Saturday, December 31, 2016

Sing-a-long Sound of Music

For one of our last 'events' of 2016, Duncan and I went to "Sing-a-Long Sound of Music" at the Vic Theatre.

http://thevic.ca/item/vic-sing-a-long-a-sound-of-music

Yes, we had our goody bag of items to use (eidelwise, fabric from the curtains, problem cards, invite to the gala, and a firecracker for when maria and captain finally kiss!).  Duncan and I sang along all the way, booing at the nazis, and hissing at the baroness (i felt a bit sad at that since i always think she is just misunderstood... and she is the character i had always most wanted to BE!)

There was a big law school turn out (the dean [and his partner], two associate deans, a retired associate dean, the [goddess] administrative assistant, two faculty members, and two Fraser building kids!)  Maybe the 'sing-a-long' tradition is part of what makes the UVic law difference?

Can't believe i didn't get pictures of Gillian's and Yvonne, both of whom dressed in character!

My Christmas Day

I went to Agecare Seton about 9 am. I had told Kelvin ahead, that I wanted to hear him read the nativity out of Luke. In fact, on the phone I told him that I wanted to hear him recite it word for word, no help from the Bible, and I would give him a practise run.

I gave him the first words: “and there were in the same country …” and let him go from there. He did a credible job on the telephone that day. Not perfect, but better than most people can do.

I could prompt him.

That is because when I was the Primary chorister, I took some time to teach everyone over the age of 6, that whole passage, so that we could do it from memory in the Sacrament Service. It was unusual and very cute! And that is the how and why the passage is cemented in my own mind.

So on Christmas Day, Kelvin and I went to Sharon’s room.

He opened up the Bible and found Luke. But he started back at the very beginning where the chapter is setting up with “and I write to you, the most excellent Theopholus,” etc.  I will give you the quote:

1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Kelvin was way back in time, even before the angel coming to Elizabeth, and Zachariah being struck dumb, etc. I was fascinated, never having been at a church service that started so far back in Luke.  The two women hadn’t even seen each other, nor had one of the children leaped in the womb. We went through all of that -- 25 lovely verses.

 Then we were interrupted by a phone call.

Catherine and Mary's family were inviting us into their present opening via Skype, so the Bible closed down and we went off to do other family directed events.

On reflection I can think it might be the most unusual Xmas day I have ever spent. A blind woman who can barely hear laying on her bed, a man who knows he is dying of cancer sitting in his wheelchair reading, and me.   Kelvin's lovely clear trained, professional voice.  I was fascinated by the text.

And by  the fact that the three of us, all of us, are in the last 1/4 of our lives, if we live to be 100.  We were gathered together to acknowledge our common hope that someday there will be a happening that will bring peace in the world.

Arta

Friday, December 30, 2016

Merry Christmas from Bonnie and David

... our temporary dog ...

Merry Christmas from Bonnie and David:

No, we did not get a dog for Christmas.

But we are temporarily hanging out with one while her owner is on vacation.

I am hoping someone can tell me what kind of a dog she is besides cute and playful.

David got an NCAA regulation size leather basketball for Cristmas.

On Christmas day his Great Uncle Dave found a pin and an air compressor, and his Great Uncle Glen gave him a lesson on how to blow it up and test if it has the right amount of air in it.

David showed each of us how high the ball bounced when he dropped it from the highest height he could lift it with one hand.

He have been practicing how to pass to someone's hand, whether they hand it up high on the right or down low on the left.

David is already good at a behind the back pass.

"ribit"
Heres a photo of me outside the health unit. I got a hand-knit frog hat.

It surprises some people.

The pattern was chosen by a 5 year old who sports a unicorn hat and a handknit felted skirt.

We had talked about fashion a lot as we worked on the sounds /b/ for boots, blouse, and Bonnie (of course).

Her mother hand knitted it. 

It is so comfortable.

What an unexpected surprise to have them hand deliver it to me. 

 Our decorations are now boxed up.

We had some old and some new.

... Christmas crafts on the window ledge ...
Here's a stain glass craft David made in grade 2.

And the sick snowman was made by Ramona and left on my desk. 

Another sweet surprise.

But perhaps the biggest surprise of all is the new view I have from my kitchen window. If you look closely you might see Mount Ida in the background.

I have so many people to thank for making it possible for me to move into Salmon Arm.

