The Amazing Race Canada – Where They SHOULD Have Gone in Hong Kong

r-AMAZING-RACE-CANADA-large570My international readers might not know that here in Canada we have our very own Amazing Race television show. It started last year and all the race challenges took place in different parts of our own country. This year the show’s gone beyond Canada’s borders and the first stop was Hong Kong!  I was excited! I lived in Hong Kong for six years and was curious about what places the contestants  would be sent to in this wonderful city I once called home.big buddha hong kongThe Amazing Race show sites included the Big Buddha, a wet market, the walled city in Kowloon, a restaurant that served snake soup and the walk of fame along the harbor. Those weren’t bad choices but I couldn’t believe the producers hadn’t chosen two spots in Hong Kong that clearly have a strong Canadian connection. chi lin nunnery main buildingOne is the Chi Lin Nunnery. It is the site of sixteen beautiful halls each containing a statue of Buddha. The halls were all built with thousand-year old Canadian cedar and you can smell that wonderful Canadian cedar the moment you step onto the site.  The grounds of the nunnery are stunningly beautiful……

lily pads chi lin nunnery hong kong

waterfall chi lin nunnery

chi lin nunnery hong kongI think the Chi Lin Nunnery would have been a perfect site for one of the challenges of the Canadian Amazing Race. 

canadian grave sai wan war cemetaryAt the Sai Wan War Cemetery in Hong Kong you will find hundreds of graves belonging to Canadian soldiers who died defending Hong Kong against the Japanese. Many were part of a regiment from my home city of Winnipeg. All the graves of the Canadian soldiers bear the maple leaf imprint. 

sai wan war cemetary hong kong

It would have been great to use either the cemetery or the nearby war museum as a site for a race challenge so more Canadians could learn about the involvement of Canada in defending Hong Kong.canadian graves sai wan war cemetery hong kong

This week the Amazing Race contestants are off to Macau. It is also a place I have visited many times. I’m curious to see what sites will have  been chosen there for filming. 

Other posts about Hong Kong…..

Chi Lin Nunnery

Sai Wan

Hong Kong Wet Markets


Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, Hong Kong

Davey At the Bat

We spent this past weekend in Bemidji, Minnesota where Dave was playing in a slow pitch ball tournament. I was experimenting with the sports action setting on my camera and took this series of photos of Dave up to bat. He hit a triple!

on deck

ready at the bat
dave in crouch baseball

here it comes
he hits the ball
there it goes

a hit

where will it land?

on deck again

Other posts about  baseball…..

Baseball in His 60th Year

Take Me Out to the Ball Game- Osaka Style

Tigers Baseball

Driedger Reunion- Spring Training

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Sports

Eagle Inspiration

eagle at moose lakeI just spent a couple days at my brother and sister-in-law’s cottage at Moose Lake, a cottage which has been in our family for three generations. Taking the boat to the north end of the lake to search for the bald eagles that nest there, has been a ritual during cottage visits since my childhood.   I took these photos on Friday. 

eagle moose lake manitobaFour things I do not understand….. the way of the eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas and the way of a man with a woman-  Proverbs 30

eagle at mooselakeThe Eagle   by Alfred Lord Tennyson

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

bald eagle moose lakeWho satisfies your years with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles. – Psalm 103:5

Other posts about nature….

Georgia O Keefe Inspired Me

Swimming with Manatees

A Christmas Day in Hell

Visualising God’s Creation Gifts in Sculpture

Why Did The Creator Make Mosquitoes?



Leave a comment

Filed under Nature, Religion

Weighty Matters

riding bike in central parkI’ve struggled with maintaining a healthy weight since I was a teenager, so I’ve been an avid reader of all kinds of material related to diet and exercise and weight loss.  Research is constantly unearthing new things about how our genes, activity, environment and food consumption impact our weight.  How to keep up with it all?  I’ve found a blog that offers a short, daily post with good, thought-provoking information about diet and nutrition. It’s called Weighty Matters.weighty_matters_banner I heard its author Dr. Yoni Freedhoff being interviewed on Q by Jian Ghomeshi. 

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff

I’ve been reading Dr. Freedhoff’s blog ever since and here are just five of the many interesting things I’ve learned in recent weeks.

dave and marylou on the red river1) While exercise can make you a whole lot healthier physically, emotionally and mentally it doesn’t really help you lose weight. 

2) Fruits and vegetables aren’t equals. Fruits have way more calories, but are still a far better food choice than many other things.

3) Low calorie sweeteners have gotten a bad rap but in the end they are probably healthier for you than always eating the real thing. 

Enjoying grilled chicken, grilled vegetables and lavish bread in an outdoor cafe

Enjoying grilled chicken, grilled vegetables and lavish bread in an outdoor cafe in Lviv Ukraine

4) There are many different ways to lose weight and what works for one person doesn’t work for another. BUT the only way to be truly successful  and maintain your weight loss is if you LIKE AND ENJOY the lifestyle and diet you use to lose weight ENOUGH so that you can keep on living that way forever. 

