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.
Start and End Happy
The Breath of Life
Filed under Family, Holidays
I’ve spent Christmas in many different places. In 2008 we spent Christmas Day hiking the Wai -O- Tapu Thermal Fields in New Zealand.
As a child my Christmas always included time spent with my cousins at my grandparents’ home in Gnadenthal, Manitoba. I spent Christmas Day in 2010 drinking beer and eating pretzels in Germany.
In 1959 at Christmas my family was living in a residence for medical interns at the St. Boniface Hospital and the nuns there staged a Christmas party for the intern’s children.A number of my Christmases between 2003 and 2011 were spent in Hong Kong. Here we are singing Lo How a Rose Ere Blooming with our children in our Hong Kong church on Christmas Eve in 2004.
Many of my childhood Christmases were spent in Saskatchewan at my maternal grandparents’ homes in Drake.I spent Christmas Day in 2009 on the beach in Sydney Australia.
In the early 1990s we spent one Christmas in Red Deer Alberta at my brother and sister-in- law’s home and went on a family ski trip in Banff. Here I am freezing in Prague one Christmas.We have spent many Christmases in Steinbach at my parents’ home. Here we are singing as a family at Mom and Dad’s house on their country property just outside of Steinbach.
I spent my very first Christmas in Winnipeg because that is where I was born. Here’s my Mom taking me out for a walk. Winnipeg is also where I will spend this Christmas. I am going to take a two day break from blogging now. Wishing all my blog readers a very Merry Christmas.
Christmas Stocking Crisis
She Was Thirteen Years Old
There have been signs this week that Christmas is on the way. I had a Christmas party with my friends the T-4s on Saturday. We had delightful egg nog cheesecakes at Oakridge Nursery in Steinbach and opened our gifts to each other. Some Christmas cards have started arriving at our house. I went to a Christmas craft sale at my friend Audrey’s house and bought this beautiful birch log decoration she made. I am wrapping the Christmas books I will take to my grandsons in Saskatoon this weekend. I always give them a new Christmas book during the first week of advent. I’m including some Christmas socks for each of them. My son already sent me a photo of my grandsons in their new Christmas pyjamas in front of their advent calendar. A beautiful Christmas wreath arrived courtesy of a friend who was selling them as a fundraiser for a worthwhile charity. My husband Dave is practicing the guitar chords for the carols he will play at his men’s choir Christmas concert on December 15th. Invitations to Christmas parties are flying into my inbox.
There are still a few weeks to go till the official holiday arrives but it’s beginning to feel like Christmas.
A Forty Five Year Old Necklace and Scarf
Last Halloween we were in Saskatoon and went trick or treating with our two grandsons. It was a lovely fall evening and we had so much fun! Our older grandson was very excited about his costume and loved going door to door to shout “Trick or Treat.” I was impressed at how people in the neighborhood had gone to such lengths to decorate their homes. They were so warm and friendly to the kids that came to their doors. It reminded me of the Halloweens of my childhood.
Here are me and my sister in our bunny and cat costumes in 1960. I love the whiskers my Mom has drawn on my little sister’s face and the huge bunny ears she constructed for me. Those Eaton’s of Canada bags look pretty full! We were living on Beaverbrook Street in Winnipeg at the time and so that’s the neighborhood where we will have gone trick or treating.
Canada’s Prime Minister trick or treating with his family last year. (Photo-Global News)
Probably the one difference between Halloween in my childhood and Halloween for my grandsons is that my sister and I went out trick or treating on our own even at ages five and seven while all the children we saw in Saskatoon last year were trick or treating with their families.
Either way celebrating Halloween still gets people out of their homes and interacting with others in their neighborhood. In a society that is becoming increasingly insular and where technology keeps us more physically isolated from one another that’s a good thing.
October posts from other years………
A Bone Rattling Introduction to Quebec City
In New York We……….
A Perfect Afternoon in Gambo Newfoundland
Photo taken by my husband Dave in 2015
The air is like a butterfly
With frail blue wings.
The happy earth looks at the sky
– Joyce Kilmer
American poet Joyce Kilmer is more famously known for his poem about trees. “I think that I shall never see…….”. But I love the imagery in this Easter poem too. May happiness and beauty and song fill your Easter Day.
Two paintings displayed side by side at the Winnipeg Art Gallery have an Easter message for me.
The first one is And Peter Followed From Afar Off by American painter William Ashby McCloy. It is a Good Friday scene. Jesus is hanging upside down on a cross shaped like an X. Over to the right you can see Jesus’ disciple Peter who denounced Jesus three times. The cock that crowed after the three betrayals is pictured. So are the people Peter spoke with denying he had any connections to Jesus. Could the man in front be Judas who betrayed Jesus for money? Artist McCloy gives us a grey, sad canvas full of rejection, violence and guilt.
Right beside the crucifixion painting is this vibrant and heart lifting canvas by the famous First Nations artist Daphne Odjig. It is called Friends Rejoicing. A group of women are celebrating the birth of a child. Easter is a time of rebirth and new beginnings and Daphne’s painting fairly bursts with the joy of a new beginning and the happiness it brings to a community of people. For me it beautifully captures the spirit of Easter Sunday a day to celebrate the resurrection of hope.
I have no idea why the curator chose to place these two paintings side by side, but I love their juxtaposition. One of our former guides at the WAG Perry Nodelman gave a talk at the University of Valencia in Spain in March. He said that in an art gallery…..
…..where pictures are hung, how the floor plan of the galleries invites viewers to move through them— makes each picture part of a larger text, a larger story…
The way these two paintings are placed in the gallery makes them part of the Easter story for me.
Blood Upon the Rose
A Storyboard in a Painting
Whale Bone Sculptures
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!
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Art in the Airport
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