Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Perfect Holiday

Moiya and David Wood
Moiya and David Wood sent me email greetings from Japan.

David seems to be saying, "Look what you missed by not joining us."

This is one case where I would have if I could have.

If  you want a longer visit with Moiya, go out to the family recipe blog.

She recently posted pictures of how to make the perfect plum pie.



The Perfect Sisters Photo

'Would you show me how to do that one moe time?", said Betty Blanche to Alice Margaret
Miranda sent me this picture of the girls next door.

I am going to love watching them grow up.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Church and Freud

The Church

On our last day in Vienna we went to church, then toured the Freud museum.

Thus the title church and Freud.

The church building in Vienna is one of a kind.

An original design with beautiful windows inside the chapel.

The windows open, a rare thing in our chapels, which was very useful today with the high of 37 degrees. Even with all the windows open they still had to bring in fans. When will this heat wave end? Another interesting thing about this building is that it is one of the few I have ever visited that had no typical gymnasium, and no basketball hoops. Almost Sacreligious 😀.

We enjoyed attending this ward. We watched them change the bishop in that ward. It was a really moving meeting and brought back a lot of tender feelings of the times when eric was both called and released as stake president.

After lunch and after the heat of the day had peaked, we went outside again to visit the Freud museum.

Difficult not to make a pilgrimage to this site while in Vienna.

I personally found it fascinating. Saw the birth place of psychoanalysis and talked to the kids about Freuds contributions to psychiatry and psychology.

Catie was fascinated to learn about Freuds cocaine addiction while I liked hearing about family life.

I hadn't realized that he had six children.

One died as a young adult from influenza.

She left behind 2 young children one of whom later died of tuberculosis.

It was sad to read Freuds comments about those experiences. Grief really is a universal experience.

... the doorway into Freud's office ...
Eric and I read carefully about Freuds escape from Vienna after the Anschluss in 1938.

With the help of princess Bonaparte of France he was allowed to leave with his wife, daughter anna, housekeeper and his personal physician.

All he had to do was a pay ⅓ of all he owned as an exit tax for "fleeing" Vienna.

All his sister, who were unable to leave died in aushwitz.

... Catie arriving for a consultation with Freud ...
Although Eric and I found the tour fascinating, it wasn't necessarily a tour for teenagers.

You can decide for yourselves how the children made out.

Last few photos are of the doorway into Freuds office.

Catie ringing the doorbell and eric arriving for a consultation.

Day 70, Quarter Quell in honor of Arta's 75 Birthday ... Cat

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Adventures of Hebe

A Photo Essay about Hebe

The music board inside the maze gardens at Schönbrunn.
This really made Hebe dance.
We thought it was cute. 
Hebe's dip in the pond at Schönbrunn
Hebe's dip in the pond at Schönbrunn
Eating Calippo.
We discovered this treat in Portugal when
we vacationed there during a heat wave.
We are always excited to find these on a hot day. 
A fun piece of playground equipment.
If you can climb up inside the bird,
people below can pull the ropes and make the bird fly.
Honouring Arta's 75th: Third Quarter Quell, Day 69


Our family took a trip to Schönbrunn Palace.

It is the summer residence of the Emperors of Austria. (Basically the equivalent of Versailles for the Austrian Royalty).

While it is now pretty much just a short metro ride from the centre of the Vienna, it has extensive gardens which make you feel like you are out in the countryside.

One of the gardens is a set of 4 mazes. Here are some photos from that garden.

1. The first photo is of our children trying to find their way through Maze #1.

The six foot hedges make it near impossible to cheat.

We eventually found our way to the centre where the reward is you can climb a tree house and view the maze from above. A good time was had by all.

2. The second maze is one for feats of strength and intelligence.

Although the maze itself doesn't provide a challenge, there are 2 stops within the maze where your physical strength and your mental strength are tested.

See the attached photos for these challenges.

Challenge number one (the intellectual challenge) is a math board.

You start on the number one which is in the middle of the first row of numbers. You can move one square forward, backward, left of right. Where you land tells you the number of steps of your next move. Your job is to find your way to the centre of the board. It took us a while, but the maze was defeated! Second challenge was a feat of strength. Sadly, only Thomas succeeded. Everyone, but me, gave it a royal try. The challenge was to climb the pole and ring the bell. Oh the good old days of grade 6 when I could do a chin up for 45 seconds. That was the height of my power in terms of upper body strength. I could never climb the gym rope at school, which would have been a cake walk compared to this hot and slippery pole. Glad Thomas didn't take after me.

