Saturday, November 30, 2013

Play Date

Theresa Oldham: "It is time to go home now?"
Theresa: Why are those kids fighting?
And will I get to do that when I grow up?

I went to pick up my play date (Michael) at Miranda’s and he was just finishing off a morning event with Theresa and Kalina.

Lurene was getting ready to go home.

I arrived at the exact moment when toys were being put away and coats and hats were going on the children.

Michael and Theresa were having a dispute about his penguin pair – a mother and a baby, which have never been played with.

 But mimetic desire had overcome both of them.

They were vying for possession, each wanting both of the penguins.
Kalina doing a dead weight flop in her mother's arms
to protect her penquin rights.
It is not that there weren’t plenty of other toys in the room, the best being a Christmas tree Miranda bought at IKEA – the tree and the decorations, all of which a child can put on the tree and take off at will.

Now that is a good tree – tinsel garlands, beads, hanging ornaments, all child proof.

But the tree wasn’t interesting either of them. Just those penguins, delicious because the other wanted them.
Alice: My biggest problem is sitting upright on the couch.

I walked to the car with Lurene and she tried to trade off a book for the penguin so that it could go back in my pocket and into the house.

And that is how I took Michael and a penguin for a walk later. The penguin just happened to be in my pocket.

In the back of my mind was a paragraph I read last night in the book Aging Well.

The author tried to say that old people can find as much happiness in hours spent with a grandchild, as they could formerly find doing hostile take-overs.

The author must have had his tongue in cheek.

Michael: "a pause for a picture
and then I am off to get both of those penguins"
My hostile take-overs were taking back and doing the jobs I had given to others.



The Right Time

... morning sky by the Children's Hospital ...

Finding the right time to exercise is the hardest thing for me.  I can always think of a good reason to not exercise. The early morning hours are the most precious to me.  That is the time when I feel that I can get the most done at home.  So why use those precious hours up in exercise.

But I think I am going to have to give them up and just do it.  This morning I was worried about slipping in the dark, but I saw a good way to prevent that.  A jogger passed me with a headlamp on – a miner’s headlamp, or a forester’s lamp – the kind that is “no hands”.  
... Chldren's Hospital before sun up ...
 If I buy one I can use it in two ways: early mornings when I force myself to get out and walk; late evenings when I slip over to Richard’s and need either a spotlight put between the two houses or a flash light on my head.  I pick the second – better get myself a nice flashlight to use mornings and evenings.

I did have one bonus to the day.  If I hadn’t walked in the morning, I wouldn’t have done at all.  And that is probably the best reason for doing walking first thing, no matter how busy my day will be.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Moiya's Hanging Ornaments and Arta's Lists

... Pinocchio ..
I wrote to Catherine telling her that I noticed by the email I received from her, that she was up at 3 am, typing emails.

She wrote back and said that since there is a 3 hour difference in our time zones, that would be 6 am when she was writing.

Getting up in the middle of the night to do email is not her idea of a good time.

... crotcheted and startched angels ...
Getting up in the middle of the night is something I am known to do. I just come to consciousness and think, “Quick, get your feet on the ground and see if you can get ahead of all others who are making lists today.”

Lately I make 2 lists. The long list and then I short-list some of the tasks. I make it sound like getting an important job – that word – short-list. To underline its importance I take the short list, put it on a large piece of paper and prop it up where I can see it. My habit is to take an item that looks fun to do and concentrate on that during the day.

Giupetto from the Pinocchio series
With my home-made poster, I am constantly reminded not to get off track. Doing this has helped me for the last 3 days with the jobs that are time-sensitive – you know, the jobs that if you don’t do them today, you can just strike them off the list, for they won’t even matter tomorrow.

... sequins and beads ...
Somewhere, far down on the list is ... getting out the Christmas decorations.

Ones that I can use to play with Michael.

He and I had a trip to the snow-laden park yesterday.

 ... this old ornament's turning mechanism still works ...
He had to hold my hand as he ran from the bottom of the slide to the stairs to go up the slide again.

His little feet were breaking through the ice-encrusted snow and going straight down.

... the carousel that turns on the tree ...
He isn’t used to having to pick them straight up and then over the top of the snow to the next step where his weight will have him break through again.

We only had one incident at the park. I could pick him up and get him into the baby swing – the one that is shaped like a bucket.

