Saturday, September 10, 2005

Framing Your Precious Photo's

I don't really want to share all of my secrets, but this is just a little tip to save some money.

Have you gone into a store looking for that perfect frame for a photo and looked at the price and thought 'that is highway robbery'?
I do not buy new frames anymore. I go to garage sales and thrift stores. I am very much into photography, so I don't just go looking for one perfect frame, but I go occasionally and just buy all of the ones I like, in hopes to use them for framing gifts, or photo's for myself. Last week I went to a thrift store and bought 7 frames for $11! Some were average wood frames, some looked new from the store and some were very unique, like the one pictured left was only $.99! I know that if I would have bought each of these frames in a store, I would have spent over $60 on all of them, at a conservative estimate. Why spend 3-4 times the money on something that was made so cheaply in another country? They are usually made out of plastic anyway. I have found very nice, solid wood frames for must cheaper than you could ever find them in a store (and they are most likely pressed wood). Maybe you think people will not like a gift that was previously used, that's a shame, because they clean up real nice, and some just need a quick wipe down!
Anyway, this doesn't just have to be for you photographers, you ebayers know what I am talking about. There are many things that can be purchased in places other than retail stores that work just as nicely, if not better than the new, more expensive, cheaply made version. I am not saying that some of the frames I buy in a thrift shop are not cheaply made, but at least I am not forfeiting a nice dinner out to pay for them.
Shop wisely and enjoy the surprise of what you might find each time! As the saying goes, 'One man's trash is another man's treasure!'

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Angels Wish


I have to tell you about the way I found my cat, Pumpkin. I had been thinking about getting a cat, but wasn't sure I was quite ready to deal with the cat hair yet. Someone told me about a website that posts pet profiles and you can search for specific species of cats, dogs, rabbits and other animals. The website is www.angelswish.org . So, I went to the website and looked under cats and there were hundreds of cats to choose from. Each cat has a 'bio' about their personality, looks, whether they are good with children or other pets. I had been searching for days and had finally narrowed it down between 2 cats. One was Romeo, the other Pumpkin. Both of their bio's said they were lap cats and lovers, which I wanted. Pumpkin had been in a home with small children that did not treat her like she needed to be treated. Apparently they played with her too hard. She was declawed on all fours, which is something I would never do to a cat, but since it had already been done, I figured it would save my furniture, so I decided to check her out. I called the Vet to see if I could meet her and then off I was. I walked into the Vet's office and she was laying on the receptionist desk sleeping. The receptionist asked what she could help me with and I told her I was there to meet Pumpkin. The receptionist obviously had mixed emotions. She wanted Pumpkin to have a home, but she wasn't ready for her to leave because she had grown so attached to her. I went over to Pumpkin and took some pictures of her to show my roommate when I got home. I picked up Pumpkin and she was very cuddly and soft. She seemed to be very comfortable. I stayed at the vet for about 45 minutes just taking pictures of her and playing with her. Of course, I filled out the adoption paperwork and told her I would need to discuss it more with my roommate. They would evaluate my application and call back the next day. In the meantime, I talked to my roommate and he was all for getting a cat, so we just waited for the call, which came the next day. We both went to pick her up Saturday, the next day. I had gone out the get the essential cat stuff, most importantly a kennel for travel, and cat litter. I wanted to wait to see what food she was currently eating before I bought any, and the vet supplied me with a 20 pound bag of food for free! I forgot to mention that they also had waived the adoption fee because she had been adopted before and brought back because of the small children, so the only cost to me was the supplies I needed for her. We got her into the kennel and into the car and home we went. We had planned on naming her something other than Pumpkin, but on the way home she cried and cried, and when we said her name she seemed to be somewhat comforted, that is why her name is still Pumpkin. We knew it was difficult for her to move again and thought that if we kept her name it would make her more comfortable. When we got back to the apartment, we let her out of the kennel and she went on the hunt for other animals and kids. She searched the perimeter of the apartment and then came back to the living room to visit us. She went from one of us to the other, back and forth, this lasted for at least an hour. She had been craving attention so badly that she just kept this up for a few weeks. Then she started to feel more comfortable and started to claim the area as her own. Pumpkin has changed our lives in so many good ways. I know she has helped us to be more relaxed and has lowered our blood pressure. She keeps us entertained and is the center of our home. She loves both of us, although I do get jealous, since she massages my roommates neck and not mine. She massages his neck about 2 times a day! She loves to be brushed and sleep in different hiding places around the apartment. She is a very ritualistic cat. In the morning when I get up, the first thing she wants me to do is get her a few blades of grass. When my roommate gets up, she has him get her fresh water and her daily supply of food. Then she usually jumps up on him in his chair and begins the first massage and petting ritual. I just think it is totally unfair, and have to admit that it does make me jealous. I guess I will have to get over it, afterall, she is the princess of the castle (I am still the Queen and tell her that occasionally).

