The Stuff Of Family & Ancestors: Thoughts While Sorting Through Boxes

Does this make me feel more alive?

[The question to ask. Always.]

I’ve been in a deciding frame of mind this month. Must get rid of a past that doesn’t serve me.

A past that in many cases is not mine, but I reluctantly accepted and boxed up when elderly relatives passed on, storing their stuff in my closets, I did.

Now, I want empty closets, the feeling of lightness.

Been going through dusty boxes of old family photos and documents and letters. Pamphlets and newspaper articles.

Memorabilia, too.

Does this make me feel more alive?

I shred the photos and docs and letters that don’t call to me, and save those that might… might… might… someday find their way into…

a blog post?

an article or essay?

a memoir, perhaps, even?

But as for the family memorabilia, it’s a different kind of past. Remembered with objects, things of history.

Personal cookbooks;  and 1940s slides [with a projector];  and  handwritten family stories;  and a diary;  and a daguerreotype;  and [of all things] a Civil War soldier’s personal mirror with carved initials.

What shall I decide about these objects, I wonder.

Does this make me feel more alive?

Difficult for me, an adult orphan, to know what to do with these things that held memories for someone who is long gone. Someone who I may never have met.

I intend to make peace with these objects, sending them on their way…

to history museums or libraries?

to antique malls?

to the dump?

I’ve been a good relative, respectful, but now I’m ready to have more space, both literal and figurative, in my life. Must get rid of a past that doesn’t serve me.

Does this make me feel more alive?

Be The Light: Of Washing Machines & The Retirement Scene

I’ve joined in a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

The purpose of this event is to highlight positive news stories, presenting them on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of February, I have a positive story to share with you, my gentle readers. 

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THE NEWS STORY:  

Lee Maxwell, a retired electrical engineering professor who lives in Colorado, collects washing machines.  His washing machine collection, stored in two warehouses, consists of nearly 1,500 machines.

Maxwell, age 87, finds the machines all over the United States.  They’re usually in disrepair.  He gets the machines to his warehouses where he repairs them, and stores them.

He has what is believed to be one of the largest personal collections of anything in the U.S.A.  His hope is that someone, a benefactor, will build a museum dedicated to washing machines so that everyone can see for themselves how washing machines have changed over the years.

[Complete story with video: Washing machine collector takes a whirl back in time]

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* * *

MY COMMENTARY:

This story is a quirky happy news story that makes me appreciate people who follow their own muses.

What’s not to love?

A retiree finds a hobby, that turns into a passion, that ends up preserving pieces of history that are easy to overlook.  And suddenly there’s a collection worthy of note because someone, Maxwell, took the time to notice.

I give props to this man.  He didn’t start collecting washing machines to be a news story.  No, he just did it for something fun to do, and in the process saved an interesting part of American history.

I consider him an inspiration.  Think about it, when it’s time to retire we all should be so fortunate as to stumble upon a hobby that takes us down uncharted roads, while filling our hours with a quiet sense of accomplishment.

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#ThursdayDoors | Visiting Fort Pulaski [Not Moultrie], An American Civil [Not Revolutionary] War Site

PLEASE NOTE: It’s been brought to my attention by my husband that these photos are from Fort Pulaski, south of Savannah, GA.  I had my forts wrong.  However, considering that Fort Pulaski is named for a Revolutionary War general my idea of posting these pics on George Washington’s birthday still makes sense.

• • •

Today, in honor of George Washington’s birthday, I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you the following door photos + a little bit of American Revolutionary War history.

I took these photos last April when we visited Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan’s Island, SC.  

The fort is named for a Revolutionary war general, who, on June 28, 1776, defended Charleston, SC, from the British.  Since then the fort has been rebuilt a few times and gone through a few more wars.  At the end of WWII the fort closed.  

The day we visited Fort Moultrie Pulaski the weather was sunny and mild, lending an unexpected peaceful vibe to the entire well-kept large complex.  

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Outer perimeter of Fort Moultrie Pulaski, surrounded by a moat, with visible cannon ball damage on the brick wall.

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DOOR leading into interior of fort.

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DOORS on one small part of the storage area that forms the perimeter of the inside of the fort.

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DOORS in a row leading to storage areas shown with people walking above the storage areas to give a sense of scale.

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DOOR into stairwell that goes up to the area where people were walking.

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DOOR into officers’ quarters.

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Photo of lighthouse in Charleston Harbor as seen from Fort Moultrie Pulaski.

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#ThursdayDoors | Visiting A Closed Trail Center On A Winter’s Day

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you the following door photos.

I took these photos on Saturday at the Little Miami Scenic River and Trail Center.  It’s part of the Little Miami Conservancy.

