Tuesday’s Tip: Inserting Images in GoogleDoc Spreadsheets

For the Friends Album, I created a spreadsheet to keep track of the various images and data I’ve assembled about each. One of my goals was to be able to sort the spreadsheet by location, photographer, etc. Imagine my frustration when I first sorted the spreadsheet and the photos didn’t sort with the rows.

I had initially populated the spreadsheet with images by using the menu command Insert -> Image and then resizing each image to fit the designated cell. I’m not quite sure why this command exists, because it was pointless.

After the sort didn’t work, I did some research on how images really should be included in Google spreadsheets. I found this page, which was very helpful. Instead of using the menu command, using this formula embeds the image in the selected cell:

=image(“URL”)

It was a pain to go back and repopulate the spreadsheet with images the proper way, but at least now I can sort the rows and the photos will move with them!

Fearless Females: Favorite Recipe

This post is part of the Fearless Females series for the month of March, Women’s History Month. Thanks to Lisa Alzo for putting together this list!

Today’s prompt: “March 7 — Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.”

As I type this, the sauce described in this post is bubbling on my stove. My absolute favorite meal growing up was my mom’s spaghetti sauce. I loved coming home from school to the familiar smell of it simmering on the stove. It doesn’t taste like any other sauce I’ve ever had.

Including my own attempts to make it. Lest any of my relatives think I’m blasphemous for posting mom’s spaghetti sauce recipe on the Web, never fear. I’m not. Because I don’t have it.

Oh, I have a recipe, but it’s not the real deal.

What I do have is a recipe that mom dictated to me about eight years ago. My mom was dying of cancer and as I spent time with her during those last couple of months, I asked her to tell me how she made some of my favorite dishes.

She struggled with this one. She never made it from a recipe herself and she almost never measured, so she had to guess as to whether she used a tablespoon vs. a teaspoon of this or that.

At a different time, she dictated a recipe for the same dish to my sister, but there were differences. In the photo I’ve taken of my version of the recipe, which is much splattered with tomato sauce, you can see some ingredients written in different ink from the rest. These I added when my sister and I compared notes after I complained that I just couldn’t get the recipe right.

In the years since, I’ve come close to recreating the spaghetti sauce of my childhood. What’s simmering on my stove now smells like what I remember. But it won’t be the same.  I’ll never be able to adjust the recipe for what’s missing.

Mom.

This batch actually came pretty darn close...

Sorta Wordless Wednesday: Face Time

I created this short movie using the Movie from Faces function in Picasa, which I learned how to do at RootsTech in Geoffrey Rasmussen’s session on “Digital Images for Genealogists”:

"Face" Movie created using Picasa -- links to YouTube video.

As Geoffrey pointed out in his session, the photos in the video overlap using the eyes in each photo as the focal point.

This didn’t work perfectly. I was annoyed when I loaded Picasa onto my computer and it wouldn’t let me upload photos just from one folder — I had to let it search either my entire computer or a large subset.

Also, a couple of the photos that I uploaded to Picasa weren’t recognized as faces (even after retouching to try and make them clearer) and so weren’t included in the movie. It was still fun to try out this technique though. I think it’s a neat way to show the progression of time in a person’s life. I could have added captions to the photos and recorded audio to go with the movie as well.

Here’s how to create your own version:

  1. Install Picasa on your computer.
  2. Upload the photos you want included in the movie.
  3. Select the photos and then select Create–>Movie–>Movie from Faces in Selection
  4. You can preview the movie, edit the photos and reorder them. Once you have it to your liking, click Finish Movie and then you can export it or upload it to YouTube.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Technology

This is the first time I’m getting to participate in the 2011 blogging series 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History, developed by Amy Coffin of We Tree. This week’s topic is technology:

“What are some of the technological advances that happened during your childhood? What types of technology to you enjoy using today, and which do you avoid?”

The first thing that popped into my head was personal computers. When I was 5, my family got a Commodore 64 for Christmas. It had a cyan-on-blue screen and if you had software for it, it either needed to be hand-typed from a software book or there were cartridges that could be inserted into the back of the keyboard (I had a few educational games like this). Eventually, we hooked up a cassette contraption to it and then a 5 1/2″ disk drive much later on. I didn’t have Atari growing up — this was it.

Well, not long after purchasing the computer, my mom made the mistake of leaving me alone with it. My 5-year-old brain decided it would be a good idea to see what happened if I pressed every single key on the keyboard… at the same time.

The result wasn’t a good one and the Commodore was soon non-operational. My mom finally dragged a confession out of me. She was none too pleased, but luckily, the computer was still under warranty.

However, there was a lesson to be learned here. Mom said she was going to take me with her to the store to return the computer and I was going to have to tell the sales clerk exactly what I did to break the computer. I was mortified and dreaded the trip. I vividly remember standing in line at Juvenile Sales in Wheaton, Md., as Mom started to explain to the clerk that we needed to exchange the Commodore for a new one.

