Thursday, November 30, 2017

Young Marx

Shades of music hall … Rory Kinnear and Oliver Chris. 
Photograph: Manuel Harlan
Mary said that she was taking Xavier and Naomi to Young Marx, the next in the NT Live productions on Thursday.

Michael Billington reviews the play in The Guardian. He declares "farce, family and finances but not quite the full Marx".

I wondered, after reading the review, what the full Marx would really look like.  I have only come to him tangentially through courses.

I looked for famous quotes from Marx.

I did not know any of the first set:
Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please. 
The rich will do anything for the poor but get off their backs. 
The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.
Young Marx
There is another review in The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw.

He calls this play a bromance, a category I haven't really thought of.

In any case, I love these reviews.  They give me food for thought, and food for questions that I am going to ask my grandchildren, whichever ones will accompany me.

And I have to be ready, should they ask some questions in return.


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Meet Dash

This is our cool new kitty, Dash.  We got her from a local rescue called AARCS. She was originally named "Penne", and her siblings were Macaroni, Ravioli, and Orzo. We thought about calling her Penny, but Betty didn't like that. After a few days, Dash and Smudge were the front runners. Alice came up with Dash and Michael latched on to it, so we ran with it.

Michael says: Dash is my favorite pet.  She likes me the most, more than Alice and Betty.  Dash likes to purr in my ear at bed time.  I like to play with her with the fishing line (cat toy on the end of a rod).  She has a sheepskin bed in my room to sleep on. Dash is the best cat. She can walk across the window sill.

Alice says: My kitty is so lovely and she is beautiful. I love her.

Betty says: Kitty loves my nose.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

On making Twixt Bars

While I was at Mary's in Aylmer, P.Q., she had an evening where she promised her kids home-made Twixt bars.

What, I thought.  You can make those.  I thought, seeing will be believing.

I left to go to Montreal before we had consumed the whole pan.

Mary said that Leo and Xavier will only eat one small slice a day, so she took them to church on Sunday to let her friends taste them and finish them off.

They have been on my mind lately.

Here is a link to the recipe that we used.

Be assured that using butter in the crust, and a high quality chocolate for the topping really works for these bars.

Instead of chocolate chips Mary used a couple of large Jersey Milk Chocolate Bars.

These would also be good using a high quality dark chocolate bar.


So Mary tells me a funny story about the day after making this recipe.   She was eating the second last of the twix bars she had hidden away for Rhiannon.

Naomi came by and asked for a bite. She then decided that she liked them after all and that if you eat them in one bite (so not dissected) they are really good. She asked to have the last one in her lunch today. Mary complied.

Now Mary will have take that shortbread crust out of the freezer (that she had planned to make into lemon squares) and make another batch of Twixt bars for Naomi. Too bad she had given them all away at church before Naomi decided she liked them.

Now I want to make them here in Montreal.

Catherine said, please don't.  They sound like they will add another few pounds. I will make them and put a big sign on them:  No Adults.  For Teens Only.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Volleyball Returns

I went to watch Rebecca Jarvis play volleyball at a tournament on Sunday. Eric drove us out to a small village in rural Quebec where there is a double gym attached to the school. Eric left and I stayed to watch Rebecca for the day.

Her team had to go down a level last year to the D league. They do not belong there. They were winning by scores of 25 to 3 or 25 to 7. They were just too skilled and too powerful.

Volleyball has changed a bit since I last watched a tournament. When the women have to change from one shirt to another they turn their backs to the audience and then they just whip off those shirts and put the new ones on – no change rooms available, or maybe close enough. That act happened in less than 2 seconds and I was left wondering, did I really see that?

I rode home in the school bus with the team. The coaches had some music playing, both the sound of which and the level of which were a lot of fun!

The team proved that they need to be in the C League next year.  I hope I am in Montreal next year and around to see those games.


Sunday, November 26, 2017


I don't know if you go out to look at the "Blogs of Family and Friends" that are on the right hand panel of this blog.  I went there today after reading the University of Alberta Faculty Blog:  In Memory of Cindy Gladue

That was about as painful a read as I wanted for the day.  And it got me thinking about the Reconciliation Syllabus blog so I went on a side trip there as well.

Being a couple of articles behind, I read for a while and then was reminded about the Indigenous Canada MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) which I signed up for a couple of months ago.  Rebecca said that she signed up for the course, paid the fee, and has finished it.

I, too, signed up for the course.  I didn't pay the fee.  I just got busy and did the course, one step at a time, as she said.  I did take notes as I went, and sometimes referred to them as I was doing the testing.  I considered that all of the exams were open books exams.

I finished the course last week, a week ahead of schedule.  I don't feel as though there is much I can do on the subject.  Maybe I will say this another way -- no matter how much I do, it all seems so very little.

Like Rebecca, I recommend the online course.  I have to say that my trip to the Canadian National Archives and Libraries was a thrill, for I saw my first wampum belts there, which had new meaning because of the online course.

And while I was in Ottawa I saw another belt in the new Canadian and Indigenous Section of the National Gallery.

I think that is all I wanted to say on this.


The Christmas Train

Hebe, Catherine, Catie, Arta
The CPR Christmas Train is in the background.
Finally, the Jarvis family are the first ones to see the Canadian Pacific Railroad Christmas train.

Catherine heard that it would be stopping at a station close to where we live.

The night was perfect.

The snow was softly falling and could be seen floating to the ground through beams of the street lights. I saw a woman putting out her tongue, trying to catch flakes of snow on it.

Families were there with their small children, whose hats carried reindeer ears.  Many people were carrying tins for the Food Bank. 

Collin James and Emily Lee were the Canadian artists on stage belting out tunes as only they know how to do.
... the wreath on the back of the caboose
as it was pulling out of the station ...

Eric and I walked back from the van for a last look at the caboose as it pulled out of the station headed for its next stop.

We saw the performers going to the dinning car.

Their table has already been set and they were taking off their jackets and sitting down for their supper.

Now that is getting a close up look at the Christmas Train.


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Glee Club Binge Watching

Earlier in the week, Mary, Naomi and I watched a number of episodes of the TV series, Glee.

But our subsequent evenings were gobbled up in other ways, and although Mary kept promising that we would watch some more Glee, that just didn’t happen until Friday.

We finally bought some treats salty snacks.

Creating home made Twixt Bars was also a necessary task.

“What are home-made Twixt Bars?” I wondered. Mary lays down a layer of shortbread, adds a no-fail caramel filling and tops the caramel off with a generous covering of chocolate.

To begin with, she told Naomi that when making these bars, timing was everything.

But we cooked, what could go wrong, did go wrong.

We doubled the recipe, only to remember that we didn’t have enough sweetened condensed milk for a double recipe. We burned the caramel so badly that there was no way to disguise what we had done and we had to begin again. And we were left with the hardest pan ever to clean. Several soakings and scrapings. And Mary had to send Leo on a grocery run for new missing ingredients. On the second try to make a perfect caramel filling for we caught it just at the hard-ball stage. It was at this point that Naomi asked, did one of you put the cup of butter in this batch. There are just some times when a person wants to go lay their head down on the table and cry.

The binge watching part of our night was a brilliant success. We decided that there would be no putting the TV programme on pause. If people had to walk in and out of the room, they would just have to catch up on the plot with their intuition.

Naomi is knitting me a new winter hat, so she knitted and she watched TV at the same time. I played the part of the evening prima donna, drinking Coke and feasting on cheddar cheese flavoured popcorn. There are some things that a person can’t make at home.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Present Laughter - a repeat

Our house has been planning to see Noel Coward's Present Laughter for a few days now.  We read the plot synopsis, studied the names of the characters, found out where the name of the play came from (a song in Shakespeare's 12th Night) and learned a little about Noel Coward.  The only thing that was left was to answer questions after the show -- for money, of course.

Mary and Naomi splitting one large popcorn
into smaller bags for others in our row.
This was my second time seeing the show.

I was laughing at the same parts of the show again: Gary Essendine (Kelvin Kline) doing such funny moves with his body -- larger than life gestures, preening in a mirror each time he went to open the front door of his flat, and having a meltdown on an ottoman.

