Monthly Archives: November 2019

A Recipe Book That Brings Back Memories

My aunt has been downsizing for a move and during the process, she found this recipe book I gave her for Christmas one year. I made the recipe books with my grade three class. We put them together as a fundraiser for the Junior Red Cross. I was curious about the Junior Red Cross and found out it was an international organization for kids that operated in conjunction with the Red Cross from 1919 to 1980.

Initially, they raised funds for nurseries for war orphans but during the late 1950s and early 1960s when my grade three class was involved, much of the money Canadian school children raised went to the Crippled Children’s Fund to pay for medical treatment for children in each province with physical disabilities. Remember this was a time when the polio vaccine was just starting to be used and there was no universal health care. My grade three teacher Mrs Kihn had obviously enrolled our class in the charitable efforts of the Junior Red Cross and selling our recipe books was a fundraiser. I can’t recall how much we charged for each book but I certainly remember making them. It was a long tedious process.

We put two little balls of plasticine on our desks and stuck a pencil in each one. Then we slid first the back cover, and then each of the forty-five pages of the book and the front cover one by one over the pencils which had been placed exactly the right distance apart. When we were done our teacher carefully slid the compiled recipe books off the pencils and inserted the plastic rings to hold them together. I think we each made five books to sell and let me tell you it took a long time. We had obviously brought recipes from home that our mothers had written out and sent along with us to school. At age eight I’d certainly never made sweet and sour spareribs and I am sure little Herby Peters who went on to become the managing partner of a large Winnipeg law firm had never made date cake. Our teacher Mrs Kihn must have typed all those recipes onto mimeograph sheets and copied them all on an old Gestetner machine. Then she will have cut them apart with a paper cutter and punched holes in each sheet. A laborious task indeed! And there were forty children in our class who each made five recipe books. That’s 200 hundred recipe books Mrs. Kihn prepared for us to put together. 

My grade three class at the Kornelson School in Steinbach. I am second from the left in the second last row and Herby is in the middle of the girls in the back row. 

Mrs Kihn went to great lengths to help her students become civic-minded young people who were motivated to help others. I don’t think I fully appreciated that when I was sliding all those pages over the pencils on the second floor of the old Kornelson School in Steinbach.  Now I do!

Other posts………

My Polio Vaccines

Kornelson School Memories

Duck and Cover


Filed under Childhood, Education, Health

The Olden Days

I was visiting one of my education students in a grade two class yesterday and she asked the children to spell the word statue. It was a hard word but one boy got it right.
“Can you tell us the strategy you used to spell that word?” my student teacher asked.
“I didn’t use a strategy,” the boy replied. “I had seen that word before……… sometime in the olden days.”
“The olden days?” the teacher smiled. “When was that?”
“When I was five, ” the six-year-old replied. 

Our sons each had their own Walkman

For my children the ‘olden days’ are the 1980s when kids still walked to and from school without their parents, computers were big clunky things, you went to the video store to pick up movies, you played with your Cabbage Patch doll or your Rubix Cube and you listened to music on your walkman.  

My Dad on the phone taking a medical call while we had supper

My ‘olden days’ are the 1950s when we had black and white televisions, phones couldn’t move from place to place with you in the house, women were mostly stay- at- home mothers, smoking was cool, we played with Barbie dolls and we listened to music on LPs we put on the record player.

My mom and her siblings and friends going to school in a horse-drawn wagon

My parents’ ‘olden days’ are the 1930s when most Canadians lived on farms and still used horses for work and transportation, women were recognized as ‘people’ for the first time by the law of the land, typewriters were an office staple and you ordered Christmas presents from the Eatons catalogue. 

 For a six-year-old, the ‘olden days’ are one year ago. Isn’t it interesting that as we age our ‘olden days’ change? 

