Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I am soooooo impressive, indeed

I saw my physiotherapist yesterday and impressed the heck out of her.
At each visit, she always asks me how I'm doing, how my week has been, yada yada yada.
Of course, my "status" never changes much:  my hips are always sore, some weeks a little more than others; my mobility varies according to how bad my hips hurt, etc.
When I told her that I continue to do the stationary bike -- every day -- regardless of how my hips feel, she was  mightily impressed.  She agreed with me that I should continue, as long as I feel able.
And ...
I'm up to 30 minutes a day -- every day!
We discussed the pattern of my pain, all of which points absolutely to the deterioration of my hip joints (my right is catching up to the left!).
We talked about how my SI joint gets into the act as the pain increases in my hips and my gait is affected -- a natural occurrence with hip decline.
But she is so pleased that my activity level has increased to what it has, because any activity is good, and I have come so far from where I was a year ago.
I would be so much more impressed if only I could walk for even ten minutes without bringing on excruciating pain.
But I guess I have to wait until my hips are replaced before that's going to happen.
In the meantime, I'll continue with the stationary bicycle because I've finally found something that I can do without aggravating my pain.
And I'll settle for being impressive.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy Birthday My Little Chickadee

My daughter entered the world at 1:16pm on this date back in 1975, and what a terrific addition to this world she has proven to be.
She has grown into a marvelous young woman of whom I am extremely proud.
She is a terrific daughter and a truly fabulous mother.
But most of all, my daughter has become a wonderful friend.
We live about an hour's drive away from each other, so we spend great lengths of time on the telephone, laughing and carrying on about anything and everything.
We exchange e-mails fast and furiously; we used to play around on MSN but now we just pick up the telephone and communicate in the more comfortable way for us.
We will actually send an e-mail or leave a voice mail to let each other know if we won't be available for our nightly telephone chat!
If my offspring hasn't heard from me in -- oh, about a half day or so -- I'll receive an e-mail that starts with, "You don't call, you don't write ..." which just cracks me up!
Nobody can get me laughing the way my daughter can.
My daughter is the kind of person who anyone would be honoured to count among their friends.
I'm glad she's mine!
Happy Birthday, my little chickadee!
"Love you up to the sky and back again"
"You, light up my life ...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Remembering my Brother John

Today marks the one year anniversary of my brother John's passing.
He was only 56 years old.
He had been diagnosed with lung cancer earlier in the the year and lost his battle a mere six months later, after a valiant fight.
Brother John was the seventh of eight children -- but only the second boy among six girls. In the 1961 photo below, that is my hand on his shoulder. (Do you suppose he's holding his hand over his mouth in wonder at what he's in for with the realization of his birth place in the family of six girls and two boys?) 
By the time he came along, after one boy and five girls, he was a welcome addition to the family.  Growing up, with five older sisters all acting like other mothers, he was especially tight with his one younger sister.  They were seldom apart as children and shared a friend-pool throughout high school.  In fact, when the baby of the family relocated to Kitchener/Waterloo in 1978, it didn't take long for him to make the decision to move his family to that area.
John married in June 1973, and his first daughter was born a year later.  He and his wife actually lived with me through the summer of 1974, with their infant daughter, and oh what a heat wave we were having!  I recall sitting outside in our very small yard trying to get relief from the August heat but there was none to be had.  We would sit up through the night, talking and reminiscing, rocking his daughter, hoping that she would at least drift off for a while.  It was a brutal summer!
His son was born only four months after my little chickadee came along and we visited back and forth often.
When I returned to work after my little chickadee's arrival (at that time, maternity leave lasted all of six weeks!), my brother John would pick me up every morning to deliver my daughter to the infant care centre so that I wouldn't have to take the bus with her. I recall that it was an especially heavy snow-fall that winter of 1975/76, and he never missed a morning!
Once he moved out to Southwestern Ontario, our contact became less frequent. In fact, the last time I had actually seen my brother was five years earlier at our niece's wedding.
He had relocated to Fort Erie several years ago, a considerable drive from here, and my health issues had prevented me from making the trip (any trip, actually) because I simply cannot travel.
In the intervening years, his first marriage had ended in divorce while his children were teenagers, and he remarried, welcoming another daughter to the fold in 1993.
By the year 2000, he was the father of three (one boy), and grandfather of three (all girls), so he was still outnumbered by women, but he was  fiercely proud of his family.  His youngest grandchild is not in the photo below, which was taken in 2008.
Throughout the summer of 2010, he enjoyed visits from family members and close friends, many of whom he had not seen in several years. My little chickadee was able to make the trip and he was delighted to see her.
He was especially pleased to have the opportunity to meet my little chickadee's family (Pauple and his daughter were also there), having only met my beautiful boy once before (at the aforesaid niece's wedding five years earlier).
My brother John with my beautiful boy -- July 2010
Remembering my brother John.
Robert John Cherryholme
8 Mar 1954 - 27 Aug 2010

