Thursday, October 31, 2013

Four Square

David wanted to play four square with us.

So after dinner we cleared back the tables and chairs.

I went looking for some balls in the garage.

Bonnie taped out some spaces on the kitchen floor.

Let the games begin.
"Grandma, was anything ever hard for you at school?"

"Not for me.

If I didn't know how to play a game with a ball, I went home and practised until I was the best in the class."

"Are you the best in your room at anything?" , Bonnie asked him.

"Only reading," said David. Reading is good enough.  So here we are -- practising four square after supper. 

We set out to make him very good at four square tonight.  We were only partially successful.  I think we need to go to the school grounds and practise on the playground there.

A lovely evening had by all.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween -- the last effort

Halloween Tree - pumpkins and witches on brooms
"Have you every been afraid, Grandma."

Now there is a tricky question. I had to tell David Camps that when I was young I was afraid of the Disney movie about Ichabod Crane.

 I don't know why I taped it for him to watch this month. I will never forget the terror in my heart over that movie.

"I will find you where ever you hide."
Bonnie asked David if there had been music class today.


And do you know any Halloween songs, she further prompted.

He belted out a lovely song -- one that asked the question, are you afraid of things that hide under your bed? / are you afraid of things that hide under the stairs?


You could have surprised me that he would even learn this song, let along sing it with such gusto for us at dinner time.
Lego figure compliments of Duncan Carter Johnson

Bonnie told David that tomorrow is his night to bring home candy and then give the adults anything that he doesn't want out of his new stash.

 She can remember giving away all of her Coffee Crisps to her dad.

Tonight they were both searching for good treats in the house.

But those will have to wait until tomorrow night when the goods are spread out on the table for all.
"Go into house and grab a creepy cookie."

David is afraid that a lot of kids will be coming to his house and that no one will be here to give them anything to eat.

So he made the following sign to put on the door. I hope he and Bonnie don't kill themselves making too many creepy cookies, because there won't be a plethora of kids knocking at our door tonight.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bates Trolley Ride in Hong Kong

We were considering taking the Hop On Hop Off Bus at $65.00 for two days but decided instead to spend a fraction of that cost and buy ‘Octopus’ cards; works the same way as the ‘Oyster’ Card in London. 

A trolley coming right at us from the other direction. I think they call the trolley a 'Ding Ding' here in Hong Kong. I heard that on TV last night.

The trolley is a narrow double decker with low ceilings, particularly on the top. One of the reasons you may feel safe is that the trolley car has to stay on the tracks so it cannot hit a trolley coming from the opposite direction.

Safety is not an issue. Windows are wide open. If you stuck your arm out you could lose it but how else can one take a good picture.

We never got on the first trolley that came by because it was so full and then six more people got on. So we squeezed on the next trolley and stood for a while before we got a seat. Greg is standing here on the lower floor of the trolley. 

Greg cannot stand up straight on the upper floor.

A picture of our Oyster Card.
Note on the card the word ‘elder’, elder in Chinese characters and in case you don’t get it there is a rocking chair; even cheaper for elders. Greg said they give the priesthood to women here. 

I just call Hong Kong a cement city. Up, up, up, and more up.

Bates Breakfast in Hong Kong

Oct. 26th, 2013 Hong Kong

We began our fabulous day eating breakfast/lunch at the ‘Food Republic’.  Arta, Greg and I found this basement hideaway when we were here in April. On top of the basement there are about 8 floors of shopping.

Just fabulous junk food at the food court.

Greg is taking this picture from two floors above. You can spot me because my head glows.

Greg has his favorite building on the Hong Kong Island side and here it is. The cement city reaching to the sky.

Bates Moorea

Here we are in Moorea. These little huts are part of the Sofitel Hotel. They come at the price of $900 a day. You can take a picture for nothing. I think I will be manic depressive or bi polar. One minute I am on a high jumping from a luxurious fast boat into the Pacific Ocean and the next minute I am feeling so low because of this I Pad. 

