On Genealogy: Story of Pte. George V. Lee

Welcome to story #2 of my family tree. Today, I’m going to share with you the story of my paternal grandmother’s father’s brother  – my Great Grand Uncle, George Victor Lee who was killed in action (KIA) in The Great War.

For this story you’re going to have to stretch your memory all the way back to History class, WWI and trench warfare.  I was able to access his troop’s War Diaries and his personal military records.  I was able to track his regiment from deployment to the day Pte. Lee was KIA.  I did a lot of research and spent countless hours on trying to understand exactly what was going on during the war as he was progressing through it so I could make the story more 3 demential and personal to me and our family.  Some of the history parts of this story were “borrowed” from other story tellers well versed in history and the Great War. Some, is me being an amateur historian, war buff and genealogist.  I don’t purport this blog to be 100% factually accurate (about the details of the war). I am not a professional, just passionate.

Screen Shot 2017-05-27 at 10.40.15 PMThe deadline was 11:00 p.m. on August 4 1914. If Germany did not remove their troops from Belgium, Great Britain would declare war. As Big Ben struck the hour across the Thames that night, Chancellor David Lloyd George wrote, “The big clock echoes in our ears like the hammer of destiny.” Germany remained silent and Great Britain was at war!

At the time that Britain declared war, George Victor Lee was living at 3 Shady Row, Meltham Mills, Yorkshire, England with his wife Agnes (nee Dickenson).  He was the son of Tom Lee and Hannah (nee Crabtree).

George enlisted on March 24 1912 when he was 17 years old.   His Territorial Force Attestation Papers indicate that he worked as a Millhand (Cottons) with J. Brook Bros Ltd. A bit of research and I found out that Jonas Brook and Brothers was a silk mill complex in Meltham that employed over 1,000 workers during that time.

He was a member the 1/5th Battalion, The Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment).  Regimental Number: 1985.

The Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment) (Territorial Force) was mobilized on August 4 1914 at Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England, later that month the troop was deployed to coastal defences near Hull and Grimsby.  On November 5 1914 it moved to Doncaster in billets and the regiment was assigned to the 147th (2nd West Riding) Brigade in the 49th (West Riding) Division in April 1915 for service on the Western Front, they served together until the Armistice in November 1918.

They were gearing up to take their place in history in what is now known as The Battle of Aubers Ridge (May 9-10 1915), which was a disastrous attack that cost 11,000 British casualties for no material gain: it was a supporting operation to a much larger French attack.

The British attack was to be launched by General Sir Douglas Haig’s First Army. It was intended to attack on two fronts, to the North and South of Neuve Chapelle, with the hope that the two attacking forces could meet up behind the German front lines. Haig had requested extra artillery to increase the strength of the 40 minute bombardment planned for the morning of 9 May, but all available artillery reserves had been sucked into the fighting at the second battle of Ypres, still raging just to the north.

From the army records I obtained, we know that on April 14 1915 The Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment) embarked for France and Flanders, landing at Boulogne. After which they traveled through Estaires in intense cold.

The War Diaries report that on April 16 1915, 2 days after disembarking, breakfast was late as the cook crew had a tough time recovering from the night prior.  They marched off around 10:00 a.m., the road was very bad.  Orders were given that every man must have a new pair of boots before they go out – they were only issued a few days before they left Doncaster.

At Estaires on April 19 1915 there was some reported shelling & artillery action.

On April 21 1915, some German shells were noted to have hit the trenches and an order was received to move to billets.

On April 28 1915 a shell hit 4Q, there were reported casualties.  The next day, a report was received from another trench that the enemy had been heard under his trench mining.

There was rain in the trenches and some shelling according to the War Diaries.  This coincides with the reports of the battle that heavy rain on May 6 and dense mist on May 7 caused a French postponement of the main attack; it would now go in on May 9 and the subsidiary attacks would happen at the same time, not a day later in accordance with the original strategy.

May 9 was a fine, sunny day.  The Battle of Aubers went ahead.  It was fought over the same ground as the battle of Neuve Chapelle, 10-13 March 1915.


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From this map you can see that 49th Div, 147th Brigade is not on the 1st line, but, they are near La Boutillerie

Except from the troop diaries:

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May 9 1915:  

South of Fleurbaix:  

4:45 a.m. – artillery bombardment of enemy lines directed at Fromelles Ridge.  Batt’n in dug out move between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. from derelict houses

11:10 a.m. enemy shelled Fleurbaix, no 2945 Pte Prier slightly wounded

At 4:30 p.m. an HE (high explosive) shell burst among men of D Company @ Croix Marechal killing 4 and wounding 4.  The struggles of the 13th London Rgmt & East Lanes came in and stayed night bringing with them  “depressing and highly coloured accounts of action”.  

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May 10 1915:  4:35 p.m.  Nine shells fired at Fleurbaix.  Batt’n still in dugout.

The British attack on 9 May was a total failure. The Germans had greatly strengthened their lines around Neuve Chapelle after they had been overrun during Neuve Chapelle, and the British artillery bombardment was simply not heavy enough to destroy the new German lines.  The British troops went over the top early on the morning of 9 May and were cut down by German machine gun fire. No significant progress was made, and early on 10 May Haig ended the offensive. The British suffered 11,000 casualties in one day of fighting on a narrow front.

George came through that battle.  The British casualties in the Northern pincer on 9 May 1915 were  as follows:

  • 8th Division: 4,682 of which 192 officers
  • 49th (West Riding) Division: 94 of which 2 officers
  • 7th Division: 25 of which 1 officer

We are going to fast forward a few months.  In October 1915 – the troop is stationed at Canal Bank, North of Ypres taking over from the 1/8 West Yorks.  There was considerable activity with the enemy (trench mortars and bombs).  There was some 50 casualties of the 4th battalion after a bombardment by the Germans.

November 1915:

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If you find the diaries difficult to read, I’ve transcribed them for you:

Nov 1:  Much rain, transport mules fell into a trench in chateau grounds late during the evening.  Endeavoured for 2 hours to dig them out, one died meanwhile and the other had to be shot.

