Sunday, September 28, 2008


Well, the big day had finally arrived.

The ceremony was so beautiful and Caitlin's wedding dress was STUNNING. The wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses were all handmade. After the ceremony, we walked a trail to the creek for the reception and enjoyed some live music from the Bluegrass band, The Old Holdouts.

What a lovely country wedding! I can't believe my son is married.

Mother and Son.
Alan (Josh's dad), Nathan (brother) and Josh.
Jonathan - rehearsing tunes for the wedding.
Boarding the hayride to the German farm for wedding.

Here comes the bride.

Husband and Wife.

The girls did a reenactment of how Caitlin and Josh met.
The first dance.

Tossing the garter.

A hug from little sister.
Leaving for honeymoon.

Rehearsal the night before.
Josh and Caitlin.

More wedding photo's can be viewed HERE

Friday, September 26, 2008


My brother called from Virginia. Unfortunately he couldn't make the wedding, but he sent well-wishes and a picture of his adorable twins - Phoebe and Sophia!
We're headed for the rehearsal in a few.
Tomorrow's the big day.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wrapping things up...

One of my Pioneer/Victorian designs for Barbie.

I'm in the throes of wedding preparations. I went out to the farm today and helped raked leaves, rocks, and yes, poison ivy. The German farm is looking really good. Got a new fence around the premise. I'm not sure how we are going to fit 300+ people in front of the cabin. The reception is going to be at the creek. Got a blue grass band for the occasion. So far, the weather looks promising.
Not much else to report. I'll have a houseful by tomorrow. Stay tuned for after the weekend. Wedding pictures to post!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Paternal DNA update

I logged onto Family Tree DNA and noticed that my paternal DNA had been submitted into the Arabian Peninsula project. According to this research my Paternal DYS 388 - allele 16 is more common among Jews than Arabs.

The research summary is as follows:

1-YDNA (J) haplogroups (J1 & J2) are believed to have been generated some 10,000 to 15,000 years ago in the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant (source is National Geographic Genetic Project).

2- (J1) is believed to have generated more in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula and south of the Levant while (J2) is believed to have generated in northern part of the Fertile Crescent around curnet northern Iraq.

3-J1 is more common in Arab Bedouins (60% to 80% of Arabian Peninsula Arabs and its surrounding areas including south of Iraq, Palestine desert and Sinai Peninsula [source is Semino et al. research]), while J2 is more common in Jews (majority of Cohen Jews and Ashkenazi Jews). However, since both groups are Semitic people, some Arabs with J2 and some Jews with J1 haplogroups are found.

4-It could be speculated that J1 haplogroup Arabs are more related to Qahtanite tribes and J2 Arabs are of Adnanite tribes since Jews (majority J2 haplogroup) are related to Adnanite tribes by their great grandfather Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) (PBUH) through his son Ismael (Ishmael) who is the source of all Adnanite Arabs. Hence, if Jews are J2 then one would believe that Adnanite are also J2. However, no scientific research had proved or negated such believe.

5-J1 haplogroup had expanded outside of the Arabian Peninsula all over history but distinctively during two main periods. It had expanded out from the Fertile Crescent about 7000-9000 years ago during the Neolithic times (last part of the stone age). The other period was during Arab migration with the expansion of Islamic empire on 6th century AC. (source Al-Zahery et al research).

6-J1 Haplogroup people who migrated during Neolithic periods are believed to belong to very old Arabian tribes that are diffecult to trace, while J1 haplogroup people who migrated with Islamic empire expansion are believed to belong to more recent known Arabian tribe names.

7-Arab people with J1 haplogroup who migrated during Islamic empire expansion are distinguished from those of who migrated during Neolithic period by having markers YCAIIa=22 & YCAIIb=22 (source Semino et al research).

8-J1 haplogroup members with marker DYS 390 = 23 has been identified as the "Sana'a Modal Haplotype" (source Thomas et al 2000 research) which can be speculated to be more linked to Qahtanite linage. (Sana'a: current capital of Yemen)

9-J1 haplogroup marker DYS 388 = 17 was found almost exclusively in Arabs, while allele 16 was more common among Jews. (source Nebel et al. 2002 research).

10-To confirm J haplogroup type (1 or 2), deep SNP tests must be used. For J1, M267 SNP must be positive. For J2, M172 SNP must be positive.

Upon my latest check, National Geo has not updated my maternal, nor my husband's paternal/maternal results. My paternal DNA has a slight update. I went ahead and posted the entire script so that I would have a record to compare in case of future changes.

Your Y-chromosome results identify you as a member of haplogroup J1.
The genetic markers that define your ancestral history reach back roughly 60,000 years to the first common marker of all non-African men, M168, and follow your lineage to present day, ending with M267, the defining marker of haplogroup J1.
If you look at the map highlighting your ancestors' route, you will see that members of

Haplogroup J1 carry the following Y-chromosome markers:
M168 > M89 > M304 > M267
oday, modern members of this haplogroup live in the highest concentrations near its ancestral birthplace in the Middle East, as well as in Arabia, North Africa and Ethiopia. M267 is also seen in Mediterranean Europe, though at much lower frequencies.
What's a haplogroup, and why do geneticists concentrate on the Y-chromosome in their search for markers? For that matter, what's a marker?
Each of us carries DNA that is a combination of genes passed from both our mother and father, giving us traits that range from eye color and height to athleticism and disease susceptibility.

