I'm so glad you could stop by. This is my personal blog of daily life and my journey through life. You will find a strong emphasis on family and friends as well as finding my ancestors through genealogy. Unlike my other blogs this blog is more of a catch-all so any topic is fair game.

Search This Blog:

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Miracle

angel cartoon

Our new grandbaby made her debut Dec. 23, 2006 at 8:03 pm. She weighed in at 8 lb 6 oz and is absolutely the most perfect little sweetheart you have ever seen!


Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Holidays 2006




Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to all my online friends who have made all my blogs so successful! You have no idea as to how special this has been for me. I'm wishing each and every one of you all the peace and joy for the holiday season. May 2007 be a blessed as 2006 for you.

I will be offline for the next few days or more as we celebrate the holidays and await the arrival of out first grandbaby. For the second time in almost 30 years we will not be celebrating Christmas day in our home. While I will have internet access, I'm going to take the time to enjoy my family.

I look forward to sharing with you in the new year take a step back and say, hey this is what it is all about. So take care everyone, have a wonderful holiday season and check back here to read all about our new grandbaby!

Happy Holidays!


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Calling Harry Potter Fans

The door at JK Rowling's site is now open. Once you figure out the trick, you will see what looks like the title to book 7!

Go to The Leaky Cauldron if you need help.

-----

I got it!!!! Was it ever a question when I'm sitting at the computer in my Harry Potter pj's? I think I will celebrate with a little butter beer.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Countdown to Christmas



Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Sky

sunset and clouds
Sunset and Clouds

I'm always looking to the sky not only to see what is to be but to reinforce what I am blessed to have. As a gardener I know the sky reveals a lot about the day's weather but as a person the sky reveals more sometimes. Sunrises give hope and faith that that day will be fine. Sunsets give peace and comfort in a day well spent surrounded by those I love and cherish. Then there is the night skies! They are so fascinating that I could easily spend hours outside watching them with the telescope pondering about those who went before us and those who will be. So for me, the sky is God's church where all are welcomed but it is also a connection to my ancestors and my past.\


Monday, December 18, 2006

Old Dog New Tricks?

baby blinkie

I love blinkies but wanted to design my own except the most I've used Photoshop for was a bit of tinkering with pictures mainly resizing and I had no idea I had Image Ready! So last night I went online and found three tutorials then proceeded to try working my way through them. I managed to get the gif to flash between two colours but no text or anything else. That brought a whole new meaning to pulling out my hair so about 3 am I headed off to bed. This morning it dawned on me that I might not be linking the layers correctly so set about trying again. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my very first, custom made blinkie! It's nothing fancy but it is a start. Now I've taught myself the basics, I'll be able to fine tune for sizing and blinking style. And who said you couldn't teach an old dog new tricks?


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Inevitable

wrapped present

The inevitable time has of year has arrived where procrastinating Christmas shopping is quickly coming to an end. Last year this time we had long finished shopping, all the gifts were wrapped and tucked under the tree in anticipation of Christmas morning. What a difference a year makes! Most of the homemade gifts are finished and we've at least started the shopping. The hustle and bustle of shopping this time of year combined with irritable shoppers is not all that appealing. We had planned on spending most of this weekend shopping but took yesterday as a lazy home day. Today was grey and drizzling, not exactly a nice day for shopping so we stayed in again. We really needed these home days because we are both exhausted. We'll be doing two or three shorter shopping trips this week and have everything finished up by Saturday providing the stork co-operates. The countdown until our first grandbaby makes her début is now officially anytime now!


Friday, December 15, 2006

Going Back to the Old Ways





Frankenmuth, Michigan

Frankenmuth, Michigan is a wonderful town to visit with its quaint, country stores and horse drawn carriages. The quiet, laid back atmosphere allows you to unwind while you visit the Christmas Store. Dinner is always at Zehnders for their world famous chicken. This is a must stop at restaurant!

Over the past couple of weeks we have had a lot of visitors and one common highlight is always my canning rack. Fully loaded it is very impressive to say the least but then when guests wander through the house they notice other things like home made soaps, handmade candles and other things that get them thinking about the past. Now I'm likely an oddity in that I love to garden and do a lot of cooking especially canning. The number one comment I get in real life and even online is how wonderful it is to simplify your life, followed up by I would love to live like just like the pioneers. Say what! Have you ever seen my life? My Dayplanner is always within easy reach and even canning sessions have to be planned usually a few days in advance if not more. My general weekly planning is done Sunday afternoons and from that point I basically know how my week should unfold barring any emergencies. It is far from a simplistic lifestyle!

I know the work that goes into anything I make myself and that's using modern conveniences. I know a lot about the lifestyles of my early ancestors and believe I do enjoy a lot of the modern conveniences. I wouldn't even begin to try and kid myself that we will ever be totally self sufficient because there is simply no way we could grow everything we need where we live nor could we raise much more than rabbits and even if we could raise animals, the chances of us doing so well is like slim to none. I like to fish when I have time and my husband goes to hunt camp once a year. That's like the adult version of summer camp meaning he's out of my hair and since he doesn't hunt can't get into any other trouble. This suits us nicely. See, I'm being very pragmatic even though we do a lot ourselves and lean towards alternative energy and likely lead simpler lives than some, but sorry I like a lot of modern conveniences.

That nice modern bathroom looks pretty dog-gone good when I'm sick. I can't even begin to imagine what our ancestors went through having to make a mad dash to the outhouse. We heated with wood for about 15 years and if we ever figure out how to fit a wood-stove in this house we will but for now that nice little programmable thermostat does just fine! Wood is a lot of work and no longer cheap in most areas. I'm also rather fond of flicking a switch for lighting and while we do use CFLs, LEDs, candles and oil burning lamps, electric lighting is just really nice. And let's just think about the cooking issue. I love cooking over an open flame including a campfire but on a regular basis because I had to, in the middle of summer? Forget about it!

Going back to the old ways is nice now because we always have the option to revert to modern methods. Our ancestors did not have that option and that is something those who want to glorify pioneer living would be well advised to consider!


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Season's Belessings



Most of us are so very, very fortunate. While many deal with minor to almost insurmountable problems, there are always those worse off than us. So this holiday season take a few moments to truly count your blessings and please give generously any way you can. Remember, you do have the power to make a difference!


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Toxic Humans?

toxic chemicals
To redeem myself from yesterday's pointless pondering this entry is on a more serious note. I think with all the current threats to our food coupled with and endless bombardment of chemicals both indoors and out, that we as humans are the most toxic species living. I've thought that for a long time but still was surprised at the statistics given by Randall Fitzgerald in The Hundred-Year Lie, How Food and Medicine are Destroying Your Health. We certainly are not the people our ancestors were and if you really put things in perspective despite a shorter life span our ancestors were likely a lot healthier than we are.

