Friday, March 16, 2018

The Silent Auction


Churches of Salmon Arm Thrift Store.

 For three days that thrift store is having their bag sale. All you can stuff into a plastic grocery bag for $2. Wyona and I should have gone there first instead of hitting the Dairy Queen for their $7 Cheeseburger Special.

Believing it is never too late to shop we separated paths, each going up and down isles alone so that we weren’t competing for the same used articles. I usually do a quick sweep of the store and then start on my isle of choice which was the kitchen ware. Bonnie needs some bread pans to begin with.

 Nothing there, not even a decent pie plate.

 I gave up the search and went to find utensils for the drawer that holds every small useful tool.

 I found a garlic press like the one I bought 30 years ago which I love and 2 lemon zesters, one of which I will share with Bonnie. I stuffed the bag with a leather belly pouch, a crotched black bag and a beige hand-woven rattan hippie looking bag.

 I found 5 crystals dishes that fit in the bag overlapping each other and a Barbie doll dressed up in an outfit as though she is graduating from college. Those clothes will be off of her when Alice or Betty sees that doll. I am hoping that for just a split second they might retain the image of a women in academic robes.

As well there is a purse shaped like a dog with a small handle on it. The zipper opening is so small that only the hand of a small child can get in the purse which I am going to stuff with every conceivable small toy I have to see if I can get Betty interested in the purse.

 I gave a purse to Alice a few months ago and I notice Betty likes to carry it. I should give this one to Alice again so that Betty will want it.

Two or three clerks in the store told me to go upstairs to the silent auction. Wyona and I cashed out – so that we didn’t have to carry our stuff and we came back in the store to go upstairs.

The way to get there is by going through the sorting area where customers are not allowed, around a corner and when we got to the stairs someone offered to let us go up the freight elevator.

One of us must have been limping. The manager of the thrift store was going into the elevator as well with a trolley of boxes. He warned us that we should bring a book for the elevator sometimes stops. That didn’t frighten us. He was charming and soon engaged in a conversation with Wyona. I was surprised at how long we chatted before the elevator doors opened. He told her that the rattan outdoor garden table and chairs were in the auction, the ones just outside the first floor door of the elevator. She had asked when will that 5 piece set go out on the main floor for sale. He told us about the silent auction bidding protocol, saying that some people come into the store, bid $1 on every item and then they do get something out of the auction. In a pause in the conversation he said to Wyona, one of you is going to have to hit the Second Floor button on the panel if we are to go anywhere.

Wyona and I have a long history of going into the elevator, being so engaged in conversation with one another that we forget to hit that button and it is not until someone else enters the elevator that we go anywhere. It is unintentional.

That second floor was a big surprise to us.

... camel dish from the thrift store boutique shop ...
... the middle becomes a dish ...
The books were pre-priced – one, two, or three dollars each. I began to fill my arms with books from the section that held Indigenous books and books specific to British Columbia.

There were books on native music and art that were beautiful.

Then I put the whole lot down, remembering that if I began with the books, I would never get out of the books. In another world, I should have taken the books over to the clerk and had her hold them.
Wyona had done that downstairs in the thrift-store boutique: taken her purchase and had the clerk hold it behind the till. There had been a change in clerks for coffee breaks, and the second clerk had taken her potential purchase and put it out back on the shelves for sale. I think Wyona laughed louder about that than I did.

For sale at the silent auction: a winter fur trimmed coat in Inuit beaded style for a 5 year old girl; an iron-triangle that hung from a farm house beam and used to all the farm hands in for supper; a 7-piece Irish Belleek tea set; a high backed rattan wooden rocking chair in perfect condition; 3 very-long Samuri swords on a black display stand (Wyona comment that there is no way she would take those home – someone might use them as a toy); 2-quart canning jars with metal and glass lids (no way I am going to take those home; they remind me of long hours of canning); an antique toy baby buggy (I think there were even springs on the wheels); an unused 18 piece set of Paderno cookware; and a child’s wooden logging truck (at least 18” long) complete with logs and 2 other pieces of forest equipment that I don’t have names for among other things.

Again, Wyona and I parted company.

When we passed each other on the isles and made comments, she always would say, if you are going to bid on that, I am not going to compete with you. That is how she is.

To reinforce that idea, when we had first enter the boutique Wyona was in a conversation about a small end table that she was thinking of buying. Wyona asked the clerk the price. Then Wyona got in a conversation showing the clerk showing her excellent the piece was, how the legs could move and the two sides collapse, making it a convenient piece to have in any small apartment. The clerk said to Wyona, I was thinking about buying this in the morning but couldn’t commit myself. Wyona said, well, you saw it first, you have it. Yes.