Friday, August 26, 2011

Oops, I've been remiss again

I guess I've been rather neglectful of late, insofar as this blog is concerned.
Sorry 'bout that.
I've not been very well organized the last while, so I'm not accomplishing much on any given day.
In fact, I'm finding that the days are being frittered away without much effort at all.
On Monday evening, I developed a tremendous sore throat, from what I know not.  But I really landed under the weather very suddenly.  By 7:00pm, I was calling my physiotherapist's office and cancelling my appointment for the next morning.  I just knew that I was not up to the round trip to the big city.
Good thing I made that call too.  Because on Tuesday, I was blotto.
Couldn't move a muscle!  So I didn't.  I had what was obviously an enforced day of R&R and I guess that was just what the doctor ordered.
Because on Wednesday, I was fine.  Or at least as fine as I ever am.  But I chose to use the day for another day of R&R.  I'm reading a really good book and decided to continue lolling about, enjoying the down time.
Yesterday, I finally took the time to catch up on the bookkeeping -- which ended up taking me all morning because I took phone calls that used up the hours without my noticing how much time I was really spending yakking.
And last evening, we went for dinner at the Mill Street Crepe Company -- you know, the place I've tried to get to twice before?  Third time is the charm.  John's cousin and his wife met us there and we had a lovely meal before going across the street to check out the Memorial Quilt commemorating British Home Children in Canada.  That too was an interesting presentation.
Today, I hope to achieve something of merit.
I need to tackle all those documents I downloaded last week.  The job won't get done I don't get started.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The ecstasy and the agony ...

You know what's wrong with having a passion that involves long hours of sitting?
It wreaks havoc with bad hips.
And my genealogical digging just happens to require long hours of poring over documents, sometimes rarely  providing a single golden nugget of success.  But in the past while, I've found too many nuggets to mention here individually.
Oh yeh, I've had a tremendously successful ten days.  None as successful as last Friday though, when I discovered that my grandfather had another brother -- my granduncle Michael.
Because of my very unco-operative hips though, I tend to work in spurts -- computer; housework; rest; computer; exercise; rest; computer... .  You get the idea.
Yet, in spite of being careful to "pace myself," my hips scream.
Of course, it hasn't helped that this past weekend also involved an unusual amount of extra sitting time too.
On Friday, we had dinner guests so we naturally sat around chatting that evening.
On Saturday, we drove up the valley to visit one of John's cousins.  That involved a one hour car trip, followed by several hours of sitting around (but a delightful visit it was!) and then the one hour trip home.
Suffice to say, by yesterday by hips weren't working at all!
And I didn't help the situation much by still being drawn to the computer to continue with my research.  (That "free trial" expires on Tuesday and I want to get everything I can from it.)
So here I sit today, having slept fitfully last night, wanting so desperately to get on with this research project.  But my hips are burning oh so badly.
Methinks it will be much slower going today.
And tomorrow, the last day of that free trial, is physio day -- so there definitely won't be much researching going on.
I don't even want to think about the hours I still need to put in at the computer to process the many documents I've downloaded in the past ten days!
Double sigh.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's them, it's actually them!

