Others’ Family History Travels: Texas

Today, I began a new task. Indexing.  Indexing is data entry from old documents into the FamilySearch.org database.  This allows others who are trying to solve their own family mysteries to quickly find documents.  There are a ton that need doing (if you are interested, let me know).  It isn’t too time consuming and allows you to see what other families have experienced.

I spent my time doing WWII Draft Registration Cards.  What I learned:

Many men spent their 18th birthdays filling out these cards.

Physical Traits included: Lots of Scars, False Teeth, and 2 toes off Left Foot!

Occupations: Sewer Department, Service Station, Student (Texas A&M), Plumber, Brazioria English Department

Here is where I traveled:



Family History Traveling

I’ve traveled a lot, but not as much as I’d like to, mostly due to shortage of funds.  I now have a new adventure going on.  Lately, I have had a very strong desire to work on my Genealogy.  It’s going well, and I have discovered a lot of interesting stories.  I am right in the middle of a mystery as to why a Great-Great-Aunt was born in Tennessee and buried in Iowa.  Seems simple, right?  Let me give you some other details and see if you still think so.

She was married three times, once for each decade, 1920s-1940s.  She had all of her kids with only her first husband and all subsequent husbands are listed as Stepfathers.  Two of her kids were born in Alabama, while her address lists her as living in Tennessee.  She suddenly disappears from the South and pops up in Nevada, and gets married to her Third husband, who is from England.  She ends up in California, where she dies and her children are listed as living.  So, why was she buried in Iowa?!  (One final strange fact.  Her husband died in 1987, but their tombstone still shows him as living in 2009. That would make him 108 years old and 22 years after his death.)  Weird.



Food, Glorious Food!!!

 Me at Reading Terminal Market. This isn’t a face of disdain. I was trying to balance my food and take a selfie and this was the best I got!

Let me first say that I don’t mind crowds but I don’t go out of my way to seek them out. Reading Terminal Market is one of the few places on Earth that I willingly go to and happily get swallowed up by the masses. With narrow aisles and labyrinth like turns, half of the fun is watching newcomers wandering around lost and overwhelmed. Schadenfreude at its’ best!

Located on Market Street just east of City Hall, Reading Terminal Market is an absolute must see on a visit to Philadelphia. Stemming back to the late 1800’s, this market has seen highs and lows. Quasi attached to the train system at Jefferson Station it is both a destination spot for tourists and filled with commuters grabbing a bite.

 Tommy Dinic’s, the best pork sandwich ever!
This place has everything! From Pork Sandwiches, Ice Cream and Hot Dogs, to Pierogies, Matzo Ball Soup, and Chocolatiers, there is something for everyone. Mixed in with the prepared foods are also fruit and produce stands, an Amish market, and even a small bookstore. Seriously, it takes multiple trips to truly comprehend the scope of the Market.

  Tommy Dinic’s Roast Pork waiting to be sliced.
 The Pork Masters making my sandwich!

In Philly Cheesesteaks are king but my vote for runner-up is the Roast Pork Sandwich from Tommy Dinic’s. A meat masterpiece, the pork is slow roasted, sliced and dumped back into its’ own juices. When you order, they take a fork full out and swaddle it into a soft Italian Roll. They have a couple of add-ons like peppers and broccoli rabe, but my favorite is their Sharp Provolone. It is fabulous!!!!

 The Meat Masterpiece in all its’ glory!

I can’t say this enough: Come to Reading Terminal Market!!! You’ll have to fight for a seat and squeeze through the throngs and in the end you’ll walk away a proud (and extremely full) survivor. In Philadelphia there are plenty of attractions to experience crowds, but let’s face it, the Liberty Bell doesn’t taste nearly as good!

The Nati’nals Ballpark

  Me at the Washington Nationals Ballpark

You might as well know that I love Baseball. I really love going to the games. Baseball is a great “social sport” meaning that the game is slow enough to still have a conversation and some food while the game is going and you won’t miss out on the exciting parts. 

I am personally a New York Yankees fan. Growing up in Salt Lake City, there were not any Pro Baseball teams to route for so I could pretty much pick which one I wanted. I started off as a Toronto Blue Jays fan, but this was mostly due to my first baseball card being that of one George Bell, a star player for the Jays, but then I went to New York City in 1989 and learned about the Yankees and their history. I was hooked. I can also say that I am not a fair weather fan as the late 80’s/early 90’s Yankees stunk! I put on my first Yankee Cap and have never taken it off (just ask my friends or family).

Then we moved to Maryland and I went to my first Major League game in Baltimore in the old Memorial Stadium and I was hooked! I loved the whole atmosphere and ambience of the run down stadium. We would sit in the nosebleeds and watch Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray play and they were great. I would route for the Orioles except for when the Yankees or Blue Jays came to town. Those games were fun and frightening because I would get threatened by other people for cheering on the other team. Some old guy actually told me (a 9 year old) that he would throw me over the stadium wall. Fans can get kind of nuts.

Anyway, I have since seen a lot of games in lots of stadiums and I usually wear a home team hat the first time I visit a city and see a game (I’m much bigger now but I still don’t want to be thrown over a fence!) Hence the Washington Nationals Hat in the picture above.

The stadium itself was pretty nice. Baseball Stadiums have kind of become attractions in and of themselves. In doing so they offer some nice things for the fans but they also take the fan out of the game. I’ll write a review of Wrigley Field later and explain this phenomenon more. 

  Ben’s Chili Bowl Half Smoke and Cheese Fries *not my picture, dcdiningguide.com*

I was happy to see “Ben’s Chili Bowl” (a DC staple) at the park. My friend who was with me had never had a “half smoke with chili” so I told him that was a must. (A half smoke is a half smoke sausage and they are wonderful!) I found out that if you get a souvenir soda, you pay $4 more but get refills throughout the game. That’s a good deal for a sports venue! The food is always crazy expensive, but baseball stadiums will often allow you to bring in your own food so that is an option.

We hopped around the field checking out the views from different seats and ended up in our own (the first row in the upper deck) and everywhere seemed to have a good view of the field. The game was exciting and the Nationals ended up winning 7-5 so a lot of the people were happy. I say a lot and not most because there were a Ton of Chicago people there! (Maybe more than a ton, some of them were Big people! ;). 

My only real problem was with the parking options which were awful. We opted for street parking and the traffic was just awful getting out of there! I was expecting event traffic but this was just insane and uneccesary. I’m sure there is a way they could fix the problem but until then, I think I’ll just Metro in and out of the city.

“Maybe they shot the Lion, honey.”

With New York City being so close, we take a lot excursions up there, sometimes even just for the day.  Saturday was one of those days.  While the wife and daughter #1 went to “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway, I took the remaining two to the Central Park Zoo.  They have seen the movie “Madagascar” and I love going places that have movie references, so I thought this would be a good idea.

Located on the Southeast side of the park, the Zoo is small but really nice.  For me, it is the perfect size.  I’ve been to some Big Zoos before and spending 5+ hours looking at animals is not my idea of a good time!  We made it through this zoo in about 2 hours and that included the break for ice cream.

I like clocks, so for me, seeing the clock at the north entrance was a must.  Complete with dancing animals, the clock strikes on the hour and I believe 1/2 hour as well.  As the animals circled the clock, the kids had a fun time naming them and the musical instruments they were holding.

CPZ 1Daughters 2 and 3 by the “Delacorte Music Clock”

So there wasn’t a lion, giraffe, hippopotamus, or a Zebra like in the movie.  The kids noticed but didn’t seem to care.  They loved the Sea Lions and the Penguins.  The Grizzly Bears were gigantic!  I really liked how the Bear enclosure was set up.  There were multiple levels providing multiple angles to see the two bears play around in the water or on the rocks.  We were fortunate to be at the right window when the smaller bear came by.

CPZ 2“Winnie the Pooh is so much bigger in real life!”

CPZ 3Watching the Sea Lions swimming laps in their pool.

With your admission you could also get into the Children’s Petting Zoo, but my girls weren’t interested in that.  You could also purchase tickets to see the Rio 4D Movie but they weren’t interested in that either.  After the Zoo, they wanted to go to the Disney Store in dreaded Times Square. Why dreaded? I am thankfully over the über touristy parts of New York and so whenever we have to go to one, I dread it! Central Park isn’t even my favorite park in the city! There are so many other parks that have better playing areas that unless I’m playing Tour Guide to friends or family, or I’m going to The Met or Zoo, I avoid the south end all together.  Take your kids to Roosevelt Park on the Lower East side.  It is much more fun.

For me, it’s not the Journey.

 Me at “The Pie Pizzeria” with a mug of their microbrewed Rootbeer!
I’ve always heard that people say “It’s about the journey, not the destination”, but I’ve never heard anyone actually say it in person. I’ve definitely never heard anyone who has travelled with or around kids say that.

Two weeks ago, I took my family to Salt Lake City. I grew up there and still have some friends and a lot of family in the Salt Lake Valley. The flight is only about 5-1/2 hours from our airport, but when there are upset children on the plane, it feels like an eternity! We also experienced a Lot of turbulence. I’m talking gut wrenching, the plane feels like it is dropping a few hundred feet type of turbulence! Which most people handled well, except one lady who screamed on one of the bigger drops. Some children and overdramatic people should simply be sedated before flying.

Salt Lake is so different from the one I knew growing up. The city wasn’t grungy like 1980’s New York City or anything, but it certainly felt aged and a little dusty. Places like the old Salt Palace and Crossroads mall were more than a little stale.  It is hard for me to think of downtown as this though, while I tend to really romanticize my 80’s childhood experiences and downtown was a huge part of that, but if I’m being honest, it was.

Now, however, it is completely different. The newer buildings downtown have really brightened up the city and most everything feels fresh. The new Library is a beautiful 5 story glass building with a rooftop garden. Warning: if you are scared of heights like me, this building can be very nerve -racking.  Temple Square, home of the LDS temple and Tabernacle, is still very nice and the grounds contain a lot of nice visitor centers with a variety of exhibits. The church has done a lot to help modernize the city.

 The new Library (right) and City Hall (left).

There is a beautiful shopping area downtown called City Creek Mall. It is a huge outdoor shopping experience with a small creek and Waterfall therein. It is a nice place to visit, but I found the shopping to be just ok. The food court is nice with a big play area for younger children. We enjoyed walking around it for sure.

The kids loved the city parks, Sugarhouse Park in paricular, and had fun playing on the different playgrounds. We probably visited at least seven or eight, each one providing a different experience.

The kids at Sugarhouse Park.

We spent one day at Park City which is about 30-40 minutes from Salt Lake, in the mountains. We met up with my best friend from Arizona and his wife in Salt Lake and caravaned through the canyon. I had not been to Park City in a long time and so I missed our exit. Due to construction, I could not simply turn around. This led to a 45 minute detour that brought us to our destination from the south. A boring journey I never want to repeat!

Once there, everyone had fun riding both the Alpine Slide and Alpine Coaster. That is my best friend in the front.

All in all it was a very fun trip. No major plans, just a lot of wandering and exploring. I guess I actually like small journeys as long as they are located within the destination. Once in a city or area, I enjoy scouting around and even getting lost. Someday, I’ll talk about my aversion to “Road Trips”.

Rover, Wanderer…Call me what you will.

I have many things that I like. Too many really. It makes it hard to focus and I tend to bounce around from one activity to another and sometimes, when my day is wide open, I just shut down due to the variety of options open to me.

That being said, there are a few things that I love to the point of dreaming about. Now, it isn’t the dreams that I have while I’m asleep that hold any value to me, but it is the dreams I have while I am awake that fuel me. Those dreams always include my family, food (I love to cook/eat), art, languages, writing and traveling.

I love to travel! I don’t just simply want to travel, I yearn for it. I crave the variety and change. New foods, cities, peoples and experiences are some the things that bring me true joy. Most of the time, I go somewhere and just come home. But every year or two, I get the overwhelming need to move. I’m like Mary Poppins, or Vianne Rocher from Chocolat, and as soon as I feel stable I have to get out of there! Thankfully my family supports my Gypsy Life and are willing to come along for the ride.

That is basically what this blog will be about, my traveling and experiences. I plan on giving my honest feel for people and places, languages and flavors. Tips that I’ve learned and pitfalls I’ve stumbled into will abound. I’ve been to a lot of places, but I have lots of places to go. Maybe I’ll see you there!

 Me at the old Yankee Stadium.