22 January 2013

The One with All the Polish People

Three days off work, and what's a girl to do?

Play on the internet for the majority of the day? 

Ok. I'm fine with that. 

After getting tired of facebook and twitter in about five minutes, I was looking for something else to entertain me. A commercial came on for Ancestry.com during the reruns of Law & Order I had on as background noise, and it got me thinking. 

I've researched my dad's side of the family - they've stayed in the same Sullivan/Steelville/Tea/Huzzah area in Missouri since God created the earth...aside from one distant relative from Virginia or Kentucky or something who served in the American Revolution, giving my sister and I the excuse to join DAR. 

But that's another story. 

Here's what I'm really excited about: 

I've been tracing my mom's side of the family. I never really knew that side growing up - they were all in Indiana and Michigan while I was in Missouri with the crazy Eatons.

You all know it's true. We put the word fun in dysfunctional.

Sure, we took lots of trips to see Grandma and Grandpa in South Bend, fostering my love and devotion of All Things Notre Dame.

But where was the rest of the family? Grandma and Grandpa had lots of brothers and sisters, but I don't really ever remember meeting them. 

So thanks to a long day with nothing to do and Ancestry's 14-day free trial (someone remind me to cancel before they charge me in two weeks!), I did a little digging on the name Cukrowicz. 

And Sieroslawski. And Demakowski. And Paprocki.

Can you see where I'm going with this? 

We're all just a bunch of awesome Polish people. 

I'm just praising God that my mom married the guy she did, or else learning to spell my last name in kindergarten would have been really, really annoying. 

(Thanks to joejurczyk.com for a lot of these...I totally can relate!)

  •  You occasionally add the suffix “-ski” to English words for no apparent reason (e.g., “I’m gonna go put the car-ski in the garage-ski”).
  •  You call your grandma “babcia” or “busia” and your grandpa “dziadzia.” You know how to dance the polka, but you only do it at weddings after kicking back a few generous shots of vodka.
  • Your grandma wears a babushka and galoshes every single day of the year, as well as a lot of jewelry and too much makeup.
  • Your grandparents and parents have at least one crucifix or religious picture mounted on a wall in their house with palms tucked behind it.
  • You like to put sour cream and horseradish on everything you eat.
  • You always prefer rye bread to white or wheat. (This is totally my mother!!)
  •  You have waited in line at a church or bakery to buy pierogi or paczki.
  • You frequently add “dere” (there) and/or “ya know” to the end of sentences. 
  • Words like kiszka, kielbasa, and kolaczki actually mean something to you
  • You walk into a crowd of people you don’t know and talk to them like they’re your best friends in the whole world.
  •  You collect “prayer cards” from funerals
  •  You often visit cemeteries, light votive candles for dead relatives, and generally spend an unhealthy amount of time obsessing about death (might also be because I grew up in a funeral home...)
So far I've traced my roots as far back to my great-great grandfather on my Grandpa's side, Wojciech Cukrowicz, who was born and raised in Poland, and my great-grandfather on my Grandma's side, Tadeusz Sieroslawski, who was born and raised in Austria. 

According to RootsWeb, Wojciech was born in Witaszyce, Poland. He married Antonina Rauchut in 1877. Wojciech and Antonina immigrated from the Port of Liverpool, England on February 25, 1881 on the vessel SS England, and arrived in the United States on March 14. By 1900 they had moved to and settled in South Bend, Indiana. Wojciech later changed his name to Adalbert. 

One of Wojciech's sons was Nicholas, who was the father of my grandfather, Robert. 

Wojciech, Nicholas and my grandmother Irene are all buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery in South Bend. It's so incredible to think of all the generations within those gates. 

Me and my sweet dziadzio!

Now, on to my Grandma's side. Grandma was born Irene Sieroslawski in 1927. Her daddy was Tadeusz, who also came over on a boat. 

We have the actual original documents framed at my parent's house. 

Tadeusz was born on October 24, 1884, and his last residence was in a town called Lodz, Austria. He came to America on the SS Maine by way of Bremen, Germany. 

He applied for his Declaration of Intention to become a United States citizen on May 13, 1919. 

He wasn't granted citizenship until 1934, and carried his naturalization card with him at all times. 

I've had a fun day looking up my family history. I'm proud of my strong heritage. I have a long line of people up in South Bend, Indiana as well as middle Missouri. 

My Grandma Cukrowicz used to make the best sausage and sauerkraut and my Grandpa Cukrowicz taught me a strong work ethic - he and his daddy before him both worked for Studebaker. 

My Grandma Eaton taught me how to make homemade chicken and dumplings from scratch (we still don't have the recipe written down) and my Grandpa Eaton taught me how to catch rainbows in my hands. 

We're all immigrants. We all come from somewhere. 

I could go on a big rant about how we need to treat each other equal and that Jesus loves us all and hears our prayers in a million different languages, but I'll save that for another day. 

So, where do you come from? What heritage are you proud of? 

Today I love: Memories of my grandparents and a strong family legacy that spans generations.

14 January 2013

Lagoon Running

Trail: Lagoon Greenway
Distance: 3.14 miles, including the mini "adventure trail"
Difficulty: Moderate

I didn't feel like getting up at 5am to hit the sidewalks today, so I made the decision to sleep in, then go out and try a new trail around 9:00 this morning.

Big mistake.

First of all, at 9am in Florida the temps are already 75+. Not my favorite temps to run in...a little too hot and buggy, especially on the trail I tried this morning.

There's a new trail that opened up this weekend not too far from the house. It sounded intriguing and beautiful.

