Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nick Dear's Frankenstein

The Creature and Victor Frankenstein
Photo Credit: Alstair Muir
Miranda, Richard and I went to the National Theatre's Frankenstein in our local theatre tonight.

A preliminary half hour documentary of how the play was produced preceded the performance.

I read a newspaper review of the play that reminded the audience that they should remember to breathe during the scene changes, a line that came back to me as I was holding my breath during part of the play. 

There were allusions to Milton's Paradise Lost, Blake, Shakespeare and Wordsworth's "Nightengale".  Whomever thought that having it quoted with such halting speech could be so breath-takingly beautiful. 

On the way home we tried to describe to one another our favorite parts: the scene with the blind professor seemed to be a play all by itself, Richard described again the scene where the creature discovers the smell and taste of grass, Miranda commented on the difficulty of keeping the tears from falling down her cheeks, I can still see the creature's footwork that made such a difference to the movement of his body.

Keep the good review's coming, Rebecca.  I might have missed this one without your alert to me that it was one not to be missed.  You, on the other hand, must not have noticed the warning: suitable for 15+ as you decided to take Alex and Duncan along. 

For the others, when asked his favorite part of the performance, Duncan replied, "The treats."

Alex was nervous about the exposure of a female breast in a creature that Victor Frankenstein was creating, and whispered to his mom, "They aren't supposed to show that.  I am sure they are not supposed to show that, no really, I am right, they are not to show that", to which Rebecca replied, "You may be right Alex, but this is coming from London and they might not know that."

Ben Brantley for The New York Times says it all.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Special Olympics

Chris Turnbull took his camera and did some shots at the Special Olympics.

This is a great picture, especially with her name badge right there at the neck of her coat.

And now for some curling form.

Yesterday, I asked her how long curling lasts.

Her mouth went down and she said, "Over".

Then her mouth went up and she said, "Swimming?"

So that must be coming next.

Whatever the sport, she doesn't leave much to the imagination about how she likes it.

A broom, a rock and the Winter Club?

Nice hands signals.


Monday, March 28, 2011

If you loved the Canadian Air Farce ...

If you love comedy, this morning's CBC Online News carries a fabulous clip about the recently deceased Roger Abbott, a tribute from his friend, Don Ferguson.

It will make you laugh.

It will make you cry.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sixteen Pound Landen Hicks

Landen in his Flames blanket
Janet, Graham, Laynie and Landen dropped by yesterday evening to pick up Uncle Connor.

They were on their way to have dinner with Great Uncle Brad and Great Aunt Krista.

The first peek I got at the baby was when they pulled the face flap back and there he was, asleep in his chair.

When I could first see his little face, I ran for my camera.

I couldn't stop myself.

I took 100 pictures.

You will only get to see five of them.

He came to my house, swinging at the bottom of his father's arm, hidden behind a blanket so red that he was not really hidden.

Imagine, this cute little guy wants so much to eat that he gets a supplement.

He needs a supplement?

His mom is delivering pure gold to him.

my hands and my great-uncle's hands
I loved touching these little baby hands. He is using them now, to find his mouth.

As well, I love those little ten-week-old hands against the eighty year old hands of his Great Uncle Kelvin, whom as you can see from the pictures, still knows how to hold a heavy baby.

It won't be long until those little hands are learning to say,

     Here is the church
     And here is the steeple
     Open the doors
     And see all the people.

On another note, I ran out of fennel seeds and found a deal:  $2.97 for a pound of it.

Now I have to figure out how to use that much fennel, so went to the internet and found a fennel and fig artisan bread.

Blech to home made bread!
My first two loaves of it were on the counter, hot.

I tore off a crust and put it in his hands.

He didn't take it to his mouth. Nor even wave it in the air. Nope. Just not interested.

thinking ... thinking
I love the curve of his baby finger on his right hand.

I think Connor has been holding this baby too much.

I can only hear him thinking, "Yup. I am like Connor. I am only interested in astro physics."


Thursday, March 24, 2011

How To Catch a Squirrel

Rebecca Rose Jarvis

Question: Do you know how to catch a squirrel?

Answer: Climb a tree and act like a nut.

