Sunday, December 18, 2011

temporarily signing off

Tomorrow morning, early morning, I am scheduled for surgery on my foot. I had it in mind that I would be able to do most chores (cooking, cleaning, etc) from my wheelchair, but NO. I am under strict Dr's orders to stay in a reclining position with my foot elevated. I am not to put it down any longer than it takes to use the restroom or to transfer from bed to couch. That obviously means I can't be sitting at the computer and I don't have wireless access. So I will be signing off line until at least after my pins are removed in early January.

I have taken measures to help Richard be able to care for both of us. Simple things such as preparing meals that he just needs to stick in the microwave, making sure all the laundry is done, putting supplies in an area he can easily access. Our grandson Chris will be here the first two days and an assortment of friends will be dropping by. So we should be fine.

I wish each and every one a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. May God bless you with true happiness that comes from the love of family. May you be safe and in good health. May the Lord provide all you needs and some of your wants and may a bit of laughter fill your soul.

See you in 2012. Nancy

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

we have a ramp

Thank you Lord, we finally have a ramp. It goes along with Amy's post on waiting for God to provide with his big hand. We tried several options to make do with first a wooden and then a fabricated steel ramp. Many people tried to help meet our needs. But in the end, we bought an aluminum ramp that comes apart (cuts the weight in 1/2) and also folds (cuts the overall size in 1/2). The ramp arrived yesterday. We will try it out this weekend, providing Richard is well enough to go to church.

I haven't tried loading the chair yet, but looks simple enough. We will be transporting the ramp in a special carrying area that a volunteer created on the tongue end of the trailer. But given the cost and the fact that it is easy to cart, we will store it in the trunk of the car. No use tempting fate. This ramp is Christmas for both of us. We can't afford to replace it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Our trailer was in the driveway yesterday morning. It had evidently been delivered either pretty late in the evening or very early in the morning. The man who was working on it had said he and his wife would be going out of town for two weeks. It was very thoughtful of him to make sure we had it available during that period.

He has removed the steel ramp and replaced the original tail gate using hinges. He also put in some hardware to facilitate carrying a lighter, removable ramp on the tongue end of the trailer. A loaner ramp was in that area. His aluminum ramp folds in half, and because the spaces between the ramps braces was large enough that the wheelchair wheels would get caught, he has placed small pieces of plywood in them. This ramp is still a bit heavy, but certainly better than the steel ramp when it comes to weight.

Now I can move the trailer on my own again. I have also ordered a light weight portable wheelchair ramp on line. It separates into two sections and each section folds up. They can be carried with handles like two suitcases and stored in the car trunk. The ramp should be delivered in a couple weeks.

While this project is far from complete, the progress has been remarkabe. It has provided the gift of friendship between people who, to this point, did not know of the other's existance. It has also provided for a much needed service, a true blessing all the way around. We have much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


The last Blog I wrote, I was so stressed out. But I gave it to the Lord and He does answer prayer. Most of us believers have had this expreience where, having tried to handle a situation on your ow and failed, you finally turn it over to Him. Why don;t we just do that in the first place? Or if we do, why do we then pick the problem back up and toy around with it instead of keeping hands off?

Well heres the latest. I did not pick it back up. It took nearly 2 weeks, but I did not pick it back up.
1) I went in for my physical yeaterday and got a really good report card. I am good to go for surgery.
2) The guy who put the steel ramp called today wanting to know how I was handling the weight. I was quite honest with him. It is just too heavy for me to manage. He was OK with that. He came over and we figured out a different approach. He took the trailer home with him and will work on it tomorrow. First he will remove the steel ramp (it will be used over the deck stairs to allow outside access for Richard to get on the deck) and replace it with the original tailgate. Then he is going to modify a light weight aluminumn ramp for our temporary use while we look for a more permanent solution. Since I will be laid up for awhile starting about 4 weeks from now, I will have time to "shop" on line for a ramp.

Buying a ramp was not something I planned, but that's the way it goes. At least the trailer will be useable until I can get one.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I am sooo stressed. I have a physical in about a week and am sure my BP is off the wall. It all centers around Richard's power chair. While having this chair gives him a small degree of independence he so needs, it is driving me up the wall.

1) We had to provide medical records (EEG, MRI, neurological/orthopedic evaluations) to the VA Clinic in Eugene for Richard, showing a medical need (April) and wait several months for a recommendation from the Dr. there.

2) Go to Roseberg to the VA Hospital (July) to be evaluated and take measurements.

