Friday, December 1, 2017

Sumer is Icumen In . . .

Despite what the calendar says, today was not very warm although tomorrow is predicted to be hot.

Management  sent around an air-conditioning person to check our systems today.  Mine was fine but I need a couple of new screens as the ones which I have are showing some sign of wear; not surprising since I have been here for over six years and they have not been serviced in that time.

Poppy is finally a well little cat again after a rather traumatic time was had by all.  A couple of weeks ago she ripped out a claw so that it was hanging by a thread so I took her off to the vet who sedated her and removed the claw.  When I got her home she was a very happy little cat and because I know that she has arthritis I assumed that it was the pain medication.  Back for a check-up and the vet suggested that maybe she should have regular pain medication. 

That was fine and she liked the taste so it was easy to give to her but she became very constipated (but no vomiting this time around) so the vet decided that the constipation might be caused by the pain medication and put her onto faecal softeners instead, which worked after a couple of days and she hasn't looked back.

The two of them have almost finished moulting and are looking very sleek and shiny but I am still vacuuming up great heaps of black fur.

COTA has finished for the year, just in time for a huge upgrade by Microsoft which left me floundering in a mass of requested passwords and exhortations to register to the Cloud, a thing which I have managed to resist so far.  I am keeping my options open as to whether or not I keep teaching next year.  Windows 10 is not easy to teach and I feel that I should not have to provide on-line access for my clients if they bring their own computers and twice now a client's computer has totally drained my hotspot of all its 4 Gb in short order.  It will cost me $50.00 to recharge it so I will see how I feel closer to the start-up date next year.

I seem to have reached the limit in my genealogy research into the descendants of one of my maternal grandmothers.  I am a bit short of data on a couple of the families and in one case I have gained far more information from the archived newspapers than I have from the cousins themselves but there is no information at all on a few and they will have to be delegated to the great unknown as even "Lady Kitty", the queen of the Advertiser Newspaper's social column in the 1950s did not manage to glean any gossip about them.

But it was fun reading through some of her writings; so many familiar names.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Thunder on the Right

The night before last we had the most amazing thunderstorm.  It lasted for over three hours and I had a panoramic view over the river, followed by a short burst of torrential rain directly from the south which washed my windows.  They had been so dirty that, at night when the light shines in I, could hardly see through the dust and dirt.  Usually the management sends around a team of window cleaners a couple of times per year but so far there has been no sign of them.  They have to abseil down from the roof and negotiate an overhang.  A very bad design fault and I am not surprised that it is hard to find anyone to do it and must cost a fortune.

The cats are moulting and I am being swamped in black fur.  The fact that they are brushed morning and night has not stopped them from getting fur balls and vomiting all over the carpets.  They prefer the carpets  -  softer on their paws while they get down to the business of ridding themselves of their dinner.  I am very practised at cleaning up cat barf  but it is a bit hard to do before I have had my morning coffee.  I have been feeding them Catlax but it took Poppy five days for it to work.  One of the joys of keeping indoor cats but I wouldn't do without them.

I have bought myself a little carpet shampooer.  It is a Bissell which is the only one of its kind to be recommended by Choice Magazine.  It doesn't have a very big capacity which is exactly what I needed and it is very effective.  Yesterday I finally summoned up my courage to use it  -  it arrived just before the 'flu and when I started to recover I  had a panic about where I had put the accessories and instructions.

The most urgent bit of carpet was the strip where I groom the cats, outside their bathroom, and although vacuumed regularly it looked pretty grotty.  So yesterday I gave the area a thorough vacuuming and them washed the carpet.  It needs doing again but the amount of dirt and cat hair which was sucked up was staggering and the carpet now feels nice to walk on  -  it has lifted the pile and released the embedded cat fur.

Now I just have to vacuum and mop the huge acreage of off-white tiles which cover most of the floor area, right in the middle of the apartment and which are firmly resistant to detergent and mop and show every footmark when wet.  I have evolved the habit of doing the job over two days so that I can get from one end of the apartment to the other without stepping into the newly washed area until it has a chance to dry.  There has to be an easier way.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Digging up the Past

Since meeting my two distant cousins I have set myself the task of tracing all of our mutual relatives and it has not been as easy as I imagined.

I assumed that it would simply be a matter of contacting my fairly close cousins and asking them.  I have found that it is not so simple; I first have to convince them that I would not be broadcasting their most intimate affairs to the wide world.  And one of my second cousins has flown so low under the radar that he is almost impossible to trace.  He has a name which should stand out in any search and certainly others with the same name appear with alarming regularity  -  but not him.

