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fauxklore
22 February 2018 @ 12:04 pm
The theme for Week 8 (February 19-25) is Heirloom. Here’s a picture of one of the few heirlooms I own:


heirloom

This is a silver tray, wine carafe, and two wineglasses that belonged to my maternal grandparents. I think I acquired them when my mother was cleaning things out after her mother died, which was in late October 1968. Even at about age 10, I appreciated its beauty and it sat on the dresser in my bedroom for a number of years. Eventually, it moved with me to California and to Virginia. I don’t recall ever actually using it, which is rather a pity. But it’s not like I’m much of a wine drinker and I have sturdier wineglasses (and too many of them, to be honest).

More to the point, I have no idea when or where my grandparents acquired the set. I don’t remember them actually using it, either, but we never had fancy dinners at their apartment where such a thing would have been appropriate. As far as I remember, Grandpa mostly drank either whiskey or slivovitz, though I'm sure there was ceremonial wine, too.

And, yes, I really do need to dust.

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fauxklore
20 February 2018 @ 02:45 pm
Presidents’ Day weekend is a good time to get away for a couple of days. I like to go somewhere warm in mid-February and that proved particularly nice this year, as it snowed up here on Saturday. I was in New Orleans, where the temperature was in the high 70’s.

While I had been to New Orleans before, it was a good 20 years ago. My first tourism priority was doing the 10 kilometer volksmarch through the French Quarter and the Central Business District. I had thought things would be calmer post-Mardi Gras, but the French Quarter was still pretty packed. Or, at least the areas closer to the River and to Canal Street were. The route started out along the river and I mistakenly turned inland a bit earlier than they intended me to. That was fine as it gave me a chance to get the obligatory beignets and café au lait at Café du Monde. And, yes, I was also wearing a black tee shirt, so got rather spattered with powdered sugar. Still, that is part of the experience. By the way, I did the "to go" line and ate sitting on a bench by the river, because the line for tables was a good hour or more long.

Anyway, the French Quarter is pretty much the same as always. Lots of iron railings on old houses. Street artists around the squares. Tourists getting drunk on Bourbon Street. Street musicians, who are my favorite form of beggars. I did buy one thing – a Trumpy voodoo doll, which I saw in a shop window and couldn’t resist. I also stopped in a couple of vintage stores. One place had a dress I liked quite a lot but not in a color I would wear, while another had some spectacular hats. The other part of the walk went up Canal Street, past the Tulane Medical Center, down to Lafayette Square, around Lee Circle (where the Confederate Monuments were removed last year), past a couple of museums, and back to Canal Place. Overall, it was a good route for sightseeing, but a slow walk due both to tourist crowds and my compulsive reading of historic plaques.

My other major excursion was on Sunday to see the National World War II Museum (which I had passed on Saturday). I was somewhat skeptical, as military history is not an area that really interests me. Still, this had been on various lists of best museums in the U.S. so I thought it might be worth a visit. Bottom line: yes, it is worth going to and one needs to allow pretty much all day. I did pay the extra fee to see their movie, "Beyond All Boundaries," which provided a good overview of the war. Then I went through the sections on The Road to Tokyo and The Road to Berlin. In both cases, there are lots of videos to watch, including a wide range of oral histories. (You get a dogtag with your ticket and can follow one person through the war. I had chosen an Army nurse. But there are other oral histories you can choose to view, especially if your person was not involved in some part of the exhibits.) That emphasis on the stories of the people involved is what makes this such an excellent museum.

I should also add a word about food, since that is one of the things people always rave about in New Orleans. I have to say that I have had better food elsewhere in Louisiana (e.g. Lafayette, which is the largest city in Cajun country.) I had a disappointing breakfast one morning at Mother’s, where my omelet was overcooked and it took surprisingly long for the accompanying toast to show up. The other breakfast I had, at Ruby Slipper Café, was much better, though their coffee is not much to write home about. Jambalaya at Creole House was good enough, but I also saw service glitches, including two different servers dropping glasses of water. Drago’s was more disappointing. There was a long wait for a table, so I asked if the full menu was available at the bar. They said it was. The front bar was crowded, so they sent me to the back bar, which did not, in fact, have the full menu. I was tired and hungry so did eat there. The size of their fish and chips dish was more impressive than its flavor.

I also spent some time at Harrah’s Casino. Let’s just say that Vegas it’s not.

Overall, it’s a good trip. I still need to get to the Audubon Zoo some day, as well as eat at a couple of specific places in the Garden District. Some other time, alas.

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fauxklore
14 February 2018 @ 04:01 pm
The theme for Week 7 (February 12-18) is Valentine. So here is a little love story.

In 1929, Lillian SCHWARTZ (originally Leah SZWARCBORT) arrived early at her fiance's apartment to find him putting in his teeth. This was unacceptable as her major critera for a husband were having his own hair and his own teeth. A friend persuaded her to take a vacation to think things over, so she took a ship to Havana. There she met Szymek CHLEBIOCKY, who was apprenticing as a watchmaker. She mailed her engagement ring back to Toothless in New York. Lillian and Szymek (later known as Simon LUBOWSKY) married a couple of weeks later.

My maternal grandparents had a very happy 38 years together.

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fauxklore
13 February 2018 @ 12:40 pm
Celebrity Death Watch: John Mahoney was an actor, best known for his role on Frasier. Alan Baker was a mathematician, who focused on number theory and won the Fields Medal. Craig MacGregor played bass for Foghat. John Gavin was an actor who was in several classic films and later became ambassador to Mexico. Reg E. Cathey was primarily a television actor, who won 3 Emmys for performing in House of Cards.. Jan Maxwell was a musical actress, who I saw perform as Phyllis in the Kennedy Center production of Follies. Vic Damone was a pop singer, who had a number of hits in the late 1940’s and throughout the 1950’s. Marty Allen was a comedian.

John Perry Barlow was a lyricist for the Grateful Dead and an internet activist, particularly notable for co-founding the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I also recommend his List of 25 Principles of Adult Behavior though I will admit to not being entirely convinced of all of them. I don’t think love forgives everything. Nor do I think that mission is necessarily more important than happiness I do think that, however, that "Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right" is good advice.

Happy Birthday, Neptune: My beloved blue-green Saturn, named Neptune because I am a space geek, officially turned 24 this week. That merited a present, in the form of a radiator flush (along with a slightly overdue oil change).

Joe Biden: Tuesday night, I went to hear Joe Biden talk at The Anthem. This is a newish venue at the District Wharf. (Actually, the whole wharf is newish.) Their directions were somewhat confusing, as the signs they said to follow were invisible so far as I could tell. Anyway, I got there in plenty of time. There was also some confusion over seating as the usher managed not to realize that the seat numbers were repeated in different sections.

Anyway, the format was Biden being interviewed by William S. Cohen, former Senator from Maine (and former Secretary of Defense). The whole thing is somewhat of a book tour, and everybody was given a copy of Biden’s recent book, Promise Me, Dad. But I gathered that there is an ulterior motive of stirring up interest in him making another bid for the presidency. I’d rather he didn’t, largely because of his age, but also because of his long-running tendency towards hoof-in-mouth disease, i.e. frequent gaffes. He didn’t make any particular gaffes that evening, though I was irritated at one of his vocal tics, man. What I did like was his emphasis on collegiality and his examples of being able to have friendships across political lines. Overall, I was glad I went, though the ticket was more expensive than it should have been.

Book Launch:Thursday night involved another book-related event. Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi is a young adult novel that has been getting a lot of buzz in the puzzle community. It was easy enough for me to go to the launch party at Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle. The place was packed and I believe that they even ran out of copies of the book. Ahmadi was interviewed by political journalist Ema O’Connor and joined by Azaf Nafisi, who wrote Reading Lolita in Tehran. Crosswords, alas, only got discussed at the very end in response to a question. (Cruciverbalist Finn Vigeland was Ahmadi’s college roommate, by the way.) There was a lot more about being a child of immigrants and, specifically, the Iranian community. It was an interesting discussion, and I expect I will have more to say after I’ve finished reading the book.