3) The chair was approved (Aug), along with a lift to facilitate it being transported. But since our vehicle is not of sufficient weight to handle a lift, they canceled the order (VA does not pay for any sort of chair transport other than a lift). So when I called (early Sept) to see what was taking so long, I was told not just the order for the lift was canceled, but the whole thing - including the chair. They were sorry and would look into it. Long story short - the manufacturer didn't get the cancellation and the chair was delivered to the VA that same day. It arrived here just before Richard's birthday (mid Sept), but was too big and did not have the reclining feature we were promised.

4) A representative came out (early Oct) to remeasure and ordered a new seat for the chair. It arrived and they came and took the chair to Eugene, promising to have it back the next day. It did not come back for four days (mid Oct). But it did have the right size seat (several inches narrower to allow going through doors) and it did recline.

5) We had been looking at trailers to haul the chair all this time. They were available, but so far outside any one's budget that it was down right depressing. Rick was looking on Craig's List in the Seattle, Portland and Salem areas. He found several that sounded promising and we actually called some. We settled on a very small trailer in Salem, went up and looked at it, and made arrangements to have it delivered (late Oct). It is just the right size and very light. easy for me to handle.

6) We next had to put on a hitch and electrical harness to the car. We called everywhere, went to dealerships, private parties, wrecking yards, everywhere we and anyone else could think of. Finally we went back to the first place we had called, U-Haul. At $314.55 they were the least expensive and so we bit the bullet (early Nov).

7) But when I tried to hook up the electrical to the trailer, the connections wouldn't marry. So I called a friend from church who is a retired electrician. He came over and took a look. He bought some new parts and replaced the outdated connection and some lights, as well, another $20.00.

8) Our grandson Chris spent a couple days making minor modifications to the trailer. He attached PVC hoops and added a cover to keep the chair dry. He put in grommets to the tarp and attached hardware. He modified the tailgate to serve as a ramp. Parts and supplies were in the order of $100. But the ramp was to short and if he made it longer, it would have been too heavy for me to handle it. By this time Richard was chomping at the bit to use his chair to go to church. So we did. It was a bear. I had to put blocks under the tailgate and put an additional piece of plywood from there to the ground in order to get an angle that the chair would climb. By the time I got home I was so stressed from trying to load (even with help) that chair I didn't even want to talk about it.

9) We called the folks who had put the ramp on the house when I broke my leg and were told that for safely reasons, they didn't do ramps on anything mobile. So we called Love, Inc. They were going to give us the number for the folks who had just said no. On finding they wouldn't do it, the woman on the phone said she would ask her husband if he would give it a go. He would, and he did. He went way out of his way to do it (2nd week in Nov). It works great. This same guy is working on getting a trailer winch to help raise and lower the expanded steel ramp that he gathered materials for from as far away as Salem and fabricated in his shop, then attached to the steel frame of the trailer. So far, parts and supplies for this ramp have come to only $58.00. Two problems, the trailer is now so heavy and off balance that I can neither lift the end of it to attach it to the car, nor move it to the driveway without someone else's assistance.

10) Will the additional weight from the winch help with the balance or will it just make things worse? So many people have tried to help with this. So many "things" have happened to complicate the issue. I need to be able to manipulate this trailer, load and unload the chair. I need to be able to move the trailer from the street, up a short incline to store it in the driveway, all of these by myself.

Please pray for me. My nerves are absolutely shot. I am scheduled for surgery in December and all this needs to be done beforehand so I can recover without being stressed. Yes, I need to leave it in the Lord's hands.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

So many changes

Life brings many changes. As you get older, those changes become more pronounced. It takes more time to accomplish anything. You are forced to lower your standards because not everything can be accomplished. You don't fully recover from what you do do and some things just plain don't happen at all.

It has been quite apparent for anyone paying any attention at all, that as I need to take over more and more of the routine chores at home, I am less and less capable of doing so. Richard is now using a power wheelchair because he has very poor balance and his left arm no longer functions well (deteriorating bone, nerves and connective tissue). This makes it hard for him to manipulate a manual wheelchair. At the same time, my arthritis makes it difficult, if not impossible to do such simple chores as opening a jar, and I have trouble holding onto small items like a needle and even mildly heavy objects. The condition of my left foot makes walking painful. The longest bone in the inside of my left foot (between my big toe and ankle) is sitting cockeyed. Only a small portion of the bone is actually articulating with the bones on either end. In addition, the 2nd toe is what is called a "hammer toe". One of the joints in the toe is rigid and locked at an angle. The 2nd toe on my right foot is this way too.

