Friday, January 27, 2017

research reboot

I had a DNA test done through in October, and after I got the results, it seemed as if I was suddenly drowning in data. There are so many family lines to research I was jumping from one to the next and generally giving myself ADD. As the new year approached I knew I would have to change some things to become more efficient at translating my research into proof and creating readable stories. I picked up Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-Over Workbook a few weeks ago and found it to be just what I needed to maybe get my genealogy mess in order. I'm starting my "do-over" a bit later than January 2, but it's just a happy coincidence that a group do-over is happening at the same same as my own re-boot. I may not follow the curriculum exactly, but I can view comments on the Facebook group for helpful hints along the way and maybe pick up some new research links.

I spent the last few weeks reviewing my past methods for taking notes, entering data, and citing sources, as well as thinking about what time of day would be best for working on genealogy. I looked at different note taking methods, research logs, and genealogical software. I think the software review is scheduled for May, but I see several programs now have a way to enter a research log and a to-do list that I think I would prefer over a spreadsheet. I might as well get started on creating good work habits as soon as possible. I also spent time upgrading my current programs and making sure everything is getting backed up.

Part of the do-over is setting aside previous research so you can see facts and sources with fresh eyes. I put most of my paper files into boxes and just kept out some things related to my immediate family, and I'm going to try to avoid looking at the family tree I created on I will either start a new tree on their site or at home with whatever software I end up getting.

I think I'm almost ready for February.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

how i spent my summer vacation

.....and all of autumn on in to early winter.

Last year I had the sad duty of moving my 87-year-old mother into a facility for dementia patients. She had lived with me for about 15 years, so I had to get used to her not being in the house. About the same time my 15-year-old dog died, so I had a lot of sadness to deal with.

Life goes on. I adopted a rescued dog and began renovating my mom's old room.

Mom's messy & dark room

I knew I wanted to remove the wallpaper border and paint the room a lighter color. My new puppy also had some accidents on the carpet, which seemed to activate the smell of every previous accident from the previous dogs who lived here. No amount of baking soda, vinegar or Nature's Miracle could get rid of the entire smell. The carpet and padding had to be removed and trashed. I decided I wouldn't replace the carpet; instead I would use an acid stain to add color to the concrete floor and I hoped it would be easier to keep clean.

I watched a lot of videos on You Tube, and staining looked pretty easy. It's the preparation that's murder.


I won't go into all the problems I had with my floor. I did learn more about concrete than I ever expected to know. I repaired the holes from the carpet's tack strips and hairline cracks from aging. I sanded off a lot of 35-year-old old joint compound and paint spatter, but I couldn't remove the stains from the old carpet glue. I ended up resurfacing the floor with a concrete and a pool trowel. The floor didn't come out as I expected, but I think it looks pretty nice. I wanted it to look like stone or rocks.

While I wasn't working on the floor I removed the wallpaper border, repaired holes in the wall, and primed and painted it. I replaced the very low-hanging ceiling fan with a smaller but brighter ceiling light fixture. I removed all the baseboards and door molding and repaired and repainted it. I have arthritis in my back and hands so I could only do a limited amount of work each day. I was constantly reminding myself of Lao Tzu's proverb that "the thousand mile journey begins with a single step." It took almost five months to complete most of the work, but today I have a new craft and sewing room. The tiny room that was my combination office-studio-junk collector is now becoming an efficient place for doing "office" stuff like scanning and organizing my genealogical research.

I still need to sort through all the shoe boxes on the shelves and make some curtains. For now I'm using Mom's old card table as a work surface.

Monday, January 2, 2017

happy new year

Maybe I will post more pics here this year just to remind myself of the weird toys I pick up on my daily walks. Just a thought, Not a resolution.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

sometimes politics can't take a back seat

"I listened as they called my President a Muslim.
I listened as they called him and his family a pack of monkeys.
I listened as they said he wasn't born here.
I watched as they blocked every single path to progress that they could.
I saw the pictures of him as Hitler.
I watched them shut down the government and hurt the entire nation twice.
I watched them turn their backs on every opportunity to open worthwhile dialog.
I watched them say that they would not even listen to any choice for Supreme Court no matter who the nominee was.
I listened as they openly said that they will oppose him at every turn.
I watched as they did just that.
I listened.
I watched.
I paid attention.
Now, I'm being called on to be tolerant.
To move forward.
To denounce protesters.
To 'Get over it.'
To accept this...
I will not.
I will do my part to make sure this great American mistake becomes the embarrassing footnote of our history that it deserves to be.
I will do this as quickly as possible every chance I get.
I will do my part to limit the damage that this man can do to my country.
I will watch his every move and point out every single mistake and misdeed in a loud and proud voice.
I will let you know in a loud voice every time this man backs away from a promise he made to them.
Them. The people who voted for him.
The ones who sold their souls and prayed for him to win.
I will do this so that they never forget.
And they will hear me.
They will see it in my eyes when I look at them.
They will hear it in my voice when I talk to them.
They will know that I know who they are.
They will know that I know what they are.
Do not call for my tolerance. I've tolerated all I can.
Now it's their turn to tolerate ridicule.
Be aware, make no mistake about it, every single thing that goes wrong in our country from this day
forward is now Trump's fault just as much as they thought it was Obama's.
I find it unreasonable for them to expect from me what they were entirely unwilling to give."

Author unknown. (Copy and Paste Everywhere)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

the little monster

Doesn't this look like some cute little shaggy dog you'd love to pet?
Don't Do It!

This is the furry puss caterpillar of Megalopyge opercularis, the Southern Flannel Moth, and it is considered to be the most venomous caterpillar in the United States.

Must be the season for me to see weird bugs

As I've learned from experience, if a caterpillar is fuzzy, spiky, or begging to be petted, you should avoid it like the plague or be prepared to face Pain. Or as WIRED put it: Never Touch Anything That Looks Like Donald Trump's Hair.

This worm had an interesting brown stripe along its back, which included the tail. Looked like a Mohawk haircut. It was crawling around the withered top of a spider lily in my back yard, perhaps looking for a place to attach itself prior to morph into THIS.
I got a short video of this creature on my phone but forgot & turned it the wrong way.  When I went back outside to redo the video the critter had vanished.  So, apologies for making you turn sideways to view it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Spiny Backed Orb Weaver

Gasteracantha cancriformis
Earlier in the week it was Spider Lillies, now it's an actual Spider. Another first for me, seeing one of these "smiley face" spiders in real life. This one is pretty small, maybe 1/4 inch in diameter. I almost missed the spider, but couldn't miss the beautiful web.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

return of the spider lillies

Three spider lillies popped up and bloomed early last week. A few more appeared later in the week. A grand total of 6 or 7 plants this year; nothing like last year. Maybe it was the unusually wet weather we had in August this year.