Friday, February 7, 2014

Panda family trees

Today at Adelaide Zoo, I found it difficult to tear myself away from where the giant pandas were living. It was a special experience to see at least one of the pandas (Wang Wang) while the other panda (Funi) was hiding in her little cave, only poking her head out now and again.

At first it was difficult to find the two famous Pandas, Wang Wang and Funi, amongst their bamboo forest and little caves ... but then we spotted a huge panda head in the far side of the enclosure.

Wang Wang was out. He was playing it cool and nonchalant at first but then he put on a good show for the visitors. Funi was having a behind-the-scenes kind of day while Wang Wang entertained us all. Apparently Funi was experiencing symptoms of a pregnancy but it was a phantom pregnancy.

I'm not sure if Wang Wang was aware of Funi's plight but it wasn't affecting his appetite, especially when the fresh bamboo arrived.

Because this is a family history blog, here are Wang Wang and Funi's family trees. It seems that some of their not-too-distant ancestors were "wild". I bet many of us could say the same.

Monday, February 3, 2014

I'll have one genealogy cruise with no seasickness thanks

To all cruisers who are preparing to board the Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruise from 4-11 February 2014 ... here's a question for you:

How many seasickness stories have you heard in the last 24 hours?

After telling people that I'm sailing off on a cruise tomorrow, I can't believe the amount of horror-seasickness stories I've heard. Although I haven't been seasick before, the stories I heard sent me racing off to the nearest chemist at lunch time today to stock up on these ....

Usually I get annoyed with myself if I don't use something that I take in my suitcase on a holiday ... but I'm not looking at these seasickness tablets with that type of attitude. Let's hope that these packs of tablets are not needed.

Bon voyage to all the genies joining the cruise from Australia and elsewhere.

To all the genies who aren't able to join us on this cruise, don't worry, I'll be collecting loads of interviews and fun stuff to share with you on the March and April episodes of Genies Down Under.

Friday, January 31, 2014

All the little things ... more packin' for cruisin' ideas

After being involved in a Google Hangout this week with Jill Ball and others, reading a number of blogs and receiving emails from fellow cruising buddies about what to pack, here is my 10c worth ... or should I say 5c worth because the items below are mainly about all the little things to pack and how to reduce the amount of big things I'll be taking along on the cruise with me next week. Thanks to everyone for the advice ... you may well find some of it in the blogpost below.

I know the ship we are going to be cruising on is BIG but I bet my cabin isn't.
Source of image:

So here are some ideas I have used to prevent loads of little things turning into a big pile of things that I can't carry and don't need.

  • Toothpaste - I'm leaving my megatube of Colgate at home in preference for a medium sized tube. Every few grams helps.

  • Stick on hooks - This will save me rummaging around in my bags while I'm getting organised in my cabin. A few stick on hooks will mean I'll save time getting organised ... meaning I'll have more time for genie stuff.

  • Soap. There is one teeny-weeny thing that I don't like using when I'm away and that's soap. I have to admit that I usually take a good bar of regular sized soap with me when I'm on trips.

  • Shoes. This is a problem area for me with my packing - always has been. I'm trying to severely cull the pile of shoes I want to take to look like a pile of shoes that I need. Walking shoes are taking a priority and I'll wear them on board. A couple of other sandals with be thrown in as well. 

  • Tech. Being a genealogy cruise, there is a lot of tech that I'd like to take along. I'm working on reducing my baggage weight by reducing the amount of chargers I take. There are some devices that can be charged through my laptop so I'll be leaving a few bulky chargers at home since my laptop is coming with me.

  • Stationery. There's not one family history researcher I know who doesn't love stationery almost as much as they love technology. I'm one of these people. In my first attempt at packing for this cruise, I had a small pencil-case full of the lovely stuff. Since then, I've whittled down my travelling stationery collection to a highlighter, two pens, a pencil, a notebook and a small pad of post-it notes.

  • Cossies/Bathers/Swimmers/Togs. So many "cruise packing" tips online tell me to take two pairs of cossies. However, I think I'll be spending more time in genealogy presentations than in the pool. If I have to wear wet cossies once in a while, I'll live with it. By the way, my cossies are a lot less glamorous than the ones below.

  • Hats or a hat. Whether to bring multiple sun hats or just one is a decision driven by my realisation that I'll be indoors more than outdoors on this trip. I reckon one sunhat will get me through the cruise. No, it won't be one of those big, lovely straw hats, like the one below, it will be cloth hat that can be squashed into a much smaller space in my suitcase.

  • Jewellery. I love the stuff whether it's expensive or not. Apart from one set of compulsory blogger beads, I'm limiting myself to taking a minimum supply of earrings, necklaces and rings. 

  • Pruning - I'm pruning the big pile of clothes I had intended to take and making some hard decisions spurred on by my question to self ... "Do I really need that?"  I have three categories of clothes in my piles of clothes that are partially on the floor of the spare room and partially in the suitcase:
    1) code green: I must take it = it's in the bag already. No negotiations here.
    2) code blue: I really want to take it = it's in the "maybe pile".
    3) code red - I would love to take it if someone else could carry it for me = I really shouldn't! It's going back into the wardrobe for another time.

  • Suitcase sizes. It's tempting to take the biggest suitcase I can find on board, especially since there are no weight restrictions for luggage on this cruise. Instead, I have settled on a medium sized suitcase  - that way, I won't be able to take more than I can carry.

  • Genies Down Under badges. I've recently ordered some smallish badges for Genies Down Under podcast listeners through Make Badges - a great Aussie company in Victoria with true personal service, a quick turnaround and reasonable pricing systems. I'll take a small bunch along with me on the cruise.

Hope these tips help you with the difficult decisions that come with the final stages of packing!

Except where mentioned otherwise, the copyright-free pics above were sourced from:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cruise documents arrived today!

Yippee! Today the cruise documents and ticket info arrived in the mail today. Very exciting - makes the cruise seem even closer now.

The cruise documents include:

  • black folder
  • program
  • guest ticket booklet, including luggage tags
  • business card from Natalya at Clean Cruising

Some great tips inside the pack, especially about what to pack and what not to pack.

Countdown ... 18 days to go.