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#SelfCareSunday Family History Oddysey

September 10, 2017 2 Comments

You may wonder why I am making family history the theme of today’s self care post. Many of you know I am an avid fan of genealogy study. I have been involved since 2008 with ancestry.com. My parents were both dead when I began my quest. I am including this advice to you on self care because if your ancestors are still living you have an opportunity to excavate their memories before it is too late.  The elders crave attention and are often neglected socially.  Asking them questions about their youth and their ancestors is not only a great way to include them socially, but learn and grow in the process. Pictures, stories, and either video or audio interviews will become priceless tools for future generations.  Once you know what your own family did in history, you have a much better sense of world events.

I was able to gather some photos and direct information form my uncle by marriage.  His wife, my father’s sister, had left behind some old photos.  His kids were adopted, so nobody really wanted the pictures.  He gathered up some boxes and an overnight bag, and we hit the road in Kansas.  I picked him and the photos up in Wichita at his apartment.  We drove to Bartlesville, OK to spend the night at the Inn At Price Tower, in Frank Lloyd Wright’s only executed skyscraper.  We rented a two story very swanky apartment with loads of copper furniture and accents.  There is so much copper in the construction of the building, inside and out, that they cannot get wifi to work at all.  We rode the tiny copper elevator up to the copper cocktail lounge for a drink.  After dinner on the town we sat in our living room on the first floor of our suite to review the photos.  He told stories about most of them, and I chose the ones I wanted to take.  It was a fun time for both of us.  After breakfast with a view we left the Tower before the tour of the gallery and building, which I am sure is excellent.

Uncle Paul and I were off next to Independence, KS, where my father was born.  There was a library and courthouse in town with genealogical information.  I found some good material, including my maternal great-grandmother’s entire probate file, which was at the courthouse.  I chose the pages I wanted, and the clerk of the court made copies and mailed them to me for a small fee. I learned a lot from reading the entire file, but selected pages with important facts or handwriting of my great-grandmother.  Uncle Paul and I visited Coffeyville, KS and the vicinity where my family had settled, right next to the Cherokee Nation.  Since he had lived around there most of his life, my uncle had lots of stories to tell about the past.  It was fascinating, even when it did not involve my direct ancestors.  The Cherokee Strip, which is the name of this area on the border of Kansas and Oklahoma,  was the wild wild west, and my ancestors were part of it.

After I dropped my uncle back in Wichita he was able to stay in his own apartment only a few months longer.  His health deteriorated to the point that he needed constant care.  His daughter is a nurse, lived nearby, and was able to handle his care with the best possible circumstances.  She got a job as a supervisor at the facility where he lived.  After he passed away she moved to Arkansas, where she was born and my grandparents both died.  There was some kind of full circle there.  I will always be happy I went on that adventure seeking my ancestors.  You don’t need to take a road trip to interview somebody in your family.  Pick up the phone and learn more about your heritage and history by asking your elders, before it is no longer possible. I wish I had done more of that.

The act of reaching out to your elders to learn about the history of your family can be healing as well as enlightening to all participants.  I advise that you consider this because photos and stories will be lost forever if nobody collects them.  Take care of family history to take care of yourself. You can do this on line with digital records, and if you are lucky you can also do it with living relatives.  If you are super lucky you can go in person to the places your ancestors lived in the company of someone who knows a lot about the place.

 

#WeekendCoffeeShare Real Estate Contract

September 10, 2017 3 Comments

minimalism and joy

minimalism and joy

If we were having coffee this weekend in Tucson I would invite you to relax with some iced tea and chocolate covered dates stuffed with walnuts. I scored yet another 20 pound box of Medjool dates at my produce pick up this morning.  I have been giving dates away for weeks, and now I have about 30 pounds.  They are perfect for winter, and will last a long time.  I am looking for new date recipes.  Sit down and tell me how your week has been.  I hope all of those who have been hit by the storms are safe and dry.  Our national recovery will take a long time. My heart goes out to those who have been displaced.

The week went quickly for me, with not much writing.  I worked last weekend to make up for the day had to miss for grand jury.  I was excused.  The people who manage the process, from the registration staff, to the bailiff who guides you and tracks you by your badge number, to the judge, are all extremely professional.  The judge was very clear in all his explanations, and the entire mega situation, with people reporting all day long, is handled super efficiently. We all had bar codes to track us, which I suppose enables a smooth and accurate accounting of all that happens.  I was impressed with this little corner of government function.  It works really well for all involved.

