Category Archives: People


advanced comp class

With my Advanced Composition class in Hong Kong-2011

Teenagers are extremely smart.  -Ransom Riggs

With teenage girls at a highschool in Cambodia-2011

 Being a teenager is an amazing time and a hard time. – Sophia Bush

teens by a fountain in lviv (1)

Teenagers in Lviv Ukraine- 2011

Teenagers are kinda the same wherever you find them. -Tom Cotton

high school students and teacher in spain

With my students in Madrid Spain-2008

Teenagers are some of the most passionate, dynamic and creative people I know.- Malorie Blackman

teen in jerusalem

Girl in Jerusalem-2009

I think all teenagers feel they are alone. – Nicholas Hoult

dancing with teenagers borneo

Teenagers teaching me to dance in Borneo-2010

Teenagers come to things fresh and can teach us an awful lot. – Jane Goldman

Visiting two of my teenage students at Parsons School of Design in New York-2012

Teenagers learn best by doing things- Geoff Mulgan

school girls vietnam

Teenage school girls in Vietnam-2008

Teenagers today are more free to be themselves and to accept themselves.- John Knowles

sc eye- school newspaper

As a teenage high school student I was the editor of my school newspaper The SCEye. Here I am pictured with my newspaper staff. -1969

 I liked being a teenager but I would not go back. – Rob Lowe

My mother with her best friend around 1943

As a teenager, you’re still discovering who you are, what your life is about, and who you want to be as a person. -Kaya Scodelario

Other posts………..




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Filed under Childhood, People

What is Your Body Saying?

Shape_of_Water_3Non-verbal communication can be so powerful.   Actress Sally Hawkins playing a mute cleaning lady named Elisa Esposito, doesn’t utter a word in the movie The Shape of Water but she speaks volumes. In her unbelievably expressive face you can clearly see love and frustration, anger, humour and intelligence. All Elisa need do is shrug her shoulder, soften her eyes or let a tiny smile begin to play at the corner of her lips and you know exactly how she is feeling. Using only sign language and body language Elisa does her job capably and has won loyal friends. 

the shape of waterBecause she can’t speak the romance she carries on with a merman, an exotic water creature being kept in the lab where she works, is even more intense and emotional than it would have been had the love affair been conducted in words. 

As I watched The Shape of Water I was actually reminded of something actor Will Smith said in the movie Hitch where he is coaching a man trying to pursue the love of his life. “Sixty percent of all human communication is nonverbal body language; thirty percent is your tone, so that means ninety percent of what you’re saying isn’t coming out of your mouth.”

dave bargains with sellers in a saigon marketI was also reminded of this picture of my husband Dave carrying on price negotiations in a market in Saigon using only a calculator and his facial and body expressions.  He didn’t speak the women’s language and they didn’t speak his but Dave was so good at communicating with his body language.  Dave is a very funny man and he can be funny without saying a word. 

Sally Hawkins may not win the Golden Globe tonight for best actress but her ability to play a woman who speaks without speaking was exceptional and reminds us all that we communicate with far more than just our words. 

Other posts about communication…….

Heart’s Content- The Fishing Village That Changed the World

I Had My Toes Read

The Language of Flowers

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Filed under Movies, People, Reflections

Bittergirl or Bitterboy?

It was a delight!  We saw the musical Bittergirl at the Manitoba Theatre Centre on Saturday. The show was absolutely entertaining from start to finish.  Great singing, familiar music, clever staging, a talented band, fast pacing and plenty of humour.

Bittergirl tells the story of three women who have been dumped by the men in their lives.  They’ve all had long-term relationships they thought were stable. Then much to their shock and dismay one day their partners just walk out on them.  How will they survive? Bittergirl follows the three women as they try to repair their broken hearts.

The show was great but I found out later it isn’t really an accurate reflection of hetrosexual relationship break ups because it is women and not men who initiate the end of relationships about 70 percent of the time. I also found out it is men and not women who suffer the most after a break up.

So maybe they need to make a musical called Bitterboy.  I wonder if it would be as popular?

Other posts……….

