Monday, July 04, 2016

Da-dum.....da-dum.....da-dum-da-dum-da-dum-da-dum-da-dum.

This morning I asked my daughters if they could remember what our family did to celebrate the 4th of July exactly forty years ago. Neither one could, of course, and they were astounded that I remember. As it happens, it's the only 4th of July ever that I can recall with any specificity. Even last year's holiday has escaped me.

On this day forty years ago, in 1976, America was celebrating the United States Bicentennial, the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. We lived in Farmingdale, New York, then. It was hot that summer. While many of our fellow Long Islanders spent the 4th at the beach, we headed off instead to the coolness of a second-run movie theater. We'd missed a blockbuster the summer before, and this was our chance to see what all the hoopla had been about.

At first we sat in near darkness, listening to the whispering of parents passing out candy brought from home, hearing the crinkling of candy wrappers and the tinkling of ice in paper cups, wishing everyone around us would be quiet so we could watch the previews. Then the movie started. and everyone did get quiet. Except for occasional audience-wide gasps and screams, they were quiet until the film ended.

That was the day we saw Jaws. Forty years later I only have to think about it for a moment to get shivers running up and down my spine.


Happy Independence Day to you! I hope you're having a great time with your family today. Don't eat the potato salad if it's sat too long in the heat, be careful if you're creating your own fireworks display, and be oh-so watchful if you're about to step into the ocean.

Monday, June 27, 2016

DNA? Do. Not. Ask!

Near the end of April, when Ancestry.com had a sale on DNA testing, I decided to go for it. I mailed a tube of saliva to Ancestry and got the results a short five and a half weeks later. There were no surprises except that I'm more Irish than I knew. Given my love of all things Irish, I'm happy about  that.

Here's my "ethnicity estimate":




While I waited for the results to come in, I decided it was time to take the plunge and put my genealogy database online. I'd read several reports that the genealogy software I was using was not properly exporting files to Ancestry, so I didn't even try. I began entering names, dates and places one item at a time.

From the very beginning, I couldn't see my family information in tree form. I had recently become unable to load photos on Facebook and to view YouTube videos. Something was obviously wrong with my computer.

I plodded on. It was slow going, but I had time. I worked on my family tree every day, and every day I lost one more capability. Eventually, I could no longer even enter information into the Ancestry database.

My computer was seven years old, something of a record in my technological experience. After much consideration, I bought a new one--same brand, newest model--and began the process of setting it up like the one that's nearing death. What a nightmare!

I had two genealogy programs on the old computer. Neither one is compatible with the new computer's operating system. What's more, the manufacturers don't plan to issue any newer versions. I opted for a different program on the new computer. It works, but I don't like it much.

I've had two printers for years: an old laser printer that's economical for black and white prints and an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier for color printing. The old laser printer isn't compatible with the new computer, and I couldn't tell about the color printer because one of its six ink cartridges was empty, so it wouldn't work. I bought a new yellow cartridge to replace the empty one, then the printer gave me a message that the light magenta and light cyan cartridges had "expired" and the printer would not operate with expired cartridges. I made another trip to Walmart to buy ink cartridges. They only had four of the six color cartridges. You want to guess which two colors were missing? Yep, light cyan and light magenta. Days later, after all the new ink had been installed, after an hour of tinkering with cables and printer drivers, the expensive-to-use color printer now works with the new computer. The laser printer still works with the old computer.

My attempts to follow directions and transfer my email mailboxes and messages to the new computer were dismal failures. For now I'm checking email on the old computer until I can summon the mental fortitude to call tech support services.

In the meantime, I'm still entering one name at a time into Ancestry's database. So far I've accounted for about one-eighth of the people on my suddenly obsolete software, with about another seven thousand to go. The good news is I can now view my ancestors in brightly colored tree form. The bad news is I don't seem to have inherited the luck of all those Irish ancestors.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

What I've Been Reading

Holy moly, Mama, I've missed most of the month of May! Time seems to pass so much more quickly than it did when I was young. Some days I enjoy that phenomenon; other days, not so much.  

May has been a busy month--if one doesn't equate busyness with productivity. I've done a lot of genealogy housekeeping, a lot of TV-series-finale watching, and (the best part) a lot of reading.

