Monday, December 31, 2018

Winding Hair

... front half of hair tied back ...
There isn’t much that is more beautiful than curly burnish red hair that tumbles past the shoulders of Xavier Brooks and of Catherine Jarvis.

Xavier wears his hair long when he goes to work and to school.

He doesn’t have any interest in taking a few minutes to tie it back.

I asked him if he would mind sitting still and letting me so what I could do: braid his hair or just roll it around the back of his head.

So here are the results of my experiment.

 I did go to Ardene’s to find clips that I though would hold his hair in place.

In general, the clips aren’t strong enough for the amount of hair he has.

But I had a wonderful time choosing them.

We were chatting in the kitchen and Naomi said she would like her hair French braided in two pig tales.

Then Rebecca wanted her hair held back with a fish tail weave.

Soon Hebe was asking for a Dutch braid. And that is where most of Mary’s morning went.

... our model sits still while Mary tries a French roll ...
... bronzed clip at the bottom of a braid ...
 ... French roll around the bottom of the neck ...

Arta Meets Mike Todd

Two Jarvis families gathered for Christmas. By virtue of being the grandmother in one family, I held that status in both families. At least to the Todd children who are so pleasant to be around. I was interested in getting to know Mike, their dad, since we have never met. He told me that he liked to make bread, or at least that he does make bread, but not well. I told him that I am sure I have made thousands of tons of bread, some of it not very well either.

Mike seemed really interested in making bread. He says he does it home and produces a heavy and sometimes burned product. I didn’t know if he was pulling my leg or telling me the truth. Bread that hasn’t worked out has happened to me as well. I offered to show him how to make nice tall loaves in Alberta.

Now Catherine had purchased some brown flour at the store – a small bag by the standards of 20 or 50 pounds of flour at a time that I purchase. I didn’t notice that the bag said on it that it is a special blend for whole wheat. The flour was beautiful with cracked grains of wheat, etc.

I didn’t have my eye on that, though I should have been. Just alone that flour produces such beautiful loaves.

I was looking at the poppy seeds and the sesame seeds in Catherine’s cupboards, find a way to add them to the bread.

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Catherine has been saving the last of the frosted shredded wheat flakes.

She had been saving this product from many boxes, thinking that sometime she will put this shredded residue on granola, or even eat them in a bowl with milk.

But that hasn’t happened, so we tossed in a cup full of those which gave the bread a lot of extra sweetness.

At any rate, we added lots of products and beautiful bread was produced.

And because the afternoon was designated for fun in the kitchen, we went on and made white bread to roll into cinnamon buns.

Quite the place to work, Catherine’s remodelled kitchen with four children either at our feet or helping to punch down bread.

 Quite the family man to work with: Mike Todd.


Good-bye Old Year

At the Jarvis house Mary made a turkey pot pie, an apple pie (out of Apple Crisp apples, which is a crime in itself), a Greek salad, brown bread with garlic butter and then we headed off to see the Crimes of Grimbeldorf -- all 12 of us on the Metro, then up those 3 escalators in the movie theatre, and then we colonized the back row of the theatre with our popcorn and drink.

Only one hour to go to midnight.  Some are heading to bed to miss it.  Others, like Rhiannon want to wish it in.

The best year ever.

Bring it on, 2019.


Sunday, December 30, 2018

A Night at the Movies

LtoR:Jacob, Catie Hazel, Jamieson, Ava,
Rebecca, Hebe, Thomas
The Michael and Kate Todd family came to Montreal for a few days during the Christmas season.

As a gift for all of us, Catherine had tickets for us to go see The Grinch Who Stole Christmas at the Forum.

Later that evening as we were doing our gratitude list, the magnificence of a building that has 2 double fights of escalators came up as one of the outstanding moments of the evening.

Another outstanding movie moment was that as we paired up, Catherine passed us out a coupon for 2 drinks and one popcorn to be shared by two.

Another fabulous perk is that both families got parking stalls on opposite sides of the street within one half a block of the forum.  As well, Uncle Mike's battery didn't need a boost when the evening was over.

An added bonus -- we all made it through the movie:  those who get motion sickness, baby Jacob who has the potential for noise loud enough to drown out the sound track but didn't use his great powers, and those who sat more than one row distant from their parental unit, some even sitting by cousins or uncles or aunts.

We memorialized the moment with a cousin picture by one of the Christmas trees in the forum.


The Goat's Stomach as a Bag

... at the Forum on the way to the movie ...
Bonnie asked to see the goatskin bag, or at least the knock-off bag from the original that I wear in its place. 

