Sunday, November 15, 2009

ooohh, I love a mystery ...

It's been an interesting few days since I last posted. The history student and I exchanged emails and information. Then I once again did a search on my great-great grandfather, Arthur Manuel Hall. This time I got a result that I had never seen before. I think it may be because the file I found was updated since I last performed a search. Anyways, I found a photo of Arthur and a comment left by a man who said he was Arthur's grandson. The problem was the man in the photo did not look like our Arthur. All of the other details were correct.

I managed to track the grandson down on facebook. He is my grandmother's first cousin. They had lost touch probably fifty to sixty years ago. He emailed me two pictures that he had of our grandfather Arthur, one of them also showing my great-grandfather Arthur Jr. The man in the photo that I posted on my blog last year is definitely not Arthur!

Ok, so maybe this is why I was being kicked in the pants about Arthur. I had incorrectly identified him. Well actually it was my grandmother. She had said that is the only person who her picture could be. Apparently she was wrong.

So now we have a mystery man. I have been sharing my new found information with my grandmother hoping that something might jog her memory. So far no luck.

In the meantime I blew up the photo of the mystery man and this is what I see.

1. It appears that he may be an amputee. You'll notice his legs are crossed, but where is his right foot?
2. The woman in the picture is wearing what looks like a nurse's uniform.
3. The man's hair is moppy, like someone who might have been convalescing and not on active duty.
4. The man does not have the maple leaf pin on his collar like the others do in the previous photographs. This means that he could be a British soldier. Their uniforms were very similar except the Canadians wore the maple leaf on their collar.

So who is this mytery man? My grandmother says there was definitely no mention of any relatives becoming amputees during the war (of course we know now that she may not be the most reliable source!). Perhaps it is a mystery woman that we are looking for. My great-great grandfather had four daughters. Perhaps one of them served as a wartime nurse. Maybe one of the couple in the photograph is a relative from England. Maybe I'll never know, but at least I'll have some fun trying to solve this puzzle.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thinking that fate has just kicked me in my big procrastinating writery butt ...

It goes without saying that it's been a long, long time since I posted here. Life just has a funny way of throwing things at you and I'm just way too easily distracted by those things. Lately, though, the calmness and routine that I crave have been slowly creeping back and my mind has been turning once again to my writing. Of course it hasn't been turning enough to actually drag me to the keyboard for anything more than grinding out my monthly column. That is until this morning. Sometimes fate decides that we need a big cosmic kick in the butt. I think I just got one.

Anyone who follows (followed) my blog may remember this post from November 11, 2008. I wrote about discovering my great-great grandfather, Arthur Hall, and learning about his service in WWI.

Last night my seven year old was working on a project for Remembrance Day and I pulled up that piece to check on some details. Then, after talking to her about our family's military history I felt compelled to attend the service today at our local Legion. When I returned home I decided to re-read my post from last year about my grandfather. Then I clicked on the comments. At the bottom of the list was one that I had never seen before. It had been left in May .

The writer was a student who told me that she is studying history at university and was leaving in a few days with a small group for a battlefield study tour. As part of this project she had to choose a Canadian soldier and deliver a brief presentation about him to the other students in the group. She had chosen my grandfather! (she had found him through her local Legion's website).
She assured me that he was not forgotten (as I has mentioned in my post) and that in two weeks she would be visiting his grave and sharing his story with 15 other students.

I will admit I had chills. Then my heart sank. I realized that she didn't have a blogger account. How was I going to find her? I had questions. Fortunately my mind hasn't become so cluttered that I forgot about facebook. I searched her name and school. I found a girl that seemed to be a match. I sent her a message and she replied with in about 20 minutes. I had found my girl! I have since sent her a more detailed reply and am hoping to hear back from her.

Doing more research and writing more extensively about Arthur is always something I have intended to do. It was however, something that I have had simmering on the back burner. I had started another unrelated WIP last winter. But Arthur is always somewhere in the back of my mind. Perhaps the events of the last 24 hours are his way of telling me that I need to stop ignoring him, we need to get better acquainted.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's been how long?

Wow. I'm a delinquent blogger. Had lots of stuff going on. I'm hoping to get back on track shortly.

In the mean time here's some inspiration words I found on an old friend's FB page. While generally I don't go around quoting popes, Clare is going through a very difficult time and I thought this was a beautiful passage:

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” - Pope John XXIII

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ninja baby strikes again!

We are very proud to congratulate our little papaya on earning her yellow belt in karate!

Ours is the "petite" one on the right (please note: I have distorted the girls' faces to protect their super secret ninja identities).

Friday, May 29, 2009

What a schmuck!

So today the pop culture world is all a-twitter. Archie is going to propose ... to Veronica.

Initially I was agast. As a former blonde (my hair has darkened with age, another cruel joke of father time) I always rooted for Betty as a child. Not only did our hair match, but she was the nice one. What does Veronica have to offer? Ok, she has crap-loads of money, but beyond that where's the substance?! She's spoiled and selfish ... I guess it's not surprising that Archie would do the stereotypical male thing and go for the bad girl with the big bank account. Good luck with that, and the pre-nup and the marriage lasting more than five years ...

Once I got over the absurdity of it all I realized that Betty is better off. He's been stringing both of these gals on for years and it's taken him how long to decide?! I say good ridance! Betty, honey, you're better off without him!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


It's not often I do movie reviews, probably because it's not often that I actually get to see a movie (unless you count watching Disney dvd's with my kids). But, today, thanks to the baby sitting services of my darling sis, my hubby & I busted out and went to see the new Star Trek film.

I LOVED it! My husband isn't completely sold yet, which surprised me since he's a big trekkie (well, not a Klingon-speaking-convention-attending grade of trekkie, but he is a faithful follower of the franchise). He had issues with the whole time-travel rehash, blah, blah, blah ... But, the casting was spot on (except for maybe Scotty), the special effects were spectacular and some of the action sequences (one particular scene involving Kirk and Sulu) were superb. I think someone who is familiar with the original tv series would especially enjoy this prequel, which chronicles how the crew of the Enterprise came together. There were many humourous moments that fans of the show would appreciate. And, who knew Spock could be sexy?! (the young one that is ... ). For that feat alone this flick deserves five stars!
Can't wait for the sequels! Two enthusiastic thumbs up!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Funky, and good for the environment ...

As you may know, my monthly column is about my family's efforts to green our lifestyle. I also like to point out some of the quirkier or more unusal ways that people try to be environmentally friendly.

Today these guys were just thrown into my lap. I was listening to "Q" as usual on CBC radio and they were the guests. Their band is called Mr. Something Something. What do they have to do with saving the planet? They have started performing concerts where members of the audience are invited up to pedal bikes that power their amps and p.a. system ... a green powered show with a bit of environmental awareness ed. thrown in. And the bonus is they have a very funky sound.

Here's a sample. Happy weekend (happy long weekend here in Canada - woo hoo!)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Profound things a six year old wants to know at 6:50 in the morning ...

This morning our six year old crawled into bed with me. My husband had already left for work and it wasn't quite time to get our four year old up. My daughter and I enjoy these cuddle times. This morning she looked very serious. Then our conversation went like this:

M: Do cats die if they aren't sick?

me: Well, eventually they will when they get old.

M: Just like people?

me: Yes.

M: Why do people die?

me: Their bodies just get old and tired.

M: Will you die when I'm a teenager, or an adult?

me: Hopefully not until you're an adult.

M: Good. I've been worrying about that.

me: (snuggling her a little closer) You shouldn't worry about that honey.

M: OK. (brief pause) Why do we have lips attached to our faces?

me: Because if we just had a gaping hole for a mouth bugs and mice might crawl in.

The conversation suddenly came to a halt.

I know it's normal for kids to think about death and worry about the death of their parents, but I did find the randomness of her follow-up question pretty funny. I really do wonder what goes on in my kids' heads!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Throwing that monkey off my back ...

The last few weeks have wrought quite a writing drought for me. It was more than just writer's block. I didn't want to write. Had no interest in it at all. I actually was kind of resenting it. I had nagging voices in my head telling me to march my arse over to the keyboard and type something a tad more meaningful than my current facebook status, but I just would not do it.

Adding to this was the knowledge that I should be sending another column to the paper. We had mutually agreed. They would give me a venue for my work and I would produce them a monthly column. Well it was approaching the end of the month and I hadn't written a word.

It hung over me all weekend and the stress turned me into one cranky momma. So tonight I had to end my anguish. I parked my butt behind my keyboard and grinded out a column. It felt great. It was painful, but an exhilarating kind of pain. I'm actually energized now and am somewhat interested in stringing words together again. Hallelujah.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

One of the finest displays of douche-baggery I've seen in a while ...

Not that I use the term very frequently, but if the shoe fits ...
Props to Jian for attempting to carry on with the interview despite his guest's assinine behaviour. And note to BBT ... your band wouldn't be getting the media attention it's received if it weren't for the fact that you are an acclaimed actor. And comparing yourself to Tom Petty? Please. Oh, and three more words - substance.abuse.counselling. Look into it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Big day ...

First, and most importantly ... Happy Birthday to my sweet baby! She is 4 years old today! I can't believe how time flies.

Second, and much less importantly (but not without some significance to me) is my column has been published again in the local paper. It came as a bit of a surprise to me. The editor had asked me to send him my next piece and he would bank it until he had a slot for it. I guess he had a slot sooner than I expected! I clued in when friends started mentioning it to me. Maybe I should pay more attention to my own work ...

