Genealogical Pursuits

file000114053890My stepmother’s hobby is genealogy. My father hates it; the last time I talked to him, he complained of their last road trip, of the visits to small town city halls and libraries where she pored for hours over moldy records and microfilm while he waited in the car with the dogs. When I was a kid we would stop at places while traveling between their house and my mother’s house so that she could research someone or other.

I respect her dedication to the pursuit. It’s not always easy, and it’s not always clean. I never knew that it was because she’s Mormon that she worked so hard at it. I didn’t know that was just another thing that she did, like keeping a year’s worth of food on hand. I mean, lots of people study their genealogy.

I think it’s interesting in itself, although not enough to go out and research my own family as actively as she does; that’s mostly because I’d have to leave the country to find out about my father’s side.

I haven’t thought about it in a long time, about researching for myself, that is. It seems more interesting now that I’m older than it used to. I think I’ll see what I can find online.

How much do you know about your family? Have you ever studied genealogy? Do you have any site recommendations?


She Was One of the Good Ones

The Blog Propellant has an interesting prompt today:

Since historians won’t take much notice of our lives, what do you want to say about who you are, or your familial history, for others to know and pass along to the generations that follow you? What fascinating little tidbits are in your history or your family’s history? What do you think those that come after you will want to know about you or your family?

Here’s a little tidbit, along the lines of what kind of breakfast cereal some long-dead famous person preferred.

I have a method for eating toast at restaurants.

Now, when you order eggs at IHOP or Waffle House or whatever your local greasy spoon is, you get two pieces of toast, right? And they’re cut in half, diagonally. Ideally.

You also get one little plastic tub of jelly, of the rectangular persuasion.

There’s an art to proper toast jelly-ing. Let me explain. In order to have the proper toast-to-jelly ratio, one must practice butter knife geometry. Open that jelly right on up and discard the foil lid. Pick up your knife, and, using the tip, slice that stuff in half one way, followed by in half the opposite direction. Now you have jelly quarters, and here comes the tricky part. Oh so carefully, prize out the first jelly cube and plop it on one toast triangle. Then the next cube, plop. And so on, and so forth, with the remaining two. Now you can spread the jelly, a half-slice of toast at a time, all the way to the edges.

The trouble starts when the short order cook doesn’t understand my specific toast needs, and fails to evenly divide the slices of toast. Sometimes I don’t get triangles. Sometimes I get half-trapezoids, or some other weird shape. The shape is not quite so important as the surface area. If they’re still equal, I can grin and bear it. It’s when the toast is delivered in massively disproportionate pieces that I have to carefully consider how to slice my jelly cubes to maintain the proper ratio.

So, to recap, half a slice of toast gets one-eighth of an ounce of jelly.

Also, I much prefer mixed fruit to grape.

So put that in your history book and smoke it.

Although, if I’m feeling froggy, I have been known to occasionally use two jelly tubs. Quarter ounce per toast half. Hedonism at its finest!


History Schmistory

Today’s Daily Prompt:

Go back in time to an event you think could have played out differently for you. Let alternate history have its moment: tell us what could, would or should have happened?

Honestly, I think about this all the time. And not normal life-altering stuff either.

I mean, still possibly life-altering, but you know, weird stuff.

Like, what if I punched that jerk in the face right now? I know he’s not even being a jerk to me, but he annoys a lot of people.

Like, what if I acted like a cat and just knocked things off furniture instead of sitting quietly at this boring meeting?

Like, how would the rest of the evening have gone if I’d ordered the steak instead?

Like, what would I look like if I hadn’t cut my hair?

Like, maybe today will be the day that Ian and I just leave.

That’s not just me, right? It’s not that weird. Everybody thinks about things like that, don’t they?