 3. The last 2 photos are of the final maze.

It was a pleasant one way walk through a maze make from a small 3-4 foot hedge.

No tricks here, but a pleasant 10 minute stroll to get through the entire maze.

Within the maze were several games to play.

One game was a piano box. Nine squares that you could dance on to make music. Hebe, Thomas and Catie all gave it a go. Another game was a house of mirrors. Can you figure out how I took this selfie of myself within the maze? 

Interestingly, there was one final game in this maze which was a set of 5 stepping stones over a pond. You had to walk across the stones to the other side without getting wet. There were 2 water sprinklers set up near the stepping stones, that could be activated depending on where and when you stepped on each stone. If you activated it, you would get sprayed with water.

The kids were enjoying this game while I was playing in the house of mirrors. Suddenly I heard a huge splash followed by several gasps. I immediately knew that wasn't a normal sound, and it likely had something to do with one of my children. By the time I got there, Eric was fishing Hebe out of the pond. This was one time, when I was grateful for the hot weather, as we had no change of clothes for Hebe. She would have to drip dry. Hebe's response was perfect. "That was refreshing".

Like mother, like daughter.

At least Hebe choose a better location and time for taking an unexpected dip in a public fountain.

 (My unexpected dip for those not familiar with that story was in the Market Mall Fountain in the dead of winter while I was being babysat by Fiona Hasegawa. A story for another day.)

I think you are all aMAZE-ing.

Wishing we could have spent this day with all of you.


  Honouring Arta's 75th: Third Quarter Quell, Day 68

Family Photos

Here are 5 family photos I took yesterday while we were at Schönbrun Palace. we really feel ...
1. Here we are in the privy garden.

 Once again the heat was oppressive, so we sought relief under the ivy awning that ran around the edge of the garden.

The kids are letting it all hang out.

 Probably a more real reflection of how we were feeling after touring Schönbrun palace, which is by the way Vienna's answer to Versailles.

 In fact the Empress Maria Theresa of Schönbrun was the mothe
... we took a similar picture last year ...r of Marie Antoinette, last queen of France.

2. Walking in the gardens.

We took a similar photo walking in the gardens at Versailles just over 2 years ago.

 Decided at Catie's suggestion to repeat at Schönbrun.

3. Inside the maze garden.

That was a lot of fun. The 6 foot high hedges make it near impossible to cheat this maze.

It took us a long time to find our way to the centre.

Once you reach the centre, you could climb a landing, which resembles a tree house from which you can see the entire maze.

A fun time was had by all.

4. Family photo in a "house of mirrors" maze in the children's garden.

 It was fun to see how a shorter Jarvis Family might have looked.

5. And Finally, Into the Woods.

Thomas wanted to walk the garden path out of Schönbrun through the Woods.

I had a very interesting conversation with Hebe while walking in the woods.
Hebe: Mommy, do you know what's the most important things for camping?
Me: What do you think?
Hebe: The most important things are fire, marshmallows, and cookies.
Me: What are the cookies for?

Hebe: Breakfast.
Hebe: You also need a tent, and maybe a flashlight.
Me: Oh that's interesting. So tell me again what are the most important things for camping.
Hebe: Fire, marshmallow, cookies, a tent and a flashlight.

So you heard it here. The camping list.

Hebe was ready to have a camping trip in Schönbrun forest. Unfortunately, the rest of us were exhausted and we didn't have fire, marshmallows, cookies, a tent or a flashlight. Perhaps next time.



Honouring Arta's 75th: Third Quarter Quell, Day 67

70 Wedding Anniversary and 100th Birthday Party

Happy 70th Wedding Anniversary Celebration

Yesterday was the day of 2 celebrations: a 70 Wedding Anniversary and a 100th Birthday Party, both held at the same time.

The Melchins were having their wedding anniversary.

Lola Johnson was having her 70th Birthday Party. Both events were held at the same time.

If you go to you can read all about the Melchin celebration.

 Gerald Melchin was part of a project where the life history of Albertans was collected and archives. 

If you go to the website, not only will you read the short story of both of their lives, but you will have access to his larger story collected during that project.

As well there is a treasure trove of beautiful pictures of their lives together.

 Congratuations to the Melchin's.

