Sunday, January 28, 2018

January Birthdays - Happy Birthday to you all ..

I knew the concept of "Having a January Birthday" as soon as I could figure out that birthdays come once a year. 

My dad had a birthday in January. 

So did many of his friends.  My parents had a party in January to which they invited people with January birthdays. 

I loved these parties.  They involved many tables of people playing Rook and laughing into the late evening.  If I got up early there were left-overs of wonderful treats some of them contained in crystal bowls.

Mary, Catherine and Dalton have birthdays in January.  They would be invited to that party were it still being held.

There are other celebrations which I enjoy on my own, one of which is going to the opera.  I asked Peggy Estabrooks at church if she wanted to go to Tosca this Saturday.  She phoned me to tell me that she couldn't go, she had other commitments.  We chatted for a while.  Then she said,  "You know if your father were alive he would have called me this month to wish me Happy Birthday."

"What?  He never called me on my birthday."

"Well, you don't have a January birthday do you?", she said.

No I don't have a January birthday.  And Peggy really made me laugh.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Hockney ... and 82 Portraits


I went to see David Hockney at the Royal Academy of Arts.  The subtitle is a better expression of what I really did see:  a Bigger Picture 2012 and 82 portraits and One Still Life 2016.

When I saw this event was coming, I felt a little ashamed, having had so much spare time in London and never having been to the Royal Academy of Arts.  I did get to the plaza in front of the building, but I shall not count that as really getting there.

Two Cokes and some excellent hard candy to suck kept me awake, and it was well worth it.  When we were looking at the portraits, a few times I laughed.  He set out to do 82 portraits and gave himself 3 days to do each one.  He didn't think he could ask for more time from his sitters, who were all his friends, business associates or children of friends in one case.

This is one exhibition that made me wish to take an art class.  I would love to draw something with economy of line that also captured what I was seeing.

I recommend this event to all.  Here is a synopsis from the Events part of the offering:
Widely considered Britain’s most popular artist, David Hockney is a global sensation with exhibitions in London, New York, Paris and beyond, attracting millions of visitors worldwide. Now entering his 9th decade, Hockney shows absolutely no evidence of slowing down or losing his trademark boldness. Featuring intimate and in-depth interviews with Hockney, this revealing film focuses on two blockbuster exhibitions held in 2012 and 2016 at the Royal Academy of Art in London. Director Phil Grabsky secured privileged access to craft this cinematic celebration of a 21st century master of creativity. 
Phil Grabsky

I went to buy a ticket 2 Tosca for Saturday.  The seats are 88% sold out, only 42 left and those seats are the ones at the front of the theatre.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Romeo and Juliet - the ballet

My idea of keeping the Sabbath Day holy is going to Church in the morning, going to a ballet in the afternoon, and going to a fireside at night. 

The Ballet from Moscow is only on Sunday.

Straight from Moscow, a pre-show chat and then two lovely hours of Prokofiev. The Jarvis kids and I watched the Romeo and Juliet (1968 Zefferelli) version of the play during the Christmas holidays. I always have to go back and get the Capulets and the Montagues in mind, figuring out the names of Romeo’s 3 friends and Juliet’s cousins. This was the right thing to do, for all of these characters appeared in the ballet again, much to my delight.

I have turned an important corner. I now love the ballet.


The Misanthrope

Rebecca told me that she would be on the plane tonight on her way to an event and that her only regret was that she would be missing The Misanthrope today from the Comedie Francaise Series from Europe.

 I missed the first show in the series.

And I probably would have missed tonight as well, except that I took on her desire and made it a point to go.

I called ahead to see if there were English sub-titles.

There were.

And someone who sat ahead of me in the theatre told me that when I see an advertisement and it says EST, that means English SubTitles.

That made me laugh.

I am sorry that you missed the show, Rebecca.

For three hours I imagned I was somewhere in France, at the Richelieu Theatre, I think, dedicated to the plays of Moliere and with its own company of Moliere players. 

The pre-theatre chat was with the director. The half time event showed an annual Moliere Party where each of the actors gets to come onstage and give one line from their favourite Moliere text. I was struck by "To live without love is to not really live" (Quotes about Love that come from French #10 by Moliere).

The show was smart, quick, intellectual, and amazing to think it was written 350 years ago, in verse and still relevant. Some claim it contains everything about love that has been written since then.

I had a wonderful time. Am I getting older? I am always having a wonderful time.  At the end of every show lately, I have been wanting to turn to strangers and say to them, "A miracle, a miracle that I can come here and see some of the world's greatest writing."

