Thursday, 24 November 2016

Two and a half months of neglect

I have no excuse except that I have just not been motivated.

My job is b-o-r-i-n-g, just not enough to do which makes for v-e-r-y long days. It is very unsettling and it drives me crazy. I don't like having nothing to do. Especially if I can think of other ways I would fill my days were I not sitting at my desk going demented from inactivity. The downside of days like this is that I become weary from the inactivity and then just can't get out of my own way to do anything productive once I am home.

Anyway, a few things have happened in this last two and a half months.

Mum and Dad went on an overseas trip which didn't unfold as planned and ended up being extended and with much of the time spent getting to know the NHS, with Dad in hospital and Mum visiting. They were well cared for by both the NHS and by cousins and friends which was a much better situation than if they had been staying in hotels the whole time. Still it was very stressful from here, trying to communicate between timezones, understand what was happening, keep everyone in the loop about developments and swinging between the urge to jump on a plane and go be supportive, or stay here and not be so reactionary. They are home now and stuck in our healthcare system waiting for decisions to be made, and battling their travel insurance provider.

In mid September we had a quick weekend trip to Wellington. Travelling together but socialising separately. It was a really wet weekend, but it was great to see a few people and catch up over meals. I ate SO much those 3 days. I really enjoyed being back in the old familiar streets, even if they were petty damp. I spent 2 or 3 hours at the Gallipoli exhibition at Te Papa. If you get the chance before 2018 you should go. I did a bit of shopping too.

After Mum and Dad had arrived home safely, it was off to Sydney for the long weekend for us. It was all a bit of a rush and we had accommodation dramas (which all worked out in the end) and had not packed the right sort of clothes for the weather. I lived in Sydney for 4 or 5 years and I don't recall it being so windy in October ! But we survived, we did most of the things we had on our lists and walked for kilometres and kilometres in between bus-ing train-ing and ferry-ing around the city.

This weekend just ended, we flew to Nelson and drove to Blenheim to surprise Dad for his birthday. It was a very wet weekend again - seems to be a theme developing with our weekend breaks ! Lunch at the Fat Tui in Marahau was planned (and happened) it just wasn't sitting on the beach taking in the stunning weather this time. There will have to be another visit in summer before they close for the season.

Then it was on to Blenheim for the surprise - which went down a treat. The weekend ended on a shaky note though as we were woken at 12.0am with the house twisting and rolling and jerking on its foundations.

7.8 Kaikoura Earthquake - more on that next post. But for now here is a link to photos and information about the event 

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Ruminating, in an orderly fashion...

Well, it has been two months since I updated this. My holiday seems like a million years ago now, and the routine of work and stuff has just taken over again.

But, I have been doing things, and ruminating about blog topics or content. I just haven’t managed to devote any specific time to it.

I’ve been to a couple of genealogy workshops, and I have completed an online course in genealogy as well which was great fun. All of these things have refreshed my mind, honed techniques I was familiar with and given me new strategies to use in my search. It was enjoyable to spend time with like-minded people, even if the housework and other things suffered at that expense.

Even better, at one workshop I bumped into a 4th cousin who I have only met once a few years ago.  We had corresponded with each other extensively about our respective family connections, but even that had ceased over the last few years. Since moving to Auckland though, I have often wondered how she was but not actually done too much more than that. Our chance meeting has rekindled interest and the topic of one workshop session motivated me to look at new records – where I found something about our elusive relative. An extra bonus for a weekend away from housework and tv.

The workshops and the study course both reinforced the need to be organised in your research, and to make a plan, so that you covered all options, and didn’t research the same things over and over, and to be better at recording sources. By using a technique (which I had always used but hadn’t really thought of as a technique before) since my studies and the Family History Expo workshops, I have found whole new families which I had completely missed before.

What was the technique ? Revisiting sources that you have already used to check if there have been new additions in their databases, or whether other people are searching the same families so that there is potential to collaborate.

I knew I did this, I just thought it was part of my haphazard plan. My approach probably has been haphazard in the past. Now though I am consciously using this approach. In the past month or so I have discovered two whole families I had overlooked previously.

One by not properly looking at the information in front of me, and the other by being able to search new records which weren’t available on previous occasions when I had been searching.

I could be forgiven then for completely missing one family, until the baptisms and marriages became available. The spelling of the surname on other records will have led me to overlooking them in the past on census documents – but church records have definitely linked them on the tree. Interestingly we already had the parents names in our tree, but no information going forward to show any children or other life events.

The other family I found, and members of which I am sure there may be more to find, came to light when I was looking at a census record. It suddenly struck me that there was a member of the household who I didn’t know, and who wasn’t recorded on my tree. Who was this mystery girl ? Of course it had to be the 1841 UK census, which doesn’t show relationships. Everyone else matched with my tree; head of the household, his wife, their children…and then this older girl. On studying my tree more closely I noticed that the head of the household had been married twice, and that I had no children attached to his first marriage. This mystery girl fitted age wise as a possible child of that marriage. How many siblings did she have ? Anyway, I have her now, and for a few generations going forward from there as well. Cousins everywhere.

Speaking of cousins everywhere, isn’t Genealogical Genetics a fascinating science ?

