Friday, July 30, 2010
Okey-dokey, first: a huge THANK YOU to all of you who responded. Even if you hadn't had any of these experiences, you were all so supportive and encouraging that it really helped.
Second: as most of you said, the important thing was to see the doctor and bring up these questions and concerns and find out what could be done. So I had quite a struggle about the Metformin. Doogie (I know, but he IS such a 'baby' - I think my kids are older than he is) did exactly what I thought he would do: I no sooner started describing the slow-but steady increase in my blood sugar levels than he was reaching for the keyboard (since these days they don't use prescription pads) to print out an Rx for me to increase the Metformin. After much discussion (!) he finally allowed as how reducing it a bit probably wouldn't hurt. I'm not on 750mg/daily instead of 1000mg/daily - which suits me fine as I'd rather do a very gradual reduction and monitor how it goes. This AM's FBG was 6.2 / 111.6. This is only a couple days of the lower dosage, tho, so it may not be significant. Time will tell, and I will keep you updated.
Third: to those of you who pointed out 'Yogurt has carbs' - THANK YOU. I honestly didn't know. For some reason I had it in my head that as long as it was 'plain' yogurt with no added sugar (which would be sucrose / carbs) or added fruit (which would be fructose / carbs) then there would be no carbs as milk doesn't have any. Well, duh on me. Lactose. Milk sugar. Uh huh.
Fourth: cutting out all carbs is not good for overall health, least of all for diabetics. The trick is to work with them. Changing from grain-based or fruit-based carbohydrates to vegetable-based carbohydrates is okay on a short-term plan. (And for those of you stalled on weight-loss plateaus, if you substitute veggies for other carb-sources, it might jump-start your weight-loss again - doesn't hurt to try it for a few days.) Those of you who addressed the carb issue - whether from the low-carb, Atkins diet to the complex-vs-simple carbohydrates - gave me so much great information. I am still doing some research and checking links you sent and so on. Again, can't THANK YOU enough!
Fifth: plantar fascitis. Difficult term for a difficult condition. I have good days and bad days, and very slowly (!) I seem to be having more good days than bad, so for those of you who said '--and then it finally went away and I haven't had any trouble since,' you give me real hope that this may go that way. To those of you who said '--and then I had cortisone injections, and DON'T DO IT,' believe me, after hearing what you had to say, I won't. I am checking into orthotics and reading up on the condition for some of the exercises / PT that help. I had already started doing some stretching exercises, so maybe that is helping to improve it slowly. One of you (you know who you are, lol) ended up having surgery, and if my foot doesn't improve, I will talk to the GP about going that route. If it continues to improve, I may not need to do anything more about it, so... meanwhile, I will try to be patient.
The pharmacist advice is brilliant, and I will be going to a large drugstore next Tuesday so I can consult with one of their people. Depending what comes of that, I may then meet with another at a different place just to pick his/her brains and see how the advice compares.
Again, you have all been so incredibly helpful. What a wonderful community SP is! And how lucky I am to be able to post something like this and have so many of you respond! THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Thanx to everyone for responding to this blog. I'm removing it only because I don't think it's fair to have people read it and reply now that I've made some choices. Depending where things go (and I WILL try to be patient and give it time!) I will post updates from time to time. First one is today, so see the blog entry for 30 July.
...and again THANK YOU for taking the time to read and reply. You have all helped me beyond measure.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Now, Tutbury was an unexpected find. while we knew that between about 1770 and 1850 several ancestors had lived in or near Tutbury, we'd certainly never been there and didn't know what the town would be like. More of a village, really, but it seemed a lively place, just busy enough to be interesting but quiet enough to have a 'small town' feel. We drove around a while to orient ourselves.
In the center of the block on the right (photo below) you can just about see a half-timbered structure. That's the famous Ye Olde Dog and Partridge Inn; the oldest section dates from the early 1500s:
Tutbury has a claim to some national history: it is home to Tutbury Castle, which is now just a ruin, but the castle played an important role in some of the early stages after the Normans took over.
