Merry Monday: Short Week!

Image created using Bit Strips.

Image created using Bit Strips.

It’s pretty hard not to enjoy the week ahead being 4 days long. Last week was a short one too 🙂

I’m thankful I wasn’t part of the accident that happened just before I reached the 417 by Greenwood outside Pembroke on my return drive to Ottawa. Sadly, a man lost his life and two others are in critical condition.

It was a very rainy drive home and visibility wasn’t great.

Lots to do tomorrow as my colleague leaves Wednesday for a 3 week holiday in Florida. Lucky her. I’m going to try and get one of our shared responsibilities moving while she’s away.

I need to finish my short story this week. I think it’s pretty much done, but I’m trying to decide if I need to describe minor characters or not. These are medics, so I feel like their appearance and such isn’t critical to the story.

The Chiaroscuro Reading Series is happening this week and I’m looking forward to hearing a friend read from her book Human, which I quite enjoyed reading. It’s a lovely vampire tale with unexpected twists and turns and I recommend it.

The Easter weekend was decent. I enjoyed visiting with friends, the old dojo, and my one brother. It was also nice to see my honorary brother and meet his kids too. The rest of my family likes to spend their days watching TV, which is a little annoying to travel for. I wanted to play some Magic the Gathering, but that just didn’t work out. My dad seems bored, but also doesn’t seem to want to do anything. Maybe I should teach him to play Magic haha.

Anyway, I’m pretty tired and should get some dishes cleaned up before bed.

Ciao,
R~

Merry Monday: Spring has arrived

Aside

Image created using Bit Strips.

Image created using Bit Strips.

There is snow in the forecast, but Spring has arrived! Take that Queen of Narnia!

Any snow that comes won’t last long and the flowers will break through the wet ground. Soon the land will be covered in green grass. The trees will bud and flower too.

Easter is early this year. I’m looking forward to a visit with my family and old school friends assuming the weather cooperates.

New projects are starting at work!

I’m almost done my short story!

My taxes are done!

I have chocolate!

Lots of good things are happening, so forget about the “crow storm” as my dad calls it. Besides, it’s usually winter’s last hurrah before the flowers spring up.

Ciao,
R~

Lost down the rabbit hole…

All right, I mentioned a while ago that I was looking into my family tree. I got a lot of information today.

I’m primarily focusing on my mother’s side as it is the least well documented and there is a mystery to solve. We don’t know who my mother’s father was, but we know my mom was born and lived on a reserve around Sudbury. So far we’ve found little about why my mom was on a reserve beyond that her grandmother remarried a man who’s family name of Hallock comes from Wahnapitae, which is a tiny town one blinks through on a trip from North Bay to Sudbury.

I wrongly assumed that our family name of White may have been bestowed upon them due to residential school or some act of forcing civilization upon them. Apparently, that piece of my family is from Scotland, but that isn’t the only piece. There were MacArthur’s in there too.

Now I knew we had Scottish roots on my dad’s side of the family, but not on my mother’s side. My great grandmother was Swedish. I knew that was in the family somewhere, just not who it was that was Swedish.

I have much more digging ahead. On the list:

– find out if mom is okay with me digging further
– get a signed document from her
– get information from mom on what school she attended
– head to Library and Archives Canada
– check the registered Status Indian list to see if my mom or anyone closely related is on there

I’m also going to dig further into dad’s side as I believe we’re part of Clan Robertson, but it’d be nice to have the trail that confirms it.

Except for the parking ticket I received, it was a good day.

Ciao,
R~

Family

Last night I attended an event with Steampunk Ottawa. We went for a visit to the Canadian War Museum. I learned some things and one in particular has me wondering about my family. My dad is from QuĂ©bec, but further back in his line we are Scottish. I’ve not gone back far enough to discover how our Scottish ancestors ended up in QuĂ©bec. Last night I learned about the Royal Highland Emigrants and now I’m wondering if one of the men from Scotland, who protected QuĂ©bec in the 1700s, ended up deciding to stick around and start his family. I’m sure stranger things have happened.