Greg works hard at taking the perfect photographs. I quite often just point and shoot.

Bates New Ipad in Hawaii

Oct. 13, 2013

Last night we were in the theatre for the evening show, listening to Mario (Italian born, immigrated to Australia at six and now lives in Las Vegas) sing and play a mean guitar. It took him about five minutes to warm up the audience and then there was no stopping him or the audience. At one point he started singing ‘Zippy dee do dah’, encouraged the audience to sing along and then he stopped singing and the audience finished the song. He then laughed and said he was getting paid to sing and we were doing it for him. A few minutes later, with the fabulous band behind him, he was singing ‘Bye bye bye Delilah’ and a tall, larger lady with a lacey shawl displaying no signs of inhibition, stood up at the back and began moving, swaying and swinging her shawl with eyes from the audience moving back and forth from her to Mario. When the song finished the audience roared and clapped while she ran up the isle to the front and Mario jumped off the stage to meet her with a huge hug and kiss. We were laughing so hard and loving the show which ended with a standing ovation.

I am telling you all this now because I want to sing ‘Bye bye bye I Pad’. This I pad I bought is making me feel ignorant and stupid. I knew I should have quit and never learned anything more. I pad and cellphone classes are delivered on the ship so I started attending them. The first morning I forged out on an excursion with my I pad, driving along the beech in Papeete, Tahiti, just taking at least a hundred pictures. Then I paused to find my pictures but could not find them anywhere on the I pad. So I snuggled up to a lady who was alone on the bus and asked her to find my pictures for me. After looking and not finding them, she showed me how to take a picture. Instead of taking a picture, I was shutting down my I pad with every picture I took. ______expletive!! 

 We were up early in the morning to take in the sailin in Oahu. I remember looking at at least a hundred of Glen's pictures of the sunrise in Hawaii. They are spectacular and even more so with the water and sea.
Greg in LaHaina, Maui.

Then I missed the first I Movie class but went to the second class on the ship. I was lost. I have a lot more respect for Teague and Charise for making their movies. I wish I could return my I Pad and stick to sewing. So now I have to have an I Cloud account so I can share with all my Mac devices but going online costs too much money so I am just getting farther and farther behind. Greg is smart, he will not even pick up the I pad. 

This picture is for Lurene and Charise because they are always taking goofy pictures. The other over seventy cruisers who were walking by and watching Greg take this picture thought we were nuts.

A couple of volcanoes here and there and you end up with this. Spectacular!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Don't Get Married ... Unless ...

Know when, to whom and if you should tie the knot ....
and how to fortify your marriage once you do.

Lorraine Wright has written a new book.  She has published  9 academic books.  This is her first self-help book. I slipped down to Pages on Kensington Road to pick up a copy. Pages said they are busy trying to arrange an event with her at the store. Only at Pages -- which is now a bookstore but when I learned to read it was my local public library. The book is upstairs -- where I used to have to go for the children's section. Then it looked like there were so many books there. Now most homes have that many books.

I picked up the book and started to read when I came home.

I finished the book after supper.

I think you will like it too. So much to think about ... and all the time in the world to practise some of the ideas I read in there.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bates Bay of Islands pictures

I think Greg must be a sailor at heart. Just sailing into Bay of Islands.

We were walking around the town and just could not resist the fish and chips nor the sweet potatoe fries. It was 2:00 in the afternoon and we left for town from our room at 8:00 a.m. Oh, so delicious and greasy.

A drive through the countryside.

The old house of the Govenor in Bay of Islands.

Check on Lot #7 at Shuswap and you will find 50 year old Tikis and clubs from New Zealand. Most of the things you will see were purchased by Greg from other missionaries. As the missionaries left to go home they were overweight so Greg accepted freely or for a pittance many of their souvenirs.

Look in the background and you can see a tiny ship. Just a day on the beach.