Mine is cloth, and purchased in a market one day.  Here you see it slung across my shoulder in as I stand in front of a large Christmas tree at the forum.

The bag can carry my gloves, my hat, my scarf in case I get cold in the movies.  There might also be some chocolate bars in it, 2 cans of soda, some cream for my hands, a bus pass, a wallet, a pencil case regifted to me from Naomi and some paper.

As well  if I am shopping I can carry some other items home with me without being overcome with packages.

A big yes to a bag in the shape of a goat's stomach.

Thanks for asking for a picture, Bonnie.


Mike Todd Makes a Comment

... nativity persons on display, one per step ...
set up by Jamieson Todd
Mike Todd made a comment on my blog.

A thrill for me, since I watch often to see if anyone is reading.

And now I can have another discussion about making cinnamon buns and tell him all of the things I forgot to say when he was here, during which time we made white bread, cinnamon bread and cinnamon buns.

More correctly, he made them while I stood by.

I love the story of Hazel spending her time dipping her fingers in the butter and then rolling them in the brown sugar.

Another friend of mine made cinnamon buns with her daughter, who used to take the last of the butter and sugar and the rub it up and down her arms as though it was a cream for her skin. Leslie could not figure out why her daughter was doing that. But now that I have two instances of this butter / sugar / spice product being used on the skin, I might be able to open up a new cosmetic line.

I saw your pictures on facebook. They looked fabulous. I hope everyone gathered around and rated them. We tried to make sour dough waffles today. We only gave ourselves a 5/10 for a rating and we didn’t take any pictures. We were too busy cleaning up the batter that was spilling out of the sides, and trying to make people think that the really brown waffles weren’t burned. But Catherine and I had to eat them.

... nativity scene in the corner at the bottom of the stairs
courtesy of Hazel
Thank you for joining those of us in Montreal. 

What I liked about having your children here is that suddenly I found the box of little nativity figures unpacked and grouped, either by the back door, and placed artfully on the stairs. I think that was Jamieson.

I want to meet Nanna. I mean really meet her and have a chat with her over lunch.

She has the grandmotherly touch that I aspire to have. Ava’s eyes shone when I asked her where she got that Christmas dress and she said it came from Nanna. That lovely blue satin and the bow at the waist!

We still play the Word Game here, but I am missing the crowd that went from 78 years old to 7 around the table. I can burst out laughing if I just think of the clever way that Jamieson got us all to say crayon. Today Eric got stuck on the word can. He said that it was a “blank” of peas but the people to whom he was speaking have only seen peas come out of a bag. And then the clues just kept going downhill just after that.

A good time was had by all of the rest of us.


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Crazy Smokers

A picture from the past

Many years ago I joined a list called Mormon-L.  There was a spin off of posters from that list to ELWC-L.  Some of the women on the second list met at a Sunstone Conference.  Here I am with them, at least two of them.

At a break we went out to talk to some of the smokers who lent the non-smokers a cigarette or two for this picture.

I will name the women.  Only two of them were smokers.  You will have to guess who had to lend cigarettes.

LtoR: Arlene White, Arta Johnson, Moiya Wood, Carlan Bradshaw, "I can't remember this woman's last name, first name is Stephanie, maybe", Wyona Bates

Just  a little fun from the past.


All I want for Christmas …

The bottom line for all I wanted for Christmas, was just to live long enough to have another Christmas  … and then another … and then another.

Given that my wish was going to happen and that people did want to know what I wanted for Christmas, I had to say that it would have to be something that had no weight, given that I came with 50 pounds of luggage and that is all I am going to be able to go back with. My idea was that a blog post would work.

Catie delivered right away. I was out blogging one night, and there was a draft up there that I didn’t recognize, so I went and read it.  I was curious what I had written and not published. There it was -- Catie had already delivered a few days before Christmas. While we were having Christmas Eve Fondue, there was a lull in the conversation and Catie offered to read it aloud. That put a big bow on the gift that I had already seen.

What I wanted for Christmas is just to watch others open their gifts.

 But Rebecca wanted me to have Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book, We Should All be Feminists.

The flyleaf calls it an eloquently argued essay – adapted from her much admired TEDx talk of the same name.

I read the book, pen in hand, and put a check mark in the margin, every time I came to a point with which I agreed.

I only wanted to get into an alter-conversation with her at two points, and I inscribed my ideas there into the margin for the next reader.