One exception is the Y-chromosome, which is passed directly from father to son, unchanged, from generation to generation.
Unchanged, that is unless a mutation—a random, naturally occurring, usually harmless change—occurs. The mutation, known as a marker, acts as a beacon; it can be mapped through generations because it will be passed down from the man in whom it occurred to his sons, their sons, and every male in his family for thousands of years.
In some instances there may be more than one mutational event that defines a particular branch on the tree. This is the case for your haplogroup J, since this branch can be defined by two markers, either M304 or 12f2.1. What this means is that either of these markers can be used to determine your particular haplogroup, since for every individual that has one of these markers, he also has the other. Therefore, either marker can be used as a genetic signpost leading us back to the origin of your group, and guiding our understanding of what was happening at that early time.
When geneticists identify such a marker, they try to figure out when it first occurred, and in what geographic region of the world. Each marker is essentially the beginning of a new lineage on the family tree of the human race. Tracking the lineages provides a picture of how small tribes of modern humans in Africa tens of thousands of years ago diversified and spread to populate the world.
A haplogroup is defined by a series of markers that are shared by other men who carry the same random mutations. The markers trace the path your ancestors took as they moved out of Africa. It's difficult to know how many men worldwide belong to any particular haplogroup, or even how many haplogroups there are, because scientists simply don't have enough data yet.
One of the goals of the five-year Genographic Project is to build a large enough database of anthropological genetic data to answer some of these questions. To achieve this, project team members are traveling to all corners of the world to collect more than 100,000 DNA samples from indigenous populations. In addition, we encourage you to contribute your anonymous results to the project database, helping our geneticists to reveal more of the answers to our ancient past.
Keep checking these pages; as more information is received, more may be learned about your own genetic history.
Your Ancestral Journey: What We Know Now
M168: Your Earliest Ancestor
Fast Facts
Time of Emergence: Roughly 50,000 years ago
Place of Origin: Africa
Climate: Temporary retreat of Ice Age; Africa moves from drought to warmer temperatures and moister conditions
Estimated number of Homo sapiens: Approximately 10,000
Tools and Skills: Stone tools; earliest evidence of art and advanced conceptual skills
Skeletal and archaeological evidence suggest that anatomically modern humans evolved in Africa around 200,000 years ago, and began moving out of Africa to colonize the rest of the world around 60,000 years ago.

The man who gave rise to the first genetic marker in your lineage probably lived in northeast Africa in the region of the Rift Valley, perhaps in present-day Ethiopia , Kenya, or Tanzania, some 31,000 to 79,000 years ago. Scientists put the most likely date for when he lived at around 50,000 years ago. His descendants became the only lineage to survive outside of Africa, making him the common ancestor of every non-African man living today.
But why would man have first ventured out of the familiar African hunting grounds and into unexplored lands? It is likely that a fluctuation in climate may have provided the impetus for your ancestors' exodus out of Africa.

The African ice age was characterized by drought rather than by cold. It was around 50,000 years ago that the ice sheets of northern Europe began to melt, introducing a period of warmer temperatures and moister climate in Africa. Parts of the inhospitable Sahara briefly became habitable. As the drought-ridden desert changed to a savanna, the animals hunted by your ancestors expanded their range and began moving through the newly emerging green corridor of grasslands. Your nomadic ancestors followed the good weather and the animals they hunted, although the exact route they followed remains to be determined.

In addition to a favorable change in climate, around this same time there was a great leap forward in modern humans' intellectual capacity. Many scientists believe that the emergence of language gave us a huge advantage over other early human species. Improved tools and weapons, the ability to plan ahead and cooperate with one another, and an increased capacity to exploit resources in ways we hadn't been able to earlier, all allowed modern humans to rapidly migrate to new territories, exploit new resources, and replace other hominids.

M89: Moving Through the Middle East
Fast Facts
Time of Emergence: 45,000 years ago
Place: Northern Africa or the Middle East
Climate: Middle East: Semi-arid grass plains
Estimated number of Homo sapiens: Tens of thousands
Tools and Skills: Stone, ivory, wood tools

The next male ancestor in your ancestral lineage is the man who gave rise to M89, a marker found in 90 to 95 percent of all non-Africans. This man was born around 45,000 years ago in northern Africa or the Middle East.
The first people to leave Africa likely followed a coastal route that eventually ended in Australia.

