Visiting Aunt Vi

me and aunt viI visited my 91-year-old Aunt Vi in Saskatoon yesterday.  I helped her set up her diningroom  table for an upcoming birthday party for a good friend. Aunt Vi will be hosting  twelve guests.  She told me all about The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, the memoir her book club is discussing at their meeting next week.  I helped her type up an article about her volunteer work at her church over the last fifty years for the church newspaper, and she gave me a bunch of pictures she’d found in old photo albums. The photos brought back lots of memories which she shared with me. 

Me and Aunt Vi in 1955

Me and Aunt Vi in 1955

Aunt Vi had homemade cookies ready for me to sample and she sent a bag along with me to share with the rest of my family. She showed me the current needlework picture she is working on and we discussed various news items including the protests in Hong Kong.   

Aunt Vi working as a volunteer in Washington DC

Aunt Vi working as a volunteer in Washington DC

Aunt Vi who had a long career as a public school teacher, is in the process of making a memory book about the various voluntary service assignments she carried out on behalf of the Mennonite Church in a variety of locations. She’s going to an all day meeting today at her church about making congregations more accepting and  welcoming for all people.

Me and Aunt Vi 1957

Me and Aunt Vi 1957

Aunt Vi was going out for dinner yesterday evening with a friend. She told me about the flowering plant on her balcony which she’d nursed back to health through a loss of leaves and blossoms. She and I went through a book of postcards  from a trip to Europe she took me on when I was a teenager and we caught up on family news. 

We looked at photos of her great-great nieces and nephews and she told me about the family heirlooms she’d displayed and talked about at a seniors’ luncheon at her church. 

I hope if I live to be 91 I can be even half as active and engaged in life as Aunt Vi. It’s always a pleasure to visit her. 

Other posts about my relatives……

Remembering My Grandpa

My Grandparents’ Honeymoon

I’m Her Namesake

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The Beauty of Surgery- Dancing Hands

The Hands by Barbara Hepworth

The Hands by Barbara Hepworth

She was drawn to their “beauty of purpose”, their “special grace” and their “perfection of movement.”  Barbara Hepworth was a British artist (1903-1975) who became fascinated with the way the rhythmic dexterity of surgeons’ hands was so similar to the hands of sculptors.  

Reconstruction by Barbara Hepworth

Reconstruction by Barbara Hepworth

It inspired Hepworth to create sixty some drawings of surgeons at work.  

A Case for Discussion by Barbara Hepworth

The Operation -Case for Discussion by Barbara Hepworth

One of these pieces The Operation- Case For Discussion is currently on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery as part of the collection from the Beaverbrook Gallery in New Brunswick. 

Prevision by Barbara Hepworth

Prevision by Barbara Hepworth

I’m going to be involved with the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s family Sunday program on November 2 and I want to introduce kids to Hepworth’s drawing because the story behind it involves a child.  

The Hepworth triplets- Sarah is on the far right

The Hepworth triplets- Simon, Rachel and Sarah on the far right

Barbara Hepworth was the mother of triplets- Rachel, Sarah and Simon. When Sarah was ten she was diagnosed with osteomyelitis, a bone disease that required surgery.

Barbara Hepworth at work on a operating room drawing

Barbara Hepworth at work on an operating room drawing

Observing the surgeon who operated on her daughter Barbara became fascinated with the way the doctors worked together as a team to help her child. She decided to try drawing the surgical team and paid many visits to the hospital operating room to watch surgeons work. She made notes and then created drawings in her studio.

Theatre Group by Barbara Hepworth

Theatre Group by Barbara Hepworth

Looking at her operating room series online I was drawn to the surgeons’ hands and the way their movements flowed together to create a kind of dance.  

Magnifying Glass by Barbara Hepworth

Magnifying Glass by Barbara Hepworth

On Family Sunday at the Winnipeg Art Gallery I’m going to look at those drawings with kids, and we will create dances with our hands based on the movements of the surgeons’ hands in Hepworth’s artwork. Should be fun!

