Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ah Saturday

Could anything be better than sleeping late on a chilly Saturday morning, a little dog on either side of you with their noses tucked between you and the bed and snoring gently, your favorite crocheted blanket over all of you and no sore throat?


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Scarfing It Up

So far so good. I'm back to work and feeling much better, except for a continuing stuffy nose. My hearing is almost back to normal now, but I'm going through Kleenex at a frightening pace. And I still have trouble focusing my thoughts, so blogging is a bit out of reach for the moment.

However, I've made three days at work this week and each day I've worn a new scarf and thoroughly enjoyed their comforting presence. The new scarf is about 9-inches long already and I love the new color combination. Only about 5-1/2 feet to go.

This has been one weird head cold, but I hear that my experience has been typical. Lots of tired and takes forever to get rid of it. There is a whole group of us drifting around the office zombie-like.

funny pictures of cats with captions

more animals
It's scary. Hope you manage to dodge the germ!


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Back to Our Regular Programming

Three cheers! I escaped the house and made it through a whole day at work today. Still some stuffiness in my head, but I am beginning to rapidly improve in the energy department. I concede I will probably live over the nasty little cold bug of 2009.

Of course the weather had to take another 180 degree shift on my first day out. Over the weekend it was getting to highs of almost 80. Today as I was commuting in, the first wave of the cold front arrived. When I drove into Elgin this morning, my car thermometer showed it was 63 degrees. By the time I had traveled the 2 or 3 miles to the turn north and exited Elgin, it was 45 degrees and by lunchtime it was in the 30s. With ice predicted generally over the area tonight, it looks like I will be housebound again tomorrow. At least this time, unless I relapse overnight, I can enjoy the time off.

I did find one silver lining in the clouds of sickness. I made a run to WalMart on Sunday afternoon to replenish my supply of cough drops and cold medicine. It was eerily quiet. Between my hearing loss and the early shutdown of their bakery and the general melancholia of the post-Christmas shoppers, it was the first time I wasn't grumpy when I left. A first time for everything.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Genetic Weakness

Speaking of Hodge genealogy, there is a marked genetic weakness in us Hodge descendants.

We are suckers for yellow cats.

So, here for my Hodge cousins, is my yellow cat collection:

Boo was actually fascinated with this photo project. For awhile, anyway. Then he got bored.

Just thought you might like a chance to see what cat tonsils look like. Shortly after this shot, he started knocking the figurines over and chewing on their tails.

Boo thinks my yellow cat collection should consist of one.


Week 2

I had every intention of going back on the front lines this morning, but decided another day of rest was in order. I still can't hear, I sound like a sick frog when I talk, and I have a tendency to cave in after 20 minutes of activity. But, believe it or not, it's an improvement on what it was. There's nothing like getting sick when you are already exhausted. My body decided it was time for a rest and, after all, what is sick time for anyway? I have been accumulating gobs of it for years and it's not going to kill me to use a little of it.

I finished my two books that have been in progress for weeks, as I was spending all my free time on sorting Hodge genealogy. I can't think my way out of a paper sack at the moment, so I've shelved the genealogy in favor of fiction and continued knitting.

Here is another scarf that has been sitting in my bag unfinished for quite some time. I'm ashamed to admit that I knitted the vast majority of this scarf on a cruise that I took about 5 years ago. It was completely finished except for fringe, and it has sat in that state for all this time. I scrounged in my stash, found the remainder of the yarn, and set myself the task of getting that blasted fringe done. (I don't like the process of making fringe.)

Textured Stripe Scarf pattern from
Vogue Knitting On the Go Scarves
Berroco Chinchilla and Berroco Glace
Color - Etruscan Glaze
(both yarns are now discontinued)

After all this time, the fringe aspect took less than 2 hours to complete. I'm pathetic. My weakness in knitting is getting the final steps done. I've knitted sweaters that sat in pieces forever for want of sitting down and spending a couple of hours in assembly.

So, anyone want to make a bet on how long it will be before I block this scarf? You lose - I plan to do it later today. Hah.