My podiatrist has scheduled me for surgery on December 19 to correct at least part of the situation on the left foot. So I will be laid up for several weeks of recovery. They will cut out the joint at the base of the left big toe, insert a pin to hold the long foot bone closer to a normal position and pin the 2nd left toe at the same time. The hope is that this will prevent additional tork to the foot bone and reduce the pain of walking. Oh, I should be better able to wear something other than Berk's again. Of course my feet will still need heavy duty arch supports because I have developed flat feet.

Our grandson Chris has agreed to stay with us and perform vital chores such as laundry and fetching the mail during my recovery. I will be in a wheelchair and/or on crutches again. But I learned how to manage a surprising number tasks when I broke my leg and later had a total knee replacement. So we will manage.

Richard and I have decided to spend the holidays at home this year. Just too many crowds, too much activity, and too many barriers to our abilities. Not a problem. We can still have a nice dinner, watch the TV specials and will still expect friends and family to drop by.

Changes in ability, activity, and in all other aspects of living. We are really feeling our age this year. I've heard that getting old is not for sissies. I can now vouch for that statement from personal experience. The alternative is not acceptable. So I will get up every day, do what I can, and the rest will just have to go wanting. No sense worrying about those thing you have no control over anyway.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Starting Over

This has been a rewarding and a frustrating week:
I got the new trailer painted, but even though I sanded the metal, the "Rustoleum" paint I picked up is not sticking well to the old fenders. It said it would on the label, but so much for labels. I will need to try again with something else.

I bought a brown tarp and a grommet set and Chris installed three PVC pipe as ribs over the trailer. It will look like an old Conestoga wagon. He also attached hardware to the outside to attach the cover (tie it down) and rings to the inside to attach bungee cords that will secure the wheel chair on the inside. We will eventually get the cover on there. The ramp takes priority.

Chris worked hard to finish the ramp for the trailer. This was a challenge both in engineering and in physics. We worked out the engineering part, but the physics part needs to be re-thought. Basically, the ramp needs to be longer in order for the length to height ratio to be decreased. That will allow the chair to climb the ramp with less effort (i.e. we need to extend it).

We made the ramp the way we did (extended it, but not enough) in order to use the original tail gate. The gate needs to be lifted up from the "tabs" at the base and hooks that secure it to the sides. Since we need even more length, that system won't work. It will be too heavy and awkward for me to lift up. So we will need to cut off the bottom tabs and fasten the ramp to the trailer bed with heavy duty hinges. That way it can be raised and lowered without my needing to physically lift the whole thing up above the trailer bed. We may even rig a pulley system to help with the raising and lowering part. That would sure help my back.

The hitch and electrical harness was installed on Thursday. They did a good job, even though it was expensive. But the trailer is so old that the electrical attachment would not marry to the new harness. So I called a friend who is a retired electrician. He came over and took a look. Then he purchased (reimbursed of course) what he needed to fix it. But when checking the lights, not only were the bulbs burned out, the sockets were very rusty. So next day, he cleaned out the sockets and replaced the bulbs. He has also offered to install a power pulley system for the ramp.

So after Chris re-makes the ramp, (he's going to get so tired of this) I will park the trailer at my friend's house for a few days. He suggested that the motor from our old lift chair that is broken
would work for this project. Lord does provide. The chair was donated a few years ago and really came in handy during my recovery from a crushed leg and later knee surgery. But the chair it's elf no longer works. Recycling is really great, but I just hate starting over.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Out and About

We are Out & About, or at least somewhat, these days. First, Richard couldn't go walking with me because he just plain couldn't walk and I had trouble pushing his wheelchair on anything but level streets. Then he got a power wheel chair and we walked more. Now my foot is giving me trouble. So here is a temperary solution. I really don't like it because I have to constantly hold or turn the wheel of my chair to keep from running into the curb. But it did work.

There is a pond (Christal Lake) about 2 blocks from the house. More often than not, we make this pond our destimation. We throw dry bread to the ducks and nutria that make the pond their home.

With mild fall weather and leaves turning color, this wooded area is beautiful. Before long though, we won't be able to get out. So we will take advantage before the heavy rains and cold set in for the winter.

This guy doesn't see very well, but he makes up for it in hearing and smell. Nutria live here all year long.

Unlike the nutria, these ducks will soon be on their way south for the winter. We will see them again in the spring.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lots of "Small Stuff"

The world is made up of every day things, spiced with small stuff. We go about our routines not even actually taking note until something catches our eye, ear, or feelings. That is how life is.

