Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

My Stuff

  • Print
next

Melissa Steele

Short story writer

 

1. If your house were on fire, heaven forbid, what’s the one item contained within that you would try to take with you? (People, pets and computers not included.)

First off, I have a not-so-secret fantasy of my house burning down, of course when all the people and pets are safely somewhere else. I feel suffocated by all the stuff in our house, even the stuff I love. But if I had to take something with me from the house, it would be the letters my husband and I wrote each other when I was living in Montreal and he was here in Winnipeg.

2. What’s the one clothing/fashion item you can’t live without?

I have a too-large collection of winter hats and mitts. I guess I don’t like being cold but I also take a bigger interest in dressing down than in dressing up. In Winnipeg, you aren’t obliged to look fantastic while waiting for the bus in -40 C or while walking the dog in similar temperatures. I love my hats and mitts both because they are comfortable and cozy and because I don’t feel like anyone is looking at me seriously or critically when I’m bundled up.

3. What’s your favourite knick-knack and why?

At the moment, it is my President Obama mug which I have my morning coffee in most days. My mother-in-law, who recently passed away at the age of 93, was a fan of Obama’s before most people knew who he was. She read his books and fell in love. She had dementia and one of her early loops was to ask us over and over again if we’d read Obama’s books.

My sister-in-law, Gretchen, got both me and Mom Obama mugs for Christmas in 2008. So the mug is about Obama, but also about the three of us, Gretchen, Mom and me, and our shared crazed hope for America and the world.

4. What’s the oldest thing you own?

A pearl necklace I inherited from my grandmother.

5. Describe your most beloved piece of furniture.

I don’t have a deep love for furniture but I’m pretty partial to my bed.

6. Is there an edible item we’ll always find in your pantry or fridge?

Peanut butter is something that I always have around. It is a perfect breakfast food, snack food, and lunch food and peanut butter on toast works well for dinner if I am only cooking for myself.

next
previous

Emma Cloney

Singer-songwriter

 

If your house were on fire, heaven forbid, what's the one item contained within that you would try to take with you? (People, pets and computers not included.)

Without question, it would be my Gibson J200 acoustic guitar. It's easily my most-loved tool of the trade, and without it I feel that I would be lost. Plus, I am certain that within its body are some of the best songs I have not written yet!

What's the one clothing/fashion item you can't live without?

My collection of feather earrings designed by our very own local Ruby Feathers. They allow everything I wear to feel beautiful and complete. The feathers represent a whimsy and freedom within me that I love to outwardly express.

What's your favourite knick-knack and why?

Our little western saddle that I like to keep on a stand in my living room. It makes a great conversation piece and our little girls love to climb all over it and play horses. Also, as any horse fanatic can tell you, the smell of saddle leather is a perfume all houses should be equipped with.

What's the oldest thing you own?

My grandmother's sweet 16 silver bracelet. Inside it is her name and the year of her 16th birthday... She gave it to me on my 16th birthday and she had my name placed inside of it right next to hers. I love wearing a piece of family history.

Describe your most beloved piece of furniture.

That's an easy one -- my king-size log bed made of kiln-dried logs from Montana. I had always wanted one and a great Kijiji find helped me secure my dream! I could never commit to living in a room that was too small to house that forest of slumber.

Is there an edible item we'll always find in your pantry or fridge?

An ample supply of fresh fruit; my li'l girls are fruit monsters and will gobble up anything from apples to starfruit.

next
previous

Lynne Scott

Founder of Craig Street Cats feral cat rescue

 

If your house were on fire, heaven forbid, what's the one item contained within that you would try to take with you? (People, pets and computers not included.)

I have over 100 years' worth of family photos that are absolutely irreplaceable. I'd grab the box and run for the door.

 

What's the one clothing/fashion item you can't live without?

Sneakers/runners/athletic shoes. I almost always have a pair of gofasters on my feet.

 

What's your favourite knick-knack and why?

