Monday, September 12, 2011

Alfred Loraine Batson - My Namesake - Part 1

Not every girl can say she was named after her great, great grandfather. Luckily, my parents only gave me the Loraine as a middle name. I don't look like an Alfred... (he's here with his wife, Laura Jennie Akeman)

I did some research several years ago in Muskingum County, Ohio where Alfred was born to John and Sarah Batson. He was their first son and we often wondered why Alfred was given a female middle name. Neither of his names appeared to be family names. The family rumor was that the family was from Alsace Loraine in Europe and that's why he had that middle name. After doing a bit of genealogy it was obvious the Batsons had been in the US a long time and not recent immigrants. So that was more like a guess on a part of the family.

So when I went to Ohio to do research, a big part of it was to discover where that name came from. After some poking around in the John McIntire Public Library in Zanesville, Ohio, we found the mother-load! There was a history on the Trinity Church in Zanesville. At the time my Batson family was in the area, the Trinity church - then known as the Seventh Street Methodist Episcopal Church - was completed and dedicated in 1849. The history stated, "The sermon was delivered by Rev. A.M. Lorain of Putnam Station." I did a little more research and found that Alfred M. Lorain was made a Methodist preacher in 1823 and traveled around that part of Ohio preaching at the different Methodist churches.

I wasn't even sure my Batsons were religious as my Grandfather never mentioned it. But it is very apparent now - they were Methodists and God-fearing people. Alfred M. Loraine must have given really amazing sermons and maybe even was a friend of the Batson family, because on March 24, 1849, John and Sarah named their first son, Alfred Loraine Batson.

As I'm a Christian myself, I'm pretty proud of my family's heritage and that we continue the legacy of a belief in Jesus Christ. This is the best kind of genealogy discovery!

Friday, June 3, 2011

It's Curtains for me....

I'm not known for my sewing skills. I didn't really catch on to it when mom - who is an excellent seamstress - tried to teach me as a teenager. But I tried to change that several years ago when I took a sewing class and sewed my first project all by myself! A magnificent apron!

After that I accomplishment, I did a little tailoring on some clothes I always wanted to alter. It was generally successful but then I ran out of projects. So I put my sewing machine away and let me new skills get rusty.

Well, I decided to add some curtains to my front room windows over the mantle. I prefer the look of the open window but that darn sun was starting to fade my brown couch. So I took on the task of buying and altering some new curtains.

After all was said and done, I only had to buy 5 different curtains (ok, I cut one too short by mistake), and re-hemmed one of them only 3 times. (I just couldn't get it the right length)

I didn't like the first version - picture above - so I tried something different. Here is the final version.

But now all is done and I have some fabulous curtains!!

Thanks to Allison for coming up with the great idea of buying the curtain rod that swings out so I can still see the 1921 window pane!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Give'em 5!

Lori and Julie, two good friends of mine, got back from Africa in July. They’ve been going for several years now. Not to go on safaris or sightseeing vacations, but to help bring some joy and love to some less fortunate children in Zambia. They are a part of the Mothers Without Borders group and they give up vacation time and pay their own way to go (which isn’t cheap!) to go help out. They’ve shared some of their stories and experiences with me and I’m always touched by them. It puts my life SO much into perspective. There is more to my single, pampered life in Salt Lake City. There are people just trying to survive – trying to get enough food to eat, find safe shelter, deal with some terrible diseases including AIDS, and trying to get an education to help them get out of the extreme poverty they are in. It may seem on paper what they do is like a drop in the bucket to the enormity of problems in Africa, but the truth ism my friends change these children's lives and I know from what they’ve told me, these children change theirs. And that’s one of the biggest reasons for our existence as Christians - to help and love one another.

After this particular trip, my friends told me about this latest campaign to help these precious children improve their lives. It’s called, Give’em 5! The concept is that if we can find 15,000 people to give $5 we can build a VERY much needed school for them. That’s all it takes!!

Right now, these children are going to school in a converted chicken coop – that’s to save them a 2 hour walk to the government school. At this chicken coop school they can do school for a full day instead of the usual half day in the other school. They are doing the best they can with this temporary solution, but these are not good conditions. When it rains, it soaks the two small rooms because there are only screens that cover the windows. The dust is a daily struggle to keep down from the dirt and rock floor. And the noise from the rain on the tin roof is deafening, making it hard to learn. With this new school, these children can have a real facility and the supplies they need to learn and improve themselves.

When Lori first told me about the program, I thought it was a fantastic idea! We all have $5 to spare even during these hard economic times!! So I’m making a plea to you, my friends…if you have $5 to spare PLEASE donate to the Mothers Without Borders website for our Give’em 5! campaign.

For more info about the school.

The date to reach this goal is Thanksgiving 2010. So there is no time to delay if you decide you can help.

And for my friends who are local to Salt Lake City, I am having a party/fundraiser where I hope we can raise a little more money than just the $5 a person.

Here’s the deal: On Wednesday, September 29, come to my home at 7pm. Donating $5 to Give’em 5 campaign gets you in my front door. You also get one raffle ticket. AND access to some delicious desserts and other tasty food that you can eat to your heart’s content!

If you donate $10, you will get one more raffle ticket AND a Give’em 5 T-shirt.

I am collecting some great prizes (from tickets to gift certificates and other fun stuff) that we will raffle off that night starting at 7:45pm. Any additional raffle tickets are only $5!

