Monday, February 27, 2017

I, Claude Monet

Exhibition on Screen - at the Imax, Feb 26th, 2017
I don't know what it was that made me decide to go to the Monet Exhibitions on Screen yesterday.

I just looked at the clock and knew that if I didn't grab my purse and make a run for the LRT, that I would be missing something that I really wanted to see.

Usually these shows are taken from an exhibition.  This time the producers showed some pictures by Monet and had an actor read lines from his diary.  It was beautiful to hear his words and to see images in real life of the places that he painted.

I would go to hear it again in a heartbeat -- just a little over an hour and a half long.  The theatre was slow emptying.  I was one of those who just couldn't hop up and run back to my busy life.

One of my film professors said that the opera, the ballet, the National Theatre, the Gallery Series -- all of them are tapping a market that the film industry previously neglected.  The theatre was full so he must be right for the appetite is there.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

On losing one's voice

Kristine Opolais in the title role of Dvořák’s “Rusalka.” 
Photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.
Today is the first showing of the Met's Rusalka, which comes to our theatre via satelite.

I enjoyed reading the Opera Review in My Theatre Guide.

Apparently it is 3 hours, 40 minutes, running time, including 2 intermissions.

I offer you a small paragraph from Jacqiueline Claire's review:
Fairy tales often come to us from old legends and folklore and are drenched with psychological symbols. Many questions arise when watching this “childhood” story through the adult lens. What happens to women who give up their “voices” to be palatable to their men? If you turn away from all your essence or true nature, can you ever return to that oasis again? You could read it as a great feminist piece that warns against the dangers of self-abnegation. I did. Perhaps Ježibaba is not a witch, but a wise crone showing the folly of trading your uniqueness for a mirage.
When I look back over the years and think of all of the operas I have seen since the Met HD Live performances started, I know that I could not have imagined that I would hear so many operas.  Now it is time to get ready and catch my ride.


Eating a meal together

Doral drove down from Edmonton yesterday.  We ate Chinese food at Richard's house.  Doral calls the ginger fried beef something you can get only in Calgary.  "Mmm.   Candy."

Alice agreed with him for she is a little girl who eats widely.

It took some time before we all found our places at the table.  Betty wanted to sit by me.  I was getting that reward because I had just been reading her nursery rhymes.  I had taken the extra-large brown bag that the Chinese food had been delivered in, and placed on the floor on the right side of my chair.  When Betty was ready to get down, I lifted her out of the high chair, over my head and put her down the floor beside me on my right side.  She fit easily in the bag.  I don't know which of us were more surprised.

Alice wanted to sit on her dad's lap.  He was sitting on an exercise ball and a few times I heard him say, "Alice, if you are going to push like that, you have to get off of my lap, for I can't keep my balance when you do that."

Michael sat by Doral who introduced him to some of the Simpson characters.  I went out to look at the favourite of the night, but that character didn't even get into the top 100 characters we have learned to love in the Simpsons.    Still Michael was fascinated.  I wondered when he would be allowed to watch the Simpsons.  His dad said when he was married.

Dr. Zoidberg
So instead Doral introduced Michael to Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama.

Michael was mesmirized.

He and I haven't seen such a figure while we have been reading the Sunday Funnies.

Joan and Miranda got to sit by each other -- a rare treat.

We had a noodle dish, a shrimp/vegetable dish and blessed ginger fried beef.  Doral says when he is having his worst cravings, he just gives in and gets 3 orders of ginger fried beef.  He also said he has been looking up the recipe and he is going to make it at Easter break when he has two full days to prepare it.

Ah, sweet Easter break!


Friday, February 24, 2017

That show was amazing

I can remember going to the movies with my grandmother.

I think I must have been about the age of Kalina who went with her grandmother last night to Newsies.

I am sure that I felt much older than I was but I know I wasn't going to school yet.

On the way home, buckled up into her car seat, Kalina turned to me and said, "That dancing was amazing!"

She was right.  The dancing was amazing.  The costuming was amazing, the singing was amazing, the acting was amazing.  On the way out of the theatre, people who didn't even know each other were turning to someone and saying, "Wow, did you ever see anything like that?"

