Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Road Trip - In Steps

... or walk along the beach ...
Getting in 10,000 steps a day takes me a couple of hours.

If I don’t strike out early in the morning, the chances of me making my goal are slim.

Now Bonnie and I did a Netflix Event last night.

We watched Wild Wild Country, the whole season.

I thought it was 5 episodes and judged myself accordingly, but it was 6 – which ended up being a little much, but I wasn’t going to stop when I was on a roll.

Bonnie sat in the same room, but at the same she was out reading the spoilers, finding out the critiques, seeing what the ratings are and checking on “8 Things You Should Know before Watching Wild, Wild Country”.

I wouldn’t have thought to do any of those things.
... a steep set of rock stairs ...

By the end of the series, I could see why there won’t be a season two.

I checked on Bonnie in the morning, but she was still awake when I was ready to walk, so I struck out on my own, going down to Shelburne and then walking along the Avenue until I came to SaveOnFood at which time I called Bonnie so she wouldn’t be worried about me.

She said to hold on, that she would come right over and that we could walk together.
... daffodils, everywhere ...

So we did another 5,000 steps, got some groceries since the fridge seems to get emptied faster than we can keep it full.

David has reached his teen-age years when he can do four meals a day and three snacks.

Alex is the same. It is evening now and we are still out of milk, bread, apples and oranges and I feel as though we just put some in the fridge.
... a lovely home on a cliff ...

I love the walks on the Victoria streets. In the first place, I am faster than most of the other people out for walks. Second, the streets are still lined with cherry trees in blossom. 

Occasionally there is the whiff of a hyacinth as I walk along.

 Bonnie and I passed St. Luke’s church which has a graveyard attached to it. I saw a tall marker and was trying to get out the words to her, “Please, don’t put one of those on my head”.

But before I could speak a word she was reading aloud from one of those markers, the Wordsworth poem,  “I wandered lonely as a cloud / That floats on high o'er vales and hills / When all at once I saw a crowd / A host, of golden daffodils; / Beside the lake, beneath the trees, / Fluttering and dancing in the breeze / Continuous as the stars that shine / And twinkle on the milky way, / They stretched in never-ending line."

The poem took on new meaning.

There are daffodils everywhere: in people’s front garden’s, along the meridians, in back yards and in people’s arms as they carry them inside of their homes.

 Just a wonderful time to be here in Victoria.


Friday, March 30, 2018

Road Trip - Kananaskis Style

From Marcia:

We are enjoying our room at the Kananaskis Lodge. 

The boys are busy with rehearsal today and the show is tomorrow at 7. 
Gabe has another part, he is that chef making soup. 
The more parts the better for him. 
For Zack, the less parts the better.

Their pool is being renovated so no swimming.

They have some games for kids. 

The Road Trip - Cosi fan tutte

From the Met’s Così fan tutte.
Photo: Marty Sohl/The Metropolitan Opera
The Road Trip continues. Tomorrow Bonnie and David are going to an gaming shop for interactive games.  I am heading off to the opera, this time Cosi fan tutte, reviewed in Culture for Vultures by Justin Davidson.

A miracle that people can see this right across Canada. 

Tomorrow my viewing will be in Victoria, though I will be going alone.

I always look at the crowd at the opera and think to myself, these are my people.


The Road Trip - Stormtrooper

LtoR: Arta, Stormtrooper, David
David wanted to spend the afternoon at the game store, but Ryan, the manager takes his lunch hour from 2 to 3:30 pm. 

We arrived right on time: 3:31 pm but the store was closed. 

We had seen a stormtrooper walking along the street as we were parking.

And when we got to the store, there the stormtrooper was -- David and I could see him as we were studying the painted miniatures.

He could be seen through the street side of the window and was looking in the same store through the avenue side.

 I couldn't help myself but to go around the corner and introduce myself.
...David, trying on the stormtrooper helmet...

Joel was forthcoming with the source of his costume. He had made it himself over the course of 5 years and three prototypes. He now had it down to comfortable gear which he wears on Halloween, though once he had been a special guest at a birthday party.  We hung out at the door of the shop, waiting for it to be opened.  After 45 minutes we decided that he was not coming back to work for the afternoon.  Joel was cool with that.  "Stuff happens and we will just meet up with the store manager next time." 