I’ve also been wondering about family on my mom’s side for a very different reason. My mom was born in 1943 on the aboriginal reserve around Pickerel, Ontario (so a cousin has told me). My mom still doesn’t know who her father was. She was raised by her grandparents because her mom had become pregnant out-of-wedlock and that was shameful in those days. When my mom got her birth certificate, it only listed her mother’s name. I feel like I have relatives I don’t know and that’s kind of sad. With my mom being in her 70s, it’s unlikely we’ll discover that part of our family, or that DNA testing will be needed. I also feel like there is this whole culture that is likely part of who I am that I know nothing about.

Discovering more about my family is on my list of things to do in the near future. I have a feeling the journey will inspire some writing though and I at least need to finish “The Page & The Magician” before I go starting more novels 😉

Happy Friday!

Ciao,
R~

Christmas 2014

On December 22nd, at 5:13 pm, I received a text from my eldest brother telling me that my father was taken to the hospital by ambulance. My world was turned upside down in that instant. I was distraught. I could barely type an email to my boss to let him know I had to leave town earlier than was planned.

I was texting back-and-forth with my brother trying to figure out if I should head to North Bay that night or wait until the morning. Freezing rain was on its way to both Ottawa and North Bay and I was trying to miss that. Weather sites indicated that the freezing rain was due around midnight in Ottawa, so I decided to quickly finish packing and grab what food I needed from the store and home. It’s not as simple for me as it is with other people to travel as I’m sensitive to a few foods and they’re in a lot of things. I grabbed a quick bite to eat, which was nearly nothing. I had everything packed and ready to go by 7:15 pm and proceeded to leave town, or attempted to. My car wouldn’t start.

I tried to get help from people at my building. A man said he couldn’t because he was a delivery driver and he wasn’t allowed to. Most people overlooked my plight. I called a friend and he had been drinking, so he couldn’t drive over and give me a boost. I called another friend, she was going to come and give me a boost, but it took a long time to get her car started and in the middle of waiting for her, another man saw I was struggling and offered to help me once he was finished helping an older lady with her groceries. He came down eventually and got my car started and away I went at 8:21pm. I had gassed up on my way home, luckily, so I wouldn’t have to stop for that for a couple of hours.

The trip to North Bay from Ottawa is just under 5 hours. I worked a full day before this. It was an extra long drive this time around. My state of mind didn’t help things. I kept saying, “Not Daddy. I’m not ready for that.” My dad is almost never sick. He’d only been in the hospital one other time in the 33 years I’ve been alive and that was for minor surgery from an infection he got. It’s not like he’s never hurt himself. Being a mechanic, it wasn’t uncommon for him to crush a finger or thumb and require a brief trip to the hospital, but he hadn’t been there for anything serious and he’s 70!

Recently, I started learning some meditation exercises, mainly breathing. Those helped me get through the long drive. When I caught myself going 140 a couple of times, I told myself that I needed to slow down as it wouldn’t do to have another Roy in the hospital. The other thing that helped was seeing Christmas lights on people’s homes. Those lights were like little beacons of hope for me on the dark drive. They helped light my path and cheered me up.

I managed to miss all of the freezing rain.

I was hungry and exhausted by the time I reached my parent’s house. I cooked some food while they told me what happened.

He had been acting weird all day–restlessly pacing and looking out the kitchen window, which doesn’t have a view to anything but the side of a neighbour’s house then he’d tire and want to lie down. He started talking funny and it wasn’t jumbled up English or French, though there was the odd French word in the mix. He sounded like he was inventing an entirely new language. My mom sent my brother to the store for the kind of Aspirin you can chew and tried to get my dad to stop pacing around. He kept trying to communicate. My brother returned with the Aspirin and they got him to take it only he probably swallowed it rather than chewing. They called 911 and my other brother who would have beat the ambulance there if he hadn’t had to pull over to let the ambulance get to my parent’s home.

My father went outside at some point during all of this and locked his garage. He had given my mom his wallet before doing this, figuring he wouldn’t need it. He met the paramedics in the driveway and tried to ask whether or not the ambulance would be covered by OHIP! Of course, my mom tried to tell him this was no time to be concerned about money. The paramedic was shocked to find out my dad was the patient given that he was walking around and asking such questions.

