Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 28, 2010
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.
Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 12, 2010
I’ll be leaving Facebook soon, so am looking around for fun alternatives. After all, I kinda like staying in touch with everyone. I’m playing around with Google’s Orkut, but not too many of my friends are there yet.
In my searching, I came across Diaspora. A group of four enterprising young men have come up with the brilliant idea of creating a collaboration of resources to host your data, so you can display what you want when you want.
The world must be ready for them. Their goal was to raise $10,000 and as of this writing they have already raised six times that. Go Diaspora guys!
Posted by Dawn-Ann on
If you’ve been reading my blog, you may recall an entry I wrote about a carving of a skull I found in a Kirkpatrick mausoleum. The skull appeared to be wearing glasses.
Is this a skull wearing glasses?
I searched and searched online and could find nothing about any other such carvings and thought it was probably just a one-off – a tribute to the great Kirkpatrick sense of humor.
However, some kind soul recently dug up a link for me in answer to a query I posted on Rootschat.com.
Here is a link to the page in question. If you scroll down to the Kirkliston Graveston bit, you can see another carving of a skull wearing glasses – also in Scotland!
Those wacky Scots. What were they trying to tell us? Perhaps the person the skull represented was educated? Perhaps they wore glasses when they were alive? The mystery is far from solved but I find it oddly comforting to think that the Kirkpatrick skull was not the only one thus decorated!
Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 10, 2010
This is kind of neat. I was searching for Kirkpatrick family information and Google produced a timeline for me. It uses several websites and documents as its source to produce an interesting view of Kirkpatrick history.
Here is a link to the timeline. Enjoy!
Click on the image to view a larger version.
Posted by Dawn-Ann on March 14, 2010
If these old wheels could talk...
I’m probably spending too much time on genealogy stuff and not enough time on other things I could be doing. It’s how I relax, though, and the “other stuff” will wait until tomorrow.
Stumbled upon this story at the JP Kirkpatrick site. It’s a recounting of how some folks set out west in wagon trains, heading for the gold rush in California. Some made it, some didn’t. This particular story involves my Third Great-Grandaunt, Susan Emily (Kirkpatrick) Stockton and her family.
I found the story to be very moving and my heart hurt for Susan as she left some of her most precious memories behind her. But the story is also full of interesting details about life in the wagon trains. Here is a little bit of it:
We crossed the Mississippi river at Warsaw, on the ferry, The Missouri, at St. Joe, the same way, tho’ we had a long wait for an opportunity to cross. We had to take our turn, a few among thousands, all setting out on the same mission. So great was the need that every conceivable kind of boat was pressed into the service. So anxious was the multitude to get on their way, that they were willing to risk their lives, in an old leaky skiff or raft. The river was high and muddy as usual, which added to the difficulties. Sometimes horses and cattle would become frightened and jump over board, upsetting the boat. I do not recall that anyone was drowned, while we were there, but few outfits got over with all their livestock. It was nearly the end of May when the long wagon trains began moving out through western Nebraska, on the California Trail. When we got across the river we thought our troubles were about over. Really, they were just beginning. The trail was nearly a quarter of a mile wide – that is, a row of wagons fifteen-hundred feet across, and extending in front and to the rear, as far as we could see – a vast sea of white flapping wagon covers, and a seething mass of plodding animals.
Read the rest of the story here.
Posted by Dawn-Ann on March 12, 2010
I’ve written before on what I have discovered about Watties Neach (there ain’t one). Now I have stumbled upon some fresh evidence that I am correct in my assumption!
In an old edition of the Kirkpatrick Newsletter, dated Jan-Feb-Mar 1990, I found this letter to the editor. It was written by a fellow named Charles Jacobs and reads, in part:
Most of the family information from Scotland states that Alexander and his brother Andrew were born at Watties Neach in Dumfrieshire. In talking with local historians in Dumfries, I was told that there is no such a community in the area and such a name would be meaningless. Before we arrived there, a genealogist ran an inquiry in the local paper about Watties Neach. Several replied that there was a Watties Neuk [Neuch] on property known as Denby Yett. The translation would be something like Walter’s Nook or corner. Watties Neuk is nothing more than a pile of stones in a pasture at this time.
So there you go. Where my previous post says it is Wallace’s Neuch, this one says Walter’s, but in all other details we are in agreement. And the search goes on!