Tom gave me this fabulous bag from the store he works in -- L’UOMO. I was pleased to see it was full of catalogues from different men’s lines of clothing that are carried in the store: Pal Zileri, Luigi Borrelli, Ermenegildo Zegna, Luigi Bianchi Mantova. There was also a folder full of glossy 8 ½ by 11’s – Versace, Armani, Zegna, Mugler, Ferragamo, Longhi, Scarab …. I have finished two of the catalogues, annotating the margins. Someone is going to see that years from now and wonder ‘what the heck’.

Now for the next gift. Eric gave me a two page essay about his career choice. Since it is mine now, I have read it twice, shared it with his sister Kate, let his brother-in-law have a couple of pictures of it and I will probably write Eric a similar essay back. He kept his words to two pages single spaced. I may not be able to keep my words quite as concise.


Friday, December 28, 2018

Three pics in one day

.... a drink of watter, and $.65 in change ...

My blister pack (read meds) didn’t arrive on Christmas Eve.

My back-up supply of medication was only good for one day, so on Boxing Day, I had to make it to the pharmacy in order to maintain consist good health.

After paying for the meds I asked the pharmacy assistant for a drink of water. The clerk delivered it to me in an over-sized pill bottle.

I threw back the pills, taking out one to be used later and and drank my water.  Then I dropped the pill still in my hand.

 Pills are hard to find on the floor of a pharmacy.

All I could see was a dime at my feet.

Catherine went to her hands and knees looking for it, since neither of us wanted a random person to find it on the floor and put it in their mouth.

Or a random dog.

All Catherine could find on the floor were four more random dimes and a quarter which she gave to me and we memorialized the moment with a picture.

Boxing Day is just that.
... trying on silver as fast as I could
while the others shopped exchanged some gifts ...

A time to get the presents back in a box and off to the store for an exchange.

Tom and Eric had gone out for what they called a man day. 

That means, together they went shopping for the gifts for the women, which did appear under the tree on Christmas Eve.

Catie saw bags with the logo Bleu: comme le ciel and she was madly googling to see what could be in the bags, with Eric in the background calling out, don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t wreck the surprise.

 Too late, she couldn’t stop herself.

Eric still calling out, don’t do it, don’t’ do it, she leaned over to me and said, “Look, all I can find is a retirement place where you can put old people who can no longer be cared for by the family."

This made me hope that there was no blue bag under the tree for me.

Catherine Arta, Catherine Rayanna, Arta Blanche
... sharing happiness and names ...
At night during the Christmas Season, Montreal is beautiful.

Montreal is beautiful any night, but at Christmas time more beautiful than ever.

After shopping we walked along the streets in the cool fresh air.

The wind was giving us an extra chill, but breathing deeply into my chest it felt so good.

So Canadian, filling my lungs with that air and loving the freshness of it.

We may have stopped for a selfie – just to remember that moment of being together in such amazing happiness: the winter coolness, the brightness of the lights, the treasure of being together.


Monday, December 24, 2018

The Holidays in Montreal with Grandma!

(Cue music to "All I want for Christmas Is You") --> "All grandma wanted for Christmas was a blog post" 

So, as promised, I am posting on the blog. This is for you grandma so ENJOY!!! 

You arrived back in November on a Tuesday just as I was running out the door to work and boy did I not know what the next month would have in store for me upon my return from work that night....

That very night we went on our first movie outing to see Bohemian Rhapsody and it was a riot to say the least! We both loved that movie and played Queen songs at home the whole next week. I adore seeing movies at the theatre, but we all know it is simply because I am such a sucker for buttery movie popcorn and sneaking in "contraband". Sneaking pop and candy bars into the theatre with you ALWAYS fills me with a giddy feeling because I feel like I get to be a rebel and I don't really get much else chance to break rules in life without the fear of receiving a serious consequence. The only other rule breaking I get to do is jaywalking but I never do it in front of the police because I would get in some serious trouble of course. 

I must say, I was so surprised when I got up and put my coat on as soon as the movie ended and looked over to find you still comfortably seated and watching the credits. Honestly, I was not interested in watching the 10 minutes of credits (haha) at first, but I have definitely grown used to it and find it quite interesting to see how many people work to put a film together. It is now the new movie tradition with you. Speaking of tradition, another funny tradition (of sorts) that we have put in place is our post-movie restroom stop. When you drink a full can of soda (sometimes two!!), my bladder can only hold so much. This is thanks in full to my being a tiny adult with an extremely small bladder and I would never want to get stuck on the metro with a full bladder on the way home!
Grandma and I heading home on the metro after seeing
Bohemian Rhapsody
Our next movie outing was only a mere two nights later when we went to see the movie "Green Book". I would never have picked to see this movie as I had no idea what it was about, but it was such a well crafted film! If you are reading this post, go watch this movie. A film about the development of a bond between two unlikely people, the acting was amazing and the storyline, original while exploring the difficulty of dealing with racism in the 1960s in the States. Once again, contraband and popcorn were involved. This time there was a little dissapointment on the part of the popcorn as the bag wasn't filled as generously as it was the previous time. Those darn cineplex workers! I love myself a full bag of buttery popcorn, but it's not like I can eat the whole bag of it in one shot anyway although I like to think I can. My eyes are often bigger than my stomach [not literally of course haha], but you know what I mean. 

The movie experience doesn't end after the credits but continues for the remainder of the night and often the next day as well. Why would one see a movie and not analyze it?! I like to pretend I'm a teacher and find good questions I could ask my hypothetical students if I were to test them or make them write an essay about the film. Grandma, you bring out the english teacher in me and I love it! It is ALWAYS fun dicussing the thematic elements of a movie, recalling our favourite scenes, and comparing it to other films. We'd make a good pair of english/film professors or at least I think so. 

Gosh, I am only on movie #2 and there is still so much more of our holiday adventure to recount! We can't forget about TimePlay. Remember how I have won every single pre-movie cineplex TimePlay game with you by pure luck and good guessing skills? I just loved it when I got all excited the first time I won and people looked back and stared at us in the theatre. What can I say, I like to celebrate when I win something! 

The movie-going was far from over with "Widows", "Lemonade", "First Man", and a second viewing of "Bohemian Rhapsody" still on the way (I hope I haven't forgotten any). All these movies were so unique and a real joy to see in the theatre. Grandma, we certainly have a bond when it comes to seeing movies. 

Movies were a large portion of the adventures I had with grandma, but shoe-shopping, cooking (well you cooking and me eating), and becoming roommates are not to be forgotten. 

Grandma and I went on a shoe hunt for good walking shoes that I could wear on my mission. I don't like to call myself picky, but I like to think that I am a shoe fashionista. I don't just wear anything on my feet! High-heels are what always catch my eye in a shoe store so looking for flats with good soles, but that don't look too bulky was a bigger challenge than I had anticipated. It took two different shoe shopping trips to finally find two pairs of stylish-enough flats with good soles that were comfortable for my mission. Oh how badly did I just want to try on heels, but I held myself back and grandma helped me focus and find some really nice flat shoes.  I could not bear the idea of going on my mission and having to walk around in non-stylish shoes so at least I don't have to worry about that anymore. Grandma, we will have to go shopping for heels one day because I could try on heels for days and you know that!! Remember that huge red high-heel statue in the mall--> well, that is a shoe I would buy in a heartbeat. I took a picture of it of course.
The shoe I wish I could have bought!!!

The 1st shoe I actually bought 
The 2nd shoe I also bought 

I could not have asked for a better roommate!! Even though I actually sleep in the basement and you just use the basement bathroom and have your wardrobe down there, but sleep upstairs, we call each other roomies because that is exactly what we are. As soon as you said we were roomies, I was in total agreement. I don't know if any of my missionary companions can ever top you, grandma. You and I just have too much fun together. I just love it every time you tell me I'm funny, that I'm a "riot", and that you love hanging out with me, my crazy self, and I! 

This post could probably become a book if I keep going, but that is a testament to how much fun we have had and keep having each day we are together. Love you grandma! 

With love, 
                  Catie "your roomie" :)

FSR 112 km 3 view


"Arta , 
I rode my bike up to km 3 on the logging road 112. It's the one just on the other side of the highway from our property. I thought you might want some pictures. Merry Christmas. 
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Saturday, December 22, 2018

David's 13th Birthday

Menu:  Pizza, Doritos, and Orange Crush
In response to my endless requests for information from David as to what he wanted for his birthday this year he finally replied, "I don't need much ceremony." I got specific.

Invitation?   Texts.
Decorations?    None.
Cake or cupcakes?  Cupcakes.

He elaborated. Half were to be white cake, half to be chocolate. Purchased from the store was fine. Any colour of icing was fine, but no holiday decorations.

Not a thought I had ever entertained.

Holiday Cupcakes
Just as David had described ...

Photo credit; Freeds Bakery

When I got to Askews at 4:30pm on Friday, can you imagine my surprise?

The only cupcakes that had not yet been sold were ones with red and green sprinkles topped with sugar Christmas trees or Santa.