Turned out it was beautiful...and buggy and swampy and scared me to death because it was so remote.

The good news is I ran so fast to get out of the lagoon that I ended up clocking a decent run.

The bad news is I looked like a bug bitten, red-faced and sweaty swamp monster when I got done.

Yay me.

Luckily no one was out there to witness this. On the other hand, the whole trail was so eerily deserted that it made me even more paranoid that I was about to be abducted any second. I almost started praying for more joggers to show up.

Hence, the near sprint-like run to get out of there.

Yay for my jogger's mace that makes me feel (a little) safer.

It seriously is a beautiful trail.

Parts are wood-chipped (which almost turned my ankle):

Parts are packed sand (not too bad to run on):

Other parts reminded me of running cross-country back in high school, going through ankle-high grass and wondering where all the snakes are.

Speaking of, there were lots and lots and lots of little swampy marsh areas. While pretty, I couldn't help but think of snakes and alligators and swamp monsters.

Just kidding. Kind of.

The part that really freaked me out was when I came around a bend to a little pond, where I heard the biggest splash and rustle in the trees...and about jumped out of my shoes. I might have even screamed a little.

Seriously. I was so alone out in the wilderness my mind was giving me the worst possible scenarios.

It turned out to be a massive bird leaving the water and flying up into the trees.

Much better than an alligator, but still. Scared the bejeezus out of me. Dang bird.

The trail was nicely marked with signs, and I eventually did get to the stretch of trail that ran along the Indian River.

At the end of the loop, back by the trailhead, there's a little 1/4 mile "adventure trail" that looked fun.

It was full of lizards and spiders.

Once again, yay.

Yes. Lots of tripping hazards.

All in all, it's a nice trail with lots of different surfaces and ecological environments. I just don't think I want to go back out and run it by myself. My mind is in it's own little world all of the time anyway, and I just couldn't handle wondering what was in the lagoon, what was hiding in the grass and if anyone was going to jump out of the mangroves and grab me.

My Garmin calculated a nice heart rate and calorie burn, which I completely contribute to anxiety.

Today I love: Exploring beautiful new trails and not being kidnapped or eaten alive.

08 January 2013

I'm on a Boat

Growing up near the Lake of the Ozarks has left me with a love of being out on the water.

On. Not in.

Never, ever, in.

Too many fish and other scary things that will nibble your toes and eat your legs and kill you.

Trust me on this. I just know it's going to happen to me any day now.

Anyway, for as long as I can remember, we've always had a place at the Lake. One of my very favorite things to do when I was there was to wake up early, head out on the deck with my Bible and a cup of coffee and watch boats come out and the sun rise over water.

Later in the day my mom, sister and I would gather round the dock and watch dad get the boat out and take bets on how long it would take for him to have a nervous breakdown.

But once we got out on the water, well, let's just say nothing beats falling asleep in the front of the boat with the sun and wind in your hair.

I've missed the Lake. I've missed the boat. I've missed being out on the water.

So when our super-awesome friends called us on Wednesday to ask if we'd like to go out with them on their boat, I got a little giddy.

More than a lot. I think I was bouncing around the house.

Either that or I had six cups of coffee too many.

Let me explain Vero a little bit. Our town is situated on the Indian River - an inlet of ocean water between us and the barrier islands - and on the other side of the barrier islands is the ocean.

We went out on the Indian River - smooth, calm water with lots of sailboats, kayaks...

And dolphins. Lots and lots of dolphins, just swimming right by the boat.

Sorry, Lake of the Ozarks. I love you, but I love dolphins more.

We rode out to Round Island - my favorite part of the ride. It's a lagoon-ish area full of kayakers and manatee...the manatee were swimming right under us. It was pretty cool.

Thanks to Sara and Gray for such a great afternoon.

And our Captain was awesome!

Today I Love: Our sweet friends who invited us to spend the afternoon with them and the fact I got a suntan on January 2nd.

02 January 2013

Revised Resolutions

It's inevitable.

Every time a new year rolls around, I make promises to myself. It always, always has the same theme song of "lose weight, more willpower to lose weight, run more marathons, lose weight..." yadda yadda yadda.

I'm done. I'm tired. I'm through.

I'm tired of feeling like I let myself down. Tired of worrying what other people think of me. Tired of starting over one more time. Tomorrow. Monday. Whenever. After this last piece of chocolate.

Mmmm. Chocolate.

Anyway. Moving on.

This year, I want to do something different. I was all prepared to write a post about a numerated list of goals and objectives when a friend of mine on Twitter re-tweeted the following thought from @LisaWhelchel:

"Before God writes your new year, He imagines you twirling with joy while He watches adoringly. Step into His vision for your 2013." #letsdance

Isn't that beautiful?

So what's His vision for me in 2013?

I have no idea. But I'm open to the possibilities.

I will admit I do have my weight-loss chart printed out and hanging by the scale, my 30-day Paleo kick-start menu plan on the fridge (the Practical Paleo book is amazing, by the way), my promise to M's aunt that I will run the 2013 St. Jude's Half Marathon with her this next December.

It's good to have plans. To prepare. To set goals and reach for them.

But I'm not going to let them become my focus. With my personality, those things can easily become an obsession. I struggle with obsessions, and the result isn't healthy. It's addicting. It's all-consuming. It tears me away from what's really important.

I want to be consumed by my Savior.

Maybe I'm just tired. Maybe I'm just getting old.

But maybe, just maybe, I'm finally discovering myself in the place where I was meant to be.

Let's twirl with joy this year.