Sunday, May 12, 2019

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY...(and grandmother and great grandmother....)

When my uncle Fred died a couple of years ago I took the opportunity to take pictures of photos
that were in an album made by a cousin. The page above shows my maternal grandmother and
grandfather. Ida Belle and Laurence Frederick Catton. He went off to fight in WWI already
carrying a bullet in his shoulder from shooting practise.
When he returned from the war they were very poor and sadly he died just
when my grandmother had given birth to their fourth child.
In spite of great poverty my grandmother raised four children single-handedly and
lived to be almost 94 years old. 
Ida's mother, Lydia Jane, is shown above. She had good genes as well and lived
to be 104 outliving a couple of husbands.
She was very feisty despite losing her sight as she aged. No one
could tell her what she could or couldn't do.
I like to think that in addition to receiving her middle name that I also inherited
her feistiness. 

My mother, Edith Jane, was very photogenic! This is the house she lived in as a girl. A well-to-do uncle
owned the house and allowed her, her mother and three brothers to live there. Those were the depression
years and money was scarce as were jobs.

I have a Brownie camera though not the same one my mother used for a lot of these photos. She
loved to pose and get her photo taken - I love this one with the old bike and newspaper-sized basket.

I see myself in this photo.

This is the house I grew up in.
Me and my mom.  She was a great mom - always had good advice when I had a problem. In the 1990's she
was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, late onset. It wasn't long before dementia took her away from us in 2000, almost
20 years ago. But she is as alive to me now as she ever was and I feel her presence every day.
Here we all two older sisters, my two older brothers and my handsome parents. This house didn't
have a furnace only an oil stove in the dining room to heat both floors. The girls' room had a wooden vent in the floor to allow heat to rise (not much haha! The linoleum was bitterly cold on the feet winter mornings!)
Eventually my dad excavated underneath the house raising it up and creating a basement.
Here's my mom and I in my dad's garden - he had quite the green thumb.

Mom - I'll keep cycling just like you did. One of these days
we'll meet up on the same road.
Love you Ma.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Things are Moving Along

Well it's a busy time of year in the land of birds and plants! And for us humans too as the warm weather means all the crap that was under the snow is now plain to see. I've raked and swept several times as the trees are loaded with buds that fall off the trees a bit at a time. Although I live in a condo complex the area is well treed with locusts, maples, cedars, spruce etc etc. When I first bought the place in 1994 the maples were little saplings - now at 80' tall they loom over the house providing lots of shade. I don't mind shade in the summer as I rarely have to use my A/C but all the sun-loving perennials I planted years ago of course didn't survive. Ah well, life changes frequently doesn't it?

I've been busy over at Kilally Meadows (I sometimes think I should change the name of my blog to Kilally Meadows as I practically live there!) I spotted a merlin on Sunday - that's a new raptor for me though while I can stand seeing ospreys with fish in their claws I do NOT want to watch the merlins ripping small birds apart! Ugh!
Mr. and Mrs. Osprey in their man-made nest! I
notice they've added a few more sticks to give it
the personal touch :)

Speaking of birds I had a fun encounter with a starling the other day - as my guidebook says they are very gregarious and while this one hopped around a bit it came quite close and I snapped a few good photos that are actually in focus for a change! Her beak was yellow which means she is breeding and boy she was sure happy about it!

I've never seen a bird smile before!

The meadows were flooded here and there after all the rain we had and I had to turn around at one point due to the trail being underwater. Not nearly so bad as last year though. I took my chances when out on my bike Monday cycling through a few flooded areas. I figured I'd be reckless as an elderly Japanese man told me it would only be up to my ankles - he was right though my socks got wet and that felt rather unpleasant! :( 

Due to the flooding the marsh marigolds were blooming in places where they've never been seen (by me) before - I guess that is how plants spread and take over new environments.
Marsh Marigold

I've  contacted a company to see how much it would cost to put a deck platform on my patio. I've tried several times to grow grass with no luck.  So much stuff falls from the trees that I've swept out all the tiny gravel (pea gravel?) between the flagstones and there's just no dirt for the grass to hold onto. My patio water source is at my next door neighbour's house (my hose it at the front of my house) and her tap leaks so I've given up asking her to use her hose. Anyways...I think a deck will be really useful - you should see me try to find a reasonably flat spot to park my chairs and other outdoor furniture - due to the flagstones everything wibble wobbles!

