Monday Memories: Maternal Inheritance

Joan Kunkel young woman crop and low

A beautiful photo of Mum – perhaps for her 21st?

The past few days my mind has been occupied with planning my mother’s 90th birthday later in the year: a trip to Sydney and the theatre. Then to top it off, last night, after watching DNA Nation, I was trying to make sense of my mitochondrial inheritance (once again!).  I’m still very confused about that and have lots to learn but I’m very grateful that Mum was willing to provide a sample, or my results would be even more ambiguous.

Unsurprisingly, these thoughts led me to reflect on which of my interests came down from her.

However, it’s not only our mother’s mtDNA that we inherit, it’s often their characteristics and interests. Is that nature or nurture I wonder? I’m far too close to judge which personal characteristics we share and don’t share, so I’m not even going down that path.

From Mum I inherited:

joan and pauleenPhotography – I’m fortunate to have quite a lot of family photos thanks to mum’s interest in it, especially impressive since money was often tight. She was a self-avowed head or legs-lopper in the days of the old Kodak cameras. Mum and Dad also gave me my first camera (birthday or Christmas?) and this engendered my life-long love of photography.

A love of cut flowers – though mum loved to arrange them whereas mine just get plonked in the vase. We both share a love of pansies and roses. I love frangipani, she hates it.

Baking – every Saturday was baking day in our house and Mum inherited her grandfather’s and mother’s baking expertise. There were always cakes and biscuits made weekly. My sweet tooth won’t let me give them up.

Sewing skills – but a limited amount of patience for it so that I’ve long since given up sewing clothes. She was a very skilled dressmaker and the finish on her sewing left nothing to be desired.

Joan Kunkel poss Sth Brisbane

At South Brisbane?

The wonders of nature – through bushwalks on Magnetic Island with her and dad during our holidays.

Theatre, dancing, tennis and other useful social skills: as I mentioned last week my mother was the prime mover in these areas. No doubt she was determined I’d have advantages she hadn’t had.

Craft – Mum has always enjoyed new craft activities from flower arranging to decoupage. Like most women of her era she could also crochet though knitting was never her thing.  I thoroughly enjoy learning new creative skills but then there’s family history….a time-absorber.

Beautiful decorative items – we have completely different taste, but we both like those special-to-us touches in our homes.

joan Pauleen theatre

At the theatre.

Commitment – from persisting with giving me the best education and in a myriad small ways, I’ve learnt commitment to tasks.

Eveready batteries – this used to be one of my abilities in emulation of Mum’s busy days but sadly my family history has helped me to slow down – plus a somewhat better understanding of what’s good for my health.

Typing – Mum used to type my uni assignments for me at all hours and when she was no longer around after we moved to PNG I had to learn to type myself – the air was “blue”.

We don’t share:

pauleen norm at picnic bay

One of my favourite photos – Dad and me on holidays at Magnetic with the local kittens.

A love of cats and dogs, though we always had cats around the house…Dad’s inheritance.

A love of reading – Mum was always one of those busy women who never stopped to read much so this is another inheritance from Dad.

A love of painting and wall-papering: wall painting drives me mad – give me growing grass any day.

The ability to sing – Mum has this, I don’t!

Fashion style – Mum has always been interested in the latest styles whereas for me it’s rather ho-hum. Like many of her generation she’s probably also more formal.

Religion – although this was a huge part of my life until my 40s I’ve sworn off it since then, to mum’s great disappointment.

Curly hair – to mum’s minor envy my hair is thick and wavy. Not sure where the waves came from.

When I was a young girl, people would say to me “gee you look like your mother” and then when they saw me with Dad “No, you look like your dad”. Obviously a mix of both in many regards.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since having children in my early 20s, it is how difficult it can be to do all the right things as a mother…my quote is “I’ve learned lots about myself I’d rather not have known”. For all these things, and others, I’m grateful to my mother for what she’s done and the enthusiasms she shared with me.

 

 

 

 

An Object-ive view of family history: It’s not just “stuff” or junk

I rarely re-blog earlier blog posts but having just “rediscovered” this one myself, it’s a good reminder to consider our family artefacts.

