Posted by Dawn-Ann on June 19, 2010
Today I will share a photo Sandy took of a mural he spotted in Dumfries. It depicts the slaying of Red Comyn by Robert the Bruce and acknowledges Sir Roger Kirkpatrick’s part. It also gives the Kirkpatrick motto!
Thank you Sandy for sharing these pictures with us.
Sandy says: This mural is on the wall of a building in central Dumfries.
Posted by Dawn-Ann on June 18, 2010
Mr. Sandy Kirkpatrick from Florida responded to one of my posts recently. He very kindly offered to share some photos he took while he was in Scotland. He has just returned from there, so his pictures are of sunny spring days – not like my rainy, wet ones from a couple of years ago.
I’ll share one a day for the next few days, sharing my and Sandy’s thoughts. Enjoy!
Today, it’s Caerlaverock Castle. Click on the images to see larger versions.
Sandy says: Most histories (we visited the Dumfries library) say that this impressive castle (built as early as the 1100s and rebuilt many times since) was in Kirkpatrick hands for a brief period in the 1350s, awarded to them for their efforts in taking it back from the English. A Kirkpatrick, maybe Sir Roger's son or grandson, is said in legend to have been murdered there in revenge for the 1306 church murder.
Here's a lovely detail of the spring grasses and the water.
I wonder if Sandy noticed he had captured what looks like a girl in the upstairs window!
Posted by Dawn-Ann on June 7, 2010
I’m sure a lot of folks didn’t even notice we were gone.
I had a few technical problems but I was able to restore most of the blog, except for the last post, which was kind of a silly little thing about bumper stickers. I don’t think I’ll bother reposting that one.
You’ll probably notice my post images are gone and the comments seem to be missing, too. I’ll see what I can do to restore those. Thanks for your patience!
Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 30, 2010
Going through all the family history material I have amassed over the years, I find treasure now and then. This has to do with Wallace’s House, which is, I believe, sometimes confused as “Watties Neach” in Kirkpatrick history.
In an 1869 publication called The Bruce and Wallace, I found this little bit of history that even names a Kirkpatrick (quoting an ancient poem called Wallace or The Life and Acts of Sir William Wallace of Ellerslie by Henry the Minstrel):
In the Knok wood he lewyt all bot thre. – V. 735.
In the parish of Kirkmichael, county of Dumfries, there is “a small fort in the Knock Wood, called Wallace’s House, said to have been thrown up by Sir William Wallace, after he had slain Sir Hugh of Moreland and five of his men, at a place still named, from that event, the sax corses, i.e. the six corpses.” Stat. Acc. I. 63. It has been ingeniously remarked, that “the sax corses more probably signify six crosses, in allusion to some religious monument so decorated.” Kerr’s Hist. Bruce, I. 125.
Ane Kyrk Patryk, that cruell was and keyne,
In Esdaill wood that half yer he had beyne.
With Ingliss men he couth nocht weyll accord. – V. 920
This, it appears, was the ancestor of the Kirkpatricks of Closeburne, who appear on record so early as the year 1141. Alexander II. grants a confirmation charter of Closeburne to one of this name, A. 1332, which is still in the possession of the family.
Interesting! This is the same Wallace’s House that I searched for near Garvald. Apparently, it is only a pile of rubble now. I was not successful in finding it – maybe next time.
There is more mention of “Kyrk Patryk” in this lengthy poem, in which he seems to be fighting with Wallace and they seem to be “kyn” (kin). However, I only have a bit of it printed out so I’ll have to do some more study of it when I get a few minutes.
Read more about my Wallace’s House debate here.
Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 28, 2010
As I move more or less gracefully into the second half-century of my life I have been faced with a number of life lessons I haven’t had to learn before. There have been staggering losses and remarkable gains; dark moments of grief that brought me to my knees and (sometimes on the same day) brilliant, shining moments of joy.
This year's greatest blessing for me - my very first grandbabies
One thing I am oh-so-slowly learning is acceptance. The Universe is unfolding as it should, to quote the Desiderata. There are many things I cannot or should not change, but I can accept them as part of the ongoing winding and circling of life.
It seems that Life, in its infinite wisdom, seeks balance. When it takes away, it gives back. When it hurts, it heals. And there is opportunity for learning and growth in every experience.
I am grateful that I can find great pleasure in the simplest of things:
- a perfect spring leaf…
- a well turned phrase…
- a baby’s wee fingernails…
- being awakened by birdsong…
That’s the key, I think. Accept what comes, find your balance, and appreciate Nature’s gifts.
At least, that’s what works for me.
Posted by Dawn-Ann on
Tom wouldn’t let me raise chickens even if I wanted to but it’s nice to know the option has become available. Wouldn’t it be nice to have fresh eggs and chicken to eat? But they’re a lot of work and mess and I just don’t have the time right now, anyway.
(Though sometimes I think I’d like to keep a noisy rooster on the side next to the people with the yappy little mutts.)
According to this article, the City of Calgary has dropped charges against several folks who are raising chickens in their backyards.