Today I'm going to tell you a true story on how a little boy caught a squirrel.

This is what happened.

Last summer, I went to a Family Fair at Westmount Park with my brother Thomas, my sister Catie and my friend Katie. It was a beautiful sunny day and there were hundreds of kids at the park with their parents. As you might imagine, because there was so much activity at the park, we didn't see many animals. As you are aware, when people are around, squirrels all head for the trees.

So, Catie, Katie, Thomas and I went to a part of the park where workers had set up a zip line.

When we got there, we were out of luck because the workers were closing down the zip line.

So, we sat down by a tree and watched the last kids ride the zip line.

Suddenly, a little boy walked past us calling to his father who was standing next to us.

The little boy was holding an adorable baby squirrel in his hands.

Squirrel in Hand
The squirrel was small, brown, fuzzy and had very big eyes.

The father shrieked and said, "Put that thing down."

The boy was so surprised that the father was scared of a tiny little squirrel.

The boy said, "It's o.k. dad. He is not going to bite you."

The father was not pleased. He took the squirrel from the little boy and put it on the ground.

Immediately, the little squirrel ran back to the boy and cuddled against his leg.

One of the workers saw what was happening and grabbed the squirrel from the little boy and put it on a tree.

"Time to go back go your tree", said the worker.
Then the worker started to walk away.

The little squirrel climbed down from the tree and followed the worker.

When he caught up to him, the little squirrel started climbing up the workers leg.

Now all the kids were laughing. The squirrel just wanted a new friend. The worker looked startled and shook his leg to get the squirrel off. The squirrel held on tight, but it was too much so he let go. Then he started walking over to Katie and Catie. He tried to climb their legs, but not mine.

Now all the kids were enjoying their new friend. The parents on the other hand were going mad. One parent thought they should shoot it. Another thought they should bring it home and keep it as a pet. The children knew the truth.

The little squirrel had to go back to his parents and that's the end of my story on how a little boy caught a squirrel.

Love Rebecca


David and I are on our way to look at some stone for our house. Must price it out and there are a lot more places to look here than in Sicamous...........but boy have I found a good hairdresser in Sicamous!
Arta says I must Publish. I guess this is how I will learn.

P.S. This is the sister who makes me learn.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Landen Hicks comes to town.

Landen Hicks

I am starting a new label for blog posts: newborns.

There will be a whole basketball team of Pilling great grand children born in 2011.

The team of five will also have some spares born later in the year.

Here is the first little guy to sign up: Landen Hicks.

Well, perhaps not so little, but it is hard to tell his size.

If those stripes on his T-shirt were going up and down instead of across, he would look somewhat taller than he does here, and possibly scare the other team before they even get out of their receiving blankets.

"National Champion"
Landen has on his first basketball outfit today.

Above the image of a cartoon characteer playing with a ball, the logo says Basketball.

Below you can read "National Champions".

As well, he is resting on a blanket made of basketballs.

And finally, look at the wrist action on the right hand.

You can still see the streak of the hand after he has flipped the ball toward the hoop.

Great-grandpa Doral would be proud.

But not to move this little guy too quickly into the world of sports, we see he does need some down time.
My back doesn't quite fit in Uncle Connor's hand

Right down into Uncle Connor's chest.

Take a good look. The lake is out the door on the left hand side of the picture.

Great-grandpa George painted the train coming down the track that hangs on the wall.


The basketball team has started.

I predict this kid will know how to post up before he is able to tie his runners.

Sign me,



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Hot Docs International Film Festival

Ever since I took a film course called The Film Festival, I have been interested in the numbers of film festivals that can occur in Canada -- ones of international status.  The Hot Docs International Film Festival (April 28 to May 8, 2011) in Toronto is one of them and starts later next month. 

Take a look at the short video that advertizes the documentary that opens the festival:  Morgan Spurlocks The Greatest Movie Every Sold.  

I guarantee you at least one belly laugh out of the video that you will find if you click here.

The National Parks Project video clip is also worth watching, but you won't find it until the bottom of the newsclip.  I couldn't have named one of these National Parks.  Give it a try yourself. 

