Archives for category: Family

Friendly Fire

Guest blog by Thomas Virany
We were watching CNN at about five p. m. on Thursday, when we heard a loud boom and everything went off. TV, stove, furnace, etc. Oh, well, that happens here sometimes.

But the power didn’t come back on, and I went to see what happened. A friendly Hydro guy came to our house and told me that there would be no power for awhile. How long, oh, maybe two or three hours. Pas de problèmes, as they say here.

He also told me not to go into the backyard, because a hydro pole had fallen and dragged all the wires down. And some more may fall. He asked me to turn off the main switch to prevent damage when the power came back on.

As the house was getting cold, I made a fire in our non-polluting stove we had bought to match our home-made furniture in 2006 instead of a fireplace. We ate what we had, some left-over spareribs, potato chips, fruit, etc. We boiled water on the stove for tea and sat by the fire, as an old (84 and 87) retired couple should.

Meantime, the ground floor and some upstairs bedrooms were warming up nicely. The two-three hours turned into all night. I kept feeding the stove wood. Even after going to bed, I got more wood from outside every two-three hours.  In the morning, still no power but the house was warm.

mar1-blackout3.jpgWe got into our 2003 Prius hybrid car and went out for a wonderful breakfast. We called our children on our ipads and told them, then went home. No power, but a wonderful warm house and I continued adding wood. Lots. We again went out, this time for lunch and more talk with our children on Skype and Facetime.

Back home, we removed the grate off the top and roasted some chestnuts in the stove’s steel pan. Still no electricity, but lots of hydro trucks. School next door closed.

Just about suppertime, the electricity came back on
and we went back to our normal life. TV, cooking, telephone,
etc. Other than some expense of money, we got through
the day conveniently, thanks to the stove and car.

Mar.2018blackout2We felt independent of the government; only deprived of some usual
services for awhile. Pas de problèmes.

Happy Reading by Flashlight & Fire from Cozybookbasics!

How did you cope with a blackout? Please leave a comment; we’d love to hear about it.

http://www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com  www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

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A tiny 2-inch pop-up Valentine, circa 1920

A tiny 2-inch pop-up Valentine, circa 1920 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Come with Kathleen as a Valentine’s treat

Because her story is so sweet.

Kathleen was a British high school girl in 1917 when her father brought a Canadian sailor home for tea. The suspenseful excitement of falling in love, marrying and then living amongst the Swampy Cree in Canada’s northern wilderness is captured in Kathleen’s Cariole Ride: A True Love Story from over the Ocean and in the Bush after WWI. Their daughter’s loving book takes you deeply inside the raw emotions of their own letters. The highlight of their (and their foetus’) adventures was a five-day sub-zero winter trek and a difficult birth.

Final Proof of a paperback edited with phone help from Createspace

Final Proof of a paperback edited with phone help from Createspace

Remember! A book makes a heartwarming, non-fattening, long-lasting gift for Valentine’s Day. It’s a joy for me to meet and chat with people in the friendly, creative atmosphere of the Russell Flea Market on Sat., Feb. 10th, while signing copies. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could join us?

Does this story remind you of an event in your family’s history? If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comment box.

Thank you for dropping by Cozy Book Basics. You may find other stories you like by clicking above on ‘Home’ and scrolling down to browse through the archives. My writing grew out of a paradoxical parsonage childhood being nurtured by incongruous parents. To find out more, follow this Amazon link to A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void,  Kathleen’s Cariole Ride and Eating at Church. Please join me on Goodreads or check out my personal author page also.

