Monday, January 28, 2008

This explains a lot:


Frankly, I'm surprised I could take that many. Expecially since I'm not willing to use any of 'em as a human shield.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Not Just Another Sunday

For the past week, we've been having the biggest rainstorm to hit the California Central Coast in a long time. Slightly less than 6 inches has fallen since last Sunday, which is about half of our average yearly total.

In other words, we got a lot of rain. More than we're used to, anyway.

Our backyard flooded, but you really can't see it in this photo. But it is a nice photo of my backyard, nonetheless.

Saturday night, we had winds gusting up to 40+ mph. If you look closely, you can see that the chairs got blown away from the table.

I know that this is not exciting to those of you who are used to hurricanes and tornadoes, but to us California weather wimps, it's front page news. So please let us have our big deal, and don't tease. Thank you.

This morning, I opened my door and found an unusual visitor:

We don't live anywhere near where tumbleweeds normally tumble, so I have no idea how this guy got here.

Too bad he didn't bring the newspaper in with him. Would have saved me a trip out in the rain.


On the bright side, I participated in my first Scanfest this afternoon. I (virtually) met some terrific people from around the U.S., and I'll admit that I did a lot more chatting than I did scanning, but I got more accomplished than I would have if left to my own devices.

The event was graciously hosted by Miriam of AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors; you can read about our get-together here.

I'm hoping to attend the next Scanfest on February 24, 2008, so I can get that album back to my cousin some time this year. Dig out your box of photos-to-be-scanned and join us, if you can!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

One Perfect Day

As I've said before, I'm a stay-at-home mom. It was a choice that I made willingly.

Being of an “advanced age” when we finally reproduced (I was 42, my husband 43), we were financially stable and could afford for me to give up my career and stay home with the child we’d waited so long to have.

Having spent several years as an elementary school teacher in the public school system, I was ready for a change. I don’t want to get into the details or politics of public education, but I will say this: teaching is hard. So. Very. Hard.

So hard that there are days where you truly question your sanity when you enter the classroom.

But there are also days that are wonderful. Days where everything clicks, where the kids just “get it,” and you feel that all of the hard work was finally worthwhile.

This is also true for parenting.

Some days are so awful that at the end of the day all you want to do is curl up in a fetal position with a bottle of wine and the covers pulled up to your eyeballs.

The sameness, the monotony, the isolation… all this can make you want to run screaming out the door.

And then there are the days that are wonderful.

Days that are so perfect you could cry. Days that make you want to bottle up that feeling of perfectness so you can open it up later on those other days and make all the bad things go away.

Yesterday was one of those days.

After her morning nap, I packed my daughter into our van for the 25-mile drive to the pediatrician. I really wanted to cancel this appointment because of the heavy rain, but for some reason felt that I shouldn’t. I spent most of the drive praying that we would arrive safely, and if we could get there on time, that would be a big plus, too. But safe. Safety was most important.

There were few people at the pediatrician’s office, which is unusual, even for a Wednesday. My daughter stood at the window, “oooooing” at the rain and watching the cars splash by. In the middle of such a storm, it was so peaceful seeing her enjoy herself like she was.

The rest of our day was mundane and routine: shopping at Costco, driving home, eating dinner. Nothing spectacular.

We looked at books and pretty dresses. We tasted the different treats being offered. We sang in the car. We snuggled before bedtime.

We kissed. We hugged. We laughed.

We enjoyed being together.

It was one of those rare, indescribable moments in time when my daughter and I were on the exact, same wavelength... like we just knew.

When we looked into each other’s eyes, something special passed between us.

And I so wish that I could bottle it up and save it forever.

Not because I anticipate more of those crazy, fetal-position-wine-screaming days.

But because I’m acutely aware that one day she’ll grow up and move away, and I’ll miss her so much that I’ll ache, even for the bad days.


In my wildest dreams, I never would have imagined that it could be like this.

I thank God everyday for my beautiful angel...

And one more perfect day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Beam Me Up, Scotty

Bill West of West in New England has issued a challenge to fellow genealogy bloggers to design a float for the Genealogy Parade.

When I first read about this, something utterly silly and almost embarrassing popped into my head, and I thought, “No way, I can’t say that.”

But after a frustrating few hours of once again finding absolutely NOTHING about my elusive Delaney ancestors, I’ve decided to go for it. After all, aren’t first reactions usually the most true and honest?

So, here’s my float:

That’s right folks… it’s The Mother Ship, appropriately representing my mother’s family.

Despite the claim that they came from Ireland, I’m fairly certain that her ancestors were beamed here by aliens. Sadly, I can find almost no trace of them anywhere, nor can I find others who are looking for them.

Coincidence? I think not!

Here’s my dilemma:

Richard John Delaney is my most distant “known” Delaney ancestor. He was probably born c. 1840 in Ireland, and he was married to a lady of the surname Bergin, but whose first name is unknown. They had four children: Jerimiah (b. August 1858), Bridget (“Bess”), Mary, and my great-great-grandfather, Dennis Daniel (June 1863 in Belfast, Ireland).

We could just call him "E.T."

After Richard’s/E.T.'s wife died, he supposedly emigrated with his children to the U.S. in either 1862 or 1892.

How did they get here? By spaceship, of course! There are no passenger records for UFOs, silly people!

My great-great-grandfather Dennis Delaney married Nellie Coyne (b. March 1875, in Illinois) in approximately 1895.

I imagine they met in a crop circle somewhere in the Midwest.

They had two children: my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Marie Delaney (b. Sept. 1895), and her brother Richard John Delaney (b. Feb. 1898), both born in Nebraska. They’re all found alive and well in the 1900 U.S. Census living in Lancaster, Nebraska. Dennis is 36 and working as a railroad engineer. He states that he came to the U.S. in 1882 (on that spaceship, with his dad!).

Now, here’s where the trail grows cold:

Family legend says that Nellie died in a car crash in about 1901. I can only assume that this tragedy happened in Nebraska, but I’ve found nothing to prove it.

Perhaps she was called back to the Mother Ship?

Following her death, Dennis dropped his two kids off with his brother and sister-in-law, Jerimiah and Zella Delaney, and supposedly made a mad dash for Kansas. Or Oklahoma. Or Jupiter.

Poof! Dennis and Nellie have both vanished off the face of the earth!

I’ve been told by a family member that one day while Uncle Jerry was out of town Aunt Zella took the kids to an orphanage where they stayed until they were old enough to work.


So, after years of searching the Census for kids in orphanages (without knowing which state or planet), I recently put the right mysterious variables into the search engine and found Elizabeth and Richard living with Uncle Jerry and Aunt “Zalla” in 1910 in Clay County, Nebraska. This was nine years after their mother supposedly died.

Could Jerry and Zella have had second thoughts about that orphanage? Or perhaps Elizabeth and Richard were home on vacation?

Or was “orphanage” code for SPACESHIP???

Dennis is nowhere to be found at this point. I’ve head that he lived for several years after he left his family, but again, I’ve been unable to find any proof.

Was he called back to the Mother Ship too? Who knows! They don't leave records for us humans to find!

Jerry and Zella had a daughter, Laura, b. 1889 in Nebraska. In 1910, she’s living with her parents in Nebraska. In 1920, she’s once again found with her parents, but this time she’s listed as a “widow.”

Hmmm... I wonder what happened to her husband?

Elizabeth was married to Thomas McGraw by 1917, I assume, since my grandmother, Mary, was born in May of that year. They had four more children: Thomas Jr., Delores, Robert, and Myda. Thomas deserted his family after 1930, leaving his wife to care for five children by herself.

Another one beamed home, maybe?

Nah, but that's a story for another day.

The truth is out there. I just haven't found it yet.


So stick a shamrock on the Mother Ship, and my float is complete.

What does YOUR float in the Genealogy Parade look like?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gameday Postmortem

When I told my daughter that the Chargers lost the game, this was her response:

I think that says it for both of us.

Baby's Got Game

In honor of today's AFC Championship Game, my daughter wanted to model her gameday jersey:

So far, it has been her lucky jersey. The Chargers seem to win whenever she wears it.

Let's hope that luck holds for today!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Girls Gone Wild

My husband left for a 2 week business trip to Florida today.

Aside from the obvious inconveniences of having to take the trash out, walk the dog, feed the guinea pigs, and… what else is it you do here, sweetheart? I can’t recall at the moment…

For some reason, it's oddly liberating to have your spouse gone for a while. Liberating in that I don't have to keep the sink free of dishes, do 57 loads of laundry a week, or fix dinner every night. Ok, I do have to do some of those things for my daughter, but she's just one, tiny person with tiny clothes who doesn't eat much.

Plus, I get the whole bed to myself, with no snoring or elbows to the head.

However, the main benefit of having hubby away is that he won't be bugging me about wasting anything.

Seriously. I can’t rinse the dishes fast enough without him complaining that I’m wasting water. And it’s not that that he’s worried about global warming or the depletion of our earth’s resources.

He’s concerned about the size of the utility bill.

Not that that’s unreasonable. It’s just that sometimes he’s just… unreasonable. (Like HE knows how long it takes to rinse a dish? As if.)

So, in case he's reading this (which he isn't), here's a list of what we did today:

Ran water for no apparent reason
Left refrigerator door open while I piddled around in the kitchen
Turned the heater up to 80 degrees
Opened the doors and windows when it got too hot
Turned up the heat again when it got too cold
Left the downstairs TV on while we were upstairs

Left the upstairs TV on while we were downstairs
Left the lights on all night to keep bogeyman away

Ah, the fun we’re having!

I think tomorrow we'll throw away food that's still fresh!

Or leave the van idling in the driveway!

Or run the sprinklers while it's raining!

Or... maybe we'll just head up to Costco and buy that 42" HDTV I've had my eye on instead.

Do we girls know how to have a good time or what?

Better hurry back, Mr. Hall Monitor.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Long and the Short of It

So hey, wow... what the heck happened to ME? Last you heard, I was about to get on an airplane on Christmas Eve. Was I eaten by a mall Santa? Or did I have an unfortunate accident with eight tiny reindeer?

No, no. Nothing that interesting, unfortunately.

I did, however, have a run-in with the virus that wouldn't go away. Or rather, it wouldn't stay away. It did go away. Twice. And it came back. Twice.

I really should admire its persistence... its simple will to live. But I don't.

So, I'll spare you the ugly, mucous-filled details and just get to the good stuff. Here are a few of my observations of the past few weeks:

  1. We did make it to the airport on time, although not by much. Did you know that every single parking lot in the greater Los Angeles area is full on Christmas Eve? Every lot EXCEPT for the hugely expensive one at the terminal? I'm telling you this so you can plan accordingly next year. Do not drive to LAX on Christmas Eve and expect to find a place to park. I'm warning you. It will cost you. Big time. Personally, I think it's a scam, but I'm that "glass half full" type anyway.

  2. Why must there be agents at the "self serve" counters in airports? And why do they mysteriously vanish for large chunks of time just when you need them? Are we not smart enough to put the little tags on our own luggage? Or are they waiting to gouge us for being a half ounce over the 50 lb. weight limit?

  3. Toddlers and airplanes: not a good mix. Toddlers like to stand, shout, jump up and down, stare at people, and throw things - all activities that are frowned upon by other passengers. Shame on me for violating this rule. Consider it payback, people. At one time or another, I was probably the victim of YOUR darling cherub. I can still feel the kicks on my back.

  4. Changing tables in airplane bathrooms must have been invented by a man. A man who has never changed a diaper.

  5. It is freaking cold in Massachusetts in December.

  6. We had a nice visit with my father and family for Christmas. My daughter had a blast playing with her 7 year-old Auntie. However, I think it's their turn to visit us next year. I wouldn't want them to miss all that airport fun.

  7. If your ancestors jumped off the boat in Massachusetts 400 years ago and never left the spot where they landed, you will hit the motherlode of genealogy. Congratulations to my stepmother, who has just begun her genealogical journey and is having way too easy of a time of it. Genealogy is just no fun unless you suffer with brick walls and burned-down courthouses for years.

  8. My father took his DNA test and didn't complain too much. (This is part of the suffering I mentioned in #7. Our people jumped off the boat and ran as far as they could, leaving little or no trace. Oh, and the courthouse burned down.)

  9. It's depressing to come home to the mess you didn't have time to clean up before you left.

  10. Why is the first week of January such a popular week for people to visit Disneyland? I mean, the holiday decorations are real pretty and all, but they've been there for a month, people. Shouldn't you be at home nursing your New Year's Eve hangovers?

  11. And what is so great about this ride at 7:30 in the morning? Seriously people; the movie is much better.

  12. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a very scary ride, something of which I was not aware until my daughter began screaming and crying. Must be the Heffalumps and Woozles, which frankly scare the crap out of me.

  13. It's A Small World was a much better choice. My daughter rocked out to the so-catchy lyrics, and we learned to say "Merry Christmas" in 37 different languages. Except English, which was oddly missing.

  14. My house is too small. I actually already knew this, but with 5 people visiting for 3 days, it became much more obvious.

  15. Putting away Christmas decorations... ugh, just hit me with a large, blunt object. Please. It would be much less painful.

Well, that about sums it up. I do apologize to my 4 readers for not posting. I know you were worried, and I appreciate that.

Seriously. I love you guys. And I'm pretty sure I'm no longer contagious.