coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Dragging it out

As you know, we recently visited our Kentucky family to meet our great grandchild. What you don't know is they took us to a Star Wars themed drag brunch. OMG, was THAT fun.

It's a new world, a better world when your daughter, granddaughter, and future granddaughter-in-law take Grandpa and Grandma to a drag brunch. I had to laugh when R texted me and asked if we'd like to go. My response? "Are ya kiddin'? YES!" For some reason, she wasn't surprised. 

As each one sashayed past our table, we whooped it up and handed them tips.
I was overcome with grandmotherly love for all the performers. Since I was sitting at the end of the table I was able to I tell each one either "You are my favorite" or "You look beautiful!"  Okay, make me say it, I threw a few kisses, too. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Looking and learning

We recently returned from a deeply satisfying trip where we met our gorgeous great granddaughter.

She is only one month old. Like a new puppy, she's just learning to keep her eyes open and look around. When she is awake, she's fully engaged. I get the distinct feeling that with everything she sees, or smells, or hears, or touches, she is actively learning.

Then I wonder how you can possibly learn without language? I'm so used to having language skills dominate my existence, I forget there are other ways to learn. When you are a month old, you learn with all of your senses. Everything is new, and most everything seems wonderful. 

I want to be more like that baby.  

Monday, January 6, 2020

Complete Lives

The majority of people seem to marry and produce children. When researching genealogy I wonder if their lives were meaningful or if they were happy? What's usually missing with genealogy records is the backstory.
Vital records don't tell us is who was a cheapskate, who ran off with the milkman, or who left home and never came back. Every once in a while there are stories that fill in the gaps and gives one pause.

I came across a 5th great grandfather who was a Revolutionary War soldier. He was born in Virginia about 1760, and married in 1780. He had 6 children with his wife.

He left his family prior to 1810, to live with another woman. He seems to have beat his mistress "mercilessly" on more than one occasion. Later court testimony claims she finally warned him if he did it again, she would kill him. Unfortunately, she made the mistake of warning him in front of witnesses. He "drowned" not long afterwards, in 1821.

Or maybe not. Upon examination of the body, the authorities discovered 
a wound "on the left breast about 3/4 of an inch in a circular form. Whatever it was which the deceased had been wounded with supposed had caused his death, passing between the ribs, none of which were fractured."

The mistress was indicted for his murder. Later she was convicted of second degree murder, and sentenced to 12 years in prison.  

His wife lived until 1840, but I found no information about her. I hope she had a good life after the old man left. 

I have no further information about his mistress, either. I feel sorry for her. A woman of her time living outside of marriage with a brutal man didn't likely have many options. And, of course, she warned him.

Women's lives are nearly invisible. It is kind of sad when only the bad guys leave a trail.

This is just an old photo I found online.  It is labelled "The Absolom Davis family".  I am  not related to this family.  I love it though. You don't often find casual old photos like this. It says a lot about these people's lives.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

It's so crazy it might just work

Here's a crazy thought! Imagine how great it would be if all young men were given a medication at 16 (let's call it "The Pill") that would make them infertile until they were with a woman who wanted to have a baby with them. Then they'd simply stop taking the pill.

Big Smile!

Friday, December 27, 2019

When (xxxxx) ruins Christmas

Growing up, I had many wonderful Christmases. Unfortunately, the one I remember the most is when my father ruined Christmas by getting drunk and mean. All the glorious anticipation, preparation, money spent, cooking and baking was for naught that year. Daddy ruined Christmas. 

It was a horrible holiday, absolutely traumatic. I was in 5th grade. I have long since forgiven him, but unfortunately it isn't the sort of thing one forgets. Human beings being what they are, trauma sticks. 

So, if you ruined your children or grandchildren's Christmas this year, please get help. You can't change what happened, or wipe it from their memories.  However, you still have time to redeem yourself by getting help with whatever your problem is. Make it your problem to resolve, not their problem to endure.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Christmas Eve Memories

Christmas Eve was the high point in my youth. My large family exchanged presents from siblings on the night before Christmas. We would have a casual but special meal and all the cookies would come out of hiding. We walked in the dark to our parish church for midnight mass. There would be flowers, incense, and angels singing Latin from the choir. Christmas Eve was a celebration of the senses. 

My paternal grandmother came to our house early in the evening with her profound love, mystical kindness, homemade divinity candy, and peanut butter fudge (for crying out loud!). It was exciting to have her in our house. I can still hear her sweet, Tennessee drawl. I continue to feel her steadfast love. I'm not sure a better person ever walked this earth.

Grandpa wouldn't always come with her. Sadly, as he got older he became a cranky old misery guts. Oh well. Somebody's gotta play Scrooge.

She had just walked in.  I didn't even let her take off her coat before I took her picture.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Our first great grandchild

Our new (and first!) great-grandbaby was born a few days ago. All went well, and she is home now. She lives far from us, in the frozen northlands. However, her mother and grandmother keep us posted with photos and videos. I don't think she could be more beautiful, by the way. We fell in love with her long before she was born.

I'm happy to live in the modern world, where photos and videos are quick and easy to share. This beautiful child is in my husband's genealogical line, so I've been busy the last few days going through old photos of his family as far back as I can find. Most roads lead back to Ireland, the UK, and Germany in my husband's family.

I have to wonder about the ancestors who endured their children moving to the U.S. How hard it must have been to wonder and wait long months for a letter informing one that new grandchildren and great grandchildren arrived. 

Here is an article about her 5th great grandmother,     Teresa (Solomon) Enders.  She was born in Deggendorf, Germany in 1825. Although she died in 1910, this article using her photo was published in 1927. 

Saturday, December 7, 2019

That lovely boy!

Grandson N (7) is crazy about Monopoly, so we play it often. He wheels and deals with abandon. I fear he’s a natural capitalist, although he is somewhat of a bleeding heart liberal when it comes to his old Grandma. He insists on being the banker, and he WILL slip me money when I start to run out. On the down low, of course. I try VERY hard not to accept his largesse. 

When he and I play alone together, we go by N's rules. He brilliantly proposed that we each start out with a monopoly over one neighborhood on the board so we can immediately start buying houses. It speeds the game up considerably.

We can’t let Grandpa know, because he would disapprove of altering the rules. N refers to Grandpa as “Mr. Play-By-The-Rules Pants.”  N and Grandma disdain “the rules.”

We play on a 40 year-old board.  The same one we played on with his mother.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Christmas prep

I love Christmas; however, this year is complicated since I'm not physically up to par. Time to get creative. 

I'm not driving yet, consequently, there won't be much "buying local" this Christmas. If I am to send gifts, they will likely be sent directly from the store I buy them from. 

Gift certificates sound like a sane idea. I can even print them out on paper, or email them to the recipients in order to avoid adding more plastic to the dump. I know this is not particularly festive, but it is the best we can do this Christmas. Next year we can go wild.

I sent my husband to the store to buy ingredients for my mother's fruitcake. He came back with dried cherries instead of candied cherries. Probably for the best. I'm rolling with the punches, taking it on the chin. One of the best things about my long convalescence has been learning how little control I have, and letting things go. "Oh, well!" is my new mantra. Feels good.

For me, Christmas is about children. I'm thankful we have two grandchildren who live nearby. If not for them, we most certainly wouldn't bother with most of the fuss.

Our first great grandchild will arrive before Christmas. That baby will be the best present this year. We can hardly wait. 

Some of my mother's ornaments from the 1950's.