Knowing his name and the first given name of his wife I have been searching through the social and family entries in the main South Australian newspapers which are progressively being archived, scanned (badly) and posted on-line.  People are encouraged go to the site and correct the rather garbled print which is correctable in a sidebar with the actual scanned copy to refer to.  It is fun to do and I have tended to correct the entries pertaining to my own family when I do a search.

Anyway, I found an engagement notice among the BMDs which gave me the name of his wife and his wife's father which enabled me to search further to the wife's death notice which has given me the children and the one grandchild, along with the spouses of the children and the date and two places where the wedding took place.  I am not sure which one is correct.  They were both on the Social Page (Very Adelaide). 

One was a report of a pre-wedding party which gave one location and the other was a report of the wedding itself along with a photograph which placed the ceremony in a different church.  I have listed both and maybe one day I will find out which one it was.  I could purchase a copy of the marriage certificate but he is a second cousin and it doesn't really matter much in the total scheme of things.  And it is a hassle to prove who you are and that you have a right to buy a copy of the certificate.

I have recovered from the 'flu just in time for the hot weather.  Two days ago the temperature suddenly shot up to 36 degrees centigrade after a series of very cold, wet days and it was a bit of a shock to the system.  But nice not to have to rug up any more.

However, my cats are now  moulting their winter coats, there is black fur everywhere and the little girl is vomiting on my best Persian carpet.  Always a thorn amongst the roses.

Monday, October 30, 2017

I Have All The Best Words

I have been struggling through a book written by the brother of one of my friends while recovering from the 'flu.  The author is a Doctor of Divinity and the book is about the Pauline epistles.  I confess that I am struggling with it; it was obviously written for scholars, not lay readers with an interest in the early Christian Church and I have had to haul out both my dictionary and my bible.

I would like to make clear at this point that my preferred deity is the invisible pink unicorn.  That is actually not an official religion and in the last Australian Census I had to opt for being a member of the Pastafarian church which has, as their deity, the flying spaghetti monster.  This is a registered religion in USA so it is official.

My interest in religion goes back to my school days when I first started to read the Bible critically and realised that the stories being fed to us were the Sunday School version and not based on anything much found in the King James Bible.  My interest has primarily been the historic basis of the Old Testament but I own a book called "Who Wrote the New Testament" so I have some basis for understanding the book I am reading at the moment.  I'll give Doctor Harding a plug here  -  it is called "The Pastoral Epistles?".

The new best word in my vocabulary now is 'parousia' which was totally new to me and never used when I was at school.

I have had a bad week what with the 'flu but there has been one very positive outcome.  On Wednesday morning I found that Poppy, my girl-cat, had ripped one of her claws and it was hanging by a thread.  I took her to the Vet thinking that I would have to fast her overnight and take her back first thing on Thursday morning to have the toe amputated.  However, it was just the claw and there was no infection so the Vet said that surgery that morning was just finishing and that she could sedate her and remove the claw immediately.  

That was good and I took her home with some pain relief to be given with her food.  When we got home I realised that I had a completely different cat to the grumpy, hissing and spitting cat I had known and loved for the last six years.  Gone were the hissy fits whenever her brother approached, gone was the low growling when he tried to curl up with her in bed and it occurred to me  -  knowing that she had arthritis in the right front leg, that she had been in chronic pain.  So when we went back to check the claw I mentioned this amazing change in her and the outcome is that she will be on long-term pain relief which goes on her food and which she loves the taste of so it is very easy to administer.

And we now have peace in our time.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Cousins and Forebears

Last night a first cousin once removed telephoned me at the instigation of one of my first cousins to further my researches into my father's family.  G.C. is only five years older than me although he is a different generation but he doesn't have a computer so telephone and snail-mail are going to be the only way to communicate.  I have only ever met him once many, many years ago but remember it, probably because he was near my own age and that is important to a teenager.  Anyway, he has contacted another of our cousins and obtained her email address for me so that I can clarify her siblings  -  a big gap in my contemporary tree.

I now have the bit firmly between my teeth and have discovered, in the 1851 census, the family of my great great great great grandfather, his wife and his children including my great great great grandmother.  She stayed behind in England after her marriage and followed her husband to South Australia about five years later; in the census she is shown with her married name in her father's house so I know that it is the right family of Smiths (her maiden name).  Yeah!

I have had no luck tracing her husband's family back further than his father; there are too many people in England with the same name and I have no idea where in England they lived.  But more and more information is coming online all the time  -  I didn't think that I would ever be able to find Benjamin Smith in the whole of England and I did.

This research back into the mists of time doesn't affect the two cousins whom I met last week.  Our family trees meet with my great grandmother and I am now researching my great grandfather's forebears but whereas my W. cousins have researched the distaff side no-one seems to have researched the male line and what actually is already in is wrong and very muddled, so it is worthless to me.  It is worrying that allows so much mis-information from unchecked sources.  That may be why the erroneous tree is no longer active and I cannot access the owner to correct his/her information.