I missed saying something about the set.  There were no scene changes.  The stage was empty, a couple of times a few planks were brought in to make a table.  There were numerous exists.  A few scenes were staged around tall windows that were so big that you could sit in them.  A set of stairs climbed to a living room / bedroom / museum depending on what the text was talking about.


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Costco, London Style

From Wyona and Greg

I m off to Costco. I am still in London.

The ride will be 3 buses and the cost in time is one hour.

I just have to investigate it.

I do not think there will be poutine and fries.

My guess is a pastie.

We are going out for dinner tonight with our friends Lucy and Najaf.


Monday, January 22, 2018

Eating Schnitzel in London

Just imagine this in a long bun!
From Wyona and Greg

The schnitzel comes with an egg and piece of bacon on it in a large long bun.

So delicious!

We took our own drink of apple/tang and diet coke.

We could not finish it all and had to save some until evening.

We are going out to catch the last of the light show now.

It was snowing today when we were at Spitalfields.


Looking at The Misanthrope (French w/e.s.t.) - Comédie-Française

I don't know if this will be shown in your area, Rebecca.

I shouldn't doubt it for there are so many retired academicians and people of other walks of life who love the theatre in your community.

A great opportunity for the kids in Montreal.

Here are the details.  I am sure the show is in French.  I will be looking at the sub-titles.

Looking at The Misanthrope (French w/e.s.t.) - Comédie-Française

Cast: The Troupe, the actors of the Académie de la Comédie-Française

Synopsis: Alcest loves Célimène, a flirtatious woman from the Parisian high society. He loathes this world for its hypocritical etiquette but, shaken by a public trial he is called to by this social circle, he must visit Célimène to ask for her help... Le Misanthrope looks at a society freed from the authority of family and religion, where people show their true nature as lust and desire take over. The main character’s questionable morals, giving up on high society etiquette and demands, force his peers to shed light on their own contradictions and shortcomings.

Here is what Wiki says about The Misanthrope.  A lot of fun to see it, now knowing that Rousseau saw this play and commented on it.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Second Try at the Follies

Imelda Staunton in Follies
I had a perfectly transcendent afternoon.

The Follies, the music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, filled the theatre.

I had 2 hours and 35 minutes of pure bliss.  The costuming was incredible.  The music lush.  Sometimes exquisitely dissonant.

I had a Coke beside me and a few lemon and orange candies to suck in case I began to fall asleep.

This was the show where the music stopped midway when I went with the Brooks family in Ottawa.  So it was nice to revisit it.

My days seem filled with movies, the theatre and ballet.

Is this heaven?


An Evening with Tom Christofferson

Someone asked for a report of the Calgary Fireside with Tom Christofferson.  Before I do that, I want to say to those who are in Lethbridge, if you have the chance to listen to Tom when he speaks there in a few days, please do so.  Bring your friends, your relatives and your neighbours.  Bring the copy of his book if you have it, and have him autograph it.  Bring you kids, your grandchildren and perhaps a pad of paper for you may want to make your own notes.  Just a another idea, index cards were passed out along the rows as the meeting was starting so that people could write their questions and then he would answer them at the end of the evening.  So be sure to have a pen with you.

And now welcome to my way of reporting which will be so random about the evening that I will lose a few of you.

I went early, at least earlier than I go when I go to church.  

I did have the intention of seeing friends before and after the meeting.  

I saw no one I knew in the foyer or as I entered the chapel.  I sat by a woman I did not know, so I introduced myself.  

It turned out I was sitting by Jennifer and Caitlan Logan who live just outside of the city limits and are in the Cochrane Ward.  

Jennifer told me that her maiden name was Card so I was soon to make the connection that Caitlan was Mike Card’s cousin, and Mike Card is best friends with my son, Richard.   

I liked the chatter between the three of us, it seemed so very Mormon, positioning ourselves by ward, then by families and then by work experience and interests.  

For sure all of us like to read.  Only one of us is passionate about Ultimate Frisbee.

I asked Jennifer if she knew many people there for I knew hardly anyone.  I saw Tony Thomas and Susan Truba on the last pew in the chapel as I walked in.  Jennifer said she only knew Gerald Walton whom she grew up with in the Calgary Second Ward.  So between the three of us, we didn’t know many in the congregation which was into the overflow by the time the meeting started.

