Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I received an email today that actually disturbed me. I'm not sure why I found it so disturbing, but here goes. There is a website I just LOVE called In my search for my family history, it has played a huge part in finding vital information of people on my family tree. I became a member last year and began to post my own memorials of my family and photos of graves I've taken. There is also a nice feature called "request a photo" which allows members to request photos of headstones of their family that are buried in far away places.

My paternal great-grandmother, Effie Furst Beck Cloos Roby, was on findgrave. Someone added her and someone else added her obituary. I added the photo request probably almost a year ago. Today I received the following email from findagrave:

Greetings from Find A Grave,

We are writing to let you know that a Find A Grave volunteer has reported a problem with your photo request for Effie Roby.

The general problem they reported is:
Cemetery office confirmed that this burial is unmarked

They also reported, specifically:
Walked the whole section they said she was buried in and found nothing. Went into the office and they confirmed there is no marker.

Due to this problem, we believe that this photo request can not be fulfilled. As a result, we are removing it. If you can fix the problems that were reported and believe a photo can be acquired, please feel free to make a new request.

I sent the email to my sister and she brought up a good point, why would someone go to the trouble and expense of writing an obituary, but not pay for a headstone? Well, maybe that was the financial circumstances of the family at the time.

At the time of her death, five of Effie's six children were still living (although Zetta was not mentioned in the obituary), and an unknown daughter was mentioned, one Georgia Roby of Chicago, a woman I still haven't been able to find.

So, my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my dad, and my dad's brother Raymond (who died at at the young age of 4) have no grave markers. In the case of my dad, that was his wish. I'm not so sure that was my grandmother's wish under the circumstances of her life and death, and feel that my grandparents probably couldn't afford a headstone for their young son Raymond in 1920. When I mentioned all these people without headstones to my sister, she said that it must be a family thing. I guess so.

Transcription of Effie Beck Cloos Roby's obituary:

Mrs. Effie Roby

Mrs. Effie Furst Roby, wife of Ellsworth E. Roby, died at 7:35 o'clock Monday morning at the family residence, 522 North Witt street. She would have been sixty years old in August. She had been in failing health for the last two years, but her condition did not become critical until five days ago, when pneumonia developed.

Mrs. Roby was born near Prairie Home, in Shelby county, Aug. 9, 1871, and was a daughter of Wells M. and Emma Beck. She is survived by her husband and the following children--Mrs. Ben Trump of Greenville, Mrs. Earl Robinson and Mrs. Wells Cloose of Los Angeles, Cal. and Mrs. Georgia Roby of Chicago. She also leaves a brother, Edgar Beck, Decatur, and the following sisters--Mrs. Zadie Loser, Los Angeles, Cal., Mrs. Hattie Wempen, Ontario, Cal., Mrs Edna Coffman, Laramie, Wyo. and Mrs. Grace Thompson, Decatur. The body was taken to the Moran & Sons funeral home where friends may call.

The funeral will be held at 3:30 o'clock Wednesday afternoon at the Moran & Sons chapel. The burial will be in Fairlawn Cemetery.

Decatur Daily Review, The (Decatur, IL) 13 Apr 1931

I do have Effie's death certificate and can say that pneumonia was not the cause of death listed. What baffles me is that she lived 59 years, had six children, two marriages and one divorce, a hard life, and appeared numerous times in newspaper articles, yet I cannot find a picture of her. I know someone has pictures and maybe it's the decendants of the mysterious Georgia Roby.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Time Management

Time management is not my strength and I struggle with it. I have, year after year, considered taking a class in it, but then I don't seem to find the time to do it! Go figure. I had a somewhat draining week and thought that I'd be productive yesterday. I spent three hours sitting in the salon with my mom while she got pampered (her hair, fingernails and toenails) and while I was sitting there, I took the opportunity to read one of the MANY books I've purchased over the years that have become dust collectors in my house.

I love vintage printmaking books, and really vintage art and sewing books in general. The illustrations and artwork are so appealing to me. After I got my mom up in the morning and got her breakfast and confirmed with her that she felt up to keeping her appointment, I got myself ready and gathered up my book and my sketchpad and pencils.