The recommitment to diet has flown out the window due to the cold. Who cares about carbs when you feel like you're going to die any minute? So I've dragged out the arsenal of comfort foods for the sick room. I've had tomato soup. I've had lots of toast (using Wheat & Fiber, which at least is low-carbish) and have discovered that you can make a fair cinnamon toast using Splenda. Cinnamon toast was always the pick-me-up food for sore throats when I was a kid. Little brother brought me a big container of Central Market tortilla soup yesterday. I made a batch of my favorite bean soup. I think tonight I will throw caution to the wind and make potato soup, which was always my dad's contribution when we fell ill.

I love soup at any time, but I especially crave soup when my throat hurts. There was one time, however, when soup was not a welcome sight.

When I was in the early years of high school, a horrible flu made the rounds in Smiley. It swept through the town. Three of the family was down with it and I was the only one still up and around. My turn came about half way through the school day. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I spent a couple of uncomfortable hours on a cot at the back of the auditorium because Daddy was not able to get out of his sick bed and come get me. (Mother did not yet know how to drive at that point and she was deathly sick anyway.) Finally one of the teachers or office staff found a few free minutes to take me home. I'm not sure how we managed to live through the next few days because none of us could raise our head. I'm sure we were existing on toast and canned soup.

My English teacher made a Good Samaritan trip to our house, bringing a large pot of oyster stew she had made for her husband, who adored the stuff. Well. We were appreciative of her good intentions, but none of us liked oysters and the very thought of a soup full of the slimy things was not conducive to our feeling better. It ended up being quietly disposed of and her husband would have been horrified to know the sacrifice of his beloved soup to our sick room had been pointless. (Even the smell of it was enough to make us all relapse.)

Time for another round of hot tea and a little bit of knitting. The new scarf has been started and I already know I'm going to love it. Lots and lots of purple.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

More Irritable by the Minute

I hate colds. They just hang on and on and just as you think you might live, you are knocked down by a new symptom.

I'm alive. I'm not sure if that's good news or bad news at this point.

On the positive side, the sore throat seems to finally be clearing up. The bad news is that the whole mess has moved into my ears and I can barely hear. My eyes are still watery and I'm still attacked by sporadic fits of hacking cough. I'm already beginning to wonder if I will be up to going in to work on Monday. It's been a long time since I've missed so much work due to illness. (At least the cat bite episode gave me lots of stories to take back with me. Colds are flat out boring.)

Last night I decided to sleep on the sofa bed since I was having no luck getting any sleep in my own bed. I figured I could sleep somewhat sitting up, which might help my ability to breathe. The dogs didn't even bat an eyelash. They crawled in happily and we all slept fairly well until about 2:30, when we shifted back to our own bed to finish the night. (Sleeper sofas are a convenient thing in a pinch, but those thin mattresses leave a lot to be desired over the long haul.)

Maybe one more day of taking it easy will make a substantial difference. I've finally finished a book that I started a month or so ago and have made a big dent in another one. My new yarn arrived yesterday and I'm hoping I have enough energy sometime today to cast on a new scarf. Little brother is supposed to be bringing me a supply of my favorite tortilla soup from Central Market at lunch.

Maybe things are looking up.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Well Staffed

When Mommy's sick, everybody takes care of her.

Nursing staff

Charge Nurse


Still Under the Weather

The cold continues to give me fits, though it's not as bad as it could have been, thanks to jumping on it immediately with Zicam nose swabs and Cold Eeze zinc lozenges. However, my throat still hurts and my eyes are still blurry, so I decided to accept that I am sick and spend the day in bed.

The brain is not firing on all cylinders this week, so I've been back at the scarf knitting. First of all, here is the finished Noro scarf, which I actually got to wear last Friday and it was soft and warm and comforting. Unfortunately it does not repel cold germs.

Noro Silk Garden, colorways 245 and 252

I am so taken with the yarn that I prowled EBAY yesterday and found two colorways with predominant shades of purple and plan to tackle another scarf as soon as the order arrives.

I also ordered enough of the chunky version of the yarn to make a vest, but I decided I had to finish a couple of the other projects in my knitting bag before I could indulge myself in starting something new. (I plan to use Elizabeth Zimmerman's Ribwarmer pattern.)