See Rock City: I saw the Washington Stage Guild production of See Rock City on Friday night. I was a little hesitant about it being the second play in a trilogy since I hadn’t seen Last Train to Nibroc, but it was fairly easy to figure out enough of the background for this one to make sense. The play involves a young couple, back from a belated honeymoon during the latter days of World War II. The play involves the twists in life (starting with their failure to make it to Rock City) amid the pressures first from the war and later from its ending, both of which disrupt their lives in unexpected ways. The most immediate pressure has to do with their mothers. May’s mother, who they live with, is cheerful and supportive, while Raleigh’s mother refuses to accept both his ambitions and his physical limitations. I’m hoping they do the third play next year, as I’d really love to know how everything works out.

4,380 Days: I continued my theatre-going by seeing 4,380 Days at Signature Theatre on Saturday. This is a complex political play by Annalisa Dias, part of the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival. The story is about an Algerian man being held without charges at Guantanamo. It’s mixed in with stories of the fall of the Numidians during the Punic Wars and of an atrocity committed by a French colonel during the conquest of Algeria. The prisoner, Malik, tells his story to his lawyer and the two men strive to understand each other and the horror and tragedy of his imprisonment. The ancient history is told by a character named The Woman and her situation, including her relationship to The Man (who she tells this to) is confusing and somewhat distracting. I thought that part might actually be the hallucinations that Malik has a result of the sleep deprivation he suffers, but none of the reviews I read drew that conclusion.

Anyway, this is a powerful and disturbing piece. There is a particularly brutal scene right before the intermission and I think that scene may have been why about a quarter of the audience didn’t come back from the intermission. For those who did stay, there was a lot of discussion after it was over. I’ll recommend it to people who can handle a provocative piece.

Other Stuff: I am swamped with housework. And work work. I did get various chores done during part of the weekend, as well as going to rehearsal for an upcoming storytelling show. (Bottom line, which I knew already, is that my story needs more story work.) Too bad I need to do things like sleeping, too.

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fauxklore
08 February 2018 @ 01:36 pm
Protein Peanut Butter Dipper: This is just peanut butter with pretzel sticks to dip into it. It has 130 calories. The peanut butter is the natural kind, which needed stirring. On the plus side, it wasn’t salty, but it was also not very interesting. Just okay.

Peanut Butter & Jelly:This consists of baked salted peanuts, raspberry fruit strings, and vanilla fudge. It has 220 calories. This is a really nice mixture, particularly if you eat the various components together. The raspberry fruit strings are particularly good, but the salty peanuts help a lot to balance them out.

Kettlecorn Kern Pops: These are half-popped corn kernels with a sweet and salty coating. They have 130 calories. This has grown on me the more I get it. I still prefer my crunchy snacks to be more savory, but this is pretty tasty once in a while.

Vitamin E Defense: This is a mixture of roasted hazelnuts, redskin peanuts, jumbo raisins, and cranberries. It has 190 calories. It’s a decent combination, but nothing really special. You can do just as well with any trail mix combo from, say, Trader Joe’s.

Cinnamon Apple Pie: This consists of cinnamon dusted apple pieces, yogurt coated raisins, and almonds. It has 160 calories. I wish the apple pieces were bigger and the almonds (which are whole) were chopped. That would make it better balanced and easier to eat the different components together. As it is, I found that I ran out of apple pieces too quickly. I also should note that the yogurt raisins are exceptionally good, which surprised me as they weren’t something I expected to like.

