Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I will be closing this blog soon. As much as I have enjoyed having it--it is time to stop. I will be downloading the blog entries and then closing the blog itself. Thank-you for being on this journey with me.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lost information...again

After two weeks of using Ideamason--a most excellent program, Adobe issued an update and ...Ideamason crashed, when ever I tried to open the Adobe pdf files. Ugh. It was working so well, and I liked all the features and how I could cross reference stuff, and ...oh well, perhaps it did me a favor. Ideamason has been abadononed by its maker and hence, no more versions or updates, ever. So three years from now, when all the info is in place, and I have yet another version of windows or a different computer..and a very old program that won't run on it--and all the information would be lost--not even able to be read by another program. So if I used a common program like Word or Wordperfect, even five years from now, my information can be accessed. Now, I'm back to the starting line...and I have to figure out how to save the information so that it is useful to me, when I am writing my books. Ugh! That is why I liked the IdeaMason so much, ...I didn't have to think too much about the structure of it, since the program did the hard work. Still, I expected problems like this. It always happens. My going through the papers another time should catch some that I missed. It will be okay in the end. I will finish this project, and I will finish my books. Even if it takes longer than I want it to. Part of me is glad. Glad that it will be longer

Titanic Memorial Cruise Trip Notes

This entry is going to be long. It is about the Titanic Memorial Trip I took on March 31 to April 20 of 2012. Amazing Trip. :) Great Trip. I will post pictures starting tomorrow.

Trip Diary

Day 1 and 2 in My Epic Trip -- I got up about an hour later than I meant to. Still, the plan was to get there at least 2 hours before the flight took off. My getting up late caused us to get there only an hour and 15 minutes before the flight was to take off. But Little Rock is a smaller airport and if we hustled, we'd get through security in plenty of time. Daughter left in car after lots of hurried hugs and kisses. Tags got put on bags. We get to the front of check –in line—the plane had just left. Turned out the Time was different on the Itinerary than on the ticket. I almost had a melt-down. The only thing that saved me was remembering that my trusty travel agent told me to call if I had a problem. Most know that I don’t like cell-phones. This meant finding a payphone. Not a single payphone took cash, and the ones that took credit cards  wouldn’t dial 800 numbers.

I finally found a courtesy phone that did 800 numbers at no cost. I got my travel agent. She soothed the wild anxiety by her promise to fix things--she needed to talk to the gate agent. The gate agent needed to talk to the travel agent. Phone is 300 feet from the gate, and the connection only lasts 3 minutes at a time. Much calling back and forth but finally things are sorted and we are put on stand-by. 3 flights go by before space is found for us. On the one that we get put on, we tell the gate agent before hand to put a man on who had his *peeps* on board that particular flight, but the agent put us on instead. Might have been the hassle he put the agent through earlier. Yeah!! Oops, husband is up front, and I am at the back of the planee put on stand-by. 3 flights go by before space is found for us. On the one that we get put on, we tell the gate agent before hand to put a man on who had his *peeps* on board that particular flight, but the agent put us on instead. Yeah!!! Oops, husband is up front, and I am at the back of the plane.ied hugs and kisses. Tags got put on bags. We get to front of check in line--the plane had just left. Turned out the Time was different on the itenerary than on the ticket. I almost had a melt-down. The only thing that saved me was remembering that my trusty travel agent told me to call if a problem. Most know that I don't like cell-phones. This meant finding a payphone. Not a single pay phone took cash, and the ones that took credit cards wouldn't dial 800 numbers. *Cont*ied hugs and kisses. Tags got put on bags. We get to front of check in line--the plane had just left. Turned out the Time was different on the itenerary than on the ticket. I almost had a melt-down. The only thing that saved me was remembering that my trusty travel agent told me to call if a problem. Most know that I don't like cell-phones. This meant finding a payphone. Not a single pay phone took cash, and the ones that took credit cards wouldn't dial 800 numbers. *Cont*

I worried the stewardesses by asking to keep an eye on Richard because he has diabetes and sometimes has panic attacks when in enclosed spaces. Did Richard have a problem? Nope. Nada. But I do get a couple of check-ins from the stewardesses that he is doing just fine.