This week Richard and I went for a run. Not your normal run, but a run none the less. I had been in the habit of walking with him as he scooted around the neighborhood in his new power chair. But one day last week my foot cramped so bad it took half an hour to get back home. I iced and elevated it, didn't walk any more than absolutely necessary for a couple days afterward. But this day, it was so nice out that Richard was chomping at the bit to go. So we tied my wheel chair (from when I broke my leg) to the back of his power chair and down the street we went. No, I don't have a picture.

Speaking of my foot, I saw the Dr. on Tuesday. He ordered x-rays and will study them to determine a course of action. If my joints are OK, they may go in and do some complicated procedures which will lay me low for about 5 months of recovery. However, this procedure would just make my foot more painful if those joints are eroded with arthritis. In that case the procedure of choice will be to shave a section of bone (the bunion) to relieve pressure on the nerve. Not as long a recovery (5-8 weeks). Neither procedure would correct my flat feet. Orthotics or a good arch support insert should help. By the way, I was told that bunions are hereditary, sorry kids. They develop over time and can be exasperated by wearing tight shoes. Wearing good shoes can slow the process (all my girls wear good shoes) but not entirely prevent it.

Back to Richard's power chair. We got a call yesterday afternoon telling us that someone will be by this morning to pick up the chair. They will replace the seat and return the chair tomorrow. He almost cried when he realized his only means of independent travel was disappearing. So he will take a run before the guy gets here and I will take him shopping for a new mattress this afternoon. This should take his mind off of his loss.

We have been looking forward to getting a new mattress for about 4 years, but just couldn't afford it. Well I got my annual annuity payment in the mail yesterday. Part of it has been dedicated to that mattress. Our old one (about 20 years old) gives me a back ache and Richard has actually slid off the side of it on more than one occasion. A new one is past due.

Amy, here is the recipe for beef stew that I promised:

Put 2 quarts of water in a crock pot set on low. Add 2 cups each of large chunked potatoes and carrots -1 cup each onions and peas. I just use frozen. It makes it real easy. Cut a really cheap cut of beef (about 1 lb) into 1/2 inch cubes. Add the meat and 8 cubes of boullion (beef or chicken) and let cook over night. If you want the gravy to be a bit thicker, mix 3 tablespoons of corn starch in 1/2 cup cold water and stir into the cooked stew. Allow it to cook for another couple hours. That is all there is to it. No additional salt or spices required. Just enjoy.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Living Today-Looking Ahead

This past week saw painting completed in the bathroom and touch up in the bedroom. Chris is doing a bit of touch up on the bathroom ceiling and is starting to paint the small closet in the office this morning. I have decided to paint a small cabinet white before I put it back in the bathroom. So I'll tackle that task this morning when he finishes in that room.

Next, I'll finish up the work in the office, either this afternoon or tomorrow. When I get off here, I need to move some stuff for better access. Only one more area to work on in my current radar.

Change of subject - For quite awhile, my left big toe has been quite painful. I started noticing a deformity (bunion) forming even before I retired 5 years ago, But lately it has become painful, making walking hard and wearing anything but Burks, impossible. I asked my podiatrist about options a couple years ago, and was told that surgery to correct it is effective. The problem is that I would need to be non-weight bearing (again) for 6 weeks. Up-side to this is that winter is on the horizon, so would need to be inside anyway. Doing it now (probably late January or early February) would mean I would be in better shape for our trip next spring. I will have time now to prep (put my house in order, fix meals and freeze them, take care of other DR appointments, etc) beforehand. Chris comes every Friday and can do minor housework and laundry. I have my wheelchair so I can get around and do some things. Of course we will be stuck at home for the duration. But I can make arrangements for Gleaners to deliver once a week and I'm sure others will be willing to "shop" occasionally for perishable items that aren't available through Gleaners.

I do not look forward to being down for the third time in almost as many years, but sometimes ya gotta do, what ya gotta do. The option of not taking care of this problem would eventually mean neither Richard or I would be mobile. That is not acceptable.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Monday was Richard's 72nd birthday. Our son Rick and his family came down from Washington over the weekend to help celebrate the occasion. While here, Rick and his crew surprised us by painting our bedroom a soft, warm brown. That color draws from the curtains, the oak furniture, and the throw rugs and pops against the white trim.

