Someday Kid’s Names

This is a more-personal blog than most. I don’t have any children, and am free of respective obligations in that regard at this point. Consider this post a hope chest of sorts, where I tell the world my version of the Odd Life of Timothy Green (or at least what I gather from the previews.)

My first child will be Meredith Anna, Mere (Mary) for short. A combination of named after a roommate that was nice, a version of my grandmother’s name, and Anna just works. Anna is also the name of one my very good friend’s kids. Spelled Mere, pronounced Mary.

Next kid is Elizabeth Kathleen, named after my sister and my Mom. One of the names is my Mom’s middle name. Call her “Kathy” for short.

Last, but not least is red-headed either Michael David (after my Dad’s middle name and I’ve never known a bad guy named David) or named after his father, whatever my future husband’s name happens to be. I have thoughts on that matter, but will keep them to myself. To be determined in many ways.

That’s the basic low-down. If there are more kids, figure out their names as they come along, or if the husband in question has preferences, or his parents, then that is fine. Otherwise, I want solid, easy-to-spell names for my kids. Names from other countries are fine, but I WILL NOT mess a child’s spelling habits up by creating some odd spelling where they can never find a souvenir with their name on it for the rest of their life! I have plenty of friends with normal names that can’t find them, nevertheless odd spellings that only make sense when they’re spoken. Being a genealogist, I realize that it is hard enough to figure out names given standard abbreviations. When people decide to be “original” they are only pushing back Webster more than a hundred years, resorting to old English when any old spelling was fine, and are condemning their child to a lifetime of spelling and re-spelling their names! So, please, for the love of your child, let their personality be original, NOT their name. Ranting rampage done.

Thanks,

GenealogyDr

Pizza: American Tradition

Today’s post deals with pizza- what we made at my house growing up versus the versions that generated from combinations of cultures and across borders and boundaries.

When I was a kid, it was the pizza made on a cookie sheet. I do not recommend this unless the cookie sheet has the air layered between metal sheets. Dark metal cookie sheets are not the best for making pizza. From there, the evolution went to round pizza pans, and then large rectangular pans as my family caught wind of Costco and divested its inventory of at least three if not six of the massive rectangular cookie sheet pans.

Crust? Always fresh, and usually I was the one to make it. Shaping was either Mom or me, and then it was a case of “build-your-own” using jarred spaghetti sauce and various toppings Mom par-cooked in advance to speed general cooking. If not that, if the pizza had sausage, then that makes sure that the basic material receives cooking time prior to when it contacts the crust. NEVER make a sausage pizza without the sausage pre-cooked unless it is Chicago-pie style, and then I’m not sure how they get it cooked. But cook sausage!

My family was anti-pepperoni due to household changes following a relative’s bout with cancer, and honestly, when you get used to pizza without it, you don’t need it with it. Carcinogens are not worth it. Flavor is one thing, but fresh ingredients and plenty of them make pepperoni redundant and nearly unnecessary. What was typical on our pizzas? Light onion, green pepper, mushrooms, black olives, and if memory serves correctly, Canadian bacon or for it to go meat-less was fine, too.

I also grew up first with Domino’s and then with Pizza Hut. Neither are bad, but their price points do not relate well to the product when comparing to local places versus chains. Little Caesar’s used to have a different menu strategy. “Hot and Ready” pizza did not come about until the mid-2000’s when the company almost died. Their price point is typical for most pizza now. Cheap, ready to go, and while not exactly nutritious, it fills people up. American comfort food.

When we got older, there was an introduction to a pizza place called “Generous George’s” as they opened a location in my home town after their primary location the next town over. This place did TOPPINGS! The pizza was literally a few inches thick, and that is with a medium to thinner crust, and not a deep dish. It was also large enough that one slice could easily feed a person, period. If you handled a second slice, that was sheer insanity. If you wanted thicker crust, heaven help you. It was fun for its time, but the place went out when the first few years were over and owner’s kids graduated from high school. They stuck to their original location in Alexandria.

