Thursday, August 29, 2013

Crusham Family Reunion

Margie & Betty
My sister and I drove to Cincinnati last weekend for the Crusham reunion, typically held every other year. Jim was invited to a Nascar race in Bristol, Tennessee so he did not come to the reunion with me. Of the eight children in my mom's family only two are still alive. Margie is 91 and Betty is 86. They joke, with a hint of seriousness, that they should not let me take a picture of the remaining siblings because each time I do there is one fewer in the next picture. I love these two ladies like my own mother, so I don't want to think about them not being around next time I make a trip "home". We lucked out with the weather as it was in the low 80's with a nice breeze and a low humidity level. There were fewer people at the reunion though. My sister counted 27. Six of Aunt Betty's seven girls were there, so it would have been a smaller crowd yet without them. A benefit of the smaller gathering though is that I was able to have a nice chat with almost everyone. Normally there are people I don't get a chance to visit with.

Kathy and I went to the Cincinnati Public Library downtown Saturday morning before heading to the park. (I will make a genealogist out of her yet!) We looked up the Kubler and Metz families that I am gathering information on prior to my trip to Germany and Switzerland. I am trying to get a better feel for when the Kublers, in particular, arrived in Cincinnati and when the father no longer shows up there. Because we split up the city directories, I haven't had a chance yet to see how my list compares to Kathy's.

Victor Kuebler
Sunday morning my cousin and I met up at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Cemetery to look for the grave of Victor Kuebler. He was the brother of my ancestor Joseph Kubler (and I am really curious as to why his tombstone spells the name Kuebler when it is not spelled that way in many of the directories or back in Switzerland), and I had seen his grave on On the website it listed his parents, so I am positive I have the right guy. At the base of the stone of Victor and his wife were three flat stones that read Stella, Mother and Father. I don't have a Stella Kubler in my family tree so I don't know who she is, and now I am curious about the other two. Are they Victor's parents? Victor's brother Joseph also has stones saying Mother and Father in his plot in Connersville, Indiana. The cemetery records there are quite poor, so I can't tell who they are. Maybe the St. Als records will be better and I can identify the three stones. It is possible they don't belong with Victor at all. My dead relatives never make it easy for me!

We had an uneventful drive home on Monday, after stopping to buy our supplies of frozen Skyline Chili and goetta. Now to analyze the new information I found...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Happy Anniversary

our wedding day
Yesterday was our 35th wedding anniversary. Wow! That just seems amazing to me. We got married in Des Moines in a church with no air conditioning - always a gamble in the heat of August. On the night before our wedding the hot and humid day ended with a burst of thunder and lightning, accompanied by heavy rains. Many times that results in more uncomfortable weather the next day. But our wedding day was perfect. The blue sky contained white, puffy clouds and the temperature was in the 70's. Though Jim's tuxedo doesn't seem so now, it was quite fashionable for the day. I made my wedding dress, and my mom crocheted the lace on it. With the people we cared about the most gathered around us, we professed our love and vowed to stay together in good times and in bad. The vows were ones we took very seriously, but I can honestly say the good times have far outweighed the bad. I am eager to see what comes next for us as a couple.

Prairie View Bed & Breakfast
Over the past weekend we drove up to the Lake Panorama area in Iowa to celebrate my father-in-law's 85th birthday. Some friends of the family own a condo on the lake, so the folks and Jim's sister stayed there. We stayed at a bed & breakfast outside of the town of Panora. The B & B was very nice and we enjoyed talking with the owners as well as the other guests who were staying there. Three women were sharing the large suite across the hall from us. They have been friends for 47 years and they try to get together once a month.

sunset on the lake
At the lake we were able to take boat rides, and Jim and I took a jet ski out Saturday afternoon. I was driving because I have control issues. Which is why you will never see me behind Jim on his motorcycle! We had been out about 15 minutes when I got pulled over by the water patrol. I have never even been pulled over by a cop before, so I was stunned. I had only been going 18-20 miles per hour as we like looking at the houses along the shore, so I knew I wasn't speeding. I had been coming around a bend and was watching out for the two speed boats heading my way pulling water skiers. Apparently that is when I went outside the buoy instead of on the inside of it. and just my luck, the water patrol was sitting right there. So he asked me to pull up to his boat, which I was afraid of hitting because it is hard to steer a jet ski on choppy waters when you aren't giving it any gas. Then he made polite chit-chat about how nice the day was (and it was beautiful - or had been) before asking if we owned the jet ski. We told him it was our friends, and he then wanted to know if we were new to jet skiing. I admitted that I was, so he went on to explain that I had missed the buoy, and why that was important. Then he told me it was a $50 fine. Whoa! But he added that he wasn't going to ticket me and just suggested that we might like to stay in the wide open area by the marina where they don't have any buoys. But he did write down the jet ski number so I knew I was going to have to 'fess up when we got back. When the owner asked if we had enjoyed our ride, I said it was all fun and games until the point when I was pulled over by the water patrol. Her mouth dropped open. I told her I didn't get a ticket, just a warning, and explained what had happened. Then everyone had a good laugh about it. I had a fuzzy navel instead.

The weekend passed quickly. We had lots to eat and got caught up on what everyone has been up to since we were last together. We got a few card games in as well. We did not leave Iowa until 4:00 Sunday afternoon, which got us back home at 11:00 p.m. With all the great food over the weekend and the fact that we were so tired, we decided not to go out to eat last night for our anniversary. Instead I made a nice roast and some lemon bars for dessert. We will celebrate another day, and in fact will probably take a trip later this year. In the meantime, happy anniversary baby, got you on my mind...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Wolterman B & B

We had a full house this weekend, and we loved every minute of it. Our daughter came home on Wednesday for a long weekend to attend a friend's college graduation party. On Thursday my cousin from Chicago arrived, picked up by his sister at the Megabus stop. She had traveled from Cincinnati. Late Friday night the Chicago cousin's roommate got here. The Chicagoans were here for a wedding, while the Cincinnatian came to hang with me. (And maybe see her brother.) Since our daughter was the last one to make reservations at our B & B, she spent Friday and Saturday nights with a friend who lives here in town.

water lily at the Missouri Botanical Garden
During the day on Friday we went to the Missouri Botanical Garden then hit one of their favorite restaurants, Crazy Bowls and Wraps, for lunch. Then we set off for the zoo. And was it ever a zoo! The place was packed, though we did manage to score a decent parking spot in one of the Art Museum's free lots. We got sprinkled on a couple times, but at least the temperature was decent.

That night my cousins and I went to The Shaved Duck for dinner. As this restaurant had been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, we were eager to check it out. After a 45 minute wait, we were led to our table for three. The appetizer of Smothered Fries was amazing, even if it did look a bit disgusting. The French fries are covered with shredded rib meat and a cheese sauce. Tasty! I split a pulled pork sandwich and order of mac and cheese with my cousin, and she ordered a side of corn bread for us to share. We knew we were stopping at Ted Drewe's on the way home, so we didn't want to overload ourselves.

The Shaved Duck restaurant

Smothered Fries

breakfast at the Boardwalk Cafe
Saturday we were all able to go out to breakfast together before everyone headed out for their activities. A couple of us went to The Hill to do some shopping at the Italian markets there. I had never been and it was a wonderful experience. I picked up some garlic flavored linguine, which I am eager to try with some shrimp. In the evening we dropped the wedding-goers off at 9th Street Abbey for the reception and the rest of us ate at McGurks. It was a beautiful night for outdoor dining, and we had a glass of wine at the house on the deck when we got home.

Most of the guests left this morning, and our daughter heads out tomorrow night. It was great to be surrounded by young people with all their hopes and ambitions ahead of them. And yet I find myself very content with this phase of my own life.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Packing for an Overseas Trip

Now that a number of the genealogy plans for my Family Tree Tours fall adventure are coming together, my mind has turned to other more essential questions. The big one is what to do about a phone. I will need to have a way to stay in contact with my group, my family and my genealogy assistants while I am there. I anticipate that traveling to two different countries is going to complicate things, as it has already done with currency and electrical outlets. I have some options, which is always good. I could add an international plan to my Verizon account for my iPhone. But then I read reviews about the coverage and service, including an account by well-known entrepreneur Peter Shankman. Yikes! That pretty much scared me away from that alternative. My son has recommended that I simply turn off the data plan and roaming options on my phone. I would still be able to access my email and social media in areas where wifi is available, and any calls that I made or received would be billed to my Verizon account. That sounds pretty good for an "in case of emergency" situation. Other options are to rent a phone here, or purchase a disposable phone when I arrive.

The other thing I am looking into is whether or not I need to bring a converter for my electronic devices. You need to use a converter if your device is only labeled as 110 or so volts as the rest of the world operates at higher voltage. So far it appears that everything I will be plugging in handles 120/240 volts, with the exception of my hair dryer. As it is an over-sized beast, I have purchased a dual voltage yet small travel hair dryer. I need to check it out here to make sure the drying capacity is good for the thickness of my hair, and that it is not overly noisy.

We already have an adapter kit from earlier travel, but I still need to make sure that I have the appropriate adapters for both Germany and Switzerland. The adapter modifies the plug of your device so that will plug into a different socket configuration.

Another investment I am looking into is a power strip so that I can charge multiple devices at once. An added benefit is that I would only need one adapter for the power strip since the rest of the devices would plug directly into the strip. Through my research I have learned that you do not want to use a power strip with a surge protector built in when traveling abroad because apparently that is dangerous. However the power strip needs to be dual voltage as well, so I doubt any of the ones I have around the house will work.

I am sure some other things will come up, but this is what I am focused on right now.