Monthly Archives: October 2018

Where I’m From

Where I’m From

I am from sausage smoking,

From shoe polish and Easter bonnets

I am from “swords into plowshares”

The wind rustling the Russian olive trees round Grandma and Grandpa’s house

And Mom playing the piano for hours on Sunday afternoons


I am from swimming in seaweed and reading endless books

From Paul and Dorothy

From ‘use your common sense’ and ‘I was just thinking of you’

From ‘it will be better by the time you’re a grandmother’

And ‘oh piffle.’


I am from Diedrich and Margaretha and Peter and Annie’s branch

Sommer borscht and chili soup

From Grandma’s arm getting caught in the washer wringer

And Grandpa baking bread for thousands of soldiers


In the closet in the second bedroom

is an old battered bin

Jam packed with photos and slides and stories

I am from that jumble of memories

If I can arrange them just right will I find my place in the family landscape?

I’ve used this poem pattern from George Ella Lyon before on this blog.  The poem above is one I wrote as a sample for a women’s retreat I’m spoke at on the weekend. 

marylou kaaren and carol

My cousin, sister and me in Easter bonnets


With my maternal grandparents Peter and Annie Schmidt

parents 1955

With my parents and sister in 1955


Filed under Family

A Writing Inheritance From Two Grandparents

For my  birthday my aunt took me out for a lovely lunch and gave me a present that had belonged to my grandfather.  My aunt was doing volunteer work in California in the 1960s when my grandparents visited her there. My grandfather was very interested in the state’s giant redwood trees. So my aunt gifted him with this redwood pen stand. She kept it when Grandpa died and decided to pass it on to me for my birthday, since I like to write. 

redwood pen setI love this gift.  I had never really thought of my paternal grandfather as a writer till we moved to Arizona for a year in 1989 and Grandpa took to writing me letters, perhaps with this very pen.  They were interesting letters and full of words of wisdom and advice. grandparents writing tools

I have placed Grandpa’s pen set on a shelf in my living room next to a letter writing set that belonged to my maternal grandmother, Annie Jantz Schmidt. I inherited it when she died.  It has a holder for a pen, an ink pot, a small stamp container and a rack for envelopes.  My mother often talked about what beautiful handwriting my grandmother had. 

I love having these two pieces of writing memorabilia from my two grandparents.  

Other posts……..

A Lament For Letters

A Pen or a Wing?

The Writing Life


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The Same Race

“We are all running the same race.  We are all going to the same place.”

The_Once_band- wikipediaOn Tuesday night courtesy of my cousin and her husband we attended a concert at the West End Cultural Centre featuring the talented musical trio The Once.  The Newfoundland band members have a wonderful on stage chemistry and blend their voices in rich and interesting harmonies.  I enjoyed many of their songs but the one whose lyrics stuck with me was called We Are All Running.

The line in the song that is repeated over and over is………

“We are all running the same race.  We are all going to the same place.

I did some reflecting on the meaning of that line.

We are all running the same race.  


Golden_Rule_by_Norman_Rockwell public domain

The Golden Rule by Norman Rockwell

Whether we are Caucasian or African or Indigenous or Asian we are all participating in the race of life hoping to find happiness, security and peace of mind. 

Whether we are rich or poor or middle class we all running the race of life to achieve the very best outcomes for our families and those we love. 

Whether we are Conservatives or Liberals or New Democrats or Green Party members we all involved in the race of life with the goal of making our communities, our country and our world a safer, more prosperous and more peaceful place to live now and in the future. 

Whether we are Buddhists or Muslims or Christians or Hindus we are all pondering the race of life in order to find meaning, hope and spiritual blessing. 

Whether we are men or women or transgender, straight or gay or bisexual we are all journeying together on the race of life desiring to discover who we are and how we can connect to others in meaningful ways. 

We are all running the same race and in the end we are all hoping to arrive at the same place- we all basically desire the same outcomes for ourselves and our families and our communities. 

street mural canada's children saskatoon

Mural of Canada’s children on Broadway in Saskatoon


Listen to The Once singing We Are All Running. 

The song’s lyrics can be found here .


