Thursday, September 11, 2008


I have decided to try to trace my family tree. I got a cool program that lets me keep track of all my family members, and it is shocking me by forcing me to realize how little I know about my family -- even the ones who are still here. I am having so much trouble remembering distant cousin's kids names. I guess it shouldn't be too surprising, but somehow it seems like family information should be hard-wired into my brain.

I have been able to trace my father's mother's family back to the 1700's, and funnily enough, they were all right there in the same part of southwestern Virginia that I grew up in. My dad's father's family came from Scotland, and I'm having way more trouble finding out anything about them. Anybody got any tips for researching stuff like this without spending any money?

I went up to Gainesville GA to visit Mom over Labor Day weekend, and while I was there she got the news that her brother had passed away. He was 90, had retired from the Navy and was living in a VA nursing home in Washington DC. He had been sick for a while. Poor Mom, she is having a pretty hard time. She has an older brother, who lives in a retirement home in Los Angeles, CA after retiring from being a German professor at UCLA, and a younger brother who lives with his wife in New Hampshire. They are all getting old, and it's often depressing. They speak on the phone often, and send pictures in Christmas cards, but it's been decades since they all were together.

I have been trying very hard to be cheerful lately after moping around and grieving the first half of the year, but crappy stuff keeps happening. I'm okay, though. I am finding it kind of comforting to catalogue my family, and I think Mom is getting kind of a kick out of me constantly asking for people's birthdays and middle names and stuff.

We did have a good visit, other than her brother's death (and I am glad I was there with her when she heard). We got her two new bras at JC Penny's, which was very exciting I can tell you, and we had shrimp cocktails at Red Lobster, and we went for walks around her building, and we watched Deal or No Deal, and we went through some old photos, and ate breakfast for dinner at IHOP. It was fun. I like my Mom.