then there was a map and descriptions of the sites available.

Tour # 8 promised that there would be a shuttle bus from McKnight station and a tour of the maintenance and storage areas of Calgary’ CTrain fleet and that we could ride a car through the CTrain wash.

How cool was that, I thought, so I arranged to have Wyona drop Zoe off at my house just a little after 8 am and we headed down to the Banff Trail Station to take our tour.

We changed CTrains at 8th Avenue and 8th Street, hung out at the gardens there, and waited for the Saddletowne Station extension of the LRT.
... park at 8th and 8th ...

We were booked for the first tour of the day – the inaugural tour, they told us, of opening up their facility for public tours.

Zoe got her picture taken in the driver’s seat of a city bus, in the driver’s seat of a handibus, and in the driver’s seat of a C-Train.

... art work at McKnight Stations where we caught the shuttle ...
As well, the two of us took a personalized ride on the Teddy Train (seen in the Calgary Stampede), she got her picture taken with CTrain Security and we toured the facility.

Who is more thrilled to talk about mechanics than people who actually do the job? Or more articulate?

... riding the Teddy Train ...
We hear about how the engines of the CTrains are rebuilt, we saw how the tires are replaced, and as a hostess gift, the mechanics had cut off small pieces of the train tire.

In hindsight, I should have taken one myself.

It is a lovely piece. Zoe’s looks like a stainless steel modern rendition of a lamb or a penguin, depending on where you imagine the legs are on this piece of tire, one that you might buy in a modern art shop.

And yes, we rode the CTrain through the car wash, looking out the windows to see beads of mist all around us. We saw the huge vacuums that are used to clean the trains.

We saw huge bags of paper garbage that are collected off of the trains at the end of the day.

One of the tour station stops was about vandalism on the trains.

... a photo op with security ...
“You want to know where the security cameras are placed,” the presenter said.

“No, I am not going to tell you that. But yes,they are on the inside and the outside of the trains and when we find damage, we review the tapes.”

Lighters burn the backs of seats, knives cut up the upholstery, sharp instruments scratch the windows.

The presenter showed a piece of film – actually, four piece of film that are placed over the windows. When graffiti is scratched onto window panes, the train is taken into the shop, one of the pieces of film is peeled off as though it is saran wrap and there are three left to go: $32 a sheet, but much cheaper than replacing whole windows.

... sheep , penguin ... or CT tire ...
The stainless steel lamb/penguin was not the only gift. When the tour ended there were bags of popcorn, bottles of water, 3-D puzzles, Frisbees, washable tattoos and buttons to wear on our shirts.

Zoe began to construct her model bus and CTrain on the ride home.

She had to hurry.

... now it is a penguin ...
Her afternoon was to be spent bowling.

If there were time I would go take one of the first ever public tours of the Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility tomorrow at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm.

Closed shoes required.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Campfire Stories - Man and Team Drown at Annis


Glen sent me this article from the August 7th, 1924 Salmon Arm newspaper.  I can hardly wait to tell the tale around a campfire next year.  Soon there will be the ghostly night sounds of a teamster and his horses plodding along the beach long after the lights are out in tents.  I am betting that I can embellish this story so that not one soul can stay down in the tents and they will all be going back up to their parents' beds for the night.

The article reads:

John Strorfors, who was employed as a teamster by J.H. Brown, tie contractor, was drowned at Annis on Tuesday, when the team he was driving stumbled into the lake.
It appears that the man was riding on the horse farthest from shore, and the team was engaged in hauling a raft along the edge of the lake, walking in the water on the beach, which was narrow at the place.  Apparently the off horse stepped into deep water and got into difficulties.  Mrs. Brown called to the teamster to jump for the raft, but the man pulled the two horses' heads together in an attempt to turn them ashore, and they both got out of control.  Strorfors tried to reach the raft, but was drawn under and both horse horses went under and were drowned.  A boat which had been alongside was brought in to try to pick up the man, but got entangled with the horses, and it was not until an hour later that the body was found.  After hearing the evidence of those present, and viewing the scene, Dr. Connolly decided than an inquest was not necessary, and the remains were brought to Salmon Arm yesterday morning.

The team which was lost was the property of Mr. Brown.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cancer Walk - a note from Charise

Hey everyone!

I am participating in the cure for cancer walk at the end of September.

If you want to donate through me you can donate online. I didn't know you could that.

Here's the address;

Click Donate, and search for participant, first name Charise, last name Bates.

Looking forward to your participation, too.


Sunday, September 23, 2012


Mormon Relief Society Women and Bishopric 1941
Wyora is in the last row, second from the right

Needle down, thimble touch,
Pivot to fabric, push, push and pull,

I try to remember when I first learned to quilt. The quilting commandments I seem always to have known. Number one: you must use a thimble. Mother's voice, "Find one that fits." I sort through the tin box of communal thimbles. It rests on top of the quilt. Dented, rectangular, the green paint peeling from one side, but not enough to destroy "Singer Sewing Machine". The first thimble I put on the end of my finger drops off when I turn my hand down to place the tip of it on the needle. I try again. Why is it so hard to put my finger, thimble-tipped, on the the needle? I finally choose the smallest thimble I can and twist it and screw it, onto Toby-tall-man on the right hand. There is a tightness in the tip of my finger, the moon of my nail shows pinker than usual and the skin below becomes red with diminished circulation. I declare the thimble a perfect fit.

