Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Happy Birthday Hebe

... welcome to my Special Day ...
A few days ago I was getting ready to go bowling with friends. 

My real birthday is March 31
 ... my birthday button to wear on my bowling day...
... my mom always lets me make a silly face ...
... even on my birthday ...

Duck, duck goose

Can you tell which train is going to win?

These trains were purchased for the Jarvis triplet-babies about twelve years ago.

They are still a big hit years later.

Can anyone tell that the trains are playing duck, duck, goose?

No matter whose house I go to, there are boxes of Thomas the Train, either in service or waiting in some garage to be brought back into service.

I am the only one who doesn't have a set, and I can easily go next door and get the ones that Michael and Alice play with.

This century's Thomas the Train is last century's Mechano Set.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Black-capped chickadee

... back-capped chickadee ...
On a telephone conversation with Glen he told me heard the first black-capped chickadee of the 2015 season.

He sent me this link so that I could get familiar with its sound.

To learn more go to

I see this fat-headed curious-about-humans little bird all summer.

Now I have to go out and find a picture of the solitary vireo and see if I can differentiate between the two birds.

As you can tell, I am looking forward to the return of the bird sounds in the early morning which I did hear this morning when I stepped outside to get the newspaper.

Ah, the sound of spring.


That Pesky Tooth

Have you ever had a tooth that just wouldn't fall out?  Well, Rhiannon had one last week.  Her new tooth was already poking through, but the old one just wouldn't come out.  Rhiannon really, really wanted it to come out.  We wiggled and twisted for days.  We finally had to put a piece of dental floss around it and yank it out. 

No matter how much you want a tooth to come out, that method is traumatic.

To help ease the pain, I promised I would make her a tooth cake.  I said I would even bake her tooth into the cake, and whoever found it could be king or queen for the day.  She took a pass on that part.

You'll see in the photos, that the pesky tooth had one long root that would just not dissolve.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How to boil hotdogs

Three hot dogs is the right amount for me.
I am learning to cook for myself.

Today my mom asked me to watch a video on how to boil hot dogs. 

I didn't want any.

She said "This is just for practice. You don't have to eat them. You just have to help me with the recipe." 

I stopped the video I was watching about Cortex Command, and picked the shortest "how to" video (1:05 minutes). 

We watched the video and after each step, and repeated it for her. 

While we waited for the hot dogs to cook, I wrote down the steps so I could do it myself next time.. 

I did this by using the notebook and talk to text functions on my iPad. 

As the hot dogs cooked, they began to smell good. I realized I was hungry. 

I am making a set of recipe cards. I still need to add photos to this one.
While my mom did the clean up, I ate all three hot dogs. 

They were really good, even though we were out of ketchup.

I put ketchup on our grocery shopping list.

Next time I will be doing the cooking ... 
(and hopefully the eating too while 

my mom does the clean up).

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The View From the Bridge - a reflectiion

I read that there are 7 Olivier Award Nominations for A View from the Bridge.

Eddie, the tragic hero
I continued my reading.

I wanted to get a head start with the play tonight. I went to Wiki and when I was through there, I clicked on some other links, each time being just a little bit more fascinated by what I was reading. It seems that Elia Kazan and Arthur Miller collaborated on a script – both of them interested in writing about the waterfront. When they separated, Kazan went off to produce the motion picture, On the Waterfront. Miller kept working on his failed script, The View from the Bridge, refining it until it was a play that audiences wanted to see.

Tonight’s play ended with a death, but the death was less visual.  We didn’t see a stabbing as it happens in other versions of this play. But if you saw the play tonight, you will know that in this case seeing less, turned out to be seeing more.

Other bits of trivia that you might not know? 

This was the first play in America where there was an actor to actor kiss – not of passion but of violence.

And a number of times I was aware of the immigration theme. This was more than artful. It peeled away the layers until I felt as though I was seeing to the core of the problems of the 1950’s.

And the depth of needing respect? All of the threads converged at the last moments of the play over respect. Painful.

And the power in the incident of Marko raising the chair from a crouching position to over his head. What a wonderful play. I hope Duncan made some money over seeing that film. At the end I was thinking to myself … whoops, I think this play is worse than Medea when it comes to taking complicated themes and laying them bare before the audience.

Just my take on arriving home from the theatre.


PS.  More reviews, this time from Liz Hoggard of the Guardian

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Coaching for Duncan

Hi Duncan,

 I know your mom is going to give you cash for asking or answering good questions about A View from the Bridge tonight.

