Sunday, August 28, 2011

Busy Weekend

I had a busy weekend planned.  Friday was errand day.  Vicki and I got an earlyish start and went to the Staples, Walmart, bank, mom’s, bookstore (for schoolbooks), two buildings on campus to check out some things, out to lunch, Sorgs, Janesville library, home to dump things, Woodman’s and finally a trip to the Dane County Humane Society. 

By the time we got home I was in pain from all the walking and exhausted.  I’m normally in a pretty steady level of pain so a bit more you wouldn’t think would bother me.  This time though it was really messing with me.  Sasha, Vicki’s new baby, decided to sit on my knee which was really hurting.  She spent a bit of time just laying on there.  Whether it was the warmth from her body or her purring when she hopped off my knee was no longer at an extreme level of pain. 

All right I know that when I have a day as jam packed as my Friday the judicious thing to do is relax the next day and not do much.  Nope, I was super busy yesterday.  We went over to Fort Atkinson to visit a cemetery there.  Both sides of the family are buried there.  So I spent a few hours wishing I’d brought my computer and writing information I’d found.  I will be going back. 

While I’m sitting in the office doing research on the family, Ken, Vicki, Beth, Alicia, Mom, and Jake wandered around the cemetery looking at graves, writing information, and taking pictures.  I was thrilled to find the gravestone of my great, great, great grandfather and mother’s graves.  There were also two of their children listed on the gravestone who’d died as children.  I have a lot of information to work through and some pictures to look at.  A cousin of mine requested information on some of these same ancestors so I’ll be forwarding them to her as well.

After the cemetery we went back to Staples (need more printer cartridges) and got lunch.  Then I hung out with mom showing her some of the things I’d found in doing research.  I also printed out some information for her. 

We talked to the Gin and Stephanie.  Mom, Alicia, Beth, as well as my household got to chat with them.  We think we have our vacation planned out. 

Ken and Vicki have been having problems with their phones so we went to get different ones for them.  After that we went to Mounds to get food for the cat and a few goodies. 

We went to supper with Beth before taking her home.  We tried to pick up some stuff from mom but they weren’t home.  It was home to take more drugs – oh yeah I’d resorted to drugs for the pain by this point – and hit the recliner in the hopes the pain would go away.

Sunday, I swore I wasn’t doing anything.  I was going to work on cleaning my desk and getting ready for school.  So I got up and started on my desk.  I got some stuff done.  I filled out some paperwork and a package all ready to mail, shared breakfast with Vicki and went off to run errands.  We went back to Mounds to get a few more things for Sasha, the grocery store to pick up some stuff we forgot.  Then it was home to make lunch.  After lunch was in the oven made deviled eggs.  Vicki also mixed up her pumpkin spice cake.  We also did prep for lunches this week.  I should be able to grab and go for the week. 

All of that leads to me probably hitting the recliner soon to read while listening to music.  Not sure as I’m sitting here the genealogy and my messy desk are calling to me to work on it.  I don’t think I could cram much more into my weekend.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Census reports

This past weekend I spent a number of hours on the computer doing a bit of research through our local library.  It gave me free access to census reports.  A cousin contacted me recently with information on one of my family lines.  We shared information and I was looking for more. 
I started looking for the earliest member I have for this line and could not find him.  This is made more difficult because there are several ways his name could be listed.  He emigrated from Germany so we have the German version of his name.  Then we also have the American version of his name with two different spellings. 

Of course we can’t have it be simple either because there are also several family members with the same name so when looking at the records I have to make sure I’m not filling in information for the wrong person. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time doing the research.  It was very exciting to add family members that I didn’t have any information on.  Starting with the information the cousin gave me I was able to add the names of all the man’s children. 

Flipping over to the census reports I was able to find spouse and children names.  It took some doing as I had to search under both versions of the last name.  However, I did find a few of the sons of the one ancestor I was looking for.  I was able to add names, approximate birthdates and a few other bits of information. 

I was completely enjoying myself until my computer decided to go wonky on me.  I shut down and didn’t get back to it.  The plan is to get back to it in the next few days (hopefully before school starts) to see if I can glean any additional information.  I did narrow down the time frame on one of the issues. 

At some point in history the family name changed spelling.  It is a small detail but makes a huge impact as I am doing research.  No one has been able to give me a concrete reason why or documentation.  However, I have a family story (isn’t there always?).  I was able through the census reports to discover the decade in which the name change occurred.  This might be able to help me narrow it down so I can track down when and maybe even why the name changed.

