Tuesday, November 29, 2016

War Horse and No Man's Land

Mary reminds some of us in an email that Warhorse is coming to theatres near us on Saturday.

For some of us, again on Wednesday.

And now I get an email saying that No Man's Land is scheduled for December 15th

I went out to see a short clip of dialogue between Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart and one utube clip always leads to another.  So now, another request from me.

McKellen and Stewart
I need Duncan to check out this short video of Ian McKellen on Shakespeare.  You will see a younger version of McKellen to go with the older version of him that you will see on Dec 15th.  I think it is instructive to watch him as a younger actor.  Watch his gestures and mannerisms.  And at about 5 minutes, watch how he sinks to the floor and then rises again. And then to match that up with what he does as an older actor in this play on Dec 15th.

Or perhaps I am capturing the link here so that I can go out and finish watching the clip, since I had to interrupt it.  At 5 minutes I knew I had to stop to get on with the day's work, but I am coming back to finish watching this tonight.

Such fun!

Tonia also asked if anything else is coming up.  So here is the list:

Dec 2 to 10: 6 Characters in Search of an Author -- at the university.  An absurdist metatheatrical play by Pirandello, first performed in 1921

Dec 7: Warhorse at the Eau Claire Cineplex

Dec 10: L'Amour de Loin - opera

Dec 11: Nutcracker - ballet

Dec 15: No Man's Land.

That is not it for Dec.  Lots of live concerts everywhere.  Have fun everyone.


Monday, November 28, 2016


Arta learns how to take a quick picture and then
send it to her own account on her phone.
Bonnie is getting a tutorial at the same time.
Not everyone gets a midnight visit from the neighbour next door.

Nor lets him stay until 2:30 am.  But this was the case for Bonnie and me.  Adults who have babies to put to bed find it hard to find time for each other -- at least that is the case among some of us.  And the reason why these visits work.

As the conversation rolled around, Richard began to show Bonnie some technical tricks to do with her phone and her photos.  I was alerted that this might be the time to learn how to work my own electronics.

Moiya just bought a beautiful new IPhone.  I don't even know how to work my old phone, but I knew that I could get some great tips if I could just alert myself to the idea that learning does go on after midnight, even without a jolt of caffeine.  And I had two people willing to give me enough tips that I went to bed a different person.

Just being able to put a grocery list on my telephone is a big step forward for me. Richard showed me how to get into just one of a host of apps, and that will be enough for me.

I just love it that the programme is called Keep, even though I intend to get rid of those notes on my phone as quickly as I put them on.


Testify! Indigenous Arts +the Law

Last year, I got selected as part of an Indigenous Art and Law Collective, and so have spent part of energies over the last year thinking about these two things together. Here is a link to info on the project:  http://www.testifyindigenous.ca I got paired with the really wonderful Shain Jackson, Sechelt lawyer, artist, entrepreneur and activist.  What a joy!  He did an amazing copper piece, "Golden Eagle Rising".  Copper set into cedar.  

It was set up with a piece of writing by me.  the necklaces i made this summer, to give as witness gifts:  people were to choose a necklace, and leave a post-it note saying what they would take away from the show as a whole.

 Nadya Kwadibens (also in the show) took the most amazing photos of the show.  check it out here.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Breakfast Conversation

This morning I got invited over for breakfast by Michael and Alice.

Michael:  I'ts pancake time. Would you like to come over?

Alice:  It's pancake time!!!

Arta:  Yes, Bonnie and I will be over in five minutes.

We arrived and I got down face-to-face to say hello to Michael. He had an intent look on his face.

Bonnie:  I can see you are having a thought.

Michael:  Yes. Your necklace makes me think of the owl I saw in the barn.

Bonnie:  Would you like to hold the owl on my necklace up to the camera so you can show your cousins this carved owl?

Michael:  Yes. But I really want to look at the picture of the owl in the barn on my mom's phone.

Bonnie: What kind of owl was it?

Michael:  It was white and it was just staring at me.

Bonnie: And where were you?

Michael:  In a barn.

Bonnie: Oh, yes. A barn. But where was this barn?

Michael: On the edge of town.

Bonnie:  Why were you in a barn?

Michael: Because it is a great place to go picnicking with your mom's friend.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cally Bear

"I love it.  Just love it."
I thought Michael and Alice would enjoy a musical toy called a Cally Bear which counts down the months and then the days to Christmas.