David Litchfield chaired the meeting.  He is the Stake President of the Calgary Stake.  His introductory remarks included the fact that he and his wife Sherri had attended General Conference in Salt Lake.  While he was at other events she likes to go to the bookstore and while there had purchased a copy of That We May Be One.  She pulled that book out of the bag as they began the drive home.  She read it  to him until the Canadian border and by then they were close to the final chapters.  At the border he got a call from Bonnie White.  She organizes events and brings Mormon speakers to Calgary.  I have never gone to any of those events.  Bonnie White wondered if David Litchfield could sponsor a fireside with Tom Christofferson.  David Litchfield says that he thought of Elder Ronald A. Rasband who tells us there are few coincidences in life.  So Bonnie’s call and their reading of Christofferson’s book seemed to be in sync. Thus the Calgary Stake was sponsoring the building and Tom Christofferson paid his own way to come to Canada. 

David Litchfield also gave a few details introducing the speaker who is a retired investment manager in the U.S. and in Europe and a founding member of Encircle.

A musical number and then the Tom took the podium.  He began by saying that when he speaks and people are on folding chairs, he thinks that perhaps they have come to see his brother Todd speak and not to hear him. 

I didn’t pick  up my pen to write anymore.  Remember, I have watched him interviewed for 3 hours on Mormon Stories, so I was enjoying his personality and his carefully chosen words.  So loving and respectful to his audience.  Polished.  Dignified.  Concerned.  Every word carefully chosen.  When speaking of gay members in a family constellation he said that the lesson for them to learn is that nothing will take you out of the circle of our love.

I picked up my pen later to write “All are needed and wanted”.

Later he said of his own  journey that he finally came to ask the question, What lack I yet.

Tom gave personal stories about his partner, he told how they dissolved their relationship of 17 years, he told how he felt the need to be re-baptised and join the members of his family.  If you go to listen to him on the podcast Mormon Stories, all of this will be fleshed out with beauty and grace, much more than I can write.

The formal lecture/talk/sermon ended.

Then the questions were gathered from up and down the rows.  The index cards had been handed out sparingly.  Only 2 to our row which now held 5 people.  Of course I took one, for I had my own question after listening to the podcast.

Now I didn’t have my computer there, and so I had to handwrite the questions and the answers.  Please don’t hold me strictly to what you will read now.  This is the best I could capture:

Question 1: The Family Proclamation says homosexuality is an abomination.  What do you have to say to that?
Answer: Right now the church believes that marriage is between a man and a woman.  But the rest of us can’t tell who is right and who is wrong.  We have what we have.  (The Stake President got up later and said that strictly the Family Proclamation does not use the word abomination.)

Question 2:  How do you deal with the loneliness of not having a partner?
Answer: I need to tell you 2 stories to answer that question.  The first is that the physical side of my relationship with my partner had finished for about 6 months.  The second is that I went to the bishop to say that I thought I could be re-baptised and the Bishop of my ward asked to speak to my partner about this in the church building.  The Bishop told my partner, “We will tell you why baptism feels right for Tom.  The question is, does it feel right for you to have him do this.”  The partner did not agree that it was and the bishops said, “You and your partner should both feel good about this before you are re-baptized.  Tom went on to say, I wanted my partner to feel what I felt.  Now I could see that what I should want is for him to find his own happiness.  And my partner wanted me to find my own happiness in return.  We separated.  Later I learned he was dating someone and would be moving to Atlanta.  I still wanted my best friend in my life.  But I should be grateful that my partner had found happiness.  How to deal with the loneliness?  I think I am doing it by progressing in discipleship.

Question 3:  How can I explain the policy of the church to others?  How can I help my gay children to navigate their lives?
Answer: I never felt my parent’s love for me was a tactic to get me back to the church.  The approach is we love those around us because they are trying to be the best they can be.  The L.D.S. form of marriage is not what the government offers.  We are taught that the highest form of marriage is between a man and a woman.  But we can be genuine about loving others around us.  Parents should never close a door.

Question 4: Please discuss the gender types found in the Family Proclamation.
Answer: I don’t have an answer.  From science it would seem that during the gestational period these things are set, just like left-handness or having red hair.  Perhaps there is an eternal intelligence that is gay.  I am sure that we were part of a Heavenly Family, all of us brothers and sisters.  Now we are here on earth and there are parents and grandparents, but still in the pre-existence we were all brothers and sisters, and still are.

A small interjection here.  One of the questions above also included the sentence, You are the Christofferson that I came to hear.  That made the audience laugh and Tom Christofferson said he was going to show that card to his brother.

Question 5: I have been listening to your podcasts.  I understand you are looking for ways to be close to the Saviour.  Does a person have to be baptized to go on that journey?  Can a non-member find the same happiness while searching for the Saviour?

