Family

Daily Photo: Me and My Brood

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Grandma, 1915-2014

bereavementMy grandmother passed away today. She was 98 years old.

We were quite close and I'm so sorry to see her go. She's left me with a ton of memories, but here's what I'll remember most.

Her Sense of Humour
My grandma was wicked funny. For as long as I can remember, every time I visited her she was armed with a good joke. In comedy, timing and delivery is everything, and she had perfect timing and an exquisite delivery. I'm going to miss her sharp Irish wit.

Her Acre of Fun
Until her health failed several years ago, my grandmother owned an acre of land in Gilford, Ontario. Several weekends each summer were spent there where we played football, baseball, flew kites, climbed trees and had as much fun as you can imagine. I'll always remember the BBQs, watching the train go by, trips to the candy store with grandma's money and hours and hours of fun with my siblings and cousins.

Her Love
Very few people in this world will love you unconditionally. My grandmother loved me unconditionally. I'll never forget her love: so strong, so constant, so mutual. I'm going to miss that the most.

Here she is with her beloved husband Louie in 1991.

Grandma and Grandpa

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Big Bruce at the Lonely End of the Rink

Big Bruce at the Lonely End of the RinkThe Tragically Hip's "The Lonely End of the Rink" shuffled on during my bike ride on Friday. I've loved this song since the first time I heard it in 2006, but it took on a far more personal meaning in January of 2008. That's when my uncle Bruce passed away suddenly.

"The Lonely End of the Rink" is now Big Bruce's anthem. When I hear it, I'm immediately brought back to the speech his only son made at his funeral.

Mark was a goalie, playing in the OHL for the Sudbury Wolves and Belleville Bulls. His father was his biggest fan and supporter. Big Bruce, a large and imposing figure, would sit at the end of the rink behind the net his son was minding. If anyone turned on Mark, hurling insults or ridiculing him for letting in a weak goal, Big Bruce made sure they knew who he was. Instantly, the catcalls would stop. Big Bruce always had Mark's back when he sat on the lonely end of the rink.

Big Bruce is still very much missed...

I hear your voice cross a frozen lake
A voice from the end of a leaf
Saying, "You won't die of a thousand fakes
Or be beaten by the sweetest of dekes"

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Dogs

DogsThese pics were snapped on June 15, an homage to the iconic slow-motion walk from Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. Cue the George Baker Selection...

Wedding

Wedding

Wedding

Wedding

Wedding

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Longevity Runs in the Family (If You're Female)

birthdayMy maternal grandmother turns 97 today. She no longer recognizes me, nor knows where the heck she is, but she doesn't seem to be in pain and is still very much alive.

Meanwhile, my paternal grandmother recently turned 101. She still has her wits about her.

When people find out my grandmothers are both still alive, they usually respond that I have good genes and should live a very long time. That would be true, if I were female.

My grandfathers didn't fare nearly as well, although both lived an average length of time. I think I'd be okay with average.

I laugh thinking about the three words I'm going to use to end this entry, because my 97 year old grandmother is completely unaware that the internet even exists, but here it goes... Happy birthday, grandma!

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Michelle's Letter to Santa: Translation Required

giftMy sweet 7-year old has written a letter for Santa. It's ready to hand-deliver to the big guy next Sunday at the parade.

I cracked open the envelope to see what she wants. Protip for kids: Even though you're writing Santa, let your parents see it before you seal the envelope.

Michelle's Santa letter

I think I've got part of it... she wants a bed for her two dolls, pajamas, some video game for her DS and a bug friend of some kind. Can anyone help me translate?

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Congratulations, Son

high park little leagueTonight I was lucky enough to watch the Chiefs defeat the Bisons at High Park to win the championship.

My son happens to be a very proud member of the Chiefs, who won the series 3 games to 1.

Champs!

Congratulations, James.

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Bernadette, Rev. Vincent J. Morgan and the Parish of St. Joseph in Acton

ripMy mom's aunt, Bernadette Whelan, passed away earlier this week. I remember visiting her home in Acton as a child and being overwhelmed by her two giant St. Bernard dogs. I was back in Acton yesterday for her funeral, and this entry is about my great aunt Bernie and her absolute commitment and devotion to the Parish of St. Joseph in Acton, Ontario.

Bernadette was a Torontonian, living with her mother in the big smoke when she made her first trip to Acton to help Rev. Vincent J. Morgan at St. Joseph's in the early 1950s. She was only supposed to stay in Acton to housekeep for Fr. Morgan for two weeks, but she ended up spending 60 years. The housekeeper she was filling in for got engaged and Bernadette was offered the position at St. Joseph's.

Bernadette was paid $25 a month and essentially managed all aspects of the parish. She lived in Fr. Morgan's Acton home across the street from the church, and was left that house in his will when he passed away in 1977. Just yesterday, I visited Fr. Morgan's grave site in Guelph's Catholic cemetery.

Fr. Morgan

St. Joseph's parish priests came and went, but Aunt Bernie was a constant. She devoted her life to the church, working tirelessly for little, caring for all.

She's earned her rest.

Rip

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High Park Jays Lose Tee-Ball Finals Squeaker

BaseballMy son plays for the Blue Jays in the High Park tee-ball league. They won their quarter-final game on Friday, their semi-final game on Saturday and split the first two games of their best-of-three final series against the Mariners on Sunday.

Game three took place last night, and it was ridiculously close. It ended in a tie, as you'll see in this excellent Tee-Ball Tuesday coverage by Kathryn Humphries and the gang at City-TV.

If the video above won't play for ya, click here.

Because game three ended in a tie, game four was played tonight. If you're keeping track, that's six games in five nights for these kids. I'm exhausted just watching.

Alas, it wasn't to be. James and his Jays lost a close one but ended up with the world's largest second place trophy.

Biggest 2nd place trophy, ever!

Good job, James!

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The Baby Turns 6

FamilySix years ago today, the baby of the family was born. She's certainly no baby today. She's far more mature and organized than me already, full of interesting insight and impressive observations.

They really do grow up too quickly. Here's my Michelle at about six months of age.

january30-2005-michelle2

And here she is this summer.

Camping at Pinery

Happy 6th Birthday, Michie Mee! Now stop growing up so damn fast. Love, Daddy

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