Thursday, March 31, 2011

Some of my photography...


Will upload much more soon!

Silvia <3

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Man, I feel old!

Okay, sure, my 47th birthday is just around the corner (yes, I've never been one to hide her age, bring it on!), but I sure never expected to see things I own, or that I remember clearly, in a museum.

But, I digress. I wrote about our trip to Stanford in my blog at Caringbridge (you can read it here ) and how we were all of a sudden left with a whole day to do... nothing because they cancelled Nicky's surgery. If it would have been a great sunny day, I would have taken Nicky to San Francisco or the beach but it was raining cats and dogs so I felt doing something indoors would be more appropriate.  I googled museum on my iPhone and the Computer History Museum popped up, just a few miles from the hotel, and it looked like it had a video-game section, so Nicky was sold. When we got there the clerk told us that they were having some 'glitches' today and the entrance would be free. Glitches? I noticed none of the monitors were working, monitors that usually have some mini-documentaries playing throughout the entire exhibit so I was a little bummed, but the glitches were fixed within the hour, so then we tracked back. What a cool place!!!

This gadget here caught my attention. It was a programmable calculator made in 1965 by a company called... drum roll please... OLIVETTI! Yes, Olivetti is the 'main' company in my hometown of Ivrea in Italy, my dad worked for Olivetti for 50 years! This calculator was the first of its kind because it had the ability to store programs and data on magnetic strip cards. It was the very first calculator that was also a computer of sorts, it sold 40,000 units! I need to ask my dad if he remembers it when I talk to him today.

You will never guess what this silly looking thing is. In 1969 Neiman-Marcus offered this 'kitchen computer' in their Christmas catalog! For $10,600 you got this computer, a cookbook, an apron, and a two-week programming course. It had a built-in cutting board and it came with a Honeywell 316 minicomputer. The interface consisted in binary switches and lights. None were sold, LMAO!

In the early to mid '90s I was a manager for a computer software and videogame store called Babbage's (only a few stores survived the merges) and I remember having all of these software packages on my shelves and explaining to people what 'Windows' was. Isn't that crazy?
The history of PAC-MAN. Nicky basically "parked" in this section of the museum, they had areas that explained the histories of some of the games and they had in display every videogame system ever made! They even had games you could actually PLAY, so Nicky loved it. While he soaked all of this up I roamed around the museum looking at what he considered 'boring' stuff such as the computers made for NASA, Mainframes, old calculators, old punchcard machines and tons of other amazing stuff. I was completely fascinated to look at these old looking things and calculators as big as a room. I actually spent quite a bit of time in the 'Internet' area. They had a slideshow of website's main pages as they appeared in the 90s. Sad part is, I remember all of them! Sigh.

In the gift-shop I spotted Computer Engineer Barbie. LMAO!

Later at Target I spotted "Kitty Care Vet" Barbie and "Pizza Chef" Barbie. Didn't realize they were making all there Barbies nowadays! I have boys so I am completely out of the Barbie loop I guess!
On our way back home, passing through Gilroy, I stopped at a little Farmer's Market to get some fruit and I asked Nicky if he wanted to try Garlilc Ice Cream. Uhhh... no. Even I passed. I will try anything but even I had to pass on this one!!

The last stop was at Casa De Fruta, we love this place. I took this pic here, don't they look delish?

Photography and Photoshopping is really helping me right now so I am doing more and more to help me get out of my funk. I know that if it wasn't photography it could easily be food, or alcohol or drugs, so I try everything I can to stray from the obvious ways people react to severe depression by doing something I love, even if that means the laundry gets backed up or whatever it is does not get done. Nicky's EB is taking it's toll on him and me more and more as it has been for the past 14 years, Greg's recovery is slow and frustrating as heck, his mood is really awful at times and even Connor has problems at school, he told me the other day reading to him is 'torture', which would explain why he's failing reading and his teacher and principal are considering retaining him and make him repeat second grade. It may be my fault, I don't read to him enough, I wish I had someone, anyone, that could help me with him, I feel as though I am so busy with everything else he's left behind. Even though I am having a hard time keeping up with my school work (mainly for my math class), dropping any of my classes, as my husband suggested, is completely out of the question. It's the only thing nowadays I look forward to. I look at other people's lives and they seem so simple, their gripes are so minute compared to the burden I have to carry every single day, a burden I did not cause. I have questions for God, tons. I don't really ask 'why me', as there are plenty of people dealing with children with health issues, I just wonder why he had to throw Greg's enourmous health issues in my lap as well. Don't I have enough on my plate? I spend so much time changing bandages and taking care of Nicky's needs that many times I am left with very little time to take care of Greg's and Connor's. I want to be the best mom I can for him, I try so hard to do everything for him, but there is only one of me! THERE IS ONLY *ONE* OF ME! I can't do it all! Why God? WHY???

Tears are streaming down my face and it's a good thing. I've been trying to cry for the past several days without success. Thanks for listening and thank you for letting me vent.


Friday, March 04, 2011

Count the Waves Freebies...

Hey everyone, I finally have something NEW! Took me a while, but I've truly forgotten how much doing this kind of stuff really relaxes me. I will try to have new stuff more often.

What you see above is a preview of a WALLPAPER I made. You can download it HERE.

For the SCRAPBOOKERS out there, I have saved the quote as a free WORDART. You can download it HERE.

Finally, I also made this into an Incredimail Letter... You can download that HERE.

Please enjoy! No need to say 'thank you', but it would mean a LOT to me if you LIKED my AVON page on Facebook!!!

God Bless!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Only 8% Irish?

As everyone that knows me knows, aside my passion for vintage photography and photography in general, genealogy is absolutely fascinating to me. My genealogy is fairly straight forward, I've been able to trace all branches to my family tree to the 1800s, and some even as far back as the late 1700s, and I am still in Italy. There is no " I am 1/4 this and 1/8 that" for me, I am 100% purebred Italian. There are some mysteries though... like the famous heirloom ring that my cousin has, supposedly my aunt was given this ring who belonged to my great-grandmother, my father's father's mother, and which has been inherited from the 'female' branches, which would mean at one time it belonged to a gal, my great-great-great-grandmother whose name was Lucia Callegari, born in the late 1700s. I did find a Lucia Callegari born at the same time in some castle in Austria but I don't know if it's the same person. That part of Italy at that point in time was part of the Austrian empire, so... hmmm? I would need to head back to Italy to research further and find out more. Another mystery that might take me out of Italy is from my mom's side. This beautiful woman in this picture was my maternal grandmother's mom, her name was Carolina Ariano. Supposedly, either her family or her husband's family was from Montenegro, which is an absolutely breathtaking area on the Adriatic sea, north of Greece, which used to be part of the former Yugoslavia. Of course I have nothing to substantiate this claim by my uncle, who is only retelling stories, but that side of the family is very dark hair/skinned, so it would fit, who knows?

Keeping this in mind, the genealogy of my children is something I am also quite interested in. Nicky's dad genealogy is also simple though, his mom is Italian (born in Italy and all) and his dad's family moved to the US in 1938 from Checkoslovakia, in a village that is now in Slovakia. So... Nicky is 25% Slovakian and 75% Italian. Done. Connor though... holy mamma.... I call Greg my mutt because... well, that's what he is, a mutt. The former wife of one of his cousins did his dad's genealogy and it's quite extensive. I was able to expand on it and find tons of records from censuses, but the results are as muddy as ever. Poland, Germany, Ireland, Spain, and many branches we can't even trace back to Europe, although with last names such as Crabbe, Simmons, Bowen, Medler & Stanley, my guess is that they belong somewhere in the UK or Ireland... no? Greg's mom's genealogy is a little simpler, but only from her mom's side. His mom's parents came to the US from Poland in the early 1900s, so his mom is 50% Polish. His grandpa's side though is probably as American as apple pie, who knows where they all come from originally, I can't trace anything back to any other country. I am 'assuming' Anderson is a Swedish last name, but all the other last names involved seem once again either from the UK or Ireland. We have Aldrich, Whitmore (Jacob Whitmore was a Doctor in the mid 1800s in the New York area!), Culver, Clark... one lonely little branch, which would be Greg's great-great-great-grandmother was born in a little city in Ireland called Waterford. Her name was Eliza O'Rourke and her dad was Michael, born there sometime around 1775.

So, what does this all mean? I broke it down in percentages. Greg is 37.5% Polish, 12.5% German, 8% Irish, 1.6% Spanish and... a whopping 40.6% is 'unaccounted' for! Okay, the most unreal thing to me is that he's only 8% Irish. I don't buy it! Greg is covered in freckles, especially on his shoulders and chest, and that is an Irish or perhaps Scottish trait if I ever saw one, even Connor has little freckles on his nose, so there must be more "Northern Europe" going on which in my view takes up probably a BIG chunk of that 40.6%.

My little Connor, hence, is 50% Italian, 18.75% Polish, 6.25% German, 4% Irish, .8% Spanish, with 20.3% unknown, most likely "all" Northern European.