Tag Archive: notes from rumbly cottage


Digging up Family History

As I have gotten older, family history has become important to me.

My free time lately has been filled with searching for family names and finding birth and death dates. I put in names in google and see where it leads me.

Next up will have to be ordering death certificates my mother already does not have in her collection. I would like to see if I can find pictures.

I am trying to avoid having to sign up for a paid site. But they seem to have more information that I can use. I can find some family members but a Thomas Proctor, a great-great-great uncle, born in 1850 while the family was still in England has been difficult. His widow and sons are on the 1920 census living with my great-great grandfather.

Next up, I plan do one of those DNA tests. A cousin did hers on Ancestry and said it was easy. After that I would like to set up my own family tree so that my kids can have the information – should they ever want it.

In the meantime, I am using the information I do have. The other day I spent a part of my day in a cemetery looking for gravestones. I had called the cemetery staff looking for a possible location. While they told me the lot number, I never found lot number markers.

So I did what I could, knowing that my great-great grandparents died in the late part of the 1800s. I found myself in the part of the cemetery that held the founders of the town. It took me awhile but I hit pay dirt. As I walked around with a car snow brush in hand, I uncovered a number of grave markers that looked as if they could be from the right time period.

It helps to know a little history on cemetery markers. Such as granite would not start being used till the mid-1900s. And families, especially those of some wealth would have obelisks as a family marker. The taller the obelisk, the wealthier the family.

No, I didn’t find my great-great grandparents. I found my great-great-great grandparents, the ones who came from England and helped settle the town of Arlington Heights in the Midwest. It appears I come from pioneer stock.

All of these commercials about finding your history are meant to make one curious, meant to make you wonder just where did you come from. Was your ancestor a good person or a not-so-good person. It makes you wonder where certain health issues start, such as my rosacea.

I remember when the genealogy for Barack Obama came out and there was a scoundrel somewhere in the family tree. It was also found that his mother’s family came from the second boat to arrive at Plymouth. When you go back far enough, you find the good, the bad, the incredibly ridiculous and incredibly boring.

Well, I am looking forward to finding out more of my family tree. After that, I can go farther to those British and Polish records. Eventually.

Sarah Proctor 1833-1900
Thomas Proctor 1827 -1897

Open Letter to All Senators

What did you do on January 17 to fulfill it as a day of service?

I crafted a letter that I sent not only to my senators but several other senators, including a few I really dislike, regarding the two voting rights bills that are on the senate floor.

In sending it to my own senators, I am preaching towards the choir. They are voting for Voters’ Rights. But there are others who need to stop acting as if voter fraud happened when no one , not even the former guy, has proven that it happened. I hoped by voicing my opinion, politely, maybe they would listen.

So I am putting that letter here. Perhaps it will get more attention, perhaps not. But I want senators to now that not every one who contacts them wishes them ill.

Dear Senator,

I am asking you to vote for the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Amendment.

I feel that these bills will protect the rights of voters everywhere in our country. I believe strongly that all Americans should have the same experience I do when I go to vote. Many times, I am in and out of the voting booth within 15 minutes. And that includes waiting for the election judges to find me on the rolls and give me a ballot.

No one should have to wait hours to vote, especially if they have time limits because of their work hours.

No one should have to bring along a day’s worth of food and drink along with fold-up chairs in order to vote. Or be denied the opportunity to be given food and drink while waiting in line to vote an inordinate amount of time.

No one should be denied the opportunity to use absentee ballots, especially our military serving overseas or people worried about contracting Covid-19 in all of its variants.

Early balloting should be made easily available to all. I know I used it when I served as an election judge in November 2020 and was glad I did. I ended up being assigned to a voting site not in my area. People who have to work on voting day need the opportunity to vote as easily as possible.

Voting polls should be abundant, especially in states where the counties are the same size of our smallest states.

I ask you to vote for these bills to help all Americans, not just a few. Justice denied to some means justice denied to all.

I ask you to work with the party across the aisle to make these bills passing into law a reality. These bills are for all of us, not some of us. When it comes to voting rights, we should stand together as a nation and show the world how it is done.

I may not live in your state but your vote doesn’t affect just your state. It affects everyone in our nation. Please work to make these bills become reality to help all Americans have the right to free and fair and accessible elections.

Sincerely,

Karyn Bowman

The Coffee Treat

Have you ever heard of the Lipstick Effect?

It is one of those weird little theories that states consumers will continue to buy little luxuries during times of economic stress such as recessions or downturns. Things like lipstick that doesn’t cost a lot but makes us feel good.

But for nearly the last two years, we have been living in a world where masks are a normal part of life and lipstick is not. I have not bought a new lipstick in all of that time although I have purchased chapstick. No one is going to see that.

