Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Adam Redcay's Farm (e-i-e-i-ooooo)

Okay, after this, I'm gonna take a break from the Redcay's. It's true, I love researching, but it's good to take a break. Besides, they are always spelling their name different, and they insist on living on the border of various counties and townships and it gets annoying. Is it Brecknock township in Lancaster county or Brecknock township in Berks county? And who made the decision to divide the county up in the first place?

Some old dudes in 1752 were sitting around in Lancaster county Pennsylvania saying hey, I think there should be another county because Reading is getting too big. Let's make it and break townships right in the middle so in 350 years when people are trying to figure out where we live they'll have no idea and have to resort to random searches on some sort of inter-tubes which invariably ends with them back on a time-wasting network of socialness that sucks the hours away.

First off, let's establish the name. It's Redcay. Which can also be found as: Redkey, Retge, Redge, Rettge, Redkee and Retga. That last one gets me, that must have been some think Pennsylvania Dutch accent.

So, the oldest Redcay I can find for my brother-in-law's family is Adam Redge, who was born on Oct. 13, 1799. He was warrantied land in Berks county in 1828. Exactly 23.106 acres. Not 23 acres, not 24 acres, not 23 and one half acres. 23.106.

He died in 1871, his gravestone is at the Allegheny Church graveyard.

I know his wife's name was Anna, and I have all his kids.

But where did he come from? The census's I found state he was born in PA, but who knows where since the older census's only list the father's name, not any other member's of the household.

I've found a few family history's of Redcay's, but they are apparently different lines, because they don't match up with mine. A mystery.

And I found a farm on an 1864 map that belongs to a John Redge (Adam did have a son John), but it's in Brecknock township of Lancaster county, not Berks county. There's an 1876 map of Brecknock Township in Berks county, but there is only a T. Redcay listed as owning property. "T"? Who is this "T" imposter? There are no good pennsylvania dutch first names that start with T! There should only be Adam's, Martin's, William's, John's, Jacob's, Abram's and Elias. That's it. No T's should pop up until the early 20th century. And how sad am I that I even have a statement to make about such a subject?

And that my friends, is how I know when it's time for a break. Maybe I'll go organize some photos or something. Or maybe go outside and see what the sky looks like. Or not.....

more animals

Monday, December 29, 2008

Adam Redcay and His Job

Adam Redcay is my brother-in-law's great-great-great-great-great grandfather. He was born in 1799 and was deeded land up in Berks County, PA.

By 1870 though, his wife had passed away, and he was no longer farming, but had apparently moved to a house in Adamstown in what is now Lancaster County, PA (Adamstown is known now as the antiques capital of the world, at least according to their website). He was living on his own with a servant. Interestingly, the servants name was Leah, which is a pretty rare name, even back then.

I know all this from looking at census information. Another column on census sheets is occupation. 90% of the time, occupation for women was left empty because it was just assumed that they were home doing housework. Some census's listed it as "Keeping House". If you were a grandmother or grandfather living with your son or daughter and their family, you usually didn't have an occupation listed either. Maybe "widow" or "widower" would be listed.

But for the 1870 census and 70-year-old Adam Redcay, they didn't just leave his occupation blank.

They listed an occupation for him - it was: "old man".

Now that has to be an occupation. I can only imagine that being an "old man" involves being cantankerous, grumpy, and irritated by everyone. Much like the old men driving cars in front of me every day who think it is their occupation to prevent me from going around them. I don't run into angry old men in stores, or on sidewalks or at my job. Only when driving.

Maybe Adam Redcay's occupation is why he isn't living with any of his kids. They probably all got together and were all like, omg, I am not taking Dad in, he trips us with his cane and never likes what we make for dinner. Let's buy a house for him in the next county over and pay some poor sap named Leah to take care of him.

I made it!

Remind me next year when I'm feeling all in the holiday spirit and decide to host parties within days of each other that I'm going to need more time off BEFORE the parties....!!!!!

But I survived and I think all went well. I was very excited to host christmas eve this year, I had a blast setting up a pretty table and making fun little menus for everybody. My christmas party this year seemed to go well as well, it went by in a flash which usually is a good thing!!!

And now, my real vacation! A week of playing with genealogy until I'm sick of it and am glad to go back to work. (Yeah, right).

I already spent all day yesterday doing more on the Redcay's, that is my latest interest, it's my brother-in-law's family. I was reading through this book on germans in berks/lancaster counties and this guy made a comment like, oh, and the Redcay family, which is obviously Rothke....

Rothke? I didn't think that was obvious, is there something wrong with me? But anyway, I was glad to find it, google does something right, and that is the posting of old books. Remember the old days when if something was out of print, it was out of print and you were screwed? Now you really can get whatever you want whenever you want. That makes me HAPPY! I love the internet!

and an update on the new cat, Angel: NooNoo has not killed him yet, though she is working hard to traumatize him. She likes to sit in doorways and growl at him so that he has to sqeeeeeze by in the doorway as far from her as possible. She's all talk, she's definitely getting used to him now. He has turned out to be such a relaxed cat, he loves parties, and loves to place himself right in the middle of the room and hang out. I'm so lucky to have found him!!!

And now, back to the Redcay's!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

An open letter to the electricians who wired my house when it was built...




shame shame shame.

you know who you are, and karma has hopefully come for you.

1. first, I found that you wired the smoke detectors to my foyer bathroom's lightswitch

2. then, I found that you wired the fan in the foyer bathroom to the light, not the lightswitch, so I can't have a separate switch without tearing apart the wall

3. and finally, this weekend, I discovered that the outside outlet is reset by the upstairs hall bathroom outlet's reset switch.

enough said.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Angel

So the other day I was working from home and my cat (NooNoo) just wasn't herself. Ever since Patches has been gone NooNoo hasn't been quite right. She talks to me a lot (she must have a little bit of Siamese in here) and has no one to chase and be chased by.

At the spur of the moment, I headed on down to the Chester County SPCA. Rescue places have a lot of animals right now, due to foreclosures and people downsizing...there were lots of cats and as I walked in to where they keep all the cats I just wanted to cry, I felt so bad for all of them in their cages. But I steeled myself up and decided to pay attention to who was interested in me. Right away there were two stand-outs. Two males - one was white and tan, named Spook, and one was black and white, named Angel. And both are BIG cats. At least compared to what I was used to, especially with my little NooNoo around the house, all 6 pounds of her.

Spook rubbed against the cage bars and meowed and meowed at me, Angel rolled over on his back and looked up at me. My heart melted!

So I met with each of them in the little room and although both were sweet as pie, it seemed like Angel would be easier to adapt to new situations.

Ta-dah, I have a new cat!

Right now he is quarantined to my office, which has not pleased NooNoo very much. Once she realized I had actually placed a CAT in the room, she likes to sit there and growl at the door. Her growls remind me a little of Marge Simpson when she goes: Hmhmhmmmmmm in response to something dumb somebody says.

Despite being 6 pounds and not having any front claws, NooNoo takes no crap from nobody. I know who is going to be in charge once she and Angel meet. But I love her dearly. She gives me those sweet little silent meows....

Angel is currently 12.4 pounds. Apparently he gained some weight while at the SPCA (he was there since late September, poor thing). We're going to try and lose about 2 pounds, we'll see. We have a free wellness check at the vet tomorrow afternoon, after that, he and NooNoo can meet face-to-face.

He is just a total little sweetheart, he's adjusted very well to the office (I always laugh when I see cats in new environments, that low cat-walk thing they do around the perimeter). I have about 8 scratching posts in the room to encourage him to use those rather than my chair and ottoman, but the ottoman is a draw. He doesn't seem to understand "No!". He just kind of lays there and looks at me like, huh? I just drag him across the floor away from the ottoman towards the scratching thingy and then he thinks I'm petting him. At the moment, he LOVES to eat, I guess there isn't much else to do when you're in a cage, so that is his big thing, but I think once he has the run of the house and other distractions, he'll be okay. I put a t-shirt of mine in the room and he likes to lay on it, so I think we've bonded nicely. I hope that all goes well with the vet!!

Here's my first picture of my new little boy. As you can see, he's on the crappy office chair that Patches loved and I could never get rid of because of how much she loved it.

What's the first thing he found and jumped on? That crappy office chair. So for now, my elbow and arm will continue to suffer. I guess I'll put it in the loft eventually....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2001 is dumb

Okay okay, I admit it.

