Friday, October 30, 2015

Yoshi (David)

Can you remember any costumes you wore for Halloween as a youth?

This is David's 9th Halloween. He received a spider costume from Dana and Pat and wore it at 11 months of age. He has also been a mouse, a caterpillar, a Jedi, and a Plants versus Zombies Pea Shooter ...

This year David decided he wanted to be Yoshi. I had to do some research. A green dinosaur from the Mario Brothers video game.

Equipment used:

- cardboard from the recycle bin
- one black sharpie
- one blue sharpie
- $2.00 orange and green vest from thrift store
- 2 repurposed shirts from Great Uncle Dave
- $1.25 football jersey from a different thrift store
- left over boning from Desiree's graduation dress
- orange thread donated by Great Aunt Moiya
- white batting
- red and black felt
- green garden gloves on loan from Great Uncle Dave
- green baseball cap (in exchange for $1.00 RCMP hat bought at a thrift store)
- glue sticks and glue gun and expertise with Glue Gun (Moiya Wood)
- fitting and sewing done by Moiya Wood

Three hours, three adults, and one determined 10 year old and Voila! David was in full costume and was jumping around, trying out poses,  and laughing.

Yoshi is minimally verbal.  He says "Yoshi" or "Nintendo" and in a high pitched voice. David practices this.
If you had an audio of our work together you would have heard lots of laughs, lots of cooperative problem solving, a few shrieks of surprise (when running past automated witch decoration in basement), and a few yelps from the sting of hot glue on finger tips.

David got one practice run at Trick or Treating as we were leaving at 9pm. He was given some chocolate eggs for singing a song upon request.  His choice was "Oh Canada".

For free he got to hear Moyia sing a song about a ghost and can you guess what word it ended with just as it has lulled you into deep relaxation?

Bonnie Wyora Johnson

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Attack on Titan

There was a showing, a one-time showing of Attack on Titan at our local theatre.  This is a specialty Japanese (English sub-titled) horror film.  We saw parts I and II, one at 7 pm and the next at 9:15 pm.  I am used to doing 4 hours of film, since we do that often with opera or NT Live.  I was the only one there of my cohort and probably 2 or 3 generations younger.  Japanese horror films, ... not a big hit with the older generations.

The night before we had watched a new film, science fiction, Ex Machina (2015).  Again, this would not be a first pick for me, but what can you do when this is what the rest of the family wants to watch.

There was so much suspense, I had to get my computer, read some reviews and find some spoilers so I wouldn't have to sustain all of that fear.

Rebecca is staying up late tonight -- trying to get tickets for the new Harry Potter play that is being produced in London in the summer. This is more in line with the amount of suspense I can sustain.

Now I just have to figure out a way to join the group who want to see this in June 2016.  Going to London for a week of theatre or musical theatre does sound inviting.

On the other hand, there is some pretty amazing film work to be seen, either at home, or down at the local theatre.  I have asked to choose the next film here.  I am looking for comedy.


Monday, October 26, 2015

10 Pound Bag of Carrots

What do you do when a 10 pound bag of carrots is on sale for $2?

Channel Arta of course.

It took all my strength to fight the urge to buy 2 bags.  One bag is enough for a family who will only eat the pre-peeled mini carrots.

I made a huge pot of carrot soup and have been enjoying it every day for lunch at work.  5 days so far, and I have enough to last me two more days.

I keep wondering if my skin is going to get lovely orange beta-carotene glow.  I guess then I could dress as a carrot for Halloween and not have to wear any make-up.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Beau Stratagem - our afternoon

 'Female quarry':
Pippa Bennett-Warner (Dorinda) and Susannah Fielding (Mrs Sullen)
 in The Beaux' Stratagem

Photo: The Guardian.

Beau Stratagem -- that was our pick for this afternoon's entertainment, a 1707 restoration comedy, brought to us from London.

We had no idea how funny it was going to be.

On the way home Rebecca said the play was next to One Man, Two Governors, which is pretty funny given that the two works are 300 years apart.

 There was everything to keep us laughing-- the body humour, the music, the text, the interactions of the actors, the costuming, the dead-pan lines, and the old problems or marriage, divorce, consent -- how could it have been all captured so many years ago.

The Kate Kellaway review in the The Guardian was a good start, as were other reviews out there.  But the review gave us no idea of how "really" good this was going to be.

If Beau Stratagem comes this way again, Rebecca and I will be there, and dragging along anyone else who expresses the least interest in an afternoon that will be full of laughs.

London -- "Fa in the building"

I have been awake since 6:30 a.m. so opened my computer to do a little chatting. 

We're not that awake says Greg as he rolls out of bed. 

