Anais Nin Quote

"Living never wore one out so much as the effort not to live." Anais Nin

"A life undocumented is a life unlived."

Monday, December 16, 2013

First Semester Under My Belt

Finally! After a semester of blood, sweat, tears, and a seemingly never-ending pile of reading material, I've finished my first semester of grad school with two As and a B+. I never was this insanely busy during any of the semesters of my undergrad years. Going to grad school is definitely trial by fire. BUT, I've been told the first semester of this particular program is the worst. If I made it through that, then the rest won't be as hard. I've got three more semesters and a year of internship before I'm let loose. I'm ready.

I'm enjoying Christmas break in all its non-schoolwork glory. Kiddo and I have watched a movie, yakked, gone out to eat with his group (we filled up about the entire party room at Buffalo Wild Wings tonight), celebrated his 16th birthday, and picked up his new/old truck. I've gotten some Christmas shopping done and we're gearing up for Christmas which looks to be the best one yet.

Tonight, I'm buried under my covers with my crochet. I'm making a special Christmas gift. I don't know who all will be getting crochet gifts this year since the semester effectively knocked me on my rear and sucked every bit of spare time I had away from me, but I'll do my darnedest to get a few out at least. I was able to finish another baby blanket for a friend, I did a couple more basic crochet baby hats, and the project I'm doing now won't have pictures posted until the recipient gets it.

Happiness is fun yarn, a crochet hook, and a warm home.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Basic Crochet Baby Hat

It's hard to improve on a good thing and you just can't beat a basic baby hat as a quick crochet project. I found this pattern on the Internet a long time ago and it has been one of my most-used patterns. It's double crochet the whole way except for the single crochet border at the end, but it's the perfect project for a quick baby shower gift or for a crochet newbie. Here's the pattern: 

I just finished two more hats last night. This is the perfect project to do while I'm watching a football game. I crochet in-between plays and during commercials and at the end of the game I have a finished baby hat and I'm reveling (hopefully!) in my favorite team winning the game. 

Today, I'm working on stuff for class this week and getting ready to administer the WJ-III ACH for class, but I'm sneaking in crochet time on a baby blanket for a co-worker. The Denver Broncos are playing tonight so I plan to multi-task like nobody's business. Go Broncos!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

To Shop or Not To Shop on Thanksgiving Day

Recently on Facbook, I noticed a graphic going around encouraging folks not to shop on Thanksgiving Day. I've even seen a community, "Say No To Shopping on Thanksgiving Day". The idea behind it is that it's a family day and people shouldn't be made to work on Thanksgiving Day when they could be at home with their families. How dare those money-grubbing, white-collar, business men who are running their business from some fancy corner office!

I'm not a big shopper anyway. If I'm in a department store, I like to go in, get what I need and get out fast before I catch whatever disease everyone else seems to have that makes them stay in a store for hours, looking for that perfect something they don't need. I'm all for families being together on a day set aside for our country, for food being shared among family and friends. I grew up with a big extended family and big dinners, football games, leftovers, achy bellies, and lots of chatter and laughs. However, someone on my Facebook news feed posted an interesting thought: what about the people who DON'T have family and/or friends to share Thanksgiving with? That maybe they would RATHER work on Thanksgiving Day because it keeps them busy instead of sitting at home alone while everyone else is enjoying the day. I thought about the typical Wal-Mart greeter - older, usually retired, and gives a warm hello to everyone coming in and a cheerful goodbye to those going out. Maybe that person is widowed, their kids live in other states (assuming they even have kids), and they have no one to cook for. Maybe by working, they're staying connected with the world, even if it's to just briefly chat with perfect strangers. Yeah, if I were that person, I think I'd rather work that day, too.

It really gave me pause. A seemingly innocent and justified stand against consumerism may not be as black and white as people may think. So if you do decide to get out on Thanksgiving Day this year, be a little extra nice to those cashiers, greeters, waiters/waitresses, and salespeople. They may have another reason for working on Thanksgiving other than because their boss told them to and a kind word or two might just make their day a little bit brighter.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The End of the Weekend

I've spent the last two days working on a take-home exam for class. The funny thing about take-home exams - they take a lot longer to finish than one taken in the classroom, to the point where I almost wish we could have taken the exam in a classroom setting. Almost. I still haven't finished, but my brain just refused to answer another question so I took advantage of my son's request to go four-wheeler riding for a few minutes.

I don't remember who it was that told me grad school was going to be easier than going through the undergrad program, but when I remember who it was, I'm giving them what for. Grad school is TOUGH! I'm counting the days until I'm finished as my little ticker at the top of blog shows. :)

For tonight, I'm crocheting:

and I'm reading my checked-out book on my Kindle. Oh yeah, I'm watching Once Upon A Time then I'm switching it to the football game. I may get a snack. All the things that my brain needs in order to re-charge for the busy week ahead. Because I have a long way to go and it's not going to go by any faster than it is right now and I have a life to enjoy along the way. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Where is My Fall Break?

I'm sitting at my desk at my graduate assistantship when in an alternate universe (a universe with a true fall break), I am leisurely sipping my coffee while still in my Star Wars pajama pants. I grew up without a fall break. Back in the stone ages when I was in school, we had spring break, Thanksgiving break, and Christmas break. We were off for Labor Day and the occasional teacher in-service day (which back in those days was very rare). When I came back to college, I was introduced to this wonderful new thing - fall break. A few days in the middle of the fall semester where I could sleep in, relax, and work on my projects at my own pace instead of like a panicked maniac. Enter grad school. I'm working today and shadowing my school psychologist tomorrow. My fall break will consist of Tuesday afternoon because I won't have class. I'm getting the feeling I was robbed somewhere.

