Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Farewell, Kiwi

...a leap and a catch...
I wanted to say a few things about the Carter-Johnson dog named Kiwi.

She was a cross between a poodle and a cocker spaniel.

She would take the cocker-spaniel stance with one foot up when she would see a bird, which was so unusual, because for the most part, she looked like a poodle.

Rebecca reported on Facebook that Kiwi had died.
Kiwi's first week with the Carter-Johnsons

I didn’t know until Mary sent me a note.

Such a sweet little dog.  Thirteen years with her, and how many times did I laugh.

I feel like I need an open mike funeral for her.  How many stories would be told.

kiwi's favourite spot by the window
I think it was just a night ago or so when I was face timing and Rebecca and I couldn’t talk for she was barking so loudly. That would have been because some of her pack were coming home or else she was seeing someone walk by.

For 13 years Kiwi was ever present — maybe I feel this connection because I stayed so long with Steve and Rebecca in Victoria.

But it was more than that — all of those years out at the lake.

Stealing the pancakes one day from the Bates’ house, then running back to bury them in Arta's backyard.

Finding that dirty mud hole to roll in that is always wet between the Wood’s house and the Bates’s house. Even in times of drought, that spot is good for rolling over in the mud. And she had it marked on the property.

.... Kiwi in the smoke-filled Shuswap skies of 2017 ...
I threw that tennis ball more times than I wanted to for her.

It was like an addiction, that dog panting beside my chair and rolling the ball around so that I would see that she wanted to do another run.

I threw that ball all over Steve’s back yard in Victoria, and all over my 1/2 acre — always trying to trick her. 

Kiwi and family at top of PKOLS
Remember, when she had enough, she would just lay there with the ball in her mouth, panting and resting up for the next round of toss.

 In the early spring I could always walk around and find tennis balls from the previous year, caught in the branches of some bush or soaking wet down by the stream.

 For some reason, I know how much dog food to put out. So I must have been in charge of that dog at some point.
Kiwi as a pup

And oh brother!  Remember this year when  2 year old Betty would take the dry, round tiny pieces of brown dog food and drop then in the water?   

The dog food would expand in the water and now looked like Cocoa Puff Balls and would float there all day.  Certainly, Kiwi didn’t want them anymore.

And there was no way to stop Betty.  If Kiwi didn't get that dry food at the instant when it was put out, she would have no food for it was down on the ground, just where Betty would see it every time she walked by.  Plop and splash! Another handful of dry dog food into the dog's water dish.
Rebecca in a selfie with Kiwi and her peeps at Mile 0

How many times did I see the kids playing some kind of video game in the basement and Kiwi was sitting beside them, just like she knew what was going on?

And if I shooed her off of beds once, I did it 1,000 times.

Credits:  Estafania Gayosso on Facebook

Did you ever see Kiwi asleep, both legs in the air? What was that position all about!  (Maybe she learned it from Rebecca - I hear Rebecca can sleep on her side with one arm pointing up to the ceiling, balanced on her shoulder joint just so).

The term, a dog’s life would be a good one when it refers to Kiwi.

Two boys who adored her.  Steve and Rebecca who felt the same way. And so many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who can all remember diving their hands into clumps of her white curly hair or tossing a ball, just one more time for her.

 I will remember that dog.


Kiwi Carter-Johnson (2005-2017)

From Mary Johnson

My Haiku for Kiwi

Paw resting on ball
She feigns sleep beside her boys
On call to retrieve

Eyes peer and head tilts
Turn your back in the kitchen
Morsels disappear

Tears and fears released
Face buried in curly fur
Heart healed with wet tongue

For a story that tells about Kiwi's life see


Monday, September 25, 2017

Tulip Festival Hats

Many years ago, when we were in Ottawa for the Tulip Festival, Mary and I bought some hats to keep the sun away. She eventually gave me hers. Now I have two of the same style and I wear one or the other of them every time I am out in the sun gardening, or shopping or walking. I have plenty of other hats but these two hats really work.

Alberta often has a wind that whips headgear off of my head and a hat will go tumbling down the road. I can tie a hat on, or keep my hand on the hat but neither solution is that comfortable. These two hats are just tight enough at the brim that they really work.

Today I wore the blue hat on my daily walk which now takes me to the new Winner’s store at North Hill Mall and back. I get a chance to do some retail therapy in the middle of my exercise. I don’t need money so far. Looking at the merchandise is enough.