I don't understand 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Yes yes, it's all cool and futuristic and I know all the quotes and I can sing the daisy song.

But the ending....I just don't get it. I really don't get it. I don't think I even like it. Lots of odd-colored landscape scenes while nasty cacophonous so-called music playing, then lots of heavy breathing while Keir gets old and it's all deep and significant. I know something important is being said, I just know it, especially at the end with the baby and the earth right next to each other.


I do enjoy listening to the entire Blue Danube at the credits. People don't appreciate credits enough. I always liked watching credits, while all my friends would be literally running out of the movie theater. Where were they going so fast? What was so important everyone has to do? Don't you want to know who the caterer was for the movie? I do. Really, I'm not even kidding.

Anyway, all this came up because I just caught the last 15 minutes of 2001 on TCM. I sat there for like 6 minutes of the stupid landscape scenes and then the heavy breathing, trying to give it one more chance of being relevant to me. But no, it failed again. Or maybe I failed, maybe I am not abstract enough. It's true I like to know what the answer is, please don't waste my time postulating and guessing and theorizing, just tell me what the real answer is. I am not good as the strategist type, the visionary leader. That is SO not me. Vision smision, while you're sitting around thinking about 10 years from now, I'm the one making things work right this second. :-D

But I digress, as usual. So I watched the end of 2001, and now 2010 is just starting. Maybe it will help me since I haven't seen it in like 20 years.

And then I get on the computer and my dad just happens to mention science fiction! See how everything is linked. I always wanted to like the science fiction that my dad liked but the future was never a nice place in those books. It was cold, with hard edges and computers that took over. I think I enjoyed the Foundation series, but I can't remember. I gravitated towards fantasy which had happy things like unicorns and fairies and magic. I don't really read fiction anymore because there isn't time to waste on stuff like that when there is so much non-fiction and history to read.

And now I should go pay attention to the movie so I can finally understand what's going on. And yes, in case you are wondering, I did read the books, 2001 and 2010, but it was so long ago I forgot them too. It's actually a good habit, forgetting what happened in a book, because then you can read it again and not have it spoiled. I try not to do that anymore now that I read non-fiction, but it was a hard habit to break.

I'll let you know if I figure it all out. Maybe it'll all come back to "42". :-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Redcay Family

So I'm researching my brother-in-law's family tree so my niece and nephew will have their family tree. Whether they'll be interested in this information is another story, but I'm taking a chance that one of them, or maybe one of their kids, will appreciate my thousands of hours slaving over a hot keyboard.

Redcay is a great name. The best part of it is that you can get it as a tattoo if you wanted to. A big red "K". Like the superman logo. I've tried to tell my brother-in-law for years now that I think getting a red "K" as a tattoo is a great idea. Unfortunately, the fact that I can't help but grin every time I say it takes away from the impact of my opinion I think.

So most of the Redcay's swarm within Pennsylvania, specifically within Berks and Lancaster counties. They were probably part of the big rush of germans that came over for religious freedom in the 1700s.

One of the things I like best about genealogy is watching the evolution of families over time. Favorite names for kids, who moved to another state, stuff like that. And I like seeing how little things like spelling have changed over time. Being picky about spelling is a relatively recent phenomenon, people were much more, shall we say, flexible, in the past.

For instance, in a 1930 census, maybe your name was written down as "Susan". But the 1920 census has it written as "Susanah". And the 1900 census has it as "Susannah". That's a pretty easy example though. I have one person whose name is "Letitia". In some places her nickname is listed (Lettie). In other places, clearly the person writing it down was not familiar with such a la-dee-dah name. They wrote "Ledisha".

So as I researched the Redcay surname, I eventually ran out of Redcays. What happened to them? They had done a spelling change. Lots of people with non-english names changed the spelling of their surnames to what matched the pronunciation.

Eventually I found one of them: "Retga". You might think that "Retga" sounds nothing like "Redcay" but if you do what I did, it actually does. Sit in front of your computer and pronounce "Retga" with a german accent, (Yes, this is what I do in my spare time, I'm not even making it up) the way it would have been as the census taker in 1880 heard it. Imagine going from door to door, getting some annoyed wife and making her tell you the names, ages and occupation of everyone in the house. Or maybe that's just me projecting, maybe they would have welcomed a chance to speak to someone different for a time.

But anyway, "Retga" actually sounds a little like "Redcay". And then I found others spellings, like "Retge" and "Ratge".

I have no idea what this surname means, I don't speak german. But I did find a word "ratgeber" which means counsellor or advisor. Whether it relates or not, I don't know.

Yep, this is what I love doing with my spare time!!!!! :-)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Haven Connecticut and Thomas Mix

Back in August of this year, I took a trip up to Connecticut and visited New Haven for the first time. To me, this was quite significant because when I first started doing genealogy about 287 years ago (or at least it feels like that), the first cool thing I found was about New Haven.

It turns out that (on my Mom's side) there is this family called MIX. I'm not yelling at you, it's just that when we genealogists type out a surname we're supposed to make it all capitals. I don't know why, but pick up any family history or genealogy book and you'll see it like that. I guess it's to get your attention. Not that I'm some sort of official genealogist, I don't belong to any groups or associations or anything, but hey, I've been doing for over a decade. Actually I don't think I'll do the all caps thing anymore because I do feel like I'm yelling, and this isn't a book.

So anyway, my grandmother's maiden name was Mix. And I managed to trace it all the way back to a Thomas Mix, who was one of the founders of New Haven, Connecticut in 1637.

I thought that was pretty cool. We're not really a family (on my mom's or my dad's side) that has had possessions to pass down. I guess we were all part gypsy, which does explain why I like to move so much. I see these annoying people on those antique roadshow things, all like, hey, my great-aunt left me this ugly costume bracelet and it turns out to be diamonds and platinum. Or some broken down hall table turns out to be a chippendale. Who are these people? How do they hold on to this stuff? They must not have people like my mother in their families because if it isn't nailed down, it's in the trash. And this includes slow-moving family members.

So when I found out I "owned" New Haven, I felt pretty cool about it! Hey, that's my town! My relative helped set it up!

We even found where we believe the old homestead was. Not Thomas Mix's, he wasn't listed on the map, so we think he and his wife were living with his father-in-law, Nathanial Turner. Actually, it was Captain Nathanial Turner. Even though they were all puritans, they liked their titles. Captain Turner's homestead is probably under the building in the center of this picture:

I got the info from a book, it said "Nathanael Turner, whose home-lot was on Church Street, next south of Mr. Cheever's", and an old map of the original new haven colony that showed people's homesteads.

Could you imagine founding a city? I can't imagine. Just sitting around the fire and saying, hey, let's put a street over there, and an intersection down there. Oh, and let's fill in that swamp. ???? And then argue over who has the best land for their garden? Yikes! They had guts if nothing else.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Love you Patches

Today is a sad day for me, I had to take my cat Patches to be put to sleep. She had the sweetest disposition in the world and I miss her terribly, I was so lucky to have her!!!

xoxoxo to Patches....

And a big thank you to the best vet facilities in the entire world - they were so nice and so kind, the doctor was so wonderful, I couldn't have asked for more on such a terrible day. I highly recommend them:

West Chester Animal Hospital, 1140 Pottstown Pike, West Chester, PA 19380
(610) 696-3476

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Beauty Lies in the Eye of the Beholder

Yeah yeah, so I thought I would post an update on my facial peel from earlier in the month (also known as: How I Learned to Love Putting Acid on my Face).

I got the peel on the tuesday before Halloween. If only I had planned better, I could have used it effectively as a halloween costume. But that night (halloween) was the last night I would put makeup on for about a week, maybe it was more. That weekend it started.......you know.....



At first it was just a little bit, around the corners of my mouth. Then it spread, around my eyes, my cheeks, my chin, my ears, my EYEBROWS. Did she pour acid onto my eyebrows and ears? I didn't really recall that from the spa appointment. I could feel my skin crack when I opened my mouth!!!!! Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!! I'm so disgusting! What is wrong with us as a society that we would do stuff like this to ourselves?????

I stayed in all weekend, I looked like I should have been in a burn unit and really I probably should have gone to a doctor or something. My face was so HOT it burnt the back of my hands when I would press them against my face. I put washclothes in freezing cold water and just pressed it against my face. I popped advil like candy for the anti-inflammatory stuff.

Nothing worked.

And I had done this to myself.

