Wednesday, September 9, 2015

GGGT 2015: Meyer Updates

Dad and I visited the memorial of his great-grandparents Meyer, 7/08/15. 
I bought our "Find a Grave" T-shirts for the occasion.
Dad’s mom was Loretta Meyer-Fagerland.  I knew her very well, and I remember her mother, my great grandmother Lottie Wiltse-Meyer.  For more background about this year’s genealogical adventure through the Plains States, read this post.  If you’re already familiar with the trip and would like to read more about what I saw and learned about the Meyer branch, read on!        

Saturday, August 15, 2015

GGGT 2015: Fagerland Family Update

The Fagerland name came down to me through my grandfather Warren.  My 2015 Great Grand Genealogy Tour (GGGT) of the Plains States included ND and MN, which are obviously very dense in Fagerland history.  This post summarizes what I learned about Fagerland ancestors on the tour.  It will make a little more sense if you first read the post I wrote before taking the trip.  When you are ready to see what I learned, read on.      

My 3rd-great-uncle Jacob Fagerland in the cemetery where my 3rd-great-grandfather Anderson is
buried in an unmarked grave.  Trinity Cemetery, Wegdahl, Chippewa County, MN, 7/13/15

Sunday, July 5, 2015

GGGT of the Plains States

On Tuesday, I will leave home for my 2015 Great Grand Genealogy Tour, the GGGT of the Plains States.  I've been preparing all year, especially last month.  There's not much preparation left to do except announcing it!  Read on if you'd like to follow where I'm going, what I'm doing, and why I do it.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

5TH FRIDAY - How To Do Those Things You Never Get Around To

"What do you do with those items that never seem to make it off your to-do list?"  I posed this question to my Facebook friends in frustration last year.

See, I'm a big believer in managing time well.  I suppose I'm a little religious about it.  I believe that time management is not only a nice suggestion, but one of the most important ways to keep your life on track.  I see people waste a lot of time because they don't seem to be particularly aware of what they need to do or even what they want to do, let alone how to get it done.  I, too, have gone through periods where I didn't manage my time well, and I ended up wasting time being lazy or spinning my wheels.  I quickly felt disoriented and overwhelmed.  I need to keep my stress in check, so managing my time is literally vital for my health. 

One of my pet peeves is those things on my to-do list that just never seem to get done!  Even when you're organized, it seems that there are always priorities, deadlines, and things that come up.  It never seems to be the right time to "Put chain lock on door".  Forget about "Sort through / digitize old tapes"!  That tires me out just thinking about it.  These items languish in to-do limbo for months or years.  

After seven months on the to-do list, it finally got done!

My Facebook community offered up some good ideas and words of wisdom.  I continued to think about this issue.  I'd tried the standard advice, "If it's been more than a year, admit that it will never get done," but I felt I could do better than that. 

My experimental solution was "5th Friday".  This will take a bit of explaining.  I have always set aside Fridays for Personal Business, PB, those important tasks that have nothing to do with my career.  PB Friday is for everything from buying shirts to taking the car in for repair.  I recently set up a four-week monthly cycle of PB Friday priorities. 

On the 1st Friday of the month, I prioritize my to-do list by "Due Date".  Anything due within a month has to get done. 

On 2nd Friday, I prioritize my to-do list by "Urgency".  

3rd Friday, at least this year, is for "Home and Office".  I created this category because I moved several months ago, and it seems that there is always something to be updated, purchased, returned, mounted, etc. 

4th Friday is for tasks that need to be done "Monthly, Quarterly, or Annually," like a car wash, a computer tune-up, or preparing my taxes. 

This four-week cycle allows me to stay pretty well on top of things every month.  The beauty is, every 2 - 4 months there is a bonus 5th Friday!  I decided that on these occasional 5th Fridays I will prioritize to-do tasks by how long they have been on the list.  I came up with this system in March.  March and April only had four Fridays, so yesterday, the 5th Friday of May, was the first time I got to experiment with it. 

When I opened my to-do list, I was curious to see what this 5th Friday would be all about.  There at the bottom of my list, untouched since last year, were those random entries "Sort through old tapes" and "Get chain lock on door".  I said, "Hmm!" out loud, and then gave myself a pep talk.  "Okay, let's just do this!" 