Today to return home , I readjusted my hat at the door, making sure the brim was tilted enough that I could see the sidewalk, but not enough that the wind could get at it and I prepared to go the last leg of my journey.

“I love your hat,” said an older man.

“Well, thank you,” I smiled and met his eyes. “That is sweet of you.”

“No, I really mean it. Women don't wear hats much anymore. You look so young and you have the colour of hair I love. Are you single?"


"Could I give you my number? I am single. I am sixty. I really mean it. Let me give you my number.”

I just could not tell him that I was old enough to be his mother.  I ignored anything else he had to say and moved on toward home.

I am not giving those hats away.

Looks like they are good for more than just keeping the sun away.


Off to NT Live - Yerma

Rebecca and I share the same compulsion. That would be, going to National Theater Live Events in our respective Cineplex Theatres. She is an hour behind me, going in Victoria. By the time I have come home and written up something on the blog, she is just arriving home, ready to make a response.

I missed the original event this Thursday and when she called to see if I had gone, she said it was a good thing I missed it. The only event that has been worse is the Medea play a couple of years ago.

With that warning from her, I could hardly have wanted to go see the show.

But I saw an encore was being shown this Saturday and like a lemming to water, I ran out the door of my house on my way to the theatre, with barely enough time to get there. No earrings or necklaces. No rings on my fingers. No lipstick. Old jeans and a t-shirt. Not even the hard fruit candies that I slip into my purse to keep me awake. I was just praying that I wouldn’t meet anyone I knew either coming or going.

Billie Piper in Yerma
The show was as Rebecca warned: gut wrenching.

I don’t know how Duncan continues to go with her time after time, because when a show is billed as a tragedy, things just don’t go well at the end of the film.

They just can’t. It is a tragedy. And in this show they went very poorly.

At one point in the film the couple in question had a baby in their arms and Duncan thought to himself, “If that baby dies, I am just going to walk out of the theatre.” But the plot didn’t go in that direction, thankfully, for it is a long walk home from the theatre in Victoria to his suburb.

The show was worth every painful moment. I loved the scene changes. The theatre blackened and all the viewer saw was white letters on the screen, either telling us which act we were in, or how many months or years had now passed. Kind of like the early silent movie films.

The actors were in a huge glass box with minimal props: a tree, some grass, some moving boxes – stark.

As the day has passed, now one day since I saw the show, I have been thinking about how much over-talking was going on between the actors. I had to either watch her (Billie Piper was called Her in the credits – she was never named) or her husband, (actor Brendan Cowell). I liked the power of that dialogue – in your face, but making it possible for me to listen to either one or the other.

I don’t know when the next NT Live showing will be, but I hope we have done the tragedy for the year and can go onto something much, much more fun.


P.S.  Nex National Theate Live?  Cyrano de Bergerac.  Can hardly wait!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Tap, Tap, Tap

Moiya and I had a sleep over last night. We had been to court in the morning and during the early afternoon. We spent most of that shopping time, just sitting on a bench at Costco, sipping diet Coke and rehearsing the day’s events Then Wyona, Moiya and I spent what was left of the night, doing shopping therapy at Winners. Moiya’s bought an agate necklace.

Red Silk Scarf: $24.99
Agate Necklace: $30.00

Ccst? cheaper than a visit with a psychologist
I bought a red silk scarf and Wyona couldn’t find anything to put in her basket. Wyona dropping Moiya and I off here after all of the stores had closed. Moiya and I typed up notes and finally hit the bed about 1 am.

I wanted to talk a bit more to her, but Moiya does a considerable amount of lip reading, so after the lights were out and every time I wanted to say something to her, I had to leap up out of bed, turn on the light, say my piece and then hop back in bed. I did this a number of times, for there is always just one last thing for me to say at night. When I was finally in bed for the last time, I wanted to say one last-last thing to her without turning on the light. I wanted to tell her I loved her.

That is when I remembered the way Doral used to tell Wyora he loved her. He would lean quietly over to her in church, put his hand on her shoulder and go tap-tap-tap. I must have been into my teens when I asked him what he was doing when I saw him do this at church to her. It was a one way gesture. Doral would do it to Wyora and then she would just smile. I never saw Wyora do it back to Doral.

When I asked Doral why he did that to Wyora, Doral told me that the 3 taps meant “I love you”, and that is the way he could tell Wyora he loved her anytime.

He said he would do it to me too and then he gave me one of the taps that usually went to Wyora.