It doesn’t say specifically that the bylaw is going to be changed any time soon, but it does say, “More than 300 cities in North America, including Vancouver and New York, have amended their bylaws to allow urban chickens.”
Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 25, 2010
Celebrating Canada Day and the Fourth of July
I am feeling a little bit drained today, emotionally and physically. I spent the weekend helping to get my grandparents’ cabin ready for sale. My cousin and her strapping young sons came and helped move mountains of stuff out (I really couldn’t have done it without you all!). I showed the new buyers around one last time, locked ‘er up and, after two days of impressive manual labor, left for home.
But not without a few tears.
Alanna dreaming in front of the fireplace
As I wandered through the now-empty little cabin the memories started to flood back. I remembered sunny days with my then young children, hanging out in the mountains with grandma and grandpa. I recall evenings by the fireplace with them, lingering over a glass of wine and laughing uproariously at grandma’s banter. I would chuckle at grandpa’s wisecracks about grandma’s cooking and her vibrant, quick spirit.
More recently, I recall days spent with Janine and how she loved that beautiful location in the rugged Montana mountains. She’d go down for weeks at a time and just veg, playing on her computer, planting flowers and watching satellite TV by the hour. The quiet and solitude were balm to her spirit. The cabin is full of her memories.
UFO hunter Dawn - and yes, that is indeed a surgical cap on my head
But the memory that somehow stands out the most has to do with this photo. On this night, grandma and I had dressed up in snowmobile suits to protect ourselves from the cold mountain night air. We went outside with binoculars in one hand and a drink in the other and laid out under the stars on deck chairs, watching for UFOs. Grandma would exclaim “There’s one!” at every satellite that went over. “Grandma, that’s just a satellite,” I’d say. But she was adamant that every one was a UFO. Who was I to argue?
Though they’re gone now, grandma and grandpa and Janine are more than just memories. Their energy lives on in their actions, which will reverberate throughout the years to come. They live on through their children and their grandchildren. I could feel their presences in a very real way as I said goodbye to them and the cabin yesterday.
“We sure did have us a time,” I murmured, gazing quietly through thick tears at the sparkling blue waters of the lake.
Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 22, 2010
Dawn and Kim
I like to think I’m a fairly accomplished woman. Not over the top accomplished, but I’ve done a few things I’m proud of. I’ve raised four children to become healthy, contributing members of society. I’m a published writer. I have a degree and a job I love as an e-communications analyst. My husband and I run two businesses that pay the mortgage and then some. I volunteer for a couple of non-profit organizations where my contributions are valued. My opinions are respected and often sought after.
But not by my daughters.
What is it about mothers and daughters I ask you? It is the nature of women to share their experiences and they learn from each other this way. When I hear Deb’s experiences about raising her boys, for instance, I put that information together with what I know from my own experiences, plus what I’ve read or heard others speak about. I look for patterns and calculate odds and then file everything away for future reference.
Dawn and Holly
But lord help me if I try to share my experience with either of my daughters. Even when I frame my story with qualifiers such as “in my experience” and “this may not be true of you,” I still get a stinging retort from one or a cold shoulder from the other and I’m left shaking my head in hurt confusion.
I love my daughters fiercely and decided one day to figure this out in the name of close and loving relationships. I want them in my life in a healthy, vibrant way darn it, and am determined to make that happen!
In the journey of figuring out the mystery I examined my own relationship with my mother. How do I feel when she offers her experience with me? No answers there, though. My mom is quite self-absorbed and I tend to be the one acting in the parental role with her. When she does tell her stories they are about specific events in her life. Aside from the obligatory, “How are the kids? How’s Tom?” she doesn’t seem to really notice what’s going on in my life. I’m sure she couldn’t even tell me what I do or where I work. That’s just mom and she has her own challenges.
Next, I went online. I brought up Google and typed in strained relationships between mothers and daughters. The very first article that displayed was a pretty good one and offered a fair amount of insight. Here are a few key points:
- Mothers want to help their daughters avoid painful experiences they endured so they offer their wisdom in an effort to share insight.
- Daughters perceive this to be meddling and become greatly annoyed (“She thinks I’m too stupid to handle this”).
- Mothers should offer more encouragement than advice.
- Daughters should not assume meddling when mom offers her experience. Besides wanting to help avoid pitfalls, mom also really wishes to feel needed.
Personally, I think communication is key; and although we may be the very best communicators with the rest of the world, family dynamics can sometimes make it difficult to express ourselves honestly with each other. Instead of backing off feeling hurt, I think I need to start calling my girls on how they react sometimes and get a dialogue going instead.
And I’ll back off with the “wisdom” just a little…
Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 20, 2010
First cup o' coffee
Well, I did it. I joined the Facebook protesters who are leaving in droves, peeved at the blatant disregard FB has for our privacy and security. It actually feels pretty good to be free!
I agonized over it for awhile, don’t get me wrong. It was rather convenient to have all my friends and family in one place, after all. But Zuck’s adolescent antics had done their work. The bad taste that was left in my mouth by this whole affair made gorgonzola cheese taste like nectar of the gods. I had been soured on Facebook but good.
Day one was a little tough. There was a mild sense of withdrawal and thinking “what have I done?” But day two and three were already much better. Instead of stalking my friends, I have been spending time on my own things – some of my projects, volunteer work, and even (gasp) relaxing with Tom. It’s actually been quite nice.
And I can still contact any of my friends any time I want to – just by other means. Some of us are playing around with alternatives, to get a feel for what’s out there, but the bottom line is that we want to take control of information that’s available about us in cyberspace.
I may have to enlist a friend’s help in finding out what, if any, of my profile still remains. Facebook makes it tremendously difficult to delete your account and says it won’t happen for 14 days (I’m rolling my eyes here). Until that time, people can still tag me in photos and see my previous posts. You can just bet Facebook does that hoping I’ll change my mind.
But I won’t.
If you need help finding the delete button, here’s an article on the subject.
Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 16, 2010
Bonnie Janine Kirkpatrick
Born: September 23, 1964
Died: November 15, 2009
School photo, age uncertain
After three months of struggle, my beautiful sister Janine passed away late one dark November night. Her hospital room was packed with people who cherished her – her father, her sisters, her daughters – and as she took her last breaths different ones would bend over and kiss her forehead, murmering soft words of love to her.
Thinking of an amazing road trip we took with our kids once, along with years of birthday parties, BBQs and family gatherings, I quietly thanked her for sharing her life with me. “We sure did have us a time,” I whispered. I like to think she heard me.
The funeral was simple but moving. Janine was laid to rest with our grandparents, George and Inez Kirkpatrick, in the family plot. Different ones got up to speak and we all stopped to watch as a small flock of Canada geese flew low, directly overhead, honking a farewell. Family legend has it that an eagle always soars overhead when one of our own is buried, but Janine got a special salute, flying in formation, on that bitter, windy day.
As a young teen
I had fully intended to say a few words at the service. We had invited anyone who wished to say something to do so. Amanda had us all laughing and crying with her loving tribute to her mother. Karen, who is probably the most introverted of all of us, spoke bravely, voice trembling, about her love for her sister.
I meant to put some words together to share. I had the best of intentions and had started a few scraps of notes – things I remembered here and there. But it had been a very long three months and there was too much to do to prepare for the funeral. Excuses, I guess, but my heart just wasn’t in it.
So now, six months later, as spring flowers bloom in the sunshine and sweet breezes blow, here is what I should have said…
Lovely lady (at a sister's wedding)
Being six years older than Janine, I remember a wee girl with big brown eyes sucking her thumb, a chubby little foot crossed over her thigh, her blanket with the silky edge (her “soft”) held up against her cheek. I recall that she tried so hard to be involved with the big kids’ play but was often too young or too little for our games. She would cry bitter tears about that sometimes, but with four girls there was usually someone willing to play. She tried so hard to keep up…
Janine was such a sharp little girl! School was a breeze for her in her first years (she got bored in high school). She had a sunny personality and a cheerful laugh, which developed in adulthood into an irreverent, quirky, ribald sense of humor. There was always much hilarity when Janine was around. We rarely argued, the two of us, and we enjoyed hanging out together whenever we could.
If I had given my talk, I would have told everyone about Janine’s inventiveness and creativity. She often had to struggle to get by, so would come up with ingenious ways of making do. For years I’d tease her about her campfire coffee. She hated instant coffee, so when we were on our road trip she invented a way to make “real” coffee by wrapping the grounds up in a coffee filter, tying it up with thread, and dangling it into boiling water. It wasn’t half bad, truth be told, but I had to tease her anyway.
My 45th birthday
She’d often mock people irreverently as a passtime, but inside Janine was loyal and loving. She sometimes had difficulty expressing her love in so many words but I never doubted it. I was tickled and moved when she threw me a surprise birthday party on my 45th birthday. The cake said, “You old bat!!” in blazing red letters. Ironically, Janine was in ICU for her 45th birthday. I brought her a bright bouquet of balloons but it just wasn’t the same.
Janine was the one who went back and forth to Montana with me, time after time, working tirelessly and loyally by my side as we helped clean out years of clutter for mom. We worked like dogs but (and this should be no surprise) we laughed a lot and shared a lot of family history together, finding treasures amongst the junk. Finding treasure in each other’s company.
Janine's red curtains
For someone who was as photogenic as she was, Janine hated getting her picture taken. My shots of her are few and far between. She seemed to have a sixth sense about where camera lenses were pointing and made a point of looking the other way. My favorite is a grainy one of a young teen in a lacy dress, beautifully made up, smiling naturally into the camera.
We became very close over the last couple of years of working together. I had edited some video of us as wee children, growing up throughout the movie, and she so treasured that little production. She watched it again and again, taking still shots of several of the scenes and cleaning them up and printing them out. We talked a lot about how things were then and what she could see in those images. She’d say over and over that she was so happy to have been given that video; that now she understood a lot more of what things were like all those years ago. This gratified me to no end.
There’s a lot I should have said that day but better late than never. We sure did have us a time, didn’t we sis. I love you.