Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Dashing Through the Snow.... Photos

My DNA Test Results

I been doing genealogy research on my family for more than 30 years now, and with the proliferation of ancestral sites on the world wide web, I've been fairly lucky in tracing my relatives back in time.  A couple of years ago, I hit one of those walls where it seems impossible to get further information, so I hunkered down and started looking at all of my ancestors, as far back as I could go.
   I ended up figuring my cultural identities in eighths - from my great-grandparents.  I had found, here and there, throughout the family tree some one born in France or Germany or the Netherlands, but they were few and far between.  So I totted up the countries, and said that I was 5/8 English (from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland), 1/4 Swedish, and 1/8 Danish. A few of my family lines can be followed back 1,000 years or more, and that's also something I took into account.  I felt pretty sure about those "familial eighths."
   In mid-October of this year, I finally purchased a DNA test kit.  Just because of my own preferences, I chose the Geno 2.0 test kit through the National Geographic Society.  I sent off my two cheek swabs, and sat down to wait.  The company reminds you frequently that the results will take 8 to 10 weeks of testing before they will have answers for you.  I was quite shocked to receive my results a few days before Thanksgiving - 24 November.
   One thing to remember is that since I'm female, and do not receive any Y chromosomes from my father, this result is on my mitochondrial DNA.  It's DNA passed down from my mother,by her mother, by her mother, by her mother, etc.  And following my matrilinear family tree, I "hit a wall" with Betsey (Elizabeth) Lewis, who was born about 1795 on the Eastern Shore of either Maryland or Virginia...
   My  ancestral countries are:  58 %  English;  34 % Scandinavian;  4 %  Finn and Siberian; and 4 % Arabian.   My family tree estimates were pretty close - 62.5 % English and 37.5 % Scandinavian.  We've always had tales in the family of having female Native American ancestors - the DNA pieces that are 4 % Finn and Siberian match 95% of  DNA pieces in Native Americans.  The 4 % Arabian is from my ancestors who came from Eastern Ethiopia, then passed through the Arabian peninsula on their way to the Middle East and Eastern Europe...
    Tracing my way back to "the seven daughters of Eve," I am descended from Jasmine.   My Haplogroup is  J1c4.  So far, it seems to be a pretty rare Haplogroup:  out of the nearly 1 million people tested by the National Geographic Society, only .6% have this designation.  In reading what has been posted on the web, it seems that the estimation of females with the J1c4 Haplogroup is 3 to 4 % of the world's population.  There are a lot of J1c's - but very few J1c4's.    (Apparently,  I'm pretty unusual - snort!)
    Oh, and most people have an average of 2.1 % Neanderthal genes in their DNA.  I have 1.2 %.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Older Sleigh Photos

Vehicles and Accidents

I arranged to have today off, so I could sleep in this morning.  Then I received a phone call at 9:30 yesterday evening, asking if I could take a client to the Denver International Airport, leaving at 5:30 this morning.  Since said client would let me use their car through 14 December, I said yes.  So I was up at 5 this morning, downstairs at 5:28, waiting for the 5:30 pick-up, which occurred at 5:52.  The client then drove like mad to DIA  on the tolled Parkway.  I was back home by 7:30 and back in bed.  But my cell phone rang at 9, and it was the client who just wanted me to know that they had left a suitcase at their house....  Hunh?  They didn't want it sent to them, they would get another suitcase where they were - but they just wanted me to know....  I'm still not certain why they called and told me this.
     The same client lost a car Sunday night.  The "children" (male and female in their mid- to late-20s) were home for Thanksgiving, and had left the house together, with both dogs, to go visit friends.  A huge mule deer doe bounded onto the road in front of them, while they were driving at 50 mph - this was at 6 p.m. and it was completely dark; no street lights.  The doe was killed; the car, a Toyota Prius, made a full double roll-over, and luckily came to rest on it's wheels.  The Prius is a total loss - all the windows shattered, and the roof crushed.  The worst thing was that beside the two people and two dogs in the car, they were transporting 24 quart Mason jars fir canning (which, of course, are glass).  The kids were bumped and bruised, and the young man had a small glass cut in the middle of his forehead.  The dog who had been in the rear compartment with the Mason jars, was bounced into the back seat, and bruised.  The younger puppy was in the daughter's arms - and she had  a cut and three very sore legs.  The daughter, while receiving no cuts, was stiff and bracing to protect the puppy, and she has a lot of pain and stiffness, but no broken bones.  What seems crazy is that most of the broken glass ended in the daughter's seat, under her bottom, but she wasn't cut at all....

Monday, November 28, 2016

Lonely Roads - Photos

300 Acre Wildfire

I must admit that I read a book all afternoon, turned on the television to watch Jeopardy! and then checked my e-mails and news headlines.  It wasn't until half-way through tonight's episode of Gotham that any notice of the wildfire appeared.  When the news crawl at the bottom of the screen said it was on Green Mountain, I went out onto the balcony and looked at Green - no sign of fire, so I guessed it was on the southwest side.  Ten minutes later, the news crawl said the fire was on Green Mountain in Lakewood - not Boulder.  
   It's a brush fire and has burnt over 300 acres so far.  Evacuations are in effect, and evacuees are to report to the Creighton Middle School.  It's been windy all day, and is still quite breezy tonight...
   Even though we had snow on the 17th of November, and have had a few rain showers since, we are still in the midst of a drought.  We've been dry, and much warmer than normal, for several months.  It looks like the drought is making us pay attention to it, again....

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Assorted Photos

Diving eagle by Allan Sklar

Bodacious Bob on Assateague in Maryland

Piggy moon cakes

Queen Anne house

Sunrise, looking southwest from my balcony today

Sunrise, looking northwest from my balcony today

A cloudy-foggy early morning in November 2016

American Football

Saturday would have been a huge football (American) day for me, but since I no longer have any favorites to cheer for, it's kind of dull.  I grew up supporting the Florida Gators, and I graduated from there, and I love the Gators - but since Tim Tebow graduated, none of the coaches nor individual players have been able to arouse my football competitiveness.  I guess that Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel, Errict Rhett, and Tim Tebow spoiled me...  Yesterday the Gators played their arch-rivals, the Florida State Seminoles, and I was bored.  First, I was upset, as always, by the 'Noles' use of "Chief Osceola" on an Appaloosa horse as their school character. I also knew that the Gators were on their way to Atlanta, to vie for the SEC Championship.  And, I don't think the Gators are that good this year...  Their play is extremely uneven, and while the defense is good to great, the offense stinks.  So I wasn't very surprised when the Seminoles won the game.
   The Colorado Buffaloes, on the other hand, have been this year's surprise team, and by defeating the Utah Utes, here in Boulder, last night, they won the Pac-12 South Championship, for the first time since they joined this conference.  But, again, even though I live here, I feel no connection to either the coaches, or any of the players.  It's a weird feeling for me - I've followed college football for 45 years, and now I just don't care.
    And it's the same for our professional football teams this year - there is no one player, or any coach, that really interests me.  There are a lot of players that I completely dislike - mainly those that have gotten away with rape (by paying off the women involved), and there are two players that are quarterbacks that I simply dislike, period - for any and/or all reasons - they just "rub me the wrong way."  So after 45 years of Friday night through Monday night football games, I find myself adrift - nothing to watch or talk about - other than my obsessions with genealogy, history, and horses....  Oh, well.  I guess that's enough to keep me busy and out of trouble...

Friday, November 25, 2016

Miscellaneous Photos

Assateague lighthouse at sunset



How I feel sitting on a draft horse...

Icelandic houses



Fall Is Here

It's been chilly the past few mornings, but when I looked outside this morning before heading off to the chickens, I decided to bundle up.  The forecast had said a low of 24 degrees, but it looked colder out the window.   Jeans, ragg wool socks, a T-shirt, sneakers, my quilted jacket, and a red and green striped pointed hat with elf ears sewn on and a big jingle bell on the end.  A lot of people driving down the roads did a double-take, and then waved at me this morning.  I smiled and waved back to everyone.  Bounced up the steps onto the bus and jingled all the way - made the bus driver laugh.  It was 17 degrees (F) when I left the house, and 27 when I returned an hour later.
   The hens were ready to come out, but their water bowl was almost dry, so I had to rinse and refill it.  I scattered some scratch and beans for them to snack on today.  Carter, the tom cat, definitely wanted to come outside and wander, but Xuxa, the girl, decided to stay inside where it was much warmer.  I'll get everyone back inside again at dusk.
   The bobcat is still around in my usual house-sitting neighborhood.  My brother-in-law was sitting at the dining room table, doing paper work, when he saw a movement on the patio.  He looked out, and the bobcat was investigating the sliding glass door and the picnic table, then it nosed around the woodpile, where the mink lives.  Jim got up to get his camera, and the bobcat went across the yard to one of the big cottonwood trees, and Jim said that it bounded up into the foliage in the blink of an eye - two leaps and it had disappeared.  Since the bobcat has been in the neighborhood for 2 weeks now, I sent out a reminder to folks to keep an eye on their smalls dogs and cats.  I'm pretty sure the bobcat is feeding well off the huge number of rabbits in the area, but so are the fox pair.
   I am not going to any shopping center or retail store today, Black Friday.  I've already read headlines about shootings and stampedes with injuries - so, as usual, I'm staying away from all that madness.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Draft Horses - Photos

Being a person with thick ankles and "heavy" legs, and having
a low center of mass, I've always loved, and felt akin, to draft horses...

American Thanksgiving

Today is meant to be a day for giving Thanks to omnipotent beings for our lives, our prosperity, our ability to have a feast sharing the fall harvest, and to count the blessings of all that we have.  Very few people actually do that.  I have done so, fairly frequently, for a number of years.
   I remember the Thanksgiving after my husband was released from the hospital, after having a bad bout of ketoacidosis and a mini-stroke.  His family didn't want us to join the normal family gathering at a brother's home, a few miles away. Jeffrey wanted a "real Thanksgiving dinner" but he didn't want me to cook it, so we went out to eat - at an all-you-can-eat buffet place.  This was the day after he had been discharged, and all of the doctors and nurses swore that Jeffrey was "absolutely fine."
  We went in, paid, got our trays, picked a tables, and then went to forage - there were all kinds of things to eat, besides the usual Thanksgiving offerings.  I lost Jeff while filling my plate, and, after sitting back down for a few minutes at our table, I went to look for him.  He had filled his plate with macaroni and cheese, which he had in one hand, and he was standing at the dessert spread, eating pieces of pie out of his free hand.  I finally got him back to the table, and got him to wash his hands on the way there.  Once we sat down, he started eating his macaroni with his fingers.  Of course, people were staring at us from all of the tables around us.  I commented that he could get more in his mouth at one time if he used a fork - and had the return comment that everyone knew it was proper to eat macaroni piece-by-piece with your fingers.  -  He did eat all of the macaroni and cheese on his plate.  -  then he scampered off to the dessert table again and brought back a brownie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, a piece of chocolate cake, and a bowl of ice cream.  He didn't eat all of that, thank goodness.  I tested his blood sugar as soon as we got home, gave him insulin, and then took him 100 miles away to his "usual" hospital, who checked the records from his last stay at the Fredericksburg Hospital and were appalled....  They didn't even have an endocrinologist working at the hospital, and his diabetic ketoacidosis  had never been addressed while he was a patient there.  He spent the next 5 weeks in intensive care at Fairfax.
   So I look at my position on this day - I am working, I live in an apartment with a good friend, who loves my cats.  We are both pretty healthy.  We laugh a lot.  We go outside and walk a lot.  We have enough money to keep our bills paid, and keep food on the table and in the pantry.  With our bus passes, we can travel anywhere in a 100 mile radius at no charge.  I have a lot to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016