Other posts about the Winnipeg Art Gallery education program……

Learning to Print

A Dress For Mother Nature

Discovering Dali- Twirl That Mustache

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Loving the New Bike Lane

Originally posted on Destination Winnipeg:

bike lane on sherbrook in winnipegLast week I was biking down Sherbrook Street and discovered the brand new bike lane. It’s great! Cyclists are completely separated from traffic and don’t have to wend their away around parked cars. I read that cycling lobbyists have been pushing for construction of this bike lane since 2010.  My hat is off to them. I feel completely safe cycling down Sherbrook now. bike lane on sherbrook street in winnipeg I did read some negative comments from motorists who feel the bike lane is causing traffic to pile up on Sherbrook. Since apparently in summer up to 2,500 people a day bike down Sherbrook, perhaps some of the motorists want to leave their cars at home and join the bikers if they don’t like getting caught in traffic. I have empathy for those who may be scared to cycle in the city. That was me when we first moved to Winnipeg. But I’ve discovered there are safe…

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Modeling Career-Different Perceptions

on my throneCan you, short of an earthquake hold a pose? Do you think of yourself as a performer? Are you willing to be centre stage for long periods of time? Are you comfortable having your body parts talked about? Can you be the object of intense scrutiny by a roomful of people for at least an hour?

in front of diagramI’ll never forget my first sitting as an art model. Before I took the job I did a little online research. One website suggested you consider the above questions seriously before becoming a model.

different anglesThe art teacher at the school where I worked sent out an e-mail asking for volunteers to serve as a model for a drawing class. I was a little hesitant. Was I too old? Then I read the story of Lala Lezli, who modeled for California artists for fifty years. She was still working as a model when she died at age 91. I wasn’t too old to be a model. I also found out art students need to learn to draw real people, not just the idealized human form. Models should be all ages, races, shapes and sizes. Indeed when I hesitantly replied to the art teacher’s e-mail I was surprised by his warm response. He’d be happy to have me model.

I asked if I should wear a special outfit, but the art teacher suggested I dress in a normal way. I’d read models should come prepared with interesting poses, but the art teacher had a pose in mind. He wanted me to sit on a chair on the elevated platform at the front of the room. He even arranged my feet and hands and told me which direction to turn my face.

 I walked into the class as the teacher was giving final instructions and was quickly seated so the students would have a maximum amount of time to work. It was surprisingly easy to sit still for an hour. here i amI had a good view of the drawing tables and was fascinated by the progress being made on the dozen different images of me emerging on paper across the room.

It was interesting how each of the students perceived me in a slightly different way. No two sketches were the same. Just like life I thought. No two people perceive us in the same way and we have to accept and indeed appreciate that.

Other posts about art lessons…….

Finding my Inner Artist

Using the Other Side of My Brain

Learning to Print

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The Canadian Human Rights Museum- A Work Still in Progress

October 25, 2011

October 25, 2011

The new Canadian Human Rights Museum is just a few blocks from my home. I was going through old photos and realized that after we moved to Winnipeg in 2011, I had taken pictures of the Human Rights Museum a number of times as it was being built. It was interesting to see the progress. 

June 21, 2012

June 21, 2012

I have yet to visit the museum, since I would like to wait till the exhibits are all complete, something they are predicting for mid November. Plenty of controversy has surrounded the building of the museum and continues to do so with the recent announcement the chief executive officer of the museum has been asked to leave.  It appears the museum is still a work in progress.

July 3, 2014

July 3, 2014

There is no question however that the building which houses the museum is a piece of iconic architecture which adds something very unique to the Winnipeg skyline.

Other posts about tourist attractions near the Human Rights Museum….

 What’s Ghandi Doing in Winnipeg?

The Provencher Bridge

River Ride- Red and Assiniboine

 Grain is King

 

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Remembering Rudy York

dave and dad computer“Who was Rudy York?” My husband Dave asked his Dad that question on our recent visit to Ontario. Dad, who is 93, lives in the Leamington Mennonite Nursing Home. Sometimes Dad struggles to remember people and events in the present, but his memories of the past are vivid.

Dad with his ball team. Dad is the last player on the left in the back row.

Dad with his ball team. Dad is the last player on the left in the back row.

Dad has always been a fan of the Detroit Tigers baseball team. An avid ball player himself, he treated his five sons to a trip across the border every summer to Detroit to watch a Tigers’ game.