Atlanta -- we cross into International territory here and suddenly I hear a whole mix of babble of different languages. We get some more money from the ATM (While still on American soil) and change money over to Pounds. We eat at a nice restaurant - very expensive but nice. I chat to everybody and only a few do the "inch-a-way" dance that tells me that I am talking entirely too much.

Oh, I forgot a LR detail...

I found out while waiting on standby that I have left my necklace and watch and my COMPUTER POWER CORD somewhere where my computer isn't. I call Abigail and frantically beg her to bring all. She makes the hour long trip to LR for the second time that day, only for me still not to find the power cord in the car where I thought I had left it. Okay, picture this, Geek, Computer, 21 day trip no power cord. I give you permission to shudder now. She was a dear for driving back, anyway.

Back to Atlanta - About Midnight, we get our next standby out, and land in Boston about 3 in the morning. Both Richard and I are punch-drunk happy to be there, even at that un-Godly hour when all sane men but no sane winos are sleeping in cozy beds. (I saw a wino picking through the trash at the parking garage.) We are giggling, and making a fool of ourselves, so much so that the Night Attendant gives us 2 extra hours in our hotel room (Which our travel agent reserved for us!) and free Internet. Score!! Score, again. Excellent room, too.

Richard realizes that he has forgotten his insulin. 20 minutes huddle and more frantic worrying (by me, not him, he was asleep through most of the huddling and conferencing) we decide to send him out to seek a VA Hospital and he ought to be able to get his meds. He does while I sleep and 1:30 finds us 80 poorer as the cab ride to the VA hospital was 40 bucks each way but the meds and the doctor visit was free.

We have lunch in a nice seafood restaurant...waiting for our connection to the Saga lounge...I mean, we were waiting for our Icelandic flight with the Saga seating that came with the Saga lounge.

In the Saga lounge -- all drinks and food was free and there were plenty of chairs and tables for everyone. After Richard and I got our food, I realized that their was a couple next to us in the corner getting engaged...right then...in front of me. I get as excited as they are...and very nearly spoil their moment. They excused my interruption graciously and show me the ring, and I give them their first congratulations. Before we leave, I give the bride one of my period fans as a wedding gift.

Finally we all get to London and crash in a very nice hotel call the Gosvenor. The actual room is a bit small. And I am surprised by the fact that our room key has to be in a certain slot or the power goes out. This I find out when I want to take a bath before I meet our friend Chris and Richard went out for some? reason that I can't remember now. I had to wait in the dark until he got back for that bath.
Richard and I go out in front of the Grosvenor to meet up with Chris (my English friend) and it is colder than I expected! The day is overcast with everybody but me wearing a coat. Chris is taller than I expected, but totally the perfect English gentleman. He drives us around a bit--there is even an encounter with a very polite Bobby--and eventually we get to the restaurant where we have dinner and drinks with Chris and his family. We eat at this semi-loud semi-bar slash restaurant but the food is amazingly good. We have Fish and Chips, as it is to be my first real English meal ...and I am surprised at both the size of the Fish (as in "one"--the size of my head) and that the traditional side is Mushy peas. Mashed peas for the Americans among us. I eat until stuffed, make conversation with both Chris and his lovely wife, (and boys) until we are fully chatted out. I give Chris a book on the British side of the Titanic sinking...and Richard and I both regret that we don't have more time to spend with these lovely people.

A couple of last notes on the travel to London. To get to the ticket area, we had to take our shoes off, take off all jewelry and metal, take out our computers and electronics--stuffing it all into plastic bins. I always feel like I am going to prison, because not only are they telling us to take off all this stuff, there is this unspoken rush to hurry hurry hurry through right at the time you feel most exposed. This time they also had body scanners, and we had to stand in a metal box and have those scanners read us. No one can see anyone off like the old days nor can you bring any food or drink in with you, as well as very strict rules about what you can take on the plane in the carry-on bag. It is a very cold, impersonal experience.

When we landed in Iceland we had to get rescanned--despite having been screened once before in Little Rock. They said their screening was stricter than ours. Any stricter and these airlines will be copying UFO and using probes in places that I can't mention in polite society.

