Tuesday, June 15, 2010


My office is showing the signs of my hard work in getting file cabinet drawers cleaned out, papers thrown away, superfluous books removed to good homes, and empty boxes thrown in the dumpster across the street. It’s been hard work, but I’m feeling really good about what my effort has accomplished. So good, in fact, that I’m very close to picking up an unfinished cross-stitch project and putting the last few threads in. A picture of that project is shown above. The cross-stitch is adapted from a painting by the late Walter Anderson. I just saw one of his paintings sold for $55,000.


Seeing the pelicans makes me think of those poor birds, turtles, fish and people along the gulf coast who are fighting for their very lives and livelihood. I heard our President in a talk say, in an encouraging way, to “hang in there folks. One of these days, things will be back to normal again.” But when I hear that said after a disaster I think that is poppycock. Can anything ever be “normal” again with such death and destruction in one’s life? The bigger picture may be normal but there never will be a normal for those who have sustained such a monumental loss. As in New Orleans. As in Haiti. As in the death of a child. I would say “things will be different” (that is, never the same) is more like it.


In last week’s LA Times there was a report on a paper published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, “Abraham’s Children in the Genome Era” where it stated that “scientists report that the Jews of the Diaspora share a set of telltale genetic markers, supporting the traditional belief that Jews scattered around the world have a common ancestry. But various Diaspora populations have their own distinct genetic signatures, shedding light on their origins and history. In addition to the age-old question of whether Jews are simply people who share a religion or are a distinct population, the scientific verdict is settling on the latter.” Up to this point I understand what they are saying. But from there on I cannot make heads or tails out of what the Times article was trying to say. I had Jerry read it and that made two of us confused.

Today online I tracked the origin of the story to Newsweek. I read their article, written by a different person, and I don’t understand that one any better. It is very frustrating to not understand what you are reading. I should have known better. I thought maybe since the subject, Jewish DNA, was of interest to me I could do better, but alas, my brain isn’t wired for scientific things, so I just have to let it go. RATS!


I drove into Los Angeles yesterday to drop off some borrowed books at my daughter’s house and then to have lunch with my cousin Nancy. She has just moved into a lovely 8th floor of an apartment from which she can see the sun set each evening. She’s smack-dab in the middle of LA, but from her apartment you can safely have the windows open (as she says, only Spiderman could break in here) to catch a refreshing afternoon breeze, and you have just a short distance to walk to the LA Museums on Wilshire Boulevard. Her apartment is just perfect for her and reflects her artistic and intellectual sensibilities! On the way home to my little rural enclave in Riverside I reflect on how much I would like to live in a building like she is in.

Then last night about 9:30 p.m. we had a sharp earthquake. And my first thought was how lucky I was that I didn’t live in L.A. because if/when the big one hits I DO NOT want to be there!


I am on a hunt for the family of a cousin who recently died. Long ago I had two cousins a few years younger than me, Sandra and Susan Ryland. Through a divorce these kids were taken by their mother and raised elsewhere. I never saw them again. My uncle paid child support for them through the years but because he was military and often was stationed overseas, he didn’t get to see them often. My uncle eventually remarried. This morning an aunt, who now lives in Colorado, got a phone call from a man who said he was Sandra’s husband and she had recently died. He thought perhaps my uncle (her father) would want to know. My aunt informed him that Sandra’s father had died a few years ago, and the phone call ended. I received an e-mail about this, because I am the family genealogist. No last name. No phone number. I do have one tiny clue as to how I might find her family but all the stars will have to be lined up correctly for this to happen.

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