Steampunk’d Wonderland

10.28.14 ~ Old Lyme, ConnecticutSome of my readers may remember back a couple of years ago when Janet, her mother and I went to the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme to see a fanciful outdoor exhibit, Wee Faerie Village: Land of Picture Making. And in 2011 the theme was fairy tale birdhouses, if I remember correctly. Last October I missed it but this year Janet and I had a chance to go again, this time bringing her friend Kathy, too. And this year the exhibit theme was Wee Faerie Village in a Steampunk’d Wonderland. As in Alice’s wonderland.

For those who don’t know what steampunk is – I didn’t and I had to look it up – it’s a genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery of the Victorian 19th century rather than advanced technology. Think Jules Verne.

Local artists are invited to create fairy-scaled installations on the museum grounds for the public to view during the month of October. On the left is one identified as Cheshire Cat Reappears by Robert Nielsen & Billie Tannen.

For some reason I wasn’t much in the mood for taking pictures, so I left my camera in the car, and used my cell phone to capture some of the more appealing creations. (I seem to have lost my Muchness!)

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…part of Alice’s Celebration by Dylan & Ted Gaffney…

10.28.14.fairyAs we were wandering around Kathy happened to see something we hadn’t noticed before, a real live fairy! Her mother gave us permission to take her picture, after which the fairy scolded us and asserted that she wasn’t a real fairy. But we know better!

We enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the gardens, appreciating the lovely autumn weather and scenery. Lunch was very tasty at the Café Flo, where we dined outside and savored lingering in conversation on the terrace overlooking the Lieutenant River.

After we finished with the fairy village Kathy had to leave, so Janet and I checked out the indoor art exhibit, Life Stories in Art. We saw collections of the Tonalist and Impressionist paintings of Mary Rogers Williams (1857-1907), the intricate glass sculptures of Kari Russell-Pool (b. 1967), and the modern sculptures of Mary Lightfoot Tarleton Knollenberg (1904-1992).

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Anticipator by Matthew Geller…

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…part of Alice’s Celebration by Dylan & Ted Gaffney…

Katie by the Sea

10.25.14 ~ Outer Banks, North Carolina

…Katie’s first trip to the beach…

Dima & Larisa took Katie on a camping trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina this weekend. Larisa sent this picture and reports that the new family is enjoying bonding on their first weekend getaway, and Katie doesn’t seem to mind roughing it in her little travel bassinet. She looks like she feels safe in Daddy’s arms. No doubt she will grow to love the sea as much as her extended family does. ♥

penetrating the past

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Genealogy becomes a mania, an obsessive struggle to penetrate the past and snatch meaning from an infinity of names. At some point the search becomes futile – there is nothing left to find, no meaning to be dredged out of old receipts, newspaper articles, letters, accounts of events that seemed so important fifty or seventy years ago. All that remains is the insane urge to keep looking, insane because the searcher has no idea what he seeks. What will it be? A photograph? A will? A fragment of a letter? The only way to find out is to look at everything, because it is often when the searcher has gone far beyond the border of futility that he finds the object he never knew he was looking for.
~ Henry Wiencek
(The Hairstons: An American Family in Black & White)

Recently Tim & I had our DNA tested for fun, to see how well our genetic material lined up with our known family histories.

The biggest surprise for me was finding out that I have absolutely no Native American ancestry! There was a story handed down that one of my mother’s ancestors married a Wampanoag Indian. So now I know why we were never able to find such an ancestor and will let go of that research goal. Another curiosity is that 13% of my ancestors came from the region of Italy and Greece. I had no idea!

dnaBarbara.pieBARBARA
38% Great Britain (my mother’s New England ancestry)
34% Europe East (my father’s Ukrainian ancestry)
13% Italy/Greece
4% Scandinavia (my Norwegian 3rd-great-grandfather)
4% Europe West
2% Iberian Peninsula
5% Traces of Asia Central, Caucasus, Finland/Northwest Russia, European Jewish & Ireland

Because Tim’s maternal grandfather was the son of Austrian Jewish immigrants we had assumed that would be about 25% of his ancestry. But he’s only 2% European Jewish! And he also has a few Scandinavian ancestors. The only ancestry Tim has that I don’t have is a trace of Asia South. And the ancestry I have that Tim does not have is 34% Europe East and traces of Asia Central and Finland/Northwest Russia.

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65% Great Britain (Tim’s New England/Nova Scotia ancestry)
20% Ireland (three of Tim’s Irish 3rd-great-grandparents)
4% Europe West
3% Scandinavia
2% Italy/Greece
2% European Jewish
2% Iberian Peninsula
2% Traces of Asia South and Caucasus

We are finding all this utterly fascinating! I’ve also been watching Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on PBS. It can be seen online for anyone who is interested. It’s amazing what researching the paper trail left behind by ancestors, combined with DNA testing, can reveal.

little baby

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…Nate and Katie, 10 days old…

You’ll have to forgive me for sharing another batch of pictures! I am home now from my grand adventure – a thrill of a lifetime! I had the joy of seeing my granddaughter born and the privilege of seeing her and holding her every day for the first few weeks of her life. I was delighted to have her smile at me quite a few times.

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…Katie, 12 days old…

One day while there I emailed Tim and told him how I wished we lived next door to Dima & Larisa. He wrote back, “I am NOT moving to North Carolina!” And I do agree with him – I don’t care for the hot, humid, sub-tropical climate down there. On my flight returning home, when the plane came down from the clouds and I could see Boston and the harbor, a tear of happiness came down my cheek. Home sweet home – New England! I was gone for six weeks, the longest time I have ever been away from Tim and home. What an incurable homebody I am!

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…Katie, 15 days old…

But there will surely be many trips to North Carolina in the future, and the kids have promised to come up north for the winter holidays. Maybe we will show Katie her first snowfall! She has such bright eyes and when she’s not sleeping she is gazing around, taking in all the sights and sounds. Pure awareness. Babies are a gift of spirit…

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…Katie, 20 days old…

Zoë missed me. Last night she slept on my lap for a couple of hours and protested with loud meows when I tried to get up to go to bed. But she followed me to bed and snuggled until I fell asleep. I think all is right in her world again.

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…Larisa and Katie, 22 days old…

I see you young and soft oh little baby
Little feet, little hands, little baby
One year of crying and the words creep up inside
Creep into your mind
So much to say
~ Dave Matthews
♫ (So Much to Say) ♫

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…one last snuggle, Barbara and Katie, 23 days old…