So, I dug out another scarf that was started last year in order to try out an appealing ribbon yarn. It was fun, but I don't much care to work in acrylic anymore. Give me natural fibers for anything other than afghans. Those have to stand up under frequent washings, thanks to the furry critters who live with me and dearly love to snuggle in them, so acrylic is the only logical choice for afghans. Be that as it may, the ribbon experiment was a success and I am looking forward to getting a chance to wear it next week.

Lion Yarn Incredible in Rainbow

It's nice to have a variety of hobbies to fall back on. Genealogy fills most of my free time, but occasionally the mental requirements are beyond me. Then I can shift to dollhouse miniatures for a spell. But that requires precision of a different sort. So, when my eyes are blurry, my throat is scratchy and all I want to do is sit in a comfy chair, with a cup of hot tea at hand and my furry critters snuggled up against me, knitting is the perfect occupation.

Of course, there is the pattern I keep wanting to start that requires mental concentration and dexterity. I started it once and was doing great, when my cable needle broke and the 5 inches of finished afghan ran ladders so quickly it was unrecoverable. The Tree of Life afghan is beginning to call to me again. Maybe when my head clears I'll give it another chance while knitting is still the hobby of choice.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The good - waking up this morning and watching the news reports from Washington. Such a long wait. Finally we have a chance to start moving forward. May the force be with us.

The bad - waking up this morning with a scratchy throat. It has become evident over the course of the day that despite my running like crazy away from everyone who has been sick lately, the cold bug has finally tackled me. I headed to the grocery store first thing, picked up some cold medicine and started dosing myself every 4 hours, hoping that at least I can keep the misery to a minimum. I'm optimistic, but I don't feel great.

The ugly - red nose, blood-shot eyes, stringy hair, little wads of kleenex tucked in my pockets. Do yourself a favor and keep your distance for the next week.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Roly Polie Postscript

I got to thinking about the Roly Polies and decided I should share a bit of experience. They have a tendency to get hard, regardless of how they are stored. Some folks have rejected them for that reason.

Little known secret. Put 2-3 cookies on a plate, stick in the microwave and zap for about 12-15 seconds. Tastes like they just came out of the oven.

Zero waste, if you know that little secret.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Miss Cooking

I was out in the garage today, making another stab at purging some of the clutter, and ran across my very first cookbook in a bin where it definitely did not belong. I snatched it up and put it back inside the house out of danger of accidentally ending up in a box destined for the thrift store. This was the cookbook I used when I made my first cake and my first cookies.

So far as plain cooking goes, I would say I am functional and not outstanding. Over the past 10 years I've become somewhat proficient at soups and broiling steaks without burning them and even making a half-way decent chicken fried steak. I can make the Hodge family dressing and Mother's spaghetti sauce and the family's version of stew (which is more of a vegetable soup with meat). I'm in no danger of starving. But I miss the cooking I used to do.

Mother despised making sweets. I don't know why, but she never made pies or cookies and only the occasional cake, usually the applesauce variety. As soon as I was big enough to handle the hand mixer without getting my fingers caught in it and keep from burning myself on the stove, I was assigned the job of providing desserts for the family. It turned out that I loved making pies and cookies and cakes.

My mother admitted that she could not make a decent pie crust. I kept working at it until I was able to make THE BEST CRUST YOU EVER ATE and then I taught Mother how to make it, too. She still didn't make sweet pies, but she used the knowledge to make wonderful meat pies out of leftover roast. I became famous for my apple pie, which was my Dad's favorite treat. We had a lot of apple pie at our house.

We also had a lot of cookies. I love to make cookies. I love to eat cookies. We had lots and lots of cookies at our house, which may partly explain why all of us had a weight problem in those days. (The frequent chicken-fried steak, spaghetti, mashed potatoes and bread with every meal surely had nothing to do with it.)

I learned to make bread in Home Ec and we frequently had fresh homemade yeast bread as I would try recipe after recipe, learning to make white bread, hearty country loaves, french baguettes and various rolls. Also sweet breads, like cinnamon rolls.

Ah, those were the good old days. B.D. - before diets. Now our sweet intake is limited to one or two pies a year, a very rare applesauce cake and whatever recipe I can drum up that is made with Splenda and very little flour and still worth eating. Once a year I make Mother's Lemon Coconut Pound Cake (usually for my birthday) and eat it slowly, savoring every bite since it will be another year before we see it again.

When I just have to try out a recipe these days, I usually take the result to work and watch other folks eat what I can't allow myself to have. It's a choice between eating the forbidden and not turning into a blimp again. What I wouldn't give to have a metabolism that would allow me to eat all the pies, cookies and lemon coconut pound cake I want. Life is not fair.

My first attempt at a cake from the little cookbook was not a success. Mother was monitoring my progress, but did not catch my serious omission until it was almost too late. I had carefully followed all the directions, but when I put the batter into the pan she knew something was wrong. We retraced all my steps and discovered I had left out the sugar. We stirred it into the batter and the cake did turn out to be edible. But take it from me, you really need to put the sugar in when the recipe says to do so.

One of my favorite recipes is found in this little book. It was years before I discovered that the little cookies we all loved and knew as "Roly Polies" were known to the rest of the world as Snickerdoodles. Within our family, we still call them Roly Polies. They are the best.

Roly Polies

Mix dry ingredients together in separate bowl:
2-3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon soda
1/8 teaspoon salt

Cream together:
1 cup shortening (use shortening, not butter)
1-1/2 cups sugar

Add 2 eggs and beat mixture well.
Add dry ingredients and blend well.
Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease cooky sheets.

In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.

Form small balls (about 1-inch diameter) from the dough and roll in sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place on baking sheet, allowing room for dough to spread, and bake for 10-12 minutes. Cookies will appear slightly underdone when ready to remove from oven. Cool and store in air-tight container.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Glad They Moved

This morning it is BRRRRRR cold. The thermometer reads 34 degrees here this morning. My heat-conditioned Texan body doesn't like anything below 40.

But it could be worse.

I was watching Good Morning America reporting on this cold snap this morning, checking in with various reporters across the northern part of the nation, and one of them was very close to a place where one of my family lines originated. I got to wondering what I would be waking up to this morning if they had not moved.

The Wilcoxens, Dunivans, Niccums and Hughes folks centered around Danville, Illinois, and a lot of them are still there. Only my great-grandfather moved to Texas. This morning in Danville?

-13 degrees (windchill -30 degrees)

The Hodge family came from Marion, Kentucky, a place I visited during springtime in 2008. My Hodge cousins are waking up this morning to:

7 degrees (windchill -5 degrees)

The Frankums came from Linden, Tennessee, another place I passed through on the trip, when it was ablaze with blooming dogwood. Linden this morning:

15 degrees (windchill 3 degrees)

Another ancestral home I spent some time in this year is Lentzville, Alabama, home of the Lentz family. Again a lot of them are still living there and this morning they will enter a chilly blast of:

18 degrees (windchill 5 degrees)

My McAfees moved around a lot, starting in Lincoln, Illinois, then spending a few years around Sac City, Iowa, and ending up in the neighborhood of Chillicothe, Missouri. Drum roll....

Lincoln IL: -14 degrees (windchill -30)
Sac City, IA: -18 degrees (windchill -41)
Chillicothe, MO: -7 degrees (windchill -21)

The Masons were rooted in a little town in Pike County, Indiana, where the county seat of Petersburg today checks in at:

1 degree (windchill -14 degrees)

Thankfully I had one family line that was smart enough to start out in the south. My Mobleys came to Texas from Newnan, Georgia:

31 degrees (windchill 31 degrees)

You know? It's downright balmy here today. It's just a matter of perspective.

Bastrop, TX: 34 degrees (windchill 34)


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Word for the Day

I just discovered a new word that I'm surprised I had never before encountered. I've adopted it for use when people ask me about myself.

"Did you know I'm an autodidact?"

"I messed up because I'm an autodidact."

Autodidact means a self-taught person.

I was asked recently by one of the lead programmers if I preferred to attend training classes or learn by reading a manual. It was an easy answer. I hate computer training classes and I've always taught myself what I need to know by sitting down with the computer and the manual and proceeding to work my way through it page by page. At the end of the process, I pretty much know what I need to know and I didn't have to listen to 35 other students try to steer the teacher into their own personal customized tutoring session.