You may wonder why I checked to see if my mom was up for her appointment. Well, she fell out of bed again Friday night and hit her head on the end table on her way to the floor. She was dreaming about trying to help someone and my dad was there in the dream. Apparently an active dream at that, and she was moving around in her sleep and just rolled out of bed. She now has a nice egg sized bump on her head. I had her sleep with an ice pack on her pillow, and she seemed better in the morning. I am seriously considering moving the nightstand closer so that it will stop her from falling or getting some kind of bed guard (if such a thing exists).

Anyway, I played around with an exercise from the book while sitting in the salon and did a "scribble" sketch that will become a stencil. I thought I'd have finished it by now, but once we left the salon and came home, I made my mom lunch and attempted to cool off. Heatwave here and no AC in my car. Then we sat and watch the CNN coverage of Hurricane Irene and chatted, and before I knew it, it was almost 5PM and I needed to go to the grocery store, do laundry, dishes and make dinner.

Hopefully, I can finish my scribble stencil project today. The other thing that has been taking the better side of forever to do is fix or re-take pictures of some of the bracelets I've made. I took some shots of them outside a few weeks ago and even used my own arm as a model. When I saw those pictures, I freaked! My skin looks so old and I almost wondered who the hell the model was!!

My other project that is taking forever (or a week anyway) is loading my files on to my new laptop that I bought last week when my "regular" laptop crashed and gave me the most frightening message "unable to find operating system"! I freaked out and shut it off for about 15 minutes and when I turned it back on, everything was there, thank God! I then went to Staples and bought a new laptop and backed up all my pictures and documents from my croaking  laptop onto my little external hard drive.

So here's hoping I can grasp this time management thing today and kick into Wonder Woman mode and accomplish much! I'll have to stop by later with an update.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Control Freak is Losing Control

I never really considered myself a control freak, but I really think I am one. I have this idea of how I'd like life to be and how I'd like things to happen, but just haven't quite mastered the fine art of achieving those things. I was raised with the "new thought movement" concept (which includes the laws of attractions) but have really failed on that. I sometimes find it so hard to get out of my own way, and my own way just might be self-sabotaging.

So here I am at the beginning of my fifth decade (I can't even believe that) and am pretty much where I said I'd NEVER be when I was in my late teens and early 20s. I have dreams and goals, yet seem unable to find the way to achieve them. I've tried many avenues and then when they don't work (maybe immediately - yeah, I'm not famous for my patience), I drop that and try the next thing, and then, I'm in the beginning of my fifth decade with what? A bitchy attitude if nothing else.

Rumor has it that as a child I could throw some major tantrums. I don't necessarily recall that, but I do know I'm more than capable of that now. I think the reason for these "tantrums" is really based on lacking control of things in my life and instead of stepping back to rethink, I jump into childhood tantrum mode. That helps, right?

So, why do I feel a bit out control lately? First of all my mom and her early stages of dementia. I can't control that, nor can I bring my mom back, the mom that raised me. I know it is still her and she is still as kind and caring as always, yet she now struggles with her words and doesn't always have the ability to express herself. That just really kills me.

My sister is having a  medical issue that I can't control. I just want to be optimistic and I want her to be whole and better ASAP! I really understand the whole life thing, but, it can be challenging when it hits home. In a perfect world this stuff doesn't happen.

I'm trying to figure out how the hell to organize my life so that I can do things creatively and get out there and sell my stuff. That isn't happening. I try to promote myself and others, but that sometimes just seems to be a waste of time. I also try to promote stuff on my (possibly useless) FB "fan" page and generally, I'm the only one that "likes" or comments on my posts. Therefore, when I try to promote myself and others, and basically feel overlooked, I tend to regress to that little girl that would throw temper tantrums and probably I alienate the world!

My take on it is that if I'm going to play the game, and that seems to include creating these things called "Treasuries", I do it. What I just seem to have a real hard time with is how many Esty sellers, especially those on my that I include in these treasuries, have absolutely no desire to even view or comment on them. I joined a team and part of being on that team requries creating these little hard to pull together gems on a regular basis. I do it, and I admit, I'm not gifted with creating "pretty" treasuries, but I try. What I've noticed is that many of my team members just don't find it necesarry to comment when I notify them that I've included them and I'm kind of at a point where I just wonder what the hell am I doing. Why do I bother. I do notice that the older team members are very good about it and very supportive.