I don't really have any knick-knacks left. The cats have sort of turned them all into toys.

 

What's the oldest thing you own?

My great-grandmother's crucifix. It probably belonged to my great-great grandparents, and is well over 100 years old.

 

Describe your most beloved piece of furniture.

That would be a toss up between my maternal grandmother's dining room suite, and my paternal grandmother's lamp (it needs a new shade, but it's a really cool lamp). They both hold cherished childhood memories.


Is there an edible item we'll always find in your pantry or fridge?

Coffee -- it's what keeps me going.

next
previous

Ariel Gordon

Poet

 

If your house were on fire, heaven forbid, what's the one item contained within that you would try to take with you? (People, pets and computers not included.)

OK, according to these parameters my poems are backed-up off-site (aren't I clever!) and my daughter's fish are sloshing around in a fireman's helmet. So what would I try to take with... you know, I can't think of a single thing. I mean, I like my things, but there isn't anything that isn't replaceable. (And think of how fun it would be to replace everything, once the shock of it all vanishing simultaneously had subsided!)

What's the one clothing/fashion item you can't live without?

Scarves. Not woolen winter scarves, but those flouncy bits of fabric you tie around your neck in elaborate ways. They're useful pieces when you're a child of the matchy-matchy '80s.

What's your favourite knick-knack and why?

While on book tour a few years ago, we did a reading in Edmonton at a community college. We were a few minutes early, so Regina poet Tracy Hamon and I browsed the campus bookstore. I found a wooden hand with jointed fingers that I believe was meant for the college's art students, hands being generally very hard to draw. I like to fiddle with it when I'm writing. (It only bothers me a very little bit that the thumb isn't anatomically correct...)

What's the oldest thing you own?

I'm not sure if it's the oldest thing I own, but I've been intrigued of late with my maternal grandfather's U.K. driver's licence. It's an elegant little red booklet, rather unlike our laminated cards, that records that he took out the licence in 1934 and renewed it twice. He was apparently caught "driving in a built-up area at a speed exceeding 30 miles per hour" in July 1937 and fined £20.

My grandfather became a spy under Sir William Stephenson after the Second World War broke out and was required to change his name so as to protect relatives in Europe, so it's sort of startling to see his original name on the licence.

Describe your most beloved piece of furniture.

I hesitate to use the word "beloved" when describing furniture, but I probably spend the most time with our couch/loveseat, which are upholstered in a crazy '70s print that is mostly triangles and flowers. We inherited them from my partner's parents when we bought our first house. They only had the one child, so, like most of the items in their house, the couch and loveseat looked virtually unused when we got them. A few years ago, instead of reupholstering, we re-foamed.

Is there an edible item we'll always find in your pantry or fridge?

My item is a three-for-the-price-of-one, in grand old Winnipeg style: teabags and sugar in the pantry and cream in the fridge. Together, they make hot, sweet milky tea: workingman's tea. Which saves my life regularly...

next
previous

Jay Oliver

Morning co-host of Jay and Kerri in the Morning, 102.3 Clear FM

 

If your house were on fire, heaven forbid, what's the one item contained within that you would try to take with you? (People, pets and computers not included.)

My first reaction is to say my laptop or iPhone, but if I'm not able to go for those, and since my TV is too big to carry out myself, then I suppose I would have to say car keys.

What's the one clothing/fashion item you can't live without?

Can't live without a well-tailored suit. I love to dress up "Barney style," like the character on How I Met Your Mother.

What's your favourite knick-knack and why?

That would be a little cast-iron figurine of a warrior on a horse. It was given to my brother while he was in the hospital many years ago because he, too, was a little fighter. When he passed away, this became my most prized possession. Hard to believe I've had that little figurine for over 26 years.

What's the oldest thing you own?

An old pocket watch that belonged to my grandfather.

Describe your most beloved piece of furniture.

Getting up at 3:45 a.m., it's likely a toss-up between my bed and my home theatre seats -- complete with cup holders.