Answer:  I am sorry you had to listen to the podcast.  I was somewhat relaxed (I can’t remember the exact word he used) in that interview.  I don’t think we have to be members of the church to find the Saviour.  There are many good people in the world who do a good job of that.  What I would like to do is invite everyone to feel the love of the Saviour.

Question 6:  I deal with suicidal thoughts.  I am the piece that doesn’t fit.
Answer: I hope you know as you sit on the pew tonight that you are loved.  Reach out to a hotline in this critical time.  Know that on Thursday the apostles and the president of the church have names on the altar and they pray for every member of the church.  Whatever the journey may be for you, there are those who want to embrace you.  I hope they will find you and  you will find them.

The meeting closed with a few more remarks from David Litchfield, a prayer and then the audience dispersed.

I stayed seated on my pew, mostly watching people in clusters talking to each other.  I didn’t have a reason to hurry home, other than to type up these notes and I kept watching faces, seeing people walk out of the meeting in twos and threes.  I saw one young woman with small buttons (the kind that have a simple motto on them) on the strap of her bag, both on the front and the back.   There was no room left for strap.  All buttons. I looked at an older woman with a beautiful soft black leather jacket, a flowing skirt and who walked with confidence up a few pews ahead of me to greet someone she knew.   The kind of woman who looks like everything has gone right for her.  In reality I know this is not true of anyone. I watched Tom Christofferson come off of the stand.  Either David Litchfield is very short or Christofferson is very tall, for the distance between the two of them was surprising in its length.  I listened to the organ –I didn’t catch the name of the woman who played it, but I knew that there were hours of practise behind every note.  Isn’t the general rule, 40 hours of practise behind every minute of performance.  I hoped that they never take that organ and sell it, as they did in one chapel in Ontario/Quebec.  Someone approached me and I had to ask that the couple refresh my memory as to whom they were.  We sat for a long time and chatted, so long that the man who was closing up the building come by to alert us that there weren’t many people left in the building and that he would be closing up.

On the way out I saw Tony and Sessa Stephens leaving the building.

That is it for the evening.  I was left with an overwhelming love toward the parents of the Christoffersons.  Tom told stories about their parenting from which I feel I could take a lesson, though my children are grown and my parenting days are over.  I think he tells these stories in his book, though I haven’t read it.  I did hear some of the experiences on the podcast about their journey when they knew that they have a gay son.  It was his mother who gathered the family together after the grandchildren were in bed at a family vacation and who said to all, our family can be loyal to each other.  She may have also said something about how the family loves and accepts Tom  ….  is a paramount part of that loyalty, although I can’t remember the exact words.

Thus endeth my report.


Friday, January 19, 2018

The Light Show in London

42nd St.
Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian
From Wyona and Greg

Last night we went to '42nd St'.

Greg and I went to Annie tonight.

Both nights big problems with the buses, many diversions. Tonight we took the tube to Picadilly and what did we see?This amazing light show with sound. Looked it up on the computer tonight to see it is just part o f a bigger light show.

Tomorrow we will try to see as much of it as we can. Regents Street from Oxford Circus to Trafalgar are walking streets.

Suitably authoritarian … 
Miranda Hart (Miss Hannigan) in Annie. 
Photograph: Paul Coltas
I saw David Pilling at Picadilly Circus tonight and he did not say Hi to me. I swear it was David or Glen when he was younger. I got behind him and watched for a short while until he disappeared into the metro...long hair and all, same features. It was just like having David in London. Unfortunately the nose was more like my nose. It was a much younger Dave and Glen.

I want Marcia and Art to take a quick trip to London for Feb. 4-8 so they can go to '42nd St" It is amazing. Get WestJet working for you. Get Ron to do the grandfather thing and chauffeur your lovelies around.

It is so cold here. I could only find one glove when I left for the theatre but one glove is better than no gloves. Worse tomorrow because there is rain.

But I am going to drag Greg around to all the light shows I can see tomorrow night.


Link for light show:

Thursday, January 18, 2018

An Empty Theatre

I was an hour early for the show.  That is much too early since the theatre was only peppered with couples here and there -- 2 men, a mother and a daughter, two older woman, an older couple that looked as though they were on their first date and a few singles like me.  One of the single men must have ordered the biggest popcorn that the concession sells.  He didn't look like the kind of guy who would share or I might have changed seats.

A Woman of No Importance was fantastic.  A period piece.  I am so glad that I have seen other pieces by Oscar Wilde.  As I was waiting for the show to begin, I was remembering that I took Wilde's Salome along with me when I was in college and we were on a Mixed Chorus Tour of northern Alberta.  The choir director told me to put that down and get out there and have fun with the other kids.  I might have done what he said, but I finished the book as well.