5) Environmental changes can make a difference.  A chain of British supermarkets has removed all candy from their checkout lanes. Loblaws in Canada is experimenting with this as well and Indigo Books has removed all candy from checkout areas. ( I have a weakness for buying M&M’s in the checkout line)

Other posts about diet and exercise……

Super Foods

Beet Leaves

Food Rules



Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Food, Health

Quo Vadis- Talk About a Perfect Setting!

st. boniface basilicaThe  St. Boniface Basilica was a brilliant choice as a setting for the musical Quo Vadis. I attended the performance on the night of  July 22 which just happened to be the forty-six year anniversary of the tragic fire that nearly completely destroyed the huge Winnipeg cathedral in 1968. dave at basilicaAll that remained of the old church after the fire was the majestic front piece. That stone facade which is now more than a century old, provided the backdrop for the Fringe Festival production of Quo Vadis. 

Quo Vadis Cast- Photo Winnipeg Free Press

Quo Vadis Cast- Photo Winnipeg Free Press

This was not your regular fringe play. It had a huge cast with many trained and talented musicians among them. The story is taken from a Polish novel by Nobel Prize winner Henryk Sienkiewicz. It is set in 64 AD during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero. It recounts the love story of a military man and a young Christian woman, who along with others of her faith, is slated for death because of her beliefs.

cast of quo vadisThe musical was written by Olaf Pyttlik. Olaf and his wife lived in my condo building this last year while their home in Wolseley was being completely gutted and renovated.

Olaf in his board game restaurant- Photo CBC

Olaf in his board game restaurant Photo CBC

Not only did Olaf have that project on the go, but in May he opened a new restaurant in the Exchange District called Across the Board. Pyttlik also owns and operates a  successful audio production company called daCapo.  And somewhere in between remodeling a house, opening a restaurant and running a business, he found time to write a musical and stage it at the Fringe Festival. Does this man ever sleep?

cast of quo vadisThe performers in the Quo Vadis production obviously loved what they were doing. The music was beautiful and inspiring.  The storyline was easy to follow. It was a great evening of entertainment made all the more special because the music we were hearing was brand new and was having its debut at the Fringe Festival. An added bonus was that we were outside on a lovely Manitoba evening. The breeze was dancing in the actors hair and birds were calling and winging overhead. 

If you haven’t already seen Quo Vadis- go! If it’s sold out, you can just sit down on the Basilica grounds and listen to the wonderful music. 

Note: The musical mentioned Christians being devoured by wild animals in the Colosseum. marylou inside the colosseum When I toured the Colosseum in Rome our guide told us that never happened.  Quo Vadis also made reference to Christians hiding out in the catacombs. touring the san sebastian catacombsWhen we visited the catacombs in Rome our guide told us that’s just a myth too. 

Other posts about the Fringe Festival……

Small Affair A Big Success

Godspell and Shadow Spaces

Not So Dandy

1 Comment

Filed under Culture, Music, Theatre, Winnipeg

Word Nerd- Talk About Quirky Characters

Originally posted on Vast Imaginations:

word nerdIf you are looking for models for quirky characters to use in your writing look no further than the middle grade novel Word Nerd by Susan Nielsen.  Nielsen a former screen writer for Canadian television shows like Degrassi Junior High and Heartland, has created an outstanding cast with unique personalities for this book. I’d love to meet any one of them!

ambrose word nerdAmbrose, the junior high hero of the tale, is homeschooled and allergic to peanuts. He likes to take words and scramble the letters in his head to see how many new words he can make. For example when he explains to readers that his father died of an aneurism he adds (seminar, surname, armies, marines,manure and remains).

Ambrose is lousy at sports, has glow in the dark stars on the ceiling of his room and a Buzz Light Year bedspread. He also collects bottle caps. Ambrose is a great…

View original 337 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada, Childhood, Writing

Godspell-Third Fringe Play- Shadow Spaces- Fourth Fringe Play

godspell castGodspell was a very entertaining show. Definitely worth the admission price. Enthusiastic talented young performers. I’ve seen Godspell many times. Both my husband and son have been in community and school productions in the past. I know the music well and this show had me wanting to sing along. I have a feeling Godspell songs are going to be queued up on my I-Pod this week. godspell headshots
Maybe not as polished and professional as other productions I’ve seen- some singers struggled a  bit with diction and pitch- but still a very enjoyable 90 minutes of theatre and music. Highlight for me was Sam Plett’s rendition of On the Willows. Sam played Judas and he has one heck of a beautiful voice!

shadow spaces

We went to see Shadow Spaces at 10:30 last night and I have to say it is not exactly a put- you- to sleep bedtime story. In fact the plot kept me awake last night.  As the poster states it is about three lives, two lovers and one murder but  things turn out differently than you might intially expect. 

The play was written by Jeff Kowerchuk who is from Winnipeg and I believe this is the first time the play is being performed. The Free Press reviewer praised the ‘taut and stirring’ performances of the actors and called the play compelling and well written. The CBC reviewer found the dialogue too intellectual and wasn’t taken in by the acting.  I certainly was. I was up waaaaay past my bed time and was wide awake and engaged throughout by the dramatic story. Grant-BurrOne of the reasons I wanted to go to Shadow Spaces was because Grant Burr my editor at The Carillon, the paper for which I’m a columnist, was one of the two actors in the show. I saw Grant last year at the Fringe in a one man show called Thom Pain. I had enjoyed that performance and so was looking forward to this one.  I wasn’t disappointed.

Other Fringe plays I’ve seen this year……..

Small Affair a Big Success

Not So Dandy

Leave a comment

Filed under Theatre, Winnipeg