Your ancestors followed the expanding grasslands and plentiful game to the Middle East and beyond, and were part of the second great wave of migration out of Africa.
Beginning about 40,000 years ago, the climate shifted once again and became colder and more arid. Drought hit Africa and the grasslands reverted to desert, and for the next 20,000 years, the Saharan Gateway was effectively closed. With the desert impassable, your ancestors had two options: remain in the Middle East, or move on. Retreat back to the home continent was not an option.
While many of the descendants of M89 remained in the Middle East, others continued to follow the great herds of buffalo, antelope, woolly mammoths, and other game through what is now modern-day Iran to the vast steppes of Central Asia.
These semi-arid grass-covered plains formed an ancient "superhighway" stretching from eastern France to Korea. Your ancestors, having migrated north out of Africa into the Middle East, then traveled both east and west along this Central Asian superhighway. A smaller group continued moving north from the Middle East to Anatolia and the Balkans, trading familiar grasslands for forests and high country.
M304: The Spread of Agriculture
Fast Facts
Time of Emergence:15,000 to 10,000 years ago
Place of origin: Fertile Crescent
Climate: ice age ending
Estimated number of Homo sapiens: Millions
Language: Unknown — earliest evidence of modern language families
Tools and Skills: Neolithic Revolution

The patriarch of Haplogroup J was a descendant of the M89 Middle Eastern clan. He was born between 15,000 to 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, a region that extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf where the Euphrates and Tigris rivers form an extremely rich floodplain. Today the region includes all or parts of Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.

The descendants of this man played a crucial role in modern human development. They pioneered the first Neolithic Revolution, the point at which humans changed from nomadic hunter-gatherers to settled agriculturists.
The end of the last Ice Age around 10,000 years ago, and the subsequent shift in climate to one more conducive to plant production probably helped spur the discovery of how to grow food.
Control over their food supply marks a major turning point for the human species: the beginning of civilization. Occupying a single territory required more complex social organization, moving from the kinship ties of a small tribe to the more elaborate relations of a larger community. It spurred trade, writing, calendars, and pioneered the rise of modern, sedentary communities and cities.

The M304 marker appears at its highest frequencies in the Middle East, North Africa, and Ethiopia. In Europe, it is seen only in the Mediterranean region.
An important subgroup of haplogroup J includes the descendants of another man from the M89 Middle Eastern clan born in the Fertile Crescent at about the same time, carrying the marker

M172. This related haplogroup is called J2.
The early farming successes of these lineages spawned population booms and encouraged migration throughout much of the Mediterranean world. In fact, both haplogroup J and its subgroup J2 are found at a combined frequency of around 30 percent amongst Jewish individuals.
M267: Mediterranean Migrations
Fast Facts
Time of Emergence: About 10,000 years ago
Place of origin: Fertile Crescent
Climate: Moderate Mediterranean, conducive to agriculture
Tools and Skills: Early agricultural skills

The M267 haplogroup arose in the southern Fertile Crescent, perhaps in what is now Iraq, about 10,000 years ago. In this post-Ice Age era the region had a very fertile climate, which helped to feed the growth of early agriculture and, with it, the foundations of settled human communities.
The first man to exhibit the M267 marker was probably an early agriculturalist. During successive generations, his descendents would carry the lineage through much of the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula, and North Africa.

The M267 lineage was widely dispersed by two major waves of migration. The first occurred some 10,000 years ago during the region's Neolithic period. The homesteading farmers of this era spread out from the Fertile Crescent into the welcoming lands of Europe, Ethiopia, and even farther afield.

More recently, during the golden age of Islamic expansion, some descendents of the original M267 spread to North Africa and to Europe's Iberian Peninsula. The Moors, North African peoples of Berber and Arab origins, carried both their faith and their culture on conquests of the Iberian Peninsula, northwest Africa, and beyond. Their genetic impact on Spain, however, was relatively small.

Modern members of this haplogroup once again live in their highest concentrations near its ancestral birthplace in the Middle East, as well as in Arabia, North Africa, and Ethiopia. M267 is also seen in Mediterranean Europe, though at much lower frequencies.

The haplogroup also carries a strong cultural connection—many of its members with European ancestry are Jewish. More than half of all J1 samples in the Genographic database are Ashkenazi Jews, revealing a genetic connection to the Middle Eastern homeland of Judaism.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


A friend and I decided to spend our morning today at the Natural Gardener -- what a treat! There was so much to see and do. Definitely a great place to take the kids and walk around.

While browsing inside the store, I decided to purchase a copy of the Texas Gardener magazine. Imagine my surprise when I recognized a local blogger as one of the feature stories. Blogging has been taking off as a great way for Austin gardeners to network and share information and tips.

I also purchased the Texas Bug Book. This was originally Pamela's idea to own the copy. But after I started digging through the pages, I realized this was a VALUABLE book to own! Not only are there pictures of all the Texas bugs, but information on pest control for your home and garden. A must have!
The nursery was very well kept and full of surprises. The kids got to see lots of animals, the butterfly garden, and an amazing variety of plants. And the staff, by the way, are very friendly.

I'll most definitely be back -- especially to take advantage of their free workshops. This will especially be an asset for Pamela's horticulture 4-H projects.

Afterwards, we decided to go vegetarian for lunch and eat at Mr. Natural. I had an incredible spinach, rice, and bean dish (can't remember what it was called) and for my drink, spinach pineapple juice. Not bad!

Well, time to start working on my FALL GARDEN! (Hoping for "fall" anyways... we had a nice surprise earlier this week with 70-degree temps... but now we're expecting our temps to rise back to the 90's.
Hoping for COOL WEATHER for the wedding!