Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Friday, December 2, 2011

no news, just knitting and research

As I go about my day, I often think of something that would make for a great blog post topic. And then I forget it. I'm sure I'm not the only one this happens to. I have taken over a hundred photos in the last week, some of which are worthy of blog posts. but some days (sometimes a few days in a row), I don't feel like turning on my computer. Or I just don't feel like blogging.

This past week has sped by so fast, I have to think for a minute to recall just how I filled it up. What did I do? On Monday I went to my doctor to see about my lung/cough problem. She said it could be reflux, or asthma, or (depending on what the lab says when they analyze my specimen) it could be something else. Well, I'm a runner. I don't get winded when climbing a few flights of stairs. I have no allergies and don't wheeze, so it is unlikely to be asthma. Reflux? How does a gastrointestinal ailment affect the lungs? I'm a bit puzzled by the whole thing, but my doc gave me a sample inhaler meant for asthmatics and sufferers of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and sent me on my way with a specimen container and instructions on how to modify my bed to reduce reflux.

I saw a friend of mine later in the day, a former pharmacist, and he was fairly certain it was not asthma, that the inhaler would not help, and that if it is reflux, here is what to do... It's great having friends who are health care professionals.

It was around that time that I "made contact" with my late great grandmother, my mother's mother's mother. I don't really want to go into too much detail about that, just in case you think I've gone loopy, but it suddenly has me extremely interested in researching Russian history and language. I knew that my great grandmother Marie came from somewhere along the Volga River. And yet they were German. Or were they? There was a group of Volga Deutsch, Germans living in Russia. I didn't know many details of what had happened, but I know that at least a few of her eight children had been born when she (and later, her husband) came to Canada. There is a family story of how uncle Louie as a baby was made to swallow a lump of gold as the only valuable they had left, and hidden inside the baby the Bolsheviks would not be able to take it away.

That was all I knew, really, about the story. Years ago I had asked one of my mother's aunts about these stories, to fill in more detail, but was met with silence. They must have been painful memories that did not want to be disturbed. But now it's too late to ask the living, as the two remaining children of my great grandmother are in their 80s and in declining health.

Whenever I get interested in something, my very first place to search for information is always the library. Luckily, I am currently in Victoria which has an excellent collection. I have been able to source books, audiobooks, DVDs, and language learning kits. It's time I at least learned Cyrillic and then perhaps some basic conversation. The library has 21 DVDs that show up when I do a search for Russian History. One of my favourite podcasts is the Russian Rulers History Podcast.

I don't know exactly when my great grandmother came over, but I'm fairly certain it was around the time of the Russian Revolution. She was born in 1898. Where did the boat leave from? Where did she land? How did she get from the east side of North America to the southern interior of British Columbia and why go there? This will require some excavation, but it will be helpful to me to understand what was happening at the time. It was not a safe or comfortable thing to be Volga Deutsch in communist Russia.

I have a lot of beloved dead, dearly departed. When the question was posed, which of my beloved dead would I most like to communicate with, I did not hesitate. I thought that was interesting, because my great grandmother died when I was a child, maybe when I was 13. I think she is the one of my ancestors that I think I have the most in common with.

At any rate, now I know where my week has gone. It has been thinking about and researching this topic.

Also: on Tuesday when I got home from shopping downtown with a friend, I felt extremely compelled to enter all of my yarn stash into Ravelry's database. I ran out of time before I got it all, but after about an hour and 15 minutes, I probably got at least 75% in. I don't have a big yarn stash, but this process requires taking a photo of the yarn, entering the yarn's name, colour, date purchased, how many skeins I have, etc. It was as a result of doing this that I was once again motivated to get knitting for Christmas.

I didn't think I was going to be able to knit many of my gifts this year. I think for the past two or three years, most of the 15 people in my family have each received hand knits. I am not in a position to buy yarn at the moment, and stash reduction is a really good thing with my border crossing imminent. So I have watched some DVDs about Russia (finished Miss Marple when I finished Mezquita on Sunday) and gotten two gifts finished in the last two days.

Oh, and running. I'm up to 5 1/2 miles when I go out. On my last run I ran 7 minutes, walked 2, six times, plus warm up and cool down. Today was a run day for me but I'm feeling some flu symptoms, so will take it easy today and see how I feel tomorrow.


  1. Ahh! I have the same problem when I do anything at all! I forget what was so interesting hours --sometimes moments-- later!

    I'll be interested in your research about your heritage and your family's journey. I've never been able to get into genealogy on my own but if someone did it for me, I'd be rapt!

    Isn't it funny how no news at all can still fill up such a long post? :D Looks like you had much more on your mind than you thought!

  2. Amanda you're so right. When I titled the blog "no news", what I meant was "no news on the immigration front", and I spend every minute wondering when it will come, when I will get my instructions to set up the interview and health check. Any day now, right?

    Also, I asked my mum about the boat that brought them to Canada. She is not great at remembering details, but she thinks it might have landed near Montreal (is there even a shipping port there?) and they headed for Saskatchewan before eventually settling in the Okanagan Valley. I didn't know about the time in the prairies, but it makes sense.