I subscribe to the Canada Food Inspection Agency for potential problems like food recalls, health hazards and allergy warnings. Yesterday four notices appeared in my inbox, three were for health hazards including Samonella and lead contamination, the fourth was for allergies. On the heels of the E.coli and Listeria outbreaks, we may as well have Samonella added to the mix. At least we don't have Botulism at the moment but as a home canner that is always a concern. See it is not that we have enough to deal with in life right now! Take one walk through the supermarkets and take a moment to really carefully read those nutritional labels. There are few problems I have with these labels and the first begins with agencies that govern them and why certain things like flavourings are exempt from disclosure due to trade secrets and the myth these agencies are correct. They want us to put this crap into our bodies and pay through the nose to do so but cannot have the decency to tell us what it is we are ingesting and whether it will harm sometime in the future? I'm sorry, this just does not cut it with me. Now that is just the supermarket but what about the fast food industry?

Personally, I refuse to buy into the fast food industry since most of their products are so fat and salt laden it is ridiculous! Taco Bell® is experiencing a nice bought of E.coli in their green onions right now but I'm sure there are other fast food restaurants experiencing problems. It is my opinion that if we truly value our health we avoid these establishments entirely!

As if that isn't bad enough, we bring countless toxic chemicals into our homes, the very place we should be safe. The manufacturers have convinced us we need whiter & brighter laundry, heavenly smelling homes, synthetics, and oh gosh the list could go on forever. Do you know in most homes the indoor air is significantly more polluted than outdoors? When I use the word significantly I am using to indicate hard, cold figures not just as a figment of speech. On any given day we are breathing in the toxins from the cleaners, air fresheners, laundry products, personal product and off gassing from home furnishings. Is this what our bodies were designed to do? NO! Our bodies simply cannot hold up to this total, unending bombardment of toxins.

I am a very, very careful consumer and I strive to avoid toxic products. I preserve our own foods as much as possible. I garden organically, another myth and another topic. We eat healthy foods, avoid fast food restaurants, and don't buy commercial snacks or processed convenience foods. Think back to the land but still dependant on society for some things and that describes us. The other day I heard a burb about propylene glycol being a suspected carcinogenic so decided to investigate as to exactly how many products in our home contained this chemical. My very first thought at the tally was "what the heck?" and I am very careful with what I buy. I guess it wasn't good enough!

I give you, the reader a challenge to take my quiz. Armed with a pen and notepad, go through your house and simply make a tick for each time propylene glycol comes up in the list of ingredients. This is stuff you are using or putting on your body, often on a daily basis that has the potential to cause cancer. If anything it will make you more aware that you, the consumer has to take pro-active measurements to reduce the amount of harmful chemical exposure at every level of your life!


Monday, December 11, 2006

Pointless Pondering of Mice

mouse cartoon
We've all seen them, the cutesy depictions of mice. There are cartoons about them showing humorous human-like qualities. Who can resist such sweeties as Micky and Minnie Mouse or the antics of Tom and Jerry? Then there are the cartoon mice with superpowers like Mighty Mouse who's always ready to save the day. One thing the cartoon mice have in common is they all love cheese. They will go beyond human capabilities to get cheese!

But let's do some pointless pondering just because. Where does all the cutesy stuff about mice come from and what about the idea that mice like cheese? I have a theory about the cutesy stuff. See, I don't like mice whether they be wild or laboratory and having had experience with both, I still don't like them. I don't like them outside or inside my house! In fact, I simply don't want anything to do with mice, the real kind but even I can get a chuckle or two out of the cartoon variant of mice. So my theory is some well meaning parent at sometime made up some cutesy tale about mice to calm the fears of their kids. Those kids told other kids and the whole thing snowballed. Artists and cartoonists got wind of this tale and jumped on the bandwagon. The rest is history! So what about mice liking cheese? Really, why would mice like cheese? It's not part of their natural diet and given their druthers would prefer not to eat cheese. The myth that mice like cheese likely came from some parent telling their kids to eat their cheese before the mice got it and since the kids had more fear of mice than cheese they complied confirming the idea that "it's always the parent's fault". The perpetuation of this myth was enabled by fairy tales, artists and cartoonists as well. Then Hollywood got a hold of both myths and made heros of the disease ridden little varmints! What were they thinking?

Well that's my pointless pondering for the day, I'm off to do something a bit more constructive.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Wall Art

wall art in Windsor, Ontario
Windsor, Ontario


I am fascinated by wall art on buildings! It goes beyond just societal approved forms as I have to admit to being fascinated by wall art done by street artists aka graffiti. One form of wall art that I am very interested in are old ads painted on historical buildings. So I take pictures every time I can. I have a nice collection of images with dates, locations and other interesting information such as building. People have such an inherent desire to share and express themselves in whatever form they can. Wall art fills that need while expressing individuality.

I thought this wall art on an apartment building in Windsor, Ontario was impressive. The art is complicated in that it shows four pictorial views in post card format from historical views, something I truly appreciate. The artist takes advantage of subject, depth and movement in a very effective way. The attention to detail is beautiful as are the colours. Kudos to the artist for creating such a wonderful piece of wall art!

From a historical perspective, wall art has been used for many reasons. In my genealogy research much of the wall art was used as an inexpensive way of advertising. Some of the old wall art was amazingly detailed in design. My communities have recognized these special paintings on buildings and have untaken restoring them. Sadly some do not appreciate the beauty of the art or the painstaking time it takes to restore them not to mention the cost. Recently in a nearby community one such restored painting on a historical building was vandalized. What a horrible shame and act of cowardice!

The next time you see wall art whether societal approved or graffiti, take a few minutes to marvel at the uniqueness and ponder what it is the artist was trying to convey. Marvel at those old ads painted on buildings. These are part of our past, a bit of a legacy left to us from those who went before us!


Friday, December 08, 2006

Natural Wetlands

natural wetlands

Natural Wetlands

It would so much more pleasant enjoying this view than today's weather. This photo was taken in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) right in the middle of urban sprawl. The owners intend to keep this portion of their property as natural wetland. What is not shown in the photo is the diverse water fowl we enjoyed. It is truly wonderful seeing these little pockets of natural areas!

The sun is shining brightly today but after last evening's dropping temperatures coupled with snow it is anything but mild out. The ground is not frozen enough for the snow to last so despite the nasty road conditions last night, they are now dry. There's a hint of snow in sunnier spots with heavier coverage in shaded areas. Those in the GTA having had considerably more snow than we did last night would likely scoff at our little amount. However, it was enough to cause slippery roads and cold enough temperatures to have everyone talking about it.

The wind was just perfect last night and this morning to help identify a corner by my desk that needed caulking. This presented the problem of having to empty a large bookshelf, move the bookshelf, do the caulking, wait for it to dry then do the touch-up painting. I've been caulking on and off since October trying to do at least fifteen minutes of winterizing daily. Sometimes that may mean a fifteen minute detection walk marking locations that need attention but most times it is actual winterizing of some type. This is an ongoing sealing project due to the age and design of the house as well as location. It helps that we are into energy conservation so are always looking for ways to lower our energy usage.

