Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Project

I do not poke my nose out of the house on the Friday after Thanksgiving. I am not suicidal and see no reason to try to negotiate any kind of retail establishment during the madness that is Black Friday.

So, today I tackled the dollhouse.



I played with some furniture placement to get some ideas on how I want to decorate and to help show off the lithographs. All in all, the assembly was fairly painless. The roof pieces gave me some grief, but I've definitely tackled worse. If somebody needed a dollhouse for a granddaughter by Christmas, this would be a good choice.

Now I can begin piddling with bed dressings and curtains and accessories and figuring out just what direction to take. In other words, the fun stuff.

And, of course, deciding on a name. Inn the Pink? The Pink Camellia?


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Born to be Wild

Happy Thanksgiving to all! We had a quiet one at this end. Little brother came down for the day, so it was just the 7 of us - Mom, Gran, Uncle David, Boo, Scout, Coco and Mojo.

The wee ones love it when Uncle David comes down and they get the chance for a real walk in the woods. And yes, to answer that age-old question, Mojos do poop in the woods.

We luuvvv Uncle David

The boys lead the way. We girls stop and investigate interesting smells.

Mojo doesn't like it when Mom falls behind. "You coming?"

Back at the ranch, we decided to try out Uncle David's motorcycle.

Yep, born to be wild. That's us to a "T".


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dog Days

The wee ones love it when Mom is on vacation, even if she leaves them behind while she runs around. They know there is the possibility she will be coming in earlier than usual and she's generally up for a little extra romping in the side yard.

Today's plan was minimal - get a massage first thing this morning. It's been a long time since I was on a regular massage schedule and I figured I was long overdue. Plus, my back has been killing me and I know the therapist I currently see is very good at getting the tension worked out of it.

By 10:30 this morning I was a puddle of warm satisfaction. I was so woozy afterwards that I could barely drive home. The girl is good at what she does. I dropped in at the house just long enough to log into the office network and do a little spot of work that couldn't wait until next week, then decided to get the few errands done that were on my list and get back home for a nap.

A little after noon, the dogs and I climbed back into bed, pulled the covers over our heads and slept a solid 90 minutes. I hardly ever take a nap, so this was a happy surprise for the wee ones.

When we woke up, I offered to take them for their afternoon walk a little early and they were delighted. As we were climbing the hill on the dirt road to our south, I caught a glimpse of something running in the neighbor's back yard. Fearful that there was a dog running loose, I scooped mine up as a precaution. We walked a few more steps and a large deer bounded out of the neighbor's yard, glanced our way, and dashed off into the woods across the road. This was about as close as the dogs had ever been to a deer and they were paralyzed with delight. Nothing would do but that we trail after him a ways into the wood in hopes they would see him again. But he was long gone.

An early supper and back to bed. It's been a good day to be a dog.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Happy Piddler

Here's to a schedule of piddling. First day of vacation was spent at the outlet mall in San Marcos, with stops at Hobby Lobby and Half-Price Books along the way. I was able to replace the pair of pants that had somehow gotten tangled in the hinge of the bathroom hamper (I still have no idea how that happened, because it was virtually impossible to get them free from the wretched thing without using scissors), add a few new items to my wardrobe, buy office Christmas gifts and enjoy a beautiful day driving through rural Texas.

Second day of vacation was given over to prowling the area antique stores. My excuse was the need to buy a friend's Christmas gift, but I don't really need an excuse to go antiquing. I started in Elgin, where I found some cool Texas history books to add to my personal reference library.

Today I was inspired to paw through stacks of vintage sheet music, where I found some nice golden oldies.

The last piece I must admit was purchased because of the name of the composer. This is a familiar hymn, found in every Baptist hymnal under a slightly different name, but I thought it might be nice to frame this for display. I don't yet know that my McAfee line connects with his, but I've always considered Cleland an adopted member of the family.

After a couple of hours in Elgin, I drove leisurely toward Smithville by way of McDade and Paige and cut through the countryside on FM 2104 which takes you close to Grassyville, where my McAfee great-great grandfather once lived. When I got to Smithville, I indulged in the Chile Rellano plate at La Cabana (um, um good) and then headed downtown to explore their antique shops, because I still had not found the gift I was seeking.

I found lost ancestors to rescue. (By the way, someone finally claimed one of my Rescued Ancestors. A great-grandson surfaced to take possession of a lovely wedding photo.)