The English language is exquisite when it is handled by the masters.  Watching a show is much better than having to read it.  There was a small allusion about Hannah turning Samuel over to Eli in the temple.  I think fewer words were used in the play that I used in that sentence.  But it was chilling to me to hear the richness of the language.

Thank you Shakespeare, Chekov, Wilde, Moliere, Tennesse Williams ....

The quintet that did the music were masterful -- the temperance song just a riot, as well as other cautionary tales sing with the older woman's voice as the focal point.  She was no opera singer. And she really made me laugh. Even their exits and entrances to the front of the stage were well performed.

Coming on Sunday?  Romeo and Juliet from the Bolshoi.

And I think on Jan 25, Exhibition on Screen: David Hockeny and the Royal Academy of Arts.

It is all a lot of fun.


Thinking about Wilde

I am really looking forward to the show tonight.  So much so, that I haven't done much work this morning.  Except that I shall call work, reading the plot line, reading about the two themes and reading through the following quotes from

I will type in a few.  The quotes are so oscarized.  That is the word Wilde used to describe an actor who did so much of his work that he talked like him.   It just slipped into my head when I was typing.   Do o to the link if you want more.  

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”

“Every woman is a rebel, and usually in wild revolt against herself.”

 “But she is happiest alone. She is happiest alone.”

“Nothing spoils romance so much as a sense of humor in the woman”

“To get into the best society, nowadays, one has either to feed people, amuse people, or shock people - that is all!”

“Nothing should be out of the reach of hope. Life is a hope.”

“When a man is old enough to do wrong he should be old enough to do right also.”

“LORD ILLINGWORTH: The soul is born old but grows young. That is the comedy of life.
MRS ALLONBY: And the body is born young and grows old. That is life's tragedy.”

“The happiness of a married man depends on the people he has not married.”

“You love the beauty that you can see and touch and handle, the beauty that you can destroy, and do destroy, but of the unseen beauty of life, of the unseen beauty of a higher life, you know nothing.”
“I don't know how to talk.
Oh! talk to every woman as if you loved her, and to every man as if he bored you, and at the end of your first season you will have the reputation of possessing the most perfect social tact.”

“LORD ILLINGWORTH What do you think she'd do if I kissed her?
MRS ALLONBY Either marry you, or strike you across the face with her glove. What would you do if she struck you across the face with her glove?
LORD ILLINGWORTH Fall in love with her, probably.” 
“I was wrong. God's law is only Love.”

“It was you I thought of all the time, I gave to them the love you did not need: lavished on them a love that was not theirs.”

“MRS ALLONBY Is she such a mystery?
LORD ILLINGWORTH She is more than a mystery - she is a mood.
MRS ALLONBY Moods don't last.
LORD ILLINGWORTH It is their chief charm.”

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

On Flying Standby

The London Experiment,

We began our journey to the airport knowing there was one seat left on the airplane and 3 people on standby for that seat, Greg and I being numbered 2 and 3. We picked up Arta so she could guard our car for us for the time we are away. Never have we travelled with so little luggage and we divided that in half in case I got on and Greg had to wait until the next day. We checked our under weight luggage and proceede to the gate with our standby boarding passes. The lady at the gate took our standby boarding passes and in about 10-15 minutes came back to us telling us she could not get us two seats together but we did get middle seats; five seats came open at the last minute. Half an hour later she rushed up to us, took our boarding passes and gave us both aisle seats. She said she grabbed them fast as seats were shifting. She was so kind to us…next time I am going to get a name. So yeh to getting on the plane and getting aisle seats.

London was so cold and so windy. Where was my coat and where were my gloves? We waited for the 148 bus while other buses came and left multiple times. Just happens there was a demonstration by taxi drivers going on in London. Finally I snagged a taxi and we happily paid 22 pounds for the taxi.

While we were at Victoria station I ran over to the Palace Theatre to check on tickets for Hamilton. No chance for discount tickets.

Arrived at the hotel around 2-3 p.m. and were in bed shortly after.

Standby is so far great this trip except for the anxiety level one can experience.



Review of A Woman of No Importance

A Woman of No Importance
Again I go to the reviews in the Guardian to figure out what will be going on in the play on Thursday night, NT Live's A Woman of No Importance

Actually the play doesn't belong to NT Live but to Oscar Wilde.

I am going to have to take some notes before I go tomorrow -- get the plot in my mind and the major characters.

