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Island Adventures on Lake Huron

4 Aug

We did it.  We left the confines of our home and took our first cruise in almost three years.  I was a bit hesitant and anxious.  But we chose a cruise that stayed close to home, sailing the Great Lakes between the USA and Canada.  It was a cruise I had been thinking about for years.  This seemed like the perfect time to take it.

Two of my favorite stops on the cruise were islands that are adjacent or within Lake Huron.  Both were the home of the Ojibwe nation, but one is in the United States and one is in Canada.

Mackinac Island

Years ago my husband and I lived in Michigan.  We heard over and over again that we had to go to Mackinac Island.  We never made it there during our two-year time. But it has been on our list of places to see ever since.  We had a most delightful day!!!

I will start by telling you that the original native Ojibwe name was Michilimackinac.  When you say it, you realize that the name Michigan was also a native name. It means Big Turtle, because the island is somewhat shaped like a turtle. The entire island is just about eight miles around.  So it is easy to walk from one place to another.

In July we found out why people love it so much.

First, there are NO CARS on the island!  The only transportation is foot, bicycle or horse drawn carriage.   WOW.  (Fire engines and ambulances are an exception.) It is interesting to go around an island on an open carriage. When we got off the ship, very close to downtown, we were loaded up into a carriage that had about 20 people.  This took us on the first part of the ride, through the downtown, past the Grand Hotel, and to a place where we were transferred to a larger carriage drawn by three horses for our tour through the park to the historic Fort Mackinac.

Second, there is the GRAND Hotel.   It is pretty darn Grand.  With its stunning Victorian décor; the large veranda with excellent rocking chairs (yes I checked them out); ice cream parlor; excellent views; the Grand Hotel lived up to expectations.  I especially loved the sign that said after 6 pm all men must wear jackets and women must wear dresses.  To be honest, I would never stay there because my husband would not want to dress up each evening.

However, we did go the Gate House Restaurant that is part of the hotel and had a delicious lunch sitting outside and enjoying people watching and horse watching.  There is a little stone church across the street from the restaurant that we also visited.  It is actually called the Little STONE Church.

Third, there is lots of history surrounding the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the lives of the Native Americans and how the changes from French to British to American impacted the First Nations Peoples, especially the Ojibwe nation, which is also based in Canada.  We spent an hour or so walking around the Fort and we even got to see a cannon fire.

After we at lunch at the Grand Hotel, we walked into town to visit some of the sites, including  the Biddle house which is now a small museum about the impact on the Native Americans.

We had an excellent time walking around the downtown, doing a bit of shopping, and finding an ice cream store for my husband.  Mackinac Island is known for its many fudge shops.  And we did enjoy the free samples. But we stayed strong and did not purchase any.  I could only that that with eight days left on the cruise, it would be too tempting.

Manitoulin Island

The other Island we visited was quite different. First, it is in Canada. Manitoulin Island is also known as Ontario’s Island Retreat. Its original Ojibwe name is Manidoowaaling, meaning the Spirit Cave, which we did get to see. It is a big island, over 100 miles long. In fact, it is the largest island in a fresh water lake, Lake Huron. In the island of Manitoulin is the largest lake in the largest island in a fresh water lake. That would be Lake Manitou in Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron. But there is also Treasure Island, which is the largest island in a lake in the largest island in a Great Lake. But it was not in Lake Manitou. I LOVE these descriptions. They should be part of a children’s song!!!

The island was also first inhabited by the Ojibwe people, who still inhabit much of the island.  But it was also the site of the first European settlement in Canada.

We docked in Little Current, which is the largest city on the Island. It has been a resort town for a while and has many bed and breakfast accommodations, much like Mackinac Island.

We visited the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation, which was a great experience.  My husband was concerned that it would be ‘hokey’.  But it definitely was not.  The young man who met us at the Center gave us a great presentation about the First Nations and the Island.  He explained what we were seeing in the museum section, which really was fascinating.  We then went to a work area where people can come to work on their crafts like beading and porcupine quill art.  We also met with a young woman who explained the sacred herbs such as sage and how they are used.

Finally we were welcomed to an outside theater where we got to see authentic First Nation dances and the drummers.  I so enjoyed this experience.  My favorite were the jiggle dress dancers.  Finally we were invited up to dance with them and learn a bit.  I had to get up there.  One of the dancers stepped with me and showed me how to do it correctly! 

We did notice along the way that the cities in the USA were much smaller than the cities in Canada.  But then I had an enlighten moment. For the Canadians, these cities were among their furthest southern border, while for the US these were at the northern border.  Makes a difference when you take in this factor.

