Sunday, July 31, 2016

Happy Fiftieth Anniversary to Wyona and Greg

... 4 trombones play "76 trombones" ...
The party that was supposed to start at 3 pm was moved up to 2 pm.

Why not? The food was ready and the people were already there.

I got a phone call with a 5 minute warning that there was an early start.

When I got there I saw helium balloons attached to the backs of chairs.

Some children were carrying balloons on small sticks. Children were trying to catch bubbles that were floating in the air from the bubble machine.

Inside the house pans of cinnamon buns were lined up on the counter, waiting for their turn to go into the oven. I haven’t tasted cinnamon knots that have walnuts and maraschino cherries on top for twenty years. There were at least three 8 x 12 pans of those on the counter top.

,,,  congo line at the party ..
Piggies in a blanket were just coming out of the oven so the kitchen was full of that smell.

The lawn on the roadside of the house was decorated and people were sitting under the pear tree to keep out of the sun. Signs honouring all of those who were being feted were posted on the porch pillars: Wyona and Greg for their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary, Moiya on turning 65, Glen on turning 60, Arta on reaching 76 and Andrew who was turning 10.

When people had enough food, the programme started. The trombonists played 76 Trombones for me. I was thrilled. We had a congo dance for my part with many joining in, 76 to 3 year olds.

Moiya’s grandchildren were marched in from around the side of the house with new lyrics to “I Don’t Know but I’ve Been Told”. The call and response as they walked in was a lot of fun. Two of the children led the troops carrying a banner high in front and stopping to sing for Moiya, “I’m so glad when Grandma comes home”. They grandchildren ended by each giving her a kiss.

Janet was promised a special surprise. For the surprise to happen, Glen had to be blindfolded. He went like a lamb to the slaughter, sitting in a corner of the yard, unable to see what was happening. The grandchildren were marshalled in front of him and a basket full of water balloons was placed before them. Off came Glen’s goggles and everyone under 10 years old got to throw water balloons at him – the balloons were thrown with care, some lobed with power, some balloons with high arcs on them, some gently tossed. Glen was soaked had to go home and change.

... more group dancing ..
Laynie had arranged a Piñata Party – 3 piñatas, actually, one for each age group: under five, 5 to 10, and 10 to 15 year old. I hardly know who had the most fun during this section of the party: the person pulling the string on the piñata, the person choosing who would go next, the person striking mighty blows out into the air, the person twirling the subject around until they were dizzy, the parents and grandparents cheering everyone on, or real winners – the people who got the bags of candy out of the piñata.

There was a special treat for the 10 to 15 year olds in the piñata. Instead of candy, out of the piñata fell rocks from the beach like the beautiful ones they used to collect with they were the three year olds down on the beach.

There was a spontaneous programme. Bonnie Johnson and Teague Bates did a skit from their childhood. The first words of the skit are “One day, when I was skipping home from school / skipping home from school. New words were by Bonnie, actions were by Teague and the skit had been produced by Lurene. Moiya offered to do “I’ll tell you about a burglar bold” and Wyona and I joined her.

Marcia, Lurene, Marina Wood and Laynie did a magical skit – the first person takes a drink of water, and they pass it along from one to another until the fourth person spits it out. The trick is that they pass it through their ears. Very impressive!

The party ended with everyone gathering around to see two hairs fight in a pan of water. That party trick is a sure hit.

... the storm approaches
and we head to the porch to watch it advance ...
In truth, it wasn’t the trick that ended the party, but the fact that the heavens opened up and poured rain at exactly the right time. Party goers gathered on the porch to watch the storm pass by.

I tried to add up the total number of attendees. Right now there are 24 at Wyona’s house, 22 at Moiya’s house, 7 at our house and 7 at Glen’s house. A fifty person party.

At home I interviewed others about the party for what they thought were the best moments.

David: The best part of the party was playing Red Rover. At first the party was hard for there weren’t many people there I knew. I pretty much knew no one and I was afraid I was going to make a mistake. Then the food, the hot dog, and the purple juice came out, my dad came and then I was comfortable with the party.

