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Sunday, September 25, 2016

It's Fall . . . Really?

It is supposed to be 100° here in our town today -- that hardly says "fall". And speaking of that particular "f" word, we are reluctant to use it too often around here due to the current state of being.

There are things falling around here just not us at the moment. During the day lately we have had the house pretty much closed up due to the temperature. But in the evening after we open all the windows and doors every once in awhile we ask "did you hear that ?" it's usually one of the many apples that fall mostly during the evening and night time and they bounce off of things or just go splat . . .

We have a large and really productive green apple tree in the back. Last week we made a trip to the local food pantry with bags of picked and select apples for others to enjoy. We used to make a variety of things for our own use, but have slacked off of that this year.

Some of the apples make it into the pool which provides a "bobbing" opportunity and several that have been pecked by the birds and are going bad smash to the pavement and attract bees and flies.

We have another apple tree on the side of the house in the front -- we haven't even checked on that yet -- maybe next week.

Where did all the time go this week?

Gail refers to a calendar everyday to check on "what's happening".

She stays on top of birthdays and anniversaries that way. I produce a calendar for her that is generated from Family Tree Maker and I include as many of the pertinent relatives from the tree that I can.

Last year when I synced the tree with the FTM tree it erased all information re living folks. That meant that to produce a calendar which was useful I had to go back in and re enter the dates and facts for each person.

The calendar project took up many hours, but it did help to "fill in many blanks" so to speak. There are still some folks that I need data on and over the coming weeks I'll be looking for that so that I can be up to date.

So, I have printed out an 18 month calendar for us and we will be set 'til sometime in 2018 . . .

Where else did we spend our time this week?

 Last week we mentioned that our goal was to be able to park at least one car in the garage.

We have accomplished that goal and we are now a "one-car" family and that car is IN the garage -- yeah!

We now have pledged to do a little each day to take care of the rest of the garage so that we can move around with ease.

We did make two trips to the Goodwill nearby and will be making additional trips again soon.

Today, due to the heat and other commitments (NFL) we'll take a break from garage duty.

Other events this past week:

Dino turned five years old. It is really hard to imagine that he is "middle-age" -- but he is. He is a fantastic dog and a great companion for us.

Above is a look at his eyes, first as a 10 week old pup and then five years later and on the right are the eyes peering out from a birthday card from Cuz Bruce.

And then there is "mine eyes have seen . . ."

A spread of seventy some years from the eyes on the left to the eyes on the right.

And events coming up:

And in about an hour, we'll be watching "the" game.

For us it is the Niners versus the Hawks. It is never a dull game when these two teams meet.

But I have to say that football in general has lost some of the luster and magic lately due to pregame activities.

It is no longer the magical escape for three hours and I hope that it can return to being that again.

And lastly coming up in 30 some hours:

It is the first of the presidential debates.

I certainly remember some of the first televised debates -- especially the sweating Nixon and the cool Kennedy one . . .

What will this debate be like -- I can only imagine.

We'll know shortly.

That is a bit of our week, see you "in a few" !

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Full Moon -- Full Sun . . .

September, one of my favorite months of the year and to have a full "harvest" moon is captivating. We go out each night and peer up through the lattice over the deck and spot the orangish sphere shining brightly.

The other reality for September -- this week especially is the "full sun". We usually sit out back in the morning with Dino and take in the warmth generated by that sun. Today we only sat out there for a short period. The full sun was HOT already -- it is supposed to be near 100 ☼.

We plan to utilize the cooling effects of the a/c to keep us comfortable today. And another benefit to the sun today is that it will be way too hot to work on our garage organization project -- oh darn . . .

There is a ton of football and baseball games to entertain us today and we have already programmed the DVD to record them and we'll pick and choose which games to watch and what parts of those games to "speed through" -- like commercials . . .

The time is flying by in this election year and now we only have 50 days left.

When there are really only two choices for president the daily news items play games with your thinking. We wish that the other two candidates could be considered, but NOT . . .

One day, you can say "Well that cinches my choice" and then the other
candidate does something and we are torn again and the ambivalence
starts anew.

Maybe I should turn off the political news on TV and stop reading the newspaper.

The genealogical searching continues and the listening to podcasts and webinars is ongoing.

I try to mix up the resources and look at many different sites for help in the search.

One of the sites that I have used on occasion is Genealogy In Time Magazine and you can check it out yourself by clicking the above link.

They have a great search engine and always report about new resources to further the search. They also offer a library of photos that are available for our use. I have been using GIT more and more lately as they have given me benefits.

Gail, on the other hand keeps busy, in her free time that is, on needle point work.

She is working on some new designs that are -- I think -- stunning,

She recently completed the designs on the right.

They are finished as coasters and are really attractive.

A few years ago we were lucky to have a Needlepoint Store in our town.