On remembering this gesture, late at night, I thought I would use it on Moiya, for she was part of the family, and must know about how Doral would send this message to Wyora.

That would be better than jumping up and turning on the light again.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

All I did was hit her enough that she was startled out of the sleep she had already fallen into. And she said, What? What?

That is when I jumped out of bed again, turned on the light and explained what I was doing.  She had no family memory of that gesture.

That being over I turned off the light again.

 Then I felt, boom, boom, boom.

 Either she really loves me or I had woken her one too many times.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

On My Cell Phone

The last thing I do every night is search for my cell phone. This is made easy by my landland which I use to call my cell phone and then I can plug in my cell phone so that it has enough power for another day. That and my fit bit – they feel like children that I must remember to tuck in at night.

I should have learned to love my cell phone by now. I set alarms for medication with it. That feature should be worth the price of its existence every month.

I set other occasional alarms during the day -- to pace my work, or to remind me that it is time to go an appointment.

I take pictures with my phone. I never would have dreamed of having a phone that would take pics.

My phone keeps track of my fitbit progress. I should hail its existence. I also get congratulatory messages over weight loss or the number of steps in a day. How is that for a phone that really cares!

Occasionally someone messages me on my phone and on days when I notice I text back but I am very bad at that. After texting me a person should also phone me and get me to read the text right away, if it is something important.

I have learned how to slide my finger across the keyboard to make texting faster. How cool is that?

As well I use the microphone, and then just hope that the reader can unlock the secrets of words that I say. e.g. Moiya becomes any number of moana, moeia, my yah, etc. Never her name. I solve the problem by just not saying her name. Now that I think of it, and I feel a need to say her name, I will just say, dear sister.

I am going to find a utube video today and learn some more tips and tricks about my phone. I have watched a couple videos and am stunned by all the things I cannot do yet, most of which are about double tap or double swipe and either up and down or left and right.  Or maybe "go to settings".

I am carrying this electronic device that has more secrets than I have time to unlock. And it carries more games to play than I am learn (I just found chess on my phone a couple of days ago). And there are more books to download than I can read (I haven’t even been able to get one yet).

No wonder I don’t love my phone. It is an electronic world that I am afraid to really enter. Just a couple of steps and that is all I am ever going to do with my phone.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Annual Physical

What I am going to talk about isn’t for everyone. But it has been a good idea for me, an idea which started when my mother died at 55 years old. She told me that she had been to the doctor many times while having her babies, but she didn’t have an annual physical on a regular basis. I decided to honour her death, by making sure I had a physical each year – visits to the doctor for having babies or not.

The time for another physical has rolled by again and I booked my appointment – doubling up to also check in after a cardiac oblation. A resident did the exam, which makes it very thorough -- a physical exam and then checking the obvious lungs, ears and heart. As she was doing her exam, I was trying to get her to promise me 7 to 13 years more of a good quality of life. She was holding back on making any promises. The more she resisted the harder I worked to get some kind of commitment from her. Finally she said, “Look, I just came from one of my rounds in oncology.”

“Whoops,” I said. “That is a place where doctors often make life-span predictions. I am backing off.”

I did tell my regular doctor, when she came into the room, that I was surprised at the hands-on physical. A few years ago she told me that those are a thing of the past. That she will give me one if I want, but modern medicine is showing that there are better ways to test what is going on in a body than that old way of doing a physical. She said, “Residents still give them.”

I did get three good warnings from the resident: watching for dizziness, watch for light-headedness, and watch for skipped heart beats. I think all of that is going to work for me.

So I will make the predication about my longevity without the help of medical science.

I have in mind thirteen more good years. I did lament to the intern the slow rate at which I have been able to shed excess pounds.

She said, “Don’t worry about the weight. Just keep moving. That is going to be where your pay-off is.”

Since I got out of the hospital in April, I have done 10,000 steps a day, excepting the two days I travelled to Boyce’s funeral. I know I can’t keep that record up for thirteen years.

Or maybe I can.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

At the movies

LtoR: Alice, Michael, Betty
Michael, Alice and Betty came over to play.

I set up The Fox and the Hound for them to watch and then proceeded to find snacks in a snackless house.

I did have popcorn.  Everyone had a bowl the size of the one you see in front of Betty. Michael needed to eat Betty's popcorn first before diving into his bowl and so I scolded him.

"No, Michael," you can't eat Betty's until your own is finished. Please work on your own bowl. "

I had hardly got the words out of my mouth when she looked straight at me, while turning to him, passing him the bowl and saying, "Here, Michael.  You can have mine."

