Beer and Pretzels- Christmas Question #3

dave by christmas tree in Germany“We spent Christmas Day in 2010 in Bamberg Germany.” That’s how I would answer the question from my Christmas talking points list that reads, “Did you ever celebrate Christmas in another place?” our-german-cruise-shipBamberg was one of the stops on a holiday river cruise. angel-in-snowFor the first time in eight years they had snow in Bamberg for Christmas and it turned the city into a beautiful place. dave-bambergWe spent hours walking through the cobblestone streets. beer-and-pretzelsTwo highlights were stopping at one of Bamberg’s nine breweries to sample three kinds of beer and eat huge salty pretzels just out of the oven. bambergAs it grew dark we stood outside the huge Catholic Church to listen to the bells ringing carols through the cold air. catheral-in-bamberg-germanyOn board our ship that night our Christmas dinner ended with the waiters turning off all the lights in the dining room and then parading to our table with trays of flaming Baked Alaska.

Other posts…….

The World is Full of Interesting People

German POW’s in Manitoba

One of my Photos in a St. Louis Essay

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My Mother Said………

My mother had a few phrases that you could count on hearing regularly from her.  I just finished my annual clean up ritual going through every nook and cranny of our condo to sort, discard and organize.  moms-sayingsIn doing so I found these papers I believe my brother had printed up for a  humorous presentation we did for one of our Mom’s birthday parties. o-pifillI absolutely NEVER heard my mother swear or say a bad word, but when she was really frustrated or upset she’d say Oh Piffle! in a exasperated or irritated tone. best-part-of-the-dayThis was said to children and grandchildren who were sleeping in, particularly at the family cottage or could be said at any time of day if you were inside reading as I often was, instead of being outside enjoying nature. Mother would say, “MaryLou. Get your nose out of that book. You’re missing the best part of the day.”back-of-my-handMy mother was the navigator on family trips and truth be told we sometimes got lost. The map however always remained firmly in Mom’s hands while my Dad drove. If he or one of us kids would question the directions Mom was providing she would say briskly, “I know this map like the back of my hand.” other-peopleThis was said if we were feeling sorry for ourselves.  Mom’s solution for depression or self-pity was to get out there and do something for someone else.  It was advice she followed.just-thinking-of-youMom said this whenever we called her or dropped in to visit her.  She was evidently always thinking about all of us, which I think was probably true right up till the last minute of her life. 

Other posts………

Wisdom on a Tree

Wisdom on a Wine Bottle

Wisdom at Pine Ridge Hollow


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The Costumes Were Worth the Price of Admission

She stood gravely at centre stage looking simply stunning in her creamy coronation gown surrounded by church officials attired in crimson robes and golden crowns.
mtc-ticketI saw The Audience at the Manitoba Theatre Centre on Saturday night and the costumes stole the show as far as I’m concerned. The Audience chronicles decades worth of weekly meetings between the Queen and the British primeministers.  The play is not a fast paced or intense drama but what kept me riveted during the show were the marvelous outfits worn by Fiona Reid who played the role of Queen Elizabeth.
the-audienceWhether dressed in her Scottish tartan skirt and soft sweater, a gorgeous evening gown, a smart suit or a finely tailored dress the Queen always looked just about perfect- her hair coiffed, her jewelery tasteful, her shoes fashionable but serviceable and her handbags handsome. And what is even more amazing is how a trio of attendants managed to help the queen change her hairstyle, outfits and makeup in just moments either right on stage, discreetly tucked behind the queen’s desk or hidden momentarily behind a small dressing room partition.
Almost magically Fiona Reid would reappear dressed for a new scene that often took place during a period in history decades before or after the previous scene. The hasty transformations in style were really quite fascinating.christina-poddubiuk I admit I don’t usually read the program notes about the costume designer but this time I certainly did.  Christina Poddubuik was responsible for the costumes and sets for The Audience.  I looked her up online and she is a partner in a design firm called Punch and Judy.  It was neat checking out her unique work as an illustrator, stylist and artist. Although the costume designer doesn’t usually come on stage to take a bow at the end of a play I think Christina should have.  I would have given her a standing ovation.  As far as I’m concerned she was the star of the show. 

Other posts about theatre…….

Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter

John Hirsch Place

Jasper Station

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Christmas Question #2- Chili Soup

What is a traditional food served in your family at Christmas?  That’s the second question I pulled from my bag of Christmas conversation starters.

Christmas with my cousins and my grandmother who made chili soup

Christmas in Drake Saskatchewan in the mid 1950s with my cousins and my maternal grandmother, Annie Jantz Schmidt who made chili soup for Christmas

My maternal grandmother made chili soup for supper on Christmas Day. The noon meal was turkey with all the trimmings. The afternoon was spent playing games, doing puzzles, opening gifts and visiting. Then just before it was time for everyone to go home the chili soup came out often accompanied by Grandma’s homemade buns.

Celebrating Christmas with Mom's family in Saskatchewan

Celebrating Christmas with Mom’s family in Saskatchewan 1960s

My Mom says when she was a child her mother’s chili soup was the perfect way to warm up all their relatives before they began the chilly ride home in their horse drawn sleighs. Grandma’s chili soup recipe was in a cookbook she gave me when I got married. I still make her chili soup and not only on Christmas Day. It’s delicious anytime.

Other posts……….