If there comes another chance to see that production on the IMAX screen, I will be making my way to the theatre again.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Free Parks Canada Pass

I have been thinking more about the joys of having a free Canada Parks Pass. Last year with Doral and his family, I stopped and did the Wapta Falls Hike. Certainly a joy to walk down that well tended path to those beautiful falls.

As I was driving back into Calgary, yesterday, I was watching for places I have never stopped. One of those is the Bourgeau Hike. I will certainly take a look at where it leads out on the internet, even if I don’t get there.

On the way back the roads were beautiful.

Wyona spent a lot of her time with her camera out the sun roof, trying to catch just the right shot of the sun on the mountains.

I added layer after layer of scarves, and then gloves as the fresh winter air swept into the back seat.

A person doesn’t need a park pass for that.

One of our stops was at the Tourist Bureau in Canmore. I wanted take a look around, but the hours are 9 to 5 and we arrived later than that.

The walkway to the restrooms was so icy that a person could just have skated the distance. On the way out Greg said, “I hope you don’t mind if I drive a little slower this leg of the journey.  If the roads are like this, I think slower is better.”

We weren’t on the highway for three minutes but the storm was over, the sky was blue, the roads were dry and we sailed on home.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Salmon Arm 28th Annual Film Festival

The Salmar Classic Theatre hosts the Salmon Arm Film Festival. They run a concurrent festival called The Cans Festival – just a spot inside the door where you can drop off cans for the Second Harvest Food Bank if you wish. Moiya, Bonnie, Wyona and I teamed up, in groups of 3 or 4 and we took in all of othe shows we could: The Violin Teacher, Chevalier, Miss Sloan, I, Daniel Blake, Koneline, A Quiet Passion, Old Stone, Elle, and tonight we are off to see The Carer.

I didn’t know that Wyona was such a film buff, even though she told me that in the past, when she lived in Ottawa, she would often just do a double feature on her own.

Moiya likes film as well, so we couldn’t have been happier – eating out between shows, and making sure we were there on time.

The only show that was packed was Koneline: Our Beautiful Land. I wouldn’t have guessed that a cinematic celebration of northwestern British Columbia would pack the people in The movie is set deep in the traditional territory of the Tahitan First Nations but also shows those who mine the land and those settlers who hunt on the land for profit.

Our holiday to B.C. just happened to coincide with the festival. I hope we make it an annual tradition. I love this film group. They bring in Friday night films all through the year and they do this 10 day even which is right over the top for film fun.

Biopic of Emily Dickenson
Everyone will have their film favourite.

I think mine was A Quiet Passion, the story of the American poet Emily Dickinson.
 “Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me: The carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality.”

 Words like these were highlights of poetry I haven’t read of hers.


I love it!


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Reading Club in February

How long should I leave this here?  It is hurting!
Laynie invited us to a Reading Club Party at Janet and Glen’s last night.

We had a fantastic timer: 10 adults and Landon and Piper.

Wyona brought new reading fun – this time. 

Still looking at word families but this time with a close pin.

Piper's hair do as she does reading club puzzles
“Do anything you want with this clothes pin, but don’t put it on your nose.”

Wyona’s instructions didn’t quite take with Landon, or maybe they did. For the clothes pin crept closer and closer to his nose.

Piper wanted to have clothes pin fun too, but hers went in her hair.

 First one.

 Then two.
Recipe:  the carrot cake that has
pineapple in it as well.

 Then three.

 That seemed to work for her.

The meal was superb.

When I am home and eating with Richard and Miranda I have a mantra about food.

 It goes like this. 

“This meal tastes better than anything I could buy in a restaurant.”

Apparently I say that enough times that, now when I am not there, Michael says at the end of meals, “Grandma would say, this meal tastes better than I could find in any restaurant.”

... appetizer's from Moiya's ...
This was also true of the meal we shared together that night: pink crusted salmon, a garden salad that was decorated as though it were a cobb salad, parallel lines of pistachios, cheese and red, green and yellow chopped vegetables across the top of the salad.

Moiya brought a two layered cream cheese frosted carrot cake. 

Landon was told he could have a second piece if he finished his first one.

He was up to the challenged until about half way through the first piece when he had to push it away.