Our hotel is farther out than we usually stay. We are off the book map, two metro stops past Notting Hill. However it is a nice hotel, good bed, small room, nice bathroom, though we can't afford the twenty dollar breakfast. Security is tight.  You need your room card to make the elevator go. Twice we have heard the alarm and an announcement "Fa is in the building". Now Greg told me they are saying 'Fire is in the building'. Anyway... who cares ... maybe it is a fire drill. I thought 'Fa' was an intruder.

Our room is inside with a window over the entry. So it is good and dark in here and quiet and that is why Greg sleeps longer. 

Off to Portobello today and then to get tickets at Coliseum for Barber of Seville tonight. The senior prices have been changed. They are half price no, half of one hundred instead of 20 pounds. 

Last night we went to La Boheme. It was so excellent! The conductor was so fabulous, all of 4'7'', Chinese but could she make the orchestra work. Xian Zhang "..conducts a full-on, passionate account of the score, though hampered by..."

The story is moved from 1880's to 1990's in a big city to a druggy, contemporary setting. There is terrific acting and singing.

I had to hand my Kleenex over to Greg at point because he needed it. I used all my Kleenex. I went to the washroom after and my lips were red and puffy, my eyes were puffy. It is showing two more times while we are here. I have to go back. I have seen La Boheme before but this was fabulous, once you got over the druggie setting.

Hope to see Barbar of Seville tonight.



A Note from Moiya

Hi from Moiya

It is a good morning and we got to May’s house late last night after stopping at Charise, Zoe & Tonia’s house where we are always greeted so kindly.

We left our carry-on suitcase there earlier in the day when we arrived there from Lethbridge.  There we used the freezer space of their 2 fridges to keep some of the things we are taking back home on Monday.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  

It was there that we changed to go to Cheryl Cody’s funeral.  All of her family spoke.  Ken, not a member of the church, gave the BEST talk at a funeral that I have ever heard. 

He spoke of the Strength, not the devastation caused to a family going throughout the care of a loved one who has ALS.     May, Judy Takahashi, and Iris Walker Talbot sang the most beautiful number ever.  

So we say good-bye to a beautiful friend and now get to go to the blessing of a new sweet baby boy, EZRA, on Sunday. One leaving this world and another entering this world to experience so many lovely things here.

Darla & Don were at the funeral and Darla was walking with a big white Crutch.  Does anyone know why?

It will be nice to see three of our children, spouses, and the grandchildren today and tomorrow at Matt and Stacey’s house.

Then we are on our way back to the Shuswap.



My Reading List

Rebecca has plenty of books around -- on the coffee table, the side tables, on the table where we eat and work, and shelves of books stacked 2 and 3 deep in her office.  For me it is pick up a book and I have a sudden interest.  So more than one book has been opened and started and some even finished.

The Inconenient Indian: a curious accunt of Native people of North America by Thomas King was also on my reading list when I took the film course about the Western.  The book didn't come in, so was deleted from the course, but I was left with a lingering desire to read it.

Rebecca also put The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi into my hands, telling me that she also has the movie.  So I traded off the book above and Persepolis, reading one and then the other until both gave been finished and a couple of other books picked up along the way.

"I am going to read some boring academic book.  I want to see if I can follow a few paragraphs," I told Rebecca. And then I was trapped by one and had read pages before I put it down.  Indigeneity and Legal Pluralism in India: Claims, Histories, Meanings by Pooja Parma.  I turned back the front cover of Surviving in Different Worlds: Transfeerring Inuit Traditions from Elders to Youth edited by Jarich Oosten and Frederic Laugrand.

I haven't read for months so picking up a book and opening the covers feels good.  And when I am trapped between the pages, that feels even better.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Wyona Update from Brussels

From Wyona

Just a little update. We left Calgary for Brussels on Oct. 15th flying with aeroplan miles. The airplane was maybe 25% full from Calgary to London. We have not been on a flight this empty since we started flying in 1973. Greg kept our 2 seats by the window and I slid over to the three seats opposite. Greg has repeated half a dozen times how nice the flight was. We had a five hour wait in London before boarding for Brussels.

As the captain was telling the weather in Brussels, cloudy and rainy, I remembered leaving my raincoat hanging in the closet in Calgary. ( I even put 2 zippered pockets on the inside for this trip) Oh well, too late.

We exited Gare Central and tried to get a taxi. No taxi would take us. So we walked in the rain to the hotel arriving dripping wet. The good thing was we walked downhill, past the Grand Place to our hotel. No taxi would take us because the streets from Gare Central to our hotel are just walking streets. So different here now in terms of traffic than it was when the 'Big Four' (Marcia, Tonia, Trent and Teague) would head down to the Grand Place on the weekend. 

