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Cinnamon patrol

Mr and Mrs Lili Wedding


The roots man

I'm on a bit of a genealogy buzz at the moment.

On Saturday (very early) we are off to Vienna. Somehow I've tracked down a man who is the chairman of a "society for commemoration of the expelled and murdered Austrian Jews" called Lead Niskor. He is based in the town of Laa an der Thaya which is near Mistelbach.

He is pretty much an expert on the Jewish families that used to live in the area. He is going to meet us and take us to the cemetary in Mistelbach where we can visit my great great grandparent's graves. He's also told me about the graves of my step-great grandfather's family - actually he is very good friends with a man who is related to that part of my family. In terms of finding a personal connection to someone living in the area, I hit the jackpot (sadly there is only one Jewish family living in that area now, and they are on holiday!).

So I've been building up a family tree of that part of the family on Geni and I was just about to finish up for the night when I discovered an "ancestors" page that listed all my direct ancestors. In order. So that's how I discovered a man who went by the name Itchke Nurick, and his wife Lea Nurick. They are my great great great great great (that's 5 greats!) grandparents.

I kid you not.

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Economics with Laura: Lesson 2

The necessities of life

Everyone's idea of the necessities of life are different. Presumably because we're all different. I mean, apart from the biological necessities of life (air, water, food, etc.) there are some pretty diverse opinions on what you need to survive.

Me? Well, I need David (duh), a spacious apartment, white bread-based items, regular sleep, very high speed Internet access, the ability to travel, books to read, a tv to watch, and knitting materials.

(Oh, and the promise of Guinness, chocolate, and yummy goat's cheese.)

Julie has an interesting post on her blog about knitting and thrift, and how knitting is not generally a cheap hobby. Which is all true: knitting is not cheap.

But I'd much rather have knitting than a fancy phone or iGadget or swish car. My priorities mean that while I kind of need a cellphone and car, and my iPod nano is nice, I don't spend loads of money on them, because they are less of a priority.

Which is fine. Even my knitting has some financial constraints, and I am slowly but surely making it my business to discover viable alternatives for many lovely but expensive brand-name yarns.

And if push came to shove and we had no money, I'd put food & lodging ahead of knitting. It pains me to say it, but I would. Because when it comes to the crunch, you have to be realistic and prioritise.

So I get fairly peeved when I hear people - and this is not just in Ireland, it's everywhere - saying how "poor" they are, in their fancy new designer clothes, with all their gadgets. You aren't poor, you just spent your cash on stuff and ran out before you got everything that you wanted.

And while I'm all for social welfare initiatives, I sometimes wonder at what some recipients are spending their cash on. I don't agree with someone spending their benefit on a state-of-the-art tv, or cigarettes, or loads of booze, then saying it's difficult to feed and clothe their family.

It doesn't help that kids are all into getting stuff. For example, do ten-year-olds really need cellphones? And if they do, do they need the latest ones? Wouldn't they be better off with old Nokias, which are far sturdier, and cheaper to replace when they get lost/dropped or whatever?

Everyone seems so caught up in a whirl of consumption that the goalposts on the necessities of life have been dramatically shifted. It isn't about the real necessities, it's about what used to be luxuries.

And so, the lesson in brief: if it isn't water, food, shelter, medical care or love - it probably isn't a necessity of life. And the more the person protests, the less essential it probably is!

(Apart from yarn, that is an addiction. Really.)

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A bike ride in Pheonix Park

Today I left to go bike ridding in Pheonix Park. The largest city park in Europe, some say the world.

As I write this, I should be coming to the end of my enjoyable 1 hour bike ride however, the truth, the shocking truth, is that I never left the carpark.

Our section of the carpark is sealed off by an electronic barrier which proved remarkably resistant to my attempts to open it -- it was working fine this morning when we set off for a much less healthy type of exercise. I wasn't too put off, there are intercoms and buzzers galore down there so I just needed to alert someone.

I tried 4 separate intercoms which I knew to be connected to two different concierge desks. But there was no answer. The reader can be assured I pressed them repeatedly. So I then had to repark the car and catch the lift up to see the concierge. He was idly reading the newspaper when I told him about my problem in a somewhat strained tone of voice. He said someone would be down to let me out and I heard him talk to someone on his radio.

So I went back down, and to make the rest of the story short - I waited for quite a while, no one came. I went upstairs to get the other electronic key to try, waved it past the the sensor as I walked by and the barrier opened! - so I got back in the car and drove around to the barrier but it was broken again - so I tried rebuzzing, no one answered.

So I had the idea of driving out the in-entrance. But there are reasons why I couldn't do that without help. So I had the idea of driving over these plastic separators between the carparks which, if successful, would leave me on the other side of the barrier. I proceeded cautiously, then chickened out and reversed... catching the side of the plastic bumper insert and pulling it nearly clean off the car.

Then, suddenly, I know longer felt like going for a bike ride.

I have composed an email to the building manager for his elucidation - and I've included a list of other stuff that's been bugging us too. And I've employed the "CC it to your boss" trick by CC'ing to our landlord. Laura says I shouldn't send it until I've calmed down.



From WIkipedia

Karangahape Road (commonly known as K' Road) is a famous street in Auckland, New Zealand, known for cafes, boutique shops, nightlife and formerly, for being a red light district.