Every week, it seems that something is the new ‘must-buy’ item at the store. Ice cream, cake mixes, flour, sugar. one time I went for coffee creamer and the shelf was nearly completely empty.

Once my workplace opened back up, I noticed something interesting. The Dunkin Donuts I passed by had a line, a long line. And it happened nearly every day. And at nearly every Dunkin or Starbucks I passed during my various travels.

I have been back in my office for a year and a half. And those lines are still long. I thought people would have moved on, found a different thing to focus on. But week after week, the lines don’t stop. One time I pulled in for an afternoon treat when there was not a line. Within minutes, there were three cars behind me.

And why not?

It’s not pink frosted or a Boston Cream but it will do.

For $5.00 it is possible to get a flavored coffee with cream, sugar, and whipped cream with a lovely sweet treat that involves flour, sugar, and hot oil. It’s a little bit of heaven during a rough period that no one would have ever believed would have lasted this long. Not only that, we can do it from our cars. Drive up, make an order, pay, and move on.

Do I have any scientific evidence to back this up? Not a bit. My theory comes from constant observation as I drive around my community.

But with the Lipstick Effect as my guide, I believe that instead of rewarding or treating ourselves to lipstick, we are now getting a coffee and donut to go. Does it last as long as that tube of lipstick?

We all know the answer to that.

But for those few minutes of caffiene and sugar, it feels worth it.

Dear Mike Pence,

Can we talk? I want to have a calm conversation with you.

I ask this as a fellow graduate of a church-based college. Yours is Presbytarian and mine in Church of the Brethren. If it makes you more comfortable, our spouses can be in the room as well. I realize that your wife went to a private college but my husband went to a church school, so that should aid in your comfort.

Please, have a seat. I can make some tea or coffee, set out some cookies, or cheese and crackers.

You’re going to need the sustenance because what I am about to say is going to be hard for you to hear.

Donald Trump, the former president and your former boss, is not your friend.

I know, I know. You worked hard for him, believed in his platform, and that he was the shining light in the Republican party.

But the man does not have your best interests at heart. I’m not sure he cares for you at all.

Why do I say this?

Because on January 6, 2021, the day when you chose to live by the law, his followers were looking to kill you. They were yelling “Hang Mike Pence” and set up a noose on scaffolding that was there for restoration work.

By minutes, you and your family were able to get out of the Capitol building before the insurgents calling for your death rushed through looking for you specifically.

Worse yet, your boss did nothing to stop the violent behavior. He never called the national guard to stop the attack on the Capitol but you did. Oh, he put out a tweet a few hours later telling people to go home.

But he did nothing to stop the insurgents. He did nothing to safe guard the Capitol police, members of congress, or you and your family. You ended up calling the National Guard.

What I don’t understand is how you can say it was just one day, it was another day in Washington D.C.

What I don’t understand is how you can still support Donald Trump.

Is this a PTSD reation to discovering that your boss didn’t care if you and your family was harmed, or worse killed, because he loved that his supporters’ mis-guided notion that Trump won the election?

Is the idea of continuing being vice-president or being president someday perhaps more important than your life? Or the life of your family?

We both know that January 6 happened, that it was real. We know that while protests might be a daily part of D.C., we also know violent protests are not a daily occurrence. We know that the Capitol does not experience violence like this on a daily basis. Congressional members do not have to hit the floor or bar the doors or quickly get out of the building on a daily basis.

I don’t pretend to know what motivates you. I haven’t been able to figure out why you continue loyalty to a man who doesn’t care if you live or die; he only cares that you give him what he needs by any means necessary. And just because you served him loyally for nearly four years, doesn’t mean that counted on the day he wanted to remain president.

I cannot figure how how you can justify all of that. Perhaps you can explain that to me.

Someday.

Meanwhile, I feel concerned that you don’t understand the danger you were in, that your family was in. I feel concerned that your naivete doesn’t get that Trump doesn’t like you and will put you in danger – again – if it means he wins.

Is it your Christian faith that chooses to believe Trump is the guy to make your Republican dreams come true or is it greed and a desire for power?

What would Jesus say to you if you were to actually speak to him?

I don’t think you would like the answer he would give you.

But this is one time you should listen to it.

What are you listening to?

During this pandemic time, I have been stressed.

Like so many others, I have days where I cannot concentrate despite having piles of work to get done. Some might call this ADHD, anxiety, or laziness.

I call it a pain in the ass.

The truth is, I want to get work done. I want my piles to go away and become organized. I try to look at every day as an opportunity to be better. And on those days when I am feeling really stressed, I find something on Youtube to play in the background.

At first I was listening to classical music meant for reading. Later I found music with titles stating that you’re in a library with a ghost or Hogwarts’ Hallway. These can be very soothing as I do data processing or number crunching,

But some days, I have too many people milling about me. Have music on makes the chaos around me worse. People want me to pay attention to them. (Imagine that!)

