Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kinexxions in 2009

The year 2009 started out the same as any other year but took a little twist early-on when I got sick and had surgery in February. There's something about being bed-ridden and being unable to do much of anything or go anywhere. You're kind of like a prisoner in your own mind. For me, it was a time for reevaluating my life and the impetus for finally getting 'around to it' and doing something that I had been wanting to do for a very long time.

In February the decision was made to do some extended travel. A date was set. Plans were made. Furniture was sold. Stuff was disposed of or boxed up for storage. Documents and photos were scanned so I'd have my research papers with me. A new vehicle was purchased. It was a hectic, nerve-wracking time but when September came, I started a new chapter in my life.

I didn't leave genealogy completely behind but it was put on the back-burner. There were new adventures in store and it was very exciting. As every year comes to a close, we tend to review accomplishments and goals. And so it is with the blog. The lists below include some of my favorite posts from 2009 as well as some that were most popular, in no particular order.

The 'Top 10' Genealogy Posts
Five Favorite Family Photos
Favorite Five Travel Posts

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ain't Makin' No Resolutions!

At this time every year a lot of people make them. Resolutions. Goals. Aspirations. Declarations. Intentions. Call them what you will, a rose by any name is still a rose. However, I always called them goals and, generally, along with what was a growing “to do” list, have tried to use them to help guide my research. It seldom works. I'm not gonna do it this year. I'm doin' sumthin' else.

However, for the record, I did set a few goals for 2009.

I thought I'd get back to posting at Whitley County Kinexxions but that didn't happen and likely won't for some time to come. The blog will remain, taking up a little room out there in cyberspace. Maybe someone will find something of interest there someday.

I thought I'd contribute to the Carnival of Genealogy and Smile for the Camera more often. But that didn't happen either. In fact there were fewer contributions this year than in the past.

Illness and surgery sidelined me for several months early in the year. But they were the impetus for a major change in my lifestyle.

Scanning family photo albums and genea-documents were on the list too. Guess what? They became a high priority item and they got done! Yeah! Feels Good. Something Accomplished.

I was going to start the cleanup of my two genealogy data files, and update sources. Didn't happen. And isn't going to happen for quite some time either. But, I did get Legacy 7 installed. That was the first step in the process. A smalll step, but a start. Sort of.

I wanted to continue with research begun in 2008 on the Fisher and Wise families. Didn't happen. With a proposed research trip to New England (which kinda, sorta didn't happen), the Joslin line became the primary focus with a review of documentation and research that has been done to prove the connections between generations.

My final goal for 2009 was to make my task list shorter for 2010. It is. Actually, there isn't one. Not formally anyway.

That doesn't mean there aren't things that I should do or need to do.
All those scanned files still need to be organized, tagged, and identified.
My Legacy databases still need to be cleaned up and the sources still need fixed.
There are still ancestors and relatives to be found.
There is still more research to be done on the ancestors that have been found.
Perhaps it is better to say that the task list is on hold. Indefinitely.

For there are places to go and people to see.
There are still stories to write and pictures to take.
The Journey continues. Indefinitely.
Perhaps I'll see you somewhere along the way...

This post was written for the 87th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy: New Year's Resolutions!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Greetings from... Georgia

After I left Anastasia State Park and my visit with Denise, I headed a little further north into Georgia. I'm not going to say just where since I'm still there and will be until January 2nd.

It hasn't been nearly as warm these past 10 days as I'd like (daytime highs in the upper 50s and lower 60s and nightime lows in the upper 30s and lower 40s) but there have been a few very nice, warm days! And I'm not complaining, really, just saying... Still beats the winter weather in the Hoosier State!

A visit to my niece to see my new great-grandnephew was a highlight as was spending Christmas Day with Carrie and her family (though Jasmine and Valen weren't there). I just wanted to reassure everyone that wondered where I spent Christmas, that I was not alone, I was with family! And I thank you for your concern...

