Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

June 19, 2011

The Move is On

Filed under: Music — Janice @ 11:23 pm

I’m hesitant to even post because I don’t know if it will transfer to my new host, but then I decided it was worth the experiment. I did begin the transfer yesterday by opening up the gates that let the new host get it from the old host. But it takes days, apparently, so we’ll have to see how it goes.

Not that I had anything to say anyway.

June 15, 2011

Moving Hosts

Filed under: At home — Janice @ 12:01 am

I finally made the beginning of the big move and signed on with a new server for my webpage. I chose Hostgator. Not because of their big signs on the highways, though that did attract my attention and make me aware of them, but because they brought something like 300 new jobs into Austin (they are based in Houston). I am all for businesses hiring people here in town so I thought I’d throw $5 a month their way. So far, though, I haven’t done a darn thing about getting the pages moved over there. I need a consultant. No, I know I can do it, it is just a matter of finding the time to do it when I am not bone tired, like now.

June 14, 2011

Grand Design

Filed under: Writing — Janice @ 12:17 am

I had good intentions of updating my blog today — the last day of my vacation. There are so many topics to write about:  my vacation and trip to South Padre, my wonderful aunts and mom who I saw while I was there, the ending of my radio job, the ending of the club I have been going to for 7+ years on the east side of town, and, of course, tons of genealogy topics. But the vacation day got eaten up by, well, first, sleep, and then a trip to the bank and Costco and laundry and a nap. And then out to the club for possibly the last time with this band and this club on a Monday night.

I read today about that hoaxer who has been writing as a gay woman in Damascus for ages even though he is a straight man in the U.S. What a loser! But how in the world does one find the time to create and write from a fictional perspective when I can’t even write from my honest, personal perspective? It boggles my mind.

May 30, 2011

Pissy People, Part 2

Filed under: Cemeteries,Family,Genealogy — Janice @ 7:50 pm

I need to write a more lengthy report on the life of Bernard Cunningham, because I have learned a lot since the last time I wrote. I need to ignore the pissy people and be grateful for the kind, sharing, helpful people.

After not hearing from the pissy woman, I turned to my new obsession, ancestry.com, to see if there might be something about the young doomed couple I wrote about. I found a private family tree that appeared to have some photos associated with it. I didn’t know what the photos might be, so I wrote to the owner of the tree and she was gracious and opened it up for me to see. What a treasure trove! It turns out that the young bride, Annie, died of pneumonia in early 1918 while the couple were living in Fort Worth. He was not off in battle, he had not even enlisted. He moved back home with his parents after her death and soon enlisted. He trained and shipped off to France and was killed after 3 months in battle.

Not in the actual obituary, but in a story attached to the family tree, so probably a handed-down tale, she wrote that Bernard was in battle in France and there was a cease fire as the soldiers of each side went out to bring back their dead. During this cease fire, Bernard was shot by the enemy and killed.

Included in this trove were 3 pictures of the actual funeral. You can imagine how much attention a funeral of a war hero would have in a small town. Apparently it was a full military funeral. Here is one picture from her photos:

I looked closely at the other pictures to see if I could recognize my family members among the mourners. My grandfather was only a little younger than him and I expect he was probably at the funeral.

There is no “more” to the story, but I do need to write this all in more detail and file it where people can find it. I thought it appropriate on this Memorial Day to include the only member of my family that I know of from World War I. My grandfather enlisted and I have a photo of him in uniform. Of course, with my great filing system, I have no idea where it is in my computer.

May 24, 2011

Pissy People

Filed under: At home,Cemeteries,Genealogy — Janice @ 6:31 am

I don’t like when people get pissy. It makes me pissy.

I got an email from a findagrave.com contributor today that asked me to take down a memorial I had put up. On findagrave.com you put up “memorials” or the info about a grave. It isn’t necessarily someone you knew or loved… I have put up many graves I’ve just seen and taken pictures of in cemeteries. She asked me to remove one I put up for the wife of a cousin of my grandfather’s. I had not seen the grave, I was going by information that was in a printed book at a library that transcribed graves in a certain cemetery and I took it to be accurate. Her email was rather terse and said that she was not buried there. I responded and thanked her and asked if she could help me with the correct information because I am curious about this couple. She has not responded.