Theresa turns her back on being part of
the group family photograph.
Rebecca: I thought it was funny watching Moiya’s little family of grandchildren come marching out -- which was OMG: 12 children under 10 years old. There are so many little kids. All five of Moiya’s children are having their families together, so there are an unbelievable number of grandchildren. Glen getting water ballooned was also a highlight. Then there was a great storm that came through the valley during the party – rain falling, lightening flashing and we just continued the party.  I also liked Theresa Oldham refusing to be in the grand family photo

Bonnie: At the party, I was shocked to realize I am now the age of the women who were the aunts when I was young, and my young beautiful mother is now the age of my grandfather. I was having trouble adjusting my mind to that. I loved the piñata for it was performed in age groups and everyone had a treat or a prank just for them. I was waiting for someone to get hit with the stick, but it didn’t happen. I had told David to feel for the rope above and then he would know where the piñata would come down and he could strike it. But I hadn’t told him how to differentiate between a feeling for a rope with his stick and a tree branch. I loved the banner that was held high when the Wood children walked in. I loved the fact that there was Tylenol on the table along side all of the food that was there for people. Something for everyone!


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Thoughts on a First Reading of the Summary

St. John's Wort
We have been drying it and boiling it into tea.
St. From Rebecca Johnson: 

This morning I woke up to Arta, sitting beside me, telling me that she wanted to talk about 2 concepts that she found interesting in the Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

These ideas were first, we are all treaty people, and second, we have to learn to respect the land.

These two concepts came with us on our morning walk up and down Pilling’s Road.

 I asked Arta why she thought the line, we are all treaty people was a helpful concept.

Actually, the exact line is “we all inherit both the benefits and obligations of Canada”.

Arta said she had always thought that the treaties were just between Indigenous people and the crown, but that it didn’t have anything to do with her directly.

I thought that was a good articulation of it, and I could see that I had probably had that thought for most of my life as well.
... catching our breath at the top of the road ...

If we all inherit the benefits and obligations, then we have shared responsibility.

Arta said that somehow that concept made it seem more important to do the work of TRC action.

So we walked along the road looking at the plants and thinking about the land and the ways we benefit from it and our obligations. What ways might we move forward, showing respect for the land, ourselves, and teaching respect for the land to our children.

... looking back to the west on our walk to Bernie Road ...
Those are the big concepts. But then our questions turned to pedagogy. So? For the rest of the walk we talked about story telling and introductions.

So let’s skip to introductions, first. 

Introductions are hard for everyone. This came up in a discussion with one of my sons who says he hates it in groups when you have to introduce people or find out things about people. It can be stressful. Others ion our discussion group agreed and one said, sometimes you can’t even listen to the other people’s introductions because you are worrying so much about what to say when it is your turn. It is all too easy to feel that you will be judged by what you say or fail to say, or feel pressured to disclose things you don’t want to disclose.

 So I was thinking about the hundreds of times I have hear First Nations people introduce themselves in gatherings. It has often taken the form of an introduction in a language I don’t understand, followed by translation into English. Often the person then tells us in English their lineage, who their parents were, what their indigenous names were and what territory they come from. At some point I began to realize that I was hearing something different than an introduction in English. What I was hearing was better understood as law. By giving an account of who they are and where they come from, the speaker was also making explicit the shape of the authority they did or did not have in speaking and sharing with us.

 The introduction is doing many forms of legal work. And it is doing its work, whether or not the audience realizes what they are hearing. Telling who they are and where they are from also lays the foundation for the relationship that is being built with the listeners. It is not only about credentialing (for example, Professor X from Harvard), it is also an invitation to understand authority and relationship as rooted in people and the communities they come from and the land they occupy. As a performance of law it also provides us with a model. What ways would we introduce ourselves back in return. In various places I have been, as a settler I have found myself defaulting to my own form of introduction. That is, my name, my university degree and the city where I was born, or where I currently live. Sometimes I heard people identify themselves as a settler. Sometimes I have heard people identify themselves as immigrant. I found myself thinking more about how we might introduce ourselves in different ways. If we took seriously that we are all treaty people, how might we introduce ourselves in accordance with that law.

The goal of the introduction is partly to acknowledge where you are on the land. It is also to share enough information with the other, so that the conversation can begin in an open fashion. So what is being shared is not necessarily your credentials. It is something more neutral that describes your ancestry and inheritance, not your achievements. Maybe it is more properly understood as a way of acknowledging your inheritance. So Arta and I tried to imagine 5 different introductions for people in our family.

Treat 7 Territory
I might say, my name is Rebecca Johnson. I was born in Treaty 7 territory. On both my mother’s and my father’s side, my family came as settlers from Utah to southern Alberta in the 1880’s. I have been living in Coast Salish territory for 14 years. I could also say I am the mother of two boys and I teach at the university, depending on the context. Again, depending on the context, I might add that I am currently trying to better understand my role as a settler in doing the work of reconciliation. Whether to do the smaller or the longer version really depends on how the first introduction goes and what the facilitator asks of participants. The first time I introduced myself in this way, I felt a bit of shame at calling myself a settler. The word feels very comfortable to me now and it helps me be more conscious of both the benefits I have the obligations that are also attached to me.