Back to work on Monday, sitting in my darkened office. Now people liked to joke around with me, ha ha, how's your face? At least I know now I could get any cosmetic procedure and it wouldn't freak out these guys I work with. Their wives have trained them well.

I learned to wash my face in the morning...ahhhhhhhhh, that got all the flakes of skin off, then all day, NO TOUCHING OF THE FACE! No TOUCHING, no scratching, no rubbing, no matter HOW MUCH IT ITCHED. Because if one touched the face, then it started falling off. Then that night, speed home from work and ahhhhhhhh rub the washcloth on my face while I washed it. But not too much, because then the face would get all hot and irritated again. Repeat this cycle, day after day.

I'm a slow healer. And my skin was pretty mad at me.

Finally, the beginning of the next week I had a meeting at work with other companies we partner with, and thank GOODNESS by then it was safe to put the makeup back on.

And I have to say......my face (by then, two weeks later) was sooooooo smooth and wonderful. Maybe....... it wasn't so bad after all and I should get more peels. In the future. Maybe by somebody else. Maybe. And if I bring that up to any of you, remind me of this. Please. Because I probably will do another one, I'm good like that.....

So anyhoo, on another note, a friend of mine just went and got eyeliner tattooed on her eyelids.


Once you get past the initial feeling of gut-wrenching revulsion concerning the idea of needles poking at your eyes repeatedly and in a permanent manner.....

maybe that's not such a bad idea.

I'll be monitoring her healing process closely because I sure would love not to have to put on stupid eyeliner anymore. I really hate putting on makeup because you have to do it every day. Every day! Every single day! Otherwise, people would see what you really look like!

Of course, now the guys I work with know what I really look like, and they still talk to me, (even when I had pieces of skin falling off my burnt face) but really they don't count. They are all techie engineery types who talk about physics and math stuff like I talk about how much I hate Speidi and how much I'm rooting for Britney. They have no idea what's normal anyway. I could tell them anything.


more animals

"I love cats because I love my home, and after a while they become its visible soul."

Well, my cat Patches does not seem to be doing so well, and I am twisting myself in knots about what to do, if anything. She was doing SO well after the surgery at the beginning of october, she was running up the stairs with me seeing if she could trip me just like the old days. But then the friday before last I suddenly realized she wasn't doing much, as in all I ever saw her doing was sleep, and if I did catch her going up or down the stairs, she did it reeaall slow. And she doesn't jump up or down onto or off of things anymore, she seems to jump up okay, but jumping down she makes a little noise. What that means is that she hasn't been sleeping with me at night for the last several nights. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing, since I am not the deepest sleeper, but the fact is, I miss her and I'm worrying about her, and I don't know how she feels for sure since she can't tell me.


I think her quality of life is mostly okay, her eyes are bright, she purrs when I pet her, she absolutely without fail will come down the stairs if I open a can of wet food (which of course I have been every day now), she seems to be grooming herself, it's just like she suddenly became a 20-year-old cat overnight rather than a 9-year-old one.

I was wondering if maybe she fell while I was at work one day, but I don't know. I checked her all over, didn't find anything obvious that looked out of place, no bones sticking out, no biting me if I touched her somewhere. But she seems like her left back leg is a little sensitive, she just makes a little noise at me if I touch it. Arthritis? How could it come on so suddenly? And then I worry that maybe the cancer just spread aggressively somewhere internally, I just don't know. And of course I hate to torture her by lugging her over to the vet again so soon. I'm afraid that the day I do that, it will be her last day.....

I adopted her May of 2000 from spay and save, I think they must have really underestimated when they told me her age. Or maybe this is it. Poor little thing. She has the best personality in a cat that I have ever come across, so sweet, doesn't hold a grudge, purrs like a little motorboat, just wants to be petted and loved (and fed wet food), and she loves (loved) sleeping next to me in bed with her head on my pillow too. I hope she's back sometime.

I feel like a dork agonizing over her quality of life, because after all, she is not a human, she's a cat, but I am responsible for her and I don't want her to suffer needlessly just because I don't want to be without her.

Poop poop poop.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

"You bet your sweet bippy. "

A million years ago when I was little I would spend the summers at my grandparents house. I would stay up late to watch Night Gallery on channel 17. I loved Night Gallery. One that always stuck in my mind was one were a lady was given a pin that looked like a bug and eventually of course it ate her up, but what stayed in my mind was one of the last scenes that showed this huge fake bug the size of a small buick (now that it had eaten her) crossing a misty road late at night. It was one of the silliest things I'd ever seen. But I still loved Night Gallery. I always thought that meant I would automatically love Twilight Zone, since it's still Rod Serling, but no, Twilight Zone just doesn't always do it for me.

There, I said it.

I'm sure I'm going to be kicked out of some club, but it's true, I prefer the cheesy technicolor horror over the black and white cheesy morality plays. So shoot me. I still love Star Trek, Tales from the Darkside and Twilight Zone the Movie, okay?

But actually my point about Night Gallery was that before it came on, I had to sit through re-runs of Laugh-In. So there I was, what, 9 years old, sitting in a darkened living room, 10 inches from the TV screen (which is still how I enjoy watching tv), sitting through Laugh-In, getting the more obvious slapstick jokes, but having most jokes whiz past my ears. I probably actually got more of them than I had any business to, because I also grew up reading my Dad's old Mad magazines, so I was way more familiar with the counter-culture of the 60s and 70s than most normal 9 year old girls. Then again, I never was normal. :-D Thank goodness!

So I know what sock it to me is, I know what the fickle finger of fate is, I know about the judge, the guy on the tricycle, and the nazi guy.

And joy of joys, I found some of it on youtube! Yay youtube!!!!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

"It's better to look good than to feel good." -right????

So I have this fabulous idea. I'm gonna get a facial peel!! Why not? My mom gets them and they work great for her skin. I got a coupon for 20% at Toppers to get anything facial wise, so I pick t his European facial that has massage of your feet and hands and arms included! Wow, sounds decadent, right? Oh, and the facial part of in included a "vitamin C peel". Lalala, sounded good to me, sign me up.

The procedure was heavenly. She had me lay on the warmed bed, she massaged my hands and arms, and then put plastic around them and put each hand into a containor of some sort (I didn't look, I was practically sleeping) that keep gently head on the hands. Then she even did a little foot massage and at the end wrapped them in a warm towel and tucked them back under the sheet.

bliss bliss bliss

the facial part of it seemed normal enough, some cleansing, some exfoliating using Papaya, lots of other goops and creams that were whisked on and whisked off. The peel itself didn't feel so bad, it tingled a little, but she warned me of that. Also, she said since she knew I had sensitive skin (we'd done stuff before), she was mixing up the lightest possible dose of this stuff to use in the peel. Sure great, sounds perfect. Time passes, my face is feeling warm, but nothing bad. Unfortunately for me, I have a high pain tolerance (thanks Mom) so sometimes I wonder if what I'm feeling as just a feeling should be having me call the police.

Anyway, she cleans it all off and my face feels warm, but soooooooooooooooooo smooth. My skin is never smooth. My skin and I have had a contentious relationship since the 1980s, with brief intervals of lovey-dovely (thank you accutane). I have NEVER NEVER NEVER been able to find the products that my skin is looking for.

But i digress.

That night, I went home, used a gentle cleanser on my pinky face, put some moisturizer for sensitive skin on it and went to bed, no problem. Got up the next morning, hmmm, still red, but no problem, cleaned it with a gentle cleanser, but on sunscreen, moisturzier, and lathered on my foundation. They said I could!!!! Hmm, looks a little thick, but will have to do.

Mid-morning it happened. I caught myself in the middle of scratching my neck right under my chin. uuuuuuurrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. It's hot there. It itches. It makes me want to scratch the rest of my face. My face is hot and itchy and has that gross make-up sitting on top of a layer of burnt off skin!@!!!!!!!! What was I thinking???? I didn't think this through AT ALL.

I make it through the rest of the day and even stop over my parents house for dinner where my mom gives me a cold compress to put under my chin, but then my dad says he can't talk to me when I'm standing there like that, so whatever, his loss. :-)

I get home, and use neutrogena and a washcloth. Rubbing your skin with a washcloth NEVER felt as good as it did to me just then. don't even bother to compare, you lose.

Without the makeup the skin looks REALLY red and hot, and rough feeling, with just the strart of little crusty bits near my lips.

Charming Leah. You look delish.

I lather it all up with my all organic for senstive skin moisturizer and go to bed.