Name 13 National Parks and tell me how many of these beauties you had in your own list of beautiful national parks!

Wish I were going to be in Toronto during the first week of May.


The Last Supper ... in Aylmer

We feasted tonight. Well, we tried to feast, but if there was something that could go wrong, it did.

I was trying to juggle what was in the fridge with buying what was needed to finish those items off.

There was unrolled and unbaked pie crust, so on one of my walks I picked up some whipping cream and lemon pie filling.  Before leaving the house, I put the ball of pie crust on the counter so that it would be at a temperature when I wanted to work with it.
before whipped cream
flapper pie ... no flaky crust here

“Where did that pie filling go,” I asked when I got home. “Did someone put it back in the fridge?”

Lisa looked horrified and picked up a piece of saran wrap from the kitchen floor.

“Oh, Griffin, did you eat that huge ball of pie dough and some of the saran wrap?” she said, while smelling his breath.
                                    * * * * *

Later, Mary and I picked up some ingredients for flapper pie crust, so that I could use up the ingredients which were now useless without the pie dough.

We had a bowl of egg whites as well in the fridge.  I made bread to use them up.  I slipped the bread into a warm oven, getting it rising faster than usual. 

That is only a good idea, if Mary also knows the bread is in the oven.

Ta dah!
If not, she turns the oven on to get the pork sirloin roasting and a quick heat is applied to the top of a pan full of bread.

I tried to save the uncooked middle, scraping off the top, trying to get at the dough that was beneath, so as not to waste all of that precious flour and water.

When all was said and done, two hours later, the bread fell out of the bread tin when it was finally proofed and cooked , ... leaving the bottom half of the bread glued to the pan.

"Please done't tell your friends at work about this."

Not a good day.  Not a good day.
The next morning I went to find even that fragmented loaf, but Mary must have pitched the bread, as I should have done with the 5 egg whites that started the project.

Stop that, Arta!
"I warn you, no more pictures," she said at the end of the day, waving a yogurt tube and a finger at me at the same time.

Yes.  No more pictures. 

I am back in Alberta,  my precious subjects left behind in Aylmer.


Anyone for pig?

I arrived at the airport three hours early for my flight home home to Calgary.  When I gave my passport to the agent at the Ottawa check-in, she said that my flight was delayed for yet another two hours.

Hard to know what to do at an airport, after you have opened the cover of every book on the best seller list and read a page or two besides, ... and checked out the fast food menus of the kiosks, none of which looked as good as the food you have been eating on your two month holiday.

I went straight to Gate 28 to do a power nap.  Instead, I found a wooden chair on slider rockers that had been placed beside an electrical outlet. I pulled out my computer and searched for the file called Memoirs of the 1940s, thinking I could write something about my childhood and while away the time. \

The chair was facing the huge glass window that looked over the runway, so I sat and slid back and forth, rocking my way into the past, at the same time watching a huge group of maintenance machines clear the runways between flights.

Horace The Pig Chopping Board
Liberty's Pig Shaped Beech Chopping Board
This was my second time, trying to bring back those old memories: favourite foods, skating at the community rink, warming our hands by the pot bellied stove in the hut there,  games we played with our parents, how Wyora id the washing and drying in the winter -- memories flooded from everywhere.

I didn't type about a small room in our house called the sewing room  there in which there was a Singer sewing machine on one wall, and an ironing board on the other wall and barely room to walk between the two if someone was sitting at the machine stitching.

On the wall within easy reach of the bobbin winder was a wooden pig into which nails had been pounded. 

Mother's spools of thread were on those nails.

 I thought we were a pretty wealthy family, given the number of colours of thread Wyora had on that board.

Grandma Edna had told my impressionable young mind that her mother made her pull out the basting threads and hang them over the door to use again and again, an economy measure.

At our house,  used basting thread was just thrown on the floor to wait for the evening sweep up.

Now that was sewing decadence.

Liberty of London has a similar, though somewhat pricey, wooden pig board on sale this week, should anyone who likes to do mail order want a remembrance of the past.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Purim in Aylmer

Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from destruction in the wake of a plot by Haman, a story recorded in the book of Esther.

