Monthly Archives: July 2013

Visiting the Colorado History Museum- A to Z

 Denver A-Z Colorado MuseumThe Colorado History Museum uses the alphabet to inform visitors about  its capital city, Denver. 
big blue bear colorado museumB is for Big Blue Bear.  There is a sculpture of a big blue bear outside of Colorado’s Convention Centre. The bear is just one example of the more than 150 pieces of public art that have been installed in Denver since 1988 thanks to a special financial incentive offered by the city. cow town display colorado history musuemC is for Cow Town.  There seems to be some controversy as to whether Cow Town is still a desirable nickname for Denver but the city does have strong cowboy roots. In the past stockyards packed with cattle stretched far and wide. In 1898 when the Stock Growers Association Board of Governors had their annual meeting in Denver they hosted a barbecue and beer event that drew 300,000 people. Police had to be called in to manage the rowdy crowd. Greeters in the Denver airport wear cowboy hats and the Denver Art Museum grounds have been graced by a huge sculpture of a Scottish Angus cow and her calf by Don Ostermiller since 2003. IMG_6164

M is for Microbrewery.  Colorado has over a hundred of them.  We visited two during our time in Colorado. I wrote about one in Visit to a Colorado Microbrewery and the Barry Manilow Concert That Wasn’t. 


one and only red rocks O is for one and only. The Red Rocks amphitheatre in Denver claims to be the one and only naturally occurring acoustically perfect outdoor theatre in the world. I saw Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie give a concert there in 1971.IMG_6168

T is Triceratops. Denver is fossil rich. A triceratops was found not far from the city center in 1879. There’s even a Triceratops Trail to hike!variety of celebrations denver

V is for variety of celebrations. From May to August Denver has a Greek Festival, Irish Festival, Gay Rodeo, Black Arts Festival, Comic Convention, Chalk Art Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Mexican Festival, State Fair, Pride Fest, Highland Games, Country Music Festival, Arts Festival, Rock Music Festival, Underground Music Festival and Renaissance Festival. 

If you want to find out about the rest of the Denver ABC’s you’ll have to visit the Colorado History Museum yourself. I’ve been thinking about what kinds of things I’d select if I were to put together an ABC’s of Winnipeg where I live. What would you include in the city where you live?

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Visiting A Land Mine’s Museum

Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix

A Bizarre Museum in Florence Italy



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Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter

Without a doubt Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter was the best show I saw at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival this year. It engaged me completely and left me in tears. Alison Wearing is a gifted writer and captivating story teller and in her Fringe show she uses photographs, music and movement to share her memoir.  When she was twelve Alison learned that her father, a Trent university professor, was gay and was moving out of their home. It certainly wasn’t easy for a young adolescent girl in the 1980s to adjust to such a major change in her family life but Alison tells her story without a sense of victimhood. Her mother supported Alison’s father in his desire to continue to play a major role in their children’s lives, something commendable when one considers that it wasn’t till 1996 that the federal government passed Bill C-33 which added discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation to the Human Rights Act making it illegal in Canada. In two successive anecdotes about Christmas, Alison suggests sometimes life was more normal and traditional with her Dad than with her Mom.

Alison loves both her parents and speaks with pride of their gifts and accomplishments as well as her gratitude that they have allowed her to share their family’s story so publicly. She clearly admires her father’s courage in ‘coming out’ when he did and is glad he has found happiness in a partnership with another man that has lasted for many decades.

Her stage play is a re-telling of the first section of her book published by Alfred Knopf. I am looking forward to reading it. As a teenager Alison went to great lengths to hide the fact her father was gay. She expressed her happiness that times have changed so much her own son doesn’t have to give a second thought to his grandfather’s sexual orientation and can talk about it freely. 

I saw the last performance of Alison’s show in Winnipeg but she is moving on to the Saskatoon Fringe and if you live there I encourage you to go. 

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Winnipeg Fringe Festival – The First Play

Fringe Festival- Second and Third Play

Fringing Times Four

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Fringing Some More

I’m fringing again! My reviews of another four plays are on my Destination Winnipeg site under Fringing Times Four. 