I am extremely glad not to have to dedicate 2 days a week to the court until the middle December. This morning I got the good news that I have an offer on the lot I have for sale across the street from my home.  I accepted the offer and now have until October 19th to clear out my possessions from the lot and the barn.  I had begun the job, but now there is a solid deadline to finish organizing and decluttering.  I hoped to sell it before I had to pay taxes on it again, and it looks like I will meet that goal. I can’t wait to be finished downsizing.  It is liberating to jettison unneeded stuff.

I wrote a short piece of fiction this week that was related to getting rid of family heirlooms.  I am sure this came from my effort to relieve myself of the silly burden of files and papers from my dead parents finances, etc.  This is the theme in my life at the moment.  Marie Kondo has worked her magic into my very soul.  I believe that tidiness is true happiness.  I am out to prove it. By 19 October I will be a much lighter being.  I think it will inspire my writing to be free. Stay tuned, and we shall see. This deadline is the best gift for me now.

#WeekendCoffeeShare

#WeekendCoffeeShare

Thanks for stopping by for a chat today.  This moveable feast and digital coffee klatch is hosted each weekend by Diana at PartTimeMonster.  Please join us to read, comment, or write your own coffee share post about what is happening in your life and writing.

Say It In Latin, Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat

September 8, 2017 1 Comment

ignorance pyramid

ignorance pyramid

Ignorance

Ignorance

The concept that ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse for breaking it,  Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat, has been in use for centuries. This maxim is enforced everywhere.  It means that everyone in a specific jurisdiction has a responsibility to be aware of all the laws that govern that place.  If you live in a city this means all the city ordinances, the county ordinances, as well as the state and federal laws that apply to everyone.  Obviously there are some obscure laws that are not known by everyone, but if you plan to do something that might violate the law, do seek some professional help to determine the legality of your plans.  Today almost everything can be found on the internet by searching, so it is worth the time to check to know for sure that you are not in violation of the law before you proceed.

Where I live we have crime problems partly because the citizens know little of their legal rights , and also because the city officials, not just the police, reflect an amazing ignorance of the law coupled with strong willful blindness to all crime.  Reporting the same crimes for years while being told there are no laws that can be used to stop the crimes where you live is a frustrating experience.  You may live in an area like this where your right to protection under the law is subject to the ignorance of local law enforcement agencies.  This is a dangerous and creepy situation.  I plan to continue to report the crimes we continue to experience as a direct result of government ignorance of the law.  It is an ironic position, but I firmly believe that if the government commits crimes it should at least become aware of the laws they have broken. What applies to the rest of us applies to those who spend our tax dollars.

Without this basic concept anyone can claim they have no knowledge of the law any time they commit a felony or violate civil law.  Unless we apply this concept equally to government and the governed, we make a complete mockery of the law.

#WritePhoto Light

September 7, 2017 8 Comments

light

light

Storms blew around the island all summer long, keeping the family inside the cottage much of the time.  The tedium and tension of being cooped up with members of the family we rarely saw was grating on everyone’s nerves.  We had little to discuss, so we talked about the miserable weather and the past when everything was better.  We remember childhood sailing regattas and foot races on sunny days.  We played croquet and walked to the village for ice cream when Grandma was alive.  Now her cottage was musty, moldy, and dark, used only for a short family reunion each year.  There was talk of selling the property and splitting the money.  People today want different types of vacations.

The hall closet was still full of board games, dominoes, and cards.  We prepared for the storms by stocking up on basics, and choosing our games. It was impossible to know how long we might be trapped without power, so we prepared for the worst.   Monopoly was a big favorite for the group. When we found the Ouija board we had to test it for old time’s sake.  Two of the cousins unpacked the board and sat across from each other at the coffee table.  They asked the board all kinds of questions about Grandma and our past.  We wanted to know if we should sell the cottage, so they asked the board if this was a good idea.  Almost instantly there was a large clap of thunder close to us. The cousins’ hands moved the pointer quickly to the words Good-Bye.