I don't mind caulking as it is an easy to do, low cost maintenance that results in greater indoor comfort with good energy savings paybacks. It also seals out insects and other small pests. The only problem with caulking is sometimes you have to wait for the right wind conditions. Another trick that works at detecting drafts is locating cobwebs. Spiders spin their webs where drafts are so that's a sure sign that area needs to be sealed. Of course the old cold air blowing on the feet is always a good sign of drafts but thankfully after a few years of persistence, we are beyond that. With the wind died down this afternoon I may be able to finish up a bit of winterizing outside. I'm using spray expansion foam to seal between the foundation and sill. A couple of spots needed just a bit more so I had to do a walk around to see if there were any more spots before opening a new can. The foam can be tricky to use and I've found the best results with not trying to keep partially opened cans.

Well, back to my winterizing projects for today,


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Education

ice on the St. Clair River

The significance of this photo is quiet being combined with knowledge. This is kind of a funny post because it came about from an online discussion regarding education. I currently have advanced degrees. These official degrees mean I have advanced knowledge in some disciplines but they do not take into account the self learning or simple life experience. There is something to be said for earning Doctrate in the School of Hard Knocks. My first genealogy book is scheduled to be published early 2007 and even that comes with misled feelings because it represents I've learned everything I could about those particular ancestors. That is an invalid conclusion. As technology advances the possibility of learning more and more about this ancestral couple will become increasingly possible. Honestly I firmly believe the day you stop learning is the day you start dying. My degrees say nothing about me as a person. They don't say anything about my love for learning, my tenacity to teach myself, my willingness to walk outside the box to try another method and my love for life. My husband says I should be very proud but my view is pride always goes before a fall. I am thankful for having the opportunity for higher education. I'm thankful for it making me a better person but it is not the only thing I'm about. I want to be known for what I do, the people I touch in life and the difference I can make while I'm living. I think that is the truer knowledge.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Living in the Past



Rock-ola 451 circa 1973


Sometimes we live in the past and there is nothing wrong with that. We do that through genealogy and collecting antiques to scrapbooking or anything else that brings back memories of times already gone. I collect anything Shirly Temple or Dionne Quintruplets as well as well as depression and pre-depression glass. As a couple I tend to collect very specific antique items that have a history or story to the piece whereas my husband collects "stuff". By stuff, I mean things related to his favourite sports team and yes we do have a room solely dedicated to that team but he also collects stuff as in travel trinkets and bits and pieces I can't even begin to understand. He likely doesn't understand my fascination for collecting things with a history so we are pretty much matched.

Now imagine my response when he calmly announced over his morning coffee that he was going to pick up a jukebox he had found. He had actually bought something with a history! Here we met a slight clash as the only spot this thing would fit into was exactly where my antique and fully functional EXP.B.T. sewing machine stood adorned with the antique and fully functional Underwood manual typewriter right beside the cabinet holding my depression and pre-depression glass. What the heck was he thinking?

It took him most of Saturday to get the jukebox home and after trying a few spots I agreed to move the sewing machine. The jukebox actually looks good in that spot. Then I agreed to help clean-up and restore the jukebox. Having restored antique pieces before cleaning the jukebox was almost no challenge other than the offending smell of nicotine. About 1,000 45s came with the jukebox and he immediately hauled out all his saved 45s. Oh yes, he does have a collection of records including picture records but those are usually out of sight. Talk about a direct contrast to the iPod! I'm just waiting for the old manual victrola that will play the cone records we have. It's only a matter of time now that he has come over to my side of collecting things that have a history.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Reflections



Storm Clouds


Have you ever had one of those days when you spend more time tweaking the tools than getting the work done? So it was with me today. I was up bright and early ready to do a lot of data entry. I restarted the Mac in Windows mode and fired up Legacy. No problems except I had forgot to transfer the image files over to the XP drive. From Mac that is fairly easy as all I have to do is click and drag to the hard drive icon. Anyway, I had forgot so decided to carry on. Then I noticed that the tagging was off. Legacy has a tagging system that will set 9 tags. Somehow in the change over the tags were lost! It was only 10 am and I was already getting frustrated! So I tinkled with the tagging and then left it alone to move onto the lap top. Now the lap top and desktop work together especially if I'm online. But Legacy on the laptop running through Virtual PC decided it was going to be a pain. It took about 3 hours and several reboots to finally get the gedcom to work only to discover all the tagging was missing from the file. Now I seriously love Legacy and it would take a lot for me to switch. Legacy's programers will likely have a Mac compatible program shortly as they are very progressive. I did install both Heredis and Reunion on the lap top just to see how they behaved and the reality is that if I find a Mac program that does exactly what I want, chances are good I'll use it if only on the lap top. Both are Mac programs so I'll test drive both of them and email Legacy for support as well. I did manage to get a bit of data input onto the desktop. It is performing nicely with the duo core so with a little tweaking things should be fine. The lap top may be floating in the water shortly!

Well, enough of the complaining. I went full tilt, one step ahead and two steps back from early morning to about 2:30 PM when I decided I really needed a break. The weather was unseasonably warm so I went down to the veggie store where I got a few good deals. I only went for mushrooms to add to the pot roast vegetables but what the heck. It was good to get out into the sun and mild weather. When I got back I put the vegetables in with the roast for dinner, decided what I was going to put up for the night then sat by the water's edge to simply listen.

Sometimes life gets so hectic or we get so frustrated we forget to just simply be. We forget to listen and truly see. Quiet reflective time is so important because it helps to ground us so we can make connections. A peaceful calm passed over me and even though I could hear the calling of my ancestors there was peace as the water methodically swept the shore. It became clear the path I should follow yet I was at peace.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Long Nights



Frost on Branches




I woke with a start and through groggy eyes tried to make sense of the digits on the clock. It couldn't be! It was only 3:20 am, way to early to be rising yet I was wide awake. I knew the notepad I kept on the bed stand wouldn't be enough. The dream had been so very vivid in true Kodak colour but it also triggered something else. Every fiber of my body was vibrating with thoughts of my second great grandparents. Their very being had haunted my dreams enough to waken me and now I had to get those thoughts and feelings in writing. Their very existence tugged at and enter-twined my soul begging the story be told.

The early hours of the morning flew by with me only taking a few moments to capture the sunrise. It was after lunch before I decided to take a break marveling at how far that book had progressed. The problem is this couple is tugging at my soul but my focus is supposed to be on my seventh great-grandparents' story yet the other story is just flying from my fingers. One of my kids is my advisor for the first book and will be for the sequels so being very concerned that what should be a sequel was actually progressing quicker than the initial book I made a frantic phone call. Apparently the way things are progressing is not as much of a problem as I thought. The advice to get what I could written then go from there. Well that means that one sequel will likely be finished before the original but what it should do is trigger telling the stories of other ancestors. So complicated!

I took a short break to go grocery shopping. That was not really good as I only needed a couple of things but bought a lot of meat on sale. So I was trying to vacuum seal the meat but as ideas popped into my head I had to stop and type a little. It's funny how these particular grandparents are speaking to me. It's like they want the story told and they are going to haunt me until it is told. It is honestly the weirdest feeling I've ever had. I've had feelings about my ancestors before but not like this. These are usually nice peaceful, a subtle awareness not like this. Right now the feelings are so intense!