Arta Johnson

Walking Tour and Heat

So the heat seems to be following us. Today we reached a balmy 33 and Saturday and Sunday they are predicting 38 degrees. Crazy weather in europe. With the heat like this it is hard to go out during the day. Today we started our activity at 6 pm when it had cooled down to 31 degrees. Plan: walking tour in the heart of Vienna. Here is what the camera saw during our tour.

1. St. Stephens cathedral. The roof was glorious today against the blue sky

2. A fun statue that reminded us of the play War Horse.

3. Fabulous guitar duet in front of the Hapsburg palace. Hofburg palace. Hebe gave them some money in their guitar case she was so excited.

4. Burggarten. Enjoying the private gardens of Hofburg

5. Advertising in the metro. Realized that even Austria is trying to help people accept immigration and its accompanying diversity


St. Stephens

Honouring Arta's 75th: Third Quarter Quell, Day 66

Treasure through the eyes of a child

We went to visit the treasury of the Hapsburg empire today. Basically the Crown Jewels of the now defunct monarchy. Absolutely amazing.

Here are a few photos of what interested hebe. She wanted to take pictures of everything. When asked why, she got a bit panicked and said to me "if I don't take pictures how am I going to remember it in my mind". I hear Yan hebe. I feel the same way.

1. The sceptre of the austrohungarian empire in 3 parts because she couldn't figure out have to get all of it in one frame. I love the central part which is made of narwhal tusk. She obviously loved that too.

2. Royal vestments

3. Royal crown of the Holy Roman Empire Stunning. Have never seen anything Lille it.


Honouring Arta's 75th: Third Quarter Quell, Day 65

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

More on Venice

I love that vacations often do not turn out as planned. As long as you are willing to go with the flow and enjoy the adventure, you will create a good and lasting memory. Such was the case for our trip to Venice.

Original plan was as follows:

1 Leave Bologna at 9 am, arriving in Venice at 10:30

2. Store our luggage at the train station and head off to the islands to explore

3. Take the boat bus to Doge's Palace and Basilica St Marc. See San Marco Piazza

4. Feed the pigeons

5. Explore a little bit before going to the Rialto Bridge to see the main canal and to explore the fish market

6. Consider a gondola ride with the kids

7. Take the boat bus to Murano Island to see them blow glass.

What happened:

1. Our train left Bologna right on time.  We are becoming expert packers so it was an easy morning escape.

2. Got about 20 km from Venice when our train stopped. Announcement that the train was being held at the stop and there could be 20 min - 2 hours delay before we were allowed to proceed.

3. One hour later, train conductor comes to tell us there was a death on the tracks at the next station, so the line is closed. She hope we will be moving in another 40 minutes.

4. Moment of sadness. Hard to feel anything but sorrow for those affected.

5. Train finally moves on to Venice but arrives 2 hours late. No worries. We will just see what we can see.

6. Arrive at the mainland station at 12:30.Disembark and take our luggage to baggage storage.

Glad we packed in 3 suitcases instead of 5 since it costs 6 euros per piece for the first 5 hours then and additional 80 cents per hour per piece. Welcome to Venice!

7. Lunch at the train station as everyone is getting squirrelly. Options--McDonalds, or sandwiches at a small cafe. Turns out the cafe is cheaper and offers healthier food than McDonalds. Thank heavens. McDonald's trio a mere 12 euros a person ($18). Ouch. Sandwiches at the cafe 5 euros/person.

8. Board another train to cross the causeway from the mainland to the island.

Arrive at Venice proper around 2 p.m and promptly purchase bus boat passes for the day. (20 euros each for a 24 hour pass or 7.50 euros/person each time you board) Gulp. And that is the budget transportation. Boat taxis and gondolas cost more.

Other option - you walk. Not a good option when you only have a few hours to explore.

10. Take bus boat to St Marcos Square. Board the right boat but going the wrong direction. End up circling the outside of the island complex instead of heading done the main canal. See a lot of cruise ships. Takes 40 minutes instead of the 20 it takes to go through the canal.

More lost time, but at this point, not much to do.

11. Arrive at San Marco Piazza.

Disembark in a mass of people.

Wall to wall tourists in the blaring heat.

Not working for us.

Slip down a side street for some shade and wind our way to St Marks Cathedral through the side streets.

12. Line up to enter the cathedral.

After waiting for 30 minutes, get to the cathedral door to be turned away because we are all carrying knapsacks.

No knapsacks in the cathedral. Don't cross a tired, hot mom! I collect all the knapsacks and send Eric in with the children.