I've now proved conclusively that my maternal grandfather (Samuel Sharpe, son of William Sharpe and Catherine nee McKeowan) indeed had a second brother, about whom we had no knowledge -- until now.  (And now I also know that my great grandparents were in fact still alive in 1911.) 
I didn't have to wait a month for a birth certificate to arrive either.
It took me about an hour after finding the 1911 Census reference on Friday (interspersed with preparing for dinner guests later that day) to find the definitive proof that I needed to claim the family as mine.
Turns out that has recently added the christening records of several Catholic parishes in Liverpool to the many other records that are available to be searched.
So off I went looking for Michael Sharp(e), born to parents William and Catherine in about 1894 in Liverpool.
Up pops a reference to a child named Michael Sharpe, born July 1894, baptised at St. Joseph's parish.  Father Gulielmi Sharpe; mother Catharinae McKeown.  (Catholic records were historically kept in Latin.)
Now here's where my Catholic upbringing and resultant familiarity with Latin paid off in spades.   I knew before I opened the image that I had a hit because I knew that Gulielmi is actually William; and obviously Catharinae is Catherine!  (Of course, the McKeown reference was a dead give-away!)
My heart was racing as I opened the actual image that proved the existence of yet another unknown branch of my tree.
And there, just to add that extra piece of credence to the story, was the notation that the child's godfather was Michael Murphy -- the man who six months later would marry Catherine's sister, Mary Ellen McKeowan. 
( Liverpool, Lancashire, England, Catholic Baptisms, 1802-1906 -- St. Joseph's Parish)
This discovery happened about three minutes before our dinner guests arrived.  I was still pumped when they came through the door.  Luckily, they are very familiar with my passion and were sensitive to my hootin' and hollerin' and carryin' on like a mad fool.  (Genealogists experience a tremendous 'high' when they make a find of this nature.)
So, now I'm busily trying to find out what happened to this mysterious new-found grand-uncle.
Unfortunately, the name Sharp(e) in Liverpool is like Smith in so many other places.  And I don't have to tell you how common the name Michael was/is with the Catholic community!
My work is cut out for me now!

Friday, August 19, 2011

I found them, I found them!

After all this time, I think I've finally found my great grandparents on the 1911 UK Census!
I can't be 100% sure yet, of course, until I locate corroborating evidence.
But that will only take me about a month to do.
And oh it's gonna be a very long month indeed.
You see, I found a properly-named couple, of the right age, the precise occupation, married for the right length of time ... but the family size doesn't correspond to what I knew (up 'til now).
The couple I've found has a 16-year old son about whom I had no previous knowledge.
One of the more helpful aspects of the 1911 UK Census is that it asked how long the couple had been married, how many children had been born to the marriage, as well as how many were still living and how many had died.  
And this couple, of the right given names and the right occupation, married in the same year as my lost ancestors.  They declared that they had three children, all of whom were still alive.  But only one was in the household on the night the census was taken -- the one who until now was unknown to me, the one who would have been their middle son.
I already have their other two children's entries for that census.  Their eldest son was married and living with his in-laws.  Their youngest son, my grandfather, was at an Industrial School for Boys, from which he would eventually be shipped to Canada as one of thousands of British Home Children.
So, how do I go about finding out if my grandfather actually had a second brother?
I order the birth certificate for the child in question (I have the reference I need) and sit back and wait for the mail.
When it arrives (these things usually take about a month from the time of order until landing in my mailbox), it will confirm whether or not the named child was born to the same parents as my grandfather.
If the child proves to be my grandfather's brother, then I will have finally confirmed that my great grandparents were still alive in 1911.
And I will also know that I have yet another branch of that line to pursue because ...
Whatever happened to that brother?
Did he marry and have a family?
Are there living descendants -- more new cousins -- who don't know that they have relatives in Canada?
Might they know when their elusive ancestors died?
That is one huge brick wall that I can't seem to get over -- I have not yet proved that my grandfather was  orphaned when he was sent to Canada.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love genealogical research?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Truly out of sorts

Wow, am I ever out of sorts today.
Can't seem to get started at all.
I've had a few rough nights, which could explain my state.
Been taking the CPAP mask off in the wee hours and going back to sleep without it.  Not sure why I'm doing that, I just am.
And I'm obviously not getting the restful sleep that I had been getting when I was leaving the machine on all night.
'nough said.
The answer is fairly obvious.
Leave the damned thing on and know that I'll feel better than I am right now.
My massage therapist will be here at 1:30 today to give me my much-needed massage and she'll whip me right back into proper shape.
And then all will be right with the world again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Will my surgery EVER happen?

