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fauxklore
09 November 2018 @ 02:47 pm
The theme for Week 45 (November 5-11) is Bearded.

I could pull out any number of photos of bearded men in my family, though there were fewer of those over the years as people assimilated. I never saw my father or either of my grandfathers with a beard, but my brother has experimented with one now and again.

But the better story related to beards is one of surname origins. My maternal grandmother’s maiden name was originally SCHWARTZBARD (spelled various ways). Polish Jews didn’t take surnames until the partition of Poland in the 1800’s. Surnames have a number of different origins, but one of the common ones is personal characteristics. SCHWARTZBARD is Yiddish for "black beard." When I had first told my mother that I’d found that was the family’s original surname, she said, "oh, no, we’re descended from pirates!"

I should also note that my branch (the descendants of Enoch Ber SCHWARTZBARD) mostly became SCHWARTZ in the U.S., though my great-grandfather was buried under his original surname, or, at least, the Anglified spelling of it, when he died in 1937. His wife, Malka, nee MAKOWER, was using SCHWARTZ exclusively by the time she died in 1952. However, some of the children of his brother, Chaim Wulf SCHWARTZBARD, who died in Israel in 1959, took the surname BART or BARD.

I have probably mentioned this before, but SCHWARTZBARD to SCHWARTZ Is pretty obvious. So how did Enoch Ber become Henry? Family speculation is that it was because he lived on Henry Street. Since some records show him as "Henoch," that may be a simpler explanation, but it interferes with our running joke that it’s a good thing that he didn’t live on Delancey. Though there would be a certain charm to Delancey Schwartz as a name. And it would be much easier to research!

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fauxklore
08 November 2018 @ 04:48 pm
Celebrity Death Watch: Elder Roma Wilson was a gospel musician. Ntozake Shange was a poet and playwright, best known for For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf. Bernard Bragg co-founded the National Theatre of the Deaf. Whitey Bulger was a gangster. Roy Hargrove was a jazz trumpeter. Raymond Chow was a film producer in Hong Kong, credited with discovering Bruce Lee. Donna Axum was Miss America 1964. Francis Lai wrote the score for the film A Man and a Woman. Evelyn Y. Davis was an activist shareholder and corporate gadfly, who at least once made the list of 25 Most Annoying Washingtonians. Micheal O Suilleabhain was an Irish composer and musician. Wallace Triplett was the first African-American to play in the NFL.

Willie McCovey was a baseball great, primarily playing first base for the San Francisco Giants. He holds the National League record for grand slam home runs. There’s an inlet outside of Whatever Telephone Company It is Named For Today Ball Park in San Francisco that is known as McCovey Cove.

Little Shop of Horrors: Before going away, I saw Little Shop of Horrors at The Kennedy Center. This was part of their Broadway Center Stage series, which are concert versions, i.e. minimally staged, with actors sometimes referring to scripts. The most notable part of the staging was that, instead of using puppets for Audrey II, the person playing the plant wore a suit and gloves to represent it. That worked better than I might have expected, though I still prefer the puppetry. Anyway, it remains a fun show, with an enjoyable score. The performances were also quite good, with Megan Hilty doing an excellent job as Audrey, very much akin to Ellen Greene’s intonations. Josh Radnor was also good as Seymour. Lee Wilkof, who played Mr. Mushnik, was the original Seymour off-Broadway. And Michael James Leslie embodied Audrey II (the plant). Overall, it worth the late weeknight.

NYC Weekend – Part 1: Nancy Drewinsky and the Search for the Missing Letter I had a trip to New York already planned when I realized that I could just go up earlier on Friday and see this Fringe show, written and performed by my friend, Robin Bady. Robin is an excellent storyteller and this piece has to do with how the McCarthy era affected her family. She was too young to be really aware of what was happening as her father, an engineer, was suspected of being a communist, along with several of his colleagues. The answer is complex and her attempts to find out the story were met with reluctance to talk about what happened. It was an interesting story and well-told, though still somewhat of a work in progress. I hope to see how Robin develops it further as time goes on.

NYC Weekend – Part 2: Museum Going Saturday was a dreary day – cold, with heavy rain. Fortunately, New York has plenty of museums to spend such days in. I started with the Guggenheim on the grounds that I had never been there. The architecture is as much a draw as the artwork. The main exhibit was of works by a Swedish artist named Hilma af Klint. The most interesting of her work was from a series called Paintings for the Temple, which was based on her involvement in mystical philosophies like Theosophy, leading her to a mixture of abstract symbols and characters. They reminded me of the magical symbols I used to draw on the corners of my papers in school during a flirtation with witchcraft in my early teen years.

There was also an exhibition from the Thannhauser Collection, which included Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and other art, including several pieces by Picasso. Overall, I enjoyed the museum, but it was crowded and the admission fee is on the high side.

I walked a few blocks north to the Jewish Museum, which is free on Saturdays. I started with their permanent collection, which had several interesting pieces. I was particularly taken by a portrait of an Ethiopian Jew by Kehinde Wiley and by a sculpture called Venus Pareve by Hannah Wilke. I should also note that I was impressed with how much art by women was part of the collection. I also really liked an exhibit of excerpts from television shows having to do with psychotherapy.

But the main reason I had gone to the museum was to look at a temporary exhibit of work by Marc Chagall and other artists active in Vitebsk in the period just after the Russian revolution. Having been in Vitebsk in early September, I felt almost obliged to see this. And, of course, Chagall has long been one of my favorite artists. The exhibit also included works by Kazimir Malevich and El Lissitzky and others. There was a good mix of works and I thought the exhibit (which runs through early January) was well worth seeing.

By the way, I was just leaving there to meet a friend for coffee when I heard about the Pittsburgh massacre. I will write about that and other political matters separately.

NYC Weekend – Part 3: They Might Be Giants The actual reason for the trip to NYC had been to see They Might Be Giants at Terminal 5, a cavernous night club in the extreme western part of midtown, a land populated largely by auto dealerships. I think of them mostly as a novelty act, due to songs like Particle Man and Istanbul and Why Does the Sun Shine? All of those were part of the show. But there was a lot of other material, not all of it funny, and much of it too loud for me. I liked the second set better than the first, but I am really too old to go to concerts that don’t start until 9 at night. Also, I was completely earwormed by The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

NYC Weekend – Part 4: Restaurant Going Friday night a bunch of us had dinner after the show at Cowgirl in the West Village. I got Frito pie, which amused Robin, who was unfamiliar with this wonderful dish of chili (vegetarian in my case, though they also have beef) with cheese and sour cream and the like served over an actual bag of Fritos. I also had a very good IPA, but I don’t remember what it was and they don’t have their drink menu on-line. If you want Tex-mex food in Manhattan, this would fill the bill, but it was on the noisy side.


Saturday night’s dinner before the concert was at Inti, a Peruvian restaurant on 10th Avenue. I got a very nice grilled chicken dish, with garlicky vegetables. Surprisingly reasonable prices for mid-town Manhattan, too. I’d eat there again.

Before leaving on Sunday, I had brunch with friends at Pete’s Tavern in the Gramercy Park area This is one of several places that claims to be the oldest restaurant in New York. The fried chicken sandwich was very tasty. Overall, everyone seemed happy with their food and drinks (I went for Irish coffee) and the conversation was lively and entertaining.

Business Trip: I got home about 9 at night, which meant rushing around to unpack and pack for a business trip to Layton, Utah. Aside from being exhausted and having a fairly intense work schedule, there’s not really anything to say about that. I was originally supposed to come back Thursday night, but the trip got extended because our team had to outbrief in the late afternoon. I spent most of Saturday in a state of suspended animation.

WBRS Reception: I did drag myself out of the house on Sunday, first to go grocery shopping and later to go to a William Barton Rogers Society reception (related to giving to MIT) at the Spy Museum. There were heavy hors oeuvres (particularly good spicy tuna cones, as well as veggie tacos served in lime halves), along with lots of intelligent conversation. The main feature was a talk by Eric Alm, co-director of the Center for Microbiome Informatics and Therapeutics. His main point was that indigenous populations tend to have a more diverse microbiome population than people in the more developed world. He also had some interesting data on how quickly one’s microbiome can change in response to travel or illness. Fortunately, he didn’t mention any changes in response to dessert.


Things Still to Write About: Voting. Condo association annual meeting. How the Virginia Department of Transportation is going to screw us over. How Jeff Bezos is going to screw us over. Possibly a locked entry re: work.

