Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Gracie!

We celebrated my niece's 1st birthday yesterday. There was an abundance of balloons, little girl clothing and champagne, so all in all, a great party. My nephew was a trooper throughout it all, we kept reminding him that his birthday (his 4th) would be coming up soon and then he would have his own balloons and cake and he handled it pretty well!

My sister totally overhauled the highchair, I think she should leave it like this all the time!!

The birthday girl got flowers sent to her for the first time, I think she liked them!

As with most little ones, she could care less about the presents, she really like the green tissue paper, walked around with it clutched in her hand for a while!

Here's one of the sweet little hats she got from her Nana, the other one has ostrich feathers on it, so cute! Notice the little yellow baby bottle in her hand...what I didn't get a picture of was her putting it to her mouth and throwing her head back as if she was downing a shot. I can't imagine where she gets that from in this family! :-)

And here is her stoic older brother, gazing INTENTLY at the birthday cakes (one for us, one for Gracie to destroy)...

Birthday girl liked her cake!!

But definitely liked the whisk best of all, I guess it was just right to gnaw on for those pesky front teeth that are coming in!!

Happy 1st Birthday Gracie!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Scanning for Posterity is WORK

So I finally began to scan old pictures that I have, and by old I mean pre-digital. I kept putting if off because I wanted to do it RIGHT, and I'm nothing if not a procrastinating perfectionist (thanks SO much Dad [for the perfectionist part, not the procrastinating part, that's all me]).

So I picked up a pile of pics that my Aunt Becky took on a trip to the finger lakes region back in 1995. We took my grandmother up there and took pictures of all the houses she lived in as a child, her first apartment with my grandfather, stuff like that. I have my own set of pics somewhere, these just happened to be nearby. My grandmother did not live in an insignificant number of houses. She grew up during the depression and they rented and moved constantly from place to place, probably wherever there was work for her father. She refers to the different houses by the name of the landlord, so for instance, in 1929, they lived in "the Tucker house".

So, 70 pictures.

Scanned at 600 dpi, saved in TIF format.

Final folder size is 2.84 GB.

So I guess I'll be buying an external drive sooner rather than later, huh?

Plus, it took HOURS and HOURS of time, because not only could I scan them, but I had to put a bit of white at the bottom of each picture and label it. So now, when I win the lottery and head off to live in BoraBora, someone can come behind me and actually know what each picture is.

I have to admit, it sorta felt like work a little bit, but I kept telling myself it was for a Good Cause and Future Generations of Genealogists.

Probably it would have been faster if I didn't have the tv on, for instance, now I have Body Double on and I keep getting distracted. It was on On Demand and I was curious, Melanie Griffith is so YOUNG, I wonder if this was her first film? I'm not the biggest Brian DePalma fan, I like Carrie, but that's probably it.

Sorry, see, I got distracted. So there's my first scanning project, complete.

And here's a few pics for your viewing pleasure:

Friday, August 14, 2009

Faithful Office Chair, RIP (1997-2009)

Today, this tragedy occurred:

Some of you may recall, I've mentioned in the recent past that bolts have been falling out of the bottom of the chair, and the armrest has been spinning around on one bolt. My sister once witnessed it actually come apart while I was sitting in it. Of course, we jammed some bolts and stuff back in to where seemed appropriate and it was 'fine' after that. I guess it has finally come to an end!

I tried balancing the armrest back on the two metal bolts, but it's no use, this chair is no more! It has ceased to be. It's expired and gone to meet its maker. It's a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. It should be pushing up the daisies. Its metabolic processes are now history. It has kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible!!

This EX-Chair.

Time to shop.

It's not like it matches anything, or has for the past 6 or so years. In the meantime I hope I don't accidentally lean on the metal bolts. Or trip on the rug and puncture my lung or something. I do tend to do klutzy things at home. Maybe I should get the duct tape out...or I guess I could actually purchase a new chair. But then I'd have to decide what type of chair to get. Maybe I could tape a small pillow...

Poor chair! :-D You held me up for years! Thanks!!!

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun on a Sunday!

I'm a day late, but this looked like fun to figure out! I'm talking about Randy Seaver's latest suggestion:

1) List your 16 great-great-grandparents in pedigree chart order. List their birth and death years and places.

2) Figure out the dominant ethnicity or nationality of each of them.

