Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fresh Girls

Mary walked Naomi and Xavier to school.  I suggested to Rhiannon that she get dressed, but no, she was waiting for her mother to come home to dress her this morning.  I suggested we pick out her socks, or that at least she show me the sock drawer, even if we didn’t take them out of it.  A pink pair of those and we matched up some underwear to go with it.  Those in hand she showed me the next draw:  shirts, a jacket and some trousers.  Soon Rhiannon had dressed herself forgetting she wasn’t going to do it. 

Yes.  She is getting older.  Her day care provider took her swimming.  The baby pool was closed for repairs and the big pool too cold for her liking.  There was a highlight to the event.  When the caregiver was showering the children, Rhiannon got to use the soap that is connected to the wall.

“Nice,” said Mary.

“Do you know what it smells like?”, Rhiannon asked.


“Fresh girls.”

I am making cinnamon buns now.  Leo doesn’t think that cinnamon buns constitute an evening meal.  But at his house, add cheese and a container of yogurt and Naomi thinks it a banquet.  Cute, fresh girls.


Hot Chilies

This morning, Mary asked if I had measured the ingredients that went into the bread we were making.  I looked at her quizzically.  “Measured?” 

I do it the old fashioned way – in the palm of my hand. I am riding on the information given to me by Mati Poon.  In rural Nepal, your hand is your fork, your cup, your bowl, your teeth is your knife – that is the way many people in the world still live.

In the evening when he cooks, I can smell hot chili flakes – frying upstairs. One-eighth of a cup of hot chili flakes in some oil -- that is the start of many of his meals.  When the smell of the flakes frying wafts downstairs, I know that the kitchen is truly international. I cough and think, it is just food, I will soon get used to it. And then I cough again. Kelvin holds a towel over his nose.

Mati came downstairs about twenty minutes after he was finished cleaning up and said, “Wow, the smell of the hot chilies is still down here, but it is gone from the kitchen upstairs.  I heard you coughing, Arta and wondered if it was the smell of the chilies, but now I see it affects Kelvin even more,” looking over at Kelvin, the towel still over his nose.

“I am coming upstairs the next time you cook, for I want to know how to make a meal with that much heat.”

“No.  I didn’t realize it was so bad down here.  I am never going to cook with them again.  I was out, and since I am leaving soon, I thought I would leave it at that, but then you went and bought two large containers for the kitchen again.” 

I won.  I did go up and see how he cooked with them the next time.  Get the oil hot, but not too hot.  Toss in the chilies.  Stir them until they are black.  While you are stirring, that is when you get to talk.  “Do you know that eating too many of these can be bad for you unless they are fried until they are black.  Chili pepper seeds and tomato seeds.  They go right through the human track, and later can sprout.”  Now that is a piece of information I don’t often get.

We chatted for a while about other things.  At work he had just learned the phrase, "like trying to sell fridges to the Eskimos".  He was laughing about that and said that they have phrases like that in Nepal as well.  One of them is about being mad at someone and wanting to torture them.  The phase goes something like "wanting to string them upside down and burn chilis under their nose". I have an idea what that would be like.

“Do you want to drink the tuna juice?”, he said offering me the tin.

“No thanks.  Let it hit the drain,” and I nodded in the direction of the sink.

“No, we won’t waste anything.  Stand back.”  He dropped the juice and tuna into the hot chili oil.  Of course I wanted to taste it and was looking for a bowl.  But he had already given me the lesson about using your teeth or your hands as a knife.  I had gone to get the cutting board to chop up the cilantro he was adding.  “No.  I will break it with my hands.  We don’t want to wash 2 extra dishes.”  These bachelors are great to live with.

In the mode of wanting to do less work and still taste the product he had created, I grabbed the empty tuna can, its lid attached at a 45 degree angle still.  I topped the can up with some of his meal, grabbed my fork and we ate, standing in the kitchen discussing the History of Medicine Lecture we had both attended that night.

I am big on presentation.  In this case it all worked.  Eat red-peppered tuna a la cilantro out of a tin.  Less time doing dishes and more time talking about high altitude mountain medicine.


String games, anyone?

Cat's Cradle 101.

That is what the youtube link said.

And sure enough, there was a video of two people showing how to do some of the string games that Arta made us learn as kids. 

It is so funny teaching the Inuit law and film class, and reading about string games, and figuring out that i had some background!

So try out the link, and see if any of you have fingers that can master (or just remember?) playing those string games!'s-Cradle-Game

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Winter Walk - Blog or forget

December 2012

Or so I think.

If I study these photos, I can draw up a memory of taking a walk with Arta and Rebecca.

I don't see evidence of YakTrax on our feet, but it looks like the weather for them.

There is enough sun for Rebecca's glasses to have turned into "shades".

Kiwi walked to the top of Bernie road with us, and had found some muddy streams to run through.

She had far more energy than the rest of us.

She was leaping across the ditch, bounding through the snow and brush, and back onto the road with us.

Her white fur was well camouflaged by the mud by the time we got to the Lake.

What next?

A bath for Kiwi.

She retrieved a deflated soccer ball from the frigid lake enough times that her fur was white again.