Needle down, thimble touch,
Pivot to fabric, push, push and pull.

How long until I can do gentle curves and then full circles? My arms and shoulders twist, my thimbled needle begins to feel the pressure of pushing away from my body, instead of towards it. I learn the rest of the commandments: a pair of thrown scissors can gouge holes in the fabric of a quilt; patterned fabric gives the appearance of applique without the work; there are no easy stitches taken on fine quality sheeting; seam allowances are all to be pressed to one side or the other.

I thought only men were allowed to have pliers, but the women pull them out of their purses and put them by their sides. Pliers are the quilter's tool to give leverage through layers of material. One pair remains by my side. Though other women occasionally ask for them, I need them to pull through every stitch. I listen to the conversations at the quilt. The women move through the details of their lives, and I stitch and pull, stitch and pull. One conversation begins "And how are you going to bind this quilt? Ruffles? Picots? Surely you aren't just going to turn the edge under. How about a fancy stitch for a finished edge?" On and on they talk and I half listen.

Beatrice is telling the rest how to make soap. She says that she does it every spring in her back yard. "The recipe is simple: fat and lye." I start to think about lye. Grandmother says that when she was young, a small boy picked up an empty lye can and used it as a cup. He burned his throat out and could only speak in guttural tones. I hope my mother doesn't buy any lye.

The women continue talking. "Home-made soap is the very best way to scrub the black marks from men's collars, to get the grass stains from the children's jeans, to take the night-time stains from sheets." I hear them planning a soap-making day. The interested are invited to Beatrice's. I have never been to the Henningers though Beatrice has a daughter one year old than I. They live on the outskirts of town, just across from the drive-in theater. I have heard that her daughters can look out their bedroom window and watch the outdoor screen. I love movies. I would learn to lip-read if I could spend a month in their bedroom.

I think about the laundry room. There is a large cardboard box of home-made soap -- made at Beatrice's. My mother takes her paring knife and cuts pieces of the soap into the hot water. I think about the fat as the soap softens and dissolves. First the batches of sheets, and the soap, then the white shirts and the soap. Finally, the diapers and more soap in the water, agitating to the left and then to the right. There is only a film of scum left on the top of the water. I wish there were enough money to purchase Lux for the wash. Lux is 99 and 44/100th pure, and no risk of Glen finding the lye can and using it as a cup. I wonder if there is fat in Lux.

Needle straight down, touch,
Soaps and sheets and cans of lye
Pivot to fabric, push and pull,

Danish Dagmar is at the quilt. She asks the other women if they have any scraps of material -- ones that they will be throwing out. They accommodate her and out of earshot some call her the pack-rat. Mother says that she has seen the hand-made quilt tops created out of the three inch scraps Dagmar collects. She has cut them to a hexagonal shape and made a number of quilts for herself.

Dagmar teaches me how to pull the end-knot in the thread through the material without leaving any sign of it. She teaches me to take my initial stitch with the needle pointing away from me. I learn to give gentle pressure on the thread with my right hand, while rubbing with the thumb of my left hand across the knot. The knot pops through the upper layer of cloth, imbeds itself in the batting and I take my first stitch toward myself now, the needle entering the small parting inside the threads created by the knot that slipped through. The knot into the material is as invisible to me as Dagmar is to the other women. I am pleased with my new-found knowledge. I do not know it yet, but on my wedding day, Dagmar will give me a pair of finely stitched petit-point love birds that she pays the Gainsborough Galleries to frame for me.

Needle down, thimble touch,
Draw blood, more blood,
Pivot to fabric, push, push and pull,

Bessie has spent many months in the psychiatric unit of the hospital. "Do you like my jellied shrimp salad," she says. The other women murmur their approval. "I had all of the ingredients at home except for one and I left it out." Nods from the other women. "What is missing is the shrimp." Again the women nod. No one seems bothered. Bessie comes at the beginning of the day and is the last one to be driven home. I still see her sitting at the end of the quilt, quietly drawing her threaded (or her unthreaded) needle through the quilt, making her one-inch long stitches, so unlike the other women's fine work.

Needle down (or is that across,
sideways or over), thimble touch,
Pivot to fabric, push, push and pull.

When Bessie leaves, Mother will spend time taking out Bessie's line of quilting that she labored over all day. "The stitches will not blend with the stitches of the other women," Mother says. I wonder why Mother invites her to every quilting when there are so many stitches to be removed when Bessie leaves.

After a time I notice how fast my mother quilts and I set up an imaginary game: me against her. I will begin a line of stitching at the same time as she begins and measure my speed against hers. She quilts five lines to my one. I wait to start the game again. Again and again, five lines to my one. She leaves to answer the phone and when I come to the end of my line she has only completed four lines. I am gaining speed! Children are playing downstairs. Others are in the field behind the house. Mother goes to check on the sounds of discontented play-time somewhere at the back of the house. I hurry. She is not back soon enough. Three lines for her! One for me. She is slowing down. I do my quickest quilting when she goes to the kitchen to prepare lunch for the ladies. I am clearly ahead of her by 16 lines. She will have to do forty-eight lines to catch up.