Day 3

Wake up, skin feels so rough and nasty, but less warm then yesterday. I wash it, now it's warm and irritated again. I actually put makeup on top of this seething bubbling mess and march on in to work.

I tried to camoflage. I wore my hair straight and down so it would half cover my face. I kept all the lights off in my office, which I often do. All to no avail. The NANOSECOND my friend Eric saw me, he was like, oh my god, are you okay?

He says he thought I was crying. You see, with this day, not only was it red and itchy and hot and starting to be scaly, now it was swollen too. I almost made it through the entire day without seeing anyway, and was getting ready to leave when there was the "emergency" meeting. darnnit. Thankfully the lights were off for most of them and I was able to escape quickly after they did get turned on. Not that I didn't fill everyone in on what I did. I'm all about sharing my personal stupidities with others.

I literally drove home at like 180 miles an hour just so I could wash my face. Okay, it wasn't that fast, but it was fast. That was the best face washing I ever had in my entire life. Just to have the opportunity to rub the washcloth all over my poor face......AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH. I probably should have been more gentle but I'm only human.

Put my goop on it, it feels warm and nasty and scaly. I hate it. And went to bed. And then woke up. Needed more advil. On a good note, I do think the heat factor has scaled back a bit so I think it won't slide off my skull and leave me with a lot of explaining to do.

Lessons Learned:

1. If you have sensitive skin, don't forget that a peel is not like an exfoliating masque. A peel is liquid acid poured directly onto your face, and you asked for it!!!!!!

Still......ask me in a week, maybe I'll be all for it!!!

She always was a sensitive girl

All my years I have been blessed/cursed with being sensitive. No, not the emo kind of you hurted my feelings type. Sensitive to light, sensitive to noise. Skin sensitivities. Mood sensitivities.

Speaking of noise sensitivity, I work in this building that they gut out completely and reconfigure with new offices and cube areas every time a company moves in and out. Naturally this means that the materials they use for the internal walls and doors are not really, what shall I say......substantial. Yes, they are not substantial.

I'll be sitting at my desk merrily working along and then it hits! the point were I can't not ignore the annoying noises anymore!! The wind blows through our vents so powerfully that the ceiling tiles and lights vibrate, which makes any cheap wall next to them vibrate.

I used to stand on my chair (my spinning office chair - oh the possiblities) and slam the light fixtures up and down hoping to get them to set better and not vibrate. Yeah, a patch for a much bigger problem. Because later, I'll be happily working when the wall right in front of me will start vibrating so loudly that I'm forced to leap out my seat and place both hands firmly on the wall, as if I was giving a faith healing in Southern Georgia someone. "Be-yuh Healyuhd!!" that stops the wall. But then one of the overhead ceiling tiles starts in.

It's usually at the point that I pull my ipod out. I know it's totally me, and it also depends on whether I'm about to have, am having, or am getting over a migraine. Small repetitive noises BOTHER ME SOOO MUCH when I have a migraine or one coming on. It's actually a sign for me now. I was sitting in a meeting once, there were 4 or5 other people there. And I realized that I could hear one gentleman's watch ticking. But it wasn't like just any ticking, is was loud enough that I couldn't concentrate. I'm looking around the room and no one else notices, so it's just me. And I start to get irritated, because how am I supposed to concentrate with this horrible ticticticticitic constantly going. I never say anything because I know it's me.

Some migraineurs get auras, I get sensitivity to sound. And actually it's sensitivity to small sounds when the area is generally quiet. Driving, listing to the radio, the tv, not a problem. But if I'm sitting somewhere quitely trying to work, I can hear the mice stomping in the attic. I know if there are electronics turned on in the room because I can hear their vibration.

oh well. it's not much of a super-power, and I have to have the migraines that go with it, so I'd probably give it up if I could! :-)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"There is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it."

So there I was, in Home Depot, which in itself is unusual because I've been mad at Home Depot for years....they treated me like I was a stupid girl so Lowe's has had my business for several years.

Anyway, so there I was, in Home Depot due to laziness, or rather gas-thriftiness, because the Home Depot was on my way home from work. I needed mulch for my newly planted tender little lilac sproutlings so they would be bedded down all cozy for the winter. Oh, you say, what happened to the last bag of mulch that was poured over them? Well let me tell you.....some poor planning on my part caused the mulch to be spread over an area of about 10 feet square. (I put the lilacs under where the bird feeder hangs from my deck - the rotten little piggy birds and squirrels pushed all the mulch into the grass!)

My bird feeder now hangs over the north side of the deck, where little grows but moss and the big plastic tube that carries water from my downspout away from my foundation and towards the people who live below me on the hill. How awesome is it to live on the top of a hill???

I tried picking the little pieces of mulch out of the grass and piling them back around the lilac sproutlings, but it looked pretty sad. And it was time-consuming. I pictured people in all the other townhomes looking out their windows at me and thinking, poor girl, she's trying to re-use dispersed mulch, doesn't she know any better? So off to Home Depot I went.

It's not really the outside stuff time of year so the outside area was pretty bare and scary. I went all the way to the back where there were these 30 foot high aisles under a metal roof (but still outside). I found my bag o' mulch and was putting it in my cart when.....

There were all these noises around me, I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Little noises. Rustly noises. I was the only person out in this area, so I'm starting to get creeped out.....zombies? rampaging stalkers? bugs? Then it sinks in....birds. Birds were everywhere. Flying overhead under the metal roof, bopping around on the ground in that little bird way they have....sitting on bags of mulch looking at me. They were everywhere. So now I'm getting totally creeped out, like, have they come to carry me away to some other dimension (you see, that's the kind of stuff that goes through my mind when I'm on my own somewhere, I really shouldn't be left unattended). Come to think of it, I'm usually worrying about another dimension, I should probably look into that.

Anyway, so I carefully place my bag o' mulch in my cart and slowly head towards a door I see nearby to go back into the building. I didn't want to irritate any birds and have them go all Hitchcock on me. The next aisle over, I see the source of the problem. Dumb old Home Depot has placed their bird feed OUTSIDE. Where the BIRDS ARE. One of them must of had a switchblade or something because they were eating out of various bags of bird feed that had holes in them.

I ran past as fast as I could and got safely back inside.

Lowe's keeps their bird feed inside, even when it's competing for space with the christmas decorations.

By the way, I was back at Home Depot today, returning a couple things I bought extra of, and picking up a few other things.....and they were nice! To me! A girl! I hope it's a theme now and not something unusual.

Cause it would be a lot easier to just keep stopping on my way home from work at Home Depot rather than drive all the way over to Lowe's, who has recently ticked me off by installing those quarter thingys on the shopping carts, forcing me to always have a quarter with me to use a cart. I know it's silly, but I am SO OFFENDED by those things. I always put my cart in one of the return areas or back by the door using my own freewill. But now you don't trust me? We couldn't have had a talk about this before you just went ahead and did this??? So maybe now I'm mad at Lowe's and not mad at Home Depot. It would be pretty convenient for me.

And I recognize when I'm rambling so let me get the heck out of here!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Let me guide u 2 the purple rain"

Okay, so I was flipping through the stations (yes I am a terrible channel surfer, no one should have to be in the same room with me) and I caught the end of Purple Rain. Before I knew it, I was singing along like a total dork. Let's face it, Prince sure knew how to make music. I don't care if you disagree, I'm right.

On a completely different topic, but slightly related because the same station is still on the tv.....it's some dumb i-wanna-be-in-a-rock-band show and they bring out Sebastian Bach and Alice Cooper.

What the hell happened to Sebastian Bach? Dude, it sucks getting old. I'm not even sure it's the same guy, he doesn't look like I remember him AT ALL. On the other hand though, Alice Cooper looks the same to me....just as I remember him.

Oh my god, now pop-up video is on. I must be on the old-person channel....yep, sure enough it's VH1 classic. I'm going to go change the channel and pull myself back into this millennium. But after that I think I'm going to get my purple rain soundtrack and blare it in the car on the way to work tomorrow.....maybe....okay, definitely.

"So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish."

Well, it seems that the news from the Vet about Patches is not so good. Turns out one of the tumors removed was in fact malignant, and the doctor said in these cases, the cat usually will survive another 7-12 months. So it appears my little Patches has numbered days. Of course, there is a chance she'll be the percentage that is fine and lives several more years, but I have a bad feeling...that one tumor was pretty bad and nasty, and it got that way real sudden-like. I guess I will just be taking it a day at a time with her. At the moment, she is peppier than I have seen her in a long time, so I know for a fact she feels pretty darn good at the moment.