My shoulders went up to my ears each time she went in the water, thinking about how cold, cold, cold that winter water is.

I wondered why she didn't just leave that ball in the water and insist we throw in a different direction.

As we returned up road, we speculated whether her fur would stay white between the lake and the house.

I figured she must be freezing and that she needed encouragement to get back to the house.

Does she look interested in what I am doing or where I am going?

You may be saying to yourself, "Not a watcher of the Dog Whisperer if this is the only trick in her bag for getting a dog to obey."

And it is true.

I can't say I have seen more than 3 minutes of the show cumulatively across my life, but I hear there are avid fans in my extended family.

Can you see Kiwi behind me in the next photo?

Did my plan work?

Duncan and/or Alex have come to the back door and are calling her name.

Nevertheless, I continue my part hoping to "bring her home" for a towel dry.

I can't say if I went back to finish the walk with Rebecca and Arta or took the "out" now that I had "helped" Kiwi back to the house.

Only a photo or someone else's recollection can help me now.

Blog or forget (or find someone's photos and try to reconstruct the past).


Are you the photographer?

Canada Day 2009 7:42 am?
Arta loaned me a blue Lumix camera for my work. I needed more space on the camera to make a video. I figured I should back up the photos on it, just in case they hadn't been "developed" yet.

I have described the photos to Arta and she doesn't seem to recognize them from my description. She suggested looking at the date they were taken for clues.

This one appears to have been taken in 2009,  but what doesn't fit for me is the time. It is not that the Lake wouldn't be this gorgeous at that time of the day ... but would these four people be on the Lake at that time, I ask myself.

Arta said I might rule out who took the photos by who is in them. Well, are any of you the photographer for this one?

Is this your photo?

Will they jump out of the locked trash? 
I did not take this photo. Did any of you? Is a dog poo vigilante one who tries to ensure people poop and scoop? Are they a vigilante who uses dog poo as their weapon? And what law enforcement agency is going to unveil them. Can anyone provide an explanation? This photo was on my hard drive of my computer.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Butterfly Beauty

From Catherine Jarvis:

We went today to see the butterflies today.

Check on Catie's shirt

Next week let's head to the botanical gardens while you are here.

They have a cabana au sucre next week in Montreal which I hope our visitors can go to.

 ... Hebe on a caperpillar ...
Arta here:

I don't have enough French to know what a cabana au sucre is.  Yet again, I am forced out to Wikipedia to learn that this is about " sugar houses, small cabins or series of cabins, originally destined to belong to certain private or farm estates, and where sap is collected from sugar maple trees and then boiled into map syrup.  
 ... Ava, Hebe and a batterfly ...
So, I think that will be fun as well.

 Fun to eat sugar in the snow.

But also fun to look at the cute little faces of these girls while they were out exploring the worlds of butterflies.


Monday, February 25, 2013

I Sold You a Little Gertler

So, having no more Downton Abbey to watch, I am hooked on other parts of Masterpiece Theatre. Masterpiece Contemporary -- Page 8 played last night.

While watching, the dialogue goes quickly and I have to keep a pen in hand and sketch out the names of the characters and how people are connected. Who is the boss? Who is the son or daughter? Who is the former wife, etc? One piece of dialogue went “I sold you a little Gertler”. Having no idea what that meant, but writing it down for future research, I went out to the web this morning and typed the phrase in ... and I came back to it as an exact quote from Page 8. A little circular there. Still not knowing what Gertler means, but having a little more context, I typed in ‘Gertler’ and ‘artist’ and came up with this link:

And now I know what Gertler means (as in I sold you a little Gertler), having had a nice lesson this morning on the art world because of my search. I might be able to identify his work, or at the very least, I will be able to watch Page 8 more intelligently. My gosh, TV is fun.


Parsifal and Esmeralda

The Met Live in HD Series shows Wagner's Parsifal. Saturday March 2, 2013 at 9:55 am. 
The Encore of  Berlioz Les Troyens is Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 9:55 am

The  Dance Series offers The Royal Ballet's,  Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Thursday March 28, 2013 at 7:30pm.

Esmeralda from the Bolshoi on Sunday March 31, 2013  is Sunday March 31, 2013 at 12:55pm.  

 I did not know anything about Esmeralda, not even that she was a fictional characters in Victor Hugo’s novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

I found this review of a 2011 performance in the New York Times.  

 If my income taxes are finished, you will find me at the ballet that night -- at least the HD Live Ballet.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tea Party

... "one lump or two"...

For a few weeks, I am going to visit Mary in Aylmer, P.Q., and Catherine in Montreal.   

Both families are going to get together for a few days and have been planning some outings.   

We shall go see the butterflies, go skating ... and go to the Life of Pi, the latter being one of the clear choices for the older kids.   

Hebe, Rhiannon and I are going to stay home and play tea party.  Hebe has been practicing for the occasion.  Mary tells me that Rhiannon favorite part of “tea party” is adding a lot of sugar to water.  It appears that Hebe's favorite part is laying out the utensils.  Since I have always liked sugar, I will like the tea party.