After that gets done I'm thinking about getting Bathfitters in - they put in a new shower surround and new bathtub and give a lifetime guarantee. Should have done it years ago haha! I'm also working on spring cleaning though I noticed the dining room window is speckled again due to recent heavy rains. Drat. Spring cleaning is going to turn into summer cleaning and then fall cleaning...

I hope you're all doing well and in fine fettle with spring in the air finally. I open my doors and windows every chance I get to bring the fresh air inside. Sure perks a person up. Volleyball ends this Friday with an all-day tournament and then my routine will change a bit as I'll have more time for myself and will hike and cycle ending up at DQ afterwards :) (I did that on Monday already!!!)

Ok, time to think about supper. There...I've thought about it HAH!

Over and out.

Monday, April 15, 2019


Thanks go out to my readers for recent uplifting comments.
I feel inspired to carry on and start posting again.
It feels wonderful to know
that although we don't talk face to face
(well, thankfully sometimes some of us do)
you are in my corner
and I am in yours.
Some of us have been posting and 
commenting in the same family
of blogs for 8-10 years!
I think that's amazing and
I just want to say...
"I love you guys"!
This is a remark some of my family members,
including me, 
make when we've tippled one too many 
scotches :)
we get sappy and teary
but in a good way.

Signs of Spring!!

The Ospreys are back!

Green - my favourite colour!

Leaves of an early spring wildflower - Trout Lily

The deer are loving the fresh new grass!

I don't like the smell of skunk cabbage
but I do love the colour and
the spirals!

The wild snowdrops are much more vibrant than my domesticated ones.
Spring also brings out ladies who lunch :)
I was fortunate to meet three school friends in Hamilton
for a nice long catching up lunch.
I love these ladies!!!
Next time I need to wear heels!

Saturday, April 13, 2019


Hello my friends. Thank you for the enquiries regarding my daughter. We hit a bit of a low point over the past couple of months and it's been hard to put pen to to speak. But we are very hopeful that the recent procedure she had done will put paid to pesky abnormal cells and she'll be enjoying full health soon. Well, soonish.

The procedure she had done is called LEEP which can be googled if you want the gory details. The doctor told her after it was performed that it had a 90% success rate so that is where the hopefulness comes in. She still has a year of continuous pap tests to go through before she will be declared free and clear. Every 3 months she'll have a pap test until such time as she has 4 clear tests in a row. Then she'll go to once a year.

Kazi is also doing battle with anxiety and depression resulting in going on short term disability. This has been a difficult struggle as resources around here, such as seeing qualified psychologists and therapists, are in such high demand these days as a whole generation of millennials try to get by on low-paying multiple jobs, many part-time and without benefits and without a hope in hell of ever owning a home or building up savings.

In other, happier news.... SPRING is on its way and we are enjoying a few warm and sunny days with lots of rain and a few snowflakes mixed in. I am doing a minimum of 20 minutes daily in nature to keep my own mood positive. This is my favourite time of year with the ospreys and other birds returning to my favourite spot, Kilally Meadows, along with many wildflowers and flowering trees. Just to keep my feet firmly planted I've started spring cleaning :) just for fun! I started with my dining room as it's an easy room to clean and hopefully by next spring I will have made it through the whole house!

I hope you are all doing well! My plan is to return soon to more frequent posting. Volleyball ends April 26 and I am looking forward to having more time on my hands for writing, genealogy and of course CYCLING!

Thanks for always being there, I appreciate it so much.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Not the Best News...

Since it has been 3 weeks since Kazi had the colposcopy treatment and we'd heard nothing back we felt that she was in the clear. However, she had a call from the hospital on Friday telling her she'd have to have another procedure on April 1st. More waiting...

As if that wasn't enough Kazi has also been suffering with anxiety and panic attacks for the past 3 weeks and is on short-term disability. Well, she's applied for short-term disability - we're waiting for the results of that application too. The saying "hurry up and wait" comes to mind.