And I found more great vintage music. I now have Just Because, You Are My Sunshine, Mom and Dad's Waltz, a couple of Jimmie Rodgers pieces and a special piece written to celebrate 150 years of Austin music. Cool stuff.

I finally found the gift of pottery I was hunting and found two pieces of the same pottery to add to my own collection. I definitely did not need additional pottery coming on board, but I liked them. No apologies.

I even took a swing out to the big cemetery in Smithville on a Find a Grave mission. I really didn't think I would be lucky enough to find the grave that someone had requested be photographed, but my usual luck in this pursuit held and I drove right to it.

Speaking of luck, things are popping in the genealogy category these days. I hired a professional researcher in Kentucky to do some checking for me on my Hodge line and she's found some goodies already. We are filing requests with the Kentucky archives to get copies of several lawsuit case files involving my great-great and great-great-great grandfathers. The first two requests in have netted us responses from the archives requesting additional copy funds because the files are so big. I'm salivating.

Finally, the dollhouse arrived yesterday. Lots of pieces, but looks like a cinch to assemble when I have a stretch of a few hours to devote to it.

Vacation is fun.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Small Town News

I am reading/listening my way through a series of books by Jan Karon, set in the fictional small town of Mitford, I think in North Carolina. The center of the books is Father Tim Cavanaugh, an Episcopal priest, who deals with the day to day life in a small town of characters. The stories are gentle and sweet. There are religious overtones, but not the heavy-handed kind that get old after a few chapters. The books are uplifting and as you begin to know the characters, you begin seeing in them people you grew up with yourself in your own small town.

In other words, they remind me very much of growing up in Smiley, particularly since my point of view was from within a little church.

One of the characters is the local newspaper editor and from time to time one of the characters will read an article of local interest, complete with comments on the mispellings. Deja vu.

We lived 9 years in Smiley. At the time we were there, the local newspaper was The Smiley Tabloid. I think it died shortly after we left the area, or maybe it merged into The Nixon News, which is itself defunct now. Daddy, being the Baptist minister and a Scoutmaster and for a time a City Councilman, got his name in the paper frequently. I, too, appeared sporadically in its pages by virtue of piano recitals and as valedictorian of my class.

What is noteworthy here is that for 9 years I don't think they ever once spelled our names correctly. It got to be a joke in our family. If they managed to get the last name correct, which was seldom, then there would be a typo in the first name. If they managed to get Daddy's name completely correct, inevitably one of the other members of the family would be mentioned and they would mispell his or her name. They just could not get it right. (Today Smiley's local news is courtesy of The Cow Country Courier, to which little brother is subscribed. We made the local news column recently and they actually spelled every name correctly.)

There's nothing like small town life. For instance, Daddy getting elected Councilman. As it happened, the person running for the position either died or dropped out of the race. For a joke, Daddy wrote in his own name. No one else in the little town wrote in a name and he ended up electing himself and serving a term on the City Council. I learned something from that. Never, never write your name in as a joke unless you want to risk a possibly unwelcome surprise the next morning. Daddy was surprised, but I think he really enjoyed his tenure on the council.

There were so many characters in that town that someone should write a book. There was the old man who drove so atrociously that a prominent man in the community warned his wife that if she needed to stop in town and she saw Mr. Whatsit's car, keep on driving. One day she stopped at the grocery, even though Mr. Whatsit was parked on the other side of the street headed the other way. She thought she was safe. Mr. Whatsit got in his car, made a huge U-turn and slammed into her car on the opposite site of the street.

There was another old man who was driving home after dark one night and got stuck. Not in a ditch. Not in mud. He had driven up on a cow that had been hit and was lying dead in the road. He had not seen her and managed to get himself stranded up in the air, all four wheels off the ground.

I miss those days, when everybody knew everybody else and everybody watched out for everybody else. I could walk home from school and have at least a half-dozen offers for a ride home. If it happened to be after dark, I was perfectly safe if I chose to walk the entire way home. I might not know who lived in every house, but they for sure knew me and would have taken me in or come to my aid without a second thought. Smiley was more than a little town in those days - it was a family. We had our rotten folks, to be sure, but doesn't every family?

To experience life in a small town before cable tv or the internet was a privilege I'm glad I had the chance to enjoy. For awhile, at least ten books worth, I'm getting a reminder of what it was like.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Is It Just Me?

Does this not indicate a total lack of respect for poor St. Francis?

