Tuesday, May 31, 2011

WOOFSTOCK - Coming in 10 days to St. Lawrence Market!

Affirmations for Introverts | Psychology Today

  • Just because I'm quiet doesn't mean I have nothing to say.
  • Staying home is doing something.
  • Managing my energy is a favor to myself and everyone around me.
  • I like who I like and that's my right.
  • There's nothing wrong with saying "no."
  • I can love other people and still not be responsible for their good time. (Variation on a theme.)
  • Listening to bores is not my job.
  • Parties are supposed to be fun. When I stop having fun, it's OK to leave.
  • My presence is a gift, not a requirement.
  • I know what I need better than anyone else.
  • Putting on my dog-and-pony show is optional. (This is a biggie for me. And what a relief!)

What works for you? 

If you're an introvert like me, the entire piece is worth a read. Click on the link above.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Michael's first prom!


Held at the Arcadian Court, Michael escorted a friend to her grad prom Thursday night.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Extremely Bad Advice: Game of Phones

I sent in this letter to Steve Murray, a humourist at the National Post, after he put out a request for problems that he could solve. My letter and the first part of his answer appear here. Click on the link to read the rest!

May 26, 2011 – 5:16 PM ET

I put up with years of my husband whipping out his BlackBerry and dealing with email or whatever important stuff appeared on it. Parties, anniversary dinners, museum visits with the kids … the damn thing was always there. Now I have a similar (but sexier) device and said husband takes me to task for occasionally playing Angry Birds before bed or checking email during breakfast. What’s a modern gal to do?

STEP ONE Call me old-fashioned, but I think you should probably get a divorce. While I have heard of couples where one uses a BlackBerry and the other an iPhone, they’re usually from some liberal heathen metropolis like New York or some sort of New York-style city. Back in my day -a couple of years ago -that kind of thing was unheard of, and for good reason. You must feel the stares of people in the street, the hushed admonishments behind your backs. You guys are literally not compatible, so I have no idea how you even get through a day, talking about software glitches and apps over the dinner table. I just pray I’m not too late with this advice and you haven’t had kids yet. Will you give them an Android just to split the difference? The mind reels.

Read the rest at arts.nationalpost.com


Thursday, May 19, 2011

British Home Child Day Act - Today at Queen's Park

This Act is being re-introduced at Queen's Park today.  If you are a descendent of a British Home Child and are in the city, drop by the Legislature today (and then to the Duke of York for a reception.)

Good news to all British Home Child descendants and friends!

After two attempts to bring a British Home Child Day Act to fruition in the Legislature of Ontario, I am making one last attempt to accomplish this, before my retirement as the Member of Provincial Parliament for the Riding of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. 

With 2010 having been the national "Year of the Home Children", I had hoped that my Private Members' Bill would have been passed before the end of last year. Unfortunately, the official opposition would not cause this to happen, so I'm following another route in order to have an official day for recognition of the British Home Children in Ontario, September 28th.

On Thursday, May 19th, through the kindness of MPP Monte Kwinter, I will have a chance to re-introduce my British Home Child Day bill, and to have it passed through Second and Third Readings. MPP Kwinter gave up his 15th spot in Private Members' business, so that I could re-introduce my bill.

As you may know, my previous bills have either died or stalled in the Justice Committee. This time, I will have the bill co-sponsored, with PC MPP Steve Clark and NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo agreeing to be co-sponsors. I'll be moving Second and Third Reading on that day, and then it will require Royal Assent, a formality from the Lieutenant-Governor's office. The bill will not be referred to the Justice Committee.

Having said the above, I would be honoured to have you as my guest in the Ontario Legislature on Thursday, May 19th. Mine will be the third bill debated on that afternoon, with the first debate beginning around 1:20 pm. The debate for each bill last for about 50 minutes. 

Following the debate, I would like to invite you to the Duke of York, 39 Prince Arthur Avenue, Toronto, for a toast to our Home Child ancestors. 

I would be honoured to welcome you to the Legislature, and I thank all who have supported me in the past. I look forward to the day that we will have an official day in Ontario to recognize our Home Child ancestors who contributed so much to the development of our province, with little or no recognition. This is our opportunity to honour and celebrate their legacy!

Christine Shaver, my Legislative Assistant is taking the lead on this project, and she may be reached at cshaver@liberal.ola.org. In the riding, I have asked my new Constituency Assistant, Alex de Wit to assist with my latest quest. His email is adewit@liberal.ola.org.

Kindest regards,

Jim Brownell, MPP
Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry

Awesome project! Vintage Book Expanding File


Check out the easy instructions at the link!