... remember when we would take a whole night stringing popcorn?...
But getting him out? I hadn’t calculated how high I would have to lift him up and then over – and since I am only working with 3 pound weights at home, I was trying to figure out how I would get him straight up and then over, since his feet kept getting anchored in the bucket. I was thinking, wow, I hadn’t figured on this one.

On the return trip home I was going to walk him by the University LRT Station and let him run up and down the ramp there to his heart’s content. But by the time we were there, his little cheeks were so red and his nose was starting to run, so I switched plans and taught him “step on a crack, you break your mother’s back”.

He had been stopping to stomp little crusts of ice along the edges of lawns. I thought stomping on cracks would help us edge closer to home.

"life-saver garland"
It doesn’t matter how long he has been out, he doesn’t want to go inside. Miranda says this of him even when he is out in the car. He knows our home street and says, “No go in the house” – cute little social creature. On our walk, when we got to the yard, he wanted to stay out and play in the frozen sand pile.

For him and me, it is all about timing – he wanting the most from the outside, and me wanting the most from every day.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Rogers Bulk Food Store

Rogers Bulk Food Outlet
Moiya and I headed down to Armstrong to pick up some bulger she had ordered for me. I have no idea why I needed her to order a case of bulgur. I am retired. I don’t cook anymore. I have no large family around me. I only have two recipes that are keepers for bulgar. One recipe is tabouli and really, how much parsley and cracked wheat can Kelvin and I eat in a month.

I like the multi-seed bread that uses bulgur (the recipe of which is out on the food blog). But it is dense – like an energy bar. So do I really need a case of bulgur for 2 recipes?

The adventure was in the drive, down 97B to Armstrong, then down Larkin Road to the Rogers Bulk Food Outlet. Five clerks were in the isles, helping people to find products they needed. One woman was handing out a cranberry cracker, the recipe for which was not to be given out until the December 5th class – 35 women only. Moiya signed up. I wish I were going with her, but I will be back in Calgary.

... to the west of  Rogers Bulk Store, the sun dips below the horizon  ...
The highlight of the whole trip was a stop at the Askews in Enderby. Askews is celebrating its 84th Anniversary – cake and coffee one day, beef on a bun the next day, etc.

It was cake day, but 6 pm by the time we got there and only 3 pieces of cake left.  Askews had been serving cake all day.  The man ahead of us took one piece.  He kept the knife in his hand, since there was no one there serving the cake by then, and he used the knife to scrape up the extra icing around the sides of the container that held the cake.  

I was anxious to get at my piece, but he kept the knife and after spreading one side of the cake with extra icing, he turned it over and did the same thing on the other 2 sides, so that only the one un-iced side stood on his napkin. Five other surfaces were iced  Moiya was ahead of me in the line and she poked me in case I had missed that.

 I saw a man who knows how to re-ice his cake and eat it too.


Moiya's Nativity Set for 2013

Moiya's newest nativity set
... a thumb sucking child as a shepherd ...

 ... one child's job is being on a ladder holding the star ...
... cute little oxford shoes on left angel,
boots on feet of right one ...
I moved this around myself.
I had to reposition the donkey.
I wondered if Moiya would notice.

Is there something attached to a gene called
"must move figures of creche".

Monday, November 25, 2013

Nativity Sets

Mary comments that she loved the nativity set(s) when she was young and used to re-arrange them.

I did too.

I liked to have more than one set at a certain period of my life -- that was when I had children around.

figures so small they fit on an 8 " piece of glass
Wyona brought me one back from Malaysia – a beautiful hand carved wooden set with a stable that easily collapsed.

Moiya made one for me when she began to work with her jigsaw.

That one was simple.

made by Moiya with her jig saw
sign with a nail through it says No Room
the arrow which is out of the picture
points the way to the stable
I used to love the sign that said the inn was full and there was an arrow pointing the way to the stable.

My trip through Moiya’s house reminded me of how much I loved (and still love) the story of the Nativity when it is in the physical form that children can touch and move around..

She has one nativity that has a little card on it that says “olive wood” so I knew that one had special meaning.

The Flight to Egypt
Moiya also has a small standing figure of the flight into Egypt, something I never had.

Whenever I look at it I remember the song, Lo, How a Rose Ere Blooming.

