Genealogy – Collecting and Connecting

I mentioned to my husband that in light of our multiple downsizings, we were fortunate that neither of us is a collector.

My husband smiled and said, “I think you do have a collection. You have collected the people and ancestry in your family!”

“And yours,” I responded with a grin.

People ask, “How did you get into genealogy? Did your family talk about its history?”

“Not really.” My maternal grandmother (Nana) talked a bit about hers and claimed that we were descendants of Myles Standish of the Mayflower through her father William Herbert Standish. He died young in a carriage accident and was evidently the great love of her three-times married mother, Nellie Holley Standish Kidder Smalley. When Nellie died, her wish was to be buried with William.

But that was it. No big lore and to be frank, we all just smiled and humored her when Nana claimed the Standish connection. No one really took it seriously. Continue reading

Aging in a Great Way

I have been fortunate to learn about aging through reading, and also through friends who are involved with AGE of Central Texas. AGE is a nonprofit that believes in the vision of “a society where aging is a shared journey marked by connection, strength, and vitality, and the role of caregiving is supported through the community, collaboration, and guidance.” This plays out concretely in programs that provide social and wellness centers, education for caregivers, memory work, computer labs for seniors, and even a health equipment lending program.

My husband and I learned of AGE while his mother was declining and experiencing so many of these issues and although we were not the on-site caregivers for his mom, we were able to share some practical tips we learned and eventually we got my mother (who lives locally) interested in volunteering with the nonprofit. Her participation is intermittent, depending on how she is feeling, but when she goes she is energized by the experience. She spends time in the Thrive Social & Wellness Center talking with participants and answering the phone and she loves it. Continue reading

Quest for Turkey Perfection

Thanksgiving Turkey TossOh, Thanksgiving.

You should be one of my favorite holidays with your legendary link back to my Mayflower ancestors, the opportunity to gather with family, all of my favorite fall colors, and what may be one of the greatest excuses to bag the diet for the day EVER!

But, sadly and inevitably, when it came to my production of a perfectly browned, succulent turkey for that important day, the answer came back from fate with a resounding “No.”

My fortunes changed a bit after I married my husband and discovered that he had a deft hand in the kitchen and was not only willing but interested in making the turkey for our Thanksgiving feast.  Yes, he IS the perfect man. Continue reading

Dementia Decisions

NYT Article Image - Evan McGlinnMore of us are living longer, and sometimes our bodies are in better shape than our minds as we hit 80-90 years and beyond of age. I am seeing this dynamic in my mother-in-law, who is 92 and can still walk a mile and a half around a mall with few breaks, but who experiences memory gaps that frighten her and challenge that brilliant mind that conquered crosswords in pen and dominated all of us in Scrabble not so long ago.

Seeing her change and decline has been a life lesson to all of us that this may be our future as well, and we need to think now about how we want our lives to be then. Continue reading

Being The Adult

canstockphoto44198158LenaRoAdulting is one of my favorite “new” words. It seems to capture the essence of watching our grown children taking on the responsibilities that we used to take care of for them (so seemingly effortlessly). We see them discover that being an adult is hard, frustrating at times, and just when your kids think they have it covered, that inner teen can pop out to remind them that they aren’t there quite yet. Continue reading