We managed to sleep until 6 a.m. in the morning. Just spent the day walking and eating frites. I forgot big cobblestones and slippery when wet makes an old back hurt a little.

Today we slept until 5 a.m…the time is going the wrong way. Had a long nap in the afternoon and walked again at night. The Grand Place is the most beautiful of all squares in Europe, during the day and night. I remember doing the history walk of all the buildings in the Grande Place with Alicia and Charise. I remembered taking Billy downtown Brussels, parking the big van on Rue Neuve and then Billy wanting to get a cup of coffee. Charise and Lurene were with us. Lurene kept bugging me to go to Paris and she asked me if we were in Paris. I told her ‘yes’, just to keep her quiet forever. It worked.

I can hear Kalina and Theresa bugging Lurene. Remember, ‘just say yes’. It keeps the peace.

Tomorrow Greg and I are going our own way. Tuesday Greg wants to hit Stockel and the market. Wednesday we are taking the train roundtrip to Ostende (6 euros each because we are seniors)and then riding the Kusttram (tram) all along the Belgium coast (5 euros on and off all day, 60 stops). I took the Kusttram from the cruise ship while Greg went to Brugge. It is a fabulous ride, 2.5 hours from one end to the other.

Thursday we head back to London.

We have on our table, Leonidas, Meringue and chocolate from Elisabeth Artisanal Belgian Sweets, Petites Mousses aux deux chocolates, Lu milkchocolade bisquits, chocolate cream puffs and Cote d’or chocoat hazelnut chocolates. Have not seen any chocolate mice, nor do I want any. 

Our hotel is Hotel Floris Harlequin Grand-Place.

In London we are at the

Dorsett Shepherds Bush

Then we are on Celebrity Eclipse until Nov. 16th when we fly from Miami to Calgary.

See you then.

Election Watching

We had a party that was short and sweet last night over the election.

First we saw Atlantic Canada go Liberal, but who knew that the rest of Canada would follow.  That is  follow right up to this little island where people think a different way about land, air and water.

A little NDP island and then when the 3-D image was done of how people will sit in the parliament, Rebecca had to laugh at the little Green Box right up by the speaker, the one that represents Elizabeth May.

I have to say one thing about being represented by her -- just about everyone in Canada knows her name.  Now there is a politician for you.  She swept her riding with good reason.

We didn't order in drinks or pizza or snacks.  The whole thing went by too fast.

Really?  Did anyone see this coming.

And now can the bad parts of the past be undone?  Or at least can we move forward.

Here's hoping.

On this note of being a Canadian, do you know whose face is on othe $5 bill.  If you don't, never give a bill of yours to Doral, for he often says he won't give it back unless you can name whose face is on the bill.

I was reminded of this last night in Justin Trudeau's speech.  Do you remember the words "Sunny" that Trudeau had picked up from a speech given by Sir Wilfred Laurier?

Well, there I have given it away -- at least whose face is on the bill.  And here is to sunny days ahead.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Hamlet from the National Theatre Live

Paper copies of Hamlet’s first and second soliloquies hang on the glass doors between the dining room and the family room at this house.

Everytime someone passes from one room to the other, Rebecca calls out some Shakespearian turn of words to them from these papers, so it was no wonder that so many of the ideas and phrases were familiar to Duncan, and he caught them, as Benedict Cumberbatch delivered them to us at the cinema last night. 

The show sold out, as there were classloads of kids from college and the private schools.  And THAT is how we got in.  Stacy and Felix got their first, and texted us to say that there were only 10 tickets left for sale.  By the time Rebecca got to the line, it was already sold out.  However, she could see the people ahead of her looking at lists of names, and counting up.  So she asked them if they had any no-shows on their tickets, and if so, could she buy some.  She bought two tickets from each of them, which got us in.  Because Stacy had saved seats, we also had a nice location to watch from.  Success!

There is a certain energy that comes when you have a sold-out theatre of people who know the play and are wanting to see it.  For once, the audience was only lightly peppered with old souls rather than being constituted by them.

So…. Cumberbatch!   I want a jacket like his that says “King” across the back.  The test question for the post is, “what was on his t-shirt”?   It  looked like an ape playing a guitar with a microphone up to the mouth.  Anyone?  It looked amazing with the “King” jacket.  The toy soldier theme carried the madness imagery along throughout. 

Duncan loved the toy castle surrounded by life size toy soldiers, from which one of Hamlet’s friends grabbed a gun.  The whole audience laughed when Cumberbatch mimed walking down stairs from inside the castle. 