Apparently there is the option to give cats chemotherapy and all that, but I just can't do that to her. I don't know what I'll do without her - she's not like a normal cat at all, doesn't carry a grudge, just wants to love and be loved. She's a little sweetie pie.

Bummer bummer bummer.

Here's my little Franken-kitty, although she looks lazy in this picture, don't be fooled. She has 17 stitches total but is leaping about all over the place at the moment. We go to the vet on friday to get them removed (and I can't imagine AT ALL how that's going to go......) and then we are home free until further notice.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My poor Patches

Patches is my cat. One of my cats. I adopted her from Spay and Save back in May of 2000. She is the sweetest-tempered little thing, just full of love. I noticed a couple weeks ago that she seemed to have some lumps under her skin near her armpits (leg-pits?).....I don't pick her up that often, neither of my cats are the type that like to be carried around. They love sitting on my lap, or laying in bed with me, but don't like being picked up, so I hardly ever pick them up. Now I feel so guilty for not knowing for sure how long these things were there....I took her to the vet and they did an x-ray of her chest...she has kitty breast cancer. I guess on cats it's the mammary gland, but I hate that word...mammary. Mammmmmmmarrryy. Mam-ry.


Anyway, she's scheduled for an operation on Monday to take out the lumps (fortunately the x-ray showed that it's not invaded into her lungs or anything). The doctor seemed optimistic that they can cut it all out and she'll be fine.

One thing she said is that since I don't know for sure how old she was when I got her (spay and save said probably about a year old), she may have gotten spayed when older than a year old, and apparently you should spay your cats as young as you can. If you wait until they are older, they are WAY more likely to get this cancer. My poor little girl.

I am SO worried..... :-( I hope I'm doing the right thing and not making her go through something for nothing. About 274 years ago I worked at a vet for 5 minutes and it killed me when you would see these poor animals suffering, but people wouldn't put them down because they loved them....but really they were being selfish. I know that sounds mean, but I don't mean it mean. I haven't seen any changes in her behavior so I'm hoping that means she isn't in pain from these things, and her appetite seems fine. She does seem to sleep more than she used to, which of course, for a cat, means she's sleeping 26 out of the 24 hours in a day. Why aren't I a cat?

Oh, that's right, because then I'd have mammammmmary glands. ew.

Keep your fingers crossed for my girl on Monday, if all goes well, I'll have her home with me again on Tuesday.

funny pictures
more animals

Saturday, September 27, 2008

MASH notes (Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House)

so I'm learning that most of what myspace is and what facebook is turning into is exactly what all girls did between grades 4-10. I left out 11 and 12 because it changes, there's other stuff on your mind.

We send notes asking questions about each other. different schools called them different things. I remember a Slam book in one of my schools. Or MASH notes. But mostly it was between a couple girlfriends, you make up a note with questions and pass it around and analyze all the answers. You see, this trains a girl to become a woman who analyzes every response to every little question. And then turns around and analyzes the analyzing. geez, I really hate typing the word "analyzing"!!! No more.

So anyway, for your perusal, is one of these I picked off fresh from myspace tonight, you can see my responses. The theme is "First". So you answer each question with whatever first thing you did/see/had is appropriate. As I've stated many times before, the author is clearly a 15 year old girl somewhere.

Please, join me on my journey:

1] Who was your FIRST prom date?
didn't go

[2] Do you still talk to your FIRST love?
sempre avanti my friend

[3] What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?
genesse cream ale :-D

[4] What was your FIRST job?
restaurant, not exciting, but had scary delivery men

[5] What was your FIRST car?
79 oldmobile supreme - it was a tank and I miss it! It had the ability to track aliens. I kid you not.

[6] Who was the FIRST person to text you today?
AT&T - thanks for the cell phone spam

[7] Who is the FIRST person you thought of this morning?
Patches. wondering where she was and did she make it through the night.

[8] Who was your FIRST grade teacher?
Mrs Sawyer? She used to let me go read by myself in the back of the class. One day a ladybug flew up my nose and I had to blow out ladybug parts onto a tissue....EEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW It caused great long-term damage to my psyche.

[9] Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?
St Paul, Minnesota, from Miami. I was pretty little, I have no memory of it, my mom just tells me we did.

[10] Who was your FIRST best friend and are you still friends with them?
Nella Dychdala, and no, but would love to get in touch with her, she was way cool

[11] What was your FIRST sport played?
other than recess? track

[12] Where was your FIRST sleep over?
have no idea, probably with Nella. I remember the first one at MY house - I invited all my little 5th girl friends, my mom baked a special shaped panda cake, we had all our little sleeping bags in my room and we watched Phantasm on late night tv. I'm thinking it was Nella, Laura, Lisa, Leeann....maybe others. I was SO excited to be hosting one.

[13] Who was the FIRST person you talked to today?

[14] Whose wedding were you in the FIRST time?
Jacque's. you would have thought I'd be cured of being bridesmaids by that one, but no, I'm a sucker. There's like 3 other dresses up there! I was going to toss them, but am now saving them for my niece to play dress-up in.

[15] What was the FIRST thing you did this morning?
laid in bed and thought about getting out of the bed
then I turned on the weather and channel 6
then I actually sat up, did some stretches for my shoulders and arms and stood up.

So standing is the first thing I truly DID this morning.

[16] what was the FIRST concert you ever went to?
I have no idea! I guarantee whatever it was, you couldn't pay me money to see it now.

[17] FIRST tattoo or piercing?
ears, or rather one ear. she shot the thing in, I jumped off the seat and was like NO WAY is she doing that again. Eventually I was pressured into continuing, and I got the other one done, but my hurtling into the air for the 1st one had made it shoot in crooked. so I let them close up and went back years later and it was no problem, pinch, pinch.

[18] FIRST foreign country you went to for vaca?
we used to have relatives in buffalo

[19] What was your FIRST run in with the law?
none of your beeswax you nosy questionnaire.
don't you know stalkers on the internet read this kind of stuff and then know things about you??? better to divert with long boring stories

[20] When was your FIRST detention?
high school

[21] What was the FIRST state you lived in?

[22] Who was the FIRST person to break your heart?
me, i take full responsibility

[23] Who was your FIRST roommate?
during or post school? My favorite school roommate was rachel clickner. I loved that girl to pieces. she wore the same black tights for weeks at a time. can you ask for more in a roommate? such self-confidence.

[24] Where did you go on your FIRST limo ride?
honestly can't remember!! I think a limo rides are overrated, I just prefer to be in the backseat of a lincoln if I'm getting driven somewhere, I still feel slightly like I know where i'm going and I don't have to literally crawl in and out of the car. yeah, I know, there's something wrong with me.

[25] Who will be the FIRST to repost this?
Well, I was, duh

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

To Can or Not to Can

I always feel like I should be canning something when this time of year rolls around. Not that I, personally, have ever canned anything, or even have the slightest idea of what canning entails. All I remember is that there are big pots, hot water, glass jars, metal lids and tons of food. How all those ingredients get combined to store stuff up for the winter is a total mystery to me. I guess it's slowing turning into a lost art, huh? Who needs to can food when you can just pop over to whole foods for some yummy sushi or soup?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

A few weekends ago I was happily playing around with genealogy stuff, and it occurred to me to run a report to see what kind of funky names were in my files. I've learned a lot about how people like to name their children, especially when it comes to the Puritans. I have a lot of them in my ancestry.

For one thing, they liked to name their kids after themselves and their parents and siblings. Naturally this means you have the same 6 names occurring every generation. This makes it really fun and exciting for people like me who come along a few centuries later and try to figure it all out.

For instance, Thomas and Rebecca have as children, Thomas, Rebecca, Daniel, John. Those kids will have kids with all the same names, and so on and so on.

PLUS, they also had a habit of re-using a name if a child died young....so if Thomas and Rebecca had a Thomas, and he died as a baby, they would name their next kid Thomas!!!

It makes you REALLY appreciate it when someone gets creative with a name. Which I never thought I would do because I have always given my parents a hard time about my name, which is pretty unique. I never liked it because as a child I could never find things with my name on them like the other normal kids. No mini license plates for me....sigh.....I've since gotten over it and I use my name as a tool to know whether someone actually knows me or not...if you mis-pronounce my name I know you don't know me....pretty handy for the telemarketers....plus I really enjoy hearing them struggle over the name...:-D

Anyway, back to the unique names...so it's really SO handy when you are researching and you come across a unique name, for instance, I have this one guy, he is named "Squire Ide". And he named one of his daughters "Leaffe Ide". Now how about that?

And those puritans also liked to name their kids with abstract ideas, like:

Patience Alling
Thankful Andros
Deliverance Bliss
Freelove Bliss
Mercy Bliss
Preserved Capen
Wealthy Chase
Comfort Deming
Wait Hopkins
Deliverance Hayes
Experience Ide
Mindwell Mix
Love Royce

Well, I don't know how puritanical the people who named their kids "Wealthy" and "Freelove" were, but you get my point.

Those were the nice names though....I actually have people named this:

Lament Collins
Submit Collins
Savage Sutliff

You are going to name your kid "Lament"???? What a way to give them some nasty karma starting off in the world.

And then there are the people who clearly threw open the bible to a random page and pointed with their eyes closed:

Ithemar Andrus
Pelatiah Bliss
Zaccheus Bosworth
Zerviah Bowen
Asenath Collins
Keturah Collins
Manassah Collins
Ruhamah Collins
Zerujah Collins
Amasa Curtis
Keziah Hall
Jerusha Mather
Abinather Mix
Bathsheba Read
Benajah Royce
Huldah Royce
Hadassah Sprague

Now, come on. Did they hate their kids???

Finally it occurred to me to see how many relatives have my first name.....

I've got nearly 5,000 people in my database, going back more than a 1,000 years.

Want to know how many Leah's???


Including me.

There are more people named "Experience" and "Huldah" than Leah.

Anyway...the point is, think about what you are going to call your kids, because there may be a genealogist a few hundred years from now either grateful for your uniqueness, or wondering what was wrong with you.....like I wonder about the parents of Moroni Miner.....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Laughter is the Best Medicine

So anyway, my sister had a baby last week (more on that in another post), and I just had to share this. When we first got to the hospital, they put us (me, my sister, and my brother-in-law) into a triage room where they made sure she really was having a baby before they admitted her. So there was some machine hooked up to her belly that was measuring contractions, and it would spew out a print-out showing nice little bell curves every time she had one.

Time passed.....(not that long, but hey, how long can you stare at the TV looking at Hurricane Gustav).....so I started poking around in the drawers and stuff in the room, seeing if there was anything cool or handy that I could appropriate for my own personal use.

And then it happened.....out of a bottom drawer in the cart holding the contraction-measuring thingy, I pull out from a huge pile, this long thin metal hook, about a foot+ long. It made me think of the hook they used to pull people off of a stage in the old days.

As I'm opening my mouth to ask my sister what it is, my eyes spy the name of the instrument on the package just as she's telling me. Something absolutely horrendous that had the words "amniotic" piercing" "death" destruction" "armageddon", stuff like that. In horror I threw it back on the pile of like HUNDREDS of them, and slammed the door shut.

Something about the whole little episode must have really tickled my sister's fancy because she busted out laughing at me and completely RUINED a perfectly good contraction. Hopefully there won't be long-term damage to Gracie in any way.

Below is a picture of the ruined contraction showing all the perfect contractions that preceded it. So now we all know what happens if you laugh while giving birth.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Drowning in a Sea of Packing Peanuts

So anyway, I bought these two bookcases off the internet, ebay to be exact, because I made a vow to try and stop buying things new if I could buy them used.

Especially when it comes to furniture. Where this came from was an antique store my mom and I went to several weeks ago. I'd always seen it and been curious about it and when we went inside it was like a magical other world. A magical other world that you couldn't even think about affording. Not even a little bit.

But it was so beautiful, there was really unusual furniture and items in there. We passed by this massive baroque dining room set - huge table, massive sideboard, dark rich wood....it had just sold for half a million dollars. Yes, that would be HALF A MILLION DOLLARS. After that I was afraid to breathe in the place, but I couldn't help myself. Once we'd made it to the back room, the owner, who was ensconced in a leather library chair next to a bear rug, yes, a real bear rug, head and all, started talking to us, and I guess he doesn't get that many people to talk to because boy would he not stop. But anyway, he was talking about the quality of antiques, and the way wood used to be versus what it is now. He pointed out that furniture made generations ago was made from old wood - huge oaks for example. Nowadays, they have tree farms and they use young trees for wood because no one has the patience to let them grow for a few hundred years. And he said that totally affects the quality of the wood.

I pondered this for a moment, and you know, I think he's right! So right then I decided from now on, used stuff for me (when reasonable of course).

So I've been wanting a couple of small, narrow bookcases for the house and decided to go look at ebay after a few trips to local antique places (that were reasonably priced) didn't pan out. I found these two that just happened to be from the same seller and after MUCH angst I put in my bids. I was so nervous about buying something important like furniture on ebay; I hadn't seen it in real life, the seller was in Louisiana of all places.... But I figured this could be an experiment, after all, I researched the seller's ratings and all and they seemed reputable.

My two little oak bookcases arrived, originally from England, early 20th century, shipped to Louisiana, and now shipped to me. The seller did a great job packing and shipping, they sent them via UPS freight.

Of course, I then had much angst about that for a few days when I realized UPS freight means a UPS 18-wheeler. How was an 18-wheeler going to deliver to my house on my little cul-de-sac? There was no way!! But it all worked out, the guy parked on the main road, and used the little handtruck thingy to bring my box to the house because (and this is a quote) "it only weighed 100 pounds".

Boy do I need to start getting more exercise.

Anyway, after it was in my house, I realized I was staring at a 6 foot tall, 3 foot wide box. Well, two boxes that had been taped together. I opened the top (bottom) of the box on top and looked in. All I saw were packing peanuts. Millions and millions of packing peanuts. I managed to get the box sliced partway open, then put it on its side and drug out my bookcases. It then took me about 2 hours to get the packing peanuts back into the box.

Now what was I going to do with a 6 foot high box full of packing peanuts? And that's the weird thing...despite those two bookcases being in the box with the packing peanuts, they still managed to mostly fill up the box when I put them back in...how is that possible? I've always had trouble with volume, just never quite mastered the concept, and I think because of that, it affects me differently.

No, really. I'm serious.

ANY-HOO, online (where all solutions are), I managed to find out you can recycle your packing peanuts. So.......moral of the story is....uh, recycle your packing peanuts! They don't dissolve nicely or anything. Oh, and buy used!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Green Monster

I just got back from New Haven (had a mini-vacation) and there are three main things that I got out of the trip:

1. choose walking shoes wisely
2. there is no reason why cemeteries couldn't be more alphabetical-ish, or have at least SOME semblance of thought in how they are laid out, but no, it's all wheee, where should we bury this person, wheeee, let's put the next person WAY over here, wheeee, let's just put initials on this headstone, la la la...
and finally,
3. my allegiance is easily bought by beauty alone

I admit it, I am consumed with jealously. Yale is a beautiful campus, with beautiful buildings and it makes me sick. Not that I love my alma maters any less, nothing will take the place of penn state and pitt....but there was something extra up there....hmmm...maybe it's the smell of money.... :-D

Anyway, I have lots of pics and will post some of the highlights....

Monday, August 4, 2008

"To remain ignorant of things that happened before you were born is to remain a child."

Stop reading here if you are not a history buff (just a friendly warning, you will be bored, I promise you).

So I just finished reading this AWESOME book called Albion's Seed Four British Folkways in America. Yes I know, isn't that the most thrilling title you ever saw?? Of course I was drawn right too it in the Borders or wherever I was. It's paperback, but weighs about 87 pounds. It is, in every sense of the word, a tome. And I carried it all the way down to Jamaica, started reading it, carried it all the way back, read 2 different books, then finished it.

But I digress.....

So it was such a great book! It talked about the different groups of people that first came over to America from Great Britain, what their religions were, what their customs were, basically just what type of people they were, and how that shaped the regions and the history of colonial and revolutionary (and modern) america. I deal with these people (colonists) all the time in my genealogy research and most of them are just names and birth/death dates and places. Long lists of children, with the same damn name as the parents. So John and Elizabeth had children named John and Elizabeth. And let's say Elizabeth died young, then they would name the next girl who was born Elizabeth. You start to lose perspective. But you do start to appreciate unique names (thanks mom and dad for mine).