That's okay, though. It's still a beautiful Monday morning. I love seeing the University of Memphis waking up, people walking by, workers getting their day started, and I have an awesome window to look out of. And I have my coffee. Good morning!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Estoy Aprendiendo a Hablar Español

The subject line above should translate to "I am learning to speak Spanish". At this point, I have to trust that is telling me the truth and I'm not saying something awful like, I'm a total dunce at speaking Spanish. Which would be true, but a little humiliating to share with folks.

My language of choice in college was German. I spent four semesters learning greetings, phrases, vocabulary, and delving into German literature. My reading comprehension of German is better than my German-speaking skills, but it's a work in progress. It's hard to learn a language fluently when you're not immersed in it daily. Spanish, however, might be a different ballgame. In my days of shadowing my school psychologist, I'm noticing that speaking Spanish would be a benefit to a school psychologist in Memphis so I decided to start trying to learn to speak Spanish. I signed up on Fluencia to start taking lessons, I followed Huffington Post, the Spanish version, on Facebook and Twitter, and I'm hoping between the two I'll start getting a feel for Spanish. In-between going back to college in my late 30s, going to grad school now, learning German and now learning Spanish, my poor brain is just being used and abused.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Out with Summer and in with Fall

In the small gap of time it took me to relax a bit, I realized fall has arrived. The trees are slowly changing colors, I'm seeing pumpkins and mums on people's front porches, and yes, I even decorated my office desk with Halloween paraphernalia. My days are still busy. I'm up at 5am and I'm on the go until well after dark, but they're productive days and I'm starting to get into the swing of being a grad student. Even so, summer went by way too quickly. Although it's temporary, I have enjoyed being out in the country again - seeing deer and turkey wander through the yard, hanging my clothes out on the line, riding four-wheelers with kiddo, and we're gearing up for the nights of weenie and marshmallow roasts.

This week I'm doing my checkouts for the WISC-IV and RIAS and doing my second administration of the WJ-III. Now, I've got to share a bit with the WJ-III. The WJ stands for Woodcock-Johnson. Yes, you read that right. Wipe the Coke off your computer monitor. The really pitiful thing is Mr. Woodcock's first name was Richard. *sigh* I did a search on Woodcock-Johnson on Twitter and got an eyeful. You ought to try it sometime. You'll never be able to say the name of that test battery again without snickering. 

I turned in one lit review paper and two response papers (we read journal articles and write our responses to them), I'm almost caught up on my reading in general for my classes and I'm looking forward to a little bit of R&R this weekend. We're technically on fall break for the next few days although I really won't be. It'll still be kind of nice to slow down a bit before gearing back up for the second half of the semester. 

The joys of smelling laundry that's been air-dried

Our little deer family
Our little bird family

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Millington Air Show 2013

Although it's not quite on Sun 'n Fun/Oshkosh level, Memphis does have an air show - Memphis Airshow held each year at the airport in Millington. We weren't able to do the night air show this year, but we did manage to eck out some time on Saturday to go see some planes and watch some favorite folks fly. 

The local EAA 182 chapter was there with a booth and some information on what they do (Yes, Frank, I promise I will pay my dues here eventually *sheepish grin*). Many people had their planes on static display. The only military aircraft this year on display were the ones privately owned since Congress is sequestered, we were told. That also explained why the Blue Angels didn't fly this year. Instead, the Canadian Snowbirds generously came down and entertained us with a very impressive show. I loved the air ribbon they did representing the United States and Canadian military forces, not to mention the air heart although I'm sad to say I couldn't catch who it was done for so if anyone was able to hear who it was, let me know!

We didn't wander around too much as my son was more interested in the air show, but we had a great time. We saw Skip Stewart fly, Gene Soucy and Teresa Stokes, Matt Younkin among others. 

AND I'm proud to say that I went the whole afternoon without a single bit of sunburn on me thanks to gobs of sunscreen and my handy-dandy mini-umbrella. Yup, it was a good day.

Gene Soucy and Teresa Stokes
They had excellent lemonade!

The *ahem* "runaway" Cub

Miss Ellie

The Canadian Snowbirds

Skip Stewart

Thursday, August 29, 2013

First Week of Grad School

Where do I begin? I'm sitting here trying to gather my thoughts into some sort of order and the first thing that pops in my head is I have to read at least 89 journal articles over the course of the semester. That's not counting research on other papers. So I think the best place to start is the beginning...


Tommy had a friend spend the night Sunday night so I crammed three boys into my Mustang to take them off to school and get into UofM to my grad assistant office. This is my long day - no classes, just G.A. stuff. I went to the library at lunch to do a bit of reading and couldn't resist an Einstein Bros frozen pumpkin pie something-or-other drink. 


First day of class! G.A. stuff in the morning and then my first class: Psych Ed Assessment I. This is the where-the-rubber-meets-the-road class. If I make it through this one, the road is a bit easier the rest of the way. Thirteen administrations of around seven different tests over the course of the semester - testing and writing up the reports. Also, we're doing weekly reading logs and we got half a batch of test booklets and the rest I purchased at the office. So already on day one I've got a buttload of papers on my hands. 


G.A. stuff in the morning, lab for an hour (that goes along with Psych Ed Assessment), and my next class: Intro to School Psych. In the lab, we each got two bags of test kits, along with a reminder of just how much these things cost so please keep up with them if you don't want to pay for them. You break it, you buy it. And more paperwork. And a little bit of math which succeeded in confusing everyone. 

My Intro to School Psych class? We're reading 40 journal articles over the course of the semester, doing a summary on a couple of Who's Who and Who Was Who folks in the school psychology field, and doing a project on a certain topic. My topic happened to have the longest presentation time which I found out today. By the time I get done researching and all that wonderful stuff, I get to stand in front of the class towards the end of the semester and give an hour-and-a-half presentation. Yeah. AN HOUR AND A HALF. Oh yeah, and I got an expanded folder filled with research for that. So my car looked like this that afternoon:

Which prompted me to buy this:


Developmental Psych! This one involves 49 journal readings with reflective summaries of each and about three papers. Then I have my G.A. stuff. 


Right now they're free, but that's fixing to change as we've got another project to do each week for my Intro to School Psych class. BUT, we got to eat cake and cookies and we got coffee and I was nice and sugared up for the afternoon. 

That pretty much sums up my first week of grad school. It's past my bedtime and I'm beyond sleepy, but I wanted to post a little something about my first week. I'm sure I'll think of some funny stuff that happened to add later. Speaking of funny stuff, I do have a little thing to add. So for the last month and a half, we've had a gaggle/group/gang of turkeys roaming around our little spot and I posted a video of them one morning. They were on our driveway and I startled them when I drove up. They forgot they could fly and the result was just hilarious: 

Life in the country.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wrapping Up The Week

No matter how hold I get, I will never tire of buying school supplies. Of course, by the time high school rolls around, there really isn't much to buy, but kiddo did bring home a list of a few things his teachers expected them to have and I jumped on it. 

Yup. School has started back up in Memphis and this year is a little different. We're all under the Unified School District. No more Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools. We're under the same umbrella. The jury is still out on how this is going to work and there are still a few kinks. One being the transportation issue. I don't know about other schools, but with my son's school there are some new folks coming in which means new bus routes need to be mapped out which takes time. I'm hoping they get it ironed out by the end of next week, but it really isn't a big deal dropping him and his friend off at school. They have the student drop-off line pretty well organized even with the loads of folks coming in and out. This time next year all the what we used to call the Shelby County Schools will probably have their own districts which will throw the bus schedules in turmoil again so my personal view is to not get too bent out of shape over this year's. There will be plenty more bus schedule woes to fret about next year.

This was my first full week at my GA position as well and I'm going to love it. I'm working with a good group of folks. The atmosphere is laid back, but professional. And the dress is business casual which is kind of fun after spending four years of my undergraduate stint dressed in t-shirts and yoga pants. I'm starting to learn a lot so the next three years will be interesting.

The end of summer is looming! Soon it will be time for sweaters, cook-outs next to the fire, and football. We've really enjoyed our summer this year. After the move, it was relaxing getting re-used to country life again - riding four-wheelers, hanging clothes out on the line, regularly seeing deer and turkeys in our yard and hearing the owls hoot at night. I think I'm a city girl now. I enjoy having things close and I like being able to enjoy the Memphis downtown life. But for now, I'll enjoy the country. Kiddo loves it and I foresee him wanting to live someplace like this when he gets out on his own. My country boy.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Little Bit of Updating

Back when I first got divorced, an old friend picked up a slightly used bookcase at a yard sale. It had obviously been used in a child's bedroom, but it was the perfect size for my bathroom at the time. Later, it was a great fit in the small bathroom of my townhouse on the UofM South Campus.

The only problem was that it was ugly, just pitiful looking. It needed updating badly, but I just did not have the time, place or resources to do it with. Fast forward to a week and a half ago. I finally got the resources, the time, and the place so I dug in. I had squirreled away a small can of paint in a beautiful color that I had gotten for free, waiting for the day when I knew I would be able to use it on something. I eagerly dug it out, plopped the bookcase on the carport, grabbed the electric sander and went to town. The end result is not a work of art, but I was happy with it. It matches my bathroom colors and is great for storing the things I use regularly. 

A face only a mother could love...

Friday, July 05, 2013

Friday Night

I was determined to get through all my unpacking and getting things stored by today and I pretty much made it. I have to buy a smaller filing folder for my papers to store under my bed and put up a curtain rod for my curtain, but for the most part I can finally relax a bit and enjoy things - like enjoying meatball sandwiches for supper, sitting on the front porch in the swing, watching a summer thundershower roll through, finally reading on a book I haven't had a chance to do in a week or two, fixing myself some hot chocolate and snuggling up in my shabby chic (still need a few more things, but it's getting there) room with my soft lights and rose-scented candle. 

Friday night in the country. I'll take it.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Moving Day!

It's kind of cool how we can separate our lives into neat little definite chapters. I've had many in my life and my latest one is just starting. My latest chapter ended with this little piece of paper:

My next chapter begins with a move. In order to save on expenses and get Tommy in a place where he can spread out a little bit (like all teenage boys need to do), we moved back in with Mom and Dad while I finish out my graduate studies. Once I made the decision and worked everything out, the move happened relatively quickly. I had been living on campus in Graduate Student Family Housing in a small, but efficient 640 sq. foot townhouse so I had my things pared down pretty well. Or so I thought. By the end of my packing, I had given away or thrown out ten large garbage bags of things. For those of you who think you have your life and stuff whittled down, try moving into a smaller place. I guarantee the things you just can't live without will find their way into a rubbage pile or the local Goodwill. I felt good about being able to let go of things that just weren't important. Much of it would have been duplicates anyway as Mom already had it - brooms, cleaning supplies, etc. 

One problem I discovered about moving from a small place is once you get enough boxes packed, you run out of room TO pack. It wasn't long until I had a makeshift tunnel through my apartment, labeled boxes everywhere. I was never so happy to see my Dad, Jim, and kiddo start loading up the truck and trailer with my things. Three truckloads and two trailerloads later, we were moved into our new place and the unpacking began. 

