Monthly Archives: May 2013

Spring in Winnipeg’s Exchange District

IMG_1583Spring has come to Winnipeg’s Exchange District and I’ve tried to capture that in a new post on my Destination Winnipeg blog.  I’ve done photo journals of winter and autumn in the Exchange District. Now I have one for spring too. Check out Spring in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. 

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Filed under Nature, Winnipeg

Two Movies- Once Upon A Time and Happily Ever After?

We saw two movies on the May long weekend 42- The Jackie Robinson Story and The Great Gatsby. They made me think of fairy tales. 

You might have started both films with the words  ‘once upon a time’ because each movie takes place in the past and tells a story about a period in history that it is hard to believe existed.

42A racist and discriminatory time in American history is depicted in the movie 42.  It is difficult to understand how people in a supposedly Christian nation could ever have behaved in such an uncharitable and inhumane way.  The cruelty with which Jackie Robinson was treated when he became the first black man to play major league baseball is difficult to watch. Yet if anything I think the movie down played the severity of the persecution he experienced.  

Jackie Robinson is a real fairy tale like hero as is his supportive and determined wife. Movie viewers cannot help but be on their side and root for them to succeed. They have our sympathy. 

great gatsbyThe Great Gatsby depicts a time in history when the members of America’s upper class were excessively wealthy and their lives consumed with the pursuit of pleasure. It is difficult to understand how in country which espoused equal opportunities for all, some people could have behaved in such an elitist, selfish and corrupt way. 

The protagonists of The Great Gatsby were not fairy tale like heroes. I certainly had no affection for  its male hero Jay Gatsby even though he’d had a fairy tale like ascension to wealth and privilege. I felt no sympathy for the shallow  female protagonist Daisy who could so easily toss love aside in favor of self-preservation. 

You couldn’t have ended either movie with happily ever after, because the issues raised in both movies haven’t really  been resolved.  

There is still a great deal of discrimination in the sports arena.  Most female athletes do not have equal opportunities or equal pay with male athletes and it is only recently that the first professional gay athlete has been open about his sexuality. Most still live in fear of the repercussions of such honesty. Times are different then they were in 1947 when Jackie Robinson played his first major league ball game, but not so different. 

There are still wide gaps between the rich and poor. Data from the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Department of Commerce indicates the inequality between rich and poor in the United States is greater than it has been in more than 30 years. The graph above shows that the present situation is much like that of the 1920’s- the time period of the Great Gatsby. 

Both The Great Gatsby and 42 have some fairy tale like qualities but they are not fairy tales. They depict real life situations that do not resolve themselves the way a fairy tale would. 

If you enjoyed this post you might also like………

A Philandering President and a Self- Conscious King

A Chick Flick My Husband Might Have Liked

Higher Ground

 

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Filed under Culture, Movies

Recognize This Raven?

Emily Carr is just one of the talented artists on display in the Canadian Identity Gallery of the 100 Masters exhibit currently at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Read about some of my favorites in the gallery on my Destination Winnipeg site.

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Filed under Art, Canada, Culture, Winnipeg

Recognize this Rembrandt?

Woman at her Toilet by Rembrandt 1633

Woman at her Toilet by Rembrandt 1633

 

 

Recognize this Rembrandt? Read all about it and some of the other great paintings on display right now as part of the 100 Masters exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. I’ve done my first blog post about this once in a life time exhibit on my Destination Winnipeg site.

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Filed under Art, History, Winnipeg

Inside Publishing- Tips For Writers

blog header vast imaginationsI attended a writing conference at Winnipeg’s Millenium Library where I got some valuable advice from both writers and authors. Read all about it in my post Inside Publishing on Vast Imaginations the blog of my children’s authors’ group. 

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Filed under Books, Childhood, Education, Winnipeg, Writing

Thinking About Mothers at the Met

Mrs. Mayer and Daughter by Ammi Phillips 1835

Mrs. Mayer and Daughter by Ammi Phillips 1835

When we visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York last fall I was overwhelmed! I knew I couldn’t possibly see or study everything in the short time we’d be there. I needed a theme! It didn’t take long before I realized I was being drawn to all the intriguing representations of motherhood. I decided to take photos of any piece of art that depicted motherhood in some way. Here are a selection of my favorites. 

Mothers nourish their children.

Mother and Child- Bamama People- Mali- 15th Century

Mother and Child- Bamama People- Mali- 15th Century

Mothers teach their children

Jungle Tales by James Jebusa Shannon 1895

Jungle Tales by James Jebusa Shannon 1895

 Mothers are role models for their children. 

The Way They Live by Thomas Aushutz 1879

The Way They Live by Thomas Aushutz 1879

 Mothers carry their children till they can walk on their own. 

