Saturday, April 29, 2006

Today's Topic = Old


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I figured I'd start with the oldest paper I've found (so far) in my job as family archivist. It's the original mortage for the house my great-grandparents bought - and my grandmother, my family & I still live in. In a little over a month, this piece of paper will be 100 years old:

Among the many papers I've been searching through(believe me when I say I come by the whole packrat thing naturally), there've been random mass cards. The only time I see mass cards nowadays is at funerals, but, apparently, there wasn't an occasion that didn't warrant one. I like this one because of the words in it:

Seriously, when was the last time you heard "propitous" or "unction"?

I mentioned, a while back, how much I loved the older wedding announcements, particularly for their detail. Here's another one, this time, my maternal great-grandparents:

When they were married on September 12, 1921, "flowered georgettes," "pin roses," & "bronze picture hats" were apparently in fashion. I had to look up what most of those things (a picture hat is one of those wide brimmed hats, btw.), but I think it's so interesting!

And because I need some people in this post, here's one of my maternal grandfather's mother & father (my great-grandmother & great-great grandfather) circa 1920

Thanks for visiting (especially since Blogger's been misbehaving all day)... I'm going on my rounds right now: looking forward to see what you guys have done!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Where to find random 80's actors

In case you were wondering, it's House.

A few weeks ago, it was Lance Guest. Star of fabulously cheezy 80's movieThe Last Starfighter. Perhaps, if you did not have a 9-yr-old, older brother in 1985, this was not a movie you saw 65 times in a row. Consider yourself lucky.

After that, Facts-of-Life youngster (child of Patty Duke & John Astin, brother of Sean Astin) Mackenzie Astin played a sick kid's father.

This week? None other than the Greatest American Hero - Willaim Katt.

And this, of course, doesn't take into account the fabulous return of Robert Sean Leonard

I can't wait to see who'll be on next week!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Today's Theme = Silly



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Here's what I got for you

My first foray into balloon animal making, courtesy of the Easter Bunny (and some really twisted instruction sheets) --->

The other pictures (of Youngest Nephew's first attempt at balloon animals - picture an octopus... with 3 legs) did not come out as planned. Since I don't have my brother's permission to post YN's face (and am not sure I would even if I did), you're sadly just going to have to take my word for it. It rocked!

We also made a light saber - the weapon of choice for any Star Wars obsessed soon to be 6 year-old. That didn't rock. In fact, it popped. Immediately upon completion. Now picture tears - well, near tears.

BUT... the day was saved by these

fabulous cookies.

Of course, now I have no more Thin Mints.

Now picture tears again.

Have a great week everybody!

Friday, April 21, 2006


Welcome to yet another installment of "Am I The Only One?"

Today we focus on something I've been wondering for quite a while -

Am I The Only One who still writes to their congressperson?

It seems it's easier than ever these days to write to our elected officials - I know that just about every charity website I check, or every e-newsletter I receive from them, has links for contacting congress. And, if you're not one to check out charities online, you can always get the information yourself, just by entering your zip code here. In addition to the e-mail addresses for your local representation, they can also give you their snail mail addresses & phone numbers (in case you work better that way). So, it's not that difficult to get in touch with them. But I wonder just how many people actually do.

I don't want this to turn into some right-wing/left-wing rant, but I do want to say that it seems to me that only certain people are taking the time to tell their officials what they want them to do. And that the vast majority of "average" Americans (You know, the ones the polls say want something
different the next time around, or that some of our current leaders are WAY off base in their current policies?) just aren't saying much of anything.

Oh, they're complaining to their families, or their friends, or their blogs. But are they telling the people who really need to hear it?

I just don't know.

I live in Massachusetts. It's considered, I think, (by the way I've heard people talk about us on TV and from what I've read about us from outsiders)to be quite liberal. And it mostly is: overall. There are probably more than the average number of liberal minded communities, policies ( Gay marriage anyone?), and politicians (see Frank, Barney or Kennedy, Edward). I went to a liberal college (Ok - liberal may even be understating it a bit), and was both witness & participant to lots of activism on campus.

And now, given my health situation, I don't get out all that much (ok... ever-ish, but still), so I'm sure that things are happening that I'm just not seeing or hearing about, but I still feel there's an overwhelming gap between the changes people want to be made and the effort their willing to make to see that change come about.

One of the issues here is that "average" people - everyday people - have everyday lives. And they spend the majority of their time living them - going to work, feeding their kids, taking out the trash, etc. But, while this argument has some merit, I wonder if it actually holds up against scrutiny. Don't "average" people also spend some of their time watching Friends reruns on TBS? Or playing Grand Theft Auto 3 or Halo on their PSPs? Or downloading another 500 songs onto their IPODs?

(Just a side note here - I had NO idea what the hot computer game is right now. I had to look it up. Seriously. The thing that popped into my head as I was first writing the sentence? Mortal Kombat. Which I never played, but somehow knew it was big. Still - isn't that like 15 years ago now? Sad. )

So, yes, I think, perhaps, they might be able to find a moment or two to write to the people who are in charge of our country, let them know where their going wrong, what they're doing right & what needs to come next. (For example, I am currently downloading music and urging you all to contact your representatives - multitasking rules!)

Another issue is that a lot of people, myself included, sometimes feel that it doesn't matter what they say or who they say it to - things are how they are, and one person's voice isn't really going to count too much. I'll spare you all the "one person, one vote, makes a difference" speech, (even though I mostly try to believe it) since I doubt you've never heard it before. Instead, all I can say is that if it doesn't matter, even if it does turn out to be a huge waste of your time, how are you going to know? It isn't like your congressman is going to write you back and say "Listen: your letter? Yeah, we threw that right in the trash."

And isn't there just enough of a chance that since what you're saying matters to you, and therefore might matter to other people (who also might write in), that it may just have an impact on what happens in our country that you'd be willing to waste the 10 minutes it would take you to point and click your way through an e-mail, or the little bit longer (only one Everybody Loves Raymond episode you've already seen 6 times) it might take you to actually write a letter yourself?

I hope so, b/c it sometimes really does feel like I'm The Only One.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Must go shopping

Internet people... I have a wedding to go to in less than three weeks. I have no clothes.

Not literally - I am not running around half naked all the time.

But mostly? The clothes I own? Are pajamas.

I spent most of my time in bed (ugh) & hardly ever leave the house. And dressing up? Well, if my doctor saw me in something other than my comfy Old Navy clothes, he might pass out.

The last time I wore a dress was almost 2 years ago for a cousin's wedding. I wore a dress that I didn't like then, but ran out of time to look for something better.

I am not skinny. Dress shopping is therefore, very little fun.

Also, my clothes have to be pretty particular: Something that I can wear my thick strapped bra with. Something that has little weight, because, sometimes, just the weight of clothes on my body is painful. Something that hides the numerous heating & Fentanyl patches I have to wear if I am leaving the house.

And, preferably, something that doesn't make me look like a big fat cow.

I have been browsing on-line, and found a few things. But I am leery of buying clothes online - the whole "I didn't try it on" thing. I know you can send it back, but still...

So, I think an actual trip to an actual store is in order here. This, of course, requires conservation of energy & exquisite timing (a 2 hour outing = at least 2 days recuperation). I think today is probably my best shot.

Cross your fingers for me, and if you have any suggestions about dresses or websites to look at, I'd love to hear from you. Cuz, even if I only get to be there for a half an hour, I'd like to look like a live person, rather than the scrub I feel like.

Thanks! Enjoy your Wednesday!

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Easter Massacre

It was hideous.

Bunnies lay everywhere, unmoving:

Weapons were employed:

Reinforcements were brought in:

And in the end, there was one, lone survivor:

Ok, this turns out not to be true, b/c the things have been sticking to the bottom of people's feet ever since, and now can be found in any room of the house.

They are an unconquerable enemy.

Happy Easter Everybody!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Recommended (& probably not that new)

But new to me:

On Amazon recently, I was flipping through the "So You'd Like to..."s, the ones prepared by artists, with their reccomendations for other artists. It was there I found Stacey Kent. I think if you've hung out here for any length of time, you know that I'm a big fan of standards: Frankie et al are just my cup of tea. My obsession with the beautiful and very talentedMichael Buble knows no end. This is why Stacey Kent is a new & exciting addition to my Media Player Shuffle. Her voice is smooth, jazzy, old-fashioned (which, for me, is a huge compliment). Check her out. She seems to be traveling the world. Maybe you're one of the lucky ones close enough to catch a concert.

Monday, April 10, 2006

During my wanderings



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I happened upon this photo scavenger hunt. The theme for this week: Round (at least I think so - I think it started on the 8th, rather than ended).

Flipping thru my pictures (what else do I do?), the roundest things - besides our heads, as we were some very round babies - are birthday cakes. Here's a couple of the best, from over the years.

Here's Only Brother's SuperFriends themed birthday party, circa 1983. Notice, also... round plates (Big shocker!); some very nice round pepper mills; wine glass & blender (the grownups at this party were obviously having a good time); and random batteries.

Next comes Not Youngest Sis' Wishniky Cake, I'm going to guess it was either 88-9. And yes, I know that some people call them Trolls, or Treasure Trolls - those people would be wrong

And last little homemade number for Next Sister's 21st Bday. Lemon Poppy seed - yum.

The challenge for this Saturday is feet - So keep your eyes peeled and join in!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Letter to Senator Joseph Biden

Senator Biden -

I watched your recent appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher, and was quite impressed. Although I am not familiar with your politics or record (ok, I basically knew your name and face - that's about it), I will certainly be looking into them now. Not only were you knowledgable, and pretty funny, but you managed to explain complex issues in fairly simple ways (without making it feel like you were lecturing a particularly slow learner).

Most impressive, to me, was the fact that you understood what so many other politicians seem completely unaware of: People want to help; they're just waiting for someone to tell them HOW.

There are a million ways to contribute to society; a million different causes and campaigns where people can (& should) be volunteering their time, skills, &/or money. And that's part of the problem - There are so many things that need to be fixed, it's hard to figure out where to start.

But if our leaders were saying "Listen, we're at war. It may not be a war we wanted, or a war that we all agree with, but we're there. HERE's what we should be doing to support our soldiers." or "The environment is in big trouble here, people. I don't think you realize that there is so much more YOU as an individual can be doing to help solve the problem. We need your help: do XYZ, and we'll start turning this thing around - for all of us."

A lack of trust in our current leaders is also a major issue, because Bush could ask for the cooperation of our nation, but I'm not sure that we'd all follow him. We need leaders who are strong, trustworthy, intelligent and willing to both listen to & lead the people of our country.

I hope that you are just this kind of a leader, and look forward to learning more about you and your stand on issues that are vital to our country and our world.

Friday, April 07, 2006

As official family... archivist, I guess...

I've been going through some of my grandmother's papers. These are just a few of the things I've learned today:

1) Wedding Announcements were much more interesting around the turn of the century. Evidence:

"With pleasing grace?" How cool is that? And also... What the heck is a coronet of orange blossoms? (ETA: Oh, look. If you use the dictionary, you don't have to be stupid! A coronet turns out to be a tiara. Even better.)


2) My great-grandfather (my grandmother's father) served in the Navy during World War I. Which I semi-knew. What I didn't know?

He served on this ship. That's the USS Mt. Vernon. He was on it, traveling to Europe, when this great big hole got put in it. He was uninjured, thankfully, and was honorably discharged in August of 1919.


3) In honor of my grandmother, who will be 83 next week, here's one of the stories the Boston Daily Globe thought was important enough to put on their front page the day she was born:

It's the Maury Show, circa 1923. "He claims he is not the father.

The daily paper cost 2 cents back then. Other interesting stories that (because I am crazy) I would have liked to read more about included:

First off, where do you find deserted monkeys?

And secondly... What's up with the secret weddings? Seriously, the paper was a bit more tabloid-ish than I expected.


That's a round-up of today's lessons. I take an insane pleasure in this sort of thing - digging through papers and pictures, putting names to random faces, reading the lifestories of people I never knew, but am, still, somehow, connected to.

Hope you're enjoying your Fridays - the rain here is a bit gloomy, but at least it's not snow, right?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Bunch of Randomness

Just for YOU!

In an effort to not lose the two or three people who are actually reading this blog, I have a whole bunch of random things to comment on. (Seriously, I'm so glad you've stuck around: I can't imagine it's very interesting "NTE is sick. NTE is battling back from being sicker. NTE's brain & creativity have taken a vacation without her." Big, huge thanks for sticking with me!)


First up:

Did anybody else see the boy from The Boy Who Could Fly in an Advil commercial? I did not actually pay attention the commercial (as is my usual way of watching commercials), but the voice sort of rang a bell in my head, and I looked up at the screen, only to be amazed that The Boy Who Could Fly (actual name:Jay Underwood is sitting there on the couch. He was all grown up (well, duh), and now that I read his IMDB profile, I do remember seeing him on my West Wing DVD's. But still - it was a nice little surprise. (More that I could remember the name of that really stupid movie. Imagine my thinking process here: "Oh! He was that guy who was in that movie where the kid who could fly... Wait The Boy Who Could Fly! " Yeah, it took some mental aerobics there.)


Next, a tiny bit of linkage.

An apt and awesomely expressed quote from

this post over at Bonanza Jellybean. While discussing the funeral of her friend Steve, Bonanza Jellybean manages to sum up how every one of us feels when dealing with difficulties:

It's not fucking fair.
And I know no one ever said life was fair.
But whoever said it was an ASSHOLE, because every once in a while, it should be.

It should be - and we all think, that maybe just this once, maybe, somehow, just for me, it'll turn out that way this time. And it almost never does.

I'm so sorry for your pain, Bonanza.


Next up - how many people know about the Dropkick Murphys? I don't know too much. I downloaded a bunch of songs last month, during my rush to create a musical background to our St. Patrick's Day festivities that wouldn't embarrass or overwhelm everybody. (We actually wound up not listening to the CD at all, as the people were their usual loud selves and required no accompaniment.) I would recommend their "Irish Drinking Song" & "The Pub with No Beer;" the rest was a bit too punkish for my taste.

However, if you live in the Boston area, there's another song of theirs that I'm sure you've heard: Tessie (which spellcheck wants me to call "tissue" . It's one of the Red Sox's most memorable anthems (and originally from a Broadway show - who knew?) and has wound up shuffling into my Media Player 3 times today.

I like the song and all - but the repeating? Not so much.

Besides, it reminds me that baseball has started again.

You can't hear me, but I'm sighing. Loudly. Trust me.

Ok - how's that for randomness?

I'm trying hard to get up the energy to post every day or so; this blogging thing is turning out to be more important to me than I thought it would be. So, if you're reading... just a last big THANK YOU!

Till next time...