Anyway, it's so hard to picture them as real human beings that laugh and do stupid things (which is what comprises about 95% of my day). But this book actually gives you some insight into all that. The main four he discussed were the Puritans up in New England, the Anglicans down in Virginia/Maryland, the Quakers in the Delaware Valley and the Northern Britons that ended up in the Appalacians and South. He even discussed language and how it evolved (which of course I thought was so interesting, I love the history of the english language).

Very cool book, has really helped me gain a better understanding of why things are the way they are (and were) in colonial america. Highly recomended. If you are in to that sort of thing. And if you are not, I don't know why you are still reading this, don't even think about making fun of me because I am a dork. I know I am a dork, and I told you not to read this. Go on, go back amazon or wherever you were before.....and forget all about this. :-)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Payback is a B****

So the other day I was gloating over my wonderful win on Ebay. The next day I remembered that there was another book out there I had bid on. I went to check on it, and it suddenly occurred to me that it looked awfully familiar.....in fact, too familiar. Sure enough, after perusing one of my bookcases, there is was. I already owned it, I had bought it in a used bookstore in Pittsburgh.


Now, I know someone won't come in at the end and buy it out from under me and you know what? Now I own TWO of these very pretty turn-of-the-century books on Connecticut because just as I suspected, last night, no one bothered to try and steal this one out from under me.

That's what I get for my over-abundance of gloating the other day.

Oh and by the way, now I have a beautiful spreadsheet that lists what genealogy books I have.

My karma is always prompt. :-)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Honor Among Ebayers

I've had an eBay account for years and years and years, but only since January did it actually occur to me to look through it to see if there was cool stuff. I'm not really an "early adopter" I guess you could say....

So I find some cool things, I bought little golden books for my nephew, I found a cute little antique wood plant stand, and I even came across a postcard of the ship "Kronprinz Wilhelm" which is the ship one of my ancestors came over on at the beginning of the 20th century. I put it in a little frame and hung it - voila, instant history!

And all the transactions were pleasant, and the bidding process went easy.

BUT....when it comes to genealogy/history books....there are some RUDE people out there! Or maybe it just proves again why I am not cut out to be one of those shoppers that bargains with people or cuts other people out of the bargaining process. (Explains why the first car I ever bought was a Saturn - no bargaining process - thanks Saturn!!)

A couple months ago I found this book about New Haven Connecticut and since I have a lot of ancestors from there I thought it would be nice to have. I put in my bid, waited patiently and literally, literally with less than one minute to go, some person out of nowhere bids higher and I lost it!

I was SO upset!! How rude! You swoop in here at the last moment and steal my book? If you had any kind of manners you would have put your bid in like a normal person and waited patiently.

I know, this just shows how much I am not cut out for this kind of thing. But I don't do that!! I don't swoop in on other people's bidding and suddenly steal it out from under them!! I mean, there should be rules or something.

Of course, I just went to Alibris.com and found the same book there (signed by the author by the way) and got it for CHEAP, so THERE!

Last night the same thing almost happened again!!! I found this set of books on genealogy in New England - very helpful to have as a book, since when you buy these old books on CD you end up just printing it all out anyway because you have to make notes on it. Or you end up not being able to read the CD, thank you so much whatever dumb company did that to me. I have these CDs from the late 90s - unreadable. And this set of books was on one of them.

So I put a bid in - and I made it painfully high for myself. So the bidding continues, I'm in the lead and THEN, with less than a MINUTE to go, someone tries to swoop in and STEAL MY BOOKS!!! That I waited patiently 2 days for!!!

But, HAHA, my high bid was higher than yours jerk-o. The books are mine (and still for a reasonable price, all things considered).

I hope all you swoopers out there get the karma that is coming to you. AND, don't think I don't know it's just friends of the seller out to raise the price and if it backfires they just put it back out for sale. I didn't fall of the turnip truck yesterday buster.

Meanwhile though I'm going to go gloat over my win. Mwuah-ha-ha-ha-hah!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"I lost my ba-lance" "Oh, ya lost your ba-lance, eh?" "Yeah" "Well go find it!"

so the other night, I came home from work and was changing out of my work clothes as quickly as possible to shorts and a t-shirt....

and by the way, it's not like it was all that urgent and uncomfortable, I was in capris and a shirt, it's not like the old days when you were wearing a suit and blouse and...and....oh it's hard for me to even remember....pantyhose! ugh!! And wearing pointy toed shoes all day. What was wrong with me? I think I dressed like I was 50 when I was 22. At least at work. Now I can barely talk myself into not wearing the jean capris I save for friday casual day every single day. Back in the day, freshly into the 90s, I had this bright blue-green suit that I would wear a fuschia silk shell under. Ah, Charter Club, where have you gone? And pearls! I had pearl earrings, pearl necklaces, pearl bracelets. Oh my my my. I only have a couple of suits still, they are up in the attic, slowly oxidizing I hope. The fake pearls are still tucked away in my jewelery box because after all, I might need them one day, you know, maybe for halloween.....

But anyway, back to my story....so I go to put on the shorts and suddenly I'm in a Three Stooges show because I was yanking the shorts on so fast my foot wouldn't go down into the leg and the next thing you know I am tilting over like the Leaning Tower of Leah. It happened so slowly I actually had time to consider how I wanted to handle it.


1. Struggle to stay upright while standing on one foot with the other tangled hopelessly in the shorts and fall face first into the carpet instead.
2. Accept the fall and land on my left side on the open carpet
3. Lean back as I fall and hit the bed, but then bounce off of it and land on my face on the carpet.

So I went with Option 2 and landed on my side, both hands still trying to hold the shorts and one leg through them, the other tangled up in them.

I decided to just lay there for a moment, you know, and evaluate things. Like, would the rug burn on my left leg show or were my various pairs of capris long enough?

While I was laying there, my one cat came up to me, apparently she had been observing the entire show all this time, thanks so much for throwing yourself underneath me to break my fall Patches, and immediately started playing not with, but in my hair. She loves when I lay on the floor because she thinks that means I am the latest cat toy. It's been a great excuse as to why I am unable to do any kind of exercise that involves floor work. Oh, and because I am such a softie, Patches still has ALL her razor sharp pointy claws....

Moral of the Story:

There is no need to rush when putting on shorts.

Oh, and here's a little Three Stooges to remind you how awesome they were:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet."

Well, I'll tell you what's in a name if you're researching genealogy .....EVERYTHING!! So I have this one family line - Samuel Kirby is as far back as it goes, and he lived in the 1800s in Waterloo, New York. Considering I have other family lines that literally go back to the 1200s, it really annoys me when there are people that close in time that are a brick wall to me. I figured maybe he went by other spellings, like Kirkby or Kerby, but nooooo, nothing.

Finally I went to the 1860 census for the town of Waterloo and manually looked at every single page (116 in total), and what do you know not a single Kirby, not even un-related ones...but then I got to page 113:

Kirway? That doesn't sound anything like Kirby! But on the next page were all the kids.

so two options here....maybe the family just decided one day to start using Kirby. This isn't that strange, people were pretty loose with spelling until dictionaries got real popular. I have another line where one day they started spelling Redke as Redcay. At least I know how to pronounce Redke, huh?

Or, it was a terrible census taker who wrote it down totally wrong, for shame.

I remember once for years and years I couldn't find some people with the last name of Kleylein in a census. It made no sense because I KNEW they were there. Eventually, I did another of these line by line checks and sure enough there they were, but when the transcriber had listed their names, they wrote it as Cleylein because that's how it's pronounced. But then, there was a dash through the line that made the "l" look like a "t".

Anyway, I'm really really happy to find this Kirway. Next step will be to figure out if it's just a mis-spelling or what....

Moral of the story?

Don't believe it when you get back "0" results for your search. What you're looking for is out there somewhere....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it.

Sometimes I wonder if my life path is the correct one....maybe I made some sort of wrong turn somewhere a couple decades ago and now here I am. If only I had played softball in high school and not run track, or if I had stuck with the violin, or if I had decided to go blond when I was 20 rather than waiting.... Where would I be now?

I'm pretty sure I should be doing something where I research.....stuff. You know, whatever needs to be researched. I am willing to drop whatever I'm doing (thank goodness I don't work in a lab with anthrax or mrsa, or cutting diamonds or something) the minute someone around me makes some sort of statement requiring verification, or god forbid, they actually ask me if I know something.

I have channeled this need to find out stuff over the years into genealogy, occasionally forcing friends and acquaintances to learn more about their heritage when I needed a break from mine.