They moved all the heavy furniture away from the walls, dismantled a shelving unit, painted, and then moved the furniture back into place. What a blessing. That furniture has not been moved in about 5 years ( I just can't do it any more). The cobwebs and accumulation of debris that had fallen behind it was impressive. But now it is clean. This week I am going through cloths, nick knacks, medications, etc. and discarding a lot of "stuff" before putting what I will keep back in place. I also need to have my grandson Chris help me reassemble the shelving for my antique toy collection. The toys will be cleaned and placed back on the shelf only after the shelves are painted.

I will also have Chis paint the upper 2 feet of the bathroom. It will be the same shade of brown.
Earlier this month, Chris and I painted the living room. It hadn't been painted in about 16 years, when we moved back from Washington. That room is a soft, almost apple green that brings out the green in the carpet and contrasts well with the dark blue furniture.

My job next week will be to complete the work in the bathroom and do some repairs in the entry way in preparation for painting in there. I haven't quite decided what color this area will be. There is also a small area in my office that has never been painted. It consists of two short walls that make up a closet. I may use a shade of lighter green on it to highlight the green in the wall paper elsewhere in the room. Well before Halloween, our house, at least the part we actually live in, should be looking good. The rest of it will take a bit more time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Tomorrow has arrived and it's the 13th, not Friday, but the 13th none the less. Oh why did I get out of bed this morning? OK, it isn't really that bad. Most everything is working out in the end. But the process is leaving me with indigestion.

The day started out with both Richard and I full of anticipation for his motorized wheel chair being delivered. Then the enemy jumped in and started stirring everything up. He just loves doing that.

  • The husband of the lady I had arranged to stay with an older lady called to say she was ill. This was the 3rd one to cancel and today is when she was needed. No one else I called before I left for bible study was available and no one at bible study could fill in. When I got home I made a couple more calls and finally found someone willing and able to stay with our elderly lady so her daughter could attend a care givers support group meeting.

  • The man with Richard's chair was already here when I got home. But the chair is not as anticipated. It is wider and does not recline at all. I called the VA to complain. They grudgingly said they would check into it. In the mean time the guy here tried to adjust the seat without any success. He also had problems adjusting nearly everything else. He even had to borrow some of our tools, because what he needed was not in his case. Just before he left, he got a call back from the VA, saying he should leave the chair and the VA will discuss how they can "fix"the reclining problem.

  • I have asked several times via e-mail if I can deliver some meals to a family in our church who recently lost a family member in another town. I have not gotten an OK and I am not the kind of person who is presumptuous. I understand that the same request has been made by another church member. Neither of us has received an answer. I have provided information and assurance at the request of this same grieving family. But since the death was somewhere else, I don't even know when this family is going to be at home. Maybe I am being too sensitive, but it just didn't set right when that other church member said I should just take food and not ask first. I didn't need that sort of remark, especially not today. I will re-think my attitude. This person is probably frustrated too.

  • I still haven't heard anything from the guy who is supposed to take the lead for the Crisis Support class I am co-teaching starting tomorrow night. He is out of town. Oh well, if I have to step in tomorrow I will. I don't have the study disc, but I do have notes, a teacher's guide, and books. Meanwhile I invited several ladies at the bible study who are in crisis to join the class.

I'd say today is a prime example of how we humans deal or don't deal with crisis and that if we will allow him, God will take control and work things out.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tomorrow, Tomorrow

First thing this morning, we got a call from the equipment company who will be delivering Richard's power wheel chair - Tomorrow afternoon. Yeah! It is finally happening. None too soon either. Richard's legs are fast losing all feeling (except pain) due to progressive neuropathy, as part of the process of diabetes. He also has chronic gout in his feet and difficulty with balance due to abdominal surgery that destroyed his core muscles. 1, 2, 3 strikes and he's out. He really needs that chair. The VA wouldn't give him one 5 years ago, but they did come through this time. PTL for this provision.

Today I move furniture back in place after having painted the living room last week, eliminating one small piece, to better accommodate the movement of Richard's new vehicle. This is exciting. Hopefully no more falls that are such a struggle to get up from. PTL and hallelujah.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

This & That

Boy is it hot. Not as hot nor as humid as it has been for so long in most of the country, but hot for here, at least. I don't do well in the heat. How on earth did I survive 19 years in Phoenix? When it is hot I lose all my energy, not that there is much of that commodity anymore. The heat quite literally gives me a headache. It must be the barometric pressure. I just can't seem to function. Where is our Oregon rain?