Scan 28It was a ritual he carried on with his grandchildren as well. Our sons attended Tiger games with their Opa too.

   detroit tigers capOne afternoon during our recent visit Dave walked into Dad’s room at the nursing home wearing a new Detroit Tigers cap. Dad commented on Dave’s purchase and he and Dave began talking about their beloved ball team. Dad, who no longer watches television, knew nothing about the Tigers’ performance in the 2014 season but when Dave asked, “Dad who was your favorite Tigers’ player of all time?” Dad thought about it for a minute and answered, “Rudy York.”

“Who was Rudy York?” Dave wondered aloud. Dave is a baseball aficionado and a true Tigers’ fan so he thought he knew about all their star players past and present. He’d never heard of Rudy York. Despite Dave’s skepticism Dad insisted Rudy had been a great Tigers’ player. Dad talked about York’s hitting power. He had played catcher and first base.

That night we were at our nephew’s house and I mentioned the Rudy York conversation with Dad. Our nephew whipped out his phone and did a quick search. Sure enough! Rudy York had been a Tiger from 1937-1945. Dad would have been in his late teens and early twenties when Rudy was playing in Detroit.    

rudy york newsweek magazine cover I was curious and did some research. I discovered Rudy York’s photo had been on the cover of Newsweek magazine with the headline “Greatest Slugger Since Babe Ruth.” In August of 1937, during his first month as a major league player, York broke Babe Ruth’s record for the most home runs in a month. He hit eighteen home runs and was responsible for forty four RBIs.

Rudy York

Rudy York

A Washington Post sports writer described the achievement poetically. “The booming bat of 24-year-old Rudy York, Detroit’s late entry into the home run race, spoke in tones heard around the baseball world this afternoon as one of Babe Ruth’s proudest and supposedly invincible records went crashing into discard.”

The men in the conscientious objectors camp in Montreal River

The men in the conscientious objectors camp in Montreal River

 During some of the time Rudy was playing for the Tigers, Dad was working in a lumber camp for conscientious objectors in Montreal River, in northern Ontario. baseball line up conscientious objector camp montreal riverI know Dad played on a ball team in the camp, since he has recorded the names and positions of all the players in an old autograph book.

In the lumber camp bunk house. Dad's on the far left.

In the lumber camp bunk house. Dad’s on the far left.

Were he and his fellow lumberjacks able to get newspapers to keep up to date on Rudy’s baseball exploits?

Dad was a handsome teenager

Dad was a handsome teenager

In 1937 when Rudy York broke Babe Ruth’s homerun record Dad was sixteen and living with his family on Pelee Island in Lake Erie. Stories I found online about other Mennonite families living on the island at the time include the mention of baseball games played at school and in the community. Did Dad and his friends listen to the radio to follow Rudy’s career?

Rudy York

Rudy York

Finding out that Dad had been absolutely right about Rudy York being a noted baseball player was somehow comforting to me. Even though Dad isn’t always familiar with the present when we visit him, he is still teaching us interesting things about the past.

Other posts about the Detroit Tigers……

Tiger Baseball

The Tigers Met the Yankees and We Were There

 The Detroit Tigers In The Pink

 

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October Inspiration

Park Bench - Photo taken in Steve Juba Park October 2012

Park Bench – photo taken on a bike ride through Steve Juba Park October 2012

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?”  

Anne in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables

Oak leaf taken on a walk in Saskatoon - October 2013

Oak Leaf -photo taken on a walk in Saskatoon – October 2013

Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree…
~Emily Brontë

Prairie grasses on the bank of the Red River near my home taken in October 2012

Prairie Grasses- photo taken on a walk along the river near my home in October 2012

Autumn is the hush before winter. ~French Proverb

Prairie in Herschel Saskatchewan November 2013

Prairie- photo taken on a hike in Herschel Saskatchewan October 2013

O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief…
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst…
~Robert Frost

Red Leaf on Sidewalk-Photo taken on a walk in Saskatoon October 2013

Red Leaf on Sidewalk-photo taken on a walk in Saskatoon October 2013

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. ~Albert Camus

Squash at a street market in Toronto September 2013

Squash- photo taken on a bike ride in Toronto October 2013

To everything there is a season- Ecclesiastes 3:1

Other inspirational posts………

The Beatitudes in Human Form

Eagle Inspiration

Wild Flower Inspiration

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