The story of this couple is interesting. First, the husband, Bernard, was the second child of his parents. They had the first grandchild in the family and I’m sure little Edna was the pride and joy of the entire family. When she was born, she would have had 6 aunts from age 6 up to 21… no shortage of babysitters in that family. Sadly, little Edna died when she was only 5 years old. The next year, the couple had Bernard and he was their only child. When Bernard was 20, he married a girl from the community, Annie. I don’t know how much after they married he was sent off to France in World War I, but that is where he died in July of 1918. Also sad, Annie had died just 2 days before he did.

When I first read the information about their deaths when I was just a teenager, I had it all romanticized and even sadder that Annie had died  — possibly in childbirth? — and when the news got to Bernard he lost the will to live and charged into battle, saving his fellow soldiers in the process with his bravery, and was killed. Of course, as I grew older and was able to think it through a little more I realized that he probably died in France without ever knowing that she had died at home. Communications were not what they are today or even what they were in WWII. Also knowing what I know now and knowing what 1918 was around the world, it is quite likely they both died of the flu epidemic.

The woman that wrote the email was not truly pissy, just terse and unhelpful. I have since found a website that she put up that is full of information about a Texas county. I admire people that put up websites that share a lot of information, but I also don’t know why people put up websites that look so terrible. Bright colors, terrible fonts. I am no graphic artist and I realize my website is no prize winner, but there are some things everyone should at least be able to see.

I think what really started me on this rant though (besides being tired, hungry, and cranky) was where she has her name at the bottom of her page, she follows her name with her degrees. La-di-frickin’-da, as Chris Farley’s character Matt Foley used to say. And, if you’re going to list your master’s degree, why bother listing the bachelor’s? Now, if the website were related to her degrees — for instance, this was about history so if she had a degree in history or genealogy, then, yes, I can see why she might want to highlight that information. But she has a degree in education, she is a teacher.

So anyway, I’m just rambling and pissy, as I said, and not the internet isn’t connecting so you may never even see this entry.

May 18, 2011

Stymied

Filed under: Cemeteries,Family,Genealogy — Janice @ 11:09 pm

I really hate being stymied in my writing. I want to write in my blog. I want to be read and commented on. And I have plenty of stuff to write about. So why do I wait until midnight to open up the program to write?

I am better. I just reread about being sick and there has been a definite improvement over the last 3 weeks and my appetite is back in full force, that’s for sure.

I still want to write about Decoration Day and put pictures of cemeteries. Now I can also add to the list my nephew’s graduation from Baylor University on Saturday. What a proud day that was for us all! And I need to write about the awesome dinner we had at our book club on Monday night.

Another time sucker I’ve gotten myself involved in:  Ancestry.com. I have finally fallen victim to their advertisements and their many many endorsements from friends and relatives that use it. So I signed up for their 14-day free trial and fully expect I’ll be roped in for at least a year. And yes, I’ve found things in the last 24 hours that I didn’t know to look for, really. The WWI registration for my Papa Hallford and great-grandpa Couch. The grave of my Puckett ancestor that died in the Civil War…  He’s buried with a beautiful stone by a Civil War Confederate Memorial and the works. I had no idea.

The thing I am not so keen on on ancestry is how easy it is. I know that sounds funny. And I don’t want genealogy to be hard, I really don’t. But I do think there is something to be said for at least copying-and-pasting the information to your own software program or writing it in your own notebooks. Ancestry makes it easy to go, “Hmmm, that census must be my ancestor,” click, and you’ve easily entered him and his entire family into your tree without having to even consider the names of the children or their ages and how long the couple was married, etc. I guess that’s fine for some, but I do like to ponder and dwell on these ancestors a little more.

I was looking at the census with this Puckett Civil War soldier in the years before the Civil War. He was a farmer, of course, but his wife had “sewing” listed as her occupation. I had never seen that on a census before (“housekeeping” is most common). I thought that was cool until I saw that just about every woman in that neighborhood had sewing listed as their occupation. There were a couple of “spinning” occupations, too, though.

I don’t really remember filling out the details on the census last year, but I assume I put down my occupation. I wonder if someone will look at it in 150 years and wonder what in the world a “music designer” is? I still haven’t quite figured it out myself.

May 5, 2011

Hodge Podge

Filed under: Music — Janice @ 10:30 pm

After being away from my blog for this long, I’m sure I can’t put together a cohesive, well-thought-out post, so you get what you get.

I’ve been sick for a month, since I wrote the entry “Sickness,” and I sure hope to get better soon. Without going into the gross details, the doctor thinks I have a parasite, the kind you get when you drink well water or out of a stream. How I got it is anyone’s guess. The doctor is quite sure that’s what it is, but he wants the test to come back positive before he prescribes the strong antibiotics it takes to kill it. So far, no test results and there is a good chance it might be inconclusive. We will have to see. I have had more of an appetite this week, which is good, but I’m still exhausted a lot of the time and pretty cranky, too. I’d like all that to be over soon.

But what I started to write . . .   I just noticed that Bryan Adams, the old rocker who sang Summer of ’69 and other forgotten rock songs of the 80s, is a father for the first time at 51 years old. I’m surprised he is that old. I thought he was a lot younger than me when he was up-and-coming. I guess he had been up-and-coming longer than I knew.

News stories like this remind me of all sorts of little stories that relate to that news maker. The first that came to mind was a story from my aunt’s preacher. Now I can’t even remember why I was having a casual conversation in Eldorado, Oklahoma, with my aunt’s preacher in the first place, but I was. I had just been to see Bryan Adams in concert in Amarillo and somehow that came up in the conversation. The preacher nodded and said, “Yes, I know Bryan Adams, he visited our church recently.” Well, you hate to tell a kind, old Baptist preacher, “Uh, no he didn’t,” so I just smiled and began to change the conversation to something safer. But then he went back to the story. He said that the kids in the church would often turn in visitor’s cards in the offering plate from Micky Mouse or celebrities and the preacher would have to think quickly as the cards were gathered and delivered to him and he greeted the visitors by name from the pulpit. He would have to sort through them on the fly and toss the obvious frauds. But he said on the previous Sunday he did not know the name Bryan Adams so he graciously welcomed “A visitor from Canada, Bryan Adams is with us this morning,”  until he noticed the high school kids trying to keep a straight face. So he truly DID know who Bryan Adams was when I mentioned him and he had been a visitor at their church — sort of.

The other story I associate with Bryan Adams …  I went to that concert with a great date, a guy I was super infatuated with. I guess that was our first date, as a matter of fact, because I just happened to run into him days before it after not having seen him in ages, and I asked him to go. Before the concert there was a meet-and-greet with several people from the media and Bryan Adams. As I recall it, we were actually all seated comfortably in a room (rare for a meet-and-greet) and having a nice conversation. My competitor on the other morning show in town was there with his wife. She asked Bryan what was the most memorable city on his tour so far. He said that he had had an amazing crowd in Omaha and the kids there just really were a great audience to play to. Her response was something to the effect that “I guess those potato farmers don’t get a whole lot of entertainment there.” You could see the incredulity in his face and he moved on to another topic. My date, who was originally from Iowa, was just completely livid about her and her assumptions that Omaha (a city that is bigger than Amarillo, I believe) was a “farm town.” And, of course, thinking “potatoes” instead of “corn” when it came to Nebraska. I ran across that woman again a few years later in my career and determined that she was not just stupid that night, she was truly one of the least intelligent persons I have ever met.

So that’s what I thought about when I read Bryan Adams’ name online tonight. The End.

One of these days I might have to backtrack and tell about going to a cemetery for Decoration Day last weekend, getting up at 4 in the morning to watch my friend the Prince of England get married, and, oh yes, the death of the most evil man that has walked the planet in my life. It’s been a newsworthy week and I write about Bryan Adams. Maybe he’ll Google his name and find me, his old pal Janice.

April 19, 2011

My Missing Mind

Filed under: Music — Janice @ 10:41 pm

I’m typing this on Mark’s new computer. So far, I’ve used it a lot more than he has. I’m the computer geek in the family so I’ve set it up and put all his bookmarks and mail on it so far. It doesn’t have his photos or music, so that is still to come, but we’ll get that done soon.

Had a weird experience last night. In my typing for the doctors, I am reading every day about people who are having memory problems. It always makes me super conscious of my memory failings. And I had one last night — either that or I’m being gaslighted and someone is trying to make me think I’m crazy.

Last night I went to a comedy club to see a friend perform. I’ll have to write about that another time. It all ended right about 10 p.m. and I thought that since I was out and about, I should drop by and hear Mark and his band playing on the east side. I got over there and was walking through the parking lot and was greeted by the nice parking lot attendant who welcomed me back and gave me a big hug. Yes, I was searching for his name in my head, but that wasn’t the slip. Just then, a car load of young people pulled in and the kid in the passenger seat waved and said hello to me as if we were old friends. I assumed it was someone I have met there at the club in the past that might be more inclined to remember me than I would be him.

I went in and greeted several people I know and, yes, I knew each one of them by name. But then I was standing there at the back of the club by the door when this young man came in and gave me a big hello and a big hug. Okay, you don’t usually hug people you only met in a club once before, to you? He asked me what I’d been up to. Still operating on the assumption that I knew him from the club, I told him that I wasn’t out that late anymore because of daily obligations. Then he says, “Boy, I knew this place was good on Tuesdays, but my friends tell me Monday is the night to be here.” Hmmmm, this was his first Monday. I don’t know him from the club, I guess. He moves on so I don’t have to admit my ignorance, at least. I kept going over it, wondering if he had been an intern at my current job and maybe I just didn’t get to know him. I was pretty sure it wasn’t someone from my radio days because I truly thought I would remember that.

So I leave after a while and am still completely in the dark about who this kid was. I was already thinking about writing it here. Then today I’m walking through my lobby at work and there’s the guy! Hello! He greets me and tells me that he and his friends stayed until the end and had a great time. I tell him that my husband is the drummer and that was new information to him. We talked a bit more and then he got on the elevator to go downstairs. I quickly grabbed the receptionist and said, “Who is that?” She tells me his name and his department. I still have NO EARTHLY IDEA how I know this kid. I have no memory of his name or working with him or having any interaction whatsoever. I don’t think we were ever on the elevator together. I don’t think we were on the stairs together during a fire drill. I don’t think he’s every brought paperwork to my desk.

The (sort of) good news is that the receptionist said he has taken a job outside of the company and this is his last week. If I can just avoid seeing him at the club, I might never have to admit my total mind blank to him.

April 14, 2011

The End of the Soap Opera

Filed under: At home,Family — Janice @ 10:51 pm

The news came out today that ABC is canceling All My Children and One Life To Live. I heard a TV critic say that people are mourning the loss of these shows even if they haven’t watched them in years because they knew that those shows were still there if they needed them or wanted them and this makes them also mourn the time in their lives when they were involved with these shows.

I was never a regular watcher of these two shows, but hate to see the end of soap operas in general because they have been a part of television and radio since the beginnings. As campy and corny and over the top as they were, if I were forced to stay home and watch daytime television, I think I would enjoy a well told story — okay, a story– more than endless parades of judges and bitterness and accusations or diet and exercise or just interviews. Are we losing our ability to tell a story and enjoy hearing a story?

My earliest memories of soap operas were from my Mamma Williams watching them and telling us about them from time to time. I don’t think I ever watched one with her, but she did plan her days around them. She would gather up her crochet or quilting or embroidery and sit down in her easy chair, prop that bad leg up on her ottoman, and watch her “stories.” She was alone for days on end while my grandfather was trucking back and forth to Denver and I’m glad she had the soaps for company. She also had Lawrence Welk on Saturdays and “Johnny” for an hour and a half each night. She had her schedule. One of my favorite authors, Clyde Edgerton, has a book called Walking Across Egypt and the elderly woman in it also had her “stories” and I loved that character. [note: if you go to check on this book, I recommend his book Raney even more — one of my all-time favorite books]

When I was growing up, we would watch Dark Shadows when we got to stay home from school or during the summer. Not too much, of course, because Mother didn’t approve of that show, but that was the ones kids talked about at school and described the latest from Barnabas Collins when they’d been home for a day. Mackie and I began watching The Young and the Restless through some summers. It began in March of 1973 so that was the summer before Mackie was a senior and I’m sure she was ripe for what they were offering! I don’t remember too much of it.

In college, lots of the girls in the dorm gathered in the dorm TV room to watch The Young and The Restless and General Hospital. I think that was about the time that General Hospital was coming on strong. I had class in the mornings and worked at the newspaper in the afternoons so I didn’t get to participate in that rite of passage. I just had to go read the Wikipedia article about Luke and Laura to make sure what soap they were on and, yes, it was General Hospital and, almost facing cancellation, they brought it from the brink to the forefront in 1978, just as my college days were starting. I said I didn’t watch General Hospital with the girls, but I must have heard enough and passed through the living room enough or it was just so pervasive at the time that I certainly knew all that was going on in the world of Luke and Laura and Luke’s awful sister and Laura’s ex Scotty Baldwin. At some point in later years I did get caught up in that show a lot more, I know, because I think I know the characters well, but maybe not those early story lines.

When I worked in morning radio in Amarillo at the start I got to go home from work about 11 in the morning (those were the days!). There was a soap on at the time that I watched pretty regularly just to have something to do in my boring little world. I don’t remember if it was Search for Tomorrow or the Edge of Night (echo echo echo), but one of those that wasn’t as mainstream as General Hospital and Y&R. I can remember the smarmy guy that was the villain. He reminded me of Dr. Smith on Lost in Space. Just creepy. And there was a tall pretty actress that went on to be in some sitcoms and movies and I’ve searched and I can’t find who she was or what show that was. But that show and I enjoyed a nice long relationship, I remember.

When I lived in Dallas, my roommate Diane was totally hooked on Days of Our Lives. Of course by now we have VCRs! Truly one of the greatest inventions of all time. Diane worked a very hard schedule and long days, but she LIVED to come home and get to watch Days of Our Lives and follow the storyline of Crook or Crash or some one-word name like that. She would often watch the show and then rewind and watch it again. Yes, we both needed to get a life about that time. Poor Diane. I knew she had an addiction that needed to be broken. She had to go out of town for a week  for work, or maybe even two. She asked me to tape her show for her, but I told her I wouldn’t do it. Nothing ever changes on a soap in a week anyway and I didn’t want her coming home and spending five hours watching a soap opera. I trust that somewhere along the way she has gotten help and is over that addiction now. Having a baby might have cured her if nothing else did! I learned a lot about Roman and Marlena while we were watching that show with her. I just Googled “roman soap opera” and the guy that is Roman now is not the real Roman. I wonder if people realize that.

Now I’m remembering that creepy old woman that was on one of those soaps I watched. Wait a minute. Wasn’t there a creepy old woman on every soap we watched?

I hadn’t thought about soap operas at all in a long time and this has sure brought back a flood of memories. I won’t miss soap operas, I hardly realize they even exist anymore, but it certainly was an interesting era of television. When we got more than 3 channels, when we got VCRs, when we got JOBS, and, mostly, when we got the Internet to entertain us through the dullest part of the day, the soap opera didn’t stand a chance.

April 11, 2011

Sickness

Filed under: At home — Janice @ 10:37 pm

Being sick always takes me by surprise. I wish it would get with me and make an appointment so I can clear my schedule for it a little better. It also bugs me that I can’t find a few hours in a week to do something I really want to do, yet, suddenly, I can take four days to sleep?

I’ve been sick since Thursday night and no one has given me a definitive answer on what it is, only what it is not. I assume it was some sort of stomach flu since all the symptoms do seem to match. I can’t remember when I last had a fever at all and this one was a doozy. I came home from work Thursday night after already having some symptoms, but not recognizing them as such, and I thought “GOOD GOD how cold has Mark set that thermostat this time?” and I headed to raise the temperature. When I saw it was reasonably set at 75, I realized there was a reason I was freezing and took my temperature and it was over 100. So I took myself to one of these late night clinics and that was probably a good thing to do as I got sicker by the minute.

She gave me antibiotics, which I rarely take because it never EVER seems to be something that antibiotics can treat. And, sure enough, when I got the results of the tests, it still didn’t appear to be a bacterial infection, but they told me to finish them, so I will.

There were a lot of things I liked about this clinic being available to me at the late hour and lots of things I did not like about this clinic (losing my urine sample and making me come back for another being at the top of the list), but all in all it was a good thing they were there because I know if they hadn’t, I would have been too sick to call the doctor on Friday morning or I reluctantly would have and they would have hemmed and hawed and finally said his first available was in 3 weeks. Yes, that’s what happened when I called the morning after fainting in the kitchen.

So after 3 days of sleeping I hoped I had turned a corner, but I got up in time for work this morning and sat upright for a full hour and couldn’t get the energy to take a shower or even put on clothes on a dirty body, so I decided another sick day was in order. I slept away another day and now I’m more certain I can make it tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I am on the lookout for an old-fashioned doctor that actually has time to see patients that have emergencies and then follow-up to see if the patient lived through it.

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