In the meantime many people stopped for selfies as we stood and chatted. 

A good time was had by all.


Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Road Trip - Mount Pkols

... Arta loving a returning visit to this space ...
Slowly Bonnie, David and I have been chipping away at the list of places we wanted to see in Victoria.

Rebecca took us to Mount Tolomie the first day we were here.

She pointed in the distance and said that a trip to Mt. Pkols would be equally stunning.

And that place was also on our list.

In fact when driving home Bonnie and I thought that perhaps on a morning walk we could leave Rebecca's and walk all of the way to Pkols.

... David at the summit ...
I couldn't make it up the hills as well, but it would just be a lovely walk to the base of the mountain.

The more we drive in Victoria, the shorter the distances

I like going there for at the summit there is a space where you can turn 360 degrees, seeing land and bays and mountains.

The clouds were low.

The mountains in Washington pierced through them.

David and Bonnie lost me on the trail that seem to disappear into the rock.
I saw someone coming down from that high point with a small child.

That didn't matter to me.

I took the path that was paved.  I have the feeling that if I looked over the edges, I might loose my balance, even that I might dive off as though in a dream.

So I keep close to the inner edge and even find myself crouching a little.

On the drive up our ears were screaming to us that we were reaching a higher elevation, faster than normal.

... map at the top of hill to situate views ...
The forests were so beautiful, looking down through them as we rose along the road.

A couple of trees had the marks of being sawed off. 

I wondered if that were from a storm that had brought them down over the road.
... a breathtaking view from Mt Pkols ...

But mostly the forest seemed untouched. 

Mother logs were nestled  into the grass on the side of the hills.

Lots of green leafy ferns lined the forest floor.

The sun cut through the branches leaving dappled patterns on the ground.

Just lovely.


The First Step

... hello from the two of us at the beach ...
... taking one step at a time ...

 “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” -- the words of Lao Tzu.

They are also the words that Rebecca's physician wrote to her on his prescription pad.

As well I saw them written into the cement when I was walking in Victoria's Chinatown today.

Bonnie and I took the first steps to find one of the two bays that are close to Rebecca's house.

We planned how we will get David back to that spot by driving him there with a MacDonald's meal in his hand.


A 12 Year Old Boy's Paradise

Bonnie and I stopped at the Salvation Army Thrift Store just a little too long for David.

Bonnie wanted to look at the used books to see if there were any D & D manuals there.

I like to do a grand tour of any thrift store and then go back to my favourite isles, depending on what I saw in my first round.

This may have been making David a bit anxious for he was pacing back and forth, very close to the door, ready to make a quick exit.

As Bonnie was cashing out at the till she was chatting with the clerk, asking if books of this nature ever come into the store.

No question could have been better.

 The clerk was a gaming enthusiast and knew exactly where all of the good stores for this kind of product were situated in Victoria. 

She said that just down the street were three such good stores.

 David's interest in staying downtown for a while was now peaked.

I knew when I saw them coming to the car with a large shopping bag, and David with a big smile on his face, that they had reached Nirvna.

Or as the clerk likes to call that four block area, Nerdvana.

Bonnie and David brought home two figures they had airbrushed in the store.

As well Bonnie had so man complimentary things to say about the clerk who had helped them.

To David's question, "What is the right way to paint this figure?", he had replied, "It is your figure. The way you do it is the right way."

 Or to David's question, "How do I fix this mistake?", the clerk said, "90% of D&D painting time is trying to fix an items instead of moving on with it."

Holidays open up a lovely space to try new hobbies.

David thinks he is going to like this one.



Wannawaffle Pricing Board
David, Bonnie and I decided to take a Spring Road Trip to Victoria.

We had to choose between going early and then coming back early to do work.

Or getting that work done ahead of time.

We had a wall-chart list of thirty things we would like to do while in Victoria.

High on the list was “buy things”.

 Strangely it was not me who added the purchasing component to our list of Important-Things-to-Do in Victoria.