Let's look at the books and call this a post:

Out of the Shadows
by Diane Greenwood Muir

https://www.amazon.com/Out-Shadows-Bellingwood-Book-12-ebook/dp/B019SLK6EG?ie=UTF8&keywords=out%20of%20the%20shadows%20muir&qid=1464464000&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1


Vignettes - Out of the Shadows
by Diane Greenwood Muir

https://www.amazon.com/Out-Shadows-Bellingwood-Book-12-ebook/dp/B019SLK6EG?ie=UTF8&keywords=out%20of%20the%20shadows%20muir&qid=1464464000&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1


Unexpected Riches
by Diane Greenwood Muir

https://www.amazon.com/Unexpected-Riches-Bellingwood-Book-13-ebook/dp/B01DELYEDK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1464464202&sr=8-1&keywords=unexpected+riches+diane+greenwood+muir


A Funeral for an Owl
by Jane Davis

https://www.amazon.com/Funeral-Owl-Jane-Davis-ebook/dp/B00GF4TBRI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1464464287&sr=8-1&keywords=a+funeral+for+an+owl


Finding Jake
by Bryan Reardon

https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Jake-Novel-Bryan-Reardon-ebook/dp/B00KPVB4MM?ie=UTF8&qid=1464464352&ref_=tmm_kin_title_0&sr=8-1


The Dirty Parts of the Bible
by Sam Torode

https://www.amazon.com/Dirty-Parts-Bible-Novel-ebook/dp/B003K15MO0?ie=UTF8&qid=1464464428&ref_=tmm_kin_swatch_0&sr=8-1


Mistress
by James Patterson and David Ellis

http://www.amazon.com/Mistress-James-Patterson/dp/1455515884/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1464464552&sr=8-1


The Mermaids Singing
by Lisa Carey

https://www.amazon.com/Mermaids-Singing-Lisa-Carey-ebook/dp/B002361NBE?ie=UTF8&keywords=the%20mermaids%20singing&qid=1464464731&ref_=sr_1_2&s=digital-text&sr=1-2


The Abduction
Mark Gimenez

https://www.amazon.com/Abduction-Mark-Gimenez-ebook/dp/B005SZ16L4/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1464464805&sr=1-1-fkmr1&keywords=marc+gimenez+the+abduction


Homesick (non-fiction)
by Sela Ward

https://www.amazon.com/Homesick-Sela-Ward-ebook/dp/B000FC126E/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1464464856&sr=1-1&keywords=sela+ward


The Drowning Game
by LS Hawker

https://www.amazon.com/Drowning-Game-Novel-LS-Hawker-ebook/dp/B00WR18RYQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1464464936&sr=1-1&keywords=the+drowning+game


The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society
by Darien Gee

https://www.amazon.com/Avalon-Ladies-Scrapbooking-Society-Novel-ebook/dp/B008WONV0M/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1464465039&sr=1-1&keywords=the+avalon+ladies+scrapbooking+society


To read a description and reviews of any of these books,
click on its description above.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

"The days were sweet, our nights were warm..."

Today's Saturday Song Selection is more than twenty-five years old, but it's new to me; I'd never heard it before March of this year. This one plucks a few of my heartstrings.

I've lived more than half my life within half an hour's driving distance from US Highway 90, both in Texas and Louisiana, though never near the parts of Texas where bluebonnets grow. I especially relate to the lyrics about a wife who stays home while her husband goes away to find work. I've lived through separations like that. Those were hard times. The separations would have been unbearable had we not believed we were sacrificing time together in the name of building a better future.

The song reminds me of what might have been--and what was for a period of years. I never counted on getting used to the months apart. On enjoying the peacefulness of them. On acquiring a taste for solitude. I guess that would be a whole 'nother song.


The song is "Gulf Coast Highway," performed by Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson. Thanks to toshiboss for posting the video and lyrics on YouTube.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Little Bits of Weirdness

It doesn't take much to amuse me. For example, I get tickled every time I think of these recent telephone conversations:


Glad I Didn't Inconvenience Him:

A ringing phone roused me from sleep early one morning. "Hello, is this Ms. James?" the male caller asked.

"No," I replied. "I believe you have the wrong number."

"No problem," he said and hung up.


The Lo Mein Test:

Ever since a particular Chinese restaurant opened several years ago, we've been ordering takeout once a month or so. Without fail, each time we've called to place an order, the Asian lady on the other end of the line has asked one final question: "You know we on Highway 73, right?"

Last time she surprised me with a slightly different question: "You know wheah [where] location?"

"Yes," I assured her. "I sure do."

After a moment's hesitation, she spoke again in a doubtful tone: "Wheah? Which highway?"

__________

Hahaha! People! You gotta love 'em.