My friend, Sally, introduces herself as Miq Maw and with some adopted family, adopted into the Salish community.

My cousin, Tonia, might introduce herself by saying on her mother’s side we are settlers who came to settle in southern Alberta, in Treaty Seven territory, and her grandparents on the other side are both a settler grandmother on one side, and a settler great grandmother who is Metis. Tonia could also add my father’s work took us around the world, so I grew up in Malaysia, Belgium, the Philippines and the U.S. but my family always returns to the Shuswap, Swepmec Territory.

The question is, how might people prepared to introduce themselves in this way?  For fun, try to do an introduction about yourself in this form.

Then our talk turned to stories. Glen told us that they had taken the kids up to the Enchanted Forest. On the way there they realized there that the kids did not know the story of "Hansel and Gretel" nor the story of “The Three Pigs”, so Glen turned into story teller, telling what is indeed a horrifying tale of a father abandoning his children in the woods. He was telling these stories to 3, 4 and 5 year olds. 

It made me feel a bit less bad about having told the young girls, yesterday, the story of Sedna, whose father not only throws her out of the kayak, but smashes her hands with a paddle to prevent her from saving herself. I was reminded of Louis Bird’s quote that stories are tools for thinking. The TRC report emphasizes this on page 17.
Traditional Knowledge Keepers and Elders have long dealt with conflicts and harms using spiritual ceremonies and peacemaking practices, and by retelling oral history stories that reveal how their ancestors restored harmony to families and communities.  These traditions and practices are the foundation of Indigenous law; they contain wisdom and practical guidance for moving towards reconciliation across this land.
It is interesting to begin to think of those stories as a way of teaching law.

Yes, entertaining and terrifying for small children, but at the heart of it is a different way of understanding how we do law in our everyday practises, including through stories and the ways we introduce ourselves to each other.

I told the story to Senya, Daphne and Autumn. I had been working with them on their necklances at the pottery wheel. I was telling stories as we went. I told them became Senya’s name sounded so close to Sedna, that they might as well hear the story of Sedna. I had recounted the story of the Salmon People earlier that week. The story started off slowly, but when I got to the part of where the father smashes his daughter’s hands, I could see the look of horror on Daphne’s face. I told them I would send them a version of the story that they could read again.

Here it is:

The legend of the sea goddess, though known in various regions by different names, is one of the most widespread of Inuit myths. One version is that some time ago, during a violent blizzard, a handsome young stranger enters a family igloo wearing a necklace with two large canine teeth. He is welcomed into the bed and sleeps with the entire family. When they awake the next morning, the young man is gone. The father, seeing only animal tracks outside, says, "We were deceived. That must have been my lead dog disguised as a man." When his daughter becomes pregnant, the father, ashamed of what she might produce, makes his daughter lie on the back of his kayak while he paddles to a small island where he abandons her. In some versions of the myth, her lover changes into a bird and flies her to the island.
Image from 
Alone on the island, the girl receives tender pieces of meat from the lead dog, who swam out to provide for her. She gives birth to six young; three are Inuit children, but the other three have bigger ears and snout-like noses. The young mother sews sealskins into one large slipper, places the three strange children inside, and pushes them off the island toward the south, calling out, "Sarutiktapsinik sanavagumarkpusi'"(You shall be good at making weapons). Some Inuit say that European and First Nations peoples are descended from those three dog children and only through them are they related to the Inuit.
The second part of the story, usually told on the following night, tells of the father going in an umiak, a large skin boat, to take his daughter off the island. On their way home a storm rises, threatening to capsize the overloaded boat. The boatmen decide that to lighten the load they must throw the daughter overboard. When she tries to climb back into the boat, her father cuts off her fingers. These fingers become seals in the sea. She tries again and he cuts off her hands, which become walruses. She makes one last attempt to climb aboard the boat but her father cuts off her forearms, which transform into whales.
Cast out of the boat for good, the girl sinks into the depths of the sea and becomes Sedna, or Nuliayuk or Taluliyuk, the woman who controls all sea beasts and is half-woman and half-fish. Sedna is a centrally important goddess for the Inuit, and is said to hold sea animals entangled in her hair, only to release them when she is appeased by offerings, songs or a visit from an angakok (shaman). Many songs are sung to this powerful goddess and in new seasons, pieces of the liver of the first-killed sea mammal are returned to the waters, imploring Sedna to release her bounty to the hunters so that they might feed their families. The angakok may visit Sedna in a trance, where he hears of the taboos and disrespect inflicted on her by the people, and soothes her by combing her hair with a bone comb. 