What?  I am the enemy?

Whenever Alice comes over, she likes to take out my crystal nativity set and play with it.  I was curious about why she did that, so I bought another set, a South American nativity, and yes, she takes that out and plays with it.  So this week I found a boxed wooden set for her, the box opening up into a stable and landscape.  At the bottom left-hand side of the picture, you can see the two wisemen getting rides on a camel and a donkey.

I poured pop for them into shot glasses.  They could drink it faster than I could fill the glasses.  We went through a can of orange, root beer and grape pop.  How fun was that, ounce by ounce into those tiny little glasses.


The clarinet goes doodle, doodle, doodle det ....

How much fun is this!  Learning to play an instrument is the most fun ever.  This brought back lots of memories.

Yesterday I was over at the Bates's house and Charise was practising for her piano lesson this week.

Now Bonnie tells me that David is going to play the clarinet this year.  I can hardly wait to get out there and hear practising from him.

Music to my ears.

I will even offer to be the accompanist when he begins to do solo work.


Thursday, September 14, 2017


... a close up of the texture of injera ...
Pouria prepared an Ethiopian feast for us tonight.

Our meal was set out on injera, a sourdough-risen flatbread with a spongy texture.

When I was looking at it, I was reminded of the underside of a mushroom.

LtoR:Iranian stew, dahl, spicy beef, roasted red peppers

My injera is draped over my 12" plate
to give you an idea of the size of my meal.

So delicious!
He had purchased the injera over at an Ethiopian grocery in northwest Calgary, and then prepared some stews to put on top of it: a dahl, a stew of roasted red peppers, and a spicy beef. “This meal is only 75% Ethiopian,” he said, for he had added an Iranian beef stew as a fourth.

They offered me a fork for a utensil, but I know that the injera is at the same time food, an eating utensil and the plate. I ripped off small portions of the bread, using it to pick up pieces of the stews.

I bet everyone wishes they were at our house tonight.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Who matches the socks?

I am remembering more things about Boyce's funeral.

Jeanelle and Jim Livingston, Ramona Easthope and Bishop Stewart Lang all spoke.

I would say that the one outstanding memory of their combined talks centred around Elmoyne. Boyce was born in the 1950’s, in a time when Downs Syndrome children were institutionalized, rather than integrated into families. Elmoyne was one of the women who believed there was a different way, and while she would have had very little support in the way of literature or social services, she forged forward to give Boyce a life inside of the Johnson family.
Did you ever play chess with Boyce?

There were stories of him learning to set the table and that he was meticulous about it. We discovered that he was the one who paired up the socks in the laundry and that he chased down people who only put one of their socks into the wash.

We learned about Boyce’s bank account, about his piano lessons, about the first sacramental prayer that he gave and about his job performance once he got out of school.

It was a lovely funeral.

I liked the fact that it was held in the ward where Boyce grew up. Many of the ward members came to pay their respect. They were old for they had to be 20 years older than Boyce to have been there and watched him on Sundays -- first as a child, then as a teen-ager and then as an adult.

Richard, Miranda and their three children came down from Calgary to the funeral. Virginia and Cammy were there, as was Corrine McBride, Michelle Ehlrich and Aunt Martha’s daughter, Rosamond. And of course, many of the extended family of Grant and Elmoyne were there and participated in giving prayers or being pallbearers.

At the lunch after the funeral, I connected up with many people, one of which was Judy Whitehead, a woman I went to university with in Edmonton. I haven’t seen her since then and so we had to compress 50 years apart into 5 minutes of conversation.

Can life have gone by that fast?

But life went by fast for Boyce who was only 59 years old.  Lucky me to have met Boyce when he was a baby.


Fondly remembered traditions

From Bonnie Wyora:

I made some cookies on Monday.

David was thrilled.

Actually, he was thrilled with the smell in the house.

His first guess?


I used chocolate chips that had too high of a sugar content, so any of them touch the pan burned. Next time I will stick with the semi-sweet chips.

David didn't do any complaining though, and might have eaten a dozen before I finished cooking the last batch.

I told him when he said how great the house smelled, that the smell of something warm and delicious cooking in the oven when I walked in the door from school, was one of my favorite childhood memories.

He asked if I might make it a tradition, that every Monday that I have off work, that he and I bake together or I alone bake something delicious for him to eat.

Of course my answer was yes, because what more is a tradition than something that someone remembers fondly and believes it happened more than once.


