Genealogy: An account of one’s descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own. —Ambrose Bierce
During the two years of absence from my journal, I have managed to amass unfinished knitting projects, travel to New Orleans, develop a fondness for roasted kale, and elect a new President. I like our new president, but there are many on the losing side who have become stressed to the point of melt down. It’s utter ridiculousness. These people have no idea what stress is all about. I can tell you what is…researching ancestral roots from Finland. Yes, Finland. It has caused me to question my sanity and my reason for undertaking this journey. After countless hours of searching online databases for birth certificates, death records, marriage, baptismal, etc., only one death record has appeared, my grandmother’s. I know it’s correct, because I was, after all, at the funeral. This frustration has led me to become envious of those who can easily dig up facts or interesting stories on their kin. Newspaper articles?! This overwhelms me. I don’t think my relatives participated in life. Now I must admit I haven’t forked out the dough for the paid subscription to newspapers. com. My dilemma also involves boning up on a foreign language never learned. I did attempt to acquaint myself with my grandma’s and grandpa’s mother tongue. However, it was a lost cause, not just because it’s difficult, but it’d never be popular at the grocery store. The angst of not knowing the correct spelling of a maiden name weighs on me. My grandma had eight kids and not one of them agreed. They have Kaakinen, Kakanen, Kakinin, Kakhanin, and Kekkonen. I have added Kähkönen, because it looks cool. Now to add to my exasperation, I hear through the grapevine that my Finnish grandfather and his brother couldn’t agree on how to spell their surname. Though this research endeavor might sound futile, I’m determined to write their story.
The only reason I would take up jogging is so I could hear heavy breathing again. Erma Bombeck
This posting is not for the faint-hearted. The past two months have been spent dealing with reshaping or should I say rebuilding my aged frame. I’m discovering that I’m not getting the results as fast as I would have in my younger years. I’m not going to say that it’s a painful process both emotionally and physically, because that’s too mundane. There is no hankie wringing here. I decided to join a health club to ignite my slow metabolism. My lack of willpower for abstaining from Hershey chocolate and bottles of Bud Light is interfering with my endeavors to get buff. Six pack abs are more important than being placed on statins. Come on, just the word, statins, sounds so elderly. So, what is it I have been doing to help my situation one might ask. Well, I joined Pilates in an earnest attempt to build core strength. But, for crying out loud, the instructor talked so fast and quietly while she walked the room with her microphone, I worked my neck more just looking for her. There were some other mature women in the group who suggested that I give ballet fusion a try. This class involves an exercise bar that is held for an upper body workout, all the while executing a “fondu” (one leg lowers with the other one up, supposedly) then quickly “releve” (rising to the balls of one’s feet). I’m concentrating to the best of my ability while hearing the instructor shout, “Ladies, I’m sorry if you have to buy a pair of smaller jeans.” I will remain in this class not only because it’s “cool”, but I actually need to find my balance. I’m still not satisfied, however. Upon returning to the women’s locker room, I’m not sweating and breathing heavily like the others. A cardio workout must be added to my regime. Zumba, here I come!
I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me.
Three weeks into the New Year and I feel good. Christmas gift cards to a spa were given to myself and my daughter, so we made a highly anticipated trek to de-stress and rejuvenate ourselves. I felt like a girl out on the town with my BFF. When we arrived, we were taken to the sauna and vibrating machine room to “shake and bake” (according to another customer). I was curious about the vibrating contraption that would provide a 40 minute workout in the span of 12 minutes. However, we were warned not to go over the speed of 15. I must say this admonishment fell on deaf ears. We both decided that we possibly couldn’t be thrown off, so we ventured into the unknown only to discover boredom. It was an experience that neither of us need to repeat. We ventured out in our spa robes to wait to be escorted to our treatment rooms. Both of us were to receive massages of our upper bodies and feet along with a soothing facial. I looked forward to this even though I don’t like people touching my feet. We would meet after an hour and have lunch in the little Victorian room. During the next hour I drifted in and out of light snoozes while being pampered with lovely scented oils and piped-in alternative music. I was a new woman. I met my daughter for salad, tea, and sweets, while we chatted about our 2.5 hours at the spa. Unfortunately, she was held captive by an esthetician who had an uncontrollable chortle. But, that’s another story.
Thanksgiving is America’s national chow-down feast, the one occasion each year when gluttony becomes a patriotic duty. ~Michael Dresser
This year joining us for the turkey feast is the cutest butterball of all, our grandson. Master Charlie arrived sporting a navy blue pullover vest with an argyle design, light blue pin striped long sleeved shirt, and the all American favorite, a pair of blue jeans. He’s only 7 months old, and the kid already knows how to dress for dinner. It was so special to share his first Thanksgiving holiday, one for which I am so thankful and which will always be etched in my mind. Charlie’s winning smiles and big personality captured everyone’s attention and directed it away from my homemade cherry pie that resembled a Pop Tart, the turkey looking sun baked and weather worn, the spinach casserole excessively loaded with crunchy celery, and Gran imbibing in the customary bottle of wine. We all look forward next year when our tiny compatriot will be able to sample the fare in this traditional American celebration. And, Gran will omit the celery from the spinach dish.
It takes a long time to become young. ~Pablo Picasso
This past month, I, along with my husband, daughter, 5.5 month old grandson, and a big appetite, headed on down the highway to have a birthday lunch at a fifties-inspired diner. We were enjoying the scenery on an unusually warm autumn day. Our little grandbaby, smiling and laughing, was having a good time blowing raspberries for gramps. No one could have orchestrated a better birthday celebration. Throw a baby into the mix and suddenly, there is whole new meaning to this journey in life. Instead of downing a glass or two of wine in an over-priced restaurant, I stood in the crowded aisle of a small town truck stop among other diner patrons and bustling staff while holding a restless baby boy, as he fixedly stared at a fuzzy Halloween tarantula, dangling at the end of a taped string. I don’t feel old, because I’m keeping company with a little man who will reach over, place his tiny hand on my arm, and direct a gaze as if to say, I like you, lady.