Friday, December 15, 2017
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Typical brands of Potato Chips at a Superstore For $1, you can buy a photo book at Wal-Mart that has 36 pockets in it for an inexpensive photo album. I talked about my annual photo project for my grandchildren in an earlier post when I described one of last year’s books as I was finishing it up for Christmas, Patterns with a Purpose. In that book, as I was researching the origins of such common objects as fly swatters, shopping carts and bubble wrap, all of which I had taken pictures of with my grandchildren, I found interesting stories about how these inventions came to be. These stories... (Read More ...)

Alfred Nobel Alfred Nobel invented dynamite to protect workers at his family factory who were working with nitroglycerin in making explosives. Several had been killed because the chemical is extremely dangerous to handle. He figured out that if you cushion nitroglycerin with diatomaceous earth, the nitroglycerin could then be handled very safely. He called his invention dynamite. In 1888, after his brother died, Alfred Nobel was mistakenly thought dead and his obituary published. In it, he was called a “merchant of death” whose wealth came from figuring out how to “kill more people faster.” ... (Read More ...)

General Electric Research Laboratory in Schenectady, New York My uncle, who, for reasons I did not understand until I was in my 40s, never met his father, was fascinated by genealogy. Because of his interest and diligent research, including several trips to Ireland, I learned chilling and historically fascinating stories about our ancestors. My cousin has consolidated his father’s papers and taken up the research. In just one example, my mother’s ancestors, Scottish textile merchants, were approached by the British to resettle in Ireland, which they did. Some years later, textile exports... (Read More ...)

I know my first cousins. Second Cousin. Once Removed. Genealogy at the Family Christmas Party. We saw them about every five years when I was growing up. Each time, it was as though we lived across the street. Beyond that, however, my parents did not go. When I got to college, a boy called me and asked if I wanted to meet my Michigan cousins. “I don’t have any Michigan cousins.” As it turned out, he was right and I was wrong.  My grandfather had sisters who lived in Ohio and Michigan. My college roommate eventually introduced me to one of my great-aunts when she discovered the family connection... (Read More ...)

Image via Wikipedia I have been taking photos at family Christmas parties for the last twenty-five years. Last year, my son suggested I assemble photo albums for each person in the family with 25 years’ worth of their photos. With hundreds of photos involved, it seemed like a mountain too high to climb. I mentioned this suggestion to a cousin, and how unlikely it was that I would ever get around to this, arguably, great idea. She said, “Come to my house. We’ll drink wine and sort all the photos in an evening.” Now, that was an idea I could get behind. We scheduled it a few months later... (Read More ...)

Image via Wikipedia I read recently that scrapbooking, with revenues exceeding $1 billion, has now surpassed golf in sales. I shop at Michael’s. It is my favorite craft store. After bookstores, it is the one place where I am content to relax and browse the aisles. In every other store I go into, I shop like a guy. I know what I want and I just go buy it. Michael’s has nearly the entire one end of the store devoted to scrapbooking materials. A cousin recently showed me the three scrapbooks she is creating for her now, nearly grown children, in which she has separated out the photos of... (Read More ...)

Image via Wikipedia I recently put together the annual photo book I do for my grandchildren’s birthdays. I take photographs throughout the year around a theme, assemble all the photos and caption them, then slip them into the Wal-Mart $1 photo albums. If I had more time or money, I could make the more formal photo books available through several photo sites, like Shutterfly. But, as I change the captions and some of the photos for each member of the family, and I now make 7 of them a year, for now, doing them by hand suits me and my schedule. Now that the grandchildren are turning five,... (Read More ...)