Monthly Archives: May 2015

What’s in a Name?

Bathsheba Everdene is the heroine of Thomas Hardy’s novel Far From the Madding Crowd. I saw the movie version on Sunday night starring Carey Mulligan as the beautiful Bathsheba.  The first time her name was mentioned in the movie I realized Hardy’s heroine was the namesake of the Biblical King David’s wife and that she shared a last name with Katniss Everedeen the heroine of The Hunger Games books. 

Bathsheba by Artemisia Gentilesc

Bathsheba by Artemisia Gentileschi

Just like the Old Testament Bathsheba, Hardy’s Bathsheba attracts the attention of more than one man. King David had Bathsheba’s husband Uriah killed so he could marry her. One of the men in love with Bathsheba in Far From the Madding Crowd also kills Bathsheba’s husband. This eventually leads to her second marriage.  

Suzanne Collins the author of The Hunger Games books says that she did indeed name her heroine Katniss Everdeen after the main character in Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd. According to Collins, “The two are very different, but both struggle with knowing their hearts”.

There’s more than the intriguing name of the heroine to attract a viewer to Far From the Madding Crowd.  I was completely engaged by the excellent story and the spunky, independent Bathsheba Everdene a woman who was way ahead of her time!

Other posts…….

Mennonite Names at the Movies

I’m Her Namesake

Putting Stories and Faces to Names

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Filed under Books, Movies

Couples in the Library

I was working in the Millenium Library on Saturday afternoon.  I looked up from my computer and there were couples on either side of me. 

 On my left was a bridal party having their pictures taken on the steps of the library. 

Out the window to my right a male and female duck were perched on the concrete border around the pond. 

I went to the library to work so I wouldn’t be distracted. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Other posts……

The Millenium Library

Wedding in Minneapolis

Creatures I’ve Photographed

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How do you like living in Japan?

We saw the movie Kumiko The Treasure Hunter last night.  A delusional girl from Japan goes to Minnesota in search of a treasure she mistakenly thinks is buried there. She has watched the movie Fargo and sees a character in the film bury a suitcase of money in the snow.  She is determined to find it. As Kumiko walks down the Minnesota highway a police officer picks her up. She shows him her DVD of  Fargo and tries to explain her quest.  The police officer wants  her to understand the treasure isn’t real so he takes Kumiko to a Chinese restaurant and asks the owner to translate for him.  He seems surprised the restaurant owner doesn’t speak the same language as Kumiko. “I speak Mandarin,” she says. “Not Japanese.” My highschool journalism class in Hong KongThis reminded me of the years we spent teaching in the Chinese city of Hong Kong.  During our summer trips home we would meet people and tell them we worked in Hong Kong. “Oh! How do you like living in Japan?” they would say or “We know someone who teaches in Japan.”  It made me realize how little many North Americans know about Asia, its geography or the many different countries within the continent.  Other posts…..

Japanese Surprises

Japanese Pancakes

Baseball Osaka Style

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Filed under China, Hong Kong, Japan, Movies

On Love and Courage

february baby 1979

You don’t find love. It finds you. -Anais Nin

woman on camelLife shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. – Anais Nin

Other posts……….

Meeting Wayan From Eat Pray Love

Dancing in Shang rila

A Listening Love

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The Crazy Man

That's me in the back row with my family in the mid-sixties

That’s me in the back row with my family in the mid-sixties

I was a twelve year old girl growing up in a small prairie community in 1965, just like Emaline, the heroine of Pamela Porter’s book The Crazy Man. That’s probably why I read the novel in a single gulp. I couldn’t bear to leave the beautifully written free verse story that had so many connections to things I remembered. 

pamela porter the crazy man I can still see myself sitting in my classroom listening to the special radio broadcast to celebrate the fact that Canada got a new flag in 1965.  So these words of Emaline’s resonated with me. 

” I like the new flag. Some don’t……don’t like anything new or different.”

I also remember learning about Martin Luther King at school and even having a debate about civil rights in class. So I identified with Emaline when she said….

“I saw a picture in the newspaper we get at school about a parade in Selma, Alabama where a preacher named Dr. King and some others marched across a bridge….couple little girls in that picture wore patent leather shoes and coats like they were on their way to church, and they were holding somebody’s hand, marching right towards the policemen.” 

When Emaline’s father abandons the family, her mother hires Angus to help run the farm. Angus is a former resident of a nearby facility for the mentally ill. This causes consternation in the community. Emaline says……”Letters in the paper said mental cases shouldn’t be allowed going into our shops and walking around our streets.  They want the police to keep the deranged from creating chaos.”

Swing-LowI was shocked at the way people with mental illness were treated and ostracized in the small Saskatchewan town which is the setting for The Crazy Man, but probably that’s the way it was in my hometown too in 1965. Canadian author Miriam Toews who grew up in the same prairie community I did, writes movingly in her book Swing Low about how her father hid his struggle with depression  because of the social stigma attached to the illness. 

Last week at my writing group I shared the first draft of what I hope is going to be a series of stories about what life was like in the 1960s for kids.  Suzanne, one of my writing group members, gave me Pamela Porter’s book The Crazy Man to inspire me. It certainly has!

Other posts ……..