Surely this sounds so stupid to those of you that don't have an Etsy shop or don't create these treasuries. It really seems that it has gotten to the point where creating a treasury and/or being featured in one, is ONLY about how PRETTY it is and it's potential to make the FRONT PAGE. Period. Making the front page is great exposure, true, but from what I've heard, it hasn't necessarily brought sales.Maybe if one of my goofy treasuries made the damn front page, the silent shops would then comment. Yes, I'm annoyed and probably annoying, but I just really wonder what these shop owners think. But I suppose in the "big picture" this really doesn't matter. What really matters is my mom and my sister and their quality of life.

So after my latest temper tantrum (how many times have I said that in this post?), I decided to take a vacation from Etsy and today I spent time with my mom and researching the family tree. I took a trip to the Orange County, California, Hall of Records to pull the marriage certificate of my grandmother's first cousin. He apparently was a rather abusive husband (well not apparently, really, as I have a copy of the divorce record). My intention to was to find his wife's maiden name in hopes of finding her living relatives. I now have her maiden name and tonight have been doing some research, but it isn't coming together as easily as I'd hoped. I did find someone to reach out to and we'll just have to see. I hope it is a connection.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Paul Robinson, Earl Robinson, unk
I'm not sure where or when this photo was taken, but I do know it is my grandfather, Red (aka Earl) and his brothers. I know that Red's younger brother Paul is on the far left, next to Red, but don't know who the others are yet nor have I been able to get feedback from the Robinsons on this picture. I can tell they are all related though, as they all have the same nose!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Always the Bridesmaid and Never the Bride, Fabulous Finds, and a Song of the Week

I'm so excited! After weeks of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride, I finally won the Etsian Artists Team Challenge Treasury! These challenges happen every Tuesday and are open to anyone. In other words, you do not need to be a member of the team (although, I would highly recommend it as they are awesome) to submit to the challenge or to vote in the finals. So, if you have an Etsy shop and participate and win the challenge, your shop along with your treasury (and all the shop finds you included) will be featured for one week on the team blog!

Last week was rather busy and flew by and I think I was tired every single day. It had been a busy weekend and suddenly it was Tuesday and I thought I'd just not participate in the challenge. I was content with that decision until Elizabeth (Oddball Art Co), our team captain, posted a plea on the team message board to everyone to participate as there were only four challenges submitted. I saw that and suddenly the word vintage came to mind (probably because I tend to hang out in the past with the family history research).

I then put together a treasury called Deliciously Vintage and submitted it. I was actually quite happy with it and did get lots of great feedback and lots of views. By Sunday (yesterday), I had made the finals and was honored to have received the most votes! Now I feel like giddy school girl every time I pop on to the team blog (link above) and see my prints, cards and shop featured there! I only wish I had more items listed. That will just have to be in a future win (oh, I do hope).

The other fun thing about being the challenge winner (and no, I did not say that with a Charlie Sheen tone, hahaha) is that all entries for tomorrow's challenge (the theme is "Scream"), must include one of my items! I can't wait to see what people come up with!

I must also share a Fabulous Find with you! What gal wouldn't love delicate whatnots for women and children, and that is exactly what you'll find at Cherrytime! This wonderful shop is run by two fabulous best friends, Mojca and Vesna.

These ladies are so talented and make the most wonderful crocheted items, toys and repurposed vintage cloth with embroidery, just to name a few things. It is a visual treat. They have so many lovely handmade goods that it was hard to pick just what to share. Here are a few of their items that I adore, but all you have to do it follow the above link for your own fabulous adventure!

I think it is so cool that these two best friends share a love of crafting and work their shop together! They are also quite good a photographing their art and I've asked how they manage to do that! I believe the answer was "practice, practice, practice"! So, do check out Cherrytime as I know you'll just love what you see. You can also check out their blog and follow them on Facebook! Go, do it now!

Finally, a few weeks ago, my mom and I watched a wonderful special on PBS about Folk Music and it was so good that my mom wanted to make a pledge in order to get the CDs. Well the CDs arrived today and man are they good! We were listening to them this evening and it sure did make my day job work that I'm in the middle of doing at home tonight so much more enjoyable! The CDs just contain one great song after another! It really was a great purchase on her part. When this song came on, we were singing along.