Leo was playing drums at the party and the rabbi invited the whole family to come along with him to the celebration.

Everyone was to come in costume.

So the dreaded hour when a mother has to go through the costume box again ... that hour that is usually saved just for Halloween occurred again last night.

"I am Flower."
Naomi was giving her skunk costume another try. At Halloween some kids told her, "You are a skunk? You stink." So the skunk costume has been reappropriated to the Disney version of skunk -- the one called flower, which flower you can see in Naomi's ear.

As well, the costume was purchased online when she told her parents she wanted to be a skunk, and it is made from fake fun fur.

Naomi has discovered that is is just fake fun, because the inside of the material is more like a hair shirt, something that you would only want to wear if you were trying very hard to repent of some terrible sin.

By the time she got ready, she was out of the costume mood, and out of her costume and make-up -- even before she hit the party.
Freckles to die for !

Xavier has a helmet saved high in his bedroom shelves.

And he had appropriate leg bindings that went from his shoes, and laced up his calf, so he looked pretty good.

I am a lady bug

Rhiannon was a bug ... a lady bug, which was one step up from her look during the rest of the day.

Early in the morning she insisted that her pony tail should come forward on her head, not backward,

I insist on wearing my pony tail forward

There was a bit of a Tallulah Bankhead look to her which I do want to remember.

I took out my camera to capture it.

I didn't join them at the party, but they did say a good time was had by all.


Goodbye to Quebec

Before the walk begins

I came to Aylmer, January 19th

I leave March 21st.

How lucky for me to have spent my first winter in Quebec.

I have watched the kids skate, go to daycare on toboggans, and now I have seen the first hint of spring.

I have been trying to model good behaviour (to prove to myself that I keep some rules, I think) by going for walks for the past week. 

I can do a brisk walk down to the bay of water by the river in about 40 minutes.

The hill is slopped gently down to the river, and I don't notice the incline on the way back for I am warmed up to walking by then, and opening up my sweater to cool off.

I sometimes stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things, but I have learned I am a bad shopper when there is only French as signage above the vegetables ... and my French food vocabulary is ultra pathetic. 

I need to take along a dictionary, just to put some grocery items in my basket.

I told the kids today I would give them a chance to have any picture they wanted.

Naomi decided to have her picture taken with one of Aunt Catherine's flower pencils behind her ear.

Catherine has a bucket of them at her house and generously presses one in the hand of anyone who admires them.

There is evidence of a strawberry smoothie on Naomi's face. 

A wonderful Sunday breakfast.

Her mom has been slipping dessert tofu into it, to get her some protein for she has a limited number of items she wants to eat.

Sometimes she would rather not have any food at all.  I don't understand any part of that.

I took some shots of Rhiannon while she was waiting to go out the door for church.

She is wearing jewellery.

Edible jewellery.

The only good thing about what she is eating is that it is the same colour as her sweater and won't show the dirt that badly when she is bundled up to go off to church in a few minutes.

Xavier gave me a number of his best possible shots.

It was hard to choose just the right one when I was getting ready to blog.

How about this look,Grandma?
This captures just how good he is with his eyes: talent like this is not developed without a lot of hard practise.


A Congregation of Crows

Find a flat place for folding
"Are you fibbing," Leo asked Xavier, when he told his father he was able to build the orgami birds in his head, now.

Xavier was telling the truth.  He is good at folding.

Before church he had a flock of them made.

When he came home from church there were even more of them added to his collection.

He built a landing pad and we played airplanes tonight -- the task being to have the bird land on the green grass in front of us.

That one is flying pretty high!
While we played the game, Naomi was busy making a St. Patrick's Day treasure hunt for us, complelte with clues:

1. Go to somewhere the food is kept cold.
     Answer: The fridge

2. Go to the place where Griffin eats his food
     Answer: Anywhere in the house.
                  She had by the back door in mind.

The evening ending with ... yum ... more candy.

Happy belated St. Patricks Day to all.


The Bikes Hit the Road

The kids gave me some good pictures, either from high in trees, or running over the now melting snow banks.

Xavier is good at climbing the tree in the front yard.

He knows which branch he can hang on, and then let his body drop from it onto the ground.
Naomi was busy practising her grand leap from the snow bank onto the road.