With all difficult stories, the story does its work after the telling, including questions about should women be forced to marry people they don’t want to marry, what happens if marriage turns out to be not what one had hoped for, what happens when families to harm to each other, what are the relationships between people and the animals they eat, what obligations continue to exist between us and our dead relatives.

Well, enough random thoughts for the day.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Ideas for Truth and Reconciliation Work

In her famous article, “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”, Peggy MacIntosh offers a concrete list of ways in which white privilege manifests itself. The beauty of the list is that it can help people see the multiple concrete places in which privilege is present in their everyday lives in things as small as the colour of the band aid they put on their skin or the look of dolls that can be purchased for young people.

One of the challenges of Truth and Reconciliation Report work is that it can feel overwhelming in the same ways that white privilege can seem impossible to change. I have taken inspiration in my own life from the work of Ursula Franklin who talks about the earthworm theory of social change and the quiet ways that change in the world really happens. She reminds us that the most important work people can do is in the circles of their own lives and in multiple, small, concrete actions. Here is our preliminary list of small concrete actions that we think people might be able to take. Please feel free to add to the end of the list, using the comment box.

1. At your local book store, purchase the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Volume I, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Futures. of the Truth and Reconciliation Report report.  Or purchase it online.

2. Print off a copy of the 94 Calls to Action and annotate it.

3. Read one call to action a day for 94 days.

4. If you have a practise of saying grace for your food, express your gratitude for the territory in which you live.

5. If you say grace, express your prayerful hopes for people doing the work of reconciliation.

6. Learn the name of the treaty that governs the place in which you live.

7. Buy or download a map of First Nation’s Territories in your province. Put the map on the wall of your home or office for a month.

8. Find out the name of the Indian Residential School that was most close to the area where you grew up. For example, what school would you have gone to if you had been indigenous.

9. Read one memoir about residential school.

10. If you have children or grandchildren under the age of 10, read Fatty Legs with them.

11. Go to the web and practise saying indigenous territory names. Practise one name 10 times or until you can say it fluently. Then throw it into a conversation during the day.

12. To your email signature, add the name of the territory that you live in.

13. Learn five plants or lakes or city’s names in the indigenous language of the place where you live.

14. Find a work of indigenous art and put a picture of it up in your house once a time, 12 times a year. Learn the name of that piece of work and the artist.

15. Learn one indigenous traditional song. Use the internet to find shared songs.

16. Choose to buy indigenous arts and crafts and music.

17. See an indigenous movie.

18. Know the names of 5 indigenous actors. Make the names you find be Canadian artists for 5 extra points. Discuss them with a friend for another five.

19. When giving gifts avoid giving gifts of chocolate, candy and sugar. I have learned from the elders that these gifts contribute to health risks of diabetes, etc.

20. Learn about country foods (deer, seal, camus plants) and local food production practises.

21. Learn to love the land, air and water in the place you are at.

22. Learn to introduce yourself with reference to the territory where you are from. For example, my name is Rebecca, I am from Calgary, Treaty 7 territory. And I can add in, it is also the traditional home of the Metis if I choose.

23. Learn about protocols from your territory and use them. For example, when introducing yourself to an indigenous person, indicate both your heritage and the place you come from. For example, my family are settlers who came to Treaty Seven territory in the 1880’s. I have been living in Coast Salish territory for the past 15 years. This act performs indigenous law in a respectful manner. If you are uncomfortable with this, a first step is to realize that when you hear an indigenous person introduce themselves, referring to their ancestry and in their language, they are performing their legal obligations. You are seeing law.

24. Read First Nations stories to your grandchildren. For example, in our house our grandmother reads a story to them while they are eating lunch or while they are sitting around a bonfire. To follow up, reference the story several times the following week, drawing connections to your daily life. That is the act of reconciliation. Not just telling the story but using the story as a tool. 25. Watch a u-tube video of an indigenous dance. Then read three supporting links about the dance.

26. When given the chance, join into an indigenous dance. For example, in Alberta you are often invited to join in during Stampede week or if you attend .

27. Learn the names of 5 indigenous athletes.

28. See the ballet, “Going Home Star” when it comes to your community.

29. If you are planning next year’s holiday, go see the Witness Blanket at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg.