We loved our island experiences in Lake Huron. 

The Importance of My Grandma’s Illegal 1931 Abortion

16 Jun

In 1931 a 25-year-old mother of two young children was pregnant with her third pregnancy.  It was twins.  But whereas her other pregnancies went fine this one was not going well at all. In fact, her kidneys were failing, probably due to eclampsia. If nothing was done, she and the fetuses she carried would all die.  Abortion was not legal in 1931.  But someone saved her.  Someone, I am told a doctor, provided her an illegal abortion. 

That woman was my grandmother.  She lived.  

“Preeclampsia may lead to kidney disease by causing acute kidney injury, endothelial damage, and podocyte loss. Preeclampsia may be an important sex-specific risk factor for chronic kidney disease,” according to an NIH website.  Although my grandmother did not die in 1931, she was left with failing kidneys.  In fact, she had kidney disease for the next 52 years of her life. 

Grandma decided to go back to Europe with her two children, my Mom and my Uncle, so that when she died they would be raised by their grandmother, as she was sure that she was still going to die. Someone traveled with my grandmother for this trip. In fact, one night she was so sick, they took her up on the deck because she wanted to see the stars one more time before she died.

The doctor who saved her life actually impacted the lives of many people. Because my grandmother lived, my mother and uncle were not left without a mother. Also, as the story continues, because my grandmother lived, others lived as well.

When my Grandmother got to Europe she traveled through Germany to Carlsbad, to take the waters, and then around Poland visiting family for over six months. During these travels her opinion about life in Europe changed drastically. By the end she was much healthier and concerned about taking her children back to the United States to safety.

Why do I say saving her life saved others? She had been traveling through Germany in 1931. She had seen the evil that was taking over Europe with the rise of Hitler.

This is where her surviving preeclampsia and a life saving abortion takes on even more meaning. First, everywhere she went in Poland, she told family and friends to “Get Out! Bad times are coming.” We do not know how many heeded her warning! But we know her story and what she tried to do.

When Grandma came home she had one goal, to get her family and the family of my Grandfather out of Europe! My grandparents worked to bring family members over from Poland and Austria. In the end, they only were able to bring my Grandmother’s father and sister. My Tante was very small for her age, so they changed her age and made her under 21 so she could travel to America on my great grandfather’s papers and visa.

My Tante lived.  She married and had one daughter.  Her daughter married and had three children.  Her children married and among them had 11 children.  

All because my grandmother had an abortion, all because she lived, two people survived and avoided the horrors of the Shoah and 15 descendants were born.  Who knows how many more will be born in the future.

Abortions save lives! The mother’s lives. To me these lives are extremely important. Currently, in this time of legal abortions another relative of mine had eclampsia putting her life and the life of her much wanted fetus at risk. They were both dying in the hospital. The only choice to save one life was an abortion. My cousin lived. Amazingly a year later she was again pregnant and gave birth to a healthy child.

I do not believe anyone, a legislator or a member of the voting public, has the right to tell a woman how to handle her private medical issues. We have HIPAA laws that are supposed to keep our medical history private. What a woman decides, with input from her medical professional, for her own health is her personal business. HIPAA laws are not just for men. They are for everyone.

In the meantime, I support women’s health rights. I support women who make the difficult decision to end a pregnancy. I support their choice and decisions concerning their personal medical health. I know that the right to chose an abortion must remain legal, because I know that saving a mother’s life is vital.

Another Quest Completed!

29 May

Great Grandpa Abraham Shlomo Grave

One of my genealogy goals is to find the graves of all my great grandparents who are buried in the United States.  Five are buried in the USA with four for sure in the New York, New Jersey metro area. Three of my great grandparents died in Europe, two during the Shoah, so finding their burial sites is impossible.

Since I live in the middle of the country it is difficult to search cemeteries on the east coast. But luckily for me I have willing helpers!  I truly appreciate my family who understand my quest.

Last year during Covid, one of my first cousins went to Washington Cemetery in New York and took photos of my Goldman great grandparents.   (See blog below.). In my mind he was the ideal person to search for the graves, since is named for our great grandfather, with the Hebrew name, Baruch Lev.  It was perfectly apropos that he went to find the graves.

Now it was my brother’s turn.  My brother’s Hebrew name is Avraham Sholmo for my Szenk/Shenk/Schenk great grandfather.   Our great grandfather was born with the name Shlomo/Solomon. But when he was a child he became very ill.  His parents gave him a second name, Avraham, to keep the Angel of Death from finding him.