Other posts………

My Grandmother’s Childhood

My Mother’s Childhood Christmases


1 Comment

Filed under Reflections

Christmas Books

I’m mailing the Christmas books today.  At the beginning of December, I send each of my grandchildren a pair of Christmas socks and a special book related to the season to read during Advent.  This will be my oldest grandson’s seventh Christmas book and my new granddaughter’s first. Sometimes the books are about the religious aspect of the holiday like this one I sent last year which told the nativity story with beautiful illustrations made from rocks.  Here are this year’s books. When I taught grade one and two I had sets of poems and songs for the children to learn for every theme we studied and Christmas was no exception.  I always included some poems by Jack Prelutsky. The kids loved his rhymes. I didn’t even know Jack Prelutsky’s poem book It’s Christmas was still in print so I was delighted to find it for my seven-year-old grandson who will probably be able to read most of these poems on his own. There are touching poems in the book like the one about a family caroling and poems that make you laugh out loud like the one about getting underwear for Christmas. As soon as I read this beautiful book I knew I wanted to buy it for my middle grandchild who is three years old and just loves stories. The first thing he said when I arrived at his home in Saskatoon on my last visit was, “Grandma did you bring books?”  He knows I always come with books to read to him. He is lucky to be growing up in a home filled with books and parents who love to read. Bear and Wolf is about two very different animals who strike up a friendship and go out and explore the natural world together. Their story warmed my heart.  In a time when many people in our world are being pushed apart by their differences and are failing to recognize that we can’t take the beauty of our natural world for granted, this story shows us what to do. It has a simple text and wonderfully interesting illustrations. For my granddaughter’s first Christmas book I chose Santa’s Cookie is Missing! Anne Passchier’s colourful illustrations leap off the page in this board book about the hunt to find the cookie left for Santa that has gone missing. My granddaughter just started to crawl and she is off on her own explorations now, so I thought she’d like this book about kids who explore their surroundings trying to find the missing cookie. Guess who ends up with it?

When my boys were little we lit the advent candles on our dining room table each evening in December and then read a story from the big basket full of Christmas books I kept under the table. I am happy the tradition of Christmas book reading is being carried on with the next generation.  

Other posts…….

Children’s Christmas Books- The Classics

A Christmas Tree For Readers

I Just Won a Cache of Great Children’s Books

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Holidays

Good News-Part 13

It’s true. 

Other good news stories.

Leave a comment

Filed under good news

The Bombers Grey Cup Victory is Exciting But…………..

Photo by Johany Jutras from the Blue Bomber website

“Did you watch the Grey Cup?” A man in the bus shelter yesterday morning struck up an immediate conversation with me about the Bombers Grey Cup win. People at my gym were chatting about the game in every corner. During the course of the day, I overheard many excited and positive conversations between strangers as I made my way around the city. It was nice to see people connecting and talking over their common love of football and Winnipeg. I went to a Grey Cup party on Sunday where there was great food, good friends, and people enjoyed cheering the Bombers on together. 

But………. despite all that good feeling I have to say that I have quite a number of doubts about the value of having a professional football team in Winnipeg.  Here are just a few. 

blue bomber victory

Photo by Frank Gunn Canadian Press

The risk for traumatic brain injury while playing the sport is significantly high. Does all the hoopla about the Bombers encourage more local kids to participate in a sport that we know can be extremely dangerous?

Investors_Group_Field_2014Our province under the leadership of Brian Pallister forgave almost 200 million dollars in loans used to build Investors Field in Winnipeg, where the Blue Bombers play. Winnipeg is facing all kinds of challenges right now.  The city is thinking about curtailing bus services, closing libraries, shutting down parks and swimming pools. The province isn’t stepping up to help ………….yet they had 200 million dollars available to provide support for a field where an elite group of men throw a ball around in an entertaining fashion. 

Photo of Zach Collaros from the CFL website

The average salary for a Manitoba teacher in 2019 was $53, 302.  Zach Collaros the Bomber’s quarterback makes around $500,000. When one compares the contributions teachers and football players make towards the betterment of society and its future things seem just a little skewed. 

Photo from the Winnipeg Cheer Team Facebook page

Football is a male-only sport.  Shouldn’t we be promoting sports that give women an equal opportunity to excel and a chance to make the same kind of money men do?  The most visible role women seem to have in the Bomber franchise is as cheerleaders.  They wear skimpy outfits, don’t get paid and “cheer” the men on.  Although I am sure the cheerleaders are really nice young women they don’t necessarily present the kind of equal opportunity role model I’d like to see for young girls. 

I don’t mean to be a wet blanket.  I won’t even complain too much this afternoon when the Grey Cup Parade is going to cause delays in my bus trips between work and volunteer commitments.  It’s great to see Winnipegers feeling positive about something and maybe that positivity will give us the energy to tackle some of the big challenges our city is facing and work towards the kinds of changes it is important for society to make. 

Other posts…………

The Shady Area Between Violence and Non-Violence

Super Bowl Ads- A Woman’s Perspective

1 Comment

Filed under Sports, Winnipeg

What’s Happening With Those T-4’s?