This will be my longest stay in any one spot since I left home in September. It's a little strange not to be on the move yet, but I wanted to get “settled” in somewhere for the holidays. I looked into staying in Florida but many of the State Parks were booked up for both Christmas and New Years. I guess the “big thing” in Florida and Georgia (and probably other southern states) is to go camping on holidays. I rather expected it during the summer holidays, but not this time of year. Guess it makes sense though, about as much as anything does.

This may be my last post of 2009 so I'd like to wish all of my readers a Happy New Year! May the coming year be the best ever for you, may your brick walls tumble, and may you enjoy health, happiness, and prosperity.

With that I'll leave you with a final sunset photo – actually, it is what I call the “after glow” of sunset, because the sun had already fallen below the horizon when this was taken (and the sun was off to the left outside the view of the camera). I'll tell you where it was taken once I leave this place...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Newest Twig on the Family Tree

My niece, Carrie, with her 2 1/2 month old grandson, Valen Lopez, and her daughter, Jasmine (the baby's mother).

Me with my great-grandnephew. He is the first of the "next" generation, my mother's great-great-grandson - that's five generations from her, but whose counting? The pictures were taken on Friday, December 18th.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Anastasia State Park

I didn't quite make it down to the beach for the sunrise, but the sun was playing hide and seek through the clouds when I got there.

It was a chilly morning, but that is sand, not snow.

Surf and Sea Foam.

Sand and Sea Shells.

Wind-blown patterns in the sand.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Visit to Moultrie Creek

As I waited in the dark parking lot I wondered if we would get along, if we would like each other, if we would have anything to talk about... I shouldn't have been the least bit anxious though. When Denise stepped out of her car to greet me with a hug and a big smile it was like being reunited with an old friend rather than meeting someone for the first time. In a way we had come to know each other, through our blogs (she at Moultrie Creek and Family Matters), but now we have actually met, face-to-face, and I'm delighted and honored to say that we are truly friends.

It was Friday evening (December 11th) when I met Denise and her husband for supper. It's hard to believe it was 10 days ago. Good golly, how the time does fly!

Saturday morning (12/12) Denise and I attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the National Cemetery in St. Augustine. It was impressive, especially with the Florida Patriot Guard Riders in attendance. It had been raining all morning but as the ceremony was about to begin the skies opened up and it just poured. Denise had loaned me her umbrella since she had worn a jacket with a hood and the sound of the rain on the umbrella pretty much drowned out the voices of the speakers.

After the official ceremony was over, Denise and I were honored to lay a wreath at the grave of Emily Kennedy – the only female veteran buried in that cemetery. Emily served in the Army Nurse Corp from 1905-1907 and in the Navy 1909-1912. She also enlisted in 1917 the Army Nurse Corp, when in her 30s, serving during WWI. On facebook, Denise linked to the online article but here's the link for those who missed it or don't “do” facebook...

Since it was raining, we just “hung out” at Denise's place Saturday afternoon. Talking. Army, Navy, National Guard, Travel. Family. With a little bit of internet, checking email and reading blogs. But mostly talking. After a supper of Denise's own chili and rice, which was quite good, I departed for the night (I stayed at Anastasia State Park).

Sunday morning saw warmer weather and sunshine! And that meant sightseeing in St. Augustine and the Historic District. Denise was the best tour guide, ever. Very knowledgeable about the history of the area, the buildings, and the various ethnic groups who have lived in St. Augustine. It was, quite simply, delightful. It was a beautiful day, weather and otherwise.

We got together again for a “farewell” supper Tuesday evening at the neighborhood Mexican restaurant, about two blocks from Denise's house. I certainly enjoyed the time I spent at Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine but the time I spent with Denise and her husband was enjoyable as well, but moreso. Their friendliness and hospitality was greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Denise Olson and Becky Wiseman - December 15, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday :: Sebastian Inlet

Sunset from the Bridge. Sebastian Inlet. December 9, 2009 5:09 pm

Sunset from the Bridge. Sebastian Inlet. December 9, 2009 5:21 pm
(The Zoom was at it's full 7x capability)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Just Another Sunset...