That has gone by the wayside though and now mostly supplies and other needed services for needlepoint have to be completed online.

Though on occasion we have driven the roughly 100 mile round trip to the nearest store.

The above things are what we have been doing, to the left pretty much sums up what Dino does.

He does that in almost every room in the house and it doesn't even matter if he lands on one of the four beds that his has around or just on the floor somewhere.

This afternoon I'm sure after he has been outside on a "business" trip he'll lay flat out next to the register that shoots out a/c . . .

All in all as that ad says:  "things are lookin' up". We try to maintain a doable routine that is satisfying for us.

At the same time, there is always "that garage project" that creeps back into our awareness. And guess what -- we are actually close to the time when we can put one car into the garage. That would be amazing.

Which car will it be that gets garaged . . . we'll let you know.

And that is a bit of our week. It is Sunday, maybe due for some fried chicken.

See you all "in a few" !

Sunday, September 11, 2016

If Only . . . A Bad Dream . . .

As all the news is reporting -- it is "hard to believe that it has been fifteen years" but that is the way I feel as well. It was like yesterday that early (on the west coast) we turned on the TV to watch in disbelief.

Supposedly it was a beautiful day in New York City on that day. Today it was fitting that here it was a cool dreary early-morning reminder of that event.

How different the world would be if the whole thing had been a bad dream. I remember very well enjoying a breakfast at the top of one of the towers in the late 80s. It was a memory that I won't forget. I was with a group of folks from my company while attending a business meeting.

In 2001, Gail & I were working our retirement jobs. We were teaching a class that one of the students reported in a few days late because he had been in NYC on that fateful day and could not catch a flight home . . . he was one of the lucky ones.

Unfortunately a receptionist in our office had a son working in one of the towers that day -- he managed to make a few phone calls (at least one to his brother) before the phone and he went silent.

Even today lives are impacted as some of the results of the toxic air that responders and others were forced to breath are now having major health issues.

We lived thousands of miles from the scene but like almost everyone in the country we were "touched" in many ways. For example, I also worked a part time job in a photo shop because it was a fit with a hobby for me.  Part of my activities involved developing film (just at the start of the digital era that put film out of business) and there were some local dentists from our town that had volunteered to do forensic work to identify remains. I developed many of those films . . . and I will never forget those images.

And so it goes -- we remember . . .

But as the colorized photo to the right shows, we are still working hard on the family tree.

Every day I do something that adds to the tree.

This week I worked on two branches mostly. One was a branch for a former spouse (they are the relatives of my children after all) and they are a very interesting family.

The other family was from "my-side" of the tree and a few generations that needed updating.

Mostly all the above work can be seen on the tree that is publicly displayed on

Remember that facts and pictures of the living are not shown on those trees -- unless you have been authorized to view them.

Dogs have been a huge part of my life. I have had more dogs than I can count. I know that this is true for many others in our tree. Here are a couple of examples:

This photo (colorized) shows my Uncle Stewart watching his father, Dayton Bumgardner, working with their dog "Prince".

This photo had to have been taken in the early 1930s before color photography, by whom I don't know.

It is the yard of their home at 2521 N Bernard St, Chicago, Illinois.

I of course never got to meet "Prince" only heard about him. But I'm sure that I would have liked him.

Looking at the photo, it is interesting to note that Uncle Stew had his right pantleg rolled up -- probably to keep it from getting caught in a bicycle chain -- I remember doing that as well.

Still remembering:

The picture to the right (also colorized) shows me, my brother Jon & our puppy "Skippy"'

It was taken -- maybe by our older brother, Marv who was "into" photography in those days and had a dark room in the basement of this house.

This is in the yard of 240 S LaGrange Road, LaGrange, Illinois, in the early 1950s.

The house these days is listed as one of the historical homes in the area.

Besides family tree climbing and things like watching baseball and now some football we are enjoying our new "stovetop grill".

We have used it for most of the proteins that we enjoy with great success.

It is hard to believe that for under $20 (Amazon) this devise has given us more than we could have hoped for.

Tonight we will use it for the ribs we are planing on for dinner along with maybe corn-on-the-cob and also roasted potatoes.

This grill is amazing and is very easy to use and clean up afterwards.

And finally, remember

That is a bit of our week, "see you all in a few"!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Respite from Labor . . .

Or so they say . . . even though we are retired and have been for several years, we'd welcome a respite from our everyday labor. But for us the everyday tasks still go on, maybe there should be a "Retired Persons Holiday".  Still "Labor Day" has a good ring to it and brings up a lot of good memories.

One of the memories is of the "Bumbershoot" festival held in Seattle every Labor Day Weekend. I hadn't thought about that one for awhile but we enjoyed it for the ten years that I lived in the Seattle Area -- and now my children can enjoy it still.

