Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Plans for Family History Month....Octagon Cafe

One of the ways I celebrate October is to share my passion for Family History at special events. This Saturday, I will be one of a group of authors at the Octagon Cafe in Fountain Hills, Arizona for a book signing. The First Saturday of the month is the Fountain Hills Art Walk, and with the beautiful weather in Arizona, it will be a gorgeous day to visit the beautiful fountains. I will share my ideas on coloring, family history, and writing with attendees.

For directions, click on the link below. http://www.urbanspoon.com/u/map/263346/restaurant/Phoenix/Octagon-Cafe-Fountain-Hills

Hope to see you there.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Counting down to Argentina and Family History Month...

It’s September 29 and I’m counting down the days until my trip to Argentina. Since I leave on November 2, the countdown covers the entire month of October.

So, I have big plans every day in October. You may recall that October is Family History Month. Check out http://www.fhsa.org/genealogy_month.htm. It is the perfect time to review your progress on what you want to accomplish with your family research, celebrations, scrapbooks and genealogy.

I also want to research as much as I can about Argentina. I take great pleasure learning as much as I can about where I will be before my trips. I enjoyed investigating Casper, Wyoming and I want to do the same for Argentina. Yet, Casper is one city, and in Argentina, I will travel throughout the country. I also need to brush up on my limited Spanish.

Each day in October, I will share a bit of what I learn about Argentina and offer an encore presentation of some of the thirty-one ways to celebrate Family History Month. The original ways are available for review on the October 2007 blog, so this October the encore tips will be updated for this year plus includes some South American flavor. Stay tuned…more fun to come.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

In mourning...


I awoke in pain. I didn’t know why but universal energy was not in sync with me. I stretched, stood up and crumpled in pain from my left toe. I stepped forward and the pain spread to my knee.

Great. Age is such a pain in the foot. I limped along to the bathroom and knew my world was in disarray. Is there a way to salvage this day? I don’t know. I recognized enough of my vague dream memories to understand signs of foreboding. I dreamt I held my digital camera in my hands, focused on a white image, yet could not click the shutter. What was awry?

I had many plans for today. I needed to research my Argentina trip, plan celebrations for October’s Family History month, edit, and write for my writer’s group meeting. My plans did not energize me as it usually did.

I drank my coffee and hoped the world would return to normal. No toe pain, a clearer head and a bit of optimism were welcome. But, it didn’t come.

I called my mother and sister and to catch up on the latest happenings in Oregon. We talked for a half hour and hung up. Within thirty seconds, the phone rang. It was my sister. She told me, “Paul Newman died.”

I cried, “Oh no,” and my reaction frightened my daughter who immediately thought a family member died. Well, the situation is not quite that bad, but I am in mourning.

If you read my blog last October, you understand a bit of my reaction to Paul Newman’s death. (See October 14, 2007 blog entry). He was a part of my family history. He was one of the few heroes I had as a child who did not disappoint me, ever.

He was part of my entire life. I cannot remember not knowing him. He was always there movie after movie…on the big screen, on the small screen and ultimately on DVD. My first close contact with him was in 1969 when he filmed “Winning” at Road America in Elkhart Lake and Sheboygan. This was the film that ignited Paul’s passion for racing. (For details check http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080927/GPG05/80927015/1207/GPG01).

I loved following the newspaper articles of where he, Robert Wagner and Joann Woodward appeared in my small hometown. My best friend, LuAnn, saw him as he exited the Park and Shop on Memorial Drive. Does that count as a brush with fame?

My favorite Paul Newman story happened in Suwanee, Georgia in 1981. The Bartkowski’s vacationed at the Falcon Inn to watch football practices and games every fall since we were members of the Atlanta Falcon Family. We relaxed poolside, trekked on daily side trips and enjoyed southern hospitality. One day I noticed a racing trailer parked in the hotel lot. The Atlanta 500 was in full force that week.