The Center is on a 78 mile long biking/hiking trail that starts in Springfield, OH [to the north], goes through 5 Ohio counties, and ends in Cincinnati, OH [to the south].

It being winter the Center was closed, but I did see a few cyclists riding on the trail.  And there were a few other people like me who were moseying around the trail– even though it was a bleak, boring day to be outside.  

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DOOR on the side of the brick building that is the Little Miami Scenic River and Trail Center.

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Look at these happy animals not drawn to scale, but featured nonetheless on this Little Miami Conservancy mural.

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DOOR on the front of the closed Center.

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Plaque commemorating the Lower Little Miami Scenic River: “To protect and enhance the river’s free-flowing character, water quality, & outstandingly remarkable values.” 

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Mural painted on a building next to the Little Miami Scenic River and Trail Center.  From what I can tell this mural has nothing to do with the Center, but considering that Valentine’s Day is almost here… let’s talk about love.

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Ditching The Resolutions: In Praise Of Those Who Tried & Failed

Did you know that there’s an official holiday dedicated to those people who make New Year’s Resolutions then fail to stick with them?

[More about it here.]

I was unaware of this holiday but stumbled upon it while doing some research about Julian versus Gregorian calendars.

[More about that topic here.]

It would seem to me, a person who doesn’t make resolutions, that this holiday has a message for all of us– if only to remind us that sometimes good ideas don’t work out the way we think they will.

[More about not resolving here.]

That is to say, where is the harm in taking time to think about what you’d like to change in your life and then giving it a go– if only for a few weeks?

[Statistical analysis of resolutions here.]

Sometimes it’s enough to acknowledge that you need a new perspective on things without going all bonkers about changing everything about yourself on the first try.

[Discussion of issues revolving around successful keeping of resolutions here.]

Of course, for the people who make, then keep their New Year’s Resolutions, today is just another day.

[Inspirational poem here.]

But for the rest of us, even if we never resolve, today is, in my estimation, a guilt-free fun day to take stock of our personal foibles + unfulfilled goals– of which I have many.  😉

#ThursdayDoors | Visiting Heritage Village Museum To See Buildings From The 1800s

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you the following door photos.

I took these photos on Sunday at Heritage Village Museum in Sharon Woods Park, located in Sharonville, OH, a northern suburb of Cincinnati.

The village features 13 historic buildings, originally in other locations, preserved here to re-create what it was like to live in Ohio in the 1800s.   

Zen-Den and I wandered around the village on our own, opting for the self-guided tour of the outside of the buildings.  

Because of this, I don’t know much about the history of each building, but can say that we enjoyed the quiet village setting by a creek– and seeing how things used to be.

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Church with clear glass arched window above small double doors.

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Two-story yellow painted-brick home with dark green door.

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Outhouse in the backyard.

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Small home with fancy arches on its front porch.

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Canal boat with long tree branch as its oar.

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Creek with waterfall on a clear December morning.

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Canal boat door.

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Home with gingerbread trim on it.

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Storm cellar door in the ground by the side of the house.

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Small home with entrance door on the side + lace curtain at the window.

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1891 schoolhouse with bell.

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Be The Light: Of Queenly Diets & Quiet Delights

INTRODUCTION

As you may remember, starting last March I joined a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

The purpose of this event is to highlight positive stories in the news, presenting these stories on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of November, I’ve a story to share with you, my gentle readers & fellow #WATWB participants.

• • 👑 • •

THE NEWS STORY

Emily DiNuzzo, a reporter for Business Insider, decided to follow Queen Elizabeth II’s diet that was first reported by Today last August.

DiNuzzo’s experiences, documented in I ate like Queen Elizabeth II for a day — and learned how to appreciate the simple things in life, show that the Queen eats a balanced, basic diet but doesn’t forego a few treats throughout her day, like pre-breakfast biscuits or a post-dinner glass of champagne.

• • 👑 • •

MY COMMENTARY

Overlooking that what Emily did might not be a news story that dramatically changes the world, I found her joy while “researching” this story to be quietly delightful.

[And funny.  I’m with Emily on no gin + Dubonnet aperitif before lunch.  Even with Emily’s addition of simple syrup in it.]

Plus, dare I say that I found this story encouraging?

I know that not everyone thinks the monarchy is great, but considering that this past Monday Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, you have to admit that in a world where moral and mental health questions surround many leaders, the Queen is doing a number of things right.

Healthy body.

Sound mind.

Solid relationships.

Sure, Emily didn’t uncover the latest scandal or find the drama in Elizabeth II’s daily life, but she did give us an insight into what helps make someone in power, the longest-reigning English monarch ever, stay balanced.

And there’s positivity in that.

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