Category Archives: New Experiences

Kindred Spirits

Last week I spent a morning in Carmen Manitoba talking to a group of some twenty -five women about my life and travels.  Susan Mooney had invited me to speak. She and her husband Tom are long-time residents of Carmen, but Tom’s parents Isaac and Lottie Mooney lived in the Steinbach area from 1944-1980.  One Christmas Lottie gave her son Tom and his wife Susan a gift subscription to The Carillon and they have been subscribers ever since. Susan has been reading my newspaper column Viewpoint since I first began writing it in 1985.  She had always wanted to meet me and decided inviting me to Carmen, as a speaker for her women’s group, would be a way to do that.

I was interested to learn that the group, which meets at the Carmen United Church, has been in existence for almost forty years. Every Wednesday they invite a speaker to make a presentation and then they ask questions and have a discussion. In the weeks prior to my October visit, Theresa Oswald, a former Manitoba Health Minister had been a speaker as had Jean Friesen a university professor and spokesperson for the Treaty Relations Committee of Manitoba. The week following my visit Nilufer Rahman a Muslim community builder and filmmaker was scheduled as the guest and after her retired Canadian senator, Joanne Buth was speaking.  I was told authors Miriam Toews and recent Governor General award winner Joan Thomas had presented in past years.

The women began their meeting by introducing themselves and then answering a question posed by Susan Mooney. She said since she had always wanted to meet me she wondered who might be a person the other women had always wanted to meet. A number thought they would like to meet Queen Elizabeth while several named favorite childhood authors like Lucy Maude Montgomery, Beatrix Potter, and A.A. Milne. Others mentioned the Dali Lama, Michelle Obama, Margaret Atwood, and Eric Clapton. One woman was looking forward to meeting a refugee family that would be arriving in Carmen shortly. Hearing the women’s answers was a great way for me to get to know the group a little better. I told them I already felt like we were kindred spirits. 

In my talk, I used examples from my own life to expand on an idea I was first introduced to at my son’s university graduation many years ago.  On the journey of life we have a choice to be pilgrims or tourists.  Which will we be?   After my presentation, the women asked questions and made comments and their ideas and contributions were thought-provoking and meaningful.  During our lively discussion, I learned more about the women’s families, travels, reading preferences, community work and faith affiliations.

The women take turns bringing soup for lunch each Wednesday, so I was treated to a hearty bowl of hot vegetable soup and some fresh bread before beginning my drive back to Winnipeg.  The women in the group are busy with all kinds of other interesting things.  The woman to my left at lunch had come to our meeting from her yoga class and the one on my right told me she was headed off to a community choir practice.

Before I said goodbye the women posed for a photo with me.  I wanted a reminder of my morning with them. I gave Susan Mooney a hug and thanked her for inviting me. Two other women who also happened to be near the church door as I left gave me hugs too.  I left Carmen enriched, blessed and delighted to have spent a morning with such a group of caring, engaged and intelligent women. 

Other posts…………..

Strong Women

I’ve Been A Newspaper Columnist for Decades

Women Were Honored?  Think Again John Kelly. 

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Filed under manitoba, New Experiences, People, Retirement

A Puzzling Achievement

I finished before they did!  When we were in Mexico last winter Dave and our friend Rudy who was staying with us, did crossword puzzles together almost every day from a big book of New York Times crossword puzzles Rudy had brought along with him. Although I wanted to participate the puzzles were clearly too hard for me. Dave has been doing the New York Times crossword puzzle every weekend for over forty years so he’s an expert.  

Here in Winnipeg Dave has a regular Saturday morning date with his friend Les at a neighborhood coffee shop to do the New York Times crossword puzzle in the Winnipeg Free Press. After we returned home from Mexico in March I decided I would start joining them in an attempt to develop my crossword puzzle skills. Although the New York Times crossword was too daunting for me I would work my way up to it by doing the less difficult Premier Crossword in Saturday’s paper.  

Initially, I could get only a small portion of my puzzle done before Dave and Les had finished the New York Times crossword.  Then Dave would take my crossword and quickly finish it. 

Slowly but surely I improved and would get more and more of my puzzle done before the guys finished theirs. Then this past Saturday a miracle! I finished my puzzle before the guys finished theirs.  Granted they said their puzzle was VERY hard and I figured out the theme to mine quite early on so that made it much easier to complete.  But still…………. I was pretty pumped!

I may not be ready for the New York Times crossword puzzle yet but I’m getting there.  

Other posts……….

Sunday Morning At the Olive Mill

Coloring Books- Not Just For Kids

 

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Filed under New Experiences, Retirement

Learning a New Word

I was doing a workshop at the art gallery last week and a ten-year-old wrote the word ‘yeet’ in big letters on a paper where he was sketching ideas for an art project. “What does ‘yeet’ mean?” I asked.   He and his friends laughed and looked a little incredulous.  “You don’t know what yeet means?”