Nov 2:  Usual working parties at night

Nov 3:  Relieved at chateau by 8th Rifle Brigade.  This battalion relieved the 6th West Riding Regiment in Brigade Reserve in Farms left sector.  Coys were disposed as follows:  A – West Bank of Canada new bridge 6D, B Coy (company) dug outs at Hulls Farm, C Coy dug out at Modder Farm & Saragossa, D Coy Pelissier Farm Batton Headquarters Malakoff Farm.

Nov 4:  In occupation of farms.  Carried rations and stores for 6th W.R.R. in trenches

Nov 5:  In occupation of farms.  B Coy (company) shelled at Hulls Farm 1 casualty, 1 platoon removed to Malakoff.  

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Nov 30 1915: Summary of casualties for the month of November  ….. “Other ranks – killed by shell – 3”  Total casualties for the month 73

That one casualty as a result of B Company being shelled was my great grand uncle,  Pte George Lee. He is buried at Bard Cottage Cemetery, a British military cemetery located in the Belgian village of Boezinge, a town in Ypres . There are 1,643 dead commemorates, of whom 40 could not be identified. Boezinge made up the largest part of the war in the area occupied by the Allies, just opposite the German lines across the Ieper league between Ypres and the Iron . There are 1622 British, 15 Canadians, 2 South Africans and 4 Germans (1 of which are not identified). 

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Imperial War Graves Commission – Pte Lee’s headstone inscription, “HE SLEEPS WITH THE GLORIOUS DEAD THAT WE MIGHT LIVE”

I haven’t been able to locate any photos of him.  I wish their war records came with their military photo.  I am going to try and connect with some of my extended family who still live in England to see if they may have some.

I have a photo of his brother (my great grand father), Joseph Lee.

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Joseph Edward Lee (left) & friend (right)

Which oddly, I have his photo but cannot locate ANY war documents for him … at all.   This photo was given to me stating that it was a photo of “Joseph Lee & friend”.  I wonder, is that other gentleman in uniform really a friend?  Maybe it’s his brother George? They are both wearing WWI British military uniforms and were enlisted at around the same time I assume.  Does anyone have any other ideas how I can identify the man on the left in this photo or have any other source to locate Joseph Lee’s military records?  I’ve search Ancestry.ca high and low, I’ve searched Google, Forces War Records, The UK National Archives, and nothing.  I figure if he has a British uniform on, he has to at least have enlisted, even if he didn’t go to war, and every one who enlists at the very least must have a military file.  Any other thoughts would be appreciated!

Thank you kindly in advance, and I hope you enjoyed the read as much as I enjoyed working on the story and writing about it!

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. / At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.”


T xo


On Genealogy: My Relation to the First Colonist to New France & The First Documented Marriage Between a French Settler and a Native American Woman

I can be quite obsessive at times.  My latest past time is genealogy – I’ve been working on my family tree for years – but now I obsessively work on it, almost daily.  My interest is both historical and philosophical:  Where do I come from?  How am I here?  literally and figuratively.

I think people have a basic desire to know where they came from and how they got to where they are today.  The knowledge that my ancestors had great inner strength is a powerful motivator for trying to understand my place in the world.  I mean if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today typing these words.

I look at genealogy as history on a personal scale. It’s truly a journey of many lifetimes and lifelines from the past to the present and onto the future.  It’s about discovering your heritage, creating a story about your family and leaving the most amazing legacies for future generations.  At this stage of their lives, my children really don’t give a hootenanny about our roots, an in all honesty nor did I at their ages, but, as I’ve aged and gone through life experiences I wondered more and more.

Some lines I have been able to trace them back to the 1500/1600’s -> back to England and France, then who came to settle the New World.  As a result, and through different lines I am part Algonquin in different lines, and therefore Métis.  One of my ancestors was a Filles du roi – Kings Daughters.  I have a relative who was an explorer and helped to  chart the mighty Mississippi River.   Family who founded the eastern parts of the US, while others who lived in Salem Massachusetts during the Salem Witch Trials.  I had a great uncle who was KIA in the Great War.  I have my great grandfather’s and my grandfather’s military records and their units war diaries, I have been able to track them through their battles in both WWI and WWII.  I’ve found my grandmother’s arrival records on the Aquitania from when she arrived in Canada in 1946 as a War Bride.  I’ve found so many interesting things in my family history on both sides, down all 4 lines … It makes it all that more interesting when you know you have a personal connection to these people.

A few weeks ago I submitted my DNA to Ancestry (the genealogy website I am using to work on my family tree).  Genetic genealogy, is a way for people interested in family history to go beyond what they can learn from relatives or from historical documentation. Examination of DNA variations can provide clues about where a person’s ancestors might have come from and about relationships between families. They’ve confirmed it being received – now, all I have to do is wait patiently for another 6-8 weeks (it took them about 4 weeks to acknowledge receiving it) for the results.  Stay tuned!

We inherit from our ancestors gifts so often taken for granted. Each of us contains within this inheritance of soul. We are links between the ages, containing past and present expectations, sacred memories and future promise. – Edward Sellner

I have so many cool things to share with you all, but today I am going to share the story of my relation to one of the founders of our great nation – (Canada, for those of you reading this in another country).  Now, I can only be a certain percentage proud of this, since no European actually “discovered” North America – the natives were here long before any European or otherwise made their claims.