These pictures almost weren't taken. As I was sitting at the picnic table at the Sebastian Inlet State Park Campground, getting eaten up by the tiniest little critters I have ever seen, I decided to go for a walk. I usually take my camera but for some reason didn't this time. As soon as I got to the road and saw the clouds over the water, I turned around and went back for it.

Interesting clouds. Nice, yes?
But I didn't think the sunset was all that spectacular.
I should have known better.
4:53 p.m.

But then I walked further down the road.
And the sun got lower.
And the clouds changed.
And I zoomed in a bit.
5:04 p.m.

A change of position and I zoomed in a bit more.
5:06 p.m.

Just a little further down the road.
5:14 p.m.

It just got better with each passing minute.
5:17 p.m.

And then it was over.
5:22 p.m.

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

One version of the History of Taps

I can't pass up a good sunset. Especially one that combines clouds and water. The perfect subjects. Mother Nature showing off yet again.

Just as a side note, the only “adjustment” made to these pictures was to resize them for posting to the blog. The colors and contrasts are just as they were captured by the camera. All I did was press the shutter button. They are, quite simply, Mother Nature at her awesome best!

Posted from the Brevard County Public Library, Melbourne Branch. Thanks to their free Wi-fi.

Monday, December 07, 2009

'Twas Forty Years Ago...

It was recently brought to my attention that I passed a major milestone in my life. Had I thought about it, I would have re-posted these letters with the same date with which they were written. But I didn't remember and so you're just getting a list (nothing wrong with lists is there?).

On November 14th 1969 I enlisted in the U.S. Navy. For the next 10 weeks I went through basic training at RTC(W) Bainbridge, graduating on January 23, 1970. These are the letters that I wrote home during that time.
Another milestone has recently passed by... on November 17th I filed for Social Security! And Time Marches On...

Christmas Memories

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, originated two years ago, was the brainchild of Jasia and Thomas MacEntee. Many genea-bloggers are participating again this year but since I'm traveling I haven't taken the time to re-post my memories from 2007. Instead, this will provide a link to all of the posts dealing with Christmases Past. Enjoy!
  • Christmas Music - Christmas Music. What songs did your family listen to during Christmas? Did you ever go caroling? Did you have a favorite song?"
  • Fond Memories - Christmas and Deceased Relatives. Did your family visit the cemetery at Christmas? How did your family honor deceased family members at Christmas?
  • Christmas Shopping - Christmas Shopping. How did your family handle Christmas Shopping? Did anyone finish early or did anyone start on Christmas Eve?
  • Christmas Stockings - Christmas Stockings. Did you have one? Where did you hang it? What did you get in it?
  • Christmas Church Services - Christmas Church Services. Did your family attend religious services during the Christmas season? What were the customs and traditions involved?
  • Christmas at School - What did you do to celebrate Christmas at school? Were you ever in a Christmas Pageant?
  • Christmas is Here! - Christmas Grab Bag. Author’s choice! Please post from a topic that helps you remember Christmases past!!
  • Fruitcake - Friend or Foe? - Fruitcake – Friend or Foe? Did you like fruitcake? Did your family receive fruitcakes? Have you ever re-gifted fruitcake? Have you ever devised creative uses for fruitcake?
  • Christmas and the Arts - Christmas and the Arts. Did your family attend any special events or performances during the holidays?
  • In a time of need - Charitable / Volunteer Work. Did your family ever volunteer with a charity such as a soup kitchen, homeless or battered women’s shelter during the holidays? Were you able to make the holidays special for someone less fortunate?
  • Holiday Travel - Holiday Travel. Did you travel anywhere for Christmas? How did you travel and who traveled with you? Do you remember any special trips?
  • A Christmas Gift to Remember - Christmas Gifts. What were your favorite gifts, both to receive and to give?
  • Holiday Parties - Holiday Parties. Did your family throw a holiday party each year? Do you remember attending any holiday parties?
  • Christmas Cookies - Christmas Cookies. Did your family make Christmas Cookies? How did you help? Did you have a favorite cookie?
  • Grandpa's Candy - Christmas Grab Bag. Author’s choice! Please post from a topic that helps you remember Christmases past!!
  • Santa Claus - Santa Claus. Did you ever send a letter to Santa? Did you ever visit Santa and “make a list?” Do you still believe in Santa Claus?
  • Outdoor Decorations - Outdoor Decorations. Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights? Did some people really go “all out” when decorating?
  • Christmas Cards - Christmas Cards. Did your family send them? Did your family display the ones they received? Do you still send Christmas cards?

Greetings From ... Florida!

After leaving Huntington Beach on November 21st, I kind of went into a funk. The muse departed - I didn't feel like writing and it would be nine days before I'd shoot another picture! The weather just wasn't conducive to picture taking – cloudy, gray days intermingled with rain, and more clouds. Besides, I was on the move, traveling south to a warmer climate. My mother used to say “Be careful what you wish for little girl, you might just get it!” Oh, so true.

But first, Georgia. Yep, went through it. I was hoping to stay at a State Park south of Brunswick but they were booked up through the Thanksgiving weekend. I called another park near Okefenokee but they were filled too. Gave up on that and went into Florida. No luck there with the state parks either. I called half a dozen of them that were on my route south (roughly just west of the Interstate 75 corridor) and their campgrounds were all full through Thanksgiving weekend as well. So, I just kept going south towards my ultimate destination, Everglades National Park, where I arrived on Monday, November 30th. It was probably a good thing that I didn't get there earlier. They had a pretty severe thunderstorm, with high winds, sweep through the area Thanksgiving night. A couple of RV'rs lost their awnings to the winds.

Well, I got my wish – warmer weather! It has been in the upper 80s during the day and not much cooler during the night. And humid, oh my. So hot and humid it's sweltering. A couple of nights it has rained off and on. Thursday it rained most of the night. At the visitor center they told me it was good to be here this time of year – at the start of the dry season. Hah! Well, even with the heat and humidity, it has been an interesting visit. It is a fascinating habitat with a tremendous variety of flora and fauna. I've seen lots of trees and plants and birds and a few alligators.

On Wednesday, I took a boat trip out into Florida Bay and, aside from the birds, the only wildlife we saw was one dolphin, which jumped out of the water three times near the aft engines. That was it. Still, it was an enjoyable ride. The cool breeze onboard the boat was nice. And the tour guide had a sense of humor. As we were coming upon a turn out of the channel into the bay, there was a tall buoy that had half a dozen terns sitting atop it. He said that it was our tern signal. [big groan]

A free, Ranger Guided Canoe Trip was offered on Saturday morning through the Flamingo Visitors Center so on Thursday I moved from the Long Pine Key Campground to the one at Flamingo. After spending a sweltering night in the van (and I do mean sweltering, I was sweating so much that it steamed over the windows) I began to wonder if I'd made a mistake.

But after the three-hour trip was over, I concluded that it was well worth the wait. Although, in all honesty, the six days spent here was about three days too long!

There were no pictures taken during the canoe trip since I really didn't want to take the chance of losing my camera in a spill. The Ranger said it doesn't happen often, but it does happen and they aren't responsible in case of a loss.

Anhingas – one drying it's wings so it can fly and another sitting on it's nest. December 1, 2009.

I love it how the alligators seem to be smiling at you! December 1, 2009.

Sunset over the pond at Long Pine Key Campground. December 1, 2009.

Some kind of stork at Coot's Bay Pond, midway between Long Pine Key and Flamingo. December 2, 2009.

Sunset over the Flamingo Campground. December 5, 2009. Long Pine Key was just a few miles from the park entrance while Flamingo was a little over 40 miles.

Posted from the Homestead [Florida] Branch Library thanks to their free WiFi, which is greatly appreciated.