By the third act, and after two hours running straight, I could still feel Naomi's interest in the show as expressed in the shaking of her shoulders as she laughed at the jokes that were multiplying on one another.

A good time was had by all: Leo, Mary, Naomi, Xavier, Rhiannon and me.


NGC - Rosenquist

James Rosenquist 
Painting for the American Negro 1962-1963
National Gallery of Canada
I had another rare event at the gallery today.  I went to revisit a triptych that I had seen a couple of days ago, one where a school class was getting a lesson and I was listening in.  This time a docent was telling about the picture and I took a couple of pages of notes.  I don't know what compels me to do both that, and then to read the notes over while I eat lunch.  Probably if I had someone at the gallery with me for lunch, I would be chatting with them instead of reading  my notes over.

This is a 50 year old oil painting, rare because it was not usual for pop artists to make political statements in the 1960's.  James Rosenquist is among the top pop artists of the period and this painting was done at the height of the civil rights marches.

You will notice the rose coloured glasses connect to a stereotypical figure of an African American man who is also rose-coloured.  There is lots more in the picture -- a joy to stand at the painting with fellow Canadians and have someone at least point us in a direction where we can understand what was going on during this period.

Odd that the same curator had us look at a Canadian painting just an hour before, one where the imagery dealt with the martrydom of Brebeuf and Maclemeff -- a historical painting from 1843.
Martyrdom of Fathers Brébeuf and Lalemant

The docent who was discussing the painting said that he is taking an art course now on martyrdom paintings.

I couldn't help but think that was cool.  Apparently there are rules around painting martyrs:

1. show the martyrs to be in no pain
2. show the instruments of torture being use

In this case the boiling water is to be thrown on the victims as though a mock baptism is being done on them.  And further, their lips were cut off when they expressed their faith in God.

Sounds like quite a course.  For my part it was just fun to visit the picture in a museum.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

National Gallery - Joseph LeGare & Paul Peel

17th acquisition of the National Gallery
purchased from a bar owner

The Venetian Bather by Paul Peel
What is it about going to the National Gallery that keeps me getting on the bus every morning and going down there.

For some reason I feel as though I am shopping for some exquisite items and then being  able to buy them all.

Today the docent was talking about the 5 second stroll through the gallery – the one where I just walk through the room and try to run my eye over every picture there. I haven’t been using that approach this week. The first thing I do is go to the handicapped outlet and sign up for a walker – one with wheels. It is not that I need one to walk. But standing in front of one picture for ten minutes or so takes a lot out of me after I have read the gallery description of the painting and then gone back and forth from that to the painting and then back to the description. The walker has advantages that the gallery stools don’t have: a back to lean against and the chair can be wheeled instead of lifted. Small joys, but I have to say I enjoyed them.

Mary packed me a lunch. I can’t remember the last time someone packed me a lunch and sent me on my way. It didn’t matter that the dressing, the cucumbers and the carrots are what came home from Rhiannon’s lunch yesterday. And the lettuce in another container was generous. It had that whorl of lettuce at the base of the head that I usually try to get out, but sometimes miss. I recognized it and enjoyed it as though it were meant to be. The lunch tasted twice as good, sitting in front of that grand expansive view – the river, the government buildings, the bridge – it was as though I was in London or Paris, or Rome. And that rush that I might not get through every gallery was gone, since I have figure out – 3 more days here, and then I can come back in the Spring again. With good luck I will be able to sit for 10 minutes in front of every painting that the gallery has.

When someone has done hours of research and then comes to share points about the painting that aren’t obvious or are that historical, that is what I like to listen to. Apparently the painter of Josephte Ourne was Joseph LeGare, the first owner of an art gallery in Canada. He had many firsts – he was also a painter who did the first landscape picture of Canada, as well as the first historical painting. I didn’t know that paintings were classified this way.
Josephte Ourne
- a chief's daugher holds trout and a bird,
her attributes

Purchased 1975

He drew attention to the earrings which had a Moroccan flavour, probably from tribal trade with clans in the Caribbean. And her broach is of trade silver, not silver that was very valuable, but still silver that was used for pelt trade. Her red dress is called pigeon waist or women’s waist – a well know fashion of the time. Apparently young women of the time were allowed to hunt small game: eggs, birds and fish and we get to see this in the painting.

