Thursday, June 14, 2007

June 14, 2007

It's been an extraordinary couple weeks, and eventful last few days. First, I must mention about volunteering for the television series "Extreme Makeover - Home Edition." The season premier, which will air Sunday Sept 23rd, 2007, was filmed yesterday in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kalihi. A very deserving woman and her family received a gorgeous new house and a children's learning center (Keiki o ka Aina). Work to build the house began a week ago. On Sunday I heard on TV news that they really needed more volunteers to help because they were behind due to the daily rain. So I went to Pier 38 to volunteer and board the shuttle bus to Kalihi Valley. Well, there were enough volunteers for Monday, so I signed up for Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday I helped set up the kitchen and living room, and tried to keep the dust to a minimum on the floors. On Wednesday I reported back to Pier 38 for the shuttle at 7:30am and stayed at the house until 5pm. After 3,000 volunteers and sponsors, the 2-story house went up. It was very exciting to see the television cast, crew and all the designers, etc. at work. I was attached to "The Maids" a local cleaning company, and went to work on detail cleaning of the kitchen. After that people were being released. Since I wanted to stay inside working until "the reveal" when the family got to see the house, I kept finding work to do. Besides it was raining outside and very muddy. So while the crowds were practicing "Move That Bus" and cheering, I quietly cleaned the kitchen, then the stairs, and the upstairs hallway on my hands and knees. No one kicked this hard-working lady out of the house, and eventually I was about the only one who was not a part of the cast left. By then the cast was calling me in to one room or another to help tidy up here and there. Believe me the bedrooms for the three children, and the nursery were amazing - as was the master bedroom / suite... which included an outdoor jacuzzi in a private garden with waterfall. Finally when the rain had stopped and it was about time for the family to drive up in the limousine, I went out to wait with the crowd. It was a thrilling and heart-warming moment to see the reaction of this humble family when they saw their new home as the busses blocking their view were pulled away. I'm very happy for the experience, but I had no idea I'd bruised and scraped my knees so badly. Well, it was for a good cause.

In the midst of this I was busy submitting and resubmitting a video I made at the Hawaiian Plantation Village Genealogy Workshop June 2nd. I took a couple all-day efforts in editing it, adding music and narration before it looked OK. Then I found out my knowledge on the "output" phase is severely lacking. I didn't -- and still don't-- know the best file type to output the video in for the internet. The first time I uploaded it up as an e-mail file. Much to my surprise it became a "featured" video on within one day. When I saw the poor quality and pixelation, I quickly went back to my original and edited out 30 seconds to get it down to 5 min 33 seconds. Then I had to find a output format so it would be as close to 100 MB without going over. I finally stumbled on something called "H.264" which turns out to be an MP4 file. At any rate, it compressed the video to 45.8 MB and Sam at Rootstelevision was able to switch out the old video for the new better version. It's called "Genealogy in Hawaii" and is in the "New & Featured" category at the website. is an excellent genealogy resource, both informative and entertaining.

Also this week, all this my paperwork arrived to fill out for my visa applications to China and Cambodia. I put those in the mail at the post office today to PVS International. They handled my visa requirements last year when I went to Mongolia and Russia. I hope I get them back with my passport before I have to travel! In addition the "health form" arrived to fill out for my Elderhostle Intergenerational Program to S.W. Utah in July with my grandkids, which needed to be filled out and mailed. Lots of important paperwork, don't want to be disorganized!

I've been getting various immunizations and tests, etc. before my trip to China, Tibet and Cambodia this September. Unfortunately I missed the second in the Japanese Encephalitis innoculation series yesterday, and will have to get it tomorrow. I've got some "Diamox" pills for the high altitude (12,000 ft) for Lahsa, Tibet. I hope I don't get altitude sickness. If I were still living in mile-high Denver, it wouldn't be such a transition to go to those Tibetian altitudes.

Last Saturday our monthly Honolulu Genealogy Society meeting was held and I made a presentation on the "Family Tree Maker" software, while Richard Souther presenter "The Master Genealogist" software. With a laptop projector and many members with their own laptop computers, we had a very good and productive meeting. About thirty people were there. Afterwards many of us went to the Tree Tops Restaurant at the end of Manoa Valley again for lunch.

Tuesday, Mark Bennett, our Hawaii State Attorney General, spoke to us at the East Oahu Breakfast Club meeting in Hawaii Kai. I enjoyed talking to him, as I'd seen him often at various state hearings during the legislative session at the Capitol... including his own re-confirmation hearing.

And all this while I've been eager - chomping at the bit - to get to the packet of papers that arrived this week in the mail from the Lilly Library at the Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. The packet is correspondence in the Grace Marks collection in the Manuscripts Department. It is all about the Thornburg(h) family who, it's said, came to the Barbados then to Virginia, then Kentucky and in 1811 came finally to Indiana. There is also information on the Harbisons, and they are quite confused as to who Rachel Harbison's father was. Rachel married Amos Thornburg. I have visited Perrysville, KY and Salem, Indiana and know the areas of which the letters refer. It's been very difficult not to push everything else aside and delve into the papers, but with all that I've described, above, I just couldn't. Maybe if I don't have anyone log on to my genealogy support session at Family History Live Online, Friday, I'll be able to devote some time to reading and comparing the information. Amos Thornburgh and Rachel (Harbison) Thornburgh were my 3rd great grandparents on my father's side. I have a photo of their son, Richard Hope Thornburg. The Hope name came from a family friend or relation in Kentucky, and probably before that. So much to little time.


Anonymous said...

Always so busy!! I thought you were retired!

Karen said...

Donna being all she can be and enjoying it!! Can't wait to see it on TV. You are always on the go!