So I haven't felt much like writing recently but thought I'd at least tell you why. My motivation for things that require "thinking" has evaporated for now. I think some good news would help me get my mojo back. Fingers crossed...

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Family Witch

Most of us have a skeleton or two tucked quietly away in a closet or attic. My mother discovered that in addition to the usual skeletons we also had a "witch" resting uneasily in an unmarked grave 25 miles south of Amesbury, Massachusetts.   Susannah Martin is my 8th great-grandmother and was accused by a neighbour, William Sargent, of witchcraft in 1669 - at the height of the Salem witch hunt. Her husband, George Martin, sued Mr. Sargent of slander and the charges of witchcraft were dismissed. Unfortunately her husband,George, died in 1686 and a few years later Susannah was accused of witchcraft once more by several residents of the village of Salem, now called Danvers.

An official transcript of the court proceedings doesn't exist but a local Puritan minister kept an unofficial record of the proceedings (though I can only imagine he was rather biased against the defendants!) Here is some of what he recorded:
As soon as she came in, Marcy had fits (one of the accusers of Susannah)
Magistrate: Do you know this woman?
Abigail Williams saith it is goody Martin, she hath hurt me often.
Others by fits were hindered from speaking. (likely fits of hysteria!!)
Marcy Lewis pointed at her and fell into a little fit.
Ann Putnam threw her glove in a fit at her.

................ Susanna laughed ................

Magistrate: What! Do you laugh at it?
Martin: Well I may at such folly.
Mag: Is this folly? The hurt of persons?
Martin: I never hurt man or woman or child.
Marcy: She hath hurt me a great many times and pulls me down.

Then Martin laughed again.

(Her offences included causing a neighbour's oxen to drown themselves, calling another neighbour a liar and a thief, her spectre had followed a farm hand, she had bitten a man's hand, she had driven another man mad, and had been seen at "witch meetings". )
Marker of Susannah Martin's home

I can only imagine that Susannah's laughter at the events and accusations didn't help her case at all though I am proud that she stood up for herself and was defiant until the end.............................which involved a noose! She was hanged in 1692.

It took until 2001 (!!!) for an Act to be passed which amended a previous Act to include Susannah Martin's name and proclaim her innocence. 

The wheels of justice do move slowly.

But gee genealogy is fun!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Rain, Freezing Rain, Ice Pellets, Snow, High Winds

I suppose I shouldn't complain about getting "winter weather" at this time of year but I don't think it's fair that we are on the receiving end of a "Colorado" low, a polar vortex from the "Arctic", an "Alberta Clipper" bringing high winds and snow squalls all day today...well you get the picture!  Keep your own gol' darn weather to yourselves and stop sending it this way! doubt y'all are getting your own fair share of crappy weather...but do we have to get it all at once? Spread it around Mother Nature - we don't need rain, freezing rain, snow, ice pellets, whiteouts and crazy winds all in one day! And now I think I need a cup of tea!

There, that's better... a cuppa fixes most things. On the one hand I don't mind a couple of guilt-free days when I stay inside, read a novel, work on genealogy, watch a couple extra episodes of "Shetland", cuddle with the cats and do some baking...BUT I do miss getting out to play volleyball or power walk on the indoor track at the BMO Centre. I tried to get to volleyball on Tuesday but first I had to clear the car of several inches of snow pellets. That wasn't so bad. But after going inside for 10 minutes I came back to the car to find the doors frozen shut due to freezing rain. There was so much freezing rain buildup that by suppertime I couldn't get the front door open! Help!!

Fortunately, on Sunday, I was able to get out for a walk in Kilally Meadows. It was hard walking due to last week's freezing rain but I had a walking stick which helped me out several times. So I was able to check on the beaver-ravaged tree and found out that the BEAVER WON! I was rooting for the tree but the ending was inevitable :( 

It looks as though the tree is bending over in pain - no doubt it is!!

Can you see the alien face below? 

How about now?

Or now?

Sorry  I couldn't resist!

                                                      So how's the winter where you are? 
                                           I know that B.C., (British Columbia, Canada), is 
                                            getting  record-breaking they 
                                   are usually the TROPICS of Canada, even in the winter, 
                                                  I'm not really feeling that bad :)