I am way behind with art. I had to come home and look up Fauvism, Cubism and Expressionism. As well, I was back in one of the corridors where there were some Morrice paintings and the word marabout (a member of the Arabic clergy) was in the description of the painting so that was on my list of things to do at home. I am probably like a lover of music who doesn’t know the language of music – only in my case this all has to do with art.

Still. Fun.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

National Gallery - Clark and Fuseli

... sunset at the Rideau Canal ...
I spent the morning in the National Gallery. 

There were two lecture highlights: one at 11 and one at noon.

The docent talks are supposed to be 10 minutes.

 I was there along with another Canadian.

The docent spent 45 minutes with us at each painting, which was a thrill for me.

Henry Fuseli (Johann Heinrich Füssli) - Oil
 I rode the bus into Ottawa with Mary and then walked in the mall downtown until the gallery opened.

By noon I was just thrilled with what I had seen and heard.

The first was a painting by Henry Fuseli called “The Dream of Belinda”.

This is a scene from The Rape of the Lock, a satire/tragedy from the romantic period.

... Parliament Hill ...
... yes, I am really here ...
Since the group was small the woman giving us the lecture showed us how the painting fit in with all of the other paintings in the room and she described this period, showing us the artistic symbols that helped me to understand the paintings.

The second picture was “Petroushka” by Paraskeva Clark.

There was so much in the room to understand, that I went back after lunch to see the details on the other paintings.

Petrushka by Paraskeva Clarke
And in the late afternoon I looked at both Inuit sculpture, and at a room that was dedicated to large scale paintings by Emily Carr.

I am planning on going back tomorrow … and tomorrow … and tomorrow.

Betty's Brownies

Betty's Brownies from the
Manna from Heaven Johnson Cookbook
Mary and I have been wanting to make brownies.

We asked Rhiannon and Naomi if they wouldn’t like to taste some tonight. 

Disappointingly, they said no.

 I thought that was the end of it, but Mary couldn’t take it any longer and in a 9 pm flurry, turned on the oven, pulled out the butter, the flour, the sugar and the cocoa and started measuring ingredients into her 8 cup Pyrex measuring cup. 

The cocoa was piled so high that I asked her how many cups of it she was putting in. She said, “I am at 2 ½ right now”. I asked her what recipe she was using since my recipe calls for 1/2 a cup.

One from the web, she said. I went over to look at it, and she did as well, with perfect amazement. Whoops, I have just put five times too much cocoa in the pan.

“Just bag it. Waste the butter and start over.”


She proceeded to double every other ingredient, and leave the cocoa with its multiple of five.

She poured the whole thing (doubled) into one 8 1/12 x 11 pan.

“Aren’t those going to be kind of thick.”

 “Too late now. I have them in the pan.”

... brownies with a buzz ...
I am always curious about how Mary cooks. 

Yesterday’s cauliflower crust under our pizza was really a Moosewood Variation of a crust made from zucchini. Now it was delicious, so I am not going to give her a bad review on that.

But the brownies? Well, Naomi packed some this morning for her friends. Then she tasted them and put the container back.

 “My friends will hate me if I bring these for a treat.”

I think the brownies will give the same buzz as a morning cup of coffee.

Would it be right to insist Mary eat them all? 

Would it cure tonight's migraine?


Monday, November 20, 2017

Send me a list of your leftovers

... the last piece of pizza ...
"What is this out on the counter", I asked Mary when she started to prepare supper.

"Oh, it is every left-over from the fridge.  I am going to make something so delicious for us tonight.  In fact you can blog people and tell them to send me a list of their left-overs and I will tell them what to do with them."

And so she did make something so delicious: a cauliflower crust for our pizza which she baked and then added tomato sauce, cheese, yellow peppers and tomatoes.

Wow, I said as we were eating it.  Just like a restaurant.

She said, yes.  Too bad I didn't use any of the left-overs in the fridge.  All of these are fresh ingredients.  We still have to work on the left overs.