Bonnie Wyora

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Idle Talk with Betty

... my friend, Betty ...
Miranda and I went to Costco. Both Alice and Michael wanted to hop on the cart that I was driving. But before I had begun to move the buggy, they changed their minds and went with their mother. Miranda and I just switched carts and off I went with Betty Blanche. It has been a long time since I have driven a baby around a store. I could see her looking for the rest of her pack, her neck twisting, her eyes darting here and there in hopes of running into them.

We did pass by them at the Dairy section, whoops and hollers coming from both carts, giving each other waves and cheers. The cheers were for my cart as I had already filled up my basket: one super giant package of paper towels and one super giant package of toilet paper and that about fills up a cart. Thereafter, Betty began to bend and turn in her seat, helping me to find space in the cart for the smaller items as I would try to put them in.

I was trying to make our cart seem like more fun that being with her siblings. I didn’t realize I was talking to her all of the time until I said to her, “I have circled the drug isles twice now, Betty, and I can’t find the Olay Ultra Moist bars that are on sale.”

A clerk in the optical section called over her counter to me and said, “They are just over there in the wire cage section.

The Hot Dog Shop.

That is what the kids call the food court at Costco. Miranda waited in one of the long line-ups to buy the food. The very long line-ups. The kids and I sat at a table waiting. Betty Blanche has a short waiting period. Besides that she only had one boot – one of the times when she had kicked off her boot in the car so at least it was in a known space. I couldn't put her down and let her run bootless.   I entertained her with a few cold wet napkins and wiped the dried chocolate from her face with them. She slithered off of the bench and I could see she was going for a discarded French fry she had spotted on the floor. I kicked it aside. I went to the condiment section and filled up small cups with ketchup. I gave her a fork and let her transfer ketchup to her mouth.

“That is OK,” said Miranda when I confessed to her my bad grand-parenting. “In our family we are still in the space where we call ketchup part of the vegetable family.”

On the way home the music in the car was a CD by Sharon, Lois and Braum. Miranda said that the disc owes them no money, for it is constantly played in the car. I listened to “Ballin’ the Jack” among other tunes and I was reminded that I must look up the words and practice them so that we can sing and dance to it, some night after supper.
Maybe tonight.

Arta

Filberts

... our style of nutcracker ...
My mother called the nuts we are using at our house, filberts.

I know them best as hazelnuts when I buy them at the store.

That is my favourite way to purchase them – already in a package with their perfect round shapes.

 Michael knows the hazelnuts as the first nuts he ever tried to crack with nutcrackers.

He has been wanting to use my decorative nutcrackers since I explained to him that the mouth that would open and close could crack nuts.  I didn't make it clear to him that mine were decorative, and so he kept trying to use them -- if not one, then another and I have many.

... I am looking for this style of nutcracker ..
In order to save the nutcrackers from total destruction, I purchased some utilitarian tools.  Just a cheap pair.

I thought I would buy Brazil nuts when I was checking out what nuts I should buy to let him practice on.

I had second thoughts about the Brazil nuts since those shells are so hard and I have never had success in cracking one and getting just the perfect nut out of it.

I tested the shells of almond. Too soft. On reflection, I see those are the ones I should have bought!

... a nutting stone ...
Every time Michael comes over to read from his primer chapbook, he wants to crack a few nuts first.

 Not to eat the nuts.

Just to see if he can play a bit, get leverage and then crack the nut, putting them in one bowl and the shells in another.

 I have yet to show him where the hinge is, but we have studied the tool to find the places that give us the best grip.

 ...a 19th century nutcracker using indirect pressure ...
I was thinking about all of that this morning when I was sweeping up the shells from the floor and wiping the splinters of the nuts off of the island.

 They have spread far and wide, reading into the laundry room.


I could feel shells crunching under my feet.

I wonder if I will miss that part of Christmas when he grows too old to want to crack shells.

Arta

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

An Island Christmas Eve Meal

The Traditional Christmas Eve Meal
at the Carter Johnson House

I would be the one who would look at this picture and be flooded with memories of the Christmases past.  At the very least of 2015 when I enjoyed Christmas in Victoria.

I used the magnification tools to find out just what kind of food was in the dish:  heritage potatoes, brownish-yellow and purple flesh, quartered and ready to be place on the raclette pan.  Then I remembered that Rebecca is the very best on the fruit and vegetable isles of her local grocery stories.  If the merchants have brought it in, she has purchased it.

The cheese looks good.