In my earlier parenting years, this would have panicked me, but I have 12 practice runs behind me now. In a split second I had my plan. Run to sprinkles isle and pick up blue sprinkles, through the checkout and over to Dominos. Carry cupcakes inside covered in a bag, distract boys with pizza, scrape off top layer of cupcakes, heavy on the sprinkles, 2 reused candles in 5 of the cupcakes and 3 reused candles in the 6th, (check math (5*2)+3= ... yep, 13), put on plate, burner to high, light a candle with hot element, light the other candles with the first, dim lights and begin to sing "Happy Birthday to You" knowing the guests would join in.

Enough teens to have to add another leaf to the table.

The sleep-over party lazily ended around noon on Saturday. Four guests could stay over. One had to leave Friday at 630pm for a basketball tournament. Another left reluctantly at 830pm to be rested enough for his swim meet the next day.

I offered the living room to them for sleeping quarters but they politely declined. They slept in the basement on mats and mattresses they carried down the stairs. They preferred the freedom of the large room with the unfinished floor and the support pole in the middle. Each boy staked out an electrical plug for their technology, with each having brought at least one device (computer, iPad, smart phone, tablet, DS).

Image result for coup board game
"Only one can survive."
Before they went downstairs they played a game of Coup at the living room table.

They decided to "add to the narrative" by choosing a country they represented. Thus, one boy spoke in an Irish brogue, another spoke in French, one sounded like his D&D dwarf dialect, and they decided that the boy who chose Quebec would have to say everything twice - once in French and then once again in English. I was laughing until my ribs hurt.

Only 364 days until the next grande celebration of the birth of David Doral. The teen years are off to a great start.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

A Goat's Stomach

Today I got off the bus in Montreal and left a cloth bag on the bus. The bag that I love to carry -- a soft one -- the one that Mary's dog chewed the pocked off of to get at the chocolate I was carrying there.

I finished cutting that front pocket off of the bag. It wasn't much trouble since the dog had already eaten half of the material along with the chocolate. All I had to do was unpick a now useless zipper.

I still use the bag over my shoulder. I am a big shopper for bags and so far I haven't bought anything better than this one.  My ideal bag has to carry a lot, but not too much weight, have a strap that distributes weight evenly on my shoulder and can be slung around to the back of my body when I don't want my arm touching it as I walk.  I would also like it to look fashionable.

I was half way to the metro from the Greyhound bus station and then remembered my favourite cloth bag was still back on the bus. I hurried back to the station with my 50 pounds of luggage that rolls on wheels trailing behind me.

The security guard had helped me find my way out of the statioin and to the metro, so I went back to him, telling him I had left my bag. He said yes, and he pointed ahead of me.  "There is the driver just taking it to lost and found."  He signalled to the driver to come back.

 The driver tried to speak to me in French, but there is no use doing that. I can only read French, no speaking it.  I turn pale if anyone tries to say any more than bonjour.

The security guard said to the driver, "Une Anglaise".

OK  I can understand that much French.

So the driver wanted to say something and said it in French to the Security Guard who had to translate.

The driver said, through the security guard, since he seemed to want to talk to me,  "This is a good bag like the ones that we use in Iran. It is shaped like a goat's stomach and we still have bags like this, some very expensive." And he held it up for me to see, holding the strap high and tracing his hand down the pouch/stomach shape of the bag. Then he pointed to the motifs on my cloth bag and explained about the beasts on the bag and about the motif of the sun.

 I loved it that we had this conversation through an interpreter. I felt proud to be a Canadian, proud that this man wanted to talk to me in French, but I seemed proud to see that he also loved his homeland.

I have been thinking about the bag for the rest of the day, since I will still stop and look at racks of bags in Winners, in small boutiques, in large department stores.   I look at them all.

I agree with the driver.  Nothing like the shape of the stomach of a goat for a bag.



I have been in Aylmer, PQ with Mary. This morning she was dressed-up ready to go to a party at work. The dress was more flowery than I usually see on her.  About 10 times more motion going on in the pattern of that dress, than in her usual colour -- black.  I asked her about it and she said that a woman at work who is also curvaceous, when Mary asked her to go shopping with her, said, "Oh just go online. "  Then the friend opened up a computer page, pointed to a dress, said buy this one, Mary did it, and that was the end of their shopping trip.

But this turned out to be a dress beyond Mary's wildest imagination. 

She loves it -- the cut, large flowers and all.  I looked at it and thought, there is no way any of my personal jewellery is going to look good on that dress.

But I remembered a necklace that Leo brought back from Africa that I thought would work on it.

Mary said absolutely not.  I told her yes, that jewellery will tone down the dress.

She laughed and tried it on to appease me.  

I begged her to keep it on, at least until one person at work commented on it.

Mary sent me a selflie.

