First Swab Done!

I mentioned the other day that I was getting my very own DNA test kit (it was a gift).  Today, my kit came and I couldn’t wait to do my swab.  I’m eager like that.

This is what the kit looked like:



It includes two test swabs, two vials for the swab ends to placed in, and a consent form.  All this will be placed into a mailer and sent off to the secret labs at FTDNA (okay, maybe not so secret).

I got everything ready.  I had a timer set up on my tablet so I could count the 60 seconds.  Then, I washed my hands and began swabbing.

I was a little leery about the scraper, but the word “scraper” is a misnomer.  It’s very, very soft.  Not like a soft toothbrush, but like cotton ball soft.  I did a full minute of rubbing with the scraper.  Then, it was time to put the scraper in the vial.

If you have arthritis in your hands you know that dexterity isn’t your number one quality.  I got the lid off the vial and had an “oh crap” moment.  You put the scraper end that you use for the DNA sample into the vial and press the end of the scraper.  It’s supposed to pop off into the vial.  Mine didn’t at first.  It took a couple of tries, but eventually the fingers figured out what they were supposed to do.

Since it’s already 9pm and I haven’t had dinner, I’ll wait until tomorrow to do the second sample.  Then, it’s off to the post office it goes.




Book of Me, Prompt 21: My Hobbies

[This is prompt 21 of the Book of Me, Written by You series:  Hobbies]

I have always had a lot of hobbies.  When I was growing up I loved to make things:  Shrinky Dinks, Shaker Makers, String Art, Latch Hook Rugs, Embroidery, Needle Point, Plastic Canvas.  If they made a kit for it, I probably tried it.  I still enjoy crafts as an adult.  However, arthritis prevents me from doing almost any kind of fine work or stitchery.  I just can’t hold a needle anymore.  My middle niece loves making things and we’ve worked on various projects together over the years.

I’ve always enjoyed jigsaw puzzles, word puzzles, and board games.  I love when my nieces and nephew come over and we have our board game marathons.  And, now I don’t have to let them win because they are old enough to handle losing :D  I love that my tablet allows me to play a whole variety of games.  I enjoy nothing more than mental challenges.

Growing up I collected baseball cards.  I used to have a box (the type you use to wrap clothes for a present) filled with them, especially of the 1970s Oakland A’s.  I began collecting postage stamps in my early 20s.  I was fascinated by the different stamps that came on my letters from pen pals.  My Aunt was the one who got my started collecting them.  I still do this, though not as regularly.  I also collect postcards.  I have postcards from around the world from my pen pals.  They fill several shoe boxes.

I used to love to spend time in nature, going camping, taking hikes, setting out with my camera.  Arthritis put a damper on that.  The pain in my feet making it too difficult to walk for long periods.  But, I’ve kept up with nature photography.  Just in my backyard I can find different flowers and critters to take pictures of.  We get some spectacular sunsets where I live.  When I set out with my camera, it gives a chance to be outside and in the fresh air.  Something I miss since arthritis.

I guess as with most folks doing these prompts, my main hobby is genealogy.  I collect dead people ;)  I also collect binders which are filled with family group sheets and documents.  And, I collect documents and old family photographs.  There isn’t really anyone in my family that is interested.  But, thanks to the internet, I’ve linked up with others who enjoy my passion and I’ve found cousins who are interested in our shared history.

So, you can see that I’m one of those people who can always find something to do (though, I do get bored at times).  I don’t know how I’d get through the day without my various hobbies.


Book of Me, Prompt 15: The Snow

[This is prompt 15 of the series, Book of Me, Written by You..and yes, I am way behind]

I’ve lived in the same community all my life.  It’s in the San Francisco Bay Area where too cold in the Winter is 30 (at night) and too hot in the Summer is 90.  We aren’t called weather wimps for nothing.   We do get frost, but for it to snow here, hell would have to freeze over.

So, the first time I saw real snow was when I was 6 or 7 years old.  We took a trip “to the snow”.  In all honesty, I don’t even know where we went.  We just went “to the snow”.  LOL  It was probably somewhere in the Sierras.  We went with another family who we were good friends with.

This photo was taken from that trip.  That’s me and my Dad with my brother and the son from the other family in the background.

george melody at the snow ca 1973

What I remember is it was fun, but very cold, and that we were ill prepared for it.  I remember we put plastic bags around our feet inside our shoes and our feet still got drenched.  Heck, we didn’t even own the right jackets for snow.

We had snow ball fights, slid around on inner tubes, and made snow men.  The day came to an end and then we went home. I remember being more than ready for the warmth inside the car.

It did snow in my hometown once in the 50 years I have lived here.  It was 1974-1975.  We woke up to snow.  It was the biggest thrill for us kids.  We played in it as we waited for the bus to come.  We played in it at school before the bell rang.  Sadly, the school was not as impressed with the sight.  They made us go to class and when we returned at 10am recess, the snow had melted.  Thanks Principal Rice.

The only other times I’ve experienced snow was camping in the mountains.  Every year after that we went camping at the end of August.  Usually we went up to the Mt. Lassen area.  And, every year it snowed on us at least one day.  My strangest experience at Lassen was the year we hiked to Bumpass Hell. At the top, are the sulfur pots, hot and bubbling. But, half way up the mountain there was snow, which we gladly started a snow ball fight. It seemed incongruent. Because of these camping trips, snow wasn’t entirely foreign to me.

This is me in 1994 when I went up to Yosemite Valley for a couple days at the beginning of Spring.  It was beautiful with it’s blanket of snow–but cold.  I can remember getting out of the car and the icy vapor emanating from the ground.


Because we went to Yosemite in the off season, there were more chances to see wildlife.  I got this photo of a coyote foraging in the valley.


And this view of Half Dome…notice the little dusting of snow on the ledges.


I think I would be thrilled if it snowed here again.  But, for me, snow is too cold (notice how I keep saying that?  LOL)  It’s neat to visit for short periods but I’ll take my SF Bay Area Winter any day.