Sunday, April 13, 2014

My trip to the South Part I: My niece's baptism

My niece R was baptized in March and I spent a week with her and her family in Louisiana. It was nice and warm--I was so happy to be out of Boston and the cold. But I was even more happy to spend so much quality time with my sister and her family (below)
The highlight of the trip was R's baptism. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, children are baptized when they are 8 rather than when they are infants. This is so that they have some understanding of the promises they are making and responsibilities they are taking upon themselves.

R was very excited to be baptized and was so happy after the baptism. She looks beautiful in her white dress.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Fun things I saw today

Dear nieces and nephews

I saw so many fun things on my walk today that I wanted to share them with you.

This spacesuit was outside a clothing store. Wouldn't it be fun to wear?

There are lots of really big construction cranes like this red one in Boston. It is so tall that I couldn't even get a picture of the whole thing.
Can anyone see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?
Which animals can you see in this picture? What sounds do they make?
I know how much we all love books
The site of the Boston Massacre where some people living in Boston were killed by British soldiers in 1770.
We ain't New Orleans, but we had our own mini Mardi Gras parade at Faneuil Hall



I walked through the Holocaust memorial. These tall glass structures are to remember all people who were killed by in World War II just because they were Jews or tried to help the Jews. You can walk right through them. I haven't done that in a while until today.

Wasn't that a lot of fun things to see on my walk?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Christmas 2013

I usually stay in Boston for Christmas because I really hate traveling but this year I decided to visit my parents. I was at their place for 10 days and it was wonderful. A nice mix of hanging out at home working on my thesis (no downtime for me this vacation), having friends over for dinner or going out to dinner, shopping, going to the temple, watching football bowl games, texting with my nieces and nephews and just talking.

The first day we went to Garden of the Gods--a beautiful area with rugged red rock formations. Here I am working hard to hold up one of the rocks. They have a really cute trading post.


Our Christmas loot: very different from when I was growing up. We would get up at 5:00, my dad would turn on Elvis Christmas music and we would all come in to see what Santa brought. We would open gifts one person at a time, youngest to oldest. On this vacation I had to text my parents to see when I could come upstairs--it was certainly not 5:00 AM!

One thing that was similar is that we all received books. When I was a kid we would all go our separate ways after the morning gift-opening and spend the day reading. My brothers-in-law all think that was crazy, but I think some of my sisters would still love to do that if they didn't have kids to entertain. We didn't spend much time reading on Christmas though--spent most of the day on the phone, skype, Facetime and texting with family.


We invited Maureen over for dinner. She is a good friend with my mom. I hadn't met her before but she was so excited to meet me because she wanted some help with genealogy. She has been stuck on a brick wall trying to find the parents of one of her female ancestors. Hopefully I was able to give her some tips that might help. It was fun to get to know her.
On Friday we went to Denver to go to the temple and Deseret Book. My parents told me about the incredible cinnamon rolls that Deseret Book has, so I was really looking forward to that. I was really bummed when we found out they were sold out. But it was still fun to spend some time looking at some of the Mormon books. I ended up buying a few (of course!)

On our way home we stopped at a Mexican restaurant. I love this restaurant. The food is really good and the decor is awesome.



Later that day my mom and I went shopping and to the nature center at Garden of the Gods. On the way we stopped at the Glen Eyrie Castle. We had tried to get reservations for a tour but they were sold out until mid January. The guard was really nice though and said we could do a quick drive-by. Beautiful, isn't it? I would love to see the inside.
At the Nature Center someone told us about a dinosaur that we had to see. I love dinosaurs so we hunted it down. It has an interesting story. The bones were found in the 1800s, classified as a camposaurus and sent to Yale. In the 1990s Colorado wanted to put together an exhibit and requested the bones back. Turns out they were misclassified and this is a unique species. It's name means Garden of the Gods dinosaur.
They ask for donations and you choose which state's container you want to put it in. Look where MA ranks!

I watched part of the BYU bowl game with my dad--it was a lot of fun. Neither of us lasted much past half-time though.

 We went to Fargo Pizza restaurant Friday night with our friend Peg. It was such a fun place. It seats about 500 (its website says it is the largest pizzeria in the world) and the decor is 1800s-ish.

Even have a piano that plays by itself (not sure how to turn these around)


 Enjoying our salads
 Hot fudge sundae for dessert!
The girl in the chicken suit came in as we were finishing up. Apparently she lost a bet with her mom.

The last day I was there it was about 60 degrees so we went miniature golfing. I don't think I have done that since college. Even though my parents were very generous in giving me freebie shots, they still did much better than me. There were 3 options, we chose the Western one as it seemed appropriate.



It was such a wonderful time. I had so much fun with my parents and got some much-needed rest.

2013 in review



2013 was such a great year! I had some fun trips, marked a major point in my thesis research and switched callings in my church. My speaking business continues to grow. I finally stepped out of the stone age and bought a smartphone in August--I love it!

The year started with a business trip to New Orleans in February. I walked around the French Quarter and love the architecture. I found a wonderful pharmacy museum in the Quarter and spent a lot of time there looking at the old medicines, treatments and medical equipment.




 In April I went to a 3 day genealogy conference in New Hampshire. It happened to be the same week as the Boston Marathon bombing so I was away from Boston during all that craziness. I am still sad for all the people who were hurt and the emergency response people who saw such trauma. It was interesting to follow the news from my laptop when I was in NH. This is the year that the Red Sox went from worst to first. While I can't speak for the people who were directly affected by the bombing, I do know that the World Series win was a form of healing for all the people like me who were indirectly affected because it pulled us together and gave us hope.

June was our family reunion in Idaho. My mom and dad and all their kids and their families were there: 20 kids and 12 adults (1 bro in law couldn't make it). The theme was "The Amazing Race" and we were divided into 3 teams. My team wore the neon green bandanas and I think the kids all look like adorable little bandits. We had so much fun. I then stayed an extra few days with each of my sisters who live in Idaho. While at the reunion I met 3 nephews I hadn't met in person before and got to see how fast all the kids are growing up.




 
I continue to work on my thesis research  for my master's degree in history (I know--it's been going on forever!). My major accomplishments this year are finishing transcribing over 400 handwritten medical recipes into a Word document. They were collected by a woman in the 1600s. I also have a mostly finalized thesis proposal--I just need to add in some data analyses. My research is comparing recipe characteristics (ingredients, complexity, disease treated, whether elements of superstition are present, etc.) by the recipe donor characteristics (male vs. female, family member vs. not, etc.). I am slowly pulling all the elements from the recipe and entering them into excel. Once that is done I can use my statistics background to analyze the data.

In August I took a trip to the Cloisters and the Botanical Gardens in New York to look at some of their exhibits on medicinal plants. It was really interesting. The Cloisters is a Medieval museum and has a huge medieval herbal garden.





In October I took a trip to Ticonderoga with one of my friends. I love visiting historical places. They had an exhibit of military medicine that was interesting.



I also went to a Harvest Dinner at Plimoth Plantation around Thanksgiving and took the Orchard House (Louisa May Alcott) Christmas tour. 




 Ended the year with a 10-day trip to spend Christmas with my parents. 

I keep busy with my job as a biostatistician in medical research, working on my thesis research, and building up my genealogy speaking business (bridgingthepast.com). I am starting to really focus on my niche, which is talks about using social history in genealogical research and taking particular events (King Philip's War), eras (daily life in Colonial America), or topics (medicine in colonial New England) and talking about them so that the audience members can better place their ancestors in context. 

I switched from being in the Primary Presidency to serving in the Relief Society Presidency this spring. After 7 years in Primary, it has taken me a long time to be able to sit through all 3 hours of church.

I hope that your 2013 was a wonderful year and that 2014 will also be wonderful. Best wishes for a Happy New Year!