The twenty-something university students in charge of the group took pity on me and explained that ‘yeet’ was an exclamation of sorts that was said to express excitement or surprise and was often a word used just at the moment you were in the act of throwing something like a ball.

I felt a little less ignorant when I discovered  ‘yeet’ is listed in the online Collins English dictionary as a word currently pending approval. The Grammarly app I use to correct errors in my writing online did not recognize the word.

The Urban Dictionary was more helpful providing me with this definition of ‘yeet.’

“Yeet is a versatile word that can be used as an exclamation, a verb, or even a noun.
As an exclamation, it can be used to express excitement, usually happily but also nervously. It can also be used as an exclamation of victory or as a battle cry or focus-shout while throwing or hitting something. Yeet can also be a feeling or emotion, usually like an adrenaline rush. The word has a distinct feel, and power to it. To yeet is to give your full power and soul to an action you’re doing.” 

 

I am not sure I will make the word ‘yeet’ a mainstay of my vocabulary but I may throw it into a conversation in the future just to show how cool and young at heart I am.

And just in case you forget what ‘yeet’ means you can actually buy a T-shirt with the word ‘yeet’ on the front that includes a definition. 

Other posts………

Extra Crispy

Chreaster Really Is A Word

A New Favorite

Back Porch News- Before the Age of Facebook

 

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I Did It!

I have been trying for years to fold fitted sheets in a way that left them smooth and flat and not some kind of jumbled mess that I had to stuff into my linen closet.  I talked to lots of people about it and they suggested I watch videos.  Let me tell you I watched a bunch! Still I could never get those darn fitted sheets folded properly and just gave up.  Yesterday I decided to try once again and I found a new video I had never seen before called How To Fold A Fitted Sheet from a Math Guy. 

james tantonThe video was made by Dr. James Tanton a Princeton graduate who grew up in Adelaide, Australia and is currently the Mathematician in Residence at the Mathematical Association of America in Washington D.C.  Turns out Dr. Tanton, who is famous for the exciting and creative methods he uses to help kids understand difficult mathematical concepts,  was just as frustrated with all those fitted sheet videos as I had been so……… he decided to make his own. 

 He did something I had never seen before in a ‘fold a fitted sheet’ video. He went backwards!! He started with a perfectly folded fitted sheet and then unfolded it step by step to see how it had been folded properly.  

my folded fitted sheetWatching the process that way worked for me too!  In no time at all I had folded a fitted sheet properly for the first time! Thanks Dr. Tanton!

Other posts……….

Quilts Galore

I Don’t Make My Bed

Our European Bed

 

 

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The Great Assiniboine River Canoeing Adventure

river trip

Slathering on sunscreen and getting on our life jackets for the journey

On Saturday we went on a canoeing adventure with our friends Ed and Millie, paddling the Assiniboine River from Ed and Millie’s home near the perimeter highway in St. James all the way down to the dock at the end of the block where our home is located in the downtown Exchange District of Winnipeg.   

ed and dave put the canoes in the river

Ready for launch

Ed parked his van in our garage around noon and then we drove to Ed and Millie’s where Dave and Ed put our canoes into the water.  We decided to paddle the Mennonite way – men in one canoe and women in the other.  

millie paddling

Millie did a great job of steering our canoe and adjusting to my sometimes less than stellar and steady  paddling skills

The more experienced paddlers the Hildebrands provided the steering in the back of the canoes and we Driedgers sat in front. marylou paddlerIt was neat to view the city from the river perspective especially all the grand homes along the banks.  We saw deer and pelicans and herons and signs of beavers at work.  People were so friendly- saying hello, reminding us to drink water, commenting on our paddling strokes, waving and shouting greetings to us from bridges.  along the assiniboineDuring the first half of our journey the river was very shallow and we went aground a couple of times on sandbars that extended on for quite a distance.  canoeingAt one point when Millie and I couldn’t seem to free ourselves from a sandbar a kindly gentleman who lived along the water donned his hip waders and came out to help us, showing us the channel of deeper water where we could get through.  lunch omand's parkWe stopped for lunch at Omands Creek Park.  Millie had made delicious cheese and vegetable biscuits and brought along some of her homemade spicy pickles from this year’s batch. Mostly though we just drank and drank- plenty of water and a little beer.  I hadn’t brought along a water bottle which was silly and I was actually a mite dizzy when we got out of the canoes at lunchtime. lunch timeIt was 36 degrees on Saturday but during most of our journey we had a little bit of a breeze to cool us. For the second half of our paddle the river was much deeper, but the current was a little harder to navigate and we encountered some larger boats that created waves for our canoes. along the riverThe distance from Ed and Millie’s house to ours is 15 kilometers as the crow flies so I am thinking we probably paddled at least 20 or more kilometers along our winding river route. loading up the canoesOnce we reached the dock on Waterfront Drive we loaded up the canoes one by one and returned them and then we went back to Ed and Millie’s.  dipping in the assiniboineDave and Ed took a dip in the Assiniboine to refresh themselves.  hildebrandts back yardThen we had appetizers and drinks down by the river in Ed and Millie’s lush and lovely back yard.  dinner on the riverA marvelous meal of barbecued pork, kale salad and fresh garden vegetables followed and it was dark before we headed inside for a piece of Millie’s delicious homemade apple pie and ice-cream and a last glass of wine.  