The lunch is not the meal we regularly have at noon. Today what we eat has a new name -- "Luncheon" and it is served on our Sunday china. On the plate there is a home-made tart shell filled with steaming turkey … la king. The top edge of the tart is irregular where the circular dough has folded its curves one over the other. Filling oozes over one of its sides. It doesn't matter really. When my fork touches it for my first bite, the shape will dissolve into shards of tart triangles in the sauce. Pimentos, contaminants to me, pepper the sauce. A square of green jellied-salad, holding in suspension peas and celery, sits uneasily on a cupped piece of lettuce. I think of tomato aspic. I determine to hate all jellied vegetable salads forever.

I had watched mother make the parker house rolls earlier in the morning. She approaches the job with a reverence that I do not see when she goes about the usual bread-making task. When I enquire she tells me that these buns take extra eggs. Is that all, I wonder? I learn that the secret of the fold is a sharp knife slice that barely breaks the surface of the bun just below the half-way mark. The bun is folded, not with the cut-side-into-itself, but with the larger half of the bun on top and the cut edge exposed. I watch her line the pan, eight rows, five buns deep, brush with butter, and cover with a towel.

Needle down, thimble touch,
Cut with tumbler, butter-brush,
Pivot to fabric, push, push and pull.

The first sunbonnet quilt I remember has the stylized woman's figure shaped from simple geometry and stitched to a flour-bag block. The woman looks like she had been lifted from the decal of a watering can. Hours of blanket stitch trimmed the edges of the applique. When a more modern way of making quilt blocks arrives at our house, my mother has a sewing machine that can do a fine zig-zag around the sunbonnet girl. The new applique takes on a modern look -- a fuller skirt, more shapely arms, and the fabric back is upgraded to a close cotton weave. If there is a quilt meant to slip off a bed, it is a satin quilt like the one mother made for my wedding. Mother put the pieces together so that it looked like roses appliqued on a white background with vines and leaves swirling around the edge of the quilt. The pieces were the scraps from the capes of a school band uniform project -- there might have been more quilts than mine out of that material. Why is it that I remember the quilt I didn't work on? A new neighbor, someone who didn't quilt, brought her velvet pieced quilt-top over and asked mother to put it on the frames at our house. Mother complied, made the lunch and called in her friends to quilt. The seams were thick, the quilting hours were long. The friends quit coming and mother finished the quilt alone. Weeks later, one of the quilters happened on the quilt displayed on an oak bed in one of the finer furniture stores, tagged "for sale by owner". That news passed quickly among the quilters. "Poor Wyora -- taken advantage of again."

Needle down, thimble touch,
Velvet pieces turned to cash
Pivot to fabric, push, push and pull.

I listen to the women -- especially the one who has moved and now lives with the R.B.s. "The R.B.'s this" and "the R.B.s that," she says. One of the quilters finally asks, "Who are the R.B.s?" She explains. "I used to live with you, but we moved to the other side of the river, and now I live with the R.B.s," She looks around the quilt. I am invisible to her and she says in a tone only meant for hearing and not for repeating, "R.B.s are the rich bastards." The rest nod their heads. This is the first time I have heard a Mormon woman swear.

I listen more carefully than ever before to what the women share. A few days ago mother was very upset. Out of earshot of the younger children she had asked me, "Remember the young couple down on Bowness Road?" I nodded my head though I did not remember. Mother continued, "The police were there today. Last night her husband killed them and then turned the gun on himself." I can not understand why a man would do this. I want to ask more. Was there a fight? Didn't he love her? Why did he have to kill them? My mother has none of the answers and I wonder why she shared so little information with me. I try to ask another question, but I can tell she is not listening. "I wanted to stop at their basement suite on my way home a few nights ago," is all she says. What had she seen that made her foresee pending trouble. I listen more carefully at the quilt for clues as the other women stitch today. No one mentions the couple on Bowness Road.

Needle down, thimble touch,
Family fun, pointed gun,
Pivot to fabric, push, push and pull.

Darla wishes that mother wouldn't make her sit and quilt. Oh, she doesn't really mind it, except when Betty and Narda come over. "Just one line from each of you, then you can go downstairs and lay on the bed and talk together," Mother says to Darla. That would be fine if Darla could get Betty and Narda to quit quilting once they start. However, they see this as an adventure and can't get stopped. The three of them aren't very smart. They skipped school last week, but had nothing to do. So they went over to Narda's house and made cakes all afternoon. They wouldn't have been caught if they had gone to the trouble to have done their own dishes up after they put the cake in the oven. Well, junior high school mentality! What do you expect when they skipped school the week before and weren't much smarter. They didn't want to carry their books all day, so they scooted their homework and book bags under the seat of dad's truck, and ran free-spirited for eight hours through the mall, and then ran into deep-trouble when they all got home at night.

(piece still in process)

Michael’s First Birthday Party

 ... the boys rest ... Miranda decorates ..
The pulled pork had been in the slow cooker all morning.

Joan Turnbull arrived an hour before the party to cut vegetables.

 I was enjoying cutting the fresh pineapples, since it also gave me a chance to sharpen my kitchen knives.

