Sunday, March 28, 2010

Anger masquerades

Anger can be destructive or can be the greatest inspiration for a solving a problem. For people with latent anger, the outbreaks are often inflicted on other people - those they love, the old lady crossing the street (unless she hits the front of your car and inflates your airbag), your pets, yourself. But, most often latent anger masquerades as other emotions.

When I am angry at myself, sometimes my anger bursts out in a shopping spree or in fierce activity. Both relieve the stress. At other times, my anger eats itself into oblivion. When I get tired of being angry, I just don't care anymore. Whatever happens, happens. If whatever depends on my action, then whatever doesn't happen. Whatever.

At a masked ball, anger can be jovial cutting remarks, sexy flirting, silence, wall-flowering, drinking, dancing every dance until you drop, cutting in on a couple that seem very happy, envy, lying - almost any emotion it wants to be. Anger uses many disguises. Depression is only one of them.

Someone said that anger is fear; yes, that's one of anger's faces, but, again, not the only one. Fear of loss of possessions, spouse, prestige, whatever you value. Fear and anger are closely related.

Anger, fear and freedom are also related. As Janis Joplin sang, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." When you feel there is nothing left to lose, when you have that freedom, then fear and anger lose their meaning. Numbness creeps into the folds where emotions once lived. You have chosen to die - however slowly that death may be; you are not living - for, if you live, you have anger and you have fear and you have hope.

Also true is that another person's anger can drain your emotions if you let it. Then you are not living either. In these last days of Lent, the image of taking up your cross is appropriate; you must take up your anger and fear and ride it out, work it out, carry it forward to resolution.

I don't know where my angers and my fears lie, but I do know that I no longer care. The motions are here; the words are here; but the life is not. So on this Palm Sunday as many church congregations read the Passion story of Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem followed by his betrayal, suffering and death, I resolve to find my cross (my emotions - all of them) and bear it with as much courage and serenity as possible. Now, all I have to do is find this cross - the masquerader.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Update on Ancestry, fiber stuff, and health

John Dean and wife, he died in 1893
Wow, I've learned some really interesting things and even found a picture of my great-great-great grandfather - so I could identify who was in the picture of him that I have. Amazing. I knew we were related, but I didn't know who he was. The woman with him is undoubtedly his wife - the question is, which one? My guess is she's not the one to whom I'm related...Perilee Butler Dean, that's who she is. Probably my relative's best friend since they were born about the same time and lived in the same area. My relative died young, possibly in childbirth - and so Pop married her best friend. Of course, this is conjecture, but it will make a good fictional story about them.

I'm working a new pattern for a skinny scarf using Knit Col, a lightweight variegated yarn, and so far, it's looking great. Of course, I'm only on row 7, but, hey, so far, so good. It's a twelve row pattern; so I have six more rows to knit before I can really see what it is like.

I hurt. I've been sitting in front of the computer too much, and now I've gone to the garage and dug out my aunt's notes about our family. I think this stuff is addictive. I forgot to take my afternoon medicine; so my legs moved around a lot while we watched Jeopardy. Maybe I'll play a little Wii bowling to get some movement in today. Working at the shop on Thursday; so I have to feel good then.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Facebook and Genealogy Addictions - Part 2

"Facebook Addiction: The Life and Times of Social Networking Addicts", is the first fictional book to address what doctors and experts are calling Social Networking Addiction. The book takes a satiric look into the lives of twelve individuals who have entered into rehab (“Social Networking Anonymous”) to help kick their habit. Each chapter is the testimony of one of these individuals, all reflecting the vivid and creative imagination of the author. Recognizing the overall seriousness of this issue, Osuagwu collaborated with the New York Daily News to provide real life accounts of Facebook addiction gone wrong." From the website

After the initial surge of puzzle solving with my spree, I am back to looking for more details and stories about people closer to me and writing down stories about my grandparents and great-grandparents. However, I'm having lots of trouble getting back to my usual sleep routine. Part of that may be lingering jet lag from traversing two time zones on Wednesday, but I suspect more of it is due to staying up until 2 am.

Personally, I am a fickle addict. I spent several years and quite a few dollars making beaded jewelry, and I haven't done any for a couple of years now. Almost four years ago I learned to knit and crochet, and I have a full complement of yarn for almost any project I'd want to make, but my activity there is waning. A number of years ago, I began collecting frogs, then turtles. Now, it's Coca Cola stuff and miniature Christmas ornaments. The room overfloweth. So doth the garage, but I haven't started on the attic yet.

So many crafts call out to me. I begin with lots of enthusiasm and then I slow. Finally, I drag to stop and start something new. The thrill of new! There's the addiction.

That's true with my relationship with God and the Bible. If I can't drag new meanings from the Biblical texts, then I get bored with them and leave them alone for years. If I can't find new ways to have a relationship with God, then I get bored and stay home or, worse, get bored and go to church. God has a way of jerking my head back in place sometimes. Some days I'm just grateful to have a god in whom I believe.


A blue footed booby and a blue whale - just teasers for more to come.

Game addiction

A number of friends seem to be addicted to the games you can play competitively on Facebook. Others play bridge on the internet with real people. The number of games that adults can play on the computer are seemingly endless. I do several of them each morning just to see how sharp I am that day, but I don't usually sit and play them to see if I can beat someone or get a higher score than I did before. And, so, my internet time is spent more often in looking at new yarns and patterns and following chatter on knitting and crochet groups to discover new ideas.

However - perhaps I should put that in all caps - HOWEVER, Thursday evening we watched Jeopardy as our first TV program since returning from Baja California, and we didn't immediately turn it off after the program was over. Suddenly, I am caught up in this African American dude, a former football star, tracing his genealogy, and he used at one point. Bad move for me.

So, we tired of that quickly and I moved to my computer where the first thing I did was to examine I was immediately addicted. Now this football star was also out interviewing people and looking at cemeteries and hiring good help in his search. I'm online and being amazed at what I can find. This is like a puzzle, and I do love puzzles.

First you put in what information you know. If you can get back before 1930, all the better. Then, the program begins giving you clues - places where that name is found in census records on file up to 1900, marriage records from many states, and more usually, other people's research and public family trees. A little green leaf appears with each "hint".

So, I entered some family information that I remembered (lots more is written down somewhere in my files and stored for safekeeping, LOL). I got several little green leaves, and I clicked on them. As I reviewed the information, I discovered what my grandmother's birth name probably was - she changed it somewhere before Social Security began. I had always heard that here birth name was something like Pamelia; presto, her grandmother was Permelia. Other family records listed her as M. Permelia - so, now I have my grandmother's birth name. Incidentally, she was called Mae most of her life.

I keep clicking on these little green leaves and following people from Maryland, briefly through Virginia, and into North Carolina and Georgia. I can see when they moved from Georgia into Mississippi. I can also see how many brothers and sisters died before they were a year old. I remember lots of little graves in our old family cemetery. And, now I can connect with who they were. I had little interest when we were there. All I wanted then was to see the tombstone for the man who had his amputated arm buried. We used to race to see who could find the graves of both the arm and the man to whom it had belonged.

Tonight as I wait for my antihistamine to work, I don't dare go to that website. Thursday night moved into Friday morning before I finally went to bed at 2 am. I lost most of Friday in sleep and more time on I am addicted to following those little green leaves. And, when they run out, I can take names that are apparently dead ends and look for clues in census, birth, marriage records. For instance, Mary Dozier Vick, born in 1775 seems to have no family records on this particular website. So, I began looking for the name Dozier in the area where she was born - lots of them, but all the Marys were married to people whose names I didn't recognize, and few of them had parents listed. But, I dutifully traced the parents of those possibilities until I determined that none of them belonged to my Mary Dozier Vick. My great-grandfather was Nathan Dozier Skelton; so I'm pretty sure that Mary is an ancestor and that Dozier is a family name.

I found pictures of tombstones in Mt. Pleasant cemetery, wherever that is, and census records and lots of people who are related distantly. However, I know I can add lots of data in some places because my Mom kept writing down names and dates and places and spouses and children. She would love this program absolutely - unfortunately, so does her daughter. I am addicted to this puzzle.

Some family names fade away - Skelton is probably a derivative of Shelton - and they fit the Irish/Scottish background that my grandfather Skelton claimed. Ralph Shelton, an Irishman, married a Scottish girl, and their son changed his name to Skelton - possibly due to poor handwriting. My uncle was Ralph Skelton, an echo to an Irishman who may have been our ancestor.

So, what does all this mean for me. I have to ration my time on this website, but, like the football star, I'm discovering more about who I am and what traits I have (like moving around a lot)that may have been inherited from long-dead ancestors. Do I know who I am? Probably not. Does it matter? Probably not. But, the puzzle is fun. Maybe I'll go cemetery trekking one day. And, maybe I'll find Mom's notes someday.