But every once in a while I feel this funny sort of feeling like I'm supposed to be actually doing something with this need....should I be in academia somewhere, writing dissertations on arcane medieval arguments? Should I be a professional genealogist? I'm pretty sure they make less than librarians, so there goes that idea. Someone has to pay the bills, and those lazy pets of mine do nothing, absolutely nothing, to contribute to the mortgage despite lazing around in air conditioning, popping little kitty bonbons into their mouths while I'm here at work, slaving over a hot keyboard.

That's why I went and got the MLIS degree, so I could be ready for whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing.....once I figure it out that is...

In the meantime, I found this great blog by this professional genealogist who is also a medievalist. He talks about stuff I'm interested in. Maybe I will be inspired one day by a posting and find my true calling....or maybe I'll win the lottery.

*Reminder to self....start playing the lottery.....it's hard to win it if you don't play...

A Genealogist's Sketchbook

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mostly Happy Valley

Yeah, so I went up to Penn State for the long holiday weekend. I'm really not one of those people that constantly wants to go visit old schools and such. But once in a while is nice because I didn't just graduate from Penn State, I was there when I was little going to kindergarten while my dad was getting his degree there.

Plus, the other thing that is so annoying is you see how good college kids have it today, those annoying young whippersnappers...computers and wireless everywhere, lounge seating like you're in barnes and noble in the library, new classroom buildings that look amazingly like office buildings, all the way down to conference rooms with those really expensive chairs - you know which one's I'm talking about, they are so bouncy and comfortable, you almost think you could make it through the all day meeting without freaking out on the person next to you who has this irritating little dry cough but they never get any water.

And speaking of coughs, I got one while up there. Normally I love staying in a hotel room where the vent blows on me, I like the feeling of fresh air...but the Nittany Inn had this vent that had the strength of a thousand suns. I went to sleep thursday night feeling fine, and woke up friday with this "cough". Plus my chest was tight, which is not something I ever felt except when I had the whooping cough several years back (no, I'm not kidding, I managed to get whooping cough as an adult and let me tell you - NOT FUN NOT FUN NOT FUN). But anyway, not to drag out the story, I ended up getting a cough, fever, the mess. Or maybe it's legionnaire's disease. I'll have to look it up.

But on a fun note, we discovered by accident, that State College has the number 2 fireworks in the country, right behind New York City. Who knew???? So apparently like 70,000 people poured into happy valley on friday to watch this fireworks show. Naturally we were skeptical, having been at disney world over july 4th, and really, who could top that....Well, it was 45 minutes long, which I have to admit was probably the longest fireworks ever, and the finale really was a "Finale". Very impressive. My honest opinion? It could have been a bit shorter... Not to be a grinch or anything, but too much of a good thing is still too much. But very impressive.

Other than that....library was in good shape, although it still has that annoying entrance they put on the back of it that they try to say is the main entrance. I'll fight that til my dying day. Stacks are still the same. Willard building - still annoying. but always weird not to see the willard preacher standing out front. Strange new computer science building still strange and new, and incongruous right behind the old frat houses that look so stately (at least from the outside).

Other than the slight case of bubonic plague, it was a nice visit.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Local Harvest

grant me a small moment on my soapbox:

buy local buy local buy local!!! It's good for everyone! :-)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

"Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten."

So a few years back, maybe it was somewhere around 2003-2004, I ordered this bookcase through a catalog. I'd bought other small pieces of furniture through this particular catalog and had been very happy.

But this was supposed to be one of those barrister type bookcases and although it looked good, it really couldn't be used or even touched much. Rather than one solid piece of furniture, it was pieces, all supposedly securely attached to each other.

My movers, the last time I moved, did an amazing thing transporting it, they wound all kinds of those elastic straps around it and plastic-wrapped it all up and it made it to the new house. I was shocked, I was sure it would be trash.

Finally I ordered a real bookcase to replace it and it came the other day. This one is nice and solid, although the back of it and the top appear to not be wood, but that flimsy stuff you always find at the back of furniture nowadays. What's so hard about finding a piece of solid wood furniture? That doesn't cost like $10000 of course...that must be the hard part, huh?

I could get on a tirade about now on how cheaply everything is made, like the desk that this computer is sitting on right now...I keep the monitor to one side because I'm afraid the middle will bow if I keep it in the middle....and how the sides are cracked because they are even real wood, but the fake stuff. And it wasn't cheap either!!!

I'm thinking that from now on I should only buy furniture from estate sales or antique stores because at least it would be solidly made. You young whipper-snappers today don't know how to make things that last more than 5 years.

Of course there is the slight problem in that I really don't need any more furniture in my house, soon it will start looking like a flea market stall if I don't reign myself in. Might be time for a nice clean-out.
Oh wait, I do need a bed for the loft so it can be a guest bedroom as well...whew, I thought I was in trouble there for a moment...and I will need a desk chair soon, the one I am sitting on now I've had for about 10 years. It's one of those cheap cloth covered one's from Office Depot or Staples, and I bought it when I was in my pine-pier-one phase, so it totally doesn't match anything I have anymore. I hate to give it up though because my one cat LOVES it, and when I say LOVES it, I mean she likes to use her claws to climb up the back of it and perch on one of the little arm rests while I'm working here. And the fabric is some sort of magic anti-cat-claw fabric that they would never make a sofa out of, no, never, so it doesn't look like anythings wrong with it. How is that possible? And that's why I hate to give it up. But the one arm rest is totally broken now and sticks up at a 45 degree angle (making it difficult to perch upon) and it makes scary I'm-just-about-ready-to-collapse noises when I lean back to thoughfully ponder some bon mot I'm about to dazzle the world or my co-workers with....

Anyway, here are the before and after pics of the bookcase, plus one of the chair before I sat it in so much it wore out (like from about 8 years ago):

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh!"

Yesterday I took the train. It's kind of like going back to another era. I had to travel from Philadelphia to Boston for a work conference and there was just no way I was going to get on a flight, the domestic airlines are horrible. So I took the train, and it was just lovely. I had a seat in business class, the seats were roomy, there was a TON of legroom, I was able to sit right below my luggage, and it left and arrived on time.

What more could you ask? It did take me 6 1/2 hours, I didn't take an acela because there wasn't one when I wanted to leave, but hey, I didn't have to get to the station 2 hours ahead of time just to be delayed.

I was excited to see what Connecticut would look like since I had never seen it and I have so much family history there. It pretty much looked like pennsylvania, except up here in new england, they do still have the little towns with the church steeple sticking up through the trees. Amazing. Plus, I also saw crazy people going into the freezing cold atlantic ocean. All I could think of as we zipped by the beaches was "you're gonna need a bigger boat". The scene from the train window looked just like the movie.

When I arrived at the station here I went to get a cab to the hotel and the guy out front pauses for a second and then tells me my hotel is really in walking distance, just over the bridge and he points down the street. I was so pleased and thanked him. So I started walking.....

and walking....

and walking....

up hill,

through the snow storm

and the hurricane

but eventually I made it.

Okay okay, so it was only .71 miles (yes, I mapquested it), but you roll your suitcase behind you for .71 miles and trust me, it feels like a lot more.

But it's a Westin hotel and they have nice rooms and nice bedding. Just missing a safe. What happened to in-room safes? Am I supposed to carry my jewels and furs with me wherever I go? Come on hotels, but back the laptop sized in-room safes, what's wrong with you?

Had a wonderful dinner with everyone last night at Rabia's in North Boston, and then some of us walked a bit and saw Paul Revere's house. It was really green. I somehow don't think that it was an authentic 18th century green. I mean, the whole house was green. What's up with that? But it was on an authentic cobblestone street, so it looked old and history-ish. Below is a picture, you will have to trust me when I tell you it really is green....

There was also this guy going on loudly to his disinterested friends about the history here, and isn't it great to see the history and this is real history and blah blah blah.

Then we made the interesting decision to walk from Paul Revere's house in North Boston back to our hotel.....in South Boston.

So we walked, and walked, and then for good measure, we walked a little bit longer. Eventually we saw a giant milk bottle, and knew we were near home. Yay Westin bedding!

And no I'm not kidding about the giant milk bottle...if I weren't so tired, I would have checked out exactly what it was. Was it a milk bar? Some post-apocalyptic watering hole where I meet up with some friends to get ready for a bit of the old ultraviolence oh my brothers.

Okay time to sign off!!

and by the way, here's the milk bottle, no I wasn't hallucinating: