26 June 2007

America's Women

This is a great book! i just finished it. One of the chapters even mentioned Emma Willard - how cool is that.

If you ever though that the history books left out the most interesting bits of the story - how women coped with everything - then this is the book for you!

20 June 2007


For the non-Irish or non-Joyce fans, Bloomsday is June 16th and is a celebration of James Joyce, his book "Ulysses" and the characters therein. Last year, for my own Bloomsday project, I decided to try and read "Ulysses". As a stream of consciousness novel, it can be quite difficult to get through.

I came across a really good audiobook of "Ulysses" on audible.com and decided to give it a try. It was great! It's much easier to listen to a stream of consciousness novel than to actually read it.

Still, it was no easy task. 22 CDs makes for one long listen. I listened on my summer vacation, I listened on my trip to Ireland last fall, I listened commuting to work when I started temping, I listened, and I listened.

Today, I finished it! Just a few days past Bloomsday this year! Woo Hoo!

Now I can concentrate on those other books I started when I couldn't take "Ulysses" any more!

14 June 2007

Let It Snow, Let It Snow (Make It Stop!)

I woke up Wednesday morning and couldn't see anything out the window. It was a definite White Out!

By the time, it stopped snowing, sometime Thursday afternoon mind you, we had 14 inches of snow and 2.5 inches of rain. FOURTEEN inches in June!

Luckily, we had books, magazines, Netflix, tv, and a computer to entertain ourselves, but by the end of the second day we were clamoring to escape our mountain retreat.

I ventured forth Thursday evening to our faroff parking place and retrieved bottled water from the trunk (we had run out). I got all the snow and ice off the trunk, but left the engine and roof for the next day (big mistake).

I would just like to extend a warm thanks to the sister of my friend. Said sis keeps me well-supplied in "throwaway" novels. I was never more grateful than on this particular occasion. Unfortunately, my aunt read them all the first day and she was quite bored by day two. I had managed to save one novel for day two so I was able to entertain myself.

We planned a full day for Friday and looked forward to being able to leave the mountain.

13 June 2007

The Irish in America

My grandfather always said that there was a sister born after he and his twin Peg and before his brother George. During our sojourn at the Family History Center, I found a baby that could very well be her. An un-named female born in August 1889 in Cleveland.

We weren't so lucky with the rest of our travails in the Library. We didn't conclusively find anyone who could be my great-grandmother. The geneaologist was all hot for there being a relationship between the furrier who hired Aunt Lil and paid Uncle Andrew's tuition being a relative, but that didn't pan out (though we did track down a relative of his and my aunt had a nice chat with the furrier's grandson).

We found lots of families in the censi with the right Christian names and one of the accepted Anglicised spellings of the surname, but none of them had enough right for them to be my great-grandmother's family.

It seems like we ruled out a lot of dead-ends and that in itself could be a triumph, but it was quite deflating considering the high hopes we had at the start.

We definitely need to find a needle in a haystack and we just didn't have any luck in this go-round.

I tried to encourage my aunt to keep looking so that we could rule out further avenues. But with her daughter at home in the hospital and the progress not being what we had hoped, we called it a day.

After two solid days doing research, we headed back up the mountain prepared for a storm scheduled to keep us lodgebound the next day.

11 June 2007

Please Give Blood!

My cousin was in the hospital last week and needed four pints of blood. I thought this was a good opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of donating blood.

The United States is in a severe blood shortage mode at the moment. Blood only lasts so long and the supply needs to be continually replenished. If there were to be a major emergency in any given state, there could be a crisis situation as far as blood is concerned.

You can make a difference in your own community by going to your local blood donation center or calling the Red Cross 1-800-GIVE-LIFE to find a donation center near you.

They will help you determine if you are eligible to give blood and if you are, they will give you all of the pertinent information about donating (how often you can donate, etc.)

If you are unable to give blood, you can still help. You can encourage others to donate blood and you can volunteer at the Blood donation center. They often need people to help process donors. You can also organise a blood drive at your place of worship or workplace or school.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming...

07 June 2007

My Own Private Idaho

What does one do on a Sunday morning in the Salt Lake Valley? Why, one goes to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, naturally!

That's just what my aunt and I did. We went to see the live performance of "Music & The Spoken Word". I have seen the Mormon Tabernacle Choir many times on TV, but it was absolutely thrilling to see them live. They are so wonderful. And the Tabernacle is such a beautiful concert hall. If you are ever in Salt Lake City, I highly recommend it!

We finished there about 10:30am and it was supposed to be a very hot day plus my aunt was not quite adjusted to the altitude yet. We decided that it would be a good day to drive out to the Golden Spike Historic Site. I pointed out to my aunt that it was only 40 more miles to Idaho so...

Now there are only 8 states that I have never visited: Alaska, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Hampshire, Maine, West Virginia, and the Carolinas.

Unfortunately, there was no exit near the state line so we had to make an "emergency" u-turn.

Then we were off the to the Golden Spike site at Promontory Summit. We drove the auto tour and you should have seen us! I don't think the guy at the rental counter expected us to be driving on a historic railroad grade! But it was worth it to see the spot where 1500 men laid 10 miles of track in one single day. We paused to remember all of the Chinese and Irish immigrants who gave their lives to build the trans-continental railroad.

By the time we got back to town, we had just enough energy to lay in provisions for our kitchen and head back up the mountain.

We have a fair bit of research to tackle before we meet with the genealogist on Tuesday.

05 June 2007

Travels With My Aunt

My aunt has always wanted to go to Salt Lake City to try and find more information about her Irish grandmother (my great-grandmother). This year when I banked my timeshare week, I was given a free week and one of the places I could go was Salt Lake City. So I phoned her and asked if she would like to go.

This quickly put me out in front for "Niece of the Year"!

Airlines being what they are these days, though, our flight schedules couldn't seem to quite match up. She landed first, got the rental car (she got a free upgrade to the exact make and model she drives at home) and then had about an hour and half to kill before I landed.

After locating a Starbucks and getting her bearings, it was time to swing back by the airport for me.

We were both hungry and we were sure we would find someplace on our way up the mountain to our resort, but alas and alack, there was nothing.

When we checked in, our rooms were not ready and they sent us over to the Center to get lunch. By this time it is after 2pm. We drive over and park and find a restaurant at 2:35 only to be told, they stop serving at 2:30.

Everyone directs us to the deli, but she can't eat bread so that is not an option, and we can't buy food and cook it either.

Finally, some nice young men paving the parking lot come to our aid and we are directed to the next hotel over. The valet there, when he hears our troubles, vows that if the restaurant is closed, he will get us something himself, but it is indeed open.

Our server Matt was super friendly and said we were welcome to sit there until our room was ready.

My aunt was really suffering form dehydration and the altitude so she just wanted to lie down. After our meal, she did just that on a banquette outside the restaurant while I went to a house phone to call about our rooms.

They were ready so we came back and checked in.

Our rooms are fabulous! We have a one bedroom apartment with two full bathrooms, fireplace and two balconies. Plenty of space so we aren't tripping over each other constantly and two tvs so we don't even have to watch the same movies!

I walked back over to the center to pick up something snacky for dinner and decided to try Polygamy Porter (why have just one?).
The name is better than the beer, but the label is great!

We pretty much went to bed right after dinner. We had been up very late, and we plan to be in Salt Lake City by 8:30 in the morning.