If you look closely at the second picture, just to the right of the tree leaves, you may be able to make out some of the castle ruins on top of the hill. It must have been an impressive site when it was still standing, looming as it did over the village.
Himself had a great-great-grandfather who was a glasscutter - this we know from the censuses that list occupation. There was a large glass factory in Tutbury by 1836; it may have replaced an even older works that dated from the early 1800s, and there is evidence that glass-making took place in Tutbury as early as the 1400s! This picture, from the late 1800s, was taken of the 'old' factory that was demolished in about 2000; it's posted on the Webb-Corbett history website:
While driving around we found a sign directing us to 'Georgian Crystal.' Now located in an old silk mill, Georgian Crystal was founded by several of the glassmakers who were put out of work when Royal Doulton purchased, then later closed, the Webb-Corbett Glassworks in Tutbury. After changing hands once or twice more, the last remaining building closed for good in 2007. Georgian Crystal lets visitors walk around the factory, looking over the shoulders of the glassmakers. We had to stand back from the glassblowers (understandably! we could feel the tremendous heat coming from the furnace even several feet away) but there was a slight elevated platform, so we had a good view.
The finished piece from the pictures above was a glass apple. I asked the men if I could buy that one, since I had watched them make it. They said I could - as long as I was willing to return in about a week. That's how long it takes for the large solid pieces like paperweights to cool down! They are kept in a special heated cabinet where the air gradually cools; if they are left exposed to room-temperature air, they are subject to cracking.
We were able to get very close to the glasscutters. They showed us how the guidelines are applied to the pieces, how the various patterns are incised, how the glass is then smoothed and polished, and a selection of different types of glassware and various patterns.
The glasscutters were friendly and informative - and I think there was only one who was younger than 70. It is, sadly, very much a dying art. There are no apprentices, so no one to pass the skills on to. Perhaps there's not much future in it, but regardless of the reasons, it strikes me as sad that before long, after some 600 years of industry, there will be no more glassmaking in Tutbury.
Our appointment at the parish church was next, so we drove there and had a few minutes to walk around the graveyard. We did not see a single stone with the name of Himself's forebears - Coates - and that was a tipoff as to the relative (pun intended) fruitlessness of our visit to St Mary's. Rosemary, the verger, was there at the appointed time and let us into the church itself. Since our focus was on finding documentation and information about family, I hadn't given the church itself much thought.
It was build in 1089 and is the 'oldest building in continual use in Staffordshire.' I am always amazed that it isn't just the Westminster Abbeys or York Minsters or Canterbury Cathedrals that are ancient and noteworthy: people have been attending services in St Mary's Parish Church for nearly a thousand years, and it's believed there was a very early Christian church on the same site from about 900. Amazing!
The carvings around the doorway and much of the exterior are probably much as they were when the church itself was built. The interior has been changed extensively, though there are a few elements that are from the original structure. Henry VIII's men found an active priory with several outbuildings and a church that was perhaps three times longer than it is now, as well as having sizable 'wings' (transepts) to either side of the center tower. By the time they were finished, all the outbuildings except one (which became the church's hall) were demolished; any gold or gems were removed from the shrines and chapels within the church; the church building itself was lowered by the equivalent of a story, and the length cut down by two-thirds and both transepts entirely demolished. The glass is half-full, though: unlike many religious settlements and churches, St Mary's survived the Reformation and continued to serve as the parish church, thus saving it from further destruction:
Rosemary had generously copied out from the parish records the very-little information available about the Coates family. We have been very fortunate in the people we've met while on this genealogy journey.
Leaving Tutbury we headed over to Stafford, to the records office and the reading room, to see how much documentation we could find in a few hours. Although there are still several gaps in the chronology for the generations between 1770 and 1850, we were able to substantiate several marriages (complete with the maiden names of the brides), name and birthdates of children, and quite a few burials. These last were apparently all in graves without markers: remember, we found no Coates' graves in St Mary's churchyard, and it looks as though the 'nonconformist' (i.e., churches other than CofE) congregations in Tutbury at that time did not have their own cemeteries. Although we will probably never be able to prove it, it seems likely that the Coates family was too poor to afford stones for their decedents - doubly likely in light of the fact that we have incontrovertible evidence that before 1840, very few of them were literate and could not even write their own names, making X's or crosses for 'their marks' when signatures were required.
The trip started with a grave, and ended with records about graves. I usually think of myself as a relatively cheerful soul, but sometimes, I find it motivates me to reflect when my thoughts are colored with a little melancholy, thinking of those who have gone before...
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Now that we're retired - sounds as though it should be the title of a children's book - we do more short trips and gallivanting than we did formerly. Last week we decided to combine a couple different purposes into one trip.
ToBeFitNotFat - Sue - lives less than an hour's drive away; I met her thru the Working To Lose 100+ After Age 50 team here on SP. A major part of Himself's family history is centered around a small village not too far south of where Sue is. As it happens, Sue lives not very far from Chatsworth, the ancestral home of the Cavendishes, the Dukes of Devonshire. Originally, a visit to Chatsworth (open to the public, but fairly hefty admission) was one of my interim 'goal rewards,' so I had already thought about combining the sightseeing trip with a meeting with Sue. But when the genealogy prospect came up, I switched gears and decided to meet her, postpone the Chatsworth visit, and research some of the 19th-century branches on Himself's family tree.
First stop when we left here was Edensor - pronounced 'Ensor,' which troubles me no end as it sticks in my head as 'Eden-sore.' Even though I was postponing seeing Chatsworth, I knew that being in that area meant I could accomplish something that I had wanted to do for a very long time.
Edensor is a lovely little village that belongs to the estate of Chatsworth. It's where many of the permanent staff live, and in fact the Dowager Duchess Deborah Cavendish (for some of you, it will place her when I say her maiden name was Mitford - she was the youngest of the famous Mitford girls) lives in one of the houses in Edensor, having moved from 'the big house' when her husband died and her son became the current Duke. I'm not sure which particular house is hers; several of them look posh enough to house a Dowager Duchess!
My reason for wanting to go to Edensor is long-standing: I wanted to visit Kathleen Kennedy's grave.
One of my favorite Kennedy pictures is of Kathleen with her older brothers, Joseph Jr and John. This was taken 1 September 1939. Joseph Sr had been the ambassador to England from the US, and war was imminent. Joe, JFK, and 'Kick' were photographed as they went to Parliament to hear the historic announcement that Great Britain was declaring war on Hitler's Germany.
The photo above is of Kathleen during the war years; notice the 'ARC' on her lapels, for 'American Red Cross.' And rather than 'Kennedy,' it would be more correct to say 'Kathleen Kennedy Cavendish' - near the end of World War II, she married William Cavendish, the Marquess of Hartington. No, as a title it didn't mean much to me, either. It is, in fact, the traditional title for the heir to the Dukedom of Devonshire. Eventually William - not Andrew - would have become the 11th Duke of Devonshire; Kathleen Kennedy would have been his Duchess; and Andrew Cavendish would have been 'just' the younger brother of the 11th Duke, with his wife Deborah being 'merely' the aristocratic spouse of a relatively minor noble.
Kathleen and William were married at a registry office - think 'justice of the peace' - in London on 6 May 1944. There are a number of copies of this picture, taken on the day of their wedding, so I haven't credited any one of them. I guess it must be 'public domain':
He was an officer serving in the Coldstream Guards while she was working with the Red Cross helping servicemen. They had about five weeks to enjoy married life before he was sent overseas. Three months after that, William died in Belgium, killed in action. In 1948 (nearly four years to the day after their marriage) Kathleen died in a plane crash in France.
Technically, she was entitled to be buried in the Cavendish family plot at Edensor. In reality, she might well not have ended up there: William isn't buried there; his grave is in a military cemetery in Belgium. Kathleen was engaged to another Brit at the time of her death - he, too, died in that same plane crash - and her body might have been returned to the US. But there had been an estrangement between Kathleen and her mother, and some family acrimony, and the end result was Joseph Kennedy (her father) and the Cavendishes (William's parents) agreed to her burial in Edensor.
