Saturday, July 31, 2010


Why there are a lot of them...

In my direct ancestral line alone, there is

Anderson Smith; 15 children

his son, Vincent T.; 17

his son, George Washington; 14

his son, Elbert Columbus; 5

his son (my grandpa), Odie McBride; 6

And then there are all those great-aunts and uncles of mine, for example, Vincent's brother, John, also had 11 children. How many more SMITHS in that single generation?! It boggles the mind.

It's a fun family to research though, because they have all the best names, Andrew Jackson Smith, Narcissa Rachel, Priscilla Aquilla, Elbert Columbus, George Washington, Solomon, Serilda, Columbus Cornelius, Marcus De le fe, Luticia Oregon, and on and on. They tended toward grand names and to use colorful nicknames. I suppose when you have that many children, you have to get creative about naming them.


I can't stop learning. Even when I'm not particularly interested, there's always another bit of information thrust on me. The Normans, for example.

If I ever remotely thought about it, I suppose I imagined the Normans were of a genetically Frankish/Gaulish origin, "Norman" due to their "northern" location on the French map. Wrong.

North Men, it turns out, were from a place real north, not a French 'burb. They were Vikings who stayed and married the local, rich girls. From Wiki; "The Viking contingents who raided, and ultimately settled Normandy and some parts of the Atlantic coast, included Danes, Hiberno-Norse, Orkney Vikings, as well as Anglo-Danes from the English Danelaw, under Viking control." And William the Conqueror was a grandson of Rollo, who successfully besieged Paris with Sigfred. Rollo's Wiki article has this cultural gem, "Legend has it that an emissary was sent by the king to find the chieftain and negotiate terms. When he asked for this information, the Vikings replied that they were all chieftains in their own right." According to the articles, the raiders learned French quickly, but it appears they never fully embraced the continental lifestyle, not if this passage is an indication,

"Eleventh century Benedictine monk and historian, Geoffrey Malaterra characterised the Normans thus:

Specially marked by cunning, despising their own inheritance in the hope of winning a greater, eager after both gain and dominion, given to imitation of all kinds, holding a certain mean between lavishness and greediness, that is, perhaps uniting, as they certainly did, these two seemingly opposite qualities. Their chief men were specially lavish through their desire of good report. They were, moreover, a race skillful in flattery, given to the study of eloquence, so that the very boys were orators, a race altogether unbridled unless held firmly down by the yoke of justice. They were enduring of toil, hunger, and cold whenever fortune laid it on them, given to hunting and hawking, delighting in the pleasure of horses, and of all the weapons and garb of war."[1]

It's good to know the truth, actually, because Norman conquests were the exception to that old saying, "Well, at least we can always defeat the French." Rather, Normans further proved the point.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Heaps of Blessings

I wasn't sure whether to title this post 'Heaps of Blessings' or 'be careful what you wish for.' Since the day I hooked up the scanner and got the program running, I've been pestering my sisters for the pictures from the house, not because I'm particularly interested in keeping all the family photos, but because I want to scan and save them to CDs so they can be easily distributed to as many family members as want copies.

I just came home from a week-long vacation to discover two overly-large boxes of jumbled photos, no rhyme or reason to any of it, not by dates, places or people. In fact, there's also a box of lasagna noodles and a basket lid in one of them. It's a wonderful treasure, but...O, gosh, the mess!

Here's one jewel before editing (Estal, Dale and Danny):

Friday, July 9, 2010

Laundry Room: Before Pictures

I should be ashamed to post the hideous state of my laundry room, and I can only do so because I AM going to fix it, in fact, have already begun the process. Notice the lovely holes in the ceiling? First the toilet above leaked; that was fixed. Then the shower above leaked; that was fixed. Literally, a house falling down around our heads.

Also, notice Hannah on her square of carpet. For some reason, both Hannah and Maggie like to sleep there in front of the dryer. Underneath both the scrap and the area rug is a linoleum floor. Hannah spent a night in this room once and chewed out a large hole about 2x3 feet in rough diameter. She never did anything like that before and hasn't since so I don't know what got into her that night. Crazy girl.

Fortunately, there's superME to do all the repairs and make this room functional and pleasant to look at once and for all. Yay!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Another Phase Complete

They're just plain, white walls, but that was the goal! They're clean and crisp, and the foyer/stairwell area looks 10x brighter. I'm pleased and feel like I can open my front door to guests and family without cringing. Now I want to turn my thoughts to the ceiling.

In the meantime, I began dismantling my laundry room in an attempt to create a functional and comfortable workspace, so I have household cleaning equipment and supplies strung all over the downstairs hallways. It's quite a mess.

In there, I'm planning on stripping the damaged, linoleum floor, repairing the holes in the ceiling, removing the popcorn, reorganizing the storage shelves, adding a laundry-folding table (which can double as a sewing table), stripping the remainder of the wallpaper (in various states of adhesion), replacing missing trim and painting the walls. Pictures will ensue, I'm sure. *grins*