Louisiana Wild Rice & Beans: This is a mixture of wild rice sticks and chili broad beans. It has 140 calories. This is one of Graze’s spicier snacks – which is fine by me, but may not be to everyone’s taste. Crunch and heat is exactly what I like in a savory snack, so I found this very enjoyable.

Sweet & Spicy Beet Crunch: This consists of dried beet chips, sunflower seeds, and jalapeno chickpeas. It has 100 calories. I like this, though it could be spicier. The beet chips are quite tasty, in particular. The sunflower seeds don’t really contribute much, however.

Deconstructed Carrot Cake:This contains carrot chews, cinnamon raisins, ginger fudge, and walnuts. It has 180 calories. This is quite tasty, as long as one doesn’t expect it to taste a lot like carrot cake. But I wish the walnuts were in smaller pieces, as they run out before the other ingredients do. I should also note that the ginger fudge is the best of the fudge squares that Graze offers.

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fauxklore
07 February 2018 @ 01:49 pm
The prompt for Week 6 (February 5 – 11) is Favorite Name. An 1852 revision list (essentially a tax census) shows my great-great-great-grandfather, Izrael Itsko FAYNSTEIN, in Kedainiai in the household of his uncle, Leyb EDIDI. Izrael Itsko is identified as a tailor, who lived in Vilijampole, while Leyb was a tradesman who lived in Josvainiai. There are also three females living in the household. EDIDI is quite an unusual name, which is why it fascinates me. So what do I know about Leyb EDIDI and how he fits into my family tree?

First, one has to deal with alternate spellings. Fortunately, that isn’t so difficult, since one can search JewishGen phoetically. The most common spelling is actually YEDIDIE, though one also finds IODIDIO. Leyb (or Leib or Leiba) was the son of Movsha and was born in approximately 1826. He had a brother named Tobiash (or Tevel). The 1847 revision list clarifies who the females in the household were, since it includes his wife, Zisla, his daughter, Mina, and his sister, Rochel. Zisla might be the connection to the FAYNSTEIN family, possibly a sister of Izrael Itsko’s father, Girsh (which is really Hirsh, but the Russians use a G when transliterating names with an H, which doesn’t exist in Cyrillic). Alternatively, Izrael Itsko’s mother could have been a descendent of the YEDIDIE family, e.g. a sibling of Movsha. Unfortunately, there’s really no evidence to support any of this. Frankly, unless more Josvainiai records turn up, I don’t see any way to figure it out.

By the way, in 1873 (and in a certificate for a passport in 1868), Leyb’s wife is shown as Sora. I think that Zisla must have died before then, and there is further evidence because their son, Iosel (born about 1850) shows up in the 1874 revision list as having a 3-year -old daughter named Sheyne Zisle. Since Ashkenazi Jews don’t name children for living relatives, that would suggest Zisla had died. Sora must have died before 1883, because that’s when Leyb married Kheine Feiga ASPANGAN. (That marriage record shows them both as widowed.)

There’s some confusion over when Leyb died. There’s an 1893 family list which shows the family living in the house of DREYSHPUL and notes that Leyb had died (and has a widow named Sora Chiena living there, with her son, Iosel.) But that contradicts both the 1883 marriage record and a 1900 death record for Leyb.

I should also note that Leyb seems to have pursued a number of careers, including as an innkeeper and as a distiller. At one point, he wanted to be a farmer on state land. He was prosperous enough to donate to various causes.

In short, even an uncommon name like YEDIDIE can be hard to figure out much from. I always mentally link it to the prayer "Yedid Nefesh," which translates to "you who love my soul." I don’t know about his soul, but I do love Leyb EDIDI’s name.

