Sunday, January 27, 2013

Downton Abbey

Lurene has the DVD of Downton Abbey, Seasons I & 2.  Wyona and Charise watched the episodes over a two day period, taking their meals in front of the TV.  Bonnie and I did the same thing when we brought the disks out to Annis Bay – a whole weekend of non-stop TV watching.  We tried to figure out what the charm of the series is. 

The fantastic acting?  Just a flick of the head and a few rolls of the eye and Maggie Smith can get me laughing so hard. 

The setting?  Each room in the castle is such a joy to look at – the pictures on the walls, or looking at one of the 37 original clocks or the beaded pink lightshade in the library. 

The difference in class?  I like watching the people who live upstairs, so rich that they have someone else to dress them.  l like watching the work of the servants whose job it is to keep gracious living alive.  The historical skeleton the fiction relies on?  Is that what grabs me? We have gone from 1912 to 1920, now – through the sinking of the Titanic, events leading up to World War I and then past it, into the beginning of the suffragette movement and the Irish rebellion. 

Tonight?  The next episode of Season 3.  I will admit to having gone to the internet to find out what happens in this season.  I know all of the spoilers.  I just couldn’t help myself.

A Late Quartet

Janet, Moiya, Bonnie and I saw A Late Quartet last night, thanks to the TIFF’s Film Circuit who cosponsor with the 38th Season of Shuswap Film Society to bring art films to this community.  Volunteers sell the tickets, take the tickets and have complimentary coffee and cake ready for the patrons before hand.  The background music of the film is Beethoven’s String Quartet #14, so many of those melodies there are written on my musical soul for the first time.  There was a little Ogden Nash poem thrown in, a little T.S. Elliot description of time past, present and future; mostly the film was a good chance to see what happens when musicians who have played together for years have to re-evaluate their entire lives when one of them is diagnosed with Parkinson’s.  We were at the 5 pm show.  Half way through the movie, Bonnie leaned over and said, “Let’s stay for the 7:30 pm showing and see this again.”

She forgot that wasn’t possible because she had arranged a hot-tub party for 8 pm in the evening.  Women who can get their babies in bed and asleep can gather in a hot tub and update each other on a whole week of happenings.  These are women who only pass each other in the halls of the workplace and eat their lunches at their computers.  I go along to the hot tub party – their topics move from Downton Abbey, to books they are reading, to the latest antics of their children and sometimes a workplace story or two is thrown in.

When I was leaving the theatre I counted back to see which row I had been sitting in.  Fourth from the back on the left hand side of the theatre, and two in.  Well into the film, I felt something wet splash on my knee.  I looked over to see if Janet was having trouble with her drink, but it was safe in the cup holder.  Then I wondered if she was crying in the film, but then why wouldn’t gravity take the tears straight to the ground in front of her and not send them at a 45 degree angle over onto my knee. Through my mind flashed the possibility someone having a water gun and I was their target but any of my friends who might do that were not with us last night.  Now my mind was 90 % on the movie and 10% trying to figure out why a huge drop of water would fall in the same place on my right knee at regular intervals.  On the way home Janet told me that the Salamar Classic Theatre has a government grant to do some renovations. Fixing the roof to that it doesn’t’ leak could be written into that grant.

Mystery drops of water, a terrific movie and a relaxing hot tub -- a lovely Saturday night.


Rediscovering Poppy Seed Cake

I had a lovely evening at a potluck at the church last night in Salmon Arm.  The reason I took poppy seed cake was that I am still on my journey to cook up everything that is in Bonnie’s pantry, one item being a one pound plastic bottle of poppy seeds.  Having them disappear by using only two teaspoons of them on a spinach/strawberry salad is one of the slowest methods I can think of.  Poppy see cake is faster – which cake method includes soaking ½ a cup of poppy seeds in water for two hours before combining the ingredients.  I am on my second cake today. The one yesterday was finished off at the ward party.  Today’s cake is the treat for the weekly Saturday night party in the hot tub run by Bonnie in Janet’s or Moiya’s hot tub.  Last week’s party didn’t need refreshments. No one could pull themselves out of the hot tub, since laying there is still so delicious: the darkness, the stars, the quiet, then the train going by, then stillness again.


Yellow Card

 A yellow card?  Isn’t that the first warning that you get in volleyball?  The warning before you are removed from the game?  Kelvin and I got the yellow card from Bonnie this morning.  I was eating breakfast and he was asking me questions.  The next thing I knew she had a piece of paper and was writing in big letters making a sign for us.  This is what it said.

Wait to talk until:

1.      you are closer to the listener
2.      you see they are attending to you
3.      you can’t say “what” or “pardon me” until (1) and (2) are attended to.

I was laughing so hard I didn’t know what to do.  Kelvin was smiling because I couldn’t be stopped in my laughter.

Bonnie knew how to up the ante on me and grabbed the paper back, writing, “Advice to you, free – next time $125 per hour”.  The last time I heard her give that kind of advice it was at a
Salmon Arm Work Fair where she had a booth.  That time a passer-by came into her booth to say that he had a rock solid marriage of 50 years, but found that they were fighting now.  She said, I will give you some free advice.  Don’t talk to your wife when her back is turned to you.  Don’t talk to her when the water is running for older people can’t hear with that noise in the background.  These are tips that will vastly improve your marriage.  This is your free advice.  Any more will cost you $125 an hour.

Now Kelvin and I have been given the yellow card, which advice I am going to attend to.  I am not in the position to get a huge bill from her.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Maple Onions and Bacon


I got this note from Mary today about a new soup.  She said she was reporting back as in "I made this.  Used half a package of bacon instead of just 4 slices.  Made it all in one pot and pureed the whole thing instead of serving the onion bacon mix on top.  Super yummy."

I leave you to decide for yourselves on that point.  Reading the recipe made my mouth water.  Mary also said it was 30 below there in Ottawa.  That made me feel a bit guilty since Janet helped me shovel the deck today and the weather was hovering around zero.  Recipe follows below.

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Maple Onions and Bacon

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 2 large onions, one thinly sliced and the other finely minced
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 15-ounce can unsweetened, unseasoned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix!)
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • Juice of 1 large orange
  • 3 cups water, stock or milk of your choice (I prefer almond milk)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1.    Add bacon to a medium frying pan and cook over medium heat until bacon is crispy. Remove bacon from frying pan and set aside. When it is cool enough to handle, crumble into smaller pieces. Drain all but 4 tablespoons of bacon fat from the pan.
2.    Add sliced onions to the pan with the bacon fat and cook till very soft and lightly browned, about 5 or 6 minutes. Add the maple syrup and ginger, reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking, stirring often, until the onions are thick and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir in crumbled bacon and set aside.
3.    Meanwhile, in a large soup pot over medium high heat, combine couple of tbsp of oil and the remaining finely minced onion, the curry powder, red pepper flakes and the apple. Sauté until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes
4.    Mix in the pumpkin and orange juice, then transfer everything in the soup pot to a food processor or blender. Add the milk or water and puree until smooth
5.    Return the soup to the pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Season generously with salt and pepper
6.    To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with caramelized onions.