One of Richard Reid’s comments during Shamrock was to the effect that family historians search for meaning and information on their ancestors among the documents held in various repositories but ig…

Source: An Object-ive view of family history: It’s not just “stuff” or junk

Monday Memories: Let’s Dance

postcard-1242616_1280

Free image from Pixabay

During the A to Z challenge a few of my genimates wrote about their early memories – childhood and growing up. They were lots of fun to read and inspired lots of conversation with their readers.

Inspired by their theme, I’ve decided to start a Monday Memories meme where I’ll write odd memory snippets of my own. If anyone else wants to join in that would be great fun.

Last night I watched the 1992 Aussie movie, Strictly Ballroom, which evoked memories of the main enthusiasm from my teen years, ballroom and Latin dancing. Of course I also can’t watch a paso doble without thinking of Torvill and Dean’s inimitable 1984 performance in Sarajevo (good grief, that’s 32 years ago!).

Ballroom dancing

In your dreams Pauleen. Image from NAA Accession # 2004/00287481

Anyway back to a much lesser performer…in my mid-teens about Sub-Senior (year 11), Mum took me to Wrightson’s Dance Studio in the Valley (Fortitude Valley) for ballroom dance classes. I guess it was probably to prepare me for school formals (aka proms in the US) and for the future. The studio was upstairs in Wickham Street between Gotha and Gipps Streets about opposite the K2 shop today. This was pretty much my everyday “turf” as it was close to where I went to school. The traffic now is usually very busy and parking impossible, so I don’t have a chance to see if the building itself is still there. Orchard’s Dance Studio was just round the corner and I have no idea why mum chose one over the other.

In the beginning Mum would come with me to supervise – I don’t recall if she was the only parent there but I can’t imagine, in retrospect, that it improved my image any. One of my high school friends, who lived nearby, came to the studio with us at least some of the time. I remember when she came back from school holidays in Papua New Guinea and brought me my first bottle of French perfume (Jean Patou?). I have no recollection of what it was called perfumebut she turned me into a perfume snob at 17 and I still have the gorgeous little bottle.

Wrightson’s had quite a few instructors and we danced mostly with them, interspersed with other learners. We learned the waltz and the quickstep (of course) and looking back I find it astonishing that Miss-Goody-Two-Shoes-Catholic-girl didn’t go into a faint at being in a hip-lock during the dances.

Overall I much preferred the Latin components of cha-cha, rumba and samba. The jive we learned was very structured as well as fast and was great fun. We were also introduced to the other dances of the day like the Twist and the Hucklebuck (none of the youTubes videos are how we danced it). I have no photos from those dancing times – these days we’d be facebooking phone shots all the time.

Medal test DancingOver the years various friends would come along with me, but few lasted for long, apart from a childhood friend from my neighbourhood. I was rather devastated when the only great (male) dancer I knew from Wrightson’s – six feet tall and good looking, not only took up with my five-foot-tall friend but then later joined the priesthood. Seriously?! For a very brief period one Christmas holidays I dated one of the instructors – ironically one I didn’t dance well with. A couple of times we went dancing at Cloudland which made a change from doing exams there. He took me to the instructor’s Christmas party and my eyes nearly popped out of my head…there was lots of amorous activity and I was such an unworldly person in those days.

Throughout my uni years, dancing became even more part of my life and during holidays or less busy periods I would be at Wrightson’s three or more times a week. No wonder I was fit, between that and walking everywhere. I got my bronze medal and the comments reveal something of my uptight  A-type obsessiveness. (where has that paperwork, and my medal, gone??) Nevertheless I loved dancing and that experience remains among my fondest teen memories.

How ironic that I would marry someone who doesn’t/can’t dance, despite his myriad good features, we moved to Papua New Guinea and I never went back to Wrightson’s again. C’est la vie.

 

My Own Merry Month of May Movies

My Fair Lady programme

The programme cover for My Fair Lady, the film.

Turns out this was a trickier meme than I thought when I amended my own Music Meme. Of course I can never just keep it short and snappy, but here’s my own response.

