I'm so glad you could stop by. This is my personal blog of daily life and my journey through life. You will find a strong emphasis on family and friends as well as finding my ancestors through genealogy. Unlike my other blogs this blog is more of a catch-all so any topic is fair game.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Ice on the Water in the Glow of Sunset

Ice at Sunset

A couple of nights ago the sunset played off the glittering ice creating a golden glow, a reminder of how pretty winter can be. The ice is totally blocked now and has been for a few days. However, things can change within a very short period of time. We were under a winter storm advisory as the Colorado Clipper made its way northeast the morning after this photo was taken. For the past two days the sun has been hidden behind a thick blanket of ominous grey clouds sending freezing rain and snow. This morning everything has a coating of ice along with a light dusting of snow. The dark grey sky threatens more too come. The temperature is hovering at 0ºC but feels like -4ºC dropping to -1ºC this afternoon. Walking and driving conditions on secondary roads will be quite slippery. The cold and dampness creeps through the house despite my winterizing efforts.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Tundra Swans at Dusk

Tundra Swans at Sunset

The tundra swans have been visiting whenever there is an open spot in the ice. A couple of days ago, there were a few of them one such spot. I took this photo of them as the sun was setting. Today they have been flying over the moving ice looking for an open water. Tundra swans are as graceful in flight as they are on the water.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Photoshop Shimmering Water Art

Shimmering Water II

I've been using the same picture of the water to see what different effects I can get using Adobe Photoshop. This latest effect is called slats. It is a perfect effect for certain images that will be scrapbooked. The technique presented a few problems but finally I got it to work. When the slats were finished I pulled a colour from the picture. It looked fine but I thought it would look better with a couple of filters and beveled edges. Looking at it this morning it could use framing as well.

Scrapbooking is a natural extension of genealogy. Most genealogy conventions have a booth section where you can buy genealogy resources. There is usually at least one scrapbooking booth. Needless to say, I got into scrapbooking as well using the traditional method. Then I started using fonts in Microsoft Word to create custom titles. Somewhere along the line I discovered I could make custom designed paper and then started into using digital with traditional scrapbooking methods. From there I picked up up scrapbooking software not realizing everything Adobe Photoshop could do. Silly me had been using it for resizing my photos only. I started discovering what I could do with this program when I wanted to learn animation. I have to say I'm amazed. Once I get a couple more techniques figured out and become more comfortable working with it, I'll move onto my first digital scrapbook layout using Photoshop. I will also be able to tweak all the photos being used for genealogy. Who said and old dog couldn't learn new tricks?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Stormy Skies

Stormy Sky

This photo was taken during a stormy spell last fall. I thought the sky looked magnificent! It shows the anger of what could be yet the promise of the peace to come.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Golden Glow

The sunset was gorgeous a couple of nights ago so I took several pictures. I took several pictures throughout the day. The sun was so bright giving beautiful contrast between the water and ice. This was the same day that Shimmering Water was taken. We are so very fortune to be able to enjoy such beauty!

Garden Gnome
© 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

Shimmering Water

Shimmering Water

I thought I would share this picture with you. I take a lot of water pictures because we live on the water. Hey, it is a perfect opportunity! Anyway, I am trying to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop better since up until I decided to try making a blinkie, I really only used it for cropping or resizing pictures. I took this picture of the water yesterday.

When the picture was uploaded I opened it into Photoshop then decided to play with filters and layers. The sun was very bright yesterday making the water and ice sparkle so I wanted to be able to capture that somehow yet the picture somehow was missing something. I started playing and this is the end result. I at least got that little bit of glitter I was after, something that spoke of how the light played on the water and ice. I think it needs a little more tweaking but am not sure what to do so this is the result for now.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Life on Waterfront Property

Yesterday's Water View

Our view changes daily which makes this a beautiful location! Yesterday the sun was shining and the sky was a vivid blue reflecting off the water. That is actual mist rising from the open section of water. Quite often this results in foggy patches that sometimes freeze on the trees and buildings but the sun was strong enough yesterday to burn any of those off. I noticed a bit of heavier frost on the rooftops and car windows but that was it. A short time after this picture was taken, the open are was a favourite spot for several ducks.

It's snowing today, dull and grey. The ice is moving so the ducks have moved onto calmer waters. I'm sure they are looking forward to spring as much as we are. At least the roads have been fairly decent for driving. A few of our kids are home for the weekend so it will be rather busy. We had a large brunch this morning then they were off to do other things for the afternoon. A large roast beef dinner is the plan for tonight. I'm looking forward to a weekend of spoiling my family!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Three O'Clock in the Morning...