She waved at me on her first ride down the gently slopping hill. 

That action picture was not quite so successfull.

Her bike slipped on the gravel to give her springs first road rash and black and blue thigh bruise.

Spring is tough.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Dog's Breakfast

Letting everyone know that before you read this post you should eat.  I mean really eat!  Fill that belly so that when you click on the link below of a blog by a friend of the Bates family, you will not start licking your computer screen.  I warned you.  Not my fault if your electronic devices short out due to slobber.

David Rollins, a member of a family which the Bates spent a great deal of time with in Ottawa, has a food blog and it is divine.  He and his partner cook the food, his partner takes the pictures and we all drool.  If you are ever in Montreal and wish to say hi to these fine men, perhaps I can make introductions.

The title of the blog came from the chance we all take that cooking does not always turn out as planned, it can taste like the dog's breakfast.  Nothing on this website looks like any animals breakfast.  Enjoy!  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Has anyone seen Oscar?

Add caption
For some unknown-to-me reason, Rhiannon decided she wanted to play with Oscar. the turtle.

Naomi took him out of the cage for Rhiannon.

Naomi placed both of Rhiannon's hands on the turtle, one on the top of his shell and the other on the bottom.

Mary had to come over and help the two girls. 

What they don't have in the way of gentle care for the turtle, they make up for in enthusiasm for handling him as a pet.

"Look," Rhiannon said at one point, while examining him.

"Look, he has no head."

Rhiannon was sure she wanted to let him go for a walk along a small end table.

Marye  banished Oscar to the floor, in the interest of his own safety.

I didn't watch the turtle much, but Rhianoon was watching him scamper across the floor.

It wasn't until later that night, when I was sitting by Mary watching her make glass beads, that I asked, "Did that turtle get back into his cage."

"Whoops," said Mary. "We will have to look for him tonight."

"Whoops," I thought.  "I think we means I."

I have a newly acquired fear of stepping on animals, large plastic toys or piles of boots by an entrance way. In this case Mary said, "Don't worry about stepping on Oscar. His shell is hard enough."

I have no need for turtle soup.

I moved everything in the front room until I found him hiding under some toys.

I wanted him placed back in his cage.

Here, have a turtle!

Arta, Turtle Chaser

Pointing to summer

Richard and Miranda like to have an annual summer BBQ -- pot luck from the guests with roast pig provided by the hosts.

They tested such a party out the year before they were married.

They were so happy, they couldn't figure out why they hadn't hired the preacher right then and put the finishing touch on the party. 

So the next year when they married, they returned to the place and the menu of the previous party, having had such a good time. 

They tried the next year to do the same thing, and aunts and uncles and cousins came together again for the Third Annual Pig Roast.

These are pictures Fania took to celebate the Summer 2010 event.

Vegetarians should delete this post before looking any further.

Whoops.  Too late.


Dr. Catherine Goes to School

Catherine took the invitation from the Grade V teachers at Roslyn to come to school to talk about her profession, as have other parents in the class. Catherine has two grade fivers,  so I got to listen to the ½ hour presentation twice, once in each room. Catherine went to the hospital to pick up her reflex hammers, a second stethoscope, and some pamphlets that she thought the kids would like. One was meant for the parents she told the kids, and that one says that chocolate milk is good for children – better than juice. The other pamphlet encourages kids to wear their helmets when doing winter sports. She also had some tongue depressors and some masks the Drs wear, as handouts for the kids.
Catherine told the classes that she thinks that Dr.s are scientists really, who do experiments all of the time. Then she proceeded to prove her point.

Experiment I
In her pocket was a package of balloons. She told them that if they would take a big gulp of air and then blow all of the air into the balloon of their choice, they would be able to see exactly how much air their lungs can hold.

Experiment II
They got to take their blood pressure with the monitor she brought in, or alternately listen to their own heart beat with her stethoscope.

Experiment III
Catherine thinks that the body’s nervous system is faster than any computer. To prove her hypothesis, she had a child sit on the desk, her legs hanging over it in a relaxed fashion, and then that student was to look away. Catherine hit the student’s knee with her reflex hammer and the student’s leg kicked out.

