Friday, September 30, 2011

The Friday Five

I happened to stumble upon a Friday Five meme all about travel. Seemed fitting as I've been traveling into the past this week.

1. What is the longest distance you have traveled by foot?

That would be a 7 mile walk from work to home when my car broke down.  It took around 3 hrs for me to get home.

2. What is the longest trip you have traveled by plane?

A trip to Germany .

3. What is the longest trip you've traveled by water?

Honeymoon cruise to the Bahamas

4. What is the longest trip you've traveled by car?

A family trip when I was 7 yrs old to visit my uncle who lived in Buffalo, NY

5. What is the longest trip you've traveled by bus or train?

A 13 hour bus ride from Munich, Germany to West Berlin. Yes, this was when Germany was divided into East and West.

Want to play?

Don't forget you can still enter to win a copy of the MyMemories Digital Scrapbooking software. Leave a comment each day to increase your chances. The contest will remain open until noon EST on Friday, 30 September 2011. The winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on Saturday, 1. October 2011.

First visit MyMemories.com. Look at the wonderful packages they have in their store. Don't forget to check out the free stuff, too. Then come back and leave a comment. Tell me which digital scrapbook kit(s) you liked.  Easy!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Still Hunting

Slowly piecing together the puzzle that is my family. Adding information from Dad's notebook into the timeline. From census records I was able to verify names of his cousins, their parents, where they lived. I had my great-grandparents names from the marriage certificates of my grandparents. That's as far back as I was able to get. I figured I'd never be able to find info about the relatives in the old country.

Then for the heck of it, I did a search on the name of the town where my paternal grandfather was from plus the name of a great uncle. Didn't expect to find anything and then staring at me is a blog link with his name and signature on a petition for naturalization. It included names of his wife and children!

I wrote to the blog owner who has done research on the families from Torre le Nocelle. The info he had was about my great uncle, and it turns out the blog owner and I are related, okay distantly related, but still. He also gave me information that got me back to my great-great-great grandfather! I went from not knowing anything beyond the names of my great-grandparents to having names and dates that brought me back to the 1750's! How cool is that? So far no skeletons. Nothing for the history books. Just good, hard-working people.


Don't forget you can still enter to win a copy of the MyMemories Digital Scrapbooking software. Leave a comment each day to increase your chances. The contest will remain open until noon EST on Friday, 30 September 2011. The winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on Saturday, 1. October 2011.

First visit MyMemories.com. Look at the wonderful packages they have in their store. Don't forget to check out the free stuff, too. Then come back and leave a comment. Tell me which digital scrapbook kit(s) you liked.  Easy!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday




Don't forget you can still enter to win a copy of the MyMemories Digital Scrapbooking software. Leave a comment each day to increase your chances. The contest will remain open until noon EST on Friday, 30 September 2011. The winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on Saturday, 1. October 2011.

First visit MyMemories.com. Look at the wonderful packages they have in their store. Don't forget to check out the free stuff, too. Then come back and leave a comment. Tell me which digital scrapbook kit(s) you liked.  Easy!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gift Bag and MyMemories Suite Giveaway

I needed a gift bag and saw a cute owl gift bag made from a brown paper lunch bag. It looked easy enough. Circles, an oval, a diamond cut from bits of paper. It gave me an excuse to fondle the scraps in the scrap paper box. I wanted a patterned paper for the eyes, but didn't have anything Fall-ish.  From the MyMemories site, I downloaded a free paper pack called Worn Paper, and printed the brown selection. Perfect. Another way to use the software.

Don't forget you can still enter to win a copy of the MyMemories Digital Scrapbooking software. Leave a comment each day to increase your chances. The contest will remain open until noon EST on Friday, 30 September 2011. The winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on Saturday, 1. October 2011.

First visit MyMemories.com. Look at the wonderful packages they have in their store. Don't forget to check out the free stuff, too. Then come back and leave a comment. Tell me which digital scrapbook kit(s) you liked.  Easy!



Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Night at the Movies A to Z and MyMemories Suite Software Giveaway



This week's offering, Young Frankenstein. All the flavor of the classic monster movies with the silliness of Mel Brooks. This one is sure to put a smile on your face, or at least make you groan at the bad puns. 


What's your favorite movie that start with the letter Y?


Don't forget you can still enter to win a copy of the MyMemories Digital Scrapbooking software. Leave a comment each day to increase your chances. The contest will remain open until noon EST on Friday, 30 September 2011. The winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on Saturday, 1. October 2011.

First visit MyMemories.com. Look at the wonderful packages they have in their store. Don't forget to check out the free stuff, too. Then come back and leave a comment. Tell me which digital scrapbook kit(s) you liked.  Easy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Alphabet Sunday and MyMemories Suite Giveaway



Don't forget you can still enter to win a copy of the MyMemories Digital Scrapbooking software. Leave a comment each day to increase your chances. The contest will remain open until noon EST on Friday, 30 September 2011. The winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on Saturday, 1. October 2011.

First visit MyMemories.com. Look at the wonderful packages they have in their store. Don't forget to check out the free stuff, too. Then come back and leave a comment. Tell me which digital scrapbook kit(s) you liked.  Easy!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tools, Gadgets, and Widgets: Software Review and Giveaway

I have lots of photographs, some print copies in boxes and digital copies on disks and thumb drives. I thought I'd do something with the digital copies, but I never did until I was contacted by MyMemories Dgital Scrapbooking Software to do a review of their product. In exchange for the review, I was given a full working copy of the software. In addition, I have a copy to give one lucky reader. You'll see your part when it comes by.

Directions to download the MyMemories Suite were easy to follow and the product downloaded and installed without a hitch. You can chose to download either a Windows or a Mac version of the program.

The program wasn't as intuitive as I thought it would be, but there is a lot of help and tutorials from MyMemories.com. or by typing My Memories tutorials into your favorite search engine.  After watching a tutorial, it didn't take long to get started. I thought there would be a limited number of things to work with. I was surprised to learn there are 1300 embellishments and 1500 backgrounds to use. You can also import your own images either in .jpg or .png format.

If that's not enough, there are tons of free goodies you can download from the MyMemories.com site. You can download one or all. Donwloads are available in Windows, Mac, and formats for other programs like Paint Shop Pro. Packages had to be downloaded individually, but they downloaded and installed quickly.

There are also lots of templates and packages you can purchase at the MyMemories.com Store. I know there are some of you who want the tactile experience of paper and embellishments, but once you use up your favorite brads, you have to buy more. With the digital backgrounds and embellishments, you can use them over and over again. As many times as you need. Digital scrapbooking is also neat. There are no paper schnibbles to clean up. When you're done for the day, you close the program and all your brads, buttons, bows, and papers are stored away neatly.

I chose to start my first page from scratch, but there are lots of templates where you can either drag and drop your photo or upload your photo to create your page. You can create your album in 12 inch x 12 inch, 8 inch x 8 inch or 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch format. I used a picture of my maternal grandmother. She's the young woman on the right. Her cousin is on the left. The photograph was taken when Grandma first arrived in this country somewhere around 1910. When I first saw the photograph as a child, I thought she was playing dress-up with her cousin. I always thought of the photo as The Grandmas Playing Dress-Up. Didn't the scrapbook page turn out great?

Besides being able to create scrapbook pages, the MyMemories Suite can be used to create cards and photo books. Sound can also be added to create a very special memento.

So, here comes your chance to win a copy of the MyMemories Digital Scrapbooking software. You can enter as many times as you like to increase your chances. The contest will remain open until noon EST on Friday, 30 September 2011. The winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on Saturday, 1. October 2011.

First visit MyMemories.com. Look at the wonderful packages they have in their store. Then come back and leave a comment. Tell me which digital scrapbook kit(s) you liked.  Easy!

If you can't wait to get your hands on the MyMemories.com Suite software, MyMemories.com is offering readers a special discount. Use the promotion code STMMMS65809 and receive a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software. Plus you'll receive a $10 coupon to use in the MyMemories.com store. That's a $20 savings! Jot down the promotion code STMMMS65809 or copy it and click the MyMemories.com graphic at the top right of this page to go to the MyMemories.com store.

You can also follow MyMemories.com on their blog, Facebook, or Twitter page.

Do you scrapbook?

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Friday Five


As a latch key kid, I spent a lot of time in front of the electronic babysitter. Besides watching favorite shows, I liked to watch the commercials. Five of my favorites:

1. Every little girl dreamed of a white knight to come and carry her away. Only in the 50's and 60's little girls were taught the white knight would take care of the laundry.

2. Speedy Alka-Seltzer's jingle made a good ear worm. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz...would run through your head day and night.

3. I thought the giant arm that rose out of the washing machine when a Salvo Laundry Tablet was dropped in was pretty cool. 

4. And who wouldn't love a Slinky spring walking down a flight of stairs? 

5. I'm with Charlie. Love my Good n' Plenty especially mixed with chocolate.

When you were a kid, did you like watching the commercials? Did you have a favorite?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sleuth

Now that my folks (Ma , 93 and Dad, 92) are safely in the nursing home, I have the monumental task of cleaning out the family home. Sorting through papers and photographs, I'm the family archivist. My dad was worried he would forget things so he filled a notebook with his memories of growing up as a kid, incidents (his poor mother!) and people. Not many dates.

I never really knew much about my family. All four grandparents emigrated from Italy around 1910. In his notebook, Dad said he never knew his grandparents. He said he knew his parents loved the family they left behind, but they never talked about them. Maybe it was too painful to remember. Maybe it was a clean break so that they could assimilate into their new country. I think they took great pains to blend in, become part of the melting pot, become American.

I had my grandparents' names. Birth dates I got from the folks. Great grandparents' names came from marriage certificates I sent for when I cross-stitched a family tree for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. (They celebrated their 68th anniversary this year) I had hoped the marriage license had more information. Place of birth just has Italy. Record keeping wasn't that great back then.

In his notebook, Dad had the name of the town where his father was born. Nice but I wasn't sure how or where I would find information.  I had lunch with my friend, Teague, on Monday. She showed me the work she's been doing tracing her family on Ancestry.com. She pulled up my grandfather's US WWI draft registration card.  It listed the address he lived at, his birthdate, occupation (he was a tailor), and had his signature! He could read and write Italian and then learned to read and write English. That find hooked me. I went home and started the free 14 day trial.

But wait, it gets even better, but I'll save that for another time.

Have you researched your family tree?


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Letters Revisited

Last year, I participated in the Letter a Week in 2010 project. I glued the 2 3/4" squares into blocks. Nice, but not great for playing with. Ink decided the shoe box they were stored in was a comfy place to rest so some of the blocks are now crushed.  I'm revisiting the project to make the blocks more durable so they can be used for display or played with, and their storage box will provide a cushy place for Ink to sit, if he so desires.

Have you ever revisited a project you thought was complete?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Night at the Movies - A to Z

X. Hmmmm. The only movie starting with the letter X I have in my collection is The X Files, I Want to Believe. Mulder and Scully are called out of retirement by the FBI. Their talents are needed to solve the latest case, a kidnapped FBI agent and a priest who has visions of the agent. Typical day at the office for Mulder and Scully. If you enjoyed the series, you'll like the movie. Besides, it's always amusing to count how many times Scully calls out, "Mulder, where are you?"

Help me out. Besides, X-Files and X-Men, any other movies worth watching that start with the letter X?

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Friday Five

A couple of weeks ago, we took a trip to the Museum of Science. Since we were there late in the day and most of the families with young children had left, we had the place pretty much to ourselves. The Young One and I climbed into the mock up of the Apollo capsule. Lying on the astronaut's couch it laughingly became apparent that there are some jobs where height does matter.

1. I couldn't have been an Apollo astronaut as I couldn't reach the control panel. I'd have to have a hand on a stick to be able to push the buttons and flip the switches.

2. I can't be an airline flight attendant. I can't reach the overhead bins. I'd have to press some tall person into service to put things in the bins and check to make sure the bins are closed.

3. I can't be a model. Besides not having a waif figure, the hems would drag down the runway.

4. I couldn't drive an 18 wheeler unless blocks were put on the gas and brake pedals.

5. I would never be able to win the tip off in a basketball game.

Are there any jobs you wouldn't be able to do because of a restriction?


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Melancholia

Today, I'll try to grasp the last of the Summer heat in my hands. I know, I'm a minority. I relish hazy, hot, and humid weather.   I'll miss it. I'll miss lazy days and lazy nights. Soon it will be too chilly to spend our evening in the sun room. And soon, it will be to chilly to work in the sun room during the day. Deep sigh. Forlorn look.

Will you miss the Summer heat?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Night at the Movies - A to Z


I'm not a huge fan of romance movies, but I'm a sucker for The Way We Were. Robert Redford (deep sigh) and Barbara Streisand (meh). I never cared for Streisand (the movie came out in 1973, the year I graduated high school and most likely, I was jealous of her.), but there is such chemistry between Redford and Streisand in this period piece spanning the late 30s, WWII, the McCarthy Era, and the '60s. Opposites don't always attract, and what we want for others isn't what they want for themselves.

What's your favorite W movie?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tools, Gadgets, and Widgets

If you happen to see my car tooling around, you'll see this cool magnetic bumper sticker.(Actually it's on the side panel of my car as the jelly bean shaped hatch doesn't have a wide enough metal space to attach the magnet) Isn't it cool? But you're asking yourself, yeah, it's colorful but what is it? Embedded in the pixelated turquoise square is a QR code. It's like a bar code you can scan with your Smartphone. The QR code stores a URL and some other information. Scanning the code of the bumper magnet, the code will send a special offer to your phone. The promo code can be used by phone or online. Scan the code now, and you'll be able to get $5 off a Fall class, like Practical Calligraphy. During the year, you'll be able to scan the magnet and other promotions will be offered.

So how do you use your smartphone to scan the code? Yup, there's an app for that. You'll need to download NeoReader to your phone. Point your camera to the bar code, click the scan option and voilĂ .

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Friday Five

Got this alphabet meme from Facebook. I was given the letter M. Five things I like starting with the letter M.

1. Meat. I'm a carnivore. Beef, it's what's for dinner.

2. Mozartkugel. Made to honor Mozart. It's like a truffle filled with pistachio marzipan and nougat.

3. M'heroes: Dr. McCoy from Star Trek, Mr. Morton from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and the 6 Million Dollar Man though Lee Majors will always be Heath from The Big Valley to me.

4. M & M's. the feel better food.

5. Macaroni. What pasta used to be called when I was a kid.

Your turn. What do you like that starts with the letter M?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

WAM OH

Little Angel: Whatcha doin'?

Bigger Angel: Waitin'.

Little Angel: Waitin' for what?

Bigger Angel: For the WAM OH to start.

Little Angel: What?

Bigger Angel: The Worcester Art Museum Open House.

Little Angel: OH. I get it. When is it?

Bigger Angel:  Tonight, from 5 pm to 7 pm.

Little Angel: What's there to do?

Bigger Angel: Lots of stuff. You get to meet teachers and see demonstrations. There's snacks. You can check out some art supplies. And an art fair. And you can sign up to take classes.

Little Angel: You gonna take a class?

Bigger Angel: Tryin' to pick.

Little Angel: I've always wanted to take calligraphy

Bigger Angel: That's a great choice.

Little Angel: Is it 5pm, yet?

Bigger Angel: Almost.

Little Angel: Whatcha' doin'?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Counting Blessings


Thank You for the electricity that powers the lights, and the computer so I can surf the Internet, blog, and tweet.  Thank You for the electricity that keeps cold the food we eat. Thank You for the electricity that keeps the sump humming. Thank You for the electricity that keeps the water running (just not seeping into the basement.) Amen.

Nikko Zebra Comic, Ziller Glossy Black, water color and salt.

It's pouring buckets, again. What's the weather like in your neck of the woods?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday Night At the Movies - A to Z

The Vikings starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis. Secrets, revenge and betrayal. Half brothers vie for the love of the same woman and the fate of England. Forget the accents, pop some popcorn and enjoy this epic. You'll be humming the theme song for days.

Do you have a favorite movie that starts with the letter V?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tools, Gadgets, and Widgets - Social Media

Trying to keep up with all the changes in technology and social media can be overwhelming. So many things happen so quickly. Where do you go to stay on top of things? Enter Mashable. Mashable is a news source dedicated to covering social media and technology. Mashable synthesizes the changes in a format that's easy to keep up with. You can visit the site, follow on Facebook, Twitter, by email and other media options.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Friday Five

Last week was a wild weather week with Hurricane Irene making a run through the Bahamas and then up the Eastern Seaboard.By the time it reached Massachusetts (Sunday 28. August 2011) , it had been downgraded to a tropical storm. Thank God. Damage from the tropical storm was bad enough. Lots of rain and wind in my area. The usual over-flow of the interior drain all over the basement floor (just the area where the washer and dryer used to live.)  We were keeping up with the seepage, and then as I was emptying the yellow shop vac, the lights went out.  We were prepared. Himself cranked up the generator and plugged in the large sump pump. Plugged in the other shop vac, and we waited for the lights to come on. Usually when we lose electricity, it's not for more than an hour or two. The lights went out at 11 am on Sunday. Came back on at 1:30p Sunday afternoon. Whew! Or so I thought and then at 2:30p the lights went out. At least the rain had let up and no more water seeping in the basement, but  five things I struggle to deal with when the electricity goes out.

1. I live in a rural area. We own our well, and we have a septic system. The well is 440 feet deep. When the electricity goes out, the pump doesn't work. No well pump. No water flowing into the house. No water to flush the toilet! I had buckets of water standing by to use. As I tweeted, "Damnit, Jim. I'm a Little Princess, not a pioneer woman!"

2. At least this storm wasn't during the winter, and we didn't have to worry about no heat. We didn't have to worry about pipes bursting. But no furnace means

3. no hot water. No hot water to wash dishes. (No big deal, I had paper cups, paper plates, and plastic utensils on hand) but no hot water means

4. No shower. Because we had the generator, we brought the microwave downstairs, plugged it in, and we were able to heat a bowl of hot water to bathe in. It got the job done, but wasn't very satisfying.

5. Since the electricity was off for 3 days, we lost some food that was in the fridge. At least we didn't lose the food in the freezer. I had called my friend, Red, to see how she was faring. She has a generator, too, but hers is hooked up to run her fridge, 2 outlets in the kitchen, the furnace, the well, and the freezer in the garage. Red had an empty shelf in the garage freezer so Monday, we packed the freezer stuff up in a cooler and went to Red's. She also told us to bring our containers over. We could fill them with pool water to use for flushing.

We were luckier than most. Red is a godsend. The girlies and Himself were home. We had a generator and could plugs things into it: a microwave to heat water for tea and to heat up leftovers. We could charge the phone and the iPad. (priorities). Calls to National Grid and following them on Twitter kept us up to date. Company reports stated that some people wouldn't be getting their power turned on until the end of this week. We were luckier than most. The electricity came back on at 11am on Tuesday. Red's electricity came on at 2:30 Tuesday afternoon. Some people still don't have electricity.

When the lights go out, what do you miss most?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day at the Museum

I love to visit museums. Doesn't matter whether they are art, history, or science museums. Doesn't matter whether you can touch the exhibits or not. Museums are fun. Yesterday, all family members had a rare day off at the same time. We took at trip to Cambridge, MA (across the Charles River from Boston) to visit the Museum of Science.

The last time we visited the MOS, the girlies were in grade school. We looked, listened, poked, prodded. Visited our old friend, the giant T-Rexwatched the probability balls drop into a bell curve and said hello to all the pictures of the famous dead mathematicians in Mathematica, and listened to the music we made as we clomped down the musical staircase. There was a cool globe with a weather loop from the past two weeks. We got to watch Hurricane Irene form off the coast of Africa and sail up the East Coast. We saw the Coral Reef Adventure in the IMAX theater. I had to look away several times as the feeling of motion sickness washed over me. Saw The Sky Tonight  at the planetarium. We were disappointed we didn't get to see the Electricity show (my favorite), but the timing conflicted with the coral reef and the planetarium shows. Our last stop was a swing by the museum gift shop,dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, and then home happy and tired.

Where's your favorite museum to visit?