Taking the train into Phoenix
The art gallery was closed! We took the train into Phoenix yesterday to visit the art gallery in the afternoon and attend a Phoenix Suns game in the evening. When we arrived at the front door of the art gallery the information on the door said CLOSED MONDAYS. Why hadn’t any of us thought to check that? Many art galleries, including the one in Winnipeg are closed on Mondays. But wait! Were those people inside the foyer? Yes! Were those ticket agents behind the front desk? Yes! Were the doors open? Yes! It was Martin Luther King Day in the United States and in honor of the holiday the gallery was open to the public.
A painting from Kehinde Wiley’s Brazil series
We had a wonderful afternoon at the gallery including a lunch in the gallery restaurant The Palette and a tour that introduced us among many other things to the work of celebrated African-American artist Kehinde Wiley.
The Phoenix Suns lost a nailbiter against the Utah Jazz. An exciting game.
At the Suns game in the evening they were also honoring the holiday. Quotes of Dr. King’s ringed the stadium, a special video during the game paid tribute to his legacy and another showed the Phoenix Suns visiting the new African-American History Museum in Washington DC. Various players were interviewed about what their visit to the museum had meant to them. The game opened with a few words about Martin Luther King Day shared by player Alan Williams whose mother currently serves as the first female African-American chief of police in Phoenix.
We had a good Martin Luther King Day!
Art From All Kinds of Things
Art in the Airport
Five Things I’ll Remember About the Movie Selma
The final question in my Christmas series is…… What is the best thing about Christmas? For me it is the opportunity it provides to get together with family and friends. In the last month we’ve had so many chances to do that. We went to a Christmas banquet staged by the car dealership my husband works for as a shuttle driver. I hosted my writers group here at our place for a Christmas potluck and gift exchange.
My brother Mark and his wife Kathy hosted a lovely family dinner party featuring salmon my brother caught on a British Columbia fishing trip.
After the choir my husband sings in put on their Christmas concert there was a party to reminisce and celebrate another year of making music.
In the week leading up to Christmas we have been blessed to host our Hong Kong friends Meena and Anil for a week.
I had a lovely Christmas celebration with the T-4’s the group of friends I meet with every month. We played the Christmas question game which I have been featuring on this blog. Our friends Don and Marlene invited us out to Steinbach for a Christmas lunch and my cousin Lynne and her husband Rod had us over for a Christmas supper. Because we are off to Arizona for a couple months we had a ‘good-bye for now’ movie and dinner with our friends Bruno and Caroline and took out our friends Beatrice and Jean for Chinese food in Steinbach. We had another Chinese dinner at our favorite restaurant here in Winnipeg Noodle Express with our friends Dave and Wendy after enjoying a play at the Manitoba Theatre Centre. My friend Arlene hosted a special Christmas party at her condo for the group of ladies I volunteer with at the Thrift Store on Selkirk Avenue.
Our friends Bonny and Jim hosted the Christmas party for our church small group which has been meeting together for more than fifteen years.
And there are many Christmas get togethers still to come… an extended family gathering at my sisters, our own children and grandchildren arriving from Saskatoon to spend four days with us, a dinner tonight at my brother’s house and a Christmas movie this afternoon with our son and his wife.
We feel very blessed indeed to have so many family members nearby and so many friends with whom we can share the joy of Christmas.
Merry Christmas everyone! Hoping you too have some folks near and dear to share it with.
Christmas in Hong Kong- Good Memories
Dali’s Christmas Card
This Will Be
What homemade gifts have you made for others? That’s the ninth question in my series for the month.
The first year my husband and I were dating we made each other Christmas gifts. He made me a blue and white beaded necklace, a skill I believe he learned from a friend he lived with in the Yukon, and I knitted him a brown and gold scarf with the help of one of my college dorm mates. Although they may be a little worse for the wear we still have those gifts forty- five years later.
A Honeymoon Adventure
Bucket List for Marriage
Filed under Family, Holidays
Do you have a Christmas baking memory? That’s the eighth question in the series I have been doing this month.