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Planning Ahead

I’m learning how important outlining and planning ahead are when you try to write a novel. I blog about the process in a post on Vast Imaginations.

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Winnipeg Fringe Festival – First Play

I went to my first Fringe Play last night. It was Thom Pain written by Will Eno and performed by Grant Burr, who just happens to be the editor of The Carillon the regional newspaper I’ve worked for as a weekly columnist for many years.  Check out my thoughts on my Destination Winnipeg blog. 

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ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 5

dave and janetBy Saturday morning almost all the ICS teachers from Hong Kong had left Denver but the few of us stragglers who were left got together. Janet was kind enough to pick us up at our hotel in Arvada and take us downtown. mad restaurant denverWe had lunch at the MAD restaurant where the menu items are named after famous authors, historical and literary characters. You can order a Mark Twain sandwich, a Marilyn Munroe panini or an Edgar Allan Poe salad.ernest hemingway salad mad restaurant denver

Janet and I both had the Ernest Hemingway salad. pilgrimage by zhang huan denver art galleryJanet and Dave check out a unique sculpture called Pilgrimage in the courtyard where we had lunch. It is by a Chinese artist named Zhang Huan who was born in Anyang City and created this piece to document a performance art presentation he did in New York in 1998.

rain has no father by el anatsui denver art galleryWe spent the next couple hours touring the Denver Art Museum. Here Janet examines a piece of textile art by El Anatsui an artist from Ghana.  It is called Rain Has No Father and was made by stitching together flattened bottle caps.  After we had toured the art gallery Janet chauffeured us to our hotel near the airport. Luckily her hotel was just down the street. ruby tuesdaysFor supper we decided to go to Ruby Tuesday for old times sake. It was a favorite haunt in Hong Kong when we wanted to eat Western food. 

ics reunion ruby tuesdaysWe were joined by the Herzog family and Melanie who were all staying at hotels nearby ready for early flights home the next day. It was a fun way to end the Denver reunion. 

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ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 1

ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 2

Visit to a Colorado Microbrewery and the Barry Manilow Concert That Wasn’t To Be

ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 3

ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 4- The Wedding Reception

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ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 4- The Wedding Reception

Finally it was time for the event that had brought us to Denver. The wedding reception of John and Cath. Here they are front and center with the whole gang of former and current ICS teachers who showed up for the festivities. The groom’s sister-in-law had done the decorating of the church hall and it was so thoughtful and interesting. There are three globes here. The one on the right with a heart on New Zealand which was the home of the bride, the one on the left with a heart on Denver, which was the home of the groom, and they are attached with ribbon to the globe above with a heart on Hong Kong where the bride Cath and the groom Jon met, work and will live.  The W stands for their last name and the American and New Zealand flags are nestled in pink roses. Dave with Jeff who is now a teacher in North Carolina. He and Dave played together on the ICS Orange, the staff basketball team when we lived in Hong Kong. Here’s Jeff with his whole family. Jonah who was born in Hong Kong, Ezekiel and Micah and Susan who was a kindergarten teacher at ICS. Dave chats with Janet and Melanie, two former elementary school teachers we worked with at ICS. Janet is now a teacher in Saudi Arabia and Melanie lives in Alabama. Dave and our former colleague Bryan get ready to enjoy the Western barbecue buffet. Bryan is still at ICS serving as the middle school principal.Since both the bride and groom have traveled a lot their wedding cards were collected in an old suitcase with a mirror nestled in the lid. Beautiful bouquets like the one in the pitcher to the left were all over the room. 

