Merlin goes shopping

It is a cat Christmas

One of the highlights of many of Merlin’s weeks is his trip with his Daddy (Bob) in the car to go to the pet store to buy cat food and other supplies. On this trip, just before Christmas of 2019, 16-year-old Merlin dressed up in the Christmas coat that his Mummy (Andrea) made for him, and got into the car with Daddy for his ride to the pet shop in Meadowvale where Merlin adopted Bob at the end of February of 2016. Merlin was then 13 years old, and had been given up for adoption by his elderly owner in the final weeks of her life.

To this day, Merlin recognizes the pet store and its staff. He sits in his basket on the passenger seat in the car, which is secured by the seat belt, and raised on a banana box so Merlin can see the world go by through the car window en route. Merlin walks up and down the store aisles with the store staff, or sits on the store counter to shake hands with customers, and often to say hello to little dogs who come in with their owners. On this day, Daddy needed to get cat food and cat litter for Merlin and Bebe. Merlin even checked to make sure his Daddy bought the correct brand of cat litter.

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Olive at 89

A family cruise memory

Seepersaud Family

Taken aboard ship on a cruise in 2015, this family photo is a moment in time to remember. Front row, from left: Irma Ramroop; Olive Seepersaud; Aileen Narsing. In the back row, from left: Zachary Ramwa; Cynthia Ramroop; Julian Seepersaud; Marisa Seepersaud; Shawn Ellis; Serene Seepersaud; Ivor Seepersaud; Donna Karran; Winston Seepersaud; Andrea Seepersaud; Christopher Seepersaud; Debbie Seepersaud.

A few years ago, some of us coordinated our holiday time, and booked a cruise holiday together. Aboard ship, we got together for this family photo on Olive’s 85th birthday.

The three Lachmansingh family matriarchs were in the front row: Irma Ramroop; Olive Seepersaud; and the now-departed Aileen Narsing. Behind them are two generations of their offspring.

Olive celebrates her 89th birthday on February 27, 2019 here in Mississauga. Several of the family are gathering to help her enjoy the day, though not on the actual day of her birthday, which is shrouded in an Ontario snowstorm that blew in from the U.S. Midwest.

See this web link for details if you can join us in celebrating Olive’s birthday in Mississauga on Sunday March 3rd at 12:00 noon.

When we set up this WordPress-based family web site back in 2010, we enabled it to allow folks to post comments. We hope you will add your birthday greetings to Olive. Obviously, to keep Iron Curtain spammers out of our system (54,903 unauthorized login attempts have been – unsuccessfully – made since 2010), being able to comment or write an article is limited to those with a User ID and a Password. To get your unique User ID and Password, just e-mail Bob, who will forward it to you by return e-mail.

This post will be amended with details and more photos after the party.

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Alberta Clipper

Baby, it’s cold outside!

In Canada, once New Year’s is over and all the Christmas things have been put away by mid-January, you brace yourself for the cold. The northern hemisphere gets colder each day until about January 27th, when it begins to inexorably heat up until late July. That means January is about cold, and February is about snow!

The first big snow storm of the season roared in riding high winds in late January. We stocked up on groceries at home, and neither of us really had to go out anywhere, so we heard the winds of an Alberta Clipper, a fast-moving west-to-east storm, carry its load of snow into Mississauga. Everybody was nice and cozy at home, especially the cats, Merlin and Bébé. Click above, and enjoy the video.

Bob baked some of our favourite buttermilk bread, and we made some nice warm dinners and watched TV in front of the fireplace. On January 29th, the big project of the day was shoveling the driveway and front walk. Bob did not get to the finish the back yard, where he often creates the ‘cat run’ so that the cats can go outside, and take a short stroll to the gazebo along a cleared path in the back.

Mom could not have chosen a more perfect time to visit Guyana. We all look forward to celebrating her 89th birthday when she returns to Canada in February.

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Joining the angels

Aileen (Lachmansingh) Narsing: 1931 – 2018

Our family’s dear Aileen (Lachmansingh) Narsing passed away peacefully about mid-day on Sunday, December 23, 2018 at Trillium Hospital, Mississauga. She was 87 years old. Aileen was the beloved wife of the late Joseph Narsing, and mother of Dennis (married to Oma), and Caroline (partner of Dan Gosbee).

Aileen’s immediate family consisted of her sisters: Olive Seepersaud, Ione Brijbassi, Irma Ramroop, Stanley Lachmansingh. Sister Joyce Sewnauth and brother David Lachmansingh predeceased Aileen.

Aileen’s life is celebrated and commemorated by her many nieces, nephews, extended family and close friends both here in Canada, the USA, Guyana and overseas.

We encourage our family members to use the comment section on this article, send us some of your favourite photos of Aileen, and help us add to our family web tribute to Aileen. If you have lost or forgotten your login information, please contact Andrea Seepersaud.

Many family members and friends joined together for Aileen’s visitation and memorial service at the Glen Oaks Funeral Home in Oakville on the weekend of December 29 and 30, 2018. Aileen’s children, Dennis and Carol, asked Andrea Seepersaud and Cynthia Ramroop to deliver the eulogies on behalf of the family.

Andrea’s Eulogy

We are the children of our parents and by extension, our grandparents. And from them we derive a sense of who we are and what we ought to be. As we meander through life’s many twists and turns, we encounter people, places and things, all of which bear either meaning at those very moments, or later, as we reflect on them.

And so, on the morning of Sunday December 23, as we stood at her bedside and gazed upon the still, peaceful face of our beloved mother, sister and aunt we felt a surge of pain. I touched her forehead and attempted valiantly to have one last conversation-one-sided as it were. It was surreal. My Auntie Aileen had departed this life. Then suddenly I realized how very lucky I was to have been her niece. In fact how very lucky I am to be a part of the Lachmansingh family of which she was a beloved daughter.

Aileen Valerie Rohini Devi Lachmansingh was born on May 11, 1931 at Number 71 Village on the Corentyne, in British Guyana. AVRDL as she lightheartedly referred to herself, was the third child of Joshua Ramjit Lachmansingh (JR as he is affectionately referred to) and Marjorie Lachmansingh, (the former Marjorie Armoogan). She shared humble beginnings with her siblings, the late Joyce Sewnath, my mother, Olive Seepersaud, Ione Brijbassi, Irma Ramroop, the late Dr. David Lachmansingh and Stanley lachmansingh. She then pursued an occupation in dressmaking by studying for and obtaining a diploma in dressmaking and garment design from the United Kingdom.

In 1954, Aileen immigrated to England, where she met, fell in love, and married Joseph Narsing. Together they welcomed Dennis, their first born, and then daughter Caroline. They lived in various boroughs of London until the mid 70’s.

I first met my Auntie Aileen in the summer of 1970, when she and Uncle Joe made their first trip from England back to the homeland. I was an eager and enthusiastic teenager at the time; I thoroughly enjoyed the novelty of observing a refined, beautiful woman with impeccable manners and perfectly tailored clothes. I recall being fascinated with the fact that she had personally made many of her garments. I was already dabbling in dressmaking as a hobby, and I wanted to be just like her. And lucky me, she probably saw possibilities in her niece, because when she made a second visit to Guyana in 1974, she brought beautiful trimmings and notions for me to embellish my sewing projects. On this second visit, I was a student at the University of Guyana, and Auntie Aileen seemed very pleased that I was still keen on my hobby. My campus clothes stood out from the rest of the students, and I frequently received inquiries as to their origin.

On that visit my parents were going to host a small party for Uncle Joe and Auntie Aileen. Auntie Aileen showed us how to dress the chickens for roasting- by tucking the wings in and under the bird; and together we made several platters of beautifully arranged cheeses, fruit, pickles and such. Then she introduced us to the shandy. A drink that takes half a glass of ordinary beer and makes a refined “concoction” as she referred to it. To this day, whenever I have a shandy, I think of Auntie Aileen. In fact over the Christmas holidays I thought of her a lot..if you catch my drift.

By 1976 when I went to Leeds, England, Auntie Aileen had already left England and migrated to Montreal, Canada. By the time I immigrated to Canada in 1988, she had moved to Pittsburg, USA. So as fate would have it, we did not live in the same country until 1996 after Uncle Joe had passed away and she returned to Canada to live. Auntie Aileen was one of very few people I personally know who was a national of four countries in three continents- Guyana, England, Canada and the USA.

Over the years that followed I came to know Auntie Aileen pretty well. She was a bubbling cauldron of great ideas for sewing, gardening, cooking, baking, and just about everything else. She made the best rugalah and yum yums I have ever eaten. Her garden was beautiful, and I daresay perhaps the envy of her neighbours. Several perennials in my garden originated from her garden. In our family, Auntie Aileen was referred to as the “Martha Stewart” of the family. For me she was the Julia Child of the kitchen, the Gabrielle Chanel of sewing, the John Abercrombie of gardening.

In 1997, I remember wanting to do something special for Auntie Aileen and my mom. Mom suggested going to see the movie Titanic. I took them to Cineplex Odeon bought popcorn and drinks, and we settled back to watch the movie. I kept looking out of the corner of my eye to see their reaction to the dramatic scenes. They were spellbound. At the end, they were both wiping away tears for Jack and Rose.

