Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Filmed "Oral History" ~ Sinese

This link actually came to my attention in an email. It is a short, heartwarming, wonderful film that I want to make sure you are aware of, so you too can enjoy. A film that will go down in history! Gary Sinese has made this all happen. Do you know who he is? Well, by throwing the name out to me, I didn't have a clue, but, after seeing this film, I found I knew who he was all along! Kudos to Gary and his uncle! Sleeping dog TV also did an awesome job filming this.

I have no connection to the filming company or any person involved in this great film. I just enjoyed and wanted to share. We should all have such a wonderful "Oral History" to share.


Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Great Swedish Adventure ~ Part 16

Flowers sent to me yesterday from my daughter and her family

With the end of this "Great Swedish Adventure" has come an awful lot of emotion. Because this experience has been documented and will be a part of my history, I feel there has to be one more follow up post. A post, shall we say, on the aftermath of this experience.

I knew I needed a couple of days to unwind from this experience, and I was not wrong. I have felt numb and have just barely functioned, doing only what I absolutely had to do. It has been a tougher come down than I expected.

I started this adventure because the timing couldn't have been any better for me. I was trying to plan a trip to Sweden this year as it was. I want to meet my cousin who found me last last year through this blog. In fact, I want to meet all of the family there!

When I started this adventure I NEVER expected to get very far, and I knew I would never forgive myself if I didn't at least try. It was a wild, crazy, awesome experience. It was so much more than I ever could have imagined. As I kept advancing through each cut, my mind started focusing mostly on this experience. When I got to the final cut, after all I had been through, I wanted this more than anything.

So without really realizing it, over a period of a couple of months, my feelings changed from just having fun with this to "I just have to make it!" Unconsciously, I started planning how everything would play out. I thought about what would be "let go" at my house and in my "normal" life while I was away for a month. I rehearsed in my mind, many times, the ultimate experience of meeting my family in Sweden. At this point, I don't think I it crossed my mind very often that I wouldn't make it.

My family in Sweden was rooting for me. They have been very involved, especially as I kept making the cuts. They anticipated with excitement that I would be coming to their country to meet them. Even a blogging friend from Sweden was anticipating and hoping I would make it. She hoped to come meet me and be of assistance if she could. Of course all of this excitement from everywhere kept me very pumped up.

The final week came which would verify, or not, if I was to continue on to Sweden. As each day passed, I was getting more tense, waiting, full of anticipation. The last couple of days I stayed by the phone and my laptop, as if I were going to miss something. My daughter wisely pointed out to me, if they called to tell me I made it, they wouldn't change their mind because I wasn't there to answer the phone. I left the house for maybe an hour.

I was back home when suddenly then the phone rang. My heart skipped a beat and I held my breath. I did not recognize the number that was portrayed on the TV screen. I said hello and heard some strange talking. Confused, I said hello again. Interesting, I didn't recognize who it was, nor the language, although I still tend  to think Spanish at first. But I knew it wasn't Spanish, so I said, this is Cheryl, and waited for a response.

All of a sudden I realized it was my cousin from Sweden, Janne! My eyes welled with tears. He had been saying for quite awhile he wanted to call but was afraid his English wasn't good enough. Now, this moment on the phone, it was him! It was amazing to talk to him and actually hear his voice! I know for him it was important that he hear mine. Janne did well speaking English, once I realized who it was. I was so stunned I really couldn't and didn't say much. I was thinking, I hope it didn't cost him to much to call, I have to keep this short. We communicated fairly well, my cousin speaks better English than I anticipated. It was so wonderful that he called.

I felt this was a good luck sign that I was going to make it all the way on the show. I was so pumped having spoken to Janne! The next night though, my bubble burst...it was over. It was very much a shock and hard to believe actually. I felt fortunate that I had met several other applicants online who were cut also. I believe it helped knowing that each of us weren't the only ones cut, and we could fully understand how the others felt. Even so, now I had to change my way of thinking. I no longer needed to worry about what would happen at home for a month, who would help with my grandchildren, or what kind of clothes I needed to purchase to take to Sweden. I needed to retrain my thought process and it didn't come easily.

Even caring for my grandchildren yesterday didn't bring me out of my slump. My husband and daughter did all they could to make things easier for me. My husband took the grandchildren out for a couple of hours to give me some time to myself and my daughter sent those beautiful flowers above to me from her family. I appreciate my family as well as all of the people who have commented on my blog and Facebook with regrets. But my daughter said it perfectly on the card that came with the flowers.

It read, "Mom, let's celebrate how far you got. We are so proud of you. Love" from her and each one in her family. It still brings tears to my eyes. She is one smart cookie and I am very proud of the mother, wife, daughter and person she has become.

I have received some very nice emails from some of you out there as well and a couple of emails from my cousin, Janne.  I realized with this mornings email from Janne that he is feeling very sad and disappointed that this has all ended. This made me sad again as well and again brought tears to my eyes. I responded to him that the Great Swedish Adventure may be over, but that will not stop me from coming to Sweden to meet him, I WILL come. I am just not sure when.

A couple hours after this I received an email from, Janne's aunt. She is married to another cousin of mine. We have only had a couple of emails between us prior to this. She was sorry that I did not make it to the show and said ~

"you got an experience in life to remember anyway. I hope you can come to Sweden anyway so you may see your roots and meet your relatives. You and your family should have a good many hugs from us."