 

This was puzzling to everyone, since there had been no answer to the question. We all wanted the money but for some reason nobody wanted to be the one to convince the others to sell.  We thought it was disrespectful to the memory of our grandparents who built it to sell it to strangers.  We went to sleep pondering the fate of the old home as the whole thing shook  and creaked in the thunderstorm. Finally the rain stopped after two days of pouring like cats and dogs.  As the sun peeked through a cloud we took a walk down to the water.  The cottage and the future were still under discussion when a vertical ray of sunlight shot out from a cloud on the horizon.  We stopped in our tracks and stood silent watching this light stream down from heaven toward the sea.  This was the message the ouija board could not give us.  This bright spirit was telling us that our grandmother had long been liberated from all her earthly goods, including the cottage.  She had no need for it now, so we could do with it as we pleased. We all began to feel much lighter as we released our need to keep things we don’t even want.  Thanks, Grandma!

#writephoto

#writephoto

This story is based on the photo prompt from Sue Vincent in The Echo.  Please join us to read, comment, or write your own post inspired by these photos each Thursday.

Small Hex Poem

September 5, 2017 1 Comment

Witch’s Brew I made a wish Upon a casserole dish, For my cauldron was at the menders; The handle was broken And it just wouldn’t work It just stood there on the ground; It made me feel like a berk; And I couldn’t borrow Brenda’s (As it was wash day). So, I resorted to Pyrex […]

via Witch’s Brew — Graeme Sandford

#WeekendCoffeeShare Labor Day Edition

September 2, 2017 3 Comments

Halloween car

Halloween car

next load for Goodwill

next load for Goodwill

If we were having coffee this weekend I would invite you to relax on this cloudy day with a long glass of iced tea. I am drinking white blueberry now because it is refreshing. The news cycle is anything but refreshing, so I hope you have some personal stories of good cheer. My own good news is that I will be working my regular shift processing and trimming weed on Labor Day. I love my job and feel very lucky to be allowed a lot of flexibility with my schedule. I hope I will not need to call on that flexibility to serve on a grand jury for up to six months, two days a week. I could work around it, but I sincerely do NOT want to do it.  I don’t think I can be impartial.

I must report to the court on Wednesday morning to convince them I am not the person they want. The process involves hearing testimony from cops to decide if there is probable cause to indite for felonies. I have the absolute worst relationship with the TPD and do not believe cops because of the direct experience we have had in our neighborhood. I do not fear police brutality, but am totally afraid of police mendacity, which I think takes place all the time at all levels of authority. I just don’t trust them to have the public’s best interest at heart.

My writing is still sluggish in terms of productivity and on the dark side.  I wrote a poem about piracy this week that I continue to examine myself to figure out the deeper meaning.  I wrote about places I have been in the past, but changed the century.  I think I need to try this device on longer pieces.  I did a tea review because I am truly loving the white blueberry.  I started telling true stories on Facebook live at my desk.  I bought a piece of software called ecamm live that enhances the experience.  For instance, you can create a scheduled livestream and notify your peeps when it will be live.  I plan to do a few each week in a regular time slot.  I have not fully examined or used all the cool features of the software. I have only done two stories, but am compiling ideas for the future.  There is a Skype feature to do interviews.  I think it will be a fun new tool to use.

Halloween will be extra fun this year because my car is “volcanic orange” with black details.  When the weather cools down I have a large wardrobe that matches my car.  I am still working diligently on trimming down my possessions in order to sell my lot with a barn full of extra junk in storage.  I have made good progress in the garage, and some in the office. I have tossed an unbelievable amount of old and useless paperwork, some of which belonged to my long dead parents.  There will be more discovery of my ridiculous hoarding when I excavate the barn, I am sure. The task of tidying is not so difficult if taken a little at a time.  The process of discarding useless stuff is rewarding as well as revealing. I just need to remain diligent until it is all gone.

Can I offer you another glass of iced tea?  Tell me how your muse is treating you these days.  I sincerely hope none of the coffee sharers has been hit by Harvey. It is good to know Diana is dry enough in New Orleans to host the party this week.  Join us on the weekends by reading, commenting, or submitting your own coffee share post.  Thank you for stopping by this week.

#WeekendCoffeeShare

#WeekendCoffeeShare

#WritePhoto In Sight

August 31, 2017 8 Comments

sight of the horizon

sight of the horizon

We sailed for Devil’s Cay out of old Nassau’s harbor
The sea was so calm that the Tongue of the Ocean
Was as smooth as glass with reflections of white clouds
The quiet was suddenly broken with a clap of thunder
Followed by gale force winds that carried us swiftly
To the destination for our meeting with the pirates
Who had promised us part of the booty if we helped them
Rob the Spanish galleon laden with treasure and slaves
We anchored our ship, rowed ashore, and climbed the hill
The tide was rising while we scanned the horizon
Our instincts told us we had been fooled were trapped
On this tiny island with a deep ocean hole in the center
They say the chickcharney had blessed our expedition
Had given us magical powers of perception and stealth
Now as we hide peeking though a round hole in the rocks
It looks like we should anticipate violence, not wealth
We have been very shortsighted and now will regret
Making pacts with buccaneers reeks havoc you won’t forget

#writephoto

#writephoto

This is a response to the photo prompt from Sue Vincent this week on her Echo.  Please join us to read, write, comment, and contribute to the fun.  Follow the hashtag #writephoto.