Childbirth and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance


Inspiration From Billy Elliot

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Filed under People, Theatre

I Was Stuck!

Yesterday morning it was incredibly icy here in Winnipeg!  My husband Dave left for work a couple of hours before I did and called to warn me the sidewalks were treacherous.  Was he ever right!  

I only had to walk two blocks from my house before I reached an indoor walkway that would take me almost right to my job at the art gallery.  I almost didn’t make those two initial blocks.  I had to shuffle along one foot at a time on the slick surface.  Then I reached a slanted driveway. I inched my way onto it but it had a slight incline and every time I gingerly put a foot forward I slid right back. I was stuck!  I was so scared I’d fall if I took a bigger stride forward so I just stood there.

There were some workers across the street cleaning up tree branches that had snapped off with the weight of the ice. One of the workers saw my predicament, crossed the street and offered me his arm. He walked me to the cobblestone sidewalk ahead and stood with me till I had stabilized myself by hanging onto the building beside me. I thanked him and told him what a kind gentleman he was.  

 I managed to make it to work on time only to discover one of my young colleagues hadn’t arrived because she had slipped on the ice on her way to the art gallery, had broken her ankle and was now in a hospital emergency room. I felt so sorry for her! Apparently it wasn’t only seniors like me who’d had trouble on the icy sidewalks. 

Thank goodness for that kind and courteous city worker who came to my rescue!  

Other posts…………

Will Spring Come?

Inspiration to Speed the Coming of Spring

Brrr It’s Cold


Filed under Nature, People

Are Men and Women’s Friendships Different?

“I don’t like to get involved in my friends’ personal lives,” a man once told me. Is that typical? And is it different from something a woman would say?  Are men and women’s friendships different? 

golf buddies on the roof topNovelist Anne Tyler writes in one of her books that men typically talk about gas mileage, the score of the football game, real estate prices, the temperature, the stock market, the age of vehicles and their cost, their golf handicap, business overhead and the salary of sports stars.

friendsA study of French women and their topics of conversation with female friends found women tended to talk primarily about their children and partners, problems and successes at work and in their families, event planning, their homes, and things to do with their physical appearance.

I read the book Friendship Processes while preparing for a talk at a women’s retreat. Winnipeg author Beverly Fehr offers insights into the differences between men and women’s friendships. She says ‘talk’ is the substance of women’s friendships, but men prefer to engage in activities with one another.

dave-and-the-two-jeffs-baseball-hkWomen look for a confidante in a friend, men seek an adventures partner. Fehr quotes research studies that found the most likely conversation topics for women are feelings and relationships, while the top three topics for men are sports, work and vehicles.

audrey and meJeffrey Zaslow in an article in the Wall Street Journal claims researchers have found women’s friendships are more often face to face–they talk, cry together, share secrets. Men’s friendships are side by side–they play golf and go to football games. Zaslow cautions however that we should not think men’s friendships are in any way inferior to women’s. Men may not be as emotionally expressive in their friendships or share as much personal information but this does not mean they don’t gain great support from their friendships.

peralta-hikeI read a study by a University of Michigan professor who says over the last century  women and men’s friendships and their topics of conversation have become more alike. I agree. I notice many women now include physical activity in their relationships and………….

men talkingmore men are introducing a personal element into their conversations.

Perhaps men and women are learning from each other.

Other posts…..

My Mom’s Friends

Better With Friends

On Friendship

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Filed under People, Reflections


I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a classroom of Manitoba teens about bullying. I had read my students the memoir of a young woman from India who immigrated to Canada and experienced on-going race related bullying in a Quebec high school. It didn’t stop even after she reported incidents to teachers.

bully pixabay imageI asked my students if they’d ever been bullied. It was quiet for a long time and then one boy said he was often teased about his speech impediment.   This opened the floodgates. Some students had been bullied because of their size. Others teased because they couldn’t speak English well. Some had been harassed about their clothing or hairstyle or had their sexual orientation questioned sarcastically. There were students whose family background had been ridiculed and others had been the butt of jokes because of their unique physical characteristics. But the most common kind of unfair treatment surprisingly had come from adults who bullied them because of their age. 