What’s happening with those T-4’s? I get asked that question sometimes by blog readers who have followed my adventures with a group of three friends. We have been meeting almost monthly for nearly a decade now and have visited art shows, gone mini-golfing, created art, read books, written poetry, gone to museums, walked labyrinths, solved mysteries and visited flea markets. We still get together regularly but in the last couple of years, we’ve found that just having an opportunity to talk and catch up on our lives is our top priority so our time together has been more low key and perhaps that’s why I haven’t written about us as often.

I think there are seasons in relationships and our group is in a season right now where various responsibilities and life events make it best to just find space and time to visit, share joys and concerns, and support one another.

The T-4s getting ready to share the complimentary piece of lemon meringue cake we received from the restaurant because we were celebrating my birthday

Our meeting on Saturday is a good example. We were at Pine Ridge Hollow. What a lovely venue and all decked out for Christmas! We were also celebrating my birthday because it had happened since our last meeting. I got such lovely thoughtful presents from the friends who know me oh so well. This card was made by my friend Debbie who highlights interests in my life in each square on its cover.  The four women in one square are the four of us.  Jane Fonda says that friendships with other women give us power, she calls them the ‘starch in our spine.’ She thinks those friendships are one of the reasons women live longer than men. I’ve read somewhere that women know instinctively how to nourish one another and just being together is restorative. I couldn’t agree more!

Friendships are constantly changing as are the ways we practice them. I am enjoying and appreciating this season in my friendship with three very special women. 

Other posts……….

At the Gates Again


Leave a comment

Filed under Reflections, T-4s

Who Loved You Into Being?

“Think about who loved you into being.”  I saw the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood on Friday night. There is a scene in the film where Tom Hanks playing the part of children’s television star Fred Rogers is having lunch in a Chinese restaurant with a young troubled journalist named Lloyd Vogel. Mr Rogers asks Lloyd to just sit for one full minute and think about the people who have loved him into being.  Who are people in his life that truly cared about him and wanted the best for him? Mr Rogers asks Lloyd to think deeply about those people and feel connected to them and grateful to them.

As Lloyd begins to do this, movie director Marielle Heller chooses to freeze the film for one full minute. This means while Lloyd Vogel is thinking about the people who loved him into being the audience is encouraged, really more or less forced, to do so too.  On Friday night I could hear people in the theatre initially shift uncomfortably in their seats as the screen froze but then they got drawn into the silence and I am sure most began thinking about the people who had loved them into being.  I wiped away tears when the minute ended as did the stranger sitting beside me. I suspect there were many damp eyes in the audience.  

Tom Hanks says the full minute of silence goes against every rule of movie-making but it is perhaps the most profound moment in the film. It makes the audience full participants.

The restaurant scene never really happened in Fred Rogers life but is partially based on a true incident. When Fred Rogers was awarded a lifetime achievement award at the 1997 Emmys for his contributions to children’s television programming he asked the audience to spend ten seconds thinking about the people who had loved them into being.  He said, “All of us have special ones who loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think about the people who have helped you to become who you are, those who cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life.”  

When the time was up Mr Rogers asked the audience members to consider how happy and grateful the people who had made a difference in their life would feel to know that they had meant so much to someone.  

I thought Tom Hanks was perfectly cast as Fred Rogers

Mr Rogers’ basic message on his television program that ran for thirty-three years was that every child is special just the way they are and worthy of kindness. In order to be good human beings, we all need to have had someone who respects who we are,  shows us kindness, cares about us, and loves us into being.  Maybe many of the problems of our society could be solved if we could only ensure that every human being had exactly that- someone to love them into being.  

Who loved you into being? 

Other posts…………

Won’t You Be My Neighbour? 

Children’s Party with Aunt Olly

Getting Nostalgic and Just a Little Sad

1 Comment

Filed under Childhood, Movies

Celebrity Sighting at Breakfast

“That’s Better Call Saul”  my husband Dave whispered as we stopped on the steps on our way out of the Winnipeg restaurant Clementines where we had breakfast yesterday with our friends. Dave was sure he had spotted actor Bob Odenkirk. 

 “I thought he looked familiar when we walked past him,” I said. I had watched the whole Breaking Bad series in which actor Bob Odenkirk plays smooth-talking lawyer Saul Goodman. His series Better Call Saul which my husband Dave watches, is a prequel to Breaking Bad and will debut its fifth season in February of 2020. 

Bob Odenkirk – Photo by Gage Skidmore

When we got home I looked up whether Bob Odenkirk was in Winnipeg making a film or television series.  Sure enough, a CTV article said Odenkirk would be in Winnipeg from October 15 to November 29th shooting an action thriller movie for Universal Pictures set to be released in August of 2020 called Nobody. It is about a suburban father named Hutch Mansell out to get revenge on thieves who break into his home.  