Bonnie packed peanut butter sandwiches, some Gala apples, a box of Honeycomb and a litre of Sunripe Apple Juice for the trip. Our main mission was to eat on the buffet on the ferry today, which turned into a disappointment, since the ferry we caught was a small one with just a White Spot Café on it. Not that the salmon salad wasn’t good. As Bonnie remarked, “Delish”.

Today we struck out for the harbour, believing we would see the water, some seagulls and find a place to have breakfast. The Wannawaffle Café provided David with all of the Belgian waffle he could eat, plus the toppings of banana, strawberry, and whipping cream decorated with drizzles of real chocolate. We walked across the new bridge, were interviewed by a local TV station on our reaction to it, and Bonnie and I found the Salvation Army thrift store. I am the only person who used their buying power there: used Jenga blocks and a Jasper Stone necklace. I couldn’t resist either.

Our one hour parking ticket had expired and Bonnie moved the car to a new location where we split up, vowing to meet back at the car in one hour. Bonnie and David went off to the Comic Shop and the Gaming Store.

I intended to get a dent into 10,000 steps, but I found myself stopping, either to look in windows or to enter stores to see exactly what the products were that were shown in the window. I do not know the name of this store, but I tripped on a platform that was in a slight incline and caught myself just as I was on the landing. A man, who I was later to find out was 69, asked me how I was. No, how I really was and if I had any aches and pains. I used my “best day ever” line on him but he continued, “No, how are you really. You must have some aches and pains. Arthritis?”

I had to admit to a little of that. But I could hardly finished my sentence before he continued, “I am going to give you a complimentary jar of my Pain Free Cream. I make it myself.”

He went on to list the ingredients: cocoanut oil, hemp, peppermint and spearmint leaves, cloves, cinnamon, red sea weed wintergreen oil and honey bee’s wax. He cooks it for three days out in the sun’s heat, then adds the bee’s wax and bottles it. Pain Free Cream. That is what he calls it and he says that any time you have an ache – on the forehead, the arms, the knuckles, the back – anywhere, just apply the cream and in minutes you will be pain free.

I took the cream, passing by the till by telling the clerk it was complimentary, but I did admire a whole wall of bongs on the way out – the best collection I have ever seen.

When I met up with Bonnie and David, he was so excited to tell me his story that mine slipped out of my mind. He had a complimentary ticket to return to the game shop for a complimentary game, and a free lesson on how to airbrush D&D figures.

... entrance gate to Victoria's Chinatown ...
I told him now was the time to take advantage of that offer, and to go right back to the game store. That I would continue walking. Another change of parking stalls for the car, and off Bonnie and he went to their adventure.

 I continued to walk, since I now saw that I was in Victoria’s Chinatown. I did not get in many steps, since I had to go in every store, look on every isle and touch many of the items that I have seen on my trips to China.

I saw scarves that I already have in my closet and opened and closed boxes of chopsticks and small tea sets. I did enter a tea shop and tasted their complimentary tea. Today it was featuring a tea that would suppress lung ailments.

On our way back home I took out my Pain Free Cream to put on my hands.

... the only purchase I wanted to make in Chinatown ...
 I knew if I didn’t start using it right away I would forget to use it.

Soon Bonnie had the windows of the car rolled down and was fanning the air under her nose, the scent of the hand cream was overpowering.

 As well, she was worried about being stopped by the police who might think that the smell of the cream was really marijuana that was hidden somewhere in the car.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018


Well, hello, Rebecca ....
The road trip went faster than we had expected.

And our stops were fewer.

We couldn't find a good MacDonalds or an A & W along the whole Couquihalla.

When Bonnie said she needed guidance for the next turn off, David and I both kept our eyes out for good signage.

The bridges in Vancouver were gorgeous.

We didn't have time to stop at the tourist centre at the ferrry, since our job was to drive right on.

Take lane 38 and then we heard the announcement for people to return to their cars.



I am so glad I blogged.

  ... Rebecca getting her last loving hug from David ...
Rebecca just left for London, England.

She is going to see the new Harry Potter show, going to see it twice.

She and I had been talking about times past when we were there at the West End,  remembering the good times at the theatres and in the parks.

In fact that last job she had as she was packing was to find the small red map book of London streets and slip that into her pocket.

"The book is old," she said.

I thought, "Lucky that none of those streets ever change."