My parents had this album and they loved this song. I always remember this song from my childhood and love it, too! The compilation my mom got actually has the Pete Seeger version of Guantanamera, but in honor of my mom and my dad, I'm sharing The Sandpipers cover. Enjoy and I hope your Monday was as fab as mine was!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Wells Marcus Beck

Wells Marcus Beck was my great-great grandfather. He was born 9 January 1842 in Rosetown, PA and was the son of  Joseph and Leah Furst Beck.

I don't yet know much about Wells' young life, but from various census reports I can tell that in 1860, at 18 years old, he worked as a clerk in Armagh, PA.

On 12 April 1864, at 22 years old, he married Emma Mayben at Lewistown, PA.

In 1870, at 28 years old, he lived in Shelby, IL, and worked as a farmer. He lived in Shelby, IL and worked as a farmer until sometime before 1910. According to the 1910 US census report, Wells and Emma were living as lodgers in Decatur, IL. By 1920 they were was living in Canon, CO with eldest daughter Zadie. They returned to Decatur around 1921.

Wells and Emma had 10 children (Zadie Mae Beck Loser, John Carson Beck, Robert Clay Beck, Effie Furst Beck Cloos Roby, Mary Laura Beck, Edna Vina Beck Coffman, Grace Mabel Beck Thompson, Hattie Bell Beck Wempen, Edgar Bruce Beck, Bessie Cornelia Beck). Wells outlived his wife and four of his children.

Wells died 5 April 1928 in Decatur, IL. His obituary was published on 6 April 1928 in the Decatur Herald.

Transcription of obituary:

Wells M. Beck Dies Thursday

Recently Suffered Paralytic Stroke Followed By Pneumonia

Wells Marcus Beck, retired farmer, died at 7 o'clock Thursday evening in the home of his daughter, Mrs. Wade Thompson, 235 West Cerro Gordo Street. Recently he suffered a paralytic stroke and pneumonia developed a few days ago.

Mr. Beck was born in Rosetown, Pa, Jan 9, 1842 and married Emma Mayben at Lewistown, Pa, April 12, 1864. They moved to Shelby county and lived there during the years of his active business life. Prior to coming to Decatur about seven years ago, Mr. Beck made his home for a few years in Mont Vista, Col. Mrs. Beck died in Decatur in 1922.

Until his illness during recent months, Mr. Beck had been in fairly good general health. His greatest handicap in the enjoyment of life during late years, was his impaired sense of hearing which handicapped efforts to converse with him. But his interest in life did not drag, he enjoyed frequent rides in the auto, always was especially interested in the young folks and reading enabled him to keep abreast with current events.

Mr. Beck is survived by six children, Mrs. Zadie Loser, Monte Vista, Col., Mrs. Edna Coffman, Laramie, Wyo., Mrs. Hattie Wempen, Los Angeles, Cal., Mrs. Wade Thompson, Decatur, Mrs. Effie Roby, Decatur, and Edgar B Beck, Decatur. He is also survived by 20 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

He was a member of the Woodmen of the World at Monte Vista, Col. No funeral arrangements have been made.

Decatur Herald, Friday, 6 April 1928, pg. 9

My grandmother, Lola, was one of those 20 surviving grandchildren and my dad was one of the surviving 15 great-grandchildren.

Wells and Emma are buried in Fairlawn Cemetery, Decatur IL (Macon County).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday and the 1940 Census

My dad in 8th grade. Irvington School, Huntington Park, CA 1931. My dad is on the far right, third row up.

My dad and the ladies from the carpool. They worked at Douglas Aircraft. This was a night at Joe's Zamboanga. It was located at 3828 W. Slauson, Los Angeles, CA. What you don't see here is that these ladies of the carpool autographed and left lipstick kisses on the groovy paper frame this picture is in! I wonder who these gals are and who their living relatives are that might really love to have a copy of this fabulous photo.

We had these scary plastic wigs when I was a kid! You couldn't wear these without your head sweating.

And since I'm on a vintage thing, I thought I'd share my latest Etsian Artists Team Treasury Challenge. The theme this week is "Delicious" and my contribution is Deliciously Vintage. You can see the other participants here!

