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Sunday, June 29, 2008


DNA testing is growing in use as a tool in genealogical research. Test results can be used to confirm a suspected connection between two families or disprove a connection.
Chromosomes are paired threadlike "packages" of long segments of DNA contained within the nucleus of each cell. In humans there are 23 pairs of chromosomes. In 22 pairs, both members are essentially identical, one deriving from the individual's mother, the other from the father. The 23rd pair is different. In females this pair has two like chromosomes called "X". In males it comprises one "X" and one "Y," two very dissimilar chromosomes. It is these chromosome differences which determine sex.
The presence of a Y-Chromosome causes maleness. This little chromosome, about 2% of a father's genetic contribution to his sons, programs the early embryo to develop as a male. It is transmitted from fathers only to their sons.
Most of the Y-Chromosome is inherited as an integral unit passed without alteration from father to sons, and to their sons, and so on, unaffected by exchange or any other influence of the X-Chromosome that came from the mother. It is the only nuclear chromosome that escapes the continual reshuffling of parental genes during the process of sex cell production. It is these unique features that make the Y-Chromosome useful to genealogists.
The Y-Chromosome has definable segments of DNA with known genetic characteristics. These segments are known as Markers. The father passes an exact copy of his Y-Chromosome to his son. This means that the markers of the son are identical to those of his father. They remain unchanged through the generations for hundreds of years.
Female DNA is not as as positive a marker as the Y-Chromosomal for men because the X-Chromosome passed from mother to daughter is not always identical.
Are you still with me? What does this tell you about the differences in men and women?
1. Men never change
2. Women are hard to figure out

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Grandpa Knows Best

Grandpa was a self-employed carpenter. Because much of his work was outdoors, he lived with an eye on the sky and learned to discern the signs of the weather. One of his weather-prediction sayings was, "Rain before 7, clear by 11."
I remembered that this morning when showers began before 7 a.m. I went ahead with doing laundry as usual but let it pile up in the basket, waiting for the sky to clear. I do have a nice dryer that works very well, but it costs money to run and does not produce the fragrance of fresh air I get from my solar-powered washline. As the hours went by and there was no sign of sufficient clearing, I began to wonder if there are exceptions to the rule.
When 11 passed with no change, I was tempted to throw a load in the dryer and be done with it. But I got side-tracked with some other things and before 12 the sun was shining. My laundry is now drying as it flaps on the line and my faith in Grandpa's weather forcasting is renewed. Some things just never change. (So am I still his "schnickelfritz?")

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Back to Earth

I knew the trip to Israel would take a big hole out of my summer, and it has. My life has been wrapped up in that trip for a whole month now. I was either getting ready to go, on tour, or catching up from being away. Today I placed the order for 495 pictures. Considering we took 1137 pictures, that's a considerable reduction. By the time I hit the "place order" button I felt like I didn't want to see another picture of Israel for a long time. I do want to get them in a scrapbook before memory fades, but I'm giving myself a break.
Every now and then something pops up that I had forgotten about while we were out of the country and otherwise occupied. One of these memory jogs came in the mail today when we received a notice that our tax stimulus check should be arriving this week. Ah yes! I had forgotten about that silly scheme. I'm afraid the President would be disappointed if he knew I'm planning to use it for ordinary living expenses rather than buying something new. What did you do with yours?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Taste of Jerusalem

I am catching up on everything that needs to be done around here after being gone 18 days and dealing with the backwash of the trip. Each person on the tour was assigned one or two days to write a diary of our activities. The tour leader will compile the diaries into a book for us. I was assigned two days and got one of them done yesterday. It took me a lot longer than I expected. I guess I am too picky about details and being sure everything is historically accurate.
I am also working on merging the pictures from both our cameras into one file in chronological order so I can order the prints I want to make a scrapbook. That is also turning out to be more work than I expected. I can see that project taking at least the rest of the summer.
Here are two pictures which show our different interests.

This link will allow you to take a peek inside Jerusalem. It is a live Webcam (works best with cable or DSL connection) showing the Wailing Wall 24 hours a day, plus other interesting things. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Home Again

We're back from out 18-day stay in Israel and I think I have recovered from jet lag. There is a seven hour time difference which explains how we could make an 11 hour flight home in four hours. It was nearly 1 a.m. on June 13 when we left Israeli soil and 5 a.m. when we arrived in Newark, NJ. I was able to sleep more on the way home than I did on the way over because we were flying with the night.
We had a good time in Israel. From May 28-June 5 we toured the usual sites of historical and Biblical signifigance. The things I am reading in the Bible and the newspaper make more sense now that I can picture the places. I can look at this familiar picture of Jerusalem and recognize more places than just the Dome of the Rock in the center.

Twenty-five of our group of 39 left after the tour ended (Thursday) and 14 of us stayed on for the work project. Fortunately, we had time to rest while the work was being organized on Friday and Saturday. Of course, Sunday was another day of rest. By Monday we were ready to get to work.
We were divided into groups to scrape and paint five houses. Some went to Bethlehem, but our job was in the old city of Jerusalem. We painted one room in Elias' house and two rooms in George's house, finishing both jobs on Wednesday.

Since our flight was not leaving until midnight on Thursday, June 12, we had another day to kill. We went to see Solomon's quarries under old Jerusalem and revisited the Garden Tomb before checking out of our hotel Thursday morning. The the group went to south of Jerusalem to see a few more historic sites. We visited Herod's summer palace, Abraham's home town of Hebron where we saw the tombs of the patiarchs, and the Valley of Eschol where Caleb and Joshua found the huge bunch of grapes. There are still many vineyards there.

We also went to the Valley of Elah where David killed Goliath. Leroy fulfilled one of his wishes there when he picked up five smooth stones from the brook which was dry at this time of year. From there we headed to the airport at Tel Aviv. The extra tour day was special in that we went to some places tourists seldom go these days. It was a nice finishing touch. I am glad we had the privilege of taking this trip, but I am also glad to be home again.