My new love – Genealogy

Confession:  I have a new obsession.

It has literally taken over my life.  So much of my free time (and money) has gone into the genealogical hunt for ancestors.  Who knew finding long lost family can be so addicting.

I’ve come across some very cool information (some not so cool) and made some very neat connections.  The best part is, I’m not even close to being finished.  I may never be finished!

One regret is I wish I wrote down more of the stories my mom and grandparents told me.  I can only remember snippets of some of them and other stories are lost forever, I’m sure.

I’ll get into some of my neat finds in future posts.

On that note, I can do lookups in the following books for anyone who’d looking for connections to the past in Gull Lake, or the Corning area of Saskatchewan:


Highschool yearbooks

  • “KIASKUS –  Gull Lake Saskatchewan Highschool year book 1965”
  • “KIASKUS –  Gull Lake Saskatchewan Highschool year book 1966”
    n.b.  Kiaskus was derived from a Sious word meaning “gull”.  Just email me the name you’re looking for and I’ll send you a snapshot of the text or pictures found in the book.
  • The Aurora – Stoughton School yearbook 1962-63
  • The Aurora – Stoughton School yearbook 1963-64
  • The Aurora – Stoughton School yearbook 1964-65
  • Aurora – Stoughton School yearbook 1982

Community Compilations

  • “The Golden West”
    Covers 790 square kilometres in south east Saskatchewan, the area surrounding Corning, Sask.  This book is a treasure trove of stories submitted about the pioneers of this area



Genealogical humour

You have to love a lady who has this sense of humour…at least I assume she had something to do with the caption on her niche.

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My addiction of late has been genealogy – tracking down my distant relatives from the past, anything I can find on them (which isn’t a whole lot).

This partially accounts for the lack of posts to this blog, but really only the last year.  I cannot account for the previous four years lack of posts.

Here’s another interesting caption on a nearby niche.

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These are the Materi’s, late of Medicine Hat.

I might even be related to these people, woudln’t that be fun.

Back to hunting ancestors…..


It’s just a number

It’s not about the number on the scale

Maybe I need to take that same advice when it comes to my inbox.  Right now I’m at an even 200 messages in my work inbox.  My home inboxes are even worse thanks to the fact that the iPad does not synch up properly with gmail or hotmail when deleting messages from my iPad (my primary home-use device).


 I use my inbox generally-speaking, as my “To Do” list.  If something is sitting in my inbox it’s because I haven’t finished dealing with it yet.   I used to be obsessively organized by moving “To Dos” from my inbox to my actual Task List so that I could remove the message from my inbox.  But that kind of hyper-organization takes  a lot of valuable time when you’re getting close to 100 actual messages a day (not including back & forth conversations).

 I was in my happy place if I could keep my inbox at 15 messages or less.  It was a visual feel-good because I could literally see the end of my inbox  denoted by the white space at the end of the list of messages in Outlook.  I had a little breathing room.  

 It’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen less than 15 messages in my mailbox. 

 Today it occurred to me that “it’s only a number”.  Do not obsess about it any longer.   My new goal is to try to keep the inbox under 100.  It’s my new “manageable”.  Still a little crazy but it’s a more attainable goal for me.  In some ways it feels like I’m giving up but I’m not, really, I’m worrying about what’s important instead of worrying about a number…



Syncing Calendaring and Tasks

One of my beefs about calendaring and task software is the lack of integration between the two. I would like to be able to schedule a task for a future date but there isn’t a way to do this in gmail or Outlook or any other task tool I’ve used. The other obvious option would be to schedule the task directly into my calendar but my problem with that is I want the task to stay in my tasks until its actually complete because, I admit, I don’t always finish (or even start) a task during the timeframe I’ve scheduled it..

What I want:

I want to be able to schedule a task into my calendar. Once that date rolls around I want the task to not only be in my calendar but remain as incomplete in the tasks menu until I’ve marked it as complete.

Sounds logical to me? Anyone got any ideas to help me with this organizational impedance?

Feeding the hummingbirds during a rare Victorian cold snap

We are blessed to live in an area of Canada where hummingbirds live all year round.  From what I understand, most breeds fly south once things cool off but one or two different types stay.  Its a joy to be able to watch them all year long!

However, once or twice a year our temperatures dip low enough that the bird’s main winter food source (hummingbird feeders) is threatened by freezing.  These little critters are so vulnerable that they may perish before they are able to find some non-frozen nectar to drink.

I put together this post to cover some things I learned about keeping the hummingbirds fed during a cold snap.

  • The normal solution of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water starts to freeze around 0 degrees Celcius (especially if there is a wind chill).  You can up the ratio to 1 part sugar to 3 parts water so that the solution is sweeter, therefore giving the hummingbirds more energy.  This ratio is slower to freeze as well.
  • Bring your feeder in once it gets dark and put the thawed solution out again before first light.
  • Have more than one feeder so you can rotate them.  You can leave one in the house thawing and rotate it with the one outside once its starts to freeze.
  • Make sure the access ports do not freeze over.  We used a toothpick to make sure the nectar was still accessible.
  • Keep your feeders close to the house where there is a micro-climate created by the shelter provided by the house.  Keeping the feeder under some shelter also prevents snow & ice from building up on the feeding ports.
  • Buy a feeder that attaches directly to the window.  They’ll stay warmer from some of the warm air escaping from the window. Up til now I was against putting feeders too close to the window for fear of the birds misjudging and running into the glass (I’ve seen & heard too many birds (not hummingbirds) fly into our windows over the years).  But in the winter it seems worth it on the chance that you’re saving their little lives by providing the nectar.


  • A tip from our next door neighbour is to hang the feeder near an incandescent light bulb.  The heat from the bulb should be enough to prevent the solution from freezing.
  • When there was a stiff, cold breeze we tried wrapping the feeder in a scarf to ward off some of the chill.  I’m not sure if it really helped as there was still freezing slush accumulated in the feeder within an hour.  And I’m not sure if the hummingbirds could easily recognize it as a feeder with the scarf on it.  Another cool idea (why didn’t I think of it at the time?) was to tuck a “hot pocket” in the scarf (you know those gel warmers you can snap and keep your gloves warm for 8 hours). 

We’ve only had our hummingbird feeder for a year so I am still learning who all the regular customers are.  I sure hope that they all survive the shock of winter we are experiencing.

why does Google think I’ve moved?

A question for the network geeks:

For the past month or so, every time I search for something on Google, Google asks me if I’ve moved. 

No, I haven’t moved, I’m still in Canada (and plan on staying here). 

My default search domain is and my IP is based in Canada so why does it ask me this question every time I search?   

Did Google change something on their end because I haven’t changed anything on mine.

A little annoying……and disconcerting, too.

How a book can get me to read it in 19 seconds

I don’t spend a lot of time picking out a book to read but its got to grab me in some way because there are so many books to choose from.  Like the bumper sticker that laments “so many books, so little time…”

Some times its just the cover that makes me want to read it.  But usually I read the inside cover flap as well as the back cover to get a “read” on the book.  

There’s not a lot going on on the front cover of Michael Faber’s “The Courage Consort” so I took a look at the back cover which stated “Faber’s writing is chaste, dryly humourous and resolutely moral.”   Sounds like something I could use right about now.

On page one, we meet Catherine:

“….she actually opened the window and sat on the sill, wondering if four stories was enough to make death certain.  She didn’t fancy the prospect of quadriplegia, as she hated hospitals, with their peculiar synthesis of fuss and boredom.  Straight to the grave was best..”
I dove right in.  So far so good.
Update – I finished the book but it was painful.  It went so far downhill that I wasn’t sure if we were still on a descent  or wandering through a forgotten valley.  In the end, I never really knew what the book was about or what it meant to convey other than deep insignificance.

duct tape love

It started at a pretty young age – the boy’s love of duct tape.  To this day he has a rainbow of duct tape – all the colours of duct tape ever made.  Including camouflage.

This is some of his collection.

I remember when he was just little……I had asked him what he was up to and he replied “Looking for something to duct tape.”   Another time when a friend came over, I heard him ask if he wanted to go and duct tape something.  

Hey, what can I say, he’s a smart & creative kid.  He even makes the odd bit of money here & there by making wallets out of duct tape.  Yes, he takes orders. 

an attempt at outsmarting the birds

This tale contains a little bit of irony.

Sparrows have taken a liking to roosting right above our front door and above our driveway to sit, look around and poop.

Their droppings land not only on our front door step but also on top of our cars.

Not pleasant.

In an effort to keep the birds from roosting we fashioned little spike belts out of tin flashing and roofing nails poking at all angles up from the flashing. The spiky flashing is affixed to the top of a drain pipe where the little beggars would roost.

This seemed to ward them off….we had outsmarted them!

Not so fast.

A few weeks later we noticed white droppings at our front door step again. They must have figured out a safe place to land beside one of the spikes.  Bummer.  Back to stepping around the droppings while we come up with another plan.

This morning, though, we got a good laugh when we spotted the little beggars building a nest at the end of the flashing. The spikes must have created an opportune place to grasp onto the nest structure for them. Rather ironic.

Back to the drawing board to find a way to keep these guys from roosting above our front door!

skulls on children’s clothing

This is just wrong. Skulls on young children’s clothing?  This is in the girls section, too.  Not to generalize, but what kind of parents want their children in these clothes?  What statement are they making?  I know life isn’t all puppie dogs and pig tails but skulls are not necessary nor are they tasteful at this age.