"Roundheads and Ramblings"
 -
RSS Follow Become a Fan

Delivered by FeedBurner


Recent Posts

Beyond All Price--Synopsis and Review
"A Scratch with the Rebels" -- A Recipe or Two
"A Scratch with the Rebels" -- Battle Accounts
"A Scratch with the Rebels" -- The Inspiration
"A Scratch with the Rebels" -- a Photographic Record

Categories

A new contest
Abolition
absurdity
academic myopia
Almost Free
Amazon
ancestors
Announcement
apocalypse
Applications and software
Appomattox
Arnulf of Lisieux
art of speaking
attracting readers
audience
audio books
Author Central
Author Gifts
author's Plea
awards
baseball
basketball
Battle of Port Royal
Battles
biographical
blind artists
blockade
blog chain
Book Club Guides
Book Design
Book Launch
book stores
book trailer
bookstores
Boxed Set
bright ideas
Building a platform
Business plan
Busy-ness
butterflies
Career choices
cats
cemetery research
Census
challenges
characterization
Characters
Charleston
children
children's books
choosing a publisher
Choosing a Title
Christmas Past
Civil War
commercials
Computer Hacks
Confederates
Conferences
Connections
constitutional amendments
construction
Contract labor
cotton
Countdown Sale
Countdown to Launch
Cover Designs
Cover images
cutting and pasting
Cyber Monday
daily drama
daily events
Dead Mules
depression
diversions
dogs
Do-Overs
DRM
earthquake
e-book pricing
e-books
editing
elevator speech
elmore leonard
Elves and Holidays
Emancipation
England
English class
evidence
excerpt
exclusivity
Exercise
Expertise
Facebook
fact and fiction
failures
fame and fortune
family affairs
Favorites
Fear of Failure
Fish
flood waters
food delights
Formatting
Fort Pulaski
Free Days
freebies
Friendship
Frogmore
garden
gardens
genealogy
Getting organized
ghost stories
Giveaway
Goals
good business
good news
grammar cops
gratitude
gray horses
gripes
grocery shopping
guest blogs
Gullah
Harriet Tubman
Hiatus
Historical background
Historical Fiction
historical puzzlers
historical thinking
history lessons
Holidays
home office
hope and kindness
horses
hurricanes
identifying your audience
illustrations
imagination
indie authors
Inspiration
inspirations
internet
internet history
intruders
ISBN
Kalamazoo
karma
Kindle
Kindle links
Kindle rankings
Kindle Serials
kings
Klout
Ku Klux Klan
Lack of co-ordination
landmarks
language
Laughs
launch dates
Laura Towne
Layouts
legal matters
lending library
Lessons learned
lessons unlearned
libraries
literary genres
local news
love story
making choices
Marketing
Matchbooks
medicine
medieval-isms
Meet the Characters
Memorial Day
memories
Milestones
military matters
mind-mapping
Misfis
Monthly Musings
name recognition
NaNoWriMo
Nellie Chase
New Blog
New Book
New England
New Research
New Year
newsletters
nonfiction
non-profits
nostalgia
Nurses
oddities
odds and ends
olympics
opening lines
outrage
Papacy
parties
Penn Center
photographs
picture book
Pinterest
Pinterest and copyrights
Pirates
planning ahead
plot
point of view
polite society
politics
powerful women
Predictions
pre-orders
press release
previews
pricing
Principles
procrastination
productivity
Profiles
Progress Report
Promotions
proofs
pros and cons
publishing
publishing companies
publishing ploys
publishing rights
pure sentimentality
puzzlements
quiz
rain
random thoughts
RBOC
read an ebook
readership
recipes
Reconstruction
Relaxation
research
Resolutions
reviews
road trip
rough draft
Roundhead Reports
royalties
rules
SALE
Sales
scams
schedules
Scoop It
ScoopIt
seasons
Secessionville
second edition
Second Mouse
self-publishing
settings
Shiloh
Short Stories
Silliness
slander
Slavery
small world
Smile of the Day
snow, living in the south
social media
software
software disasters
South Carolina
Speechless!
sports
Spring
story arc
Substitutes
Success
summer
synopsis
Taking a Break
Taxes
Thank You
the difficulties of blogging
The Gideonites
Theme
Tongue-in-cheek
Traditions
trailer
Travelog
trilogies
trolls
Tweet
Twitter
Upcoming Events
using commas
Vacation
vacation photos
Valentine
video
Visitor
vocabulary
Volunteering
voting
warnings
weather
weather trauma
website
word counts
Word-of-Mouth
Words
Words of Warning
Writer Beware!
Writer's Block
Writing Advice
Writing as Career
writing process