We called the VA on Tuesday, only to be told that Richard's power wheelchair order had been canceled on August 25. Long story short, because our vehicle will not accommodate a lift, the VA canceled the order for it. But the tech misunderstood and canceled both the lift and the chair. OOPS! We protested, the tech said she would check with her supervisor and call us back. She did, and actually praising God when the call came. Seems the chair manufacturer had not received the cancellation order and the chair had been delivered to the VA in Roseburg that same afternoon. Richard will get it some time next week. At least that is the plan. PTL. Now we need to figure out a way of hauling the chair around. I'm thinking a very small trailer, but we need dimensions before we can even start looking.

Chris and I have been painting in the living room for a couple weeks now. He painted the 2 feet of wall and trim around the ceiling and I painted the walls up as far as I could reach. I'm not supposed to climb on ladders any more. We both worked on the lower woodwork. Next week we will start working on the entryway. Then there is the bathroom and the master bedroom to do. It has been about 10 years since most of the inside of the house was painted. Much over due. I will post some photos when we get done (probably a month or six weeks from now).

On Thursday afternoon, when I went out to the car, I noticed cracked glass - the windshield was broken. It must have happened Wednesday night, because it was OK the afternoon prior. So the car has an appointment on Richard's birthday for a lot of cosmetic work where adjacent paint was deeply scratched as well as a new windshield. PTL for good insurance. Please pray this claim doesn't raise our premium.

I have been tracking my ancestors for several months. This process has been both frustrating and rewarding. Frustrating because some key people seem to appear out of nowhere and clue after clue have fallen short as to when and where they arrived on America's shores and who their parents were has petered out before those questions could be answered. Rewarding, because I have discovered so many awesome connections and incredible stories that accompany them.

The most frustrating of all, is the fact that I have not been able to find information on Richard's family beyond what I already had from his mom. BUT TODAY, I stumbled on a possible lead. Seems in order to file for social security you have to fill out a form that includes parental names, and to submit proof of age in the form of records (birth certificate, church records, etc). Under the Freedom of Information Act, the government is required to disclose this info. I need to submit a written request, enclose a check for $27.00, and wait several weeks/months, but "Papa, I may ID your mom & dad after all". Also, a couple weeks ago, I went on line and located an anthropological Spanish professor at the University of Arizona who was willing to translate my mother-in-law's grandmother's hand written journal (it is written in an obsolete Spanish dialect). We may get somewhere with that side of the family after all.

Enough "This & That" for now. Have a good week.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

OK, my 6 month subscription (plus a 30 day free trial) to has ended. For many, this would have been more than enough time to find, enter, catalogue and do anything else you wanted with all the names of your reletives from the past. Richard has less than 30 family names available using both this program and information we already had from his mom. But when I got into the search engine for my family, it just went on, and on, and on. I have accumulated over 15,000 names to date. Most from the first 16 generations. But I did vear off a few times, actually following a couple family lines as far back as BC. How can that be? Well, contrary to general thought, there are records out there. They consist of land transfers, wills, church records (births, christenings, marrages, deaths), etc., as well as historical records. This geneology program brings them all together in a powerful search engine.

It was fun to play around with this program. For the free trial period, I plugged in what I already knew and was able to sort of fill in some blanks. Then I started to do some real research, pulling up political, religious, and geographical info surrounding some of the periods of history and circumstances of these folks. There are some amazing personal stories available too. What's more, I discovered that my family, both sides of my family, were directly connected to an incredible number of historical events. For instance, between my mom and dad, there were passengers on the Mayflower numbering in the teens. Richard teases me about this and several other findings.

The past few weeks I have been systematically trying to complete the work on those first 16 generations. Of course not every line goes out that far, but certainly many do. When you consider that each tree has the potential for 30 new names (4 generations per tree) and that each of the 16 names in that 4th generation then has the potention for a whole new tree, well you get the picture. Bottom line is that I completed all 16 generations for my moms family and about half for my dad's. They are all catalogued by family (mom or dad), generation, branch, and number. Now to file them in order, ID info that ties to them, etc. By the way, I have run into many duplications, where more than one branch follows the same line. If I pick up on this, I generally make note of the fact and follow it from that point only once. This saves a whole lot of duplicity. An example of this is that several lines run through Charlemagne. So if I get to him (again), I just add *THIS LINE NOTED ELSEWEHRE and stop. I will fill in info later as to just where to look for continuation of that particular line.

There is enough family info here already to fill a library. But in a few months I will go at it again. I still have a lot of family to pull up and plug into their rightful slot. But for now I need a break. Next project, paint the living room.