You won’t be getting a second piece, someone said to him.
 ... vegetables decorate the top of the salad ...

 “That was already 2 pieces,” he said pointing to the cake.

 And yes, a piece of a two layered cake does look like two pieces.

 I love two generational parties.



Mary was telling me a story about her children and she said one of them uses the newest dance move: dabbin'.

I asked for a demo so she gave me one.

I tried to do it myself: head tucked down in one arm and the other arm stretch straight out and back.

 ... Mary and Arta practise dabbing ...
I didn't think much of this until we had Reading Club and I was studying Landon.

At one point he did well on the word families and was congratulated.
 ... Landon shows the dabbing move with class ...

He performed the dabbing move.

Where do little Grade I-er's learn these moves.

When I brought it up with his mother, she didn't know what dabbin' is all about.

Do kids learn it on the playground at recess?

We certainly aren't teaching it at reading club, though it is being performed there.


Going to films

There are a lot of good film before the end of January.

Thursday, the 23rd Newsies is showing at Eau Claire Market cinema.  I am glad to get a chance to see this show.  Laynie says that Newsies is her all-time favourite musical.

Saturday, the 25th is Rusalka.  Here is one review.

Monet’s garden at Giverny. Photograph: Seventh Art Productions
Sunday, the 26th is I, Claude Monet - Exhibition on Screen.  Sarah Hughes writes a great review of this in The Guardian.  "Monet Glimpsed through his Own Words, Demons and All".  The title say it best.

This film doesn't come from an exhibition, but Grabsky just has someone read text over Monet images.

Monday, February 27, is a repeat of Rusalka.

The Miracle of the Lift Chair

Mary calls this incident, this the miracle of the lift chair. Here is how it happened. Kelvin’s lift chair quit working. Some Seton technicians came to look at it, but said that they couldn’t fix it. I went about looking for a new chair and we bought one on Kijiji. Richard delivered it. It only worked a couple of days. I went online to buy a new chair, ordered it; it was to come in 14 days from Ontario. The same day Mary and I took some Indian take-out food over to Kelvin to have lunch with him. Sharon joined us and when lunch was over we went back to his room.

As we were settling in, Mary preparing to read some poetry to Kelvin, at the door came the same 2 workmen who had tried to fix the chair, saying to us, “Here is a chair that isn’t being used anymore. We are to dispose of it, but we thought Kelvin might use it.” A big smile came on our faces. And ours as well. Yes, to the miracle of the lift chair.

And yes to the sub-miracle of the heat in the lift chair.

The next day Kelvin told Mary that the chair was too hot to sit in.

 She checked his back for heat and then she checked the controller for extra setting buttons.

 This chair has heat that can be added.

 How sweet is that!

 Two miracles in one.


More Scarves

Patches of Cut Threads on Blue
The scarves just weren’t on sale at the Salmon Arm Winners, they were on sale for 75% off and sometimes 80% off the regular price.

I had to go touch every one, looking at the place it was made, the fabric content, and the pattern.

Buying eight scarves when the price is like that, is like buying just one regular scarf, except the thrill is greater.

I know it is a mistake to come home and tuck those in a drawer, since I cannot remember which drawer or cupboard I put them in when I want a quick scarf.

Instead I left them out and began to wear them during the days at home, or the evenings at the film festival. I have had to ignore if the scarf really goes with the outfit since my goal has been to wear them until I am familiar with them – evening naming them. Black silk scarf with pearls embroidered into the fabric and tied into the fringe. Fushia poppies, was $50, now $5.

Everything with a name.
Fushia Poppies on Sheer Black Silk

I just couldn’t figure out where to store them, whether to clear out a drawer for them, or to leave them out on the top of the dressor. I finally decided to get them in a closet on hangers, since some are winter weight. No one can imagine my delight at finding a spot for them, and discovering I also have another set of scarves already hanging in that cupboard, in that spot.

A woman can never have enough scarves.


Monday, February 20, 2017

On getting your money back

I can't tell who is funding the following weight loss grant programme. Mary said she would do the research and find out.  So here is the URL:

Wyona called about it and then told me about it.  I was checking it out for when I was going with Kelve to the Bariatric Surgery Programme lessons with him, I heard them talk about many kinds of weight loss programmes.  There was only one programme that they warned people about.  I was trying to figure out why, and so went out to do some research of my own.  But that is for another day.