Usually, the names given to fool the Angel of Death were names like Chaim and Chaya, which mean life. The idea was to confuse the Angel of Death because he would not be able to find a child with a different name.  This superstition said changing the child’s name would save him/her.

In any case my great grandfather’s Hebrew name was changed, but his legal name remained Solomon, or Szlama, as he was known in Poland.  His birthdate was September 1874 and he died in 1942. My great grandfather came to the USA in 1936 along with my great aunt. It was the work of my grandparents to get as many people out of Europe that they could. Unfortunately, it was only these two that they were able to actually bring over.

At first my great grandfather lived with my grandparents.  But, although they had a kosher bakery and kept kosher, my grandmother did not cover her hair, and they did not follow the rules as they did in Europe.  So my great grandfather moved into a Hebrew Home for the Aged

We did have the name of the cemetery where he was supposedly buried. I think my mother’s first cousin told us.  My brother took over the job of finding the grave.  He contacted the King Solomon Memorial Park in Passaic asking about our grandfather. (I do find it interesting and coincidental that Solomon was buried in the King Solomon Cemetery.)  The response was positive, our great grandfather was buried in the Tuber Section through a gate that says Welloner Benevolent Assn. 

The grave had the correct date of death.  There is no date for his birth, probably because no one knew it.  We thought he was born in 1870, but his Visa paperwork said 1874.  However, the age on the stone matches what his age would have been when he died, 68 years old.

The staff at the cemetery even emailed my brother a map to the grave, which was exactly where my brother was told to look.  Not only that, the cemetery and the gravesite were in excellent condition.  So many old cemeteries are not kept up.  Thank you to the King Solomon Memorial Park for keeping these graves in excellent shape.

My brother took photos of the entrance to the cemetery, the gate to the section and the grave itself. He also looked for other family members, but did not find them. Then he left three stones on the grave. This is the way to show that we remember and honor his memory.

https://yivo.org/Folklore-of-Ashkenaz?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI0NL84bX59wIVfW1vBB1sGgIMEAMYASAAEgKhzfD_BwE

Where Were My Three Great Aunts in 1905?

18 Apr

I have all the census records for my grandfather and his family starting in 1900 through 1930.  I can see the birth of the children through the additions in each census, till finally there are eight living children.   I can see as children disappear, one died, one to an asylum, several to get married.  And two who stayed with their mother even after her divorce. (Abraham and Sarah Rosenberg, Kings, Bronx, New York; Sometimes Aaron, one time Rosenbery.)

I know there is the rumor that my great grandfather left the family and moved to Seattle sometime around the turn of the century.  In the 1900 Census, it seems that they are living together with their five children, aged 1 through 14.

In 1905, the family shows up, but some of the children are missing.  The four oldest children and the newest baby are all there, as are two borders.  But the three other daughters, Bertha, Edith and Hattie, are not listed.   Where are they?  One was found, Bertha is living with Louis and Rosa Salomon, also in Brooklyn, Kings.  She is listed as a niece, living with her aunt and uncle and their seven children.  Bertha is 11.  Her cousins range in age from 13 to 22.

But how are they related?  Is Rosa the sister of Bertha’s mother or her father?  Or is Bertha somehow related to the father of the family?  Is Bertha really their niece, or some other distant relative, so Rosa and Louis are doing a favor for Abraham and Sarah?    Where are the other two girls?  Are they with other family members or in an orphanage? What happened to Edith and Hattie?

The questions keep coming into my mind.  Is this when my great grandfather abandoned the family.  If so, did Sarah give her daughters to other people to care for during this time.  Perhaps, even though Abraham is listed on the Census, he is NOT really living there.  Perhaps Sarah was too embarrassed to tell.

I do know the story that my grandfather was sent to search for his father and bring him home.  That at age 13, which would have been in 1903, he crossed the USA with a friend from New York all the way to Seattle in an effort to bring his father home.  I remember being told that my grandfather’s friend was Italian, and during that trip is when Grandpa learned to speak Italian.

So we know this is a posed photo, but it is when Grandpa (on right) crossed the USA looking for his father.

Did his father come home with him?  I understand that it took almost two years for the journey there and back.  Perhaps this is when they returned, but they had not yet collected the girls from the places where they are staying.