Richard and Miranda were busy decorating the front and the back yard with balloons and streamers. Michael was busy breaking the bamboo sticks to which the streamers were attached.

"You mean I can put my whole face in this?"
We discussed how long it took to get the party ready, thinking there is some merit to the families who buy an ice-cream cone, put a candle in it and sing happy birthday: done and over with.

Richard believes that having a party is just an excuse to clean up one’s house, and to put a new rail on the back porch.

... a grand hello to all our other cousins ...
Anita has been away for 17 days, so the Johnsons from Citadel arrived without her.

I wouldn’t have known she was gone, but I emailed Doral to see why he had quit blogging, worrying that he has said all he is going to say about gaming.

No, he said, it is just that being a one-parent family left him no time to get to the internet.

Dalton grew 2 inches.  Arta shrunk 2 inches.
I had to measure up to Dalton, for it won’t be long until he shoots past me in height. We discussed the fun of the summer – and they said, no more!

No more having such a long summer with so few cousins out there.

They said I should get Alex and Duncan back next summer, the Brooks kids and the Jarvis kids as well.

I said I would try.

We watched Michael in his high chair as he investigated the icing on his First Birthday Cake.

... small, medium and large cupcakes ...
There is a saying that goes, you cannot have too much icing.

If this is true, Miranda choose the high road and took off his clothes, so that she only had to bath the baby, and not do a full wash of his clothing as well.

"my new car that breaks my mother's back to push"
I leaned over to Doral and told him that when he was a child, I didn’t let him hold his own spoon until he was five years old, let alone make his way through a cake with his hands.
 ..."this railing wasn't here yesterday"...

Doral said he is an old-fashioned parent as well, for the minute his kids got even a spot of chocolate on their faces, he made sure to wipe it off, as if it was his duty to protect them from having permanent chocolate stains on their skin.

Kalina, having just stepped off the tractor in her new tutu
Kalina came to the party.

I was worried when she rode the tractor in his tutu, thinking she might get some gender confusion.

 Not so, said one of Richard’s boarders.

Nowadays, all that does is create Warrior Princesses.

I sat in my own backyard for 3 hours today, a first for me.

The weather was pleasant and good friends sat and talked, swatting the occasional wasp away from the food and enjoying some of the last warm moments of the fall.

Happy birthday, Michael.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Doral Pilling's Life History, p 89 to 94

Karen Davis is constructing a history of the Calgary Stakes.  She asked for some input -- especially around the 1920's.  All I have is this -- from the 1940's, which I typed from Doral Pilling's Life Story and then sent  to her.  If you haven't read it ... or want to read it again ... and have some time ... then enjoy.

At page 89 the text begins:

Blogger's Note: I have Doral's last set of glasses
which are similar in shape and design to this set
Much of our “life” was spent in church work. I must say that everything we did in the church gave us a lot of real happiness – things seemed to be so peaceful as compared with the dog-eat-dog attitude of “big business” as we had it in the oil business.

Money was real tight, but the church was growing so we had to get a new building. A group of lots were purchased on the corner of first street west and Crescent Road. A bunch of us dug the basement for the Church by hand, and dumped the dirt over the bank across the road. As I said, we had no money so nearly every subcontract on the building was taken over by our group and we worked out the money our ward had to pay, and most of the materials we bought with money from the Church Headquarters. It was fun as I now look back at all of us digging that basement. Don Mackay wasn’t a member of the church then, and he helped us. I enjoyed throwing the dirt over the truck and aiming it straight at Don. I think he was the first one baptised in the church.

When the recreation hall was closed in, with but a plank floor, we started to play badminton – work awhile, and at times play badminton, for quite a while. It was fun for me to play badminton, for while I was not too good, nobody else knew anything about it and it made me a certain winner – I like to win.

One cold wintery day I walked into the gym of the Church with one of those very heavy winter pile coats on, and some of my friends were playing badminton. I had never seen them play before, and they didn’t know I liked the game, so I asked Dr. West what kind of a game this was. He explained the game to me in great detail so I told him I would like to try it if he would show me how. For him to get a “sucker” like it appeared I was, was a real treat so he played me. Purposely I didn’t even take off my heavy winter coat, but somehow I kept winning until I had beat him 15 – 0.

This was a highlight in his life, and mine, and both of us have told the story many times, each of us making it a little worse with each telling until one day I met him in Cardston and he was buying a new Pontiac car from my brother-in-law, Lawrence McNaughton. Dr. Norris West told me then that he would bet me he could beat me now, and I told him I would play him a game and the loser paid for the car and the winner would get the car. I am sure he could have beaten me, so I would have had to back out of the wager somehow, but he still remembered the one game we had already played so he backed out and I didn’t have too.

During these depression days, Charlie and Lucille invited us to go to a show with them. About the time we got to the show he stated walking a little faster like he wanted to get to the ticket wicket to buy the tickets. Somehow I was able to beat him there and I bought the tickets. Little did I know that he had no money and so really what he did was just out fumble me, and let me win the race to the ticket wicket. This was during the days when money was very tight and it wasn’t unusual for people to be without money, even if show tickets were cheaper than they are now.

