Monday, October 31, 2016

The MacDonald’s Menu

We picked up David for a quick trip to the Diary Queen but he argued that ice cream would be cheaper at MacDonalds. Bonnie was amenable, for with the change of plans, now David could show me his new skill: how to order electronically.

Just touch the screen and order.
Then wait for your number to come up.
Never fear, if you look like you are in trouble,
someone will appear to help you get on track
and then they will disappear again
until you need help again.

No human interaction ... almost.
“You mean that now you can get food with no human interaction at all? How wonderful is that! Never having to look another human being in the eye! Go for it!”

I went on and on. David was nodding in agreement.

No human interaction except that which was occurring between a boy and his grandmother. 

I watched both his skill on the large electronic billboard, and at how easy it was for him to customize that burger (cheese $.50 extra, no onions).

He could cancel the order with a flick of the finger and go back to our original plan -- just there to get ice cream, after all and now we can do it with no human interaction!

I hadn’t expected an added bonus in the outlet, but because this is the Halloween weekend, several groups of people were coming into the store asking for toilet paper. Apparently they were on a Halloween Scavanger Hunt. Bonnie went over to look closely at some of the costumes. David went back to order a McFlurry, since one cone is not enough for a boy in Grade VI.

But by now, human interaction or no, excitement was happening. A loud obnoxious man had spilled his coffee all over the floor, blaming the accident on the way the server had put the cup on his tray. He was shouting his analysis to other members of his party sitting, way back at the end of the room.

Another scavenger-hunt team had driven up requesting their “toilet paper from MacDonalds”. The man who went to retrieve it was wearing the toilet paper as a tail out of his trousers. Charming.

A second man was wearing a Monica Lewinsky mask and he had a rude slogan on the button of his jacket lapel. The slogan made my blood boil, but I couldn’t see the point in offering my analysis to the party-goer. If he didn’t get it when he put the button on, I doubt anything I could have said would have changed his mind.

“I guess Halloween is a good chance for people to come out who want to cross-dress,” Bonnie whispered to me of him.

A man sat down at the next table to us, blackened eyes, white paint on his face, fake blood in his hair, his nails painted purple, his white frock bloodied, giving a toothless grin to David who slid across the bench and jammed his body up against the window in mock horror.

The Halloweener loved it and wanted to give David a high five. David walked by him and gave him a slap.

Well, there went the chance for no social interaction at MacDonalds for David.  The total bill under $8 and well worth the show.


The Dressmaker

I still find it curious that Salmon Arm offers some unusual film advantages. A town so small by comparison to its cultural offerings. One of them was started by Don Hughes who loved the ballet and the opera. He single-handedly got those events in motion. So both series are shown here, just as they are in Calgary.

Kate Winslet
A glamorous woman returns to her small town
in rural Australia.
With her sewing machine and haute couture style,
she transforms the women and
exacts sweet revenge on those who did her wrong.
The other curious offering is a set of 10 films brought in by the Shuswap Film Society, films picked up from the Toronto International Film Festival.

Last night Bonnie and I ran out of the door of our house to catch the early showing at 5 pm.

When we got there the ticket seller said that it was sold out, and that the film had started as well.

“Only a few seats left at the front and it would be too dark to find them.”

Bonnie knew she couldn’t stay awake if we hit the 7:30 pm showing so we paid our money and Bonnie proceeded down the isle before me, gingerly one step in front of the other in the dark, finally pointing to an obvious isle seat for me.  I was surprised! A good isle seat.

She proceeded down the isle and found another good isle seat!

It was only a few frames into the show that I could see that the head of the man in front of me loomed on the screen, filling the middle third of it. I had to lean into space of the woman to the left of me, or in the other direction, far into the isle, to get any sense of the full imagers on the screen. I happily did this knowing the only other choice was to go home.  Bonnie was doing the same neck-craning act.

Before we left for the movie, Bonnie had gone to You Tube to see a small promo demo of the film. What stayed with me was the introductory text which said that the The Dressmaker is essentially Unforgiven with a sewing machine. Hard to find a sentence more intriguing than that one.

This is an Australian film. On our drive home, Bonnie wanted to know what genre I thought the film was. I was nailing it as Post Modern, a genre I don’t understand, as evidenced by how little I get out of Moulin Rouge (2001) and of how much Rebecca loves it. Of course, Moulin Rouge (2001) references the pop culture of her generation. For some reason, I was able to “get” this film – the references to the movie, South Pacific, the satire on the stereotypes of people growing old, the dry arid landscape, the mentally unstable mother, even the dressmaking (Tilly with a pin cushion on her wrist creating costumes for people of who they wished to be seen as, instead of who they are).

The Dressmaker, a wonderful movie, if anyone gets a chance to see it and would like to view Unforgiven rewritten with a Singer sewing machine instead of featuring a gun.


Friday, October 28, 2016

The Long Way to the Shuswap

... apple pie from Wyona's tree ...
You can see what we had for dessert last night.

Easy to grab something out of the freezer and get it into the oven while the stir fry is being made or while the Ceasar salad is getting to the table.

My trip to to Salmon Arm was diverted through Radium Hot Springs due to the rock slide at Field.

I haven't seen that highway before, so for two hours my eyes were glued to the window.  Around Lake Louise there had been some falling snow and it sat on the thin lines of the barbed wire fence, occasionally falling away -- but there were miles and miles of those white lines on the roadside of the highway.

The trees are beautiful at this time of year.  The ranches had close cropped grass.  The fields of some farms were peppered with animals.

Single lane alternating traffic is now moving through that area.  I am glad I got to go the long way -- what beauty!

