While cooling down on the treadmill, I found in the ads in the back of the Simithsonian the following website: http://deadmentellnotales.com/locker.shtml

They boasted that they had the best selection of music, games, and glow-in-the-dark boxers. Smitten by this description, I came home and checked it out.  I quickly discovered that they offer “Humorous Pirate Luncheon Napkins.” “Sure,” I smirked, “you have to distinguish them from your serious pirate luncheon napkins.” And indeed, just an inch or two later I found that they do have more serious pirate luncheon napkins, presumably for your more serious pirate luncheons.

Since #2 son’s birthday falls on International Talk Like a Pirate Day, I obviously must have humorous pirate tableware, at the very least, and possibly skull and crossbones gummy snacks as well. What are the chances that I will remember this until September? It is possible that I ought to go ahead and place an order with these folks, and then hide it, decorated perhaps with their tasteful “Aargh! Get your hands off my booty!” magnet.

When we are not using humorous pirate tableware, we often use Great-Great-Grandmother’s Blue Willow dishes. On family history day this week I set out on the next person on the Ahnentafel, an Alsatian guy. A kind person in Alsace went to Strasbourg for me a couple of years ago in search of this person’s antecedents, with only limited success. At about the same time that my American forebears were carrying this china west to provide a semblance of civilization in their pioneer homes, the Alsatians were being passed back and forth between France and Germany, with the occasional invasion to spice things up. The Americans considerately strewed their paths with letters, legal documents, and wills detailing their religious and political views. The Alsatians could hardly manage birth records. And their birth records, like the one at right, offer me information such as the fact that my ancestor was a Greffin de Justice de Paix (if I am interpreting the handwriting correctly). Googling “greffin” netted me the information that a Greffin was a troll.  A troll in the office of a Justice of the Peace, I guess. So I suppose I will never know very much about him.

Alsace was originally inhabited by Celts, so it seems in some way fitting that I received the Celtic Cross quilt pattern on the same day that I attempted to resolve my questions about the Alsatian ancestors. Here is a picture of this lovely quilt pattern:

I am sorry to say that I am just as lost on the subject of this quilt as on the subject of my Alsatian family. I thought, when #1 son chose the pattern, that it was ordinary applique with black bias strips around the edges of the pieces. No indeed. It is to be traced onto freezer paper, ironed onto black cloth, cut up, have colored cloth inserted into the holes, fringed, glued, and stitched all on a machine. I find this a horrifying prospect. Have any of you ever tried this?