The church has a different system to keep in touch with its members. Each month two of the male members are assigned to represent the Bishop in visiting each family. Usually each pair have five or less families to visit and they often assign one of the younger men, with less experience to accompany one of the older, more experienced ones, so I was assigned as a junior partner to Charlie Ursenbach (who was more of the dependable type). Early in my life and as a matter of fact all through it I have always kept looking for little ways in which I can “pull” little jokes on people. Nothing too mean, just something to keep them on their toes.

As home teachers, we are to assist those we see in any way we can and if we think there is anything that may require special attention, report it to the Bishopric, and they will then see how helpful they can be. In theory the “set up” is perfect, but it isn’t often they can find perfect people to do the job, so I guess that is why I went with Charlie – to keep me straight.

Lloyd Ririe got so he didn’t come to all of our meetings and things. His place was only about a block from the church. Charlie and I thought that someone should go and teach him a lesson, it being Sunday when he should be in his meetings. We went down the alley and observed carefully that someone was in the back yard working so we got behind the garage and picked up a few rocks. When he went into the green house to work on his plants we just threw a rock gently at the green house, breaking the window. We slipped off quietly down the alley back to the church. Although Lloyd didn’t see us he suspected us and said he saw us run around the corner of his house. Since we didn’t run around the corner of his building we were sure he hadn’t seen us. So we tried never to openly reveal the manner in which the lesson was taught.

It’s really no fun to do anything to anybody unless it stirs them up a bit, so when I find somebody easy to tease, I consider them fair game. I reason that maybe they would be disappointed if you didn’t so I don’t like to disappoint them. On this particular visit to one of these people they were not home, but there was a hammer and some nails on the back porch so I suggested that they would be more likely to know we had come to visit if we nailed their back door shut. Charlie should have known better, but he gave in and the job was done. Well, there was a lot of talk about i t, and while we didn’t exactly deny the job, certainly we didn’t admit it. There were enough uncertainties that I enjoyed it very much – so did Charlie.

It wasn’t too much later when we went to visit Mary again and she was ready to go out. She explained that she was going to a special Ladies Club Meeting, so we kept asking questions and “chewing the fat” until she missed most of the meeting. Among other things she told us was that they were going to name the club that evening and that the best name they could come up with was the Sociability and Mental Uplift Club. We suggested that the So-Me-Up Club sounded about the same, but was, it seemed to us, a better name. She did get to the meeting in time to stop the name, and to the best of my knowledge they still don’t have an official name.

One day when Charlie and I were playing a game of tennis at the court by the church a lady rose up and said, “Which one of you did it?” Guilty or innocent, the first question was, “Did what? “ She said, “Took my purse? I had it right there on that 2 x 4 where it wouldn’t be lost, and one of you took it.” I believed her, but I knew I hadn’t touched it, but I did my best to protect Charlie, who I was sure had misplaced it for her. We kept on playing tennis and she kept babbling, so eventually I got close to Charlie and asked him what he did with it, and he told me he hadn’t even seen it, didn’t I have it? Now we were in such a mess. It was a thing either of us would have done, but we hadn’t. We joined in the search with our friend to find the purse, and there was a lot of weeds and grass next to the fence, so we got on our hands and knees, and pulled most of the grass but there was no purse. By this time there was quite a bit of money and other valuables in the purse and she didn’t want to lose it. There was nothing else to do so Charlie asked the lady if he could ride home with them. They said sure, but it would do no good and besides they only had a little Ford Sports Coupe, and there wasn’t room, but Charlie insisted so he rode on the running board.

When they got to the house, Charlie asked, “Now where was the last place you saw it?” She said, “Right here in the drawer”, and opened it and there was the purse. Charlie and I told that story quite a number of times to illustrate that sometimes when one knows beyond a doubt he is right, that there is still a chance he’s wrong, so nobody should be too sure of himself, even if he knows he is right.

It wasn’t too long before a very special meeting was to be held and Apostle Melvin J. Ballard was coming from Salt Lake to take charge. He was reputed to be one of the really great speakers in the Church, and I wanted to hear him. We thought perhaps there might be a reorganization of the ward, but we were not sure. I went early to be sure and get a good seat. I selected it right on the aisle where I could stick my legs out if the meeting was too long and my legs needed stretching.

I sat and sat there, long after the meeting was to commence, but Apostle Ballard didn’t even come upstairs. Charlie Ursenbach did come up, and he came right to me and told me they wanted me downstairs. I told him to “buzz off”, that he wasn’t going to get me to leave my chair I had sat on so long, and let him get it. No matter what he said I remained on my seat, so he went downstairs without me.

In a few minutes up he came again and told me they wanted me downstairs. When I looked him straight in the eye, and took a good look at his countenance, I could see there was no fooling, so I went down with him. It was at that time they asked me to be a member of the Bishopric. Morgan Pitcher was to be the Bishop and Charlie and me, the councilors. We went upstairs with Apostle Ballard, and I went and stood in the back of the hall – by that time I didn’t want a seat!