Ok, put on your history caps folks – we are going to take a trip back to the 1600’s.  I bet you don’t remember much about grade school history – but you may recall a bit about some of the explorers like Jacques Cartier, Louis Frontenac or Étienne Brûlé, maybe you remember the name of the famous French explorer, Samuel de Champlain who founded Québec City? Now, the super cool thing is that I do.  Being French Canadian – we learned all about this stuff in elementary school, and I’m sure if I dig hard enough through my boxes of childhood memories I have stuff on learning this – we learned about Les Premiers Colons, Marguerite Bourgeoys, les Amerindians, les seigneuries, les Jésuites.  And yes, I most certainly remember learning about Samuel de Champlain and les premiers colons.

thumb_01_Olivier LeTardif    The first of my ancestors to come to la Nouvelle France/New France was a contemporary of Champlain’s. Olivier Le Tardif (sometimes spelled just Tardif), he was my 12th great-grandfather in the Lamothe line — but I can also trace him back in the Duchesne line via his son Guillaume.

w200.4200 A bit about Le Tardif:  (abt 1603-1665), the son of Jean Le Tardif and Clemence Houart, born at Estables, a seaside village on St. Brieuc Bay, in Brittany, France.   He embarked at Honfleur on May 24, 1618, onboard a ship of the Company of the merchants which was bringing back Samuel de Champlain to the colony. Le Tardif became the interpreter for Champlain in the languages of the Huron, Algonquin and les Montagnais. When Québec capitalizes, it is Le Tardif, elected by Samuel de Champlain, who gives the keys of the city to the brothers Louis and Thomas Kirke.

First Settlers to New France/ Premier Colons de la Nouvelle France

While Olivier Le Tardif is the general clerk of the Compagnie des Cent-Associés/Hundred-Associates in Québec, and while his 1st wife,  Louise Couillard is still alive, he adopts Marie-Olivier Manitouabe8ich who is first documented Native America to marry a French settler – she marries Martin Prévost, in 1644 — now this is where it gets good —- she is also my ancestor from another line! You’ll have to read on for that relation.

Sticking to this story – it’s from Le Tardif’s second marriage on May 21 1648 to Barbe Émard/Aymard (while he was back in France) from which I descend.  Barbe was the widow of Gilles Michel.  Olivier’s first wife , Louise Couillard,  died seven years earlier.  He brought his new bride to Château Richer to live.  They had three children together.

I actually descend from TWO of their children as these lists show BUT on TWO different sides of my family – my maternal grand-mother and my maternal grand-father’s sides (who ended up marrying one another!)

Olivier LE TARDIF (abt 1604-1665) + Barbe ÉMARD (1625-1659)

Gen 1: Barbe Delphine LE TARDIF (1649-1702) + Jacques CAUCHON DIT LAMOTHE (1635-1685)

Gen 2: Jean Cauchon + Anne Bollard

Gen 3: Francois Cauchon dit Lamothe + Marie Francois Houde

Gen 4: Francois Cauchon dit Lamothe +Marie Laroche Rognon

Gen 5: Pierre Lamothe + Marie Anne Senet

Gen 6: Magloire Lamothe + Seraphine Gauthier

Gen 7: Joseph Lamothe + Marie Louise Charron

Gen 8: Emile LAMOTHE + Marcella Houle

Gen 9: Clifford LAMOTHE + Desneiges Duchesne

Gen 10: Mona Lamothe + Patrick RICHARDS

Gen 11: MOI — Tina RICHARDS




Olivier LE TARDIF (abt 1604-1665) + Barbe ÉMARD (1625-1659)

Gen 1: Guillaume LE TARDIF (Jan 30 1656) + Marie Marguerite GAUDIN (Mar 1665-?)

Gen 2: Charles TARDIF + Marie Genevieve Le Roy

Gen 3: Jean Roch TARDIF + Marie Louise Grenier

Gen 4: Jean Baptiste TARDIF + Marie Felicite Rancourt

Gen 5: Brigitte Tardif + Charles BINET

Gen 6: Philomène Genevieve Binet  + Charles BINET

Gen 7: Philomène Adelphine Binet+ Honore TRUDEL

Gen 8: Leda Trudel + Mederic Duchesne

Gen 9: Palma DUCHESNE + Laurette Allard

Gen 10: Desneiges Duchense + Clifford LAMOTHE

Gen 11: Mona Lamothe + Patrick RICHARDS

Gen 12: MOI – Tina RICHARDS

Now to add to this story and where these lines intersect and cross further.

Roch Manitouabeouich was a Native who worked as a scout and interpreter for Olivier Le Tardif, who as we know was an agent for Samuel de Champlain representing la Compagnie des Cent-Associés involved in the fur trade.  There is a heated debate whether he was Huron or Algonquin.  He was also a friend to Le Tardif.  As an Abenaki married to a Huron, it is likely that Manitouabeouich knew several native dialects, making him invaluable to Le Tardif who was himself an interpreter to Champlain and instrumental in expanding the fur trade in New France.  Roch Manitouabewich had been converted to Christianity by the French missionaries. The baptismal ritual included the given Christian name of Roch, in honour of Saint Roch, the patron saint of dogs, falsely accused people, bachelors, and several other things.

Roch and his wife, Oueou Outchibahanouk. had a daughter,  the Jesuits baptized the baby girl with the name Marie and according to the records, Marie was an “Algonquin Manitouabe8ich Abenaquis”. Le Tardif became Godfather to the baby girl, and in accordance with the custom of the times, Le Tardif gave the girl his own name of Olivier. In addition to the name Marie Olivier, the Jesuit missionary performing the baptism gave the girl the name Sylvestre, meaning “one who comes from the forest” or “one who lives in the forest”. (Thwaites, The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, volume 11: 1610-1791)  http://puffin.creighton.edu/jesuit/relations/relations_01.html

When Marie Olivier Sylvestre was ten years old, Olivier Le Tardif adopted the young Indian girl as his very own daughter but she never carried the family name of LeTardif. This enabled her to be educated and reared in the same manner as a well-to-do French girl. First he placed her as a “live-in boarder” and student with the Ursuline Nuns at Quebec, and later he boarded her with a French family (Sieur Guillaume Hubou) where she was privately tutored. Marie Olivier Sylvestre met and married Martin Prévost, friend of the Hubou family and a very personal friend of Olivier LeTardif. This marriage was to be the first marriage of record between a Native girl and a French colonist mentioned in Canadian historical records.  The marriage took place in 1644 in Quebec. Recorded as witnesses to the ceremony were Olivier LeTardif and Quillaume Couillard, Le Tardif’s father in-law.

Olivier Le Tardif died at Château Richer in 1665 after a period of premature senility.  He le-tardiff-plaquehad moments of lucidity to the very end.  He was buried January 28 under the church of Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle in Château Richer.

