Thursday, May 25, 2017

Six Herd of Deer

Wyona and I took the trip from Sicamous back to Calgary again.

Not everything is the same, but almost. I saw a few deer as we climbed into the pass, five around Golden, stately animals walking right through the Kicking Horse River oxbows at Field, maybe 12 all with their back-sides toward us in the Bow Valley Parkway, some in the sandbars of the Vermilion Lakes and finally, another herd of deer in the foothills as we were descending into Calgary.

There is so much construction along the road. Add to that the one-way traffic that comes from landslides and rockslides, and a couple of hours is easily added to the trip.

I say over and over again, “I love my country, and I love this part of the Trans-Canada Highway.”

Wyona just keeps her eyes on the road, a package of pistachio nuts by her side to munch on.

She is always organized so that she has an empty cup to her left for the shells.

Photo: Salmon Arm Observor
Sicamous Roundabout
There are 2 new crazy traffic circles: one at the junction of the trans-Canada and 97A at Sicamous; the other at Revelstoke.

The circle at Sicamous requires the attention of all drivers in the car unless you are willing to go around the loops a number of times. 

Although the circle at Revelstoke is easier to navigate, you have to go under the train bridge, around the circle and then back again to get to Tim Horton’s.  And that is where I saw a 3 wheeled motorcycle that looked easy enough for me to ride.  As I was circling it, two men came to ask me if it was my vehicle, so they must have been admiring its majesty as well.  I said I should be so lucky.

We used the “fill in this survey and get a free cookie” coupon at Subway in Golden. Bonnie Wyora returned it to me in Salmon Arm after I sent her up to the counter at the Dairy Queen to get a free dilly bar with a “fill in this survey and get a free cookie” coupon. I had the Dairy Queen and the Subway coupons mixed up. Bonnie said that the girl at the counter studied it a along time before she figured out it was not for their store.

An adventure every day!


Friday, May 19, 2017

Mango Cup Dessert

A drizzle of honey is added next
Ron created a heritage dessert for us last night.

He cut through the girth of a mango, then twisted each side in a different direction, and the equivalent of a mango cup appeared in one hand.

He put that down and cut the pit out of the other half.

Now there were 2 mango cups.  He drizzled honey on the flat surface of both, filled the cup with whipping cream and added a dash of cinnamon.
Add D Dutchman cherry cheesecake ice cream as a side.
Look for the sprinkle of cinammon on top of the cream.
All that was left to do was plate the fruit and add some ice-cream on the side for anyone who thought that they wanted ice-cream besides.

I am a big fan of fruit and cream.  That would be whipping cream if possible.  Just try to get it right:  whipping cream and strawberries, or raspberries, or bananas.

And now add mangos, especially as a fruit cup.

A lovely event.


A Return to Der Rosenkavalier

Sophie (Erin Morley) trying to escape 
the grasp of Baron Ochs (Günther Groissböck) 
in Robert Carsen’s production of “Der Rosenkavalier” at the Met. 
Credit Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
I can think of more reasons to stay home and work than to go out to the opera when it is piped in live from the Metropolitan in New York.

What keeps me going back is the recurring, though fleeting memory, of living in another century when all that was possible was opera on the radio.

I went alone and arrived early enough to purchase my reserved seat, and to walk over to Chapters and buy a book I am looking forward to reading: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.

I have been wondering why I am not seeing any of my friends at the opera, since I think that I and they will have like minded interests.

Saturday I hit the jackpot. I saw Ursula Benedict before the show started and we decided to have our chat at one of the intermissions.

I saw Marlys Chevrefils at the first intermission.

I have known Marlys for a long time for we both worked at the University Library.  The first time we met at a big event she came to sit by me, and said to the man sitting next to me, “Do you mind moving over so that I can sit by my friend. He did. As soon as she got settled, I leaned over her, touched the man and said, “Marlys, I would like to introduce you to my husband.” She wanted to exchanged seats back, but he would have none of it.

As I was walking of the theatre on Saturday a childhood friend, Madeline Aldridge, stopped me, and asked me if it really was me. We exchanged email addresses and telephone numbers.

Now how could the opera be more fun that that!

Three friends and 4 ½ hours of pure Mozart bliss.



Already plated up:
saag, makki, salad
 ...Salad: cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions ...
... my first look at the saag ....
 ... a good thing I took seconds ...
... there were not many leftovers ...
I ate a traditional Punjab meal tonight with the Singh’s and their guests.

Saag is chopped mustard greens and spinach with some cumin seed, a few chile peppers, some garlic and maybe some turmeric.

In this case the greens had been grown in Manvir’s garden and transported out to B.C. so that we could have a traditional meal, one that can’t be found in any restaurant.