I saw a dish like this in Malaysia being sold by a street venor.
I didn't buy it because I was afraid my suitcase
would be too heavy with everything I bought.
 Make the world a better place and think in any situation, what would Wyona do.


At 4:30 pm a crew was there to clean up, put away the books and begin to count the lottery tickets.

Wyona and I didn’t clear out until 5 pm. The last customers out of the building.  As I walked with her to the car I said, “Well, that just felt like a wonderful day trip off of a cruise liner and into a charming rural town.”

Now I am afraid to pick up my telephone, wondering if I truly bought anything at the silent auction. I will be horrified if I get the small wooden puzzle box that is shaped like an eagle. I want the box but not the two foot wooden eagle that hangs on the wall and is included in the purchase.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

My New Neighbour

... my new neighbour ...
A few days ago I received a text that said, “I can pick you up tomorrow in my truck.”

I wrote back, “You have the wrong number.”

Today I received a phone call from David Pilling saying, “I texted you, but you said wrong number. I was going to show you my house.”

An offer to see his new home?

I can leave my jobs here and jump in his truck any day.

Well, not jump. Lift one leg up into the cab and scootched part of my body onto the seat.

Then grab a handle that seems connected to the windshield truck, tug on it with my hand and make a leap that also requires faith whether a person is religious or not.

... a sneak peak at the kitchen ...
The road up to his house seems more narrow now that it has snow banks on either side. “In a few weeks, or maybe even days we won’t be able to get up this road without creating deep ruts in it,” he said.

I can see why. The snow is just starting to melt and occasionally there is a hint of dirt on the road.

I have been longing to see what changes David has made.

I saw places where the drywall has had to come down.

Now the wires are exposed and they run through the studs and to the electrical box.

What I will never get over is the fact that the view is spectacular out of every window.

At the bottom of his stairs there is a long narrow window which I think has been added and at which I wanted to linger.

I can hear David saying in the future to some little child, “You get a time-out.” And then the poor little thing has to go sit on those steps and contemplate the beauty of the world through that glass.

The inside of the upstairs has been repainted.

I love it that the colour of the kitchen matches Shauna’s Kitchen Aid.  I don't know which came first:  the colour on the walls or buying the machine.
... a winter view from the deck looking west ...

Hamburger buns and a new loaf of bread, both created via the Kitchen Aid, were on the counter.

There an automatic vacuum on the floor.

 David says, “That machine is programmed to do its job every afternoon at 4:30 pm.”

When the division of labour is made at their house, who has to do any real work.

I walked around that lot so many times last summer.

The breath taking view is spectacular no matter which way a person looks.

No use going any further to find heaven.


Za 'atar Bread

I didn't think to take a picture until
I had finished the first 3 slices.
Since Mary thanked me for teaching her how to make bread when she was younger, I have been thinking about bread making – mostly because anyone I have taught to make bread takes off with the idea at a speed I can't match.

I discover them making beautiful variations of the basic loaf of bread that I taught them.

Amir now does Challah and sour dough loaves, neither of which I have mastered.

Several times I have seen Pouria make bread from the Mediterranean, a bread called Za ‘atar bread.

I have tasted it on occasion, along with olives and some super concentrated yogurt – maybe it could be called yogurt cheese.

... perfect browning on the bottom ...
I found a basic recipe for the bread in a new recipe book I bought called Olives, Lemons and Za’ atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking.

Not having a coach in the kitchen I read the recipe carefully, trying to change millilitres into cups by using my computer and following each step of the recipe with care.

 The first problem I ran into was finding sugar.

Who can’t find sugar in their own kitchen?

I gave up for I know that the yeast will work on its own, just a little more slowly.

... close up after a few bites ...
I made notes all over the recipe so that the next time I try it, I will have exact measurements.

I had to add 1 ½ cups of flour to get to a soft dough, one that I could at least handle.

I had no idea that the product I was making would find a successful finish.

But when I pulled it out of the oven? 


... Arabic bread, yum ...
Then I was afraid someone might come to visit me and I would have to share.


That doesn’t mean that mine tastes anything like Pouria’s.

And that reminds me, I have to go put sugar on my list of groceries to buy.


Gifts to and from my father

Was thinking this morning

about the gift of diversity,

and how wonderful

(yes, I use the word intentionally, Richard)

it is to have access to

the bank of experiences 

that we all have had.

