I just got back from France and I am going there tonight too.

I have been working on the genealogy of my Mother’s Father’s side of the family.   I joined Ancestry.com for a month and found lots of information  there.  I also found mistakes but I was able to correct those.  Anyway, I was able to go back 10 generations all the way to Chênehutte-Trèves-CunaultMaine-et-Loire, France.

I consider myself a very thorough researcher.   I don’t stop until I am certain the information I have found is correct.  This means that it takes me quite a while to research even the smallest amount of information.  This is the part that I like the most about genealogy, the search.

Last night I got on Google Earth and literally drove through the town.  I am still so amazed that this is even possible.  The following is a photo I took while traveling around.

Once I found the village I wanted to learn everything I could about it.  I don’t just want to know that my ancestors were born there.  I want to feel the place, understand it.  Since I can’t actually go there for so many reasons the internet allows me to use my imagination and wits so that when I think of Chenehutte I will feel like I have a memory of being there.

The area surrounding Chenehutte is so full of history.  To understand my village I need to understand the history of the village which isn’t so easy because I don’t speak French.   All the websites that I am visiting so far about the history are in French so I have to copy and paste onto Google Translator.

Tonight I am going to try to discover if there is a cemetery in my village.  I also want to find out if there are church records.  I look forward to the evenings when I can do my research.  I am so glad I quit those Facebook games or this wouldn’t be happening.


The Local Church

Another view of the town


The village is on this river, The Loire.


Dark Tunnels

This is a link to a post I wrote to my son 3  1/2 years ago.  It was his birthday and I was so happy to see him happy because over the past 10 years his life has led him down very dark tunnels. There was no light at the end of the tunnels he traveled.  Sometimes I was so afraid  that at the end of one of those tunnels he wouldn’t be able to find his way back.

You see, my son is a heroin addict.  Through his addiction I learned a lot about myself.   Therapy helped me with that.  I learned that I was his #1 enabler.  I learned that I used his addiction as an excuse for all my problems.  I learned that there was nothing I could do to save him and I learned how horrible addiction is.   Unfortunately it took many years for me to learn these things.

In the mean time I helped fuel his addiction.  I know that some people will tell me that it was his choice to be an addict.  That it wasn’t my fault.  Maybe so but all the help I thought I was giving him was partly for myself.  It was easier to give him a $20 bill than to have him beg for it.  It was easier to give him what he wanted than to face the fact that he was an addict.   It was just easier to withdraw into myself and just pretend the whole thing wasn’t happening.

I remember when the book “A Million Little Pieces”  was published. It became a best seller recommended by Oprah. ” A Million Little Pieces   is a memoir by James Frey. It tells the story of a 23-year-old alcoholic and drug abuser and how he copes with rehabilitation in a Twelve steps oriented treatment center. While initially promoted as a memoir, it was later discovered that many of the events described in the book never happened”.

I could have written that book because all those events happened to my son and our family.  Maybe not the exact same ones but still, the last 10 years was very similar to what happened to James Frey and very similar to what happens in the families of most drug addicts. If I told the story of my son’s addiction you might not believe it.  You would wonder “How could those things happen to a family?’.  The horrible part is that those terrible things happen to all addicts AND their families.

Right now my son is in a halfway house and has been clean for almost 6 months.  He has been and is still going through a very intensive 12 Step Program.  He has been in detox and some short-term programs but nothing like what he is doing now.  My heart still stops for a second when the phone rings and I see that it’s him.  I am still afraid that I will answer and he will be at the other end crying and telling me he wished he were dead, or worse, it will be the police telling me he IS dead but thankfully for the last 6 months he tells me he is doing well and he is working hard to become a better man and for the first time I believe him.






Wishes Do Come True

I wrote a post 3 days ago about me wishing for snow.  Today we got a medium snow storm, about 7 to 8  inches.  I seriously wished very hard for my snow wish to come true.  Now I am thinking since that wish came true maybe I should be making another wish.  Of course, now the question is what do I wish for.  Let’s face it we have all read about people making really dumbass wishes that come true and ruin their lives.  So If I am going to make a wish it better be a damn good one.

Personally, I think this is a wish gone wrong.

I am going to do a Google search for wishes to see what I can find.  I’ll be right back.

Well, I am back and the news is bad.   I can’t make a wish  now.  If I do I will have to live with the guilt.  I kept finding all these websites helping to make other people’s wishes come true.   Unselfish people making the wishes of children and poor elderly folk come true.  So screw the wish.  It probably wouldn’t have come true anyway and then I would have been disappointed.

What do you wish for?  Be careful though.  It could come true.

Let it Snow!