On the exciting news front, had a press release today. They will be offering the 1940 census for free starting in mid-April of 2012 through the end of 2013! I am not sure I can wait for eight months! Come mid-April, I will hopefully have a little more insight into my great aunt, Bessie's, whereabouts. In 1930, she was in the Alton State Hospital and I still have no idea what happened to her husband Ben. I'm also anxious to find out where Red (my grandfather) was in 1940. I know where I think my grandmother was and now will be able to find her because I now know she fell into the system under the name Marie instead of her birth name Lola. Should be most interesting! You can read the press release here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Campus Queen

When I was a little girl I had the most fabulous lunchbox. It was metal and came with little magnetic game pieces. It even had a game board on the back. It was surely the dream of every little girl in the 1960s - Campus Queen! I loved that lunchbox so much I even had my picture taken with it! Yes, goofy!

Little sis, Little Kiddles lunchbox, Puddles (our dog), me, Campus Queen lunchbox

The other thing I just loved was my groovy big sister! She was so much fun, so pretty, so nice and so cool. She had groovy clothes and wore liquid eye-liner, frosted lipstick and teased and flipped her hair! She also had some great albums that she'd bring over on the weekends she stayed with us. She was also a great story teller, telling us the scary story of The Golden Arm or The Green Ribbon by candlelight, scaring my little sister and I every time! Yes, we begged for these stories whenever we saw her. I did not grow up in the same house as my big sis as we had different moms, but, she would come stay with us and my little sis and I always looked so forward to her visits.

She would also take us out for "girls" day where we'd go to A&W and sit in her cool car to have lunch. She was also a great gift giver! She gave us stuffed poodles with transistor radios in them! The radios were only AM, but man they were cool!

Little sis, Big sis, me (smog of Rialto, CA in the background)

Having said that, you can only imagine my "near death" excitement experience when my big sister went to her Winter Formal and we got a picture! I couldn't believe my eyes! She was the Campus Queen! She was the girl on my lunchbox!

Campus Queen lunchbox

My sister, the Campus Queen

After getting home from work today, I did manage to get some pictures of bracelets in natural daylight outside! I now just need to improve them and get them listed in my Etsy shop. I also am about ready to (finally) list another print and am working on a new mixed media painting.

As I wrote this post, I suddenly became inspired to create a treasury in "honor" of the scary stories The Green Ribbon and The Golden Arm. I'm hoping the featured artists don't find that concept too creepy!  Here's my Scary Stories treasury...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wordless Wednesday, a Blog Feature, a Fabulous Find, and Song of the Week

For Wordless Wednesday, I'm sharing two old family pictures from our family collection. I cherish these like you wouldn't believe. All these pictures were stored in a huge box at my parents' house, and after my dad passed away, I brought them all to my house for safe keeping (didn't want any of them to accidentally find their way to thrift stores)!
My grandfather Red (holding my big sister), Esther (my dad's second wife), my dad

My dad, unknown man in uniform, my dad's buddy Gerry McGowan

I was very excited and very honored today to be featured on the Etsian Artists blog!! The ultra hip Rebecca from Libromancer (one of my fav shops) won last week's team treasury challenge (she is really too good at these) and this was her second win. I was runner up, and she graciously offered the interview space on the blog to me as she was interviewed a few weeks ago. You can read the interview here!

Rebecca is a book junkie like me! I also think she is a teacher of sorts, as she puts together some of the best treasuries I've ever seen that are dedicated to authors! They are so unique and so interesting and wonderful. Now, I'm not saying that other treasuries are not beautiful (they are and they do take time and effort to create), but I just love her take on them! Here's one of my favorites - a tribute to Erle Stanley Gardner, the author responsible for one of my life long obsessions, Perry Mason!

 A former California girl, Rebecca and her boyfriend moved to Pennsylvania and are going to open a bookstore! You can read more of her interesting story here. She also has a great Etsy shop where she rescues classic books that cannot be resold and turns them into art pieces!

You can find her shop here. She is also on Facebook and you can follow her and keep up with her FABULOUS author treasuries! I tell you, if you want to impress people at your next cocktail party, you need to check these out! No more excuses for being dull at the party!

