Category Archives: People

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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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

In Search of A Face

samchamprifleThere is no known likeness of  Quebec City founder Samuel D. Champlain.  He did do this sketch in a notebook of himself once, wearing armour and shooting a gun but it reveals nothing about what his face looked like. 


Samuel’s name on a gift shop named after him in Quebec City.

Champlain arrived in Quebec City in 1608 on a ship called The Gift of God and established a settlement with around 30 colonists. As you tour Quebec City you can find many artistic representations of Samuel Champlain.  Each sculptor or painter provides us with their idea of Samuel’s  face.  Which one is the most realistic? 

champlain on mural in quebec cityI’m posing here with Samuel as he walks down the street on a large mural called Fresque des Québécois.champlain on legislature building quebecHere Samuel looks down from the very top of the Quebec provincial legislative building. pigeon on champlain's headThis visage of Champlain graces a statue on Dufferin Terrace along the waterfront in Quebec City. It was created by Paris artist Paul Chèvre, a Titanic survivor. 
champlain-by-theodore-usherAt the Musee de la Place Royale museum they show a film about an artist reading Champlain’s journals and trying to create a likeness of him. This painting is the result. It is by Theodore Usher.champlain-at-the-place-du-royaleI took a photo of this version of Samuel’s face in the Musee de la Place Royale. champlain statueThis bronze bust of Champlain by Albert Laliberte was created in 1908 and is on display in the Musees de la civilisation in Quebec City. samuel d. champlain

This sketch of Champlain is also in the Musees de la civilisation in Quebec City. 

There are different opinions about the value of the contributions Champlain made to Canada. Some see him as a great mapmaker and explorer and a principled leader who helped found our country. Others say he was responsible for destroying the way of life established by Canada’s First Nations people. Either way he looms large in the history of our country which is why artists have been trying for centuries to figure out what he looked like. 

Other posts about Quebec City…..

From Pale and Weak to Platoon Commander

A Pen or a Wing?

A Very Short Fight

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Filed under Art, Canada, History, People, quebec city

Who Should Be Prime Minister?

If Canadian voters would decide who should be our next Prime Minister on the basis of the first televised debate of the election campaign Elizabeth May would be a shoo-in.  Hands down the sole woman on the debate stage was the most articulate, confident, well-informed and polite candidate. She clearly outshone her three male counterparts. Unfortunately she is leading the Green Party which has no chance of winning the election and since I disagree with the ruling Conservative party on many things including the decline of funding and freedom to scientists, their freeze on foreign aid, their approach to terrorism, and their inaction on climate change , and want them out of office, I will find myself forced to vote for someone other than Elizabeth May. 

Other posts……..

Getting To Know Kevin Chief- my MLA

House of Cards- Are Politicians Really Like This?

Meeting With the Mayor- Homelessness

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Filed under People, Politics