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fauxklore
05 November 2018 @ 04:06 pm
I am late on this because I was out of town, in a mixture of personal things (planned) and business travel (last minute).

Stay tuned for further catching up.


The theme for Week 44 (October 29 - November 4) is Frightening. I don’t really have anything that jumps out at me for this theme. I suppose the thing I find most frightening about genealogical research is how addictive it is. But, at the same time, I don’t have nearly as much time as I’d like to spend on it.

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fauxklore
25 October 2018 @ 02:24 pm
The theme for Week 43 (October 22-28) is Cause of Death.

I’ve written about this before. My great-aunt, Mary LEHRMAN (nee Mariasha CHLEBATZKA in one of many variant spellings) was one of the 79 people killed in the wreck of the Congressional Limited near Philadelphia in 1943. Her tombstone actually says "died in accident" and my uncle had mentioned a train accident, which (combined with the date) enabled me to find several newspaper stories, including one with her name and address. My theory that she was returning to New York from visiting her daughter, Sima SLANSKY, who lived in the DC area, is, however, speculation.


I can't find it at the moment, but the father of somebody who married into the family was killed when a box fell on his head at a train station in Lithuania.


So I should probably not be quite so sanguine about trains as I am.

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fauxklore
24 October 2018 @ 01:05 pm
Celebrity Death Watch: Peggy McKay was an actress, primarily in soap operas. Carol Hall was the composer and lyricist for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Sue Hubbell wrote books about natural history. William Coors was an executive of a company that makes something that passes for beer in Colorado. Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft and then used the money he made to buy sports teams. Todd Bol invented the Little Free Library. Anthea Bell was a translator, notably of the Asterix comic books. Charles Wang owned the New York Islanders. Earl Bakken invented the pacemaker. Dorcas Reilly was a home economist who invented the green bean casserole. Apparently the original recipe card is in the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame.


Jonathan Richman: I fulfilled a musical bucket list item on Saturday night by going to see Jonathan Richman at the 9:30 Club. (Hence, the punning title for this entry.) I was reasonably intelligent and went upstairs right when I got there, enabling me to snag a seat on the balcony level. That and an Irish coffee (hey, it was a cold night out!) made for a relaxing evening.

Anyway, I have listened to Jonathan since maybe 1980 or so, back in the days of the Modern Lovers and his early punk efforts with silly songs like "Pablo Picasso (was never called an asshole)." As time went on, he pretty much focused on acoustic music, apparently to protect his hearing. Every now and then there is some song that completely grabs me and I listen to over and over for hours. "Give Paris One More Chance" (from the album, Her Mystery Not of High Heels and Eye Shadow) was one of those songs and I probably listened to it during every waking moment for three or four days in a row. I have no idea why that song speaks to me so deeply, but it does and I still end up playing it over several times in a row when I listen to that CD. Which is all a bit besides the point, as he did not play it Saturday night.

What he did play ranged from "No One Was Like Vermeer" to "He Gave Us the Wine to Taste" to "People Are Disgusting" to "Dancing at the Lesbian Bar." And songs in French, Spanish, Italian, and what I assume was Sanskrit because it was based on the works of Kabir. Seeing him live, with just Tommy Larkins on drums as accompaniment, I felt a greater appreciation for Jonathan’s actual musicianship. That is, I had usually thought of him as a bit of a novelty act, with some great songs but more known for weird lyrics and concepts. But in person I could appreciate that he really can play the guitar damn well. There are flamenco and jazz influences. And, most of all, he was having fun, as was I.

I am so happy I went to see him and I hope I will get the chance to do so again.

By the way, top of the music bucket list now is Luka Bloom. But he doesn't appear to have anything scheduled that I can get to in the near future. Maybe next year.


Profs and Pints – Origins of Vampires: I like the concept for Profs and Pints, which puts on lectures at bars in the D.C. area. I finally actually made it to one of these Sunday night. The topic was vampires and the speaker, Bruce McClelland, emphasized the linguistic origins of the word, which he said originally referred to outcasts, rather than to the undead. He was rather disorganized, though reasonably interesting. For example, there were reports of flying bags of blood, but nobody could verify them because seeing one would kill you instantly. Most of the evidence for early belief in the undead has to do with mutilation of corpses. Which makes it interesting that he didn’t cite Lawrence Durrell’s account of the burial of a vampire in Corfu (in Prospero’s Cell) but I gathered that his literary knowledge was not up to his knowledge of Slavic languages as he attributed a lot of things to Bram Stoker that Stoker borrowed from John Polidori, who wrote "The Vampyre" nearly 80 years before Dracula. One would expect a vampirologist to be familiar with Polidori.

As an aside, Dracula is not really about the supernatural if you know anything about Stoker’s background. What makes it an interesting book is that Mina, as the modern woman, is the only complete character, while Lucy’s three suitors together each have only one aspect of success. Stoker’s mother was an early feminist and that almost certainly led to his rather conflicted views on femininity. But I digress.

McClelland’s other interesting point was that the association of outcasts with the supernatural came to be associated with live women (witches) in the West versus dead men (vampires and werewolves) in the East. That was something I’d never thought about before.

Overall, even with a few quibbles, it was worth going to the talk. And, as I said, I like the concept behind the event and will certainly try to get to other Profs and Pints lectures in the future.


Don’t Analyze This Dream: I was at some sort of spa. But, instead of staying at the main hotel, I was at some cheaper accommodations on the other side of the town square. There was a fountain in the middle of the square and a lot of spa-goers were standing around, dressed in white bathrobes, watching the fountain.

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fauxklore
22 October 2018 @ 09:53 am
The theme for Week 42 (October 15-21) is Conflict. There’s certainly been plenty of conflict between members of my family. For example, my grandfather cut off all contact with his sister, Laika, because she objected to his buying a fur coat for my grandmother and not buying one for her. Or at least that’s the version I heard from my mother.

Another example is that a cousin, Jack, was cut off from the family after he got drunk at Uncle Herb’s wedding. It’s not entirely clear how, but this resulted in my grandmother breaking her leg, which was pretty much the beginning of the end for her.

In other cases, I thought there was some conflict, but it turned out not to be the case. For example, my father had no contact with his uncle in Atlanta, so I assumed there had been a falling out. But what actually happened is that his uncle died just about when Dad came to the U.S.

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fauxklore
16 October 2018 @ 05:04 pm
Another Colleague Gone: I heard that Lance Newman passed away recently. I worked with him for many years, including being his manager for a few of those and having him support me from one of my program office jobs. The last time I saw him was a couple of years ago, when our former secretary organized a luncheon reunion of sorts. It was just after his picture had been in the Washington Post, in an article about the first four African American students at a school in Arlington. He was a good engineer and a nice guy, smart and easy to work with. I will miss him.


A Rant About Scheduling: I am trying to be a responsible adult and schedule a couple of routine medical things. Labs are no issue, because they don’t require scheduling, per se, but just a drop in. The problem is that the person who schedules mammograms is not the same person who schedules anything else. So I had to go through the scheduler to get to the mammogram scheduler and then go back to the regular scheduler to schedule the blood pressure check. (Mammogram slots are a rarer commodity so it made snese to schedule that first.) The fact that I couldn’t do this on-line is particularly annoying to begin with, given my feelings about telephones.

I still have to schedule an ophthalmology appointment, but that is even tougher because I need to do it in the afternoon and I have more afternoon conflicts.


Speaking of Blood Pressure: The Red Sox – and, specifically, Craig Kimbrel, seem determined to raise mine.

Roy Zimmerman: I went to Roy Zimmerman’s house concert in Derwood, Maryland on Friday night. The drive there was really irritating, with two accidents along the way. I noticed the engine temperature in my car rising as I was crawling along and was afraid it would overheat, but it dropped rapidly once I began driving at a faster speed. I probably need to get something looked at.

Anyway, I got to the house just in time for the concert. Fortunately, it was worth going to. Roy sings funny songs about politics and they went over well with the crowd. There were some I’d heard before and several I had not. If you want a sample of his material, my favorite song of the evening was Psychedelic Relic:



By the way, the drive home was only mildly annoying, as they start doing roadwork on the Beltway at 10 p.m. on Friday nights. I really prefer going out to places that are reachable by metro.