 So here are some ideas for starters:

 1. What is a longshoreman? (Hint: you may have seen some of them when you went on a cruise with your mom and watched the people on the dock as they loaded and unloaded cargo on other ships.)

 2. What is a Greek tragedy. (Hint: it has something to do with a tragic flaw in the protagonist.)

 3. The set of this play is described as spartan by some of the reviewers. What does the word spartan mean in the context of A View from the Bridge? (No hint here, but think back to Beyond the Beautiful Forever and remember how easily we became aware that the characters were in different places, i.e. a school, a bathroom, a jail ... just with a few props.)

 Enjoy the play.

 I can hardly wait to read your comments (or those comments of anyone in your party) afterward. I think you will go with the biggest group of any of us. At our house, it is only Kelvin and me who will see the play.  Arta

Hide the Easter Eggs

When Richard took out the fence that separates our lots, and cut down the lilac bushes between us, a lot of space opened up. We have the equivalent of an inner city park between us. Well, that sentence is really an exaggeration, but it feels like a lot of space. But now there can be a garden, a playground area, a picnic place and still lots of room to play tag … and to build snowmen, since winter is not really over.

I checked on the calendar to see when Easter is. I can tell generally when Easter is, for I watch the candy counter at Costco and buy anything I think I will need to help me remember that chocolate equals Easter. Michael, next door, is three and a half – too young to get the larger concept of this being a religious occasion, so I have been thinking about the secular part of Easter with him – teaching him how to hide eggs.

 Message from Grandmother:
Take a handful ... a big handful
I purchased an extra-large economy size package of the pale blue, pink, turquoise and green eggs. Together Michael and I set up some rules for the Easter egg hunt.

He was to hide the eggs, grandfather was to find them, and Michael was to eat them at the exact moment he discovered them.

He hid the eggs in plain sight, he hid them down by table legs, in books shelves, among business papers and laid them carefully on top of Kelvin’s leg braces. That placement was possible for Grandfather had to lay on his chair with his eyes shut while Michael ran around the room hiding the Easter treasures.

And there was a lot of dialogue between him and me as we figure out which places are too precarious to hold one of those eggs.  While figuring that out, I watched a lot of those eggs roll along the floor and under ledges from where I will never be able to retrieve them. I felt this way of hiding the eggs would work, geneally, for surely Kelvin could cheat a bit and look through his fingers, so he would have some idea of where to find the eggs when that part of the game began.

Such whoops of happiness as each egg was spotted by grandfather, when the second part of the game began. Dancing up and down in one spot. Arms flailing. Eyes darting to show grandfather where the next egg might be hidden.

On reflection I must comment that Michael doesn’t really like sweets. Kelvin has a long wicker basket by his chair, always full of six of more choices of candy. Right now you can find chocolate covered raisins, life savers, cinnamon hearts, energy bars, M&M. Michael just isn’t that interested in them and doesn’t eat much when he comes to visit. I sometimes wonder if he is genetically connected to me. But if I let him take an Easter basket full of them home to his house, then he weeps waterfalls when he thinks he has to share one with Alice.

Go figure.  I told him the trouble is he just has mimetic desire.  I try to teach him the phrase "mimetic desire", but no, he just wants all of the candies that Alice has her eyes on now and he isn't up to practising crazy phrases.


Apple Pie

A is for apple, that's good enough for me.
The other pie is peach.
From Moiya:

Amazing things I can do when I am supposed to be doing paper work .....things I would never have thought to do otherwise.

First I go buy a box of apples for $8.00

Next ...two apple pies come out of the oven -- can you smell them.

Now back to paper work! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review of "Les Contes D'Hoffmann"

The tenor Vittorio Grigolo,
 ... here performing in "Les Contes D'Hoffmann"...
with the soprano Erin Morley

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
The encore of Offenbachs Les Contes D'Hoffmann will be at the theatres soon -- we have to go to Sunridge or to Chinook.  Your community may not be showing the encore.

Check and see.

The reviews seem fabulous.

 As well, some of the reviews use words that are so big, I am going to have to use my dictionary -- another good reason to go to the opera, or at least to read the reviews. 

Have fun.

The reviews are below.


Zachary Woolfe's review of the Tales of Hoffman

Robert Levine says the production is spectacular.


... just enough room in the bed left for me ...
Goodnight everyone.

Hebe has tucked in all her family groups.

The bear family, the monkeys,the rabbits, and the dolls.

Sleep tight and sweet dreams.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

"The dentist has moved my teeth 8 mm."

I had a call from Moiya's house.

The two Davids were there as well as Bonnie Wyora.

All were enjoying linguini, which David explained to me is really only a flat spaghetti. There was a four cheese sauce on the pasta and David just couldn't stop.

I wondered if they were eating over at Moiya's would there also be dessert?

He said yes, but he didn't want to go get the dessert yet because the pasta was so delicious

The dessert was cookies, Moiya said, banana chocolate chip cookies.

"Oh no," I thought, "they are having one of my top ten favourite cookies."

There are two ways to make this cookie.  One is to drop the dough onto the tray to be baked.

The other way is to take each piece of dough and roll it in a sugar and cinnamon mixture and then put it on the baking sheet.

That way the cookie comes out with a crackly sweet spicey finish.

Two in my hand, and many, still in the bucket.
Whoops, the bucket started out
much fuller than you see here.
Moiya told me not to worry about the finish on her cookies.

She is like me.

The cookie only gets that finish one out of ten times.

 The other nine times we are too busy for the final touch.

Either way, no one seems to be slowed down when the cookies are passed.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Reviews of A View from the Bridge

 Increasingly intense …
Mark Strong, centre, 

in A View from the Bridge
 at Wyndham’s theatre.
 Photograph: Tristram Kenton
I have been waiting for this National Theatre Production.

Probably I wait for them all.

Thursday, though, is Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge.

I am exhausted after reading the reviews.

Sometimes I think, can I take another moment of darkness.

However, I think, better to be in the middle of the darkness of a fiction than the darkness of trouble in real life.

So of course, I am going to move heaven and earth to see that I get to this viewing.  I always remember Rebecca saying that she visited a friend who lives in London.  She was surprised that both she and her friend had seen the same sets of plays -- the woman in London had tickets to the theatre, and Rebecca saw them in Victoria through HD Live.

So ...

Some reviews for you.

Here is a Lyn Gardner's five star Review from the Guardian.

Michael Billington writes a review a couple of months later, also in the Guardian.

I might have to brush up on the elements of Greek tragedy before I go on Thursday.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Pisco Peru

From Wyona

Just a little news.

We are in Pisco Peru. The ship changed from Lima because we could not dock in Lima.

There is nothing outside but hills and mountains of rock and sand. I took some pictures this morning.

We bought a last minute oceanview room on this ship. I could not find out beforehand what room we were assigned so I ignored the room. When we checked in the clerk gave us a card for Room 1117.

It is a step higher than a balcony. These people have their own dining room, beautiful but not large. Dinner is served from 5:30 to 9:30, go in anytime. The dishes are hightquality, and more expensive. The service is elegant. The food is higher class.

Greg is loving it.

I know oceanviews are on floors 2 or 3.  When she gave me the card and said you are in Aqua Class, I knew we were upgraded two steps. We have a balcony, free bottled water in the room, and nappies delivered to the room at 4:00 p.m. Plus we get our free elite drinks. It could not have happened to 2 nicer people.

On the other hand, my new Mac sucks. Cannot even open blogspot with pictures. So much to learn.

Now we eat in BLU. Later I will take pictures of our food presentation. So elegant. We are on the top floor of the ship.This room and services costs about 3 times more than we paid for the cruise. So we have been upgraded 2 times out of 35. The first time was with Mary and Arta.

I bought a MacBook Pro and with my 24 free hours of time I cannot ever bring up Larchhaven blogspot. No computer person is around to help until 2 pm when my time is up.

I picked up a free ticket for a draw for an emerald. First number was called out. Someone left and left their 3 tickets on the table. More names were called out so I kept my eye on all four tickets. Next thing I knew, one of the 3 other numbers were called. I went up to collect my prize. It is five hundred dollars off of an emerald. Emeralds start at two thousand dollars but the one I like is eight thousand.

No ermerald for me.  Moving on for a while.


Trying to blog pics from my laptop

 Trying to find photos on my laptop but can only find old ones.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bonnie Holidays in Victoria

I am on not giving you a thumbs up.
I have my right hand on the chain of a swing.
Are you tempted to join me in my holiday?
and now the trampoline -- no other takers
... alone in Rebecca's garden ...