30, Read a novel by a Canadian Indigenous author this month. Links to Joseph Boyden, Tracy Lindberg, Maria Campbell. In the comment box to this post, add the names of other Indigneous authors you have read.

31. Tell your Facebook friends what are reading.

32. Go online and find recipes for bannock. Try one.

33. Sign up to the Reconciliation Canada News Update to get regular updates. Send an email to

34. Read the Reconciliation Canada Blog. There is also Facebook and Twitter.

More to come.


The Pottery Wheel

... one of the views from the Pilling Pottery studio ...
When a piece of pottery breaks, Rebecca chants the mantra, "It came from dirt, it returns to dirt", and then she laughs off any feeling of regret about broken pieces my say, "We can make more -- don't think a minute about the loss."

Formerly I was of the opinion that the bowls she left in our kitchen were to be saved.  But this year they are out on the sideboard to be used on all occasions.

There are flatter bowls, some with high sides, some that carry a cup or less of food, some that carry 3 cups of food, some bowls that are footed and some that are pedestalled, some with decorative insides, some stamped, some imprinted with fern fronds, some with multiple glazes, some slab work and some thrown.

Yes to it being the summer to get those in circulation rather than hidden and saved.

What was I thinking of, previously?


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Inch Worm

Starting on the top of my hand ...
Some songs become dated and aren't sung by successive generations.

I first heard the song Inch Worm when it was sung by Danny Kaye, an actor only the old will even recognize by name anymore.

Still its lovely melody and the fact that it can be sung as a round stay with me and whenever I find an inch worm, I run to find a child on whose hand I can place it.
 .... and going right around

Then I sing the song over and over, hoping that the melody will linger along with the experience.

I have been more successful with the Canadian folk song, "Were you ever in Quebec stowing lumber on a deck ..." than I have been with Inch Worm.

The path of the inchworm across Michael's hand seemed to block out the song I was singing, hoping to imprint on his little grain.

Oh well.

Here are the lyrics for the old timers.

Two and two are four
Four and four are eight
Eight and eight are sixteen
Sixteen and sixteen are thirty-two

Inch worm, inch worm
Measuring the marigolds
You and your arithmetic
You'll probably go far.


Janet's New Kiln

Janet has a new kiln.  I don't know how long the list would be of people who have been getting pieces ready to fire in it.
 ... part of the production process ...
... loading the kiln ...

Tonia and Rebecca like to sit at the wheel and turn pots.

Others gather around to do slab work. Some are interesting in making jewellery pieces.

"Use all of the bowls made in past years," Rebecca told me.  "I will be making new ones for you this year, many of them, given the size of Janet's kiln."

So the bowls are out on the sideboard at our house.  All shapes and sizes.  They can be filled with breakfast cereal, salads, soups, pastas -- just about anything where a person doesn't want to chase their food all around a flat plate.

Good times using home-made pottery can be had by all.


Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Mary and Christine came to visit -- did that only happen last week?  We sang, swam, walked, ate and laughed.
A never-to-be-forgotten moment.
Everything you have always wanted
in an evening meal.

Christine brought along her laptop and studied.

She said that she didn't think the land could measure up to the picture that Mary had painted of it to her as they had talked about a possible trip here.

Only minutes into arriving she knew that there is no previous description that can stand up to the the real thing.

The same could be true of eating the Vietnamese spring rolls that Christine laid out before us.

She made the invitation, "Assemble your own."

We did.


The Huckleberry Bush

"This is what you want me to pick?"

"How do you get these off?"
The words, "can she bake a cherry pie", must be changed if you walk down by the fire pit.

A bush to the side of the house is loaded with berries this year, tiny blue berries that only a person with a trained eye and a wish for huckleberry pie could find.

It wasn't long until the palm of Alice's hand was stained blue.

When she was through eating she loaded other berries in the bucket of the small green truck that she couldn't let out of her hand.

Some women are just born to eat berries and drive trucks at the same time.


Around the Campfire

Guess who!
Catie built the fire last night: grass, twigs and a few nice logs. Down came the soda pop, graham wafers, marshmallows and Jersey Chocolate bars. All that was left was for people to circulate down to the fire and build their own dessert.

The campfire enthusiasts came at the beginning to throw in bits of cardboard, Hebe stretching forward with her leg and leaning backward with her body, not wanting to get close, not wanting too much warmth, but nervous when her kindling missed the firebox and settled on the wet ground. “Mom, you pick it up.”

