Tuesday, December 30, 2008


In reading other blogs, the well-written, thoughtful, entertaining, interesting blogs that I aspire to be like, I find that people talk about controversial topics without worrying whether people will like them for their opinions, and that they reveal their personal feelings about intimate details of their lives. I'm not quite there yet.

I can barely even handle the basic parts of this so far - notice that most of my posts revolve around a picture or a 3/4 of a century old newspaper article. I started a blog because I had lots of thoughts in my head that I wanted to write down, and I wanted to do something more with them than just save them to my C drive when I was finished. I find myself with nothing to say more profound than "boy, this is hard."

The technical parts of it are even worse. Sitemeter? Adsense? Seems to be the thing to do on a blog, but what the heck do I actually DO? How does all this stuff work? Is there any point? HTML? Javascript? What does that even mean?

The actual soul-baring blogging that is so worth reading when it comes from others scares me when it (potentially) comes from me. Revealing my personal feelings about intimate parts of my life? That would entail telling other people my personal feelings about intimate parts of my life. What if someone I knew found this blog and found out my personal feelings about intimate parts of my life? And saying controversial things? I have plenty of thoughts on "sensitive issues" brewing in my head, but those are the ones that might make people dislike me. I'm brand new to all this. Currently, I'm disguising my general fear of rejection and being disliked behind a rational thought process that says "I have to give people an opportunity to like me before I give them ample chances to dislike me."

Maybe someday.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Brooklyn Man Lost on Coast Wins A Bride

Cute story, from the Brooklyn Standard Union (via www.bklyn-genealogy-info.com):

Three years ago Samuel SCHUHALTER, assistant manager of the Folly Theatre, felt that he needed a vacation. He decided to spend it with relatives in California. When he reached San Francisco he became confused and stopped a young woman and asked to be directed to the train that would take him to Pasadena. “I was going to ask you the same favor”, replied the young woman. They soon discovered that they were both from Brooklyn. And there started a romance. The young lady introduced herself as Miss Frances RASHAP, daughter of Rabbi Isaac RASHAP. Thursday night, in the presence of many friends, the couple were married at the The Chateau, 2560 Ocean avenue. Ida RASHAP was maid of honor. The bridesmaids were Harriett SCHUHALTER, Bella ROSINSKY, Esther ROSENBERG and Mildred LEISTEIN. Following the ceremony there was a reception. The couple will spend their honeymoon touring Europe. They will make their home in Manhattan Beach.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

After those nice, easy scarves, I'd forgotten what a pain it is to join squares for a blanket. My poor cousin's going to be 2 months old before she gets her baby blanket.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Another scarf

Scarves were a big Christmas gift this year, because I had bullied my family into a non-commercial Christmas (or I'd tried, anyway - the clothes and digital camera my parents got us weren't exactly handmade). This is the one I made my dad. It's based on a pattern from my pattern-a-day calendar (this one attributed to Dinna Diaz of theyarntree.com), but the effect was very different, since I used a size I instead of a size S hook, and I didn't add the fringe that seemed a pretty defining feature of the original. (Seemed a little girly for a man, and we have to protect my dad from his own impulses to wear whatever anyone gives him. That lavender sweater never should have seen the light of day in a men's department, but when it did, and he was given it, the poor man wore it for years.) It's crocheted using two yarns at once, something I'd never tried before. I absolutely loved the effect, and I think I'll do it again.

Friday, December 26, 2008


I'm not sure whether this type of feature will be interesting to anyone, but I'm going to post pictures of my completed crochet projects here, on the rare occasion that I complete a crochet project. This is a scarf I made my sister (the older of my two younger sisters, hereafter known as Suellen) for Christmas. I got the pattern off of a Pattern-a-Day calendar (where it's called the Neapolitan Ribbon Scarf and attributed to Megan Dann Fesinmeyer of pensivefrog.com), although I modified it ever so slightly to increase the length and width. The pink and black I had at home, leftovers from I-don't-remember-what, and I picked up the grey (they added a Michael's near my house!) for the third color. Suellen seemed less than thrilled with it at first, but warmed up to it once she saw it in the mirror. I very much hope she wasn't just pretending to warm up to it. Her initial reaction was to wear it as a belt, which surprised me. As long as it makes her happy.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! (A greeting to any future readers I may one day acquire.)

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. 2 This was the first enrollment, when Quirin'i-us was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. 7 And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8 And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; 11 for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!"

Luke 2:1-14

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Family Octopus

Rhett and I have had several discussions about where to live when we're eventually married. At the moment, we're both at school in DC. His family is from the District; mine is from NY. He wants to live in DC to work in politics; I want to live in NY to be near my relatives. (Not to be unfair to Rhett: he's been very open to the idea of living in NY near my family.) For me, this has to do with the support system that I grew up with, the kind where everyone knows everyone's business, and, as obnoxious as that can be (as my younger sister will attest, after everyone at Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow finds out that tonight she was at a party where the cops showed up! I can't wait!), the annoying parts are symptomatic of the much more important parts - the deep and abiding love and interconnectedness and interdependency that's part of having a close family.

