Monthly Archives: September 2015

The T-4’s Solve a Mystery

t-4s mystery night enigmaOn Saturday my friends and I met at Enigma Escapes a new kind of entertainment option in Winnipeg that is really fun.  We were locked in a room and had exactly one hour to find the lost jewel of Zanzibar. We had to unearth many different kinds of clues in the room and figure out how they all fit together.  We needed to follow maps, solve riddles, break codes and decipher puzzles to locate the jewel.  We were a pretty good team and even finished a few minutes before our hour was up.  I can’t tell you much more because I don’t want to spoil your experience if you decide to try to find the lost jewel of Zanzibar. 

Other posts……….

Make New Friends But Keep the Old


Pine Ridge Hollow


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Portraits in Hope

This weekend I’m busy preparing a sermon for next Sunday on the theme of hope. I will tell stories about three grandmothers from our family who immigrated to Canada from Ukraine.oma and opa's exit papers (1)My husband Dave’s Oma Margaretha Friesen Driedger shown here with her husband Abram, daughter Agatha and son Cornelius just before leaving Ukraine for Canada

My husband's mother's family just before leaving from Lichtenau. His mother Anne is the little girl on her mother's lap.

Dave’s maternal Oma Gertrude Unrau Enns shown here with her husband Heinrich, four sons Peter, Henrich, Johann and Diedrich and two daughters Gertrude and Anne just before leaving Ukraine for Canada gm hired girl friesens_1024 (1)and my maternal grandmother Margareta Sawatsky Peters shown here with the children from a family for whom she worked as a nanny just after coming to Canada.
Preparing to tell these stories from a new angle is helping me gain an even greater appreciation for the strength and courage of my family’s female ancestors.
Other posts…………..

My Grandmother was a Guitarist

Heinrich and Gertrude Enns- A Family Story 

The School for the Deaf- My Father-in-Law’s Birthplace 

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What Are Kids Looking For In A Teacher?

I am retired now but when I was still teaching high school one of my first writing assignments each fall was asking my English classes what they were looking for in a teacher. 

advanced comp classFirst I told them what I was looking for in a student. I am looking for students who enjoy reading and writing and want to take creative risks in the area of self-expression. I’m hoping the people I teach will share their ideas freely, be ready to work together, have a positive attitude and be honest about letting me know what I can do to make our classroom an interesting, rewarding place to spend time. I want my students to learn to think more keenly and critically as they read, listen and view. I want my students to learn to communicate more effectively as they write, speak and represent. I fully expect that being their guide in that process will help me learn and grow in all those areas as well.

with advanced comp classThen I would ask them to write about what they were looking for in a high school English teacher. 

My highschool journalism class in Hong KongMany  encouraged me to make class interesting so they could look forward to coming. They told me I should try to be imaginative, joyful, spunky, outgoing, lively and enthusiastic. Some students felt fairness was the most important quality in a teacher, while others said they appreciated a sense of humour and an easygoing attitude. I was urged to smile, be patient and exude confidence.

high school students and teacher in spainQuite a number of students emphasized the need for restraint when giving assignments. “Please remember that LIFE often gets in the way of school”, they reminded me.

advisory picI was asked to provide opportunities for all students to get equally involved in the class, no matter what their talents and abilities and some expressed the hope that I would respect everyone’s beliefs and have the ability to “think outside the box”.
tour group in israelI received a myriad of valuable tips! Be organized. Make assignments enjoyable. Explain things clearly. Know when to step in and when to step back. Be passionate about learning. Help students appreciate literature. Teach us some lessons we can apply outside the classroom. Be ready to give second chances. Share good advice. Reward us for participation and effort. Encourage creativity and artistry. Don’t insist things be done your way only!

Although I am no longer a teacher I think many of the pieces of advice I received from my students are helpful in other relationships as well. 

Other posts about education……

It’s the Principal of the Thing

Stopping By Woods-A Children’s Masterpiece

Feeling Nostalgic


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farmer irrigating rice paddy in vietnam

Farmer irrigating rice paddy in Vietnam

my brother with pig farmers in china

My brother with pig farmers in China

jamaican farmer with her banana tree

Jamaican farmer with banana tree

my father with tomato produce from his garden

My Dad with produce on his farmyard

farmers milking cows in ukraine

Farmers milking cows in Ukraine

My great niece picking apples in southern Ontario

My great niece picking apples in southern Ontario

kiwi farmer new zealand

Kiwi farmer New Zealand

sons gathering eggs grandparents barn

My sons gathering eggs on their grandparents’ farm

fruit and vegetable farmers selling their wares in fiji

Fijji fruit and vegetable farmers selling their wares

Other posts……
At the Apple Orchard
On my Grandparents Farm
Fiji Inspiration

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Food Links

bon appetemtWhat food is associated with different people in your life?  Bon Appetempt A Coming of Age Story by Amelia Morris is a memoir/food book I read not long ago. Each chapter of Amelia’s life and the important people in it are somehow linked to certain foods. Morris’ book got me thinking about what foods might have connections with my family members. 

My Grandma and Grandpa Peters

My Grandma and Grandpa Peters

My one grandma made wonderful chicken noodle soup. She prepared everything from scratch. Caught, killed and cooked the chicken, cut the noodles from dough she made, added her own special spices to the broth.  I remember she brought me a jar of her chicken noodle soup when she came to visit me after I had given birth to her first  great- grandson. My younger son was so enamored with his great grandmother’s soup when he was six he wrote and illustrated a story about how she made her soup.

My mother-in-law and father-in-law

My mother-in-law and father-in-law

My husband’s mother made the best beef roasts I’ve ever tasted. She also baked excellent zwiebach (a Mennonite bun that is really two buns in one) and her grandchildren loved her homemade donuts.  My older son once wrote a book in school about all the things he loved in the world and on the last page he wrote “but most of all I love my Oma’s homemade donuts.” 

Dave making tortillas in our home on the Hopi Indian Reservation in 1990

Dave making tortillas in our home on the Hopi Indian Reservation in 1990

My husband Dave is very talented in the kitchen.  He makes a great Pad Thai,  a good taco casserole and is famous for his chili.

joel barbequesMy son has made us many wonderful meals but he is an especially gifted barbeque chef. Whether he’s grilling salmon, steaks or farmer’s sausage the results are sure to be delicious.

My Mom baking bread with my school class

My Mom baking bread with my school class

My mother was an excellent cook. Every year she would come to my school class to bake bread with my students and in December she came and helped them each make a bag full of peffernussen ( a German Christmas cookie) to take home to their families. Mom also baked and decorated beautiful birthday cakes, made delicious buns and great chocolate chip and white cookies with raisins inside. 

I could go on and on because I have so many friends and family members that are excellent cooks. Many important times in my life are associated with meals and the memorable people who prepared them and shared them with me. 

Other posts…….

What Presentation

A Memorable Meal


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A Train Introduces Me to a Fascinating Woman

countess of dufferin train winnipegAn iconic Winnipeg train introduced me to a fascinating woman. Last week my friend Esther and I were sketching The Countess of Dufferin train at the Railroad Museum located in Winnipeg’s Via Rail Station. Built in Philadelphia The Countess of Dufferin was the first steam locomotive in Canada’s north-west. She arrived in Winnipeg in 1877.  sketch countess of dufferin trainThe train was named after the wife of Canada’s Governor General in 1877.  Hariot Rowan Hamilton was married at age 19 to the Earl of Dufferin who was 36. She would have seven children, the youngest two born in Canada.  What a fascinating woman she was. 

Hariot was a good writer and her letters home to her mother in England were published later in a book. Hariot regularly attended sessions of the Canadian Parliament so she could report to her husband about what was going on. As Governor General he couldn’t attend Parliament since he was supposed to be above political partisanship.Hariot was politically savvy and was an excellent observer and commentator on the government proceedings of the day. 

toboggan_party ottawa countess of dufferin public domain

The Countess of Dufferin hosts a tobogganing party at Rideau Hall

Hariot was a vivacious hostess and during her tenure Rideau Hall, (the official residence of the Governor General in Canada) was home to amateur theatricals, in which she often performed  herself, fancy dress balls, picnics, dinners, concerts, cricket matches and tobogganing and skating parties. She traveled across Canada with her husband all the way to Prince Edward Island in the east and British Columbia in the west. After their term in Canada was finished Hariot accompanied her husband to diplomatic postings in St. Petersburg, Constantinople, India, Italy and France. She became well-recognized as a travel writer and photographer during the time she lived abroad. 

While her husband was in diplomatic service in India Hariot became very concerned about the lack of proper medical care for women whose husbands would not allow them to go to a hospital with male doctors or patients.  Harriet started a charitable fund and raised money to build three hospitals in Pakistan and three in India. These hospitals were exclusively for women and children. hariot rowan hamilton dufferin public domain Hariot’s family’s fortune was lost around the time her husband died in 1902 and she spent the last three decades of her life in a modest house in the Chelsea area of London. Sadly four of her sons preceded Hariot in death, one from pneumonia, one in a plane crash, another was killed in the Boer War and a fourth in World War I. 

sketch countess of dufferinHariot didn’t have an easy life but she set a new standard for society and culture in Canada’s capital. She engaged with Canadians from coast to coast as she traveled with her husband. countess of dufferin train winnipeg 2There is a Dufferin School in Winnipeg, a Dufferin Street in Toronto and of course an iconic train named The Countess of Dufferin in the railroad museum in Winnipeg. 

Other posts…..

Four Interesting Couples

Agnes McDonald’s Railroad Adventure

German POW’s in Manitoba

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Dave At The Top of the World

I took these photos of my husband Dave at the top of the Human Rights Museum. I think they actually reveal quite a bit about what kind of person he is.

dave human rights museum

Having an animated discussion with Ivan, a former student from Hong Kong who was visiting us in Winnipeg.
chatting at the top of hrm winnipegChatting with a woman he and Ivan met, another visitor to Winnipeg. dave-english-familyHelping a family from England find some landmarks on the Winnipeg horizon.dave sees goldeyes stadiumChecking out the Goldeyes baseball game being played way down below in their stadium. Can he see who is winning?
looking out over the city from the human rights museum

Looking out over the city and thinking.

Other posts……..
Looking at Stuff in a Different Way

First Visit to the Human Rights Museum

Dave Meets Rose 

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