Saturday, March 27, 2010
Otherwise, the day was pretty uneventful. We dropped him off around 10am and picked him up around 7pm. They said he slept most of the day, took over my mom's chair, went outside and did his thing. Etc. Not much going on there. We're still deciding about trying an overnight.
As I mentioned before, Max is going to be doing some trial stays with my parents to see how they get along before Matt and I decide for sure to leave him with them when we go out of town. The first trial will be a morning-to-night tomorrow.
Pray for us. :)
In preparation for the visit, I've made a list of things Max will need (food/water bowl, food, leash, blankie, baby gates, etc). I've also printed up a colorful sheet with table foods that Max can and (more importantly) cannot have.
One thing I'm most interested in is Max's roll as Doggie Ambassador, to which he was appointed as a puppy. Max has a really great ability to convert non-dog people and some very anti-dog people to pro-dog people or at the very least, to dog-friendly people. My parents are included in this. Max has had several sucessful Goodwill Tours at my parents house.
It is a big deal. My mother has gone from totally anti-small dog to very small dog-friendly. She has even talked about getting a Scottie....after my dad dies.
He's the real hold-out here. He's convinced they CANNOT have animals in the house because of the flea problem, despite me explaing about Frontline and how it actually works. He's not giving in. He adores Max, though, and I'm hoping that Max may be able to break through that last barrier.
If so, we may soon have to fine yet another keeper for Max when we go away.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Matt's parents got a Pomeranian puppy.
Her name is.....(wait for it).....
Foxy Lady. Yes, seriously.
Max is not taking this well, unfortunately. He was harassed by a neighbor's Pom when he was a puppy, and he hasn't forgotten it:
Neither have I, really. I don't like Pomeranians.
Matt is playing both sides of the fence, though. In the picture below it almost looks like he's receiving sexual favors from her. Ahem.
So, now we're stuck with trying to find a place for Max to stay when Matt and I travel. We're going to do a few trial runs with....my parents. God help us all.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Still looking for other jobs! You're darn tootin' I am!
Oh, in other news, my Kiva loanee, Edith, has made 3 of her 4 payments back! Go Edith!
Also, I made a 5th sale on Etsy this weekend. I'm advertising over at Bright, Bold & Beautiful for the next two months. I hope it helps, so far, so good!
Friday, March 12, 2010
Recently, a Fed that I’m friends with at work told me about a website about a woman who has gone through parts of the ‘Dead Zone’ surrounding Chernobyl. Her name is Elena, she is the daughter of a nuclear physicist. She travels on her motorcycle and takes all the food, water, and fuel she might need as well as a bike repair kit, etc, because you do not want to get stranded out there. She takes her Geiger counter. She takes her camera. Her photos are surreal. She has biked all over the area.
Her page can be found here. I would really recommend starting with the link below her Motorcycle page and then just working your way through all the sections. At the bottom of each page is a link to go to the next, like turning pages of a book. It is an incredible journey. Look through the ‘Serpent’s Wall’ bit, too. It is about the wall defending Kiev from everyone, Mongols up through the Nazis. She and her friends dig there to find history.
All the following pictures and words are from Elena’s sites, as well as the title of the post, above:
The only buildings in area that is not ruined are churches. Traveling through the whole of Chernobyl region I have yet to see any ruined church.
Reading of geiger counters tell us more than reading official reports, but it tells us less than reading from the book of nature. In Chernobyl reading from the book of nature is easy, here facts themselves speak eloquently of the truth... wherever I turn, I stumble upon a fact that humans are outlawed and banned from life. I strain to hear, in hope to receive an answer, but all I can hear is the voice of Nature strongly saying to the human race, -I DON'T NEED YOU!
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
You know how sometimes you are doing something and your mind wanders? Happens to me all the time, and I wake up to find that I’m thinking about something kind of odd, or something in an odd way. Today, it was whistling.
I’ve been listening to my Sly & the Family Stone CD lately, and I found myself whistling along with the horn part on Take You Higher. And I started to think about whistling.