Auntie Aileen was a sweet, gentle, soft-spoken, generous and kind person. I loved doing little things for her. Mostly because she was such an inspiration to me in my formative years that if I could reciprocate in whatever small way I could, I made an effort to do so.

As her health began to slide, she continued to demonstrate strength of character, resilience and determination that would have made my grand parents proud. She endured her illness with great fortitude and dignity. Her children, her siblings, nieces, nephews watched and agonized as our beloved mother, sister and aunt drifted into a dark world where no one could reach her anymore.

A world where she could no longer experience the joys of simple little things. A world where no one could lend her a hand – it was heartbreaking – for someone who had always given so much of herself to the happiness and well-being of others. Such is Alzheimer’s Disease.

My dearest Auntie Aileen as a sister, mother, aunt and friend, you loved us unconditionally, and we all loved you in return.

You impacted my life in so many ways. You were a huge part of my personal growth and my life’s experiences. Nothing will ever change that.

It is Sunday, December 30, 2018. You are in a safe and beautiful place now. It is time for you to close your eyes and go to sleep, our beloved mother, sister, aunt, great aunt, cousin and friend. May you dream of lilacs, roses and lilies, rugalach, yum yum and shandy and that greatly anticipated day when we will all be together again. Until then, I will always keep the memory of you deep within me.

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Easter 2018

Hot cross buns at Easter


Today, we are making some chocolate cupcakes for our family Easter 2018 weekend.

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns, baked fresh from original ingredients in our kitchen for Easter. Yummy.

Our 2018 Easter weekend is the last island of quiet before we get cranked up for the 2018 Ontario election. It is going to be a hectic few months until the late spring election date. Mom came over to spend the weekend with us at the house.

We made hot cross buns, a traditional English favourite, from basic ingredients, and they turned out great. Our Good Friday dinner on one of the final remaining fast days of the Christian calendar was a simple, but nourishing clam chowder.

Our winter started out cold and snowy, and seems to have ended more in a whimper than with a Canadian March’s frequent bang. It’s common to get about a sixth of the winter snow in March, with winter often going out by dumping a severe blizzard on us. Indeed, that happened to much of the U.S. eastern seaboard, and the Atlantic provinces, but it missed southern Ontario. Our March was cold and dry, but otherwise uneventful.

Business in Guyana

Just as Mom was returning from Guyana, I was on my way there. In fact, Bob drove us to the airport; we hauled our stuff into the terminal; found Mom returning from Guyana; and we checked in then literally boarded the very same Caribbean Airlines flight for the trip out, connecting via Port of Spain in Trinidad. Bob took Mom home.

We were in Guyana from Sunday to Friday, and did four intensive days of client interviews at the Grand Coastal Hotel in Georgetown for my immigration consulting business. Our appointment schedule was completely full, in fact, oversubscribed. Those few people who chose not to show up for their appointments with us were immediately replaced by prospective clients on our ‘standby’ list. We met some very nice, extremely capable people in 2018. I have lots of work to do to look after them now.

We are hoping to visit other places in the Caribbean in the near future. There is certainly no end of interest.

Family news

Merlin turned 15 years old at the end of January. Bebe was 13 years old on Easter Sunday. Zach celebrated his 40th birthday in January, and Nick was 39 in October. Bob and I will answer if asked, but won’t start the discussion. Everybody is in good health. Merlin recovered nicely from his aural hematoma in his left ear. This meant his ear swelled up with a big bubble of blood that the vet had to drain. He had about 15 stitches to have removed a few at a time, and wore a plastic cone for a few weeks.

Zachary had an article published in Reef Hobbyist Magazine, (Q4 – 2017 issue) featuring some of his excellent underwater photography. You can read it on-line.

Bob was on the ice as a goaltender quite regularly during the winter, and had some good games, considering that most of the people with whom he plays are now about half his age. One day, he held the other team off the scoresheet for the first 40 minutes of the game, finally allowing just two goals in a nice win for his side. I’ve learned that laundry cycles in hockey households are governed by the time of the weekly game. After he comes back from the game, we need to do a load of white stuff, and a load of towels. That keeps our household’s goalie going to games to get into equipment that is always warm, clean and dry.

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Christmas 2017

Bob’s Christmas message from us all

Merry Christmas to all our friends, neighbours and family, and a Happy New Year!

Christmas card from Bob and Andrea

Our Christmas card photo was taken in October in our gazebo in the back yard. The photo was just in time. The next day, bad weather closed in on Mississauga for about a week.

Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations all through 2017 were lots of fun. Our yard had its best year ever. With my new immigration consulting firm, Upper Canada Immigration, I made my first overseas business trip, to a familiar destination: Guyana. It worked out well. With some targeted pre-trip marketing, and follow-up afterward, I am still reaping the benefits of that trip.