When I joined Weight Watchers and then went down to my goal weight, I figured out how much I had paid them until I lost all of the weight I needed.  It was about $5 a pound.  Then when I taught, I knew that if I told women they could loose weight for only $5 a pound, they would all pull out their check books and write me the appropriate sum.  But there is a hidden piece to all of that.  You have to do the work involved, and that is the piece of the puzzle that is hard to uncover.

At any rate, check it out.  You will get your money back, if we can believe the testimonials.  I don't doubt them. Well, not all of your money. Just up to 80% of it.

I was talking to Moiya and Wyona about this on the way home from the film festival last night.  Wyona said that there was a time limit.  She got in on the section that ended Feb 17th.  I notice that there is a new timelimit:  March 4th.  Now over to you, Mary.  Check it out!


Do you have your pass?

I started hearing about people getting the Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass last year.

The occasion is to honor Canada's One Hundred and Fiftieth Birthday.

On the way out to B.C. I asked Greg if he had his pass.  He whipped it out of his glove compartment, waving it in his hand to show it to me.

Moiya and I applied for free park passes at the same time.  I watched her do it, and fill out the contest entry for a free trip to one of the other parks that I might not get to. Filling it out takes only seconds. The hardest thing to remember is to check the box that signifies having read the rules and regulations. Here is the URL for anyone who hasn't filled it out yet.  The pass takes about 6 weeks to come.

Last year when I drove out to B.C. with Doral and Anita, he told me we could stop anywhere in the parks that I wanted to stop.  I had my list ready and Anita had her cell phone out so that before we got there, she had googled what was of interest in the places I wanted to stop.  

Very cool.

When I have more time, I am going to post my favourite places to stop along the way.  Why not now, since the places are on the tip of my tongue.

1. Skunk Cabbage
2. Giant Cedars 
2. Hemlock Grove
4. Rogers Pass
5. Field Tourist Centre to look at Burgess Shale
7. Banff: Banff Springs Hotel, Cave and Basin, Hot Springs, Museum, Candy Shop, walking on main street
8. Spiral Tunnels -- though this isn't in one of the parks, it is definitely a view not to be missed.
9. Bow Falls  I walked this 40 min in and 40 minute out trail with Doral, Anita and their girls last summer.  Breathtaking if you have the time.

Friday, February 17, 2017

National Theatre - St. Joan

Image from National Theatre Website
So I am in B.C. and I missed St. Joan last night. I was out doing my homework on it though, as you can see from the links below.

Wyona told me that she looked for a theatre near us.

We would have had to have driven almost to Vancouver.

 Anyone out there get to see it?


National Theatre: St. Joan Trailer

Voice - Text Work: Prose from 'St Joan'

Just one note on the link before.  I saw this 1928 film when I was taking a film class.  The film had been destroyed, but a second copy was found years later and restores.  It is a lovely black and white film, one where the camera is experimenting with close ups.

Joan of Arc presents Carl Theodor Dreyer's "The Passion of Joan of Arc"

Snow Man

A snow person for all of us!
Michael and I have been watching a comic strip in the newspaper where a child cries who has to be brought into the house, ending a session with his grandfather who has been making a snowman. The problem for the child is the snowman will be lonely and he wants to stay out and make some friends for it.

No crying in this household.

What a family!  Happiness inside the house and outside.


A Fine Canadian

Did you read this tribute to Stuart McLean from Shelagh Rogers?

Beautiful writing.

I got to meet Shelagh Rogers when she came to talk at a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) event that Rebecca organized for Law students while I was in Victoria.

I always felt I knew Stuart McLean. Who didn’t feel that way if they had happened to tune into the Vinyl Café on Saturday morning. I wonder if he knew I was just trying to do my housework but interrupted for I was hanging on every word!

Lovely writing from Rogers. She is another Canadian icon, having interviewed  so many Canadian authors while Canada listened in.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Two Water Samaritans

The water would probably have
flooded my septic field and I will
be getting the smell from that
for a few days!
At 6 am Glen called to ask me how the water pressure was at my house.