It wasn’t long before the new Bishopric was sustained. Right after that Wyora was to sing a solo, and I think could have done it reasonably well if she had time to get over the shock of hearing her husband sustained as a member of the Bishopric. It was a real pleasure and opportunity for me to spend the next ten years in the Bishopric. A little experience I had while I was in the Bishopric of the Calgary Ward, might serve to illustrate what I have been trying to say in a different way. I had charge of the boys from 12 to 15 years of age, and generally speaking they were a real good, lively bunch, but there were always one or two not quite as mature and stable as the others. This one boy lived in East Calgary, near the Ogden Shops, and his church activity was just beginning. I don’t suppose he would have come at all, but we “went out” and got him. He was doing fine and entered into our activities. One Friday evening they were having a party and dance in Lethbridge, and I got a call on the phone from this lad. He told me he was at the bus station and ready to go but that he had left his purse home and couldn’t buy his ticket, so would I make arrangements with the Greyhound Lines to give him a ticket. He would pay me back Wednesday of next week at Mutual.

I made the arrangements and paid for his ticket as requested by the boy. Wednesday came and the boy failed to turn up at Mutual, and I really thought nothing of that, but neither did he come to Sunday School, so Monday morning I went to see him. I took one of my good friends, Callis Pitcher with me, and when the boy’s mother answered the door, she told us the boy was home, but he was in bed and she would call him.

Usually a boy can appear in at least three or four minutes, but we waited fifteen or perhaps twenty minutes and nothing was stirring, so the mother went to his room and then asked us to come. When we got there we saw the same thing she did: the window was open, and the boy was gone. There is an old saying: a guilty heart needs no accuser, so the boy gave considerable evidence of having something special on his mind. We excused ourselves and said we would see him at Mutual Wednesday night, as usual.

The boy didn’t come to Mutual, but his mother did, and she had brought a letter to me from the boy, so I put it in my pocket. The mother said, “Well, aren’t you going to read it?” I told her no and she said he wanted an answer, so I told her that no matter what the letter said, I wanted to see him Sunday. I had my mind made up not to read the letter, for really it didn’t make so much difference, but curiosity got the best of me and when I got home that night I read the letter. It was a three page letter listing crimes he had committed during the past couple of years. They were not too serious, but showed that he needed help.

Sunday came along, and so did the boy! I remember so well how he stood near the baptismal font so stiff and visibly frightened – it was so clear that he expected pretty rough treatment, so I just went up to him, put my arm around his waist and said, “Come on, let’s go to class.” He asked me, “What about the letter?” and I told him we would talk about that later. We had a car, but since it was loaded down with children, and I wanted to be alone with the boy, I told Wyora to go on home with the kids and I could come later.

It was always interesting to me that while I walked with the boy to our house (I had invited him for dinner), the boy kept insisting the reason he stole things he did was generally to be “approved” by his chums, and that he really didn’t do it for himself. He also insisted, and kept repeating that he was a coward. Why he wouldn’t dare fight anybody his size or in any way oppose them. It was easier to furnish them with cigarettes, candy, etc., from the store for which he was working, and thus be “approved of”. It kind of “came to me”, or I got the impression that he needed to be built up, not knocked down as he expected, so I told him, that of all the boys I had taught that perhaps there was not even one among them that had the courage he had. Why, I reasoned, none of them would even dare to write a letter like he did to me. Such courage, in my opinion made him a very outstanding boy, with a great future.

To make a long story short, he and I became very friendly and he got a thrill out of being “one” with us, and developing his special characteristics, and he did a really good job of it. Everything was going along so well, and then his father and mother moved to somewhere in Washington, and I thought that would be the end of the boy insofar as church activity was concerned, as a lad at that age needs somebody to take a special interest in him to keep him pointed in the right direction. The situation bothered me, but not enough for me to keep in touch, so I really gave it up as a lost cause – I shouldn’t have, but I did.

About four years later, when I went to leave the Church one evening there was a young man, dressed in a United States Army uniform standing by the door waiting. I didn’t recognize him, he had grown and changed so much, until he reached out his hand and said, “Brother Pilling, I have come to talk to you.” We had a talk that was ‘thrilling’ to me. He had kept up his church activity, and was now an Elder, and was soon to be married to a Bishop’s daughter in the Alberta Temple and wanted me to come to the wedding. I have told this story to illustrate that the most thrilling things that can come to one in this life, come when you give that special little service to others.

One evening we were having a Bishopric Meeting and there was a lot of noise outside. Morgan Pitcher, the bishop, went out to quiet things down. He soon came back, and right in the middle of his nose the bone had been offset and his nose was bleeding profusely. I pulled on his nose and set it as straight as I could. He told us some young fellows were playing on some planks. He told the boys to leave and when they did, one of the planks popped him in the nose. It seemed that something different, but interesting was always happening. I enjoyed working with the officers and members of the church for those ten years.

I have passed over ten years as though nothing happened, which is not the case. During that time Wyora had five children: Arta, Earl, Bonnie, Wyona and Rita. As she had said when Earl was born, now she had twice as much love, now our children had increased to five, so she had five times as much love and it really showed up in her too, for such a delightful wife, I feel sure nobody else ever had. Where could you find a woman that could hold her composure and not get angry no matter what happened? People openly said that she was the only woman in the world that could possibly live with me.

