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Today I am 60-Part 3


My next decade between 20 and 30, I finished my degree and took off on a European vacation with Melinda, her Mom and my roommate Steph who I met at my second job. In six weeks I visited London, Greece, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Belgium and France with a side trip to Majorca, Spain thrown in for good measure.

That second job mentioned above was as the Assistant Studio Programs Co-ordinator at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. My love of the arts took me more behind the scenes in arts administration as I was pretty disillusioned about the lifestyle of an actress. I really enjoyed the artists that I got to work alongside, but my real love was actually the hospitality business. I had been offered a position as a Marketing Co-ordinator at The Keg because they were opening second (and then a third and fourth) Winnipeg location. At this time, I was smitten by a different travel bug. This one was called “the winter vacation” and I journeyed to Varadero Beach in Cuba on a number of occasions.

We worked hard and partied hard and these were pretty crazy and wonderful days. But, more and more of my friends were getting married and I decided that my wild oats were successfully sown. Finding my true love turned out to be a difficult task as I was looking for love in all the wrong places, as the song goes. Right under my nose was another of my good friends. D as he is called in this space was younger than me and off studying Hospitality and Tourism at Ryerson University in Toronto. “He couldn’t possibly be the ONE, could he”? I remember asking myself. At 29, D and I wed (he was 22). We had a beautiful little wedding reception at Brandy’s night club where we and so many of our restaurant friends had spent many happy hours.

We headed east for our honeymoon, as D had the urge to travel, as strong as I, experiencing Quebec City, Rockport, Maine, Boston, Rhode Island, Vermount and Montreal with extended time wedged in between at Cape Cod. I had already suspected and then known absolutely that I was my happiest, walking a beach. But our travelling days were put on hold for a number of years. By this time, D and I had moved to a gorgeous town house in St. James near The Keg where he was General Manager.

Beep as she is called here was born 10 months after we were married, with J1 coming along 2 years later. Boo arrived four years after that. Some say upon the arrival of babies that our “joy was complete”. There was joy all right, but despair and sadness too, as Beep suffered a catastrophic illness at age five.

D had entered into a partnership and owned and operated a number of family style restaurants. I took an extended leave from The Keg (they were so kind and gracious to me) and then everything turned upside down and I was laid off. At that time I was the Regional Marketing Director for Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Chicago. I loved my work but took a couple of years to be home with my little ones. We moved from our big old home in Wolseley, which no longer worked for Beep and moved to our present house in River Heights. Considerable smaller, we somehow made it work with five of us and an enormous dog. We did manage to travel just a bit with a trip to The Big Island in Hawaii and two to Cozumel. I was definitely smitten by the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.

To be continued……


Today I am 60-Part 2


So much happened between 10 and 20 as is the case with many of us. I attended John Henderson for junior high and Miles Macdonnell for high school. I still LOVED school, especially the addition of Home Economics to my class load.  I ran for school president in junior high and lost to my best friend Lynne McCarthy. Her dad worked for Cadbury’s and I comforted myself by concluding that she rallied so many volunteers to get her elected by serving them all chocolate bars at their house. I remember junior high as an emotional and mixed up time (hormones?). I got one vote for sure, from Gord Howard. Still my friend today.

During this time, my Dad had been transferred to Brandon and would live there during the week and come home on the weekends. It was a tough time for my Mom because even though my two eldest brothers had married and left home, there were four of us who needed to be driven to hockey practices, swimming lessons, dance classes, etc. etc.  We spent summers at Nutimik Lake which I wasn’t as fond of as my beloved Grand Beach and so I immersed myself in books again-this time Harlequin Romances!

By high school I had discovered the “the-a-tre” and spent much of my free time, at the theatre school that was affiliated with the Manitoba Theatre Centre. We were housed in an old warehouse across the street from MTC and my instructor was the handsome and talented Colin Jackson who I had a mad, mad crush on. This led in a circuitous way to  landing my first job-as a performer on a national kids tv show on the CBC entitled “Drop In”. I was permitted by the school administration to miss a lot of days of school to host the TV show. When my high school chemistry teacher would not permit me to be tutored as did my math teacher, I had to make a life-changing decision and was forced to give up my dream of becoming a Home Economist who hosted cooking shows on TV. Instead, I enrolled in the Dramatic Arts degree program at U of W.  That is where, when we were both 19 years old, I met my bestie Melinda (the friend that is flying in to celebrate with me). We were both theatre geeks and hit it off like wildfire.