Lemon Squares

Lemon Squares      Bake @ 350 degrees (15-20 min.)

1 package      golden cake mix
1/4 c.             butter
1/8 c.             water
1 lrg.              egg
1 c.                 coconut

Mix together and put in a 9"x13" cake pan.
Put veg. oil on the palm of your hand and press down.
Bake @ 350 degrees (15-20 min.)
Cool it in pan.

1 lemon Pie Filling (cooked kind)
Mix it up and pour on top of the bottom layer of Squares.
Whipping Cream for the 3rd layer of the squares.

Paleo Art and Fantasy

Jan Sovak, 40 x 71 cm, mixed media
There is an event called Nickle at Noon which runs through the fall and winter semesters at the University of Calgary and is free. Usually it is an artist's or curator's talk or some other lecture associated with the arts.  It is run in the TFDL (Taylor Family Digital Library).

Today I slipped over at noon to listen to Jan Sovak, a Czech-born, Calgary based artist who specializes in representing dinosaurs, primeval organisms and fantastic beasts.  Thus the title of the talk, "Paleo Art and Fantasy".

Fun to push my boundaries a bit, since my interest in dinosaurs and fantasy is pretty low.

I enjoyed the lecture and at one point was wishing I had brought along my notebook. Sovak showed were some widely circulated photos from the past, one of which was an event in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park in the 1880's -- a photo of a number of scientests having a banquet as though they were sitting in the middle of the stomach of a dinosaur.

Glad I took the time to walk over and see what was going on at the Nickle at Noon today.


NT Live - review of Yerma

Billie Piper, Maureen Beattie and Thalissa Teixeria
 in Yerma at the Young Vic.

Photograph: Johan Persson
In the Guardian, Susannah Clapp reviews National Theatre Live's production of Yerma

I could not stop myself from taking a peek at the review, even though it is weeks until we will see the show here.

This is Lorca's1934 play about a woman who cannot conceive.

The show has been updated for the London stage.

Looks like it will be fun.


Also see:



A New Computer Game

From Bonnie Johnson

For Family Home Evening we played a round of Splendour.

Then David showed us the character he had created for the new game he is playing.

I liked his choice of moxy over muscle.

The new computer game: West of Loathing.

 David's character is called Cecil Simmons.

A Road Trip to Boyce Johnson’s Funeral

When Bonnie Wyora heard that Boyce Johnson had passed away, we were in Sicamous, B.C. She suggested that we take a road trip to the funeral. I have been waiting a long time to go through the Slocan Valley so we decided to take a few days and travel south through our forested province and then drive over to Alberta.

As busy lives go, our much anticipated plans were shortened, and the longer trip was compressed into a ride through the Roger’s Pass which is never a disappointment since the Slocan Valley is still there for next time. At the top of the pass and in the midst of billowing smoke over distant mountains we still managed to see the exquisite beauty of the avalanche slides, the tumbling waterfalls, and the purple fireweed blossoms along the road. A helicopter was flying to the summit, landing and then lifting again. We watched this for a while. At this point, Bonnie was taking a selfie, stepped backwards into a hole, did a graceful fall and shoulder roll and got back up on her feet.

 But she let me drive for a few hours after that and we went off in search of Advil, a suggestion from Catherine after we called her for medical advice.

I asked Bonnie why she wanted to make this trip.

She said that Boyce was her first childhood experience with a person with a disability. Now she works identifying disabilities with young children, but Boyce remains that first model that comes to her mind.

When Bonnie was telling me this, into my mind popped another moment that I had with Boyce upon which I have reflected often. His family was at the cabin on the Shuswap lake. People were water skiing. He wanted to take a try.

This was in the distant past when it was popular to begin the ski by sitting on the dock and letting the boat pull you off. Boyce was outfitted up with a life jacket, the skis were on his feet, his hands were holding the rope, and he shouted, “Hit it”.

In that split second before the boat put on the power, he jumped off the dock and into the water.

That was his first try. As the addage goes when falling off a horse, he got back on and tried again.

“Hit it”.

And off he jumped into the water before the power of the boat could get to the handle he was holding.

I don’t know why the driver of the boat gave him another chance, but he did. I can still see Boyce for the third time, on the dock, his skis on again, the life jacket straigtened, and the handle of the rope in his hand.

He was now more practiced at jumping into the water than holding onto the rope and the third time was not lucky for him.

The fear factor had Boyce into the water again, now shivering from the cold.