Anne Reid sings Victorian ballads that help
 to cover the changes to Jonathan Fensom’s set.
Photograph: Marc Brenner
I do like this line from the review when speaking about .... Best:  "Best takes a character who can easily appear wreathed in pious rectitude and turns her into a real woman who actively relishes her independence."

Now watching that is going to be fun!


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Home again ...

Calgary International Airport
Plane rides are usually not that interesting.

In my case I was so tired I didn’t even feel the take-off from Montreal.

The stewardess must have given the warning about danger and where to find the exits but I didn’t hear it.

When I woke for the first time refreshments were being served up and down the isle. I put on a movie, My House in Umbria (2003), with Maggie Smith. If a person is too tired to watch Maggie Smith, then they should just quit trying to stay awake and give themselves over to sleep.

The only excitement on the flight was a four year old boy to the left of me and up a few seats who began to vomit during the descent. In that case, it is only excitement for the parent and the stewardesses. In his knapsack, the father had a change of pyjamas for the little tyke but I got to watch him get stripped and lots of clean-up material delivered to his dad. While this was going on the adult beside me was begging the stewardess to let him use the facilities at the back of the plane. He couldn't see what was going on a few seats up.  The stewardess was  just not going to let that happen. Ah, much better than watching a movie.

Greg dropped me off at home. After taking off my coat, I slipped over next door to see who was still up since the lights were on. Taking off my coat and then going out the door wasn’t that smart since it is -20 Celsius. I don't know what I was thinking.  The first thing that struck me was that Richard hadn’t shovelled a path between his back door and mine, so I had to go around the front of the houses.

Michael was still up. He sleeps in a different room now, so he showed me around. He said he wasn’t asleep yet for he was waiting for his turn to have Grandmother Joan come in and read to him. She was just finishing reading to Betty and Alice. I told Michael I would come over and see him again before school, and I wanted to know what time he leaves for school. He told me he isn’t sure, but he thinks it is just after sunrise. I still laugh when I hear him saying that to me.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018


I know that to engage with Hebe requires thought on my part. She is easily surprised and when I come into the room she may say, I hate grandmother, which her mother translates into oh, you surprised me by coming in the room when I wasn’t expecting you. Knowing this, I was wondering this morning how I could say good-bye to her in the least painful way for her. So far my best method is to come into the room and tell a story so interesting that she hangs on every word and quietly listens for the next sentence to drop. This is a high order.

This morning I told her that when Catherine was a little girl (my hook, for I might say something interesting about her mother) I used to tell her stories while she ate, and so I was going to share one of those stories now. And without a breath I did Daniel of the Old Testament coming to the king’s court, eating healthy food, becoming favoured, refusing to bow and worship the king and then the exciting part – walking in the fiery furnace.

She was quiet and even interested when I shared my family secret, passed down from my dad and now I was passing it down to her: how to remember the names of Daniel’s friends, Mesak, Shadrak and Abednego.

My dad taught me to remember with my shack, your shack and a bungalow.

 I hope she shares that trick with her own grandchildren when they are little like she is.

And then I got out of the kitchen, knowing to get going when the getting is good.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Family fun at Christmas

Catherine sent a link to this game to Rebecca.  That is because we had such a good time playing it when Leo and Mary were here.  I am not sure if it is the game that is good.  Or how we played the game that really works.  There is lots of talking, trying to find out who among the players you can trust and who are lying to you, and just trying to figure out the game in general.

The instructions come in German which fact wasn't much help to me.  Leo had played it at a gaming convention he attended.  He told us that there were two sides of players: the explorers and the natives.

Since something about that didn't work for me, Leo was totally open to name changes.  So we called the sides the colonizers and the indigenous.  Then the game became fun for me.

Now a few weeks have passed.  Thomas said he wanted to buy a copy of one of the games we played at Christmas.  Thomas told me the name of the game:  Tempel des Schreckens.  I told Thomas I had not played that game with him.  Thomas was positive I had  I was equally sure that I hadn't played a game with the name "Temple" in it.

"Thomas.  I don't like gaming at the best of times.  I always try to get out of playing them.  And with a name like that, I would have remembered that I had played it."  I went on and on.

Thomas told me that there had been a name change on the game, and while he couldn't remember it, he did remember that one of the sides was indigenous, at which time I could remember the game.

Probably the fun of the game was calling out explorers and natives.  Yikes.  How can a person with TRC sensibilities tolerate that?


Two Weeks or a Fortnight

It was my dad’s wedding anniversay yesterday.  And on the 14th of January it will be his birthday.  He would have been 112, probably a little too old to enjoy life.  He did live until he was 76 – not really bad in today’s world.  Strange little sayings of his stay with me.  “Nothing is fair.”  Catherine quoted him when she spoke in Sacrament meeting last week.  He told her this saying when he was a teen-ager and she has her own words to describe how she felt about it.  From what I can remember, she resented it, railed against it, wanted to deny it, etc.

