Category Archives: Family

Can Your Marriage Survive Lollygagging?

Dave checks out the menu at yet another local restaurant

We were looking for a restaurant to have supper one cold and windy night here in Praia da Luz, Portugal where we have rented a house for six weeks.  I was hungry and freezing but Dave insisted on touring around our whole area, stopping at every restaurant to read through the menus posted outside.  He just couldn’t decide where to eat. I finally lost my patience and shouted over the wind that he needed to just pick a place for goodness sake.  He retorted that he had only been trying to kill time so we could have dinner at exactly 7:00 as we’d discussed at home and then he added……….  “and you should be patient because I certainly didn’t get upset when you were lollygagging on our hike this afternoon.” 

I had never heard Dave use the word lollygagging before.  Perhaps he’d heard it in conversations between the many British residents in the area, but he was right.  I had lollygagged on our hike that afternoon.  I had stopped to take photos……. of flowersand plants and trees and the ocean and the cliffs and our path and interesting graffiti and Praia da Luz in the distance.  At one point I had been lollygagging so much I lost Dave as he entered a gully.   and because of that I headed off in the wrong direction and had to backtrack when I finally spotted him climbing up a steep hill. 

Dave waits for me to catch up

It started me thinking that having patience with your partner’s lollygagging is important if you want a relationship to be successful because I suspect often couples don’t share common lollygagging tendencies.  On hikes Dave focuses on getting to our destination.  I lollygag because I’m focusing more on our surroundings.  

Lunch of pizza, beer and sangria after our hike to Lagos

When we go out to dinner Dave lollygags because he focuses on looking at all the choices and enjoys the whole process of picking the perfect spot to eat. I focus on the food and having a meal.  I tend to lollygag in book stores and jewelry stores and Dave in sports stores and clothing stores. I lollygag more in art galleries and Dave more in history museums and zoos. 

I think over the many years we’ve been traveling together we’ve become more patient with each other’s lollygagging.  But every once in a while we snap. What lollygagging differences do other couples have to work on I wonder?

Other posts……..

Plumb Tuckered Out in Lisbon

Real and Messy and Honest

What Should I Take A Picture Of? 


Filed under Family, Portugal

A Going Concern

oma and grandchild

My mother-in-law often referred to her grandchildren as ‘going concerns.’

When my sons were small they were active, curious, social little beings. They were interested in everything.  As my mother-in-law would watch one of them busy exploring their surroundings and interacting with people she would often say, “He’s a real going concern isn’t he.”  I was never quite sure what she meant by that.  Until I married into my husband Dave’s family I had never heard the phrase ‘going concern.’ 

Over the Christmas holidays I watched my one year old grandson have a fine time exploring every corner of our condo, doing puzzles, singing, interacting with family members, laughing, opening presents, learning new words at a rapid rate, and playing little games like peek a boo.   I almost said, “He’s a real going concern isn’t he.”

grandparents and grandkids

My mother-in-law thought her lively crew of grandkids were ‘going concerns’ -happy, healthy kids with lots of potential.

It made me decide that finally after all these years I was going to find out if ‘going concern’ was a recognized phrase and see if I could figure out what it meant. I learned it is actually a term used in the business world to refer to a company that is doing well.  It is healthy financially, can honor its commitments, and has good future prospects.

But I also discovered the phrase in a 1949 BBC broadcast script in which a psychologist refers to children who are happy and bright and developing well as a ‘going concern.’ He tries to reassure parents they shouldn’t get overly anxious about doing everything ‘exactly right’.  Most children are a ‘going concern’ and will develop in a healthy way if they are loved and their basic needs are met by caring parents.  

driedger grandchildren

Oma’s ‘going concerns’ pose for a photo with her and Opa on their 50th wedding anniversary

The 1949 date of the BBC broadcast made me realize that ‘a going concern’ was a term people of my mother-in-law’s generation would have used and also helped me understand she was actually paying my husband and me a compliment when she said our children were ‘going concerns.’ She thought our sons were happy, healthy, bright and developing well and we were doing our best to parent them.  