Ron Singh showed me how to take the cornmeal roti, break off a piece of it, and then squeeze its sides that I had a small cup or scoop with which I could pick up the saag.

Having just had my hands in Ethiopian food last week, it was easy to dig right in and make a few mistakes.

I did notice that I chased the saag right across my plate to its edge and had to bring it back to the centre to try again.

I won't have a problem with practising technique if they keep making this food for me.

After a while I tried to say the word “saag” and they explained that the 2 a’s can be drawn out as long or kept as short as I would wish.

I intend to keep the “a’s” long.

Labour intensive meal?


And a big yes to delicious, something I didn’t ever think I would say about mustard greens and spinach.

“Why do you think everyone would try to invade India?”, one of them asked me. “It was not for the gold but for the food.”


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Makki de roti

The makki has been cooked on the first side.

Bring a pan to leave behind.
Teach me how to make the bread to use the pan
What a great gift.  
Vandan was making makki de roti for supper, a corn flour roti, and more than one for everyone. I could feel my fingers itching to take the dough and try putting it on the griddle. She show me how to make a nice edge on the dough as she patted it from a round circle to a flat circle, and then she put it on the heat.

The part I loved with the grate that was over a second burner where more heat was applied and the dough puffed up and apart. “This is the bread my dad really likes. He even likes left overs if my mom served him makki roti.” That made me laugh. I like Indian food left overs with our without fresh bread.

The makki is ready to be served.
Add butter if you can take the calories.
Manvir had another trick I will try.

She took roti she had purchased at the store and put it on the same griddle, just long enough to have it soften on one side and then the other.

She did this for the children who aren’t used to the cornflour makki.

I shall just do it when I would like a piece of flour roti with anything.


Early Morning Fishing

Glen writes to me the following:
I saw a man and two young boys fishing off the dock this morning.

I should have taken a picture and had Wyona paint it.

She could have called it “man and two young boys” or “early morning fishing”

My view of the dock is obstructed by trees.
Others have to report "dock happenings" to me.
Arta again:

And I think to myself, have I lived here so long that I have forgotten the thrill of fishing off of the dock and catching a pike.

That is what they did.

Catch and release.

In the meantime Kerri Singh is up making delicious Indian food for breakfast.

The day is beginning right for me.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Making bowls from thimbleberry bushes!

making a cup from a thimbleberry leaf
I had one of the best Saturdays ever!

I got to join in class taught by Tsawout UVic professor Nick Claxton, with his uncle Earl Claxton Jr.

It was about language and land, and we spent the full day on PKOLS (also known by some as Mount Doug).

We learned how to introduce ourselves properly (I am still practicing), we walked around and heard stories and info re plants, and trees, we had a potluck, and walked up the mountain.  What a day!

Along the way, we learned about 4 uses for plants: as food, as medicine, as tools, and as indicators (ie. telling you when the timing is right for certain activities)

One of the great moments for me was our time by the thimbleberry! (which i used to mistakenly call Salmonberries when growing up...)

I learned how to take a leaf, and turn it into a cup.  Basically, you turn it into a cone shape, overlapping two veins, then use the stem (which would still be sticking out the bottom) as a kind of needle, poking in and and out through the leave, to 'stitch it together'.  Then, you have a little cup in one hand to collect the berries you are eating!

Thanks Earl Claxton, Jr!   And thanks Nick Claxton for allowing us to join his class.

This is a technique I will be using this summer!   Yum!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Crazy Good Beef and Broccoli

Crazy good Beef and Broccoli

Yield: 2 servings

. 1 pound flank steak, sliced into 1/4 inch thick strips
   3 cups small broccoli florets
   1/2 cup beef stock
   5 cloves garlic, minced
   2 tablespoons corn starch
   1 tablespoon canola oil
   For the sauce:
   1/2 cup soy sauce
   1/4 cup brown sugar
   2 teaspoons corn starch

1  Toss sliced beef in a large bowl with corn starch.
2. Heat canola oil in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes. Add sliced beef and cook until it browns, a few minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
3.Add broccoli and garlic to the pan, and stir. Add beef broth. Let simmer until the broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. While waiting for the broccoli to cook, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
5. Add the reserved beef and sauce to the pan, and stir. Let simmer for 5 minutes so the sauce thickens a bit.

   Serve beef and broccoli over cooked white rice.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Singles Trip to the Theatre

I have been filling out questionnaires – some about health care for Kelvin, and some about my experience with the cardiac unit – this one trying to figure out if the experience of having heart trouble is different for men and women, and if so, how and why. One of the questions asked “Do you have some you can go to events with?” I have been thinking about the question, not about the answer, but about my own life. I started out going to movies, mostly alone when I was a teen-ager. So it doesn’t seem that much “off-normal” to head out to a play or a concert on my own.