And since I'm on vintage trip here, I thought it would be perfect to end this post with a "Song of the Week". As you may have read in my interview, I was a kid that wanted to be a go-go dancer when I grew up! I grew up in the 60s, a time that was rather turbulent, but a time full of some amazing music. I feel so lucky to have been a kid when I was and really think that I'd not want to be a kid now based on modern music.

I was also lucky enough to have a fun mom that didn't find anything wrong with her kids playing with Tarot cards, obsessing over astrology, or playing with the Ouija Board (and she made sure we never dabbled into the dark side of anything)! She was a follower of the "new thought movement". So, in honor of my mom, the 60s, the new thought movement, groovy music and the Age of Aquarius, please put on your go-go boots and enjoy The Fifth Dimension!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Where Did the Weekend Go and Fabulous Finds

The weekends just go by so fast. I always have my plans and then reality seems to step in and snap me back to reality. So, Saturday I took my mom to her chiropractor and massage appointments and after that she wanted to go shopping for music. She was in the market for old western music and we were heading to Target. When I say "old" western music, I mean vintage, and nothing that Target sold. Had I known what she was after before we got there, I wouldn't have made the trip. My mom was looking for Marty Robbins and Eddy Arnold and you'd be hard pressed to find them at Target. You will find the modern "western" artists though. So I told her we'd check Amazon or a cool store in Pasadena called Canterbury's. But we did pick up (on sale) the DVD Bell, Book and Candle starring James Stewart and Kim Novak! I've never seen  that movie and have always wanted to. Lord only knows when I'll watch it.

Then while doing laundry Saturday evening, one of the cats decided to use my blanket that was on floor waiting to be laundered as a cat box. I came a bit unglued and called the Animal Hospital to make an appointment. This is a 24 hour place so I was able to schedule his appointment for this morning. As "luck" would have it, some guy "decided" to have a solo spin out in the carpool lane and we got caught in hideous gridlock. We were sitting on the freeway/parking lot and our appointment was in five minutes. I decided to call the Pet Hospital and tell them and they rescheduled me. I sighed big time. I called at 10:10 am and our appointment was at 10:20.

We were rescheduled for 11:40. There was no way I was going to turn around and go home just to head back out, so we got through the gridlock and made it to the hospital by 10:35. Well, they couldn't squeeze us in and so we sat until 11:42 when we finally got called in. Such a waste of time really (not being able to get in earlier but taking the cat was important). Tests were run and results will be in tomorrow and Wednesday. Hopefully his problem is behavior driven and not medical (note, he is my newest rescue cat and not one of my long-time house cats).

So by the time we got home after 1pm, had make mom lunch and then finish errands. Got back home and we started watching a local PBS station and they were just playing so many great show! I love PBS. We watched a show on Folk Music (my mom actually pledged to get the CDs), Malt Shop Memories, Comedians on Ed Sullivan, and the 60s Music on Ed Sullivan! We were just singing and dancing around the house all afternoon and evening! It was great! So many memories that really transported me back to a time when life was carefree and fun. Now, I'm not a religious person by any means but I am spiritual and this was one of the songs featured on the Ed Sullivan 60s music show, and I song I just love. The great Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions - People Get Ready.

I am still in the process of working on some projects and now also in the process of creating two tutorials, but I began to focus on how I wanted to do some stencils of all the great cat pictures I have and the great old family portraits. The stencils are still in the infancy stage, but, funny how things happen when you put them "out there" - I became aware of a great artist that paints with acrylics and does some amazing stencil paintings!

He's Juan Tobaru. He has an Esty shop with some amazing art! He has stencil paintings and acrylic paintings. His work is so awesome. I just love simplicity that speaks volume in art, and his stencil paintings do just that!

 I also love color and power in art, and that is completely evident in his paintings.

You can also find Juan Tobaru on Facebook where you can keep up with his art. He is really so talented that I believe he must out there even more than I have shared! He's probably in galleries and other places beyond what I have shared. I should also mention that he is owned by cats and I've seen them appear in his work! Enjoy.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Handbags and Gladrags and Song of the Week

My rather new and most recent favorite purse seems to have died an early death! I don't like that. This morning I was rushing out the door to head to the office and as I do every morning I threw an energy bar and a bottle of water in my purse. I got to work and walked into the building with both my purse and my laptop bag on my shoulder. I said "good morning" to the security guard and all of sudden I felt something weird on my shoulder. I said, "what the..." and noticed my purse dangerously dangling towards the ground! I grabbed it and realized that where the strap is attached to the bag had completely been severed. It had completely torn. I'm sad to think I may not be able to salvage it.