I finally reached my surgeon's office yesterday.
Needed to let them know that my medical record should show that I do in fact have sleep apnea (that was one of the questions on the intake form).
Before I could tell her the reason for my call, she asked me when I had seen the doctor.
"May 18th of this year," I said.
"Not before May of next year," she replied.
"I'm sorry," I said, "I'm not sure I understand what you mean."
"Your surgery won't be before May of next year," she repeated.
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that," I said, "but that wasn't what I was calling about."
Then our discussion continued to cover the matter of my apnea.
Turns out it's not a problem (which I knew it wouldn't be -- just knew it needed to be part of the record).  I should just let them know at the pre-op meeting, whenever that happens.
But on a lighter note, I AM on the cancellation list and sometimes that moves quickly.  Apparently some people keep postponing.  I assured her that I would not postpone -- when I get the call, I'm good to go.
She suggested that it might not take all that long then.
Yeh right.  Perhaps March instead of May?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Looking for my dead people

As any follower of this blog knows by now, "looking for my dead people" is what I call my genealogical research hobby.
It's obvious isn't it?  They're my relatives, and they're mostly dead.  (I'll admit, a fun aspect of the hobby is accidentally finding living descendants of proven ancestors -- new cousins.)
I've been spending the past while trolling through the 1911 UK Census returns trying to find various and sundry members of my family whom I know were alive at the time.  (All three of my British Home Child grandparents were still in Britain in 1911.)
After wasting several days going through the pages one by one at (the pages are free to me with my subscription but they are not indexed), I decided to check out sites at which I don't have a paid membership.
Both Genes Reunited and FindMyPast offer access to the 1911 UK Census.  And both sites offer free indexed search capabilities which make it so much easier to find the references I need.  But I refuse to pay the usurious charges they want for actual access to the information.
On Thursday, when I went to the FindMyPast site to check a reference, I noticed that they were offering a 14-day free trial with full access to all their records.  (The expectation is that, once you find out how fabulous their service is, you will want to buy it.)
Bingo!  I signed on until August 25th and in two days I've already downloaded a myriad of census detail about my dead people.
Suffice to say, I've been having a blast!  Filling in holes; adding twigs to my tree; clarifying information.
I've calendared August 23rd to remind myself to cancel the membership, lest they renew automatically at their usurious prices.
But until then, I'm busy searching through the 1911 UK Census, looking for my dead people.
I'm confident that by the end of my 14 day free trial, I will have gleaned all the information I need from them, and then some!  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How I really spent my birthday

My little chickadee feels that I should update everyone on how my birthday day truly unfolded yesterday.
You see, I didn't actually spend the day being pampered, indulged and all around treated like a queen.
It was a day like every other day.
John went for the newspapers and once I had read them, I got up and served him breakfast.  (Can you see what's wrong with this picture already?)  Good thing pouring a bowl of cereal and making toast is not too taxing for my royal body on my special day!
Then we got a call from the electrician who had done the wiring and installation for my sanctuary.  Remember the ceiling fan that didn't work?  It now works.  Took him all of twenty minutes to find the problem and correct it.  Ta da!  Nice cool, comfortable sanctuary now.
I spent the rest of the day amusing myself on the computer looking for dead people (that's what I call my genealogical research hobby).  I'm having great fun trolling through the pages of the 1911 UK Census looking for various and sundry members of my family (and actually finding some too).
My little chickadee, Pauple and my beautiful boy arrived around 5:30 with my car and I collected many hugs and kisses.
We visited for a bit and heard all about their camping holiday, then we headed out to have dinner at the Mill Street Crepe Company.
'Cept we got there and it wasn't open.  It only opens for dinner Thursday through Sunday.
Damn!  That was my second unsuccessful attempt to try this place.
We ended up going to the same place where we held my 60th party last year.
It wasn't crepes but the company was good!
One of these days, I'll get to that crepe place -- third times the charm isn't it? 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thoughts of a precious little girl