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fauxklore
05 February 2018 @ 04:26 pm
Extended Restaurant Week: Some flyertalk friends invited me to join them for an extended restaurant week dinner at 2941, which is probably the best restaurant in Fairfax County. It’s an excellent place to go for this sort of thing, since one can’t normally get out of there for much under a hundred bucks, even without alcohol. They had a reasonable number of selections (3 or 4) for each course, with only one that had an upcharge. I had a nicely citrusy ceviche for the appetizer, which also had the interesting touch of fried tortilla strips for some crunch. For the main course, I got the duck Bolognese, which was quite tasty. The chocolate velvet (essentially a chocolate mousse) made an excellent wintertime dessert. And they are one of a handful of places that has drinkable decaf. The food was excellent and the atmosphere is quiet and highly conducive to conversation. It’s really a lovely place and I’m glad the others involved thought of me to fill out the party.

MiniFest:Saturday was the Folklore Society of Greater Washington Mid-Winter MiniFest. My set wasn’t until 4:30 in the afternoon, but I was carpooling with another teller, so ended up going for the whole day. There were some song and dance tracks I might have liked going to, but I have been having knee issues that I thought would make Intro to Morris Dancing a bad idea and the singing I most wanted to go to conflicted with some of the storytelling I most wanted to hear. So I spent almost the whole day at the storytelling room, with a couple of breaks to go to the Green Room for tea and snacks. I also did a minor bit of shopping, largely because I saw something which made me think of someone I know. And the same stall had local honey, which is something I had run out of a while back. (I have two other sources, but won’t see either for a while.)

Anyway, everyone I heard did reasonably well. I was particularly pleased with the performances by the three members of The Twinbrook Tellers (our youth affiliate) who performed. As for my set, I had crowd-sourced some new similes to use in "The Baker Woman and the Miller’s Daughter," but forgot the one I had most wanted to use ("as hard as a rock café"). The story that got the best reaction was "Berel the Baker," and, having been there, I can truthfully assert that one cannot get a bagel in Chelm. I also told "Nasruddin’s Cat" and "Clever Greta." Why, yes, there was a food theme. Overall, I had fun both telling and performing.

Sunday: The weather was dreadful. There were a couple of things I might have gone out for, but nothing I absolutely had to. I got through a bunch of household paperwork, though not, alas, all of it. And I almost read the entire Washington Post.

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fauxklore
02 February 2018 @ 03:38 pm
Celebrity Death Watch: John Bindernagel was a cryptozoologist, who researched Bigfoot. Stansfield Turner directed the CIA in the late 1970’s. Peter Mayle wrote about living in Provence. John Barton cofounded the Royal Shakespeare Company. Dorothy Malone was an actress, best known for Peyton Place. Jim Rodford played Bass for Argent, The Kinks, and the Zombies. Naomi Parker Fraley was the inspiration for Rosie the Riveter. John Coleman cofounded The Weather Channel. Paul Bocuse popularized nouvelle cuisine. Connie Sawyer was an actress, who continued working in film comedies into her 100s. Ursula K. LeGuin was a science fiction writer. Lari White was a country singer. John Morris was a film composer. Isaiah Zeldin founded the Stephen S. Wise Temple, a major Reform synagogue in Los Angeles. Jerry Butler was a porn actor who was married for several years to Lisa Loring, known for playing Wednesday Addams on The Addams Family. Rick McKay made documentaries about Broadway. Mark Salling was an actor on Glee. Victor Sidel cofounded Physicians for Social Responsibility and was active in opposing nuclear warfare. Nicholas von Hoffman was a journalist, whose career included writing a column for the Washington Post. Dennis Edwards sang with The Temptations.


Hugh Masekela was a South African jazz trumpeter and one of the finest musicians anywhere. His song "Bring Him Back Home," considered an anthem to free Nelson Mandela, is probably his best known. He played a wide variety of music, collaborating with people ranging from Herb Alpert to Paul Simon. It was a privilege to have heard his music.

Mort Walker was a cartoonist, known for Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois. He also had a major influence on Hallmark Cards.

Ingvar Kamprad founded Ikea. I can’t count how many people have been joking about assembling his coffin.

Louis Zorich was an actor who was best known for his role on Mad About You. Among other roles, he played the Russian Constable in the film version of Fiddler on the Roof, played Mr. Maraczek in one of the revivals of She Loves Me, and recorded selections from the novel Moby Dick for Folkways Records. He was also married to Olympia Dukakis.