Bob was the more frequent traveler in 2017. He was on the road regularly for the Ontario Ministry of Energy, and as Ontario’s member of the Energy Subcommittee of the Council of State Governments, made three trips to the USA this year. In Iowa in the summer, Bob contributed to two comprehensive state-provincial policy resolutions: one in support of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and one in support of open trade in energy. He was in Manhattan and in Nevada in December to continue that work among the provinces and states as Ontario’s delegate.

A cold, white 2017 Christmas

Home on a wintery evening

Lit up by a silvery half-moon, and the street lights, our Mississauga home was truly snowed in for two days until the region’s snow removal service caught up with us.

Folks in Guyana have no frame of reference for what a serious snowstorm means in Canada. It’s more than buying a coat and gloves! Bob will tell about growing up in Quebec, saying that for a while in the 1960 and early 1970s, the snow descended almost annually around Christmas. That’s not the case here in southern Ontario, where we are at the same latitude as northern California.

Nonetheless, our 2017 Christmas Eve dawned cold and dry, with weather warnings of what was to come. By late afternoon, it was like flipping on the snow switch, and down it came. From bare grass, our driveway snowbanks grew to chest-high as we shoveled the driveway four times in three days. By Christmas Day, there was no point in trying to visit us, as nothing short of a four-wheel-drive SUV with winter tires could make its way onto the street, let alone navigate snow that left cars just spinning their tires, and going nowhere.

A white Christmas may evoke idyllic Bing Crosby-type images, but the practical side is that you’re literally snowed into your house. Anticipating that, we had all the Christmas shopping done, but you still have deal with the snow, which means clearing the walk and driveway. Of course, just after clearing the Christmas Day snow, the plow passed late in the evening, which meant going out on Boxing Day to remove the hard-packed snow the plow leaves across one’s driveway after it has cleared the street. We were running out of places to put the snow as we shoveled it. Bob hauled a lot of it across the street, and raised the height of the snowbanks along the median between the road and the sidewalk. Then, of course, it got cold, down to -19°C at night.

The cats, of course, miss going outside. The snow on the patio was more than knee-deep, far deeper than either cat is high. Bob tries to keep a ‘cat run’ clear to let the cats get some fresh air outside. After clearing up the packed snow the plow left, he went outside to clear a cat path for Merlin and Bebe to go for their back yard stroll.

Our very public cat

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Our cat, Merlin was the toast of Mississauga with his many public appearances throughout the year. See his Canada Day public appearances on Merlin’s Facebook Page. He and Bob walked in the Mississauga Santa Claus Parade in December. Merlin was invited by name to appear both at Mississauga Celebration Square, and at Toronto City Hall. Our warmest wishes! Merlin loves his walks in the park, and enjoys the attention he always gets being among a crowd of people.

Our little Bébé cat is more of a stay-at-home girl. Before we adopted Merlin, she stepped into the very public role of the late Obi-Wan during the autumn of 2015, and performed well. But Bébé was clearly a reluctant performer, as her picture on our Christmas card shows.

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Thanksgiving 2017

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

The end-of-summer harvest of our agricultural past is now the quickening pace of life after a languid summer. In this, Canada’s 150th year as a nation, there is a lot to be thankful for.

This October weekend, Bob and I have used our Facebook sites and other electronic networks to wish our personal and professional friends a very Happy Thanksgiving. In Canada, Thanksgiving is the second Monday of October, about seven weeks earlier than in the USA.

This 2017 year, in Ontario, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, in which Ontario was one of the four founding provinces. The other three are Quebec; New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Our cool and wet 2017 Ontario spring has yielded to a summer that stretched a few extra weeks into October.

Our tropical plants remain outside at least three weeks later than most years. The remnants of Hurricane Nate shed its remaining moisture in a pre-dawn, warm, wet, shower to keep the garden mostly green at a time when the leaves are going golden most years. Warm wishes to all the Seepersaud family and allied relatives, wherever you are.

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Canada Day 2017

Bob’s Canada Day Message

Saturday July 1 is the day Canada turns 150 years young. Ontario was one of the ‘original four’ provinces of Canada, along with Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Prince Edward Island was very close to joining Canada in 1867, but wanted more time to talk about it. Prince Edward Islanders valued dialogue and discussion as much then as Canadians do now. PEI finally joined Canada in 1873. Manitoba had joined Canada in 1870.

British Columbia joined Canada in 1871, with the promise of a railway to link the east with the Pacific coast. With the Canadian Pacific Railway in service, and settlers populating the prairies (then called “Rupert’s Land”). Saskatchewan and Alberta completed the Atlantic to Pacific provincial lineup in 1905.

Happy Canada Day to all our family, friends and relatives in Canada, in Guyana and throughout the world.

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