3) Calculate your ancestral ethnicity or nationality by adding them up for the 16 - 6.25% for each (obviously, this is approximate).

Yes, I admit it. I hate math, but love statistics. I'm nothing if not confused!

Unfortunately, I don't have all 16 because I've still got a few brick walls to figure out, but this is what I have now:

1. Adam Domelle: born bet. 1850 - 1860 in Austro-Hungarian Empire; married in Austro-Hungarian Empire; died in Austro-Hungarian Empire.

2. Christine Reiser: born bet. 1850 - 1860 in Austro-Hungarian Empire.

3. John Francis Mix: born 09 Mar 1830 in Ithaca, Tompkins County, NY; married aft. 1854; died 1906 in Tioga County, NY.

4. Mary Ellen Cook: born 19 Feb 1840 in Tioga County, NY; married aft. 1854; died Jun 1925 in NY.

5. John Francis Akins: born 13 Mar 1841 in NY; died 13 Feb 1890.
UNKNOWN, prob. ENGLISH (could be English, Irish or Scottish - "Akins" is spelled a multitude of ways in the records)

6. Hattie Elizabeth Kirby: born 19 Mar 1866 in NY; married 17 Apr 1885; died 04 Jun 1963 in NY.

7. Nimrod Harrision, Jr.: born 19 Apr 1839 in Mt. Airy, Carroll County, MD; married 28 Nov 1860 in Frederick County, MD; died 1919 in Taylorsville, Carroll County, MD.

8. Sarah C. Watkins: 22 Aug 1845 in MD; married 28 Nov 1860 in Frederick County, MD; died 1931 in Taylorsville, Carroll County, MD.

9. Johann Andreas Kleylein-Weltdicker: born 04 Oct 1820 in Unterrodach, Oberfranken, Bayern, Germany; married 07 Mar 1858 in Unterrodach, Oberfranken, Bayern, Germany; died 26 Feb 1886 in Unterrodach, Oberfranken, Bayern, Germany.

10. Katharina Schaller: born 24 Aug 1833 in Unterrodach, Oberfranken, Bayern, Germany; married 07 Mar 1858 in Unterrodach, Oberfranken, Bayern, Germany; died 15 May 1919 in Unterrodach, Oberfranken, Bayern, Germany.

11. John Pawlak: born 24 Jun 1850 in Posen, Poland; married 30 Jan 1876 in St. Adalbert's Chicago, Cook County, IL; died 20 Apr 1911 in Hale Township, McLeod County, MN.

12. Branislawa Lewandowski: born 30 Sep 1856 in Posen, Poland; married 30 Jan 1876 in St. Adalbert's Chicago, Cook County, IL; died 13 Mar 1910 in Hale Township, McLeod County, MN.

13. John Pokornowski: born 21 Dec 1856 in Starawies, Gniezno, Poland; married 25 May 1881 in St. Adalbert's, Silver Lake, McLeod County, MN; died 21 Jan 1939 in Geneseo, Sargent County, ND.

14. Pelagia Kautz: born 11 Mar 1864 in Posen, Poland; married 25 May 1881 in St. Adalbert's, Silver Lake, McLeod County, MN; died 15 Jan 1964 in Breckenbridge, Wilkin County, MN.
POLISH nationalities come out to:

English: 3 (21%)
German: 3 (21%)
Polish: 4 (29%)
Unknown: 4 (29%)

Now, if I'm right about my unknowns, it changes to this:

English: 6 (43%)
German: 4 (29%)
Polish: 4 (29%)

Of my English g-g-grandparent's, one line I know for sure is from Colonial New England (the Mix line). Two others (Harrison and Watkins) are from Colonial Virginia, which as you know, can't be any more different than the people that immigrated to New England. If you want to know more about the differences, I read this AWESOME book that gave me great perspective: Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: A Cultural History), by David Hackett Fischer. It's not an easy read, but I thought it was well worth it.

One thing this listing has helped me with is that I still have some major holes to fix in some of my New York lines! Hopefully my visit to the Tioga County Historical Society in a few weeks will help with that!

Friday, August 7, 2009

My Brain Hurts...

I grew up watching Monty Python shows because my dad watched them. Each episode I would wait patiently for the animated sequences because when I was younger, that was all I found funny, it took a few years to grow up and get the humor of the live sketches.

