The neatest thing happened to me in the last 36 hours.

Years ago, kH purchased a 23AndMe kit for genetic analysis. It was pretty cool, especially since my “GOOD GOD YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY BE ANYTHING BUT SCOTTISH” hair and complexion turned out to be “OMG YOU ARE ALSO CRAZY AMOUNTS OF FRENCH, GERMAN, AND IBERIAN” with some Native, Ashkenazi, and African thrown in.

Maybe that’s why I haven’t gotten skin cancer yet.

But while the health reports were interesting, I already knew my genealogy, and I am so constantly deluged with questions about it from various sites that I almost never answer email. I’ve made the data available and it just remains to be found.

I noticed an email Sunday night from a woman (roughly my mother’s age) asking for help locating her (now long-deceased father). She’d discovered a woman the 23AndMe people estimate to be her grandmother with my grandmother’s maiden name.

I wrote her back, got some more information, hit my family tree, and took screenshots of the trees where I think she fit in, and also analyzed her DNA vs. mine, my brother’s, and the putative grandmother.

Definitely a cousin.

On the phone today, we talked a bit about what she knew (and I told her some family stories). Irony being what it is, her work took her to the very small area of the South our family came from–she is most likely surrounded by our cousins.

After I got off the phone, I pulled down the photo albums (you know those horrid things with gummy surfaces from the 70s and 80s) but I managed to pry a 1973 photo out with a knife, enough to read a name: her father’s name.

I’ve heard people moan about the morality or the vanity of genetic tests (as far as I was concerned, being able to blame both of my parents for lactose intolerance was worth the price in one), but this is the sort of neat connection that made all those hours of inputting data worthwhile.

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In other news, I decided that I was going to learn a new thing every day. Not Welsh or German vocabulary (I mean, I do that anyway). I meant a practical thing. Namely: knots. (Get your mind out of the gutter; I am still traumatized by some really freaky Amazon ads.)

Poor kH now has to deal with me learning knots, because I figure at my advanced age, I ought to know. (kH is a kind of eagle scout rock star; watching him tie down a load in the back of a truck is performance art.) I, however, have dreadful three-dimensional skills. BUT I have so far learned a new knot every day: so far I can do fishermen’s knots, bowline, a couple of hitches, one lash, and square knots. And then I have been busy attaching them to random things, like carabiners and knitting needles and then finally, when doing another hitch, kH’s arm, which as supposed to be doubling as a yardarm. He didn’t get into the role very quickly–he was fidgety. “YOU ARE A YARDARM. YOU HAVE DEAD BODIES HANGING FROM YOU. BE. THE. YARDARM.”