Friday, July 1, 2011

overdue visit

It has been 22 years since Yau Tang and Judy Tsai have been in Corvallis. Can you believe it? It has been 9 years since we last saw them at their son's wedding in California. Time passes so quickly. Our visit was sweet, but oh too short. They arrived around noon on Monday and left just after lunch on Wednesday. We just did not have enough time together, but they promised to come back soon.

Judy really loved all the green around the house, took tons of pictures of our flowers, and spent time sitting on the deck looking at photos of our trips to Europe. She would like to float the Rhine and see all the castles on the hills, now that they are finally retired.

Even though Yau Tang and Judy had lived in Corvallis for many years, they had never visited the municipal rose garden in Avery Park. I took them there after dinner on Tuesday.

Judy loved our quiet hideaway, the deck on the northeast corner of the house. It is bathed in morning sun and is shady in the heat of the afternoon. Very nice for sipping morning coffee and for reading later in the day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

random thoughts

I was talking to my sister the other day. She is moving to Arizona because, among other things, she really needs to see blue sky. Many people have a problem with the cloud cover in the northwest. Fortunately, I am not one of them. To me it is like a warm comforter, cozy. Yesterday the sun was out all day. Yes, it was beautiful. But the air pressure changes when it is warm, really warm. I had problems with my sinus and just didn't feel well at all. Of course the pollen count was up too. But these two things often go together. Today I feel better because the sky is overcast. The pollen count and air pressure are down. I won't be moving any time soon.

We are getting ready for company. Some dear friends who live in Taiwan will be coming to visit next week. It will be so good to see them after many years. He just retired and is finally able to travel. Hopefully there will be many more visits in years to come. I have already done some deep cleaning and will give the floors a good polish just before they arrive. But these friends are not picky. They are coming to see us, not our home. I just hope I can get the weed eater going next week end to spruce up the lawn a little. Our mower is in the shop and won't be ready for about 2 weeks. These friends have always enjoyed our garden and it is extra incentive to work outside.

The squirrels have been driving me wild again. Last year they repeatedly knocked the glass top off an old crock I use as a table on the deck. I ended up putting a heavy pot on it, seemed to solve the problem. Turns out they are after the salt/brine that has seeped into the crock from when I used to make pickles in it. They still lick the sides of the crock. This year they have been digging in my potted plants. I have gone out several times to find plants nearly uprooted. I guess the soil is soft and easy to dig in. Anyway, I ended up placing shells and/or stones around the top of the bare soil. I don't think they will be digging in that, but we will see. These critters are amusing to watch, but they are a real pain as well.

My research into our family genealogy has been going on since the first of the year. To give credit where due, my cousin Mike has been doing research on my dad's side of the family for some 20 years now. He was gracious enough to share those results. I have spent way too much time in adding to his findings and delving into mom's line, first using only the Internet, then Amy purchased 6 months worth for me. Boy do we have a lot of identifiable ancestors. So far, I have identified no less that 12 individuals on the passenger list for the 1620 Mayflower, tied into the European nobility on both sides of the family, and pin pointed the dates and state of immigration for most of those who came over from the British Isles and Europe, some 19 pages of them, all but two prior to 1750. It is a mixed bag of folks. Some escaping political or religious persecution, some looking for land, still others just needing a way to make a living. These people all brought with them stories that could fill volumes, as attested by the printer ink I have gone through (I don't have that much space on my hard drive).

My intent is to use this vast amount of information as the basis for gifts. There is enough there to last for many years. In fact I have already given a small gift of the direct paternal family line as a graduation present to one family member. So if you are related to me, you can count on receiving at least a branch or two off this forest of a family tree. We are related to Lady Godiva, King Henry I, William the Conqueror, Charlemagne, Antony (as in Antony & Cleopatra), and so many, many more notables. But it is the stories of those who laid it all on the line to settle this country that intrigue me most. It reads something like our own family version of "How the West Was Won", a real study in American history. I will spend time this fall, after the 6 month subscription is over, putting material together for Christmas gifts. It should be fun.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

53 years and counting

Time flies in more than one way. Not only has it been more than 2 months since my last post, but today marks 53 years since Richard and I vowed to love, honor, and cherish one another till the Lord took us home. Some of those years were pretty rocky. Some were exhausting. Yet it was those same hard times that have mellowed us like a fine wine. We are closer now than ever before. We depend on one another. We are each other's best friend.

Richard can no longer get out to shop. We don't have disposable cash anyway. So he drew a couple pictures of me as a gift. I like the less colored one best. Which one do you like?