You go in the gate beside the church and wend your way up a gravel path to the top of the hill, overlooking the village.
When the leaves are off the trees you are said to have a view of Chatsworth, but there was no sign of it this day, as it's midsummer and all the trees were fully leaved.
As many of you know, I love walking around cemeteries, and don't usually find them unduly sad places. But 'Kick's' grave is a little off by itself and somehow it seems desolate. It was a dreary day, overcast and threatening rain, which perhaps added to the bleakness of it all:
The epitaph on her stone - 'Joy she gave, joy she has found' - was chosen, it is said, by her mother-in-law. It's a lovely tribute. The stone set into the ground over her grave notes that her brother John, as president, visited the site on 29 June 1963.
In the grand scheme of things, William Cavendish was no more 'important' than the thousands of other people who died in the war; Kathleen Kennedy was no more 'valuable' because she came from a wealthy, powerful family. But I find something poignant in their story, perhaps as much as anything because more than a lot of people they had every expectation that theirs would be a life of comfort and privilege. From the correspondence and journals they left behind, both seem to have been very conscious that they were fortunate and had an abundance of opportunity gifted to them, and both seem to have been determined to make the world a better place. And yet...
I left Edensor not with a sense of duty fulfilled, but rather still with a sense of unfinished business. I have sometimes thought about requesting an interview with Her Grace the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire Deborah Mitford Cavendish, with the idea of asking her about Kathleen Kennedy. I don't know that they were particularly close, but certainly they knew one another, being sisters-in-law. And Lady Deborah is (so far as I know) the last survivor of that group.
Our next stop was Matlock to visit Sue and her husband Ralph. We were meeting them for lunch at The White Lion pub. Sue has already posted a picture or two on her website - personally, I think Ralph is the better photographer. Nonetheless, Himself also captured the moment:
Me on the left in both pix. I don't happen to think I take a good picture. Even when I was in my 20s and much thinner, I can probably count on one hand pictures of me that I think flattering. On a milestone birthday, reporters said to Gloria Steinem 'You're 50? You don't look 50!' to which she replied 'THIS is what 50 looks like!' So whether I like photos of myself or not, truth be told, THIS is what I look like!
The rest of our trip was a nonevent in some ways. It was good for us, as we were able to find some sources of information about ancestors in Himself's family tree. The central archive is in Stafford, the 'county town' (think county seat) of Staffordshire. I would describe it as a small city. The middle of town has a layout reminiscent of old, narrow, medieval streets: I don't know a lot about the history of Stafford, so it's not impossible it was one of the old walled cities from centuries ago. We found the record offices, registered for the use of the reading room, stayed an hour or so to orient ourselves with the place and the data we would need to sift thru, then headed off to the bed-and-breakfast.
I admit it, I love staying in these quiet countryside places. The Grange (converted barn) was out in the middle of nowhere, back a long lane and off the main road. The landlady was babysitting her two-year-old granddaughter and I had fun visiting with Ruby. (I love spending time with little kids when I don't have to be responsible for them and can hand them back if they need attention.) The room was quite up-to-date as the conversion itself was not very old, and it was bright, airy, comfortable - everything you could wish for. We had brought a 'picnic supper' with us, so Mary invited us to use her dining room. She also brought us fresh coffee and some home-baked scones (oh, the problems I have with temptation) to go with our dinner - she was thoughtfulness personified, and a darned good baker.
Next morning we were up before breakfast was ready, so I spent the time playing with the puppies: the owners have a golden retriever and two of the puppies are still on the premises, the others having found new homes. I don't have any pets, though I had dogs all my life until I moved here, so I greatly enjoyed the puppies. (I love spending time with puppies and kittens when I don't have to be responsible for them and can hand them back if they need attention - see above!) After breakfast, it was a brief visit to Tutbury.