There is no way we are all standing in line again.

Walk with 5 knapsacks to the baggage storage centre to learn a small mercy.

It's FREE!


Decide that I will store the bags and try to catch up to the rest of the gang.

13. Second small mercy. With the baggage coupon, I can skip the line and head right into the basilica. I do just that. Rush through the cathedral to find the family and can't see them anywhere. Get worried.

14. Figure they must have gone to the treasury so head up the stairs to see. I am blocked from entering because you have to pay 5 euros. I don't have any money because unfortunately, Eric is carrying all the cash. Try to ask the guard if there are any small children inside. He firmly shakes his head NO. I wonder where they are. I leave and circle the basilica again trying to find the family.

15. Run through the entire cathedral, not stopping to really enjoy it. Text Eric. Call Eric. No response. Start to get worried.

16. Decide to wait outside in case they raced through and are now outside waiting for me.

17. Give up. Wait outside the exit for them.

18. Family finally arrives. They were in the TREASURY. Who would have guessed. I think the guard there obviously didn't understand my english. Sigh.

19 Collect our bags and head for the Piazza 20 Feed pigeons. See previous email. Lots of fun for everyone except Rebecca who loves birds as much as Grandpa Jarvis.

21. Rebecca wants to climb the tower. Get in line again. After about 15 minutes check on the price. 8 euros/person for a elevator ride up a "reconstructed" ancient tower. The ancient tower fell over in 1980 so this is a replica with an elevator. You can't climb the steps. Decide 48 euros isn't in the budget for an elevator ride.

22. Look at gondolas. Thomas really wants to do it. Cost 80 euros ($120) for 40 minutes. Hmmm. Walking around is looking pretty good at this time and is in our budget.

. Take the boat bus in the right direction this time to the Rialto Bridge. Throngs of people now so we are stuck in the centre of the boat. Not the best views of the canal, but pleasant nonetheless. Realize it is better to stand at the prow, at least you can see a bit better.

24. Get off at the Rialto Bridge. It's under reconstruction. You can cross it but you can't actually look off of it and view both sides of the canal. Follow the throngs of people who want to cross the bridge. Do so and get the north view of the canal. Hard to take a photo, but you me know, I'll do just about anything to get a photo. See attached photos of Hebe and Thomas and Rebecca.

. Head into the side streets to find the fish market. The fish market is closed of course. It's only open until 1 p.m. Find some other interesting things to see like long liquorice whips (eric buys a few), calzone which we eat for a snack, and a store selling fish pedicures. See attached photos. Only problem with the 4 cheese calzone that the kids ordered was that the 4th cheese was blue cheese. Not a big hit. I was tempted to try the fish pedicure. You simply put your feet in a tank full of tiny scavenger fish, who promptly go to work "eating" dead skin off your feet.

26. It is now nearly 6:30 p.m and we realize that we need to start heading back to the train station.

We take the boat bus back to the island terminal and decide to do one final walking tour to the Venetian Jewish Ghetto. 

Really interesting history. 

All were deported during the war. Only 8 known Venetian Jews survived the Holocaust. Beautiful walk and away from the main canal. The streets were nearly empty. It was delightful and refreshing.

27. Bought ice cream for the kids in the Ghetto. Cost 2.50 euros each. A steal of a deal since on the main strip the same size of cone cost 4.50 euros. Why didn't we stick to the smaller streets earlier?

28. Head back to the mainland to retrieve our luggage before the baggage claim centre closes at 8 p.m. Dinner at the train station while we wait for our 9 p.m sleeper train to Vienna.

And so goes an unexpected adventure. Not what we planned but pleasant none-the less.

Notes to self next time I go to Venice.

1. Avoid the tourist hubs during high season.

Get off on the small streets earlier, and if you can, walk Venice.

2. Do the walking tours of the smaller neighbourhoods

3. Take the canal boat the right direction

4. Register for the mask painting class. Learned about that online but didn't have time to register.

5. Arrange a gondola lesson for my teenagers. Learned about that online too. Cost 100 euros for 4 persons for 2 hour. Sounds like a deal after learning the gondola rate of 80 euros for a 40 minute ride.

6. Pack a lunch and bring plenty of water. Few public fountains, like in Rome.

7. Buy all food off the main streets. You will save yourself a lot of money.

7. Don't forget to bring some corn to feed the birds and to share with others.


Honouring Arta's 75th: Third Quarter Quell, Day 64

Sleeper Train

Hebe couldn't stop taking about taking this sleeper train for several days before we finally boarded it.