When I left work I had to rush to the store to buy a new one. I wasn't "in love" with the options but had to get something. I can't believe how expensive handbags are these days (and I'm not shopping at a high-end boutique or department store). I am one of those people that buys one purse and carries it until it is dusted and then I replace it, so I had no emergency "back-up" to hold me over until I could find one I really LOVED. Oh the lessons we learn.

So in memoriam of my purse, I thought I take this opportunity to post a "Song of the Week"! I'm a long time fan of Rod Stewart and the Faces and had this idea after reading Steve's hysterical blog post about going to see Queen in concert in 1978. It came to mind because I never did see Queen (which I really regret) but I saw Rod and The Faces EVERY SINGLE TIME they came to town!

There really are so many great Rod Stewart songs and I have so many favorites, but this one truly fits with the post and has always been able to not only make me smile, but for some strange reason, bring a tear to my eye!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday and Fabulous Finds

For Wordless Wednesday (wordless, yeah right) I am sharing a photo that I really love of my mom, her sister Sadie and their cousins (Alec, Sandy and Anslem). This picture was taken in Orillia, Canada where my mom grew up. I think her cousin Sandy looks like a Robert DeNiro type!!

Mom, Sadie, Alec, unknown, Sandy, Anslem, cute dog

This week's Fabulous Finds features an artist and blogger who is oh so entertaining! Steve manages to create collages and ACEOs (something that escapes me as I can't even write that small let alone paint that small)! Steve is a corporate guy that goes home and paints and takes awesome photographs, collects vintage items and writes a most entertaining blog.

He recently did a series that I am fascinated with on guilt! Hmm, I wonder why that topic has grasped me. I am just obsessed with this one and might even have to purchase it!  You can find Steve's artwork here on Etsy.

He also has some fabulous black and white photos of old headstones at cemeteries. Now, as a genealogist, I do have an obsession with headstones and cemeteries and can hardly drive by a cemetery without wanting to stop and pay a visit!

Steve truly has an eye for art that is evident in his collages and paintings, as well as his photography. But, I must add, that his other talent and gift is in his writing! I am completely hooked on the (mis)Adventures of ArtySandp, a blog worth checking out and following! You can catch up here and, trust me, will not regret it as you laugh your head off! I have been "begging" Steve to write a book, which is a goal of his, and I think we should all encourage this! I was so happy to learn today, that his challenge for August is to focus on writing that book! Someone even suggested he do the illustrations and he's planning to include old photos.  I think that is super cool and look forward to it!  You can also keep up with the adventures via his Facebook page.

As a former teen journalist/feature writer for my school paper, I was always interested in human interest stories and what people did (and I still am). It's really funny how something that might seem so "silly" such as a recap of an old vacation with family or friends, can be so entertaining to someone that wasn't there at the time! I hope you'll head over and check out his pages and be a cheerleader to encourage his August challenge in getting that book written, while still creating his art and hanging out in the corporate world doing the 9-5. You might even be inspired to pick up some cool art while you're at it.

The Hardest Job in the World and a Great New Blog

Having not been a parent, I really had no idea what was in store for me once I officially became a caregiver. I can tell you that it isn't easy and I really don't know how parents do it and I have nothing but respect for them. How does one take care of others, while taking care of themselves and their homes and their lives and participate in their jobs? My hat's off to you!

So, the old broken record here, I didn't finish my Catupulets, nor did I finish my tutorial. Hell, I am no farther than I was yesterday or the day before, to be honest. I'm either lazy, old or just not able to handle emotionally, all things I could have handled in my 20s or 30s, and that bothers me.  I really don't relish the thought of doing nothing besides the mundane in what is left of my life and am struggling to get a grip on the time management thing (yet again, or always). But, the night is still young and I should be able to accomplish something!