Bloggers Note: This old picture was influential
on my search in Italy to buy my own cameo.
While Dr. Robert Walker (then on a mission from Raymond and who had been a neighbour of Wyora’s through her childhood) and a couple of his missionary companions were here, Wyora invited them over for dinner. She made a special effort because it was Robert Walker, and cooked a lovely meal. As she went by me at the table with a dish of gravy in each hand she tripped. The gravy went all over, some of it on the ceiling and she fell flat to the floor. She got up, smiled and went on her way such as I am sure nobody else could have possibly done. She always thought I tripped her, but really she just stumbled over my foot. This I never did convince her of though – she still thinks I tripped her. I tell you this to show how very “different” she was, and how I loved it.

Wyora supported me in everything I ever wanted to do. At the same time she stayed home, looked after the children, never missed a church meeting, and worked as an executive officer in every part of the church. She set such a high standard of love and affection, not only for her family, but for everybody else that I am sure her influence will always be felt for good.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Next to Normal

“I am going to slip out to the theatre,” I said to Kelvin tonight.

 “Not the usual me, but ... that is what I am going to do."

"Sounds like you to me," he said.

Theatre Calgary in co-production with Citadel Theatre is presenting Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkley’s Next to Normal.

I didn’t know anything about the show, so I looked at a u-tube clip on the Theatre Calgary website, and I went to Wikipedia to read the prĂ©cis of the show.

 I must have read in more detail than usual for a couple of days later I could still remember the literary references and allusions in the play (a reference to Sylvia Plath and another to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) ... and I could remember the fact that Next to Normal won the Pulitzer Prize for the best drama in 2010. In fact, it hadn’t been nominated, and the committee rejected all other nominations in favor of this play/musical.

The reviewer in the Calgary Herald put me off a bit – saying something like, it seems this play has forgotten that we go to musical theatre to forget ourselves and have fun. I suppose the reviewer is right, for this is a play about bipolar disorder and treatment and how that affects a woman and her family, so don't expect choruses of dancing girls.

Still, I enjoyed the play, at one point thinking, I must tell Lurene about this, because this is the first time I have noticed myself really being charmed by the orchestration, composed of a piano, an electric guitar, an electric bass, drums and percussion, a violin, keyboards and a cello.

A full rich sound.

Some of the tunes are hard rock – which I am not in love with. The beat was reminiscent of one in Love Never Dies, the song called “The Beauty of the Night” – you know that throbbing beat that stays on one note and seems to be pounding against the rest of the melody. But not all of the songs are like that. In fact, just a few.

In one duet, I was enjoying the tenor’s high falsetto line against the low alto line of the woman – so melodious, a moment when I was thinking, wow, this is really lovely. I could be sitting in London at this moment.

I went to book theatre tickets on-line yesterday, but I didn’t want to pay $100 for a seat (row U) that was at the back of the orchestra, so I held off going at all. Then on a whim after supper, I just hopped on the LRT and bought my ticket there.

I may have picked up that bad habit from Wyona.

While looking for a deal, I discovered that 10 minutes before the performance, Theatre Calgary sells all of their seats half-price with no guarantee that there will be any seats there.  (This is not true on pay-what-you-can peformances).

To amuse myself, I walked the halls for 30 minutes, thinking that at the worst, I would not get a ticket, but would still have topped up on my exercise.

 Lucky me. My row was D, my seat dead centre. The woman next to me whispered  when I sat down, “You got the best seat in the house. Mine is second best, but you are dead centre.”

I think I will try to slip back again next week. One viewing was not enough. The show ends Sept 30, 2012. You can see a clip for yourself at the Theatre Calgary website.


Using the Star Tube Tip

... getting the yellow star tip tube ready ...
One of the well know family facts?

Stay out of Mary’s way in the kitchen

She can outperform any of us.

I tried to tell her to put a thin layer of icing on the cake before she began to decorate it, but she was using another method – decorating by just using the star tube tip.

... the blue olympic ring ...
She gave me a chance to help.

I don’t have enough strength in my fingers to squeeze the tube.

She gave her kids a chance to help.

... this is my third decorated cupcake ...
They are stronger than I.

They all got a chance to help with the icing.

Xavier was allowed to do some of the Olympic Rings on his friend’s birthday cake – a cake to go with the Olympic themed party. change the technique one would have to slow her down ...
... this just isn't going to happen ...
The girls got to decorate the cupcakes that were to stay home for the rest of the family.

The visitors were also gathered around the cake.

Their dad and Leo were out getting parts for that family’s car from the scrap metal yard.

... decorated with love fpr a friend,  by the whole Brooks family ...
What I am trying to say is that Mary can bake the cake, decorate the cake, watch the neighbor’s kids, let her own kids put the final touches on the cake, and ... feed the kids cupcakes, all at the same time.


Stay out of Mary’s way in the kitchen.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

One Job Leads to Another

Mary was baking a cake for another child’s birthday.

 I offered to defrost her freezer while she was icing that cake.

I was downstairs with Xavier, sorting the contents into separate boxes: meat, vegetables, and fruit and then we had the fun of pouring pitchers of warm water on the ice on the freezer walls, and watching the ice slide down to the bottom of the freezer until our mission had been completed.

Mary paused to come downstairs and put the goods back into the freezer where she could spot them.