It is located close to the CBD and runs mostly west-east, perpendicular to Queen Street. At its intersection with Ponsonby Road in the west, Karangahape Road becomes Great North Road, at its eastern end it connects to Grafton Bridg


The name stems from the Māori language. The original meaning and origin of the word as a street name is uncertain, but there are many interpretations - ranging from "winding ridge of human activity" to "calling on Hape". Hape was the name of a Māori chief of some importance living over on the Manukau Harbour, thus the name possibly indicates the route that was taken to visit him.[1]


Remnants of a red-light past, the 'Las Vegas' strip club.
Remnants of a red-light past, the 'Las Vegas' strip club.

As it was a travel route used by the pre-European Māori, Karangahape Road is actually an older thoroughfare than Auckland's main street Queen Street which was only developed by Europeans in the 1840s.

From about 1900 to the early 1960s Karangahape Road was Auckland's busiest shopping street with many clothing shops large and small along with several Department Stores. Most retail chain stores had branches on K Road, often in preference to Queen Street. During the interwar period most of Auckland's main shops selling furniture, musical instruments, radios and other household appliances were located here.

After 1965 K Road lost most of its local customer base when construction of the inner-city motorway system resulted in over 50,000 people having to move out of the surrounding areas. The downturn in trade led to many shops closing and the relocating of businesses to other areas of Auckland. This accelerated the decline, and by the early 1970s the low rents meant it had acquired a rather seedy reputation as Auckland's red light district. Since the early 1990s there has been a move away from this image due to newly constructed apartment blocks attracting residents back to the area, as well as a general gentrification of close-by areas like Ponsonby. There are currently (2007) over 400 businesses in the K Road area, and only around ten of them are connected with the adult industry. Meanwhile, the 'Las Vegas' is thought to be New Zealand's oldest established strip club,[citation needed] and its nude 'Vegas Girl' sign has become somewhat iconic.

Alongside the few remaining shops and venues catering to the sex trade, K Road currently boasts an eclectic collection of shops, cafés and art galleries. At night its restaurants, bars and nightclubs make it a major part of Auckland's social scene. K Road has become a centre for much of Auckland's bohemian scene, with many venues for alternative music (see the music channel Alt TV) and fringe art as well as the LGBT community. It is also home to many trendy Op shops, the most well known of which is 'Paperbag Princess'.



While I'm on Google Earth...

Here's something everyone will enjoy. I have taken the trouble of plotting my walk to work. As you can see it's not very far - 0.94kms actually!

Home is north and work is south. You can click on the image to see a bigger version.

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Today we rediscovered where my maternal Grandma and her brother were born in Austria - Mistelbach!

Look at the map - it's so close to the Czech Republic (to the north) and Slovakia to the east. It's about 40kms from Vienna on the main route to Brno in the Czech Republic.

We have the address of what once was the family shoe factory. Looking at it on Google Earth it seems to be on the main street in town - and most of it seems to be a carpark now. 20 years ago it was a supermarket. I'm not sure what we'll find.

We also have details of the cemetery where my great grandparents are buried. It's in Mistelbach, on the outskirts of town. I can't believe we'll be there in a few weeks.

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Two of my favourite things: librarians (hi, Mum!) demanding decent pay for doing important jobs, and knitting.

Read all about it here, and view photos from someone else's blog here.

I almost wish I were a striking librarian so I could knit all day long. Almost. But I suspect I'd spend too much time reading & lecturing people about good books & knitting, and too little time librarian-ing, so I'd get fired, then have no money for books or yarn, and be too shamed out to spend time in the library, and I'd die all sad and lonely.

So I'll stick to marketing. But I'll keep nurturing my inner (chatty) librarian.

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Ravelry run by devil worshippers

Shocking truth! (or completely made up by knitting widow).



Two good reasons to doubt the efficacy of airport security

Reason 1
A 188ml bottle of moisturiser that David took from Dublin to Stansted in his carry-on luggage last Friday night.

Reason 2
An 80cm-long metal circular needle, 1.75mm in diameter, that I forgot was in my carry-on until just before it was x-rayed in Heathrow.

The moisturiser? Fine. I mean, really, big deal.

But the needles? Long-ish. Sharp. METAL. Potentially quite dangerous. You could do some serious damage with these. (Or surgery, but I'm more concerned about potential harm.)

I'd bought them at Liberty's (ah, Liberty's, newest love of my life!). I forgot they were in my bag. Then I saw, I gasped, I commented nervously to David as I covered it with my knit wrap - as if that would somehow hide it from the x-ray... And then I felt concerned as it came through just fine.

I wanted to tell someone. Very badly. It is a surely a breach of security, no?

But I also wanted to fly home safely to Dublin with my new needles, so I kept my mouth shut. Please consider this my "telling someone".

(Oh, and London and the conference and all? Good, thanks. Seeing a friend I hadn't seen in years - awesome - hi Geraldine!)

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Thanks Geni!

Thanks to Geni.com I've learnt that my father's first cousin thrice removed's ex-husband's granddaughter's son-in-law's second cousin's brother-in-law's son-in-law's first cousin once removed's mother-in-law is Jocelyn Levin. And I'm not kidding!



London photos

We went to London to visit the Queen. But she wasn't home.
Big slideshow here.

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