The ambulance driver told my brother, who had rushed over to the house, not to follow them through the red lights they would be going through. I’m guessing that’s a standard safety procedure. My mom and brother reached the hospital to discover that my dad was on his way to Sudbury because the North Bay CAT Scan wasn’t working. That was at 5:47 pm.

I wasn’t happy to learn that we had no idea which hospital my dad was in or even what had happened to him. I feel best when I have information and I had nothing other than that my dad was in the hospital and it was probably Sudbury, which is a good place to be if it’s something with your heart.

The next day, we still didn’t know anything until around noon when my dad called us. My dad was brief on the phone and told us he was in Sudbury and that he was going to need surgery. My brother didn’t get a chance to ask a room number or anything. At this point, we knew what city and that my dad was alive. He was expecting to have surgery on Christmas Eve. So we started contacting some friends and family. One couple my dad sees a lot of needed to be updated and we didn’t have their phone number and had no idea how to spell their last name to look it up, so I walked over to let them know what was going on. I needed out of the house for a moment as my family has an inclination to drive me crazy by running through the same information multiple times to try to cope in situations like this, and I’m the weirdo that would rather find something to pass the time until more information comes along or until it makes sense for me to contact someone who has the information we need.

On Christmas Eve, I visited some friends at Ontario Northland while we waited to find out if and when my dad would be having surgery. My brother was at work and I decided it was stupid that we were in North Bay and my dad was in Sudbury. We made a plan to go visit after we found out more information. Dad hadn’t had surgery yet and didn’t know when that would be as he was waiting on the specialist to see him. We had lunch, hopped into my mom’s vehicle, and headed out to see him. I brought my dad one of his presents because I didn’t know how long he would be in the hospital and it was Christmas Eve.

When we got there, we learned that my dad had had a T.I.A. or mini-stroke. We also learned that he wasn’t going to need surgery after all. Apparently, his other arteries in the area had begun to take over the job of routing his blood flow to the brain.

So my dad is going to be okay though he has to quit smoking, reduce his alcohol consumption, take some pills, and do some exercise each day. He’s not happy about the beer. He had reduced his smoking so much already that the nicotine patches made him hallucinate a pizza because the hospital food was so bad. He also saw zombies, which is interesting since my dad never watches anything with zombies in it.

This Christmas I got my daddy back on Christmas Day. We opened presents around 5 pm and had dinner around 7:30, which is much later than usual, but all that mattered was that dad was all right and back with us.

Ciao,
R~

Link

Daddy and I trekked up to Northern QuĂ©bec on the weekend. After TĂ©miscaming, on the way to Laniel, there was no cellular service. This was the second time in my life, since owning a cell phone, that I’ve ever lost service completely. The first time involved a trip to Smoky Falls, which is an Ontario Power Generation site in between Kapuskasing and Moosonee. I don’t mind losing service as I enjoy getting away from technology and just kicking it with nature. I checked periodically for service out of curiosity and in case we ran into any trouble, so I’d know where to run to and call for help. Around km 42, I started to see hints of service. It was just a tease though. The roads were full of hills, twists, and rock cuts. My dad says when you have a rock cut on either side of you, it’s called “Hell’s Gate”. He’s Catholic.

I lost service again by St-Édouard-de-Fabre. It became farmlands. Gas prices were insane! 138.9 for regular and diesel was oddly the same. We headed to Ville-Marie, the closest hospital town, so my dad could grab some grub. He had a banana before leaving, but it wasn’t enough. He’s never been much of a morning eater though. At Brasserre 101, there was a very animated conversation happening at the bar. A lot of hands flying about and swearing (callise, maudit, tabernack). Apparently the conversation centered on busing children and how there aren’t many children to bus anymore. French people in QuĂ©bec seem more passionate in their conversations.