When I was teaching elementary school in Steinbach my mother would come to my classroom every December to make peppernuts with my students. These little round cookies are a German holiday tradition. Mom would come in and mix a batch of dough with the kids so they could see all the ingredients she put into the cookies. She would have prepared long round strips of the dough for each child ahead of time and they would cut their lengthy rolls into the tiny cookies. We’d bake them in the oven in the school staffroom and then the children would put them in plastic bags with a festive ribbon and card to take home to their families as a gift. Looking back I think of how much work it must have been for my mother to prepare for those annual cookie- baking visit to my classroom. I hope she knew how much the children and I appreciated it.
I couldn’t find a picture of Mom making pepper nuts with my students but here she is baking bread with one of my school classes. She used to do that too! What a support she was to me in my profession.
Stopping By Woods
Counting on Their Fingers
Filed under Family, Holidays
I have a large collection of children’s Christmas books which I began to buy when I started teaching kindergarten in 1974. By the time my first son was born in 1979 my collection was quite substantial and having children of my own was inspiration to grow my collection even more. Those books figure in my answer to question 7 in my ongoing series of Christmas questions. “What is an advent tradition in your family?”
Every year at the beginning of December I would fill up a large basket with my Christmas books and place it under our diningroom table. Each night we would light the appropriate number of candles on our advent wreath and then one of my sons could crawl under the table and pick a book from the Christmas collection for us to read. Of course sometimes we had to read two because my collection was so big by the time my second son came along that we could never have read all the books by Christmas if we had just read one a night. The next day I would take the book I had read to my sons to school with me to read to my students. I still have many of my Christmas books although I stopped adding to my collection when my sons were grown and I moved to teaching highschool.
One of the Christmas books my grandsons got this year.
Since I became a grandmother I send off a couple Christmas books to Saskatoon to my grandchildren every December 1 so they can build a Christmas book collection of their own for advent reading.
I still get my books out every December and they are sitting in baskets now waiting for my grandsons to arrive for Christmas.
Dave’s Christmas Orchestra Debut
Tutjes A Christmas Tradition
A Christmas Day in Hell
Burn. Turn. The flop. The river. Those are a few terms from a unique language I learned one Christmas. I used to always buy a new board game for our family to play on Christmas Day. But one December 25th I hadn’t had time to shop for a game. “No problem”, my sons said. “We’ll teach you how to play poker instead Mom.”
Christmas Question #6 is about something new you learned at Christmas. I won’t forget the Christmas I learned to play poker.
I was a little apprehensive about playing poker but my boys were encouraging. We got out old Checkers pieces and some Scrabble tiles to use for poker chips. My younger son made me a reference chart listing the kinds of winning hands and their comparative values. My older son explained the procedures of a typical round of Texas Hold Em poker. I caught on in a few rounds. I was also introduced to the language of poker. ‘Burn’, ‘turn’, ‘flop’, and ‘river’ refer to the different cards you turn over in a hand. A pair of eights are called ‘snowmen’, a pair of nines are a ‘Wayne Gretzky’ after the famous hockey player’s sweater number, and a pair of Kings are ‘pocket cowboys.’ My favorite part of the game was rapping my knuckles on the table when I didn’t want to raise the bet.
My boys were impressed with my progress but told me I was too transparent. I telegraphed clearly through my facial expressions whether or not I had a good hand. In poker you have to be able to fool others to excel. I don’t know that I’ve played poker since that Christmas a decade or so ago when my sons taught me how. Perhaps its time to try it again.
A Friendship Wreath
Chili Soup For Christmas
A Christmas Carol Saved Our Lives
Beer and Pretzels for Christmas
The Circle of Life
Our first Christmas in our Winnipeg condo in 2011 three of my friends bought us a wreath to decorate our new home. I have continued to meet with those friends about once a month ever since and it has been a significant source of joy and support in my life. I actually made the list of questions I’ve been featuring on my December blog posts for our Christmas party this year. Christmas Question #5 is “What is a special gift you received for Christmas?”
This wreath would certainly have to be one of my special gifts. I hang it up every year at the beginning of December and it helps me get into the Christmas spirit and reminds me of three good friends who have walked the journey of the previous year with me. Here is our 2016 photo in front of the wreath.
Christmas Question #4-The Circle of Life
Christmas Question #3- Beer and Pretzels
Christmas Question #2- Chili Soup
Christmas Question #1- A Christmas Carol Saved Our Lives
Filed under Holidays, T-4s