Early in the morning I've been enjoying the overnight work of some kind of spider. Their ground webs sparkle in the morning dew.

Today starts a full week of vacation and hopefully some fun stuff for a change.

Oh, yes. The thumb is still sore, but improving. I may be able to tackle assembly of that dollhouse after all.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

One Way to Get Out of Participation

So, I'm typing this sans right thumb. Cuz that's the one I just tried to slice off with the food processor blade. I was about to make a batch of slaw for tomorrow's office Thanksgiving luncheon and the blade needed washing. I had it upside down as it turned out and when I stupidly ran my thumb along it, ouch. I've been dripping blood all over the kitchen for the past twenty minutes and I decided probably nobody would be interested in anything I prepared tonight. So much for feeling obligated to contribute to a meal where there would be more food than needed anyway.

It's nigh onto impossible to apply pressure to a thumb cut and open a Bandaid at the same time, you know? I finally managed to rip the dang Bandaid open with my teeth, squeeze a little Neosporin on and get the thing bandaged up enough to stop the flow of blood.

Just what I needed to start a nice long holiday. A sore thumb. On my right hand. The one that hammers. The one that paints. The one that cuts up things for cornbread dressing.

It's these momentary fits of stupidity that makes the world go round. A co-worker recently sliced between two fingers with a knife while trying to remove an avocado pit. I thought to myself at the time that I'm always careful doing that particular job, but I would be extra careful with sharp things in the kitchen after that grizzly story.

Right. Moral of the story is: When you really don't want to participate, just say so and don't. When you're too tired to deal safely with sharp objects, just don't. Being stupid is not the answer.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas Fever

It's already started. The crowds are in the stores and the merchandise is on display. I do precious little Christmas shopping outside the Internet these days, but there is still the need to pick up a few things and so I go out scouting.

And I come back with stuff for me.

My latest buying spree was set into motion by the trip to Dallas when I spotted a dollhouse that reminded me of the tin-lithographed dollhouses of the 1950s. Except those were about half-scale and this one is full 1/12th scale and is made of something that is more like wood, though I'm sure it's not. The lithographed flooring and wallpaper and fish-scale shingles pulled at me. I stoically denied myself and left it behind.

Well, it turns out you can order the thing on Amazon and it's a heckuva lot cheaper there. I added it to my wishlist and pondered whether I really needed ANOTHER dollhouse. I watched it for a couple of weeks as it hovered just under the amount that I considered a good buy. I kept the internal debate going. Then I realized that I NEEDED a Bed & Breakfast for my street of shops and this would do the trick. I already had all the furniture that would be needed to outfit such an establishment in my stash.

I continued to argue with myself and it got closer to Christmas and my will power began to waver.

Then over the weekend, the price took a $20 jump. I growled under my breath and beat myself about the head and shoulders for not ordering the thing when I had the chance for a good deal. But, I said to myself, I must not be supposed to have it. Forget about it, I said. Good riddance, I said. Get a life, I said.

Monday evening I checked on it and it had dropped $37 dollars. That made it about 40% off the original retail price and anytime I can swing a deal like that, I'm a gonner.

It's scheduled to arrive on Monday.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kiddie Time

This morning in the newspaper was an article about a little amusement park in far north Austin that caters to the under age 10 crowd. There are pony rides, a train ride, a carousel, a downsized Ferris wheel and typical amusement park food. It brought back some memories.

When we lived in Oak Hill, I was about 6 years old and little brother was a baby. At the time Oak Hill was way out in the country and consisted of a church, a school, a couple of Mom and Pop establishments, ranches, the cedar chopper community and a whole lot of traffic roaring past on Highway 290. Aside from the school and church events, life was quiet and dull and entertainment scarce. I had an army of imaginary playmates, but very few real ones. Most of the kids lived on the scattered farms and ranches and I only saw them at church and school.

Every other week or so, we would venture into Austin to get another pile of books at the library and every now and then we would stop and spend a couple of hours at a little kiddie amusement park at the intersection of Barton Springs Road and Lamar Boulevard. I loved that place.

Nowadays there are fast food joints at that intersection, but back then it was a wooded lot. I have no memory of the folks who ran the little park, except for a dim memory of the back of the man's head as he piloted the little train around its circumference with me in one of the passenger cars behind him. At the rear of the lot was a barn where the ponies lived and the train would rumble through its darkness at one point of the ride. I can remember the pony stalls at the rear and the fenced windows at the front and the smell of dirt and straw.

