Monthly Archives: January 2015

Arizona Days- Second Edition

We are coming to the end of our fourth week in Gold Canyon Arizona. The last two weeks were not so different than the first two weeks. 

golfing at superstition

More golf rounds with good friends

Reading more good books. I’m finishing House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Dave has finished All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews.  I’m about to start The Weight of Water by Wally Lamb and Dave is starting 11/22/63 by Stephen King. 

Silly Mountain-003More hiking

More movies. We’ve seen A Most Violent Year, Alexander and the Horrible Terrible No Good Very Bad Day, Birdmanspaghetti dinner arizonaMore hosting friends for meals at our placebreakfast at sidewinderMore enjoying meals out with friends 

Some highlights…….

Spending a day at the Waste Management Open PGA golf tournament

Seeing Ron Janzen’s photos and hearing his stories about his trip with MCC to Syria and Jordan

Doing the Art Walk in Scottsdale

Getting a haircut and hearing the interesting life story of my hairdresser

Finding Tevas and Sketchers the only shoes I find comfortable on sale for about a quarter their usual price

Writing another chapter in my middle grade novel

Accepting a contract with Menno Media for curriculum writing

Visiting Butterfly Wonderland

Other posts about Arizona…..

Arizona Days- First Edition

Mailboxes of Distinction

Streets of Gold


Filed under Arizona, Family

Butterfly Wonderland

butterfliesThere are 28,000 species of butterflies. 

butterfly wonderlandButterflies live everywhere in the world except Antarctica. monarch butterfly

Those are just a few of the interesting things we learned at the Butterfly Wonderland in Phoenix.  3D glassesWe started our visit by donning 3D glasses and watching a film about the amazing migration of monarch butterflies. That migration spans a year and takes three generations of butterflies to complete. 

butterflies hatchingAfter the film we went into a gallery where we could watch butterflies hatching from their chrysalises.atriumThe highlight of the visit was spending time in this atrium where there were hundreds of thousands of butterflies each more beautiful than the other dave taking picsYou wanted to take photos of them all. butterfly wonderlandWe learned there are representations of butterflies in frescoes from Thebes in Egypt that are 3,500 years old.
butterfly wonderlandMost butterflies only live for two weeks.monarch butterfliesButterflies bodies are covered with scales that create the beautiful colors and patterns you see. butterflies eatingButterflies taste with their feet, smell with their antennae and have no teeth. butterfly world phoenixSkipper butterflies can fly up to 37 miles per hour. aquarium butterfly wonderflandButterfly Wonderland also had an aquarium. touching a sting rayAnd a tank where you could touch a stingray. butterfly wonderflandButterfly Wonderland was definitely worth the visit.  

Other posts about nature…..

White Tailed Deer Keep Delicate Their Counsels Wild

Flooding at Birch Point

Alligators All Around

Leave a comment

Filed under Arizona, Nature

A Memorable Meal

dinner citizen public house scottsdaleWe had the best meal of our vacation so far at the Citizen Public House in Scottsdale.  Dave and I shared everything and it was all just delightful. kilt lifter fondueWe started with the Kilt Lifter Fondue and a plate of olives. The fondue offered crisp pears, crusty bread and smoked meats for dipping. chopped salad citizen public housemoved on to the artfully presented Original Chopped Saladoriginal chopped salad citizen public houseexpertly tossed by our waiteramaro meat loaf citizen public house scottsdaleand finished with the Amaro Meatloaf- with smashed Yukon Gold potatoes, roasted zucchini, veal demi-glace and mushroom cream. 


Our friends had the dessert Pig in the Orchard – a bacon and apple bread pudding which they dubbed delicious. But we were too full. We’ll have to go back another time to try it. 

Other food posts……


Where are the Recipes?

Making Chinese Dumplings

Leave a comment

Filed under Arizona, Food, Restaurants

9 Questions After Seeing Birdman

After the movie Birdman was over I asked my husband Dave what he thought the movie was about. What was it trying to say? He said he knew exactly what it was about and what it was trying to say but……. he wasn’t telling me.

You’re doing this because you’re scared to death, like the rest of us, that you don’t matter. And you know what? You’re right. You don’t. It’s not important. You’re not important. Get used to it.

– line of dialogue from Birdman

 Birdman is basically the story of an actor famous for playing a super hero who is putting his reputation and wealth on the line to stage and star in a Broadway play. Two of my Facebook friends and former teaching colleagues who are movie aficionados had vastly different  opinions on the movie.  One said he’d walked out after a few minutes because he felt it was a complete waste of his time and another said it was one of the year’s best movies.