Is there an edible item we'll always find in your pantry or fridge?

I'm a bit of a hot sauce hoarder. I think I brought back about 20 bottles last time I was in Mexico!

next
previous

Chad Cornell

Master herbalist, owner Hollow Reed Holistic

 

If your house were on fire, heaven forbid, what's the one item contained within that you would try to take with you? (People, pets and computers not included.)

It would be a toss-up between my drum and my flute. I made the cedar flute myself with a friend, so it has a really personal value. The circle drum was given to me as a wedding gift and I usually take one or the other with me when I travel or attend special events or ceremonies.

What's the one clothing/fashion item you can't live without?

My Blundstone boots from Australia. They're not exactly locally made, but at this point, I can't imagine going back to using laces. I've never had a pair of boots that have lasted me so long and are so versatile.

What's your favourite knick-knack and why?

I don't think I have one. Maybe the ornate magnifying glass that my wife Nancy got me from Chinatown in Vancouver. Why? Because it's from her, it's beautiful and it has a sense of timelessness to it.

What's the oldest thing you own?

My great-grandpa's buffalo robe. Apparently they were used underneath the saddle on horses.

Describe your most beloved piece of furniture.

My great-grandma's wooden table that holds the herbs and scale at Hollow Reed. It's hand carved, it's a bit beat up, but it's got a lot of strength, love and spirit to it.

Is there an edible item we'll always find in your pantry or fridge?

A local medicinal root called Wikay. It's also called known as calamus root. It keeps me well, and generally sane. It's bitter but I love it!

next
previous

Stanta Claus

 

(cross between St. Nicholas and Santa Claus)

If your house were on fire, heaven forbid, what's the one item contained within that you would try to take with you? (People, pets and computers not included.)

I would grab my accordion. It's called a Magic Box because it makes all the children sing Christmas songs. Even the grownups sing along. I've had it forever and it means so much to me.

What's the one clothing/fashion item you can't live without?

I certainly can't live without my red suit. It identifies me as the jolly ol' fella I am! HO HO HO! I'm so happy today!

What's your favourite knick-knack and why?

It must be my sleighbells. They guide my reindeer all over the world and let people know when I'm arriving or passing by. Rudolph and the other reindeer won't fly anywhere without them. I also love the painting Norman Rockwell did of me way back when Pepsi tried to use me in their ads. My friends at Coke were not impressed. HO, HO, HO! There's plenty of me to go around, though! HO, HO, HO!

What's the oldest thing you own?

The oldest thing I own has to be my wife (chuckle, chuckle). Just kidding. It must be my pants. I've had them hemmed and altered so many times I've lost count. I always tend to put on some extra weight in the Christmas season, with all the treats the little boys and girls leave me. HO, HO, HO! Then I have to loosen my belt just to get into them. I've had them for over a hundred years now.

Describe your most beloved piece of furniture.

My recliner. After a night like Christmas Eve, it's nice to sit back, take my boots off and relax with a nice fire burning and just feel good about all the presents I brought to all the boys and girls around the world. HO, HO, HO! It's going to be a long night tonight!

Is there an edible item we'll always find in your pantry or fridge?

Oh, there's more than one food I always have in my fridge. You'll always find chocolate-covered jujubes, chocolate chip cookies, milk, of course, and carrots for the reindeer. I have a bit of a sweet tooth. I'm getting ready for some snacks right now. Yummy!

Merry Christmas, everyone and see you soon! HO HO HO!

next
previous

Janine LeGal

Immigration activist

 

If your house were on fire, heaven forbid, what's the one item contained within that you would try to take with you? (People, pets and computers not included.)

A big box full of my deceased sister's writings. She kept a diary for over 30 years so you can imagine the value in those pages, the history, the beauty, the pain, the life.

What's the one clothing/fashion item you can't live without?

There are two actually, and they go together so nicely, for me anyway. A pair of old faded jeans and a black t-shirt. Been my favorite since my teenage years and have been through countless of each.