I taught myself how to be functional in all my hobbies. I devoured how-to books on genealogy in my early days and just recently realized that I had reached a point where the new books on the market have very little to offer me. I've been there and done that time and time again. I no longer snatch up every genealogy how-to book and now concentrate on keeping track of the newest databases to come online by keeping an eagle eye on magazines and blogs.

My 8th grade home economics teacher taught me how to knit and purl and single crochet. I taught myself how to cable, increase, decrease and knit short rows by getting myself a good instruction book and making sampler blocks. Years after I turned myself into an intermediate knitter, I tackled crochet. I can't say that I will ever be an accomplished crocheter, but at least I can pull off a half-double crochet with a bit of flair. (I will always prefer knitting to crochet and, contrary to popular belief, crochet is not easier than knitting. You just have one less needle to lose and a dropped stitch in crochet doesn't create quite as much havoc as a stitch dropped in knitting.)

There was a time in my life when I had more disposable time (how I miss that luxury) and would periodically teach myself something new - just for fun. It's how I learned the elements of canning preserves. (I should have asked for lessons from my grandmother - my preserves left a lot to be desired. She was a pro.) My learning how to spin was a combination of a weekend workshop and then working on my own to expand my knowledge of the different fibers. (I like knowing how it's done, but I quickly decided I would rather just go buy some yarn.)

Over the years there have been many areas where I have enthusiastically embraced the concept of learning everything there is to know about some odd area, spending weeks reading about it and then deciding in the end whether it was something I wanted to continue doing or pitch on the reject pile. The reject pile was quite large. I found I did not care for tatting, latch-hook, needlepoint or embroidery (I can take it or leave it), sewing, or jewelry making. There are some things I like occasionally - like molly-coddling African violets and orchids and planting a crop of tomatoes and peppers. (I love the process of planting a garden and harvesting. I hate the in-between parts like weeding and dealing with insects, so my gardening is decidedly hit or miss.)

I think I love the research process itself. The knowledge is great to have at the end, but I think it's the digging deep for the answers that really drives me.

I really should have been a librarian. I truly missed my calling.

Of course, you could look at this as more evidence of my compulsive collecting. I like to collect information. Hmm.

LSW (I suffer from autodidacticism.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Paper, Pen and Ink

All of us who descend in the Hodge line inherited the ability to string words together and make sentences and connect thoughts and come up with a paragraph that sounds pretty good when we've finished. It may be that the ability to write comes from the Mason side, because my grandmother could also spin a good story. And it may be that the writing gene was carried by both lines and we at the end of the funnel of genes that merged with the union of Horace and Lucy are double-dipped in it, which is what I really suspect.

We are all readers, which I think is a pre-requisite to being able to write. I can't remember when I learned to read, but I know that even before I learned to read on my own, I sat beside Mother and she read to me while I looked at the words on the page. And, one day, the words made sense and I've seldom been without a book or magazine at hand since that day.

I made up stories in my mind long before I tried my hand at writing them down on paper. I kept myself entertained for hours on end, imagining adventures in the old west (usually) or hob-nobbing with the rich and famous who sought my company (I was delusional as a kid). My first attempt at fiction was in the fourth grade, when I undertook to write a novel. It was a hideous effort, but my girl friends were in awe that I could write a story and kept me going for quite a while with their enthusiastic support. It wasn't long before I decided to keep my attempts at fiction to myself, because the genre just never did come easily to me and I was never satisfied at the end result. I still have a notebook of stories I wrote in High School and College and every so often get it down and ponder whether the time has come to hurl them into the fireplace. So far I have resisted the temptation, because it amuses me to read them and be reminded that once upon a time I had a rich and vivid imagination. The plots stink, but the writing itself was good and I'm always surprised to be reading along and realize that I wrote that terrific sentence.

I finally found my voice, I think. Not in fiction, but in non-fiction. When I first began this blog, it was a struggle to find a topic and spin out an article. It got easier as I began to pay more attention to what was going on around me. Now I find articles in a casual glance out the window as I drive to and from work. My observation skills have improved with every essay written. The first family newsletter was a hodge-podge, but as I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with it, I found that I loved drawing stories about my ancestors out of my research and making my forefathers more than just dry dates and facts. Writing is akin to playing the piano. You can be a proficient writer with training, but practice makes you better and puts more feeling into the end product.