We love our cat and can't imagine life without her. I think Angelswish.org is an awesome idea and would encourage anyone that is looking for that perfect match in a pet to check out the website. Let me know what you think of the website and this blog.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Family Interviews

One of my interests is . I have been looking for information on my Dad's side of the family for almost 20 years and it is still hard to find information, although the internet has definitely improved over the years, or maybe I have just learned how to use it better. In this blog I will share some of my experiences with finding family information.
All my life I have craved for information about my Dad and his side of the family. When I was 4 months old he died, so I was never able to get to know him or remember him. I am pretty sure this is what sparked the curiosity I have for wanting to know my family history. I didn't really know anyone else on his side of the family except my Grandma Emily and her sister Esther and husband Jim. I also had 2 half sisters that I did not remember, because I was just a baby the last time we had been together. Right before I graduated from high school my mom found my sisters and as my graduation gift, I was able to fly out to meet them and stayed with them for 2 weeks. It was a lot of fun and I found out that we had a lot in common, yet in a lot of ways we were different. My Grandma Emily died, then the next was my Aunt Esther, which really left no one of the older generation to answer any questions. I started looking online for information about my family and I kept running into road blocks and put it on hold for about 8 years, until recently. My second cousin Glenda emailed me, as she had found my email address on a genealogy message board. She had been going through stuff from her mom's house and had found pictures and documents and had finally found the internet and got the itch to research the
. She passed the itch to me and now I am addicted completely, again. I have also decided to research my Mom's side of the family, as well as my step-dad's (the one who is my Dad) side of the family. I have recently started helping a friend research his family tree. For someone that flunked history in high school, I sure am addicted to it now! So anyway, what I was leading to, is that I realized that there were still people on my Mom's side of the family that are alive! I finally had what a great trainer shared with me, called a 'flat forehead moment'! Why not postpone the research on the people who are no longer alive and ask questions of the one's that are still here on earth with me? So, I asked my Grandma and her husband if they had any birthdates, marriages dates, death dates, of any family members. I took my laptop and typed everything as they spoke. My Grandma had all of the birthdays in her address book, imagine that! I didn't have to search the internet for hours on end, all I had to do was sit down with my Grandma and enjoy a conversation with her! Once I got all of the dates recorded, I then asked if I could ask some questions about their childhoods. They couldn't imagine there would be anything that interesting to talk about, so I just started asking simple questions. Here are some examples:

1) What is your favorite memory of your father/mother?

2) Did you go to church as a child?

3) What were holiday celebrations like for you as a child?

4) Where did you live?

These questions may seem simple or not so informative, but just wait, you will find they start remembering things they hadn't thought of in years and they find themselves off track, which is very interesting and informative. The were laughing, crying and thankful of what they did have and also that their kids and grandkids did not have to suffer in the same ways they did as children. They grew up during the depression and were just becoming adults at the beginning of WWII. I love sitting down with them and asking them questions.

I am so fortunate to still have them in my life and what a reward to be able to talk to them personally to find out the family information, instead of having to look for it outside of my family. We will not be on earth forever, so take advantage of the family that remains and get to know them. None of us knows the day or time we will leave this earth, treat it as if today is your last day!

Do you have any other ideas for interviewing your family? Or other ways to research that you would like to share? Please, comment on this blog!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

My First Blog

My name is Laura and this is my first blog. I have always wanted to do this, but the recent happenings due to the force of Katrina have angered me to the point of following through with my blog. In this blog I am going to talk about the things that may not be mentioned on TV, quite personal things that I wish people to remember in the days and weeks to come.
In the weeks to come, you will hear people saying, 'I am so sick of always hearing about the suffering in Louisiana every time I turn on the news!' Or, 'They were only without water for 4 days!' I have already heard it, and this is for those that find themselves in that frame of mind.
We all take for granted that the people in our lives will always be there, but when the time comes we are somewhat devastated. Now, add onto that the possibility that you may have to watch that person die, or you may have had to watch them float away not knowing if they survived. Or let's say, you watch your 2 week old child die from dehydration because you can't breast feed because you are also dehydrated. You are surrounded by water that is tainted, you haven't showered in days, much less washed your hands, had the luxury of toilet paper, or feminine hygiene products. Or maybe you suffer depression, anxiety, manic depression, or schizophrenia and you have no medication. You have diabetes, aids, infections and you have lost your medications. I skipped a day of showering and I felt disgusting, and I was in air conditioning, not in the uncontrolled heat and humidity. I had to take a shower because I couldn't stand myself anymore, let alone go out in public to even take out my garbage or get something at the gas station. So imagine the feeling of being unable to shower for 5+ days, can't brush your teeth, you have your period and nothing to take care of it with. You are surrounded by thousands of people that are all in the same situation, emotions running extremely high. As an outsider, for me to think about these things and then hear someone say, 'I am so sick of hearing about the damage from Katrina!', it just makes me sick to my stomach. Have people become so selfish and withdrawn that they do not see that this is happening in their own country and that this is our government has treated these victims of natural disaster in this way? I am looking forward to and ashamed of how the victims will see their government when they finally have access to what the media has shown prior to them getting assistance. How will they react when they see that the government could not get to them because of the flooding, but the news media could? Will our questions ever be truthfully answered as to why it took so long for relief from the entity that is supposed to keep our nation secured from terrorism? If it takes 5 days to begin to help people from a natural disaster, how long will it take for a response to, let's say, a nuclear (not nucular) attack?

Please let me know your opinion on my first blog, I am open to constructive criticism. This site, for me is about speaking freely, even if others don't agree with me, or I with them. It is a right we are supposed to have in this country and I encourage you to use it.