This is not the first time however that Winnipeg has had a connection with the Better Call Saul television series. The Winnipeg Free Press reports that during the 2018 season of the series, a character called Nacho is getting ready to skip town and opens a safe containing cash and a fake ID that has Wolver Avenue in Winnipeg listed as the address of the owner of the identity card. 

When we passed Odenkirk in the restaurant I overheard him telling his breakfast companion about the things he liked on the menu so obviously, this wasn’t the first time he had eaten at Clementine’s. Both Dave and I thought Bob looked a lot younger in person than he does on television. I am looking forward to seeing Bob Odenkirk in the movie Little Women which opens during the holiday season this year. 

When you live in the Exchange District of Winnipeg you get used to seeing actors, props and scenery and film crews on the streets regularly. But it is still always a little bit of a thrill when you spot a celebrity.  I sometimes say living in the Exchange District of Winnipeg is a bit like living in a movie set. 

Other posts……..

I Live in a Movie Set

Movie Shot in Our Building

Winnipeg in the Movies



Filed under Media, Movies

Beautiful Baskets

I was dusting yesterday and stopped for a minute to look at our  Hopi baskets.  I love the way pastel ribbons have been woven into this one. I just finished reading Robin Kimmerer’s beautiful book Braiding Sweetgrass.  In one chapter Robin tries her hand at weaving a basket along with the skilled craftspeople of the Pigeon First Nation. She discovers just how intricate and difficult basketweaving is.  Robin admires the skill and perseverance required to make a basket.

Hopi women have been making baskets for hundreds of years

We watched women making baskets on the Hopi Reserve when we lived there.  Some of the baskets were huge and sold to European collectors for thousands of dollars.

My grade one class in our Hopi school

The small baskets we own were gifts from our students’ families during the year we taught on the Hopi First Nation. Each of our three Hopi baskets are unique.  I love the pattern and vibrant color of this one. Our Hopi baskets are woven from the fibres of the yucca plant. Originally the baskets were made for practical purposes like carrying and storing food but they are also clearly expressions of art.

Woman collecting yucca for a basket- photo from the book Hopi by Susanne and Jake Page

Annabelle Nequatewa of the Hopi Nation weaving a basket – photo by Helga Teiwes- from the University of Arizona archives

Author Robin Kimmerer says the baskets in her house bring back memories of the people and places where they were made.

Our baskets bring back memories of the gorgeous landscape on the Hopi First Nation and the warm and wonderful people who were our neighbours, colleagues, students and friends during the year we lived there.

Village on the top of a mesa on the Hopi First Nation

My husband with the basketball team he coached on the Hopi First Nation

Other posts……..

Common Threads- The Hopi

The Consolation of Water Lilies


1 Comment

Filed under Arizona, Art


I don’t want less, I want more
More stars, more sun
More truth, more love
More kisses, more spring
I just want more of everything

My brother introduced me to the song More by Lynne Miles.  It really resonated with me.  In her spoken introduction to the song, Lynne talks about how as people get older they tend to turn more inward and become more isolated.  She says she wants to do just the opposite.  As she ages, she wants to reach out to other people, to have new experiences, to appreciate deeply all that life has to offer.  

Lynne Miles

Often as we get older some of our time is freed up from family and work responsibilities and so we actually do have the opportunity to examine things more closely, to look at things more deeply, to experience things more intensely.  Lynne puts it this way. 

The sky’s not blue, it’s indigo
That’s not a tree, it’s a willow
I’m not crying, I’m deep
I don’t cry, I weep

To me Lynne is suggesting that growing older doesn’t mean getting more complacent, becoming less involved, being more cautious or fearful. I know I am realizing that it is actually easier to take risks as I age because I have already had a great life and I am not worried about it ending.  I’m realizing as I grow older there aren’t necessarily as many ramifications for expressing my opinions freely, exploring new ideas openly, facing some real truths about myself and my relationships, or trying things that aren’t exactly safe. Lynne says……..

I want the whole bottle, not just a shot
Don’t want a little, I want a lot
I don’t want rain, I want a downpour
I don’t want less, I want more
I don’t want the evening, I want midnight
Don’t want to argue, I want to fight
Don’t show me the outside of my heart, I wanna see the core

I don’t want less, I want more
More stars, more sun
More truth, more love
More kisses, more spring
I just want more of everything

Listen to Lynne singing More here.

Other posts………..

Growing Old Is Not For Cowards

What Will You Be Building When You Have To Go?

Should We Get Tatoos Or Go Skydiving?

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, Retirement