I do know that they came back.  Because the 1910 Census lists all of them.  It is the last time that they would all be together in a census.  Here both parents and all eight children are listed in age order.  The sons always keep the same names, Samuel, Harry/Henry, and Jacob/Jack.  But I must say the girls have many names: Celia/Cecelia is the oldest, but I know she also had a Hebrew. Rose/Bertha is the oldest of the four younger children.  Esther/Edith is the third oldest. Hattie also had another name, but almost always was Hattie or Hady.  Minnie/Marion/Muriel is the youngest.

In 1915, they are all listed, but Samuel is listed as a farmer.  I know now that he was not really living at home, rather he was an inmate in an asylum. (See blog below.)

By 1920, the world of the Rosenberg family is disrupted forever. Sarah and Abraham are divorced.  Sarah is the head of the household, but two children are missing.  Samuel is at the asylum and Celia has died at the age of 24.

In 1925 my grandfather, the oldest of the remaining children, is gone from Sarah’s home, as he has married my grandmother. In 1930, Jacob is also gone.  It is Sarah and her four daughters.  But now Bertha is listed as the head of the household.  Perhaps by then Sarah is already sick.   She died in 1936 from cancer.   Before she died, she did get to see two of her daughters get married.  Muriel, who married in 1924, named her first child after her mother.  Sarah died on January 28, 1936.  And on November 13, 1936, Muriel had a son she named Stanley and used her mother’s maiden name as his middle name.  That made me happy.  I am also named for Sarah, but I was born almost 20 years after Stanley.

Standing: Great Uncle Lenny, Great Aunt Hady/Hattie, Grandpa Harry, Grandma Esther. Seating are my great grandmother and great aunt from my Grandma’s side.

Aunt Hattie married Lenny Greenberg. I knew them.  In fact, it was Aunt Hattie who introduced my Dad to my Mom.  Aunt Hattie and Uncle Lenny never had children.

Bertha and Edith never married and always lived together.

But my questions continue. Where were Bertha, Edith and Hattie living in 1905.  How was Rosa and Louis Salomon related to Bertha?

Once again thank you to Sherri V. who connected information for me when I posted on Tracing the Tribe Facebook Group!

Chihuly Double Dose

19 Mar

I do love Chihuly.  So when we were in Phoenix recently, I was delighted to learn that there was not one, but two, Chilhuly exhibits in town.  Luckily for me, my friends were willing and interested in an adventure,  seeing both exhibits in  one day! 

Friday, February 25, was Chilhuly Day for us in Phoenix. We purchased our tickets in advanced.  The morning was devoted to the “Chihuly In The Desert” at the Desert Botanical Gardens, where the art often imitated the nearby cacti.  The late afternoon was devoted to a tour of Frank Llyod Wright’s Taliesin West and the Chihuly pieces chosen to fit this unique architectural site.

I had been to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix many years ago.  Even then, there were a few Chilhuly pieces at the entrance.  But I had only seen a small part of the gardens. Since I came with a group, we were kept close by on the paths near the front.  This time my friends and I walked the entire grounds!!!  We saw everything that was outside; the Apache household and native crops; the cactus and succulent galleries; the Agave yucca forest and more.  In each area, we looked for and admired the Chilhuly glass that was selected to highlight the natural art.

My favorite natural beauty was the crested cactus.  That was truly something amazing.  As well as the giant cactus that were highlighted by Chilhuly purple reeds.  I also loved this smaller twisted cactus!  Another amazing cactus insight was that birds make nests inside the cactus.  All those holes in a cactus are often a birds nest! A special protection coating is formed to protect the cactus and make a home for the bird.  It looks like a boot!!  We were also lucky as the cacti were beginning to bloom.  So pretty!

From my friend, who lives in Phoenix, I learned that pretty cactus are not NICE.  Some can almost leap onto you.  While another, that looks like it has a soft beard, in reality has a white soft looking collection of barbs.  DO NOT TOUCH. She continued to tell us to STAY BACK.  DON’T get so close. 

As for the Chilhuly, my favorite pieces included a giant gold, cream and white swirling tall collection of twisted tubes that reminded me of a yucca in bloom. My other favorite was a grouping of red, orange and purple reed like glass that made me think of flamingos. Of course, for anyone who knows me well, I loved the blue reeds!

I will admit, that it was not until we were leaving that we realized there was another exhibit of Chilhuly glass in a  gallery.  But we did not have time to admire it.  We had timed tickets for our second glass adventure.

 I really knew nothing about Taliesin West before this trip.  I have driven past Taliesin East in Wisconsin and been to a Frank Lloyd Wright house at Crystal Bridges in Bentonville. (See Blog Below about another Chilhuly adventure there.). But I really had not much information about Taliesin West until I learned about the Chilhuly exhibit.  Then I had to go and see the compound and the art glass.

Throughout the grounds, Chilhuly glass was displayed in ways to enhance the prairie style buildings.  My favorite, once again, mixed white gold and cream, with some sparkle right at the center of the complex, near the bubbling water pond.  The mass amount of red glass reeds displayed around the front of the home, some in dyed black water, was also fascinating.  And the view from the apex of the higher ground as spectacular.  Well worth the visit!

Drafting room

As for Taliesin West.  Wow.  His original plan to keep all the buildings open must have seen like a good idea.  But when I think about the heat in Phoenix, I am glad he gave in to his wife and closed the buildings in adding air conditioning!  I guess I am not a Frank Lloyd Wright purist.   For me the most interesting parts were the actual drafting room where other architects came to study with him and the small theater. 

I loved my day of Chilhuly, being with my friends, and enjoying these two special places in the Phoenix area. A double dose of Chilhuly was definitely worth it for me.

https://zicharonot.com/2016/06/10/chihuly-stunning/

Musical Instrument Museum Brings Magic and Joy To Your Soul

2 Mar

I found another favorite museum! 

Recently my husband and I went to Phoenix.  He went to a meeting, while I visited with two of my wonderful college friends for a mini reunion. In this blog I will discuss one of the three sites that we decided to visit. 

Our first stop on our whirlwind tour of Phoenix was the Musical Instrument Museum.  I do not even know where to begin to describe this delight of the senses. 

Each display is a combination of color and sound, showing the clothes and the instruments of each area pictured.  The extremely wonderful added bonus  at most displays is a short video at showing how the instruments are played and their sound, also showing how the clothing is worn for ceremonies, rites, parades and events.

The museum is divided into geographic areas.  We decided to start with the music of Latin America and the Caribbean.  We spend two hours walking through this one section of the museum. It is overwhelming and informative.  Your headphones pick up the music of each display as you walk closer.  It draws you in and then the instruments catch your eye and sometimes colorful clothes catch your eye.

Display after display calls out to you.  At times you do not know where to look next, so you go to the music that is dancing in your ears. 

I was intrigued by the display of recycled instruments from Paraguay.  These are not instruments someone has passed down, rather they are musical instruments made from trash and scrap metal. Honestly, the Recycled Orchestra of Centeura drew me in.  I listened to the video several times. This children’s orchestra in Asuncion, Paraguay, is amazing.  All of their instruments are built from trash in a landfill!  I was so intrigued, I looked it up online.  The link to the Wikipedia article is below.

I have not been so taken by children’s music since I saw the children’s school for steel drums in St. Maarten.  (See blog below.)

When we had exhausted ourselves viewing all of Latin America, we decided we had to have lunch in Café Allegro before we tackled another exhibit hall.  We still had Europe, United States and Canada, Oceania, Africa, Middle East, four areas of Asia and more.  There was so much to see, we finally realized we were not going to see it all.

On our way to lunch, we heard piano music.  Below was a grand piano with people in line to play.  It was fun to listen to the different styles of music people chose.  Besides playing the piano, visitors can also go to the Experience Gallery where they can try all sorts of instruments.

After lunch we went to Africa and then we went to Europe and finally to North America.  We saw instruments made from every object possible:  tree trunks, gourds, pottery, ceramics, sticks, string, tin cans, steel drums, boxes. Imagination and talent can turn anything into music. 

 In my attempt to be truly honest, I will tell you that in the other exhibit halls we visited, we were unable to look at every display.  It is sensory overload.  I highly recommend just choosing one hall to go through and not to try to see it all. Instead plan to go back another time if you can. We never made it to any of the Asian exhibits or downstairs to the Mechanical Music Gallery or Experience Gallery or Encore Gallery.

As I looked through the Museum, one thing was obvious, no matter where people lived, or what materials they had, or what their circumstances were, everyone wants to make music. There are so many guitar-like instruments, and harp-like instruments, and wind style instruments.  All were representative of the continent and the culture of the people who use them.

We did not have the opportunity to go to a concert there.  But if I lived in Phoenix, I know its 300-seat theatre would be a favorite spot.

Even the bathrooms provide a musical interlude offering different songs to sing as you wash your hands!!!

On my way out, I purchased one of the magnets that reflects the Museum’s theme, “Music is the Language of the Soul.”  As we danced and sang and boogied our way through this museum, I can attest that this is a museum that enlightens bringing magic and joy to the soul through the language of music.

www.mim.org

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recycled_Orchestra_of_Cateura#:~:text=The%20Recycled%20Orchestra%20of%20Cateura,collected%20from%20Asunci%C3%B3n’s%20Cateura%20landfill.

I Wish We Could Be Using Solar Panels

21 Jan

Twenty years ago my husband became obsessed with climate change and over population.  He was concerned that the world would not be able to survive as water resources would be depleted and the world suffered through the impact caused by the changing climate.  He started talking about the need to use the sun for energy and stop the use of fossil fuels.  His focus was on solar panels and electric cars.

For his midlife crisis, he acted! Fifteen years ago, we ordered solar panels for our home.  We became the first home in Johnson County, Kansas, to retrofit a private home to solar energy.  It was quite an experience.  We found a company to assess our home for the panels.  A friend of ours worked at Black and Veatch, an engineering firm.  She took the proposal to work, where several engineers reviewed it and made some suggestions.   In the end we decided to put up ten solar panels, as well as add eight back up batteries.

It took a while to get everything ready.  Permits were needed.  The panels and batteries had to be ordered. The roof needed to be reinforced.  The city inspector was at our home several times, climbing into the attic and checking the wiring through the house.  She was quite excited to be part of this retrofit. Eventually the new rafters in the roof were approved; the electrical wiring was approved; the panels were put on the roof; and after months of anticipation the solar panels came online!  It was exciting.  Our neighbors came out to see the panels as well.

Solar panels on our home November 2006!

We had some issues at first with the electric company, KCP&L.  Even though there had been some contact with them about the solar panels, it had not gone to the right people.  We kept having KCP&L service people come out to check our meter, as it was going backwards.  We were accused of turning it upside down!   Who does that?  People who do not want to pay, we were told.  I kept showing them the solar panels and trying to figure out who we needed to talk to at KCP&L.  Finally, a woman repair person arrived to once again accuse us of moving our meter.  I took her to the back yard where she could see the solar panels on the roof. She had the aha moment and understood the issue.  She promised to look into it.

Meanwhile, we wrote to our state senator, John Vratil, who was a great help.  Through him, we got in touch with Dave Wagner at KCP&L.  From there on the process got easier.  Finally in August 2007, resolution of the issue occurred. First KCP&L installed two different meters on our house.  One for incoming electricity and one for outgoing.  On the day these two meters were put in, we had about 11 KCP&L staff coming out to help and watch the installation.   They also put a special shut off level on the house and a commercial surge protector.  It was really exciting for my husband and I, and for KCP&L. 

Dave Wagner was one of the people who came out for the event, as well as a young woman from their media department.  She took lots of photos, as did I, to document the occasion. My husband took several of the KCP&L personnel into our basement so that they could see the backup batteries!   We explained that not only were our electric bills cheaper due to the solar energy, but also due to the panels capturing the ambient heat and keeping the house cooler.

We were actually highlighted in KCPL’s newsletter and were on the news…rather our house was in the newsletter and on the news.  Eventually KCPL developed one meter that could track both in and out electricity, known as net metering.

For 14 years we lived happily in our house.  When the power went out, we had electricity for eight important elements, including the refrigerator, the furnace fan, and lights in several rooms. During the spring, summer and fall, we saved at least $100 a month in electric bills.  And during the brutally hot months of summer, even more!

Two years ago, we decided to downsize from our home of 35 years and move into smaller reverse two story villa.  The one thing we did not count on was the HOA refusing to allow us to have solar panels, even with a rolling black out in the winter of 2021.   There was a HOA meeting where the topic came up.  Among the negative comments included that solar panels were ugly. Not so.  They also did not know anything about the new technology.  Supposedly there was to be a committee formed to discuss solar panels. Not…. The former president of our HOA, who has moved away, told us the only way we would get solar panels was to have the city or the county or the state removed that restriction from HOAs. 

When we first moved to Johnson County in 1985, many HOAs demanded that all homes had to have wood roofs! What a joke. Each Fourth of July, and whenever there was a thunderstorm, some homes had roof fires.  Around 1999 this clause eliminated from many homes associations due to Overland Park passing Ordinance No. BC-2167 which prohibited the enforcement on covenants which prevented homeowners from putting on composite shingle roofs!  The community, and I believe the insurance companies, help make this change.  Now very few homes still have wood roofs!

Johnson County’s ban on smoking in businesses and most public places were enacted on January 2, 2008. My husband, a pediatric allergist, was one of the people who testified at a commissioners’ meeting asking to enforce a ban on smoking.  In March 2010, then Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson signed a law forbidding smoking in Kansas restaurants.

When the community came together, action occurred once again. We now can eat smoke free in any restaurant!

If citizens could make a change with these two issues: public smoking and wood shingle roofs, I am hoping that we can do it again.  I encourage everyone who lives in Johnson County to write to the Johnson County Commissioners as well as their Kansas State Representatives and Senators to work for change. 

Johnson County Commissioners are:

First District: Becky Fast. Jocogov.org/beckyfast

Second District: Jeff Meyers. Jeff.meyers@jocogov.org

Third District: Charlotte O’Hara. Charlotte.ohara@jocogov.org

Fourth District: Janee Hanzlick. Janee.hanzlick@jocogov.org

Fifth District: Michael Ashcraft. Michael.ashcraft@jocogov.org

Sixth District: Shirley Allenbrand. Shirley.allenbrand@jocogov.org

Together, perhaps we can make solar power and renewable energy an option throughout Johnson County, Kansas.

Relating To The Kuchisabishii Feeling

7 Jan

Why are Japanese words so relatable?

My newest Japanese word describes me so well:  Kuchisabishii is the Japanese word for eating when not hungry.   It means “Lonely mouth” or eating just to fill your mouth because you are stressed or bored.  I absolutely relate to this feeling.

During the last two pandemic years, much of what I have put into my mouth falls under these categories.  But honestly, not as often as I once would have because since January 2017, I have been an active member of Weight Watchers (WW).  In fact, during the first four months of Covid, I kept very strictly to my program allowing me to reach my goal weight in June 2020 becoming a life member.  I lost 48 pounds in all.

I kept it all off for until January 6, 2021.  There were several reasons why I started to gain weight.  The first was political.  Watching the attack on the Capitol truly stressed me out.  For a week I was in full kuchisabishii mode.  I wanted to eat even though I was not hungry. I just needed to fill my lonely mouth mainly with chocolate and salty snack foods. Food released something in my mind that helped me cope! The feeling of chewing and the wonderful textures delighted my tastebuds.

But it wasn’t only political stress that got me eating.  Up until Januay 2021 I was participating in virtual WW workshops with local leaders which included a few of the people who had been at my meetings before Covid. After January, the last of my local workshops with leaders I knew, was cancelled. The meetings were now either national or at times that did not fit my schedule. 

Finally, there was COVID.  After a while the stress and the worry of avoiding the pandemic got to me.  Even with my vaccines and my booster, I felt uneasy.  Perhaps because so many people still did not want to be vaccinated or wear masks.  I began to see others as the enemy, which is so against my normal attitude. This all made me want to eat…for no reason.

With no workshops to give me the moral support I needed and the stresses of the world, I reverted to some hard core Kuchisabishii.  I was not hungry, but my mouth was lonely for food. I just wanted to chew on something!

To be honest, I gained almost 12 pounds this year.  The good news, is that my original loss was almost 50 pounds, so I am still over 35 pounds lighter than I was when I started my healthy eating program.  I might have eaten more than the portion called for, but I did not revert back to my extremely bad eating habits.  I did not take a bag of peanut butter M&Ms in my lap and just eat.  Instead I took ten or 12 M&Ms and slowly ate them. 

A year has passed since the world upset my equilibrium. Although the world is still not where I want it to be, I am now going in-person to WW meetings.  After a year of not following sensible eating and relying on kuchisabishii to get me through these uneasy times, I decided I had enough.  I plan to bulk up on my vegetables, stick to eating the Zero point foods and do something else when I feel stressed!

I still love the word, kuchisabishii, but I am not going to let unintended eating define my life.

https://nihongomaster.com/japanese/dictionary/word/65067/kuchisabishii

Oy Vey Rosie Rosenberg!

30 Dec

Somewhere out there is more information about my Grandfather’s supposed sister, Rose/Rosie/Rossie, who was born on May 3, 1904, and died before the 1910 US census. 

First, I have to start by saying, I have known for a while that though we were told my grandfather was the oldest of six siblings, I know that he was actually the third oldest of 8 siblings who lived to adulthood.

I also know that his mother gave birth to 12 children.  For three I have no records, so I assume they were still births.  However, for one, I have a name and a date of birth.  Rose/Rosie.  That name touches my heart.  My father’s nickname when he served in Korea was Rosie.  To this day when I visit a memorial stone I put in the local Korean War Memorial, I always bring a rose.

But he never knew he had aunts who died tragically young: one named Celia, who lived to 24, (see blog below) and Rosie, who probably only lived for a couple of years or less.

But I cannot find Rosie except for this one document which includes her birthdate and her parent’s names.  I know it is correct, because it has Sarah Ritt/Rith for the mother’s maiden name. Also the family did live in Brooklyn in Kings County. I am not sure about the street. I know at one point they lived on a Sackman Street. But that was later. And I have found that this family seemed to move a bit.

Also I know Rosie was born before the youngest daughter Minnie/Muriel.  I remember seeing her name in a list of the family members at some point after 2017.  At that time, I wrote a blog about searching for my grandfather’s family.  Someone sent me an email or a private message with information about all the children from research he/she had done.   At the time I did not believe it was correct because I was still under the assumption that grandpa was the oldest of six, not the third of eight, or even nine.  But somewhere along the way I have lost that document.  And now I need it.

That teaches you to have absolutely NO assumptions about your family’s history and to never disregard a document.

I have found several Rosie or Rose Rosenbergs who died between 1905 and 1909. I am not sure if any of them is my family’s Rosie. Since her sister, Celia, was buried in 1920 at Montefiore Cemetery in the Queens, I was hoping to find Rosie there as well. But the only Rose Rosenberg buried in Montefiore, Springfield Gardens, had no date of birth or death. Could it be her? The memorial ID number is 148979659. But there is no other information or photo.

I am hoping someone who researches better than I can find out more about Rosie! I used Ancestry and Family Search as the two sources for the information I do have. Thank you!

New Orleans Spirit

21 Dec

I was not going to write about our trip to New Orleans because I have been there several times.  But then I realized I had never written about the city, and it is one of my favorites!

I will touch only on the places I saw this time, with a little of the history of why I love it.

Jazz on the street.

New Orleans is like no other city in the USA, with its Creole and French roots, its diverse populations and its jazz.  I love walking down the streets in the French Quarter and hearing the music and watching the bands play on street corners. 

We cannot go to New Orleans and not have beignets.  Each time we go to our favorite shop and get an order of three to share.  I eat one, my husband has two.  Personally, we like Café Beignet.  I know that many enjoy a different spot. But this one right off the square and next to the police station is the best for me!

Our favorite beignet shop.

I also go to the same restaurant on the corner of the plaza by St. Louis Cathedral. The windows all open and you feel like you are sitting outside while inside. And yes we went there this trip as well.  I was especially happy that in New Orleans you had to show your Covid vaccine record to enter a restaurant.  It made me feel a bit safer.

I did visit the Audubon Aquarium of The Americas. The last time I went there was 20 years ago, before Hurricane Katrina destroyed the aquarium and released many of the sea life.  It is definitely different then what I remember, plus there is construction nearby, and renovation inside, but I enjoyed my hour or so walking around by myself. My favorite spots were the Amazon Rain Forest set up in a giant greenhouse structure, and the sea horses.  But the Great Maya Reef area was also fun.   For me aquariums are great activities for both the young and young at heart.

My second stop was more educational than fun.  I went to the Museum of Southern Jewish Experience, where I learned much about southern Jewish population and Civil Rights activism.  The museum did a good job in showing how Jewish men moved into the south as peddlers and then as store owners.  Their activities against racism were important to the Civil Rights movement.  Although I knew that they had played a part in changing how people were treated, I was not aware of the extensive work of the Jewish population of the south to help.  Another good spot to go!

During past trips to New Orleans, I visited the National World War II Museum/National D-Day Museum.  It is a wonderful spot that really takes hours to visit completely.   Wear good walking shoes and schedule yourself properly. Learning about D-Day and the boats that helped in the Invasion of Normandy was the information that still sticks in my mind. The Higgins Boats, which were used in the invasion, were designed by a New Orleans manufacturer Andrew Jackson Higgins.  The Higgins boats played an important role in the invasion, a fact that has stayed in my mind for years.

I love New Orleans because there are so many museums and historical sites to explore and so many wonderful restaurants to experience the tastes of the city.  The history of Mardi Gras and the diverse communities of New Orleans makes is interesting and delightful!

After the hurricane and Covid issues, it is a city that needs support and love.  At one event I attended, the waitress told me how happy they all were that our convention was held, because it gave them hope and an income which helps keeps their spirits up.  With the rise in the new Covid variant, I know that people are nervous about traveling.  I understand.  I will say that New Orleans is doing its best to keep people safe.  I wish all cities were doing the same. In the meantime, I salute the New Orleans Spirit.

https://audubonnatureinstitute.org/aquarium

https://www.nationalww2museum.org/