For my generation Labor Day mostly meant the end of summer as we knew it because of "back to school". That is all changed nowadays. But also living in the Midwest meant cooler days and eventually just plain colder days.

Living here in Northern California, we do have a sense of a weather change coming but the next two months are usually very nice in terms of weather.

We are awaiting a new front door to be installed that includes a screen door as well. That will be a welcome addition to enhance airflow in the coming weeks.

Time marches on and it seems to be at a very fast clip as the graph to the
right shows. In a way it is the "end of time" daylight saving time specifically. That ends two days prior to the other "end of time" event -- the Presidential election i.e.

So in 62 days we set our clocks back and in 64 days we'll find out what else gets set back . . .

There is a lot more to comment on this subject in the coming weeks.

Speaking of "set-backs" for us (me especially)
the watching of a football game gave me a 3 hour window of time to forget the outside world and just enjoy the magic on the field.

This week that changed for us and the current state of the protest exhibited by the SF 49er player(s) and one from the Seahawks have eroded that window.

It is our feeling that if that style of protest expands -- we may just NOT watch NFL this year. We'll see . . .

On a much more positive note my sister and her husband are celebrating their 58th wedding anniversary -- and to think I attended that event those many years ago . . .

Recently they moved from Florida (their part year residence) back to Illinois and and given the current weather I bet that they are thrilled about their decision.

We wish them both the very best on their special day!

So, what has been added to the nightstand this week -- besides the many other books being currently read, the book to the left has been added -- "After Camelot"

We are "reading" (Audible is reading to us) in the evening at bedtime this fascinating insight into the Kennedy family.

So far we have been enlightened as to the many different personalities found among the "royal family".

So much we knew about but not in this amount of detail.

We are also reading the book by Clint Hill "Five Presidents" which just happens that he is describing some of the same Kennedy personalities as well.

I guess because life for us at the time these events were occurring
was much more involved than now, these events take on a better understanding.

And lastly, what's a holiday weekend without special eats.

Tonight we are planning on having chef salads with all the trimmings. Gail says I always make too much -- but as hard as I try I just keep adding stuff

But the salads are in preparation for the "rare" inclusion of one of our favorite beef steaks of all time, a ribeye . . .

We have a new stove-top griller that we have used this last week on chicken cutlets, hamburgers, salmon fillets and now tomorrow night the ribeye.

The griller is perfect -- no charcoal needed and very easy to clean-up -- we are enjoying the different tastes.

So that is a bit of our week. Enjoy the rest of the Labor Day weekend and we'll see you all "in a few"!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Back to School

It hardly seems possible, but yet it is -- time for the youngsters to be back to school. When we were in  elementary (grade) school, it never started 'til after Labor Day. Things change. I feel sorry for the poor little guys -- not.

Boy do I remember those desks. They would accumulate so much debris from a variety of sources and once in a while we actually cleaned them. I remember the little round holes in the bottom of the drawer that I guess was used in case liquids spilled.

I only rode a bus to school for one year (8th Grade) and that was fun because I got to be a "monitor" and I rode up front in the first seat right by the step-down door.

Somewhere along the line when our kids were little we purchased desks like the above for them to use and play with -- they came from one of the local schools around where we lived at the time.

Schools have changed their appearances from when I went. And that is a good thing, but the old look still brings back a lot of the memories of so many years. I would imagine that experiencing the aroma associated with those schools would evoke a lot of memories as well.

For me, it all started at "7th Ave School" in La Grange, Illinois (top left)  and wound up at CSULA in Los Angeles, California. A substantial % of time was spent in the above educational locations.

I was reminded just this week how we love to connect to some of the old schools -- mostly high school when I received an email from a "60 year" reunion committee seeking to locate my sister who graduated from the same Hinsdale High School that I did (I was four years later though).

I still have a lot of memories of some of the students that I went to school with AND of some of my favorite teachers including Mrs Ide, my 3rd grade teacher at Cossitt Elementary in La Grange, Il.

So much for back-to-school, but it does evoke the nostalgia gene. I wandered all around the web and eventually wound up looking at old newspaper headlines like the one below.

It happens to be dated 23 September 1942 and it is from a Rockford, Illinois paper. We lived not too far from Rockford and it was the only paper I could find with that date near to where we lived.

The news at that time was not unlike the news and the headlines that we may see today -- war and crime type events.

In the coming months I hope to locate other dated headlines that relate to events from our tree as well.

We feel that we can relate to the "Herman" comic
depicted to the right.

We take a variety of "prescription" meds and the kinds and dosages change often.

And we do have a similar appearing doctor . . .

It used to be that every once in a while I would take an aspirin or some such pill as needed. Now, it is getting almost to the point of having to program our smart watches to alert us to the next needed medication.

Thank goodness for health insurance, even though that
can be a very complicated interaction as well.

Gail and I celebrated our 24th last week (though Gail swears that it feels longer . . .)