There was a carousel that I was afraid of, but I still rode it. For many years afterward I avoided carousels because of that latent fear, which I think stemmed from the idea that I would lose my balance and the ground was so far down. I'm sure it was only about 4 feet from the top of the carousel horse to the ground, but it was a big distance when I was 6 years old.

There were littls cars that rode around in a circle and little boats that rode around on a green-tinged moat. I don't think I ever got on the Ferris wheel (that fear of heights again that stayed with me until I started driving around the Rocky Mountains). I always loved the pony ride, where I again watched the back of the man's head as he led my horse around its track.

We would picnic at one of the provided tables, ride some of the rides again, and then head home. On rare occasions we would cross over Barton Springs Road and play a round of miniature golf. I was always tired and happy at the end of one of those days.

When I went to work for the law firm, I was talking one day with an Austin native and we compared memories of that little amusement park. He told me that someone had bought all the rides and moved them to a spot on East First Street and I drove out there one day to take a look. Sure enough, all the familiar little rides were there, but the park was no longer in operation. A few years later and they were gone. That little park exists only in the memory of those of us who grew up in the Austin area.

How nice it was to see that the kiddie amusement park is alive and well in today's Austin. If I were a mother or grandmother, I would be taking the kids out there regularly so they would be able to look back with fond memory of warm, sunny days riding around the park on a little train and staring at the back of the owner's head.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Things That Go Bump in the Night

I had actually gone up to bed early last night, intending to watch tv, but I was restless. The dogs had already gone soundly to sleep, so I slid out of bed and went downstairs to play another round of Chainz2, my latest computer game addiction. The tv was off, the lights were all out, the animals were all quiet and the house was still. I even had the sound turned down on the game.

I was semi-comatose when I heard rustling outside the window and something brushed against the house. Adrenaline rush as I contemplated what I should do.

My first thought was a burglar. Nah, it was too early for burglars. Still regular traffic up and down the street.

My next thought was that another group of kids had targeted my house for egging. I listened hard, but nothing hit the house.

Another rustling, another bump.

I decided to turn on the outside lights and see if I heard anything run. I turned on the outside lights.

Another rustling, another bump.

Cautiously I peered out the window.

The biggest, fattest armadillo I've ever seen up close and personal was snuffling in the front yard, rooting for whatever it is armadillos root for.

Whew. I swallowed the lump in my throat and went upstairs and put my head under the covers.

Funny thing. When I went to sleep, Mojo was snuggled close on my right side and Coco was snuggled close on my left side. When I woke up, they had switched positions and I have no idea how they managed that without waking me up. There are some decidedly weird things going on around this house after dark.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Family Downsized

One of the miniature projects I'm collecting for is a genealogy roombox. I have in mind for it to be an office scene and contain miniatures of the things with which I spend the majority of my free time. Like computers, notebooks, maps, history books and so on. I already have a little envelope full of miniaturized versions of my family photos, which I intend to have in frames and scattered about the room.

While I was in Dallas, I spotted a couple of dollhouse frames that reminded me of some real frames on my stairwell wall. These include my great-grandfather Elmo at the top and...

my grandmother Lucy's baby photo at the bottom. (You will notice a certain Mr. Mojo had to be an active participant in tonight's blog photos.)

The photo in the middle is an adopted ancestor. I purchased the frame in an antique store because it was a perfect match to the one holding my grandmother's picture. I had intended to use it for my great-grandfather's picture that had no frame at the time I acquired it. When I sat down to remove the photo that came with the frame, I just couldn't do it. I did check the back of the photo for any identifying marks and discovered one word written in pencil, "Duff". From that point on, "Aunt Duff" has been an unofficial member of the family. I kept browsing antique stores until I found a suitable frame for Elmo, one that did not come with a photo.

Tonight I experimented until I had copies of Elmo and Lucy in appropriate frames for my mini-scene to come.

I'm not compulsive about my miniatures. Not me. Should I mention that I am also intending to have a row of notebooks with my actual family names on the spines?


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Picking and Grinning and Visiting

This should probably be more appropriately posted to the genealogy blog, but since it's more about how I spent my weekend than about family history, we'll leave it here.

Yesterday I drove southeast about 2 hours to a family get-together in Van Vleck. The Frankums have started an annual singfest with family and friends getting together for a few hours of pickin' and grinnin' and singing the old hymns that are no longer in fashion. This year there were fewer attendees, thanks to soccer play-offs and having to hold the singing later on than usual, but those that were there were enthusiastic. We ate, we sang, we laughed, we visited. We had a good time.

A bunch of cousins making a joyful noise.

An old family friend, age 88,
who can still pick a mean guitar.

This part of the world is where my grandparents lived for many years before moving to Gladewater. It is where their parents are buried. It is also where my grandmother and her sisters and brother are buried. I decided to stop in Wharton and pick up some flowers and go visiting the shut-ins, as my father would call it.

Great-grandparents Tilman and Ella Wilcoxen graves
(their daughter Gertrude is buried here, too)

Across the main cemetery road from the Wilcoxens are the Frankums. My grandmother and her sisters all purchased lots in the same general area, while their brother is buried a short walk away in the same plot as their parents and their grandmother.

Grandparents Arthur & Ivy Wilcoxen graves

Great-grandparents William and Amanda Frankum graves

I have a lot of kinfolks buried here, including other Frankums and a Mason who married into the Frankums. Most of my Wilcoxen kin are buried in the neighboring town of El Campo. I usually visit both cemeteries when I'm in the area, but today I was running short of time and only had time to stop by Wharton.

As I drove back home, I let the navigation system direct my route and ended up in a bit of a snarl in Eagle Lake, where they were busily tearing up all the railroad crossings. It took me a little effort to figure out where the one that still existed was located and get across to the road I needed. I had indicated I wanted no freeways on my route, so I meandered through the country on a pleasant drive to connect with Highway 71. I watched the cows graze, the birds perch on telephone wires and the sun slowly set.

It was a nice break in routine. I was tired when I got in, but rested mentally. Nothing like the fellowship of family, old gospel music and a drive through the country to reduce the normal, everyday stress of life.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Flying Through

Busy couple of days and no time to organize thoughts. So here's a quickie - another photo I snapped at the taco joint. This was painted in the center of our table.

Be careful. You never know who's watching!


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Caught in the Act

Little brother and I are seldom both in town on Wednesdays, but today we were. So, we decided to meet for lunch at a little hole in the wall taco joint where the Wednesday special is shrimp tacos. It's always crowded, but today it was REALLY crowded. I held the table while he went to order and I caught him as he finally reached the counter.

On the way back to work, traffic was horrendous. Much more crowded than usual. I came very nearly getting hit by a clown who suddenly swerved in behind me just as I hit the brake to turn into a driveway. He is so very lucky he did not bump Big Red or there might very well have been hell to pay. I stopped in at my second favorite Half Price Books store to check on audiobooks and it was packed wall to wall.

I can't figure out what's going on today. Has everybody been hiding inside, fearful of politicians and their minions and today it was safe to get outside? Something has to explain the sudden activity.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Having Fun

Naturally tonight I'm having fun. It's been so long since I voted for the winning candidate, I almost forgot how it feels. As I watched the election returns, I kept thinking they were going to back track and say they had called it wrong in such and such state. I feel like a dark cloud has lifted.

But that's not the only reason I'm having fun. Over the weekend I turned over one of those odd stones that set my genealogical research off and running again. I'm sure I've written about my black sheep great-great grandfather Hodge at some point. He was a rascal and seems to have had few, if any, redeeming qualities, but he has turned out to be the ancestor I most like to chase. Because he never stood still and he left records everywhere he went.

So far I have the old goat leaving court records in Crittenden, Livingston and Lyon Counties, Kentucky; Clay County, Tennessee; Johnson County, Arkansas; and Caldwell, Hays, Bastrop, Lee, Fayette, Fisher, Leon, Harris and Brazoria Counties, Texas. It was when I was poking around the Internet over the weekend, looking for some information in Brazoria County, that I discovered I could order copies of deed records that could be accessed immediately in digital format. A few clicks of the mouse later I had a whole pile of paper relating to his deed transactions in that county in the early years of the 20th century. Lo and behold I found references to more records in Grimes and Wise counties that I will now have to hunt down. And, best of all, I found a reference to a third wife that I had never known about until now.

Ole Henry is like the connect-the-dot games we played as kids. Every dot I plot on the Texas map for him leads me to another dot. Sometimes I think I should just start in the northwest corner of the Panhandle and check every county between there and the valley for evidence of his wheeling and dealing.