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Filed under Music, Newfoundland

It Caught Georgia O’ Keefe’s Eye Too

desert flower“What a beautiful flower growing in the middle of the desert.”  I was on a hike with friends in the Red Cliff Desert Reserve in St. George Utah, when I caught sight of this lovely flower. I took several photos and since it was a bit windy one friend even held a blossom still so I could photograph it better. jimson weed red cliffs desert reserve st. georgeA few days later I was visiting an art gallery and saw a reproduction of a painting by famous southwest artist Georgia O’Keefe. “That’s the same flower,” I said recognizing the flower I’d photographed in the desert. georgia-okeeffe-painting

Turns out it wasn’t a flower at all but the Jimson Weed, a  plant that originated in Mexico but has now spread throughout the southwest and…… Georgia O’Keefe was just as enamored with the flowering plant as I was.  She painted several different versions of it. 

jimson weed 2 by georgia o keefe

Kind of made me feel special to know I shared an artistic eye with someone like Georgia O’ Keefe. jimson weed utah

Other posts………..

Desert Walk

Georgia O’ Keefe Inspired Me


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Filed under Nature, Utah

A Great Exhibit – A Great Book- And a Great Coincidence

The next novel in the Books and Brushes series at the Winnipeg Art Gallery is Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.  Our book club meets on November 13 at 11:30. I am leading the session this time and the book that’s been chosen is a perfect fit with our current exhibit The 80s Image.  I have just finished Tell the Wolves I’m Home and already have lots of ideas for ways to connect it with the art on display.  

220px-Tell_The_Wolves_I'm_Home_cover_pageTell the Wolves I’m Home takes place in 1987. Fourteen year old June Elbus has just lost the person she loved most in the world her uncle Finn Weiss who was a famous artist.  Finn died of AIDS something that people don’t really want to talk about in 1987.  

Tell the Wolves I’m Home is filled with intriguing cultural connections.  The musical South Pacific plays a role, as does The Cloisters art museum in New York, the Middle Ages and its literature and art and……….. Mozart’s Requiem.  LestWeForgetPosterv2And by happy coincidence the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir is performing Mozart’s Requiem at the St. Boniface Cathedral on November 11 just two days before the Books and Brushes session on November 13. You can learn more about that performance here. 

AIDS by the art collective General Idea- 1988

So you can go and hear the requiem and then come to the WAG to see pieces in our 80s Images exhibit and talk about the role the art as well as Mozart’s music played in Tell the Wolves I’m Home.

You can register for Books and Brushes here.   Our Books and Brushes program at the Winnipeg Art Gallery is a joint venture with McNally Robinson.  You can buy the book at their Grant Park Store.  Hope to see you on November 13. 


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Filed under Art, Books, winnipeg art gallery

Zion National Park- A Place of Worship

trees zion national parkWhen pioneer Isaac Behunin saw the rock formations in what is now Utah’s Zion National Park in 1863 he is said to have exclaimed “These are the temples of God, built without human hands. You can worship God among these great cathedrals as well as in any church. ”  He called the place Zion because it is a religious term used to describe a place of worship, refuge and sanctuary. We spent last Sunday in that place of worship.  

tree roots and shadows zion

I loved the gnarled roots of this tree and the design the leaves made on the  path

rainbow zion national park

Rainbow on the rocks on the path to the Emerald Pools

river walk zion national park

On the River Walk hike

mountains zion national park

waterfall zion national park

Water cascading down over our trail

dave zion

zion utah

Other posts……….

Sunday Worship on the Skerwink Trail in Newfoundland

Sunday Morning Worship with Quakers in Costa Rica

Sunday Worship in Quebec City

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And The Moral Of The Story Is?

Along with a group of friends we saw the movie A Star is Born in St. George Utah where we were vacationing. After the film we went to eat supper at a Thai restaurant and chatted a bit about the film. Someone asked  “What do you think was the moral of the film’s story?”

star is bornMy husband quoted a line from the film about the importance of having something to say that other people want to hear.  Could the moral of the film be that the reason we are here on earth is share an important message in a way that will make people listen.  Someone in our group said that in order to do that you need talent. He didn’t think he had the neccesary kind of talent.  

I countered saying everyone has talents but we don’t all cultivate our talents or use them to the best of our ability. The wife of the man who said he had no talents supported me and told her husband just what a talented man he was in many ways. 

So there you have the moral of the film.  

We need to believe we are talented.  We should recognize and cultivate our talents. We need to use our talents to share a message we think is important.  

Other posts…….

Won’t You Be My Neighbour?

What If You Could No Longer Do the Thing You Love the Most?

What a Great Dad!


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Filed under Movies