Richmond Folk Festival: My friend, Paul, invited me to come down to Richmond and go to their annual Folk Festival with him. I made life far less stressful for myself by taking the train down, instead of coping with the inevitable roadwork on I-95 on the weekend. The catch is that only a few trains serve the Main Street Station downtown, but Paul picked me up at Staples Mill, which also meant a drive along Monument Avenue (and his tour guide commentary) along the way.

The festival is in downtown Richmond, close to the James River. There were 8 stages, though we ignored the children’s area and the Virginia Traditions Stage (which had things like an apple grafting demo and an oyster shucking contest). I wanted to hear Josh Goforth (who tells stories, but focused on ballads for what we were there for) so we went over to the Lyft Stage. That meant we also caught part of Lulo Reinhardt, Django’s great-nephew. He’s an excellent jazz guitarist and I liked his performance so much I bought one of his CDs later in the day, when we found one of the sales tents. Josh’s ballads were more familiar and also worth a listen.

We walked down to Brown’s Island, where we listened to Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners at the Dance Pavilion. I thought they were just okay. Then we got some gelato and walked out on the bridge for Paul to take photos of how high the water was after last week’s storm.

We meandered back up to the Lyft Stage and listened to Tamburaski Sastav Ponoc (a Balkan tamburitza band), who I enjoyed. I wanted to check out the crafts marketplace, so we went back down towards the river. The crafts were, alas, not generally to my taste. Then we walked (slowly, as my knee was aching by then) up the hill to stake out some space within earshot of the Altria Stage, where Mavis Staples was performing. She was, in my opinion, one of the must-sees of the festival, though rather too many other people thought so as well.

By the time she was done, we decided we needed dinner. All the festival food areas were downhill and I didn’t want to have climb back up the hill, so we trudged up through town to Perly’s, a Jewish deli I had heard good things about. I thought it was quite good, which is surprising for Richmond. The matzoh ball soup had lots of stuff in it (chicken, carrots, celery) as well as a matzoh ball with a good texture, though there was rather more dill than I’d have preferred. The tongue sandwich I got was excellent. Paul got something called a Jewish Sailor, which had pastrami, chopped liver, beef sausage, and red cabbage. (Apparently, the Sailor sandwich is a uniquely Virginia and mostly Richmond thing, and normally has pastrami, knockwurst, and cheese, by the way. Supposedly it originated with sailors studying at the University of Richmond during World War II.) I also had potato salad (reasonably good) and Paul had French fries, which he said were light and fluffy. Bottom line is that I would eat there again.

We walked back to Paul’s car and he drove me to the Hampton Inn, where I was spending the night. It's slightly weird, as it occupies the upper floors of a building, with a Homewood Suites on the lower floors. I got a train in the morning from the Main Street Station (much more convenient and quite grand, though with only limited service). Overall, it was a good trip and I got home in time to get a few things done at home, though I always have more to catch up on.

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fauxklore
15 October 2018 @ 04:00 pm
These are from maju01. I am open to any questions anyone else wants to ask. Also, feel free to request your own set.

1. Describe your perfect house. Does where you live now fit this description? I have contradictory desires in a perfect house. Part of me wants a compact cottage, but I also want lots of wall space for art and a huge library wall. I’d love a living room that was large enough to have house concerts in. Also, a solarium and a studio for crafts. As I get older, I am also filled with the desire for single level living.

Where I live now doesn’t come close to perfection. I like the general layout of my condo, but it is up two flights of stairs. (There are elevators in two of the four buildings in the complex, so I could use an elevator and then walk across the garage, but that seems wasteful.) But, overall, it is practical and the location is close to ideal. So it'll do.


2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?This is another one for which I want contradictory things. If money were no object, I’m attracted to various islands – Nantucket or Block Island or Shelter Island. But I also want to be reasonably close to a major international airport. More reasonably, I would like to live in Boston most of the year, with a condo in Punta del Este, Uruguay for the few months of the year during which New England is uninhabitable.


3. How is your relationship with your family? (Define family however you like.) The only near relative who is still living is my brother. He and I get along fine, as long as we don’t actually see each other. I refer to this as our family exclusion zone. For example, when we were both in the Bay Area, the number of earthquakes increased significantly.