Re-experiencing my mother's stories, as I've been slowly adding them to Mother's Words, has been fun. She had the ability to tell a good story. She told me once that she had an assignment in college to write a short story about a murder and could not come up with a good idea. Each of the students was to "kill" a fellow student in the class. She finally gave up, took a nap, and woke up with the full-blown plot completely ready to go. (I can't remember if she was the one who killed her co-student by stabbing her in the ear with an icicle, or if that was the way she met her own fictional demise.)

That technique of sleeping on it has served me well time and time again. My bosses have never understood it, wanting to see me leap into action immediately upon receiving an assignment. But I know that if I acquaint myself with all the facts, then push it to the back of my mind for awhile, in a day or two the whole thing will have been worked out in my subconscious and I will be ready to sit down and put everything on paper, more or less perfectly the first time. Anything I write before I ponder on it tends to get re-written many times before it passes muster.

The joy that is words, paper, pen and ink is something I've always treasured. Whether it's something I got in the Hodge blood, the Mason blood, or the unique combination of the two, I'm really glad it came my way.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Feeling Pretty Good About My Hobby

The following list was grabbed from a fellow genealogist. It seems to be making the rounds of us blogger/genealogists. As I read it, I was amazed at how many of the tasks I had done. So, since my brain is only hitting every other cylinder lately and creative thoughts are at an all-time low, I borrowed it.

The rules:
The list should be annotated in the following manner:
Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type