Sunday, November 26, 2006



Sunset


Genealogy research can be frustrating to say the least sometimes. Some days the information just seems to fly at you from all directions then without any warning then information suddenly dries up. So it has been with the latest round of research. I have many new leads to follow and a lot of data entry to do. I'll like spend much of my genealogy time this coming week on data entry until something stands out needing further investigation. My second great grandparents continue to haunt my thoughts. Out of the blue and just by shear luck I found where one of their daughters lived after their death. She was only four when they died. That was a pleasant discovery.

I'm making progress on my book so that's a good thing. Every so often I have to stop to do a bit of research to clarify a point or add more detail. That means I'm bouncing between two computers, a PDA, written notes and documents and online. My desk is so congested that even my husband asked how I could find anything. To the side but in front of my desk are two wooden tv tables. Each one holds a huge binder stuffed full of family group sheets, documents, pictures and family stories. I can easily swivel from computers to binders as needed. And so it goes.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Brick Walls


Genealogists often speak of brick walls in reference to reaching a point in their research where finding any information appears to be impossible. The key work here is "appears". With enough tenacity, determination, careful research and attention to even the smallest of details along with a healthy dose of patience it is often possible to break through these brick walls. In most brick wall instances the hit with a sledgehammer approach won't work unless you happen to get extremely lucky. The more likely scenario is the small chisel approach chipping away at the mortar bit by bit to find the hidden information. Sometimes you have to get to the information in a round about way. For that very reason it is extremely important to keep meticulous genealogy research records.

I've been researching my family history and genealogy for well over 30 years but it was somewhere around 1994 that I became a very serious genealogy researcher. I took the scientific approach careful observation, careful documentation and proving through more than one source. Anyone doing genealogy research always speaks of sources. There are three basic types of sources. Primary sources are those sources in which the individual was actually present. These are the original records. These include marriage license, wills, death certificates, baptisms, census records, and etc. The key point is the person was present at the time the document was produced. Secondary sources are those sources created after the event has passed. These include obituaries, death notices, birth notices, wedding notices, and using for example a marriage certificate (primary source for marriage) as a source for the birth-date (secondary source) as the birth-date has passed some time ago. So sources can be both primary or secondary depending on their use. Tertiary sources are those sources where there has been one or more persons interacting between the event such as the International Genealogical Index (IGI) or online family trees. The goal with each and every individual in your database is to have as many primary sources as possible back-up with secondary sources. Tertiary sources should only be used as starting points not as proof.

My system of research organization sounds complicated but it isn't. I use 4" wide binders to store my paperwork which is divided into lines. At over 6,000 people in my database with supporting documentation, I have a lot of paperwork! Every piece of information is recorded in pencil on Family Group Sheets. Supporting documentation is recorded on custom made print-outs then stored with the appropriate family group starting with the parents records then followed by each child's records. The child's records are further divided as such: the parent has 13 children, so there are 13 additional family group sheets labeled 1 to 13 inside a circle. The child's information is entered in pencil if not confirmed and transferred into the computer database or pen if the previous conditions have been met. This serves as an immediate visual of what needs to be added to my computer database. When the child is married and has children the process repeats with the child, now parent's number in a circle followed by - number of child. So if I have one labeled as 2 in a circle - 1 - 2 that is the second child of the first child of the second child of the starting parents in that line. As I enter information into the computer database the pencil is overwritten in ink. The computer database contains all sourcing information, scans and images of all names, dates, notes, research notes, documents, pictures, video, sound and anything else that helps me tell my family history.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Hitting Pay Dirt


Lake Huron


The Great Lakes waterway was not only an important transportation route for my ancestors but it also supplied them with a valuable source of food and livelihood. Many of my earlier ancestors came from Quebec to this area as a result of the fur trade. They were voyageurs and interpreters. Some settled in the fertile lands surrounding the Great Lakes especially those areas around Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair and Lake Huron. It was in these areas they found land that would provide them food and a living. To this day many of their descendants are still working the land.

The Great Lakes were generous not only in providing fertile land. They provided a plentiful source of fresh water fish like bass, perch and pickerel. The water attracted larger game animals like deer and bear. Smaller game animals like muskrat and jackrabbits along with the all important beaver were plentiful. The rich diversity of the marshlands along the waterways provided a plentiful source of water fowl. While bear no longer roam the area today except in the northern Great Lakes region, deer are still quite common as are most of the smaller game animals and water fowl.

I've been on a genealogy roll the past couple of days, working long into the night. I have a Deluxe membership on Ancestry.com that I bought specifically for the Ontario Vital Statistics content. One rule I have about online genealogy research is I never, ever trust anyone's published family tree. I've seen too many errors, omissions, wrong relationships and just plain horrid stuff so I seldom if ever look at family trees. That removes a whole section that I don't use at Ancestry. What I focus on are those things like OVS when I can download and print the exact same image I would if I had printed the image from the microfilmed record. Being able to do this has saved me countless dollars and time. The closest Family History Centre is about forty minutes away and if it is busy you might not even be able to get onto a microfilm reader. There is a time limit of two hours, most of which is spent loading and unloading microfilm. Only one of their machines prints so they want you to confirm the record you are looking for is there on a non-printing machine first so as to not tie up the printing machine searching. Printing is 25¢ per sheet even though the quality is poor. They are only open three days a week, two of which are afternoons only so that really limits research time. I'm so pleased that I can access many of the microfilmed records using Ancestry, PRDH and National Archives online and certainly don't mind paying for the services!

Over the past couple of days I hit genealogy pay dirt. I decided to focus on one brick wall but instead of focusing directly on that one individual, I searched only OVS with just the last name and province. Sometimes you can get the necessary information by going through the records of relatives. Sometimes it will be the smallest tidbit of information that will give a clue where to start chipping away at the brick wall. In this case, the brick wall is my second great grandfather. Census records has him as born in the USA but one has him born in Canada. Nothing new here as that happens quite a bit. His death record shows him as born in Michigan and one US census record shows him living in Michigan but with the household members it is difficult to tell who's who but I think I have it somewhat figured out. OVS revealed more details especially critical dates and locations but I also notice one surname of a female that had married yet that same surname appeared in one of the census records as a nephew which means I may be able to get at my brick wall in a round about fashion. Checking the border crossing records led to another clue. I noticed that all individuals with the brick wall were visiting one of two basic areas. One was the known locations in Michigan but the other was Illinois, so again another clue!


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Tangents


Tangents

Tangents are mathematically important but I'm not talking about those tangents. I'm referring to the red herring type of tangent where the topic is almost unrelated to the main topic but has a point in common with it. In other words you are nicely going along one path, get distracted and going off on a tangent yet both the original path and tangent are somehow related. Now tangents can be either beneficial, neutral or bad. At best they lead to discovery and at worst they are time wasters.

The past week has been full of tangents. My husband left for hunt camp leaving me with a whole five days to do exactly as I pleased and I fully intended to spend as much time on genealogy and my book. Two of those days were spent in such discomfort that there was little room for intellectual output and the last three weren't much better. Over those two days I started reading The Hundred Year Lie by Randall Fitzgerald that almost immediately sent me off on a couple of tangents. Then flipping the tv channels late at night I came across a program with a similar theme that our food is killing us and how much food had changed from our ancestors times. The following day brought me back to analyzing the Agricultural Census of my second great grandparents.