Bates in Bay of Islands

 Greg was serving in Whangerai which is an hour from Bay of Islands when the Queen came to New Zealand to sign the Treaty of Whaitangi which was a treaty between the Mauri and the British govt. setting out the rights of the Mauri. However, the Mauri’s interpret the treaty different than the British govt. so they have been fighting about it ever since. 

 Drive through the green countryside where there are streams moving through the hills out to sea.
We toured an old stone cabin where the first Governor of England came to stay as New Zealand was being claimed by the British but only because the Mauri asked for help.

Greg was not the only missionary.
The part of the story that is interesting is that Bay of Islands was out of Greg’s mission district but he and seven other missionaries went without permission. They were going to see the Queen no matter what. They left their suit jackets at their place and went in white shirts to the event. While on the treaty grounds with the Queen and hundreds and thousands of others they met the mission president. The mission president was not happy that they were not wearing their suit jackets. 

We drove on the bus through the hills seeing cattle and sheep dotting the hillsides; the sheep looked like little white flowers among the green grass. Greg kept talking about how he and his companions were in such good shape because they road their bikes up and down these steep hills and into the country. Now he wants to come back at Christmas because the place makes him homesick. We had two beautiful nostalgic days

Bates in Auckland

We had a fabulous two days in New Zealand; Auckland and then Bay of Islands (Whangerai) both places Greg served on his mission. Greg was doing mission stories all the time and feeling nostalgic since it has been fifty years since he was here. 

The sailing in was amazing. I woke up at 6:00 a.m., ran to the window and what should appear but a miniature bridge and New Zealand was here.

The ship was docked right downtown in Auckland. Greg and I did a nostalgic walk together for a while. When my feet began to hurt I walked back to the ship myself. Walking out with Greg we just walked on the main street but on the way back I took a detour on the hilly steep roads. I received a telephone call from Security on the ship about 7:20 p.m. asking me if Mr. Bates was out by himself or with a group. He was out by himself and had 30 minutes before the ship left. He took this picture on his way back to the ship.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Halloween - Alice is Ready

Halloween?  No problem for me
I am tempted to buy more Halloween decorations

That is the trouble with taking a walk in an urban neighbourhood, one that passes by Pier I Imports.

I go in to take a look when I pass by.
You want a shot from the back?  Sure!
Every year the decorations get more beautiful.

The black cats more sparkly, the burnished orange pumpkins yellower, rounder, the bats more able to fly to greater heights.

This is a lot better than going down for my nap.
Michael has an elephant costume that is not going down well.

He wanted it until he brought it home and saw the he was the one going to wear it.

It has been sitting on the couch alongside a doll while Michael’s mom and dad see if he can get acclimatized to the notion of having it be part of the Halloween family.

Where is my trick or treat bag?
The costume may have to be stuffed, put in a stroller and taken on a walk with Michael on Halloween night.

I can’t see any other way that this is going down.

Miranda says it is going to be a good Halloween.

Already they have four Halloween dates – places they usually go anyway, but places that are now having a party.

Alice is going to be a ghost.

 I asked Miranda who she was making the tutu for.

She said it was in the process of becoming a ghost costume and that I should hold off taking pictures until it was finished.

I took pictures anyway.

I'll catch that drool for you, baby ghost!"
But she was right.

I should have waited until the hat was finished and the black satin ribbon woven down the back of the outfit.

Now that is a good ghost costume for a 3 month old baby.

Michael is still not going to have anything to do with his Halloween costume.

Oh, maybe he will sit beside the stuffed costume while someone reads a story to him and the elephant.Miranda does say he will get into it and take a few elephant stomps through the house.

Then the costume comes off.

But that is it for Halloween preparations at their house!


The Nose

Shostakovich's opera The Nose plays this Saturday, Oct 26th and runs for 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Below are some reviews of the show -- only one of the reviews is from this year's production. The other three reviews are from the 2010 production which is being revived this year.