Marie had 9 children with her husband Martin Prévost. Three of their children died in 1661 – Ursule, Marie Madeleine, 6 and her brother Antoine, 4 died on the same day –  March 16, 1661. Marie died at 37 years old after giving birth to her last child Therese. Her Marriage certificate to Martin Prévost indicates that she was born in Huron territory, Sillery. There are no records of the death of her parents.

Martin Prévost was one of the pioneers of Beauport near Quebec; b. 1611, son of Pierre Prévost and Charlotte Vien, of Montreuil-sur-le-Bois-de-Vincennes (now Montreuil-sous-Bois), near Paris; d. 26 Jan. 1691 at Beauport.   Prévost’s presence at Quebec is referred to in the documents of the notary Piraube as early as the year 1639.


So, this is how I descend from the 1st documented marriage between a Franc settler to the new colony and a Native is as follows — follow along carefully because the lines cross here too!

  1. Roch Abenaki Manitouabeouich + Outchibahabanouk Oueou
  2. Marie-Olivier-Sylvestre Manitouabeouich. + Martin Prévost
  3. Jean-Baptiste Prévost + Marie Anne Giroux
  4. Catherine Prévost + Charles Petitclerc
  5. Charles Petitclerc + Marguerite Meunier
  6. Joseph Trudel + Magdelaine Langlois
  7. Joseph Trudel + Josephine Proteau
  8. Honore Trudel + Philomène Adelphine Binet
  9. Leda Trudel + Mederic Duchesne
  10. Palma Duchesne + Laurette Allard
  11. Desneiges Duchesne + Clifford Lamothe
  12. Mona Lamothe + Patrick Richards
  13. MOI – Tina Richards

Now, if you’re following along, you’re understanding how really cool these connections to history are and how the early lines of my ancestors are crossing … but let’s take it one step further even …

Until his death, we find Martin Prévost settled at Beauport as an “habitant,” or farmer. Prévost had had at least nine children by his first wife, Marie-Olivier-Sylvestre Manitouabeouich and we know she passed away shortly after giving birth to her daughter, Therese. He was married a second time in 1665, to Marie d’Abancourt, the widow of Jean Jolliet and of Gefroy Guillot.

From her marriage to Jean Jolliet, she had a child Louis.  Is the name Louis Joliet sounding at all familiar?  Well it should, this is the explorer I was telling you about!

In 1673, Joliet embarked on an expedition with Jacques Marquette, a missionary and linguist, to be among the first Europeans to explore what was called by Native Americans the “Mesipi” river and ascertain where it led to, with hopes of finding a passage to Asia. After meeting in the Michilimackinac region, the men started their journey by canoe on May 17, 1673, to what would be known as the Mississippi River.

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While Hernando De Soto was the first European to make official note of the Mississippi River by discovering its entrance in 1541, Jolliet and Marquette were the first to locate its upper reaches, and travel most of its length, about 130 years later.

Jolliet’s acclaim as an explorer was diminished somewhat when his records and maps were destroyed at the end of his trip. Anxious to reach Montreal, Jolliet decided to shoot the rapids of Lachine on the St. Lawrence instead of portaging around them. His canoe was toppled over, killing the Chief’s son and was rescued after clinging to a rock –  all records of the mission were lost. Although he later produced another report and map from memory, much of the detail was missing. Thus, Marquette’s journal became the accepted authority on the trip.

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A statue of the famed explorer and Joliet namesake, Louis Joliet guards the entrance to the Joliet Public Library Main Branch

Joliet’s main legacy is most tangible in the Midwestern United States and Quebec, mostly through geographical names, including the cities of Joliet, IllinoisJoliet, Montana; and JolietteQuebec (founded by one of Jolliet’s descendants, Barthélemy Joliet.

So how is that for a little piece of family history?  Who said history or genealogy is boring?  

Do any of you have any cool family connections or of historical significance?  I’d really be interested in hearing some …


T  xo





‘Black My Story’ taken from the album ‘One Bright Day’ (1989) by Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers.



T xo

concert count

Brett Kissel –  The Watson Art Centre – 2015

In my last blog (Who Am I Now?) I mentioned that I’d try to write down a list of all of the concerts I’ve been to.  As I sat down to write the list and came to the final tally, I was surprised – I thought I’d been to more than this … but 44 isn’t too bad!

Kid Cudi – Air Canada Centre – 2014

And here they are in no particular order:

  1. Metallica – Exhibition Stadium – Toronto
  2. Faith No More – Exhibition Stadium – Toronto
  3. GNR – Exhibition Stadium – Toronto
  4. U2 – Air Canada Centre Toronto
  5. Coldplay – Air Canada Centre Toronto
  6. Default – Kitchener
  7. Grapes of Wrath – Waterloo
  8. Alan Jackson – Windsor Casino
  9. Tim McGraw – Casino Rama – Orillia
  10. The Killers – T-Mobile Centre – Vegas
  11. The  Tragically Hip – Stratford
  12. The Tragically Hip – Kitchener Auditorium – Kitchener
  13. The Tragically Hip – Winnipeg
  14. Danko Jones – Stratford
  15. Disturbed – Hamilton Coliseum
  16. Theory of a Deadman – Guelph
  17. Elton John – Air Canada Centre Toronto
  18. Billy Joel – Air Canada Centre Toronto
  19. Kenny Rogers – Centre in the Square – Kitchener
  20. Randy Travis – Casino Rama
  21. Simple plan – Stratford
  22. Sum 41 – Stratford
  23. Brett Kissel – Watson Arts Centre – Dauphin
  24. Jordan Macintosh – Watson Arts Centre – Dauphin
  25. Shaggy –  Kitchener Auditorium – Kitchener
  26. Justin Bieber – Air Canada Centre Toronto
  27. Big Sean – Air Canada Centre Toronto
  28. The Steve Miller Band – Canada’s Wonderland
  29. Neil Young – ACC – Toronto
  30. John Mayer – Molson Amphitheatre  – Toronto
  31. Philip Philips – Molson Amphitheatre  – Toronto
  32. Joe Satriani – Canada’s Wonderland – Vaughn
  33. Michael Buble – Budweiser Arena – London
  34. Kid Cudi – Air Canada Centre Toronto
  35. Naturally 7 – Budweiser Arena – London
  36. Sean Kingston – Air Canada Centre Toronto
  37. Dr Hook – Kitchener
  38. Nazareth – Kitchener
  39. Pink Floyd – Exhibition Stadium – Toronto
  40. Big Sugar – Kitchener
  41. Marianna and the Diamonds – Air Canada Centre Toronto
  42. Elton John – Cesar’s Palace – Las Vegas
  43. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Casino Rama
  44. Danny Michel – Kitchener
  45. (soon – June 23rd – U2 – The Joshua Tree Tour – ACC Toronto)
The Killers – T-Mobile Arena Grand Opening – Las Vegas – 2016
The Tragically Hip Final Tour – Winnipeg 2016
Michael Buble – London – 2014

Who am I, now?

