Monday, September 30, 2013

Nancy Drew -- Who Knew?

I have always been a reader.  I don't remember a time in my life that I wasn't a reader.  My daughter's name even came from a book so you can see that reading has had an impact on my life.  I remember as a little kid I watched my mother read the newspaper and was completely fascinated by it -- I would ask her what it felt like to be able to read.  So, when I started reading I never stopped and, in my old age, I truly believe that if you have your health you have everything and if you can read, you can do anything.

So, this year I decided to join two Reading Challenges on Goodreads -- the 2013 Reading Challenge where my goal was 20 books.  I have met and surpassed that goal and I still have a couple of books to finish before the end of the year.  I also joined the pre-1960 Children's Book Challenge.  This challenge requires you to read any children's book that was published prior to 1960 and contains more than 60 pages.  I decided I would read one author and I started with the Bobbsey Twins books but they didn't hold my interest well enough. So, I decided I would try Nancy Drew again and have been completely drawn in.  I had quite a few Nancy Drew books from a book club I belonged to but I could never get "into" them.  My mom read them, my aunt read them, my grandmother read them but I didn't.  However I decided to give them another chance for this challenge and I am really enjoying them.  Today I finished "The Case of the Hidden Staircase".  It was really good and a little spooky.  I really enjoy the settings in these books -- I mean, who doesn't like big mansions with antiques and secret doors and, yes, hidden staircases.  There is just enough intrigue to make you keep reading but not so much to be frightening to younger readers.  They do hold an adults interest and they are very quick reads.  I would recommend to anybody who wants something light that takes you back in time a bit.

So, after finishing "The Case of the Hidden Staircase" I immediately bought the next one in the series for my Nook.  I will be starting "The Bungalow Mystery" tonight!  Review to follow.

Friday, September 20, 2013

2013 Reading Challenge

I was going great guns on my reading challenge for 2013 and then many distractions popped up and the reading fell by the wayside.  However, it is picking up again and I have completed one more book for the 2013 Pre-1960 Children's Book Challenge.

When I was a child I belonged to a Nancy Drew book club but I never read any of the books! My mother loved them and my aunt loved them but me -- yeah, not so much.  However, I revisited them for the book challenge and I was completely taken in by this story and would definitely recommend it.  In fact, I am looking forward to the next title in the series -- The Case of the Hidden Staircase. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Old Meme Revisited

Taking some time this afternoon to catch up on my blog reading, I was reminded me of an meme I shared a long time ago.  JLSHall at Joysweb decided to revisit this meme and I thought it would be fun to do the same.  In order to participate you google your name and the word "needs" and list the first ten things that come up.  So, here is an updated version of mine.

Melissa needs:

some help -- hmmm.. yeah .. vacuuming comes to mind here.

a bunny and a stove .... uh, ok

to see -- is this prophetic or philosophical or perhaps a reminder that I need to get my eyes tested

make the signed copy of Google maps she uses -- who is supposed to sign it?

to stop wearing -- is this a remark about the blue eye shadow? How rude!

 a home -- what? this isn't home?  Then why am I doing all this vacuuming?

 a straightjacket --  excuse me?  Well, maybe I do.

to focus -- this is true -- Christmas shopping did not go well on Wednesday

help getting her truck on the road  -- well, first I would need a truck.  Hubs won't let me drive his. 

I don't think these responses were as much fun as the first time around.  Oh well, have a go and see how funny your responses are!


Monday, September 02, 2013

All Things Family History

I have done genealogy for years -- absolutely years.  I have never, up until now, figured out how to store and organize all the documentation that goes along with it.  I didn't think up the system on my own, I stole it from somebody on YouTube and, I will say, she did a much better job of it than I have.

I have tried everything from file cabinets to notebooks to folders to electronic programs and nothing seems to work for me as well as I would like.  So, when I went looking for a "new" way to do things, I had an open mind and a good thing, too, because I watched this woman organized her records and was slapped in the face by the simplicity of it all.  Why hadn't I thought of it?

The whole idea is filing documentation, in pendaflex folders in portable, plastic file boxes, by the individual.  Each person in your tree has a folder and whatever information you have on that person goes in his/her file.  They are arranged in the file box just like they appear on your ancestor chart.  By doing it this way you have ready access to whatever you have on any person and you can readily see if you need to find a document to add more information to your tree.  Before I tried keeping all my death/birth certificates (and other documents in like fashion) in one folder labelled as such and I had to sift through all of them in order to find one particular one.  This was time consuming and also meant I handled the documents more than necessary.  Those things are expensive so you really don't want to handle them more than you need to.

Now, the lady on the YouTube video did hers with more panache than I have.  I have been reusing file folders that have been used before, not caring if they were color coordinated.  This lady used blue for her male ancestors and pink for her female ancestors.  It looks really nice when put together but, since I have been going "green" for a while, I saw no sense in repurchasing what I already had. 

As I sat and worked on this today, totally trashing my dining room table, I was amazed at the amount of information I have amassed on all those who went before me.  A good deal of it I had forgotten I had.  I was surprised at some of the information and was able to add it to my tree on right away before I filed it away.  I discovered some copies of pictures that I mulled over for a while -- I never knew these relatives but I feel like I do.  I finally feel like I am getting all my information in some sort of workable order.  Genealogy is a great hobby but, when you get past the four or five generations, the volume of information becomes almost uncontrollable and almost takes on a life of its own.  I feel like I might actually have a shot at taming the beast with this system.  In the new system, it will be so nice to be able to pull a folder and look over the contents without having to sort through tons of material to find something.  Yes, I think this will work.

I have abandoned the project for the evening -- the dust from the paper is making my nose run and I don't need that -- so tomorrow is another day and I will continue then.  I don't want to rush through this process, I want to enjoy it and relish the past.  My mother always chastised my dad for "living in the past" and I guess, to some extent, I do the same but some days, the past is just the place I need to be.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Still Here -- Just Tired

Hi, all! I am still here -- just a little tired.  Things have been very busy lately what with babysitting the Bean and taking care of my health -- both very tiring activities.  I find that when I return home of an evening about all I can do is a shower, a bit of reality tv, some facebook and then I am down for the count.

Speaking of reality tv, I have somehow morphed into watching Honey Boo Boo.  Why you ask?  I have no clue.  This isn't my usual sort of viewing pleasure.  I love the Smithsonian Channel, PBS, The Learning Channel but not Honey Boo Boo.  I have to say, though, it is the ultimate diversion.  For sure.

Facebook has taken on a different approach for me.  I have a love hate relationship with FB -- I really don't like some of the political stuff on there but I have really enjoyed reacquainting myself with people I went through school with.  We have talked about our present lives and we have talked about our childhoods and taken walks down memory lane, dredging up old memories and having a lot of laughs over it.  We have watched our elementary school be torn down -- much to our dismay -- and we have wondered where others are that we haven't heard from in many years.

After one of those walks down memory lane, I seemed to stay on the path for a while.  I was trying to find my  "happy place" and I did -- in the library of my junior high school.  In a previous post, or two, I have discussed attending a "historical" school on a main street that led to downtown San Antonio, in a beautiful, historic neighborhood with gorgeous homes called Monte Vista.

 The school was built in 1923 and many of my family members attended.  It was, in my mind, a beautiful school -- on the outside.  It has been described as a bit "prison-like" on the inside, however, but I never felt that way.  As one who always loved old architecture, I just loved the dark woodwork, the transom windows, the mullioned floor to ceiling windows and the library.  The first floor windows in the photo above are that very library.  Those windows look out on San Pedro and into the neighborhood of beautiful homes across the street.

Now, I always wanted to be a writer and I would spend many long study hall periods studying each house I could see and making up stories of the families that lived in each house.  The stories became very elaborate in my mind but I never seemed to write them down.  What a shame because I believe that they were very good -- in my 14 year old mind.

During this same time, my father was dabbling in movie making.  He created a film that used almost all local talent including a young college student named Helen Hogan.

My twelve year old self thought Miss Hogan was wonderful.  She was elegant, poised,  pretty, and thin!.  She was active in the San Antonio Little Theater scene along with several of the other cast members.  I thought the little theater life was the most glamorous even though I had only been in the theater once for a piano recital.  So, the movie making came and went, as did the cast members.  I grew up and never gave all that much thought until I was recently asked what happened to all those people.  So, the genealogist in me went on a hunt for those elusive cast members.  I knew a several had passed away, one had moved far away and then there was Helen Hogan.  A quick search and I learned that she had married in the 1990's and was living -- yes, in one of those houses that I had made up a story about!

No, none of my stories ever centered around a young socialite of means, a debutant, a budding actress who was active on the civic front and enjoyed starring in her university's dramatic performances.  But, maybe one should have -- sounds like a pretty nice story to me.