Have you ever wondered about who you are and where you come from? I can relate.
I have always been curious about my family history and have done a bit of research on it. This is a hobby that I share with a vast community of pretty interesting people. I dread putting this detail out into the world because of the inevitable offers I will get for DNA testing. In our information age I can’t even order a pair of shoes online without getting 20 new catalogs from companies I never heard of. Imagine the crap that comes with a DNA test? I’d rather be blissfully unaware that I’m really not part Dutch than to be certain that I am going to go bald and to find it out when I start getting coupons for thinning hair after my DNA results get shared with marketers who are looking for people who meet my profile.
I am curious though about my people. As far as I can tell of the 4 families who converged to make my parents – there were a diverse mix:
1 destitute, my great grandmother married at 15 had 8 kids and died when she was about 35 a year after her 3 year old son died of diphtheria. I don’t know what she died from possibly blood poisoning and haven’t found a death certificate or obit. My great-grandfather was in the paper like a celeb on page 6 after she died. He was a religious man, became foreman of the quarry and raised his kids alone.
1 affluent, my great grandmother’s lineage goes back to the 1600’s; My great grandfather’s mother either had illegitimate children with a married man OR was abandoned by her husband who married someone else and peopled half the Midwest. It is unclear – he was interesting and had a birth certificate issued as an adult with a witness who knew him when he was a kid.
1 of middle class means – my great grandfather from Sweden confirmed; my great grandmother allegedly French but she was born in New Jersey? He worked in the acid factory, had 13 kids, one son killed in WWII.
1 moved around a lot – my great grandfather died young in his 30’s and I have seen photos of him as a clown; my great grandmother was a 19 year old widow with 3 kids and went on to marry and bury 3 more men. It appears that her mother also had lots of husbands who died young – possible black widows??
Unhelpfully, the site didn’t find my great grandmother- but popped up a clue to let me know they lived near the poorhouse – Oh joy! Their shitty life might have included a side of institutionalization.
The old newspapers have been my primary source of information. They can hold my interest for hours and I find myself up too late looking for information that might tie it all together. Aside from what I mentioned above, there was an extremely chaotic and uneven pace to the newspapers. A 3-inch square informs – The Mr RG So and So’s were in town visiting, unknown foreigner found dead in the woods, ice cream social to be held at the Methodist church, Worker falls in vat at acid factory ran out has not been seen since, Public defender dead of suicide – chloroform rag and bottle found on top of cliff that he leapt from. I find myself full of questions – Wait What??!!What happened to the guy who fell in the vat? How did they know the person in the woods was foreign? What about chloroform rag suggests it was suicide???
Sometimes there are answers and other times I am left to wonder. There is not always a happy ending or even a satisfactory explanation. And yet here I am. All the people who came before lived their lives and left their marks and now we are here leaving ours.
I offer one last thought – take some time to print photos and fill in your family on your history because sooner or later we all get curious about where we came from.
It’s December – the perfect time to reflect and breath in the cold crisp reality….
Today is 23⁰F (-4⁰C) in the lovely city in upstate NY where I live. It is not currently snowing and the sky is bright. The furnace is on and air inside is on the cool side, but tolerable with some flannel pajamas. This morning I decided to jump back into my blog and write. It has been quite a while since my last entry and I have been reflecting on why that is. I have been studying for an exam in supply chain management. I am busy raising my kids as well. The lack of writing hasn’t been due to my busy life.
I forgot myself for a while.
As much as I enjoy great motivators like Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, and Tim Ferriss – I can also find myself giving in the great disruptors like my own insecurities and the negative people who have all the reasons why it won’t ever happen or gossip about what someone else said or thinks. I found myself interpreting everything through a negative lens – instead of seeing opportunity and maximizing it I began to see all the signs to reinforce my negativity. Wallow I did.
Ironically – it was one of the disruptors who snapped me out. Once again I was listening to an unsolicited complaint from the soothsayer of doom when it hit me. “I am affiliated with this. I have been feeding in to the negative BS and the taint of it is on me. ”
I had this realization on Friday and yesterday I let it sink in and today I break the spell.
So now what? Well I get back on track of course. I have the laptop that I treated myself to with the back lit key board and I am doing something that I love – writing. I have been using my commute to listen to Jane Eyre on audio, Charlotte Bronte wrote beautifully and it makes me happy to hear it. I am studying for my exam and feel prepared for it. I am going to make time for exercise daily, it keeps me energized and happy. I will look at a situation and see it through my own eyes.
I am a believer in the idea of being grateful for the positive things that happen in life. It is a great tool for shifting a “bad day” into a good one. It can be humbling to think about all the things that truly are blessings that I sometimes take for granted.
I am comfortable with gratitude for the positive things in my life – I am contemplating gratitude for the negative things in my life. This is more of an abstraction but almost certainly one that can help me on my path to personal growth.
What am I grateful for in this (fill in the blank with a negative word) situation?
Dig deep. Find Something. Anything. What did I learn? How can I grow from this? Instead of a scar this can be a reminder – a reminder that things get better; a reminder to trust my instincts.
“Every problem is a gift – without problems we would not grow.”
― Anthony Robbins
Lately I have been in a funk and feeling angry a lot. Am I forgetting to be grateful? Do I need to view the things that frustrate or vex me from a perspective of how they are good for me?
The path is not always easy
There are things and people that make life frustrating. Channeling that energy into something positive makes us stronger.
The magic of autumn is the combination of cool air changing the landscape as robust trees lose their leaves and the empty spaces echo with mystery. There is a spooky energy in the short days and long nights.
Full moon, cold air on my neck and the rustling of dried out leaves in the breeze can have me looking around for someone to hop out of the shadows.