I was thinking of another of his sayings today, also thinking of it in connection with Catherine.  Doral would say that if you just let a cold go, it will take 2 weeks to cure it.  Or you can get medicine for it and the cure will take a fortnight.

Catherine has been sick.  Really sick.  The kind of sick where many times in the day a person has to decide if they should stay standing or hit the bed.  Now I get to make that decision many times a day, even if I am not sick.  But back to Catherine?  She has stayed standing.

I didn’t mean for my post to go in this direction this morning, but now that I am on a roll, here it is.  Catherine and Eric spoke in church last week.  It was a diminished congregation.  Many people had gone home to their families and so those of us who were left were a small group.

I had practised a few hymns during the week.  That is because the week before, there was no one to play the piano.  Catie came down and asked me to do it, but I haven’t played for years.  No exaggeration there.  I said no.  She stood up when the opening hymn was announced to lead it.  Still no one at the paino.  I got off of my pew and went to do the honours.  I estimate that I hit the right notes at the beginning of most bars, but I couldn’t do much more than that.

Well, back to last Sunday again, where the piano player did appear so all I had to do was rest on the pew.

Catherine rose to a height that let me know I was present during a sacred moment.  Most mothers might say that about their children, but not me.  I am a brutal critic.  I actually just shouldn’t go to church at all, because I can’t leave that function at home.  At any rate, I was there, she did her talk, only choking up at one phrase.  The rest of it was as though Dr. Patterson had coached her for the festival. 

I actualy felt sorry when she stopped.  Sorry for Eric who had to follow her. 

He was riding a different train.  I thought he was giving honest, pravtical advice from his profession. Useful.  In fact, on a different day, I would have been taking notes.  Then he used two examples from his own life, ones that had happened so recently that the truth of them was still present, at least one of them for me.  He used an example of a phone call from his brother, and he used an example of trying to parent Hebe. 

Both, exquisite, both in pain and beauty.

Time for me to go to church.  Anyone who wants to know more will have to saying something in the comment section and I will go on and on and on and on ….


Saturday, January 6, 2018

On watching film ...

Who knew that we could see so many films that have won Academy Awards.  This week we are doing it one bite at a time.  Every evening there is a film.  I am not one to ever choose a 10 pm showing, but what can I do when we eat our  evening meal as the Spanish do – often beginning at 9 pm.  Maybe I have exaggerated a bit, but not by too many hours.

We eat, do the dishes and cue up a film from Netflicks, which last night was Dancing Wolves.  The movie wasn’t downloading fast enough.  We had a number of pauses.  Frozen ones. Eric said that he thought the colour wasn’t that good as well.  He left the room for a minutes and when he came back, he returned with his own personal copy of the film.  Who knew? 

We had a glorious return to the film using disks, the colour was enhanced and we continued to enjoy Rebecca Javis’s 2018 resolution – seeing another of the winners of awards from the past.

I woke up this morning thinking about the length of time the world has been able to enjoy film:  120 years.  I thought about how old I am:  80 years.  I was doing some math, thinking how I have been alive for nearly 2/3 of all of the time the world has been able to enjoy film.  I thought about having so much film in a home that a father can just pull out an old Academy Award winning film from his library.  I have not enough imagination to take me to the place where film will be if I get to live another 20 years.

P.S. I might add one thing about choosing films.  Everyone in the house gets a chance to choose.  Hebe wants her turn.  "Alright," they say.  "Choose one."  But she is a no girl and she can't think of a film to choose.  She is better at saying no to films that other people choose.  When I leave, it is that girl that I am going to miss the most.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Planning for the Future - my role models

I was wondering how I am going to get back to Montreal, and I am wondering this before even leaving.  I asked Wyona if she wanted to take a trip here.  This is what she said to me:
1. I have a cruise booked on April 26 from Hawaii to Vancouver. 
2.  I have booked a trip in the fall with Greg. I will take the WestJet to London, a week in Venice, a cruise from Venice to Rome, 4 days in Rome, 8 days in Florence, 4 days in Rome, cruise back from Rome on Celebrity Reflection to Ft. Lauderdale, and WestJet back to Calgary.

I also do appointment, banking, errands, and I shop with Lurene, Tonia and Zoe.
I love busy days.' 
To tell the truth, I love busy days as well.  Now I can see I have to ramp up if I am to keep moviong forward at her pace.