This is an extremely interesting couple as they died within a month of each other leaving eight children under the age of 13. The youngest son died a couple of months later leaving my great grandfather the baby of the family at a ripe old age of 2. It is still a mystery as to where these kids lived as they simply disappear from the following census then some start reappearing on the next census. And just as I typed that last sentence an idea I had not considered before popped into my head! I had made the assumption that some type of illness had gone through the family causing the demise of the parents and infant son. I should know better than to make assumptions when it comes to genealogy! My second great grandmother died nine days after giving birth so her death is much more likely to be due to complications from childbirth. So now after this entry is posted I will be off on another tangent.

The information on this census is amazing as a lot of what kinds of foods were stored were noted. They lived very near the water as within less than a 5 minute walk in a location about thirty minutes from where I live. The interesting thing about this was they had no fish stored in barrels as their neighbours did! My question is why? Food was food then and people ate what was available and when you lived by water that naturally meant fish. Now I'm heading in the right direction even though it was in a round about way except in comes another tangent followed by another.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006



Crystal Blues Waters of Indian Cove, Georgian Bay, Ontario


No those are not pebbles in a crystal clear pond, they are huge rocks and boulders in the crystal blue waters of Indian Cove on Georgian Bay.

By Monday morning my face was swollen on the infected tooth side, the pain had increased significantly, I could only move my teeth about a quarter of inch apart and I was running a fever. My dentist wasn't in which his normal of just being in the office when it strikes his fancy. That usually works out to an afternoon or two per week and this tooth obviously had no intentions of waiting so I got into see my doctor but not until the late afternoon. She gave me course of antibiotics (Clindamycin) with instructions to double up the dosage to get six caplets in me for the rest of Monday then drop it to four caplets per day until the course is finished. She also said my dentist had given me wrong information and the tooth needs to be extracted as soon as the abscess is cleared preferably by a more responsible dentist. She gave me referrals to two dentists. There has been little change today but it's early yet. Hopefully there will be more improvement tomorrow. So that is the ongoing saga of the impacted tooth.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Feeling Under the Weather



The Wake


This is really what I would love to be enjoying right now but the weather is now too cold.

This weekend was the much planned baby shower for soon to be new grand daughter. About 2 am Friday morning I awoke in a lot of pain in my jaw. It will pass I told myself as I rinsed my mouth well with warm salt water. This was a bad weekend for anything and I mean anything to go wrong. By Friday night I knew there was a problem but was determined to go ahead with the weekend plans of Remembrance Day and the baby shower. Saturday wasn't too bad even though I knew things were worsening despite the counteractive measures I was taking and I was getting no relief from extra strength acetaminophen. This morning, the day of the shower, the right side of my face was swollen and my cheeks flame red not a really good look for a new to be grandma. So I took a Tylenol 3 (prescription) and it did nothing! No pain relief and a face that was steadily getting redder by the minute. The shower went well and a good time was had by all. I only wish I could have enjoyed it a bit more. There was a lot of food yet I could barely open my mouth enough to even take small bites. Soup and hot tea sounded good but I had to wait for everyone to leave and by then the only thing I really wanted to do was sit down and have a good cry.

What the problem looks to be an infected and impacted wisdom. This thing has caused problems for a while but never this bad. My dentist does not want to pull it because it is half in and half out and because of my medical history. However it is now obviously infected if you take the cheek flushing, fever, swollen lymph nodes and extreme pain into consideration. Maybe he will change his mind but I'm not taking any chances as I will be seeing my doctor in the morning.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lest We Forget


Lest We Forget


Friday, November 10, 2006

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

WE SHALL KEEP THE FAITH
An answer to Lt.Col John McCrae by Moina Michael - 1918

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders' Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders' Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders' Fields.


IN FLANDERS NOW
An answer to Lt.Col John McCrae by Edna Jaques

We have kept faith, ye Flanders' dead,
Sleep well beneath those poppies red,
That mark your place.
The torch your dying hands did throw,
We've held it high before the foe,
And answered bitter blow for blow,
In Flanders' fields.

And where your heroes' blood was spilled,
The guns are now forever stilled,
And silent grown.
There is no moaning of the slain,
There is no cry of tortured pain,
And blood will never flow again
In Flanders' fields.

Forever holy in our sight
Shall be those crosses gleaming white,
That guard your sleep.
Rest you in peace, the task is done,
The fight you left us we have won.
And "Peace on Earth" has just begun
In Flanders' now.




Thursday, November 09, 2006

Anxiety


These are anxious times for me. Things have been in an uproar with the fridge, carpet cleaning, kitchen disruption and idiot neighbour. But the main anxiety is coming from the baby shower I'm hosting for our soon to be born granddaughter. I got caught up with the planning and getting things sparkly clean that somehow the baby shawl got pushed to the back burner. I thought it would be a quick knit except the knitting machine is refusing to co-operate and I don't have time to fiddle. So yesterday, I grabbed a crochet hook and the yarn to start on a baby shawl with very limited time and a very ambitious project. I'm frantically crocheting while reminiscing all the times I made homemade baby shawls for my own kids. The picture is gorgeous so now all I need to do is focus and finish it before Sunday morning. Things get more complicated from here as my husband is leaving for hunt came on Tuesday which mean there are certain meals like a lasagne and venison chili that need to be made. Too many things to do and not enough time.

This time of year my mind tends to be more focused on my ancestors who served in the wars over the years. Because of them I have the freedom to enjoy my family and host parties and simply just be. So I thought I would share a couple of stories of a couple of my ancestors who made notable differences but to me they all made a difference.

Some of my ancestors were Soldats du Carignan so perhaps that set the pattern for future generations. One ancestor went to Fort Detroit and has been rumoured to be the first white man in that area before Cadillac arrived. He was a very notable person being not only a friend of Cadillac but also for community endeavors. His sons followed in his footsteps. During the war of 1812 - 1814 one of them dressed in a English uniform and solely saved the Fort and Amherstberg, almost across from Fort Detroit. This story in itself is truly amazing! But the story doesn't stop there. Throughout history, my ancestors have answered the call of Canada.

My great uncle fought in WWI. He was reported as missing in action and presumed dead. I can't imagine how my great grandparents felt over the news. They even had a memorial service for him. Later he was found alive at a hospital in France, came home and went on to a successful life. His story had a happy ending yet many that answered the country's call did not. Many gave their lives for our freedom. That's why we wear a poppy! Given the ultimate sacrifices, wearing a poppy is the very least we can do.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Why Wear a Poppy

"Please wear a poppy," the lady said,
And held one forth, but I shook my head,
Then I stopped and watched as she offered them there,
And her face was old and lined with care;

But beneath the scars the years had made
There remained a smile that refused to fade.
A boy came whistling down the street,
Bouncing along on care-free feet.

His smile was full of joy and fun,
"Lady," said he, "may I have one?"
When she'd pinned it on, he turned to say;
"Why do we wear a poppy today?"

The lady smiled in her wistful way
And answered; "This is Remembrance Day.
And the poppy there is a symbol for
The gallant men who died in war.