 One boy said he’d been browsing in a store when the business owner approached him and asked if he had stolen something. The young man said he hadn’t and turned to leave. The owner refused to let him go until he had searched him for stolen merchandise.  “He didn’t even apologize for falsely accusing me”, said the student. 

Other kids had seen people cross the road rather than walk by a group of teenagers. Teens had been the recipients of dirty looks for no apparent reason other than their age. Some felt discriminated against in the work place where they believed employers felt freer to get angry with teenage workers.

My students reminded me of how important it is for adults to be good role models when it comes to bullying behaviour.  We need to display a non-judgmental attitude and accord everyone a full measure of respect. Bullying is not just a problem for schools to address. All adult members of the community have a responsibility to treat everyone including teens with tolerance and dignity. 

Other posts…….

Crossing the Line

I Wish I Hadn’t Answered the Question

Reading Aloud to Teens

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Filed under People

Hitting The Bird Watching Jackpot in Costa Rica

bird costa ricaThey were all members of the New Jersey Audubon Society! Yesterday we took our water taxi driver José, up on his offer of a two hour boat ride down the river estuary between Playa Grande and Tamarindo. sand piper costa ricaJosé said he’d take us on the trip for $20 each and since the wildlife tours we’d seen advertised in brochures were around $120 per person we thought it was a pretty good deal even though José doesn’t speak English and his boat needed a paint job. iguana costa ricaJosé showed us pictures of iguanas, crocodiles and howler monkeys as well as local birds to indicate what we’d be seeing on our ride. We agreed to meet José, at 8 o’clock the next morning .

When we arrived at the beach at the appointed time we were surprised to see we’d be sharing our boat with a party of four. But what a serendipitous surprise that turns out to be !

bird watchers costa rica

Our New Jersey birdwatching friends spot a trogan on a hike.

We’d hit the bird watching jackpot! The other two couples are hard core bird watchers, members of the New Jersey Audubon Society. Two of them have state of the art binoculars and bird books. The other two have serious cameras with the longest and biggest lenses you can imagine. grackle costa ricaThey have been studying the birds of Costa Rica for months to prepare for their trip to Central America and are just ending their vacation so by now they know ALL the birds we will see. They tell us Costa Rica has 900 species of birds and so far they have seen 100 lifers in the country. Lifers are birds that a bird watcher is seeing for the first time in their life.
estuary playa grandeSo down the estuary we went and every few minutes our boat mates were excitedly spotting yet another bird, pointing it out so we could see it and try to photograph it. We decided we needed a system, so Dave agreed to take photos while I wrote down the names of all the birds we were seeing. bird costa rica 1Our New Jersey friends were gracious about repeating names of birds and even spelling them for me. They showed us pictures in their bird books of the birds we were spotting along the way, and let us see the amazing photos they took of the birds on their high tech cameras. They even gave Dave tips for taking the bird pictures in this post. We saw………..

heron costa ricaa Hoffman’s Woodpecker, Black-headed Trogon, Mangrove Cuckoo, Yellow Crowned Night Heron, Long Tailed Silky Flycatcher, Orange Fronted Parakeet, Mangrove Yellow Warbler,  Spotted Sandpiper, Black Hawk, Yellow Headed Caracara, Tricolor Heron, Ringed Plover, Great Tailed Grackle, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Wood Stork, Ringed Kingfisher, Brown Pelican, White Ibis, Whimbrel, Boat Billed Heron, doves, osprey, hummingbirds and many more………

crocodile river estuary playa grande costa ricaOf course we also saw the ignanas, crocodiles and howler monkeys José had promised us. 

howler monkey costa rica

Howler monkey napping in a tree.

Cost of a boat ride down the Playa Grande estuary with José, including a bottle of water and a slice of watermelon- $20 USD

selfie-boat-ride-estuary-costa-ricaLesson about the birds of Costa Rica- PRICELESS!

Other posts……..

Architectural Wonders Avian and Human

Alfred Hitchcock – All Those Birds

The Animals of Australia




Filed under Costa Rica, Nature, People