All the more reason I want to go to Sweden. This is MY family. My caring, sweet, thoughtful, wonderful family. My heritage, my family, is there, in Sweden.

As I come back to reality I am realizing I am almost ready to get to the matter at hand, plan my real trip to Sweden. I WILL go, and when I do, you can bet I will have a new series to follow, called...


Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Great Swedish Adventure ~ Part 15

I received the email this evening.

I did not make it for the show.

The email stated that they liked me a lot and that I had been a favorite. They were very surprised and thrilled that there were so many "interesting people" who had applied for the TV show. Supposedly there were a total of 1300 applicants, which eventually went down to 200 applicants for phone interviews. From there 50 were chosen to be interviewed in person. I thought there were 40 being interviewed in person, that number changed as did the total amount of applicants. People just kept applying!

Bottom line, they were taking 10 people to Sweden, 5 men and 5 women. I was told I was loved and made it to the top 10 of the women! As the casting director stated, "That is hugh!!!" So, I am VERY proud of myself for making it that far. Out of those top 10 they needed to choose 5 from different age ranges and it just wasn't meant to be for me. They said that it was "brutal for them to kill off their favorites."

I thank everyone who supported and followed me during this Great Swedish Adventure. I appreciate all of you so much! I enjoyed this experience tremendously. I have been very fortunate to have "met" many of the applicants that were in the top 40 (or now 50 as they say) through my blog and Facebook. I hope if I haven't heard from you yet about your standings it means you have made it to the top 10! Please be so kind and to let me know your standings if you haven't already. I certainly hope one of us made it!

I need a few days to unwind from all of this excitement, so please forgive me if I don't post for several days. It is surprising when you get this close, it suddenly is your whole life, and you really want to go all the way! In the beginning it was all just fun and exciting. Then suddenly you realize you have made it to the very last cut and you have to wait almost two weeks to see if you are cast for the show. Your life becomes the show and all you know and do relates somehow to the show. The last couple of days I really became tense. Now that it is over I need to relax and unwind. I think I need some yoga and time to work on my NEW plan to head to Sweden this year!

I am very happy for you, Janis! Congratulations to you and all of the winners!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

 Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Great Swedish Adventure ~ Part 14

Upon leaving the little restaurant from lunch, I decided to take a few more pictures of some of the "stars" with my phone.

Johnny Cash

Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Jayne Mansfield

Neil A. Armstrong
Edwin E. Aldrin Jr.
Michael  Collins

It didn't take long, to return to the office where I had been interviewed. There was a guy on the couch who was waiting to go back to the airport. I asked if anyone wanted to see my passport as no one had looked at it during my interview. Even though the paperwork stated to bring my passport, they apparently didn't want or need to see it. At least I knew it wasn't overlooked.

The guy waiting on the couch was from Texas. We started chatting and I learned how he felt about his interview. He thought one person really liked him, but wasn't to sure about the other two. It was interesting listening to him and what is going on in his life. It wasn't long until we were escorted to the car and taken back to the airport. It didn't seem like I waited very long before I was on the plane heading home. It was a short flight home and my husband was waiting to pick me up.

Since that time it has been wait, wait and wait some more. The first week went by pretty fast and wasn't an issue. This week though, as time gets closer to the 21st, the date we were given that we should hear from them by, tension has kicked in a bit. More waiting and wait some more. The guy from Texas and I hooked up on Facebook. We have been in contact the last couple of days quite a bit. I believe it was on Monday night I saw where one gal who had interviewed in New York had been cut. She posted the email she received, so I knew it was legit.

Another person in the top 40, a gal from Washington, found my blog recently and through our conversation I realized she had contact with another person or two from Washington. This gal and I have had more frequent contact the last couple of days also. Seems as if we are all getting a little on edge waiting to hear something and wondering if we are going to make the final cut. Once you have come this far, all of a sudden you REALLY want to make the final cut! I don't think anyone understands how we are feeling at this point, except for those of us who are waiting.

The guy from Texas figured out who the person was that left the nasty comment on my blog. Interestingly, when I went to check it out, I found I had been on his page before. I was looking for a picture of the Swedish flag when I ran across his page. What I saw printed on his page was pretty much a dead give away that he was the one. Sad that he vented the way he did, but I can't imagine if he were in the finals now and didn't make it what his recourse might be.

As of this moment as I write this I am aware of  only one person, who interviewed in New York, who has been cut. I have not heard about anything else. I am sure there has been more that has happened, we are just unaware of them. I received another email today from someone telling me her brother is still in the finals, he is from the LA area. Tomorrow was the deadline date they were hoping to be in touch with everyone by. Hopefully they are not to far off target from that.

As anxious as you all are waiting and looking for each post to see if I made it or not, you can't even imagine how anxious I am, as are the others. Still crossing my fingers and rooting for all of these people I am in contact with, and hoping the suspense will be over soon.

Thank you everyone for your support! I have done all I can and shared with you a great part of this experience. As I have said before, it has been a blast and an experience I will never forget. So no matter what happens I am thrilled, but I am also very anxious to finish it up, one way or another. It is getting tough to think about anything else at this point. I will let you know just as soon as I can whether I made the cut or not.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Great Swedish Adventure ~ Part 13

The famous "Hollywood" sign up on the hill, shot by me, down on Hollywood Blvd.  April 2011

After  phone conversations with my husband and daughter I continued on to Hollywood Blvd. I was looking for a quiet little place where I could enjoy a sandwich and put my Nook to good use! I have been downloading books to it, but hadn't started reading anything yet.