The music choices were wonderful.  The broadcast began with a focus on the audience at the Barbican, and the music to Nat King Cole’s classic, “Nature Boy”, 

To start with, I thought, Hey, they have the wrong soundtrack.  Something is wrong here.  And then the camera panned off of the audience to the stage where Cumberbatch was sitting on the floor, listening to an old vinyl recording of the song, and looking through old photo albums, and picking up an old coat and holding it to his face to smell it. 

Who hasn’t wanted the smell of their father once more?

The actor who played King Claudius was also amazingly strong.  A very powerful actor.  We had to look up his filmography when we got home – and the boys were familiar with his work from fantasy movies.

Another great musical moment was in the Gravedigger scene, where the gravedigger was flinging bones out of an old grave to make way for a fresh body, while singing Billie Holiday’s song “All of Me”.   When he used an arm bone like a microphone to sing the words “Take my arms, I’ll never use them”, the audience cracked up.

If you want to see it again (or arrived like Mary and Leo to find it sold out), it is playing again on Nov 7, 8, 9, and 11.

Two nights ago, we watched Baz Lurman’s Great Gatsby, set in the 20s.   Last night, we watched a play written in 1601, which has musical choices that came out of the swing era. 

That is what is so hard about living in 2015.  You have to be aware of 400 years of theatrical choices. 

I am hoping to get to the opera on Saturday! It is exhausting!  Still, healing is easier when everybody brings their collective energy and I can gather it in from my own theatre seat.

See you at the Imax.


A Provincial Leap -- Alberta to British Columbia

View of reservoir and mountains from Glenmore Carewest
I have a new hip.

I have gone from a major operation in the South Campus Hospital to the Sarcee Rehabilitation Unit and then over to the Glenmore Rehabilitation Unit.

could the alberta skies have been bluer?!
With her usual energy and while visiting me there, Rebecca offered to do a Thelma and Louise trip with me -- one that would end up in Victoria, rather than the more final ending that the movie takes.

We did the trip in two days.  

fall colour on the mountains
On the first day, I had the pleasure of an eight hour drive from Calgary to Sicamous.  

Canmore was as glorious as ever.  The sky was an incredible blue.
the view from mcDonalds?!

Field was also beautiful.  The water was so low in the kicking horse river that you could pretty much walk across.

We arrived in Sicamous to a surprise dinner party.
the party crew

roadtrip selfie

In the morning, we drove down to the beach for a look at the october horizon, and then headed back out on the road. 

I had the joy, again, of the drive through the Rockies, and then the drive to the coast.  A more misty day, but equally beautiful.  Each curve of the road offered a vista worthy of a photo.  

J's cafe no longer in Hope, BC?!

Rebecca had promised me a trip to the most wonderful diner in Hope BC.  After circling around and around and not finding it, a local truck stop confirmed what she had begun to suspect:  it had closed down!

We continued on our way to the ferry terminal, and then the ferry.

I didn't know that the ferry has a full dinner buffet -- a table for two near the window and so much food that we didn't even get close to the dessert table.
view from the ferry

The view out of the ferry windows trumped food for me.

For the last few days the weather has been spectacular -- for an Albertan.  I am getting some sun on my shoulders and having safe walks up and down San Lorenzo Avenue.  I take a walker with me in case I need to sit down, but that isn't working out.  When I pause to rest, someone driving by always stops to ask if I am alright or if I need help.

the view from Willows Beach
Does the aging population in Victoria never stop and rest -- but like the Energizer Bunny, just keep going?

I will take shorter walks more often,  though that being said, it is hardly possible when the walking weather is perfect.

It is a thrill to have both feeet under me again and the power to take these leisurely walks in the sun.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bathtub Box

We are working on a bathroom renovation.  Our new bathtub came with an extremely awesome box.  Rhiannon spent several hours decorating the inside with felts, and filling it with blankets and stuffed animals.  It has 4 windows and a door.  We ended up tying to of the windows up so she could get some light and ventilation in there.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Where did all those eggs come from?

Rhiannon and Naomi are the proud owners of veiled chameleons.  Naomi's is a male and named Dill Pickle.  Rhiannon's is a female and named Clover.

Mature chameleons don't like to live together, so the two of them don't spend time together. 

Recently we noticed that Clover was gravid (that means carrying eggs).  We made sure her tank had lots of dirt in it so she could dig a hole to lay them.  After much anticipation, the day came.  We dug them up to incubate them (even though we are pretty sure they are not fertilized given that the two chamelons don't live together).  Imagine our surprise when we found 14 eggs.

It is hard to believe that all those eggs fit inside her.