I tried to be somewhat creative yesterday by participating in a team treasury challenge.  I really don't think my treasury lives up to the others, but I did find some really fabulous items to include! There really are so many good ones compared to mine and you can see them all here. But, I'll get there. I am always amazed at what people can put together and they are so cool and hip and visually appealing! I do suggest you head over to the Etsian Artists blog and participate in the challenge. This weeks' challenge entry is closed, but you can vote on Sunday! The treasuries with the highest views, clicks and comments will be entered into the vote. The winner of the vote will then be featured on the blog and interviewed!

On a happy note, my cousin Wendy started a blog! I'm so excited about that and hope you'll show her some support. She is a long time genealogist and a fabulous photographer. She has spent that past year and a half dealing with the horrible Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia diagnosis of her 22 year old son, which to date. they have overcome! You can find Wendy's blog here. I must now convince her to open an on-line shop to sell her amazing photos!  Wendy and I share great uncle Bill Meents!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mystery Monday and a Future Tutorial

I had this idea that I wanted to work on over the weekend, photographing the steps so that I could make a tutorial. I got the supplies I needed (including a small, portable sewing machine) and was determined to work on it. Other things came up and the tutorial (nor did finishing The Dionne Catuplets) didn't happen and last night I was feeling like I was going to lose it. So I thought I'd give it a try tonight but I just didn't get it done.  I began to write the tutorial, sans doing it and therefore no pictures, so that will have to be tomorrow, I hope. If not the tutorial, at least finish the Catuplets already!

And now for a little genealogy. Today is Monday and over at Geneabloggers the blogging beat prompt I'm going with is Mystery Monday. Lola had a sister Bessie. Bessie was the daughter of George and Effie (like Lola) and much about her still evades me. I know that she was born 1 July 1893, about 7 months after George and Effie married and that she married a man named Benjamin Trump.

I found them living together on the 1920 census in Greenville, Illinois. Come the 1930 census, much to my shock, Bessie was an "inmate" at Alton State Hospital! Interesting indeed.  Two sisters just about a year apart in age, find themselves in "mental" hospitals in the same year (Lola's first admittance to my knowledge was in 1930 for depression at Norwalk State Hospital in California).

After much research on both and my fave, I found Bessie's obituary. She died in a nursing home in Peoria, Illinois that is now under new ownership. My sister and I also found living relatives of the Trump family and did reach out to them. They responded earlier this year, but, probably didn't find our requests for information and pictures their top priorities, so, I think it's time to reconnect.

From what I can tell, Bessie and Ben did not have children, but again, that's from what I can tell. You really never know. Bessie's obituary listed among her survivors, two nieces and they are now deceased. It was their descendants we reached out to. Basically, the descendants didn't really remember Aunt Bessie but promised to contact others that might have the pictures or either remember her or know of her! Then silence. Now, I know pictures exist as one doesn't spend say 50 years as a member of family without someone having pictures!

Bessie died in that Peoria nursing home on 7 Feb 1976. So while I still try looking for any information on her that I can find, I am also trying to find information on her husband, Ben. I am not sure what became of their marriage but he was listed as spouse on her death certificate and even mentioned in her obituary, yet I cannot find a death record for him. I know that there is no way in hell he is still alive as he was born in 1889. The mysteries of Bessie and Ben do haunt me and I need to refocus on finding them.

I do have a copy of Ben's WWI draft registration from 5 June 1917 where he indicates he's married, and a copy of his WWII draft registration from 27 April 1942.  The WWII draft registration did not ask marital status so none is indicated. It did ask for "the name and address of a person who will always know your address" and Ben listed a friend who is also now deceased. He was also living in Donnellson, Illinois at that time. Did Ben basically leave her after she was admitted to Alton? Did she ever get released?  Why was she admitted? Why did his nieces seem to be connected to her at the time of her death? What happened to Ben and when did he die?

I belong to the Illinois State Genealogy Society and they have recently added a message board to their site for members. Oh, happy day! I can tell you now, I'll be posting there! My many posts regarding Ben and Bessie at Rootsweb/Ancestry have mostly gone unanswered, but I did have someone contact me and she was awesome and very helpful. She even went to the hospital where Bessie died but wasn't able to get much information! I tell you, the genealogy community is like no other! The help is unbelievable!

Of course, if I don't find anything on Bessie or Ben, there's always the 1940 census which may hold some answers. Although I anxiously await that, it won't be released to the public until April of 2012. I really hope to find answers prior to that.