  1. What’s the earliest movie you can remember: Fantasia – I went to see this with my mum and my great-aunt Emily in the city…those creepy brooms freaked me out! I was about five I think.
  2. Where did you go to the movies (place or type of venue): Mostly in the city but occasionally at the local picture theatre though I have no clear memories of this.
  3. Did you buy movie programs: Most of the block-buster films of the day had programs and I used to have quite a few. I’ve kept some of them but only the covers of others.
  4. Did you take in food and drink (and what did you like): Back in the day it was Fantales, Maltesers or Jaffas. Now it’s coffee <smile>. We only get popcorn with the grandkids.
  5. Movies of your teenage years: Gidget, some Elvis Presley (but which?), original James Bonds, Hawaii, My Fair Lady, Sound of Music
  6. Mischief you got up to in the movies: I was a goody two shoes like Robbie, but when we went as a group in my late teens, the blokes would often roll Jaffas down the floors (something of an Aussie tradition)Movies 1
  7. Did you watch movies at home: We didn’t get TV until late, but the first movie I remember was Three Coins in a Fountain (part of my travel addiction). Our own family often borrowed videos or later DVDs.
  8. What was your favourite movie to watch at home: With our own family: When Harry Met Sally, The Princess Bride, Top Gun.
  9. Do you prefer to watch movies at home or at the cinema: Some movies are best suited to the big screen which I prefer (for example Sherpa, or Eye in the Sky, which we’ve just seen, or The Water Diviner) but others I don’t mind either way.
  10. Does your family have a special movie memory: Taking the kids to see a Disney movie in the city and having to get tissues half way through because of the tears (we may be the only family that banned Disney); seeing a movie about a cat, Thomasina, days after we had to put our old girl down. One of my daughters letting out a loud sigh/sound during the Top Gun volleyball match – sounded like she was ecstatic rather than repulsed – turned a few heads <wink, wink>. Or seeing Hawaii with an early boyfriend – the birth scene was pretty dramatic from the front rows.movies 2
  11. Movies you fell in love to/with: I loved Out of Africa to the max right from the beginning. I remember I was in the ladies’ room afterwards and everyone was crying about Robert Redford dying and I was crying about her leaving the servant and telling him she’d send for him (haven’t quite forgiven her for that). We fell in love to Elvira Madigan and Dr Zhivago. On my first ever trip to Sydney, on my own, I cried and cried over Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.
  12. Favourite romantic movie theme music: I’d have to say Mozart’s 21st, from Elvira Madigan, since we used it for our wedding march and made my mum-in-law cry.
  13. Favourite musical movie: My Fair Lady.
  14. Which movies made you want to dance/sing: Sound of Music, Mamma Mia (pathetic movie mostly), Mad Hot Ballroom.
  15. Do you watch re-runs or DVDs of old movies: We have a stash (thanks Bali for our wide selection!) that we watch regularly. I’m not such a big fan of vintage movies though.movies 3
  16.  Do your children/family enjoy the same movies: Some of them: Summer Holiday (strangely), When Harry Met Sally, Princess Bride. It’s something of a family tradition as adults for us all to go to the movies on Boxing Day.
  17. What’s your favourite movie genre now: A tough one, mostly I go to the movies for escapism so I’m a sucker for a feel-good movie but I also like dramas. (My TV watching is nearly all crime…or house shows or WDYTYA)
  18. Did you read the book before or after the movie: After, definitely. There have been some where the movie captures the book perfectly: The Joy Luck Club; 84 Charing Cross Road.
  19. Which did you enjoy more, the book or the movie: The book mostly, but see above.
  20. What’s the silliest movie you’ve seen: Basically we don’t go to see silly movies so nothing leaps to mind…or perhaps I’ve sublimated them. Then again, one man’s film-596519_1280 moviesgreat movie is another’s person’s silly movie.
  21. Pet hate in movies: A sound track that goes from super-loud to super-quiet; “jumpy” or too “artistic” camera work. In my rebellious teen years it was having to stand for God Save the Queen….so we didn’t. Judy Garland movies. I remember we left the movie Papillon part-way through because it was too freaky for an anniversary outing.
  22. A movie that captures family history for you: Do you know, I can’t think of one – look forward to others’ suggestions. Maybe The Water Diviner since it covers the power of family relationships and the horrors and impact of war.
  23. If you could only play 5 movies for the rest of your life, what would they be: Out of Africa, Hopscotch, 84 Charing Cross Road, Mad Hot Ballroom, The Water Diviner.
  24.  Favourite movie stars (go ahead and list as many as you like): Glenda Jackson, Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Meryl Streep (mostly), Hugh Jackman, Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, Kenneth Brannagh, Morgan Freeman, Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth, Spencer Tracy.