I am sure there is a pomelo around the corner to be put on the table for dessert.

The only mystery to me is the red and green item.  My best guess is that Rebecca has staged the photo for me with a Christmas decoration.

Arta

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Utensils

From Catherine Jarvis:

"You mean I don't have to do it with a fork?"
So you should all invite Mary for Christmas. I've never had so much fun.

First, Mary is incredible at doing just about anything using any utensils.

If the world ends I want to be near Mary cuz she'll find a way to survive and get it done with any available utensil.

Remember Christmas Eve and the salad spinner for which she couldn't find a lid?

So she spun it with her finger?  We even did a video so watchers can see that everyone has the power to make utensils work if you can only find only one-half of them.
"We should be on a cooking show called Creative Utensils101!"

Well Christmas Day she skimmed mild scum off hot chocolate using a fork and today here we are today getting the bones out of the chicken stock.

I was pulling out bones using a pasta spoon so she offered a more practical solution--my measuring cup and a sieve.

Not to be outdone.

I found a bigger and better utensil.

Using the most basics of utensils she made the most fabulous Christmas dinner ever.

Trust me, I've eating 47 years of Christmas dinners and this one will be one to remember.

I'm inviting her every year.

"Dance, anyone?"
After Christmas dinner I asked Mary if she might like to use a Christmas skirt Arta sent home with me.

I told her it was beautifully beaded but very heavy.

Not one I can use right now for fear of it being destroyed by the kids.

Mary said, sure but I'm not sure it will fit.

I replied, Mary it's a tree skirt.

So here she is in her Christmas skirt.

Catherine.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Rebecca photos of the flight from Calgary to Victoria

What a treat to spend part of December in Calgary!  And what a treat to fly home on a clear day (where you can, of course, see forever!)

I posted the rest of the photos here:
http://carter-johnson2.blogspot.ca/2016/12/magic-in-air-return-flight-from-calgary.html

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The First Annual Reading Club Christmas Party

... a typical child's meal ...
Wyona hosted The First Annual Reading Club Christmas Party.

Five year olds who have been learning to read were invited to bring their favourite volume to read.

The audience sat in wrapped wonder as the little ones read their chosen chapbook, first giving the audience the story, and then they got to choose one page and read it backwards.

... the beloved creche from the Phillipines ...
That is, starting at the period in a sentence and going backwards to the capital of that sentence.

What a daring way to test them! Do they really know these words when they don’t have sentence context to back them up.

There were gifts at the end of the readings.

... homemade chilli for the adults ...
All of the readers got two packets of Phonics Learning Flash Cards.

Cheers went up!

Then they were gifted with five Primary Phonics workbooks that Laynie had xeroxed.

More cheers. And cheers for the beautiful 3 ring zippered binders that Charise had donated.

... Landon and Michael sit side-by-side ...
Next came 2 packages of magnetic pictures and words to be put on fridges.

At that Landon got up and did a victory dance.

The loot was coming in.

Next came a spiral binder full of more word games.

More cheers!

Hannah Pilling
 ... youngest member at the Reading Club Party ...
Two small tables were set up in the entry way, surrounded by chairs.

That is where the readers club members and their friends enjoyed their meal together.

Wyona had small glasses out for them – they could choose their drink and their glass.

... dessert -- ju-jubes ...
Some of the choices were goblets; other choices were different colours of shot glasses that seemed to be bent and unstable but which didn’t fall over.

 ... Audra, the evenings best child tender ...
Chocolate milk was a first choice of beverage; orange crush was a close second.

As with other festive occasions hosted by Wyona, what her small guests ate was entirely up to them.

dessert -- sour soothers
Audra sat at the table with them, and kept the conversation going.

Most of them have attended birthday parties together, or have met each other at the beach, so they were at least passingly familiar with each other.

If something can go wrong at a party, it will.

dessert - bones
At this event, Wyona’s kitchen sink backed-up.

Tonia’s recent experience with a similar problem tells her to call the city first, but the men wanted to at least get the sink semi-functional.

Tim Oldham, Jeremy Pilling and Richard Johnson all took their turns analyzing, augering, taking out the p-trap or running to Home Depot for another part or a tool rental.

dessert - cheesies
I think there were 19 at the party.

Space was at a premium.