One thing you should know right now...on the days that we did not touch land...my routine was pretty much the same. I would wake roughly 10 minutes before the breakfast line shut down, absolutely famished. Rush to get dressed, then hustle to get into the restaurant before they stop serving food. I would generally get the same thing every day - Rice cereal and milk, orange juice, fruit, grilled ham, a dougnut-1 each-, mushrooms, and a crispy potato patty. There would be lots more on offer such as baked beans, various kinds of eggs, different kinds of yogurt, and of bread, and things like cheese, and sliced salmon, or herring, etc. Everything to tempt people of many races. I'd come back comfortably stuffed, because I had gone down there sooo hungry compared to my usual level of appetite. Then lunch would arrive before I was ready but if I didn't eat then, I would have to wait until 8:30 for dinner...more than 10 hours away. So, I'd eat a light lunch, and then sleep most of the afternoon on the gently swaying bed, and wake in time for the grand end of the day: Dinner. Aye the food...
Room service was available between 12 and 8...but after 3 or 4 times, got completely old as they only offered sandwiches and salads. Simple food. Emergency food. There was a midnight buffet, but I never went to it once. I really did sleep a lot. I think it was the motion of the boat. There was entertainment in the evening and lectures in the afternoon, and I missed most of the evening and half of the lectures. Do I regret missing them--only a little, as that sleep was incredibly restful and deep. Very deep.

1st. day of cruise was basic learning the ship. We left port - Southampton, and headed for Ireland. I met some English people less than one hour starting from pier that had a young 7-year old girl with them that was already drunk. Ugh...I didn't like that a bit, but the husband of the couple reminded me strongly of that Cartoon "Wallace & Gromit." He could have been the model of Wallace.

I walked around the deck, people were watching us leave the port. Then on to Dinner, and all that.

The next day was extremely rocky, and I took a sea-sickness pill just in case. Most of the day was spent asleep--per my previous post.

The Tickets for the Liverpool and for Belfast were already in the cabin when we arrived. The next post will be about Liverpool

Lifeboat Drill - On the first day, we had a life boat drill. Our life preservers were on the bed, ready to be yanked up at the first call, and we were given instructions on where our station was on our cards. We were in Station 1 in the Neptune Lounge. Richard and I were milling about in the cabin, waiting....waiting...waiting..​.and then suddenly the alarm goes off and we troop down to Neptune lounge (can't use the elevators) down the stairs with the crew in orange-glow vests and flashlights in hand signaling the way to go. The guests were excited and babbling and laughing while the crew mostly looked bored and were ready for it to be over already. In the Lounge, with life preserver in hand, our cabin number was called and we had to respond with how many from our cabin. "Two!" When all were accounted for, or not accounted for, as the case was...we were instructed on how to put on the vests -- Easy enough--Over the head, insert the round object on your shoulders into the round hole in the preservers. No elbows, now. And that black strappy thing goes around there. No knees now, and we're done. Luckily for us, the light strobe only comes on--on contact with water, otherwise people (like me) would have turned it on just to see it strobe.
In Belfast I went on tour as I would in every place we'd go. You had to go to the Neptune lounge to get boarding passes (they really like boarding passes when you travel) for the buses...then troop down to the 3rd or 4th deck for the tour.

I also remember seeing some signs from the "troubles" -- an interesting way to describe a civil war that is not over really, but just resting. I saw Captain's Smith house and Ismay's house - Smith's house was an average Joe's who is doing okay for himself house. Not too big or too small, close to the seashore. Two houses down was Ismay's house and it really was at least twice as large as Smith's home, and ugly in a way that is hard to put a finger on. Maybe because I dislike Ismay.


There was a museum there as well, as everyplace had a Titanic museum with more or less artifacts available to look at. This one had been hurryied finished and opened early just for us to view. I have to confess I was a bit disappointed in it as it had few artifacts.
About 2 days before the end of the cruise, I go on line to check our bank balance just to make sure my calculations are on target as far as how much we can spend on board ship. I expected maybe, just maybe that Abigail spent a little or that I'd be off a little due to the exchange rate -- what I did not expect was to see our balance nearly 700 overdrawn! Yikes. Seems that somebody had "borrowed" *cough* stole* cough* Cough. my credit card that is tied to our bank account and used it to empty the account. I panicked a little, and went directly to main cashier and asked to speak to them privately. Moving over to one side was as private as they were going to let me get. I had to explain that my credit card had been stolen and I wouldn't be able to pay the cruise charges. The server with no change of expression, just pulled out a form, had me fill it out, and bring it back. I don't know what I was expecting but it wasn't that. But they did continue to feed us, and didn't make us wash dishes so I guess they felt we were "good" for it.

A member of the crew -- I mention the credit card thingie because one of the crew members did something that really touched me. She wanted to make sure that we had enough to get home on so she gave us 50 pounds (about 75 dollars). I tried to tell her that we were okay, but she refused to listen...and well, her gift was given from a generous heart and I won't forget it. And since we came home with 10 dollars in our pockets, that gift did make it a lot nicer than it would have been otherwise. :)

Belfast is where I met Mary Lou and gave her my ticket to go see the Harlan and Wolf area. I just had wanted to see the Nomadic but it wasn't open that day so I skipped it. It introduced me to a fast talking Canadian who took a gazillion amazing photographs, and whom I would occasionally meet up wit at random moments. She came to our Cabin a time or two and I went down to hers. Chatted a lot. If we lived closer--we probably would have become friends of the deep variety, but alas I haven't heard form her since ...but that's okay. I like to imagine her off on more adventures taking lots of photographs.

What I remember of the main cruise--The first day--everyone was embarking in costume and Chris convinced me that I ought to as well. It's good that she did because otherwise I doubt if any photos in my dress would have been made other than that group photo. Chris was peering over the rail and watching as each new person came on board, as she wanted to see Rod Steward come aboard as she was a big fan. I was like "who cares about Rod Steward when all these people are coming on board with all these great costumes."

Newspaper people were catching people in costume and interviewing them, and the same chaos that reined on our embarkation day--but these people at least got the doormen leading them to their rooms. The two I saw and snapped a photo of were cheerful despite wearing costumes 3 sizes too big. They were stumbling over themselves and the suitcases they were lugging before stopping for me. I thought of monkeys in suits, and no, I did not say it ...but I did indeed think it.

The next day rolling seas, and the little sea-sickness bags were out. I took a sea-sick pill as a precaution but I didn't have any issues. Slept a lot. Again.

Main Cruise

At Cohn - there was a huge greeting for us. The whole town turned out for us, and also greeting us was a beautiful double rainbow over a bass band playing Irish songs. It was amazing how many people were there.  We were about 4 hours late, as the seas had been rough, but I still got off to tour the town and the shops and had a grand time. I even met the mayor with his gold collar and his wife with a smaller gold collar - the mayoress.

After Cohn

The next day we were confined to our cabins as one of the camera-men for BBC had a heart attack and was being air-lifted off. Richard snapped photos of the helicopter landing. We had to turn around for a few hours in order to meet up with them. Then got back on track towards the site.

Our time when not confined was taken up with naps, lectures on the Titanic, naps, more lectures, naps, arts and crafts, naps, lessons on dancing - (too small of a dance floor - so we only danced 2 songs--well, I danced, and Richard followed. Ask him, he'll tell you.), more naps, and visits with friends. I would walk on the deck and look out at the horizon when it wasn't too cold; it was incredibly difficult to open the deck doors with the winds blasting through them. The pressure I mean. 

I attended some lectures -- they had us on alternating schedules based on when we ate dinner -- so each lecture was done twice.  I went to some and some I watched on the Television between the naps, you know. One I watched on TV and then ran down and got their autograph as I had lugged this book all the way from home- must have been a 6 pounder at least--just to get them to sign it. I ended up giving the book to Mary Lou as appreciation for her friendship. It was the best book on the Titanic I had ever had. Now this wasn't entirely nice-nice on my part as I will use the excuse "Since I gave my copy away, I will buy the revised version when it come out..." Honest, it's that good. (Christopher Haas and his partner John...)

Memorial Service - Held at night - obviously--starting at the time the sinking started. We could see the Amazara in the distance and she kept creeping closer until it was very easy to see each individual light but not close enough to "yell Ahoy". In the Neptune lounge was the First service-reading the names after wards was a Christian service that moved out onto the back deck where an additional service was held, and then three wreaths were flung into the sea. We were no allowed to put any personal mementos there as it was a protected zone so my own letter had to be tucked back into my purse and the thoughts inside it had to fly off without any help from me.

I walked the decks between the services to get a feel for just how dark and alone the victims must have felt. The Amaraza was just far enough away to show what the Titanic must have looked like. I met Tony on Deck--A tall Opera-trained fella who would later sing at the service - but we just chatted like normal folks, a little hushed, about how it must have been. This an echo of the conversation that I had with a young woman at Sun Set on the front of the bow with the wind whipping our skirts--a touching and a communication that when deeper than the words could say. We all had compassion for each other during this service and on this day. I saw it in the eyes, and in the hands that were clasped by random strangers and the way people held on to each other during the service.


Next stop was Halifax. Both Richard and I got off that night and walked up to the grocery store.

We asked directions from the couple with the dog, and walked up the streets to run into Jane's husband. Jane had come down with a terrible cold and I did not see her for the rest of the voyage. Her husband had gotten her meds. We got Pringles and Dr. Peppers, and walked around a little.

 In the morning, I took one tour that visited the cemeteries and visited the museum where the piece of John's life-jacket was...and then was brought back to the ship.

We were asked for volunteers to change one tour to another time, so instead of going on tour (I knew I wanted to go someplace else and it wouldn't leave me enough time to get back to ship) I went to the Nova Scotia Archives. I took a taxi - who chatted me up the whole time--. I was very excited to be there. I went through the sign-in process and when I got directed to the Archives -- who did I see but John, one of the authors of the book I had given to Mary Lou. He was at a table, and excitedly waved me over. He pointed at something at the card -- "a body taken to a church" and was fit to burst from excitement. I suddenly saw myself in him. I get that excited every time I find something new about the Astors. I asked him a few questions - written on paper as he was a bit deaf and it didn't feel right to shout in the Archives. I went to the Newspaper part and Christopher Haas was there zooming in on newspapers and I felt totally happy and at home. If I needed proof I am a Historian at heart I got it at that Archive.  Christopher, John, and I shared a cab back to the boat. I acted all cool, and just talked small talk and not "TITANIC"!!!! I wanted to pay for the cab, but John wouldn't let me. I did play the fan and tell them both that I was honored to met them both -- and I would have been honored to have paid for the cab. (Out of my small, after theft, stock, too!) So meeting them was awesome and they remembered me as the Astor Expert--in the Archives--referring to me that way several times. Can we say "Puffed Head" anyone? *Sigh* Good day.

New York - Aw, New York - the signal for the end of the journey. We came into New York early but I missed the Statue of Liberty--but I enjoyed my breakfast to the passing sights of the harbor and New York City. I went on deck when we got close, and was outside when the Balmoral gave 3 blasts for Pier 54. A couple of people waved as we came up....but that was about it for the welcome to New York. I saw one reporter -- who had to juggle tape recorder and camera and mic all together- on the pier later but he was hot, tired and just trying to catch a bit of color for his (prob. radio) report. The Amarzara had already docked in next to us. At least they waved as we came in ourselves.

I dressed in my white sweater - Madeleine wore a white sweater when she got off the Carpathia -- and went ashore with Richard. We walked up and over and finally found a place where I could catch the Wi-fi because I couldn't remember the important Astor Addresses...and he didn't want to leave me until I had a plan of some sort. So finally about 9 or so, I got enough signal to figure out where I wanted to go, and wrote down the addresses. Richard wanted to find Times Square, and I was going to use the subway (because of my limited funds) to go to the couple of Astor Places I wanted to see. 

So you're probably wanting to know did I actually make it?  Wellll, that's a matter of opinion. I did not get to but 1 of the 3 places that I had wanted to visit, but I said a little prayer as I was in the subway--you would too if you could see that subway system--that I would get to where I needed to go. Good word: Needed. I didn't say wanted, but needed. And just as I finished my prayer I found myself next to a massive marble building with an older-type metal fence around it. Mmmm, that looks interesting. I look at my addresses and I can't find the address I was originally going for--do I go that way or this way, or that way over there, or this way that looks interesting, but it's a one way, but I'm a pedestrian, but....

It turned out that I was exactly where I needed to be. I had managed to land right next to the New York Public Library! I went in, and omg! it's so beeeeeeuuuuuuutiiiiiiiiifullllll!!!!! Marble and carvings, and Astor names, oh my! I do the whole tourist gawping thing and then I remember that something Astor is here...the original painting of him at 30 or so...so I go find that...and also his father and son and grandfather's paintings are there. I keep going back to John's and I wish that there weren’t so many people in the room or I'd chat awhile with him. Okay, I know it's New York, but I didn't want to be kicked out for chatting to a dead guy's painting. Then I remember that there is an archive here, has to be, with it so big...my God! they do--the Brook Astor Reading Room (Archives) -- notice the Astor in that Title. Yep, I hit the mother lode and they are actually going to let me see it if I can figure out what I want to see before 12 noon. That's when the next Archive run is...I managed to do so with about 5 minutes to spare...and I am extremely happy woman. I feel all melty inside...knowing what I am going to be able to *TOUCH* and *HANDLE* in a bare hour!  I go wash my hands (both to get the dirt from the subway wall I just *HAD* to touch, and for the sacredness of what we are about to receive.

I go get lunch and I am directed to the 2nd floor Kiosk or the outside stands. No way am I leaving the building until I see ...I mean...I didn't want to get lost so I go downstairs and I order and when I am about to pay the Server, it turns out that the Kiosk doesn't accept cash. Only credit or debit cards. Which I don't have now because somebody *MAXED* mine out...I tell her sorry and turn to go downstairs-- a gentleman pays for my dinner with his card, and I give him back the cash but I don't quite have enough exact change but he won't let me overpay him and just shrugs off the difference. :)  *Awww!* and in New York, too.

I find that New York, while abrupt and busy, isn't the scary place that I thought it would be. Everyone helps me that I ask, a couple speak up unasked for (buskly-but do speak up) and nobody is rude or plain gross. Not bad for the Baddest city on earth---or that's what I used to think. Kuddos, NY.

Okay, so after lunch I quickly go through the archives and I find photos I have never seen, letters from and for the young Vincent, letters from John's Dad to him, and two letters from John himself.  I give a promise to transcribe the letters and send back a copy to the Library. Wow, what a perfect day! The highlight of my entire trip! I finish in time, to be able to visit one more place, and head for Trinity Church.

Trinity Church is massive and sacred and ornate and...I go in, wondering where he would have sat. I talk to the Sister there and gather up some brochures. I really am too tired to take much in. But they were also kind to me there as they told me that I am too late to visit the cemetery that holds John's body. Nor do I really have time to go anyplace else so I make my way tiredly back through the subway system and back through the streets and I have to walk like a gazillion blocks to find the ship...and I arrived back exhausted all the way down to my bones.

I realize now, that I was so tired that I didn't even say goodbye to anyone. :( I just crashed and went to sleep.

Home Again 

The next day--the last day -- we had packed already and had to go out through customs and had to have passports checked and then find bags. After that, we were ushered out, and I felt suddenly like the pampered rich girl who suddenly has been told she has been cut out of the will. We were on our own to find our way to the Airport. Across the way, the taxi-stand was absolutely packed and our porter's boss recommended that we catch a cab one block up because it would take us 45 minutes to get through the line. I am still tired from the walk of yesterday, but gamely I struggle with the two rollaways and my computer bag. Richard has the same. We walk up two block and find the cab. The cabbie quotes us half of what Jane told us it would cost and I also see that the trip meter has been set to "h" (which I guess means home)...I say nothing as this gives us a little more money for the flight home ...if the airport hadn't turned around and charged us exactly what we saved for Baggage fees. Yikes! That had been in the credit card amount figured up. Still, we have enough for a cheap lunch and arrive very safely at the Little Rock Airport. We have 10 bucks and a bag full of paper souvenirs. I think it has been a very successful trip. :)

