Sunday, February 10, 2008

Social History, Arm Whiskers and Weird Al

This whole church at noon thing is wreaking havoc with our nap schedules. Tommy absolutely must go to sleep immediately upon our return home at three o'clock. He is a zombie baby. Jake and Sam sleep too. I read. Jane and Ross may do whatever is silent. We are strict on that. They aren't allowed to play twister or make frosting like their cousins at Jen's house. Anyway, the sleepers have just awakened at 6:30 pm. This could be a long evening.

During Sacrament meeting today Sam leaned over and whispered in my ear: "Mom, your whiskers are getting long."

"My what?" I replied, suddenly self-conscious.
"Your whiskers. You know, here, on your arm." he explained.

Apparently he thinks I'm sasquatch, but I swear my arm hair is well within the normal range. I'm glad he wasn't referring to my face. A 5 o'clock shadow at noon is so embarrassing.

In other news, I have been neglecting my blog for three reasons:

1. Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart. I am loving every minute of this delicious turn-of-the-century tabloid thinly veneered as social history. (Which is perfect: too thick a veneer and it might become tedious.) Alva, the domineering mother, effectively forces her 18-year-old daughter Consuelo, America's richest heiress, into marrying the 9th Duke of Marlborough, who needs the Vanderbilt railroad cash to fund some home improvement projects (to Blenheim Palace, his home.) Things go awry between the two early in their European honeymoon. But Consuelo and Alva eventually become suffregettes on both sides of the Atlantic, sans husbands. (That's a real tune change, Alva. From selling your daughter into extremely well dressed white slavery to militant feminism in fewer than 15 years. Not that I'm complaining about the enfranchisement, ladies. Thanks.). That's as far as I've gotten. It's a real nail-biter. This will probably put me back into another biography phase. Does anyone have any reccommendations? I find, in the case of life stories, I am partial to the ladies.

Above: Jen and I at Blenheim in 1994.
Above: Winston Churchill's grave in the churchyard next to Blenheim. Winston was Consuelo's cousin-in-law and close friend. He was second in line for the dukedom before Consuelo's sons were born. She is buried right next to Winston.
Above: Blenheim Palace. Nice digs, Consuelo. Love what you've done with the place.

2. I've continued FamilySearch Indexing. My last assignment featured some middle and upper-middle-class families in what I think is the Greenwich area of Manhatten. I was feeling bad for one mother who had eight children, each two years apart (afraid she might possibly suffocate under all that laundry), until I noticed they had FOUR nannies. Or maybe a cook, a maid and two nannies. Or maybe a manicurist, a masseuse, a spiritual advisor (in-house guru), and a dog-walker. Who knows, but there were two Janes, two Elizabeths. I noticed her husband was worth 40K, which in mid-nineteenth century dollars isn't quite a bazillion, and she probably wasn't hanging out with Alva Vanderbilt, but nobody was going hungry, certainly.

In another superior bit of sleuthing (I'm practically Nancy Drew now), I found a silversmith with an almost indecipherable last name. I could tell it started with DU. So I googled him and found a silversmith mark by "Dunn" who was active in NYC in 1850. I also found where a semi-famous jeweler was buried with his extended family. When I can find them somewhere else, I can check the spellings and I know I've got it right.

3. I spent one whole evening watching Weird Al videos on YouTube. I had about 20 years worth to catch up on, so it took some time. I enjoyed White and Nerdy (featuring Donny Osmond), The Saga Begins, and Ebay. Am I the only one who thought Weird Al retired after Eat it?


Jenni said...

We have 1pm church...there is no hope for a 19 month old to have anywhere near a normal day with this schedule! I feel your pain---tremendously!

Jolene said...

Confession: I love Donny Osmond. I love the White and Nerdy video - we have watched that one so many times.

I was looking for a map of Europe in 1914 to help Courtney study for a test and we found the funnest web site of educational games. They are so fun and I thought of you when we ran across this one: