THANK YOU, LUCILLE!
Lucille and I are related through the Makuski line on my mom's side of the family tree. She sent me an email yesterday that I didn't get to read until this morning. HOLY GODDESS! It has information that I did not have before, including the name of the parents of one Josef Jablonski, whom I had not been able to trace back beyond his stating on old census records that he came to America in 1871 from Poland. The information includes the names of his parents, which did not previously have! It also has contact information to a descendant of one of Josef's children, but it's from 2004. I will try and follow-up.
So - tonight I'm going to be working on family tree stuff because Christmas is looming -- it will be here sooner than I think! I've got to get the major family lines firmed up and printed, and then add photographs, obituaries and histories to round things out. A major undertaking.
Tomorrow it's C-DAY! The Hales Corners Chess Challenge XIV is upon me. EEEK EEEK EEEK!
LOL! Seriously, darlings, I'm not ready for prime-time but I have to tell you, I had some of the most interesting chess conversations today that I've ever had in life. What's more, on the one that took place coming home tonight from the office, half the bus listened in on it and had input!
I'm not kidding you! Damn, this is one time I wish I had one of those fancy-pants cellphones where I could have recorded what happened, it was just so much fun.
As you know, I'm a relatively new member of the CCR (Crazy Cougars Rock). But we don't restrict ourselves to cougars. I'm the oldest at 60; "Thelma" (not her real name, it has to do with a long involved conversation we had about "Thelma and Louise" and - well, the less said about that, the better) is our newest member, and she can't be more than 25. She's ridden the bus with one or more of us, off and on, for some years -- you know how you get to recognize regulars along your route, morning and night -- but it was only during the last week or so that she started sitting with JJ, A, D and others in the morning, and joining JJ, A, D and I on the evening ride home. We're non-discriminatory. We have male members, too, but they mostly sit and laugh riotously at whatever we say :)
Anyway, tonight we were minus two of our regulars. I sat down next to JJ and next stop, Thelma got on. The conversation went along, and at one point JJ asked me what I was doing tomorrow. I said tomorrow's the tournament. She knew what that meant, but Thelma didn't, and when JJ explained that tomorrow I was going to be playing in a CHESS TOURNAMENT (and that's just how she said it, in ALL CAPS), Thelma was not only duly impressed, it seemed most everyone else on the now crowded bus was, too! I mean, darlings, it was just one of those priceless moments when all eyes are on YOU in a GOOD way and you feel like a GENIUS! Me and my 579 ELO!
Oh Goddess, it was priceless!
When I modestly (ahem) declaimed that I was a very poor player who would have her butt whipped tomorrow by 10 year olds, advice started pouring in! The lady standing next to my seat told me about a 9 hour event she'd played in, and thought she'd die but she did okay! And the young dude sitting in front of us (who had been laughing at our conversation earlier, well, we are pretty funny broads, if I do say so myself, although he was trying hard not to show it, his shoulders were shaking; and when I declared to the bus in general that the New Middle Age was between 60 and 80, and after 80 I intended to be an Old Bitch, he just couldn't hold it in anymore) - he had some words of advice. Good advice, actually, hmmm...
Thelma, who has never played a game of chess - gasp! - wanted a lesson then and there. JJ, whose significant other sounds like a very competent and competitive chessplayer, who gets into staring-at-the-board-matches-for-long-stretches-of-time with one of his brothers, explained to Thelma and everyone else who was within shouting range (she's rather LOUD, if you know what I mean) with air drawings how some of the pieces move, and I filled in here and there with timely narrative.
I had so many "good luck" and "you beat their little 'bleeps' off tomorrow" yelled to me as people exited the bus (JJ and I don't get off until near the end of the route) that I was getting hoarse shouting back at ya'll. THANK YOU. I doubt any of you read this blog - but here's to you, darlings, just in case :)
Thelma wants lessons. How we can manage that on the bus...
Speaking of which, today I gave my very first chess lesson to a fellow employee, who wants to learn how to play so that she can teach her son, who is three and absolutely precious. We had a very productive lunch hour lesson. I explained and showed her the basic moves of each of the pieces, I explained the "j'doube" rule, I explained what "shah mat" (checkmate in English) actually means and where the original term came from, and gave her just a little bit of the ancient tradition of The Royal Game. For our second 30 minutes I "tested" her on what the pieces were and what their moves were (she did very well!), and showed her basic situations of how a king can harried by the other pieces.
By Goddess, I think she's got it. But you know what, it's so easy to teach someone who is eager to learn. So I'm still feeling like a GENIUS.
I am hoping that some of the Chess Magic that happened in my life today will carry-over to tomorrow, and give me a draw! That's all I want, just ONE DRAW!