So please, no lists of your left overs for Mary until she finishes up using ours.


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Working on Lot 13

Moiya writes, "You might not be able to see this, 
but the deck has been taken off at Lot 13."

 Moiya continues,
"And now you can see the progression of work
that is being done on David and Shauna’s house."

... David Pilling, working on his new house...

Flowing Chocolate Fountains

... an unending flow of chocolate ...
This picture does not do justice to the beauty of this chocolate fountain.

I was rubbing my hands over the window glass of the shop that held this fountain.

And I took out my camera and said to Mary, "I just have to have my picture by this fountain."

We were on a journey through all of the shoe stores in an Orleans Mall to find shoe boxes for a project at Naomi's school.

They are filling the boxes with gifts, decorating the boxes and then sending them to First Nations schools.

The problem for us is that as soon as a pair of shoes is sold, if the customer doesn't take the box home, the box is immediately collapsed and shredded.

 ... visions of sugar plums danced in her head ...
It took us over an hour to find 5 shoeboxes.

In the meantime, I kept walking by that chocolate fountain.

The same thing that held me back from getting a chocolate fountain of my own in the past is still holding me back.

In order to keep the chocolate flowing, there is a lot of vegetable oil added.

So what you really have is chocolate flavoured oil if you should choose to dip some fruit, pretzels, marshmellows in those fountains.

Better to melt some chocolate at home and put it in a frying pan in front of your family.  In this case, taste is everything.


Used Bags

,,,  a leather bag from China restored with Danier skin care for leather ...
Mary’s friend called for help.

A mutual friend had died and that apartment needed to be cleaned out so that the apartment owner could re-rent his space.

Mary said he had been a generous landlord, but now it was time for him to get some rent so he needed to have the space cleaned out.

Mary went to help on Saturday. She came home with two boxes of stuff, one of which is full of old DVD’s which might or might not be worth $5. A lot of work, packing it up, then trying to make a deal with the used book/DVD dealer so that they can send money to the relatives who can’t come to help.

Two leather bags came home from the project. I have tried to bring one of them back to life with leather moisturizer. That liquid can’t fix the broken latch on the front of the bag, nor the seam that has split open on the back pocket where a computer could be stored.

It is so hard to know at what point to mend items vs throwing them away.

And speaking of bags that need mending, Naomi has a purse with an arm strap that she got at the second hand store. While she was at school Griffen (the dog) opened the bag, ate all of the theatre candy inside, and chewed out one of the pockets.

The tears Naomi shed were over the potential loss of the bag and not over the candy. To me it appears easier to sew in a whole new pocket than to mend the shredded fabric.

Hard to know when to throw out the used and just start over again!  I am in favour of getting back to a second hand store to find another, but I think they are going to try to patch this pocket.


To the ballet with Rhiannon

In our family one of the most important events in going to the ballet (or the musicals, or the plays) is that moment when we make money by answering questions about what we have just seen. I am often the one who asks the questions, but it is OK with me if the questions go two ways: ask me a question that you know the answer to, and you can also make money. This seems to be the highlight of the ballet.

In the case of today’s show (The Taming of the Shrew), Rhiannon asked me the name of the Housekeeper, a part that was written into the ballet by the choreographer, for his wife, Anna Tikhomirova. Hard to beat the fun of that. I told Mary that the one thing we should memorize is the name of the choreographer. This seemed to be easier for Mary and Rhiannon to do, since his name was French. I was stumbling over the name for a long time: Jean Christophe Maillot. We talked about the costuming of of Katerina and of Bianca, as well as the role of the fool (Petruchio’s servant) in the show.

I wondered if Maillot’s new ballet will stand the test of time – I thought it was beautiful and I had something to look for which was new for me. In the pre-ballet interviews one of the ballerinas told us to look for angles as they dance. So I kept my eye open for interesting angle during the show.

There was the usual interview during the intermission, with the host Katya Novikova, speaking in Russian, French and English to us. The highlight of that part of the show was when Novikova said that the event we were watching was “delicious”. That got a laugh from the members of our audience.