Catherine’s analysis was that the nervous system said to the brain, Hey, I just felt a hammer on my knee and I don’t like it; the brain said, OK, you can give a swift kick to the person who did it. She claims that happens faster than any computer can work.

Then each class broke into four groups to try experiments – taking pulses, looking at tonsils, blowing air in balloons, the two stethoscopes being passed and the reflex hammers in full use.

Catherine had a candle paddle in her box of physician's tools. When the teacher asked what that was for, Catherine said, “This is not a Dr's tool. This is what we used in our family to beat candy with. I have brought some caramels for all of you.”

Obviously Catherine is not a dentist.


Senya and Greg watching the News

A trip to Austin is not complete without a trip to Rudy's Gas Station to buy ribs, brisket, pickles, cold slaw, potatoes etc. This is Greg's favorite place to eat.
One of my favorite things is to read stories. However, I change all the words in the story. Senya was just listening not saying a thing. Soon Trent started listening and asked Jamie if I was reading the right words. I soon began to think I was reading for Trent instead of Senya and Ivan.

How much fun can pull back cars be? They can be a lot of fun, especially of you count ready, set, go!.

The first day we were here Senya sat down with Greg while he was following the news on the computer.

Here is Senya’s part of the converstion.

Grandad, Why do you like the news?

What is an earthquake?

What’s tsunami?

Why are the people sad?

What are they looking for?

What happened to the people?

Who is going to help?

Why did they do that?
Senya sat with Greg for over an hour at the computer firing questions at him. He patiently answered every question.

Jamie and I listening from afar and wondering when either of them would quit. I don't remember how they finished.
A good time was had by all!


Rudy's Gas Station

On the way out to dinner, I asked Senya if she spoke Canadian or American. She thought for a minute and told me she speaks English! (and then she let out a wicked laugh)

Jamie, Greg and myself were certainly happy to stop working and go out for dinner. We met Trent at the restaurant. I have been longing to go to the Cheesecake Factory since we were in Austin last year.

We needed to get to the restaurant early to get a seat. Greg and I finished off half the nachos and three drinks each, while Jamie was outside with the kids occupying them while Trent was coming from work to the restaurant.

The waiter put Trent's dinner called 'Bang, Bang Shrimp and Chicken' on the table and Ivan just put his little hands on the plate and said, "Mine!"

When Ivan's Pogo Sticks and Fries came, he was willing to change plates.

Greg ordered the biggest Burrito any of us had ever seen.

I stayed with the local food and ordered enchiladas while Jamie ordered Chicken Bellagio with pesto sauce pasta topped with arugula. Only Trent finished his plate.

After Ivan and Senya had finished their dinner and were showing by their active behavior that they were ready to leave, Trent went over and sat between them.

I got some tricks out of my bag. I gave Ivan and Senya a rock or two and told them to eat them.

Trent looked at Ivan’s rock and told Ivan that we don’t eat rocks and he should throw it away. So Ivan threw the rock under the table.
My mouth dropped open, Greg shook his head, and Jamie with a rather loud and annoyed voice said, “Trent! It was Wyona who said that!”

I sucked Trent right in. He was surprised that it was not a rock. Ivan would have nothing to do with my rocks, so I ate one for him. As soon as Ivan saw that, he took a bite of a rock and had his hand out for more rocks. Of course he got off his seat and tried to go under the table to retrieve the one rock he threw away. The rocks are actually filled with a very nice quality of chocolate.

Maybe I could bring some rocks back to Calgary to give to any other friends. I surely will not be adding them to the beach rocks.

Shopping with Senya and Ivan

Senya can pose.
Ivan seemed to find his way to the camera whenever it was out.
The activities on our yardwork days varied throughout the day. Two days ago, Greg and I, Jamie and the kids went to the store equivalent to Winners. I guess we stayed a little longer than the children would have liked, because today when I asked Senya to come shopping with me she told me she had enough yesterday so she wasn’t coming. Greg and I had a great time buying balls and bats and bubbles and frisbies etc.

Senya tried to get on one of Ivan's pictures. She did get one eye in.