I live in New England and if you live in New England you accept the fact that it snows in the winter.  Let me rephrase that~ I accept the fact that it snows in the winter.  Many people, even those who have lived here all their lives,  never accept the fact that we get snow here.  They complain and whine every time they see a flake.  They run to the grocery store and buy up all the milk, bread and eggs they can gather.  I go to the store and buy a chicken.

Ever since my kids were little I roasted a whole chicken whenever we got a good snow storm.  I served it with stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, biscuits and gravy and I never strayed from the menu.  If I had the kids would have  been horrified.


At our old house we had a fireplace which the wasband would light at the sign of the first flakes.   The kids would bundle up in their snowsuits and go outside with Daddy to shovel or build a snowman.  When they got too cold they would come in, smell the chicken roasting in the oven, and give me great big smiles.  Then they would go in the living room and take off their coats, pants, hats, mittens and anything else that was wet and lay it all out to dry in front of the warm fire.


Old House



Soon they would be back outside only to come back in, dry their clothes and go right back out.   Dinner time would arrive and we would feast on our roast chicken dinner while listening to George Winston play the piano.

Even now I roast a chicken whenever it snows.  The problem is it hasn’t snowed once this winter and that means we haven’t had a roast chicken dinner since last winter.  I am praying for a snow storm so that Lilah can go play in the snow and build a snowman and eat a roast chicken dinner.

Comments, Tweets and So Forth!

I started a twitter account a couple of years ago  and tried to “tweet” but I could never think of anything to “tweet” about.  It never occurred to me to “tweet”  about the everyday little things that occur like being tired or what I ate for a snack.  I don’t go anywhere very often so that was a subject I really couldn’t “tweet” about.   And anyway, did anyone even care if I was tired or drove to the store?  I became “tweetless” in a sea of “tweets”.  I gave up “tweeting”  early on.

I am on Facebook but not so often since I quit those horribly addicting Facebook games.  I do post on Facebook but mostly on some private groups where the people actually do care about what I eat or if I can’t sleep or where I am going.  Now don’t get me wrong I am not complaining about those who comment constantly giving us a blow by blow description of their mundane existence.  It’s their page.  They get to write what they want and if we don’t like it we have the option of blocking them which I have done.  I actually enjoy a lot of the status updates that my close friends post because I care about them (also many of them read this blog).  I enjoy the music they share with me.  I enjoy the You Tube videos and the newspaper articles.

One thing I don’t enjoy are the cryptic comments some people make.  They are cryptic so I don’t understand them.  I have written about my curiosity and it damn near kills me to not know what the hell they are talking about.  My son does it on occasion and I do my best to not call him to find out what on earth he means.  And again, my curiosity outweighs any common sense I may have and I immediately call him up.

Me:   Damon, what the hell did you mean by your last Facebook comment?

Damon:  Nothing, Ma.

Me:  Well, you must have meant something.

Damon:  Just a joke between me and this girl I know.  (It’s always a girl he knows}

Me:  Well, what was the joke?  You put it on Facebook for 800 people to see so it can’t just be between you and this so called girl.  (by this time I realize I have crossed the line, oh so badly)

Me:  (I quietly wait for an answer and as usual I get the same answer I always get}

Damon:    Mommmmmmmmmmm!

Me:  Sorry, but you know I can’t stand not knowing.

Damon.  I love you Mom.  I’m hanging up now.  I love you, Bye,

He really is very patient with me and my unbearable curiosity.  He probably never should have friended me but he does care for my feelings so he doesn’t block me.

So what do you think about all this social networking stuff?

What Is Your Favorite Electronic Item?

I was just thinking today about how much I would miss my cell phone if for some reason I couldn’t have one anymore which got me to thinking how much I would miss my laptop which got me to thinking how much I would miss my digital camera which got me to thinking how much I would miss my microwave and so on and so on…….

I just found this cool website  “The Toy Man”  which has a 2012 Product Guide to new electronic items just hitting the stores.  This site also evaluates and tests the new “toys” that they have in their guide.  Their reviews are incredibly good.  They cover everything you would want to know about the product.

The following product “The BabyPlus Prenatal Education System”  got a stellar review.  “Created by a developmental psychologist, The BabyPlus™ Prenatal Education System is a patented, early curriculum and prenatal education system that introduces patterns of sound to a prenatal child in the one language they can understand—the maternal heartbeat”.

I suppose it’s a little late to get this for my daughter who is already almost 7  months pregnant.

I love this product too “First Toddle®” , the 5-in-1 Infant/Toddler Play, Entertainment and Development System, initially emphasizes standing and walking skills. In addition, it can be easily reconfigured to provide a variety of fun and challenging play areas for children up to 3 years of age and beyond.

Back to the question in hand I think my favorite electronic item would be my laptop with my cell coming in second.   What’s yours?