Imagine yourself either in the kitchen or the living room; there are only small isles through which to walk.

disgusting -- dried, candied rhubarb
If you pass someone, both of you must turn sideways. Everywhere else in the room there were Christmas decorations: the tree was decorated; garlands were hanging from the windows; musical toys were being pressed and playing their melodies; the crèche was being arranged and rearranged; gifts were spilling out from under the tree; and the Yule log was playing on a T.V. channel.

Piper, a potential candidate for next year's club
note her off-centred beverage glass
The gift of being able to read.

Time to bow my head and say “God bless them, everyone.”

Arta

Betty Meets Santa

"How do you do, Mr. Santa!"
Richard and Miranda slipped by my house last night.  Two of their children were at a sleep over at their other grandmothers, so they came over to put up my magnetic knife strip, nail up my bulletin boards, and screw my my laundry racks to the wall.

Having only Baby Betty with them seemed like a charm, almost as they were alone for what can an 18 month old do but run from one spot to another, investigating.  She is the Christmas fun this year, for right now she will practise any word that you can say to her.  She wants to sing pat-a-cake or here's a ball for baby if she recognizes you as someone knowing those words.  She imitates the other kids when they play.  She is the first to grab the broom or a mop cloth when something spills. She wants to use the same eating utensils as the rest of the family.

I can hardly wait until Christmas morning when she discovers the joy of opening gifts.

Arta

Traveling to the theatre and back

... a selfie at the food court ...
When Rebecca was here, one of her goals was to take Kelvin out to the movies, or shopping or anywhere he thought he would like to go. 

That is how we discovered the joys of Eau Claire Market.

Who could ask for anything more: a food court, movies in progress and interesting ethnic shops.

I wanted to wheel Kelvin in and about the Nepalese store, and it was possible but just barely.

I hadn't realized that isles of stories aren't wheel chair friendly.

Rebecca and I were interested in eating at the mom and pop food kiosks -- one of them a curry place and the other a Chinese take-out.  We ordered the large sampler dish of the curries the first night.

The second time, Kelvin was dying for Chinese food, so he broke rank with us and ordered the classic Canadian Chinese take-out:  ginger-fried beef and deep friend pineapple chicken.
... our maiden voyage in the wheel chair lift ...

I didn't know how wheel chair access was going to work at the theatre until I got up the elevator right to the steps of the theatre.

No ramp here, but a small lift that would raise the wheel chair up about four feet.  The ticket taker had to leave her spot to key the unit into operation.  I was supposed to be able to get the wheel chair out on my own at the top, but there was a small lip at the top which I couldn't see, and of course, that I couldn't get over.

My first try only gave a thump to that edge with the wheel chair.  I used all of my strength on the second try but was stopped as well, and it is only by the grace of God that Kelvin didn't get whiplash or even be thrown out of the chair.  I know when to throw up my hands in dismay and again the ticket taker came to explain to me that the lift doesn't always stop even with the floor and that next time I should adjust it.  Odd that she didn't tell me that at first.

There is a talent to transferring patients from a wheel chair to a van.  A few more days of driving and going to events around the city, and Rebecca and I would have got the method right down.

Until then I had to count on learning through experience.
shop window at the
Son of Pharaoh in Eau Claire Market


Rebecca says I am the only person who wants to get her picture taken beside a skull.

 I don't think it was the skull in this shop that intrigued me.

 It was that so much of Egypt was in the display window. I didn't know that there was a real shop just around the corner that was full of Egyptian ware until a few days later when I was walking the same mall.

I shall miss Eau Claire now that Rebecca is gone.

Arta

Friday, December 16, 2016

Finishing Touches

Catherine, Bonnie and Rebecca have each come for a week to see Kelvin.  In the late evenings, when they come back here to sleep, they have all found fix-it jobs to do for me.  The case in point here is Rebecca who said that there are different ways to live than having frost crawling up windows in magical design, but also being the culprit of the cold draft coming off of this basement window.

She purchased some heavy gauge insulating film (Climaloc Plus) at Home Depot and then watched U-Tube videos for method.

This was much easier on the video.
Every description seemed to involve a hair dryer to tighten the film, a measuring tape and some window measurements, scissors to cut the film and enlightenment, which she went after with a vengeance.

Her analysis is that she will be better at the job a second time around. I am to alert her when the film comes down, just so she will know how long it lasted.

I am hoping it will be good for 3 months.

Arta

Decorating for Christmas

Nutcrackers and hazel nuts are in the white bowl.
Filberts are in the yellow cup -- all 7 of them.
Broken shells litter the floor.
Miranda should want to kill me.