Sorting through old tapes?  Okay, I kind of punted that one yesterday.  That wouldn't be a "task" as much as an ongoing project.  Accordingly, I resolved to add it to my list of productive free-time projects.  This is a list that includes things like "organize old photos" and "genealogy", which have no end (tailor to your particular interests, of course).  I cycle through five or six projects, one night each, in perpetuity.  If I feel like taking a night off, I'll occasionally watch a movie or something, but I usually work on these projects because they are truly free-time activities.  

That brought me to the lock.  I've wished I had a chain lock on my apartment door ever since I moved here in August.  Today, I found out that a local hardware store carries them for just $4!  I took a quick drive (discovered a great local hardware store, Anawalt), easily found a chain lock, and had it on my door within the hour.  No problem! 

It was a damn nice hardware store, too.  I wanted to take a nap in their garden section.

I declare 5th Friday a success.  I found a way to (slowly but surely) address those to-do items that are so good at staying undone.  I wonder what's on the agenda for the 5th Friday of July?  Ahh, here it is:  "Take loose change to coinstar machine", "Switch music subscription service to Pandora", and "Take advantage of that one-year watch-battery warranty".  Can't wait!       

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tonight Show Silver Anniversary! Part 3: Aftermath

This is the final installment of my Tonight Show 25th anniversary series.  If you missed them, Episode 1 discusses events Before the Show, and Episode 2 recalls The Day of the Show.  Today's post follows up from late 1989 clear to the present.  It is the longest and perhaps my favorite post, because it shows how this personal history has been woven through my whole life.  Read about the publicity, the characters I've met, the book, and what it's all taught me.  There's even a video of alphabetic banter with another TV god.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tonight Show Silver Anniversary! Part 2: The Day of the Show

November 22, 1989 - November 22, 2014

"It was 25 years ago today" that I sat in Carson's guest chair.  Today's post follows the events and my thoughts on that particular day.  It was the day before Thanksgiving, 1989.  This was the era before smart phones or the world wide web, so it was harder to document things back then.  I relied on newspapers, a film camera, and VCR tapes.  This year, I have collected these souvenirs to post here.  If you missed it, Part 1 of this series, "Before the Show,"  explains how I got to this point.  Part 3, "Aftermath," will follow in the next month or so.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tonight Show Silver Anniversary! Part 1: Before the Show

It's been 25 years since my lifetime's most public moment, a four-minute civilian guest spot on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  I am taking occasion of this silver anniversary to gather memorabilia and publish a full account of the TV appearance and all that surrounds it.  There is a lot of ground to cover, so I'm breaking this into a three-part series.  Part 1 discusses my alphabetizing talent itself and events leading up to the TV spot.  Part 2 will follow on the broadcast's anniversary date, Nov. 22, and will give my behind-the-scenes account of that particular day.  Part 3 will cover the aftermath:  publicity, events, and what I learned from being on TV.  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Partial Solar Eclipse, 10/23/14

Now it's the sun's turn!  These are my photos of the North American partial solar eclipse on October 23, 2014.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fagerland, Meyer, and Beck updates

GGGT 2014 Part 2:  SD and UT

This is the second and final update of my GGGT 2014, summarizing what I learned in South Dakota and Utah.  My parents, Grandpa Fagerland, and gravesite of Grandma Fagerland are in South Dakota.  In Salt Lake City, I spent two days at the Mormon Church's Family History Library (FHL). 

Kaitlin at her great-grandmother's grave.  She picked out the flowers.

To see results in the Meyer, Fagerland, and Beck branches:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

GGGT 2014: Washington

Fagerland History

Here's my first report from the road on the Great Grand Genealogy Tour of 2014.  I was in Washington June 27 - 29.  There is a sizeable Norwegian community in Washington.  The Fagerland branch of the family started settling there in the 1950s. 

The Seattle skyline, 6/28/14

My purposes for this trip were:

(1)  To tap the memories of Orville Fagerland, my oldest living relative.
(2)  To look for a picture of my 2nd-great grandparents Fagerland.
(3)  To see a collection of family artifacts at Pacific Lutheran University.