Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Art Sense

For many years now, the long wall of our family room has been decorated with 3 large photo prints. They are photos I took during Tyler's first trip to the beach when he was just a baby. I loved that day and these photos. But the poster sized prints have seen better days. The plastic poster frames are falling apart and the picture are a bit faded. Plus Max has noticed that there is no photo of HIM in this series.

I have given it a lot of thought over the years. What would I put up there to replace these cheap but sentimental shots. A couple years ago we made a rare, momentous and memorable trip to the beach. I wish we could spend WAY more time at the shore, but I have one child who never got over his initial distaste for sand. It takes a lot of convincing and bribery to talk him into going to the beach, so I knew those moments by the sea were going to be precious.

I took tons of photos. TONS. And was very happy with the results. So after contemplating these shots for 2 years now, I had finally selected the photos that will replace the existing posters on the wall. Now all I needed was for the universe to align so I could find a good deal on a nicer way to frame these prints. I wanted something hip and cool, modern and maybe even a tad edgy. Sadly, you pay a ton of money for that. Then AmazonLocal (sorta like Groupon) sent me an offer on stretched canvas prints. Now I am really excited! Gallery style canvas prints of my photos! *squee!* To get the size I want at full price would have cost $390 before tax and shipping. With my coupon? $138 plus tax and free shipping.

Yay!

Time to class up this space. Curious to see the old and new photos? I can do that...

Old (plain paper poster prints in cheap plastic frames - and yes, with date stamp too. Ugh.):
 

New (stretched canvas over wood frame prints):


Yeah. This is going to look great!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ancestry...wait. What!?!?

So I posted yesterday about the results of my Ancestry.com DNA testing. While it was nice having some confirmation about my origins, it wasn't really as revealing as I'd hoped. Or was it. The husband and I were casually discussing the results when he said, "You know...Switzerland and The Netherlands aren't part of Scandinavia, right?" Wait...what?! Oh yeah. Intellectually, I knew that. If you look at the highlighted portion of my results map, my Swiss and Dutch genes are pooled in with the Central European section. I always thought of the Dutch as being rather Nordic in looks and sensibility. But the map people use different criteria.

Oh my gosh, I have Viking blood!

It hit me...that must be from my bio-Dad's side of the family! We didn't really have any info like that about him back when I was born. Just some stuff the agency made up to make my Mom and Dad feel better. Yeah. They were told a lot of fibs. Conversations with my bio-Mom revealed that. She had no idea about bio-Dad's ethnicity. Just that he was white, popular and hunky. *grin*

So I really did find a missing piece of the puzzle that is me. Now my deep affection for Nordic mythology is explained. And Swedish meatballs. Yum!


But seriously, this is rather momentous for me. I also started taking a closer look at the family trees of my biological cousins (matched though my DNA results) and made another startling discovery. My mom and I may be related for real. There is a good probability that a family link going back to the 1700's exists. It's distant, but a strong possibility. I'll have to flesh out my family tree more to see if we can link things up definitively. I think she will be floored just by the prospect. It's a strange world, isn't it?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ancestry

Late last year I received an invitation from Ancestry.com to participate in their DNA experiment. They are doing some ground breaking work in using DNA from volunteers to track human migration patterns and shifts and loads of other interesting trends. Plus the neat bonus of finding out where your ancestors hailed from and if you have any living relatives in their database. First, here is the graph they created from my DNA testing:


This tracks pretty well with what my parents were told about my ancestry when I was adopted. English, German, Swiss and Dutch. I wonder what the mystery 2% is. Heh. Alien, most likely. Being mostly of UK origin sure explains a lot. My love of Dr Who and many other quality BBC programs, for instance. Plus the infrequent urge to eat bubble 'n squeak or bangers 'n mash.

The other really interesting thing the testing has uncovered is a whole boatload of 4th to 6th cousins. Neat! But now I have a problem. Being adopted, my current family tree is not my "biological" tree. I know who my birth parents are, but my birth mom is keeping me a secret from her kids and my bio-dad doesn't know about me at all. I don't feel comfortable linking their names to my tree. So I guess all those 4th-6th cousins will just have to be left wondering. I'll check on Ancestry to see if there is a way to add branches to the tree privately.

Still, it's nice to have a sort of tangible link to my ancestry, even if my DNA is rather vanilla.