Last year, the day every parent either can’t wait for or dreads happened, I became an empty nester.

When my chids were just wee ones and I could barely grab a moment to myself, I had the age of 42 engrained in my mind.  “42, you just gotta stay sane until 42, after that you can fall apart all you want” I can’t even  tell you how many times I must have said that to myself.  Let’s be honest, we love our children, we care for them, nurture them, teach them, and guide them …. but it can all be just a wee bit much from time to time,  especially when you’re pretty much a single mom and your youngest won’t give you two minutes of peace even to go to the washroom.

First off, lets talk about the typo in the sentence above  …. “chids” … its NOT a typo .. it’s a Tinaism …. I don’t do intentionally but my brain does this weird thing where it mixes two like words to create a new one.  My family and friends are so accustomed to me doing it that they already know what I mean and just let me ramble on lol.  Chids is clearly a mixture of children and kids … and came to be in my mind when I was trying to get one of my kids to go and play with the other children in the neighbourhood (and give me a break for the love of all things Holy!).

I was a young mum, 18 – a month away from turning 19, actually (somehow 19 doesn’t make it sound as much as if I was a baby having a baby).  The pregnancy was clearly a surprise but I believe that fate and destiny have a way of letting things unfold … BAM and there she was my beautiful baby girl arrived on June 5 1993.  I loved being a mom, she brought me such joy and was a super little smarty right off the hop.  I knew this kid was going to be a brainiac.  Although she loved playing Sailor Moon with her BFF, I would often find her reading books sitting on her little mini bed, playing school with our cat Buster, or learning manners from Barney.    She was involved in soccer, chess, judo, dance, school activities.  She played the trombone – dare I mention that when I came home from work the 1st day she got her trombone from school, I walked in the door and said “omg, it sounds like someone is killing a cat”.  I walked up to the dining room …. it was my kid, my kid was killing the cat …. with her trombone – doh, motherhood fail!   To be totally honest she didn’t excel at the trombone and switched to the alto sax.  The sax wasn’t as bad …. it sounded more like she was killing a kitten lmao .. ok bad joke but true nonetheless.  She actually improved a lot and ended up playing the sax one day with her great uncle Judd —  we listened to them play and I beamed with pride.  She excelled at Chess more than she did at soccer and definitely at judo.  Before she decided it was no longer for her, she had reached a pretty decent level.  She did fairly well at soccer – she played house league and made it to the finals one year – I was soooo happy for her.   I went to every single game, concert, parent/teacher interview, event, function that I could.

I became a 2nd time mom at the age of 23.  This one was my mommy’s suck and a bit of a tom boy.  She loved to cuddle with me all day long and squish bugs with her bare feet in between 😂.  I literally couldn’t get a moment of peace.  Man, did she ever love me.  She needed to be by me 24/7 (I wish she loved me that much now lol).  I used to have to sneak out of the house to go and get groceries or have coffee with a friend.  One time she was so upset that she caught me leaving that she hopped on a chair in the dinning room crying at the window and fell and smashed her face on the radiator – after that of course I stayed.  I couldn’t even get two minutes of peace to go to the washroom, she would literally come in and talk to me like it was no big deal.  She too was involved in soccer – she played Timbits Tim Hortons soccer – her first year she was 4, and let’s just say she wasn’t a fan – she picked posies and blew them and yelled out “booooorrriiiinnnnnnggggg, this is so booooorrrrriinnnnng” up and down the field …. while the play was in the other end zone and she was standing in her own end – by herself.   She tried cross country for a season, volleyball, she too played the saxophone – for a little stint.  But, no matter what she did or what she wanted to try, I drove her to every thing she participated in, went to all of her school concerts, parent/teacher interviews, and drove her to work (yes, even at 5:30 on SATURDAY and SUNDAY mornings).

Add to that all of their dentist appointments, orthodontists appointments, doctors appointments, drives to job interviews, rides back and forth to work, drives to friends houses, carpools, dates, movies, teaching them to drive etc.

Much of my time evolved around being a mom, a wife, then after the divorce – a girl friend, a full-time employee, daughter, sister and friend.  The kids school work, their activities, their wants, their jobs were bi-proxy, my life too.  Now, here I find myself at 42 with none of those things to preoccupy my time.  It’s lead me to discovering who I am.    Now that MY time is truly MY time.  What do I enjoy?  What are MY likes?  What am I passionate about?  What interests ME?  WHO AM I NOW?

This has been a bit of a challenge over the last 7 months, since my youngest flew the coop.  My two babies are now grown women and off starting their own lives.  Like most parents, you hope that you’ve served them well and be sure to let them know you’re always there for support, but that this is their life now – go on now my little grasshopper 🙂

It’s never too late to be what you might have been  – George Elliot

Things I’ve discovered:

1- Sleeping In and Liking It:  First things first, I realized I actually like sleeping in a bit.  I am notorious for having the worse sleep problems, can you say insomnia?   I no longer have to get up at 6:00 AM to drive a kid to work.  I can sleep in on a Saturday morning and get up at 9:00 AM and feel awesome!

2- Interior Design:  I’ve always loved decorating and interior design, now I have more time to do more of that in our home and help some friends with ideas for their homes.