Mrs. Brindley Sheridan and Her Son- by John Hoppner 1797

Mrs. Brindley Sheridan and Her Son- by John Hoppner 1797

Mothers create a home for their children.

Just Moved by Henry Mosler 1870

Just Moved by Henry Mosler 1870

Mothers make their children feel beautiful.

La Coiffure by Picasso 1916

La Coiffure by Picasso 1916

Mothers risk their lives for their children.

On To Liberty by Theodor Kaufmann- 1867

On To Liberty by Theodor Kaufmann- 1867

Mothers care tenderly for their children.

Mother and Child by Mary Cassatt 1899

Mother and Child by Mary Cassatt 1899

Mothers share their delight in their children with their partner.

Conversation Piece by Lilly Martin Spencer 1851

Conversation Piece by Lilly Martin Spencer 1851

Mothers encourage their children.

Madonna and Child by Filippino Lippi 1483

Madonna and Child by Filippino Lippi 1483

Mothers are their children’s protectors.

Latona and Her Children Diana and Apollo by William Rinehart 1870

Latona and Her Children Diana and Apollo by William Rinehart 1870

Mothers work to provide for their children. 

The Lacemaker by Nicolaes Maes 1655

The Lacemaker by Nicolaes Maes 1655

Mothers establish meaningful rituals in their children’s lives.

Story of Golden Locks by Seymour Joseph Guy 1870

Story of Golden Locks by Seymour Joseph Guy 1870

Mothers can do many things at once for their children.

Two Hands by Claudette Schreuders 2010

Two Hands by Claudette Schreuders 2010

Mothers comfort their children.

A Young Mother by Bessie Potter Vonnoh 1896

A Young Mother by Bessie Potter Vonnoh 1896

Mothers have enough love for all their children. 

Chloe Burrall Smith and Her Five Children by Ralph Earl 1798

Chloe Burrall Smith and Her Five Children by Ralph Earl 1798

Happy Mothers Day! 

If you enjoyed this post you might also like………..

What Does Your Mother Do?

What Artwork Reminds You of Home?

Big Mother- An Unusual Sculpture

Bride of New France- The King’s Daughters

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Filed under Art, Childhood, Culture, Family, History, Mother's Day, New York, Parenting

Being Relevant

“The most important thing for a human being is to be relevant,” says Henry Winkler the actor perhaps best known for his role as Fonzie on the 1970’s television series Happy Days. The 67- year old Winkler made an appearance on the NBC Today Show in November. He was discussing a Broadway play in which he has a starring role. The interviewer asked him why at an age when many people slow down he was still working so hard. Mr. Winkler replied he loved every minute of his busy life and reflected on how important it is for human beings to continue to feel relevant no matter how old they get.

A friend talked about working in a nursing home over the Christmas holidays. He walked into the room of an elderly resident on Christmas Eve and found her crying. Although she required long term care her husband did not, so he still resided in their family home. A daughter lived in a distant city and had invited her father to visit for the holidays. He had decided to go, even though his wife couldn’t make the journey. In the past, Christmas gatherings had still been at the couple’s family house and the woman was able to leave the nursing home for the day to attend. Now she was alone while her family had their holiday reunion without her.  “I’m not relevant to my family anymore,” she told our friend who had just experienced some family trauma of his own. He said he was also alone for the holidays.  “Could you pretend to be my grandson just for today?” she asked. He agreed and after his shift was over returned to the woman’s room to talk and share a meal with the grandmother he’d adopted for Christmas.

Feeling relevant in our communities and our families is important. Having a necessary role to play in the lives of our parents, children, siblings or partner is healthy. It is rewarding to know someone else is depending on us even in a small way and that our presence in their life makes a difference. If we don’t have family members of our own, there are always people in the world looking for connections and support and we have the option to build reciprocal relationships with them that make us feel we are relevant

After our professional careers are over it is important to find avenues that will allow us to continue contributing to our communities as volunteers or part time workers. If we are lucky like Henry Winkler we may be able to find new opportunities to use our career gifts. I know I went through some struggles and detours after I retired, till I found opportunities to put my teaching skills to good use in places other than a public school classroom. Now I give tours to kids at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, mentor university students studying to be teachers, and I’m trying my hand at writing books for young people.  It’s a good fit and makes me feel like I’m still a relevant educator.

I’m aware that as I grow older it may be more difficult to continue to feel relevant and it will require initiative and effort on my part to make relevance a reality, particularly if health problems complicate my life.

Patty Randall a Canadian writer and speaker with a popular website about aging says that doing something relevant is the key to a life that continues to be filled with passion and purpose. 

If you enjoyed this post you might also like…….

Music Across the Generations

Are We Ready For Trailer Park Retirement?

Retirement Advice From New Zealand

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Filed under Reflections, Retirement