Who is sneaking up behind me? Probably no one right?
I totally understand why the northeastern portion of the US was home to some great stories like “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving. We still worry about the dead walking but now their not headless, just mindless.
Zombies are everywhere in popculture and though my kids like them, they don’t like it when I initiate a game of “What would you do in a zombie apocalypse?”
This is a silly question when logic tells us it is unlikely that the dead will walk and try to eat us – but in the spirit of fun – what would you do?
Myself, I would try to survive for as long as possible, but if it became clear that there was no way that I was going to make it I have a contingency plan.
Step 1 Glucosamine: mega doses of glucosamine. The reason that the zombies are always limping along is that their joints are deteriorating from lack of synovial fluid. While this is not a forever solution I think that flooding my system with some glucosamine might keep me spry for a while. And I think that the flexible zombie gets more brains. (It was a total coincidence that my old joints were achy and I bought some glucosamine – my 13 year old spotted it and assumed – well,.. probably that I am nuts.)
Step 2 Wear athletic outfit and nice sneakers. Who wants to be some rag a ma tag zombie limping along barefoot in torn clothes? Spoiler Alert – I’m gonna be a zombie – #Track Suit Zombie
Step 3 Get close enough to get a bite on the arm and have a weapon to keep the zombie from eating me. In order to pull off the track suit zombie ensemble I can’t be walking around all gored up.
Step 4 Position myself where there will be some people to chase so that once I wake up all dead and ravenous there will be something to snack on.
Death is inevitable but being some smelly half eaten limping around bag of bones is optional – I prefer to go out in style.
“Come on baby, and she had no fear And she ran to him, then they started to fly They looked backward and said goodby, she had become like they are She had taken his hand, she had become like they are Come on baby, don’t fear the reaper“- Blue Oyster Cult
Don’t wait until next Tuesday – Invest in Yourself Now!
Over the past few years I have been on a personal journey of self- development and improvement. This has included small measurable goals like reading more and getting at least 10,000 steps each day. It has also involved getting to know myself better by acknowledging the feedback that my body is giving me. There is more harmony in accepting that I can decide what I enjoy and don’t have to make anyone else happy.
As I sought out information and improvement I found a great website where anyone can take inexpensive and even free courses from amazing schools like MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley.
Here is the link to the site for those who are interested
I love to write and found a course from the University of Queensland in Australia on English grammar. I enjoy history and politics and found a phenomenal American government course on HarvardX. There are courses on a wide range of topics and the other students are all over the world.
Every day we all have the opportunity to learn and evolve. This is not limited to mastering tasks on the job or checking boxes on a to-do list. Learning doesn’t need to be expensive – it could and should include going to the library and borrowing books or using Wi-Fi to take a free class. There are podcasts and audio books. There is an abundance of information available for those who seek to learn.
Investing time and energy into learning every day is beneficial on many levels. It will give you advantages in your professional life as well as in your personal life. There are resources to learn everywhere and instead of waiting until it is convenient just go for it.
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do”
Peculiar signs are popping up in public spaces in Fenton NY
Seemingly overnight, a large number of signs have popped up in the public spaces in the Town of Fenton NY. While it is unclear who may have placed these signs, there may be an opposing group. Could there finally be a chance for democracy? Are we going to get to vote?
Anyone who has read my blog recently (thank you!) will know that I have been preoccupied with a local government issue. The Town of Fenton Board has approved a gas compressor close to my house – without a public vote. There is a large and vocal opposition to it and the town board is defensive, condescending and belligerent. Check out the link below for the latest in our local paper -there is also a video that will give you an idea of the demeanor of the board when facing their constituents.
Who in this community could be putting out these new signs? It probably isn’t the residents shown here. In fact, most of these people have “NO Compressor Station Fenton NY” signs proudly displayed in front of their home. These people are fighting this gas compressor which will devalue real estate, increase traffic, cause noise and light pollution while it operates 24 hours a day. And the school district, local churches and residents have filed lawsuits to keep this compressor out of the community at great personal expense. These good people have been forced to fight by a town government that has forgotten where their loyalties should lie.
But still unanswered – who could have put up these signs? Hmmmm….
Do we have an opposing group of citizens??? Are we getting a vote to settle this thing?
Has the day come to do this?
Or did Rico Suave instruct his contingent of paid off, nepotistic, corrupt lackeys to do what they do best and sneak around to post these signs?
Enough is Enough
This town board was elected by the residents of Fenton -it has a duty to the people of this town. This is the most local level of government. It has an important role in promoting the town, representing its interests and supporting the work of different groups in the community.
In an age when people are realizing the scale-ability of incomes and looking to maximize their leisure time – it is time for corporations to ditch the 40+ hour work week and find a model that attracts talent and productivity.
In the 1950’s when most households were patriarchal maybe the 9-5 workday made sense.
But the “Honey, I’m home – where’s my dinner?” days are gone. Now people are far more productive when they have the flexibility to balance personal life with work.
Why would you want to rot in a cube farm while life passes you by just to impress a boss who may give you a small increase annually? The same boss will certainly expect you to “step up” and work even harder when another employee moves on or a new priority is set.
If you had the chance to work remotely and a set list of tasks to complete would you get them done?
Would you be more or less motivated if you knew that you could work and go to your kid’s ball game? Or pursue another interest like a dance class or golf?
Or take a graduate course at 10 am on Wednesday with the best professor instead of an evening course with an adjunct professor after both of you have been working all day?
YES!!! Of course you would because it isn’t that you don’t want to work – you want to live and work.
Balance is the key to everything.
You don’t have to the be The boss to be A Boss
Mondays could start with a morning surf or yoga class – how would that change the dynamic of the week?