I think we split a can of Campbell's for our dinner -- just kidding -- we actually enjoyed "Royal China" entrees (for more than one night) and loved every bit of it.

So, as we start our 25th year together we though it would be nice to start a family to maybe downsize our automobile inventory.

We have two cars and really only need one anymore, so we have options. We could get rid of one and keep the other OR get rid of both and get a new one . . .

We're going to the dealer for service next week and just may wander the showroom to help us decide.

And if you are like us and missed the National TP day -- there probably is still time to act.

I had no idea the significance of August 26, but I do now.

Thank goodness for Costco, Amazon Prime and lately Google Express.

They'll make sure that our needs are met.

That is a bit of our week, see you "all in a few"!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mil Gracias Rio !

And we mean it! The games of the 31st Olympiad have meant a lot to us. One thing it has meant is that we have something to watch instead of the status of the political campaigning. Just kidding, but not entirely.

When we started watching we were wondering how the games would proceed given the numerous negative reports -- but except for the one incident (our own doing) the games have been fun to watch.

From the Opening Ceremony up to the Closing Ceremonies (in a few hours) all has gone well. And from the medal count shown above especially for the USA.

We watched so many of the events that it will be fun to see some of the participants in the closing. We really enjoyed a variety of sports especially the volleyball, swimming, some of the biking, running and other track & field events and some of the other water events.

We will have to wait four years to see the summer games again, in Tokyo. Many of the current players have to decide whether to devote another four years of training to compete then, we'll see who that is then.

But as you can see in the above graph, we only have to wait two years for the next Olympics, the Winter Games held in South Korea in 2018 -- those are always fun too.

And then four years after those winter games will be the Winter Games in China in 2022.

And besides the Olympics what took up a lot of my time this week -- organizing and filing my digital files . . .

Those of you who know me, know how much I insist  on a neat and tidy desk -- not. Well the same is true for the thousands, maybe more than that of digital files that find themselves parked somewhere in my digital filing cabinet.

The above two programs I have had installed for some time, but have not really used them to their potential -- until recently after reading a book on Evernote (by Kerry Scott) and listening to a podcast by Drew Smith and to articles in Dick Eastman's blog (EOGN).

I finally took up the challenge and am using those two programs to organize genealogical files as well as my personal files too. It is addictive. Thank you to the above mentioned folks for helping me to begin.

Besides the above activities we are starting another new book.

It must be the spirit of the Presidential election or something but we are listening to "Killing Reagan" by Bill O'Reilly and now starting to read "Five Presidents" by Clint Hill.

The "Five Presidents" is by Clint Hill who was one of the secret service agents who worked for all five presidents in the seventeen years of his service.

So far very fascinating and coupled with the account of the secret service agent who protected Reagan, most illuminating.

So political related books (we are also reading and watching "Legends & Lies, the Patriots")  and the actual current campaign gives us truly an abundance to ponder.

And lastly, in this abbreviated post, I got to thinking
that I do spend a lot of time working on searching the family tree.

And I do spend "some money" on the search as well.

Then I saw the quote by Twain and got to thinking, maybe it would be a good idea to  . . . NO WAY.

Politics is not for me -- I'll be an observer and a voter but not a person who throws their "hat into the ring".

Speaking of money -- we got to wondering how much an Olympic Gold Medal might be worth.

Apparently the Gold Medal, is worth pretty close to $600 currently. It weighs close to a pound and is made up of mostly silver covered in pure gold. But besides monetarily an Olympic Gold Medal is worth SO much more.

That was a bit of our week. See you all "in a few"!

Sunday, August 14, 2016


We have our ways . . . that is, most of the weeks lately have been similar. The weather changes our week some, and other circumstances change our week some, but for the most part we have our routine.

I don't know how we ever squeezed in a "40 hour work week". Our activity plates are full -- maybe not the way that they used to be full, but full none-the-less.

The above represents just some of the highlights of our week. I know that I have forgotten to include a photo of Quiddler -- the game we try to play every afternoon for about an hour. And I forgot to include photos of family tree climbing, but this week with the Olympics has filled our schedule.

And tonight we'll watch preseason football with the Forty-Niners and the Houston Texans as long as we can take preseason . . . but we have the Giants versus the Orioles too and of course, Rio.

Basically the above was our week . . . 'nough said.

It is a beautiful sunny day here and in just a few minutes I'll be putting the a/c on to ward off the afternoon heat increase.

This has been the abbreviated version of the blog -- I am also involved in trying to organize all things digital. It has been easy to find "clouds" and just dump things in and now is the start of fixing that.

Lastly our attempt at humor:

And just so we stay focused, the election is but 85 days away and more importantly Christmas is just 132 days away . . .

Homemade potato salad, fresh veggies and a select protein for dinner.  See you all "in a few"!