But I still need some sort of sound because I have tinnitus. The sound makes the tinnitus less overwhelming.

That’s were Handsome Nature, a Youtube channel, comes to the rescue. The folks at this channel put down some bird seed, set up their camera, and let the wildlife come. So you can watch birds and squirrels and chipmunks eat seeds. You can listen to their chirps and songs.

Picture by Floppy 2009

I find it incredibly relaxing. My productivity has gone up. I just feel better.

And when people come into this shared space, I don’t feel more stressed. The sound manages to become pleasant background. And when everyone leaves I can go back to my happy place while getting tons of work completed.

Give it a try. Your cat might love it, too.

Christmas Porch

Decorating the front of my house always feels like a challenge. 

Porch Xmas signI am a simple girl, not quite a minimalist but definitely not a ‘more is more’ kind of person. I like it simple and not over done. In fact, when I decorate at work I get it to the point where I like it and then add three more elements. That way I know it is what it should be, what is expected for Christmas decorations. 

This last fall, I saw a porch decoration for fall in Better Homes and Gardens that really fit my vibe. So I copied it as much as I could. I didn’t have the super thick rope or the grapevine balls.

I had orange lights and orange rope. I had other pieces of halloween decoration and pumpkins. Once I put it together, I was really happy, it was simple and elegant. It wasn’t over done.

But now it’s Christmas.

Christmas seems to say excess, maybe scream it a little.

porch-xmas-wreath.jpg

So what did I do?

I stayed in my comfort zone.

I kept the orange rope, changed out for white lights, changed out the wreath, and added a Christmas sign where I had a Halloween ‘beware.’

A part of me thinks about adding some pine cones to the rope. And then I re-think when I consider all of the work involved. Now that school is done for the semester I want to be lazy.

I am making cookies, watching movies, and thinking about switching around that one troublesome part of my book to make it flow better. My plans include buckeyes and peanut butter cookies with chocolate stars in the centers. If I get lucky, there might be some Rumchatta chocolate pudding. 

But still, it’s pretty isn’t it? And it is a start of Christmas Cheer, even when this might be as far as I get.

Porch Christmas

Dear Jane,

I am so sorry for missing these birthday letters. Life has been crazy busy while I was taking two classes this past semester.

My relaxation is watching movies and listening to audio books. Where ever you are these days, do you get a chance to listen to these? I have learned to love them but it really depends on who is doing the reading to make it good or not. Some books done this way can be quite dreadful, especially if the reader doesn’t get the main character.

One book I listened to recently made the two main characters too giggly f

Still Life Audio

or the situations or their own character traits. That to me is really annoying, The other annoying thing is when the speaker’s volume is very loud for one character and very soft for another who are in the same scene. This happened in one book which lead me to turn up the volume for the soft character only to have to quickly turn it down for the next who’s voice was booming.

Well, if you can, I would suggest the Inspector Gamache series on audio. Louise Penny has centered these books in the town of Three Pines, an English settlement in the Quebec province. Our Inspector is French Quebecois but apparently speaks English quite well. These mysteries definitely have an Agatha Christie feel to them. There are many books in this series, each a gem. If you can, get the ones narrated by Ralph Cosham who passed away in 2014.

pride-prejudice-zombies-trailer-poster1Another thing you might want to catch if you can is a movie version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Is this a great movie? Well, no. But Lily James gives a spirited performance as Lizzie who is an excellent fighter. I think you would be proud of her and this version of your book. I still don’t understand the proposal/fight scene. You will have to watch it to see what I mean. I think it is perfect for watching with teenage or older children, if they don’t mind zombie movies.

But it is your birthday and I hope that your special day is just that. I pray you get some cake and a bit of fun. It seems hard to believe that you lived for a short time and I am now older than you got to be. But your legacy has lived on and inspired so many others. I don’t think any of us can say thank you enough.

Wishing you the happiest of birthdays and a wonderful lazy day to dream of the next book,

Sincerely, your devoted friend, etc.

 

 

 

Study Music

For the last two years I have been working towards a certificate called a Library Technical Assistant.

It was a part of the condition of my job that I have, that I am to be working towards this certificate if I didn’t already have it. It has been great in a lot of ways; I have learned so much about the world of libraries and researching. The course on technology nearly killed me even though I learned more about excel and word.

Through all of this I have learned to listen to music while I am writing which helps build a wall between me and wherever I might be working. Some days I find myself in a library because my home computers do not have Microsoft products.

My school bag keeps a set of ear buds in it at all times so I can plug in and get going on what ever project I am doing. Having that wall really helps depending on where the computer area located. Some are right next to the check out desk which means I get to hear all of these conversations as people check out or get their card renewed.