Childhood Photos

On My Grandparents’ Farm


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Filed under Books, Canada, Childhood, History, Writing

Poseidon- Finding Greek and Roman Gods in Winnipeg


Poseidon Bay is just off Grant Avenue in Winnipeg.  It bears the name of the Greek God Poseidon who together with his two brothers Zeus and Hades had a powerful triumvirate.  Hades was in charge of the underworld, Zeus the sky and Poseidon the sea. Poseidon had a temperamental personality.  In a bad mood he could cause huge sea storms and earthquakes. In a good mood he would create new islands and offer calm seas to sailors.  Poseidon’s city was Atlantis which was under the sea. 

The Pan Am Pool is on Poseidon Bay. It seems fitting that a swimming pool would be located on a street named for the God of the Sea. 

There are a number of pieces in the current Olympus exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery that pay tribute to the god Poseidon.  On the bottom of this kylix or drinking cup you can see Poseidon holding his signature trident. 

Nearby is a statue of Poseidon’s son Triton.

Other posts about Greek and Roman gods in Winnipeg….




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Missing my Mom

This is my second Mother’s Day without my Mom and there is still rarely a day when I don’t think about her and miss her. Yesterday I attended a Pembina Trails Voices’ concert. Some words from the song Wanting Memories by Ysaye Barnwell resonated with me. 

mom holding newborn 1953I thought that you were gone, but now I know you’re with me.
You are the voice that whispers all I need to hear

me and mom 1954I know that I am blessed,
again, and again, and again, and again,
and, again.

marylou and mom dec. 23  The words of the song reminded me that my mother’s love continues to bless me and her voice of affirmation and faith still whispers to me when I need it most. 

Other posts……..

What Does Your Mother Do?

Mothers at the Met

Lord You Have Come to the Lakeshore

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Norman Rockwell- The Mennonite Connection

Saying Grace by Norman Rockwell

Saying Grace by Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell’s painting Saying Grace sold at auction in 2013 for $46 million.  It shows a grandmother and her grandson saying grace in a crowded diner. Rockwell painted the scene for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post-Thanksgiving issue in 1951.  In a contest held by the Saturday Evening Post, it was voted the most popular of the over 300 covers Rockwell did for them. Rockwell got the idea from a Saturday Evening Post reader who told him about a Mennonite family they had seen praying in a restaurant. 

Other posts…..

Norman Rockwell at the WInnipeg Art Gallery

Gossips-  If You Can’t Say Something Nice

Mennonites in Gone Girl

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MS Walk Year Four

ms walk 2015

This past Sunday was the fourth year I’ve participated in the Winnipeg MS Walk with my extended family.  Here I am with my aunt and cousin at the end of the 5 km. route which wended its way through the area around The Forks.  It was a warm day but very windy.  After the walk the twenty or so people in our clan all went out for lunch together.connieWe walk together in memory of my talented and beautiful cousin Connie who died of MS. Connie and I were born in the same year and were good friends throughout our lives. connie0005

There was a board along the way where we could leave a message about why we were walking. Here’s mine. 

ms walk messageOther posts…….

Walking for Connie

MS Walk 2013

The Whoop De Doo Clan

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Things That Come in Threes

Just had to cut this quiz for kids out of the curriculum I’m writing.  So I thought since I’d already compiled it I’d post it here and intersperse it with photos related to the number three I have saved on this blog.

Things That Come in Threes

What do you call three people who sing together?

A trio

What are the three ingredients in a BLT sandwich?

Bacon, lettuce and tomato

Me and my neice Hannah and my sister-in-law Linda

Three women from the Driedger family- me and my niece Hannah and my sister-in-law Linda in September 2014

Solid and liquid are two forms of matter. What is the third?


What are the three primary colors?

Red, blue, yellow

My grade three class at the Kornelson School in Steinbach

My grade three class at the Kornelson School in Steinbach in 1961

In what sport can you get three points for shooting the ball through a hoop from far away?


What fairy tale characters had to deal with wolf that wanted to destroy their homes?

The three little pigs

Three Ball 50/50 Tank by Jeff by Jeff Koons photographed at the MOMA in New York in 2012

Three Ball 50/50 Tank by  Jeff Koons photographed at the MOMA in New York in 2012

What part of your body has three tiny bones called the hammer, anvil and stirrup?

Your ear

My mom reading with her sisters around 1933.

Three Saskatchewan children. My mom reading with her sisters around 1933.

In what sport do you get three strikes before you are out?


What do you call a stand for a camera that has three legs?

A tripod

Three of my dear friends at Assiniboine Park in March 2012

Three of my dear friends at Assiniboine Park in March 2012

What geometric shape has three sides?

A triangle

What three things do Olympic athletes do if they are participating in a triathlon?

Swim, bike, run

Three young men. My father-in-law and two of his buddies in a camp for conscientious objectors during World War II

Three young men. My father-in-law on the far left and two of his buddies in a camp for conscientious objectors during World War II

What is made up of an electron, neuron and proton?

An atom

When a hockey player scores three goals in one game what is it called?

A hat trick

Other posts…….

Visiting the MOMA with my students

Autographs from a Conscientious Objector Camp

Hiking to the Tip of Canada

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