I'll send out an invite through facebook this week with more details. So, please come if you can! Enjoy good food, good company, and help out some kids in Africa!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Parents and My Painted Fence

I have the best parents in the whole wide world! Why do you ask? Well, I'll tell you why...

When I bought my new house last August, my dad saw the backyard and said, we need to paint your fence! Frankly, I wasn't interested in talking about it. The INSIDE of my house was more on my mind, but I agreed it needed some work. Frankly, I didn't think paint would really improve the look and instead I would have to replace the whole thing to make it look better - and there was no money for that. But you never argue with your dad and win. At least not in my family!

Dad insisted that we paint last November. I was a little more inclined to talk about the possibility since the house was more in a livable state by then. We happened to have the mildest fall weather in a very long time in Salt Lake City(SLC) and it looked like it just might work out for an outside project like painting a fence. But the weekend they came, it snowed. So the project was put on hold. Luckily they found several other things to do in the house to help me out - which was much appreciated. Thus, my parents didn't think it was a waste of a trip.

You see, my parents don't come to play and sight-see when they visit me. They come to work on my house. I think they feel bad that I'm up here in SLC by myself and they can't drop by any weekend they want to help me out. San Diego is a long way from SLC! Luckily I have some great friends that come to my rescue a lot. But I think it bugs my parents that they can't help out on a regular basis too. So, when they get a chance, Dad comes up with a plan (like painting the backyard fence), recruits mom, and they drive the 750 miles up. And I must say, Mom and Dad make a pretty good team when tackling a big job!

Now I need you to know that I really don't think my parents should be working on my fence. They should be drinking lemonade and watching the traffic on my street from my fabulous porch. They are retired and have worked plenty of years in the past. But my parents have never been good at watching life go by. They love to work! That's probably why I have such a hard time sitting down on the couch and doing nothing. It just seems a waste of time, especially when there is so much to do. Luckily, when I hang out with my friends I'm able to actually rest and relax. Otherwise, I don't think I ever would sit still and do nothing (I'm actually multi-tasking as I type this blog entry). I TOTALLY blame it all on my parents' work ethic. Although in reality they both come from a long, genealogical-line of hard workers. So instead, we'll blame my ancestors. That's more fun anyway.

But I digress...

After a long prep day on Saturday, 3 additional mornings of getting up at 6:30am to paint before it got too hot by 10am, 5 1/2 gallons of paint, and daily runs to Home Depot, my fence is BEAUTIFUL! I kept telling them not to get UP at 6:30am but they insisted. Apparently they don't sleep anyway. (If only I was more like them in that respect.) I tried to help as much as I could in the morning but I usually was yelled at and told to go to work instead.

So now I'm bragging about my fabulous, kind parents and my beautiful, newly painted fence and shed. And I must say, it looks 500 times better! Dad was right. As usual.

And just so you know my parents didn't kill themselves off from the experience, here is a picture of them in front of their beautiful hard work.


And next time you come to SLC, we really will go to 'This is the Place' Monument. I promise!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mini Arch

Originally uploaded by danbatgirl
This puts the Mini Arch in persepective...that's my foot underneath it. Oh, and Dona and Lynn's feet too...

World's Smallest Arch

Originally uploaded by danbatgirl
I went to Moab this last weekend and visited the world's smallest arch! I actually discovered it myself...I think I'll call it - Mini Arch.

Friday, December 18, 2009

My New Wood Banister!

I did a radical thing after I got my wood floors redone. I decided, I didn't like the railing around the stairs that go down to my basement and to replace it. It was metal and the house inspector when I bought the house told me that it was not in compliance with safety laws. Apparently a small child could slip through to it's death. Oops!

So when the beautiful floor was finished, it seemed wrong to put it back in it's place - so the floor guys just left the railing in the back. I was talking to Dona - one of my many house consultants - and she told me that her brother said making some railing was really easy!

I knew darn well that having one made by a professional would cost a fortune - especially if I wanted it out of wood - so I thought, what the hay! Let's try it. So Dona and I investigated. Unfortunately, what we found was a lack of supplies at home depot and the reality that it wouldn't be so easy. Especially for two women who had never done a wood project before - bathroom fans we've conquered, but not wood.

After several weeks of living with a "death trap" (aka the hole that remained from the removed railing), I realized it would take more time and money than was worth it. I was getting up the courage to get a quote from the guys that did my floor, when a serendipitous thing happened! Sarah Robinson (still weird to call her that...) invited me over to dinner at her house on a Sunday afternoon a couple of months ago. Also over was her friend Chris Beck. During the conversation of dinner, Chris brought up something about his own renovations at his house and Sarah said, "Hey Chris! You are a wood craftsman...can you make a banister for Danielle?" I immediately piped up, "I'd pay you!"

Kind Chris responded that he would love to try the project as it would be his first. And that if I paid for the wood, he would eat the labor - if I fed him throughout the ordeal. I couldn't believe my good fortune!

I'm not sure if Chris lived to regret the decision or not. It was a big project! And after $400 worth of beautiful wood and numerous hours in his workshop as well as at my house, I now have a GORGEOUS banister to protect all from falling into my "death trap."

Now that I finally have this piece of art varnished (thanks to Dad and Stefani, my sister~ THANK YOU!), it looks fantastic!

See for yourself the beautiful workmanship of the amazing Chris Beck! THANK YOU CHRIS!! YOU ARE THE MAN!!!