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.