#TeaTuesday White Blueberry

August 29, 2017 1 Comment

white blueberry tea

white blueberry tea

I am saying good bye to summer by enjoying berries, plums, nectarines, and all the seasonal fruit that is about to be out of season. To bring the flavors together I am drinking a delightful white blueberry tea from Adagio. I like all the fruit flavored white teas, but this one is a big favorite. The white tea is a natural unprocessed tea, and the blueberries are a perfect compliment to the high notes of the tea.  I brew it in the sun, summer or winter, and drink it cold.  The caffeine is low, and the flavor intoxicating, but not overwhelming.  The ingredients are pure and simple: white tea, blueberries, natural blueberry flavor.  It is superior as a thirst quencher and refresher.

We drink tea every day all day, so variety as well as quality and freshness count in our household.  I order form Adagio because they offer a wide variety, including sample packs to introduce new teas.  I first bought the white blueberry in a white sampler pack, and it is now the one I like best.  White strawberry is a close second in my iced tea book.  I recommend the company to anyone who already loves to drink tea, or to those looking to expand knowledge of tea.  One of the fun aspects of this company is the option for tea fans to create fan blends, which then become available to all the customers.  Try your hand at blending, and taste the mixtures your fellow tea fans lay down.  They do a good job of serving the customer community.

Join me in a glass of white blueberry tea and start building your knowledge of tea.

white blueberry tea

white blueberry tea

Cajun Navy Reporting For Duty

August 28, 2017 1 Comment

Getty Image With rescue efforts still underway in Houston following the city getting hammered by Hurricane Harvey over the weekend, many volunteers have taken it upon themselves to help people trapped in homes or on rooftops, as local authorities are inundated with more rescue requests then they can handle. One such group of volunteers have…

via Louisiana’s Volunteer ‘Cajun Navy’ Tells Texans In Need How They Can Request A Rescue By Boat — Real Stories – UPROXX

#WeekendCoffeeShare Borderland Politics

August 26, 2017 3 Comments

If we were having coffee this weekend in Arizona I would invite you to chill while I serve you iced tea or coffee. Our state has hit the big time in the news this week with our rally in Phoenix and yesterday’s pardon of Joe Arpaio. The pardon was highly symbolic to the people of Arizona, who put up with all the benefits and detriments of living on the border. We know about illegal immigration and dope smuggling at the border because they are the traditional businesses that rely on slack or corrupt law enforcement to thrive. The attention drawn to the Mexican border these days is all about the wall and the people living here without papers. It is rare to hear anything about collaboration with Mexico, although most of the produce we eat comes from there.  The border is not a simple issue, and the wall, in any form, will not stop the cartel from serving their customers up here.  They catapulted a giant bale of weed into downtown Douglas right after Trump visited his wall in Yuma.  You can’t say they don’t have a sense of humor.

This week a giant bale of weed landed in Douglas, AZ, formerly famous for a long running underground tunnel beneath the border.  It is impossible to explain to those who have not lived near the border what it is really like. Don’t believe any simplistic explanation of our situation.  It is centuries old, and not going anywhere soon.

catapult

catapult

If we were having coffee or tea I would ask how your life and writing are going.  I wish all those in hurricane country an easy time.  I hope you will stay dry, and keep all your possessions in tact. I wish our country some kind of respite from all the crazy politics and anger, which do not seem to be diminishing.  My poetry and fiction are still kind of depressing, and I think it is all about the current events on my mind.  I do find that it is a creative source, but wish the trauma would settle down for a while.

I hope you are feeling productive and pleased with your writing.  I appreciate your visit today to our controversial state.  If you have written a coffee share post please share it here. Diana at PartTimeMonster hosts the party every week from New Orleans.  You can join us by reading, position, or commenting.  Thanks for visiting this week.

#WeekendCoffeeShare

#WeekendCoffeeShare

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