4. Have you always lived in the area where you live now? If yes, have you ever wanted to move somewhere else? If no, what brought you here? I was born in the Bronx, but we moved away when I was 3, so I don’t really remember living there. I grew up in a very small town on Long Island. Then I went to college in the Boston area and grad school in Berkeley. I ended up in Los Angeles for work and then relocated to the Washington, D.C. area (northern Virginia), also for work. I have a running debate about whether or not to stay here when I retire.


5. What was your childhood like? 1960’s small town suburbia, for better or worse. I went to Hebrew School two afternoons a week after school(and Sunday mornings), took ballet classes and piano lessons. There were still a lot of empty lots (i.e. places where houses were not yet built) and we picked blackberries in them. As houses went up, we played a lot in construction sites and hoped whoever moved in would have kids our age.

All the kids in the neighborhood played softball on the street, with a few of our dads sometimes included. The girls played endless games of hopscotch. We walked or rode our bikes all over town, but mostly halfway into town to Rhodes Delicatessen, which was more or less a general store. My folks would send us there to get a Sunday newspaper and a box of Italian pastries and we were allowed to spend the change on comic books. There was a girl on the next block whose father had a laundry business and on rainy days he would drive us all to school in the laundry truck, with all of the kids sitting on sacks of laundry in the back.

This sounds rather more idyllic than I felt at the time. I couldn’t wait until I could get away to somewhere where people didn’t know everything you were doing.

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fauxklore
11 October 2018 @ 02:38 pm
The theme for Week 41 (October 8-14) is Sports. My family was not really sporty. My parents watched sports on TV, but never played anything at more than a casual level.

However, some people do consider chess a sport and there I do have a notable family member.

Rivka CHWOLES, aka Maria LICHTENFELD, was the daughter of Moshe CHWOLES and Chava-Leah nee BRUSKIN. The latter’s sister was my great-grandmother, Civia BRUSKIN, so Rivka was my paternal grandfather’s first cousin. That made her my first cousin twice removed.

She was born in 1923 (or, according to another source, 1928) in Vilnius, Lithuania. She (and her sister Sonja) escaped the Vilna Ghetto in 1941 and assumed identities as Christian Poles, allowing them to survive the Shoah. It was during this time that she took the name Maria, by which she was known within the chess world. Her parents and three other sisters were murdered at Ponary.

She won the Lithuanian women’s chess championship in 1954 and 1955 and was the vice champion in 1951 and 1952. (I assume that means she placed second.)

She and her husband, Yosef LICHTENFELD, emigrated to Israel in late 1956 or early 1957, and ran a hair salon in Ashdod. She won the Israeli women’s chess championship in 1957 and continued to teach chess for much of her life.

She was also known as a painter, though less famous than her brother, Rafael CHWOLES. She died in January 2017.

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fauxklore
09 October 2018 @ 04:40 pm
You have probably seen this meme in which one gets 5 questions from someone to answer. These are from [personal profile] zhelana. You can comment either with questions you want to ask me or a request for me to ask you questions.

1. You call yourself a craftswoman - what kinds of crafts do you enjoy? Are there any you don't do currently that you'd like to? I do lots of fiber things – knitting, crocheting, nalbinding, wet felting, tatting, bobbin lace. I also do bookbinding. I’ve done some papermaking and marbling, too. I’ve tried spinning and sprang, but didn’t really care much for either. As for what I don’t do that I’d like to, needle felting is at the top of the list.

2. What's something you like about Virginia, and something you dislike? I think Virginia is really pretty – lots of greenery, deciduous trees, attractive older architecture. I don’t like the obsession with the Civil War, however.

3. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Do you think high school you would be happy with where you are now? Depending on the year (and what I was reading) I wanted to be an astronaut or a detective or a chemist or a race car driver. I think high school me would be happier with my non-work life than with my work life, mostly because I don’t think I would have wanted to sit in an office all day.

4. Would you ever consider whitewater rafting or ziplining? How about sky diving? I’ve gone whitewater rafting several times and enjoyed it, but it’s been years. I won’t go ziplining or sky diving, however, as I am terrified of heights.

5. If you were kidnapped and the kidnappers allowed you to continue posting to make things appear normal, what one line would you post to let people know you're not okay without tipping the kidnappers off that you're asking for help? Maybe something about how much I am enjoying looking at the fields of sunflowers where I am. (Sunflowers give me the creeps. I will cross the street to avoid walking next to one. And, yes, I know that is weird.)

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