Bonnie Hollidays in Victoria, Part I

A sunny day.
Blossoms everywhere.
Hand-crafted pottery.
A porch all to myself (and Kiwi).
Greek yogurt with fresh apple slices.
The perfect start to the day.

On Holidays:  Worshipping the Sun

a chance to enjoy the camillias and the silver

Holidays are good for the soul.


Rossini: La Donna Del Lago

The bel canto-era composer Gioachino Rossini:
portrait painted circa 1815
Vincenzo Camuccini.
I had been up since 3 am so I didn't have much hope of staying awake for the whole performance of Rossini's La Donna Del Lago.  But I thought that even hearing a few seconds of the opera would be worth it, so I took along my lap blanket, a warm jacket and settled myself into a seat at the theatre.  Getting myself tucked into my seat and nice and warm, worked.  A few strains of the overture and the next thing I knew, people were standing up for the intermission break.

But the rest made the second act wonderous for me.  I had listened to the utube presentation of the last scene in the opera -- and the tantalizing intermission interview with Juan Diego Flofez, hinting of the brilliance in his aria that brings in this act -- those two things kept me awake.

The work I put into listening to the last song paid off that day.  I knew the tune and could watch for the bel canto singing.

I came away adoring Rossini -- at least his work in the second half of La Donna Del Lago.

I asked Rebecca if she had seen the opera or taken Duncan  She said no,  they didn't go.  She has a new planner -- the planner from hell.  She likes to do her planning on paper and she found a book that lets her do all -- plan on a calendar and have notes on the side. -- and all of this in a real book  What has happened is that she gets everything into that planner and now she can see she doesn't have time for the opera.

I think life is better without such a planner.


Time Out

... managing skunk, and white rabbit, many bears, monkey and dog ...
We have seen Hebe's stuffed toys before. Hebe loves all her stuffed animals.  Every night there are more animals in the bed than in her toybox.There almost isn't any room left for Hebe.

Now in the midst of renovations, Catherine finds them in the only clean spot in the house:  the bathroom.  Here is how her conversation with Hebe goes when Hebe is asked why the stuffies are in the bathroom:

Hebe:  It's a party.  The bears are on time-out.  (Notice they are sitting on the blue chair)

Cathy:  Why are they on time-out?

Hebe:  Because they weren't listening.
CAthy:  Oh, too bad for them.

"the time out for the teddy bear"
Hebe:  The Rabbit had to pee.

Cathy:  Nice the rabbit has so many friends that want to help.

I am guessing that Hebe is never going to be lonely, given I can count 10 stuffies that she has to manage.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Seuss: Oh the Places You'll Go

From Richard:

This has been an obssesive video for me in the past week.

Perhaps you know it: Seuss's Oh the Places You'll Go, read by John Lithgo.

I have been listening to it maybe 10 times a day.

It is more wonderful with the music in the background.

I've decided that I'll need a hard copy for bedtimes with the kids.

FYI, Dr Seuss gets a little depression/darkness in the middle of this book.


p.s. I plan on using the line with my children "with you head full of brains, and your shoes full of feet, you're too smart to go down any not so good street."

My Vacation by Bonnie Johnson

... wishing I could take you all to Victoria ...
I'm so happy. I am writing to share with you that I am off for a vacation to Victoria for a week.

With support from Marla to book the ticket ... I will arrive tonight at10:10 pm.


With support from my work team (Christina, Julie, and Ramona) my clients will be told I am off until April 1st. That will let me come back to 7 business days for paperwork catch-up before seeing clients again.

With support from Joaquim, David will enjoy a Spring Break with his dad.

What more could I ask for?

That I could take all if you with me to Victoria.

With joy,


Chinese Yo Yo

"Our parents are pretty strict."
Zoe and I took a trip to Pier I Imports.

I told her that it would be the next best thing to going on the cruise with Wyona.

We could pretend we are in a market and buy something from anywhere in the world.

She decided on a Chinese slider and a monkey acrobat, since she was planning on getting toys that the kids could enjoy when they come to visit her. 

After a few tries, Michael gets good with the toy.
Note the whiteboard on the wall
I went back to Pier I imports the next day for by that time I had decided ghat the slider looked like the kind of fun I wanted to have with Alice and Michael.

For $.80 you can get a stick that is wrapped with paper.

When you hold onto the stick and then give your wrist a flick forward, something like what you would do when hitting the shuttle in a badminton game, then the paper flies out through the air and comes back like a boomerang onto the stick.