What's your favourite knick-knack and why?

My Buddha incense holder is my favourite for two reasons. Because a dear friend gave it to me, but also because in that holder, I have burned thousands of incense sticks over the years during some of the most meaningful times of life, joyous times, sad times and all the other times too.

What's the oldest thing you own?

I recently inherited an old family trunk which was around even before I was a baby, so I guess that's pretty old. I'm still trying to figure out how best to put it to good use. Ideas? Please send them my way.

Describe your most beloved piece of furniture.

I'm not a big fan of furniture, really. I prefer to sit and even sleep on the floor, but I do love the cat tree, because my Annabelle and Karma spend so much time there, observing the world, playing, fighting, play-fighting, self-cleaning and, of course, napping.

Is there an edible item we'll always find in your pantry or fridge?

In the fridge, organic tofu, although I realize that to some, that doesn't qualify as an edible item. (Insert hearty laugh here). In the pantry, seeds and nuts. Can't live without them. They're good for the heart.

next
previous

My stuff

Guy Maddin collaborator, University of Manitoba professor of film studies

 

George Toles

Guy Maddin collaborator, University of Manitoba professor of film studies

If your house were on fire, heaven forbid, what's the one item contained within that you would try to take with you? (People, pets and computers not included.)

My library -- every last one of my 5,000 books; they're a single entity, in my mind.

What's the one clothing/fashion item you can't live without?

An old-fashioned pocket watch that my daughter, Rachel, gave me as a present.

What's your favourite knick-knack and why?

A green ceramic frog, belonging to my mother. It looks both serene and stunned. Burl Ives might have sung about him.

What's the oldest thing you own?

My father's gold high school ring. From South Park High in Buffalo.

Describe your most beloved piece of furniture.

My father's oak writing desk, with long pull-out drawers on both sides. It used to be on the third floor of our family home. My father had his office up there throughout my childhood.

Is there an edible item we'll always find in your pantry or fridge?

A bag of Rold Gold pretzels.

previous

Shawn Churchill

Sports director, CTV Winnipeg

 

If your house were on fire, heaven forbid, what's the one item contained within that you would try to take with you? (People, pets and computers not included.)

The St. Christopher medal my great-grandfather passed down through our family. He had it when he immigrated to Canada from Norway.

What's the one clothing/fashion item you can't live without?

It has to be my sweatshirts that I wear on weekends around the house or in the yard. They are old and ratty and my wife hates them but they are comfortable. I tend to dress down -- very down -- away from work.

What's your favourite knick-knack and why?

I'm a collector of old automotive things. Old porcelain advertising signs are my favourite. I have a number covering my garage walls. Most of the signs come from all over Manitoba. I just love the history behind the pieces.

I have a Esso dealership sign dating back to 1927, and other signs from the '30s, '40s, '50s and '60s. I love spending time in the garage as well as searching for them.

I really look for anything pre-1940. I have a licence-plate collection dating back to 1914 -- yeah, I'm very much an automotive geek. I enjoy flea markets and auctions. They have been the best way to connect with other collectors and sellers.

What's the oldest thing you own?

A 1914 porcelain licence plate; I need four more plates to complete a collection and I am always looking.

Describe your most beloved piece of furniture.

No question, it is my big cosy recliner. It was given to me as a gift on my 40th birthday from my family and friends. If I'm not working around the yard or garage, that is where you will find me.

Is there an edible item we'll always find in your pantry or fridge?

I tend to try to eat healthy but... Froot Loops are my weakness.

 

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart - Evil Las Vegas

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local/Standup- Morning Fog. Horse prances in field by McPhillips Road, north of Winnipeg. 060605.
  • Winnipeg’s best friend the dragon fly takes a break at English Gardens in Assiniboine Park Wednesday- A dragon fly can eat  food equal to its own weight in 30 minutes-Standup photo- June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What do you think of the new school-zone speed limit?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google