Mary asked me when is a good time to begin taking kids to the theatre and opera.  I was not sure that Macbeth would be a good introduction to Shakespeare, though I don't know why I hesitated in saying yes, --  take them to Macbeth, since on one hand I think kids see and hear only what they have the intellectual powers to see.

Photographer: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
Paulo Szot, with his runaway nose, as Kovalyov.
At any  rate, from my reading of the reviews of The Nose, I think this would be a grand opportunity to take kids -- maybe by giving them a bit of background before they go.  The show is short -- only 2 hours and 15 minutes -- the actual opera even shorter than that, 1 hour and 45 minutes.

I am guessing that Duncan will be going.

I thought I might read the reviews and make up my own set of questions for him  or any of the other grandchildren to answer, either before going, or after seeing the opera.  I think it will be fun.  Tell your mom the answers and then email me for the $10.  Or phone me and I will put your cheque in the mail.

1. Shostakovitch wrote this opera.  Can you spell Shostakovitch.  It is alright to look at this question while you spell it.

2. Kovalyov’s servant, Ivan, sings a song accompanied by balalaikas. What is a balalaika?

3. There will be an interlude for percussion alone.  What will happen in a percussion interlude?

4. Who wrote the original story in 1836 on which Shostakovitch based his opera? (Get one of your parents to give you the answer.)

5. What language was the original story written in?

6. What does "park and bark" mean at  the opera.  You will find the answers at this link:

7.   Dwight Garner says "Major Kovalyov is almost comically loathsome. He sniggers at the poor; he lies about his rank; he brags about his famous friends; he is obsessed with brand names; he treats his underlings as if they were patches of worn carpet; he misses his nose mostly because its lack will prevent his social rise."  The question is, what does snigger mean?

8. Why does Kovalyov miss his nose? (Hint: see question 7.)

9. Ivalyov is obsessed with brand names.  Can you give a brand name?

10. After talking about the opera, make up your own question and see if your mother (or father) can answer it?

11. For a bonus point, Dwight Garner says liiterature is full of louts and twits and bounders and bullies, but Shostakovich must have been aware of that for Gogol’s story features, in the schnozless Major Kovalyov, one of the great literary prigs of all time.  Tell your parent, either what schnozless means, or what being a prig means.

Questions are based on reading the reviews below:

James Oestreich reviews The Nose on October 1, 2013

Three critics for the New York Times discuss the music, art and literary threads of The Nose in 2010.

Anthony Tommasini reviews The Nose in March 2010.

 Matthew Guerwitsch reviews The Nose in February 2010.

And for some visiual fun, try this from utube.  A peek at the dress rehersal.

See you at the opera,


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mati and Sumin

Mati and Sumin after Manakamana

Mati sent me this picture entitled "Mati_Sumin after Manakamana.gif". Of course, I had to find out what Manakamana is. Thank goodness for Wikipedia.

My favorite part of the article was learning that on the cable car it costs about the same price as a child's ticket to take a goat for sacrificing in the temple. 

I can see why the happy couple took this trip, though I doubt they took a goat with them. Here, the Goddess Bhagwati grants the wishes of all those who make the pilgrimage to her shrine to worship her.

I am adding Manakamana to my bucket list of places I would like to go.


A Letter from Matiram

The Matiram Puns

Dear Arta and Kelvin,

I hope everything is fine with you.

I have been celebrating Nepali festivals with my family and friends.

In the meantime, I decided to get married according to Nepali culture during this festival time while all of my family members are around. I think it is a bit surprise for you and Mak will be shocked in Baltimore, USA.  I hope not.

In a couple of weeks, there will be another festival.

Right now I am back in Kathmandu with my wife.

In the meantime, I am working for a small project from UK and it is now confirmed that I will be in London, 11-15 Nov.  I will fly from Nepal on 10 Nov.

I am attaching a wedding picture.

By the way, I used the suit you helped me to buy in Canada.  As well, I  used camera you took me to the mall to buy on Boxing Day -

Thank you Arta, the Johnson family and of course Canada.

I love these all.