digging in the dirt

Still here, still focused. Yeah, right. Only sometimes.

Sitting here in amongst piles of books that I retrieved from the library’s hold system last night. A couple of them are alarmingly thick. Nim’s Island is on top of all of them, reminding me to take breaks (or providing distraction, at any rate).

I do love researching, making connections, learning new things. All of that jazz. If I could have any job, right now, I’d want to be one of those History Detectives people on PBS, or maybe one of those Cities of the Underworld wonks. Since I’m not getting that job, and the advanced degrees are only a distant glimmer for me right now, I satisfy my urges with writing and geneaology. Some people peruse porn when their spouses are away; I jump headfirst into Heritage Quest and Ancestry.com. I have found quite a few tidbits here and there, places that we’d reached dead ends on. It requires creativity and flexible thinking, really.

My biggest recent discovery was that my great-grandfather remarried about 8 months after my great-grandmother had died. My grandmother, who was raised by other relatives, was always under the impression that he’d met this other wife some years later. It was a little stunning to see the new wife added onto his passport papers so soon. I still am searching to figure out whether he had other children. That job has been complicated a LOT by the facts shifting as I do further searching, that I can’t find him in the 1930 census, and I’ll have to wait until April of 2012 to see the 1940 census records.

It’s not hard for me to quantify my enjoyment of history – I do have a degree in Classical Archaeology. If I ever get to do a master’s, it’ll probably be archaeology, though I admit I’m not keen on going back into Classics. That much Latin, while good for something…I think, is not really my passion. There’s always forensic archaeology, which I got interested in, while reading a book by celebrated anthropologist Dr. Clyde Snow, some fourteen years ago.

I did work briefly in my field, as a field tech for a cultural resource management firm, which, given its definition in the “real world” (yeah, right), sounds so noble and selfless, it makes me want to barf. It’s not noble. Half the time, firms are bound by confidentiality agreements, because we/they go in ahead of developers to see what might be there for artifacts. To companies wanting to build, artifacts = delays and pains in their collective asses. Don’t care. Most of us were hard at work to find as much as we could, even going so far as to do the work that the wetlands assessment teams had gaily skipped past. We got told by a power company that if we didn’t find the 19th century graveyard reputed to be in their survey field, that we were “not to worry”. Another big box company told us not to tell the neighbors in the rural area they were surveying WHO was scouting the land. We took one look at the pre-Revolutionary mill house (modern day B&B), and quietly did what our consciences directed us to do. Hey, I never had a confidentiality clause in my employment contract – I know, because I read through stuff like that – we weren’t even bound by proxy to what our employer agreed upon in contracts.

Shudder. Never shall I return to such sullied things. They wouldn’t want me in crm anyway…I guess I have a big mouth when it comes to things like that.

Anyway, my stack of books right now are leading me into the 19th century, into the Raj, deep into the thorny issues, stereotypes, and often ignored persons. I might as well finish this project next – I’m about 40 pages into it, and got stuck because I’d been ignoring the research. And so, I’ve said, WHY? I obviously like doing it, unless it’s for a class, at which point, my procrastination gene reawakens. No, this is for me, for this lofty goal I’ve set up.

So…eventually I’ll get to them. Yep. It’s cold and snowy outside, and my feet are freezing cold themselves. What could be better than coffee and a good…well, necessary, book?

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