Thursday, January 4, 2018

Broken Bones

Xmas 2017 at Annis Bay
From Moiya

David fell off of a ladder.  Well, he told me he didn't fall off of the ladder.  He was on a ladder on it collapsed.

He  still tried to do some work afterwards which didn't work out all that well for him.

He has a broken rib.  Now is trying to recuperate in bed.

He is on a lot of pain killers.

It doesn’t help matters that he is sick with a bad cough.

That really shakes his ribs up.

 Frequently he is having muscle spasms.
4 out of 5 of Dave's families
were at the lake for Xmas.

Fun, fun, fun.

David is not moving very fast.

 The robaxecet helped him get a little bit of sleep last night.


A loss of the movie fan base

This was the night when we were going to view Zeffirilli’s Romeo and Juliet. I don’t know how we lost our fan base.  Only three of us were in the front room when the show began.  Eric and Thomas got home so late that we didn’t eat until 9:30 pm. We lost Catherine from what was going to be our audience. She was so tired that she just put her head down on the dinner table after dinner was over, and she was out like a light, not aware of any noise going on around her.

 Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey
in Romeo and Juliet (1968)
Not to let this change our plans, Catie, Rebecca and I got the film going.

Catie had prepared a few comments for us.

The film got such a high rating in 1968 when it first came out, that when a cover was made of the film, it just couldn’t stand up to the old rating.

And then she told me that the actors in the film are now 70 years old.

For some reason I didn’t like imagining that they had aged.

Catie was quick to notice the "I bite my thumb at you" scene.

As our movie began, Catherine took Hebe upstairs to put her to bed.

Half way through the movie Hebe came down to join us, Catherine being the only one asleep.

In the late afternoon we took a walk in a mall
that Catherine wanted to check out.
Here Hebe has found a small rocket ship
and she is just happy to sit in it and dream
of far-away adventures.
Having Hebe beside me changed the attention that I could give to the film.

Now I was answering questions, multiple questions, the first one being why Romeo and Juliet didn’t have any pyjamas on in bed.

You can imagine at what point she joined us.

I told her they had just forgotten to put their garments on and she was good with that.

She wanted to know why we were watching the film.

I told her that Eric told us to watch it, that it was one of his favourite Shakespeare films.

She wanted to know what made it a favourite for him. I told her that is a question that Eric is going to have to answer for her, and that tomorrow we will watch a comedy for her, and not a tragedy, as this was.

She watched Romeo killed Mercutio and she wanted to know why they were fighting with real swords instead of the plastic ones that you can buy at the Dollar store.

Heb was intensely interested in the scene where the Capulet father and mother are trying to set up a marriage for Juliet to happen in two days – on the coming Thursday. Her brow was furrowed at all of the parental bullying.

Watching the Friar mix the elixir that would keep Juliet cold for 42 hours also held interest for Hebe, as did the bottle of poison that Romeo was carrying with him.

And she couldn't figure out why Romeo's friend didn't go into the tomb with him.  What kind of friend would just stay outside, she wondered.

Hebe was in sync with the prince when he condemned all for the terrible tragedy that had taken place.

Catie found she could simulate the feeling
of space travel just by giving the vehicle that
Hebe is driving a few shakes.

So cute!
In the final analysis, I don’t think tragedy is going to be a big hit with her until a few more years have passed.

Mostly I am curious about what she is going to say to her parents tomorrow about her adventure with Shakespeare.

 She did tell me that she wants to watch the first part of the film that she missed – the part where Romeo and Juliet fall in love.

 I told her I would try to set that up tomorrow.

Who knew?


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Academy Awards of the Past

Rebecca Jarvis says that she is going to try to see all of the films that have won the best picture Academy Award this year.

She wondered if she could watch them all back to the 1930's.

Her idea came out of watching West Side Story and Fiddler

I thought seeing major award winning film was a good resolution.  Others disagreed.  We had some discussion about what a New Year's Resolution was and if this would fit into the category of a good resolution.

Some people think resolutions are about making you a better person.  Ha ha.  That means this is an excellent resolution, because I think seeing more (rather than less) film does make one a better person.

Not that it works for me, though, as in seeing more film makes me a better person.  It only makes me grow older.

One year I began writing down all of the names of the films I was seeing -- both the name of the film and the director.   I didn't know why I was doing it, but I seemed to have the need.

I can only do that when I am at home and have the list at my side.  Not having access to my lists is the only downside I have had, so far, from travelling.

Perhaps I will google for a list of the awards and see how many I have really seen yet -- and like Rebecca, I may try to add to the list.