I ended my trip there with a crazy mix-up that went like this.  The bus driver said that because we were 2 1/2 hours behind schedule, we would meet a bus at the Husky Station in Sicamous that would take the Vancouver bound people in one direction, and those going to Kamloops in another.  I had been texting with Bonnie Wyora and told her to pick me up in Sicamous which was better for her, since she was working there.  So I hopped off with my baggage and both buses left in their own directions.  But at that moment I figured out that my bus was also going to stop in Sicamous, and that the Husky Station was not the new bus stop, as I had imagined.  So there I was at the Husky and now Bonnie was no longer answering my texts.  As well, the Pillings and Woods are both on holidays.

I could think of no one to call, except Rebecca who is 10 hours away.  Sheesh to hopping off the bus at the wrong place in life.

A couple from the trailor court near the Burner at Malakwa must have seen the look of distress on my face for they asked if they could help me as they had stopped there to get air in their tires.  I hitched a ride with them to the bus station in Sicamous, but by now my texts to Bonnie had been telling her I was at the Huskey station.  Soon I had Rebecca calling from Victoria to the Eagle Valley Taxi Company, telling them where to pick me up in Sicamous and take me home.  The saga gets worse.  Suffice to say, my predicament ended before the day ended.

No wonder I look a little haggard in the picture attached to this blog.  The look you see on my face is the one of someone who is just very happy that at the end of the day she made it home.  And I made Rebecca promise not to put me into a care facility on the basis of that one mistake.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Richard II - Afterward

I attended the show by myself.  The woman beside whom I sat said that when she purchased her ticket, the theatre was 13% full.  That is a far cry from the full house at the opera on Saturday.  Be that as it may, I can understand why people might not want to go to a show that is neither well advertized, nor one that is one of Shakespeare's lesser known works.

Exceptional variety of texture … 
Charles Edwards as Richard and 
David Sturzaker as Bolingbroke 
in Richard II at Shakespeare’s Globe. 
Photograph: Johan Persson
But did I have fun?

A resounding yes.

The pace picked up after the intermission.  I loved the interlude where the gardener and his helper were discussing politics and gardening.  Having the helper up the ladder at the back of the theatre made me laugh out loud.

A fantastic mix between comedy and tragedy as the king gave over his crown to Bolingbrooke.

And when the men were throwing down their gauntlets, everything turned funny.

The scene were the whole family were on their knees, begging the king to be pardoned was played so comically.

I like the actors at the Globe.  Somehow they always engage someone in the audience, this time by seeming to cut a woman's hair.

There is a good review in The Telegraph.  An Encore of the show will be played in a few weeks.

For me, it was a privilege to see the play.


Brussels 2016 for Wyona and Greg

From Wyona:
Oct. 24

... chocolates ...
Charise was kind enough to drive us to the airport.

Arta told me that using a wheelchair was good so I checked the needs help box when I booked my ticket.

So getting from security to the airport there was a wheelchair there for me. I just accepted it and Greg walked along with the carry-ons.

It was a long way. So I lined up along with a half a dozen other wheelchairs to get on the plane first. Greg was happy to get on and put the bags up for the trip to London. The plane was not full so it was comfortable. Again, in London there was a wheelchair for me. I borrowed one of Arta’s canes so I looked good and disabled, not hard for me since it is true.

... street ...
We arrived in Brussels but had a hard time finding the hotel.

It was just too close to the train station and we were too tired to think.

I sat with the lugguage on a corner while Greg went walking and searching for the hotel.

We were so close and yet so far. I could not walk and drag luggage because I needed my airport assistance.

... square ...
Greg is happy with the room, just 2 star hotel but at the last minute I changed our hotel to a triple room for a cheaper price.

The pillows are lumpy (lots of character to Greg), carpet is frayed, have to stradle the tub when on the toilet, no shampoo, etc. BUT there are two beds, larger room, great view of the square, a lift, a fan, heating, no breakfast., refrigerator (sort of), good price.

Greg does love the room for some reason so it has what he wants. He has always wanted to stay on this square.

After unpacking yesterday I had to lay down, about 5 p.m. Greg followed suit. I woke up an hour later with a painful Charlie Horse so then we got up and went for a walk to Grand Place, bought a waffle, bought Leonidas and had frites and sausage. So this morning for breakfast we only had chocolates and nuts starting at 5 a.m. Poor us!

... room ...
As we were walking last night I happened to mention to Greg that in the four years we lived in Bussels, we never went walking together.

I do remember driving to the Grand Place and parking the blue van on Rue Neuve downtown.

Teague remembers that the police stopped me for making a left turn, I pled ignorance not speaking French and I refused to pay him a bribe. I remember Trent buying a cooked BBQ chicken at Place du Monde at the market, then taking it home to eat it all himself. So many things to remember. Tonia and Marcia spent so many weekends on Rue Neuve with their friends.

Lurene, Charise and Zoe had so many good jumps on the trampoline, rain and all. Now off to buy oranges, distilled water, more chocolate. shampoo and bar of soap for Greg.



Richard II -- recorded at the Globe 2015

Sensuality in every gesture… 
Charles Edwards as Richard II
at Shakespeare’s Globe.
Photograph: Johan Persson
I am going to see Richard II tomorrow night.

Shakespeare's historical tragedies are hard for me.

History has never been my strong suit in the first place.

And seeing history as one of Shakespeare's plays should make it easier for me, but the language is so rich and dense that I tire easily from the hard work of listening to every word.

Then when the show is over, I will call Rebecca and her boys will have come with questions that I won't be able to answer, even with my pre-performance study.