Ice Statue

Mother Nature is capable of creating wonderful things. This is an ice statue she created under our furnace vent. I don't recall this happening before and am not sure if it is a good thing so called the firm that maintains our furnace and turned down the humidifier. Still I could not resist taking a picture and marveling at this creation. The photo was taken yesterday after the snow finally let up.

So, you are likely wondering at the title. The past few mornings I have awakened at 3 am and been unable to get back to sleep. This is not a good thing for me not only because of lack of sleep but because it is a clear indicator my asthma is flaring up. Why 3 am? The best I can figure is this is when the body's natural hormones are at its lowest meaning the natural levels of steroids is at its lowest. This means the body cannot keep in check inflammation in the lungs in check, a major component of asthma. Because of this the body reacts to this drop of hormones in asthmatics. I'm lucky in that this wakes me up and is a clear indicator something is triggering my asthma. But what? Since nothing has changed other than the door being open while they took the old washer and dryer out and brought in the new as well as the new appliances in general, nothing has changed. I've only been out of the house but directly into the car yesterday which is the first time since last Friday, the cold weather shouldn't be the trigger as this was happening before yesterday. At any rate I have been troubleshooting so hope to identify the problem quickly to prevent things from getting worse.

Oh a little humour in the 3 am thing: This morning I was again wide awake. I flicked on the food network and The Surreal Gourmet was on. He had three sets of triplets on the show and was featuring making recipes using only three ingredients. Do you think that was an omen?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Winter Storm

This video clip was taken this morning after the snow decided to stop. The wind was still fairly strong but if you listen carefully you can hear the ice moving. I'm still playing with the quality of the videos uploaded so this one is a little grainy. Sorry about that.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Today's Water View

I don't do disorder! I need things neat and orderly in their place but more importantly time delays just kind of make me disoriented. It's not so bad if I can semi plan but that doesn't always happen as in today. I knew on Friday our new washer and dryer were arriving between 10 and 10:30 this morning. That meant I would have time to get up and do my normal morning routing before they arrived and I also knew laundry would be slightly delayed. Monday is laundry days here. It used to be Saturdays when the kids were younger and quite often more than that but with just the two of us most days, Mondays work well. It is the start of the week for us and that way we get any weekend laundry out of the way as well, plus we usually have a lot of company over the weekend or take off ourselves so Saturdays are just out.

Ok, so we had the plan all set out and I was ok with that. My husband disconnected the old washer and dryer, pulled them from the wall so I could clean and I figured just a bit of last minute tidying would get things in order in the morning. That meant I could sip on my coffee and take time waking up in front of the computer. Wrong! They showed up at 8:30 am with me still in my pj's. I hollered at my husband who let them in while I quickly changed. He had to be out the door so I had to take over. So much for my coffee or even trying to waken! They left around 11 am so there was the morning gone. The gas installer is due any minute. Hopefully that doesn't take long and I can get things back in order right quick. Hopefully within the next hour the laundry will be happily getting cleaned while I figure out what the heck to have for dinner. See what I mean, everything is out of kilter today!
© 2007

Friday, February 09, 2007

Overlooked Genealogy Resources

Sunset on Ice
later view, last night

We received an early morning call today letting us know an older family member on my husband's side had passed away. Visitation is this afternoon and this evening. The funeral is tomorrow morning at 11 am. I was going to post this picture on yesterday's entry and for some reason decided against it. So this picture is a tribute to her, knowing we will meet again!

Too often when doing genealogy research an important genealogy resource is overlooked - other family members. We let the valuable information slip right through our hands. Now why would that be? Sometimes the answer is quite simple especially for those not growing up or even knowing their biological family but other times the answer is more complex. Do yourself a favour - put any of that aside and pick those family tree branches! Send out information seeking letters. Most genealogy programs even have a function to set this up with a form letter and your contact information. I sent out ten of these on one branch of my family tree and got back only one but that did not discourage me because the one I got back gave me a heck of a lot of information. I also got a phone call from an elderly member of another branch when I did the same thing. We had a lovely chat and I found out so much about my great grandparents, all family stories but all very valuable information.

As a researcher trying to get the most of your research time, do not discount the family stories. Even if there are family problems, you can likely still gain information. You might end up being the peace keeper or the bridge that makes the difference. At the very least, you might gain just even a little tid bit you didn't know about your elusive ancestors.