I was born on this date 61 years ago.
A precious little girl named Caylee Marie Anthony was born on this date six years ago.
Unfortunately, Caylee Marie died by mysterious circumstances before she saw her third birthday.
She's already been gone for more years than she was alive.
I followed the case of this little girl closely, not knowing why it entranced me so.
But right from the get-go, I was taken with the story.
A mother who lied about her daughter's where-abouts for fully a month.
A mother who partied while her daughter was missing.
A mother who failed to report her daughter missing.
A mother who fabricated wild tales about her daughter having been stolen from a park.
A mother who ...
And finally, the child's decayed remains were discovered, with duct tape over her mouth; the body wrapped in the very Winnie the Pooh blanket from her own crib.  Discovered in a garbage bag, thrown in a ditch to be devoured by wildlife, hopefully never to be found.
You can read the details of the case on Wikipedia, or just google the child's name.  She's world famous now (so is her mother).
On July 5th of this year, Caylee Marie's mother was found not guilty of murder.
The prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
So now Caylee's murderer -- whoever that may be -- goes free.
And in Orlando, Florida, what's left of Caylee Marie Anthony rests without justice; a life taken way too soon.
Justice has failed ... but Judgement remains.
Caylee Marie Anthony
9 Aug 2005 - 16 June 2008

Hug your children today and every day.  Make sure they know how much they are loved.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Birthdays are so much fun

I love birthdays, don't you?
Yesterday, we had a birthday party for moi.
It isn't actually my birthday until Tuesday (August 9th) but I violated my own rule this year.  (More on that later.)
We kept it small, which made it manageable for me.  I really find it quite discombobulating if there is too large a crowd.  Makes it difficult to actually visit with any one person, so I usually feel like I saw no one.
By keeping it small, I managed to spend quality time with good friends.
Made for a very nice day (my 33rd 29th birthday, part I).
And because it wasn't actually the day of my birthday, John had no problem allowing me to do the prep, the serving and the clean-up.  Had it actually been the day of my birthday, he would have had to be in charge of all that.
You see, my rule is:  I only celebrate my birthday on the actual date of my birthday.  The only day that matters, in terms of my birthday, is the actual day of my birthday.  So when August 9th rolls around, that is my day.  And on that day, I am to be indulged, pampered, and just all-around treated like a queen.
Obviously, in order to respect the spirit of that rule, had we had my party on the day of my birthday, it would have had to be a catered event because I cannot possibly be expected to do the prep, the cooking, the serving and the clean-up on my special day.
The other part of my rule?  Having a party on any other date does not supersede the requirement that my actual birthday be marked as a special day.
So, what are we doing on August 9th, you ask?
Well, it just happens that that's the day that my little chickadee will be returning my car to me.  (She has had my vehicle since last Tuesday for their annual holiday to Sandbanks Provincial Park.)
John, my little chickadee, Pauple, my beautiful boy, and I will celebrate my 61st birthday (oops, I mean my 33rd 29th birthday, part II) at the Mill Street Crepe Company in Almonte.  I've been really anxious to try the new restaurant and this will be a perfect occasion to do so.
I can think of no other persons with whom to share my special day than those who are most important in my life.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

These cursed hips

I've got a pair of hips for sale.
Any takers?
You can have them for a great price, really.
In fact, I'll GIVE them to the first taker.
Cuz I sure don't want them any longer.
That wonderful steroid injection has definitely run its course and my hips are wreaking havoc with my life again.
The constant, nagging pain is back.
The need to use that stupid stair lift is back (while the steroid was working, I was able to bound up and down the stairs like a teenager again!)
The slow, deliberate walk is back -- making me appear to be many years older than my actual age.
I was finally waking in the morning feeling refreshed and raring to go, thanks to the CPAP machine.
But just as that was kicking in, the benefit of the 'roid stopped.
And my sleep is again disturbed by the pain of the cursed hips.  So it seems that I've resorted to sleeping on my back as a permanent solution to the hip pain.
Both last night and the night before, I was wakened by John nudging me to tell me that I had to "fix the machine."  The mask had slipped off my chin causing the machine to make an awful racket -- enough to wake the dead ('cept it didn't wake me!).
In actual fact, my chin had slipped out of the mask, seemingly as a result of my snoring action.  I guess I'm a real heavy duty snorer when supine!
Now, logic tells me that the obvious solution to this latest problem is a chin strap to force my mouth closed for the night.
Doesn't that look like a fun thing to add to what I'm already wearing?
Sheesh, it would take me forever to get out of the gear if I had to do so in a hurry!
Oh the joys of trying to find balance.
When did they say that surgery might be happening?  I'd really like to be able to sleep on my side again.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pay it forward

A year ago today, a child was born sleeping.
You can read her story and understand why her parents are asking the world to "commit a random act of kindness" in Annabelle's memory today.
Annabelle Angel - 3 August 2010