He asked me to check around and see if any of my pipes had broken, for the pressure was down to 20% and had been since last night.  He had been up at 3 am looking for the primary spots where this might have happened.  Enough water is coming down the stream, the problem is not at the intake.

I checked my inside water valves, and looked on the side of my basement wall, where once there was a leak that had caused a waterfall in that spot.

 Everything looked good to me on the inside of the house.

 An hour later I heard a snowball hit my window.

There were David and Glen at the cabin side of my house.

The broken pipe was obvious and both men were fixing the spot.

A temporary fix so that everyone else can have water.  And a larger fix to be done in the spring.

Then Glen dug me out a path to my compost.

Do I really need to compost for just 10 days.  Apparently I think I do.

Empty the snow out of the bin.
Find the lid.
Readjust the 2 bottom parts.
David just told me to come down
and use his 3 bins.
I knew the snow was up to my thighs, but I didn’t know how heavy the snow was until I watched him take a shovel full, cut it away from the rest of the snow and then lift it.

Just a small path from the basement to the compost, but a big job.

I had also asked David to take out the panes of glass out of the railing on my porch so that I could shovel the snow off of the deck.

We can do it!  We can do it!  We can do it!
Glen asked me to instead, pray that there will be five good days of weather and that the snow will melt off of the porch.

I thought it was generous of him to invite me to supplicate for such a wish from the heavens, since he and his family have arranged a big ski holiday for 5 days.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Giant Meat Ball

Years ago, Mary ran across a recipe for a Reverse Meatball and Spaghetti. 
She fantasized that she could make this for Kelve for his birthday some year. 
Now that she was back in Calgary for five days, her wish came true.  So here is a photo essay on Reverse Meatball and Spaghetti for Kelve's 47th birthday on Feb 12th.

Mix the bread crumbs and egg and seasonings into the beef. Divide the beef into 2/3rds and 1/third. Using a round bowl lined with tin foil, make a well with 2/3rds of the beef. Fill the well with spaghetii which is already sauced.
Use the other 1/3 of the ground meat for a lid on the giant meatball.
We used Richard's deer hamburger which is super lean. Read super, super lean.

For a sauce on the spaghetti we used the red pepper sauce from Costco.  Too sweet and next time we will use something else.
Knowing we needed more sauce, we made a quick tomato sauce using the usual ingredients:  garlic, a drained can of tomatoes, half an onion, some basil and other seasonings.

Using the extra tin foil, wrap it loosely around the giant meatball and put in an 350 degree oven until done.

Unmold onto a plate, by turning the meatball upside down.  Sauce on top and then sprinkle with Parmesan.

Using a meat thermometer we discovered the meat was not quite cooked through.  So back in the oven to be finished off until we got enough heat into the meat.  
A good time was had by all.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Surprise Visits

Betty tries on grandfather's glasses
The Johnson Kids have two sets of grandparents who live in Calgary.

One set lives only a few minutes drive from the Agecare Seton, so Kelvin gets surprise visits sometimes when there is time to pop over to Grandfather Johnson's for a surprise visit while having Sunday dinner with the Turnbull grandparents.

Here Betty is entertained by his set of trifocals.

She must have been mesmerized by all that she could see through those lenses.


Going to the Zoo

We always want to see what the penguins
are doing next at the zoo
Saturday and Sunday mornings always start with crepes.

And then the household packs up for a day at the Calgary Zoo.

Everything is packed:  a stroller, a diaper bag, winter clothes for three children, water bottles, and treats.

I think of going to the zoo as a summer activity.
Celebrating Canada's 150th in a very big chair.

But next door, the Johnsons have a yearly pass and that means going to the zoo all year round.

They start the morning with crepes.

I think there is almond milk and some buckwheat in the secret recipe that comes off of the griddle.

Everyone has a different filling.

Alice likes to have butter and icing sugar on the crepe, with it rolled up, cut in pieces and then a cloud.

Sometimes she is waving her hand through the air, trying to get rid of the white powdery dust floating over her plate.

Resting by a stream at the zoo.
The cloud is Alice giving some fulsome shakes of icing sugar as a decoration on the top of the crepe – a necessary addition for her.