She said that she could only take the picture from the neck down.  She tried a picture with her face in it, but she didn't' recognize her own face so here is a picture of the necklace and the dress, at least!


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Miracle of the Lost Baroque Pearl

I knew my day was not starting out on the right foot when I put my earring in my right ear lobe and then heard it fall to the ground.  That would have been an easy fix if I hadn't been standing over 3 buckets of lego, each with more and more lego in them.

I went to Mary and told her that I either needed 2 minutes of her help for a quick fix, or I was going to be in for 3 hours of sorting through lego in the evening when I came home.

She came down and agreed.  Not an easy find.  She picked up a lego place board in the midst of her early search and it flew out from underneath where the hook had aattached itself to the board and now it was easy to find on the rug.

Well, if today had to be one of my miracles, I am glad it was that one.


Lunch Review

The moon on the tip of one of the
spires of Notre Dame across from
the National Gallery
On the way into Ottawa today the conversation in the car took a segue into Mary asking me if I wanted to die naturally or if I was going to opt into assisted death when my time came.

I was trying to think of when that time would be.

When I couldn't see anymore?

When I couldn't hear anymore?

When I knew I was terminally ill?

The thing that frightened me most was the thought of not being able to chew any more.

Mary agreed with me.  A frightening thought. That would be time to go.

All of that to introduce the fact that i did go out for lunch today, to a restaurant where I could chew, though chewing would not have been necessary.

Dusk on the buildings of Ottawa
Christine Cusack picked me up and asked,"Ethiopian or Indian".

The Ethiopian food sounded great and we went to "The Horn of Africa" -- not great on atmosphere but good Ethopian food.

For our cnversation, Christine has been doing some research on WOACA: Women of a certain age -- a group of women in Utah who get together and socialize.  I read about them on the internet.

They began with a closed face-book page.

Now they have many chapters all over the U.S.

At any rate, a lot of fun to talk about.
Christmas Tree at the National Gallery

As well there was news that her dissertation is close to finished -- which is the best news that any person in academia can hear.

She dropped me back off at the gallery in plenty of time for me to see another full room of the Paul Klee exhibit.

As Mary said as we went to bed tonight -- today was the best December 18th that 2018 had to offer.


Klee Exhibition - the Berggruen Collection

A Girl in Mouring
Paul Klee: The Berggruen Collection from The Metropolitan Museum of Art is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in association with the National Gallery of Canada.

There you have it.

The name of the exhibition I looked at today in the National Gallery.

I borrow one of their chairs and then I sit in front of each painting until I am sure I have the name memorized and can think of three things I would say about the painting to someone if they were with me.

Then I go on to the next painting.

After 3 paintings, I try to remember the title of the first one I saw, and then go on to the next, aways dropping off the previous third title and checking on how my memory is doing.

I finished 3 rooms this way:  Paul Klee, the beginning; Paul Klee, the man; Pal Klee, the Late Years; Paul Klee's Humour, etc.

I am sure Rebecca would have liked to accompany me and I am equally sure she would have stayed the whole day.
A Pride of Lions
Paul Klee

I was trying to figure out what to buy in the bookstore as a memento:  an art book by him, an umbreall, a glasses case, a cdouring workbook, a man's tie, a cosmetic bag, a change purse, etc.

I am sure Wyona would have told me to buy one of each.


Musee Grevin

As I was walking the streets in Montreal, I came across a directional sign: Musee Grevin. I walked in the direction of the sign, hoping that I would find the museum, but I didn't come across it. That was fine. I was just out for a walk.  But I did wonder what was in the museum that I had missed and looked it up on the internet when I got home.
Musee Grevin, on the top floor ....

On another day I was exploring one of the malls, walking on every level, trying to memorize the names of the stores, looking at the logos on the packages that people are carrying and I ran across the Museum.  It was at the top floor of this building.

I will go back when I have someone to go in with me -- a wax museum is more fun to travel through with a companion.


The Madness of King George - Thinking about Going

'The fat one?' … 
Rupert Everett as the then Prince of Wales
NT Live presents the Madness of King George, either Thursday or Saturday or both, depending on you local.

Here is the review from The Guardian.  In the review you will get a short history lesson and an idea of what the play will be like.

The title is a good one.  The reviewer can't get it how Nigel Hawthorne could loose out the Oscar to Forrest Gump.

Pretty funny.



Possible Questions for Attendees under 21 -- for $1 per questions should  you ber seeing the show with me.

You will find all of the answers in the review quoted above.

