A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Sometimes ya just gotta surrender.

Ya know?

Occasionally as a teacher you run into a family that turns out to be a challenge.  It's usually not the child so much.  I mean yeah, I get all kinds of kids who are frustrating their parents.  But most parents know their children pretty well and when they contact you, they sincerely just want some advice to help their child - who is just normally hormonally disabled as an eighth grader - avoid an early demise.  And most of the time they are so relieved to learn that you, as their teacher, do not see them heading for a career standing on street corners selling illegal substances (or worse) that they are more than grateful for anything else you have to offer.

From time to time, though, things can get rough. The last week or so has been one of those experiences.  I'll spare the details here, but am happy to report that we are on our day to being able to say, "It all works out in the end."

I was more than ready for the three-day MLK weekend.  So far so good.  Thursday I had a good work-out at the gym, then went to Weight Watchers where I learned I'd lost three pounds last week.  When I walked out of WW it was to bagpipes playing "Scotland the Brave".  I announced that I wanted pipes every time I left WW.  It seems appropriate somehow; celebratory.  (I love bagpipes.  I believe there must be a genetic memory coming down from my Scots ancestors).  Friday went well, too.  I overdid the work-out and made myself sick enough that I had to have some Tylenol to get to sleep, but no biggie.  I was fine this morning.

Got a lot done today.  Plants watered. Shopped for dinner after dropping off some old electronic stuff at an e-waste collection sponsored by my school.  Laundry done.  Managed to communicate to my netbook that I no longer want it speaking to the internet (letting my security lapse) because I just want to use it for earthbound functions.

Like genealogy.  The frustrations of the day started when I tried to load my genealogy software.  Was missing one little part to my power supply for my external disk drive.  Took over an hour to find it and all the other paraphernalia I needed to make everything work, then about ten minutes to actually do the installation.

I need the program loaded so that I can start a new research project removed from my main files on the desktop.

I've been searching my family history for almost thirty years now.  Have found out a lot of interesting stuff.  Related to Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee, Martha Dandridge Custis Washington.  One ancestor was the interpreter at the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals (think, Kentucky).  That would be cool except that apparently the Cherokee blame him for screwing up the negotiations.  Mom's a descendant of James IV of Scotland through his illegitimate daughter, Janet Stewart Fleming. Janet was the mother of one of the Four Mary's, little girls taken to France with James V's daughter Mary. Mary Queen of Scots was sent to France as a little girl to keep her out of the clutches of Henry VIII who wanted to marry her to his son, Edward. (He figured that would keep those nasty Celts in their place, I guess).

My biggest frustration, though, has been my Mom's father's line.  The family story (found in the county history of the county in Arkansas were he was born and raised) just doesn't jive.  I've been following their leads all this time and am totally stuck.  So, this past year I asked my Uncle if he would donate some cheek cells to a genealogy DNA test.  He did, and - fanfare and happy dancing - they were able to find us a match that brought me new leads!  This is a whole new experience.  In genealogy the rule is you start with what you can DOCUMENT, then move back in time.  Now, though, I have a name out there in the early 18th century Carolinas.  Now all I have to do is find the missing link.  Sounds easy, except that there must not have been a whole lot of entertainment out there in the Appalachians 'cause these people have LOTS of children.  Like, we start with FOURTEEN and continue the tradition for several generations.  Good news is I only have to follow the surname, but good old randy grandpa had SEVEN sons.  (Isn't there a song about that?)  That will translate into dozens - if not hundreds - of people to look up and try to connect up.

If this isn't the right guy, I'm gonna be ticked.

I was trying to track the information using paper and pencil, but it's already too unwieldy (and I'm just getting started) so I need the computer.  Ready to move ahead now.

More frustration this evening, though.  I joined a Christmas cross-stitch group on facebook.  Figured if I just committed to an hour each day there's a SAL, I could get moving with stitchery again.  I miss it, right?  Because it's fun, right?

Sheesh.  Today is "Santa" day so I pulled out my big Santa project.  I worked on it about three hours last week and had fun.  I started on my hour of participation that I allowed myself today only to learn that I'm probably going to have to frog everything I did last week.

So I put it away.  Like I said, it's supposed to be fun.

It wasn't.

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