Christmas Question #1

My Mother’s Childhood Christmases

Chicken Noodle Soup


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A Passport of Her Own?

grandma-and-grandpa-schmidt-passportA treasure I found while helping my aunt move recently was my grandparents’ passport from 1945. It was interesting to note that my grandmother did not have a passport of her own but traveled on my grandfather’s passport. My grandmother is simply known as wife on the passport and no profession is given for her even though my grandfather’s farming enterprise could hardly have survived without her many contributions.

When my Mom and her sisters were in their early twenties they accomapined their parents on a trip to Kansas.

When my Mom and her sisters were in their early twenties they accompanied their parents on a trip to Kansas.

My aunt says my grandparents never traveled outside of North America but in 1945 my grandparents and their three daughters did make a trip to visit relatives in Kansas so Grandpa may have thought they should have a passport for that.

Both my grandparents immigrated to Canada from the United States as teenagers and for their honeymoon in 1917 they traveled to California and Kansas to visit relatives.  They did not go back to the United States till 1945 when they took their daughters to meet all their American relatives.  passportThe passport states that my grandfather only became a Canadian citizen in 1941. This was long after my grandfather immigrated to Canada in 1907 and nearly 25 years after he married Grandma in 1917.  I wonder why he stayed an American citizen so long. 

One other interesting fact I discovered from my grandparents’ passport is that they both had blue eyes and my grandfather was nearly a foot taller than my grandmother. 

I am glad my aunt kept my grandparents’ passport all those years.  It has helped me to learn more about them. 

Other posts……..

My Nephew! My Hero!

A Lost Passport

A New Passport


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Music to Soothe the Soul

choir-programI always appreciate the Garden City Collegiate choir programs but the one on Thursday night was especially fine. So many of the song lyrics evoked a real sense of peace. Seeing all those beautiful young people enjoying their chance to sing and hearing them perform pieces of music with such meaningful texts was very inspiring. 

garden-city-choirThe lyrics of Eleanor Daley’s beautiful piece In Remembrance reminded me how blessed I am to be surrounded by people who love me and whom I love. It also made me think about how their influence can continue on in my life even after death. 

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am the thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight-ripened grain,
I am the gentle morning rain.

And when you wake in the morning’s hush,
I am the sweet uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.

garden city choirThe lyrics of the piece Ubi Caritas by Ola Gjeilo reminded me that wherever and whenever people show love and care for one another God is present. 

Listening to the voices of three talented soloists soar on The Storm is Passing Over by C.A. Tindley was inspiring.  The words of this song evoke such a sense of hope. 

Courage, my soul, and let us journey on,
Tho’ the night is dark, it won’t be very long.
Thanks be to God, the morning light appears,
And the storm is passing over, Hallelujah!

choir-from-garden-cityI had to look up the lyrics to O Lux Beatissima. At the concert I just closed my eyes and reveled in the lovely sound of the music. Knowing the English translation of the words made the song even more meaningful. 

O light most blessed,

Fill the inmost heart
Of all thy faithful

Enkindle your light in our minds

Infuse your love into our hearts

img_3981My  gifted daughter-in-law is one of the teachers at Garden City and marveling at the beautiful sounds she and her colleagues elicted from hundreds of talented young people added to my sense of enjoyment and peace at the concert.  It was a great way to begin advent. 

Other posts………..

That’s How Light Gets In

How Diverse!

Flunky Jim and Gopher Tails with Grandpa


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All Boarded Up at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

border-xThe Winnipeg Art Gallery is all boarded up these days. There are surfboards, skateboards and snowboards on view in our Boarder X exhibit. The works by indigenous artists get you thinking about our relationship to the environment and other people in new ways. The bright surfboards in the photo above come from Australia and were created by artist Vernon Ah Kee.  They have aboriginal rainforest designs on the front and use the colors from the Australian aboriginal flag. On the back of each surfboard are black and white portraits  of Vernon’s relatives. Only half of their faces are shown.  racism-quoteThe colorful surfboards are surrounded by texts that were chanted during race riots in Sydney Australia in 2005

surfing-videoand accompained by a provocative and at times jarring video.  

roger-craitYou can stand in front of this cityscape of Winnipeg for a long time finding new and interesting things in it. It was created by Roger Crait, who was a passionate skateboarder as a teen and young adult.  To me the wings on the planes and insects look like painted skateboards and there are skateboards hiding in other places too. Both skateboarding and painting are activities that require lots of practice if you want to become skilled at them.  

jordan-bennet-workThese cedar boards were designed by Jordan Bennet who is from Newfoundland.  They were inspired by stories he heard about the land and the history of his people. 

jordan-bennetI had some elementary school students in the art gallery this week and I gave them a whole variety of felt shapes to make designs of their own in Jordan Bennet’s style.  They came up with some pretty creative stuff. meghann o brienThere’s a fascinating trio of pieces related to snowboarding. First this digital photograph by Mason Mashon where the tiny snowboarder surveys the route ahead and…..


and then these two pieces Sky Blanket and Clouds by weaver Meghann O’Brien.

mark-igloliorteMark Igloliorte shows viewers the similarities between kayaking and skateboarding in his  video installation

Skateboard-Kayak- Flip- Roll. 

Boarder X brings together elements you might not think have lots in common but you’ll be excited to see how they do and you’ll find lots of personal connections of your own as you walk through the exhibit. 

Other posts…….

The Dakota Boat

Parfleches for the Last Supper

A Controversial Statue

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Filed under Art, australia, Sports