I didn't take that photo - it's from the Tutbury website, but it amuses me! I'll resume the Trip to Less-than-Bountiful in the next blog. :-)
Sunday, July 18, 2010
While we're waiting for me to (ahem) compose the next travelogue, I thought you might find this interesting. I got it from AspenHugger (who got it from DebbieAnne). She said to let her know if you blog it so she can read it; well, I think that's a great idea, so if YOU blog it, let me know and EYE will go find out more about YOU! :-D
WHERE ARE YOU FROM? Born in Watertown, NY, grew up in Maryland.
DO YOU HAVE ANY KIDS & IF SO HOW MANY? Two, one of each.
WHAT IS YOUR OCCUPATION? Ah, therein lies the rub - I don't think I HAVE one. Idle hands... devil's workshop...
ARE YOU MARRIED & IF SO HOW LONG? Oh yes, I'm a veritable sucker for marriage. First time, 18 years (24 if you count '...till divorce us did part'); second time, seven years. So far. But if he doesn't watch his Ps and Qs--!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOD? Ice cream. Pretty much ANY kind of ice cream. Um, well, I'm not too crazy about mint...
DO YOU HAVE ANY BROTHERS OR SISTERS? No, unfortunately; had one brother who died years ago.
WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE VACATION SPOT? Canada's good, I love Canada, especially the southeastern part... Scotland... Washington, DC... York, London, Northumberland, yep, definitely on the list... Outer Banks, NC... rural Pennsylvania... New England in autumn... probably lots of places I haven't been yet... okay, let's just say 'My favorite vacation spot is Vacation.' :-D
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE? Now, see, it depends when you ask me. I watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy not long ago, so for right now, it's LOTR. Usually it's Gone With the Wind. Once in a while it might be Terms of Endearment, or a John Wayne flick, or Disney's Mulan... I think for me 'movies' are like 'vacations' - I've seldom met one I didn't like, and often my favorite is The One At The Moment.
PICK JUST ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF: My answers have grown increasingly long. Is this a way of telling me to pipe down?
HOW DID YOU MEET YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER? Online. (Now THERE's a one-word answer!)
WHEN/WHERE WAS THE LAST PLACE YOU HAD A COMPLETE BREAKDOWN? WHEN = about three years ago; WHERE = irrelevant; WHY (which wasn't asked but should have been) = an absolutely detestable job I had. Actually, it wasn't the job, as in 'the work I was doing.' It was the most awful supervisors and managers and power-mad employers--sorry. See? I steam just thinking about 'em, so I won't. I'll chill now. Ommmmmmm...
YOUR FRIEND JUST MOONED YOU. ARE YOU GROSSED OUT? Noooo... but I can't think of too many friends who would do that AND be in their right minds. Or sober. Yeh, that's probably it. They must be three sheets to the wind.
WHERE IS THE LAST PERSON YOU KISSED? WHERE is he? He better be in his office - that's certainly where I left him. WHO is he? I'd like to be coy and say 'I don't kiss and tell,' lol...
DO YOU HAVE MONEY? Huh. No.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO? End of July: another ancestry trip. October: apple festival! January: fingers crossed for a trip 'home,' to the US.
ARE YOU EXPECTING A PHONE CALL? Why? D'you know something EYE don't know?!?
DO YOU HAVE A SONG STUCK IN YOUR HEAD? Yes!!! Yes I do! After reading the title of this all I can hear is Marni Nixon / Deborah Kerr as Anna Leon-Owens in The King & I.
LYRICS FROM THAT SONG? Good Lord. 'Getting to know you, getting to know all about you... Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me... Getting to know you, putting it my way but nicely; you are precisely - my cup of tea! Getting to know you, getting to feel free and easy when I am with you, getting to know what to say... Haven't you noticed suddenly I'm bright and breezy? Because of all the beautiful and new things I'm learning about you, day by day.' Tell me it's not in YOUR head now, lol...
DO YOU LIKE TO CUDDLE? Sometimes.
ARE YOU LISTENING TO MUSIC RIGHT NOW? Only what's IN MY HEAD!
DO YOU HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE SMOKE AROUND YOU? Yeh, pretty much. Nobody is as intolerant of smoking as an ex-smoker, eh?
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