Kalina has one for a couple of weeks and Hebe's is new this week. Thank you Costco for offering it on your holiday isle. 

Beginning on the first day of December the toy will also play the melodies of some of the traditional Christmas songs.

 I hadn't counted on Betty seeing the bear first when I delivered the bear.  Betty wrapped her arms around it while it was still in the package, and would not let go of it, even when we tried to untie the plastic wrapping and cut the wires that held it in the package.

With a love like that, who could expect the toy to last 24 hours. It had all of the attention it could take and now its electronic voice only begs to be reset by having an adult press both its right paw and ear at the same time -- an intervention which doesn't work rhough Miranda thinks it will reset December 1st.

That malfunction left Joan Turnbull and me on our own tonight at dinner. I had been counting on music from Cally, the Bear. Joan and I had to think up the Christmas seclar songs and remember the tunes on our own. I thought a good start would be the second and third verses of "Up on the Housetop, the Reindeeer Pause", since there is a small plot line about what Will and Nell are getting for Christmas.

Soon we segued to "I'm Gettin' Nuttin' for Christmas", an idea of loss that hasn't entered Michael nor Alice's head before. They were completely bewildered.  Who better to teach them that concept than their double-dose of grandmothers. Again, Joan and I hadn't brushed up on our lyrics and we couldn't remember everything that had been broken by or gone wrong in the anti-hero's life in that song. But our creativity filed in the blanks in our minds. Joan and I warmed up to our teaching moments -- she wanted to sing about people who didn't have teeth through which they could perform the traditional Christmas greetings.

I wanted to suggest that someone might ask for a hippopotamus for Christmas. Only a hippo.  One that could be kept in the garage, massaged -- a one off.

Four new songs in an evening is enough.

I went home and the children continue to play hide-and-seek with Joan for the night.

Sign me, Grandmother-in-training-'cause-I-ain't-been-nuttin-but-bad'.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Late, Late Show

... the first step in getting back to Montreal 
is making it through security on time ...
Catherine gets a burst of energy between 10:30 pm and 2:30 am.

I am the lucky recipient of those work-charged hours.

She re-organized the spices in both of my kitchens.

She levelled the washer and dryer in the laundry room so that they no longer rock when they are in motion.

She purchased and put together a shelving unit to hold cleaning supplies.

She purchased a new shower head, installed it and put a rice paper cover on the glass of the bathroom window. She assembled vertical metal shelves to hold up my pots and pans.

"Thank heavens for the beautiful scarf, Arta, 
so people will look at the scarf 
and not the bags under my eyes. 
Time for a nap on the plane: 4 glorious hours."

She sorted all of Kelvin's photos, letters and memoirs, getting them into binders and she found time to read some of them to Kelvin.

She catered two ethnic parties based parties:  one sushi based, the other samosa based.  She organized a spontaneous sibling party as well.

I don't even find it embarrassing that I had that much social and physical work to do around my house.

Nor do I find it embarrassing that I have another list that long for when Rebecca arrives.


On running through a backyard ...

From Catherine Jarvis:

"My fright this morning" 

"Look at the snow I stepped in."

From Catherine:

To Alice's delight grandma secretly provided the first snow fall.

It tastes good too cuz it's otherwise known as sugar.
... and  now panning back ...

Arta made this snow trying to pour sugar into glass gallon jars in the yard.

Keep the secret and call grandma if you need some snow.
Postscript from Arta:  
Why in a yard that
big and a little pile of sugar that small, why then,
is that the place that Alice wanted to step.
Or ... even saw for that matter.

Just Remember One thing

Sharon had found her purse and
now it is on her lap with her at dinner.
From Catherine.

This was my last full day in Calgary.

I said to Kelvin, "Dad, this is my last day with you, and I don’t want to share it with anyone else."

That was not to be.  He wanted us to eat with his brother and sister.  So we had a family party at 5 pm with Grant and Sharon which was VERY, VERY fun.

Sharon, Kelvin, Grant and I enjoyed each other in a more private setting, just off of the main dining room.

The workers went to get Sharon and put her in the family room.

I put Kelvin there.

I met Grant at the elevator door.

I said, "Grant, this is so exciting, we are having a family party."

Grant: Who is coming?

Catherine: Sharon and Kelvin

Grant:  What about Beverly?

Catherine: I don’t think he is coming.

Grant: Why not.

Catherine: I don’t think he is feeling well.

Then I tried to change the subject.

Add caption
Here is a picture of them.

They were holding hands.

It was nice.

Again, Grant wanted Beverly to be there and asked where he was.

Sharon was laughing so hard and went into uncontrollable laugher.

She said, "He is dead."

Grant and Sharon
Grant said, "Well, nobody told me."

Sharon said, "Grant, you were at the funeral."

So I put my tape recorder on the table and their conversation was wonderful to listen to when I got home and could hear it again.

It was a lovely little dinner.

We all had an enjoyable time.

... the four of us in a selfie ...
Then all of us had FaceTime with my kids my family in Montreal were having home evening.

My Seton group family was happy to be there.

Grant offered a prayer.

Grant gave a beautiful prayer, a loving one, about loving our families and being grateful for the things that surround us.

Just lovely.

 Then Kelvin and I went back to his room to look at old letters, some from his parents, the last thing that Bessie wrote in her own hand — about her marriage.

Kelvin read me this outloud -- the story of his mother getting married.

The family photos at dinner were fun, as well, with Grant wondering….having a lot of questions about his own family and the extended family.

Just lovely to see his concern.

One of Grant’s letters that we read said, “Just remember, all that matters is family”.

... one more try at getting the perfect selfie ...
Kelvin reminded me that since the four of us had eaten in the family room, the housekeeping staff wouldn't be cleaning up after us.

I tried to gather everything together, but I stacked too many plates and cups in my hands, so they fell before I made it to the kitchen.

A bottle of Ensure was all over everything: the table, chairs, the legs of the table and all down the front of me. 

Grant was back in a second with a wet cloth and was cleaning up everything. I asked him again how old he is.

There -- a 91 year old man was cleaning up after me.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Event that Made My Day

A Photo Essay of an Early Morning Visit to Miranda's House,
by Catherine Johnson

Catherine arrived in Calgary and the next morning she slipped over to watch the girls while Michael was being driven to kindergarden

There is nothing more fun than getting reacquainted with an aunt who has stayed at your house before.  No matter that you call her every other aunt's name.  

Just one picture before we begin to play this morning.

Betty begins to sing, "Here's a ball for baby ...."

"Here's the way the baby, plays a peek-a-boo."

And "Here's the way the baby plays a-peek-a-boo", again.

Pat a cake, pat a cake.  The song never grows old.

Lowest Prices in Town

My second time to this shop.
My happines for the day is complete.
The long story is that Kelvin needed a stent blocking procedure yesterday, and so our outing was arranged around getting him to the Lougheed Hospital yesterday.

 The procedure he was after was one that would unblock his stent which was causing him the jaundice.
... the sweets we didn't buy ...
While waits can be long in hospitals, he learned that the procedure he needed is only done in that hospital in all of Alberta.

 So the wait is shortened somewhat when there are not miles of travel to do to get medical care.

 This is more than a small mercy.

 Catherine and I went to get him food and where else to go but the Samsoa factory since we were a 10 minute drive away.

 Since we ordered 12 large ones, we had to wait for them to come from the back of the shop freshly made.

 That gave us lots of time to look around the shop

Catherine began to interview every child who entered the shop, asking which of the sweets were the best ones to buy.

 Then she began interviewing other customers, and even the woman at the till.

 The burning question was which of the sweets should be pick, since they were all lined up and you could choose anything along the counter for $6.99 a pound.

We freely chose, having had missed lunch and now nearly missed supper.

 Kelvin was just as hungry when we picked him up, having fasted all day.

 A few months ago he said that he was no longer interested in spicy food.

 But, for him, it was fabulously delicious last night.

 Our first, second and third courses of the evening were all samosa.

There were other choice of sweets in that shop. 

This time, all the sweets you can put in a box for $2.99.

 Catherine and I watched a couple of men, mixing and matching their sweets from both categories, but all in the large box.

 She and I tried to explain to them that things would be cheaper if they took two boxes, one for each price.

 But that couldn't do for them, for they were on their way to a potlock and were only to bring one dish.

 How interested do you think I was in trying to figure out why one at a higher price would be better than two at a lower price at the pot luck?
Catherine says that the lowest prices in Canada
also exist in Montreal
in the shop where she buys her Samosas!

We tucked in a Costco run and 3 ice cream cones for the day, as well as a trip to Home Depot.

And truth be told, we did not get everything done that was on our lists.

We didn't even get 90% of the way there.



The skin on the floor, just waiting for clean up.

Sometimes blogging is like inviting people right into my home.

Or into my garage.

Or into my son's garage.

To back up just a ways, since Catherine came to Calgary, I haven't had a chance to watch T.V. Instead we make lists of jobs to do, on paper or electronically. The lists go in on the bulletin board, on walls or into the computer. Or perhaps we send them by text. A person would need an executive secretary to keep track of just the lists she and I have made. Our lives are not the only ones that are that busy.

Catherine:  "You have a deer hanging in your garage?
Can I take just one picture of it?"

Richard shot a deer last week.

He has had time to skin it, but no time to cut the meat from it.

So it hangs in his garage, waiting for him to get up at 4 am to skin it before he goes to work.

But he can't get up with that 4 am alarm, having worked himself, the day before, until he needs that 6 hours of sleep ahead of him, whether there is meat to skin or not.  So still it hangs in his garage.

Catherine: "Turn it around.  
I want a shot of the back side."
Catherine and I began to wind down last night at 10:30 pm, must getting home from the long day at the hospital with Kelvin.  However she had to send one last text to Richard: "Come over if you want hot samosas."  She laughed when she sent it, saying I doubt he is awake.  But 30 seconds later he came in -- not really for the samosas, but when do busy people have a time to meet, even if they live next door.

And after the long visit, lots of over-talk, lots of laughter, lots of pictures sharing on respective phones, we closed down the night.

A full day.

The only way to live life.


Friday, November 18, 2016

The Entertainer

The Entertainer
I had four people lined up with me to go to The Entertainer.

 Catherine said we were going to make it a five person Christmas party at the theatre -- how good would that have been!

One by one other needs became a higher priority than personal entertainment and off I went alone.  Getting to these shows seems to be a religious necessity for me.

As the story started going Willy Loman-like, downhill, I was glad my friends and family had ditched.  But then, that is why I go to the theatre isn't it.

I am pretty sure some of my Victoria relatives would have been there, so for them?  Here is what I noticed.

1. When Jean Rice knelt down on the stage, her back to us, we could see the huge holes in the soles of her high heels.  I loved that touch.
2. When her brother went over to play the piano and he accompanied himself, that is the first time I was aware that I hadn't been "aware" of the band before.  So many plays, now, have the band onstage.  And of course there was one, for the accompanied the burlesque dancing, etc.   Then on the second verse of the song, he stopped playing the piano and the band accompanied him, but ... just so touching.
3. Phoebe had a large part in the play. She was onstage and the foil for so much that was going wrong.  Nice to look into the soul of a woman in her position.
4. Loved the questions and answers at the half time entertainment.  They added so much to understanding the background of what I was seeing.
5. I watched Branaugh, even when my eyes were to be on the other characters.  Flawless!  What a performance.  Slipping into other brogues, his anger, his "deadness", his analysis of his life, his new love affair gone sour because of his father's interference, his dark British humour, the quick change between cruelty and love,  ....
6. I haven't read John Osbourne's Look Back in Anger.  I wish that had been on some university course in my distant past.
7. I thought the integration between the home scenes and the theatre scenes was clever.  Seamless.  And the light occasionally coming through one of the doors.

I am glad I had the plot under my belt before I left -- and some background knowledge about the Suez Canal / Anthony Eden / politics.

Catherine is telling me from the background that I have four minutes until she is ready to go out the door.  I don't want to be left behind, and there are other shows coming.  But I did want to say this was another show that I want to see again at the Encore.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Black and White OR Technicolour

Catherine was showing me the school pictures for her older kids, and the class picture for Hebe.

Then she showed me one of the few family photos they have taken in the last few years.

Always the person holding the camera is left out on family travels.

But this time the whole family is captured.

Once in black and white.

And the second time in Technicolour.

I didn't know which side to weigh in on when Catherine asked me which one I liked over the other.

Hard to tell, coming from an era when black and white is all that we had, suddenly colour pops out.

But there is a charm about the black and white, wouldn't  you say?


Karma - family owned and operated

Can you tell which person has jaundice?

After our trip to the MacKenzie Town CIBC we asked the clerk helping us, "Could you direct us to a family owned restaurant in the mall where we could buy some ethnic food."

And that is how we arrived at the Karma: Fine Indian Cuisine Restaurant.

Their lunchtime buffet was in progress and we joined in the fun, feasting on the tandoori chicken and enjoying the three vegetarian curries on the menu.

And that was not all the food offered, but enough to say that we left so comfortably full that none of us had had to eat for the rest of the day.

Karma -- 2016 Metro Winner of Best Indian Cuisine
Three cheers for the restaurant.

I would return in a heartbeat.

As to other jobs done during the day, on every stop, I was busy finding other places to eat when we take our next trip there to do some kind of business.

How does this restaurant sound for an eatery:  The Wok Box.  I slipped in to see what they were serving and if the venue was wheel chair accessible, which is a selling point for us right now.

I am going to have such a list of choices available in my daybook for next time.  I love going out and doing jobs with Catherine.


Catherine comes to visit Kelvin

... landing in Calgary from Montreal ...
All of the fun of having Catherine come to Calgary for a week is not in the anticipation.

Lots of it is in the actual fact of having her here for seven days, sleeping on the north side of Calgary and spending her days on the far south side of Calgary.

She arrived on one of those days when the weather was perfect until 10 a.m.  Then bits of fine snow began to fall.

Then those fat heavy flakes came tumbling down from the sky.

While her plane was landing, I was out doing my grocery shopping.

When I got into Superstore, I had to take my coat off and shake the snow off of my shoulders and arms, they were both so heavy laden.

She was picking up her van and the clerk kept looking out the window and saying, "This is what I have been waiting for since I moved here."  He is new from Jamaica and was thrilled with the sight of the snow.  The sudden change in weather is worth studying.

... Calgary, just as I remember it from my childhood
Catherine drove right to see Kelvin and it wasn't until the evening when we caught up with how our days had gone. I was off seeing physicians and she was trying to get doctors to look at Kelvin, for he was not just jaundiced, but as he said himself, "golden".  That will be taken care of with a small procedure on Friday.

We decided to get out of the starting gate right with the ring of the first bell, so today we have been out doing jobs at the bank, at Staples, at Home Depot, just moving right along as if this were the last day we could get our business done.

Now Catherine is finally in bed.  Thank goodness a bit of jet lag caught up with her, or else we may have done many other jobs tonight.


Time for a rest

... the most uncomfortable bench in the mall ....
Moiya and I spent a day in Salmon Arm.

Part of the joy of having the Woods for close neighbours is that Moiya loves to drive to town and I like to hop in the car and see where she is going.

But I couldn't follow her one step further, no matter what the deal was at hand.  So I sat on a bench and tried to go far enough back to use the wall to rest on.

No deal.  The bench curved in all of the wrong places, but still it was preferrable to standing or walking one more step.

Finally she needed a bite to eat so she bought some buns, some honey ham and some Yum Yum pickles and we made our own sandwiches, sitting on another bench in the mall, which would have been another picture.  But one neither of us took, since we were too busy feasting on the freshness of food out of the grocery store and into our hands in a couple of minutes.

Now that was a trip to town worth taking.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Entertainer ... coming soon

 Kenneth Branagh as Archie Rice in
The Entertainer,
with Greta Scacchi and Gawn Grainger.
Photograph: Johan Persson
Catherine, Kelvin and I are going to see Kenneth Branaugh's The Entertainer on Thursday.

I have been reading The Wikipedia article on The Entertainer and trying to figure out who the key characters are.

I know that Duncan and Rebecca will be seeing it in Victoria as well.

The last time that Rebecca took her boys and went to Richard II, they didn't have time to read a review, or to talk about the plot before hand.

Some lives are just that busy.

Mine isn't.

So I started with Susannah Clapp's review in The Guardian on Sept 4, 2016.

 ... Cagneyesque skill …
Kenneth Branagh as Archie Rice in
The Entertainer.
Photograph: Johan Persson
Then I moved to the review by Johan Persson, still in The Guardian, but an August 2016 review.  Persson calls the Archie Rice character clapped-out so I had to go to the dictionary again.

Clapped-out means worn out or dilapidated, so I think things are going to go down-hill somewhat in the show.

Just the picture that accompanied the article is enough to get me to the show.

I loved vaudeville.

Here is the May 2016 interview with Branagh by Chris Wiegand if you are still gathering material about The Entertainer.

See you there.