Hebe, Rebecca and the Canadian Pacific Railroad
The mirror ball was rotating underneath the porch.

Jake was near the fire and screamed with 11 year old delight when he saw his first shooting star. 

Eric could see the satellites circling the earth.

The big dipper continue to tip toward the earth and I could imagine water would soon come spilling it out of it and into the lake. Cassiopeia was partially hidden by the pine trees.

The sum mores were built in combinations of multiple marshmallows, and varying numbers of squares of chocolate. David Camps wanted his sans marshmallow.

We settled into an evening of ghost stories – some of them true. Really! Eric told anecdotal stories of travel to India, Jake recounted the horrors of human carnage on Mount Everest, and four year old Jack has twisted story of buying a dog at the pet store that turned into a pineapple. Really. It was all true. The mosquito coils may have kept the mosquitos away for we were comfortable watching the embers burn until 12:30 am, singing family songs and poking at the fire with sticks.


Friday, July 22, 2016

A 10 person tent

... Connor and David under the dome ...
Between rain storms the men put up the new tent -- a 10 person,  so large that it doesn't fit down on the ramp camp.
... planning a tenting sleep over strategy ...

The wedding reach of the stream by my house seems to be the only flat place where it can be stretched out and then pinned down.

Ben and Duncan are both over 6 feet tall and you can see that the tent is taller than they are.

Connor and David can be seen on the inside, checking it out.

The inaugural sleep over begins tonight!


On "going home two weeks early" ...

"I was so bored."  That is the word Ben used when he described what happened when Rebecca took the boys home two week early last year.

A fleeting thought went through my mind.  What is happening that is making life less than boring out here.  I had that thought when I was standing still for moment, watching the vacuum truck suck out the contents of the sceptic system, since Wyona had called in the honey wagon for her own house and I could see how it would be useful to have the same thing happen here.  Ben's only question was why do they call it the honey wagon.

Christine Cusack, Greg and I were right there with Steve, the truck's operator.   Christine and I were leaning right over the tank, watching the whole process, the suction, the crust slide forward.  Yes.  We wanted to know it all.  Ben was holding back a bit. All four of us wanted to know how many gallons Steve's truck holds (18,000), how often a job like this should be done (it all depends), what is the principle on which a septic tank works, how can the top of the system be changed from a cement block to a plastic top which is easier to move.  Yes, we wanted to know it all!  Ben was on the second row back of the interested watchers, but he was close enough to hear and see it all.

The details of the rest of the day, I cannot make so fulsome, or I won't have another day today.  But Ben also cut blackberries from the path so others won't be scratched, racked sticks up from the site where he is going to camp, pitched the tent on said site, swam in the water, played dungeon and dragons, ate vietnamese spring rolls ... yes, not a boring day here.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

When the darkness falls ...

Our newest evening enthusiasm is the TV series, Slings and Arrows.

We tried to do binge watching last night, but we aren't that good at it. People who spend too much time in the water or doing early morning walks, just aren't up to keeping their eyes open late at night.

Even excellent snacks weren't enough to keep them going!

Ben and Duncan know Hamlet from last year's HD series, so they were good for the premise of the show and also good for staying awake.  And only a few of the jokes were lost on them.  When they were, Rebecca was quick to bring them up to allusions to the 1970, and even before.

A good time was had by all, even those who nodded off -- one of which was not me.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Capturing a skite

You caught it, Dad?
I thought I saw a snake under one of the ice cream buckets outside.

I called for Michael who brought his dad with him to pick up the snake.

On the first grab, which Richard missed, we could see we had a skit.

Richard twisted, lunched, grabbed, blocked off and pounced as the lizard eluded him.

But Richard came back in five minutes, refreshed and read to outthink the strategy of the little animal.

He caught him under the clematis trellis.
Question to Richard: How much does it hurt when a skit bites?
Answer:  Medium

Dinner, now hot on the table, was abandoned.

We gathered around it to take pictures and to pass it from willing participant to those who had to be warmed up to being willing participants.


Monday, July 18, 2016

A Bad Taste in My Mouth

Jay Johnson wanted to share a story, well, two stories with the great-grandchildren who had gathered to see one of grandfather’s best friends. The first story went like this. If Jay goes to heaven, he would like to be in the same place where two other people are: Anna, his mother-in-law and Wyora, Doral’s wife. Jay told the kids that just a few days before Wyora died, he had come to visit, but just for a minute. “If you will stay for a little longer, I think Wyora would like a game of Rook,” Doral said. Jay stayed and they played rook the whole day.