Rebecca Johnson
written March 14, 2018
...  my father's birthday

The Eyes Have It

Richard says,
"Sweet children. 
I tried to get a photo of my girls eyes. 
Genetics is a funny. thing. 
Michael got moms eyes, the girls got mine.

Richard shared this picture with me this morning.

Three sets of blue eyes.

How cute is that!

The picture reminded me that I was startled when I looked at Moiya's eyes a couple of days ago.

I thought I was looking into my own eyes.

I asked her what colour her eyes are, even though they were staring me in the face.

"Hazel," she said, "but I always write down on official documents that they are brown."

"Why would you do that?" I asked.

"When I would ask other people what colour my eyes were they would say brown, so I said that too.  Brown is what it says on all of my official documents."

Oh, she was making me laugh.

We were both reminded of Darla asking Doral why her eyes were blue. 

Doral told her, "Well, I have one of yours and you have one of mine."

I don't know how old she was when she quit telling people that.

Yes, the eyes have it.


Before the birthday meal ...

... the meat ready to be put on the grill ...

... a close up of the meat for carnivors ...
We gathered about 6 pm to celebrate Glen's 62nd birthday.

The roads were icy.

David and Moiya picked me up.

It is less than half a block to Janet's house but every step along the way was treacherous.

Whenever I enter the Pilling’s kitchen and steaks are laying out on a board waiting to he carried to the BBQ, I determine that I will learn how to do steaks like that.

The spices are sitting on the meat.

The whole process looks insanely easy  -- something like one of those cooking shows where preparation, cooking and serving all can be done in 1/2 hour.

When I try the same thing, it is a whole day's work.

And then another day's clean-up for me.
... butter and garlic ...
 ... essentials for frying mushrooms ...

But for Friday night, the flames were licking the grate of the BBQ grill.

The whole thing looks so simple.

I got close to check the marbling of the meat.

A picture of beauty.

In the background I could hear the casual conversation that includes the fact that there are 2 good meat sales per year.

When those sales come on, it is time to buy a whole roast and have it cut into slices of 2 ½ to 3 inch high steaks.
... the smell of mushrooms frying wafts through the kitchen ...

Mushrooms aren’t for everyone.

But those of us who like them stand close to the stove as they sizzle in butter and garlic.

Steaming the beans so that they are succulently tender is a talent. 

I watched through the lid and see droplets of water falling off of it and back onto the beans.

I don't have pots with lids, but I can see that seeing food cooking this way is an argument for getting a utensil like that.
Watching the meal prepared almost equalled the joy of sittng together to celebration another year around the sun for Glen. 


Happy Birthday Cakes

Thank  you Costco.  Birthday cakes that are quick and easy.
Glen invited the Bates, the Woods, the David Pillings and me to his birthday party.

One that he was throwing for himself. He had flown and then driven home from Victoria, B.C. that day he decided to give himself his own party.

“What adult doesn’t give themselves their own party,’ he said on greeting us at the door.

Glen stopped by Costco to buy himself a cheesecake for dessert.
Thank you Moiya for a poppy seed cake with candles.

His guests didn’t know this so Moiya, upon getting the invitation to the party set out to make him a poppy seed cake with a lemon pudding filling and a white icing.

Moiya, then worrying that he might like a chocolate cake instead, called him to borrow ½ cup of cream and was in the process of making a second cake when he hollered, “Hey wait, I bought my own cake.”

Thank you Shauna.  Black Forest Cake extraordinaire!
To bad for her that she found out 1 ½ cakes too late.

Shauna Pilling, at the same time decided to make a Black Forest Cake for Glen using the famous “add a cup of boiling hot water to the mixture” recipe that makes the best of moist cake.

Shauna also sent David into Sicamous to buy some cherries for the filling.

"I will take one slice of each, please."

She was going to chop half of them up and leave the rest of them whole, for the filling.

“Not that I knew what to do,” she said.

“I was just making it up as I went along.”

All David could find at the store was cherry pie filling, so that is whar he brought home.

After being exasperated with David's failure to bring home the right thing, Shauna picked the cherries out of the pie filling and just used them in the layers of the cake.

When they found out that he had brought home the right product, they gave themselves high fives for trying.
And with one breath, all the candles are extinguished.
As well, Shauna spent a lot of time decorating the cake that she baked makes her cake a mighty plus.

Glen can blow all of the candles out with one great breath.

Happy birthday to all.