What am I listening to?

duranduran 1980sDuran Duran

I loved these guys back in the 80s when they first hit the big time. I loved dancing to their music and would have loved to have gone to a concert but I was a poor college student. 

To be honest, I still have no idea what The Reflex is or why we are waiting for the New Moon on Monday. Some of the lyrics make no sense and I have no idea how some of the videos connect to the song that they are emphasizing. At some point I decided not to care.

At some point I lost track of the guys. I got married, had a kid, got divorced, got remarried, listened to a lot of country music and Raffi. Had more kids.

Hello Bananaphone. Goodbye Duran Duran

Then one day at a garage sale I found a Duran Duran Greatest Hits album. The more I played it, the more my kids made fun of them but I didn’t care. I loved their music. Then for one of my classes, I did a research project on the boys. I found out that they are still making albums and interesting music despite breaking up, connecting with other musicians, and later re-connecting with the original five, and breaking up again. At this time four of the original musicians are still in the group.

Duran Duran GettyImages-todayThrough 2015 they have been creating new music, some of it reminiscent of their earlier stuff and other albums that moved on with more modern sounds. As I hear more and more of these songs, I find my self falling in love with their music over and over again. White Lines, What’s Gonna Happen Tomorrow, All You Need is Now, and Pressure Off are just a few of my new favorites. As much as I don’t appreciate the costumes in the video of Girl Panic, I find myself loving the song and the supermodels portraying the guys.

I listen to their music because the mid-tempo songs help my typing become quicker and easier. I feel happy when I am listening to it and that makes projects get put together much easier. I will admit that I could have never gotten through this program without the music of Duran Duran.

Everyone has a band or an artist that they love. For me it is Duran Duran. No apologies, no justification. Not sure if I really care if the rest of the world disagrees with me.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go listen to Serious one more time.

Duran duran serious

Halloween has become my favorite time of year.

The weather is not too hot and the snow hasn’t started yet, most years. This year we had a snowstorm on Halloween day with high winds later in the night. Some towns in my area put off Halloween trick or treating to Friday or Saturday.

I chose to celebrate with a little house decorating. Better homes and Garden showed a cute way to decorate the house using a thick hemp rope and big bulb lights. I had orange thin nylon rope and orange lights. Nor do I have the Grape vine balls they used and didn’t really show up in the picture. I might head to the thrift stores and see if I can find any to add to my porchscape.

Front Porch Halloween 2019

But I did find three ghosties at the dollar store to hang on the garland of rope and lights. Plus I had a fun sign to put on my pitchfork tines. I felt very halloween-y.

Now Halloween is over. The wind is blowing more. Time change has come and it was inky dark by 5:30. I m not ready to go full Christmas. Which was OK because the BH&G issue showed how to make this ready for thanksgiving.

 

Front porch post halloween 2019

 

I removed the ghosties and other Halloween elements. The pumpkins can stay till they are eaten or become too mushy to live on the steps. I need a new sign to hang on the tines, something in the order of “Give Thanks” or “Welcome Friends.” The orange lights get to stay until the Christmas lights go up.

Maybe I need a big fat turkey.

Gobble, Gobble.

I Read Banned Books

Last week was banned books week.

Maybe you are familiar with it, maybe you’re not. It is this week that we celebrate the freedom to read – even if it is something you or someone else would not read. I prefer not to read horror but I am not going to stop someone else from reading it.

As people try to ban or challenge books, it becomes imperative that we continue to fight for this right. At the beginning of September there was a story about a principle in a Catholic school who wanted to ban the Harry Potter books because he said the spells in the books are real. I think there might be many children and adults who would disagree because they have tried with no results.

But this story emphasizes why it is important to fight for the freedom to read. We won’t agree on everything but by reading the book in question, we can discuss the issues brought up by these books. We can discuss the rights and wrongs of bringing it up and explore those issues.

I read banned booksI work in a library and so we take it seriously, including getting tee-shirts. I love mine which is a v-neck football style. I can no longer find it on Cafe Press but they do have similar tees. I tend to wear it once a week, before and after banned book week.

So I was wearing it this past week and after work I stopped at the grocery store. The thing is, people kept looking at me and smiling. I don’t know any of these people. I was beginning to think everyone was happy that it was Thursday and only one more day in the work left to go.

Then I hit the check out line and the cashier mentioned my shirt. He was smiling, too. We talked about banned books while he rang up my order. Once I got to my car it hit me that the people smiling at me loved my shirt. I forgot about what I was wearing. But for them it must have been a clarion call. A signal that it is ok to reject complacency or lemming behavior.

I was telling people, through my shirt, it is okay to read whatever you want. I gave permission to be themselves as I raised my own freak flag.

It made people smile, even for a moment. And I can get into that.

By the way, I really do read banned and challenged books.

What banned books have you read lately?