meyer familyWe worked with Chris at ICS where he is still the art teacher and had many dinners out in Hong Kong and travel adventures with him. We also got to know his wife Keiko in Hong Kong but met their son Kaili for the very first time at this ICS reunion. He’s a sweetie and I had lots of fun playing with him. The bridal gown Cath had worn at her New Zealand wedding was on display and there were notebooks where we could write messages for Jon and Cath to read on their first, fifth and tenth wedding anniversaries. Dave with the groom Jon. There were lots of samples of the wedding program for us to look at. It was decorated with illustrations by Cath’s grade one students. Dave chats with the bride’s Dad who had traveled all the way from New Zealand for the reception to surprise his daughter. It was great to visit with former colleagues Susan and Janet. In honor of the bride’s New Zealand home we had pavlova for dessert. Cath, the bride entertains us with a story about her and Jon’s courtship. Janet and Jack check out the book of wedding photos taken by Chris at the wedding in New Zealand. Dave visits with Dana a former middle school teacher at ICS who just moved home to the states. We were happy to get to know her boyfriend Justin. Rebekah and Jen former ICS teachers who now live in Minneapolis and Omaha respectively, catch up on what’s been happening in their lives. dave ics guysDave loved catching up with some of his Hong Kong buddies. ics gang weddingThe wedding provided a wonderful opportunity to reunite with old friends and teaching colleagues. I wonder who will plan a wedding for next summer that just might bring another group of us together again?

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ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 1

ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 2

Visit to a Colorado Microbrewery and the Barry Manilow Concert That Wasn’t To Be

ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 3

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ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 3

biking in denverOur first morning in Denver a bunch of our Hong Kong friends met downtown. Emily who lives in Denver and taught with us at ICS had arranged for bicycles to do a driving tour of the city.  Dave tried getting on one of the bikes, but it wasn’t to be.

man on crutches walking in denverSo we arranged to meet the others for lunch and Dave and I went off on our own adventure. Denver art gallery

First we went into the Denver Art Gallery shop to buy a card for the wedding reception we would be attending later in the day. Dave also bought new sunglasses. Denver Public Library

We walked by the impressive Denver Public Library on our way to……………

Denver History Museumthe Colorado History Museum.  It was an excellent museum. We learned about the Japanese internment camps in Colorado during World War II.  We saw a small Colorado town the way it would have looked at the turn of the century. We saw a photo exhibit called The American Soldier. biking in denver

When we came out of the museum our friends were waiting for us. lunch at the wynkoop

We went to the Wynkoop for lunch. The Wynkoop was founded by Colorado’s governor John Hickenlooper and is said to be the business which initiated the renewal of Denver’s downtown area. Jack a former ICS  teacher from Chicago and his two daughters joined us for lunch. marylou and the two emily's Here I am with the two Emilys. They were both my teaching colleagues at ICS in Hong the wynkoop in denverDave entertains the group at the Wynkoop with a story. touring the wynkoopBefore we left we took a tour of the Wynkoop building which was built in 1899 and was initially used as a mercantile where ranchers, miners and city dwellers bought supplies. 

Then we all went to our respective hotels to get ready for the wedding reception in the evening. 

huddled to watch barry manilowI’m going to include a photo our friend Mike just sent of our adventures at the Barry Manilow concert. We are braving the cold and wind at 10:30 pm. waiting for Barry to perform. You can read about our experience here

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ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 1

ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 2

Visit to a Colorado Microbrewery and the Barry Manilow Concert That Wasn’t To Be

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Visit to a Colorado Microbrewery and the Barry Manilow Concert That Wasn’t

IMG_6118On our drive from the YMCA Snow Mountain resort to Denver, we stopped in Boulder to have supper on the sunny patio of a microbrewery with some of our Hong Kong friends.  

boulder beer brewery and pub menuThe menu was interesting and we ordered a variety of sandwiches and sides. 

IMG_6123The guys decided to share a brewery sampler. guys at boulder beerIt offered small portions of the fifteen kinds of beer the microbrewery carried. marylou at boulder beer

I never drink beer but our friend Mike read the descriptions of the beer and one had banana and cloves in the ingredients so I figured it was worth a try and I liked it!sweaty betty

It was called Sweaty Betty. microbrewery boulder beer

At a microbrewery you can watch them making beer and see the various machines that are used in the process. funkiphino at boulder beer

There was a great band entertaining called Funkiphino. They did lots of covers but also some of their own music. rainbow at red rocks

We had tickets to a Barry Manilow concert at the famous outdoor amphitheatre Red Rocks for eight o’clock in the evening. As we drove up to the site a beautiful rainbow seemed a harbinger of good luck. parking at red rocks amphitheatre

But as we parked the car the first raindrops started to fall and then the downpour started. Lightening forked  across the sky and the wind began to pick up. entry to red rocks amphitheatre

After waiting in the car for quite some time for the rain to stop we finally braved the elements and went into the theatre. beatles at red rocks

The guys decided to explore the venue before the concert despite the bad weather but I took refuge in the Red Rocks museum that had posters of all the music groups who have entertained at Red Rocks in the past including The Beatles. red rocks concerts 1972

I had been to Red Rocks once before in 1972 when I was in college and was leading a service experience for teens. The museum had plaques for each year Red Rocks has been a concert venue and all the concerts for each year are listed. I found the 1972 plaque. The Pete Seeger/Arlo Guthrie show I had attended on July 1, 1972 was there.  The 1972 list had lots of music greats like Sonny and Cher, John Denver, The Carpenters, Neal Diamond and Joan Baez. 

red rocks amphitheatre denverThe concert was delayed till there would be a break in the weather and we  waited inside and outside till 10 o’clock still hopeful the concert would go on. red rocks at night denver

At 10 o clock we made our way to our seats along with about half the initial crowd, other die hards like us who were determined to see a concert. They started to set up the stage, but the wind was vicious and lights swayed, drums blew away and lightning illuminated the sky. We huddled under blankets our friend and former ICS colleague Emily who lives in Denver had rocks amphitheatre at night

Finally at 10:30 they said unfortunately the concert would have to be cancelled. We were disappointed but also wet and cold and I at least was ready to head to our hotel.  This proved to be another adventure since the storm had caused a power outage in the area of the city where our hotel was located and they refused to check us in for safety reasons. Luckily the power went back on just as we were about to leave the hotel parking lot and we were able to head for bed after a long day. 

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ICS Reunion in Colorado – Part 1

ICS Reunion in Colorado – Part 2

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ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 2

checking the mapWe left the YMCA camp our third day in Colorado to drive to Denver where Jon and Cath’s wedding reception would be held. We traveled with four other ICS friends. Here Tad and Daniel and Mike are checking out our route through the Rocky Mountain National Park along the Trail Ridge Road. 

stretchingThe scenery was breathtaking all along the way.  You felt like stopping constantly to take photos. The first time we pulled into a lookout point to admire the view Dave and Rebekah did a little stretching. IMG_6084
We stopped next at the Alpine Visitor Centre.IMG_6085

And who should be there but fellow former ICSers Jeff and Susan Herzog and their family. Here is Susan with her boys. 

IMG_6086This is the trail we climbed to the top of the mountain. me at alpine visitor centre coloradoI sure noticed how the altitude impacted my lung capacity. rebekah and me alpine visitor centre colorado

Rebekah was kind enough to walk with me and we stopped to take a photo along the way. guys on the peak at alpine visitor centre

Tad, Mike and Daniel pose at the peak. elk at alpine visitor centre

A herd of elk greeted us at the top of our climb. Look at those antlers!dave and rebekah coloradoDave couldn’t make the climb because of his crutches but Rebekah told him all about it when we came back down.

elk crossing the road rocky mountain national park

After we’d started on our journey again we were stopped by a herd of elk that seemed to be deciding whether to cross the road or not.elk in rocky mountain national park

Some elk  had already crossed the highway and were relaxing on the other side. 

elk in rocky mountain national park

This elk was taking a contented nap unaware of all the people looking at him. trail ridge road coloradoOur friend Jon had recommended we drive the Trail Ridge Road.  What a great suggestion. We saw Colorado at its most magnificent!

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ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 1

ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 2

ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 3

ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 4

ICS Reunion in Colorado- Part 5

The Barry Manilow Concert That Wasn’t

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