I wanted to write one of my usual five things I’ll remember about the movie blog  post but in this case I’m going to write a list of questions I have after seeing the movie, because mostly that’s what Birdman did for me. Made me ask questions. 

1. What things in life truly bring  joy? Is it possible for me to figure that out definitively,write a list and use it to prioritize what to do with my time?

2. Do actors become at least in part the characters they play?  Do writers become at least in part the characters they write about?   

3. Might it be worth it to sacrifice family life, at least in part, for professional success and/or fulfillment?

4. Who decides what is good/great literature or drama or film?  

5. Should we care more about our opinion of ourselves or others’ opinions of us?

6. What is love in the end?  What is the purest form of love?

7. Are human beings important in the whole history of this planet? Do we matter?

8. Is death truly the best option for some people? Are there times in people’s lives where there is simply no other way out? 

9. If you want a relationship to last and be healthy for you, should you be able to write a list of good reasons to love someone? 

Other posts about movies……

Winnipeg and Mennonites in Gone Girl

Love in a Lunch Box

Five Things I’ll Remember About American Sniper

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

Dave Driedger- Nature Photographer

dave photographerCould this be my husband?  Normally my husband Dave doesn’t like to take photos.  I have to beg or blackmail him to do so.  However on our visit to Butterfly Wonderland here in Phoenix he said wistfully as he watched people snapping photos of breathtakingly beautiful butterflies, “I wish I had a camera.”  What could I do?  dave photographerI turned over the camera to him and watched him at work for the next forty five minutes or so.  The pictures in this post were all taken by him. butterfly butterfly wonderland phoenix

yellow butterfly butterfly wonderland phoenix

moth butterfly wonderland phoenix

butterfly wonderland phoenix

butterfly wonderland phoenix

butterfly wonderland phoenix

butterfly wonderland phoenix

butterfly wonderland phoenix

butterfly wonderland phoenix

butterfly wonderland phoenix

Other posts about Dave….

Bending Over Backwards

Dave’s Vision Quest

Happy Birthday Dave


Filed under Arizona, Family, Nature

Australian Inspiration

turtle in australiaLove makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place. -Zora Neale Hurston

ship in the sydney harborIt is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage. – George William Curtis

man falling off surf board in australiaThe greatest accomplishment is not in never falling but in rising again after you fall.  – Vince Lombardi

sydney opera houseGreat buildings that move the spirit have always been rare. In every case they are unique, poetic, products of the heart.- Arthur Erickson

aboriginal art australiaMake a joyful noise-  Psalm 98:4flowers in sydneyThere are always flowers for those who want to see them.-  Henri Matisse

koala in taronga zoo Rest is not idleness- John Lubbock

sydney harbor bridgeI am where I am because of the bridges that I crossed.-  Oprah Winfrey

I took all the photos in this post on our trip to Australia in 2010. 

Other posts about Australia…...

Edge of the Trees- An Aboriginal Perspective

Lessons From the Sydney Opera House

A Curious and Troubling Nativity Scene


1 Comment

Filed under australia, Inspiration, Reflections

The Missing Wife

My husband Dave is playing on a slow pitch ball team during our months here in Arizona. Once a week he heads off for four or five hours to play a game and then unwind at a social gathering at one of the player’s homes.   There are fourteen fellows on Dave’s team and he tells me thirteen wives  show up for each game to cheer on their husbands and then join them for after-the-game refreshments. I’m the only missing wife. 

My husband during his ball playing days for the Steinbach Stealers many years ago- photo courtesy of the Carillon

My husband during his ball playing days for the Steinbach Stealers many years ago- photo courtesy of the Carillon

Truth be told I’ve always enjoyed watching my husband play ball but he is such a social butterfly that my days here in Arizona fill up quickly with all kinds of activities he organizes for us.  His ball-playing Tuesdays are my opportunity to have some uninterrupted time to tackle a myriad of writing projects I had hoped to pursue during our  winter hiatus in the south. 

I will get to one of Dave’s games yet before we leave Arizona but for now I will continue to be the missing wife. 

Other posts about wives…..

The Aviator’s Wife

A Man Affectionately Deplored by his Wife

Alfred Hitchcock’s Wife- The Making of Psycho


Leave a comment

Filed under Arizona, Sports