And then, magically, the clerk, no questions asked, just took the proffered destroyed computer and receipt and said “No problem, I’ll just go get another one.” Mom didn’t even have a chance to segue to my confession to the clerk. It all happened so fast that we were walking out the door with a new Commodore in a matter of minutes. “You really lucked out, Missy,” Mom said (not using what was to become my nickname, but more in a “Listen here, lil’ Missy,” type of way).

Phew!

Another technology that became quite popular as I was growing up was VCRs. I remember the day I came home and Mom had hooked up one in our den. The first thing my sister and I watched on it was a rented videotape of various “Tom & Jerry” cartoons. Earlier this weekend, while surfing IMDb, I came across a series that we used to rent all the time: “Fairy Tale Theater” with Shelley Duvall and various guest stars. Oh my gosh, it’s so weird to watch these now!

Of course, VCRs are now ancient history and I don’t even have a DVD player hooked up right now. I just stream everything. The leaps we’ve made in my lifetime have been amazing to see!

Labors of my Ancestors

In honor of Labor Day, Geneabloggers everywhere are posting what their ancestors did for a living. Here’s mine:

On my father’s side, I have two physicians (my dad and grandfather), a minister, and then many farmers. I also have a grocer (my dad’s maternal grandfather).

On my mom’s side, I have office managers (my mom* and grandma), and a long series of housewives who supported their farmer-husbands. My maternal grandfather was an accountant who descended from merchants.

*My mom also was an artist and entrepreneur, later in life.

For Mother’s Day, “Only One”

This Mother’s Day, I once again call your attention to this poem, which I found folded between the pages of my copy of  “A Genealogy of Corleys”:

"Only One" by George Cooper

The hand-written copy above was addressed “To Mother.” I’ve always wondered who wrote out the poem and the identity of his or her mother. Since this book was once owned by another Corley, they were probably relatives!

SNGF: Matrilineal Line

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings asks us to list our matrilineal line in this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun task.

Here is mine:

Me
My Mom*
Grandma Wild*
Della (Crow) Hayes (1898-1985)
Mary (Gourley) Crow (1858-?)
Mary Ann (Barry) Gourley (?-?)
????????????????

Randy asks if we’ve had our mitochondrial DNA tested — I haven’t ventured down that path yet.

* I’ve read that in this age of rampant identity theft we’re discouraged from naming our parents/grandparents online, so I’m choosing not to identify my mom or grandmother here either fully by name or by vital dates. Am I being paranoid? I’d be curious to hear what other folks think about this.

Wordy Wednesday: Me, My Dad and an Irish Almost Pub Fight

When I was nearly four years old, my parents and I visited England and Ireland (my dad had a medical conference in one of the two countries). It was very eventful and I have many memories: watching the rabbits on the front lawn of our hotel, riding through the Gap of Dunloe in a horse-drawn carriage, etc.

One incident that I *don’t* remember is still one of my favorite tales to tell from that trip. It’s the time I saved my dad from an Irish almost pub fight.

As those who may have traveled to Europe know, many roads were not paved with large or even small vehicles (or even bicycles) in mind. They are beyond narrow. It was down such a road in a town in the Ring of Kerry that my father was navigating our rental car when he accidentally sideswiped another vehicle. That other vehicle was parked outside of a pub.

Being the upstanding citizen that my dad was, he went inside the pub to try and find the car’s owner. Either the proprietor of the establishment or another pub patron told him, “Well, that car belongs to Johnny and he’s in the loo [do the Irish say "loo?"]. We’ll send him out to talk with you when he comes back.”

So my dad returned to our car and waited. I probably didn’t really understand what was happening, but I could feel the tension crackling in the air as my parents waited for the car’s owner to emerge. Influenced by said tension and my small stature, one can hardly blame me for my reaction when the door to the pub opened.

Now, you must understand, my dad was 6’1″ tall. Not a small man. But the man who emerged from the pub was taller, with flaming red beard and hair.

So I did what any other self-respecting almost-four-year-old would do.

I started bawling. And screaming, “A giant! A giant’s going to kill my daddy!”

And then I started crawling over my mom to try and get as far away from the giant as possible.

Well, Johnny the Giant, obviously wasn’t expecting me. He immediately apologized to my dad for scaring me and waved away the damage to the car. “Go on and enjoy the rest of your vacation,” he said.

And so we did. And I eventually forgot about Johnny the Giant until about 10 years later when my mom told me the story. She said Johnny probably wasn’t even the owner of the car that my dad hit — the bar patrons probably wanted to play a joke on the American tourists by sending out the biggest, scariest man in the bar. Well, what’s the biggest, baddest Irishman against four-year-old me? A big ol’ softie, that’s what.