And because they did, you and I are free -
That's why we wear a poppy, you see.
I had a boy about your size,
With golden hair and big blue eyes.

He loved to play and jump and shout,
Free as a bird, he would race about.
As the years went by, he learned and grew,
And became a man - as you will, too.

He was fine and strong, with a boyish smile,
But he'd seemed with us such a little while
When war broke out and he went away.
I still remember his face that day.

When he smiled at me and said, 'Goodbye,
I'll be back soon, Mum, please don't cry.'
But the war went on and he had to stay,
And all I could do was wait and pray.

His letters told of the awful fight
(I can see it still in my dreams at night),
With the tanks and guns and cruel barbed wire,
And the mines and bullets, the bombs and fire.

Till at last, at last, the war was won -
And that's why we wear a poppy, son."
The small boy turned as if to go,
Then said: "Thanks, lady, I'm glad to know.

I slunk away in a sort of shame,
And if you were me, you'd have done the same:
For our thanks, in giving, if oft delayed,
Though our freedom was bought - and thousands paid!

And so, when we see a poppy worn,
Let us reflect on the burden borne
By those who gave their very all
When asked to answer their country's call
That we at home in peace might live.
Then wear a poppy! Remember - and Give!

-Don Crawford


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Keeping Home Fires Burning

Home Fires


I had an idea for today's entry but then decided on this. The day is grey and dull much like many November days but this time I have an inner spirit to brighten the day. Our new grand-daughter is scheduled to arrive by C-section the first week of December. I'm hosting a baby shower this weekend.

Things are still in an uproar. The new fridge is in but the water line to it is being installed this morning. It hasn't gone smoothly! Once it finally gets in I can return the cabinets to their original over stuffed state and at least clear a path in the kitchen. Can I just have a little more chaos please?

Onto the baby shower. What I want is balloons outside on the one tree maybe two trees. I want the inside lightly decorated. I think I have the menu basically set but I still need something sweet and I don't do sweets very well. I still need some baby shower games. My DIL is a total godsend! She lives in a city so can get things I can't get here and she is helping with the planning, giving me ideas and picking up things. I want healthy foods that will keep well over a 3 hour period. So I think I have the menu relatively set but other things need to come into place.

It is especially important right now to keep the home fires burning. We need a bit of peace and calm to get away from the busy days. Yesterday, I made a cheesy cream of cauliflower soup. It didn't seem like much by my husband loved it so I'll post a picture and recipe on my cooking blog.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Wonderment


Tundra Swans

Today has been one filled with a lot of emotions, not all good but most were good. I decided to focus on the new little one soon to be born so this picture reminded me of that. The mommy and daddy swan protect their little ones while gliding over the smooth water. I've photographed them several times. Male swans can be quite aggressive and the females even more so but this couple seems to like me. It is almost like they pose for me when I take the pictures. Over the summer we have watched this family grow much like we have watched our own little ones who will now become parents shortly. It has not come without a struggle for them but they do have excellent family support.

Each time there is an ultra sound, I get another picture so I'm thinking of making a small scrapbook with the theme "Watch Me Grow". One knitting machine came down and is ready for use this week. I need at least one baby blanket before Sunday when I host a baby shower. I should be able to get two baby blankets done by then. The main blanket is done on the knitting machine but the edging is hand crocheted. I'm more concerned about the actual hosting but my daughter-in-law is helping with some of that. She is such a blessing! She has a few nice fresh ideas so that is a true help.

Much of the focus this week will be preparing for this shower. I think it will go over well if I can just calm down and focus.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Calming Thoughts



Under the Falls


This picture was taken under the Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls, Ontario this past January. Icicles have always intrigued me. I love how they form and how the light bounces off them creating thousands of little sparkles.

Today, I need calming thoughts! The furniture store called yesterday after over two weeks to say that they would be delivering the new fridge tomorrow! Just great considering the carpet cleaners were scheduled for 9 am this morning. The only way that fridge will get into the house is over the freshly cleaned and still wet carpets. Yep, why not just have everything happen at once. A lot of furniture has been stuffed into the kitchen which presents another problem.

Calming thought, that's what I need right now. Breath deeply and enjoy the moment. Relax everything will be ok. These are my calming thought for today.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Turmoil



Things have been in a turmoil here for a couple of weeks. The new fridge is scheduled to arrive tomorrow between 2 and 5 pm. The problem comes in that it was supposed to be delivered last week and I scheduled the carpet cleaners for the Friday. Since the only way to get the fridge in is over newly cleaned carpets, I have a problem BUT that is not the worst of it. In order to hook up the fridge a contractor has to come out to install the water line. That means one cabinet under the sink and the corner cabinet with lazy susan has to be cleared.

I'm hosting a baby shower for one of my kids. It is the first grandbaby on both sides and their first so a very special event. I know diddly squat about hosting a baby shower. I'm always a good host so I'm thinking I can pull it off ok as far as food and hospitality goes. The invitations have been sent out so all that is left is the final planning. Apparently if the last shower was any indication you need games. Now, this is just smacks of being a huge problem so I go to google and find a bunch of baby shower games. Some are possible others are just "no way". I'm learning the quick hard way how to scan images and make a DVD. I think that showing in the background will be a nice touch.

Needless to say, my book has taken a back burner although I did work on it for an hour or so last night in the wee hours of the morning. Until the grandbaby arrives safe and sound, I doubt a lot will be accomplished yet sometimes I just have that urge to write. My ancestors would be proud of the way my kids matured and kept the family honour. They would more than welcome a new little one. It seems like such a little thing. After all it is only a baby BUT it is our future!


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Hallowe'en 2006







Today's the day

ghosts and goblins come out to play.






Friday, October 27, 2006

Determination



Determination is one of my personal values so when I saw this blinkie I just knew I had to use it. Just when you think you have life figured out it will through you a curve ball. How you handle that curve ball and your reaction can be either positive or negative. The important thing when life throws you a curve ball is to never give up on yourself! Know that you have the inner strength and determination to get though any of life's curve balls.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Mindfulness



Mist on the Water


An idea is a kind of wonderful seed. It can be planted again and again, and is always ready for further use.
- Dr. Myron Allen


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Winter Wonderland!

Horseshoe Falls

We stay in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada two or three times a year. One of those trips is always made in January or February when there is rather nasty weather but this is one of the best times to view the powers of nature. The mist from the falls freezes on everything! Cars are coated with sheets of ice as are the sidewalks. The photo opportunities are amazing. Things slow down to a crawl including businesses. Yet is is one of the best trips we make!

Some attractions remain open and prices are greatly reduced to off-season rates. The butterfly conservatory, monastery, vineyards and other tourist attractions are always a pleasant diversion. There are tours of some of the larger attractions. Some of the restaurants have reduced hours as well but we have never had a problem finding good food that time of year. Still the biggest attractions are the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side and the American Falls. Be warned, if you go during the winter months, have a lot of film or large memory card in your digital camera. Bring lots of warm clothing as you will need it and boots are a pretty good idea as well. Then be prepared to see the most amazing sights. You won't be disappointed!