There were some frozen meals that she wanted upstairs – which necessitated first de-frosting and then rearranging that freezer, so upstairs I went.

... proof that it can be done ...
... cleaned and organized ...
... for at least one day .
“I would never have done this without you taking the lead,” Mary said, as we finished off the job.

I took a picture.

When I go home I want to remember that defrosting the box freezer and fridge can be done.

Now, f I can just find someone to take the lead on my own units at home.


Sitting Still - Not

From Mary:

Did my morning walk.

Talked to Bonnie about dyslexia tutoring hints.

Made appointments for Naomi . E-mailed both Naomi and Xavier's teachers. E-mailed my boss at work.

Did reading program with Naomi.

 ... one batch equals 4 two cup jars ...
Managed to get some house tidying done with Leo and made two batches of crab apple jelly.

Wiped down the van dashboard and vacuumed the van.

Once I write it all down, no wonder I am tired.

Found solace in eating a huge fruit and nut bar.

Guess I will have to walk extra far tomorrow to work that off.


Apple Peeler

My favorite fruits are oranges. I can’t get enough of their juicy sweetness. I know kids don’t like to peel oranges – all of that skin under their nails, the oil of orange squirting up into their eyes and the juice all over their hands and running uphill is seems, to their elbows.

There are other good fruits. At Mary’s house the gadget that helps to slice apples into six even pieces is hard for the kids to manage – they can’t quite get the cuts all of the way through the apple and the core to pop out. I can’t do it either, but I have learned to poke the pieces out – and they do look beautiful on a plate – all lined up with uniform pieces.

 ... "look how long this peeling is" ...
For one perfect day in Aylmer, P.Q., nothing was more fun than the new apple peeler at Mary’s house, a unit that clamps onto the cupboard and when the handle is turned the apple is peeled, the flesh is sliced into rounds like a slinky and the skin comes off in a long thin peel.

I would not have thought that the skin would be a highly prized items, with fights about who would get the next apple peeling.

A long string was as much fun to eat as spaghetti.


51st Anniversary Party

I am usually the driver when it comes to celebrating our anniversary. I probably look at the arts and entertainment section in the newspaper, more often than Kelvin does. So I spent some time thinking about how to make this 51st anniversary the best day ever. It was Sunday, Stake Conference, and I knew that nothing I could plan could compete with Kelvin’s wish to be at conference. He went early for choir practice and it must have been a conference to remember for the chapel was filled with special bouquets of white flowers. I asked Kelvin why. He said he didn’t know, but my guess is that it part of the celebration which is ongoing about the dedication of the Calgary temple which is going to happen soon.

Running through my mind was how to finish off the remaining hours to make it a complete day of happiness. The obvious answer is with food, perhaps lunch at Costco, for they have the Montreal Meat Sandwich back on their menu as well as an interesting chicken salad. Or how about Iranian food from A & A on 19th Street, for now I can get their fantastic swarma as a salad in a styrofoam box. I settled on a trip to the Dairy Queen – buy a second blizzard for $.99 when you get the first one at regular price – and this was their last day of this offer.

Our 2 hour conversation over the Blizzards included this information. A couple of weeks ago, a talk in church said that the eternal form of marriage is shaped so that the husband is in charge and the wife obeys. The next week the bishop talked, saying that there is a new model of equality. I do not know much more about these two events, other than that they led to an interesting conversation between the two of us – Kelvin arguing that men and women in the church are equal, and me, trying to present argument as to why we have not quite reached that model yet.

When the Dairy Queen closed down, we went home – Kelvin to watch some T.V. and I was doing some typing. But something must have still been bothering me, for I got up, turned to him and said, I just must say one more thing about our discussion and then I think my whole body exhibited attitude and whatever it is I had to say, was said without even a breath between the period at the end of one sentence and the capital letter at the beginning of the next sentence.

I looked at Kelvin while I was talking. He should have winced at least once, but no ... just a beatific look on his face. I watched him closely and stopped talking. No change. Then I noticed that he had his earphones on. I knew that he could not possibly have heard me for the earphones block out white noise and he can turn the volume up high enough that he can really enjoy the show.

I burst out laughing, a laughter which he wasn’t able to hear, either.

 I sat down and enjoyed the rest of the evening at the typewriter, knowing that getting the last word on someone who can’t hear me is a suitable ending to a 51st Private Anniversary Party.

... size 6 ... and will now only fit my pinky finger ....

And now one last word about 51st anniversary parties.

A few years ago, Kelvin asked me where my wedding ring was.  I didn't know.  It isn't that valuable.  When we went to buy rings, I had chosen the simplest of bands, believing that in the near future I would receive a larger ring -- about the size of Ruth Walker's which was close to one karat, the size I wanted.

So I was content to start small.

We bought them at Eatons.  When we got there and went to make the purchase, Kelvin didn't have his wallet.  I can remember -- mine cost $12 and his cost $20.  I paid for both.
... an Eaton's jewellery counter special ...
Since he had asked me where the ring was, imagine my surprise to find it at Mary's in her jewellery chest when we were cleaning it out. "I think I will take this back," I said. "You can have it later. I just think it would be a nice touch to wear it on my anniversary." She agreed. Arta