Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Ohios: Angst, on a shoestring.

Cookie is here to tell you that the past week has been no fun.  No. Fun. At. All.

Well, that's only partially true.

The real scoop is that the husband and I piled all of suitcases into the Scarab (what Cookie's calls the Prius) and we set off for Ohios over Memorial Day.   Why do I call it "the Ohios"?  If you have even been to Ohio, then you know that it isn't a homogeneous state - its actually six states in one - and all four corners and central Ohio all have different outlooks and goals.  A person from Shaker Heights and person from Cincinnati have very little in common, other than needing food, air and water.  Toledo and Dayton only share the desire not be the fourth city of the state, but the gene pools don't match up.  And Southeastern Ohio has more in common with Alabama than Youngstown.

And part way there, I was parched and tried to buy a Pepsi, because Joan Crawford would have wanted me to, and when I handed the lady my debit card she said "Sorry Hon, but this card has been declined and put on capture.  I had enough pocket change for the Pepsi, and rushed out to the husband who informed me that his card was denied at the pump, too.

Since we can get to the Ohios on one tank in the Scarab, I immediately called the credit union and spoke with "Mary" and Mary said that my debit card had been blocked on my personal account for transactions at a supermarket and Target store in Bel Air, Maryland to the tune of $1,400 in one day.  Thats a lot of Toasters and Cool Whip in any sense of the word.   When I asked about my joint card, it too had been zapped.

The husband's personal account?  Frozen, possible fraud.

"No, fucking way," said my husband.

Mary asked, since we were on speaker phone, "Did you have four transactions at a Wal-Mart in Dundalk, Maryland for..."

And before she could even utter the amounts the husband said "I never shop at Wal-Mart and I have never set foot in Dundalk."

For my part, I felt dirty.  Dundalk? PLEASE!

So the next morning we trudged to the credit union and spent three hours filling out paperwork and swearing the truth on affidavits.

And they made us whole, ordered us new cards, and out we walked, still we felt like we do every time we pass a yield sign - violated.

The trip was a success and we've been enjoying a leisurely week.  Still, we are creeped out.  To know that someone tried to rip you off, and they went to Dundalk to do it?  Ewwwww!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Clutch the pearls: The family tree is a bit more rotten than first thought.

As many of you know, Cookie is very deep into genealogy.  So much so that I can spell it without even thinking about it.  Genealogy is the study of family relationships.

It has been my hobby since high school - 37 years to be exact - and I took it up because there were pictures in an album and no one was quite sure who the people in the pictures were.  I found that an astounding fact. We knew who some of the people were, but others were question marks.

So I dug in and over the years I have ID'd all those people in the album, which I now own, and I have knitted together more pictures my mothers family and extended family.  To a lesser degree, my father's family because they were more concerned with getting out of the old Country lest someone conscript them into the Czar's army.

Along the way I have a number of scandals, a rash of suicides in one family, and set the record straight on some of the other urban legends haunting the family.  Over all, just things you read up on, study, and see why it explains the way things worked out as they did.

However, this past week I stumbled across a real doozy - two bits of information that totally blindsided me. And they involve my mother's "surname" great great grandfather, who was a bit of stain on the good family name.  So much so, the family added an "e" to the end of their name to try and distance themselves from the messes he created.

And I thought I knew all of the messes, but this past weekend two new scandals from the 1890s emerged and left me dazed and confused.

The first is that "John" was not married twice as we knew and documented, but THREE times.  I missed the marriage because he was married in a county far from the homestead.  But thanks to "the internets" and OCR technology and the LDS Church, I found the third marriage.

It seems that "John" had traveled to the capital city on the newly opened interurban line (early high speed electric rail service) for a day of fun and came back that night married to a woman that we'll call "Trixie".  Why Trixie?  Well, despite her best efforts to convince people that she was a great actress, the newspaper said that she was apparently more of an "actorine" (a female who attempts acting, and attempts it poorly) than Sarah Bernhardt.

Said daily newspaper then went to great lengths to lampoon John and his misses, reporting every indignity that the gold-digger put John through.  We also know that after two weeks, "a man she identified as her brother" showed up on the doorstep.  Trixie packed up all her troubles in her old carpet bag, told John that they were going "west" and left.  We ALSO know that the marriage was consummated shortly after it occurred, but that since stepping over the threshold, she "refused to lay with him upon cupid's couch."

John filed for divorce, and a year later, after he was certain that "no babe was born of the union." a divorce was granted.  But did he learn his lesson? Nope.

Two weeks later the local daily rag reported that "Mrs. M******** and daughters of New Mexico have just returned home after some days visits at the home of John Cookie. They are relatives of Mr. Cookie by marriage. Mrs. M was a granddaughter of his wife's uncle's great grandfather's niece's cousin's half-sister, a relative of Polly Dugan of London." (#)

Now, I know, for a verified fact, that "Mrs. M" is no relation to John's first or second wives.  But its the sentence "Mrs. M was a granddaughter of his wife's uncle's great grandfather's niece's cousin's half-sister, a relative of Polly Dugan of London" that tells me that something not kosher is going on.

First of all, this paper got its facts correct.  Secondly, people back then loved having family from out of town visiting and they loved having the specific relationship printed clearly in the paper because if it was clear who these people were, then there was nothing make tongues wag.  So the part about "wife's uncle's great grandfather's niece's cousin's half-sister," make no sense at all, and that tell me that the nature of the relationship was asked, and that they got an unclear answer.

And then there is the bit about "Polly Dugan of London".  London England?  London, Ohio?  Or is Polly Dugan a literary allusion to character in a book, in popular culture or a theatre.

Maybe one day, I'll discover the true nature or maybe one day I'll simply plotz and not know what hit me. And who knows what or if someone a 100 years from now will look back and say "You'll never guess what Cookie found..."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Spank it

Of late I have discovered a true enjoyment of FOX Network's Bob's Burgers.  When it first aired I didn't like it.  Now it has become my new drug of choice.  It beat me into submission, and know, I am among its loyal fans.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

What could possibly go wrong


Miss you madly

This year, she would have been 90.   86 was a good run, and if it weren't for the pancreatic cancer, who knows how much time there would have been.

I miss my mother even though there were times she drove me up one wall and then another.  But I never understood what being alone in the world was really like until after she died.

If your mother is still living, and even if she drives you absolutely bonkers, love her for everything you can.

When they are gone, they are gone forever.  

Friday, May 9, 2014

Saturday, May 3, 2014

So how does Cookie's garden grow?

My great grandmother had been an avid flower gardener, but by the time she reached her mid ninety's things around her house began to revert to nature.  And my grandmother was more a practical gardener - flowers weren't her thing, but fruit trees were.  So we always had fresh pears and cherries.  My grandfather was a retired farmer and he refused to do much of anything, so the gardens fell into decline by the time we moved into the house.  So I taught myself about how things grew.

These tiny blue flowers are Brunella, or Brunelia, depending on who you ask.  They are among the earliest flowering plants in spring.  My great grandmother grew these in her garden, so they take me back to my childhood and how much I loved those simple days at the house in Marion, clambering through the ruins of the garden and finding all sorts of good things growing that needed a little love.

Naturally, when we moved to Maryland, these were among the first plants I sought out for our yard.  So its a bit of home, away from home.

We ventured to the nursery very early this morning and bought flowers for our containers.  Tomorrow, early, I'll head to Lowes for HOT red geraniums, which were my mother's favorites.  Why not buy them at the nursery, too?  At eight dollars a pot, my mother would have caterwauled over the price.  So in her honor, we buy the cheap stuff.

While we were at the nursery, we also bought a good sized purple flowering crepe myrtle for our front yard, and its so large, and expensive, that we paid even more money to have it professionally planted. When you plant it, you get a 30 day guarantee.  When THEY plant it your get a years guarantee. So it should go in in the next week or so.  My understanding of crepe myrtles, from reading and talking to people, is that they thrive in terrible soil and direct sun, so we have just the place for it.

Our last bit-o-spring work is the back yard.  I paid for a professionally designed plan for the garden in the backyard to give us a bit of success.  The shape of the yard, and the funky sun patterns call for it.

Hopefully tomorrow we can rip out the funky Doctor Suess shrubs in the front yard and get ready for new shrubs next week.

And next spring, I am having that horrible holly tree removed from our side front.  I know the birds love putting their nests in it, but I am tired of plants that hurt me when I walk through the yard, barefoot.