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Directions



Inuckshuck


From the very beginnings of time, man has tried to mark his path. In the northern regions, inuckshucks are a common site and you will see them in every size. They are meant to point the way. Now originally they were meant to mark north and south but some newer builders don't know that. This picture is of an inuckshuck on Georgian Bay. The trick in building these structures to is get the long arm pointing north and balancing the rocks. There is an art to building them. I have an inuckshuck in my garden. It gets a lot of attention and true to form the long arm does point north. Still when you see them, whether built correctly or not many are impressive.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Like I Needed This..

Another View of Indian Cove, Georgian Bay, Ontario Canada

Again I chose this picture for inspiration. This is another view of Indian Cove but instead of looking towards the Indian head to the right, it is looking to the left. This area is absolutely breathtaking! We used to camp there a couple times a year now we get to the area annually.

I had a dermatologist appointment this afternoon but by mid-morning it was apparent I would not be going anywhere. I woke this morning to my right eye quite swollen and left eye swollen just on the upper lid. The chances of it being a spider bite, to which I react badly, is remote since my husband insists on having the house professionally sprayed for spiders. He said is is easier to spray than to deal with my bad reactions. By early afternoon much of the swelling had subsided but my eyes have very nice shiners, are itchy and very irritated. So, I'm still trying to figure out what the problem is but the indication is infection rather than insect bite. By mid afternoon, the scratchiness and air sensitivity was enough I used Polysporin eyedrops. If is an infection, this will at least start working until I can get into the doctor's if need be.

Like I needed this. My kitchen is torn apart with painting needing to be done before the new fridge arrives. The fridge is now blocking half of the archway. Paint fumes are the last thing I felt like dealing with today but I did. The first coat is on. I'll be able to get the second coat on later tonight out of necessity since the contractor is coming tomorrow to install the water line for the fridge.

Needless to say, genealogy and my book is taking a back burner until my kitchen is restored to normal and my eyes return somewhat to normal. My book is starting with my seventh great grandparents although earlier generations will briefly be discussed. The note pad beside on my night stand is getting a real work-out as I wake often during the night with thoughts or ideas. Some of my dreams have been so realistic and vivid. Perhaps my ancestors are trying to tell their stories through my dreams. That's always fun to speculate about. Despite everything, I'll work on the book tonight as planned. It is important to me the story is told and because this is scheduled to be the first in a series, the sooner I get the manuscript finished the better.

Garden Gnome


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Chaos!



Indian Cove, Georgian Bay


I chose this picture of Indian Cove on Georgian Bay to remind me of the quiet times. We love this area and make several trips. Some summers the bay is not really warm enough to swim in. The guys will brave jumping the cliffs just to say they were in the water. I'm the official picture taker so might get part of a toe in the water if I'm lucky. The area is absolutely beautiful! It is full of nature and peace, just what I need to be reminded of right now.

We had to buy a new refrigerator, special order because of what we needed and wanted. My kitchen is currently torn apart because we had to make a little more room for the new fridge. When my kitchen is in disorder, I cannot function! The less than a year old stove that has a down draft system had to be moved over by about an inch. No problem except the motor, fan and venting is all screwed into the floor and wall AND order to move it over the countertop had to be cut. So the one vent pipe didn't want to co-operate but don't worry my husband used a few choice words very quietly spoken BUT that is not good enough, to get the new fridge in the spot we had to remove the 1/2" baseboard. No problem now that means fixing that part of the wall and repainting before the new fridge arrives. Then because we are donating the old fridge to a charity, I have to do a power cleaning. It is a side-by-side. I have the freezer component completely cleaned and have started on the fridge component. We haven't bought anything needing refrigeration since we ordered the new fridge and we have been using up whatever from the fridge we can. The meat keeper and vegetable keeper are now empty and cleaned. The water line for the new fridge is scheduled to be installed on Tuesday by a contractor.

On the book front, I'm making slow progress. Working at it daily and as the ideas come helps a lot. I'll be glad when things calm just a little so I can focus better.

Garden Gnome


Saturday, October 21, 2006

End of Season



Sunset


We have spent the better part of the day cleaning out the boat and greenhouse for winterizing. We also did a little more winterizing on the house. It is cold, damp and grey. We were going to take one last ride then decided a nice warm house would be a little more pleasant way to spend our time. The cold has gone right through to the bone!

Much of my evenings are now being spent on my book. While the primary focus is telling the story of my seventh great grandparents, I just can't help continuing on researching other lines. It is nice that the weather has turned colder. With much of the outside work completed along with the pantry well stocked because of home preserving, a lot of time can now be used for genealogy. I have more indoor winterizing to do as well as knitting and sewing, but for the most part genealogy will be my main activity,

I like breaking my days up into blocks of time. I have found that if I want to winterize, splitting it into 15 minute daily segments, I get a lot more accomplished than if I tried to do it all at once. The same is true with the genealogy and writing the book although I tend to do longer segments. When I get to the point of being frustrated or draw a blank, I set things aside and move onto something else. Busy hands often help the mind calm then think clearer. So it is with genealogy.

Sometimes my mind is quietest when sleeping or is it? Sleep is really just an altered state that gives us another perspective as to what is happening in our lives. I can't begin to count the number of times that I wake from a very vivid dream, run down the stairs and connect to the internet or open my book file. Most times the book file is not even closed, just saved often. I've taken to keeping a note pad on my night stand not so much for the vivid dreams but those dreams that may just give hints to a possible lead. I think sleep is just a suggestion with so much going on in my life right now. It is exciting times!

Garden Gnome


New Beginnings




It feels like new beginnings but I have a lot of mixed emotions right now. The synopsis of my book went well. Better than expected. The plan is to develop a series telling each genealogical line. My first thoughts at even the idea of a series was no way! I'm sure I can do it just I was only really thinking one book not like a series. The plan is at the moment to write simply about the ancestor of choice, life and times. I'm starting with my seventh great-grandparents so that could lead to a long enough series. Then the next book will continue with the next generation in my direct line. Everyone involved seems excited with this prospect except me who has a royal case of butterflies in the tummy. I've been through this before since I am a published author but this time around it is as bad as the first time. Different genre, different tone, different publisher and the topic is very, very personal to me. These are my ancestors and I want to do them justice if anything.

I live on the very same waterways my ancestors travelled. It's where they made their living and it was their livelihood. Sometimes, if I sit quietly by the water, I can hear them speak almost as if they want me to tell their story. I still have reservations! This is something I did for me, something I had to do. All this research was for me and my descendants. It was never started with the goal of writing a book. Sometimes the path of life takes you where you aren't sure you want to go. In some ways this is one of those times but with the love and support of my family, I'm sure it will be ok. The ghost voices of my ancestors seem to agree as my mind is racing. Sleep is only a suggestion right now!


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Synopsis :(



Sky


Things have been so busy here and so many things have changed so I chose this picture just because it appeals to me.

On the car front, we have a new car so that problem is solved. We did a lot of shopping for fridges over the weekend because ours is forcing a replacement. That's a total tick off coming at the same time as the car! It is finally ordered so should be here before the weekend. One more headache solved.

