Oct 29, 2013

Potato Shaped Like a Heart

I am sure that this happens all of the time, but not on my watch. The other day I brought home a bag of potatoes and found one that was shaped like a heart.  I converted the photo into a sketch drawing.  Cool!

Oct 27, 2013

The Creepiest kind of Pictures: Postmortem Photography

When I was a little girl, I went to two houses where the body of the deceased was being held until the funeral took place.  One of those houses was that of an uncle and my grandfather was placed in the living room. Dead people terrified me.  Their stiff limbs and torso with the unnatural pallor of their skin sent shivers up my spine. I can still see these images in my mind and it disturbs me.
I have a pet peeve with funerals. It's with the taking pictures of the corpse. I know that people want to remember the deceased.  But I would much rather have a picture of the person while they are still alive rather than one of them in the casket. (I have a picture of my father that is currently in the basement and wish that I had never seen it.)  While looking at videos on Youtube the other day I saw a snippet of post-mortem photography. So, I clicked on the links and they took me here and here. Eerily, I looked at the photographs with the unnatural poses for the dead. I had a hard time sleeping that night.

Here is what I found out: In the Victorian Era, the mortality rate was very high, especially with small children and babies. The parents wanted a photograph in which to remember the deceased.  They even had posing poles so that the corpse could be photographed standing up. There were many pictures of adults standing up holding their children or men standing alone with a partial view of the stand behind them.  The thing is this, they didn't have that many pictures taken due to lack of money.  So, when someone died they called in the photographer. The family was very proud of these pictures and hung them in their homes, sent them to relatives, and wore them around their necks in lockets.  I don't know about you, but I am glad that this is not part of our culture anymore because, quite frankly, it gives me the creeps. 

P.S. The above photograph is not postmortem, it is a picture of John and Sally Smith with their children. (some of my relatives)

Oct 22, 2013

The Truth about the lady getting burned by McDonald's coffee

I just watched a video about the lady who sued McDonald's for spilling a cup of hot coffee on herself. Did you know that she had third degree burns in her groin area?  No, I didn't either. Did you know that she was the passenger, not the driver? Nope. Did you know that she spent several days in the hospital because of the burns? Me neither. Actually, the truth about what really happened got totally weeded out of the story. The general public was not told the "whole story" as to what happened to her. Or should I say that it was considerably watered down by the time it really got out there. It was like an urban legend, there may be a small bit of truth to the story. Oh she lived a life of misery after that, the butt of so many jokes.  And she didn't get 3 million dollars either, it was more like in the hundreds of thousands.

And yet, we trust the news more than we should.

Oct 18, 2013

Sticks and stones may break my bones....but words do hurt.

Every Thursday I go to a memoirs writing class.  Each of us have a story within us.  Sometimes the stories are happy or sometimes they are sad.  I have been writing about my recent marriage and other memories.  Sometimes we just need to let it all out, whether we write in a journal, as a story, or face to face with a friend or loved one. It is then we can start to finally heal.

I am the youngest person in the class.  Most of my classmates are 20 or more years my senior, and yet, I feel very comfortable amongst them. Any one of the men and women could be my mother or father. It is amazing to me how things that were either said or done to us can leave a lasting mark on our lives, even if it happened 60 years before. The memory of it continues to linger in the back of our minds. When the memory comes back to the surface there is rage and many times tears.

I sat next to a woman yesterday who had such a traumatic experience in Catholic school by a nun that she still finds it hard to talk about.  Her 5th grade teacher was a nun and made her life miserable.  From the time she arrived in the class until the end of the year the girl's life was one traumatic event after another.  The nun would shame the girl into thinking that she was worthless and the children whose father's made more money was better than she was and it was best that she not communicate with them. Those words spoken to her stuck in her mind all of these years.  Tears started flowing before my classmate began reading her story. I wanted so badly to hold her in my arms and comfort her. Often we hear stories about adults traumatizing children and literally making their lives hell.  These poor innocent souls are placed in the care of adults who can either make or break our spirit.  Her spirit is still broken.  No child deserves to be mistreated.  All they want is love and acceptance, and maybe some candy too. 

Do you have any memories that bring you pain?  I know that I do.

