Thursday, July 14, 2005

Bus Life

He got on the bus this morning and promptly sat down next to a lady. She's been riding for the past few weeks. Him, I've seen around for a couple years. They spoke together for the entire bus ride. At least, they spoke together the entire time I was awake.

This is the way it has proceeded in the past:
  • He will engage in conversation with his seat mate for a while, several days, anyway.
  • He will begin sitting with her on the trip home, too. Talking.
  • Eventually, he will begin getting off at her bus stop.
  • They will then sit closely together.
  • There will be bus-time hugging, whispering and giggles.
  • After about three weeks he will start taking busses at a different time than she does.
  • I won't see him for a space of several months.
  • She won't be so smiley.

I've witnessed this process several times now. From him and another guy.

For the past twelve years, I've been riding the bus. At this point, I am a solitary traveler. I shower regularly. I do use deodorant. I pile my brief case and packages on my lap. I smile.

Well, a co-worker/co-bus rider told me the other day that he noticed I'd been scowling. He thought I was mad at him.


Generally, when I have a serious look on my face, I'm contemplating the silly things that I've done recently, figuring what I should do to avoid repeating the idiocy. Thankfully, the Lord is patient and forgiving.

Last year I sat to have a picture of my aura taken. The aura guy had me close my eyes and visit a safe, peaceful place. We walked around Nauvoo for a while, until I was quite relaxed. He told me, when I was ready, to open my eyes. I opened my eyes with a relaxed smile on my face and he took my picture.

The picture of my aura was interesting, but the thing that it illustrated best to me is: I don't smile when I'm relaxed. I wasn't actually scowling, but my face muscles were nowhere near a smile configuration.

My natural facial composure is much more serious than I feel it should be. Since then, I've made it a point to do my best, everyday, to greet people with a grin. They don't quite know how to figure me out.

That's okay, because I haven't finished figuring me out, either.


Tuesday I found a website listing the descendants of a Danish ancestor. His descendants are all kin of mine. Of particular interest were those people who connect into my ancestral surname project, which is to identify all of the children of the children of the children of the children of Joseph and Cornelia.

The website included records of family members I had never seen before, providing information as fresh as 2002. Unfortunately there was no way to programmatically copy the data I needed to add to my database, so I went through the website, page by page, and transcribed the gold I found there.

For the past four years I have tracked the number of people I have identified as members of Joseph and Cornelia's family. At the beginning of 2001 I had identified 17,405 family members.

Almost a year ago, on August 12, the total number of identified family members surpassed the 29,000 mark. Since that time the number 30,000 has been steadily before me.

The database has grown a bit unevenly over the years:
  • In 2001 I added about 1,800 records
  • Somehow in 2002 I added about 6,400 records
  • In 2003 I identified 1,300 more family names
  • Last year I added 2,300 records to my database
Well, by the end of June I only needed to identify another 165 people to hit 30,000 family members. When I found the website Tuesday, I knew it might hold enough information to help me surpass my goal. Yesterday I finished going through the website, adding records.

When I was sure that I'd extracted all I could from the website, I ran the routine that counts the number of Joseph and Cornelia's family members over 10 generations. I didn't quite hold my breath, but I was full of anticipation as the process ran to completion. The total:


Oh my.

Close. So close.

Where could I go? What could I dig up? My brain began running through the possibilities.

As I cast about for ideas, I remembered that I had several census records copied on my jump drive. I had copied them to take home and use to document family members. I hadn't gotten around to that activity recently, so I had a little stockpile.

I went to the first record. I'd already added the new names of children in that family.

I went to the second record. I'd already added the new names from family as well.


I looked at the third record. The family of Charles and Laura, living in Pocatello in 1920.


They had six children in their household, none of whom were yet recorded in my database.

Quickly I transcribed the record, then added the children to the family. The oldest son, Hyram, was Charles' son from a previous marriage. Even so, he's a member of the family.

Though I knew what the total would be, I ran the process again, just for good measure. My new total from the afternoon of Wednesday, 13 July 2005?


What fun!

How many more cousins will I find before year end?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


A year ago, early this morning, he came into our lives.

For a time he lived at our house and has visited regularly since his folks moved out.

He has reminded me:
  • The veil is thin if you know where to look
  • That I still know how to take care of a baby, solo
  • Dirty diapers can be sweet
  • Learning is painful but memories of pain fade quickly
  • How fun water can be
  • We're here to learn how to live in a body
  • Smiles are the only communication needed, most times
  • Of the joy in meeting
  • Of the sorrow at parting
  • Of the desire to stay awake as long as possible, things are HAPPENING! Can't miss 'em.
  • Of the joy of successful parenting

He's off on his second trip to Washington. We commemorated his birthday with a trip to the zoo and the park two Saturdays ago. We can share him with his other grandparents for a week or so.

Happy birthday Bub!

Thursday, July 07, 2005


The lure of a Michigan reunion enticed most of her family away for 2 weeks, including her dad and mom. Arrangements to hire a young lady to run their candy shoppe fell through, so my wife was called on to keep the enterprise running while her family is away.

Last week I took a day off in order to replenish the supply of fresh fudge. I was confident that the candy store experience I had, almost two decades ago, would be enough for me to produce some quality cream fudge. The only thing I lacked was the final temperature to cook each batch.

My first batch turned out with the consistency of dry clay. Wrong temperature.

Luckily, fudge can be re-cooked. I shoveled that batch off the table, back into the kettle, added a half-gallon of water and melted it down.

I dropped the temperature 10 degrees and the next two batches turned out pretty well. Not perfect, but saleable.

The next day I spoke with my brother-in-law and he gave me the real temperatures I should use.

July Fourth I returned to make a few more batches. Almost my entire family came up, too. My son, his wife and his son, my wife and my daughter all came to run the shop on the holiday.

I concentrated on making more fudge. The first batch of plain vanilla ended up a touch on the soft side. The penuche took forever to set up, but was okay. The final batch, peanut butter, set-up almost before I could add the peanut butter.

It was odd. I hadn't worked in a candy store with my family around me for over 17 years. The last time my kids were with me, they could almost help out at the counters, but couldn't quite see over the top of them, they were 4 and 5. I don't have any experience running a candy store with people to help me make the product. My old habits were set when I worked by myself.

Though I was confident in my experience, still I was worried about creating quality fudge. I worried more about that than those around me. Looking back, I see that my son wanted to make a batch on his own, having helped his grandfather a few years ago during the '02 Winter Olympics.

My concentration blinded me to the feelings of those around me. Hopefully, I didn't hurt my son's feelings.

But if I did, I am sorry.