...Richard gets an out of season shot at a moose...
 Michael likes Nutella.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

Nothing wrong with that!

I think there should be some protein at breakfast time so I have a peanut butter crepe. I try to keep it down to just one portion and not three.

Michael can do four crepes on a good morning.

 ...big chance to be a little bear for
Then the left over crepes are rolled, bagged and the family is one the way to the zoo.

The day's highlight?  It is the hippopotamuses who are not to be missed.

And the rest of the zoo is good in every possible way.


Who is really cold?

From Moiya:
I found a new recipe on my email this morning for 
hamburger buns. 
I thought I would try making them because 
they called for one half a cup of mashed potatoes 
in the recipe.The tops of these buns are nice 
and a little bit crusty but I'm sure will get softer.  
If the recipe tastes good they will be a keeper.
Moiya called me just as I was Facetiming with Kelvin.

So I put the phone near to my computer and Dave, Moiya, Kelvin and I continued to talk with each other.  What is there not to like about technology that can do that for us.

We chatted about how cold it is.  Moiya brought the subject up because it is -8 Celsius at the Shuswap tonight.  She said she is bitterly cold.  I guffawed.  She should be in Alberta.  In fact she is an Alberta girl at heart and she should be able to remember what real cold is like.  Our roads are so snowy that a person needs double, maybe double and a half the usual amount of time to get places.

However we aren't cold.  Only Winnipeggers know what real cold is.


Petition e-616 - E-petitions

Miranda Johnson sent me the following note.  I agree with her so I will be going out to sign the petition.
Petition to force the issue of electoral reform to be reviewed in the house of Commons. Sign it, get your friends to sign it. I rarely feel strongly enough to share something, but this one is really important. Everyone deserves to have their vote count.
Just a thought.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Buying Good Snacks

I go out with Wyona often.  We call it shopping, but it is not about filling our carts with things we don’t really need.  It is about being together and enjoying one another’s company.  Mmm.  Perhaps we do need what we put in our carts.  Wyona has her three families that Iive in town and she invites them over often, so she is filling her cart with the equivalent of bulk store take out.  Anything that can come of of the freezer, go to the oven and be served at the table.  That is our idea of prep.  We spend a lot of our time exploring products we have not seen and sometimes we are laughing at ourselves.  For example, how many people call going to the Costco food court an outing.

I know that this is the time of year when Wyona starts looking for hot cross buns.  She doesn’t want a dozen, only one.  She sees new cookies on the Import isle and she buys them for Greg.  I asked her why she just doesn’t let him buy his own, and then she said, “Remember, how he likes cookies?”  Then I remembered and I can see why she does it.  There could be nobody more grateful for a good cookies.  The only person I have seen happier is Kelvin when he gets a nice bowl of bread and milk at night .


Amadeus Review

Yes, tonight is National Theatre Live -- Amadeus.

Here is a review from The Telegraph


Lunch at Agecare Seton

Kelvin, Mary and I had lunch together.  Sharon came along too. Miller, the person who helped her at lunch was a godsend, at least to me.  I picked up  tips again about how to care for the aging – how to make sure they can hear you, how to give them enough time to process what you say and how they feel about moving on, how to keep the atmosphere calm, even fun.  Miller was doing it all. I was reminded again of how caring, respectful and skilled the workers are in Seton Place.  He coached her through her whole meal, speaking directly in her ear, assuring her that the next bite was going to just as delicious as the last — got her through soup filled with tiny bits of mushroom, a Greek salad, a chicken breast, a mini-milk shake, a glass of cranberry juice, and her fruit salad made only of watermelon.  I thought I was watching a miracle.  Miller made her laugh quite a few times through the meal.  

“Do you always feed her?” I asked.

“No.  We rotate through the jobs.”

After lunch Kelvin, Mary and I went out onto a large balcony on the sixth floor and sat in the warm winter sun -- all of us wrapped in scarves and hats.  We chatted about the construction that is going all around him.  What a view -- the prairies, the construction vehicles, the iron frames of the new buildings.  What is not to love about that!

Yes, lunch at Agecare Seton.  

A joy.