As I walked a couple blocks on Hollywood Blvd. I used my phone to take a few photos of the "Stars." It had been many years since I had been in this area. In fact, when I figured out how long it had been, I decided not to share because it made me feel really old! I couldn't even imagine how many "stars" must have been added since the last time my eye's saw these sidewalks.

There are blocks of stars, up and down Hollywood Blvd. and many of the side streets. I couldn't image how long it would take to get a picture of every star.

I stopped in a little place for a sandwich and a drink. When I look back now and think of the place it reminded me "a bit" of Costa Rica. It was run by some Spanish folks and there were lots of fruit and vegetables everywhere. Piles of watermelons and bags of carrots in the soda fridge. There were maybe 5 or 6 little tables where one could eat and a small space on the wall above one of those tables which adorned photos, a couple of which looked to be autographed.

 I ordered a sandwich and sat at one of tables. I pulled out my Nook and decided to begin reading a book which had been recommended to me by Michelle Goodrum who blogs at  "TheTurning of Generations." The book is about organization, I can always use some helpful hints on that! 

I read for about an hour while I ate my lunch. I found my Nook to be quite handy and so far I was really enjoying the book. The Nook was very convenient, fit in my purse and I had a choice of books I could read. I was curious how to use a bookmark in the book. So I played a bit and found if I turned the Nook off, whenever I turned it back on and opened that particular book, it opened to the page I left off! Very cool indeed! I love this new gadget I received for Christmas and was pleased I finally had an opportunity to try it out, in the exact environment I wanted it for. What a wonderful thing for traveling! I can hardly wait to start magazine subscriptions as my Nook is a color one. I am hoping it won't be long until my genealogy magazines are available on this.

All of a sudden, it dawned on me that I had been asked to bring my passport to the interview, but my passport was never brought up, looked over or checked out. They must have forgot. I thought I had better head back a little early in case they wanted to see it. Time to put the Nook away, clean up my mess and start heading back.

Thanks for stopping by!

 Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts! 

 Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Monday, April 18, 2011

Great Swedish Adventure ~ Part 12

Capitol Records, as seen from the intersection of Hollywood and Vine. April 9, 2011

Must get back to interview day! Wasted to much time already on negatives! Thank you all for your support, I appreciate the positive feedback from everyone and especially those that took the time to write me personally. I have an amazing group of GeneaBlogger friends and family, and for that I am extremely grateful.

I believe I left off where I was about to be called in for my interview. The gal before me had since returned from her interview and was looking to leave to get back to the airport. I reminded her she needed to fill out the paperwork which she had forgotten about. A couple of the "interviewers" walked past us at this point and on out the main door, they had an agenda to keep. I asked this gal how she thought her interview went and she seemed very non committal, unsure. She seemed a bit sad or tired to me too. She was up early and had flown in from Washington, so she probably was very tired.

Before I knew it, I was being escorted to my interview. The room was a long one with many windows on the opposite wall, a long table was in the center, the room was bright and cheerful. Or maybe it was my mood was bright and cheerful, I am not sure which.  I was seated on the opposite side of the others.

In essence my personality was the main topic, along with my hobbies and the things that I do. I was asked to name some of the positives and negatives of my personality. The positives were easy, the negatives were tough. I don't think to often about myself, I am always thinking of others. I am not sure that I gave them a negative at this point, but I am sure they were checking out my actions and looks along with my personality.

One area they seemed very interested in was the fact that I own and ride a Harley Davidson. The director himself had on a black leather jacket and asked if I owned a leather jacket. I told him I owned a few along with other leather items. He commented that he didn't suppose I belonged to a motorcycle club, and I told him I actually belonged to two of them. I went into a bit of detail on this subject and the clubs that I belonged to. I never had the opportunity to ask if the director owned or rode motorcycles. I have wondered ever since.

It was very fast 45 minutes. The interview was over. The director and the other woman from the casting department  were leaving the room. The casting director explained she was going to film a little bit before I left. There were questions she wanted me to answer to the camera, which she would start and stop between questions. I would see a light on the camera when she was filming, but she also used hand motions as to when to start talking and when to stop. Here again, I was put to the test, I needed to answer those negatives about my personality. Through some conversation I eventually came up the perfect answer. I appreciate the casting director giving me some time to work on that answer! As I had told them all earlier, I am by far a perfect person, I definitely have my flaws, I just don't think about or dwell on them. 

The casting director let me know that each person who was interviewed would be contacted by phone, whether they made it to the final 10 or not. She was hoping that we would receive the call by April 21st. If by chance they have a difficult time choosing between a couple of applicants there could be a phone interview with those two applicants only to help them make a decision.

For the most part, the interview was easy. Years ago, I would have been extremely nervous with red blotches all over my neck to prove how nervous I was. I used to be accused of having hickey's on my neck, when in actuality I just have very sensitive skin. Stress and nerves always showed up around my neck,  Distracting as it was, that was me and something I couldn't control. I am most grateful that now I rarely get this way, but that may be because I do not put myself in many circumstances that stress me anymore.