Finial Notes.-- Am I glad I went? Absolutely. It was both more and less than what I expected. I am surprised at the depth of emotions that the Titanic still brings out. That there is still sorrow, and grief over something that happen 100 years ago. I was touched by kindness and by compassion - unasked for, but given freely. I met wonderful people, got less scared of a beautiful city, found traces of lives already gone, still here...and realized that I am doing exactly what I ought to be doing with my life. Unseen, and unremarked, but there is still so much more to be found out before it gets lost forever. I am one of the lucky ones that I get to help preserve this precious history before it gets lost, and while doing it -- get to have the time of my life. :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

My Declaration of Independence

I decided a few days ago that I was going to start taking my work seriously again. I am tired of fighting that duality of feeling that comes with being pulled in several direction and shoulds at once. But I made my list, and I gave up my job of being the homemaker of the house. I delegated the shopping, and have allowed myself to be the writer slash historian. Dull stuff, right. But I find that ball of anger in my belly when I kept trying to be everything to everyone in my house...gone. This is who I am, and I guess people in my house are going to have to learn to do some things on thier own. I don't mean this in a hostile way--and I am not going to state any particulars in case my family reads this later. But...I am not the housewife, anymore. I will take care of myself and my stuff, but I have abdicated the roles I usually do. This post is a formal declaration of my freedom. I have spent 50 years trying to please others while trying to please me. Now, I will please myself in the next 50 years. I don't mean that I won't still be my husband's wife, etc. I will. No, this is more of a rearrangement of priorities--to think more like a man-- to finially put myself first, then if I have time--I will take care of rest of it. My husband is okay with this, but he isn't the only member of my family right now.

On the Astor side of things, I have a ton of information to shift through and it's going to take time to get through all of it. But I am very excited by all of  it, even knowing that it's going to take so much time.

Oh, and tomorrow I will start posting about my Titanic trip. It has pictures and it's wonderful. See you then.

Monday, January 17, 2011

More same

Still, working on working on getting back to writing. It's hard when nothing is as it ought, and the house needs cleaning and the husband is now retired, and we have a 4-year old grandson to look after. I wouldn't change any of it, but...I still haven't carved out my space and my place and my habit. So many ands...for not so many thoughts.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Minor Update

I am still working on the first draft of Madeleine and Jack, and that has been crazy hard. But I couldn't have done it if I had done the research I did. I wish I could have finished it but circumstances prevented it and here I am, waiting again. Perhaps there is a reason, just as I am sure that last summer was the right time to go to Rhinebeck. I got to see it at its most perfect, and even got interviewed twice on my favorite topic which gave me 'chops' with my husband. I have begun to think that fame with your family is the only real fame a person needs. If a million people know my name, but I don't know them -- what good is it? If my family respects me, then I've got more than I need. :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rhinebeck, part 1

We arrived at Rhinebeck and I sent an e-mail to everyone that I had made contact with. Ms. Hammers, of course was the most important, I needed to set that appointment first so that the rest would fall into place. She couldn't see me that day or the next but we set it for that Friday. I also set up times to meet with Mr. Mann with the Rhinebeck historical society. We drove around Rhinebeck looking at various places and trying to figure out what was what and where and I was as excited as a little girl. I found the Astor Gate house, (looked like a ginger bread house.) Rhinebeck was a hive of historical places to go see and do. I will make a point of seeing more and doing more the next time I go. I went to the W. House (spelling, sorry) to pick up a letter but the curator wasn't there. He did send me the letters that he mentioned to me later. I went to the Church of the Messiah, and found the Astor window. I found a woman who used to be a lawyer who told me about a dispute with Trinity Church over valuable property it owned with the Astors. I asked her to dig up the info for me but haven't heard from her -- I gave her my business card...this is something I will look up with I can with the Trinity Church when I go to New York. I did not get a chance to meet with Mr. Fraiser. Nor did I get a chance to look at Church records. This is what I will do when I go back.

Astor Court is tomorrow.