Wednesday, October 14, 2009


The entire Chiles Clan met at the cottage Sunday for Alexander's second birthday and Thanksgiving dinner. Fortunately although we are spread out over Ontario (Southwest, Toronto, Barry's Bay, and Ottawa) It is not uncommon for most, or even all of us to get together at the same time.

Rudi and Natalie pulling their adorable 'Gap Kids' pose... a bit too adorable for my liking actually, it looks like they are planning something devious!

My father Roger (aka 'grampy'), with Sophie (Ackert) and the birthday boy Alexander (aka 'number last'), just turned two on October 9 2009.

Most of the Chiles Clan at Alexander's Birthday Party, from left Rachel Artymko, Roger Chiles (Grampy), Susan (Chiles) Artymko, Katherine Vlossak, Natalie Artymko, Alexander Vlossak Chiles, Jean Chiles (Nana) and across the table Rudi Vlossak Chiles, Eileen Leslie (good friend of Katherine) John Artymko, and Sophie Ackert. Missing Pamela Chiles and Jeff Ackert, and me the photographer! One can also notice Buddy the wonder poodle snuffling around for chocolate cupcake crumbs.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


It was absolutely beautiful at the cottage this weekend, the weather fair, with the leaves showing their magnificent autumn splendour in a dizzying spectrum of yellows, golds, oranges and reds. And all I could think was "What an absolutely beautiful day...a beautiful day to die..."

Thanksgiving, for us at least, was sad and somewhat muted, as a dear friend of Katherine, Karen Livesey, passed away on Saturday morning after a long battle with cancer. Karen was a teacher at Madawaska Valley District High School, and leaves her husband Mel Schulist, three wonderful step children, and an incredibly vast group of heartbroken family and friends.

I did not know Karen too well, but I can tell you her voice, and her laugh, and her smile, were just some of the things forever burned into my mind. She spoke like in song, with a wonderful, lilting voice, like a clarinet or flute, played beautifully solo. Her laugh was free, unrestrained, and rich, not feminine, yet magnificent because of that, perhaps. And her smile, like her laugh, brilliant and comfortable, quick to appear, and very slow to diminish and fade.

And now sadly she is gone, taken by a disease that claims far too many women's lives across the country and around the world. If you knew her, you would have loved her also. Sad also was the fact that after Katherine had moved away from Barry's Bay, she (and I) didn't see enough of Karen and Mel, though the times we spent in her company were memorable.