2016 was a year of big changes for me. David and I had separated – David retired at the end of the year and moved into another home in October. I continue to live at Odessa Farm, and in mid May of 2017 my niece Kaylan Dawydiak moved back to PEI and took up residence at the farm along with her three-legged wonder cat, Jimmy. So the sign was updated as you can see below.
Kaylan relaxing with my Akbash Dog Yurek in my solarium office at Odessa Farm. His beloved canine companion and sister Cirit died suddenly in July, so he tends to stick close to us humans as he gets used to the new feline house-mate.
Earlier in the spring I joined my Vancouver family for a lovely trip to Maui, and I visited again in June to attend my first AGM and conference of The Writers’ Union of Canada. I also spent time with my good friends Martine Dubuc and Patrick Stafford-Smith in Squamish, BC, and on Denman Island (below).
In mid July Kaylan and I drove to Kings College in Halifax, to bring my other Dawydiak niece, Kira, back to PEI with us. She’d been attending a week-long program on social justice, and was ready for some fun on the Island. In the photo below we were photographed by a local friend whose daughter had enjoyed reading my book, Kira’s Secret. And here we were, the author and the book’s namesake, together at the restaurant where we happened to run into my friend. PEI is a small place, this happens all the time.
In July I visited my in-laws in Ontario and spent some time at their beautiful new cottage on Lake Muskoka. It was a cold rainy summer for them so I only had one swim that visit, and only after the sun had been out for a few hours to warm up the top layer of the frigid water. In September I stopped by again and this time we had an unusual blast of hot summer weather and more water time. Thank you, Doug, for those pitchers of G&T’s on the dock! Oh, and more family fun on the beach with a game of ‘testicle toss’. I still don’t know the real name of the game with 6 sets of 2 balls connected by string, but it certainly generated a lot of laughs.
Beth & Doug Tate, me, Stephanie (niece), Derek (friend) and Carrie (niece) on the cottage dock at Lake Muskoka in late September.
In July I also visited my parents in Sudbury – my mother still struggling to stay at home alone, and my dad who continued to be well cared for in a nursing home. On August 28th my mother, Olga, passed away at the age of 89 due to congestive heart failure. My dad no longer recognizes his family but he carries on at St. Joseph’s Villa in Sudbury. My fabulous Sudbury cousins and families pitched in to help with funeral arrangements and to clear out the house since I was about to leave the country for a couple of months.
I had applied for a writing residency in Tasmania in the spring and was thrilled to be offered the position a few months later. Tasmania has been on my bucket list for a long time, and now I had the opportunity to go. I’m currently in Vancouver, getting used to a new laptop set up my my IT wiz brother Terry, and preparing to fly out tomorrow night on a 23 hour trip to Hobart, Tasmania, where I will be a writer in residence for 4 weeks. My writing projects for the month are two memoirs – one about a stud dog imported from Turkey, and one from my life adventures. Last year provided enough drama for 2 or 3 books but for now I’ll focus on the formative years of my life. I’ll let the more recent material, which includes a litigious mama bear, compost a while longer before leading a tour into that disenchanted forest. Stay tuned….