Jay said that he thinks that when Wyora got to heaven, and was on her way through the Pearly Gates and to where judgement takes places, that if she saw a game of Rook going on, she would have made a detour and played a hand or two.

The second story begins with Doral visiting Jay at the farm one day. Doral would help clean out the barn or do some other work and then pick up milk or eggs that Jay would give him. This day Jay asked how Doral was. ‘’I have a terrible taste in my mouth,” Doral said.

“Why is that,” asked Jay.

“Well, you remember the horse shoe you gave me the last time I was here, since my girls had asked for one? They cleaned it with my toothbrush.”


Paintings and Carvings

Joyce and Jay Johnson came to Salmon Arm bringing paintings and carvings to sell at the Farmer’s Market which is now in the old Canadian Tire Building. They came to visit while Marcia’s kids, and two of Teague’s kids were here, as well as David Camps. They had been having a 31 hour party together they day before, and they were continuing the fun the next day.

Bonnie had them line up and ask Joyce and Jay questions, and Joyce and Jay in return asked them a question. Now that was a lot of fun and everyone who participated was rewarded with two squares of excellent chocolate.

Then Jay asked for a talent show. Andrew can bleat like a lamb. Zachary can do excellent drum rhythms using two wooden spoons and the bottom of a kettle. Gabe can do a scene from the musical, Beauty and the Beast. Sabrina can do a backbend. Audra can do a cartwheel. David can sing “We’re Off to See the Wizard of Oz” and he adds in a few gestures.

Another two squares of chocolate for a reward.

The fun continued. Gabe can take a plastic bottle of water in his hands, flip it over and have it land on a table upright.


Jay told the story of great-grandfather Doral working in the barn with him. The first time they were loading a beef onto a tractor, the tractor slipped and broke Doral’s ankle which never really healed.

Months later, the the two men were in the barn, Jay holding a stallion and Doral holding the mare. The mare bolted, pulled the rope from Doral’s hands and then kicked him in the head. “He shouldn’t have survived,” said Jay. His eye had dropped because the skull on that side of his face had been crushed.

Later Uncle Loran, Doral’s brother, called Jay and said, “I think you two should get a divorce before one of you kills the other.”


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Wyona - weeding at the lake

 My plan was to have us weed everyday. We did make it out twice. This is the second time we went out to weed. Sabrina and Gabe headed up the hill from the bottom path. As they cut the trees and weeds they threw them down. Kalina and David were there to put them on the weed pile.

 As Kalina picked up some weeds she yelled up at them, "Hey, you guys cut the berry bushes. You should leave the berries."
Andrew started cutting weeds up the hill adjacent to Gabe and Sabrina. He would just take a run up the hill and grab the weeds as he slid back down the hill. Soon he started to use the clippers.

Three cutting and David working hard to pile the cut trees in a pile.  
As Sabrina and Gabe got near the top I told them they could quit. They said, "We are just about finished and they kept going." Once they got in there they felt power over the weeds. Nothing makes a person feel better than a job well done.
Theresa was having a hard time on the path so Audra took her up the path to the house where she felt more comfortable.

 Andrew never giving up until he got to the top of his hill also.

Kalina and Greg stayed right in there with the rest of the group. The tarp was filled up a number of times.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Wyona-the last of Grandparents Week

This is one of the few meals we have been able to eat outside in the past week. We have had a lot of rain but we have had a lot of fun also.  

One afternoon when there was a break in the rain we went to the beach with life jackets so everyone could go out in the kayaks.
Andrew got back first from the kayak trip. He was excited to beat everyone back.

I just had to put the photo in with the clouds in the background. Rain was threatening but it did not deter the kayak trip.

 Kalina was the most excited of all to get in the big kayak. She had a smile all over her face when she left and a bigger smile when she came back.  There were 3 small kayaks, Andrew, David Camps and Audra. Audra had a hard time keeping up so half way to Johnson's Point they pulled into the beach, regrouped and headed off again.

On return home, they all wanted to get in the cold water to play. Kalina is so happy to be swimming. Audra is behind her on the dock.

And now there is nothing of Audra but the splash in the water as she disappeared.

 They got Audra back by tying her kayak to the back of the big kayak which Sabrina and Gabe were managing.

Always fun to play in the water.
Take a close look at the dog paddling below. It is Kalina showing us her swimming skills.