Rhiannon was the person who made our group into a three generation event. I would have to say that the thrill of the day is to go to an event like this with a grandchild and with her mother.

We have to drive over the Ottawa River to get to the only movie house that is carrying the broadcast of the Bolshoi from the Moscow Stage. That is a long way. On the way we told riddles. My first one was what belongs to you but everyone else uses. The answer is, your name. Then I did the riddle, “As I was going to St. Ives ….” I’ve never found this riddle to be entertaining to anyone once they find out that they didn’t have to do all of that math to get the right answer. No success with Rhiannon either. She was unimpressed. I keep trying until I find a grandchild who likes it.

In the intermission of the ballet, the camera showed use the corridors filled with ballet patrons. We looked at the opulent balconies as the camera panned them for us. At our Cineplex, Rhiannon ate poutine at the intermission: Ice Cream Dream, a dixie cup sucked out of an open freezer with a vacuum-like hose – cookie dough ice cream, since the tropical fruit punch last time was disgusting.


Friday, November 17, 2017

The Exterminating Angel

Thomas May writes an article called Angel in America for the Metropolitan Opera.

Don't be alarmed.

 This is not Angels in America, but an article on The Exterminating Angel, the Met's NT live performance on Saturday.

The live performance is on Saturday.

I have other things to do, so am going to wait to see it at the Encore.  But if anyone does get there, how about an off-the-cuff review for the rest of us.

It looks fascinating.  You might also enjoy this article from TrendFem.

The Guardian calls it the opera with everything.

I love the MetLive.


Bolshoi Ballet - The Taming of the Shrew

Andrea Mohin/The New York Times
Ekaterina Krysanova and Vladislav Lantratov
as Katharina and Petruchio
in the Bolshoi Ballet’s “The Taming of the Shrew”
at the Lincoln Center Festival. CreditAndrea Mohin/The New York Times

Watch a preview of Bolshoi's The Taming of the Shrew featuring Ekaterina Krysanova and Vladislav Lantratov.

The following link should work:

 Preview of the Taming of the Shrew

The music is Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a (arr. R. Barshai from String Quartet No. 8): II. Allegro Molto" de Vladimir Spivakov & Moscow Virtuosi

Judith Mackrell of The Guardian reviews The Taming of the Shrew by the Bolshoi saying "Shakespeare’s problematic play has tripped up choreographers in the past, but Jean-Christophe Maillot’s interpretation is bold and fast-witted".

The New York Times says "In Bolshoi’s Ballet, No Shrew to Tame".  So there is another take on the ballet.

We are going to try to see this performance, Mary, Naomi, Rhiannon and I.

I go out to the web and see bits and pieces of it.  I am so looking forward to see it on the big screen on Sunday.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Follies - Waiting for the Encore

The treat bowl after both girls had filled their purses.

The notebook contains notes to help me ask questions
about the songs and the performers.
We had done everything to get ready for the Follies.

I had done the trip to Dollarama to pick up the treats (white chocolate and plenty of lollipops for Rhiannon).

Mary had purchased flavoured popcorn at work – a fund-raiser, but now it was doing double duty and was on its way with us to the show. 

Mary had popped some kernels at home as well, “I hate that Cineplex popcorn.”  Good to make everyone happy.

I studied the reviews of the show, making up question for the girls to answer: $1 for every correct answer (or any try) up to $10.

When they came home from school, I told the girls the questions and the answers, telling them that when they saw an example of what we had talked about, they should poke their mother and that would be enough to answer the question. For example, if you see the crumbling brick walls of the set, or the castaway props, or the faded red velvet chairs, or even if you know the names of the characters in the show, then you are on your way to making money.

We arrived just in time to get settled in our seats. The theatre was already full so our seats were in the second row from the front. I pulled out the clip in my hair for I had to slip way down in the chair, lean my head against the back of it and then find a place in my progressive tri-focals where I could get a clear image of the screen.

So far, so good.

I settled in to hear an interview with the artistic director of the show, then another with Stephen Sondheim, and then the show began. Having watched a 1987 production on youtube, I found myself comparing that production with this new one – up to the point when we lost the video on the screen, only to get it back without the audio.  This was the beginning of the slippery slope.