Helina Reijn in Obsession
And that is what I did on Thursday night so that I could see Ivo von Hove’s Obsession on Thursday.

The play is a take an old black and white movie but adapted to the stage.

Now one of the drawbacks of going alone to the show alone is that there is no one to talk about it afterward.

There are just a few things I wanted to say, so I will throw them out to the universe at this moment.

In rehearsals for Obsession with Jude Law: 
‘He is physical, strong.’ 
Photograph: Jan Versweyveld
First of all, I thought the movie was at 7:30 pm and arrived at 7:03 pm, thinking I would catch a little rest before it began. But I had the timing wrong and the show was already being introduced with an interview with the director. Bad move to not have a minute’s rest before jumping into such an intense show.

I had read some reviews, but I wasn’t quite expecting the intensity of the long moments when there is no dialogue. For instance, the introduction to Giovanna (Halina Reijn) at the beginning of the show – a long sequence where she is doing personal care on her feet and legs. 

There is another equally long sequence when Gino (Jude Law) puts a sweater on Giovanna. He does it by putting the sweater on his arms inside-out and then transferring it to her arms seamlessly. The transfer takes an eternity, or so it seems. One of those moments when real time turns into slow motion and so many details are captured by my mind.

My only hope of anyone in the family having seen this film is Rebecca, and she is so busy this month, but I can’t even hold a faint hope on that. If anyone has a minute, The Guardian has a nice interview with Halina Reijn which I found interesting after the fact.

I wouldn't have wanted to miss the show.  But having someone to talk about it with afterwards?  That would have been nice.


77th Year to Heaven with candles

I can see that it would be difficult to get 77 candles on a cake, and then have them lit, the first ones not being burned to the icing before the last ones were ignited.

Counting by tens makes it easy.

My first candle was a 7 and then the ones came after that.

Dave lit them with an electric fire started which took away all of the fun of having to remember which way to hold a match stick when trying to get the most out of one strike.

I like to have the candles burn for a long time.

But there were chants to see if I could blow them out.

I do not know why the old family story that goes with blowing out candles returned to me, but it did.

So with one fell swoop I blew as hard as I could out of the side of my mouth.
That made most of the people at the table laugh, for we have all become so old that we only need to tell or show one line of the joke and then everyone else at the table gets it.

Now THAT is getting old.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Twas my 77th Year to Heaven - Part II

I don't want to forget the other half of my birthday gift -- going through the mountains with Wyona from the Golden to Calgary.

The trip took longer than normal.  It seems we slowed down a number of times on bridges, for cleaning crews were out blasting the side of the bridges with water.

The biggest charm of the trip occurred on the Bow River Parkway.  I saw a herd of white baby goats, maybe 7 of them, right beside the highway.  Wyona slowed down so as not to hit them.  They didn't seem interested in leaping out to the pavement, but were milling around by the side of the road, some of them munching on the new green grass.

We also saw deer down in a small gully.

Even the domestic animals were interesting in the foothills, so many herds of cows and their little ones by their sides.

Spring.  Such a lovely time for a ride.


Der Rosencavalier - tomorrow

Elina Garanca, left, as Octavian, and Renée Fleming as the 
Marschallin in Richard Strauss’s “Rosenkavalier” at the Metropolitan Opera. 
Credit Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
Here is the New York Times review by Antony Tommasini, a long review.

I am going to check out the plot, the characters, and re-read the review before I go see the show tomorrow.

I am expecting to have a wonderful time -- I know that it is good to see opera live, but seeing it this way is also a thrill.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My 77th Year to Heaven

LtoR: Greg, Glen, Wyona, Bonnie, Arta, Dave, Janet
... see the clock for the exact time of the party ...
... Wyona pretending to snitch some of the icing ...
If I wanted a really good trip for my birthday, I might choose going through the Rockies.

To make the event more special, I would choose a time when the water is gushing down the waterfalls and streams and tumbling over the cliffs.

An important stop along the way would be at Three-Valley Gap.

 Not that I haven’t stopped there before, but this time the stop was right in the avalanche path.

 A vehicle drove toward us on the wrong side of the road, stopping at every car, then moving on.

The woman driving the car held a sign in front of us that read: Delay until 12:10 pm.

We knew to get out of our vehicle and walk up and down the road for 20 minutes.

Wyona investigated the bank on the lake side of the road.

The water was full of rolling waves.

 The embankment was steep and there was no beach along the water’s edge.

The birch trees only had branches that leaned toward the water.

“I guess that tells us where the sun and shade are here,” Wyona said as she continued to walk and look to the water’s edge, still searching for beach.

We saw a train move slowly along the north side of the lake.

All of the trains have been moving slowly at Annis Bay this week, as well, all on the lookout for washed out track or a mudslide.