And here they head off for the big ride. It took courage for me to let them head off on their own. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Romeo and Juliet - Afterward

Romeo and Juliet
Photograph: Johan Persson

I ran like crazy for the LRT, fearing I would be late for tonight's performance of Romeo and Juliet.  I wasn't worried about the seating for we never have a full theatre -- I don't know if it was the warm summer night that kept people at home, but there were just 10 patrons there. Still, a wonderful evening for Shakespeare fans.

Not to do too many spoilers, but here were the highlights for me:

1. I didn't know if I would like the performance, once I was sitting there and Branagh explained to the audience that he had used some artistic license, ie setting the play in the 1950's in the style of the Italian movies of that era, even to having this shot in black and white.  When I was young, if a movie was in colour, it cost a little more and I wasn't sure I wanted to return to the days when most film was black and white -- especially my beloved Westerns -- B-movies, but there was a new one every week.  That being said, Branagh set up the Queen Mab speech so beautifully that I was sorry when it ended.

2. And Branagh pointing out that Mercutio's part was done by a seasoned and well respected actor (Derek Jacobi) made me pay more attention to it than I have ever paid before.  Just beautiful, the declamation of some of the lines.

3. At times, when other speakers were delivering their lines, the camera was on the face of Romeo (Richard Madden).  I was entranced by the look on his face as he was listening to the lines of others.  I couldn't get enough of those shots.

4. The scene where Juliet's father rages, insisting that she marry Paris was chilling in its violence and physicality.

5. This is the first time that Juliet's nurse has come out of the limelight and into the spotlight for me.  Quite the bit of character acting!  Just loved her.

6. The staging was quite a delight -- the change of scene was always around pillars ascending or descending and suddenly we had different rooms or plazzas.  Interesting -- everything in black and white and the shades of grey around the pillars.

7. I only know Lily James as Rose in Downton Abbey.  Now I will remember her as Juliet, with some of the loveliest interpretations of those famous lines.  I was thinking about Duncan as I was watching the performance, since this production will be the one he will hold up as the original model for Romeo and Juliet.  I was wondering what a more traditional interpretation will feel like when he sees one.

 ... Oxford full brogue  spectator shoes ...
8. One of the reviews calls Jacobi's shoes, corespondent shoes. Whatever else there is to say about them, I echo Jacobi's words at the ends of many sentences:  boom-boom.

9.  And what about when Juliet gets the hiccoups, or is drinking on her balcony.  And when Romeo is bawling his guts out?  Oh boy!  I want to see how Duncan reacted to all of those details!


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Kenneth Branagh Theatre - Romeo and Juliet

Lily James as Juliet CREDIT: JOHAN PERSSON
Tonight is the showing of Kenneth Branagh's Romeo and Juliet.  

Looks like it is going to be fun and my first time seeing it set in the 1950's Italy.

I hope I can make the leap.

I have links to three reviews, below.  Enjoy the reading, even if you can't get to the show.


Romeo and Juliet review – Branagh gives tragedy a touch of la dolce, vita, Michael Billington, May 26, 2016
Romeo and Juliet review – Branagh’s star-crossed lovers fail to soar, Susannah Clapp, May 29th, 2016 

Romeo and Juliet, Garrick, review: 'Lily James's Juliet saves the night', The Telegraph

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

CrossIron Mills - another grandparents day

Meighan stands between the arms of a bear
at CrossIron Mills Outlet
I joined Meighan and Ceilidh at CrossIron Mills Mall, a first for me.

I have been reading in the newspaper that there is a free shuttle from the airport to this Mall.  Anita tells me that there are also free shuttles leaving from downtown and even from Market Mall which is a place I could walk to and then take the bus out there.

The only problem would be, could I find my way out of the Mall and back to the bus stop.  And even the question, would I want to leave there.

Ceilidh found the deals -- 30 % off the last clearance price.  I was looking -- just taking the huge expanse of it all in.

Another grandparent's day well played.


Wyona - Grandparents Day in Sicamous

Today the girls found the beaded skirts and headdresses from Egypt and dressed them up with masks from Venice.
Mirror, mirror on the wall.
Who is fairest of them all?

 Then it is off to the grocery store to buy important things like marshmallows. At home Audra asked me if they could were the costumes etc. to the store. When I said yes, she looked at me with shock on her face but did wear them to the store and they found a chariot to ride in. Audra was not happy to have to give up the chariot spots bit she did. Then she cajoled Kalina from the front so Sabrina carried Kalina around after that.
 After supper the kids go outside and play games until after 10:00 p.m. I do no know what they do but they sure have fun. I am falling asleep now so to bed.
The sky is always amazing at the lake. And Moiya's Larch and Pine tree just make for a delicious photo.