Lord and Lady Wannabes

Now you can be a Lord or a Lady legally for under $50.00.  According to    www.highlandtitles.com   “Thanks to Scottish Landowner law, ownership of this estate legally allows you, or someone you love, to use the title of Laird, Lord or Lady“.



The deal is you are buying 1 square foot of land and this entitles you to be a Lord or Lady.  As Laird (Lord) or Lady of Glencoe, you will also be entitled to wear the Glencoe Tartan…..


and have your own Coat of Arms


From the website ;  “Many of our customers have updated their driving licence, credit cards and such like to reflect their new status.”

Now here is the best part.  Every Christmas Sarah and I have a terrible time figuring out what to get the Wasband.  Here’s the kicker, he is of Scottish descent.  I can just see him now changing his license so it reads “Lord Wasband Harvest”.  Obviously his name is not Wasband Harvest.  I am just not sure he would want me to put his real name on my blog.   I think he would love being a Lord, though.

An Australian morning show interviewed one woman who did it and she said she gets the best service at hotels when she registers as Lady Whoever.  So what do you think?   Do you want to be part of the Landed Gentry of Scotland and be a Lord or Lady?


What Are Your Addictions?

I think many of us deal with addiction on some level.  Whether we are dealing with the addiction of our family and friends or ourselves we all seemed to be surrounded by addiction of some sort.  Recently I quit all the Facebook games I was playing.  I had been playing some of them for a couple of years.  I was spending anywhere from  2 to 5 hours a day. playing these games, mostly in the evening.

I joined a group of friends on Facebook who all want to make some lifestyle changes in their lives in 2012.  The first night on the group someone wrote a comment about spending too much time playing games.  Something clicked and I immediately deleted almost 40 games I was either playing or had played in the past.  I haven’t played a game since.  That was 11 days ago.

Do I miss the game?  Emphatically,  YES!   Am I going to play again?  NO!  I really think it was a real addiction.  I actual got a nervous stomach and broke out into a sweat as I deleted the games.  That is crazy.

One of my other addictions is harder for me to deal with.  FOOD!  I have always wished I didn’t have to eat at all.  I would find it so much easier to lose weight if I just didn’t have to deal with food at all.

I also think I am somewhat addicted to buying books.  I love books..  This Christmas was awesome because I got quite a few books from my sister and my daughter.  My sister has the same addiction and so does my brother.  He actually owned a used book store for 20 years.

This photo is of my bookcase.  These are just the books I am looking at now.  It changes constantly with whatever I am interested in at the moment. I have at least 30 large bins of books in the basement.

What are your Addictions?

Castles I Want To Live In!

I keep wondering why I don’t live in a castle with servants and my own lady’s maid.  I suppose it’s because I don’t have any money to speak of.  The one thing I do have is an imagination which I use quite often to pretend I live in a castle and honestly that’s good enough for me.  I love my life but once in a while I wonder what it would be like.  This is why I have been watching Masterpiece Theater period pieces.

This week I watched the first season of Downton Abbey.  It takes place in a castle in England around the year 1914. If you haven’t seen it make a point of putting it on your list of things to watch on TV.  I really am enjoying it.  It also gives you a chance to see how the upper class lived during that period when “War was just an inconvenience”.

The above photograph shows the main Saloon of Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey was filmed.  Last Night I roamed around for an hour on the website for Highclere Castle.   Today I watched the 1996 version of  “Jane Eyre”,   one of my favorite movies of that type.  This was filmed at Haddon Hall .    Of course, I had to visit that website too.

Haddon Hall

Now I am on a binge to watch more period pieces and to check out the castles where they were filmed.   If I can’t live in one I am happy to visit them online.  Maybe someday I will get to visit England and tour a castle.

Years ago I read all of Jane Austen’s books along with all the books by Emily, Charlotte and Anne Bronte.  I have always been interested in classic literature.  Masterpiece Theater  has put many of those books to film and I intend on watching them all.  When I go on a binge about some subject you can’t stop me.  I think I may have to make up a Bucket List.

Would You Do This To Your Child?

I am sure many of you are familiar with the TV reality show called “Toddlers & Tiaras.   If you are not,  the show revolves around little girls about 5 or 6 years old entering beauty pageants.  It is not a show I watch because the idea of it makes me sick. I am not even going to put the video that I just watched on my blog.  I will however put a link.  Watch it if you dare.  It is ridiculous and disgusting and even frightening.  I might have nightmares for weeks now that I’ve seen it.


It seems in the last episode they showed a woman giving her child “special juice” before the pageant.  The juice contains high amounts of caffeine and sugar so that the child will be more energetic on stage.  Evidently, parents of these little ones are even giving them Red Bull.

This show is on TLC  which is a Discovery channel.   I always thought that TLC stood for “The Learning Channel”.   What exactly are we supposed to learn from this TV show?    The parents of these little girls ought to be ashamed of themselves.

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