Alice thinks it is more interesting to unravel the yo yo.
Now that is a lot of fun for 80 cents.

When I was adding the pictures to this blog I realized that Miranda and Richard have also given you a view of their whiteboard and their family rules

The kids have written their own family rules on the bottom of the whiteboard -- a massive set of scribbles.


1. Sit

3. Take one bite
On the top of the whiteboard are the Family Rules for Dinnertime, written by the adults. There are two rules

1. Sit at the table.

2. Take one bite.

Now there is a strict set of parents.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Finally, snowman snow

A Photo Essay of Some Fun

We've been waiting all winter.

Finally we got to build a snowman.

"I think I am eventually going to need some gloves."

"It is getting a little cold and he still needs a hat."

"OK.  He can have my hat."

"My sister loves the snowman, too."

"Time for a photo to say it is finished."

Forest Fires in Valparaiso

Valparaiso by day
We checked into the Ibis hotel today making the bus trip from Santiago to Valparaiso.

I watched these billowing clouds appear over the mountains and cover the harbour.

Greg went up on a funicular when he was out and saw the fire over the mountains.

It is all over the tv now.

People are being evacuated.

Valparaiso at night
One can see the ash falling on the people.

It looks like snow.

We are leaving our hotel room now to go outside and investigate.

(in Valparaiso waiting for my ship...the Infinity to come in)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Beyond the Beautiful Forevers

Beyond the Beautiful Forevers

Not many people in the theatre tonight. The two of us enjoyed the production.   Only a scattering of other people were there.  So in no special order:

1. Duncan, at the last scene, when the boy jumps from the bridge, did you recognize the technique, the same one that is used in Les Mis? That jump from the bridge and then the darkness.

2. Did you get there, Xavier? For some reason I hadn't expected the self immolation or suicide by poison scenes. I didn't even see those coming, even though this was India.

3. The woman who described birthing her child right outside of one of the beautiful five star hotels was shocking -- picking up that baby out of the mud and thinking it looked like a rat.

4. I watched the footwork of the people who did the round-dance. I tried it in my mind to see if I could do it when I got home, on my own. Now I have to give it a try before I go to bed.

5. Nice to have two judges make an appearance on stage. The first one was a caricature that must have made your Mom shudder. And the sentence from the second judge was such a reversal. I was not expecting that.

6. A big wow to the set design: the hospital bed; the jail with just a small hole in the grate to pass through food; the reform school; the girls in the lavatory talking about their hopes and dreams being dashed. You can probably add more. Oh yes, the boy who had worked in the hotel for 8 days before he was fired? Him bringing back hotel etiquette to the slum. That is, serving the chips on a napkin.

7. I loved the thoughtfulness in our young male protagonist -- the fact that he had never been to school, didn't know how old he was, and loved jail for it was the first time he had been able to use his mind / or have someone allow him to see a bigger dream than the one he had.

8. Wasn't that a funny joke when the man was proud to have his name be the same one that the black president of the U.S. has?

9. Painful to watch the Husain family loose their money and status in the film.

10. And the interview with the director, Rufus Norris? That wasn't bad either. How does a person get a good job like that? 

And now for the coming soon:

April 16: The Hard Problem by Tom Stoppard
March 26: A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller
May 14: Man and Superman by Bernard Shaw
October 15: Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bates - More in Santiago - Chilean Hot Dog?

The river running through Santiago is Rio Mapocho. It is the colour of the earth...brown. Can you find me on the bridge? Below is another view of Rio Mapocho with the cell phone building at the end of it.

 We can walk to the history museum in 10 minutes from our apartment. The entryway is massive and impressive. You can spot things that look like white fans hanging from the ceiling. Not fans! Each fixture has a set of speakers in it so when music is played the fanlike fixtures move, swaying back and forth while the music comes out of the speakers and often the music will go from one fixture to another. Sometimes it is not music but just sound and modern screeches.

The building is 20th century and it houses statues from the 1800-1900's of South American artists.
One of the rooms in the museum is devoted to reading and books. Inside the frame is the inside of a book cover with chewed up pencils of different shapes laying next to each other.

All the places to eat in Santiago and we just could not pass up Doggis. Chilean hot dogs are famous. There are street venders, franchises, all selling hot dogs with up to 60 toppings. You cannot even see the hot dog. This hot dog is the Country Dog. On the hot dog are tomatoes, avocado, mayo and six more toppings to go on top. This picture is not flattering but boy it was fun!