If you're interested you can read it here.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mom ...

In loving memory ...

June 8, 1941 - March 29, 2007

Always in our hearts.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Earth Hour ...

May I direct your attention to the shiny new web badge in the margin. Go ahead, click on it. It will take you to the website for Earth Hour 2009. Once there you can learn all about Earth Hour, register, and find ways that you can support this eco-initiative.

If you haven't heard of Earth Hour before it's a pretty simple concept. On Saturday, March 28 the organizers ask that you turn off your lights for one hour starting at 8:30 pm local time. Why? To show our politicians that we care about global warming. The goal this year is one billion participants world wide. The statistics from Earth Hour will then be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. If you plan on participating it's important to register!!!

While the rules don't explicitly state it, I think it doesn't really count if you just turn off the lights and continue to blast the stereo, run the dishwasher and lay on the couch in front of the tv. Now I know it might be extremely painful in many Canadian households to switch off Hockey Night In Canada for a full hour, but it is for a good cause. And besides, by 8:30 the kids should be in bed. I'm sure you can find something else to occupy your time ; )

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Officially in print ...

Today my first column appeared in our local newspaper. It's a few weeks later than I thought, but better late than never! Unfortunately I don't have a link. They don't post all of the articles to the website every week and my column hasn't been uploaded yet (so likely won't make it this time). You'll just have to take my word for it that it's a fantastic read. LOL ... And I must give a shout out to one of my bloggy bff's, Miss Sarah J. Clark for the tip about the "family cloth". It was the inspiration for the piece. So, thank you Sarah! Mwah!

*ETA: the link is up. You can read my column here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The most important book I will ever write ...

While I do have a badly neglected WIP it will have to remain neglected for a little while longer. Lately I find myself compelled to tackle an even more important project, our youngest daughter's "life book." This book is intended to chronical all of the information about an adopted child's life before they came to live with their forever family. It is especially important for internationally adopted children since there is usually very little information available to them regarding the beginnings of their lives. So now I sit my computer and cobble together the scant details, information about her homeland and the sparse photos with the hope that I can create a narrative that will help our daughter understand as much as she can about who she is and where she's come from. As she grows we wish for her to be as proud of herself as we are that she is our wonderful child. This book will hopefully be a valuable tool in that process.

Friday, March 6, 2009

And The Winner Is ...

A few months ago I wrote a post about CBC's annual literary smackdown, Canada Reads. Today the winner was revealed ...

The Book of Negroes By Lawrence Hill

I am currently reading this book and so far I have to say it is a fantastic read. I highly recommend it. Actually, based on the discussions of the panelists I would recommend any of the contenders. They all sound like interesting, compelling books (you can find the list and their descriptions in my original post).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Well, it looks like my article didn't make it into this week's paper after all, so sorry, no link. Hopefully next week. So this leaves me with a question about what to post. hmmm ...

I could rant about the hell that is the passport office, but many of you already know of what I speak, so that would be redundant. Although I will at least vent about the fact that you would think an office of the federal government would have a friggin' parking lot! What's with all the "no passport office parking" signs?!! I had to walk two blocks in the subarctic winds with my little babushka in a stroller. Not fun. Nor was the hour and a half wait. Or having to listen to the rednecks in the back of the room talking about "uneducated losers" who are now working as armed border guards and how they targeted the lead redneck as a terrorist (interestingly enough, because he looked somewhat like a demented Santa). Then they took a turn bashing Quebec ... Then, lucky us, demented redneck Santa zeroed in on me and the babuska and started quizzing me about her hearing aids. Weird. And uncomfortable. At least we made it out of there before I ended up with a parking ticket. The high point of my afternoon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Coming to a paper near you ...

Actually, it's only to a paper near me, so if you don't live in my area I guess you're outta luck. Starting next week (I think) I will be writing a monthly column for one of our local papers. While it's just something small, it's a start. I'm excited to be committing to doing some writing on a regular basis. Now I just need to make the same commitment to my WIP.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Obama envy ...

Tomorrow Barak Obama makes his first official visit to our beautiful country and the Canadian media is acting like a giddy school girl. But can you blame them? This man has made history. This man is hope incarnate on so many levels for so many people. This man inspires. Is it any wonder that it's not just the American people who are enamoured with him? Don't we all wish we had an Obama?!

I think this envy is felt not just for the man himself. As a Canadian I feel envious that our southern neighbours have found a leader that excites his people. He aspires for a better country and leads his citizens to follow that dream. He is someone that his people trust. While I wish Obama was born in Halifax rather than Hawaii, I have to accept reality. He's already taken. In the mean time we are left pushing our noses against the glass and dreaming about what our neighbours are so lucky to have found. Of course there is that guy named Trudeau ... I guess we'll just have to see what ten years or so bring ...