It is a never ending list of tasks when it comes to the genealogy.  I enjoy the challenge and the task of tracking down as much information on a person as I can.  I just wish I had more time and money to spend on it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Trip to the Cemetery

One would think a trip to the cemetery is a sad event and not one to be excited about.  However, I’ve been doing some research on family history and finding a number of family members are buried in a local cemetery.  The really great thing is that it is on both my side and Ken’s side of the family who reside in this cemetery.  
This of course means I must go to the cemetery to see if I can find them.  Most of these people I don’t have very much information on so it is a gold mine depending on what information is on the headstone. 

I’m bringing my husband and daughter with because it should be interesting for both of them.  I’ve invited my mom and sister as they are also interested in the hunt for family members.  It looks like it will be quite the outing. 

My daughter has agreed to bring her digital camera.  I’ll have to get a listing of people I think are there or maybe just take the binders I have of people – I’ll have to decide.  I’d love to just go through and take photos of all the headstones.  However, I don’t think I’ll have the time to do that as this is a fairly large cemetery.  It would be a bit undertaking to creating that kind of list.  Of course if I did I could publish it and I’m sure a bund of genealogists (professional and amateur) would appreciate it. 

I probably should call the cemetery office to see if I can locate where exactly the graves might be.  I got the general location but it would be nice to be able to narrow it down a bit.  Also it would probably be good to make sure it is okay for us to come traipsing through. 

All in all I’m pretty excited to go check out the cemetery and see what information I can add to my family history.  Hopefully we have a good day for wandering around outside. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Journalistic Integrity

In our media these days we have a huge number of people calling themselves journalists.  However, I question their use of this title.  To me a journalist is someone who reports the information without bias, just giving details and information. 

Too often these days we see people commenting on the news rather than reporting it.  It very much reminds me of the era of yellow journalism which was back in the late 1800s.  Yellow journalism (for the non-history buffs) is the act of reporting from a biased point of view.

Most of our news people I think fall into this category.  They tell the story from the point of view they were hired to represent.  These reporters are not journalists.  They are commentators. 

I think it is sad that we have put so much importance on how someone looks on camera rather than on what they are reporting.  Honestly I don’t want someone to tell me their opinion.  I don’t want a news report to make me go do research.  I want it to inform me of the details so that I can form my own opinion.

Unfortunately now we are dealing with too many reporters not digging up stories because they are good stories.  We are getting reporters taking the facts and twisting them to fit their own biases.  I find this very patronizing and manipulative.  I just want the facts.  I’ll decide for myself the conclusion to draw from those facts.  Believe it or not I can think for myself.

Now we have stations on tv that spew out either all the Republican conservative rhetoric or the Democratic progressive viewpoint.  Of the two I think the worst is the Republicans at getting the information wrong but they are both guilty of it. 

The only stations I see giving a somewhat unbiased point of view are the public television shows (which I don’t watch often).  It seems like if you work for a particular network you only the point of view of that network instead of having an actual story based on facts.

Perhaps if our news outlets had some journalistic integrity, the American public could make better informed decisions.  It is a sad state of affairs when our media has slipped back into the practices of over a hundred years ago.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Universal Smackdown

I watched Princess which is a show with Gail Vaz Oxlade a financial advisor.  I record it and then zip through the commercials and some of the repetitive parts of the show.  The episode on Saturday was about a woman who basically mooched off everyone in order to do nothing.

She used the excuse of not wanting a 9-5 job because she was working on her singing career.  I couldn’t relate much to her.  She seemed like a spoiled brat to me who was more interested in what people could give her than making real relationships.

One thing I took away from the show though was at one point Gail told this woman that if she wanted to be a professional singer than she had to work at it full time. 

This is what struck me. I’ve been complaining about rejections and not getting published.  I’ve been feeling like my efforts have not been moving me forward.  I realize now that I’m just not working hard enough at getting published. 

No, I’m not going to quit my full time job with benefits to work at writing full time.  I cannot afford to do that.  However, I can afford to give up some tv viewing and work on writing.  I can afford to give up a bit of sleep to write.  I can spend more time submitting my work with regularity and purpose.  I can also be more selective about where I submit my work to.

Sunday I spent most of the day writing – either working on actual stories or submitting work to different places (watched the show while I ate lunch).  It felt good to dig in and get to work.  I enjoyed my time writing as always and even the submitting of work made me feel somewhat hopeful. 

So thank you universe for the two reminders that success at writing doesn’t happen instantly and that rejection is a HUGE part of moving forward in a writing career.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Kick in the Pants

I’ve been getting a lot of rejections and mostly I can take them but occasionally I feel like I’m just not getting it.  There is a tinge of discouragement.  Then something will happen – someone will say something or I’ll get a piece accepted – and I feel like I am getting it.  I watched the Talk when Kathy Ireland was on.  She made a statement that really touched home with me.  She said, “If you’re not being rejected regularly, maybe you’re not trying hard enough.”