Thanks Mom!

Other posts……..

What’s the Best Way To Raise Children?


What Will Our Grandchildren Think?

1 Comment

Filed under Family, Health

She Started To Cry

Hustle & Bustle /Downriver House by Bruno Canadien is one of the pieces currently on display in the Insurgence Resurgence exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  Bruno Canadien lives in Alberta and is a member of a northern Dene First Nation in the Deh Gah Got’ı́é Kǫ́ę́, Deh Cho Region. His artwork contains images of his northern home.  There are flowers, forests, caribou, fishermen, oil wells and smoke stacks. 

hustle bustle Downriver House by Bruno CanadienOne of the activities we do with gallery visitors after we look at Bruno’s artwork is have them make a similar collage about their home.  They choose objects from trays we provide and place them on a colored paper in ways that represent home to them. 

Last week I did the activity with group of international students that included a young woman from China. One item she chose for her collage was a picture of a phone.  She told us in China she had wanted to be independent from her parents and resented having to still live in the same house with them.  But now that she is far away in Canada she starts to cry whenever she talks to her parents on the phone because she misses them so much. As she told us this she started to cry and I had to reach out and give her a comforting hug. 

I loved the way a young woman from Beijing was inspired to share her personal feelings, thanks to a painting by a Canadian indigenous artist. Art is truly a universal language.

Other posts……….. 

Mennonite Floor Art

A Very Personal Story

Are You Confused Yet?

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, China, Family, WInnipeg Art Gallery

I Had A Moment

An illustration from Margaret Laurence’s A Christmas Birthday Story

I was having a conversation with someone recently about those moments of pure joy in our lives.  We were speculating about someone we both knew and hoping they’d had at least a few moments like that in their life. 

I had a moment of that kind of pure joy last week.  Our family was celebrating Christmas a little late, but it was when everyone could be together and it was great. The tree lights were twinkling. We’d had our traditional Christmas breakfast of waffles and white sauce. We had sung the three carols we sing every Christmas. We had all shared our highlights of the past year and our hopes for the coming one. I was sitting on the couch reading Margaret Laurence’s The Christmas Birthday Story .  We read that book aloud every Christmas. My five-year old grandson was snuggled up on one side of me listening to the story and then my one year old grandson crawled up on the couch and snuggled in on the other side of me. Tears welled and I had to struggle to control myself and keep on reading.  A moment of pure joy. 

Other posts……

Start and End Happy

Pura Vida

The Breath of Life

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Holidays

A Mother for King David- Who Knew?

Her name was Nitzevet. One Sunday in December the pastor of our church introduced us to a female character in the Bible I had never even given thought to… King David’s mother.  Isn’t it unbelievable that those of us who grew up hearing all the stories about the sheep tending, harp playing, giant killing, nation leading David never thought to ask who his mother was? She is mentioned twice in the Bible but not by name. The Talmud gives us more information about her.

She was the daughter of a man named Adael and married Jesse a distinguished leader who served as the head of the Sanhedrin, the supreme Torah law court.  Nitzevet had seven sons with Jesse but then he separated himself from her because of some rather paranoid religious concerns about his family lineage. Nitzevet missed her husband and one night arranged to secretly disguise herself and take the place of Jesse’s concubine so she could be intimate with him again.  Nitzevet became pregnant and had a son David.  Jesse thought David must be the son of another man because he didn’t realize he had slept with Nitzevet. Jesse didn’t disown David but because he believed his wife Nitzevet had committed adultery David grew up treated like a servant and outcast by his father and brothers until the time the prophet Samuel chose him to be Israel’s future king.  

I couldn’t find any images of Nitzevet online so I decided to create one myself.

We are led to believe that David cared for his mother and that she was a spiritual person who served God from the two times David refers to her in the Bible.  In 2 Samuel 22:3-4 he asks a Moabite king to provide his mother with protection and in one of his psalms he says… Turn to me and have mercy on me; show your strength in behalf of your servant; save me, because I serve you just as my mother did. Psalm 86:16 

I wish we knew more about Nitzevet, but she suffers the fate of many women, who are given only a passing reference in books written primarily about men, and chosen for the Biblical canon by men. What we do know about Nitzevet makes us realize David grew up in a troubled family situation which may help to explain why the great king had such a disastrous family life himself.   

Other posts………..

King David Was A Rapist

A Woman I Wish I Knew More About

A Facebook Page for Huldah



Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Family, Religion

Partying in a Piece of History

toasting my aunt on her birthday

My aunt was celebrating her 80th birthday ( photo by my nephew Dylan)

On Sunday my aunt celebrated her 80th birthday in style at the University Women’s Club of Winnipeg.  My aunt is a member of the organization that makes its home in a designated national historic site at 54 West Gate.  

ralph connor house

Ralph Connor House

Ralph Connor House is named after a popular and famous Canadian writer who used Ralph Connor as his nom de plume.  He was really Reverend Charles W. Gordon one of the founders of the United Church of Canada. He built the house for his wife Helen and their seven children in 1913.  The 11,000 square foot mansion has twenty-three rooms and is located right on the Assiniboine River. university women's club of winnipegIt still has its original beamed ceilings, oak and mahogany panelling and leaded-glass windows and is furnished with pieces true to the period. My aunt had arranged for guided tours through the house during her party so we could learn more about it.  

visiting with al (1)

Visiting with my cousin Al (photo by my cousin Bernie)

I had a grand afternoon visiting with family members at my aunt’s party but I was also happy to have a chance to learn more about one of the oldest residences in Winnipeg. 

Other posts……….

Winnipeg’s Millennium Centre- Haunted by Ghosts

Mennonite Floor Art

A Controversial Statue


Leave a comment

Filed under Family

Dave’s New Chair

Dave got a new reclining chair for Christmas.  He’s having trouble settling in and getting used to it even though he picked it out himself.  

Dave’s old chair

A few weeks ago he said a final good-bye to the wine colored leather recliner that had seen him through the last two decades. He’s practiced guitar in that chair, read stories to his grandson in it, done approximately 750 New York Times crossword puzzles in it, watched countless sporting events on television from its comfortable seat, eaten meals in it, engaged scads of guests in conversation from it, and it is where he always had his small nightly glass of port.  

Dave plays telephone with his grandson in his chair

We got a new couch a few years ago replacing the one we’d received as an anniversary gift from my parents the same year Dave bought the wine leather recliner.  But Dave wasn’t ready to part with the recliner yet, even though it was faded and listed to one side just a little.  

Dave practicing guitar in his old chair

In December we installed a new book shelf /entertainment unit in our livingroom and when I called a thrift store to come and take away the old one Dave suprised me by saying I could let them take his chair away too.  While I was in Saskatoon at the beginning of the month I got a text saying Dave had bought himself a new chair.  

Dave’s new chair

It arrived last week.  

The new chair isn’t quite as comfortable for napping

The new chair looks nice, but somehow Dave doesn’t feel quite at home in it yet.  It just isn’t as comfortable as his old chair. When his friend Rod was over for dinner on Friday he asked him to sit in it and tell him what he thought.  Rod said the chair was great.  But Dave is reserving judgement.  I think he may just be missing all the memories he made in his old chair. 

Dave multi-tasking eating and watching TV in his new chair

Maybe it will just be a matter of time.  Perhaps with a few more naps in the chair under his belt, a few more books read there, a few more tales told to grandsons, a few more peanuts cracked and sunflower seeds eaten in it, a few more Stephen Colbert episodes watched from its seat, he’ll be able to settle in and feel comfortable.  

Dave has a new chair but he’s not quite certain yet whether he likes it. 

Other posts………

The Obama Chair

I Sat in the Speaker’s Chair

Six Toed Cats, His Last Penny and a Birthing Chair

Leave a comment

Filed under Family