The family couldn’t resist the pull of Lake Winnipeg and we again spent summers at Grand Beach. I also caught the travel bug after traveling to Halifax on a student exchange program in grade 11. Having some disposable income and being confident enough to fly on student standby tickets, I visited Halifax again in addition to Ottawa twice, Toronto and Vancouver.

Since the longing to travel hit me hard and by this time I was sharing a vintage downtown apartment near the U of W, I took a chance on a part time job at a new restaurant that was opening up in town. Called The Keg ‘n Cleaver, I was one of the hostesses the evening that the doors opened (40 years ago this week) and took the names of people lined up down the block. As you likely know, my tenure with The Keg Steakhouse + Bar (which it was eventually renamed) continues until this day.

To be continued…

Today I am 60-Part 1


I started this post last Saturday and after a world wind of celebrations, I have finally had a chance to come back to it.

I am reflective today, thinking back on all the years and memories of friends I have known and drifted away from. Some I have lost to heaven and others I keep as tight as I can around me, sharing my joys and my sorrows. One such friend has gotten on an airplane to be with me this weekend. The backyard will be filled with merry-makers, sharing this landmark with me. I am grateful and blessed.

Our kids, my sisters and sisters-in-law have all contributed in some way to the success of the upcoming party. Thank you. Doug has been single-minded in his efforts to make everything perfect, showing me in his way, how he cherishes me.

When you get to be 60, it is hard to define one year from the next, but I thought that the decades might be easier, so here goes:

From birth to age 10, I lived in two houses with my Mom, Dad and two adoring older brothers. One was on the 300 block of Linden Ave. which I have no memory of at all. The other was two blocks to the east in a neighbourhood where homes were being built for the growing families of post-war. Ours was very much like the rest of the houses on the street: practical and well-built without evidence of lavishness or luxury. The house on Linden remained our home until this time last year when we emptied and spruced it up for a new family. I wrote a blog post entitled Good-Bye to Our Family Home.

I went to Mrs. Dyer’s kindergarten, directly across the street. I couldn’t pronounce Aurelia’s name so I called my teacher “Ridja” as she was my Mom’s best friend. But out of respect, I didn’t do so  in front of the other students, all a year older than I. You see, at three my twin sister and brother were born and my Mom “had her hands full” as was said, so Ridja agreed to have me join her classroom every morning. Her daughter Debbie who was my best friend was also in the class.

Neil Campbell, a half block away became my longest school home. I LOVED school or most of it. I loved reading, art, social studies and choir. Math and phys ed, not so much. My best friends at school were Linda Gouriluk, Carol Chomiak, Cindy Kowal, Barb Schmidt, Sherry Wallis and Craig Sangster. I remember Helene Schewell and Chris Telenco too. We all lived within about six blocks of each other. I learned to skate at three and loved to hang out at Melrose Community Club. I was never a great swimmer, but diligently tried to be, with lessons at the EK YMCA.

We spent our holidays by driving to my grandparents in southern Saskatchewan and summers at Grand Beach. We had a “Mother’s Helper” that would take us to the beach while my Mom enjoyed a much-needed break because when I was 8, my youngest sister was born.

During this time there was sadness, when we unexpectedly lost my Moms’ two brothers, both to heart: one at 27 and the other in his early 30s. My Mom’s grief was crippling and I remember escaping my world in Nancy Drew books. I read the entire series over a couple of summers.

To be continued…..














A Photo of My Life



As  I was setting the table for a dinner party, I noticed that my turquoise hutch could use a wipe. Perhaps you might not have noticed what I saw. I am a “noticer”. I often pour my wine from this place and in the midst of the dried up round droplets, there was a perfectly shaped heart one.  It struck me how in so many ways, the image depicts my life.

For one, I am always spilling things: my credit cards all over the counter, coffee onto my housecoat and red wine in many locales.

For two I am messy. I am not a good housekeeper and I am a very messy cook. When D is out of town on business, I don’t even make the bed.

I love turquoise. I have a dozen pair of turquoise earrings and a primarily turquoise wardrobe. I have decorated our home and beach house with turquoise accents. D recently gifted me with a turquoise stand mixer. I painted and distressed this hutch when Beep moved out and we converted her main floor bedroom into our dining room. She teases us that we did so the weekend after she made her move.