In writing rejection happens more often than acceptance.  This statement made me realize that I’m not getting rejected daily and I get a handful of rejection at a time.  Maybe I’m just not putting enough of my work out there for consideration.  Maybe I just need to remember everything I’ve said about writing and rejections and keep moving forward. 

Every rejection is a new opportunity.  It gives me a chance to submit that work somewhere else.  It offers me an insight into whether I want to submit work to the publisher again or not.  Instead of whining about being rejected, I need to dig in my heels deeper and submit to even more places. 

I’ve read it, heard it from others, and now with this statement of Kathy Ireland’s it just drove the point home for me.  Rejection isn’t the end of the process; it is just the next step in the process.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Breaking Up

Breaking up is hard to do.  There is pain, hurt, disillusionment, and a whole slew of other emotions when a relationship ends.  There seems to be a trend for slamming the person you have just broken up with publicly.  In the past you’d get together with your friends and bitch about the former partner.  Now though it seems like when people break up they almost immediately go to social networking sites and slam the person publicly.

While the ex-partner may deserve every slur you want to heap on them doing it publicly has consequences.  Depending on what you say it can have legal and even career consequences.  For one thing if you can’t back up your statements with fact there can be a charge of slander or libel depending on what you say.  Also if you have those types of statements out there then it is possible that employers won’t hire you because it shows a lack of judgment.

There is a saying about not airing your dirty laundry.  If you use social networking sites then you need to keep this in mind.  For one thing once it is out there, you cannot take it back.  If you meet someone new and they see that you trashed a former partner then they may decide you are too much of a risk to date because they don’t want that treatment if you break up with them. 

It is hard for relationships to end.  It is painful and disheartening.  The whole world does not need to know why it happened.  I know it can be difficult to grieve the loss of a relationship but throwing it out there on social networking sites is not going to ease your pain.  Ultimately you are responsible for your actions – even on social networking sites.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


It looks like our representatives are only representing the rich and the corporations.  It looks like they are going to pass a bill that raises the debt ceiling and screws the middle and lower classes as well as the seniors.  I’m seriously disappointed with our representatives across the board.  What happened to We the People?  What happened to representation by peers?  What happened to taking care of the people within your district – all of them whether you agree with them or not?

Here is a basic budgeting tip for the government – not that any of them listen.  If there isn’t enough money to pay the bills you do two things.  You increase your income (i.e. tax those who aren’t paying their fair share – rich and corporation) and you decrease your spending.  Now everyone of course has their own ideas on how to decrease spending.  The problem right now with decreasing spending is that it will adversely affect our economy. 

We’ve had a depression before (I refer all the people who aren’t up on history to the stock market crash of 1929 and the entire decade of the 30s).  FDR spent a LOT of money on social programs to pull us out of the depression we were in.  It is the same now.  Obama’s programs didn’t work because they didn’t go far enough. 

It’s time to represent the entire population not just the wealthy.  It’s time for those not being represented to stand up and say enough. 

I know that the economy is tricky because there are so many factors that go into what makes the economy work.  I also know if you keep raising prices on essentials like food, gas, utilities and keep lowering wages then the upper middle and middle class will become the lower class.  The lower class will become the disenfranchised and homeless (hopeless).  This will not do our economy any good.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Insomnia Strikes Again

Last night I was a responsible adult and went to bed around 11 pm.  This is good for me as I like the night and would stay up till 2 or 3 am if I didn’t have to be on the job at 7:45 am.  However, last night I should have just stayed up.  I didn’t sleep a wink.  I spent the night trying to sleep.  I got up once when Ken got up and went back to bed thinking I might be able to sleep as I was so tired.

Sadly, that didn’t happen.  I heard everything he did.  Every noise annoyed me and kept me awake.  Totally not his fault as he is normally very quiet in the morning.  At 5:30 my alarm went off and I debated staying home.  I hit the snooze as is my habit.  I thought I’ll see how I feel in nine minutes.  I hit it until 6:30 when I realized that even if I stayed home I wasn’t going to be able to sleep. 

The bad part is the lack of sleep cascades into so many other issues.  My pain level goes up.  My allergies (with the lovely humidity we are having) are overreacting to the weather, as is my asthma.

The funny thing is you would think I would be grumpy.  On a level I am but at this point I’m just well tired.  I’m sure I’ll go through the silly and giddy stage and drop into the crabby as all get out stage (that is the worst).  Once I reach this stage it is best for me to isolate myself (sleep is good but not always attainable).

Back at the Grindstone

With nine days off, you would think I got a lot accomplished.  I did when it comes to spending time with my girls but off my to-do list?  No...