Happy Reading & Writing from Cozy Book Basics!

http://www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com   margaret@kell.ca

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tanisbotties

These booties made by Cree living on the Oxford House Reserve in northern Manitoba were for my sister Tanis. She was born there in the winter of 1929 and her name means “daughter.” You can see by the handmade toys how much the Cree love children. My mother, a British war bride, wanted to have her baby in hospital. My father, a farmer/sailor/missionary, found this a challenge. As soon as the Christmas services were over on the reserve, he rigged up a horse attached to a cariole (big toboggan) to get her there in time. The thermometer sank to minus 30 and it took them five days and four nights. With a dog team it would have taken a day longer. It was a preposterous, glorious trip with a happy ending, the highpoint of their lives. It inspired me to write a book. In the name of Jack, Kay and baby Tanis, Cozybookbasics wishes all the love, joy, peace and happiness of this festive season. I am very thankful for all good people who love their families and the adventures that having one entails. Greetings to you and thank you for reading their stories and my books. www.margaretvirany.com

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xmas1987In 1987 I stood in for a tree when my sisters and our parents celebrated Christmas together for the last time in their tiny apartment. In 1988 Father died of an aneurism, in 1990 Mother died in her sleep, in 2002 Tanis (necklace) died of a stroke and in 2016 Enid (bow) died from Alzheimer’s disease. We all have to go some time and I think of them with love. One thing I know for sure is that neither you nor I want to die of or see anyone else die of Alzheimer’s, like Enid. Here’s what I do to score little victories that bring back one memory at a time:

1. Don’t panic if you are out shopping and can’t remember where you parked you car, have just jumped into the driver’s seat and can’t remember where you are going, or have gone down the basement to get something but can’t remember what. Pause, take a deep breath, keep quiet and tell yourself everything is going to be OK. The information is still inside and you can get it back. Then go over in your mind what you can remember doing just before you got blocked. Wait patiently until the missing information pops back.

2. After having a scare like this, I spend time just taking extra care of my memory. It needs to be exercised just as much as any part of the body. I do regular basic home exercises, if nothing else such as swimming is available. They make blood flow to my head and nourish my brain cells.

3. Practice and rehearsing are the keys. Before education was reformed in the sixties, children were taught ‘by rote’ in school. They had to memorize and recite poems and lessons. Before the days of TV, people put on recitals and concerts where poems as well as music were performed. Anyone who has read Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi knows how the river captains had to stretch their minds to an amazing capacity to accommodate mounds of changing, life-saving information. I know a pianist who glows to talk about how her memory has grown with each long performance piece she commits to it.

4. On the scale of my life, I have at least learned to go grocery shopping without a list and not forget anything. It is a big satisfaction! I make the list at home and then use a mnemonic, such as memorizing the first letter of each item on my list and reciting it to myself a few times. If I forget something in the store, I pause and try to remember it — or else do without!

5. The memory game or puzzle I like best is Sudoku. My performance on it indicates what shape my memory and ability to focus are in. After not having done it for months, I unloaded it for free on my ipad and found I had relapsed to the ‘easy’ level whereas I used to be at ‘difficult.’ I’m doing a few puzzles each day to try to climb back up again. A bit of pigheadedness probably helps fight off the Alzheimer Scrooge too.

Happy Preparing for Your Memorable, Unforgettable Family Christmas Holiday Time!

http://www.cozybookbasics.com  www.margaretvirany.com  www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

 

 Here’s an event to stimulate finding about your old roots in the British Isles.
“Walk in for online registration to join in the 23rd Annual British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa’s Family History Conference. It starts at 5 p.m. on Sept. 29 at Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa and runs until Sunday, Sept. 31 at 3:30 p.m. Simply drop by 501 Centrepointe Drive, Nepean, Ottawa to register and pay.
The  conference brochure describes program details and rates and says, “Come for one or two seminars, one day, two days – or all three days.
“Learn about English and Welsh family history and genealogy research methodology. Read about our speakers, seminars, lectures, and activities.
Browse, shop, and chat with vendors in our Marketplace that is open to the public with no admission fee.”
I’m proud to take part as a vendor and will be launching a new editing service especially for writers of family history manuscripts who have submitted them to traditional publishers but been rejected.

BIFHSGO is a wonderful network with over 600 members from all over. I’m looking forward to chatting with many congenial people and hope to see you among them. I’ll be there from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
http://www.margaretvirany.com  www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com http://www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

orieloucks.jpg.fcaf306d

Loucks’ heart was amongst the trees. Minden (ON) Times photo and cutline.

With scientific precision, superb literacy, brilliant intellect, fatherly tact and noble modesty, Dr. Orie Loucks http://www.mindentimes.ca/remembering-orie-loucks begins his family’s story by advising us how to approach the awesome task. Loucks was an esteemed scientist, author and conservationist.

1. Family history must be more than births, marriages and deaths. It needs to tell who the people are and why they came to the places where we find them.
2. We should learn what concerns drove them from one home place to another, in poverty or wealth.
3. We should also try to learn what are the values and interests of the family line that continue from one generation to the next. We may find family values that are evident over four or five hundred years.
4. One must wonder whether character traits, and not just physical resemblance, may have been carried along. Did the qualities that led to stubborn persistence on early Huguenot faith traditions continue until certain family leaders supported the British in the American Revolutionary war, and does it still continue today?
5. Great changes in circumstances faced by nearly every generation should be seen as a critical influence on each family’s life. Through all the change, we can expect to see continuity of family character.

6. This report tries to highlight both the ups and downs of each generation’s prospects. The record suggests the family aspired to be fair and just and try to make the world a better place in the future. Each one adapted and then practiced what they learned or believed in from the former generations.
7. Relevant history was passed down in 2010 at the 300th reunion of Laux/Loucks family members of the 1710 Palatine refugee migration. It not only added depth to the historical record, but also family relationships across generations were sustained, along with evidence of the continuity of physical appearance. Many participants at the reunion were struck by the resemblance that continues in males of the family, the square face, the strong though not prominent nose, and the firm but often dimpled chin.

8. Looking for the source of the surname revealed it spanned languages such as Spanish, French, Latin and Occitan, according to David Loux, author of part I, chapter 2 of the book. Different spellings in English are all pronounced the same way.
9. Other sources he consulted were the French armorial coat-of arms; dictionaries to give meanings of the name, maps to show localities, mountain ranges and lakes named du Laux, du Loux, Lau or Loucks. Pronunciation research was done into Occitan (they spoke this patois every day but used Latin for business and diplomacy.)
10. Finding out the influence of historical context on this family’s fortunes was crucial. The major social upheavals that impacted them, for better or worse, were the Crusades starting in 1096, the Albigensian ‘Crusade’ (persecution) two centuries later, and the religious wars that mobilized French society from the 10th to 17th centuries. France had no separation of church and state and Roman Catholicism was the state-sponsored religion. French reformers
(Huguenots) were driven into a major exodus.

“As minor nobility, some du Laux families would have held Huguenot church services in their homes. They would have fought alongside other families in defense of their religious cause and, as identifiable nobility, their homes would have been at risk for being ravaged and burned. The du Laux name turned up in Wiesbaden, Germany and from there they migrated to the United States.”

To find out more about Surviving 4 Migrations: The Loucks of Haliburton or to purchase a copy, please click on http://www.lulu.com/ca/en/shop/orie-loucks/surviving-four-migrations-the-loucks-of-haliburton/paperback/product-20163703.html

It is described as “A history of the Loucks family: France to Germany, to New York State, and Ontario from the 1620’s to the present.” pp. 280

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Prospects for selling my book at the Byward Market in Ottawa when I arrived at 10 a.m. Wednesday looked as dim as the thunderstorm forecast. Still, I bet myself I could sell enough copies (five) in the next six hours to buy tickets for a big treat. I defied the skies to clear in time for a picnic with our granddaughters and their parents before watching the preview performance of theater under the stars on the banks of the Rideau River that night. mmarket.jpgWork crews carrying partitions, shopkeepers rushing with arms full to set up for the day, twosomes and threesomes speaking languages other than English brushed past. Where were my buyers?

  • The atmosphere enlivened at lunch time, with music and dancing in the adjacent square attracting a noisy, lively crowd. A quarrel between someone not quite in his right senses and a big truck disrupted the self improvement, creative atmosphere I was trying to inject.
  • A dreary-eyed, homeless man with his bundles and bags slouched up against the bricks, heritage plaque and sesquicentennial posters on the market building facing me. Where were my readers?

It was discouraging and my devoted hubby of 61 years decided I was crazy and he might as well abandon ship and go home.  While he hesitated, I was ready with my elevator pitch to summarize my book in two sentences.

  • Anyone drawn to the table for a closer look at my framed newspaper article headlined “Call of Love in the Wilderness” got it. An old toothless man mesmerized by a 1904 picture of my mother as a child in a sailor outfit stayed because he wanted to hear her full story.
  • With a cheery “Hi Margaret!” up strode author Stevie Szabad, eager to buy two of my books and pick up advice from someone she perceived as having accomplished things she wanted to do. We plotted to sell together at the Galeries Aylmer Christmas market. 

Hubby stayed when I reminded him I was there to get my parents’ exemplary story out, not just sell the product. A take-out lunch of chicken sandwiches and smoothies fortified us both. 

  • Then a ray of sunshine, a tourist from Vancouver, suddenly appeared. He wanted to know more about why I called my book “A Book of Kells” and gave me advice on genealogy. He bought a signed copy as a gift and souvenir of Canada’s 150th.
  • A particularly friendly face came to the table confidently and I was able to engage her in conversation. For the next twenty minutes Tom and I found we had much to share with her and vice versa. Gale O’Brien is a lovely, avid reader who lives in Britannia by the Ottawa river. She now owns one copy of A Book of Kells and one of  Kathleen’s Cariole Ride which I hope she will enjoy reading.
  • When Kelly Buell turned up because she had been following me online, Tom was getting the car because it was 4 p.m., time for us to pack up. Kelly and I chatted and hope to help each other in future as writers so often do.

When I first met the organizer of the Byward marketing team and showed her my book, she told me she is a ‘Kell’ on her mother’s side. I was able to inform lovely, competent Megan Sartori that we are second cousins twice removed. 

By the way, the outdoor performance in Strathcona Park was superb. My granddaughters, aged 10 to 16 were absolutely thrilled with The Amorous Servant by Carl Goldoni staged by Odyssey theater. Grandpa and Grandma enjoyed its humor and sensible advice for all ages, too.

www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com  www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany  www.margaretvirany.com

Happy Reading & Writing from Cozy Book Basics until We Meet Again!

IMG_0765To the tune of oxymoronic incongruous\appropriate music, 300 fresh-faced, happy teen-agers in red and white caps and gowns commenced real life Saturday in Pennsyvlania’s Peters Township. The high school band did not give up on churning out Land of Hope & Glory until it lauded every last grad into a seat on the football turf prior to being called to cross the stage to get a handshake and diploma.

Few realized the mind-blowing march music also has words. The setting of majestic trees, and sunshine that emerged late in a thunderous day thrilled us grandparents. We were among thousands of proud family members invited to honor the young ones’ achievements. People on the public bleachers looked on from the other side of the stage.

“Why does Britain Use Our Graduation Song As a National Anthem?” http://www.anglotopia.net/anglophilia/lost-in-the-pond-how-americas-graduation-march-was-actually-a-product-of-england/

1. Land of Hope & Glory was composed by Englishman Sir Edward Elgar in 1901 as part of a series of marches called Pomp & Circumstance. When Queen Victoria died and her son, King Edward VII, acceded to the throne, Elgar was asked to compose appropriate music. The new king liked the section of Pomp & Circumstance we now know as Land of Hope & Glory so A.C. Benson composed words to it.

2. Benson’s words to the favorite stanza which is replayed incessantly are:

Land of hope and glory, mother of the free

How shall we extol thee, who art born of thee?

Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set

God who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.

God who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.

3. It became a very popular patriotic song which Elgar called the “music of a lifetime.” It bragged about England’s three centuries of worldwide imperial conquests. While he was still alive, the lyrics helped Britain win world war one.

4. In the 1920’s Elgar was awarded an honorary degree by Harvard University. At the end of the ceremony, Land of Hope & Glory was played as a recessional. The crowd liked it so much they have played it every year since. Other universities all across the United States followed suit. More and more are playing it until this day. Now it has reached down even to elementary school and kindergarten levels.

5.Vera Lynn’s recording of it stirred British courage as they went on to win world war two. Meanwhile, it was picked up to be played when British athletes won medals at the Olympics. Several football teams in the UK rewrote the words to make it ‘their’ song. It was almost chosen as the British national anthem instead of God Save the King.

6. The BBC philharmonic orchestra in London plays Land of Hope & Glory on its ‘Last Night at the Proms’ every summer. The audience rises to sing the words, waving their union jack flags in an electrifying display of patriotism.

Wild Roots Worth Honoring in America’s Future

Reference: https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-06-17/wild-english-roots-song-youll-hear-every-graduation-summer

1. Nothing is more powerful than being imbued with patriotic emotions in one’s childhood. My mother took me to England when I was four and when I reheard Land of Hope & Glory now, at age 84, I imagined I saw the Buckingham Palace guards marching as the words went round and round in my head. I did not feel vicious, just thrilled, strong and ready to face the music of life, so to speak.

2. Other writers on this subject point out the empowering, stirring music (see links above) casts off and loses its outdated messages of racism and expansionism “in the pond” on the way to America.

3. We forgive our parents’ mistakes and are one big happy family, appreciating our inherited influences and parents’ love and guidance as we set out in our own direction.

4. This was a good message for the grads to absorb on their hopeful, glorious night. Now they commence living in a world made more secure by their maturing emotions and thoughts.

May they be blessed and find wide and mighty opportunities for fulfillment, success and happiness!

Jack would be a long, lonely journey for Jack from the white cliffs of Dover back to the Indian reserve in Oxford House, MB

Canadian sailor Jack had come courting, was rejected and felt banished. It would be a long, lonely journey back to the mission field in Oxford House, Manitoba. But he was stubborn. As he looked toward the sea from atop  the white cliffs of Dover, he couldn’t bring himself to give up all hope.

Kathleen felt as miserable as the weather, but a nagging voice inside told her it would be too risky to marry a Canadian.

Kathleen felt as miserable as the weather. A voice inside told her it would be impossible for her to marry this Canadian; it was far too risky. So, she had to just let him slip away.

  • You can now read in paperback form the compelling story of what happened to Jack and Kathleen. It is a true love story from over the ocean and in the bush after World War 1.
  • To order a copy of Kathleen’s Cariole Ride  for Christmas giving, or to find out about e-book and paperback versions of A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void and Eating at Church, click on the link to Amazoor my website.
  • You might just love coming out to see Old Aylmer. Ottawa’s most bilingual suburb on the Quebec side is always festive, with its replica of the old Symmes Inn at the bend in the river where Champlain rested and its British Hotel to which where D’Arcy McGee’s murderers fled.
  • The Art & Artisans’ Sale at the Galeries d’Aylmer takes place on Nov. 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stevie Szabad, ‘army brat’ and I, ‘preacher’s kid’ promise not to fight or pray while we chat and offer to sell and sign at our book table. We hope you’ll consider our memoirs a real ‘find’ to put in your Christmas shopping basket — something enjoyably cozy now and possibly forever.

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics

http://www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com. http://www.margaretvirany.com

the queen

I don’t know about you but I think lots of little things that boost ordinary people add up to important reasons for retaining the monarch. To the Queen! She’s a symbol of steadfastness & civility. (Full disclosure: I’m a war bride’s child named after a Princess.)

http://www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

http://www.margaretvirany.com

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!