Next, I was given permission to go roam the town a bit, get lunch or do whatever I wished as there was a couple hours until they would return me to the airport. I thanked the casting director and walked to the front lobby. The director saw me from the kitchen area and asked if I was leaving. I explained I was going to get some lunch and would be back in awhile. He came over, shook my hand and said it was very nice to meet me. I was impressed that he took time to stop what he was doing to make a comment to me, and especially, that he walked over from another room and shook my hand! I shook his hand and thanked him. Then I realized there was a cute, blond haired guy on the couch finishing up some paperwork, ready for his interview, so I headed on out the door. 

I walked a few feet away from the building and called my husband and my daughter to let them know my interview was over...complete...done...I did all I could do. Now, it was to be a waiting game. Of course, they each wanted to know what the interview was all about and how I thought it went. 

I thought it went well, especially since I knew how bad it could have gone! I felt there were some very positive moments during this interview and of course the one point where I struggled regarding negatives about my personality. Which reminds me, during the interview they also inquired as to the kind of temper I had. I told them I really did not have much of a bad temper, I was pretty calm and even keel most of the time. I wasn't so sure that was the answer they wanted to hear though after I heard their next comments. I realized then that they were looking for "response and action" for TV purposes, and I totally understood that, so I quickly jumped in and shared an incident I went through just the day before at my grandson's preschool, which indeed proved I could get angry, frustrated and voice those reactions!

So, with all of the good and the bad, I, at this point, have done all I can do. Now I have been waiting and doing some wondering. I imagine the type of people they want for their TV show. I believe they would want a variety of men and women, young and old. I feel they want active, interesting people, maybe someone who has a compelling genealogy story or someone who is possibly aware of family they have in Sweden. Maybe someone you would least expect to have Swedish ancestry? Maybe people that would show definite interest in the specific challenges they were planning? Maybe people with attitude or those who can follow directions? Whatever they are looking for, they will be choosing their final ten...by whatever standards they have set.

Truthfully, when I walked out of the building from the interview, I was flying high! This has all been such a blast, I was extremely happy. I was one of the people who made the cuts through to the grand finale. I was able to experience this whole event! Who would ever have thought? Certainly not me!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Great Swedish Adventure ~ Part 11

On the morning of April 11, I received notification of a comment for my blog post, "Great Swedish Adventure ~ Part 8." The comment was from "Anonymous," and it arrived just two days after I made the trip to LA for my interview. Upon returning home, I was feeling so wonderful, happy and appreciative of all of my experiences with the "Great Swedish Adventure!"

I was really caught off guard and felt like I had been slapped upside the head with a wet noodle when I read this particular comment from "anonymous." I originally chose not to allow this comment to go through to my blog. It is, after all, my blog and if I choose not to have drama on my blog, then I choose not to have drama on my blog! Pretty amazing, the decision is up to ME!

I realize that with the good, sometimes comes "the bad." I feel very fortunate that I haven't had many issues with "the bad" during the two and a half years I have been writing this blog. Now that I have received a negative comment directed at ME, it is all about how do I "treat" "the bad?" Spam for instance, I automatically delete. This though is different. Do I want to acknowledge this person's criticisms? Do I really want to spend time on negative behavior? Do I owe this person any explanations? My answer to each of these questions is no. I do not want nor wish to waste my time on negative criticisms.

I have decided to acknowledge this particular matter however, for a few reasons:

     1. To remind ANYONE who wishes to leave a negative comment, that this is MY blog, I decide whether your comment will be shared here or not.

    2. To let "anonymous" know, I do not owe you an answer nor a response to your childish behavior. By the way...What is your name? What are you hiding, anonymous?

    3. Also, those who feel they need to leave negative remarks on ANYONE'S blog, just remember, every blog owner has the same rights that I do, they can choose if they want those comments to post on their blog or not.

    4. The main reason I chose to respond to this ridiculous comment is because the comment was made in reference to the "Great Swedish Adventure" and I would like to set the record straight.

That being said, I have to admit I was surprised and saddened to receive this comment. It originally hurt (anonymous has no idea how far from the truth he/she really is) but now I realize the comment was more than likely made out of  jealousy. Bottom line, I know the accusations are not true. Here is the comment:

"After reading your statement in Part II "There were other areas though (which I choose not to discuss) that I felt would probably hurt my chances with this great opportunity, and there were probably more of those than my one good, adventurous area". I believe you got this far by witholding information that you obviously knew would keep you from being considered. You have been in contact with family in Sweden and know a whole lot more about Sweden than you let the television folks know. You knew this would dwindle your chances as it has for others who were found to be "over qualified". I believe if you get accepted you are taking a position in the game that should have gone to someone who genuinely deserves it more than you. Someone who wants to know more about their Swedish family roots but hasnt been as successful or as fortunate as you to have found them. So tell us, as I am sure we all want to know.... what were these "other areas" that you felt "would probably hurt" your "chances with this great opportunity"? And does the Great Swedish Adventure know you are blogging about it? How do they feel about that?" 

Here is my response ~


What you believe and what you know are two different things. What I chose not to discuss, I still choose not to discuss, it really isn't any of your business. I will tell you though, that anything not discussed here, the Great Swedish Adventure already knows! So, there are NO secrets from them! 

Yes, I have had contact with distant family in Sweden, and no, I do not know more about Sweden than I am letting on. "Those things" I thought may hurt my chances haven't, or I wouldn't have gotten this far. "Those things" came out earlier in this competition, you are just unaware of them. 

Apparently, you were told you were "over qualified" which is exactly why you have become so angry with me. The thought of being "over qualified" had never crossed my mind until now, by you bringing it up. So, because you were over qualified you felt it gave you permission to attack me and my qualifications?

If I am lucky and fortunate enough to get accepted for the show, then I will have deserved that spot! I have not and would never take away a chance from anyone else! I have never applied for anything like this, how am I to know what this show is looking for and not looking for in a contestant, any more than you? Oh, but then you are "over qualified!" Maybe you have done this before, applied for a TV show. But then maybe you have been to Sweden or have met one of your relatives from there, I have no idea. I have no more idea about that than I would know anything about what the Great Swedish Adventure is looking for in a contestant.

You can relax and not worry, the Great Swedish Adventure is aware of ALL of my blogs, and we have discussed them, actually now, face to face! The reason I chose to acknowledge this and bring it to light is because I am an honest person and am not "hiding" anything. If the Great Swedish Adventure feels they would like to talk to me regarding this, they are more than welcome to contact me, they have my number. :-) But then, maybe they will feel as I do, that you are simply jealous.

Thanks for stopping by! 

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Great Swedish Adventure ~ Part 10

I know everyone has been waiting for a post to hear how the interview went in LA. I apologize, I was side swiped upside my head, but that is another story.

 I have to tell you that it was so much fun, a totally awesome experience! I feel very fortunate having been able to participate in this whole affair. A once in a lifetime deal! I am so glad I chose to apply, even if I am not chosen as one of the final ten!

I flew out of San Jose airport at 9:00am Saturday morning and landed in LA about 10:15 am. I hadn't received the information regarding my transportation from the airport to my final destination, so on my way to the airport I sent a message explaining that I never received this information as promised. 

After the plane landed, and service was available, I turned on my phone. Thankfully the information I was waiting for was there, as was a person to pick me up from the airport! I have to say, I certainly was being well taken care of!

 Apparently, a message had been attempted to be placed to me earlier but for some reason my phone acted as if it was full and wouldn't accept any more messages. Don't know what that was all about...I don't receive that many calls. But, no matter, someone was waiting for me in front of the airport and that was what I needed to know!

Upon departure from the plane we were escorted to a shuttle bus which took us to the baggage terminal. I have to say, this was the first time I have ever not had a single bit of luggage on a plane flight! I was able to walk right past the baggage claim, that itself was a new experience for me, and one I didn't mind at all.

After a few text messages (there are times cells are so handy, what did we ever do without them? I suppose I would have been looking for my name on a cardboard sign otherwise...) I found Julia, the driver, who was accompanied by another gal that flew in from Washington for an interview also.

I sat in the back seat of the car and and enjoyed the conversation, from Julia especially, she was from Sweden and had the Swedish accent! She didn't look "Swedish," but in this day and age who looks "Swedish" or "Latin" or "Hungarian" or anything?

Because, (I think) I have spent so much time in Costa Rica and Mexico and Julia had very dark hair, which is what I was looking at from the back seat, I unconsciously replied to her at one point in Spanish! No, I am not fluent in Spanish, but I was so relaxed and comfortable, it was just my reaction. Too funny. She didn't remark about it, maybe she didn't hear me or know what to say, she was to busy trying to find the way to the freeway!

Driving through LA was interesting for Julia, she had only been in the city a short time. She couldn't get over the fact that there were six lanes going one way on the freeway. She informed us that there were only two lanes in Sweden, one going in each direction. Driving in LA isn't one of my most favorite things to do, I couldn't imagine how she felt. Julia used two GPS's and did get us safely to Hollywood and Vine! Actually, a very short block from there was where we were taken for our interview.

We were a bit late getting to the interview site, so the gal from Washington (whose interview was scheduled first) went in immediately for her interview while I received my packet and filled out some medical paperwork. I was then able to enjoy more conversation with my "chauffeur," Julia, as I waited for my turn to be interviewed. She was young, cute and fun to converse with. She was here on an internship for a few months and was working for the television company, Meter Television. We enjoyed each others company!

More coming soon, I promise! Maybe I will share what hit me upside my head too....

Thanks for stopping by! 

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts! 


 Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Great Swedish Adventure ~ Part 9

The past week had been crazy busy for me! I am grateful that it was. It meant I didn't have time at all to make myself nervous or worry about the upcoming interview in Los Angeles with the TV program's director, and two casting individuals, one of which is the casting director.

As you may remember, I started a dog sitting business in my home this year. I happened to have three beautiful, large dogs to care for this past week, along with my own dog. I also cared for my grandchildren three full days and worked a couple of shifts at the yoga studio. I felt fortunate that I was able to squeeze in Thomas MacEntee's fantastic Webinar hosted by Legacy ~ "Building a Research Toolbox." 

Have you attended any of the vast amount of Webinars that have been offered? (There is a link to the right of my blog where you can see those Webinars that are upcoming) I have personally attended at least 12 of these, and they have all been fabulous. Although I have been to busy to put to use much of what I have learned, I have many pages of notes to help me catch up when time allows.

Finally the end of the week came, it was Friday. I now had time to think about and prepare for my interview and the flight down south the next morning. It was all about "what should I wear?" ~ "are the clothes I want to wear clean and pressed?" ~ "do I need to shop for anything?" "what personal grooming needs do I have? Manicure, pedicure, haircut?" ~ "What shall I do with all the extra time I will have after my 45 minute interview?" I had one day to figure it all out and get ready.

That evening I finally felt I was ready for my flight in the morning. Just in time too as it was almost time for "GeneaBloggers BlogTalk Radio" and "Who Do You Think You Are?" one of the very few TV shows I actually watch. It was to be the last show of the season, featuring Ashly Judd. Thankfully, my husband DVR'D the program for me the week prior because I decided I wanted to follow GeneaBloggers BlogTalk Radio for the full 2 hours. Usually, I followed the radio show for an hour and then watched WDYTYA? the second hour. I finally got smart and figured out I didn't have to miss any of the radio show if I didn't want to. So, as of today, I still have not seen the show from a week ago, which I believe featured Gwyneth Paltrow, nor have I seen Friday night's show with Ashley Judd. I again was smart enough to have hubby DVR the program because I knew I was going to be interrupted by the phone calls and visitors that I was expecting.

So, I spent most of the evening with Thomas MacEntee and GeneaBloggers BlogTalk Radio. There were three guest speakers who covered New England Genealogy and the Mayflower Society, Josh Taylor, Diane Rapaport, and Heather Wilkinson Rojo. I enjoyed each of the speakers, amazing information they had to share! Have you attended GeneaBloggers BlogTalk Radio? (There is a link at the right) The radio show started the same evening as this season's WDYTYA?, which means there has now been 8 shows. The show will continue even though WDYTYA? is over for the season.

During the radio show Thomas announced that "someone" suggested he highlight a blog during each show. He thought that was a great idea and was going to highlight the first blog that particular evening. I also thought this was a great idea and wondered who came up with it. I looked forward to hearing whose blog would be highlighted and how Thomas was going to showcase the blog.

I love GeneaBloggers BlogTalk Radio! You get to listen to Thomas and his guest speakers, plus others tend to call in and chat also. A "chat board"  is on the front page of the radio program where you can manually converse also with those in attendance. Are you aware that door prizes are given away on the radio program? Yes their are and I won a door prize two weeks in a row! After that I felt guilty and thought others should win also, so I haven't tried to win anything since.

At this point I am listening to GeneaBloggers BlogTalk Radio and chatting away on the chat board simultaneously. Thomas says it is time to announce a blog to highlight. Great! I was anxious to hear this! The next thing I know, he is talking about ME and Heritage Happens! I asked my husband to turn the TV down so he could hear... I was SO surprised and caught SO off guard!

Thomas chose to share with the audience this series, the "Great Swedish Adventure!" He announced that I was going to be flying to LA the next morning for an interview, that I was in the top 40 choices to be on the TV show, and that the 40 people were going to be narrowed to ten. I am not sure exactly how it all played out, when, what or how everything was said, but I do know he asked me to call in, which I did. I shared on the radio that I had been planning to go to Sweden sometime this year, somehow,  because I really wanted to meet a cousin and his family who found me on my blog towards the end of last year. Ultimately, after a few minute conversation, Thomas wished me luck, as did many of the listeners on the chat board.

Wow! I sure felt like a star! My blog was the first to be highlighted on GeneaBloggers Blog Talk Radio, where so many of my fellow blogging friends were able to wish me luck at my interview the next day! Now, how special was that? Thomas, you have no idea how surprised, shocked and honored I felt! I thank you and all of my blogging friends who have supported, followed and encouraged me along during this amazing adventure! I have appreciated and felt that I truly needed all of the good luck I have received. Even now, I can still use "good luck," or Lycka till!

                                 A couple of notes and thank yous!

I would like to thank Randy Seaver from Genea-Musings who noted my blog and this series in his "Best of The Week" Post a week ago! Thank you Randy, it was a great surprise and I appreciate that you chose my posts!

I also need to thank Sharn White from Family History 4 u and Sharn's Genealogy Jottings for nominating me a couple of weeks ago for the Ancestor Approved Award! My apologies to Sharn for taking so long to acknowledge this honor! Sharn, I thank you so much, and really appreciate you thinking of Heritage Happens! I will add your name to this award which I have previously received. Because this award has been passed around quite a bit, I will not forward it on this time, but it doesn't mean I am not as appreciative! Thank you!

And now I am closing before this post before it becomes a novel, or has it already?

Tack alla så mycket! Thank you all so much!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 8, 2011

Great Swedish Adventure ~ Part 8

I am flying to LA for the interview TOMORROW!

It has been a very crazy, busy week for me, but I won't even get into that. Actually, that has been great because I didn't have time to dwell or get nervous about the interview tomorrow. 

A couple weeks ago, after I was informed that I made it to this level, I began receiving contacts left and right by people from the TV company. There were phone calls and emails like crazy. It made me wonder if I was a famous person already and didn't even know it....just kidding, but I feel like I understood maybe a bit of what it was like to be a star. The only difference is, stars have someone who handles all of their business for them, they don't take care of these things themselves.

Once I chose my first and second choice of days to fly to LA, I was contacted by the casting director. She needed some information so airline tickets could be purchased. She also wanted to know if I could I fly out early in the morning? Did I want to spend the night in LA with any friends/relatives, or fly back home the same day? Yes, an early morning flight was fine and I chose to fly back home. Off she was to book my flight!

A bit later I received an email from her asking about airports and would I fly out of San Jose instead of Oakland airport as the only direct flight was out of San Jose. No problem! Each airport was about the same distance from where I live.

It wasn't much later that I received confirmation of my flight. I had been wondering how "early" she would book my flight, as I really am not a morning person. Of course at this point I would leave at 1:00 am if they wanted me to! I peaked at the time...what an angel, I wasn't leaving until 9:00am! Not early at all! Anything between about 4 and 7am would have been early to me.

Soon the casting director emailed me again and wanted me to send her some "good" pictures of myself, as they were setting up my portfolio for the interview. She wanted me to give her more information regarding my Swedish heritage also. 

This was something I didn't feel I had very many of, good pictures. I admit I am extremely hard on myself when it comes to a good picture. It wasn't like I was prepared for this and had gone and done a photo shoot or anything. Thankfully, most of my photos are on my laptop, set up in Picassa so that I could easily go look at all the pictures of myself. It didn't take as long as I expected to choose three or four photos, I think those was all I really liked anyway.

Next, a person that was working with the TV company asked for contact information of any living relatives that I was aware of in Sweden, along with a report detailing what I knew about my ancestors from their country. Before I completed this I emailed my cousin Janne, and asked permission to list him as a contact.  Janne is so wonderful! He said he would do anything the company or I needed and proceeded to give me all the information I requested. 

I promptly started putting a little report together, "what I knew" of my Swedish ancestors. This was a bit difficult as you can imagine. Being the family historian I could have easily gotten carried away giving them an overload of info. Do I send them ancestor charts? Do I give complete history and dates of everyone? Pictures? Stories of their lives? I decided I had better read the message again and try to narrow down these choices. An excerpt from the email the gal in Sweden sent me reads as follows ~

"It would be great if you could send me some more information about you Swedish heritage, names, years and locations, anything is helpful.
You also mentioned a distant cousin in Sweden; do you have some information about him?

The part that gets me is  where it says " anything is helpful." I decided to give basic information from my ggrandmother forward including when my grandfather came to this country. I am not super confident yet about who my gggrandmother or gggrandfather were, so that made it an easy place to work from. I also told them that my cousin Janne has all the info from his direct line and the connection to my ggrandmother. The biggest brick wall is that no one knows who my grandfather's father was, his name is not given anywhere, not on my grandfather's birth certificate, baptism records, nothing. So I really wanted to make that point to them. Finally I let them know that I would be more than happy to give any further information I have, just wasn't sure at this point how much they wanted. I sent my report to the casting director and also to the person who was working with the TV company.

The casting director was wonderful. She answered any and all questions I had.  She reassured me everything was being paid for as far as flying to LA and the transportation to and from the airport. She confirmed that at this stage there were 40 people being interviewed and that 10 would be ultimately chosen.  She confirmed also that the final call back interviews were being held in LA and New York City. 

There was still more to cover before my flight and the casting director was so busy that another gal from the company in Sweden was calling me and making sure all of the final touches were taken care of and that I didn't have any further questions.

She emailed me the  final information which stated that I would be meeting at 12:00 pm tomorrow with her, the casting director and the director for about 45 minutes at a hotel in LA. All of the travel and transport information to and from LA was explained along with a map of where I was going and their phones numbers if needed. It was also said that they were going to do a bit of filming during the interview, to again see how we look on camera.

A section of this information had a greeting which stated...

Happy to see you!
We never expected that so many would want to participate in The Great Swedish Adventure, we have had over 1000 applicants and interviewed over 100 people to finally get to the final 40, so you should feel special, no matter how things go.

So sweet, I do feel pretty special!  Everyone involved with this company has been so wonderful! 

They would like for me to bring my passport or a copy of my passport, which thank goodness is current! When I arrive I will be given a packet of paperwork, about the show, per diem, insurance, etc. There will also be a health declaration form for me to fill out. More statements from this information says...

It looks like we will start recording the show in Sweden around the first of June,
if you are selected you could be in Sweden between 8-30 days.

As mentioned before we will of course pay for your flight to and from Sweden and accommodation during the recording time.

Everybody that has made it this far, will be notified by us if you get selected or not, probably and hopefully by the 21st of April.

They really covered everything! They are very welcoming and wish us all good luck. The only thing they wouldn't do, darn it, is...

Since this is a competition, we will not tell you what the challenges are, but you probably understand that.

Well, I wish they would at least give me a hint... 

Ok, with this very long post everyone is fully updated. I apologize for such a long post, but I wanted everything documented and caught up to date at this point. (Do I see a chapter in a book about myself here?) I am thinking I need to set up those candles and the Swedish Fish shrine as Heather Wilkinson Rojo suggested. Bummer though, the prince and princess ate all the Swedish Fish so I will have to go buy some more...For now though, I really must go figure out my wardrobe for tomorrow...do I need to go shopping? Nothing like waiting until the last minute. Maybe I should borrow Sheri Fenley's genie outfit, rub a little lamp and just make dream come true...