Obit Poems: What all of the above-mentioned have in common is that they weren’t on my ghoul pool list. I checked and didn’t score last year until February 6th, so I am not particularly disheartened. And only 6 out of the 20 players have scored so far this year.

But, speaking of competitions, I entered several obit poems in the Washington Post Style Invitational and none of them inked. That doesn’t mean, of course, that I can’t inflict them on you. I think the best of these is the one for J. Geils, but it does assume a familiarity with "Love Stinks."

Clifford Irving wrote a bio
Claimed to be of Howard Hughes
Now his bio is completed -
Cliff’s real bio, not fake news.

G is for Grafton, the mystery writer
Exploring the crime world, from A to Y
Too bad she never finished the alphabet
Instead of for Zero, her Z’s for good-bye.

Polish-born diplomat
Zbiggy Brzezinski
Advised Jimmy Carter
Committed no crimes.
Still he was hated
By doggerel poets
For having a surname
Permitting no rhymes.

And so it goes
To J. Geils goodbye
This thing they call death
It’s gonna make you cry
Death stinks, yeah yeah
(Death stinks)
Death stinks, yeah yeah

Three Shakers lived at Sabbathday Lake -
Frances Carr was one of those few.
Their practice of complete chastity
Means that there’s now only two.


Restaurant Week Dinner at Cedar: I went out to dinner at Cedar to take advantage of restaurant week. It started out with four people, but one cancelled and another no-showed (and still hasn’t gotten back to me, so I hope he’s okay). I felt slightly guilty about two of us occupying a four-top, but so it goes. Anyway, I had a smoked salmon appetizer, which was quite good. My main course was elk and pheasant sausages, which were tasty. The accompanying vegetables were, however, too salty. For dessert, I chose the chocolate mousse. That was fine, but their coffee was not very good. Still, overall, the food was good enough that I’d go there again. It appears that they have a pre-theatre menu, which could be convenient.

Unscheduled Time: Last weekend was unscheduled. Well, other than a friend coming over to get some things she’d been storing at my place. I did get some household things done, but I am still very far behind. I didn’t go out during the week, but I am still nowhere near caught up. And it doesn’t look like I will have another free weekend until at least May.

Month of Letters: Of course, I have inevitably made myself busier by taking on another project. The Month of Letters is something I’ve done before and involves writing an actual physical letter every postal day of February. That is, one doesn’t have to do weekends or Presidents’ Day. I’m mentioning it here because there may be somebody who is interested in seeing if my handwriting is really as bad as I claim it is. (Actually, I do aim for both legibility and wit in these.) If so, you can send me a message with your address and I’ll add you to my list.

My paternal grandfather was a shoemaker. Shouldn’t that make me entitled to have elves?

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fauxklore
01 February 2018 @ 04:14 pm
The prompt for Week 5 (January 29 – Feb 4) was In the Census. I’ve used a lot of different types of census records in my research, both in Eastern Europe and in the U.S. The American ones are infinitely more frustrating, but I think that is largely because I have higher expectations for them. Here’s an example from 1930:


1930 census schwartz

This record is for my great-grandparents and 4 of their 5 children, who appear on lines 24-29. The fifth child was my grandmother, Lillian SCHWARTZ, or, actually, by then, Lillian CHLEBIOCKY, who had married my grandfather at the beginning of that year and was living with him in Havana, Cuba. The SCHWARTZ family was living at 293 Henry Street, which matches the postcards Grandma sent from Havana, so, along with the names matching, I can be pretty sure I have the right people. Too bad nearly everything else is questionable.

Let’s start with my great-grandfather. He never went by the name Harry SCHWARTZ. His name was Enoch Ber SZWARCBORT and he Americanized that to Henry SCHWARTZ. Our family theory is that he chose Henry because of living on Henry Street and we have a running joke about what he’d have done if he lived on Delancey. That’s a minor point and the rest of the names are correct.