... too tiny to see, but Betty is up front,  swinging her 
nutcracker tree decoration ...
Knowing that I will be in Calgary for Christmas this year, I decided to bring in from the garage, every possible possible Christmas decoration that I still have.

That is to say, I tried to give them all away, and have been successful with some.

But those that are left? They were all coming inside this year, I thought, at least for a sort and repair.

There were literally boxes of nutcrackers:  tall, medium, small, mini-sized, traditional, modern, some from Germany, some from China -- I seemed to have them all.  And I began to tuck them in every corner of my house.

Pedagogical question:
Is it better to learn by doing?
Or better to be warned that fingers are about to be pinched
?
The children and I have studied the nutcrackers, played with them, carried them around, decorated a small tree with them, then taken the decorations off, and then put them back on,  but most of all, Michael has wanted to use them to crack nuts.  Because me telling him that my nutcrackers are ornamental wasn't enough, I went to Safeway to buy some nutcrackers and some nuts.

So we are back to the old fashioned Christmas, the one that involves hand-cracking nuts and pulling the meat out with little picks, if the cracking goes wrong.

Or we use them on the play-dough if we need to make designs.  Our original nutcrackers are versatile.

This will be the Christmas that involves bruising little fingers when they get in the way of the nutcrackers being tightened.

Oh the fun of it!

Arta

No Man's Land ...

No Man's Land
Harold Pinter

 ... what fantasic cosutming
in Stewart's dressing gown ...
Rebecca asked me if I had seen any Pinter plays a couple of weeks ago.

She asked the question because I was out reading about No Man's Land, which was coming through NT Live.

I had to tell her that I would have to see a list of his plays, first, to know what he had written.  And then I showed her the book where I began to keep a list of events I have attended:  musical theatre, drama, concerts, operas, biopics, ... there were pages for each.

However I can't even keep up with maintaining the list.  The obvious thing to do is add each event when I come home at night.  But when I get into the house, all I want is a warm drink and someone to chat with about the event that I have just seen.

I did have someone to chat with last night.  Greg, Wyona and I went to the show together.  And then on the way home, Wyona asked Greg to turn right and into the Dairy Queen parking lot, probably first of all to enjoy their crushed peppermint blizzard, but second to laugh with each other about what we had seen.

The play is one thing.  But then to have a question and answer period afterwards with the players upped the enjoyment of the show.  Without the Q&A we would not have known, but their dialogue revealed to us, events that surprised even the actors in the show.

For example, Hirst, the upper-class literateur, threw a glass and it fell beside the door and shattered.  Later he crawled on his hands and knees through and around the glass.

He told us afterwards that in 400 performances, the glass has only broken 4 times.  Later in the play he is drinking tea and in this performance it spilled on his knee.  He took out a handkerchief and wiped it off with such drama that one would have thought the event had been written into the play, but evidently not.

One of the play's themes is about growing old and dementia.  Each laugh that could be generalized, involved a bit of pain that was particularized for me.

Growing old?  Such an adventure.  And delightful to see it on the screen.

Arta

PS.  I wanted to say one more thing about the title to the play.  This morning I was reading that the phrase "no man's land" refers to the territory between 2 lines that have been drawn, referring in particular to trenches in World War I.  The land between the trenches was "no man's land", the land no one wanted to claim for it would involve getting out of the trench, fighting for it, and perhaps being killed.    I wonder if Pinter was meaning the title to refer to those years when dementia sets in?

And a second P.S.  The Diary Queen at Hilltop Strip (by walkover to get to the Stadium) serves a mean peppermint blizzard.  "Look," said Wyona, "peppermint all the way down.  Usually the topping only goes half way!"

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Six Characters in Search of an Author

Pirandello's
6 Characters in Search of an Author
The UofC websites says of Six Characters in Search of an Author that "Pirrandello, one of the twentieth century’s signature theatrical innovators, interrogates the nature of illusion and reality in this groundbreaking and prophetic work. In this vital and contemporary interpretation of the classic play, the theatre’s ‘sacred’ fourth wall is broken when ‘six characters’ appear at a rehearsal and plead for the chance to tell their stories."

Not to rest for one moment, Rebecca and I went over to the Reeve Theatre to catch one of the last performances of this work from the 1920's.  What was innovative then is pretty mainstream now.  But that is not to say it wasn't fun.

We had lovely front row seats.  I found myself laughing when the actors were entering the stage area and before anyone has said their lines.  Their warm-up pantomimes were giving me belly laughs.  By the intermission, Rebecca was asking for the spoilers.  Of course, I knew them all.  Sister dies.  Brother shoots himself.  This was one of the times that knowing more was better than knowing less.

We arrived early.  The foyer had a large screen TV on which they were running clips about Pirandello and the artist who designed the stage sets.  Very nice.  Oh no, not nice, better than that.  The one thing I have seen this week that makes me break out into a wide grin when I think about it.

Arta

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Allegiance

Allegiance
Musical by Jay Kuo, Lorenzo Thione, and Marc Acito
Rebecca told her Facebook friends that she was going to see the musical, Allegiance, tonight, and she invited anyone to join us.  A faint hope since we are on the countdown to the most wonderful holiday of the year, and everyone is overloaded with projects to finish.

 Fay McCaulder Strong picked Rebecca up on her invitation, and met us at the theatre.  And when the handibus had picked Kelvin up, the two women sat for an hour in the centre of Eau Claire Market and caught up on the past 30 years -- which meant there was a lot of talking going on.

I listened in for a while and later took a walk around the market, since I have been denying myself the pleasure of daily walks lately.  I passed the shops and entertained myself by memorizing the names of the stores as I would walk by them: The Oil and Vinegar Bar, Iphix, The Card Shop, The Son of Pharaoh, The Good Earth, Sumo.  Rebecca, Kelvin and I had tried to get sushi at Suma on a previous visit but we  had come before they opened.  Probably this would have been a more hospitable venue for Faye and Rebecca, but their conversation was so deep that food was not on the horizon for them.

Christmas.  The best of times to pick up with old friends.  A joy for both of these women tonight.

And on the way home Rebecca and I spoke with each other about the musical.  Disappointing, she said, that we will only have each other to talk to about this. And she said she wanted to buy the sound track, the music was so lovely.

Most plots take advantage of stereotypes to move the plot along and to set out characters so that later more nuanced meanings can be added.  The show was good for othat: a brother and sister as the protagonists, a single mother, intergenerational conflict, politicans in difficult circumstances, a war, internment camps, binary politics that provoke family disruption.

And lots of dancing and lyrical music.  A lovely evening.

Arta

Lunch with your mother

"Fun to have lunch with your mother." 

 I wondered what Rebecca was talking about until she pointed at the candle.  I had decorated for lunch by taking out a candlestick of my mothers and lighting it.  

"My mother brought this back from London in 1939," I said.  "I never saw her light it.  And now I am going to."  I am on my new mission:  to use everything I have saved over the years.  One candlestick down.  Many more projects to go.

Arta




Sunday, December 11, 2016

In The Gallery - Bosch

Rebecca and Kelvin on the handibus
... an outing and an appointment at Costco ...

The schedule seems punishing since Rebecca has been here.

This has been entirely our own fault.

We don't want to miss one of the appointments that have been made or one of the many wonderful events that have been playing -- ones that are easy for Kelvin to attend.

Rebecca leaves Wednesday morning, too early to get Kelvin to the Wednesday evening event called "In the Gallery": The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch.

I don't have the skill to stay awake for In The Gallery events. It would not be a toss up as to which of the HD Series puts me to sleep first. In the Gallery works for me, hands down. I can get a sleep before I go. I take good snacks. I fill myself with caffeine. Still, I can’t stay awake for the whole 2 hours of “In the Gallery”.

Before hand, I read about what I will see and then I go to the theatre with the best of intentions: to stay awake. I don’t beat myself up over falling to sleep. Just as many minutes as I can stay with the dialogue and the images is all I expect of myself.

That will be true of The Curious World of Heironymus Bosch when I go to see it on Wednesday. As of right now, I only know what I know because I have been watching Utube videos about this painter.

On reflection, I have heard of the painting called “The Garden of Earthly Delights” but I am going to get some analysis of the painting before I go to the show on Wednesday.  I have already taken a look at Alan Evan's review (3 Nov 2016) of the exhibit in The Guardian.

The Ballet is the series I like the least.  In The Gallery is the one that puts me to sleep.

Go figure why I go to either.

Arta

Allegiance: The Musical

Takei and Telly Leung in the musical “Allegiance” at the Longacre Theater.Credit

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
Allegiance, the musical featuring George Takei of Star Trek fame, will be playing in HD Live on Tuesday at the Eau Claire Centre at 5:30 pm.