Sure wish some of the property he once held was still in the family. At one point or another he owned quite a chunk of Alvin and some downtown lots in Lockhart. I would settle for just the mineral rights. But, the name of the game seems to have been buy it, hold it for a year or so and sell it.

I guess only another genealogist can fully understand how much fun it is to turn a corner and suddenly find a whole new nest of records to comb through for more clues.

It's almost as much fun as seeing the Republicans get handed their walking papers.


Today's the Day

If you haven't already -



Sunday, November 02, 2008

Full Moon and Full Tank

Today at the All You Can Eat Critter Cafe, it was apparently fully reserved for the squirrels. I counted five of the little rascals at one point. You would think they would have more respect for their meal ticket, but this guy decided to moon the camera.

No plumber's crack here!

Are you talking to me?

It's my turn!

You're so corny!

On the matter of full tanks, I was surprised to find that gasoline was down to $2.09 at my favorite fueling station. I put almost a full tank in and spent $20. My fuel bill has been cut down by more than half. I continue to enjoy Big Red. Not one speck of buyer's remorse for me.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Trip in Review, Part 2

Tut, Tut.

Day two in Dallas was dedicated to the King Tut exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art. I was a bit tense about getting there on time and finding a parking spot due to the dire warnings of the expected crowds for this rare opportunity to see the Egyptian treasures. My common sense said that a Tuesday three weeks into the exhibition would not present a problem, but I did not want to take chances. So we arrived a good half-hour before our ticket time and discovered that there was ample parking if you were willing to pay for it, and we were through the gates and in line in plenty of time.

The museum itself is quite impressive. We agreed that neither of us was interested in exploring the other exhibits on this particular day and would dedicate as much time as it took for us to feel like we had seen and experienced all of the Tut exhibit. A huge area of the museum had been revamped to accommodate the exhibition and it took us a full two hours to make our way through a half-dozen rooms, read all of the display material and listen to the audio tour.

The exhibition organizers did an outstanding job and every room had numerous items to take your breath away. There were granite statues, calcite sculptures, jewelry, furniture, and lots and lots of gold. Real, gleaming gold. I found myself frequently thinking of two things:

1) What must it have been like to be Howard Carter (the archeologist who discovered the tomb) and to first enter the presence of these items? (Several mentions were made of his looking into a dark room and seeing the gleam of gold.)

2) How unbelievable it was to realize that everything I was looking at was over 3,000 years old.

The second thought was foremost in my mind as we encountered chairs that had the original rush seats, ceremonial objects made of wood that still had a good deal of original paint, glass bottles that showed obvious signs of repair but still mostly intact, and intricate inlaid jewelry.

My genealogist's heart was warmed to find a family tree at the very start of the tour. A good many of the items in the exhibit were not actually from Tut's tomb, but from the tombs of his ancestors and the chart explained how these other burials tied to Tut. One of the most impressive objects on display was the golden sarcophagus of his grandmother, encased in a huge glass case that you could view from every angle. Its core was wood, but the outer shell was covered in gold and precious gems.

The next most impressive object was a tiny sarcophagus that held the mummified liver of Tut. It stood about a foot tall, had extensive engravings inside, and was glorious, gleaming gold.

One of the most touching displays was another tiny sarcophagus. Inside had been found a 5-month-old fetus, complete with a tiny gold death mask, and supposed to have been Tut's daughter.

Many of the rooms were darkened, with spotlights to heighten the effect of the gold objects. For the most part, everyone there was respectful and spoke in whispers as they moved through the exhibit. A couple of school groups created a bit more chatter, but they tended to move through at a faster pace and were not that much of a distraction.

When we reached the end, we were tired but satisfied. The two hours had passed quickly, there was so much to see. We exited into the exhibition gift shop, where I expected I would face a lot of temptation.

I was tempted, but the prices were high and hard to justify. So I satisfied myself with a couple of books, including the official exhibition guide, some post cards of the more outstanding items in the exhibit, a patch for my denim jacket, and a few affordable miniatures that will someday find a home in an Egyptian vignette.

And, my final indulgence. I was one of the few adults who purchased a made on the spot cartouche. The school kids were having a great time putting in their $1 and getting back the heiroglyphic representation of their names on a parchment sheet. I wrestled my way into the line and got a cartouche representing my last name:

I'm so very glad I decided to attend this exhibition. I recommend it highly. From start to finish, it was fun, educational and awe-inspiring.