I changed time zones and states, and the next place that came to attention was “Pizza Pipeline” a local pizza place in Utah that offered free delivery coupons for the dorms including a $5 pizza with unlimited toppings. They made a monster of me. Favorite combination was shrimp, fresh-cooked tomato, black olives, green peppers, light onion, Canadian bacon, regular bacon, (possibly pineapple) and my word, that thing was incredible.  I was there during its hay-day and it changed hands, changed menus, and no one replaced them successfully when they went under. After they were there, $5 pizza was almost palpable, but it was never actually $5. Not sure if they are still in business.

I almost never ate pizza on the mission in LA, so there was nothing specific for comparison there. I’ve had CPK in other locations, often with fabulous results, but nothing in particular comes to mind from the time spent actually in LA.

Got home and went back and forth with school, and when I had to clean out the house, found Valentino’s. Now knowing what New York pizza is like, this is New York (Manhattan-style) pizza, but made by Armenians in a small place off of the crazy stretch that is the conjunction of Little River Turnpike and Columbia Pike. Getting there wasn’t easy, but neither is DC traffic, period. You have to be an official animal to make it through the area alive and with your brakes lasting for more than two years.

Valentino’s pizza was the place to go when you didn’t want to be home, nothing else made sense, and they played Frank Sinatra just before it was cool again. I will admit that I once came out with a slice where I think that someone accidentally put a cigarette butt on it, and since I was eating in the dark outside because I could, it was a rather unpleasant experience. Other than that, though, a slice was huge, and their BBQ chicken pizza (I think I’m getting that right) was what got me through Fridays when insomnia, grief, numbness, and constant massive calamities otherwise made life simply unbearable.

Moving back to Utah, pizza was chain stuff. I got an internship in New York, and accidentally stumbled upon the first pizzeria in America- Lombardi’s. So, to give the menu a whirl and I have literally never had better pizza before or since. If this is where it came from, my word… no tampering necessary! The pizza had ricotta, basil, mozzarella, and some topping that I normally put on a pizza on my side while the friend who aided in the excursion had what I described on her side. It was literally so good that I remember it six years later. We got there during an unusually slow time, waited 15-45 minutes for a table, and then had the best pizza of my life!

Since I rarely went to Little Italy, especially after Italy won the World Cup the day before during that year, most of the time, I went for whatever was local. I lived in New York during the summer, not the typical springtime internship  period. The heat was enough to kill a person, and probably did. But the pizza… before it gets so hot that all that you can think about is veggies or fruit, the pizza of choice is margherita. Only margherita. Toppings muddy the purety of the sauce, the basil, light cheese. Just enough of everything to keep it all together. I learned more about Italian pizza in one New York summer than I knew existed in all previous experience. Gluttony paved way to purety of substance. When pizza is refreshing, you know that you have glory in your hands and your mouth.

Utah pizza improved from the wasteland that followed the absence of Pizza Pipeline with the Boston-Italian Stallion that came to town, and then there was a pizza place that opened down the way that had pizza-buffet. I never thought that potato on pizza could be good. They proved me wrong. Also liked their buffalo chicken pizza.

A family-friendly but pricier pizza place in town was Brick Oven, and if family came in or there was an event, take them there. Their root beer is good, but drink the apple beer. There is nothing like apple soda (root beer but instead it’s made with apples) on the planet, and it’s one of the things that I miss about that place. Brick Oven is this crazy, semi-intimate place decorated to reflect the locations that used to be there while now the pizza place takes up the whole block. Brick Oven was my second dinner when I first came to town. Ironic or perhaps a closure that it was also one of my last after many years living there.

Moving to another pizza capitol proved changes and rivalries that seemed to date to the Great Fire. While I have had Uno in other places and yes, it was extremely good in those places (biscuit-style crust is literally to die for in Northern Virginia although I’ve never ventured into the tourist landmark), I learned about the trifecta that is Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s, and Gino’s East. Chicago has deep dish, “pie” style, and non-pie style, non-deep dish.

To the tourist that I still feel that I am, deep dish is the only “real” Chicago pizza. It’s arranged strangely, however. Akin to having soup in a bread bowl, but more constructed, Giordano’s has at least two-inch tall crust, and then it’s toppings inside (including cheese on the bottom) and then sauce on top. It’s good, and it makes for great leftovers.

When I want Gino’s East, or food that I know will be good and takes extremely minimal effort, I go to the grocery store and pick up a personal but hefty pizza at two pounds. After trying it once, I knew that I liked it. I have had the flat pizza in the actual restaurant, and that works, but I can make flat pizza. Not sure how to make the taller stuff without a special pan for it.

Lou Malnati’s is a king of pizza. It is different from Giordano’s, but wow. Have the salad first. You’ll thank me later. From there, butter crust, and the crust is almost a sour-dough effect going on. the top edge, pinched up, lets you know that this (hopefully) never hit the fridge for long before it got to you. In their case, instead of sauce, it’s more like tomato chunks on top. With toppings included, oh my word. That’s a mean pizza. So good it almost hurts going down, and that’s the way I like it.

Perfect example of Chicago right there. Not too classy, not too gritty, just …perfect. It’s almost as if you went to the neighborhood and came back and the suburbs don’t exist but the bricks and the buildings and you know who you are, and nothing else matters. That comes in a bite of this pizza. Or else it did for a historian-writer out with new friends after a life-challenging and changing conference where the conversation was fun and it was simply beautiful. Lou’s is boss. I have their pizza, and I think immediately of the times that I eat it. You can’t get this in the grocery store, but that’s okay. Gino’s takes care of that for me. Giordano’s has your first taste of Chicago. Lou’s follows it up with a power punch and sends you thinking, “Man, I love this town!” Lou’s is about the people. The food just hits in a rainbow-spectacle that makes you want to dance or roll out the door.

A combination pizza made for a small Church group a little while ago included cooked chorizo with a sweeter crust. That was unexpectedly good.

That is where my pizza forays have me now. Windy City, and I’m thinking about making pizza dough and of the items that I have on-hand what would work for a pizza? I have ingredients to make dough without issue. Adding diced tomatoes, basil, …shoot. I am not a regular cheese eater, and that may be my downfall. Note to self- keep some mozzarella on-hand. Even if ricotta is more incredible on a pizza, keep the basics there.

Just like with other aspects of life- you live it, you learn the ways that it works or does not work. I prefer the wood-burning ovens to coal, although coal gives a different flavor. It’s strange to think that I now go for the oven’s effects combined with the freshest stuff that I can find, and simple but clearly good efforts. Grow your own herbs and tomatoes if you can. If there is time, figure out what you want in your sauce. Although spaghetti sauce will work in a pinch, add more herbs to it. There are never enough herbs in those sauces, and spicier makes up for the sugar that otherwise nearly overpowers. Chunky sauces on top, crushed sauces on the bottom. Cheese can become a liquid in these events, but make sure that it is fresh, too. Low fat or part-skim is fine. Anything other than quality does not a good pizza make.

Link

More on GIS Genealogical Apps and Reviewing and Using the FamilySearch 21 Jun 2012 Webinar

21 June FamilySearch Webinar

I am one of many devotees of the Ancestry Insider, the guru who writes unvarnished industry semi-insider information and who makes my life easier as I am the only person who I know that does genealogical tech research in the Windy City. Reading an update, I got the link upon which this blog has basis. I was at one of the first meetings where a major developer or director told us all about how FamilySearch was changing. It is where New FamilySearch came from, and it was part of the BYU Tech Conference back in 2006. Wow, it blew my mind back then. And new.familysearch.org changed how I do family history and upped my participation. I majored in the topic, but I liked the research. I did not especially find use for it afterwards due to cumbersome processes necessary to use said information in manners consistent with my beliefs and practices.

New.familysearch.org was genealogical crack. It was addictive beyond measure, and I noticed that the first two months that I was on it, I had a hard time getting homework done. I ate, slept, did enough to get through assignments, and otherwise was up until 2 every night working on what was there. The live-time aspect floored me and instantly changed my perspective from “this will never happen and this is taking forever and no one knows how to do this” to WOW. This is LIVE-TIME? The change in my view was that of realizing instantly the applicability that the software had to what the Church had and did.