Now onto my big problem, genealogy! I need to write a synopsis for my newest book and I honestly have writer's block but I have a deadline. I know what I want to say yet can't put it into words. You should see my desk! Both printers are on along with the iMac and laptop. The PDA is attached to it's mini folding keyboard and my day planner is out. I had to use a wooden tv table to hold more notes. Surrounding all this are various notes and bits of stuff. This all makes J K Rowling's (Harry Potter) desktop look very tidy at the moment!

It isn't a good time for me to try writing a synopsis. It is too grey outside and there are too many personal things going on. I have images of my seventh great grandparents floating though my mind and sometimes through the sounds of the water I swear I can even hear their voices. I have their story to tell but can't get it in writing even though I have copious notes not only for them but also for their descendants. So I have added another coat of stain to my husband's new desk. I've played briefly online. I've pulled just about every bit of detail I have on this couple. I have sent a short, start of the synopsis to my one kid for help and direction. I know where I want to go and I know what I want to do, I'm surrounded by every computerized device possible and I still have writer's block!


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Testing A New Feature

I'm playing with a few blogging features that I haven't used before. I have wanted to add video to my blogs right from the time I started them so today I decided to try it out. I took this video clip on May 19, 2003 using a 2 mega pixels Fuji FinePix digital camera. There is no audio only video. The quality of the video is grainy due to the lower mega pixels but it makes a great test video.



Volcano at The Mirage, Las Vegas, Nevada


The volcano at The Mirage in Las Vegas is the signature attraction. It erupts at the top of the hour from 7 pm to midnight each day. The spectacular and realistic display is free to the public. The heat from the flames can be felt out into the road even when just driving by. Crowds gather to watch this wonderful display.

The video was very easy to upload to Google Video. With one click, the site created the code to embed the video onto my blog. I'm impressed the procedure was so easy and look forward to using videos from time to time on my blogs. The only drawback was the uploading time due to my connection speed. The video is 3.2 MB so rather small compared to the videos my current camera is capable of producing. It is a Canon PowerShot A540 6.0 mega pixels with video and audio. This is something to watch for when buying a digital camera. Video clips are nice because they show the movement but audio just adds so much more to the experience!

Blogging is a really easy way of getting your thoughts and ideas across. The blogging hosts like Blogger make creating a blog relatively easy by providing templates easy to use editing tools without ever having to use Html. However, to add extras or troubleshoot I have found knowing how to use Html very useful.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Storms



This is one of my favourite views and we are very blessed to be able to experience it often. Unfortunately the season is coming to an end. The boat will be lifted out of the water on the twenty-third and with the weather forecast there may not be a ride before.

Today has been very stormy with power outages. My husband decided to combine an appointment with a bit of shopping. This would have been bad enough except this was not small shopping it was looking for two major purchases, running in and out of stores in the pouring rain!

Our fridge decided to act up right about the same time as the car. When you walk by the fridge and get a blast of cold air even though the doors are shut, that is just not a good thing. I'm not impressed! The problem with replacing the fridge is finding one to fit into the space we have. That is not an easy task. We finally found a couple of Whirlpool side-by-side models with ice and water dispensers that would fit. Armed with those model numbers, we'll do our research before buying but unless we do a major kitchen overhaul one of those will likely be it.

Well, maybe shopping will brighten these grey, stormy days. They are predicting snow flurries already. I need to move somewhere where the sun shines almost daily! Storms are still threatening and the power is iffy at best. I'm going to light a couple of candles and sit in a nice hot bubble bath for awhile while the world just comes down to a slow spin.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Power of a Teacher



The picture is of an island that we boat to then spend the day swimming and relaxing. We often pack a picnic lunch, a few friends or family. The day starts off early with me getting the cooler ready while various things like tow ropes and wake boards are readied. Then off we go to do a little wake boarding and playing in the water before heading to our favourite swim hole to spend the rest of the day. We are usually heading home as the sun is starting to set so I get lots of amazing photos. Now this doesn't seem like we are teaching but as parents we are always teaching and we have the power to be encouraging and promote life long learning or we have the power to turn our children off of learning. We advocate the first option and with activities like these we are constantly teaching our kids that family and friends are the greatest riches we have. As with most things I do, the digital camera is always close by!

For some reason this particular photo reminded me of the power of a teacher to either encourage or discourage a child. To survive, trees need nurture but at the same time they have to be strong enough to bend. That quality comes from gentle natural encouragement.

Throughout elementary school, I had encouraging teachers and learned a lot from relatives. Everyone around us home preserved including my mom. I can't recall ever seeing anyone use a canning recipe book and many still canned in the old fashioned jars with glass lids. I was totally fascinated by the whole process. I can still remember going to one of our neighbours when she was making dill pickles. She had this huge vat and when you lifted the lid, the smell was almost heaven! Now my mom used recipes from her head period. Nothing was ever written down. I don't even think she owned a recipe book and from what I remember her cooking wasn't all that grand as in fancy. It was basic, down home, country style cooking period. To her learning to cook was an acceptable thing for a young girl so she taught me the basics but with no fancy gadgets or time saving appliances other than a pressure cooker. Honestly that thing was scary! She was rather pleased when I said I was going to take home economics in secondary school even though it was mandatory for the girls then while the boys got to take shop. So here is the power of a teacher as I see it.

My home economics teacher was a horrid wretch of a person! She would make the most inappropriate and distasteful comments with respect to food in relation to bodily functions. She loved making any girl break down in tears with her many rants and raves. Berating a girl was all fun and games to her. Honestly I think she was having her own personal breakdown or she was just simply sadistic. I hated that class with a passion to the point I refused to do any cooking at home. At the same time, I had the most wonderful science teacher who had high expectations for students but was always encouraging. This explains why I went into science myself and have always excelled at it but that is another story. Back to my home ec teacher. She was finally fired by the school board after many, many parental complaints. But this does not explain why I still enjoy cooking and why food plays such an important role in my life.

I think the real conditioning was done while I was small by being surrounded by women who canned and cooked for their families. Most of them took great pride in their canning as well so by the time I encountered this discouraging teacher, her efforts while affecting me were rather insignificant. When we married, I was also surrounded by friends, neighbours and family who not only loved food but loved to home preserve. When our kids came along, I vowed they would be exposed to as much kitchen activity as possible from the time they were infants. I thought encouraging them to cook and be creative in the kitchen was very important. They are all very accomplished in the kitchen and will even try dishes I would be hesitant to make. I'm so glad I made this choice. None of them took home ec either! There's nothing better than teaching the next generation old family recipes, enjoying good food and lots of laughter. That's what it's all about.

As we gathered for Thanksgiving, I was reminded of how important a role food plays in our family. Family and friends started arriving Friday night and by Saturday had grown to about twenty-five by early evening. The food kept on coming! I marveled at how my husband actually jumped out of bed to make breakfast for everyone two days in a row. He loves making breakfast! Then there was the main meal and so many snacks we should be full until Christmas. Both family and friends flitted in the kitchen making one thing or another almost the entire weekend. What a wonderful thing to be thankful for, family and friends!