It was easy to fall asleep Saturday night.  We’d had lots of exercise and fresh air, lively and interesting conversation, excellent food and a great time with good friends. 

Other posts………

Kayaking in Laos

A Serendipitous Sail

A Gourmet Sail

 

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Filed under New Experiences, Winnipeg

Going on a Field Trip

lunch timeI went on a field trip last week with a group of women from my church. We all volunteer at the Selkirk MCC Thrift Store together.  Marj is our leader.   Her weekly news reports via e-mail keep us in touch with each other. That way even if we miss a week of volunteering we still know what’s going on with the others in our group.  In one of her newsletters Marj proposed a field trip.  We all agreed it was a great idea. So last Wednesday we headed off on our little adventure. 

morrisFirst stop of course was another Thrift Shop.  This one in Morris.  manager morrisA staff member who originally hailed from Newfoundland gladly took us ‘behind the scenes’ to get a better idea of how the place worked.  morris tourWe checked out their slick price marking system. storage system morrisAnd took note of how they organized things that came in as donations. bargain hunterWe poked around the aisles looking for bargains and….fur coat even tried on a mink stole that was for sale.  jasmine tea roomThen it was time to head for the Jasmine Tea Room in Altona.  We were in two different vehicles and each car took a bit of a detour through the town, since both drivers had Altona roots and wanted to show us sites that had been important to them when they had lived in Altona. lunch altonaOur lunch at the Jasmine Tea Room was delicious and since we finished eating a little early……altona gallery park we headed off to Altona’s  Gallery in the Park to wander among the sculptures there

mcc store altona

Next we dropped in at the Altona Thrift Shop.  It is of historical significance because it was the first MCC Thrift Shop in North America and was founded by four energetic and philanthropic women from Altona.

mcc thrift shop founder

Altona residents Selma Loewen, Sara Stoesz, Susan Giesbrecht, and Linie Friesen started the first Thrift Shop in 1972  to raise funds for MCC’s work  in developing countries. 

 altona thrift storeThe store staff was ever so nice to us and gave us a tour of their facilities. quilts altonaWe marveled at the beautiful quilt room where material is saved and cut and sewn and stitched by many groups of volunteers. Then the quilts are displayed and sold.hildebrand home neubergthalOn the way home we made a stop in Neubergthal, a Canadian historic site where homes and other buildings, are maintained as they might have been in a traditional Mennonite village.  Here we pose on the driveway of a home that belongs to fellow members at Bethel Mennonite Church. 

After our Neubergthal stop we headed back to Winnipeg and said good-bye, but not for long since we will meet again next week on the second storey of the Selkirk Thrift Shop where once again we will be unpacking, organizing, cleaning, and pricing donated items. Of course we will also be chatting about our memorable field trip. 

Other posts…….

I’m A Shop Girl

The T-4’s Go Mennonite In Neubergthal

 

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Filed under New Experiences, Religion

A Rude Awakening

fire truckThe fire alarm in our building went off just before 7 am yesterday morning.  Dave was away on a golf trip so I threw on my bathrobe, slipped into my moccasins , grabbed my keys and headed to the front door via five flights of stairs.   I went outside to be greeted by just a few of the residents from our building’s one hundred suites. Slowly more people trickled out as the alarm kept up its insistent ringing.  Everyone except me however seemed to have taken time to get fully dressed and grab their purses and phones and wallets and dogs and coffee and newspapers and study notes and books and muffins and………  

The only other folks in their night wear besides me were children. Soon four huge fire trucks and various emergency vehicles arrived.  The firefighters went inside and ten minutes or so later told us it was safe to go back to our homes.  I suspect less than half of the residents were outside by that time.  The rest had all stayed in their suites confident it was a false alarm.  I’m not sure why you’d take that chance.  Would you?

After that rude awakening my day could only get better and it did. I spent time researching for upcoming art gallery tours, enjoyed a great bike ride, went on a long walk with my brother,  had lunch with him in Assiniboine Park and welcomed my husband home in the evening.  

Other posts………

A Fire Changed Her Life

Earth, Air, Water and Fire

Two Artists- Me and My Grandson

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