Archives

May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010

powered by

"Roundheads and Ramblings"

December 2016

Celebrating the New Year, German-Style


In honor of my German (Hessian) great-grandparents, and in the tradition handed down to the Schweinsberg granddaughters through Grandma Karolina, I have been busy this morning making sure that my little household will be as lucky as possible in the coming year. (And Heaven knows, we may need all the help we can get!)

My southern friends won't understand this. They'll want to talk about back-eyed peas and greens, but -- trust me -- on a blustery New Year's Eve, whether in Germany or Pennsylvania-- finding a pot of pork and sauerkraut is about as lucky as it gets!

Tradition says that it always brings good luck to eat pork, although for those who don't like the meat, a marzipan pig makes a good substitute. The pork itself can take many forms -- a schnitzel,  a roast, a tender chop, or --  ideally -- slow-cooked with sauerkraut. Why sauerkraut? Because it comes with a wish that you may have as much money as there are shreds of cabbage in a vat of sauerkraut.

My own favorite version of the old recipe combines the following ingredients in a slow cooker and lets them meld on low for six hours. Yes, I suppose it might taste better in a cast iron pot simmering on the back of a wood-burning stove, but, hey! Serve with mashed potatoes. And why mashed potatoes? Because it tastes good!


  • a pork loin cut into small cubes
  • a quart of deli sauerkraut
  • half an apple, sliced into thin wedges
  • half an onion, similarly sliced
  • lots of minced garlic
  • liberal shakings of salt (depending on the nature of your sauerkraut), dill weed, and dry mustard
  • half a bottle of good German beer

Therein, of course, lies a moral challenge. The onion and apple halves can last for another use, but what does one do with a half a bottle of beer, rapidly warming and losing its foam? Well, I'm fairly sure Grandma Karolina would have said:


"Abfälle, die nicht wollen, dass nicht."  (Waste not, want not).

You've Met the Scotch-Irish; Now Meet the Germans

I am re-posting a blog from last October, with corrected dates and ages, thanks to the sleuthing of a newly-discovered third cousin, who is better than I am at this genealogy stuff. Of course, he has had the advantage of some family records, including a family Bible, that I have not seen -- just another of the many reasons I am grateful for our 21st-century access to the internet.

My grandfather, Joseph Lyle McCaskey, was all Scotch-Irish, but my grandmother, Karolina Schweinsberg, was German. Her parents (who would be my great-grandparents) were Johan F. Schweinsberg, (1831 - 1899) born in Hesse, and Philippine Jung, (1831 - 1906) born in Rheinland-Pfalz. She and Johan married on 17 July 1853. I do not have an immigration date for either of of them, but their first child, Wilhelm, was born 30 March 1854 in western Pennsylvania, when they were both 23 years old.

I can trace Johan's family back one further generation, and the Jung family for three generations, taking me to some great-great-great-great-grandparents living in Rheinland-Pfalz at the beginning of the eighteenth century. There are no details, however, beyond birthdates. Having found neither any horse-thieves or any relatives that seem closely connected to a great philosopher, I am content to let buried ancestors stay buried.

I was curious, however , about my grandmother's siblings -- wondering why I did not hear more about her brothers and sisters.  A little probing turned up some sad details. 
 
·      John Fredrick Schweinsberg, born in 1847, lived with Johan and Philippina in 1860, but he was actually the son of Henry (“Georg Heinrich”) Schweinsberg, the brother of Johann Friedrich Schweinsberg.
·       Wilhelm J. was born in 1854 and died in 1887.  That makes two young men who died in their thirties.
·      Johannes S. was born in 13 November 1855  and died on 17 January 1944, He married Mary Louise Workley and had two sons and two daughters.
·      Grandma Karolina was born in 1858 and died in 1933.
·      Karl Henrick was born in 1860 and died at age ten.
·      Maria was born in 1862 and died at age eight.
·      Henrick August. was born in 1864 and died in 1955 at the age of 90. (Talk about a changling!) I guess if  you survived childhood, you could survive most anything. 
·      Jacob was born in 1867 and died at age 1 year, 4 months..
·      Fredrich was born in 1869 and died at age 1 year, 6 months..
·      Emma Margaret was born in 1871 and died in 1942.
 
