Friday, April 27, 2012

Family History Friday

Over the years, Mom and I have trekked through multiple cemeteries searching for clues about our past. Now you can visit many cemeteries without leaving your home! The website is community run with photos and information posted by members around the country (and the world). You can search by name, county and even drill down and search within individual cemeteries. I am sending out a big thank you to all the volunteers who make this information available!

Through, I found my great great grandmother,

as well as her brother, Martin

and Martin's wife, Christine.

All three of them are buried in Warren, Pennsylvania, in the Oakland Cemetery, pictured here.

Update: 6/21/12 It's possible the grave marker for Annie Anderson is not our family member. I've ordered death certificates for the two Anna Andersons from Warren County, PA, who died in 1913 and 1916 and then we'll know for sure. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Festival of Pizza

Our house has been a festival of pizza lately. We had friends over Friday for make-your-own-pizzas, had leftovers on Saturday and made more dough and another round on Tuesday!

At T's request, we became the proud owners of a second pizza peel. Our original one is on the left (purchased for Solstice 2011) and the new bigger one is on the right (below). Having two allows us to prepare two pizzas for the oven at once.

the oven with both pizza stones - pizza only on the top stone.

my Tuesday pizza - olive oil, roasted vegetables (grape tomatoes, zucchini and onions), mozzarella and goat cheese.

After seeing Chuck on Chuck's Day Off (on the Cooking Channel) use parchment under his pizza (in the Cheese Guy episode), we decided it would make it easy for the pizza to slide off the peel and onto the stone. I'm pretty sure Chuck cooked his pizza in the oven right on the parchment though. It definitely made it smoother getting the pizza in the oven, but the crust didn't crisp up as well as it did without the paper. We'll have to try it right on the rack!

See our favorite pizza crust recipe here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Denim Day

A 45-year-old driving instructor picks up an 18-year-old girl for her first lesson, takes her to an isolated road, pulls her out of the car, wrestles her out of one leg of her jeans and rapes her. Her rapist's conviction is overturned on appeal, because her jeans were "too tight".
 This is the event that spurred a worldwide movement to end sexual assault and the victim blaming associated with it. In 2011, 2.6 million people participated in Demin Day. Join me and wear jeans today! 
Every year since 1999 Peace Over Violence has organized Denim Day in LA & USA. It is a rape prevention education campaign where we ask community members, elected officials, businesses and students to make a social statement with their fashion statement and wear jeans as a visible means of protest against misconceptions that surround sexual assault. To find out more, visit Denim Day USA.

Today (Wednesday March 25, 2012) is Demin Day all over the world. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Brunch with the Twitter Local Food Gang

Sunday morning we enjoyed a great brunch with our friends from our Twitter localtarian food group at Kool Beanz Cafe
everyone there (except Jenn who took the picture, thanks Jenn!)

 I forgot to take pictures of our food before we ate it but left overs are good too, right?
Grilled andouille sausage, fried grit cake, poached eggs, hollandaise 

Buttermilk-tabasco fried chicken, sweet potato-pecan waffle, honey-chile syrup

I've been seriously slacking on the friends photos the last few months so I might have gone a little overboard this time. Bill, John and Abe.

 Marc and Jenn with Jenn's prize. John and Bill brought a bottle of wine they won at a fundraiser Saturday. Jenn won for coming the closest in guessing the population of the city of Tallahassee in the 2010 census. She guessed 180,000 and the answer was 181,000.

 Britain and Chris

Paula and Jon, we missed you both! For our upcoming get togethers, we talked about Backwoods Bistro (opening around May 1st on Tennessee Street, a new location for the Sopchoppy eatery) and Cypress' new burger joint, Vertigo, which is slated for a June opening in the original Loopers location on Lafayette Street.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Women Who Make America

I was introduced to this great series of 10 short (3-5 minute) videos of Makers: Women Who Make America by the blog Her Own Way which is the brainchild of my friend Lee Anne. She shared the story of Kathrine Switzer who was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, in 1967.

I have watched and would recommend all ten in the series and as an example will share this one from Sheryl Sandberg, COO of facebook:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Family History Friday

Sunday's episode of Finding Your Roots (which you can watch in its entirety above) focused on the ways religion and family are connected with the thesis, illustrated by three families, that your religious values are inherited from your parents and ancestors. Many people have a lot of consistency in their roots with a single religion practiced. My family takes a few steps off this path: of my 8 great grandparents, 5 were Catholic, 2 Protestant and 1 (potentially) Jewish. When my mother's parents married in 1934, my Irish Catholic grandmother and Episcopal grandfather agreed to raise any daughters they had Catholic and any sons Episcopalian. Sounds more like the 1970s than the 1930s, right? I'm hoping to learn more about my Slovak Jewish great grandmother, Maria Kohan, who was born in 1877. Did she convert? Her daughters were baptized (we have copies of the certificates, in Latin, from the local church). I'll post more details as they unfold, and hope you'll share your thoughts on this episode of Finding Your Roots!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pool Fun

Not exactly fun IN the pool but when I saw this at Home Depot last week I thought it was the perfect gadget for us (and affordable too, only $30).

Unfortunately, the pool is not yet 82 degrees. (Monday it was 73.) The receiver, on the left, stays in the house, and the sensor, on the right, floats in the pool. It also has a digital read-out of the pool temperature. It was easy to set up, and from the kitchen window the receiver gets a full signal. Given the fact that T does not like to leave his thermometers in the pool all the time, this will come in really handy. It's also fun to watch the temperature rise on a sunny day and fall again at night. The receiver tracks three days worth of temperatures plus long-time highs and lows. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Garden Update

We have added new plants and have tomatoes ripening:
Our golden cherry tomato plants are now hip-high (on me) and both have fruit!
Less than a month ago (see them here), they were a foot tall. We made some good compost!

Last weekend, we got a variety of pepper plants (all kinds - spicy and bell). We have heard good things about them doing well in the heat and hope they'll be happy in the summer. We also planted Italian basil and Thai basil to add to our parsley, sage, rosemary (and no thyme... sorry thyme doesn't like hot weather!). Here are some of the peppers:

a few of them are already blooming!
We'll keep posted on our progress!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Family History Friday

Genealogy is full of mysteries to solve so I thought I would share one of our many unanswered questions: Who is in this photo? 
This photo came from my cousin, Aneva's attic, found by her daughter. Aneva was one of Harry's daughters (you can see Harry in this photo here - he was my great grandmother's brother (the youngest one of the three). Perhaps these are Mayme and Harry's grandparents, the Mogensens? 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Leymah Gbowee: Unlock the intelligence, passion, greatness of girls

I learned about Room to Read via my friend Nikki, who is a long-time supporter. They recently shared this video which I found inspiring, on Twitter.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee has two powerful stories to tell -- of her own life's transformation, and of the untapped potential of girls around the world. Can we transform the world by unlocking the greatness of girls?

Leymah Gbowee is a peace activist in Liberia. She led a women's movement that was pivotal in ending the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003, and now speaks on behalf of women and girls around the world.

Monday, April 9, 2012

SEPC 2012 Recap - Day 3

Saturday morning at SEPC started out bright and early at 8am with breakfast and a t-shirt swap. Here are a lot of the cute AXO tees:

trading shirts (photo courtesy of Danielle)

most of the Alpha Chi Omegas at the breakfast source

Chelsea from WCU modeling her great Panhellenic scarf!

After breakfast, I attended another academic section, this one titled "Raising the Bar: Establishing Academic Standards in Your Community" by Rick Barnes. It was a good counterpoint to the talk Stephanie and I gave on Friday. Afterward, I took a short break to write some reports and then volunteered at the Silent Auction, keeping an eye on the action and manning the "buy it now" table. 

My contribution to the silent auction got lots of bids!

The Professionals Luncheon was great fun, thanks to my table-mates who were interesting and spirited. After lunch, I had the pleasure of hearing Stacy Nadeau inspire a huge room of young women. Dove recruited Stacy to model in their Real Beauty campaign, an experience that changed her life. Her messages - that the images of women we see every day are so air-brushed and computer-edited that no one could possibly look like them in real life - and that we, as women, have to start loving ourselves as we are - really resonated with me. This video illustrates her first point:

If you have a chance to see Stacy, don't miss it!

For the last educational session, I previewed Recruitment Boot Camp at a session with fellow Alpha Chi alumna Laurel Peffer. Her advice was specific, realistic and tangible, geared well to her audience. 

SEPC culminates in a Final Banquet, held Saturday evening. The new Conference Coordinators are sworn in and Panhellenics are honored for their accomplishments. This year's speaker was Kathy Betty, (Phi Mu alumna) and owner of the WNBA Team, the Atlanta Dream. Everyone enjoyed her message about taking smart risks and capturing your legacy.

I hope you've enjoyed my recap as much as I enjoy this conference!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

Family History Friday with Irish Books

My maternal grandparents, circa 1960 (Mom is that right?). Mom made Gram's dress as well as the shirt her Dad is wearing. She is proud of her ability to match plaid on the seams, a skill she learned from her Aunt Helen. 

I assume this second photo was taken the same day; in it you can see how fair Gram was, a trait I inherited from her. It's a true sign of Irish heritage. 

As best as we know, all four of Gram's grandparents emigrated from Ireland to Canada in the 1840s during the potato famine. I learned recently that it was less expensive to sail to Canada than to the US which may explain why they chose that destination. Her family eventually made their way to the States and if asked, she would tell you she was Canadian before she'd tell you she was Irish. 

On St. Patrick's Day, I heard an interview on Weekend Edition on NPR (listen here) with author Peter Behrens who has written two books of fiction that are loosely based on his family's story as Irish immigrants to Canada. When I heard him say
Ireland was, you know, in the dim past and forgotten largely, and the memories connected to it were those of, you know, shame and poverty. They were very determined to be Canadian...
it really resonated with the stories I had been told about our family. I'm looking forward to reading The Law of Dreams and The O'Briens.

That same day, the Kindle Daily Deal (every day one book is on sale for $.99-2.99) was The Irish Americans: A History by Jay P. Dolan, professor emeritus of history at the University of Notre Dame.
Acclaimed scholar Jay Dolan’s panoramic account of the Irish experience in the United States follows immigrants from arrival to empowerment, from the dark days of the Great Famine to John F. Kennedy’s election to the presidency. Drawing on original research and recent scholarship, The Irish Americans is the first general history of Irish-Americans since the 1960s. Rich in detail, balanced in judgment, and the most comprehensive work of its kind yet published, this is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the Irish-American tradition.
I am about 80% of the way through this book and have found it really interesting. It doesn't whitewash the facts - there is plenty of corruption, class-ism and racism - but all of it is presented in the context of life and times of this large immigrant population. It covers the era before the potato famine as well - when the majority of the Irish immigrants were Protestant (one or two of my maternal grandfather's ancestors may fall into this category, having arrived in this country prior to 1800). Overall, it is an excellent and engaging read and very educational. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

SEPC 2012 Recap - Day 2

Here are the highlights from Day 2 of SEPC:

I began my day at NPC Mediation and Judicial Procedures presented by NPC friends Cynthia and Mary Ann from 9am-10am. I have limited experience in this area so it was good to learn more first-hand from the experts. At 10:15 Dr. Lori Hart presented Making Greek Great. She was so funny at some points I could not stop laughing. Laughter made her message no less impactful. One of her most important points was that you have to be a leader of yourself before you can be a leader of others; take care of yourself and the things that are important to you first (eat well, sleep well, study well) and learn to say no.

The Philanthropy Luncheon is one of my favorite events. We watched the trailer for Half the Sky, a documentary based on the book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, which will premier on PBS on October 1-2, 2012:

The book Half the Sky inspired Ginny Carroll to create the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation, the goal of which is to empower the largest group of college-educated women in the US (sorority women) to make a tangible difference in the world by funding educational opportunities for girls and women in developing nations. It can cost as little as $13 to pay school fees for a girl for a year. Ginny asked each woman in the room to donate $2 to the Foundation:

LSU Panhellenic donating to Circle of Sisterhood source

The response was overwhelming. We raised $1,700 at the luncheon and over $12,000 over the weekend! I am so proud to be a part of this organization! Circle of Sisterhood has now funded projects in 7 countries on 4 continents. Read about all the projects here.

From 1:30-2:30 - I presented on Academic Excellence with NPC friend Stephanie. Panhellenic Scholarship Chairs made up the majority of our audience. We appreciated their comments, suggestions and ideas! After a productive campus meeting, I sat in on Brad Karsh's Marketing your Greek Experience presentation which was very concrete with great specific examples for the students.

After another meeting, at 5:30 it was time for a delicious dinner with NPC friends. The hotel restaurant is really quite good! We followed up a relaxing and enjoyable dinner with a couple of meetings and then shopping, an ice cream social and the SEGLS Step, Stroll and Salute Showcase.The Southeast Greek Leadership Summit (SEGLS) happens concurrently with SEPC "to create a supportive environment that is conducive to open and honest dialogue regarding the current state of our culturally based Greek Organizations; to provide an opportunity for students to be educated and enlightened through a holistic approach to analyzing our respective organizations and the Greek Community in its entirety; and to expose our students to other culturally based Greek organizations hence fostering a sense of unanimity among all culturally based Greek Organizations."
Sigma Gamma Rho stroll source

standing room only at the showcase source

The Showcase was a lot of fun! I missed it last year so was happy to have the opportunity to attend this year, and it was a nice way to cap off a long day.

Stay tuned for Monday when I'll recap the 3rd and final day!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

SEPC 2012 Recap - Day 1

SEPC is the Southeast Panhellenic Conference. Young women leaders, all of whom are sorority members, from campuses around the country, gather each spring in Atlanta to explore new ideas, gain valuable skills and meet Panhellenic sisters. In addition to the collegiate women, campus sorority advisors and alumnae members of the 26 NPC member organizations attend to provide guidance and insight. This was my second year representing Alpha Chi Omega's NPC delegation at SEPC. 

After enjoying a casual social dinner with the other NPC representatives, it was time for the Opening Session with Mari Ann Callais. Her topic, from Ritual to Reality, was fun and interactive with lots of input from the audience. In this picture, Mari Ann has 6 volunteers helping lead a sing along!

I was impressed by how many collegians could speak knowledgeably about their sorority founders and the reasons they felt inspired by the values of their organizations! 

Next on our agenda was the Affiliation Meet and Greet. During this session we broke up into individual sororities so the women could all meet each other. It was great to see a number of women I met last year (as well as in Texas in January) and to make new friends. In this photo I am using Smitha's Cleveland Magazine cover as a visual reminder to set lofty goals. [My AXO chapter sister, Smitha, was featured as one of the top doctors in the Cleveland area on the cover of the March 2012 issue of Cleveland Magazine.]

After the meet and greet, we took a group photo. For me, it was time to head back to my room and get organized for Friday.

Coming tomorrow - day 2.
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