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.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

What I've Been Reading - Big Batch o' Books 121-132

These last twelve titles finish up the long list of books that carried me through the past nine and a half months. Through intense pain and depression, through surgery and rehabilitation, through physical, mental and emotional healing, books were there to make my life better. God bless writers and the readers who motivate them.



  1. The Devil's Deep - Michael Wallace
  2. Come Away with Me - Ruth Cardello
  3. The Third Life of Grange Copeland - Alice Walker
  4. Blood Moon - Jana Petken
  5. Dark Shadows - Jana Petken
  6. Blue Molly - M. D. Grayson
  7. Safe Harbor - Antoinette Stockenberg
  8. Dust Tracks on a Road - Zora Neale Hurston - (non-fiction)
  9. Ask Him Why - Catherine Ryan Hyde
  10. Criminal Intent - Sheldon Siegel
  11. After I'm Gone - Laura Lippman
  12. Vignettes-Bellingwood Book 11 - Diane Greenwood Muir

What I've Been Reading - Big Batch o' Books 81 thru 120


  1. The Serial Killer's Wife - Robert Smartwood
  2. The Funeral Dress - Susan Gregg Gilmore
  3. Judgment - Carey Baldwin
  4. The Diary - Eileen Goudge
  5. Tidewater - Antoinette Stockenberg
  6. The Crossroads Cafe - Deborah Smith
  7. Flowertown - S. G. Redling
  8. The Secret Daughter - Kelly Rimmer
  9. A Memory of Violets - Hazel Gaynor
  10. Amber Light - Virginia McCullough
  11. Angel Falls - Kristin Hannah
  12. Brailling for Wile - James Zerndt
  13. Dance Upon the Air - Nora Roberts
  14. Dark River Road - Virginia Brown
  15. Flowers in the Snow - Danielle Stewart
  16. Kiss in the Wind - Danielle Stewart
  17. Heaven and Earth - Nora Roberts
  18. Stars in a Bottle - Danielle Stewart
  19. Garden of Lies - Eileen Goudge
  20. Look Always Forward - Diane Greenwood Muir


  1. Lowcountry Boil - Susan M. Boyer
  2. The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove - Susan Gregg Gilmore
  3. Mountain Angel - Suzie O'Connell
  4. Only Time Will Tell - Jeffrey Archer
  5. Power Play - Catherine Coulteer
  6. Shelter from the Storm - Tony Dunbar
  7. Staggerford - John Hassler
  8. The River Rolls On - Diane Greenwood Muir
  9. You Only Get So Much - Dan Kolbet
  10. Worthy - Catherine Ryan Hyde
  11. Pawnbroker - Jerry Hatchett
  12. Far From Perfect - Barbara Longley
  13. Saving Grace - Pamela Fagan Hutchins
  14. Thanksgiving 1942 - Alan Simon
  15. When You're Ready - J. L. Berg
  16. Lifelines Kate's Story - Vanessa Grant
  17. An Unexpected Grace - Kristin von Kreisler
  18. Accused - Mark Gimenez
  19. The Case Against William - Mark Gimenez
  20. Painting the Moon - Traci Borum