And a late addition:

  1. Other movies that caught my imagination: Reds, Dances with Wolves, Passage to India, Samson and Delilah, Romeo & Juliet (di Caprio and Danes).

And here’s where I wrote about movies in the 52 Weeks of Personal History and Genealogy series a few years back – I wonder how consistent I’ve been?

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Merry Month of May Movie Meme

Things have quietened down since the A to Z challenge so it’s time for a bit of fun with a May Meme. A few years ago I did a May Music Meme so I thought this year we’d go to the movies. Put your movie hats on, look into the past and dredge up your memories…LET’S HAVE FUN!

film-596519_1280 movies

The way it works is this:

  • Copy the questions I’ve listed here and add your responses – short or long as you please.
  • The image is from Pixabay and free to use so share away.
  • Link back to your post in the comments.
  • During the next week I’ll put my own response up.
  • Around 22 May I’ll put up a summary of the posts.

Here are the questions:

  1. What’s the earliest movie you can remember:
  2. Where did you go to the movies (place or type of venue):
  3. Did you buy movie programs:
  4. Did you take in food and drink (and what did you like):
  5. Movies of your teenage years:
  6. Do you remember how old you were when you went unsupervised:
  7. Mischief you got up to in the movies:
  8. Did you watch movies at home:
  9. What was your favourite movie to watch at home:
  10. Do you prefer to watch movies at home or at the cinema:
  11. Does your family have a special movie memory:
  12. Movies you fell in love to/with:
  13. Favourite romantic movie theme music:
  14. Favourite musical movie:
  15. Which movies made you want to dance/sing:
  16. Do you watch re-runs or DVDs of old movies:
  17. Do your children/family enjoy the same movies:
  18. What’s your favourite movie genre now:
  19. Did you read the book before or after the movie:
  20. Which did you enjoy more, the book or the movie:
  21. What’s the silliest movie you’ve seen (silly funny or silly annoying):
  22. Pet hate in movies:
  23. A movie that captures family history for you:
  24. If you could only play 5 movies for the rest of your life, what would they be:
  25. Favourite movie stars (go ahead and list as many as you like)

I hope my blogging mates join in and share their memories of movie moments: anyone can join in and have fun.

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Image from Pixabay

 

Reflections on A to Z 2016

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]

For the past couple of years, personal responsibilities things have taken priority over A to Z blogging for me. My decision to join in 2016 was a last-minute thing, because, frankly, my blogging frequency has been almost non-existent for the past year, for a variety of reasons.

My main goal from the challenge was to give myself, and the blog, a kick in the proverbial to restart my commitment. After all I’d already done two challenges and I knew it was critical to pre-schedule my posts, especially given I’d be out of town for half the month.

The next decision was what theme to pursue.  My previous challenges had two quite different themes on two of my blogs:

2012A genealogical travelogue or a travel genealogue

2013Australia’s northern regions and some Aussie-isms

I had several ideas for 2016 but some would have required a longer preparation time. In the end I settled on How to pursue an interest in family history or genealogy. I knew this would have more limited appeal, but decided since my goal was to kick-start myself, and hopefully inspire some potential family historians, I’d just get on with it.

STRENGTHS

I was surprised to see how many genealogy bloggers were taking the challenge this year and was thrilled to see some of my genimates among them. We’re lucky that we have a great community of bloggers under the umbrella of Geneabloggers which has some 3000 members.

Even so, I found some great new-to-me geneawriters among the A to Z list, though they were hidden under history (mostly). I thoroughly enjoyed their stories and their journeys from A to Z. Here’s a list of them -hopefully I found everyone.

I also found some enjoyable and entertaining writers and photographers on various themes who I enjoyed reading. I tried to encourage myself and others to randomly select from a different range of 100 blogs each week eg 400-499.

Compared to earlier years it was a pleasure not to be hounded by CAPTCHA requirements. Alleluia!