She was so excited.

Funny memories of the sleeper train:

1. No place to really store your luggage, so Eric and I lifted up the 3 suitcases (25 kg each) to Thomas who sat on one of the top bunks. He shoved the 3 suitcases in a small space over the door.
2. Didn't have space to remove the ladder since all of our knapsacks and shoes were under the bottom beds. A bit awkward.
3. Long discussions about who was going to sleep where. Hebe took the bottom bunk. Not Hebe's first choice, but since there were no railings, it wasn't an option. Loved that they had a net that you could attach between the upper bunks, kind of like a sling to catch anyone falling out in the night. I'm not sure it would have actually held, but perhaps could have at least broken a fall slightly.
4. First person asleep? Eric after taking a good dose of Gravol. His last sleeper train experience was not that pleasant.
5. Who had the worst nights sleep? Me. I put Hebe on the bottom bunk and took the middle berth. Unfortunately, the head rests for the regular daytime seating were along the wall of my berth. It made my already narrow bed about 6 inches narrower. The headrest was hitting my back all night. I only figured out in the morning that the headrest was mobile and could be repositioned on the wall at a higher level. Sigh! Grateful that at 4 am Eric gave up his lower bunk to me.
6. Breakfast on the train. This is the first time we have ever received breakfast on a sleeper train. They served it like on an airplane and brought trays to our "cubicle" room. Hot chocolate, 2 buns, butter and jam. We were all delighted, only problem was that there were no tables to sit the trays on. Eating off your lap is difficult at the best of times, but try doing that at the age of 7 in a moving vehicle. It isn't that effective. We put Hebe's tray on the small table ledge under the ladder. She promptly spilled her hot chocolate onto Eric and his bag. Lucky for him he has quick reflexes. No damage, just a mess.

I think I was the most glad to disembark this time. I can't imagine taking a sleeper train like this and having to share that small space with complete strangers. An adventure for someone else, not me.

We have been in Vienna now for 2 days. We haven't seen any tourist attractions, although we did walk to church and to the nearby amusement park. Eric and I also walked to his conference venue and got registered. I think we are likely to take a few low key days as we are all recovering from our week in Italy. Ana Carina, you wiped us out. The sign of a perfect vacation!

Love to you all.


Honouring Arta's 75th: Third Quarter Quell, Day 63

Monday, July 13, 2015

Best of Bologna

1. Tower near piazza maggorie.

The older kids climbed.

Hebe and I preferred watching the birds.

We were just too tired for its nearly 800 steps.

2. Hand made pasta.


Best meal in Bologna.

3. Seven churches tour.

Loved the ancient brickwork

... mmm, that pasta ...
Developing pyromaniacs.

Hebe's only wish was to light and relight candles.

Let her purchase one of her own as she was tempted to blow out and relight other's candles.

She is hilarious.

Thomas enjoyed the candle lighting too

5. Ice cream.

 friend insisted it was the best ever.

She was correct.

Didn't hurt that they poured melted chocolate ganache into the cone before adding your ice cream.

  Honouring Arta's 75th: Third Quarter Quell, Day 62

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Dissection, anyone

So many of you know that Eric and I "met over a corpse".

If you do not know that story, suffice it to say that the semester we started dating we were assigned to the same corpse in our anatomy lab.

Nothing more likely to build romance between two young medical students than sharing an anatomy lab together.

Ha ha ha

Go ahead and insert your joke here.

We've heard them all)

In celebration of this we thought it only fitting to take our children to the oldest university in the western world and the place where academics did the first human dissections.

Basically the worlds first anatomy lab.

Here it is--teatro anatomico at the university of Bologna.

Our kids with the fratta family getting our first lesson in anatomy.

I'm also sending a photo of two of the sculptures in the room

1. Two human figures holding up the roof over the place where the professor stood to direct the lesson.

Check out the figures.

You'll see they are human figures minus the skin so you can see all the muscles.

Totally Fitting in an anatomy lab, but I'm not sure would go over well in a regular museum.

2 First plastic surgery.

Can you figure out what the person is holding in his left hand?

Well a nose of course.

Finally a photo of a few girls who are interesting in perhaps being the next subjects.

Just kidding.

Honouring Arta's 75th: Third Quarter Quell, Day 61