I know this stretch of the road, for a few miles toward the west is the treacherous winding passing-lane where the 18 wheeler hit Richard and Miranda’s car. Trucks and cars were behind us, the line snaking up the hill toward the west where there are often accidents in the winter: trucks slipping off the highway and over the embankment on the lake side.
... look for meadows full of skunk cabbage this time of year ...

We had our Free Parks Pass with us. Every lover-of-parks should have one this year. I tried to get Wyona to stop somewhere. My first wish was Skunk Cabbage but it was still closed. That didn’t matter. I could see thousands of yellow flowers in the marsh as we drove along the highway. Giant Cedars. Closed. Hemlock Grove. Closed. Rock Gardens. Closed.

The top of the pass seemed like the only logical stop, but Wyona said she doesn’t always like turning left at that point so we drove on, the holiday not over yet.

To be continued ...


Country Seed Bread

Country Seed Bread – This is 6 times the recipe -  makes 6 loaves

12 c.                   All Purpose Flour
 6 c.                    Whole Wheat Flour
1 ½ c.                 Flax Seed  (some of this is crushed up)
 ¾ c.                   Sesame Seeds
 6 Tblsp.            Poppy Seeds
 ¼ c.                   Dry Yeast
 9 ½ c.                Warm Water
 ¾ c.                   Liquid Honey
 ¾ c.                   Vegetable Oil
 3 Tblsp.            Salt

1.      Put water, honey, and yeast into mixer and let stand until the yeast is working
2.      Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.
3.      Let rise for about 1 ¼ hours
4.      Divide into 6 loaves and form into a loaf.
5.      Put into a pan that has been greased with shortening or lard.
5.      Let rise
6.      Bake at 350 degrees for 40- 45 minutes.       


Pre-Birthday Party

I had the best evening pre-birthday party anyone could have: Bonnie Wyora, Glen, Janet, Wyona, Greg, Moiya, David and I all gathered around a chocolate-cherry bundt cake.

Cream cheese icing and a chocolate glaze garnished the cake.

 A Sven candle graced the top of the cake, and 7 small candles were lit as well.

 I was asked for a speech. “Tell us about the best thing that happened this year.”

“Getting a stent in my heart tops any other event of the year.”

I had enough breath to blow out 7 of the 8 candles.  Not bad.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Obsession - NT Live

Law with Chukwudi Iwuji in Obsession
Photograph: Jan Versweyveld
The best part of life is that there is so much to do in it.

Too much.

Thursday we get to choose to see either Obsession or Crazy for You.

Obsession comes via NT Live.

Here is the Micheal Billington's review from The Guardian.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Film - Spirit Unforgettable

What is the use of telling people that the place I live is really terrific -- even better than most places.

But I am going to say it again.  Salmon Arm in the Spring is pretty amazing.

There are other parts of living here that make this a wonderful place for retirement.  One is the fact that the Shuswap Film Society brings in art films every week for a 5 pm Friday night gig.  This week they brought in an extra show on Wednesday: Spirit Unforgettable -- the powerful, devastating and inspiring story of the iconic Canadian Celtic rock band Spirit of the West and their frontman, John Mann, who in 2014, at the age of 51, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

All proceeds from this documentary were donated to the Alzheimer Society of B.C., North and Central Okanagan Region.

And to start with, it is a little embarrassing that the film only cost $7.  Well, just another of the perks of living here -- low cost, high value!

I decided a while ago that if I had my life to live over, I would spend more time thinking and reading about what it is to be a Canadian.  I might even take the Macleans magazine, which I think would help. It is probably not too late to start reading that.

At any rate, Greg, Wyona and I attended the movie as did many other people in our age cohort.  I have never been to rock concert, let alone one done by the Spirit of the West.  If this had been a special on TV, I might have changed the channel.

But the whole evening was super enjoyable.  The popcorn.  The songs that the band sang.  The story line.  The pause to think about what it means to have Alzheimer's or any debilitating disease.  The amazing support of family and friends and the vision of how that can extend people's happiness.

If the movie comes to an art house close to you, it is well worth the adventure of seeing it.

Learning Indigenous Law

An article written by Lori Groft and Rebecca Johnson was published in the Lakehead Law Journal.  Once you click on this link and see the abstract, then click on the PDF link which is just under the words FULL TEXT.

The title of the article is "Learning Indigenous Law: Reflections on Working with Western Inuit Stories".

The article is long.  Not everyone might be interested in reading the whole thing.  But for an interesting story, go right to page 125 of the article and read the story (The Wife Killer) and then what continues in the article after the actual story is finished.  You might be hooked into going back and reading the whole article by the time you get to the end.

Just an idea, since Bonnie told me she hasn't had time to look at the article.  I usually don't suggest starting in the middle of something ... but hey!  Today it might work.