As we traveled, I hacked some portals in Ingress. One can play Ingress in TĂ©miscaming, Ville-Marie, and Lorrainville. We traveled down Highway 63 to 101 Nord and then to 382 Est. I learned that my great grandfather once drove into the LaverlochĂšre church with his truck. I bet there was commotion over that. Our destination was Latulipe-et-Garboury, which is quite different than Latulipe, QuĂ©bec if you’re looking for it through Google maps (about 6 hours more driving). Moffet is the town my dad was baptised in, which is even smaller. The village of Latulipe-et-Garboury has a population of about 300 people. I remember it being so much larger as a child of eight years.

We stayed at Domaine de la Baie Gillies, which is apparently a former sawmill. With no cell service and the location being a couple of kilometers from the highway, it seemed a prime place for a horror story setting. I wondered where my daddy found out about this place and what I had gotten myself into. At least the room was decent. My dad said it wasn’t a real hotel room because there wasn’t a bible in the nightstand.

BaieGilliesRoom

My aunt’s home was close to things like the S.A.Q., though it’s cheaper to buy booze in Ontario than to get it from that particular S.A.Q. I’m told. Supply and demand…

The first wedding ceremony was at 4:00pm on Saturday and it was a long Catholic wedding in French. The ring bearer kept trying to set the ring pillow on the floor. The poor boy didn’t know what to do when people were chuckling. My cousin was the bride.

The next ceremony was at Centre de Loisirs. My Aunt Estelle married her long time common law partner, Leo. Dad thought they looked like Bonnie and Clyde. Here’s a picture of the hall:

Reception

At dinner I learned that my dad isn’t homophobic as there was a male couple there from Gatineau. I had a brief panic on food. It can be a scary thing for me. I had beef, mixed veggies (carrots with green and yellow beans), and rice pilaf. Because I eat ultra clean these days, the little bit of onion and celery in the pilaf didn’t make me bloat or feel bad. Neither did the Polish vodka I had been drinking since around 1:00pm. I haven’t really missed drinking, but it was nice to partake in the festivities. The vodka I bought tastes good without mix, which is great for people with food issues 😉

During the party, I learned that quite a few of my dad’s sisters are fiery and mischievous. My mom was never much of a troublemaker, so it’s clear I get my feistiness from dad’s side. Fun fact: at age 3, I had red hair.

Dad and I left around 10:30pm. After driving from Ottawa on the Thursday, then traveling to Latulipe, I was beat. On the way back to our room, the land was shrouded in fog and it was pitch black. The place was rather creepy since it also didn’t have street lights. I had apparently stayed there 25 years ago in the back of our old dodge pickup, which my dad had temporarily converted into a camper with a creative use of plywood. I remember that, but I didn’t remember it being the same place. Things look so different now compared to what I remember. It’s a quaint campground with canoes and things to rent. Before it seemed like it was just an expansive field and I don’t remember seeing the bay. I remember a lot of grass and a large gazebo.

Part of me wanted to see the old Roy family home before leaving, but I decided I prefer to keep those precious memories I have just as they are. It belongs to my cousin that got married on the weekend.

I need to learn French before the next family event. I had cousins I would’ve talked to more if I could speak French. They were afraid to speak what English they knew and I was timid about using the French I know. We were so afraid of making mistakes, we didn’t talk much except through a translator and I know my dad was making some stuff up. He said he wouldn’t tell me, so I couldn’t get him into trouble with mom. At 70, my dad is still cheeky.

My dad is the smallest of all of the men in his family, so it’s no wonder that I am as small as I am. I knew I was at a family reunion because of the abundance of short people haha.

While there, my dad seemed to take on a different side of himself. We drove everywhere though the place was, so tiny that I think my dad normally drives farther for beer in North Bay than the whole of the city. We located my grandparents’ graves. My grandmother died when I was 9 and her grave hasn’t fully grown over yet.

After about 19 hours of traveling, I’m glad to be back in Ottawa.

I got some novel ideas down on paper, but without Internet I couldn’t research them and much of Monday was spent without Internet also as my ISP had an outage. I’m also in the midst of decluttering and painting my living room. I’m excited that it’s fall because my writing groups are getting back to regular meetings and I have Can-Con and several martial arts seminars that I’m looking forward to. I have some works in progress to read for writer friends and referee training also in the hopper.