Where do we learn to whistle? I mean, have you ever really paid attention to what you do, physically, when you whistle? Try it, find some music that is fairly complicated: fast paced and also containing high and low notes pretty close together, and whistle it. Hallelujah Chorus. Try to whistle that.
It is a pretty exact science, isn’t it? You don’t just move your lips to pucker, and you don’t just move your tongue to form the notes, and you don’t just move your jaw to get the right amount of air movement. You do it all at the same time so quickly and in such a specific way that I can’t imagine how we could have learned to do it.
Seriously, how did you learn to move all those things at the same time to form one note and then not even a full second later do it all again to form another totally different note? How did we learn this??
Is it learned? Did you seriously do enough whistling as a kid to learn how to do this? Or is it innate? Physics? Like when you catch a ball in mid-air when you only saw it a split second before, but your brain could do those wind-speed, travel-arc, incredibly detailed calculations that put your hand JUST SO to catch that ball.
Is that what whistling is?
Monday, March 08, 2010
Matt’s family came from Or the Ukraine. Or maybe . Possibly Kiev. They were Jewish. But maybe they weren’t. And they aren’t now. And no one knows when except for “the late 1800s,” except for what his grandfather said, and his grandfather lied like you and I breath (pretty regularly). .
Recently, we watched a movie called “Everything is Illuminated.” If you only watch 5 movies this year, make this movie one of them. It is a story about a young American Jew who goes to Ukraine to find the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. He is guided by a Ukranian man about his age (“who’s English isn’t so primo”), that man’s grandfather, and the grandfather’s ‘officious seeing-eye bitch’ ., Jr. It is not a holocaust movie. It is a drama, but it is also very funny in places as well as sad and poignant. It is very good, and of course the story in the end turns out to not be what the main character (played by ) expected to find, but….everything becomes illuminated.
So, of course this got Matt talking about his family. I asked him if he wanted me to look into it, and he said sure.
I’m very lucky, my parents have traced a lot of my own family back into the 1500s and on my mom’s side even as far back as the 1300s. In Germany, no less!
I’ve truly never had much interest in genealogy per se and while I know it is all very interesting, a good hunt is really what I enjoy. I’m a researcher. It is what I do. I’m very good at it. I joined up temporarily with Ancestry.com and 3 hours, 4 censuses, 5 passenger lists later and I had some answers for Matt about his origins.
But I had a lot more questions. Not the least of which is why the native language on two of the censuses was listed as ‘Lettish.’ Remember, this was all hand-written and at first I thought it said ‘Yittish’ as in a incorrectly spelled Yiddish, with two Ts instead of Ds. But, no, it was definitely ‘Lettish.’ So I go looking for Lettish.
It is the language spoken by the Letts. Stupid! Of COURSE it is! Who the hell were the Letts?
Lithuanians. Isn’t that interesting? Lettish was spoken around the area of the Baltic including Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, Belarus, , and Latvia, among others. So. There is Clue #1: Lettish. Thank you, Wikipedia.
I also found a passenger list (among several possible contenders) that had a hometown for GGGrandfather Leopold as ‘Suwalken, Russland.’ It was a German ship, and Suwalken translates to Suwalki, which is currently part of Poland (remember, a lot of these borders were fought over and changed often). It is smack dab on the Lithuanian border. Clue #2: Suwalki.
I go looking for Suwalki on a map. Interestingly, not 20 miles south of Suwalki is a town called Augustow. Matt’s GGrandfather’s name was August, and possibly the GGGGrandfather, too. Clue #3: Augustow.
Coincidence? Very possibly. It could mean nothing. All of these clues could be red herrings and mean absolutely nothing. But it is what I have to go on right now, so I’m using this as my current working theory.