Belong to a genealogical society. (Illiana, Limestone Co AL, Crittenden Co KY, Johnson Co AR, more to come)
Researched records onsite at a court house.
(Many, many times.)
Transcribed records.
Uploaded tombstone pictures to Find-A-Grave. (1,420 to date)
Documented ancestors for four generations (self, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents)
Joined Facebook.
Helped to clean up a run-down cemetery. (Hog-Eye in Elgin, in particular springs to mind)
Joined the Genea-Bloggers Group on Facebook.
Attended a genealogy conference. (FGS was the best, intend to go again)
Lectured at a genealogy conference.
Spoke on a genealogy topic at a local genealogy society.
Been the editor of a genealogy society newsletter. (Does Family Reunion count?)
Contributed to a genealogy society publication.
Served on the board or as an officer of a genealogy society.
Got lost on the way to a cemetery. (That's half the fun.)
Talked to dead ancestors.
Researched outside the state in which I live. (AR, IN, IL, KY, TN, AL, UT to date)
Knocked on the door of an ancestral home and visited with the current occupants.
Cold called a distant relative.
Posted messages on a surname message board.
Uploaded a gedcom file to the internet. (Have mixed feelings about this one. I will share with any fellow researcher, but I do not trust the genealogy sites to resist the temptation to make money off my research.)
Googled my name. (aka The Ego Search)
Performed a random act of genealogical kindness.
Researched a non-related family, just for the fun of it.
Have been paid to do genealogical research. (Well, various family have kicked in....)
Earn a living (majority of income) from genealogical research.
Wrote a letter (or email) to a previously unknown relative.
Contributed to one of the genealogy carnivals.
Responded to messages on a message board or forum.
Was injured while on a genealogy excursion. (Do not pull up stinging nettle with your bare hands.)
Participated in a genealogy meme.
Created family history gift items (calendars, cookbooks, etc.).
Performed a record lookup for someone else.
Went on a genealogy seminar cruise. (Fabulous!)
Am convinced that a relative must have arrived here from outer space.
Found a disturbing family secret.
Told others about a disturbing family secret.
Combined genealogy with crafts (family picture quilt, scrapbooking). (Miniatures)
Think genealogy is a passion not a hobby.
Assisted finding next of kin for a deceased person (Unclaimed Persons).
Taught someone else how to find their roots.
Lost valuable genealogy data due to a computer crash or hard drive failure.
Been overwhelmed by available genealogy technology.
Know a cousin of the 4th degree or higher.
Disproved a family myth through research.
Got a family member to let you copy photos.
Used a digital camera to “copy” photos or records.
Translated a record from a foreign language.
Found an immigrant ancestor’s passenger arrival record.
Looked at census records on microfilm, not on the computer.
Used microfiche.
Visited the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. (4 times & counting)
Visited more than one LDS Family History Center.
Visited a church or place of worship of one of your ancestors.
Taught a class in genealogy.
Traced ancestors back to the 18th Century.
Traced ancestors back to the 17th Century.
Traced ancestors back to the 16th Century.
Can name all of your great-great-grandparents.
Found an ancestor’s Social Security application.
Know how to determine a soundex code without the help of a computer.
Used Steve Morse’s One-Step searches.
Own a copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
Helped someone find an ancestor using records you had never used for your own research.
Visited the main National Archives building in Washington, DC.
Visited the Library of Congress.
Have an ancestor who came over on the Mayflower.
Have an ancestor who fought in the Civil War. (Bunches, on both sides.)
Taken a photograph of an ancestor’s tombstone. (A top ten favorite activity.)
Became a member of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits
Can read a church record in Latin.
Have an ancestor who changed their name. (Elmo Hodge aka Frank Stanford)
Joined a Rootsweb mailing list.
Created a family website.
Have more than one "genealogy" blog.
Was overwhelmed by the amount of family information received from someone.
Have broken through at least one brick wall.
Visited the DAR Library in Washington D.C.
Borrowed a microfilm from the Family History Library through a local Family History Center.
Have done indexing for Family Search Indexing or another genealogy project.
Visited the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Had an amazing serendipitous find of the "Psychic Roots" variety.
Have an ancestor who was a Patriot in the American Revolutionary War.
Have an ancestor who was a Loyalist in the American Revolutionary War.
Have both Patriot & Loyalist ancestors.
Have used Border Crossing records to locate an ancestor.
Use maps in my genealogy research.
Have a convict ancestor who was transported from the UK.
Found a bigamist amongst the ancestors.
Visited the National Archives in Kew.
Visited St. Catherine's House in London to find family records.
Found a cousin in Australia (or other foreign country).
Consistently cite my sources. (I'm getting better)
Visited a foreign country (i.e. one I don't live in) in search of ancestors.
Can locate any document in my research files within a few minutes.
Have an ancestor who was married four times (or more).
Made a rubbing of an ancestors gravestone.
Organized a family reunion.
Published a family history book.
Learned of the death of a fairly close relative through research.
Have done the genealogy happy dance.
Sustained an injury doing the genealogy happy dance.
Offended a family member with my research.
Reunited someone with precious family photos or artifacts.

Looks like I'm doing pretty good by other genealogists' standards.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lazy Day

Blue skies, sunshine....

What a day to take a walk in the park.....

Snips and snails and puppy dog tails....

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


"Go find someplace else to sit."


Floating in the Ozone

Yesterday was rather a bizarre day. When I was about half-way in to the office yesterday, I got a phone call that a transformer had blown at the office and most of the electrical power was out. After a brief debate with myself, I elected to drive on in and touch base and then run some errands while the repairs were being made. The first estimate was that power would probably be back by the next day. I figured I would be headed back home by lunch time.

But, surprise, before I had completed my third errand, I got the call that power had been restored. I was glad I was only 20 minutes away from the office. Some folks, convinced we were having an unexpected holiday, had to make the trek back from home.

Nothing like a little unexpected wrinkle in the day to throw your entire schedule off. I was at my desk by noon and the rest of the afternoon seemed to stretch interminably.

The drive home seemed to stretch interminably as well. However, I was pleasantly distracted by the banks and banks of clouds that stretched as far as the eye could see.

This morning I woke up in a foul humor, which worried the dogs until I realized they were watching me from the shadows, trying to decide if they were in trouble or not. I had to snap out of it and reassure them everything was ok. At least today is my day to work at home and I won't have a scattershot day like yeterday.

I'm just too old to climb out of my ruts happily. Sometimes surprises are good and sometimes they just foul up your day.


Monday, January 05, 2009

The Knitting Report and Other Topics

I love yarn. I love knitting and, to a lesser extent, crocheting. I love the feel of the yarn slipping through my fingers more than I care about the final result. In recent years I've done a lot of starting projects, working on them awhile, then putting them away and starting another project and working on it for awhile, etc., etc. I haven't finished much in recent history. But I'm close to actually finishing something I started just a few weeks ago.

I monitor a blog called The Yarn Harlot, written by Stephanie Pearl-Macphee, which is entertaining on many levels (you can find a link in the left column). Around Thanksgiving she started posting photos of some scarves she was knitting for Christmas presents. I was smitten with the yarn, hunted around Austin until I found a yarn store that had it in stock, and tackled my own scarf. It's a really simple pattern, plain 1 x 1 ribbing and you alternate two colors of the yarn. The WOW factor is the yarn that moves from shade to shade, keeping you completely enthralled as you watch the new color combinations emerge.

I am so enjoying this little project that I'm seriously considering getting another 4 skeins of yarn and making another one. The yarn is Silk Garden by Noro and it's soft and pleasing to the touch (though it might be a little scratchy as a sweater). One of my problems with knitting these days has not been losing interest, but being unable to stay awake. The rhythm of the needles and the feel of the yarn has a tendency to lull me off to sleep. Complicated patterns that require concentration are just beyond me under the present circumstances of chronic exhaustion. But this pattern, so simple it practically knits itself, has been so much fun to watch as it develops that I've not gone to sleep on it once.

An added bonus has been getting to use a fancy pair of wooden knitting needles I bought awhile back and up to now had not had a pattern I could use them with. I am having great fun all the way around. Maybe I don't need another scarf - maybe I should calculate how much I would need for a vest.

I was cleaning out my camera tonight and discovered a photo I took while out running around last week. It struck my fancy, so here for your enjoyment is a photo of the top of the courthouse in San Marcos. Nobody does blue sky like Texas.

Gotta run. Still got two half-skeins to knit up.


Saturday, January 03, 2009

Stacks of Wax

This Saturday morning has found us walking down memory lane. One of my stops at Half Price Books during the Christmas frenzy netted me a collection of "moldy oldies" and I am thoroughly enjoying listening and singing along. A lot of the songs in the collection were to be found in my father's collection of LPs back in the Sixties and they are old friends. Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Ray, Dean Martin, Doris Day and many others.

Mother said when I was a baby I would "dance" to Bing Crosby and Teresa Brewer. There's no Bing Crosby here, but two songs by Teresa Brewer found me bopping around the kitchen with the dogs looking on askance. She might not have been the best singer, but I sure like the beat and I guess I always have.

Once again I am pondering the possibility of getting in the back of the closet and hauling out the half-dozen boxes of vinyl LPs to see what all is there that I've forgotten. I'm hoping the feeling will pass before I do so. I've managed not to start any messy projects while I've been off and that closet is not something I should tackle with less than two days left of vacation. Maybe this summer...maybe by then that turntable that turns vinyl into digital will come down a little in price.

In the meantime, I will probably wear this 3-CD set out. Belafonte, Gogi Grant and The Four Lads in the background has a relaxing effect on me.


Friday, January 02, 2009

My Protectors

As you can maybe see from this terrible picture (I only had my cell phone with me today), the wee ones and I made the trek through the woods again today.

Mojo has decided he's not sure we should be doing these nature walks. It's a bit of a hike down to this 4-wheel-drive road, through real woods. A couple of times along the way he will stop and see if I will agree to go on back the way we came. When I refuse and keep going, he will hustle his little chubby bottom to catch up with me and try again a few minutes later. Once we reach the road, they love getting to run and smell who has been there before us. Road = civilization. Woods = Mom may have lost it.

I really think if we were to meet up with anything of concern, I would have to tell them. For all their nervous worrying today, they missed seeing the rabbit they flushed out of hiding. He scampered away, little powder puff tail bouncing like a white flag - and both dogs were investigating a boring grass clump and could not be bothered. Well, maybe it had an intriguing smell, but I bet it was not as interesting as seeing Peter Cottontail hopping down the trail. It's just as well. I don't think they could have caught him, but they might have hurt themselves trying and I certainly didn't want Peter hurt either.

I'm going to miss these long walks through the woods when life gets back to normal next week.