By the time we left the show, there were only a handful of people in the theatre still listening to at least the musical score. For us it just wasn’t working without the vocals. Now we have to go back for the Encore, January 20th, 2018.

Still, I was happy walking out of the theatre and down the steps to the car.  I noticed that I was humming and singing clips, like "Hey, up there".  The music so Sondheim.  Probably the interview with him before the show started was worth the price of the ticket, which in the end was refunded to me.

In the meantime, on the way home, we still answered questions about the show so that the girls could earn their money.

And we began to prepare for the Bolshoi Taming of the Shrew ballet which is on Sunday.

As well, we made a small stop at the Golden Arches.

All’s well that ends well.

The view of the kitchen floor as we walked in from the theatre.
The worst part of the evening was walking back in the door and seeing that the dog had spent the night getting into the garbage and licking every last piece of tin foil, plastic wrap and foam carton in there.

 “No, Arta, you can’t help clean it up. It is my dog,” said Mary.

It was me who left the garbage open, but at this time of night, who is going to argue.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Planning Meeting

We are trying hard, very hard, to figure out what we should do tomorrow.

"I think I will just sit on your lap for a while,
mother, while we discuss this."
My take on the day is that we should pretend we are in London, and head off to  the National's Oliver Theatre to see Stephen Sondheim's Follies.

We can do this by going to the local theatre, eating our treats, seeing the show and coming back to the best beds in the world -- those at home.

Mary warns me that her girls aren't big soda drinkers, and they are still recovering from Halloween candy overdose.  So I don't know what there is to do but just go and enjoy the show.

I have not only been immersing myself in the reviews of the show, but I went out to find a youtube version of it, and watched the whole 2 hours, filmed over the shoulder of some patron who was in front of a camrecorder.   That is the way to see the show with the worst sound and colour.  But I couldn't stop myself.

Will Naomi and Rhiannon be able to get up to go to school the next day?  

As a grandmother, I say, thrown caution to the wind, and if no one can get out of bed the next day, who cares -- except that we do have to send Mary off to work.

The four of us have had a grand day today.  Mary told me to buy marbles at the Dollar Store, for Rhiannon wants to play them at recess with her friends.  I think the price was $2.50 for half a pound of marbles.  I bought two bags when one would do.

I asked Rhiannon if she wanted to youtube refresher on how to play the game,  

"You know how to do it, Grandmother, just get playing."

The score was 2 games to one, but I expect tomorrow I will do better.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Antigone at WHP

From Rebecca:

Just got back from Toronto (a workshop with Indigenous documentary film makers and law professors mixed). It was pretty fun!

Click on the link to read the text on the poster.
Last week was the prison symposium  which was amazing.

William Head Penitentiary is the federal minimum security prison (mostly life sentence people but near the end of their sentences).

We have a PhD student who is there (he went in as a 20 year old, and is going to be doing at least 10 years before the possibility of parole…. I think he is about 27 now).

The prison has a society which does theatre in the prison: 37 years of theatre!? It is run by the prisoners, and the public goes in to watch. They just did Antigone
Last year they did a piece where they wrote the play as well as doing all the set, costume, and acting.
So I saw Antigone, and then we went back a week later for a Symposium inside the prison for activists, academics, theatre people, community volunteers, prisoners, prison staff/warden etc. to talk about the past/present/and future of WHOS (William Head On Stage).

It was a full day in the same room, and so inspiring. This theatre company is something really special. It is also totally funded by the prisoners (through a society): they work with community volunteers, but have to raise all their own money for staging, costuming, snacks, etc.

There is no “govt money” that supports this. Nor are the guards paid to do all the overtime necessary for when the public comes in: the prison guards ‘volunteer’ their time.

 None of it would happen if the warden (both present and past) did not have a commitment to let it happen… and the assistant wardens coordinate with management and operations, etc to make sure things can happen.

Really, it is like a strangely fragile flower that somehow has been able to survive for over 35 years. 

Almost impossible to imagine.

 And the theatre work itself is really transformative for the men.

