Back to Reality

I refer to reality in the title of this post solely because I lack the mental focus to invent a more topical title. My husband has the album Master of Reality by Black Sabbath in his car at all times, and the sight of it has inspired me to comment entirely too often that reality really is the hardest thing to master.

I have survived my first week back from medical leave. Aside from soreness due to some quadricep exercises for physical therapy, I haven’t had any struggle in meeting the physical demands of this transition. Instead, I have had a hard time adapting to the sudden expansion of the company I keep. I spent seven weeks in solitude seasoned only by people who understand me implicitly. This was such a heaven that my reaction upon the prospect of conversing with “mixed company” was to fantasize for a moment about what it would feel like to walk back to my car and drive home, where I would stay indefinitely in a reverie of dessert recipe trial-and-error, family tree research, and books partially read.

Alas, the cost of living prohibits me from such a retirement, so I pressed onward through the week. I ended my week with a dinner loaded with enough grease and refined flour that I’d be sure to fall asleep while binge watching Father Brown.

In other news, I am excited that my mom and my sister are going to do the 23andMe test. After a flurry of testing last year with both that service and AncestryDNA, I felt I needed a break from waiting for test results, a span that can be oddly unpredictable. For example, my results were ready in 27 days, but my brother’s took 11 weeks! If you, dear reader, also decide to take part in direct-to-consumer genetic testing, be prepared for discrepancies in testing times that aren’t explained well at all by the companies involved. You could have your results in as little as three weeks, but the whole process could take three months.

However long the wait will be for these two tests, I will be pleased to see them. I think that 23andMe has the best admixture test and matching, and these aspects of the test are greatly enhanced when a parent is tested and a parent/child phasing takes place. Both of my parents have been tested through AncestryDNA, but that service does not do phasing. Now that the price of 23andMe is half what it was last year (at least for an ancestry only test), we have a better opportunity for phasing (and I hope I can talk my dad into doing this test, too). This will also be the first time my sister has tested anywhere, and she is the only hold out among my first-degree living relatives.

I really enjoyed seeing the DNA segments that my brother and I have in common:

Screenshot 2017-05-05 at 8.39.11 PM

I am eager to see the matrix of overlapping segments between me and both of my siblings. We will also be able to see which parts of my mom’s DNA we inherited, and I am sure there are a few spans of her genome that were passed to none of us. One of the most curious things I noticed with having so many family members tested is how some segments are not passed while others can pass through many, many generations. There are also oddities such as I have a cousin who has segments in common with my dad that I do not have. Likewise, my great uncle and one of his sons have tested, and half of the matches I have in common with my great uncle are not a DNA match with my first cousin once removed.

Lunch beckons, but I am looking forward to seeing a chart of the genetic connections between me and my siblings. I will see in numbers and graphics what has been so apparent since childhood:

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