1. What does flummery mean:
(1.empty compliments; nonsense."she hated the flummery of public relations") 

2. Who plays the part of King George III
 (Nataniel Hawthorne)
3.Who is the Prime Minister in the story
William Pitt, the Younger
 4. Who is the Whig Leader in the story.  For an extra $ what does Whig leader mean.

5. Modern science now thinks the king had porphyria.    What is that?
(Porphyria (por-FEAR-e-uh) refers to a group of disorders that result from a buildup of natural chemicals that produce porphyrin in your body. Porphyrins are essential for the function of hemoglobin — a protein in your red blood cells that links to porphyrin, binds iron, and carries oxygen to your organs and tissues)
6. The Prince of Wales has made a secret marriage.  To whom?  And why was this a bad marriage.
  Maria Fitzherbert.  He needed both his father's consent, and he needed to find a woman who was not Catholic.

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Bus Ride with Mary

Apparently it is worth $2.60 to me to ride the bus every morning with Mary to work because I keep doing it.

We get busy talking about anything.

This morning I was commenting on the reasonable price of public transportation in Montreal – that a monthly pass is $51 so I ride the metro with abandon. I am not above ground on buses that much, although Rebecca Jarvis and I took the Sherbrooke Avenue bus to get us to the Musee de Beaux Arts last week. I keep my bus pass in a cool leather case in which I also carry my name and address, a twenty dollar bill and a credit card, just in case I see something I want. The coin box on the bus has a card reader on which people tap their bus passes. I tried to tap mine. It didn’t work. I tried again. It didn’t work. I said to the bus driver, “Apparently I can’t get the machine to read my card.” He said, “That is because you are using your credit card.”

Mary asked me if the bus driver laughed. I don’t know. I didn’t think to look at him.

On the bus I am busy looking at the kinds of bags civil servants take to work in the morning: a smooth leather bag whose side zipper was only decorative, back packs are popular, a canvas tote bag. I couldn’t really tell which is the best bag. I am trying to go hands free. Just what I can carry in my pocket so there is no weight on my shoulders when I walk. The walking I did today didn’t count for I forgot to wear my fitbit. Oh, my heart probably knows, but my stats are way down when I walk all morning and don’t have it on.

Mary told me to go to the Canadian Archives since all of the museums are closed today. The archives were open, but there were no displays. The last time I was there, many of the early treaties and wampum belts were on display. Right now they are getting together something showingcasing Canadian Prime Ministers but that won’t open until January.

I stood for a long time looking at the commemorative plaque dedicated to the Greenland and Iceland ship goers who first came to the Americas,one of whom was Eric the Red. The security person told me that I could have a card to enter the archives if I could show what kind of research I am doing. That made me laugh. I am doing research every living, breathing moment of the day.


Lego Advent Calendar

Rhiannon's Lego Advent Calendar
Rhiannon and her dad are doing lego calendars together for the Advent. 

Rhiannon opens hers, assembles it and then puts it back in the box. 

Today we had a major disappointment.  One of the big pieces was missing.  However, she opened the calendar and took everything out and placed it on the box so that people can see what she has been making.  I would like to send a picture of her doing his calendar, but apparently she will not be ready to have her picture up on the blog until 2025.

I looked at both this lego calendar and the other one when I was at Costco.  I can't remember exactly, but the calendar that Rhiannon is doing has significantly more pieces than the one her dad is doing.

I watched Michael and Alice assemble the easy one, and it didn't look easy to me.


Sunday, December 16, 2018

Mary's corn snakes

... Mary's corn snakes ...
“I think you are going to want to blog this,” Mary said, as she placed a new aquarium in front of me.

The she laughed about as hard as she can laugh.

“These are my baby snakes, corn snakes, and I am going to feed them.”

There was a certain shock factor for me.

I was wishing she had shown this to me before supper for it would  have cured me of having an appetite tonight.

Mary imitating Medusa
My stomach muscles tightened and then just seemed to cramp.

 I don’t know why the snakes don’t have that effect on Mary.  She thinks they are sweet and so do her children.  They have raised them since their two usual snakes produced eggs ... and now this.

“I have to take the skins they have shed  out of the aquarium," she said, picking them out and putting them in the garbage.

"And I must feed them the baby mice.”

 I should have been able to figure out what they were going to eat without asking.

Mary brought 4 frozen baby mice upstairs in a bag, which is another feat.  Not every woman can pull that out of her freezer.

She would take one carcass and dangle it in front of one of the baby snakes which she isolated in another cage, trying to give it an appetite so that it would snatch onto the carcass of the mouse and swallow it.

To give me a closer look at the snakes, she took all five in her hand.

I couldn’t figure out how they stayed there and she pointed out that her hand is warm and they were all enjoying the heat of it, so stayed close to her.

Mary and Leo are out of friends who want a snake for free.
The cats,  Clay-ya and Willow were fascinated as well, by the snakes,  Clay-ya giving the walls of the aquarium many swats.

As she scratches at the aquarium her paw hits a pencil that is nearby, giving her the sense that she was making progress at catching a snake.

I waited for a long time, even videoed mealtime with the snakes.

It is not that I am disinterested.

I would have been happy going to a zoo and paying an entrance fee – that would have given me some time ahead to adjust to seeing snakes devour mice.


The String Orchestra -- Rhiannon's Concert

The Strings Orchestra
Rhiannon is just a little left of centre.
Turquoise dress.
Today was Rhiannon's Christmas Concernt

I leaned over to Mary when the string orchestra was practising “Dona Nobis Pacem”.

 I told Mary that I sang that melody first in my first year university class.

I associated it with Catholic literugy and I felt as though I had somehow failed my church, letting even one note of that song come out of my mouth.

My first experience with heresy.

I had to sing it in a concert to pass the course.

My youth was a place of consistent naivety.

Mary and I went into the auditorium and watched the dress rehearsal for the concert, since Leo and Rhiannon had to be there early.
... Rhiannon, hard at work, plahing one of the songs ...

As well, there was a family pot luck after the concert, so Mary made a beautiful pot of home made beans to go along with the bread I had baked.

Everyone was generous, as they are at potlucks.

Big bowls of quinoa salad, mararoni salads, rice krispie squares which are a hit at any potluck but at Christmas some of the boxes of Rice Krispie have small piece of rice in brilliant red and green colours.

That makes the taste of the squares much different.
This little girl adores her violin
in a way that I never loved my piano.

I am always curious when I watch her practise
She really wants to play this instrument.

Rhiannon was mouthing to her dad during the concert.

Her E string had come unwound and there just wasn’t time between songs to get that fixed.

How disappointing since she has been practising for months for this concert.

She just missed playing that string, which makes her performance much more difficult than that experience by other people who had a full set of strings to play on.


La Traviata - Questions

Lest anyone romanticize the idea of a conversation
between a grand daughter and a grandmother,
here it is -- done over cereal
with the cat looking on.
Question time which ends up in me giving $10 to anyone who can ask or answer 10 questions about the opera, happened this morning.

Rhiannon started in the car on the way home.  If she hears the request for "maestro to the pit" she considers that attention to the opera for which she gets the first dollar.  As well, the architecture of the building which usually is evidenced in a shot of the lights, which she calls spider lights, gets $1.  And the camera landed on that 3 times, so $3.  Can you hear me laughing?

I gave her the programme in English, which Trell picked up somewhere.  He got his own laugh when I picked up a programme and then he carried it for me to the "gods" where we were sitting.  When he handed it to me, he then said, "Good luck.  It is in French."  The print was so small when I picked it up that I hadn't noticed what the language was not one I could read.

I put the programme in her hands and then asked questions, telling her that the answers were there.  And they were.  What is the name of the conductor?, the name of the woman who played Violetta?, the man who played Alfonzo?  The questions quickly added up to finish off the maximum of $10 per opera.

I had forgotten that as the events roll around and we go to what is offered, she happens to be available when the operas are on.  That poor child.  She 10 and has sat through four (at least) of them now, Cendrillon, Samson and Deliah, and now La Traviatta, besides lots of musicals -- War Horse and Everybody's Talking about Jamie, etc.

Naomi like to ask the questions, not answer them.  That makes giving away the money a little harder for me, since I both loose money and face when I can't answer the questions.  Asking me to name the country the composer was from was a funny question, given that Yannick Nezet Sequin ignored the call to the pit to say just one more thing to the French Canadians.  How about that -- sending love to them and telling them he will always be Canadian.  I wonder if he will endear himself to the opera world.  His loose of the baton at the beginning of the second act should not be taken as an omen that things will not go well for him.  He did the unheard of.  At least to me.  As the applause was going on for groups of singers and dancers, he took his own bow and then had the whole orchestra come on stage, all carrying their instruments.  A fabulous gesture, since they usually just take their bow from t he pit.

Well, on to other questions.  Naomi gave me a yes or no question.  Yes or no.  Was Rolex a sponsor of the opera.  That question really made me laugh.  As well, she asked me for the middle name of the tenor, a question I will always get now, but that I had to use the programme when I went to find an answer.

One way or another, questions tumbled out until the payoff came.  I only have to ask question of, or be interrogated from Naomi's friend who came with us -- Diego DaSilva.