subscribe to the RSS Feed

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Happy Father’s Day, Dedy!

Posted by Dawn-Ann on June 20, 2010

Getting geared up for the Calgary Stampede

I’m really lucky in that I get to see my Dedy fairly regularly, as he lives just a couple hours’ drive away. Occasionally he comes in for family gatherings and appointments and – even more occasionally – I go out to his town for Legion events and just to hang out camping.

This blog post serves no purpose but to let my Dedy know how much I appreciate him and am so glad he is part of my life. I believe we choose before we’re born who we will be spending our lifetimes with and I do believe I chose well.

So, happy Father’s Day, Dedy. I love you! :)

Sandy Kirkpatrick’s pictures, Part III

Posted by Dawn-Ann on

And today I will post the last two pictures Sandy sent me that he took while in Scotland recently. They’re gorgeous images and I just had to share. Thanks again, Sandy!

Sandy says: Closeburn Castle is back in Kirkpatrick hands after 300+ years. Needs some work!

Sandy says this plaque is on the main square of Dumfries, opposite the statue of Robert Burns. Notice that the wording is almost identical to the mural I posted yesterday.

Sandy Kirkpatrick’s pictures, Part II

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.

Scroll detail

Sandy Kirkpatrick’s pictures, Part I

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!

We’re back!

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!

Wallace’s House

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.

Acceptance and the circle of life

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.

Calgary now allows backyard chickens

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.”

The end of an era

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.

Mothers and daughters

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.

Four young'uns

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…