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 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 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'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! :-)