Ages, however, not so much. As it happens, I have Enoch’s birth certificate, so I know he was born before 1876, which would make him 53 or 54. He and Mollie married in 1896 (again, I have the record) so it looks like his age at marriage is correct at 20. But if Mollie was 2 years younger than him then, she couldn’t be 5 years younger than him in 1930.

Another bit of evidence is passenger manifests. Enoch actually arrived in 1910, not 1926, and the rest of the family in 1920, not 1928. In the passenger manifests, Enoch was 34 in 1910, so he would be 54 in 1930. Mollie was 41 in 1920, so would presumably be 51 in 1930. (Phil was 11, Bernice 9, and Frieda and Morris were both 15. If their naturalization records are to be believed re: their birthdates, the latter two were twins.) In short, all the evidence is that the census record is wrong.

The other interesting thing in this record is occupations. Enoch as a curler of human hair? Presumably, that means a wig maker? When he immigrated, he said he was a joiner. His death certificate (from 1937) indicates that he was in the yard goods trade, which is consistent with what I’d always heard from relatives. I’m less surprised by Morris and Philip doing factory work. I always knew of Morris as a musician, but that wasn’t exactly a way to make a living. And I understand that Phil never really settled into anything until Grandpa helped him get into the jewelry business. I never knew of Frieda could type, but I guess she had to do something. My guess is that, given that this was during the Depression, everyone was just taking whatever jobs they could find.

One other thing to note is that this is hardly the worst census record I’ve seen. There are at least two in my family which have the sexes of children wrong. In one case, a daughter named Selma is shown as son named Solomon. In the other, a daughter named Sima is shown as a son named Seymore.

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fauxklore
29 January 2018 @ 01:30 pm
My Graze subscription has restarted, following my vacation.

Salted Fudge & Peanut Cookie: This consists of salted peanuts, redskin peanuts, mini chocolate cookies, and vanilla fudge. It has 230 calories. This is a good mix of sweet and salty. The fudge doesn’t really contribute much but sweetness, however.

Pizza Margherita: This is a mixture of basil crunchini, cheese cashews, and mini tomato breadsticks. It has 120 calories. Crunchini seems to be a fancy term for croutons. The breadsticks don’t have a lot of tomato flavor and the whole thing isn’t particularly pizza-like, in my opinion. However, this is still a good savory snack, particularly if you eat all of the components together.

Lightly Salted Popping Corn: This is 130 calories worth of microwave popcorn. There’s not really much more than that to say about it.

Baobab & Raspberry Clusters: This is a mixture of baobab and raspberry coconut clusters with apple pieces and pumpkin seeds. It has 130 calories. This is an excellent sweetish snack. The baobab clusters have a definite berry flavor, which mixes well with the apple pieces. And the pumpkin seeds add some protein. This sort of unusual snack is precisely why I subscribe to graze.

Sweet Rhubarb Jam: This is a mixture of rhubarb slices, dried apple slices, and dried cranberries. It has 100 calories. I like this a lot because the tartness of the rhubarb and cranberries balances the sweetness of the apples well. Delicious.

Billionaires’ Shortbread (new): This is a mixture of Belgian milk chocolate drops, almonds, cranberries, and fudge. It has 210 calories. This is an excellent sweet snack, with a blend of flavors that combine well. I upgraded it to from "like" to "love."

Sweet Mustard Ranch: This is a mix of mustard breadsticks, poppyseed pretzels, and sour cream and onion cashews. It has 130 calories. This is just okay. I like the pretzels and the cashews, but the mustard breadsticks are just a bit weird. That’s probably because I prefer my mustard spicy, not sweet.

Caramel Apple: This consists of dried apple slices with a caramel sauce. It has 80 calories. The caramel sauce is just about perfect, presumably because they use golden syrup in making it. Absolutely delicious.

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