Next was the fun part. A friend of mine just happened to call last night. She’s Polish. She and her husband and two boys applied to leave Poland after the wall came down in the late 80s or early 90s and they’ve been here ever since, more than 20 years. I mentioned all this to her and when I got to Suwalki she said that was the area where her mother was from. She spent all her summers there as a kid, it is the ‘lake district’ for Poland, big on tourism. Very beautiful, she said. She still has family there and offered to help out with translations and tracking information down, if we need help. I told her the last name variation, too, and she said it translates to ‘frost.’ She said that variation is absolutely not Lithuanian, it is Polish. So, that’s something, too.
There are a lot of loose ends, though. There is another August showing up with his family in a different town (Hoboken) from the one that Matt’s family was in (Piscataway). I thought it was an unconnected coincidence…until I found a connection in the GGGrandfather’s funeral book signatures, complete with ‘Hoboken’ beside it. Really bizarre. Could it be Leopold’s younger brother? The age difference is only 10 years, it couldn’t be another son. Maybe a cousin?
There is also a floral arrangement listed as being given by “The official family of Piscataway.” What the hell does that mean?? There have always been rumors of Russian Mafia in the family, could that be the ‘official family?’
We have no information on parents or siblings of GGGrandfather Leopold. Unless we can find something, that may be the end of the line. This is why I’m pursuing Suwalki.
So, I’ve decided I’m going to keep my Ancestry.com membership for at least a couple months. It isn’t cheap, I know a lot of people don’t join because of that but it is an incredibly good resource. If anyone wants me to look anything up, please email me and let me know detailed names and dates. I’d be happy to use my membership to help out.
Sunday, March 07, 2010
This is from one of the several wildfires that hit El Cajon in the past few years:
Loved this one, my Navy cousin sent it to me. It is referring to the Seal team that took out the Somali pirates that were holding the US crew of the cargo ship:
I can't remember where this bridge is, but isn't the picture gorgeous?
Another wildfire in California picture. If I'm ever in a wildfire, I want this to be my house:
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
This photo is from the Lebanon/Israel conflict that happened a few years ago. This shows the Lebanese(?) troops and their...pack llama. Assault llama? Whatever, I thought it was funny:
This shows South Korean soldiers playing in what I'm pretty sure is some aqueous firefighting foam:
Sometimes I'll caption photos. This is the woman who was the Secretary of Education under Bush II at the news conference after her appointment. I caption this photo: ...you do the hokey-pokey and you turn yourself around...." But I love her glasses:
This is a photo of a terrorist and the bombing that he was supposedly responsible for. A very serious subject. I don't get why people don't really look a the pictures they publish for serious topics. This one looks to me like: ....do-do-do-do do-do! Gotta sing!!!
I saved this pic to use as my desktop in October:
Sunset in Afghanistan:
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Duane stopped by on Sunday to drop something off. Duane is 30-something and still lives with his parents. He asked us if he told us about their cat. No, he hadn't.
Duane was working the night shift and when he pulled into their driveway he noticed their cat laying under their mailbox, dead. Duane stopped and checked. He told us he hunts enough and he knows dead, but apparently it had just happened.
He loaded the cat into a box he had in his car, drove the remaining 50 yards to the house, put the cat and box into the garage, and he went up to bed.
The next day he got the cat, box, some hay, and a shovel. He went up the hill, dug a three foot hole, layered it with hay, and buried the cat.
2 days pass.
Duane's dad runs into the house: "Duane! You've got to come out here and see this!"
Duane does. The cat is walking calmly out of the garage.
"It had hay on its back," he told us. "That's the part that really got me."
Duane's dad was freaked out. "You told me you buried that thing!" he said.
"I buried it three feet down!" Duane told him.
2 days after that, they finally found out that the neighbors apparently had a cat with almost identical markings. They didn't know that for two very strange and interesting days, though.
Duane said he even walked up to the grave to see for himself. He said if an animal had been digging there then he would have seriously been spooked, as it would have looked like the cat had dug itself out.
So, that's my most recent strange story. Since then I've been singing the Muppet Show version of The Cat Came Back.