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Updated: 09/27/06

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"The Confusion"
by Neal Stephenson



Wednesday, 27 September, 2006

Thanks Mom and Dad! And Poppy and Grammy and Famps and Logie! [I'd go further, but I think Mom has that covered in her genealogy studies these days].

Today is "Ancestor Appreciation Day". Perhaps a generic catch-all for Grandparent's Day?

No, I see that Jimmy Carter created Grandparent's Day in 1978 - it is the first Sunday after Labor Day. It is noted that September was chosen for the holiday, "to signify the 'autumn years' of life." That's a little, er, blunt, don't you think?

OK, so Ancestor Appreciation Day ("AAD") isn't specifically for parents or grandparents. I thought perhaps it was associated with "National Family History Month", but that apparently is in October. So what is one supposed to do to show appreciation for one's ancestors?

Toledo, Ohio actually had an "Ancestor Appreciation Day Celebration" yesterday at the Kent Branch of the Public Library from 4:15 to 5:00 p.m.:

Join us for a joyous celebration of our Grandparents as we read the 2006 Caldecott Winner, 'The Hello, Goodbye Window,' by Chris Raschka. We'll make our own Hello Goodbye Windows and enjoy a treat together.

Ohio seems to take its "AAD" seriously. The Main Library in Bryan, Ohio is hosting a Beginning Genealogy 101 class today from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. "Attendees will learn how to get started on researching their family histories."

About.com suggests that one should, "Delve into your past and the lives of those that came before you. Find cemetaries, vital statistics, census records, organizations, and libraries focused on genealogical and historical research."

Mom has mentioned that many of the census records seem to be the property of the big genealogy research companies. In order to view them, one has to subscribe to their (not cheap!) services. While my usual cynical view of "faux holidays" is that they are usually created by Hallmark Cards, I think Ancestry.com might be enjoying this one more.

That said, I think a healthy appreciation of one's ancestors is indeed a good thing. After all, where would we be without them?

While the expected segue here would be, "Speaking of ancestors", I think I'll just go with: we went to dinner last night with Gary's mom. It was her birthday and we went to Susanna Foo's restaurant.

The food is often described as fusion Chinese/French, and I think that's accurate. While there are indeed dumplings, crispy duck and won ton soup on the menu, there are also things like panko-coated goat cheese salad with roasted yellow beets, and filet mignon with a szechwan pepper sauce.

Susanna Foo's opened in 1987, the first year I began working in Philadelphia. It was one of the first cutting edge restaurants in Philly and was therefore very popular for business lunches given its location a few blocks from our office. I was often invited to attend lunches, but in the early stages of my career I was not the one deciding where we would go, so I ended up at "Foo's" every other week, or so it seemed. As such, when it became my job to select a restaurant for business lunches or dinners there was only one requirement: Not Foo's.

But last night I was reminded of why everyone wanted to go there and why it has been one of the top restaurants in our town for almost twenty years. It's really good. Plus, it kind of hits the happy medium between my American comfort food tastes and my fiance's "I'd eat Asian every meal if I could" leanings. Gary loves Asian food, especially Chinese. Unfortunately, I continue to search for a dish at a Chinese restaurant that I just love. Haven't found it yet, so last night's dinner had a lovely asian touch without a heavy-handed gooey sauce.

[And it was yummy.]


[Only 6,604 more needed for our Wine Cellar Wall.]

Quote du jour:

"It is certainly desirable to be well descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors."

Plutarch (46 AD - 120 AD)
'Morals,' 100 A.D.

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