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[sticky post] Welcome to Wonderland

In one way or another, I have kept a journal since age 12. I've kept an online journal called Musings since late 2002. My topics range from things that happen in my daily life to my thoughts on pop culture to my ponderings about everything from dreams to the secret thoughts of pets. In November 2007, I began mirroring it here, although I often included extras to this version, such as memes and quizzes. In February 2010, I stopped updating the original journal on my home page and instead started a writing journal there.

For some insight into who I am, read Intro to Alyce. For a guide to the many nicknames I use in my online journal, check out Who's Who in Musings.

The beautiful, sweet dog in one of my icons is Una, my best friend and nurse dog for nearly 11 years, who passed away on October 22, 2010. She was my inspiration, and she taught me how to be a better friend and mother; a better person. My son, Kung Fu Panda (KFP for short), benefits from all the caregiving skills I learned in those 11 years. My husband, The Gryphon, probably does, as well!

The goals I established when I first begin an online journal remain the same: this is a way to explore the tangential, the seemingly accidental observations many of us overlook but which may, ultimately, be where all life and all mystery hinges.

LJI 10 Week 12: Between Worlds

This is my entry for Week 12 of Season 10 of LJ Idol (therealljidol). The topic was "Salty."

A world collapses, a new world begins.Collapse )

LJI 10 Week 11: The Blue-Eyed Fairy

This my entry for Week 11 of LJ Idol (therealljidol), where the topic is "The Blue Hour."

Once upon a time there was a fairy tale.Collapse )
Looking for a new challenge, I started following a line on my paternal side: Ruth Carter, my third-great-grandfather, married to Milton Marshall. Here's a fabulous photo of him when he was an old man, which I recently discovered tucked into a drawer at my Dad's house:

Milton Marshall

The Carter family is well-documented, and I managed to trace them all the way back to Kings Langley in Hertfordshire, England. Does that town name sound a bit familiar? Sounds a lot like King's Landing from "Game of Thrones," right? Well, it turns out that Kings Langley was the home of Kings Langley Palace, a royal palace of the Plantagenet kings of England. The 12th Century parish church houses the tomb of The 12th century parish church of All Saints' houses the tomb of Edmund of Langley (1341–1402), the first Duke of York.

Having just watched a DVD extra from Season 5 of "Game of Thrones," I know that many elements of the plotline were loosely based on the War of the Roses, fought between two branches of the royal House of Plantagenet, the Yorks (Starks) and the Lancasters (Lannisters).

My ancestors were not members of the royal households, but they did hold titles. Mainly, John Carter and Margaret Frazier were the lord and lady of Cusworth, according to a fellow genealogist (and distant cousin). I will have to see if I can find out more about them.

One of the pieces of information I came across was the fact that Jimmy Carter, the 38th president of the United States, was also a direct descendant of Lord and Lady Cusworth. I found a short genealogy of his family on his presidential library site, which gave me some very useful information, such as the fact that his family line came to America in 1750 with Kindred Carter, who has a blessedly unique name (unlike the oodles of Williams, Johns, Thomases and Richards in the Carter family). I was able to determine that our last common ancestor was John William Nicholas de Carter and Lady Ann Alice de Croxton, with President Carter descending from their son Richard (1495-1558) and my line descending from Thomas Carter (1495-1521). I suppose they were probably twins?

I am hoping that I will be able to find some sort of genealogical or historical book on the Carter family in Hertfordshire that would give me more information as well as help me pin down the names of the siblings of my various ancestors. A lot of the information on Ancestry.com is wildly inaccurate when you get this far back, because all it takes is one person misinterpreting documents, and then a bunch of other people copying the same information onto their trees, to end up with a genealogy that makes absolutely no sense (like people having kids at age 9 or getting married after they'd died). I will say that the Carter family was renowned for having large families or 12 to 15 siblings, probably due to getting married young and having long lifespans, especially for the times! By now, there must thousands of descendants of John Carter and Margaret Frazier, the Lord and Lady of Cusworth.

Incidentally, just in case you were counting, by my reckoning, President Carter is my first cousin, 14 times removed!

John Carter (1450-1500), m. Margaret Frazier (1440-1510)
John William Nicholas de Carter (1475-1521), m. Lady Ann Alice de Croxton (1478-1525)
Thomas Carter (1495-1521), m. Emily Anstell (1498-1560)
William Carter (1510-1569), m. Elizabeth Cranfield (1514-1570)
William Carter (1549-1605), m. Mary Anscell (1556-1619)
William Anscell Carter (1591-1634), m. Mary Jane Myles (1598-1633)
Captain Thomas Carter (1630-1700), m. Katherine Skipwith Dale (1642-1703) - Capt. Thomas emigrated to America in 1653)
Thomas Carter Jr. (1672-1733), m. Arabella Williamson (1672-1733)
George Carter (1689-1727), m. Elizabeth Tull (1692-1745)
George Carter (1719-1783), m. Lydia Worth (1721-1780)
George Carter (1747-1813), m. Ruth Martin (1757-1843)
Ruth Carter (1800-1875), m. Milton Marshall (1800-1890)
John Graves Marshall (1842-1908), m. Elsie Murray (1852-1912)
Barclay Cope Marshall (1880-1948), m. Ivy Letitia Mathews (1882-1918)
Miriam Ivy Marshall (1906-1995), m. John Omer Wilson (1895-1942)

Miriam Ivy Marshall was my paternal grandmother.

Some more interesting images follow. First, the Carter family crest:


Cusworth Hall, reportedly haunted. Built in the 18th Century, so not where my ancestors lived.

Captain Thomas Carter (1630-1700)
(hoping to find a larger photo of this painting)

Thomas Carter Jr. (1672-1733)
(hoping to find a better photo of this portrait)

LJI 10 Week 10: One-Foot Hike

This is my entry for Week 10 of Season 10 of therealljidol. This week's topic is "Take a Hike."

Adventuring in my own backyard.Collapse )

LJI 10 Week 9: Discussion Questions

Our Sunday School classroom was narrow, with eggshell blue walls. Each week, we received a colorful paper pamphlet, containing a Bible verse for our class to reflect upon, some activities to do together, and discussion questions. I would stare out the high slit of a window, where treetops danced in the sun, and contemplate the moral dilemmas presented to us on colored newsprint.

Geared towards preteens like us, these discussion questions posed what I felt were problems with obvious solutions.

"The new girl at school is awkward and lonely. She is sitting at a table by herself and looks like she's about to cry. What do you do?"

Of course, you go up to her. Of course you talk to her. Maybe you even become her friend.

"The most popular guy in school is a terrible math student, and he asks you to let him copy off your paper the next time you have a test. He tells you that he will introduce you to all the popular kids in school. What do you do?"

No brainer. You tell him no, you cannot let him copy off your test. You continue being the fashion-impaired English geek who sits at the lunch table with the other "brains."

"Your best friend wants you to distract a shop keeper while she steals some candy. What do you do?"

Say no and find another best friend. Duh.

These questions were softballs, nothing like the real moral dilemmas I would face in upcoming years. Where were questions like this one?

"You're dating a really nice guy, but you have the hots for another guy, who's super funny and cute. You think the funny guy is interested in you, too. What do you do?"

Answer: I couldn't decide, waited too long, and broke both their hearts. I kept dating the nice guy until I went off to college, and at the end of a pleasant visit from him, I told him I wanted to see other people. Then I started dating the funny guy, but we were awkward together. He wrote me that his mom died, and I completely flaked out on him and told him I couldn't see him any more.

Or how about this one?

"You see that someone has been writing racist graffiti on a desk in Chemistry class. What do you do?"

Answer: I wrote demented answers to that person, claiming to know who he was and threatening to do all sorts of terrible things to him, signing my messages "POE." Each day, I secretly looked forward to seeing what my "hate pen pal" had written me. I've never told anyone about this before. I doubt the Sunday School teacher would have approved.

Or this one?

"You are dating a guy who is emotionally abusive and controlling. You meet another guy at a Halloween party who is dark, artistic and funny. What do you do?"

Me and funny guys, right? You guessed it: my answer was to have an affair, when I should have just left the abusive bozo. I planned to move out while he was away on a trip one weekend, but then he made the mistake of saying to me, "I don't know what I'd do without you." I couldn't help but answer, "You're going to have to find out."

Knowing what's right is only part of the calculation. We can't foresee the consequences of our actions, except in the most abstract way. What seems right at the time -- or at least right for us -- doesn't necessarily lead to the happiest of outcomes. I'm fortunate I've never had to make a decision that led to dire results for myself or others. That knowledge would be heartwrenchingly hard to reconcile. I suffer from enough guilt over the fact that I didn't go door to door in support of Hillary Clinton when I had the chance.

A learning experience, I keep telling myself. It's all a learning experience. The answers aren't shaded in blue on the back of colored newsprint. The answers aren't anywhere at all.

LJI 10 Week 7: Grassroots

This is my entry for Week 7 of LJ Idol, Season 10 (therealljidol). This week's topic is "Where I'm From.

Between the fields and the river I will be.Collapse )
This is my entry for Week 5 of LJ Idol (therealljidol), Season 10. This week's topic was "heel turn."

Who do you think you are?Collapse )

LJI 10 Week 5: Two Ears, Only One Mouth

This is my LJ Idol entry. This week's topic was "Fear is the heart of love."

Listening is hard work.Collapse )

Vote - Week 4

The vote for LJ Idol week 4 ends tonight. KFP kfp_rawr needs your support! He is having a lot of fun and wants to do more comics next.

Originally posted by clauderainsrm at Vote - Week 4
A few words from clauderainsrm:

It’s Week 4 of LJ Idol, and we aren’t going to where the season is - we are going to where we want it to be!

Wayne Gretzy may have supplied the quote, but our talented group of writers took it from there!

Before we get to the action, there were a some people who “byed-out” of the competition and will be leaving us. 4go10cheshire, alexpgp ,alohaanna ,crisp_sobriety, dizzydog, dreamchaser, dreamsofspike, improper_me, lapis_lazuli615, lealila, lemonbloomjones, ryca, sherriola, sra33, thesammichfox and tinylegacies

Thank you so much to all of you for coming out this season, and I hope you consider coming back for Second Chances.

As for the rest of you, the two tribes have been switched around, with all the byes this week going into Tribe 2. Which means all the entries this week are in one convenient spot.

The bottom two vote-getters will be eliminated. So make sure to get out and read, comment and vote for your favorites!

The poll closes Tuesday, Jan 10th at 9pm EST

Good luck to everyone!

Click here to Vote!Collapse )

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