I don’t think my story has a point. Still, in my life, when I have wanted to contemplate desire and courage the image of Boyce on the dock comes to my mind.

I am writing this post because Rebecca said that she wanted to read about Boyce’ funeral.

Here it comes: Ramona had called Dr. Ken Hicken and asked him to play a medley of Boyce’s favourite tunes at the funeral. She gave him 40 titles. Ken told the congregation that if he had done 40 titles the time that would have taken would have resulted in a concert and not a funeral. So he abbreviated the list to 6 titles.

Of them, I can only remember “I’m Trying to be Like Jesus”, Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree” “76 Trombones” and “Climb Every Mountain”.

You may not know Ken Hicken, Rebecca. I was first acquainted with him when I was in the Department of Music at the University of Alberta in the late ‘50’s . Ken was a couple of years ahead of me, from southern Alberta, and his desire was to be a professional musician. One day I sat in church listening to him play prelude music and thought the music sounded familiar, although I couldn’t tell what Bach chorale he was playing. After the meeting, I went up to ask him about the music and he laughed. “Most people aren’t really listening to the prelude music,” he said.

“Well, I am.”

“Fine,” he laughed. “That was the popular and secular tune Harry Belafonte sings: ‘Shrimp Boats are A-Comin’. I put the tune in the base and played some religious sounding chords in the right hand, for fun.”

Now I am only telling you this because of our previous email discussion where you said you had as a model in Ottawa, a woman who had a certain measure of ‘disobedience’ at the centre of her soul.

I am sure Ken is such a person.

Fast forward to an older Ken Hicken, now playing a medley at Boyce’s funeral. Ken had gone on to get his PhD and has taught in the music department at the University of Lethbridge. He said a few words to us before he went to the organ. He announced he had entitled his medley “Rejoice with Boyce”.

Then Ken went to the organ and began to do now as he did then, threw in some musical tropes to mix people up, changed rhythms and sounds, used the pedals and then different registers of the organs. At one point I might have heard the sound of an organ grinder in one of the songs.

When he began the last tune, “Climb Every Mountain”, I knew my job was to remain focused on watching Ken’s method. He pulled out all of the organ stops, and sent the volume soaring.

Keeping myself focused on Ken’s method is what kept me from throwing myself on the pew and sobbing at the last song: “Climb every mountain / Ford every stream / Follow every rainbow / 'Till your dream”. I don’t know if it is better to let the tears flow down my cheeks, or to choke them back so that they wash down the inside of my guts.

I know how to do both.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Antigonish ... Here comes Zoe!

Zoe's sisters in Calgary had a surprise celebration party 
for her for being invited to participate
in the 2018 Canadian Special Olympics.

Charise drew a picture and the girls had it painted on a cake for her. 
They had the party at Chisholm.

This means a number of us will be absent from the lake
 next year from July 24th or so to Aug. 7th or so.

We will be in Antigonish, Nova Scotia or thereabouts,
watching Zoe complete.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Blackberry Cheesecake Brownies


for the brownies
   ¾ cup cocoa powder
   1½ cups sugar
   2 eggs
   12 tablespoons unsalted butter
   ½ cup all-purpose flour
   2 teaspoons vanilla extract
   ½ teaspoon salt

for the blackberry puree
   6 oz fresh or frozen blackberries
   ¼ cup granulated white sugar
   ¼ cup water

for the cheesecake
   8 ounces cream cheese, softened
   ¼ cup greek yogurt
   1 large eggs, room temperature
   ¼ cup sugar
   ½ teaspoon salt


1  Cook blackberry puree by combining all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes. Use a whisk or spoon to help break down the blackberries. Once cooked, place a fine mesh strainer over a small bowl and, using a spatula, squeeze through all of the liquid and dispose of the solids. Let cool to room temperature.
2  Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8"x8" baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. In a microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter. Stir in sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt. Once combined, fold in cocoa powder and flour. Pour the brownie batter into the baking dish, spreading evenly to the edges.
3  Combine all cheesecake ingredients in a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Cream for 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed. Pour over brownie batter, spreading evenly to the edges. Drizzle the blackberry puree on top of the cheesecake batter and swirl using a fork, knife, or toothpick. Try to swirl only into the cheesecake batter, not the brownie batter.
4  Bake for 1 hour, or until the cheesecake begins to turn golden and a knife inserted in the center of the brownies comes out mostly clean. Place in fridge and allow to cool for at least 2 hours but up to overnight. Cut into 9 large squares. Store brownies in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.