Just past dusk one evening, I walked around the swimming pool to the lobby and a Frisbee unexpectedly landed at my feet. I picked it up, looked to my right expecting children but saw a group of men. An older man, with gray hair approached me and I quickly tossed the Frisbee to him. Thank goodness I didn’t hit him in the face. He smiled at me and revealed perfect teeth. The shadows covered his face, but I looked into his eyes and saw the most gorgeous shade of blue I had ever seen. He said, “Thanks!” and I responded “You’re welcome.” I moved along not wanting to stare too long at the extremely attractive man playing Frisbee.

The next day, as I sat in the lounge, I heard a voice. I told my friends I recognized a voice in the hallway. “Do you hear him? Who is it? I know that voice.”

They told me I was crazy, but I insisted, “No, it’s someone I went to high school with. I know the voice.”

As the voice approached, it hit me. It was Paul Newman. Of course, I thought I went to high school with him since I had grown up with his movies. I saw him and could barely remain in my seat. He entered the lounge, headed to the bar, and bought two bottles of wine. The bartender knew enough to have his camera ready and Paul agreed to a photo with him. As Paul left the lounge, he said “hello” to us, and headed out. Ah, where was my camera when I needed it.

Yes, a very simple story, but one of the few my family has told and re-told to new generations. The Bartkowski family who were there distinctly remembers Paul’s presence. They also remember the beautifully dressed woman in red we saw near his room who we always knew was Joann Woodward, yet never confirmed it.

I found some money near the staircase to his room. When I picked it up, I thought it was a five dollar bill. Later, when I took it out of my pocket, it was a fifty. Of course, it had to be his, who else carried fifty dollar bills?

Our family tried to get a clip of him with the movie camera, yet he was camera shy during his time at the Falcon Inn. He never signed autographs but did pose for pictures with a few of the staff. We never really connected with him again to get that precious photograph. But, the memory is embedded in my mind.

Yes, memories of Paul Newman combined with visits with cousin Steve, with the Falcons playing the Saints led by Archie Manning, and relaxing in the southern sun. A vacation which will never be forgotten.

Paul’s career, his food line, his charitable works dominate the news this weekend. So, yes I am in mourning…for a vacation past, for a life well lived, for a man who could live in the limelight of Hollywood cameras, yet determine success his own way. Paul lived a marvelous life as the attractive young actor, as the star of romantic comedies, as Butch Cassidy and Henry Gondorf…so many images of him through many lenses. He chose well and aged gracefully.

He could also leave on his own terms, as he chose to leave the hospital to be in the familiar setting of his home for his final days. I imagine him saying, "It’s time. Can you please turn that camera off?” as he peacefully rode into the sunset knowing the images he left behind were how we need to remember him.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Update on Argentina...


Argentina is less than two months away! Tomorrow I begin my preparations by getting a yellow fever shot. It is not necessary to do to travel there, but one of our tour advisors recommended it, so off I go to the clinic. Ouch!

Also, I wanted to be sure my comments feature still works. When I posted my celebrity collage comment, the ability to comment on that note disappeared. I hope it reappears.

PS...I also don't have the option to change the color of my font!!^$#%$#@% oh, well....

Friday, September 05, 2008

Celebrity Collage by MyHeritage

OK, you have to check out my side bar and see the photos of my celebrity look-alikes. My daughter emailed me her look-alikes and I just had to try it. Whereas she had some very obvious modern takes on her look I was pleasantly surprised to have modern era and Hollywood era represented in my results. I was particularly pleased to see Janet Leigh and Stefanie Powers, two women I always considered classically beautiful. Sharon Osbourne was a bit expected, especially with my new look. Eva Peron fits in perfectly since I plan to go to Argentina in November (more on that in my next post). Sarah Ferguson and Mae West were unexpected, but I can see a resemblance. Now, I just have to Google the other women and find out who they are!

I can't vouch for the myheritage.com site completely at this point, but I certainly had fun with this feature and it merits further investigation by all of us family historians.