So here are my questions to Alex and Duncan in advance.

1. King Richard II is deposed by his cousin, Bolingbroke.  What colour is the king's robe?  What colour is Bolingbroke's costume?

 Man of action… 
David Sturzaker as Bolingbroke
 in Richard II. 
Photograph: Johan Persson

2. The King under estimates the threat of the rebellion building against him. He places delusional trust in his beloved English soil to repel his enemies. He believes God will blight his enemies with pestilence.  Did you see where any of this happening in the play?

3. Do you know what a prologue is?  If so, does this play have one?

4. Do you know what the phrase "the divine right of kings" means.  Could you see it in this play?

I hope you enjoy the play:  2 hours and 40 minutes with an intermission. There should be time at the intermission to get some good snacks if you don't get them before you go to the movies.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sunday Evening at the Lake

A Note from Bonnie Wyora:

... a red pear and a butter tart muffin ...

Evening is here.

I took a walk down to the lake.

What got me moving was my note on my fridge that says, "Goal - Live long and prosper" and one of the subgoals under that is "walk 30 minutes a day.

It truly surprises me that it only takes 30 minutes to walk to the lake, down to the willow on the beah where LaRue lands end (N.1/2 L.S. 15 Sec 17 To. 21 R.8), and back home to Lot 3 (in Frac. L.S.14 Sec.17 To. 21 R.8). Each time I think I am going to get to put a longer time in my walking journal, but nope. 30 minutes it is.

I walked up Moiya and Dave's steps on the way home. I did a perimeter check on their home, and looked in each window that I could. Their home remains neat and tidy, welcoming even though dark and with no one home. I didn't stop in though.

Guess first what is on the cutting board.

The answer is a slice of green apple and a slice of red pear.
Next I meandered over to Wyona and Greg's to check out their new pile of dirt.

I wondered how much dirt it would take to fill the gully between Lots 6 and 7 and decided, too many loads.

It was fun to study how the dirt looks at the top of the gully and remember the story of how to move a rock with a well positioned wheel barrow and a good shove from above.

I didn't go down to see Connor. I figured he may be putting his dinner on and it was time for me to go put my own dinner on. The green tomatoes Arta picked last week have almost all ripened. I choose a crimson coloured tomato, sliced it onto homemade whole wheat bread bread toasted, and savoured every bite.

I count my blessings for those who did my dinner prep - he and she who planted the tomato seeds and watered the garden, she who picked the tomatoes and left them on the counter next to the window for ripening, she who made and put sliced homemade whole wheat bread in my freezer, and he who left squirtable mayo in the fridge last summer.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Vine ripened tomatoes

... add a fresh tomato to any meal ...
Moiya told me that I could pick some of her tomatoes, since she won't be back in time to get them.

I added hers to mine and came up with this fine array, which filled me with wonder!

I love eating these with just a drizzle of olive oil and some salt.

Adding a few basil leaves doesn't hurt.

Thinking of adding seasoned rice vinegar makes my mouth water.

When I got home to Alberta, my tomatoes here had frozen on the vine.  Next year I will not only plant, sew, water and weed.  I will harvest here as well!


Richard II - Shakespeare's Globe

Richard II is the next play I am looking forward to seeing in HD Live.

It runs Wednesday, October 26, 2016 in our city.

I can't find any reviews so I am going to have to use other ways to learn about this play which I have never seen.  I wish I lived at Rebecca's for I know that she would have aids for watching posted up on her walls.

One of them would be 10 Memorable Lines from Richard II.  I guess I can do that myself.  So here they are from the Royal Shakespeare Company's Favourite Quotes site.  I am not familiar with one of them:

Forget, forgive, conclude and be agreed:
Our doctors say this is no time to bleed.
(King Richard, Act 1 Scene 1)

We were not born to sue, but to command.
(King Richard, Act 1 Scene 1)

King Richard: Why uncle, thou hast many years to live.
Gaunt: But not a minute, king, that thou canst give.
(Act 1 Scene 3)

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars.
(Gaunt, Act 2 Scene 1)

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.
(Gaunt, Act 2 Scene 1)

Landlord of England art thou and not king.
(Gaunt, Act 2 Scene 1)
(King Richard, Act 2 Scene 1)

Come, lords, away.
To fight with Glendower and his complices;
A while to work and after holiday.
(Bullingbrook, Act 3 Scene 1)

Not all the water in the rough rude sea
Can wash the balm from an anointed king.
(King Richard, Act 3 Scene 2)

For heaven’s sake let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings.
(King Richard, Act 3 Scene 2)

See, see, King Richard doth himself appear,
As doth the blushing discontented sun
From out the fiery portal of the east.
(Bullingbrook, Act 3 Scene 3)

What must the king do now? Must he submit?
The King shall do it.
(Richard, Act 3 Scene 3)

Great Duke of Lancaster, I come to thee
From plume-plucked Richard, who with willing soul
Adopts thee heir, and his high sceptre yields
To the possession of thy royal hand.
(York, Act 4 Scene 1)

With mine own tears I wash away my balm,
With mine own hands I give away my crown.
(Richard, Act 4 Scene 1)

The shadow of your sorrow hath destroyed
The shadow of your face.
(Bullingbrook, Act 4 Scene 1)

Doubly divorced? Bad men, ye violate
A twofold marriage, 'twixt my crown and me
And then betwixt me and my married wife.
(King Richard, Act 5 Scene 1)

I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.
(King Richard, Act 5 Scene 5)

For now the devil that told me I did well
Says that this deed is chronicled in hell.
This dead king to the living king I'll bear. –
Take hence the rest, and give them burial here.
(Exton, Act 5 Scene 5)

Though I did wish him dead,
I hate the murd’rer, love him murdered.
(King Henry, Act 5 Scene 6)

I'll make a voyage to the Holy Land
To wash this blood off from my guilty hand.
(King Henry, Act 5 Scene 6)

My Cell Phone

I usually embrace new technology, but this has not been true of my cell phone. I like my telephone to ring when I am at home. I don't want to know it is ringing when I am in the public sector. But yesterday, at the extremely long red light on Crowchild and 24th Avenue, I picked up my phone to hear Doral saying he was in Calgary and going to visit Kelvin. I had to tell him that I was on my way to meet Kelvin at the opera and that Doral's only chance to see him, would be to meet us at the opera. 

I was making a joke for Doral. The light at the intersection changed.

I put the phone down.

Serena Zerlina and Simon Keenlyside 
in the title role of Don Giovanni at the Met. 
Photograph: Marty Sohl/ Metropolitan Opera
Doral's meetings were shortened in the first instance of his meetings and moved up in the second instance, and so he got to the opera and joined Kelvin and me.

The performance was sold out. Not even a single empty seat up in the better seats. Only the front two rows were empty and in an IMAX theatre those are not two rows that anyone wants to be sitting in.

I slipped down to one of them so that Doral could sit by Kelvin.

At the intermission Doral told me that he was 20 minutes into the opera before he even knew the name of what he was watching.  That made me laugh.  We talked at length about the beauty of the music, the complicated themes, the exquisite costuming and the superb acting.

Doral had to get on the road back to Edmonton before the opera was over so he saw 2 1/2 of the 3 1/2 hour opera.  Something is better than nothing.

I cannot remember seeing Mozart's Don Giovanni before so the pleasure was double for me: a new opera and family at my side.


Miss Saigon, the 25th Anniversary Celebration

 ... iconic scene from Miss Saigon ... 
Wyona gathered the most people -- enough that we should have received a group discount with our Scene cards when we went to Miss Saigon.

I didn't think of that until now: Tonia, Marcia, Lurene, Gabe, Wyona and me.  Yes, cheaper to go as a group and that is what we were, high in the theatre on the back row and the second back row.  I could hear Tonia giggling behind me, and a laugh occasionally from Lurene.

Wyona and Tonia have had the advantage of seeing the show live, so they knew where bits and pieces had been re-arranged, even where part had been left out.

I have only seen the show on u-tube.  And I went out to the lyrics page and read words from half of the songs.  I always find it is easier to listen to the words if I have seen them once or twice.

I am sure Rebecca got to the show with someone from her house.  The ride home is always the best with them, for they are answering questions (or asking questions) about the movie to make money.

I take the opposite route.  I have all of my questions before I go to the show.  I probably get more pleasure out of the preparation to see the show, than the actual experience, although this showing was exceptional.


My Casio

Although I am calling the new musical instrument in my home, my Casio, it really belongs to Richard and Miranda.

I sing with their children sometimes and have no keyboard anymore, so they lent me their Casio.

This was purchased when Richard thought he would have time to re-learn the keyboard and add to the knowledge he gained as a child, having to sit through piano lessons.

But spare time is at a minimum for him, so he brought the instrument over to me.  I had to print off a manual from the internet, because turning this on is not to know what all of the buttons and choices will do.

There are pre-progammed songs so I am learning how to get those playing myself, and showing Michael at the same time.  One of the choices is Yankee Doodle and though I have the lyrics in mind, I don't know what they mean when I try to explain them to a five year old.  Again, I bless google.  I don't know how many trips to the library I have been saved by going to my own electronics and finding out, in this case, why the allusion to the feather and the macaroni.

A lot of fun!


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Don Giovanni at MetLive

Don Giovanni Peter Mattei, left, in the title role, 
and Luca Pisaroni as Leporello in this new staging, by Michael Grandage, 
at the Metropolitan Opera. 
Mr. Mattei was a late substitution for the injured Mariusz Kwiecien. 
Credit Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera
Bonnie reminded me that Don Giovanni is the production at the opera this Saturday.

A New York Times opera review provides enough information for me to know where to go to get more ideas.

I have never seen this opera before, though it is a staple of the New York repertory.  I am thrilled to be hearing something new on Saturday.

I don't know what it is that there is to teach kids at the opera, but David has learned one thing quickly, and that is at the opera intermission, the concession is open.  Good work, David, on learning the art of going to the opera and the ballet and truly enjoying them.

As an aside, I was reminding Rebecca that Miss Saigon is tomorrow and she had absolutely missed the fact that it was on.  She rang off with me to go buy tickets!


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Halloween Images

Hazel Wood
There will be some wonderful Halloween images in the next 13 days.

Here is little Hazel Wood surrounded by pumpkins.  I will be happy to post any other images sent to me.

That offer would even include the image of the skunk that Richard saw walking along the railroad tracks this morning.   I asked him if he stopped to get a picture.  He said that he doesn't have a good track record with skunks and someone else will have to take care of pictures of those.


Hawks on a Light Standard

... I am looking west to the mountains ...
I try to keep my eyes on the sidewalk when I am walking in the early morning.

But I have to look up for the traffic light when I get to the corner of Crowchild and 24th Avenue.

By the time I had my camera out of my pocket, on this particular morning, so many hawks had lined up along the light standard that I was starting to laugh outloud.

One by one they would land there, all facing the same way, hopping a bit this way or that, to give or take room at the top of the pole.
... now only one hawk left ...

This seems to be the corner of my community that I have taken on as a one-person clean up. 

There is a road beggar who works this corner just between 4 pm and 5 pm, as employees are leaving the university and stopping at this light.  In his hand he holds a sign, written in crayon on a piece of cardboard from a packing box, "Hungry. Homeless.  God bless".

Some of the drivers give him money. Others bring food -- which he may or may not want.  When I look down at the bottom of the light standard, I see where he places what he has no use for:  half a sandwich still bagged, 2 apples and an orange, maybe a juice box, some veggies that have been cut and wrapped, and bits of loose change.

I love this little corner -- for its ups and downs.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Writing Journals - and answering questions

Here are my answers to the six questions I asked about journalling last week:

1. Do you have stacks and stacks and STACKS of journals?
Yes, I have stacks and stacks and STACKS of journals. I began keeping journals in the late ’60’s, so yes there are stacks and stacks and STACKS of them.
2. Do you write in haphazard notebooks and stuff in napkins with jottings OR do you use the printed "Journal" sorts of books?
I do write notes here and there, and yes, have used napkins, though I do not find writing on napkins, satisfying. If I need to remember something I will grab any piece of paper, write, write, write and then slip it in my pocket and hope it comes out of that pocket before the clothing goes in the wash. My printed journal is a 1 or 2 or 3 inch binder, and the paper has been printed, hole punched and slipped in there. So to answer the question, I don’t buy a book that is already bound, since handwriting is so slow and I need to say a lot more than I can if I hold a pen and try to write neatly to the bottom of page where my wrist is not comfortable and the book is beginning to slip and slide on the table.
3. Where do you keep them?
Previously I kept them in my bedroom on a shelf that rimmed the top of my room, something like a plate rack. Since renovating, they are in boxes in my garage, but I need to find a place for them inside. That is on my to-do list.
 4. Do you ever read back over them?
Yes, I go back and look at certain years when I can’t remember something about what was going on at that time. Reading those journals brings back to my mind many other unwritten events. For example, if I want to read about when a certain child was born, it is easy to go back and see what was happening then. Or I want to go back and read about the last few months before my father died, for example. Then I can add other details that are trigger by the words I read but which I didn't have time to write.
5. Are they journals you plan to leave behind for your offspring,
I am more interested in people looking at them now, than after I am dead.
Bonnie came to visit and began to read from the beginning of my journalling. I think she only finished the first year of my writing. She spent the whole day. She kept coming to me to ask me questions, which I thought was a bonus. Better to ask those questions now than to have the questions after I am dead and to hear answers from people who don’t really know.
As to leaving journals behind,  Catherine asked me for them, but she said to wait until I am dead. Bonnie came to read them. I don't think others have either the time or perhaps the inclination.  There are, of course, far better books to read out there.
Rebecca said someone else can have them, but she wants all of the old essays I wrote. I have collected those in a binder for her as I have been throwing out all of the notes from those classes I took at university when I was older. My Memoirs Class  teacher told me I should offer the journals to the Glenblow Archives as they are an excellent example of the growth of a Mormon feminist, from the 1960’s to the present. That idea was not appealing to me. I know that books and papers get buried in archive boxes that way and never surface. Since my “journal” was always sent to my kids and meant to be read by them over the years in the form of a letter, they have already read the stuff at sometime or another.
6. Were your journals personal venting or a bit of both?
The voice in the journals is personal.  It is about the daily life, the comings and goings of an ordinary woman.
I have some books of personal ventings. If anyone asked to read them, I would let them. I have never shown them to anyone. I don’t think they would be useful to others. If I happen to pick one up and read a bit, even I don’t want to bring all of that back up. They were useful to me when I was writing them.  A hard call, between what should be forgotten, and what should be preserved so that others can learn from it.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Reading Club

"I wonder what to make next?"
Friday night was the first meeting of The Reading Club.

The members are Landon Hicks (6), Kalina Oldham (5) and Michael Johnson (5).

Wyona is the leader of the group.

The parents are the transportation team.

Pepper Hicks (3) and Theresa Oldham (3) are also there, but they are too young to be members of the club, as yet.

"Cups, plates, spoons and knives for sale."

Betty's job is to climb ladders and see 
what is in the high shelves 
she is not allowed to access.
Alice (3) and Betty (1) and began The Play Dough Group.

Alice and I played together, mainly making dishes, knives, forks, spoons and cups.

Later I purchased many dishes and utensils off of Alice, so I was having a good time.

In my playing time, I created some lovely forks, but one of them transmuted into a cleaning appliance -- a vacuum.

I had forgotten how important imaginary play is even though it hurt a bit that Alice saw what I offered as something far different than what I had created.


Miss Saigon

October 20th, Miss Saigon will be at the Chinook Scotia Bank Cineplex.

The show starts at 7 pm and is 3 hours and 25 minutes long.

I have never seen this show. Some people say it is the greatest musical ever written.

The featurette which is five minutes of u-tube.

Here is a review from The Telegraph.

The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw.

And another from The Guardian.

And finally, Variety.

The Golden Age - Questions

I went to see the Shostakovich ballet, The Golden Age, and I don't know where to begin. 
I found a u-tube version of it last night and stayed up late to see the whole thing. 
But today I got to see it on the big screen. A big bonus -- all of that sight and sound. 
I was wondering what David and Bonnie talked about after seeing it. I would put the mood of the piece at the top of what there is to talk about.   
Lyuska and 2 comic figures
Here are my questions: 
1. First of all, David, I looked up The Tahiti Trot. If you click on the foregoing utube version of it, you will hear the music and get to see which instruments are playing which sounds. How cool is that. For five points, name the instrument that you hear doing a solo while you watch that small clip of the Tahiti Trot. If you don't know the names of the instruments, get your mom to help you.  And here is how that piece of music was composed.
After Shostakovich and Nikolai Malko had listened to an old 78rpm disc of Vincent Youman's "Tea for Two" in 1927, Malko bet Dmitri 100 roubles that he couldn't come up with an orchestration of the song, entirely from memory, in less than an hour. Shostakovich went into the next room and returned 45 minutes later, having made his own orchestration, and duly won the bet. In its new guise, the piece was called 'Tahiti Trot' and it was played at the 1997 Proms by the BBCPO.

2. For one point each, in the ballet, who are Rita, Boris, Yashka and Lyuska.  (Hint: fisherman, cabaret dancer, gang leader and gang leader's girl friend.)

3.  Can you name one place in the ballet where  you laughed or where you thought something amazing had happened?  That is for your last point.

And for a bonus point, Aunt Rebecca pointed out to me that people in Russia clap in a different way than we do in Canada.  Did you notice that, and if so, how would you describe it.

I would like to say that I admire your family for going to the opera and to the ballet together.  I think yours is not the only family that has that tradition.  I counted in our theatre to see about how many people were there, for I am sure you counted people at the Salmar in Salmon Arm, B.C.  Our theatre had about 60 people in it.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Golden Age

"The real geniuses know where their writing has to
be good and where they can get away with some

(Dimitri Shostakovich)
I know David and Bonnie are going to the ballet on Sunday, Shostakovich's music called The Golden Age.  

This ballet is not done very often.

When I go to the web, there is not much I can read about it. I am going as well tomorrow, in solidarity with them, though I am in a different city.

Here are the reviews:

Judith Mackrell reviewed the ballet, The Golden Age, years ago and said:
At the age of 24, Shostakovich was mad about football and brimming with a belief that he could transform Soviet lyric theatre. The result was The Golden Age - a three-act ballet starring a heroic team of Russian footballers, and featuring Shostakovich's musical imagination leaping crazily around a vast arena of possibilities. 
It was, of course, part of the composer's political tragedy that the ballet was banned.
I am reaching a long ways when I have to go to an LA Times 1987 review of this ballet:
The hero is a young fisherman named Boris who dabbles in political street theater--just an ordinary guy in a T-shirt and work pants who won't let himself be pushed around.

Wiki summarizes the plot the best:
The ballet is a satirical take on the political and cultural change in 1920s' Europe. It follows a Soviet football team in a Western city where they come into contact with many politically incorrect bad characters such as the Diva, the Fascist, the Agent Provocateur, the Negro and others. The team fall victim to match rigging, police harassment, and unjust imprisonment by the evil bourgeoisie. The team are freed from jail when the local workers overthrow their capitalist overlords and the ballet ends with a dance of solidarity between the workers and the football team. Shostakovich himself was a very keen football follower, and is said to have coined the expression "Football is the ballet of the masses".

I don't know what "Agent Provocateur" means so I looked it up.  An agent provocateur is a person employed to encourage people to break the law so that they can be arrested.

I am looking forward to finding that person in the ballet.


Writing Journals

My friend asked me the following questions.  I will post my answers in a week or two.  In the meantime, anyone want to take a shot at answering any of the questions?

1. Do you have stacks and stacks and STACKS of journals?  

2.  Do you write in haphazard notebooks and stuff in napkins with jottings OR do you use the printed "Journal" sorts of books?  

3. Where do you keep them?  

4. Do you ever read back over them?  

5. Are they journals you plan to leave behind for your offspring?

6. Or were they personal venting or a bit of both?  


(Gasp), It's a ______ or is it?

Today we went to the beach. There was no one there.

I was in the car. I looked out the window, and there were two ducks. dun-dun-dun-DUN!!!

And then we did the thing that any sensible person would do. Chase after them like maniacs and try to get photos. We got two that weren't blurry.

Photo credits:  David Camps-Johnson
It's a duck. 
View to the Right
View to the Left
Ducks are the most majestical creatures in the world. They would go under water for 10 seconds, perhaps 20.

And then they would surface. We had no clue where they would surface. It was amazing when they popped out of the water, suddenly.

The time one duck came up right under the under duck it seemed just as much a surprise to the duck as to us.

Photo credits:  David Camps-Johnson
(Gasp) It's two ducks! 

I hope in this blogpost I have proven that ducks are the most majestical creatures in the world.


The Hunter's Moon

A stork is silhouetted against a supermoon
in its nest in downtown Arriate,
in the southern Spanish province of Malaga in July 2014.
(Jon Nazca/Reuters)
This is pretty cool.  Look at this CBC report on the hunter's moon that we will see this week-end.

We can call it Richard's moon for he is out hunting.

No harm in seeing how beautiful the moon is as it comes up over the horizon.


Friday, October 14, 2016

The Deep Blue Sea

 ‘The illogicality of passion’ … 
Helen McCrory. 
Photograph: Richard Hubert Smith

On Thursday I decided I just couldn’t miss the National Theatre’s HD transmission of The Deep Blue Sea.

I went alone, though way out of the theatre I did see three friends: Alan MacDonald, his son Aaron and the son of my old friend, Marilyn Gilson.

He is the one who called out to me in a loud voice as I was heading for the elevator, "Sister Johnson".

The men were on their way to Deepwater Horizon but said their wives would rather stay home than go. Why shouldn’t taste be the arbiter of what a person goes to see?  There wasn't a big crowd at the performance I was seeing.  Some people either just like to stay home or have to much to do.

The person who introduced the play said that The Deep Blue Sea is one of the best plays for a woman -- a starring role. The evening was stunning. I think the only drawback to going alone is that there is no one to discuss the event with when I go home. For example, I wanted to talk with someone about the jewelry in the play: the bracelet that Hester still wears, a gift from her husband although they are long estranged; his wedding ring that we see dashed across the cupboard top, him wearing it until he can see there is no hope.

She is able to wear the past. Judge Collyer throws that symbol away.

If there is yet another encore, I will go again.  Stunning show.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Kitchen Table Talks

From Rebecca:

I am going to be in Vancouver Oct 12-16!

It is going to be a delicious double-whammy:

1. the Indigenous Bar Association meetings, and
2. the launch of "Testify!: Indigenous Laws + the Arts".

Over the past year, I have had the huge pleasure of being able to collaborate in the "Testify!" project with the amazing Sechelt artist/lawyer/activist, Shain Jackson (check out his company,

If you are in Vancouver this week, join us at Loungeworks (130 West 4th Ave), and come see his wonderful "Golden Eagle Rising".

You can find us at the opening (Thursday night), or the "Kitchen Table Talks" (artist/author dialogue) on Saturday or Sunday night!

Necklaces may be involved!

Fire Ants in Floresville, Texas

David & Curtis were out in the yard pulling out the fence wire.
David knelt down to pull out the wire while Curtis went to get some pliers.
Curtis saw David kneel and yelled watch out for the fire ants!
David looked down and his leg was covered with tiny little ants.
"I could feel them bite, and quickly brushed them off the best I could and went to strip down to make sure I got them all off."
Apparently they have little stingers, just like a bee and they inject poison.
"It was pretty uncomfortable the first day.  I could feel my leg tingling but I was OK"
Now we are back out to finish up the fencing on Curtis's last day of Parental leave.


Photo: Moiya Wood 
...Olivia ...

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Deep Blue Sea

‘Stealthily, Rattigan builds up a portrait of a society’
Adetomiwa Edun and Tom Burke in The Deep Blue Sea.
Photograph: Richard Hubert Smith
I have been looking forward to seeing the National Theatre's The Deep Blue Sea.

I read the reviews of it in the spring.

I caught the movie on TV.

Recent reviews are below.  The show is Thursday, October 13.



The Guardian, June 12, 2016 
The Guardian, June 9, 2016

Halloween Decorations

I expect to be back in British Columbia for Halloween, so I pulled out my decorations one evening and began to add the witches on brooms sticks to the branches of my celebratory tree, the bird house on top, a bit askew from years of being re-purposed for every holiday event.

“You must have purchased these on a 90% off sale,” Wyona said of other wicker witch decorations that she propped up on the window ledge – 9 of them in a row, the costuming and height only differing enough to keep them interesting. I no longer remember the price, but she is probably right, given the sheer numbers of decorations on the ledge.

This half-arm looks much scarier in real life.
And having it touch your back is even worse.
I sorted through the jack-o-lanterns that have removable lids, and I wondered where an artificial arm came from, since I didn’t recognize it.

That is not an item I would buy – even 90% off.

Bonnie told me, yes, that item was hers, brought home from a family-friendly party thrown by her friend, Marla, a few years ago. Unfortunately the children at the party were horrified by the prosthesis, and some cried. That Halloween party was nightmare worthy and only rescued by the ghost dance Marla taught the children to do. There was a sheet for everyone to use as a ghost covering and then they were to walk around the yard, bumping into each other while eerie music was being played. Nothing like the sound of creaking doors or a ball and chain rolling across the floor to rescue a party.

I couldn’t figure out what the tools were that were housed in an ice-cream bucket and in my Halloween box. Bonnie told me that they were instruments for carving pumpkins. In Kansas she had been invited to a carve-your-own pumpkin party – a party for adults. Everyone got in the same room with a pumpkin of their own, carved it and then went home. That was a party, she said, for people who don’t like to socialize much.

This year I told David that I put out my best decoration of all. “I have been gathering stink bugs and turning them loose in the house so that you will find them all over – in the cracks of windows, in the tracks of the door screens, hiding under chair legs, and they will even land near your food or on your computer key board.”

David asked Bonnie, “Why a grandmother would do this?” She assured him that no woman in the world would gather stink bugs and turn them loose in her own house. But he is positive his grandmotner does it. He heard it from her own lips.


The Classic Summer Storm

... waves breaking on the dock ...
Over the years, I have come to associate a combination of thunder, sheet lightening, pelting rain and high waves with the long week-end in August.

That storm didn’t materialize.

The storm did come later in the month.

... looking to the west and seeing how high the water is
splashing by the wet marks on the rocks ...
Rebecca and Bonnie took Duncan and Ben down to ride the waves. Rebecca was soon back up at the house telling me to bring my camera and join them since it was an event not to be missed. I don’t know what it is that is so magnificent: the wind coming from the west along the Salmon Arm of the Shuswap? the waves beating the docks until they are along the shoreline? the teen-age boys riding the paddle boards and the kayaks? Bonnie waiting for the next wave and then leaping in the air as it is about to cover her? Rebecca taking pictures and her hair billowing in the wind? the foam on the waves as it pulls back from the shore and into the water.

Perhaps it is everything together. I ventured out further than I wanted to go and it wasn’t long before I had been dashed back to shore flat on my back. Getting up from a prone position with the waves slapping down on me was something I hadn’t thought about when I got into the water. At least I had the good sense to be within calling distance of Rebecca.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Carbon Footprint

Our supper-time conversation was about the new energy tax that Canadians will be experiencing. David Camps thinks that taking care of the earth in this fashion is a no-brainer. I tell him, if you talk the talk, can you walk the walk. He wants to know what that means. I tell him that part of it is about growing food or eating food that is grown close to your home. But I am wondering what I will be doing with all of the windfall apples if they are picked up and put on my counter.

Not that my idea is a good one for my health, but the idea of turning all of those apples into pies is in my head. The reason I want to resist is the idea of peeling the apples. Making the pie crust is no problem. But my potato peeler is so dull that it takes more than 3 strokes just to get one peeling off of a spud.

I was astonished when I saw how fast
this apple peeler would work!
Listening to my complaints Glen offered to let me use their apple peeler.

He gave me a demo and then delivered the peeler plus a bushel of apples to my house.

By now I was a believer after watching one apple pass by the peeling blade and be cut into spirals on the same motion. The hardest task is lining up the tri-fork that goes into the core with the stem of the apple which has to meet a small hole at the end of the peeler. Hard, but not that hard, since I have more trouble threading a needle than getting the apple lined up in the right direction.

In order to let David have the full joy of the production of an apple pie from its genesis of an apple on a tree, to the pleasure of the first forkful into one’s mouth, Bonnie had David go over and pick 10 more apples from a tree, one apple for every year he is old. He didn’t feel any urgency to complete the task. There is no rush for a grade 6 boy about much … unless the end result has to do with accessing electronics. I, on the other hand, could see the three pounds of lard waiting to be turned into pies dough, and I could see the bushel of apples resting on the kitchen island needing to be peeled. And I know I have a limited time of life left, even if I project another 20 years, the time seems short.

Neither David nor I had counted on the apple pie tasting so good. Perhaps it was a function of using the best apples on the property: the ones on the west side of Wyona’s house. Perhaps it was a function of our hunger and the lateness of the evening that made them taste so good.

I was reminded of a lesson I learned while visiting Hampton Court with David Pilling. The tour guide said that originally pie crust was not made to be eaten. It was a vehicle by which to get the filling into people’s mouths. I was thinking about that as both of them were near my mouth, wondering when things changed so that both the crust and the filling became delicious.

But back to reducing our impact on the environment – eating apple pie made from fruit grown in or near my own yard is a nice way of feeling virtuous if that can count as reducing the carbon footprint.


The Golden Age

The late Doug Hughes of Salmon Arm, B.C., was instrumental in bringing into the Salamar Classic Theatre, both the dance series and the opera series of HD Live transmissions.

Those events have been running for eight years now and over the course of the years I have attended a number of viewings.

A memorable one was the time we listened to a long Wagner opera and we brought our lunch, eating our sandwiches and cake in the parking lot out of the trunk of one of the vehicles we had driven in. 

Other memorable events included candied popcorn compliments of Moiya.

I have been thinking about these memories, knowing that the Bolshoi Ballet performance called “The Golden Age”, will grace the screen on Sunday. This will be an exploration of the jazz music of the European 1920’s.  One of the sequences will be dance to “Tea for Two”.

I love the feeling of knowing I will be watching the Bolshoi on Sunday without the hassle of the plane flight to Russia.

I tried to find some reviews but had no luck. During my failed search, I did enjoy the following line from Wiki about Shotakovich, who wrote this ballet.

Shostakovich himself was a very keen football follower, and is said to have coined the expression "Football is the ballet of the masses".


The Finest Apple

The yellow skinned apples
are the ones in question.
Who would believe these are the best apples on the property?

The question would probably be raised, if these are the best, what do the worst look like.

But this is a question of a book should not be judged by its cover.

When all of the apples are lined up in a row, I will take one of these, hands down!

Wyona says that these apples had perfect skins until about a week ago.  And then, bang!  A blight on the skins.  But underneath that skin is the finest apple.  Greg said he has been thinking of a way to take down that tree for a number of years.  At one point it was slipping down the hill, for example.

But this year?

An amazing apple!

I should start a GoFund the Bates apple tree for it is amazing.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Stinky Bob

Photo: Wyona
Here is one of the wild flowers Wyona was painting
On some points, I cannot help myself.

One of them is when I am walking along the edge of a meadow, or carefully stepping over a stream that crosses a path in the forest, I am also wondering what is the name of the plant I am also looking at.

I was obsessing over the same thing with birds.

I wanted to know the name of every bird I saw flying through the air.

My birder friend, Eric Tull, said to me, "The birds don't know their names."

I have no idea why that still makes me laugh.  I guess because he so clearly unlocked my hidden desire to "know everything".  I don't think there is a way to heaven without filling that requirement.

Yes.  Must know everything.  It is the key to entrance into the pearly gates.
Photo: Wyona
This is a close-up of that flower.
Have you ever seen it as you walked
along the side of the road?

So I walk along, noting the names of the plants I know, and trying to get a fix on the look of the plants for which I have no name.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear the name of a new plant.

Stinky Bob.

Wyona had been doing watercolours of a bouquet of plants that Greg brought into the house for her.

She had counted how many wild flowers he had put into one grouping and she, too, wanted to know their names.

Photo: Wyona
Photography is not the only way to capture images.

The resident forester usually has a name for a plant.  He gave them up.

Class B Noxious Weed

Geranium robertianum


Other common names: Robert Geranium, Stinky Bob
Plant family: Geraniaceae
Year listed: 1997
Native to: Europe
Photo: Wyona
The finished project, now ready to be framed.

Yesterday I was out picking up windfall apples and saw Stinky Bob for the first time.

I mean, really saw it -- on the side of the hill.

It seemed to be the only flower in focus for me.

All because of Wyona's painting project.