After six years, the toddler (NFS/FamilySearch) took its first steps and now it is time to go to school, so to speak. The webinar describes something called SourceBox. Any genealogist with even minimal training learns quickly that without a source (ANY source, but the more credible, the more accurate, the better), everything is only leads. Leads are good, but they’re only air or legends and those are fairy tales. That will likely insult people who think that absolutely everything has to be taken only on faith, but the thing is that unless the faith has basis on or placed in something or someone TRUE, then it’s meaningless. Devoid of consistency as in devoid of material or spiritual matter. So, there has to be SOMETHING (tangible in this case) that gives the information needed to put a name, date, place, time… something to do with a material object to say that an ancestor lived, breathed, died, whatever the event was. The things that are tangible or intangible evidence (if talking in spiritual terms) are sources. The closer to the event, usually the better.

FamilySearch the Internet site, has not had this capacity in any meaningful format since its inception. As new.familysearch.org grew from the first 700 beta testers (me included) to a world-wide effort, this is an imperative to establish within its framework. I keep seeing familysearch like DNA. There are bits of the human family here and there, sources documenting things, and if there was a visual to it, perhaps all of that information eventually could look like a human body. So many documents, so many pieces of knowledge trained and traced together, and establishing the history of the world according to the people who lived it. THAT is where history comes from. The rest of us are all annotators.

In addition, I see the next steps when watching said webinar. Why only use tools that other people give you? Make your own. The original DIY was the wheel. Making something to fix a problem. Now, it’s using what is there, and (in my head) turning the useful reference books into programs or into a conglomerate site. That is what reference always was and people never truly connected it together. These massive tomes of information: reference books in the genealogical sphere, such as the Handybook for Genealogists, Ancestry’s Redbook (which is kind of almost the same thing, but not quite), the Genealogist’s Address Book– all of these need to be GIS-mapped places that give the basic information for any particular place in live time. Again, in the Zee-maps tradition, mark repositories by places by then make them historically useful.

That means, your ancestor lived in Scotland or Wales, or New Brunswick in 1837. Okay. Most of those places were well-established by 1837. There may have been a few boundary changes, but in general it’s a case of getting to the right land place and then finding out who has those records. I don’t have to know what is actually IN your ancestor’s records, but I do want you to be able to find them without having a direct knowledge of what the place was back in the day. This makes a little more sense for the United States or for parts of Europe that were conquered or re-district-ed, or parts of Russia with name changes or Asia or basically anywhere but the conquering territories and governments.

The United States developed as it went along, similar to a programming project before there were software architects. Dealing with the development of all of those counties, townships, villages, cities, and where their records went as places split, divided, etc. is why the Handybook is my go-to source for anything in the US. But, if I could just stick in a place and a time, and be given all of the libraries, archives, and whatever other repositories were there at that time in addition to what existed to the present and where things ended up! That would be sheer genius. And that is what the historical app ultimately tries to do once I get it to any version of a development stage. It has a lot of layers, and that is the whiz-bang dynamo version of it. It looks so simple in my mind, and this is the first time that I have ever been able to express that level of the app with clarity.

Sure, professional genealogists are still necessary. Being able to read, interpret documents, and everything else necessary for this? It’s kind of feels like breaking the sound barrier, but it’s in genealogical terms, United States research-based. I can mentally hear something akin to a sonic boom-gong going off in my head when speaking about this. I care about the old countries. But if you can’t get back there, that research does me little to no good.

The layers and levels of research necessary to get this app done are a little staggering, but it needs to be done. There have been 30+ years to get to this stage, and the levels and stages ratchet up. It only took six years to get to where FamilySearch is now, and while I wish they installed it six years ago. Now, we get to go back and tell everyone where we got everything. It may be a mish-mash for a few years, but then we get to SOAR as there are documents backing up the information and apps that give clarity to where in the world to find these documents in a quick and efficient method. Boy, we’re going to be tired by the end of this, but wow, what a ride!

I’m not sure what I need to learn to help accomplish this, but it is going to be incredible. That, and I think that I need some help… a LOT of help to make this work properly. Any takers?

Reserve Book: Follow Up to the Uncoventional Motivational Speaker

Re-considering the musical, it is a strange sort of honor for parts of my quirkiness to be displayed for a theatre-going public. I was appalled, sure. Now, it’s a very strange form of compliment. For all of the people that this guy met years ago on that random weekend trip to Utah, I was the one who stuck through revisions, editing, re-writing, and otherwise apparently there was enough there that it was easy enough to flesh out for whomever played the role.

So, instead of being rocked like a top out of my skull, is it better to be amused? Perhaps. Appalled? Well, that was my inherent reaction. Afterwards, I am not about to embrace all of it, and no, the playwright didn’t “nail me” by any means. But the parts where I saw something rather hideous, or things where I thought, “Are you kidding me?” either need changing or were changed long ago.

I am still formal, and I have my guard up more often than down. I get disappointed easily, and it would be better if I never had any expectations at all. With most people, I simply shrug my shoulders and keep walking. There are a few people where I would give a lot for them to live up to expectations, but that’s perhaps not fair. So, the Shield where I keep out the world? It works, to a degree. The stuff that gets through may turn into blog fodder. Things that otherwise may not matter to other people, but after years of certain thought processes matter at least in arts to me. *shrugs, walking away*

Instead of being appalled, now I am a little amused. More like, wow. I really was like that back then, and the guy only saw me for maybe two days if that. I also have to give him kudos for working hard and taking at least three years for a play that may only be around for two months. That’s a lot of effort for something. He also inspired inner thought processes, evaluations and re-evaluations.

The person that I am now is a reserve book. I wanted to say that I was like the floor model for either a car or furniture or electronics. The main problem with that is that when the new model comes along, the show model goes through a strange and awkward clearance sale. And I will never be for sale, at least not intentionally. Some day I may have a book out, or some part of me in that regard may be for sale, but never ME for sale.

When it comes to a reserve book, I am a little wary. While on the one hand, I feel honored that it takes a while to find out that I am what someone wants, being stuck on the shelf is a little lonely. Yes, I am out of the hands of others and there is only one right fit. I am in the catalog, and anyone can see my entry if they try, but you have to look, hard. I am not a paperback mass market circulating type of person. Esoteric, preferably, I am not everyone’s preferred choice. It takes research to find me. Looking for the right thing and I am not in just any library. I feel like blogging puts my world on WorldCat. That’s fine, I hope. All the same, I feel wary of the experiences necessary for the right person to find me, and to check me out on permanent loan if I am that blessed.

At least I moved inside the library. I realize now that I am electronic reference of a sort. I am the hot commodity, and in showroom model language they don’t yet have the right tools to display me properly and so I am still waiting. I am a book that updates regularly. How strange is that?! Constantly shifting, changing. There are some parts that never move, but the rest of me feels like I want a platform off of which to expand and flood the earth with light. Maybe I am more dreamer than anything else, but it is better to dream and become the dream than to sit and stew in idle without directions or focus.

Pink Stuff and Orange Stuff: Summer Jello Desserts for the Over-Heated

These are recipes made up by my Mom in the 1980’s. It was summer: hot, sticky, sweaty, nasty mess in Northern Virginia before we got central AC working. The dessert is extremely simple. Jazz it up however you want.

Pink Stuff

At least one big package raspberry jello (go for the name brand.) In the 80s, there were only big packages and little packages. And we’re talking American Jello. Compare sizes against the products of Jello in other countries. You want the stuff with sugar in it. Sugar-free only if you are used to it, diabetic, or need it for some other reason. I can taste the difference, but tweak as needed.

Instead of using water to prepare it, use white grape juice.

Soft set jello.

Add around 2 8oz. containers of raspberry yogurt. We had the type with fruit on the bottom so we’d have to mix it up first. (For those in Northern Virginia, store brand Giant yogurt.) In other areas, store brand yogurt works well.

Using beaters, beat in the yogurt to the Jello until well mixed/incorporated. The Jello should change from deep red to pink. Hence, the name.

Chill till hard/scoopable by spoonfuls. We usually made this and kept it in the fridge, eating it for snacks during the day as a child.

Orange Stuff:

Same idea, except use apricot Jello (sometimes hard to find), and if you have to use store brand, no worries. The flavor and amount if more important than branding. Instead of water, use orange juice. Add apricot yogurt at the yogurt mix-in stage. I prefer this to pink stuff, but both are great. Parfaits are fantastic, though you will find yourself with preferences between the two.

Do not use metal bowls if possible as the acid reacts. I recommend glass as once a ladle left in the pink stuff dyed my Mom’s ladle pink, but the ladle was plastic.