Oct 13, 2013

The Railway Man: A Review

Today, I finished the book The Railway Man by Eric Lomax. It is a true story based on the life of a Scottish POW captured by the Japanese during WWII.  Lomax carried with him 50 years of hate for the pain and torture that he endured at the hands of his captors, especially by one man in particular. I am not much of a war buff.  Nor do I really read a lot about the subject. However, I am into reading about people's lives.  This is a very moving story of a man, a good one, whose life could have ended in bitterness and hate. He chose to forgive instead.  One of my favorite actors, Colin Firth, is Eric Lomax in the soon to be relased film, The Railway Man in January 2014.  I am very excited that this story is coming to the big screen. When I saw the trailer, I immediately went to the library to borrow the book so that I would be acquainted with Lomax's story.  The books ends with this: "Sometime the hating has to stop."

Oct 10, 2013

A day at the zoo

I have been taking pictures galore this past week.  Since I have gotten my new zoom lens, the pictures have been turning out very well.  I spent four hours with my brother and his family at the zoo.  Photographing a two year old is, well, very challenging. Try holding a toddler still for one second and to photograph to boot tried my nerves and my photography skills.

There were lions.

an ostrich

and there were monkeys

My brother asked his daughter what a monkey says, she said "oo oo oo", the look on my brothers face...priceless.

Oct 5, 2013

Making a step

Just recently, I had my house and garage painted.  Then a new side entry door along with a screen door was installed.  The next thing I needed was a step.  There had never been one there at the side and it was very high to try and get into without grabbing onto the walls.  I went to the store to find out how much a single cement step would cost.  The man quoted me $110.00, which I think is very expensive.  He took me out into the yard where all of the stones were kept.  As I looked around I noticed that there were retaining wall stones that would do just fine for my need and at a much reduced cost.  I told the man that I could make a step out of any of the stones he had for sale for a fraction of the cost.  He said, "Yes you can."  I thanked him for his time and went to work picking out ones that fit together.  I am quite proud of myself. Most of all, I saved myself $90.00. My grand total was $26.00, with the cost of the construction glue.  


Oct 3, 2013


Her story begins with a letter. It was thick and written by hand, an art form that has since been tossed aside for a keyboard and a screen.  In this letter were dates, names, and locations; family that she never knew existed.  But her story really began long before the letter, its genesis in a place and a country that is in her blood with a deep longing to return. Her ancestors are calling to her.  “Do not forget us”, they cry. “We are part of you.”

When she was in her mid twenties she met her great aunt from Georgia.  Her aunt lived in the same small town where the young woman’s mother was born. The Aunt was old and bent over from working endless hours in the carpet mill.  She told the young woman about the many hours she spent in the library digging for her roots. This was long before the internet and ancestry.com. Where books, wills, and the census were harder to locate than it is now. The young woman returned home wondering if she was intelligent enough to begin her own search. It seemed like it was a very daunting task.

William Sealsbury Campbell & Delphia Jane Massey

Ten years went by before the young woman thought to give researching a try.  Her mother passed away when she was 33 and the desire to know more about from whence she came was stronger than ever.  She was very unsure what to do or where to go for help. Then a friend told her about a woman, who’s IQ was equal to Forrest Gump, who could help with the research.  She gave what bit of information that she had to the researcher and waited in anticipation.  Before long a new generation was discovered.  Questions were asked and the young woman told herself that if the researcher can do this, then so can she.

Oh the quest wasn’t easy.  There was so much to learn, so many avenues to take to reach the same goal.  Then there were the names. Oh the names!  There was Wesley, Elbert, Seal, James, Archibald, James, and another Archibald.  Rarely did these men go by there first names, which made the digging all the worse.  Wrong names were listed on documents galore. In exasperation she wanted to bang her head on the wall.  She worked tirelessly to find the right names, the right connections. She ran into brick walls, and then by some miracle found a break through. On and on she went, trudging through paperwork like a soldier going to war.

William Sealsbury Campbell & Delphia Jane Massey
Each generation represented our country. They stood up for this great nation. Her family fought in World War I & II, the Civil War, the War of 1812, and the Revolutionary War.  Her mother would be very proud to know that her daughter found the path that was paved back to the beginning of this nation by her ancestors.  She felt honored, but most of all blessed.  When she found two relatives who fought in the Revolution, she then thought that she just might want to become a daughter.  Not just any daughter, but a Daughter of the American Revolution.  The application was filled out, the mound of documents copied and stapled together, then sent to the gods, hoping for approval.  In a few short weeks the answer came. Then she smiled.  

The “she” in this story is me.