I am fixing a steak dinner with all the trimmings as my gift to Richard. This is something he loves and doesn't often get. We will eat on the deck surrounded by roses. I will put on some quiet music. It will be secluded and intimate. What more could you ask for than to share a good meal in a lovely setting, with the one you love?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ouch, it's been over 2 months since I last posted anything. Yes, I have been here, but pre-occupied with research and the chore of day to day life. But yesterday Shelley gave a tea for my birthay and I just want to recognize her for the effort. It was not something expected, but much appeciated. This was sort of an odd year. I turned 71. Just a year ago I had a total knee replacement. All is healing beautifully, but I don't get around as easily as I used to. My energy level is fading as well. Things I was compelled to do (gardening, shopping, etc) take a lot out of and so they don't happen as frequently. But yesterday was nice. I slept in, had a simple breakfast, took a long hot bath, got dressed, fixed a bite for Richard's lunch, and spent the afternoon being pampered. Shelley spent a lot of time and effort preparing high tea. We had small delecacies inthe form of cucumbr and chichen sandwiches, mini scones and chocolate cupcakes, fruit, and of course tea. It was very laid back, but famcy at the same time. Dianna, Lissa and Charlotte, Gladys, two of Eric's sisters and one of his nieces were guests. The presented both Shelley (her birthday is in a couple weeks) and I with a variety of gifts, too. I recieved a beautiful scarf, hand cream, an assortment of garden supplies, jams and jellies, and a cute Oregon tea towel and placemats for the deck. Shelley even sent home some gluten free mixes for her dad. Thank you everyone. It was nice to visit with you and catch up. Thank you also for the thoughtful gifts. I know I will use and enjoy them all.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Slowly making progress

2011 is getting off to a slow start. I am just plain tired. Why, you ask? There are a number of contributing factors. Some have to do with activity levels that I can control. Some to climate and temperature levels (inside as well as out) that I can't control. Then there are so many interruptions that I can't seem to really concentrate on what I need to accomplish.

Yes, I am being vague. I could blame the fact that I don't sleep well due to being too warm (my husband suffers from poor circulation). To house dust that affects my sinus (totally my fault). to rain and icy conditions that make it unsafe for me to take my "normal" 30 minute walk this time of year. To scheduled medical appointments and other weekly commitments that interrupt my day. But I will be able to move forward soon.

One more week of physical therapy will free up 2 days a week. Holiday stuff is down and most of it put away. I am cleaning a section of the house every day and cooking enough at a time that there is enough prepared to last at least 2 or 3 days. Income tax computations are complete with one small exception that I must wait on. No, I am not just sitting on my rear doing sudoku, even if it might sound appealing. However, I do spend several hours each day in the living room with Richard. This is a priority - spending time together. The work will get done. It just takes forever to do it at my snails pace.

Monday, January 3, 2011

easy to lose time

It is so easy to get lost in the process of research. One thing leads to another and before you know it, hours have passed. Focus on details makes all else just fade into the background.

Over the past couple weeks I have been following the trail of a couple ancestors. One of my cousins back in Kansas has been sending me copies of his research for several, actually more like 20, years. So after getting set for Christmas, I started looking at his information. Long story short, I found some discrepancies, new information, and some family lines that are off the wall.

One line thought to connect us directly to Presidents John and John Quincy Adams turns out to be false. Oh we share DNA through John Adam's great grandfather, but not through the presidents themselves.

This finding lead me to discover that John Adams great grandfather had married a widow following the death of his first wife. We are directly descended from the second wife who's family line leads directly to John Alden and Priscilla Mullins of "Mayflower" fame.

Still further research found me going into the LDS ancestral files only to trace still other family lines through an illegitimate son to British and European nobility, early (600 AD) Welsh ancestors and still another to ancient nordic kings (200 AD). All this takes a bit to digest.

I plan on taking small segments of "family" history at a time, putting it together with photos and stories, where available, and giving a copy to each of my off spring. It should be good for several years worth of Christmas presents. Some of the grandchildren have asked for information on family history in the past. Now they can get it from their folks and add to it from their own additional branches.

This will be quite the undertaking. Each branch needs to be verified. I don't really need another huge project right now. I am still far from wrapping up all the sorting of boxes in the basement. So I will work on genealogy as a diversion from that priority task only, at least for awhile. Life has challenges. Some are external and some self-imposed. This falls into the latter category, so I can pick it up or put it down as I see fit. It should be fun, not a burden.

Happy New Year everyone.