Rebecca's and my hope is to meet Kelvin in the food court for 45 minutes before hand, enjoy a meal together and then see the show.

Here is a utube taste of what the show looks like.

Arta

The Fairies Next Door

The fairies brought a tea set for the old Barbie dolls.
The fairies are bringing something to the house next door just about every morning through December.

One night a tea set appeared -- one that the old Barbies could enjoy while they, too, wait for Christmas.

This morning we filled the tea pot with water and did a lot of delivering water to anyone who was thirsty after breakfast.

Even Betty joined in the festivities, drinking out of cups that can't hold even a teaspoon of liquid.

Quite cute.

Michael races the hippo up the ramp at the zoo.
The hippo played this game for 20 or more runs.
Another of the fairy gifts was the Christmas tree.

Not the artificial kind, but a fresh tree that reaches to the top of the ceiling and is now covered with lights.

There is a line of masking tape on the floor, to show children where the last possible limit is that they can step up to, before they have entered the No Trespassing Zone around the Christmas tree.

That taping is probably for Betty who ignores it, anyway.

What really works for Betty Blance is keeping the decorations up high on the tree --higher than she can reach to take them down.

"I want a hippopotamus for Christmas."
The fairies have delivered educational wipe-off laminated boards that help with the alphabet or with numbering.

Michael is always wanting to know which number comes after 34, or  after 72, or before 16.

Now there is a chart in their house that can help with that mystery.

... Alice dressed for family picture day ...
Miranda bought some elderberries at the market and made a drink that is heavily spiced with the smells that I associate with a hot apple drink: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, honey and cloves.

The colour is a deep wine.

There is a feeling that Christmas is in the air.

Rebecca has been commenting on the crispness and dryness of the snow that she walks on as we travel the short distance in the back yard between the two houses.

Michael fell into the snow as he was running from his door to mine one morning.

He had to return back home for chill blains can happen seemingly instantly when the weather is as cold as it has been for the past few weeks.

There are colder temperatures than -21 celcius, but the weather does seem quite cold to us.

Arta

Pre and Post Theatre Events

Rebecca and I had a wonderful Saturday. We met Kelvin at Chapters before the opera began. He had been so cold in the show a couple of nights before, that she went into the bookstore and bought him a fleecy blanket. Never think that Chapters only sells books.

Judy Chicago
The Dinner Party
She also saw a lovely book on Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, but she knew that she could find the same book in Victoria, and there is always the problem of overweight baggage now that the airlines are looking so closely at how many pounds suitcases carry.  She asked me if I wanted her to buy it for me for Christmas.  I asked her if she had seen me read for even five minutes while she has been here this week.

Yes, I want the book.

No.  I will not have time to read it.

We had brought  along a couple of blankets from home besides, so while she tucked him into his good opera seat,  I climbed the stairs iin the theatre to find my single seat. I have to find a seat at just the right height so that I can get a good view of the screen.   With trifocals a person has only a small think line of vision through multi-graded glasses.  That is what I needed to control.  They were worried about warmth.

And safety.

... walkers ...
in
The Producers
Kelvin doesn’t really like to get out of his wheelchair now, in the interests of not falling. A worthy concern.  I noticed that there was a line up of walkers on the same level as he was sitting. The image of that wonderful song in The Producers flashed through my mind. There is nothing like a long line up of walkers involved in a choreographed dance.

Kelvin will tell you that what was notable about the opera when it was finished were the old people hurrying to get their walking aids and to get down the ramp before the rush of theatre go-ers left. One woman lost her footing and fell to the ground. The usher had a panic attack and ran to call for an ambulance instead of staying to say, "buddy, buddy, are you OK". The woman, of course, wanted to get up, but she didn’t have the energy to do so. People of good-will around her offered to help her and were pulling on her arms. Rebecca was worried that this frail soul would have her arms fractured or her collar bone broken and so she was lifting her from behind. The theatre lights were on and beaming down on this corner of live theatre where so much was going on.

I thought to myself – this scenario is not one we practice in our minds that often. I know that I am due to take another St. John’s Ambulance First Aid Course for the work I do with Zoe. I think I will sign up for it with a renewed interest in those who have aged.

Arta

A horse, a road, and the sea


Image from Kaija Saariaho's
L'Amour de Loin
Kelvin, Rebecca and I have been going to events where the protagonist has been a horse, a road or a sea.