Today is Opening Day at the RFBYC which I overlook from my apartment and the yachts are gathering.  The weather forecast is for gale-force winds and thunder.  At the moment it is dead calm, hot and humid; it certainly feels ominous.  I have a birds-eye view and will be watching the proceedings with interest.

Friday, October 13, 2017

My black furballs turned six last Thursday

I find it hard to believe that I have been in this apartment for over six years.  The cats were born on 12th October 2011, an easy date to remember because it was my parents' wedding anniversary.  I collected them on 2nd January 2012 when they were 10 weeks old.

Yesterday I met up with my two Wilson third cousins and we talked none-stop for four hours.  It was a lot of fun  -  they are great people and both interested in our mutual roots.  I have spent the last couple of weeks gleaning as much information as I could from all my Wilson cousins descended from Matthew Wilson,  my paternal grandmother's family.  To clarify that last sentence  -  I have some other Wilson cousins who, as far as I know are a different family altogether. I have not been able to get a complete descendant line  -  there are some gaps to fill in still and I am hopeful but not at all confident that I will get all the information I would like.

It is easy going back since there is a lot of information online from people researching their ancestors but not as easy to cover contemporary relatives.  There is nothing in the archived newspapers and the BMD CDs only work with 32 bit computers and only go to about 1930 anyway.  I used to have the whole set and squeezed them dry before disposing of them when I moved.  I realise that they might still have worked on my Win 7 laptop but they didn't have the information I want anyway.

My latest COTA client has cancelled his last two lessons.  I can't say that I blame him, the computers which we use are on their last legs and last week there was no internet connection.  After two weeks of exhorting him to click on the Microsoft button to find out which version of windows he has it is quite possible that he discovered that he has a Apple Mac.  Anyway, unless COTA manages to dredge up another client is looks as though I will be able to sleep in on Thursdays for the rest of the year.  My plan is to go to the Christmas party and then resign  -  or resign and then go to the Christmas party.

We are having weird weather at the moment  -  hot days, cold winds, storms  -  totally unpredictable and my asthma is bad and I am currently taking cortisone which is great for my poor sore arthritic thumbs but extremely painful when I stop taking it so I should be taking advantage and getting back to spinning but I have spent a great deal of time trying to kill off two infants, Michael [--?--] and Daniel [--?--] children of a cousin with a nameless husband.  Michael and Daniel were duplicated and even FTM should have realised that but didn't.  so I deleted the repeats which returned with alarming regularity and eventually I had to kill off their mother and reinsert her.  I haven't tried putting the boys back but maybe one day ...

Thursday, October 5, 2017

I have received a 'Top Comment' accolade from Facebook

This is a one-off event and I feel that I must record it for posterity because the original has sunk way down the page and may never be seen again.

The comment was in response to a number of American politicians who passed a bill making abortion more difficult.  After the Las Vegas shooting all that the 
republican politicians seemed to say was "My thoughts and prayers go out to you."
My posted comment was "My thoughts and prayers go out to all those American women who accidentally become pregnant. My though and prayer is "Thank God I live in Australia".

Parsifal loves the TV and is convinced that if he could only find his way in or through the screen he would be able to meet and greet all the people in there.  He walks backwards and forwards across the front of the screen and twice in the last couple of weeks he has trodden on the remote and switched it on.  I am not looking forward to the day he puts two and two together and turns it on whenever he is feeling lonely.

The internet was down today at COTA and since I was intending to teach word processing I thought that is wouldn’t matter but was unable to use the computer I usually use as it refused to load so I moved over to the one which Himself uses and discovered that there was no way to get a big enough block of text to use.  I usually go  online to  my webpage to get a text document and have one saved on the desktop but, with no internet, I was unable to do this today.  I am getting very tired of the never-ending battle with the COTA computers and am seriously considering resigning at the end of the year.  I enjoy teaching and meeting new people but the computers are dying and I am tired of carrying two computers with me every week just in case I need them.

Next Friday I am having morning tea with two long-unknown cousins.  One, KH and I have been in contact for several years as she is a serious genealogist but I had no idea that there was another cousin from the same branch over here in the West.  The family settled in South Australia and KH is a
South Australian as am I but so far I have no idea where SC is from.

I have been busy contacting cousins to obtain as much family information as I can so that I can print off a  descending descendants’ report from our common ancestor and there is only one gap  -  the son and daughter of a great aunt  -  and the only person likely to know is an 83-year old recluse who doesn’t own a computer but who is reputed to be a genealogist so maybe he researches at SAGHS and the Mortlock Library.  I have his phone number and will try phoning him but I am not holding my breath.