She remarked that she blogged so that her mother-in-law could keep track of them when they were in London.

And now the Carter-Johnsons can go back and recreate memories of those times.


Monday, March 26, 2018

B.C. Royal Museum

... just before going down
the long flight of stairs to the water ...
Bonnie found a parking spot right in front of the BC Royal Museum.

We bought our yearly membership which seemed like the right thing to do. Three visits and each of us will have our money back.

To begin with their was a language display in the First Nations Gallery that was fascinating.

We moved to the totem pole room, studying the images.
We learned that the Haida art has wide black eye brows and a concave nose, starting at the temple.

... water at Arbutus Cove ...
And we spent a lot of time at the diorama that depicts the Haida-Gwai of the early 19th century.  

Knowing that it took five years to complete this, we studied it more than we might have:  the boats in the water, the village meeting outside of someone's house, the salmon drying on the racks, the round house being constructed, the men on ladders, and the totem pole that has a door in the bottom of it.

We saw the totem pole of the Mad Woman of the Woods who eats children.

We checked out the early hotels, theatres and shops that represent Victoria of the 1900's.  I think David will be interested in this when we come back.
Bonnie's selfie with a deer in the background.
No one can see the deer, but we know it was there.

Museums are such treasures.

Because Bonnie and Rebecca both own baskets that have been woven on the island.

That fact made me look at the weaving with new interest.

Three cheers for the museum.  I will be going back.


Arbutus Cove

... looking at the graffiti that is a whale ...
Rebecca explained the house rules that are expected of house guests:  eat what you can find in the fridge, use all of the electronics that you can operate, go with the group when they are eating out, go with the group to social events.

Be prepared to give answers or ask questions about the event if you wish to earn money.

On listening to this, David sunk back into a cushioned chair to get his fill of electronics, David on one side of the room and Alex at the other.

Bonnie and I struck out to walk to Arbutus Bay.

... bleached logs on smooth stones ...
The forecast was so expect rain.  We could feel it in the air.  But no drops fell though we could feel the mist in the air.

We walked through cherry blossom petals that were on the paved path before us.

We found the bay and made it down the fights of stairs to the beach and sand.

A small rivulet of water runs down the hills. We could see animal tracks in the sand, maybe deer who had come down for a drink the night before.

Our purpose was to see how may steps we could get onto our fitbits in an hour.

The trip took a little more than that.

On returning home we brought up our computers to find out how to get to the Provincial Museum.

... a map o Arbutus and Cadboro Bays ...
Rebecca is preparing tonight to go to London tomorrow.

She is thinking of going without her laptop but it is a frightening thought: 6 days without a laptop.

I know that feeling.

I don't like to leave the house without a pencil in my hand.  I am afraid I won't be able to write my thoughts down, no matter how trivial they might be.


Road trips. 

I like them.


Saturday, March 24, 2018

Dinner Guests at Lot 7

If I wait until I have time to write the text for last night's meal, then I will be looking for two hours of free time to open up. Obviously that is not going to happen.

 We had a Directors Meeting at Glen's and moved over to Wyona's to eat together.

The guests were David Pilling, Glen and Janet Pilllng, Dave and Moiya Wood and me.

There was consensus among those who did not prepare the meal, that this should be a bi-monthly event. Wyona and Greg agreed with the thought.

 We were all full after the appetizers, but continued on valiantly, right past a choice of 3 cheesecakes for dessert and 4 kinds of home make cookies.

 I could only do three out of seven.


... devilled eggs on an Easter plate ....
a sliced small dill on top of half of the eggs ...

 ... Mexican cheese cake to be served with chips ...
... the main ingredients is cream cheese ...

... shell plates from Malaysia to  hold appetizers on ....

... apple pear cheesecake ...
... was going to be pear cheesecake but the wrong fruit was purchased ....
lemon curd cheese cake in the front
chocolate amaretto cheesecake in the back

all cheesecakes photographed without whipping cream
which topped off all three

... meat balls over an open flame ...

... shrimp ring ...
 ... porcupine holding toothpicks with umbrellas ....
.... four kinds of home made cookies ...
Arta: What are you thinking of?  Making four
kinds of cookies and 3 cheescakes!"
Wyona: "Just experimenting with good recipes."
... tabled decked and ready when the guests enter ...
... South Western Mexican Salad ....
... with corn and lime dressing  ...

