Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Fresh Start (Week 1: Jan 1-7)

I don't concentrate on just one hobby at a time. I knit, do therapy dog events, read, watch some TV...and work on the family genealogy. And when I can find ways to do it, I combine hobbies, which leads me to this post.

The genealogy group on Ravelry (a site for knitters and crocheters and other fiber crafters) has a post about 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks organized by Amy Johnson Crow. Once a month, Crow will post a list of topics for the next month, and participants are encouraged to post a genealogy-related post that matches that week's theme. I've missed the first week's post (today actually is the 8th), but I'm going to back-date this post. The topics for January are--

Week 1, Fresh start — Seems appropriate for the beginning of the year. What ancestor had a fresh start? What ancestor has been so confusing to research that you’d like to have a fresh start?
Week 2, King — January 8 is Elvis’ birthday. January 15 is the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Do either of these “Kings” remind you of an ancestor? Or, taken another way, do you have a connection to royalty? Did your ancestor flee from an oppressive king?
Week 3, Tough woman — Who is a tough, strong woman in your family tree? Or what woman has been tough to research?
Week 4, Closest to your birthday — Not too much to think about here. What ancestor has the birthday closest to yours? (I mean in terms of month and day, not the year ;) )
Week 5, Plowing through — We will likely be plowing through a lot of snow by this time. What ancestor had a lot of struggles to plow through? Or take it more literally… It’s up to you :)

My grandfather, John William Ross, was born 5 November 1903 in Armuchee, Georgia (that's north of Rome). He was the fourth child / second son of Charley and Gertrude (Simmons) Ross. Charley and Gertrude eventually would have 10 children.

Stella Simmons and John Ross
John and his Aunt Stella (Gertrude's sister)*

Tired of taking orders from father, mother, two older sisters and one older brother, John ran away from home, lied about his age, and joined the army at the end of World War I. (Logic and good sense aren't notable characteristics of teenage boys.) When the war ended on 11 November 1918, John was 6 days past his 15th birthday.

John Ross, post WW1
In the 1920 U.S. Census, not-quite-17-year-old John
was with the troops in Germany, pretending to be 21.

Now out of the army, on 2 January 1926, John married Mary Ruth Dunn, who was 5 years (to the day) younger than John.** On their application for a marriage license, Mary (called "Dixie" by most of her husband's family) claimed to be 18 years old; she actually had just turned 17.

John and Dixie, 50th Wedding Anniversary (1976)

John worked in the construction industry, and he and Dixie moved to follow available work. They lived in Sarasota, Florida, where their first two children were born. When the Depression struck, John left Dixie and the kids in Rome while he went west to work on the Hoover Dam project; but conditions there were brutal and John was homesick, so he returned to Georgia. They lived in Atlanta for a time (my mother was born here); there were relatives on both sides of the family in the Atlanta area. When World War II started, they moved to Key West, where John found construction work at the naval base. Post-war and thru the 1950s, they lived in Miami. John occasionally went out of state for construction projects--in Omaha and in New York for a time in the 50s. In the early 1960s, they lived in Las Vegas (John worked on construction of The Mint). Eventually they moved back to Miami (Dixie hated cold weather), where they lived until Dixie's death in March 1979. John died in June 1980.

The house in Miami in the 1970s

John and Dixie are buried in Alpharetta, Georgia.


*One thing I've learned with this post tonight: among my other occupations, I need to organize my Flickr photostream. Photos I've scanned are not rotated correctly, color-corrected, or cropped.
**Yes. I get to research John and Mary Ross. Searching the 1940 U.S. Census produces 418,264 couples named John and Mary Ross. What's even more fun is that the indexers for the 1940 Census misspelled the last name as Russ, so my John and Mary aren't actually included in that 418,264 couples.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Condo stuff, doggie dental

Catching up after days of "Say, what--?" and head swivels around while I try to figure out what just happened.

The front of my condo used to look like this:

(I think I was taking photos of the sky. I can't figure any other reason I'd have photographed the roof--unless this was just after they reroofed the building.)

The back of my condo used to look like this:

Home: The Back

At present, the front looks like this (with less stuff in the yard):


And the back looks like this:

(Not only did they wrap the windows--they wrapped the back door. I can't get the door open.)

Between normal and plastic wrapped, we had this in the back:


Normal Wednesday morning. Stripped by Thursday afternoon. Plastic wrapped by late Saturday. They'll be back Monday morning at 8am.

I'm getting off lucky on the repairs. A couple of windows I was worried about (that back window on the lower floor would cost $3,166 to replace) can be repaired without being replaced. There's no sign of termite damage and minimal water damage. My cost for repairs will be $337, and $125 of that is for new outdoor lights and a mailbox. (I think we might be getting a floodlight on the back patio.)

The dogs have been fine with the noise. (And my god, has there been noise. At 8am every day. They warned us to take down pictures on the walls because of banging and vibrations.) I've managed not to laugh at the workmen who dive for cover every time I come outside with the dogs and Tigger does his OMG! Pet me! lunge at them. 68-pounds of assuredly friendly is hard to take, and these guys aren't so sure of his lunging, open-mouthed temperament. The dogs are consistently disappointed that no one wants to pet them. The workmen are nice, young, and very polite. Their English is limited, but I think I've finally convinced them that they can't plug their compressor into my carport outlet without tripping the circuit breaker.

* * *

Tigger did the Marietta Farmer's Market meet and greet Saturday morning. Silver had a R.E.A.D. session at the library (where we're filling in because the regular handler is on maternity leave--it being awkward to get a pregnant body down on the floor with the dog and the reader). We had a good kid Saturday--a girl who really likes dogs and dog kisses. Silver was happy to oblige.

Silver--ready to read.
Waiting for a reader

Reading Blanket (side 1)
Blanket side 1

Reading Blanket (side 2)
Blanket side 2

We have one more month of filling in at the East Marietta Library. Then in June we start at our own library: Mountain View Regional--which isn't as close but will be all ours. ;)

Silver has to have a dental on Wednesday, though. I've lost two female greyhounds at the age of 8--one of them from a blood clot under anesthesia--so you can guess I'm not happy about putting 8-year-old Silver under. But her teeth need to be cleaned, she's not getting any younger, and she's having some trouble chewing. The vet thinks she may lose a couple of molars, but she was unhappy with his explorations in her mouth, so he said he'd wait and see what was what when she was under anesthesia. I gave him a printout about increased potassium during anesthesia being a danger in greyhounds (he's calling Tufts to get dosage info in case he has to give her calcium), and I'm going to pick up a prescription for Amicar tomorrow because Walgreen's will have to order it. A greyhound's blood clots just fine, but the clots fail easily, leaving a greyhound hemorrhaging from something as simple as a tooth being pulled. Amicar helps strengthen the clots...which seems strange to me, since Oreo died of a blood clot we didn't want. And Silver didn't do well after she was spayed--the anesthesia made her nauseated--so we also have that to try to plan around. (Her vet was calling the SEGA vet who did the spay to see what protocol he used.) Anyway, we've taken all the precautions we can take--Silver had a full "senior lab panel" done last week. I just need to try not to cry on her (or panic) between now and when I drop her off Wednesday morning. I've arranged her therapy dog schedule so that she has this week off.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

We're in!

The R.E.A.D. paperwork got where it was going. Apparently, I did okay on the written test: welcome emails and links to a private forum and several other relevant sites arrived in my mailbox tonight. Whoopee!

Next up: The second "shadow visit." This will be a session that I do with Silver, and with a human observer. We'll see how soon this can be set up.

Meanwhile, Clem is doing well. This weekend, he worked SEGA's booth at the meet and greet at the Atlanta RV show. He was good with everyone--kids and adults (including a kid with a stuffed monkey dangling around his neck)--and when he got tired, he just stretched out in the booth and rested.

Clem rests his weary head on Candy at the meet and greet

Candy returns the favor

The weekend meet and greet--with a total of at least 26 people and 36 dogs--brought SEGA $940 in donations.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Silver has a brother!

Our first stab at submitting registration paperwork to R.E.A.D. went astray, so we're trying again with another set of papers.

Meanwhile, Silver has gained a brother:

Clem & Silver
Clem (left) and Silver

His racing name was Flying Clemenza. He was one of seven pups in a Godfather litter, with all the littermates named after capos in the movie series. (Clemenza was the fat one who famously told a gunman, "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli" after a hit.) Clem's sire was the famous Flying Penske. I haven't tallied up how many races Clem ran--neither the Racing and Breeding Database nor Track Info shows all his numbers, so I'm going to have to count them both up--but he raced from at least October 2008 until September 2011. (Track Info has the earliest data, but it shows him at Grade D, and doesn't list maiden races. But in October 2008, Clem was 18 months old, and he wouldn't have started racing much before that.) There's video of a lovely come-from-behind race here.

Clem came to SEGA in February 2012 and was adopted in June 2012. But his owner's job changed and began to require a lot of traveling, and she surrendered both her dogs so they could be rehomed. Clem came home with me as a foster dog on Veteran's Day, and he's been here 10 weeks. He's a very sweet, calm, clingy, cuddly dog--with a monster case of separation anxiety. He's on meds now (clomipramine is working; fluoxetine didn't help), and it's finally possible to leave him at home and not come home to lots of poop. But it took all these weeks to get him to this point, and I dreaded the thought of him going through another big upheaval if he got adopted to another home. I didn't blog about him after the first post because I didn't want to frighten off a potential adopter by telling about the SA; on the other hand, I didn't want him to sound like a happy, ready-to-adopt dog and then surprise an adopter with the SA issue. It just seemed wiser to keep quiet about him until things were under control--and then that took longer than I expected.

But Clem fits what I was (eventually) looking for myself: an older (he'll be 7 in April), calmer dog that's easy to handle. In fact, he'll probably make a good therapy dog. The separation anxiety won't hamper him since the rule is that I never let my dog's leash out of my hand on a therapy session. He's not thunder-phobic or noise-phobic (didn't mind New Year's fireworks). He's small-dog tolerant. He's not cat-safe, but he's not crazy when he sees one. (He's just very, very focused.) He's tall and long, but weighs about what Sam weighed (mid-60s). He's very food motivated--he jumps with excitement over Kongs, but he doesn't jump on people. He just "pogos" in the middle of the kitchen. And he's an enthusiastic pill-taker when pills are wrapped in turkey lunchmeat. (Count your fingers afterwards.) He doesn't pull away when you get in his face, and he doesn't seem to object to a kiss or two, but he's a kissee, not a kisser. He's still very clingy--follows me from room to room and actually will walk away from a Kong to see where I've gone if I've gotten anywhere near the front door of the condo.

He doesn't challenge Silver, and he understands that she's the boss. When she growls, he stops what he's doing and looks at me. I'll reach over and block Silver if he's trying to lie down near her and she's being grumpy, and as soon as he sees I've got her, he'll carefully squeeze into the spot he wanted. Silver is far more patient about contact from Clem than she ever was from Sam, and she's actually playbowed to Clem, which is something she never did with Sam. (Sam would playbow to Silver, and she'd turn and playbow to me. Poor Sam!)


Things are busy and hectic:
  • I finished a hat for Hats for Sailors. This was after I screwed up two hats I was trying to knit as Christmas presents. 
  • Lots of freelance work. Lots. Hours and hours of it. Very nice. Expecting another 40-page file tomorrow.
  • Knitting to get organized for the Ravellenics (knitting during the Olympics): a hat for Hats for Sailors, a baby sweater (see below), a WIP scarf to finish. Need to round up patterns, yarn, needles.
  • Younger nephew got engaged. (There'll be some knitting and/or crocheting for wedding presents--wedding date unknown. But I already have plans--and yarn.) 
  • Meet-and-greets this weekend at the Atlanta RV show in Jonesboro: Silver and I are going Friday. I might take Clem on Sunday since that will be a long session, and I hate to leave him alone at home for six hours or so. (He did some M&Gs with his first adopter, so he's not new to the game.)
  • Therapy papers to get sent out--finally! (I hope.) Once the papers are accepted, Silver and I need to do a "shadow" visit (we do a R.E.A.D. session with an observer). Then, the library nearest me needs a fill-in therapy team for several months, as the handler of the current team has a baby. (When she comes back, we could stay at that same library as a second team--on a different Saturday.)
  • Baby blanket to finish. (I'm really close--less than 50 rows to go--and I'd like to get it finished and blocked in the next week.)
  • Baby sweater to make (probably during the Ravellenics). This boy was born in October, so I want to figure a size to get through this spring and perhaps next fall. I have pattern and yarn on-hand. Pattern gives instructions for 12-month size and 24-month size. I need to figure my gauge; since I'm rarely on gauge (and won't be using the recommended yarn), I just need to see which size will be best for whatever gauge I'm actually getting.
  • New episodes of Downton Abbey and Sherlock every Sunday night. I think I'm going to order the DVDs and stop worrying about whether there's room on my DVR to squeeze on another episode--of anything!
  • My favorite yarn shop is closing, and I've tried single-handedly to acquire much of their existing stock (which is why I'm pleased with all the freelancing work). I need to photograph all the yarn I've bought and get it listed in my stash on Ravelry. (Actually, there's lots of yarn around here that needs photographing and cataloging.)
  • Got some work done on the family history. Absolutely cannot find my mother's family in the 1940 census, a search hampered by not knowing what names anyone was using: John or Johnny or J.W.? Mary or Dixie? Charles (or Chuck)? Catherine or Kay? Merilyn (spelled how?) or Peggy? And where--Georgia or Florida?
  • Been doing lots of cooking--mostly meatloaf and chili. Had to buy a new food processor after my 30-year-old model developed a crack in the main spindle. The new one will make smoothies, which I might try once the local weather temps get above 50F or so.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hurrying along...


Okay, I haven't blogged here in a while, although I've blogged about my cooking efforts and about my foster dog.

I have yarn I haven't photographed, but I need to sort it, wind it, enter some of it on Ravelry--and I can't stop long enough to do it because I've got lots of knitting to get done. I'm still working on the baby blanket, I have a cousin expecting a baby in November, I have hats for charity to do, dog stuff (also for charity), and Christmas stuff. And I have to work and earn a living (sorta). And SEGA has had meet and greets at the Marietta Farmer's Market in the Square nearly every Saturday. This coming Saturday is the all-day Harvest Square, and Silver and I will be hosting SEGA's booth from 1 to 3.

And, because things weren't nearly hectic enough at this time of year, I've started getting the ball rolling for Silver to be a therapy dog.

Actually, we'll be a therapy team, Silver and me. It'll be my job to watch out for her--make sure nothing frightens her or hurts her while she's working. What we want to do is the R.E.A.D. program--where kids too self-conscious to read to adults read to dogs instead. There's an evaluation she has to do (this next Saturday, I think), then three visits that have to be observed (two to medical facilities like an assisted living home). At that point, she and I will have liability coverage with Therapy Dogs, Inc. Then I have an all-day seminar on the R.E.A.D. program (November 2), and we have to make a couple of supervised library visits. If all that goes well, we'll be working for the CAREing Paws group. In addition to hospice/hospital/nursing home visits and the reading program, CAREing Paws teams do stress-relief sessions at colleges at exam time, and other special requests.

Since some of our visits will be to an assisted living location, where patients might have breathing issues, therapy dogs need frequent baths to get rid of loose hair and dandruff. Silver got a bath at a do-it-yourself dog wash place that's nearby. We'll be going there once a month.


When you do the R.E.A.D. program, you look for things you can give the children as souvenirs: a bookmark, a sticker--something with a photo of your reading dog. Lisa Poole, who's a therapy dog partner with a couple of her own dogs, snapped some lovely photos I can use for Silver's souvenirs.