Family tally:
·      9 births and one nephew taken into family.
·      4 died in childhood
·      2 died in their middle to late thirties
·      only 4 lived to their Biblical three-score and ten or beyond
 

 
With that in mind, take a look at this picture. That's Karolina Schweinsberg McCaskey seated on the left, and on the right, her mother, Philippina Jung Schweinsberg or possibly her sister Emma. That's Minnie (Wilhelmina) McCaskey Swick standing and holding baby Gladys Swick. 

I grew up with an enlargement of that picture on my mother's dressing table, and I always wondered why they were all wearing black on what seemed to be a happy occasion. Now I understand. Poor Great-Grandmother Phillippina must have spend most of her adult life in mourning garments.

The Long and the Short of It

Apparently this is my day to shine a little. Two e-mail messages awaited me after lunch today. And I hope my pun-loving friends will forgive me for calling this 'the long and the short of it."

First came this message from the Military Writers Society of America:


"Your book, Damned Yankee, received a GOLD Medal in the 2016 Military Writers Society of America awards historical fiction category." 

Damned Yankee is the first of three volumes of The Grenville Trilogy. Published in 2014, this 400-page historical novel chronicles the fortunes of one South Carolina family as they weathered the chaos of the Civil War and its far-reaching after-effects. 

The reviewer wrote: "Damned Yankee is a fine tale of the war from the perspective of the overlooked bystanders who bear no arms but suffer equally from the ravages of the conflict. It is recommended to anyone who enjoys Civil War fiction."

 

Then came the announcement of the results from a Facebook-publicized poetry contest.


 Anyone who knows me will tell you that brevity is not among my finest qualities. So asking me to submit a 17-syllable poem challenged my self-control to its utmost limits. But, inspired one hot, dry, summer day while mourning my withering flowerbed, I found a touch of inspiration:
For the record, this particular lizard had a vivid blue tail, and my first thought was that I was seeing  scrap of plastic from a newspaper wrapper. When I reached for it, he jumped and scared the bejezzus out of me! What was worse, the end of the tail broke off, just as it is designed to do in case of a predator's attack. 

And that is truly the long and short of it!

Making Your Holidays Mean Something

Time to vent, just a little, as we move deeper into December and the holiday hoopla.  A time to stop, take stock, and remember what’s important in this life, and what is not. 

A case in point:

I have some old friends, some folks with whom I connected many years ago when we were all  working as mere “go-furs” behind the scenes of a large philanthropic organization. It’s been the kind of friendship that goes for months or years without contact but renews easily and joyfully when events bring us back together  for a day or two. They are the kind of friends with whom you go for a drink, or a quick sandwich, exchange views of family pictures, mention future plans, and then spin off on your separate trajectories.

In the last few years, one of these friends has hit the fast track to international prominence, by now serving in a jaw-dropping executive position that has him and his wife jet-setting around the world, hob-knobbing with others whose names I have only encountered in the newspapers. I miss our quick reunions but have rejoiced in his successes.

And now . . . 

Would I be pleased to find a Christmas card from him and his wife among the others that have started to arrive? Of course I would. One of the blessings of the holiday season is that we take time to remember the people who have played an important part in our lives..

Would I understand if his multiple responsibilities made it physically impossible for them to send out personal greeting cards this year? Of course I would. It really never occurred to me to expect a greeting from them. 

But there it was in my mailbox . . . 

. . . Christmas-stamped, sealed, and hand-signed . . 

. . . and addressed only to my husband . . 

. . . who, as most of you know, died almost two years ago.

So what are you doing this holiday season? Whatever it is, I hope it will be personal, heartfelt, and meaningful.  It’s time to move beyond doing what’s expected, going through the motions, knee-jerking your way through the tasks at hand. Better to send one sincere message to someone who changed your life than to send out 500 identical — and meaningless — cards.