Potential serving suggestion: Upon finishing beating yogurt and Jello together, pour into desserts cups, bowls, or glasses. Finish chilling. Before serving, pipe or spoon a dollop of whipped cream, a raspberry or Mandarin orange segment (appropriate to the flavor) and a small either mint leaf (for Pink Stuff) or chocolate shaving or similar adornment for the orange stuff. Play with the edible decorations as you like!

Desperation Casserole

This is a recipe for the days when it’s too hot to cook, but you have to cook. It was Sunday, and the ingredients were what I had on hand. I try to follow a tenant of faith that requests no shopping on Sunday. Typically, that means purchasing items ahead of time. Often, what you have is what you use. This recipe could be good for college students or  someone with more time than means who wants a simple recipe that worked.

Any of the ingredients can be used either frozen or thawed, cooked or fresh, or however people want to do it. It may take more or less work, but there is nothing that says that it has to be JUST so. This isn’t one of “those” recipes.

Ingredients:

1 1 lb. link/chub or sausage meat (ingredients in said sausage included beef and pork as the main meat items, spices, but not a bunch of fillers and junk. And no casing.)

1 bag (abt 8 ounces or 1 lb.) frozen green peas store-brand (Jewel/Ralph’s/Giant)

1 bag. Roasted Potatoes w/broccoli, onion, and red peppers (herb and garlic) meant to be cooked in a skillet, but I improvised- can’t remember what brand

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 can (after emptying out the cream of chicken soup) water

1/3 c-1/2 c Ragu Alfredo Sauce

Directions:

Spray a glass 9×13 pan with nonstick spray. I used canola oil type, but unless using the type with flour in it, it shouldn’t make a difference.

Next, cook the sausage. Since my sausage was frozen solid, first I unwrapped it and next microwaved it in a bowl for five minutes. This did partly cook the sausage, but not completely. After transferring said sausage to a pan with olive oil in it, I finished cooking it, breaking apart into inch or so pieces. Maybe it was more than 1 lb. In any case, it was enough that breaking it into 1 inch by 1/4-1/2 wide pieces was enough to cover a 10″ pan in a single layer. Turned off the sausage and let cool.

Meanwhile (while cooking said sausage) I mixed the cream of chicken soup, the green peas, and potato and veggies in a larger-sized plastic disposable Tupperware type container, added water, and got the mixture to a consistency that looked creamy although the veggies were still chunky, akin to a green bean casserole look. removed cooked sausage meat from pan and stirred into creamy veggie mixture being careful to avoid excess grease.

Poured mixture into baking dish/pan. Spread it out for an even layer. Added Alfredo sauce on top and mixed in a little.

Baked in 350 oven for around 20-30 minutes or until the top seemed melted together and the sides showed the mixture boiling. Removed from oven and let cool for maybe five minutes. Served.

No extra salt or seasonings necessary. Did dishes while the pan baked. Had chocolate pudding for dessert. Good comfort food on Sunday when reading a book in the sun room with a breeze.

The Uncoventional Motivational Speaker

Last night I attended a performance of Hero: The Musical. It’s showing at the Marriott Theater. Some years back, this rather obnoxious kid came through town to do a few character sketches for this play that he was trying to do. It will seem bad from the caricature, but I was the inspiration for Susan. That was me ten years ago. I know it because I discussed the character with him. He came up with it after talking with his friends. People who had met me one day prior, and apparently had me pegged in ways that were severely unbecoming. Last night that had me crying. Someone who met me for less than two days emphasized my biggest faults and added things that didn’t and don’t exist, like becoming a boozing floozy. The rest of the show was superbly well-done, and I’ll admit that I laughed at Susan like everyone else after my initial horror. The one thing that I am glad about is that all of these years later, I’m not Jane and I’m not Susan. I’m me. By the end, I was Hero, no comic book required.

Considering this in the morning day light, I thought “Why was I so unhappy with the portrayal of Susan?” Yeah, for one thing, her character was a caricature, and while accurate in idiosyncrasies, false in the realities. Something that got to me further was, “Why do others make fun of people trying to do well?” Between a conversation with a friend this morning and thinking about a roommate’s reactions to me in the past, there’s a lot of judgement going on. I’m not doing bad things. I’m not exactly or even close to how or what society wants me to be, but society is pretty screwed up anyway.

The current trend is to be some sort of liberal. I’m conservative in my dress, speech, behavior, and values, and get a lot of criticism for doing so. It’s not me judging other people. If they feel judged, that’s NEVER been my intention. From my perceptions, people judge themselves. No one in that play knew that I was there (outside of being an audience member) and definitely no one had ANY idea of my history concerning the playwright. And more power to him for creating a character that I recognized and for the rest of it, he also indirectly helped inspire this blog post.

Every time I turn around, I feel like there’s someone disapproving of me or of what I do. I’m a conservative religious female historian. I like the 1950’s ideals of family life, (not the witch hunts) and I’m sick of people telling me that something that I’m doing is wrong when it’s not. I believe in God. Most people in grad school don’t. That’s not my concern. I just ask that people let me worship how I want so long as I’m not trying to hurt or harm them. And no, I’m not trying to do either. My competitiveness deals with grades and my career options, and neither are worth harming anyone over.

Since I started my undergrad major, Family History-Genealogy, people asked me what I wanted to do with it. Now I want to look all of the them in the eye, and say with a smile, “Keep your family from going to hell,” and mean it. Within my cultural group, I get ridiculed from everyone but the leaders. What I do tends to make people feel guilty, and the topic (NOT the guilt) is something that I’m good at, something that I love, and something that only people who do or try it even remotely understand. Most people (myself included) aren’t always perfect at keeping every commandment and this is one that is essentially socially acceptable not to be good at.

People aren’t supposed to be good at genealogy unless they’re a bit crazy or something. Well, guess what? No one else pays my tithing, and I’m the only one in charge of my salvation besides the grace of Christ, so… may as well GET good at it. At least understand it.

I’m a little sick of people who make it their lot in life to complain about people who try to be good at Church and think that there is something else going on. Shut up, and let them live their lives and live yours! No one asked for your opinion, typically. My guess is that people in such thought processes are more nervous about something wrong in their own lives and want to push their negative thought processes on others. In any case, a lack of complaining helps.

Yes, I’m complaining about someone doing a caricature of me. Verbal complaints are one thing, and hopefully they take up as much air as they’re worth. Written down is something else. It’s why people get sued for libel, and it’s something that I don’t ever want to be a part of: either in suit form or otherwise. Makes things a little harder to mention bad things, but people who know English well enough know how to talk about sadness and anger without throwing mud pies at each other. At least, I hope not.

I wanted this post to be about people who choose to be conservative and being strong in value systems and how that’s just fine and is in fact a form of rebellion unto itself against an oppressively liberal society. We don’t have to be like everyone else, and that being firm in committed values is a good thing.

Now, this post is becoming reflections on how what a person writes effects people. I want to write my story for mass-consumption. Why I haven’t is that I have concern for my family. I don’t want to ring anyone through mud, and maybe have some sort of family left when it’s all done. It’s not a horrible story, but it won’t make us look perfect, either. Seeing how I reacted to the caricature makes me think how others react. Some people say to do things no matter what or without thinking about repercussions. I can’t live that way, and in modern society, no one can. Not sure where the line is between doing what one feels one should, and showing people, warts and all, in a public manner where it’s not just to a few people but anyone has access. Wide open spaces are scary places.

Where is the balance? I want to be open, to show the endurance of a life lived well when (especially when) the rest of the world wants to trounce you and only brings to light your faults. Not to say that those faults are not a part of you, but they’re keenly felt. Finally, over-coming the otherwise problematic structures of modern society that bring a person down and away when rising above it and truly being oneself means leaving behind some friends. It’s a return to being good, or to doing one’s best when everyone around you says, “What?” and then acts like you’re weird because they don’t get it.

I’m probably as conservative as they come, and I’m not a wench. I like to love people and to be what the gospel says that people should try to be. Yeah, it’s difficult, but so it Calculus, and people get through that class. I don’t believe that anything is impossible. Maybe improbable, but not impossible. Let people judge themselves. It’s not my job and I don’t want it!

GenealogyDr