3- Express Yourself:  I’ve also discovered a few months ago that I enjoy blogging – when I was younger, I wanted to be a journalist – blogging helps me with that.  I can write about things that are important to me, or just things that I want to write about.

4- What Are Your Roots? I have a passion for genealogy.  It’s my latest obsession.  I’m deep into finding out my roots, where I come from.  I’ve found out some really cool things about my ancestors.  I’ll be writing a blog shortly about some of the cool things I’ve found out.  Also very much in love with the TLC show Who Do You Think You Are?

5- Get Fit:  Weight loss is also top of mind these days – being that I’ve gained 35 lbs in the last 1.5 years!  I know right!  (refer to my blog called Welcome to My Life).  With my Fitbit and my super foods … I will succeed, and have fun in the process.

6- Binge Watching Shows:  Admittedly, I binge watch TV shows these days (when I can) cause I can and it’s so super convenient.  I just watched all of the seasons of Vikings, Blacklist and Call the Midwife.  What are some of your faves?  I ‘m looking for a new show to binge on.

7- Music:  My life is music.  I love music (refer to blog called Get Out The Covers) .  If I had to lose cable or my iPod – buh bye cable.  I love all kinds of music, all of the time.  I just enjoy GOOD music whether Blues or Rap.  My mission this year, get in more concerts … I think I’m going to write a list of all of the concerts I’ve been to and then see which one’s I really want to check out coming up.

8- Travel:  We traveled when the kids were young, but given we were traveling with 4, we could only afford to travel with them once a year and then do some weekend excursions.  I love to travel.  I’ve been fortunate enough to visit some pretty cool places in my years.  But, I’ve never been to Europe or Asia and I wanna go … so I’m starting to plan ….  We also just purchased a Boler, I’m so excited to start camping this summer.

9- Philanthropy:  I’m not sure what exactly that I’d like to volunteer my time to, but I was thinking maybe at the hospital or at the senior’s home, Meals on Wheels?  I’ve also been researching doing mission work in Peru.

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So, although I miss my chids madly … most days …. I am learning, with my fiancé, how to spend a time focusing on me.

How are some of you out there coping with being an empty nester?


T xo



rent cautiously, rent wisely.

Tenant problems plague landlords every day.  Last month I learned my first real lesson as a landlord.

I’ve been a landlord now for 14 months, I must admit I’ve had pretty decent tenants, but, these last tenants though have had me scratching my head and have me wondering what I got myself into 🤷🏻‍♀️.

As a first time landlady I opted to go small and with something with less of a financial burden just in case this didn’t work out.  I opted for a mobile home, it was a bit outdated and needed some love but it was structurally sound and I would make a cute little home for someone.

I’m always keen to expand my wings and into trying something new, which means at times I’m bound to get burned.  They say you learn by trial and error.  Fact.

I’m not naive, in this situation I just followed my heart, not my head.

Lesson 1:  Rent wisely –  we all know what we should do.  We read the regulations and laws and we say we won’t to it, but then we do, we are human after all  … don’t get sucked in by personal stories. Stick to facts, employment and references.  I felt sorry for this prospective tenant and her situation.  Her grand children were taken away from their mother and she needed a place to live so they could stay together and not be put in foster care.  So, I opted to forgo all rational reasoning and rented to her because I felt bad for HER situation. DON’T!

Lesson 2:  Get your tenant to sign the lease agreement BEFORE they even move in one piece of furniture – you take for granted that most folk are like minded and salt of the earth people, of course they’ll sign the agreement cause they said they will.  No, they always won’t, because not everyone is like you.  Do not allow them so move in anything before they are in agreement with your rules as a landlord and sign off on the rental agreement and inspection report.  I let my tenant move in without signing the Residential tenancy agreement FIRST.  To this day she hasn’t, which lead to me having to follow up with her repeatedly and serve her with a notice to vacate.  All of this after 4 months.

Lesson 3:  Rent to those who will respect your property –  whether you are renting your castle in the woods, your pop up tent or your mobile home …. it’s still YOUR property and they are renting it from you.  Make sure to rent to someone who will respect your property.  I get that things break from time to time, of course they do.  But, it’s not mere coincidence that for 13 months you hear nothing from other tenants and all of a sudden with new tenants – handles which were previously affixed with no problems are all broken off, air vents are caved in, kitchen cabinet doors are “falling off” and door handles are broken … Things happen but they don’t always “just happen”.  Handles WILL break when kids are left to climb up on them, cabinet doors WILL come off their hinges if kids yank on them, air vents will cave in if kids are allowed to jump on them.

Lesson 4: Move-in inspection report This is the second-most important document in the landlord-tenant relationship. This tenant refused to even go over the move in inspection report.  The report quantifies and documents the condition of a property so that, when the tenant leaves, any damage caused is clear. A thorough and concise move-in report card is a sure-fire way of avoiding significant disputes over tenant-related damage. This should be interesting when the tenant vacates at the end of the month and the inspection wasn’t completed.  It’s a good thing I took photos beforehand!

I know some of you are like “well like c’mon you made obvious mistakes” to which I’d say “correct, lesson learned and you can be sure I won’t make them again”.

Have any of you guys had any stories of places that you’ve rented or been the landlord?


T xo


🎶Trailers for sale or rent, rooms to let 50 cents 🎶




Welcome to My Life

It’s been awhile since my last blog.  I’ve started and stopped so many different blogs but for some reason or another never brought myself to finish them.

Today, I invite you on a little journey … Like so many of us, I started strong this past January with the New Years resolutions and the “2017, get ready to be owned!” mantras, but like so many others, mine fell apart shortly after declaring my owning 2017.  It’s no surprise that ONLY 9.2% of us who make resolutions in some way, shape or form feel they are successful in achieving their resolution (weight loss topped the list of 10 at #1 btw).

A year and a half ago I did not struggle with body image issues or self esteem issues. I liked going out and dressing up.   I was 5’6″, 122 lbs and I had boundless amounts of energy.  I loved life and was always up for taking on new challenges.  I ate pretty clean (but definitely wasn’t too hard core), I worked out occasionally (I’ve never been a huge gym person) but I was definitely always active.

We moved West around that time and likely as a result of adjusting to new surroundings,  dealing with life circumstances and making poor food choices I began to gain weight.  At first it was like 1 lb here, 2 lbs there – my attitude was like “well, when in Rome”.  At first I didn’t really notice the weight gain, I mean I work from home and I live in leggings and Lulu Lemons.  I knew my clothes were getting tighter, but that just depressed me even more, so I just said “hey wanna grab some wings and pints?” – see WRONG choice lol .

“Your attitude determines your altitude!” ~Denis Waitley

None of my clothes fit and the few that did were pretty darned snug (thank you leggings!).  I had no energy, like it was zapped and this was after my severe anemia had resolved itself with 9 months of iron supplements.  I started getting depressed about the amount of weight I had gained. I didn’t know how much cause I wouldn’t dare hop on the scale.

I finally decided to give my head a shake and get my self together, start treating myself better and taking responsibility for my life …. MAKE ADJUSTMENTS NOT EXCUSES!


So, I ordered what I refer to as my “superfoods” and joined a 16 week body transformation challenge to hold myself accountable. The day I took my measurements and weighed myself for the first time in a year and half, I almost started to cry,  literally –  ok, to be totally truthful, I cried and not only did I cry – I sobbed – uncontrollably – it was worse than I thought. I had gained 35 lbs!  Count them …. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35!

Ok, so I gained 35 lbs, it’s not the end of the world – I gotta make changes, and work hard.  But, this is DOABLE – anything worth having is worth working for.  If it were easy, we’d all fine specimens.

I made changes in things like my coffee. I switched from a large Tim Horton’s double double (280 cals) to a product that is healthy and frankly tastes waaayyy better and is less bitter – and contains green tea extract, trace minerals, and coconut oil – I can even drink this one black so buh-bye sugar and cream.

I’ve also switched from taking a caffeine pill or pop/soda (synthetic) to an energy shot (drink) that is full of adaptogens (ideal for combating stress, providing clarity, and promoting physical performance, energy) and it contains a naturally sourced caffeine derived from green tea and yerba mate.  I did a lot of research before choosing – when shopping for caffeinated beverages, here’s a useful tip: If you see the word “caffeine” on the ingredient list, that means it’s synthetic. If natural plants containing caffeine are added, you will see the actual name of the botanical, such as guarana, yerba mate or green tea.

In the 1.5 weeks that I’ve chosen this superfoods regime and made small, but important choices, I’ve lost 5 lbs.  This is not water weight either, because I drink 1/2 my body weight in water daily (so three of my 24 oz water bottles).

How many of you out there are experiencing this right now and wanna do something about it?  How many of you feel like you’re not living your best life and wanna do something about it?

I’ll keep you updated as I progress in my journey …and hope you follow along.  Whatever excuses you may be using to avoid losing weight and getting healthy, get rid of them! There’s always something you can do and something is always better than nothing. Make some simple adjustments and get back in the game.


T xo




I thought I’d make today’s video an inspiring one – If this doesn’t make you cry, nothing will. Beautiful Journey 200lb weight loss! / Weight Loss Before and After



frugality is the new cool😎

Saving money is great. Saving lots of money is even better.

While I was laying in bed sick a few weeks ago, I binged watched the TLC show Extreme Cheapskates. It’s an American reality tv series that profiles the lives of those who take frugality to an extreme.

Now, let’s all be real here and accept that a lot of it appears to be staged and scripted.  It may be real, but I’m just offering my personal opinion.  However, there are definitely take aways … and I’m wondering how, if at all, we can incorporate some of these penny-pinching methods to our lives.  Now  I wouldn’t consider dumpster diving, reusing/sharing dental floss with my partner, workout at a sports store with their equipment to avoid paying for a gym membership or feed my spouse cat food instead of tuna.

But some others are interesting and things I’d consider at our house … this comes on the heels of discussions we’ve had lately about retiring as early as we possibly can … I mean do I really want to be working 5 days a week until the age of 65?  Hell no!   It also goes to the minimalistic lifestyle we are going for and trying to be eco-savy/friendly.

Below are some of the ways that we try to be mindful and save on cash at our house:

BUY IN BULK:  Lots of money can be saved by bulk-buying items.   It’s common to save more than 20% on the total cost of items if you opt for this alternative.  We stock up mainly on breads, spices, meats, baking ingredients and loose leaf teas.  We shop a lot at Bulk Barn, considered to be Canada’s largest bulk foods retailer with stores located in every province.

RE-USE TEABAGS:  I didn’t used to re-use tea bags.  Then I found out that you can typically reuse teabags up to 3 times before losing its flavour.

RE-USE COFFEE PODS: Coffee pods are sold with the intent of being single serve.  I figured since I started reusing tea bags why not see if my Keurig will re-brew another cup of my fave Tim Horton’s coffee … it did!  A bit weaker, but, it was tasty nonetheless and worth the 2nd brew.

FIND FREE ENTERTAINMENT:  Find cheap ways to have fun. Entertainment often ends up costing a lot of money. The average person spends about $1,800 a year on entertainment (not including eating out). Before we head out on any trips or excursions, I always take the time to look online to look for free events in the area while we are there

GROUPON: Groupon is an an e-commerce marketplace connecting millions of subscribers with local merchants by offering activities, travel, goods and services in more than 28 countries.  It’s a Web-savvy spin on the boring old coupon.  We have cashed in on tons of deals via Groupon and have saved hundreds of dollars by doing so — on things from dining out, events, pampering etc.

SELL YOUR CLUTTER:  This is not so much saving money as it is making it.   I don’t like junk and I don’t like clutter.  I am constantly decluttering, so why not make a few bucks doing it. Hold a garage sale or sell it on eBay, Kijiji, Craigslist,  or your local online selling site. It’s amazing what some people will buy.

COUPONS:  There’s no such thing as “extreme couponing” in Canada, not like there is in the U.S.A anyway, but do I ever wish there was!  I get nerded out just watching the money these people save!  We just watched an episode last night where a family paid something like $130 for $2800 worth of items!  OMG!  In the USA some stores allow what they call coupon stacking. Another difference is that in the US some stores have special days when they will double or even triple your coupons. They also sometimes have a frequent shopper card. Although there aren’t insane ways to save $$ in Canada, there are still ways to save a few dollars.

  • Remember to ask for rain checks when certain items are on sale but out of stock.
  • Price Match one store to another- bring your flyers and have the store match the best advertised price (keep distance in mind, if you’re traveling to the other end of town to save $3.00 it may not be worth it).
  • Join coupon trades and trains -this way your can get rid of coupons you would never use and gain ones that you really want.
  • Take advantage of Mail-in-Rebates. For the price of a stamp you will get the majority if not all your money back that you spent on an item.

CHECKOUT 51:  I just downloaded this app to my iPhone yesterday.  Pretty simple idea, Checkout 51 helps you save money on the brands you love.  Every Thursday morning, they update the site with a new list of offers. All you have to do is pick the ones you like, purchase them at any store, and upload a photo of your receipt through their mobile app or website. When your account reaches $20.00, they send you a cheque.

DITCH THE BANK FEES: Only a few of Canada’s banks provide a true no fee chequing account for Canadians, other banks require that you meet a minimum balance each month, or sign up for multiple products to qualify for free chequing. Banks such as PC Financial and Tangerine offer a true free daily chequing account, whereas other major banks like RBC, CIBC, Scotia, BMO and TD Canada Trust have some requirements Canadians must meet to qualify for a no fee daily chequing accounts.

USE REWARDS CARDS: Cards like: PC Financial, Air Miles, Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum, Canadian Tire (money or card) or other credit cards/rewards cards are a great way to earn points for things you are already purchasing and places you are already shopping.  I have a few rewards cards – for example I have the PC Financial World Elite MasterCard®, the card that averages $300 a year in free groceries.  Add that to my PC Financial bank card and my PC Rewards Card – I save tons of money on free groceries annually.  You can also use your card for gas purchases at their gas stations.

UNPLUG THE POWER:   Unplug all power appliances before leaving the house.   If you’re not using it, unplug it!  Power companies still charge money for appliances that are turned on, but not necessarily used.  According to the Energy Star Web site, the average U.S. household spends more than $100 each year to power devices that are turned off.  One of the easiest ways to reduce phantom power consumption is to unplug appliances when the devices are not in use.

CUT OUT THE CABLE:  We pay way too much for cable with all the bells and whistles – ridiculous given we watch Netflix and most of our shows stream on the networks themselves.  This reminded me to ditch some of the extras and just stick with the basics. We cut our cable bill in 1/2 by doing this!  If you have unlimited internet and an HDMI cable – maybe you could cut out your cable bill all together?

DO A FISCAL FAST:  I absolutely love this idea and we do this a few times per year. The fiscal fast is when you do not spend any money for a whole week, five times per year. It is an opportunity to use up household items, like canned food that gets pushed to the back of the cupboard or those tiny shampoo bottles you get at a hotel. We do this a bit more often than 5x a year, but, it certainly does work.  It’s amazing the amount of stuff you buy, the one time we didn’t have to buy anything for over 2 weeks, we had a stocked freezer and full cupboards.

MAKE YOUR OWN CLEANING PRODUCTS:  The key ingredients you need just might be hiding in your pantry. Simple ingredients from the pantry can be used to make cleaning products that are kinder to the environment for a fraction of the cost.

GARDEN: With food prices rising and rising and more people trying to save money due to the economy, home gardening has taken off in a big way in recent years. Burpee Seed Co. estimates that for every $50 a family spends on seeds and fertilizer, they’ll reap $1,250 in produce.

Other things we do/have done are:

    1. Don’t turn on the heat/air conditioning until you just can’t take it anymore.
    2. Don’t leave the water running while brushing your teeth or washing dishes.
    3. Use white curtains/blinds to reflect heat away from your home in the summer.
    4. Installed energy efficient light bulbs.
    5. Use your dishwasher, washing machine and dryer at non-peak hours.
    6. Use cold water when you run the washing machine.
    7. Use a slow cooker
    8. Only run full loads (laundry machine, dishwasher).
    9. Don’t buy bottled water (use a filter)
    10. Reuse tissue paper and wrapping paper
    11. Reuse scrap paper for lists and little notes
    12. Use re-chargeable batteries.
    13. Use plastic grocery bags for garbage bags
    14. Shop at dollar stores
    15. Stop buying cookbooks. There are tons of FREE recipes online
    16. Save all of your change.
    17. Visit scratch & dent warehouses for appliances.
    18. Install a programmable thermostat.
    19. Turn off the lights in rooms you are no longer using.
    20. Share your Netflix account (I share mine with 3 others, aren’t they lucky lol)

Things I’d like to do this year include:

FORAGING FOR FOOD:  Chives, mint, purslane, basil, acorns, edible flowers … depending on where you live, foraging for food may be an excellent way to save a few dollars on meals.  Note: to find the edible treasures that grow in your neighborhood, you really need to possess knowledge of what you can and can’t eat.  Do you research on food foraging before you go pick your own to be sure that what you are picking is edible and not poisonous. Not gonna lie, this one frightens me a bit, but I’ll try to find a local resource to tap into.

HANG DRY YOUR CLOTHES:  My last house used to have a clothes line and I loved it.  Not only did it save money, but I love the way hung clothes smell when you take them off the line, and your whites get brighter out in the sun!  Yes, it’ll take longer to dry your clothes.

PUT A BRICK OR JAR IN THE TOILET TANK:  This is based on water displacement.  I thought of trying this, but after speaking with a plumber friend, he advised against it.  So I’m not gonna try this one!


  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp peppermint extract or essential oil
  • water

Mix together baking soda, salt, and peppermint. Then, add a bit of water and stir. Gradually add more water, stirring at the same time, until the paste has reached your desired consistency. Store the paste in a glass container.


I’m interested in hearing them …


T xo


Dead! – You’re So Cheap.  Shot by Jennifer Dreier, Emma Jemson, George Mills and Dead