Day three in our new place and I'm just about completely unpacked. We've had a good time. It's nice to be able to sit and visit with Mom and Dad. It's nice to be in a spot where I can put some money back into savings and get geared up for when I'm finished with grad school and can buy a house. And it's nice to be back on the old homestead where deer wander into the yard and you can actually count the stars at night. I'm a bit of a hybrid - half country girl, half city girl. I think ultimately I'll live in the city. I like the convenience of being five minutes away from the grocery store, restaurants and move theaters and being around other folks. Right now, though, I plan to enjoy country living even it's a little hard on the gas expenses and I definitely plan to thoroughly enjoy this next month of summer vacation before things start getting hectic again. 

I'm set up and ready for the lazy, hazy days of summer! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lazy Summer Days

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer's day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time." ~ John Lubbock

I found that quote on the inside of a magazine. Although technically it's not officially summer until tomorrow, Mother Nature isn't always on the same page as the summer solstice and I've been enjoying the days as if it were summertime.

Job: I've been working at my part-time job on campus which is stress-free. About five or six of us work 2-3 hour shifts at a time so it's not a ton of money, but it's enough to keep me in gas money and little extras as they pop up.

TV Shows: Dad's been filling me in on the good shows to watch and one of them that kept popping up in our conversation was Justified. I kept putting it off because there just wasn't much time to watch a whole lot of TV during the semester, but once summer break started I began catching up with the past episodes. I'm in love. I'm trying to get all caught up before Season 5 starts in January. 

Crocheting: I'm trying to finish up a granny square afghan. After that, I'm continuing with baby crochet projects. Here soon I'll be starting Christmas gifts. It's that time of year again...

Playing Video Games: I finally finished Dragon Age II. It was a bittersweet ending. I started Skyrim and Halo so those will keep me entertained for quite a while, I think. I'd like to play Alan Wake and I downloaded Fable III since it was free. 

Reading: To understand the Halo games a bit more, I'm reading the Halo series. It's a bit difficult to read because it gets pretty technical and my eyes start to glaze over if it gets too wordy with all that jazz. I'm not as interested in the innards of a grenade half as much as I am about the person wielding it. I'm working through the Mitford series by Jan Karon, too. Oh yeah, and catching up with my Wonder Woman comics. I've started doing some research reading for the fall. I need to have research techniques reviewed so it's fresh again. 

Softball: I had to miss out last year, but I'm back to playing again this year. We're not the best in the world, but we have a good time and softball has pretty much been a constant in my life for about 30 years. I'm not a star player by any means, but I can hold my own for the most part. It's a great way to keep active. 

Suddenly summer break has gotten shorter. There never seems to be enough time to get everything done. To top it off, I've got a bit of a life change coming up in the next few weeks that will keep both me and kiddo busy. His summer has been pretty darn full, too. He just bought a 450 dirtbike and after he gets back from a visit with his Dad, he'll be tearing the place up on that thing. 

Granny squares - one of my favorite things to make!

Friday, June 07, 2013

College Grad!

I've been so busy catching up with friends and family, crocheting, reading, gaming, and basically doing all the stuff that I haven't been able to do much during my four-year college stint that I forgot to post an important milestone: graduation! Finally! After a divorce 5-1/2 years ago and a layoff 4-1/2 years ago, at age 40 I am now a college graduate. The reality of it comes in bits and pieces - when I fill out online forms and they ask for my educational level, when I realize I have nothing to study for, in the quiet moments when I'm not doing anything.

There were times when I thought it might be too hard. There were times when I thought it was too much work. There were times when I wondered why I was even there. But I consistently pressed on despite what was going on in my brain because I knew that no matter what kind of insecurities threatened to seep into my head, I was doing the right thing. Being a full-time college student is hard enough. Being a full-time college student with a teenager is a bit more challenging.

But the world didn't end and May 12th, 2013 (G-Day) arrived. My family was there to support me and tease me (I still think my Dad was the loudest one in there). I joked and laughed with the fellow graduates sitting close to me. I watched as each student was announced and walked across the stage to receive the book their diploma would later be slipped into (we actually get them in the mail). I saw friends receive their doctorate degrees, their master degrees, their undergraduate degrees - all the faces that had become so familiar to me over the last few years. By the time my turn came, I was a bundle of nerves, the noise inside the Fedex Forum completely muted. I handed my name card to the assistant who passed it on to the announcer who called my name and I walked across the stage to shake the hand of the first female University of Memphis President, Shirley Raines. I made it the rest of the way across without tripping over my feet and floated on air back to my seat. The noise volume in the Forum went back up. I had done it. Four years of studying, stressing, researching, and reading all led up to the moment that went by in seconds. I was a Pannell college graduate, graduating with cum laude honors. The first one in our immediate family.

The ride isn't quite over yet. I'm taking advantage of the down time summer break is providing me, but come fall semester, I start my graduate studies in School Psychology. I'm looking forward to it as it will be a different kind of studying, a different kind of workload, and the final stage of my college career (unless I decide to get my doctorate later). I feel accomplished. It's been a long, hard, and sometimes heart-breaking road, but I'm at the best time of my life and I'm enjoying every day of it.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday

As a family tree researcher, one of the things I cherish most is when I can get a picture to match up with a name. All of a sudden, I can see the war records were right! So-and-so DOES seem to have brown hair (at least as much as a black-and-white photo can reveal) and he does have a slender build. Photos are part of what brings a person to life for me and really make them a part of the bigger story of my family history.
Troy Pannell b. 1919 Dad's uncle

Luke Ladell Bailey b. 1895 and Willie Eugene Bailey (Hall) b. 1893  - my Dad's grandparents

My Uncle Pete, my Grandma Lois (Pannell/Allen/Bailey), and my Dad

My Grandma Sanders (on Mom's side) b. 1920, my snazzy-looking great-uncle Bert Sanders b. 1897, and Bertha 

From my biological side of the family: Lillie Belle Crouch (Graves) and  Barbara Carter (Crouch)

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Alfred Willis O'Kelley

Today I was looking up a few things on Alfred O’Kelley. Given my adoption, I knew nothing of my great-grandfather except for what I got from relatives later on in life. That's one of the downfalls of genealogy research. Unless you can grab relatives who knew someone in your family before everyone dies off, you’re left with piecing together a possible scenario of what they’re like based off of census records, land records and anything else you’re able to run across. I have relatives still living who knew and loved Alfred, but here is what I found out with my own research:

Alfred Willis O’Kelley was born January 8, 1896 (same day as Elvis, just a tad earlier) and died October 23, 1977 (when I was four years old).

1900 census: Alfred’s family was living in Township 8 Newburg, Beat No. 1, Franklin County, Alabama. He was listed as Alford O’Kelley. I found out Edward and Nancy’s birthdates (his parents, my great-great grandparents) and THEIR parents birthplace on this census which was information I didn’t have before. It looks like I’ll be taking a virtual trip back in time at some point to Georgia around the Civil War era which should be interesting. (This is why I have so much trouble focusing on one person at a time – it’s so tempting to go here, there and yonder and before you know it, I’m in a different state, different era, looking up a completely different person in the tree. It takes all the self-control I have to not go chasing rabbits everywhere.) So! Continuing on with the 1900 census. Head of the household was Edward (aka Irvin) D. O’Kelley at the young age of 26. His wife, Nancy (Hardin) O’Kelley is 30 (a bit of a cougar, I see) and is from Alabama as are her parents. They had four sons and a daughter at the time. Mackey, Daily (Dailey), Alford (Alfred), Effie, and George W. All born in Alabama. There are a couple of other O’Kelley families which I would like to think are siblings of Edward’s, but I’ll have to explore that one at a later date. I saved the 1900 census so I can go back to it whenever I need to. But I will say this, just looking at it, it’s possible that I’m looking at Edward’s parents, John W. and Rebecka O’Kelley, born in 1826 and 1830, respectively, which would put them in their early 30s when the Civil War broke out. So John probably would have served in the War, barring any major health issues.
Edward’s children were all small, too small to work. Edward was a farmer. He could read, but could not write. He was renting their home at the time and it was a farm. As a side note, John O’Kelley owned his farm so if he really is Edward’s father (and my great-great-great grandfather), then there is a possibility Edward was renting from him.
At this time, Alfred is four years old and the next census taken would have been in…

1910.  Alfred is now 14 years old. His family now lives in Burnsville, Mississippi in Tishomingo County. His father, Edward, is listed as Irian D. Okelley 37, his mother as Nancy E. Okelley 39 (I see she shaved off a couple of years on her age, that sly thing) and the children are as follows: Dady (Dailey) 15, Alfred W. 14, Effie J. (who I suspect is Elizabeth) 12, Willy 11, George W. 7, Rebecca 5, May 3. Edward and Nancy have been married for 17 years by this point. There was a bit of a discrepancy here. In the 1900 census, Edward listed his father as being from Georgia. In the 1910 census, he listed him as being from Kentucky. I don’t care how thick of an accent you’ve got – I’m not sure how you would have messed that up. Then again, if Edward was working his can off day in and day out, he probably had little patience for a seemingly useless interruption like census-taking. I could picture him saying in response to being asked where his father was born, “Oh hell – I don’t remember. Georgia or Kentucky or somewheres. Just put down Kentucky.” Thanks, Edward. You know how to make a girl’s job easier. Dady, Alfred, Effie, Willy, and even 7 year old George are listed as farm laborers. Rebecca and May were too young. Another interesting fact is on the census, it says that Nancy had 9 children, but only 7 were living. It doesn’t appear that Mackey made it – he would have been 18 at the time of the 1910 census. There must have been another child born after the 1900 census, but who died before the 1910 census. By this time, Edward has appeared to have learned how to write, but Nancy hasn’t. It’s a bit hard for me to make out the answers, but it appears that Dailey is able to read and write. I can’t tell about the rest of them, but it looks as if the younger ones are unable to do either at this point which makes sense. Edward is still renting a farm at this point. It appears that they are sharecroppers. (note to self: I must start reading up on the history of our area around this period of time and who was doing what/when/where and why.)

1920 census:  Alfred would be 24 by this time, but he wouldn’t be married to Bessy Holley for another 4 years.He didn’t appear to be living at home by the time this census was taken, though. So for now, let’s take a look and see what the family looks like:

The family now resides in Beat 4, Mississippi in Alcorn County. Edward is listed as Irwin Okelley (no disrespect to my great-great grandfather, but I’m starting to wonder if maybe lack of teeth and lack of give-a-damn was causing the census taker to misinterpret Edward’s pronunciation of his name). When I look at the census itself, it looks like “Irvin”. By this time, it appears some of the other children have left home (or died) as well. Dailey, who would now be 25 has left home and has married Rosa Lee Braddock (they married June 12, 1920). Alfred has left (I'll supply more info on that below). Effie J (Elizabeth, possibly) is now 22 and probably married, but I'm not sure on that. Willy, now 21, is gone – whether off to other parts or has died, I don’t know yet. The children left are as follows: George 16, Rebecca 15, Rosie Mae (May) 13, and three new additions: Pearline 10, Irwin 8 (I’m not sure if it’s really Irwin or maybe Edward, Jr. since there seems to be issues with pronunciation going on here and when I look at the census, it looks like it says Jr), and Herman 5. Edward is still renting and is listed as a farmer, general farm (?). This is different than what the previous listings have been. I’m assuming that by the 1920 census, a few changes have been made regarding what questions are asked so I’ll have to research that and see what is going on. Edward is now 45 and Nancy is 50 ( I guess she is settling into the fact that she is simply the age that she is). Edward has listed both of his parents as being born in Alabama. I’m starting to suspect that John (his possible father) is really from Georgia and that Edward is misunderstanding the question. Maybe the census taker is asking where his father is from and Edward is answering according to where his father lives at the time rather than his father’s birthplace. All but Irwin Jr and Herman can read and write which makes me think they are being sent to school rather than working on the farm. None of the children are listed as being farm laborers at this point.

So for now, Alfred has gone AWOL so I decided to do a bit of research on his future wife to see if maybe I could find him. As of the 1920 census, Bessie was 16 and still living at home in Ripley, Mississippi in Tippah County with her father John P (Pinkney) Holly (Holley) 47, mother Emma R Holly 43, and her five sisters: Hedda C 20, Earlie L 13, Flossy M 11, Berchie B 8, and Onie C 5. John is listed as a farmer as well and owned his farm. Well, that was a bit of a dead end. I thought maybe Alfred had boarded with them, but he hadn’t as of 1920.

Then I started thinking he went off to World War I. I checked military records. He registered September 12, 1918 in Corinth, Mississippi, about a year and a half after his brother Dailey and two months before World War I ended. Alfred listed his residence as 4, Rienzi, Alcorn County, Mississippi and I now have a physical description of him. He was of medium, slender build and had brown eyes. I can’t read what color his hair was, but I’m betting it was probably brown as well. He was a mill laborer for D.J. Hall, also in Rienzi so that's where he's been! He listed his father as his closest relative, E. D. O-Kelley and the address listed for his father is Kossuth, Mississippi, Alcorn County.

Between 1918 after World War I ended and 1924 when he married Bessy, Alfred has kind of disappeared. I'm thinking he was probably boarding with someone while working as a mill laborer. I’ll do some more checking around on that, but for now, let’s fast-forward a bit to when he marries Bessy.

Alfred marries Bessy Elvina Holley in February 1924. The next census will be in 1930 and finds them living in Beat 2 in Tippah County, Mississippi. Alfred is now 30 and Bessy (or Bessie as the census spells it) is 26. Alfred is renting a farm apparently next door to his brother-in-law, Earley Holley. It shows neither one of them (Alfred or Bessie) attended school, but both knew how to read and write. It shows Alfred is not a war vet so he apparently didn’t see any action before the end of the war which is understandable seeing as how he signed the draft registration two months before the end of World War I.

Bobby Leland O’Kelley (my grandfather) was born two years after the 1930 census.

1940 census: Alfred, Bessie, and Bobby live in Beat 2, Tippah County, Mississippi. They have lived here since at least 1935. Alfred is a farm laborer on his own farm which he owned. Alfred is 43, Bessie is 39, and Bobby is 8.

Something else I’m finding out. If you pull up information on, don’t go by just what’s typed in there. Look at the actual record yourself because sometimes the information is a little bit different. 

That's about all I've found so far. Family members have told me Alfred built his own place. He was a hard worker and took good care of Bessie. There's about 37 years of his life that I don't have from 1940 until 1977. If any of my O'Kelley people have any pictures or memories of Alfred and his bunch they don't mind sharing, I would love to make a copy and post them on here (or just add to my private file if y'all don't want them posted publicly). Alfred died of a stroke on October 23, 1977 and was in Walnut Creek Cemetery at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church in Tippah County, Mississippi. If you don't mind following streets that aren't paved and street names with numbers rather than actual names, you will find a small, quaint church in the middle of nowhere. If I remember correctly, Alfred, Bessie, and Bobby are buried towards the front on the left side if you're looking at the church.

Oh yeah, let me put a disclaimer out there. I do this for fun. I'm not a professional by any means. I'm just trying to get what information I have out there for the rest of the family to have as well. I've been doing this for a lot of years and it's fun for me to learn about my family history whether it's my biological or adopted family so I hope you enjoy reading about our relatives as much as I enjoy researching them! :)

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Dailey Amorn O'Kelley

Now that I have a bit more time on my hands, I thought I'd take the opportunity to do a bit more research into my family tree. Tonight I researched my great-uncle, Dailey Amorn O'Kelley. Now my O'Kelley side of the family spells their name a couple of different ways: O'Kelley and O'Kelly. Each spelling pops up occasionally, but the accepted spelling appears to be O'Kelley. Here's a bit of history that I've been able to find so far on Dailey Amorn O'Kelley (facts are true to the best of my ability - I may update this at a future date as I find more accurate records.):

Dailey Amorn O'Kelley was born March 3, 1895 to Edward D. O'Kelley and Nancy Hardin in Haleyville, Alabama which is in Winston County. He had four siblings: Alfred Willis, Elizabeth, Rebecca, and Herman. The highest grade he completed was the 8th grade.   At the age of 22, he registered for the WWI draft on June 5, 1917. World War I would continue on until November 11, 1918. He was single at the time of his draft registration. He was tall and of medium build, with light brown eyes and dark brown hair. He was a sawyer (he sawed logs) at a sawmill owned (or managed) by Hall & Ford near Jacinto Precinct in Mississippi. I did a quick Google search and didn't come across Hall & Ford so I'll research that at some other point. He had no children at the time.

1920 Census: (almost three years later)He was a boarder with the Braddock family in Beat 5, Tippah, Mississippi on Braddock Road. He was still single at this point and the census indicates he was able to read and write (which was evident from the 1917 draft card). At this point, he was an engineer at a lumber mill (OA-on account), but it's unclear if it's the same sawmill he worked at before. He would later marry Rosa Lee Braddock who was one of the daughters in the home he was boarding at and who was 20 at the time of the 1920 census. They married June 12, 1920.

1930 Census: Lindsey Braddock (Dailey's father-in-law), Sallie (Dailey's mother-in-law), and Fannie (Dailey's sister-in-law who is now 18) were the only ones living in the house. So far, I've been unable to locate where Dailey and Rosa were living at this time. BUT, in 1935 they apparently were back in Lindsey's home and by the...

1940 Census: Dailey is listed as Daily Okelly and his father-in-law is listed as Lenzie. So now there are only three people in the home: Dailey, his wife Rosa, and Lindsey. I'm assuming Sallie has now passed away as Lindsey is now 66. Dailey's listed as a farmer as well as working at the sawmill.

This is all I've been able to find on Dailey so far. There doesn't appear to have been any children. I have a note (probably from my aunt) that says Rosa could play the piano by ear.

I'll be researching more family members this summer and adding their information as I come across it. If you come across my blog and are doing research on any of the same family members, drop me a line and we can share notes! I don't have my own family tree website right now - time just doesn't allow it, but I always love hearing from other "cousins".

Friday, May 10, 2013

Crochet Twin-Sized Blanket in School Colors

On this rainy Friday morning, I'm curled up in my chair with my yarn, working on another project that I'll be posting here soon. It's been a bit busy this week as every week seems to be these days, but a little re-cap:

1) Finals. This was finals week for me. I had a final in my history class, math class, and a take-home final in my Contemporary Lit class. I feel like I did well in all three and I've gotten grades back on two of my classes so far: B and B+. My last day of finals was Tuesday so I've been like a fish out of water without having anything to study. 

2) Graduation. This is the big week! I picked up my cap and gown on Thursday. We all met in the University Ballroom. First stop was to pick up my announcer card. That was the first bit of proof that I'm really graduating! The second stop was to the pronouncer who had to make notes on my card so he would pronounce my name correctly. My final stop: cap and gown pick-up line. Oh, the joy! I'm looking at it right now as I type this, still a bit shocked that graduation is finally here. 

So that has been my week. In the middle of all that, I finished up on another crochet project. This one was a twin-sized blanket in Visible Music College (here in Memphis) colors I did for a friend of mine's son. It was done in a 5-dc shell stitch in black, lime and white Caron Simply Soft (because that's my absolute favorite yarn for afghan projects), based on a picture of an afghan she sent to me that her grandmother had made for her years ago. I did the fringe based on that same afghan so here are the pictures!

Oh! I can make these custom with your school colors so visit my shop and order yours! College Dorm Room Shell Stitch Crochet Blanket

First, it's time to pick out the yarn!

Here's a close of of what the stitch looks like.
Moving right along!
I added the fringe between the fan stitches.
Finished product!

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Dirt Devil Really Is From Hell

So my writing buddy, Jay, suggested I re-tell my story for posterity. Well, actually, he just wanted to be sure my future grandkids had something to laugh at me about – like they’re not already going to have oodles of things to laugh about me anyway.

I’ve been having some problems with my vacuum. It hasn’t been picking up very well and I had gotten to the point where I was going to go back to the old way of using my broom to sweep my carpet. I looked underneath it for wadded up threads, looked in the tubes for a huge dust bunny clogging things up. This had been going on for about three weeks now. Tonight, I was determined to figure out what was ailing my poor vacuum.

Rewind to about three weeks ago. Now, have a little sympathy for me. I’m an old-fashioned bagged vacuum cleaner girl. I still have yet to fully appreciate having a filter-less vacuum. As a result, I’m not always good about emptying the thing out when I need to. It’s messy. It’s dusty. It makes me sneeze. After I get done emptying it, I feel like everything I just vacuumed is now floating in the air again. It’s at that point that I usually remember that I was going to empty it outside again. Crap. Mental note to actually do that next time. This last time I emptied it in the trash like I normally do, sneezing, coughing, and gagging.

Fast forward up to tonight again. I’m digging around in the tube, feeling for that big ol’ dust bunny that I KNOW has got to be in there somewhere. I take the see-through dirt container off, find a little dust bunny clogging it up. Surely THAT little thing wasn't clogging the whole vacuum up. I empty out what little dirt is in there and re-attach the container. It looks funny. I don’t remember that hole in the middle being that short. Wait a minute. There’s supposed to be a filter there… I start rummaging through the trash. It’s not there. I remember back to three weeks ago. Oops…

So tomorrow I’ll be taking a trip to Target where they hopefully sell the filters for my vacuum. I’ve got the mental note to #1 – not wait so long between vacuuming to empty the filter out. #2 – empty it outside and #3 – make sure I don’t toss the filter out with the dirt. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Crochet Flower Garland Scarf

I'm in the last few weeks of my final semester as an undergrad at University of Memphis and things are exciting and scary at the same time. I graduate the second weekend of May with my bachelor's in Psychology and English Literature. Those of you who know me know it's been a very long and hard road and I have appreciated everyone's encouragement and prayers. I've been accepted into the School Psychology Graduate Program and I start classes this fall which is VERY exciting. UofM has an excellent Psychology program and I feel very proud to be a part of that.

So! On to my latest crochet shenanigans! A friend posted a photo on my Facebook wall asking if I could make it. The flower garland in the photo was red, but I had a couple of skeins of discontinued Elsebeth Lavold Cable Cotton Rose (05) yarn and this is what I came up with:

It was fun to make and I'm hoping to make more of these in the future with different kinds of yarn. I have this particular one for sale in my Etsy shop which I just opened up so bear with me as I go through my growing pains.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

That Thing Has Legs!

I haven't been playing Dragon Age 2 here lately. I had some problems with my Internet connection, but I've gotten a good enough connection to get back on Xbox Live now. I could play Dragon Age 2 offline, but Xbox Live has spoiled me. I want the achievements. Especially after battling this insanely ugly thing:

To top it off, we had to battle the absolute worst thing Dragon Age could put in their world: spiders. I mean, spiders bigger than your body! I can't look when they come in. I just close my eyes and hit A. Repeatedly. Until I hear the battle ending. I get full body shivers every time I come across those stupid things. I had an hour between work so while I was eating, I hopped on to see if I could at least get one quest in. I had no idea I was going to run into this gargantuan thing. All my characters died once. The second time two of us died, but we got it. AND I got my achievement. That Thing Has Legs: Found and killed a varterral. My work here is done.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Coveting Mad Crochet Skills

Ok, so I'm jealous. I love to crochet and I ordered an amigurumi Master Chief (Halo) as a birthday present. The girl made it in record time and almost before you could sing Happy Birthday I was holding a unique, detailed and meticulously-made crocheted Master Chief, complete with weapon. This girl has some mad crochet skills and I so need to figure out how to make those one of these days. For now, I'm shamelessly marketing her website. You can check her out at Deadcraft and see all the neat stuff she creates. If there is a movie/TV Show/comic/video game character, chances are she can make the amigurumi equivalent for it.

Mile-A-Minute Afghan

Today, I'm re-posting my mile-a-minute afghan because it has gotten so much attention and received so many comments.

A while back my friend went through a bit of a nasty divorce and in the process, a few of the crocheted afghans his granny had lovingly made for him were lost. While those afghans could never really be replaced, I attempted to duplicate them. Thanks to the help of a few of his family members, I was able to put together one of the afghans. If you have any questions about details, comment below and I'll get back with you. I know my explanations probably aren't always clear.

In a nutshell, I made nine strips and crocheted them together.I used Red Heart Super Saver in a dark blue and Red Heart Super Saver multi-color in a shaded dusk. I used an I hook because that works best with this worsted acrylic yarn.The first part of the strips pattern I got from the Marvelous Mile-a-Minute pattern out of Our Best Afghans A to Z. That covered the triple crochet shell-looking stitch and the first double crochet round that you see here:

They crocheted up really quick. Okay, now see that double crochet round followed by the single crochet round in the photo above? That's the adjustment I had to make in order to duplicate Granny's afghan. All I did was a double crochet in both loops around each of the nine strips using the dark blue yarn. On the corners, I did two double crochets. You may have to do more depending on the yarn you use. The idea is that it needs to be able to lay flat and not curl up around the corners.

Then it was time to attach these puppies. I used a single crochet stitch with the multi-colored yarn. I laid the strips facing each other and single crocheted each one, going in the two loops of the strips closest to each other, one from one strip and one from the other. See that multi-color going up the middle there? You're seeing the top of the single crochet on the back of the afghan. Just single crochet all the way down until you get to the end. Don't worry - you'll be able to tell. You'll be single-crocheting around the whole thing anyway.

Look at the photo below. It looks nice and flat. Doesn't that look neat?

THEN, I did a single crochet around the whole thing. See how it kind of dips in and then back out? Nothing special was done there - I just single crocheted straight across and it did that naturally. The photo below is the almost-finished project. I hadn't tucked in the ends yet. Sorry about the sideways photo. It's right-side up on my computer. You'll just have to turn your laptop around to see it. :D

Here's the finished product! I can't remember what it measured at. He laid it on his bed which I think is a full-sized bed so I'll post the photo below. He took the photo with his handy-dandy Nokia Lumia which he never fails to remind me is better quality than my stinkin' iPhone. In my defense, I do have the 3. Okay, I have to admit the photo quality of his is much better.

You can check out my Ravelry post here:Mile-A-Minute Afghan

Here are a couple of photos of some of Granny's afghans she made for other family members and the ones I got my inspiration from.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Knit the Brooks

To celebrate the opening of the newest exhibition at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, the Memphis Knit Mafia put a call-out to all knitters and crocheters to put together an eclectic stash of crocheted and knitted pieces to yarn-bomb the Brooks Museum. 

The exhibition is called Angels and Tomboys: Girlhood in 19th-Century American Art and will go until May 12th. 

People started meeting up at 11:00 this morning to either drop off their pieces or help put everything together. 


Our fearless leader demonstrating how to zip-tie the pieces to wherever it needed to go. 


And here we go!

Is that a neat piece?? I wish I had thought to take a picture of it when it was still laid out. It had daisies all over it and that little ladybug is too stinkin' cute!

Love the rainbow!

Knitted with love!

I had to leave after about an hour and a half so I'm not sure what it looks like now except I just know it's a beautiful and colorful-looking display. I don't know how long it's going to stay up so if you're in that neck of the woods, go by and take a peek! And go inside to see the Brooks Museum exhibit!

Free Stuff for Shelby County Schools Teachers

As a newly graduated teacher, our main question was, Where's the free stuff?? Because honestly, what grad student can afford to buy the ...