Dodie Smith referred to it as "The family-that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to."

Now, given that Rhett comes from a smaller, more spread-out family than I do, I started to wonder - maybe my own family is not the only one I need to consider. Once we say "I do," his family is my family, and my family, for all it's kinks and quirks, is his family. That day is several years in the future, so he thought I was nuts when I brought up the idea that maybe the ideal of a family support system is best served by our staying in DC. Maybe it's not just about the support system that I would receive from my several dozen relatives who all live within 15 minutes' drive of each other, but about the support system of which we would become a part, which we could provide to his parents, who, in their old age, would have no offspring, no siblings, no parents, no cousins, no aunts and uncles and in-laws living in the vicinity if we moved away. Maybe the ideal of families being there for each other that I'd always cherished would be best served if I sacrificed something - being near my family - for several other goods - his career, being near his family, the help they'd possibly need from us in the future.

Then he told me that his parents planned to retire out of state (out of district, I suppose, since they don't live in a state, now do they?), anyway, so we wouldn't need to worry about whether we were providing for their needs and their support system when we were living in DC. Why the heck would we want to live there, then? Lovely city though it is, how could anyone ever choose - intentionally, willingly choose - to live where they had NO FAMILY AT ALL? But we'd make our own family, you say? That was when I launched into a rant about how the isolation of the nuclear family is an unnatural product of the past 100 years or so, and how no family is meant to exist in a vacuum. I think he stopped listening. Who - tell me who - is going to pick up our kids from school when they start throwing up in the 3rd grade and we're both stuck at work? If they have no aunts, no grandparents, no cousins nearer than a 5-hour drive, what would we do? You don't want your kids sitting in the nurse's office all day long because we have no extended family, do you? Like I said, he'd stopped listening. Do you blame him?

This was some months ago, and, as I said, Rhett has since been quite open to the idea of living a small-town life around the corner from my buttinski relatives. Today, I again thought about the importance of family. (How insipid a sentence!) Not just of family - of actually living as a family. Of having a life in which being a family and considering family are of paramount importance. This morning, after doing a few chores for my mother, I went to my grandmother's house to take her shopping. We just went to CVS; she wanted to get a few last-minute trinket-y gifts for a couple people she hadn't bought anything for, but she doesn't drive anymore. We walked around CVS for half an hour or 40 minutes looking for chocolates that weren't too expensive but didn't look cheap, and the like. Then we went back to her house, where she taught me how to make an old family recipe, we cooked dinner, she wrote down her grandmothers' maiden names for me and my budding interest in genealogy, and my grandfather told the story of the time he thought his best friend drowned at Coney Island. We were supposed to clean squid for tomorrow's dinner, but she said it had gotten too late, so I'm going back in the morning.

There was something about today that just felt so right. I think that a lot of the time, people get caught up in the obligation of helping relatives, especially elderly relatives, and forget that it should be something we desire to do, too. I like taking Grandma shopping. I feel bad that I don't get to do it often enough, since I'm away at school so often. I learn from her, and I try to actually appreciate what she has to teach. She's done so much for me, and I so little for her. The very least I can do - and I do gladly - is take her to CVS on a Tuesday afternoon.

If I didn't live nearby, if I stayed in DC my entire life, who would take my grandmother shopping? Well, my mother, or one of my sisters, or any of my dozen (give or take) aunts and uncles, or myriad cousins. That, of course, is assuming that they don't have an attitude similar to that of the hypothetical, District-dwelling me. If moving away from my entire family and living in DC is an acceptable, even an optimal choice for me, then it may very well be for any given relative of mine. And once it's a choice for any one of them, it could be the choice for all of them. Would my up and moving to Washington cause that? Of course not. But the attitude that moving away from your family is not good is what anchors us all here. Without that attitude, we'd be adrift, any or all of us abandoning the rest to their fate. If we didn't feel a responsibility toward each other on a very real, very mundane, very day-to-day level, who would take my grandmother to CVS?

Logistics, Celebrations

In most blogs I read, bloggers who don't refer to their family and friends by their real names refer to them by some sort of handle. In this spirit, I'll be calling my boyfriend Rhett, for obvious reasons. Rhett and I have been dating for ten months...today, in fact. Happy Anniversary, Rhett.

If I ever come up with appropriate handles for all or any of the other people in my life, those will be noted, as well.

For the record, I have issues with referring to x-month celebrations as "anniversaries," mostly because the word "anniversary" clearly has a Latin root referring to years, and not months, but whenever I've tried to coin a word to refer to a monthly "anniversary," I've had to discard it as seeming too ickily menstrual.

My first real post and I'm already bringing up menses. No one is ever going to read this blog.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Welcome, future readers, to my new anonymous blog. I suppose I'm succumbing to the egoism of the internet age in wanting the world to know my thoughts on everything from crocheting to Catholicism (I'm very fond of both, if you're wondering), from fish to family (again, fond of both), and I'm sure that not putting my name on this is a false modesty stemming from embarrassment rather than true humility. But hey, let's see what I have to say to the world.