Finally, sensible serving sizes!

Nice! I’ve long wished that so-called “serving sizes” would be addressed.

Have you ever looked at “serving sizes”? Some of them are sheer madness. I used to buy brownies from a vending machine at work before I learned to pay attention to that part of the label. I thought, “I can splurge this much,” but one day I read the label and saw that my brownie was actually two servings. I was double splurging and had no idea. And we’re not talking about a big brownie. It looked like a single serving, to me.

Serving sizes are designed to keep the consumer feeling like they can eat more than they actually should, exactly as I described above. Who can eat a single serving, according to the package, of Girl Scout Cookies?

Shape Shifting: Getting back on track

Today on Shape Shifting, the topic was “Getting Back on Track” and we had a great discussion! We talked about everything from the wisdom of Bob Newhart to whining about life’s occasional unfairness.

Are you who you thought you’d be?


After last week’s discussion about asking for help, tune in to find out where that conversation led. We’ll be talking about pushing ourselves forward, in creating our own reality. Did we end up where we thought we’d be? If not, now what? And, how did Amanda Palmer save Lisa’s life? ;-)

SHAPE SHIFTING = The conscious, deliberate release of old thought patterns, to create healthy changes in your life. (The bonus is that this usually results in weight balancing–loss or gain–depending on your body’s needs.)

Wed. Feb 12 12EST

#BlogTalkRadio #BodyMindSpirit #Women #Goals #Spirituality #AmandaPalmer

When is it time to ask for help?


I don’t know about you, but I’ll push myself really hard before I will ask for help. Sometimes I have to actually collapse before I’ll admit that I can’t do something.

There’s nothing wrong with pushing your limits. It is, after all, what life is all about. It’s what we’re here for–it’s how we create our own reality.

But once in a while, things fly out of alignment because we push too hard.

Or are we pushing too hard because things flew out of alignment?


In any case, this is what we’ll be talking about this week. Tune in.

Feb. 5, NOON EST/9 PST

I gave it 61

Sixty-one days ago I posted a blog about a really interesting website, The site is designed for users to commit to posting a 10-second video every day for 100 days, showing progress they make while learning a new skill. The site is filled with fun and wacky projects, and some deeply profound ones as well. My big project is manifesting a Bucket List trip to the UK, so I thought I’d give it a try, to track my progress.

I had a lot of fun with it, for a while. I made big strides and was able to see how the daily accountability was extremely useful in making me get off my butt and do something to make it happen, including looking for sponsors and building a crowdfunding page. After all, the Law of Attraction is not just about wishing for something. Action is required.

The trick of using the Law of Attraction is knowing when to stop asking and when to just allow your request to be delivered. And my participation on the site didn’t allow me to allow. I started getting tense, and feeling very pressured to take some sort of action when there was none to take. I was pushing against my gut instinct that said to just let it rest and fall into place. I had to stop shaking the snow globe, as it were, so the snow could settle.

So, I gave the site 61 days and I’m letting go for a while. I’m thankful for the epiphany that it delivered: the Give It 100 site, while BRILLIANT, is not an appropriate tool for what I was specifically working on … some days there was simply nothing to report. Their wonderful tool is best for showcasing physical progress, as it was designed to do. This isn’t their bad–they never said it would work for my kind of project. It was an experiment that yielded different results than I expected, but was certainly worth trying.

Wouldn’t it be fun if I had something to report on what would have been day 100? I’ll let you know around March 12, if there’s anything to talk about. ;-)

I’m testing HootSuite. Fun times!

I’m testing HootSuite. Fun times! This is forcing me to finally get off my butt and build a Google+ page, and to link all of my various social networking sites to each other. I don’t have a whole lot else to say in this blog other than, “Testing testing, 1 2 3!”

Martha McGrath, 1851, Bradford England

I think Martha McGrath was my mom’s mom’s dad’s dad’s mom (my third great-grandmother). I say “I think” because I’m not 100% sure. All signs point in that direction, but I hesitate to state it as fact. One of her sons shows up in a stranger’s family tree with matching information to my own, so it’s safe to assume they are the same person, but I’m always cautious if I can’t confirm it more than once.

According to the 1851 England census,  Martha lived in Bradford, England (Bradford was mentioned in the Doctor Who episode The Crimson Horror) with her three children at 120 Longland St. I can actually see that building on Google Maps. When Jeff and I go to England this summer, I’ll see it in person.

Born in 1807, Martha was a 44-year-old widow at the time and worked as a dress maker. She was born in Ireland, as was her husband and father of her three children. Beyond this, there is no information about him anywhere, at least not where I can find it.

My second great-grandfather, James McGrath, was 12 at the time. He was born in Bradford and worked as a “boot closer”. His little brother Alexander was 8, and their little sister, Mary, was 4.

By the time James was 22, he had moved to Manchester and lived as a lodger at 65 Fleet St, Ashton-under-Lyne–according to the 1861 census. He worked as a cordwainer, so apparently shoe-making agreed with him.

By 1870, he had somehow emigrated to the US (I can’t find his name on any passenger lists), because he shows up in Detroit, in the census, married to my second great-grandmother Josephine. He was employed as a brewer, which he apparently continued to do for the rest of his life–that is, at least, according to what my mom has been told.

I get the sense that he was being deliberately sketchy about being kept track of. In various places, he lists his birthplace as either Ireland or England. I can’t find him or any other dependents in any census records after that, until my great-grandfather Charlie McGrath moves out and starts his own life, with his marriage to his first wife, Maggie O’Leary, in 1894.

Maggie died, leaving him with two daughters, Marie and Grace. He eventually married Emma Gelinski, and they gave birth to my mom’s mom, Mildred in 1904.

Great-Grandpa Charlie, with my mom, Joann circa 1937

Great-Grandpa Charlie, with my mom, Joann circa 1937

In 1910, the census lists Charles McGrath as an agent in a tea store, and in 1920, he was employed as a tool clerk in an auto factory (this was Detroit, after all). He disappears from the records after that. My mom tells me that he became a brewer and ran a drinking establishment before Prohibition. The front room held a bar for the men, and the ladies would go into the back room to sit in the parlor to drink. He had to close this business down when Prohibition began.

Charlie died in 1940. This picture of him is as far back as his lineage goes, in our family photos.

But it all began with Martha, in Ireland, in 1807. And whomever came before her … and before her … and before her …

Help “crowdfund” my project: Blackpool Calling, where I’ll be tracking my ancestry further, and interviewing British actors for my radio show!

blackpool calling logo indiegogo

Follow my progress on GiveIt100