Thanks for stopping by! 

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Great Swedish Adventure ~ Part 7

Edit: April 6, 2011 Adding ~ "If you have been following along with this adventure already, I thank you! If you are new to my blog or are not up to date with this series of posts, I suggest you go back and read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 before continuing on here with Part 7."

Seventh post? Really? Really!

In the beginning, back in February, I entered this audition because I knew if I didn't I would never forgive myself. Yes, I expected to be cut within the first couple of steps. I never imagined I would still be writing about the Great Swedish Adventure! This is what I call AWESOME!

After my phone interview I have to admit I felt pretty darn good. I actually felt for the first time that I just may make it to the next step. I had the confidence. Of course, I had no idea when or if  I would hear anything. I found myself actually getting nervous and a bit anxious. This was so exciting! I had come so far! I had come further than I ever imagined. Wow. What if it was over now? Never mind, I had confidence, I wasn't going to think about not making the next round! It was Monday and I was going to be confident! I AM CONFIDENT! 

I stopped worrying about it and went about my normal routine. Every now and again a thought would pass through my brain...with a bit of wonder, and I would just as quickly toss it out of my mind! Wednesday came and I found that morning I was still telling myself I was not going to let this take over my thoughts. From that point on I think I truly forgot all about it, but it did help that I had a rather busy day.

Late that afternoon I headed to the yoga studio to work my evening shift. After approximately 45 minutes, I grabbed my phone. I was expecting a call from a friend and when I was at the studio, I always muted my phone, I didn't want to disturb anyone, especially when they were in savasana or "corpse pose."

I checked my email also and saw that I had one from the casting director of the Great Swedish Adventure. This was not a good sign...I was expecting a phone call from them. I took a deep breath and clicked open the email. This is what it said ~


Congrats you have made it to our final callback!

We would like to invite you to LA either 7-8-9 of April. You let me know what day is best for you, and second best for you. We fly you in morning and out at night unless you chose to stay longer we can arrange your ticket accordingly to that. A lot of people have family and friends in our final callbacks cities and have asked to stay. No problems for us, we just dont pay for hotels.

Sometimes there is a lot of choices in flight times and our schedule is open. So I wanted to see if early morning is good for you.
I also need the full name on you government ID card for the ticket, date of birth and a phone number.

We look forward to seeing you!"

I wanted to yell and scream and get so dang excited, but I couldn't, there were two yoga sessions going on. So, I went outside and called my daughter and husband. I wanted to scream when I was telling them, but still I couldn't. At least outside I was able to speak much louder and be genuinely excited! Of course they were excited and thrilled for me!

Until this point, there weren't to many people that knew what I had been doing. After the last phone interview I was starting to get a bit excited and opened up to a few friends. But now? I was on the phone and emailing all of my family and friends. If I hadn't told someone, you bet they knew by the next time they saw me!

I made it to the final cut! Of over one thousand (I soon learned there were over a thousand) people, I made it to the top 40! Reminds me of making "Family Tree's Top 40 Blogs" for 2010. AGAIN, I was in the top 40! Can you just imagine how I was feeling? Indescribable!

My sisters, father and most of my friends were among those who didn't have a clue as to what I had been doing. Not any longer, now EVERYONE (or close to it) knows the full story, step by step, cut by cut. I am so proud of myself! I never planned on making it to the TV show, let alone getting this far. I know I have said it before, but I am truly stunned! This is it now, it is do or die time!


At this point, there are a few things I would like to add. 

First ~ I want to thank everyone who has wished me well and had confidence in me! You all rock! Most of the time you had more confidence than I did. You have made me laugh and smile. Mostly you have given me tremendous support with your comments and emails. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Second ~ A few people that have been or have had loved ones applying for the TV show, have made contact asking me more about "where things are at" for me regarding this process and where I am located in the country. 

I would like to answer these questions. I am located on the west coast, just east of the San Francisco Bay Area. So, I am so sorry to tell you, I have known I made the final cut for a couple of weeks. I know there was a date thrown out there that you would know by a certain day in April, and I am wondering if there are spots they have kept open in case they aren't happy with 10 people out of the 40. In other words, maybe they aren't ready to fully let you go yet. 

If that isn't the case, I do feel the company should have had someone call applicants to at least let them know they didn't make it, instead of keeping people hanging! I know I would want that, and feel I deserve that. But then I have no idea how this industry really works, maybe that is common, they call you back if you make it, not if you don't. If then, you didn't make the cut, I am sorry. I know it would be very disappointing. Remember, I very well could be with you after this next interview!

Third ~ There are two places in the country where the last interviews will be held. There will be interviews in New York City, which actually started today! The remaining interviews will be held in LA at the end of this week, which is where I will be heading for mine. 

Fourth ~ Ten people will be chosen out of the 40. I have a 1 in 4 chance of making it all the way. After the interviews, I have been informed that we should know if we made it to the show by April 21.

So what do you think? Are my odds good? Have I come this far to be turned away at the end? Do you have any thoughts to share that may help me with this interview? Do you think I am nervous? How do you think I will handle this if I don't make the final cut? Do you think I spread all of these happenings over to many posts, even if it was actually longer between these happenings for me, then the length of time you had to wait? Do you think this post is already to long? OH, HECK, I DO! Nighty night, I need some big time beauty rest!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved