Sunday, June 26, 2011

Toby was a good dog

Dogs become a part of our family history because they are part of our days, our nights and our homes. For years, I ignored dogs because I was told I was allergic to them. I knew first hand how hard it was for me to live with cats, and I assumed dogs would cause me the same turmoil.

When my daughter Becky brought her new dog Watson to my house at Christmas, I feared the worst yet learned the best. I could live in a house with a dog. Perhaps their dander wasn't as strong as what I experienced with cat litter boxes, or perhaps the shorter hair was easier on my breathing.

Once Becky and Watson left, Ashley and I missed them. We started the new year and I attended the Family History Expo "Where Ol' Dogs Learn New Tricks. Thanks to Holly Hansen, I blogged in the Blog House. Why were dogs everywhere I turned?

According to Chinese Astrology, I was born in the year of the Rooster. Since the 2011 astrological year belongs to the Rabbit, I discovered I needed the protection of a Dog. Was it a sign? I don't know but I borrowed my friend's Dog charm and kept it close. Was it my imagination, or did it really help?

Near the end of January I visited the Maricopa Animal Care just to see how the dog adoption system worked. Two days later, I brought home Harrison. He has been my walking partner and friend ever since. Within a few weeks I learned my nephew Steve had adopted Toby.

I only met Toby once, on Memorial Day when Steve and his Kool Pak truck stopped in Casa Grande for a short layover. Toby greeted me by jumping up, placing his paws on my shoulders and looked me straight in the eye. He smiled at me with his huge dog grin. He was happy and friendly, just like you would want your dog to be. He jumped in my car and made himself comfortable.

It was a short visit but I know he was a great companion for Steve. So, yesterday when my sister Joan told me he was killed, my heart just broke.

Toby was a good dog and he will be missed. He was only a part of my extended family for a short time, but he will not be forgotten.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Watermelon: Sowing the Seeds of My Family History

I found five black seeds in my seedless watermelon today.

Most people notice the black seeds and remove it without another thought. They certainly wouldn't bother counting nor would they blog about it. Yet, every time I scoop the red fruit out of the green rind, memories flash through my mind.

My first memory is of my Grandmother Bauer who hated watermelon. When she told me this fact in the early 1960s and I was appalled. How could anyone hate watermelon? It was refreshing and light and it meant summer. She understood and started to tell me a story about herself as a young girl growing up in Russia.

Her family, the Herrmanns of Mariental, Russia, lived off the land. Everyone was part of the harvesting work force once they were old enough to walk in the fields. Grandma said she had seen and lifted and harvested more watermelon than she had ever cared to in her life. If she never saw a watermelon again, it would be OK with her.

My second memory is of my mother who loved watermelon. For most of her life, she bought seeded watermelon and scooped it out in small melon balls carefully removing all of the black seeds. She would be upset if my Dad found any black seeds in the small perfectly sculpted melon balls. This was how watermelon was served for years.

When seedless watermelon arrived in the grocery stores, my Mom served watermelon more often than ever! In the later years, the small melon ball utensil was replaced with an ice cream scoop.

Today I dug into my watermelon with an ice cream scoop. Memories intact, I said to my daughter. "Hey, there are five black seeds in this watermelon!"

And, she replied, "I thought watermelon were supposed to have seeds."

Life goes on.

My Family Tree on Disney

I saw a commercial on Disney Channel entitled "My Family Tree." It focused on a young girl and her family who traced their ancestry back to early California. Their journey included a visit to her great grandfather's home (there may have been more than one great) which he built many years ago.

I was excited to see Disney "commercializing" family history and genealogy so I went to the Disney Channel web site for more information and initially found nothing. I did a google search and discovered these two vignettes on and realized I had seen both air on Disney Channel, too.

I had no luck finding the California search but I did find other blogs such as Thomas MacEntee's Geneabloggers at which talk about the forthcoming show...but what happened to the actual show? Most blogs indicate the "show," not a series of commercials, was to debut in November 2010. Maybe it did?

If you have heard more about this show, please share any information you have. I am curious about this one.