Maybe that can be the topic of my next post.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Lost day

The dateline between New Zealand and the USA meant that we arrived in the US at the beginning of our holiday earlier than we left NZ.

We had gone from being 19 hours ahead of the US, to being 19 hours behind NZ. So it was inevitable that the "time travel" to return home would have some catches.

For us that meant we lost an entire day. We left LA on Thursday night, flew for 12 hours and arrived in New Zealand on Saturday morning. No Friday for us at all. It is quite an odd experience.

The flight was okay, I slept more than I had thought I would and was feeling not as rubbish as I thought I might. Still pretty rubbish, but mostly tired. We had a straightforward process at customs and were soon outside in the chilly damp winter air. Brrr.

Once we got to the car we piled in the luggage and set off for home. Initially the car did not want to co-operate about starting. Two weeks of sitting in the outside air were obviously not appreciated. However, it did eventually start with no added intervention. 


And because I have this extra post which sort of covers two days depending on which hemisphere you are in, I thought it was the best place to finally share the pics of the kitties from Best Friends who we spent a quiet afternoon with a week or so ago.

Almost over

When I woke up Thursday morning I felt SO much better. It was great !

We returned the rental car and then decided to do the Hop On Hop Off bus tour so that we could get a bit of a look around LA and Hollywood. Jackie came with us which was fun. The HOHO in LA offers several different routes and you can transfer between them at no added cost. Bonus.

We caught the Yellow route from Santa Monica to near Beverly Hills and then transferred to the Red route which goes through Hollywood.

My cold or whatever it was had transformed itself again by now and I had begun to think it was more like an allergy reaction. So frustrating !

We hopped off the bus in Hollywood near the Chinese Theatre and had lunch before wandering along the walk of fame for a bit, and then completed the loop back to transfer onto the bus back to Santa Monica. 

Another visit to the drugstore and hopefully the right cure. There was just time to squeeze last minute things into our cases, and enjoy our last meal with Jackie and David. Then off to the airport, to find traffic chaos !!

Goodbyes and thank yous were said and we made our way to check in. They were pretty slow, particularly at security. It is such a pain, but I'd much rather go through all of that and know that everything possible to ensure my safety has been done.

As it turned out by the time we were finished at security it was almost boarding time. So some rushed purchases were made, and we made it to the gate. I was starting to feel a little better as well - and hoping that I would make it through the flight okay.

The thought of my own bed kept me going.

Big Sur and our last big drive

On Wednesday we left Monterey and headed south on Highway 1. We stopped quickly at Carmel to have a look in daylight at the cute little town we had seen at sunset the night before.

Our plan was to drive down the coast on the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) through Big Sur. There were a few things we had thought we would try to see on the way, but slower traffic, less passing lanes, windy roads and roadworks put paid to a lot of that.

Plus I was sick. I got a scratchy throat from somewhere on our way from Salt Lake City to Carson City. I had taken a some medication for it and it seemed to have been on the mend. However by the time we reached Monterey I had developed a horrid cough. So another visit to the drugstore for cough medicine and things seemed like they were going well - except that I had woken up on Wednesday with no voice at all !

 Bixby Bridge built in 1932

Anyways, it was a nice drive, with great views in places. Big Sur was a surprise. I did not expect to find a redwood forest there. We saw signs about sea otter and elephant seals, but had decided we'd give them a miss since we have seals too - and we'd see them all the time driving from Blenheim to Christchurch. But when we came around a corner and were greeted with what looked like a carpet of seals sunbaking on the beach in front of us, we had to stop and get a photo of them as it was so different to anything we had seen before.

The Pacific Coast Highway is a lot longer and slower than the inland routes and that meant we were suddenly pushed for time at the end of the day. We phoned the rental company and confirmed we could return the car the following morning.

Once we were out of the car and had had a coffee back in Santa Monica I began to feel a bit more human, and my cough seemed to be responding to the treatment. Yay. I was tired though and really looking forward to bed.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Monterey & Carmel by the Sea

We decided to try to and do a few last minute things this morning in San Francisco before leaving town. But all that happened was that we got frustrated with one way streets and the car decided it couldn't cope with the hills and wanted us to stop and wait 10 minutes as the transmission was overheated !!

So, farewell San Francisco - hello next place.

Thought my eyes were playing tricks when I spotted this rainbow on the clouds

We found our way south - though not on the road we wanted to be on because the GPS that came with the rental is a bit anal and drives us nuts. Still, we found our way and by just after lunch had arrived at Monterey. Still crazy wind blowing in off the Pacific, so not too warm. But much more relaxed. We found somewhere for lunch - an ENGLISH PUB no less, playing Euro2016 on the big screen.

Then we found our hotel, did the washing, sorted out our cases and went back into Monterey too have a look at the Farmers Market, have a walk on the beach. That filled our shoes up with sand and wasn't much fun in the wind. Then we found some dinner and decided to go for a drive to Carmel by the Sea. 

The cute town where Clint Eastwood was once Mayor. We watched the sunset as we went and snapped a few photos to share as well. Then back to the hotel for the night.
Pohutukawa everywhere in California - and Eucalyptus in flower too 

Tomorrow is the last day of our roadtrip as we head from Monterey back to Santa Monica.