And then the phrase from another song pops into my head, Herod the king in his raging / charged he hat th this day / this poor youngling of who we sing / all .... to slay – and ending on a pierce de Picardy chord, I think.

I can hear the chord in my head right now.

white sign by angel says OLIVE WOOD
Until I started to write this, I hadn’t really thought about how much meaning we invest in the icons that remind us of Christmas.

Moiya has a new nativity.


She gave away ½ to ¾ of her decorations a few years ago.

... from Malaysia ...
But she purchased a new one. So cute, she couldn't help herself – I will post some of the little faces around it.

And she came home from Relief Society – a super-Saturday, raving that some of the women had done a puzzle.

The miracle of the puzzle is that when it is together, it is just a picture.

When you take it apart, it stands up, each piece, to become a nativity.

purchased half price after Xmas
looked like it was from Russia
says made in China on the back
Now how cute is that.

my personal favorite... but not a choice for all
On Moiya’s counter she also has some dough figures – the baby in a crèche.

She isn’t putting them on her tree.

“Too old,” she says.

“But that is the charm,” said Wyona.

Yes, getting out those decorations and letting the kids move them around?

That works for me for Christmas.


Heritage Table

... lion's claw foot ...
Moiya still has an old table from the house she grew up in.

I remembered the table when I saw it this week and asked her where it sat in the house we grew up in.

I couldn’t remember.

She didn’t say but she showed me how it opened up and when she did, I could remember my dad and grandfather opening up that table and playing checkers at it.

It does not have a built in checker board, like the one that Wyona bought a few years ago.

... table opens and swirls ...
But there is a large space where the checkers and the board were kept. They would open up the table, lay out the board and sit by the window that looked toward the mountains.

They played an alternative checker game. Once crowned, Kings could jump down a whole diagonal line to capture an opponent’s man.

The table is as I remember it.

I studied the legs when I was young.

I must have been dusting them. I didn’t have a name for the brass cover on the feet of the table. Two of them are missing now.

... table opens up ...
They may have been missing then, as well.

All of Moiya’s children and grandchildren will be visiting for Christmas: 14 grandchildren, all under the age of 8.

 I don’t think there will be much chance of an adult checker game at that table over the holidays.

There is more chance that many meals will be eaten beside or on it.

Happy festivities over food to all!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Thrift Store

My first bag from Cozumel.
"If your culture is 'working class', you probably know the best thrift store in town and its hours by heart." Or so the line goes in the Culture of Poverty Competency course.

Do you have a favorite thrift store?

I found mine in Salmon Arm, BC. It is known for its fair prices, its weekly specials, and its extensive inventory.

Why is it my favorite? Take, for example, the fact that I have never been to Cozumel but I have always wanted to go.

No need to go now. I have a bag from there.

It cost only $1 at the "Smile, God Loves You" thrift store.

Wyona claims, "That bag is no good.
It is not from the Hong Kong Market"
For another dollar, I have a second bag that could have come from a market in Hong Kong.

The biggest savings was on the travel to get the bag.

Gas from Annis Bay to Salmon Arm? $2.50.
Savings? $4,000.

Pouria's new outdoor work hoodie. Price? $1
Pouria went to this thrift store with me. 

He found an item of outdoor clothing for all of the outside jobs I had lined up for him during his visit: put up the Christmas lights, sweep the moss off the roof, clean the eaves troughs, load old lumber into Dave's truck to take to the burn pile, help with the plywood on the roof of Dave's boat shed ...

Those were just the outside jobs.

He was also given an important inside job that no one else could do. The inside job required no special outfit, but plenty of technique: play Halo with David each night.

It must have gone well, at least from David's perspective. When asked what he would like with his Sunday night dinner of Pizza next week he thought, and thought, and then replied with a sheepish grin, "Pizza and Pouria".

Ribbons, pine cones, pearls, cinnamon sticks

 ... spools of wire ribbon are on the craft table ...
Moiya has been assembling her Christmas decorations.

Everyday there is something else new in the house.

The garlands are on the banisters and around the door frames.

I have the length of ivy but they are not the same as the ones in her house.
 ... cinnamon sticks, pine cones and wire ribbon festoon the china cabinet  ...
Of course she has been using her glue gun on pine cones. She has been twisting wire ribbon into large bows.

She has taken bags of cinnamon sticks, putting them into the mix until her garlands are lush with beauty.

“I have been saving this ribbon for years.
.... pearls and crotcheted angels hang from the banniser ...
This is the year that I am taking my rattan ribbon holder and using the life-time collection of ribbon that I have been saving. I don’t know if anyone will notice, but at least the ribbon will be used up.”

The garland looks beautiful at her house.


Winter Camp

Report from David Wood 

... Scouter Dave with a staff ...
The Salmon Arm Second LDS Boy Scout troop had an overnight camp November 22 - 23.

Four boys and one parent attended, along with Scouter Tyson and Scouter Dave Wood.

The boys signed off on their fire starting and knife safety badges.

... view to the West
As well all of the boys made their own poplar staff and they produced extras for the boys who could not attend.

They used hatchets, axes and a hand saw.

... a small stream makes it way to the lake ...
The first time someone winter camps they might be worried about being too cold.

The scouters eased the boys into the chilliness of the night by taking them to a nearby hot tub before it was time for bed.

The scouts brought their tin foil dinners from home and cooked them on the fire which they started, even before they began setting up their tents.

There was so much food that there were left-overs of the dessert of marshmallows, bananas and chocolate chips, also cooked in the fire.

... sit down by the fire ...
Scouter Tyson was prepared with a lecture about the stars and a laser pointer with which he created stars in the sky since the real ones were dim that night.

They learned that some of the starlight they could see was created 5 billion light years ago, and now it was just reaching earth.

The boys are mainly 12 years old.

... fresh water flowing out of the woods ...
Sunset is at 4:03 pm so the tents had to be set up in the dark which as their fire was burning itself into coals.

Scouter Del Purnell made a guest visit to the camp and taught the boys a song.

The boys also organized a skit to entertain the leaders and each other.

... early morning train on the mainline ...
... repair equipment lights on the yellow vehicles
have been flashing all night ...
If you have been sleeping near the train all night, then 7:30 am is probably the first time you have been able to really get to sleep.
The trains seem to thunder by on a regular basis when you pillow is on the ground just a 30 yards away from the mainline

At 7:30 am all of the boys were still asleep Scouter Dave hailed the CPR train which was passing by at the time with hand gestures, hoping that the engineer would blow his whistle and wake them up.

Scouter Dave had even a gesture of louder that communicated that information to the engineer.

 ... scrap metal collected by the scouts from along the beach ...
The camp broke up in the afternoon and the scouts left no footprint on the earth but the remains of a fire, which evidence the rising lake water will wash away in the spring.

... view to the North ...
The scouts went home to practise the one last lesson of winter camping: dry out the sleeping bags and tents.

All families will be enjoying some of the sights and smells of the camp as the tents dry out tonight.

Dave Wood

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Heritage Nativity Set

... hand-painted by Wyora ...
One day when Moiya was visiting Aunt Lenore, Lenore took her aside and told her that she had something she wanted to give her.

In Relief Society, many years ago, the women had plaster of Paris molds of the Nativity and painted the figures.

Wyora did one for Lenore and one for herself.

... the Wiseman's crown has been chipped away ...
I remember ours well.

When I was young ours sat on the mantel piece and was reflected into the mirror behind it.

I am not sure that we always had a stable for the figures to sit in, but one eventually came when there was money for it.

... the earless top of the donkey's head now showing wear and tear ...
I arranged and re-arranged those Nativity figures with great frequency, not just when I dusted, but whenever I saw someone else had been changing them around – that is when, I am sure, I moved them back to the arrangement that I preferred.

There was the Nativity on one side of the mantel piece and on the other side, a church – a winter scene, painted white and the rooftop glistened with snow.
... the donkey, now faceless on its more worn side ...

This had also been made in Relief Society out of cardboard. Corrugated cardboard was its roof. I knew this church did not have the shape of the one I entered every week. This one had a tall steep and tissue paper for stained glass windows. If I wasn’t giving it a sideways twist to give it just the right placement on the mantel, then I was on the other side re-arranging the Nativity figures.
... played with so much that the blessed child has lost its hands and feet ...

This must have happened at Lenore’s house as well, for you can see by the look of the figures, that they are as well worn as the ones were at our house: lovingly, tenderly chipped by small hands that loved the nativity set.