I only wish that more bloggers had “like” buttons so you can show you enjoyed their story even if you didn’t have a comment you wanted to make.

WEAKNESSES

The increased number of geneabloggers meant that I focused heavily on their stories, trying to read every post (though I missed some) and comment on most as well.

The consequence is that I read, and commented on, fewer other types of bloggers’ writing, which is a shame. It probably also partially accounts for why I had fewer visits to my blog from non-genealogists.

The sheer scale of the challenge is becoming over-whelming. I understand that the names have to go in as they sign-up but it’s then a search and find mission to find specific types of blogs.

My Weaknesses

It’s fair to say I’m probably never going to be short and snappy in my posts – perhaps my challenge for 2017?

While I’m happy to read a variety of blogs, I choose to ignore certain types that I know just don’t appeal to me (eg fantasy writing, no matter how good it is – sorry people).

THE FUTURE

It’s true that we should really start thinking about next year almost as soon as we’ve finished this year. Unfortunately, if I pre-schedule too far in advance I’m likely to lose interest in the whole process before April.

If I participate in 2017 I will venture away from family history (I think) into other fields I’m interested in (photography and travel perhaps).

thanksIt would be fantastic to have a genealogy code among the options but I get that you would then be asked for different headings under craft, for example.

THANKS

Once again, thanks to the organising team who must put in a huge amount of work to bring this challenge to us each year. Great work people – I have no idea how you do that AND write your own blogs.

Thanks also to all those bloggers who shared their stories with us this past month. May your blogs continue to grow and give enjoyment.

Serendipity across time

Sketch of Her Imperial Majestys Opera House Brisbane 1888 Trove

Unidentified 1888, sketch of Her Imperial Majesty’s Opera House Brisbane, 1888, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

For Mother’s Day we took my mum to see the ballet Giselle broadcast live on the big cinema screen from London. On the way home she happened to mention that my paternal grandfather, Dinny Kunkel, had enjoyed opera and gone to see the Opera in Brisbane. Who knew?!

Like many things this was one of those snippets that leave as many questions as answers – after all he’d been born in a railway camp near Dalby:

  • How did he come to learn about opera?
  • When did he start connecting with it?
  • Did he learn a little about it from his German grandfather, George Kunkel?
  • Did he learn about it during his Paris leave amid World War I?
  • Was it part of a self-improvement program, along with joining the Masons (not looked on kindly by the Catholic church) or did he just like the music and drama?

Rigoletto record DJKInevitably I am unlikely to know the answer to these questions and it occurred to me to look among the gramophone records from my grandparents’ house, which I’ve inherited along with the gramophone. Sure enough there was this record…and a variety of classics but no other opera.

I turned to Trove to see what was happening in Dinny’s years working in Brisbane. Immediately before the war, the city was abuzz with the arrival of JC Williamson’s Madam Butterfly. I wonder if he attended, and did he perhaps go dressed up as he is in this photo? Perhaps he was even photographed there – I know I had photos taken at concerts I attended.

Denis Joseph Kunkel abt 15

Denis Joseph Kunkel (1880-1965). The original is held by Pauleen Cass.

The Opera was being staged at Her Majesty’s Theatre, earlier known as Her Imperial Majesty’s Opera House. Sadly no longer surviving thanks to Queensland’s political indifference to matters cultural, it was somewhere that most Brisbaneites would have visited for the ballet or a show. Quite grand, with heavy drapes, uniformed assistants and gilt embellishments.

Strangely enough, in a serendipitous link across time, we are planning to see Madam Butterfly ourselves soon, in a very 21st century way, at our local cinema, thanks to HD transmission from the Metropolitan Opera – a whole new experience unknown in Darwin.

 

1910 ‘”MADAM BUTTERFLY ” GRAND OPERA IN BRISBANE.’, The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 – 1947), 11 October, p. 20. (SECOND EDITION), viewed 10 May 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article186550560  Madam Butterfly

 

Missing Friends can help

Missing Friends advertisements in the newspapers can both sad and optimistic. They can also illuminate our immigrants in numbers of ways:

  • Revealing kinship relationships (siblings, cousins, parents)
  • Loss of contact over long periods of time (anywhere from months to decades)
  • Location of people in their early days here (Dan Shay in Dalby, thousands of kilometres away on a property in Queensland, yet advertising in Melbourne)
  • Prospective inheritance
  • Specific place of origin (Mary Shay from Macroom)
  • No knowledge of a person’s fate: alive or dead (O’Hara)
  • Co-dependence on others from the same area.

Missing Friends

1867 ‘Advertising’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 9 July, p. 1. , viewed 04 May 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5771819

Why not try searching for your family using “Missing Persons” AND “County X” or “Name”? As always be aware that the OCR can do weird things especially in those early days of newsprint.

Why not set up a list for your specific county or area so you can batch similar ads together?

I’m using this strategy to discover emigrants from County Clare as part of my East Clare research.

And yes, poor Jeremiah did die, apparently without seeing his brother since there are no parents listed on the death indexes. (Ancestry.com. Australia, Death Index, 1787-1985 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.)

 

 

 

 

A to Z 2016 Summary

survivor-atoz [2016] v2Whew!! Well we’ve all survived yet another A to Z challenge and what an experience it’s been. There are so many brilliant blogs out there and I was pleased to find this year how many fellow geneabloggers were participating. I also discovered some that were new to me. You can see them on this Sunday Summary list. It was fun to see how differently people responded to the challenge with their theme.

My theme in 2016 was how to pursue an interest in family history/genealogy. Hopefully it’s helped a few people along the way and not frightened anyone off.

Thanks to inspiration from my friend Maria from Wishful Linking Family History Blog, I’ve put together my A to Z list here.  If you don’t already follow Maria’s Genies Down Under podcasts, do yourself a favour and sign up…lots of learning and fun.

A is for Ancestors and Archives

B is for BDMs, Blogs and Beyond the Internet

Tree and ladder shutterstock_56502106C is for Certificates, Collateral Research and Census Data

D is for Digitisation and DNA

E is for Education, Ethics and Electoral Rolls

F is for Family

G is for Genealogical Societies and the Genealogy Community

H is for History, Hospital Records and Health Inheritance

I is for Interviews and Immigration

J is for Journals

K is for Kirk Sessions and Kiva

L is for Libraries and Local Histories

M is for Maps and Microfilms

N is for Newspapers

O is for Occupations and One Place Studies

revisit record revise circular_edited-1P is for Parish Registers and Parish Chests

Q is for Questions

R is for 3 Rs and Religion

S is for Stories and Serendipity

T is for Trials, Tribulations and Tombstones

U is for Undertakers

V is for Valuations and Virtue

W is for Witnesses, Wills and Workhouses

X is for Scandals and eXpertise

The world is your family tree oyster with blogging. Edited image from Office Clip Art.

Share your discoveries on your blog.

Y is for Yearning

Z is for zzzz

Thanks to my readers for joining me on the journey and commenting. I appreciated your company.

Thanks also to the A to Z organisers for challenging us each year. Seriously you could read just the posts from this series and it would take months. There’s so many interesting blogs out in the blogosphere.

Z is for zzzz

My A2Z 2016 theme is how to pursue an interest in family history/genealogy – thank you for joining me on this journey. I hope it’s been helpful to budding family historians.

Z is for ZZZzzz

Well you can forget about that once you start your research…those delicious ten hour sleeps will become a thing of the past. At almost any hour of the day or night you’ll find a fellow genealogist online somewhere in the world.

SnoozeUnlike the A to Z challenge, family history research never really finishes. It may frustrate you, and at times wear you out, but it will offer untold challenges and interest on your journey. Like the rest of us, you’ll find yourself doing a genea-jig when you make any discovery, large or small.  The day you hold a document your ancestor signed, or you walk their land, will remain a special memory for the rest of your life.

Happy journeying if you join me and my genimates in this quest. If you opt to start a blog, do join Geneabloggers so we can all follow along. You might be interested in some of the Z attributes genealogists will need.

Thank you for following me on this journey…I’ve appreciated your support, especially that of new readers and my geneablogging mates.

There’s a plethora of reading choices on this year’s A to Z Challenge, so my challenge to you on this last day is to visit the sign-up page and select one (or more) blogs to read between the numbers 100 to 199.