One phrase (of many that my mother is sick of hearing) is from one of their "gumby" sketches. Mr. Gumby was always this guy wearing a handkerchief on his head, with a little brush mustache who talked funny. Yeah, I know, it doesn't sound funny when I describe it, but it is. I always liked the one sketch where the gumby guy said "My brain hurts."

Unfortunately for me, sometimes my brain does hurt, I guess that's why that phrase always stuck with me. I've had migraines since I was 17 years old. They started after a car accident I was in where I had a head injury. Tests showed no reason for the headaches, but I've had them ever since.

My special triggers seem to be irregular sleep schedule, dehydration, hormones and stress. I manage the sleep schedule pretty well. I screw up on the dehydration one if I have too much fun drinking alcohol and don't get enough water. Or if I skip a meal and don't get enough to drink during the day. Hormones? Well, that's one reason to look forward to menopause I guess!!! Stress? Not so easy to manage. I left my last job because my stress was through the roof, for years. My current job is wonderful, but we do have an intense project coming up in the next few months that I think has given me some small flashbacks to the old days at the previous job. So maybe I am a little more stressed than usual.

Oh, and I forgot to mention barometric pressure! Apparently I am sensitive to sudden drops in barometric pressure. I don't think that doctors officially accept that yet, or at least there's not well-documented studies out there, but I don't need that, I know it's true. Also, abrupt changes in weather, like a sudden heat/humidity wave will get me. Oh, and sinus pressure. Oh, and when it's sunny, and also when it rains. :-D

I don't get the aura that lots of people with migraines get, I get sensitive to sound and all irritable (yes, more than usual, haha). That's how I know one is coming. You know those scenes in movies or shows where like, there's a drip from the faucet and the camera starts to slowly zoom in on the drip hitting a pan in the sink and it gets louder and louder like it's beating a drum? That's what I get like with sounds around me, I cannot abide rhythmic sounds like that when I'm pre-headachy. And for some reason I try to act all normal and live my life and that takes SO MUCH ENERGY because I try to save the medication for when I actually have a headache so as not to waste it, when really, after 8 decades of living through this I should just take the damn pill when I know one is coming. But that's how a brain works I guess!

So yes, I've got a medication that works for me, and has for several years now. But of course the insurance companies only pay for nine pills per month, so there's always that fear. Also, in the past few years I find that after I take the pills I tend to get weepy. Weepy is the best word for it because it's that special kind of girl-weepy where girl movies or those commercials that show shelter animals where what's-her-name that sings the sad songs tells you about all these poor animals makes you just SOB like your best friend, dog, parents, and siblings all simultaneously passed away just after telling you that you were adopted and they never really liked you. It's really wallowing, trust me.

It's been on my mind lately because I seem to be going through a phase where I'm getting them a lot. It occurred to me today that I might actually have a sinus infection that just doesn't have a lot of symptoms so I guess I should go to the doctor...

I remember years ago one of my doctors telling me that they just don't know for sure what goes on with a migraine and blah blah blah and what it comes down to is that for whatever reason, my nervous system is more sensitive to stimuli. Kind of like how an asthmatic is more sensitive to air quality I guess.

The point of this post today? No point I guess, just blogging about what's on my mind. I haven't had a lot of energy for genealogy research or genealogy bloggings while struggling the past few weeks and I miss it. Hopefully I can pull my crap together here and get over this particular phase. Oh, and it would be cool too if the migraines would just go away completely. That would be awesome! I promise, I would use my new found time and energy only for good. :-)

Meanwhile, I can't bring up Monty Python and not show my favorite song:

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Why is Very, Very Accurate

I was on the other day looking up a phrase (please, don't ask, I was sorry I knew what it meant once I looked it up, let's just move on, shall we?) and I found that my first name was actually on there! That's odd, I thought, what could my name possibly mean in a hip and urban language?

The first definition is this:

To describe something of such superb standards it almost cannot be described by any word or sentence or onomatopoeia in the English language.

Oh man, look at that Leah!

She soooo sexy!!!!

Imagine my delight and surprise!!

There were several other definitions, not quite as accurate as this one, with things in them like:

"...Leah = pretty and thin even though she may not think so."

"...May bite and twitch if provoked."

"...extremely attracted to shiny material, especially coins."

"...Of latin origin meaning someone who did a bad job with their due diligence."

Who knew? :-)