I recommend using letters, interviews, digital cameras and tape recorders. As always please keep the feelings of your extended family in mind. Ask once and if you don't get an immediate reply consider something may be going on in their life that prevents them from answering. Always ask if a family member minds being recorded as some do not want that. I will tell you this is really a nice thing to have the recordings of your ancestors and other family members but don't push those who don't like the idea. The same applies to digital cameras. If at all possible get that picture but don't force the issue. Your job as a researcher is to get all the information you can without breaking any bridges. Do not discount the valuable information old Aunt Tilly might tell you!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Quiet Day

Tonight's Sunset on the Water

Today has been blissfully sunny and bright. I've been watching the ice on and off much of the day and that isn't hard with our view. While the ice didn't appear to be moving this morning, sending thousands of little prisms in every direction it must have been moving enough with the current. By late afternoon a path had opened revealing the deep turquoise blue of the water, a direct contrast to the sparkling white and diamond like ice. I took this picture about a half hour ago. We are so very fortunate to be able to enjoy such beauty. No wonder my ancestors loved this area so much!

While I was prepping the photo for uploading, the sad news came on the television about Anna Nicole Smith. I hadn't had the television on all day so only just heard. What a terrible shame!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

sparkling ice on the St. Clair River
Ice on Water

Ice is amazing. It can be so beautiful yet cause so much damage and so many problems. This picture of the ice on the water was taken this morning as I pondered over my morning coffee.

I'm still feeling under the weather so another rather inactive day was forced on me. I decided to go through a small pile of genealogy papers. In the pile there were two thin spiral notebooks of my earlier notes from back about the time I upgraded my software in 1999. I tossed these aside then grabbed them up again and started flipping through the pages. I knew all confirmed information had been entered into my database but what, just what if I had missed something? All entries were written in my normal style complete with date of entry then follow-ups to the entries in other ink colours. It sounds confusing but the system makes sense to me. True enough everything of importance at that time had been entered into the database and carefully noted in red the date entered but I found a lot of little notes and my questions jotted beside so of my entries. Seeing these notes and questions with fresh eyes means more questions. So now I will spend my genealogy time doing a double check between these notes and my database, adding in new questions. Each question may lead to more information unlocking the past!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Canadian Humour...

on stilts at the Rio
Rio, Las Vegas, Nevada

Not feeling well today still, so coming up with an idea for today's post was difficult. But as I enjoyed my homemade chicken noodle soup while watching CBC aka most dumped on and hated television station aside of local, not likely to be aired cable stations, it hit me. A tongue in cheek view at Canadian humour sounded pretty good since it's not like we have serious programs like CSI: Toronto. See I am Canadian and I have a strong sense of Canadian humour that others might even think is wacky at times. When I'm not poking fun at our national icons like CBC or Don Cherry or what's that team that hasn't won a World Series in so long my collectors cards are now worthless to the point I can't even sell them on ebay. Sometimes I have to even resort to getting my daily dose of humour from fellow Canadians and Canadian television commercials, so I blog. Hey, it gets us through the long, cold winters, eh! With global warming that shouldn't be much of a problem soon.

There are some television programs that I do turn to for humorous Canadian content aside of the Molsen Canadian famous I Am Canadian commercial and the various lyrical variations. The Rick Mercer should keep you in stitches and is particularly good for satirical comments on our latest government in power. That would be the Conservatives and they certainly are providing a lot of humour content! For more satire or just plain funny stuff on the Conservatives check out This Hour Has 22 Minutes. This is just downright funny show that pokes fun all around not just at the government but other Canadian icons and anything else of fair game. Just For Laughs from Montreal is always a hoot! It is stand-up comedy with many upcoming Canadian comedians so you never know what you are going to be exposed to. The very best Canadian icon is The Red Green Show staring Canadian Steve Smith. If you have not seen this classic, you are really missing one of the best of Canadian humour as well as infinite tips for using duct tape.

The unfortunate thing is all these shows appear of CBC and while I really am upset with them for canceling Emmerdale, at least there is still some humour being aired by them aside of their commercials and news. They even have a new sit com called Little Mosque on the Prairie that is rather humorous. But if anything we Canadians have learned about CBC, if the show is good they will cancel it!

I'm off for another bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup, another shot of Canadian humour and hopefully will be back to normal tomorrow!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Under the Weather

winter on the water
Waterview This Morning

I woke this morning with a horrible sore throat and feeling simply sick as well as tired from yesterday's activities. The house was blistfully quiet so I sat sipping hot coffee enjoying the view from our front windows. The sun danced off the water and ice sending sparkles everywhere. Somehow this made everything ok .

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) is scheduled for release on July 21, 2007. Like most Harry Potter fans, I am looking forward to this book so will be re-reading the first six books for clues as to what Book 7 may unfold. For me this will be a bitter sweet book as it is slated to be the last in the series and we have already been given the hint that some of the original characters will not survive. Also like many fans I have my ideas of what this book has in store and there have been many hints as well as speculation.

Please keep the families of two fallen firemen in the line of duty in Winnipeg today along with leaving a third fighting for his life in your prayers.
© 2007

Sunday, February 04, 2007

frosted windowJack Frost

Back years ago through the eyes of a child I loved Jack Frost. He would come though the night when I was sleeping and paint my bedroom window with his amazing paint brush. Oh the innocence of someone with sparkles in her eyes! Fast forward to now and you know what, Jack Frost means energy loss. But for one brief moment, I was transported back to my childhood wonderment!

Friday, February 02, 2007

negative self talk...

Phynx Entrance, Luxor
Las Vegas, Nevada

This photo is of one of the entrances at the Luxor in Las Vegas. Designed after an Egyptian pyramid, this impressive casino and resort is a must stop at on your tour of Las Vegas. The Luxor has the strongest beam of light in the world. It can be seen from astronauts on space missions so this is rather impressive. Pyramids signify strength and endurance and they have been rumoured to restore inner balance.

Negative self talk is something we all do from time to time. While this is destructive and self harming, it really can really become pathological. My self esteem has always been on the low side. I don't know why, likely a combination of genetics, environment and patterning. So the last thing I need is me putting myself down! I think one of the biggest problems with negative self talk is recognizing it. We say these things to ourselves so often we aren't even aware but our minds begin believing these unspoken words resulting in a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is critical to recognize negative self talk and nip it in the bud before it has negative effects on your ego. After all, if you don't love yourself, who is going to?

Well that sounds great coming from someone with low self esteem, doesn't it? Even this question is negative towards my thoughts on the subject but I'll address that in another entry. I don't think I really became totally aware of how destructive negative self talk can be until I said some pretty nasty things, out loud, because I had accidently tipped over a bowl of food in the kitchen. My husband was home but out of earshot so I thought but clearly heard me berating myself for such stupid. I was so used to doing this when I was home alone, it just popped out of my mouth without even thinking! I turned around and there he was. Belying the astonishment on his face, he calmly asked if I would say those things to anyone else. When I replied no, he asked "Then why would you say them to yourself?". That got me thinking as to why would I say these negative things either silently or out loud to myself and ever since that time I have made a conscious effort nip these types of thoughts before they can do damage.

Recently, I had another eye opener. We were out as a foursome with another couple and as normal we gals paired together. Well, one thing led to another finally ending with body size and she made the comment she was "nothing but a fat cow". I automatically said, "Don't say that about yourself" and she seriously stopped short then realized what she said. We talked a little about the negative self talk and how it makes us believe things about ourselves that aren't particularly accurate. Later that night, my husband surprised me by saying he overheard our conversation and was proud of the way I handled that situation. So much for the guys doing their own thing but the compliment was much appreciated!

Thursday, February 01, 2007




These are my eyes and that was to be the topic of today's entry. So I make a really nice animation of my eyes that worked nicely in ImageReady and then I uploaded it to blogger but the animation no longer worked! I'm not sure what I did wrong. Sometimes the animations work when uploaded and sometimes they don't.

They say that the eyes are windows to the soul. I truly believe that as it really only takes one direct look into the eyes of another person to see what type of person they really are. The eyes do not hide the truth. My eyes have seen so many things. Some have been awe inspiring while other things I would rather have not seen, then everything in between. I've seen images that will haunt me until the day I die and likely beyond, things that one should not see. On the other had I have been blessed to have seen such magnificent beauty that sometimes it just takes my breath away. I've seen life at it's molecular level and still the very sight amazes me! Even when I sleep my eyes continue to bring images from my subconscious forcing me to accept or confront those things locked safely away in the recesses of my mind. Other times my eyes lead me through vivid Kodak colour adventures through my dreams. They reflect my mood and whether or not I'm tired, sick, unhappy, excited and a host of other emotions. All have left a mark on my soul and entire being. No one can ever go through life without this happening! Pay close attention to your eyes and what they are telling others about you.