... Easter Candy Dish from Churches ...
... price?  PRICELESS ...
... Mexican chiken chili ...
... salad plate ...
... dinner plate / not exactly round or square ....

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Three cultural events a day ...

Last week was the opera, a movie and a stage show.  No one needs to go out three times a day, but there the cultural events were playing: Puccini's Seriramadie, In the Fade and Opening Night.  Moiya joined me at the opera.  She asked me what I was taking for treats.  I told her I had nothing in mind.  Wyona always takes care of that and when she isn't along with me I just go without.  Moiya brought two delicious ham sandwiches.

and here we are at another conference the next week-end
I went to In the Fade with Bonnie.

Today I couldn't even remember what the show was about until I went back and read the promo for it.

Then every scene was back in my mind.  A lovely show.

For the curious here is what some of the promotional material for the show said:
This film deals with the resurgence of fascism plaguing the West in general and the director’s native Germany in particular. When Katja’s Kurdish husband and young son are killed in a bomb triggered by neo-Nazis, she will stop at nothing to ensure the perpetrators pay. Is she seeking justice or revenge in this taut drama? Diane Kruger won Best Actress at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival for this role.
The end of the show was not satisfying, but it did lead to a lengthy discussion between the two of  us.

In fact, we could not find a satisfying way to end the show and still be true to the protagonist's character.

And then we went to the Salmon Arm community theatre to see Opening Night, in the evening.

I hope nobody read this for I have something to say about Opening Night.  I pointed out a man on the front row, just one row ahead of us, to Bonnie.  He was wearing a red checked shirt that had wide suspenders attached to a pair of jeans.  I think he had on a hat that I might call a farmer's hat.  I pointed to Bonnie and told her that I thought we had an actor planted on that seat, one who would make his way onto the stage during the performance.

I was wrong.

He was part of the audience, just like me.

A few days later I was wearing such a shirt and wondered if anyone walking down the street might think I have been planted there as well.  Just with an outfit too good to be true.


Around our evening table

Image from Basha Foods International
Last night Joaquim asked me if I have ever made a list of the number of countries that I have cooked recipes from.  That made me laugh.  I don't think I am going to make such a list.

When I arrived here in Salmon Arm I was still practising Arabic bread.  I don't know if I have it right yet.  But what we are eating tastes good.

We were eating a Thai Red Curry Chicken tonight.  I have been wanting to make this since Miranda came over one day asking if I had any red curry paste. 

Having none, it went on my grocery list but I couldn't find it until I stopped one day at Basha Foods International.

Now the curry paste as drifted out here to B.C. with me still wanting to use that paste.  And that is how we got to the Red Curry Chicken Thai dish.

Tonight we had a Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry.  I have been doing that dish with its variations for so many years that it seems to be a Canadian dish to me. One more meal at home and then we are taking off for Victoria where I am hoping to taste the food of many cultures across the Pacific.

Joaquim asked me what would be Canadian food if I were to make it.  Putting maple syrup on pancakes seems like one choice.  I couldn't think of a third, but my second choice would be serving the deer sausage that I can get from Miranda and Richard's freezer.



The Victoria Road Trip - Bannock

David and I made a list of 38 things we want to do on our road trip.

One of them was to eat bannock.

On the web is a bannock recipe by a Tofino B.C. mother, Marni Helliwell.  I couldn't see why we had to wait until the wheels of our car started rolling to get this done.

David measured out the 6 cups of flour and I got the other ingredients together, stirred and onto a piece of cooking parchment.  The bannock pretty well made a circle on the cookie sheet.

Take it out of the oven when it is golden brown, which is what I did.

I was using a dish towel to hold one end of the cookie sheet, and knowing it was too heavy, I was reaching at the same time for another pad.

The bannock slipped off of the cookie sheet, landing face up on the oven door which was horizontal.

Bonnie had it onto another rack before I could finishing making my move for an oven mitt.

We had bannock for 12 people.  David and I dug into it as though we were those 12 people but there was so much left over we had to bag it for later.


One item we want to do is off of our list.