For us oldies that is hard – since we are used to having humans as the focal point of stories. 

Probably everyone reading here has already seen War Horse or read the book, and will agree, that in at least the book, the voice belongs to the horse. And in the stage play all of the events on stage are a series of vignettes that involve the horse.

London Road
From left, the prostitutes Vicky (Kate Fleetwood),
Hayley (Rosie Hilal) and Sarah (Amy Griffiths) Photo: Nicola Dove
London Road was a show that came out of workshops done by the National Theatre. A writer and a musician were paired up and told to create a story which became a cinematic oddity, a musical about a series of murders that happened in 2006 in Ipswich, an English town north of London.

The musical was adored by the critics. Musically its interest was that dialogue/lyrics that occurred were words spoken by townspeople at the time of the murder. These conversations were collected by Alecky Blythe and turned into songs. Still, Rebecca and I found ourselves singing bits of them the next day – to our delight, for we had wondered if the songs were memorable as we drove home that night. I was charmed by the “feel” of the musical – so very English. We watched the version of the show where there was a Q & A afterwards with Rufus Norris, the show’s director, and with some of the cast. All that fun for us occurred around London Road in Ipswich.

Kaia Saariaho’s opera, L’Amour de Loin, is a story about the sea, a story about a pilgrim who travels from one place to another and then back again delivering messages about love: unrequited, a distant love, love from afar, an ethereal love. The sea was represented by 28,000 LED lights on stage -- a remarkable sight.

Kelvin, Rebecca and I had a rousing discussion about the show as we waited for his Access Calgary ride to pick him up and take him home. Did we like the show or not?  That remains to be seen.  I had no idea that the show was built on an 11th century fable about Jaufre Rudel, the Prince of Blaye.

I was curious at the intermission for many seats were left empty. I hand it to the Met Opera, for they filled the time with interviews with Susanna Phillips (Clemence), Tamara Mumford (The Pilgrim,) Susanna Malkki (the conductor), Kaija Saariaho (the composer), Pacido Domingo, the Lighting Designer, the Lightscape Image Designer … and they even had time to tell us again that as wonderful as it is to see this in HD Live, it is even better to visit the Met in person, or to visit our local opera houses.

I concur.

So why did so many people leave?

I have no answer.  Rebecca and I were curious about the music before hand and had gone to u-tube to listen to some of what we were about to hear.  That little trick always prepares me so that I have fewer surprises than if I hadn't done my self-imposed homework. I just can't help myself.  I wonder if that would have helped others.

Arta

Thursday, December 8, 2016

On the town

... waiting for the show to begin ...
Rebecca visits Kelvin just during a week when good theatre is going on.

Today we saw War Horse at noon

It didn't matter to Rebecca nor to me, that we had just seen the show not more than a week ago.

Kelvin wanted to go and the timing was right.

None of us cared that we had seen it before:  this was Kelvin's second time, this was Rebecca's third time, and this was Arta's sixth time.

Some shows are just good enough to be seen more than once.


After a good time at the movies, we ate at the food court afterwards, at a delicious curry spot called Delice.

What was fun was that the couple serving at the kiosk were also tending their small grand daughter behind the counter.






... an unusual window dressing ...
She was a little thing, but knew to bring a paper plate to her grandmother when she was hungry.
I heard Rebecca say to the grandmother, "Feed her first. I can wait and she is hungry."
... kiosks in Eau Claire Market ...

Rebecca had ordered a mango lassi for Kelvin and her.  She remarked on the odd taste -- yeasty and she also said she felt like there was some carbonation in it. Unexpected.  We googled it when we got home and found a plethora of recipes and a desire to try more of the unusual.  And yes, there is a lassi with that unusual flavour and texture.

Tomorrow we are going to go to London Road.  You can find it reviewed by Rotten Tomatoes

Tamara Mumford, left, and Eric Owens
in “L’Amour de Loin,”
by Kaija Saariaho
Credit
Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
Saturday is the opera:  L'Amour de Loin.

There will be a need to go to that early.

Chinook always fills up with opera lovers.

Here is Anthony Tommasini's longish and informative review.

And Tuesday we are going to see Allegiance.  If you want to join us and want to know something of the plot, here it is in a NY Times, review.

Tonight on Facebook Catherine asked how it is that Rebecca timed her visit to see all of the good shows.  Just good luck, I think.  But seeing all of these is an ambitious project.

War Horse wore us all out today.

Arta