I love having turquoise around me because it reminds me of the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas and both Italy and Mexico.

The hutch is “distressed” because for one I am very frugal. For two I would rather repurpose something than purchase new. I feel that items like old wood furniture have more integrity than new. In addition, there is freedom and exhilaration in slapping on paint in a rustic fashion. Kind of like finger painting when I was a kid.

And yes, I love red wine. My absolute favourite is a fine Chilean Merlot. But because I am thrifty, I have found a reasonable substitute that comes in economical packaging (dare I say…boxed). This convenience allows me to pour a glass when we are watching “Suits” on Netflix, a Jets game or “Amazing Race”. It means that I have plenty to share with Jen and the Frenchman (my kids in law), when we assemble for mandatory Sunday suppers.

Hearts too are all around me. I collect heart shaped coral, stones and seafood when I vacation. My family give me pottery, baskets and jewellery in heart shaped. I photograph hearts every chance I get.

I see hearts everywhere: in the clouds at sunrise, in puddles after a rain shower and in the pucker of a newborn baby’s mouth.

Of course a heart is not just another shape like a triangle. Hearts mean love and in my life, love is what it is all about. Not the receiving of love, but the giving of it. When I am blessed by a heart, I am reminded anew that I was put on earth to be a love distributor.

Kath’s quote: And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” 
 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Family Celebration at The Keg Steakhouse + Bar


When D and I dine at The Keg Steakhouse + Bar, we often look about to see multi-aged families dining together and we marvel at their ability to do so.

Boo and The Frenchman are soon off to Greece on their honeymoon as Boo was in school when they were married in October of last year. As a result, they will be away on the day of her birthday. We were hard-pressed to find a mutual date for us to gather together but finally agreed upon this past Monday evening.


We are all infatuated with The Wee One so she just had to be in attendance. Even though she is a seasoned diner, she is only a year and a half, so my expectations for our experience were what I would deem “realistic”.  The Keg certainly knows what they are doing when accommodating children. I suppose they understand that a happy child, means ecstatic parents and the chances of lingering and/or returning (often) increase accordingly.

We had made a reservation even though it was early on a weeknight. Upon arriving at the table, there was a high chair strategically placed set with a children’s menu, crayons and an activity sheet. A complementary child’s plate of crackers, oranges, strawberries and celery sticks arrived thereafter and between scribbling (“I colouring!” the Wee One declared) and snacking from her plate we were able to settle in and enjoy our birthday traditions.

On birthdays, we take turns as a family sharing what we love and appreciate about the birthday honouree. In my personal opinion, this is a gift greater than any material one that could be exchanged. We ordered our drinks and a plastic Keg cup with a straw so we could toast the occasion. The Wee One enthusiastically joins us for this custom, having practiced “cheers” with drinks and even food, ever since she could talk.


Appetizers were chosen for us to share around the table: new items of Tuna Tartar, Crispy Shrimp and Mediterranean Chicken Wraps were savoured along with an old favourite- Mushrooms Neptune.


The Wee One enjoyed her Chicken Fingers and Fries from the Kid’s Menu in two courses and supped on the fries while we passed around the tapas plates.


At meal time New York Steaks, Blue Cheese Filets, Pistachio Salmon and Seafood Chicken were selected by those among us who still had an appetite. The girls and I went a bit lighter with Boo selecting a Prime Sandwich (she took half home) and Beep and I sharing a Mushroom Chicken entrée (she had to take her Stuffed Baked Potato home too).

A celebratory wedge of The Keg’s famous Billy Miner Pie arrived with a plate full of spoons and we concluded the evening with a minimum of disruption to fellow diners. This did mean, Umma (me) walking the Wee One to see the fireplaces on repeated occasions and Poppa playing peek-a-boo over a half wall in the dining room. These distractions were a small price to pay for a contented family. In addition, I didn’t have to shop, cook, do the dishes OR clean up the litter under the dining room table, so it was a win, win, win kind of evening.

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “The dinner table is the center for the teaching and practicing not just of table manners but of conversation, consideration, tolerance, family feeling, and just about all the other accomplishments of polite society except the minuet.”-Judith Martin (Miss Manners)


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.


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