Monday, May 16, 2011

OGS Annual Conference: My Top Ten

Hamilton Spectator Photo

  1. A British Home Child Special Interest Group (SIG) was chartered by the executive. I attended the organizational meeting and am excited about this new group as one of my great-grandfathers was a British Home Child.
  2. Numerous references to what was referred to by one speaker as "environmental genealogy", that is, what society was like around our ancestors. I plan to try to enhance my research with more of this kind of information.
  3. Dave Obee pointed to the Federation of Eastern European History Societies (FEEFHS) maps collection. These will be a great help in researching the history and geography around my paternal ancestors in Russia/Ukraine.
  4. The records in parish chests (in England) are being digitized in great numbers and more and more are coming online. The parish chest was typically a heavy wooden lockable chest that contained all the documents central to the running of a Church of England parish. These would include records of baptisms, marriages, deaths; the manorial survey; records of the poor law administration, other ecclesiatical records. These can be very helpful in adding to the information included in your family history.
  5. While Attestation Papers for those who served in WWI are available online at Library and Archives Canada, they will also provide complete WWI military files for a fee. I have a great-uncle who served and hope to arrange to get a copy of his file next time I'm in Ottawa.
  6. I attended a very interesting talk on emigration of Scots given by Ruth Blair and I am searching for leads on my maternal great-grandmother who came as a single woman in 1899 and married my great-grandfather shortly thereafter. I have not been able to find a passenger listing for her trip to Canada and I got some new resources for that search.
  7. At the end of the conference, a big announcement regarding the partnership between the Ontario Genealogical Society and The National Institute for Genealogical Studies was announced.  Details regarding the new benefits accruing to memebers and the two organizations will be announced over the next few months, but free registration in the course Social Media for the Wise Genealogist was offered to all OGS members! Also, OGS branches will be able to make use of the NIGS Live Meeting technology for branch meetings and other activities.
  8. Dave Obee's talk More Than Just Names and Dates provided some solid rationale for "environmental genealogy" as mentioned in 2 above. His background as a journalist demonstrated the power of enhancing our genealogical research with context, stories, and an enhanced understanding of the forces that influenced our ancestors lives. He suggested some excellent resources for this kind of research and this has prompted me to seroiusly consider setting up a wiki or some other kind of online presence to capture and communicate my family history.
  9. The Market Place at the conference is an excellent source of new information, books, maps, software and other things. I picked up an autographed copy of Brenda Dougall Merriman's Genealogy in Ontario:  Searching the Records (Fourth Edition) and a used copy of The Little Immigrants:  The Orphans Who Came to Canada by Kenneth Bagnall, one of the earlier books (1980) about Home Children.
  10. Life Gems Personal Histories was also at the Market Place. Christine Cowley has put together a book and workbook to help capture stories and memories to pass on to the people you love, to ensure that these aren't lost. From her website:

“I am intrigued to think how little most of us talk about ourselves with the people closest to us,” says Cowley. “I finally realized that what people need is a really simple and fun way to do that.”

With busy lives it’s hard to find time to chat or write down family stories, and revelations or deeply felt emotions are often never shared. Some things are just too hard to say. The result is that great stories and sentiments are lost.

"As individuals we are the only ones who can talk about who we are, what we think and why we do or did things a particular way,” says Cowley. “I was always told that my grandmother Eva, who died when my father was a child, had a similar personality to mine. Maybe that was another way for my parents to say, ‘She doesn’t get it from me!’ but given the unconventional life my grandmother chose, I feel proud to have her genes. What I wouldn’t give to have just a few lines she might have written about herself.” 

I picked up a copy of the book/workbook set and look forward to using it myself and possibly with some family members. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

M is for Ma(r)y

As we move into the month of May, my parish choir presents songs to Mary. This has to be one of the most beautiful choral pieces ever written, and was apparently Rachmaninoff's favourite composition. We sang this on Sunday and below is a version sung (by men only) by the Westminster Chorus.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4zGqHSzajc]


Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday Reading Round-up (and book giveaway!)

I missed last week's reading roundup, so I will herein confess that I did very little reading while on vacation.  However, I got through two novels and got going on a third.

  1. I started and finished another YA novel, The Mysterious Benedict Society.  It had been highly recommended when it first came out in 2008 and I found a copy in the checkout line at Winners just beore we left for England.  (There is a reason why they keep those lines long.) It involves a group of four children who are selected through an interesting series of tests to helpa Mr. Benedict foil some nasty business that is going down. The children are interesting and the story moves quickly.  It's the first of a series and I hope read the rest.  I left it in the bookshelf at our inn in Folkestone with a handwritten Book Crossing ID in it.
  2. I then picked up Vita Sackville-West's The Edwardians which I loved.  The story follows a family of nobles, in which the father has died and the mother is waiting for the son to marry and take over the estate. His sister, eighteen, is also expected to "come out" and behave as women did in those days.  The most interesting part of the book to me was not the plot (although it was good) but the description of how life was changing during that time (1901-1910) in terms of societal morés: the role of women, relationships between nobility and their servants, the advent of the motorcar, the rise of socialism, and feelings about the monarchy.  This is the first writing by Sackville-West that I've read, and I'll be sure to read more.
  3. Peter Robinson's The Summer That Never Was came next. The thirteenth Inspector Banks novel, it was as good as I expected.  Robinson is one of my favorite mystery writers and this was no disappointment.  I hope to read the next three in the series as part of my GoodReads challenge this quarter.   

When I got home, I grabbed Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville on my Kindle and breezed through that novella.  I had heard reference to Bartleby in a number of different places and decided it was time to actually read the piece.  The story of a law office and a clerk who, when asked to perform a task, says "I would prefer not to." And the conseqences on the office of this piece of work action!

I didn't really listen to audiobooks while I was away, but it was great on the plane trips there and back. I finished up Under the Net by Iris Murdoch and then listened to Case Histories by Kate Atkinson.  Loved the Murdoch, and as it turned out, had already read the Atkinson, but listened to it anyway as I had forgotten much of the plot.  It's the first of the Jackson Brodie series of mysteries and I definitely plan to listen to more (which, hopeffully will actually be new to me!)

At present, I'm re-reading Fifth Business by Roberston Davies.  I think I must have read it thirty or more years ago, and that I was too young to appreciate it for more than the simple plot.  I am absolutely loving it and will be diving into the other two books in the Deptford trilogy. I'm also listening to Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down which is hilarious and moving, like much of his wonderful fictioin. I'm nearly finished both of these and so will soon by moving on to my to-read pile, which includes:

So. The giveaway. 

I would love to pass on my copy of The Edwardians. If you are interested, either leave me a note in the comments or send me an email (janet (at) berkman (dot) ca). I'll draw for the lucky winner and contact you for mailing/delivery info.