Quite an experience.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Tim's Band at the National Music Centre

This is Tim Oldham's Band at the National Music Centre in Calgary ... and other selected pictures from a fabulous event ...

looking down on the band from the top
 ...Audra in the sound booth with her cousins ...
Zoe at My Regrub
... dancing ...
Sound Booth
... Theresa on drums ...
 ... Regrub Restaurant before the first bite ...
Audra with Fred Penner

Tim said they painted the collapsible wall behind them
 the night before so they  couldn’t open it and play in the music hall. 
They crowded onto the balcony.

A Splendid Moment

From Moiya


I went out to take a picture of what I thought was a splendid moment.

My sunglasses were on because I had a shot in both eyes this morning.

That was about 2 hrs. ago.

Now I went to open this up on my e-mail and come to see that there was even a rainbow out there.

I certainly did not see it until now!


Can¹t wait for all of you to come and enjoy what is all of ours.

Love Moiya

The Toe Story

From Wyona

I went to the Music Museum on Saturday to hear Tim's band play.

I attended with Tonia, Marcia, Audra, Kalina, Theresa, Charise and Zoe.

I had a really bad fall/trip. I might have been doing the Charleston to the music as I walked along.

I think I tripped on my Left Foot Toe, did a few fast unbalanced steps forward but my feet would not catch up to the upper part of me so I did a face plant right in front of Kalina and two strangers.

I had to lay on the floor to get my balance, then hobbled over to a bench with all the above people fussing over me.

Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre - Calgary
I took off my shoe and my three toes were fat and turning purple etc. My knees are swollen, one elbow, my nose and my three toes are fat and black.

Theresa sat by me on the bench to keep my company because her feet had been bothering her while walking around the museum.

When I took off my shoe, Theresa took off her shoe.

She never put her shoes back on, went around the museum bare footed after that and she sat on the bench to recuperate with me.

The shoes Theresa wore were too small and she said they hurt her feet. She has a cut on her toe from shoes that were too small.

Thus endeth the toe story.

Now-at the lake

Moiya sends this picture with only the words
Now-at the lake

I guess one pictures says it all.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Primary Presentation - Ottawa Style

... standing in a row at the water's edge ...
It was the Primary Presentation today. 

Rhiannon was ready to go to church about three hours before it was to begin.

We have the 1 pm meeting, and she had practised her talk numerous times and also taken out her Cool Maker and Styled the mannequin’s hair with an elaborate fish braid. 

But by the time she got to church, the color had gone out of her own face, her jaw seemed longer and the rest of her face drawn. It was all she could do to stay upright and lean against her mother’s shoulder.
... my first glance at the seagulls this morning ...

As to Mary, she holds a special position in the primary: primary support worker.

I asked her exactly what that means. She said she is assigned to help a 3 year old girl on the autism spectrum.

So that made sense of what I saw as the children sang one of the songs.

I know -- bad composition
But it still seemed interesting to me.
Mary was sweetly singing the song. She had squatted down and was cheek to cheek with that little girl’s ear. The little one was showing the audience her own version of a sign language for what Mary was singing, the movements of which have nothing to do with American sign language. I have never seen a child do so many geometric changes with her hands and fingers.

A little later she dropped a paper she was holding and it had fell on the other side of the panel of boards that extends out from the pulpit.

She was motioning for anyone in the audience to pick it up … anyone? At one point I just about got up and got it for her. She was very good at motioning for help.  Even I was drawn into her captivating  drama  What held me back is that sometimes when I get in the crouching position to pick something up, I can’t get up on my own. I didn't think I needed to add to whatever else was going on.

Leo said he just about went to get it for her as well. Of course it is fun to watch the children, all dressed up in their Sunday best. One little African boy had on a stunning orange and geometric print shirt.

... the gulls in a close-up ...
Another little boy had a bow tie on a white shirt. The whole thing accented with a small version of a suit.

Another three year old has taken to wearing a body suit every day for the last 2 weeks.

It doesn’t matter what ever else her mother puts on her, she has it taken off and is back in the body suit, so we saw her doing a few tumbles across the the area just in front of the first pews.

Ah, I get such happiness from diversity.