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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Memorable Times

This springtime has truly shown us a variety of weather changes. This week it has been A/C, on again, off again . . . today it is in the middle range -- do we or don't we, probably we won't . . .

It is Memorial Day weekend and of course, Monday is the 29th of May and the 4th Monday in May,
so we commemorate.

Originally, Memorial Day in the U.S. was Decoration Day and it was mostly to remember those who lost their lives in the Civil War. It was commemorated on May 30th, whatever day that happened to be.
These days, it is Memorial Day, 4th Monday in May and it commemorates all those who died in all the wars we were involved in -- that changed in the 1970s. In my mind, I hadn't remembered that it changed in the 70s during the Vietnam era.

To me, what would Memorial Day be without the "Indy 500". Though I've never attended, I've enjoyed watching for many years.

These days though, since I record the race, I usually watch the beginning and the ending and maybe some of the middle. 

I can't imagine watching for almost three hours. Maybe it would be different to attend in person, but we're happy to watch from the couch.

With some of the cool nights this week Dino was enjoying his "nighttime bed".

Dino is fairly good-size and weighs about 85 pounds -- in this snapshot, he is exposing maybe one pound or so.

He comes to bed when we retire and he crawls into that bed and stays most of the night that way. 

He absolutely loves that bed and the comfort that it gives him.
We love seeing him enjoy it!

Also during this week, Gail finished working on one puzzle and started a new one.

These are great puzzles and we have several of them and just might find the need to purchase another or two.

I've enjoyed putting puzzles together since I was young. Sometimes it is just relaxing to struggle with finding just the right piece or series of pieces.   Lately, we listen to the Giants lose another game while working on the puzzle . . .

And this is the season to celebrate the memorable occasion of graduation.

I am aware of three graduations in a close branch -- there are probably more that I don't know about.

But, congratulations to Jessica Hiles, Amanda Willmes and to Olivia Hiles for completing this stage of their education.

We look forward to hearing great things from each of the graduates.

And lastly -- What is on our nightstand currently:

We are currently about halfway through reading Megyn's book:  "Settle for More". Actually, it might very well be an excellent book for each of the current three graduates to read.

We are enjoying the book very much. Recently, Megyn is settling for more by moving from CNN to NBC. And her new show "Sunday Night" begins June 4th.

So, that is a bit of our week.  See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Comin' Up Roses

Almost everything. Inside and outside. We must have several thousand rose blossoms in the front, most of them white, some of them do have a pinkish tint to them.

But they last for only a specified time and then they rejuvenate as they are trimmed and pruned -- thank you, gardeners.

As I said, almost everything -- the purple vase contains the gardenias which will be blooming in their time.

It is hot today,  90° or so forecasted. The a/c is working hard to keep the inside temperature doable. So far that is working -- we'll see come 4 pm . . .

Dino is sooo lucky. He is taking the heat in stride. or in his favorite position.

He looks so peaceful and only an occasional whimper over maybe something he is dreaming about.

He has four beds in the house and one crate. He alternates with all of them throughout the day.

Often we'll wonder where he might be and we'll find him in his crate feeling comfy and secure.

When he does go out (on a business trip) he usually wants back in soon -- just like when it rains. And sometimes we take him with us on an errand -- and he rides in the back -- in another bed . . .

With the a/c on, sometimes we might put on a light sweater in the house.
Or wear a pair of snazzy socks or leggings to ward off the cool.

We avoid having to go outside if we can help it and are always glad when the mail includes a package that is too big to fit into the mailbox, in which case all the mail is brought to the front door.

We try to keep it comfortable inside and lately it has been even more comfortable as we have been able to reduce a large number of nuisance calls by signing up for "Nomo Robo"
 service through Comcast.

Since signing up, very few sales, political or phishing/spam calls are getting through. We also have a couple of other remedies if some do get through.

This week was great for me with respect to WEBINARS. Legacy Family Tree had three new ones,
Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday:

Talk about eating up the clock . . .  but they were worth it. It focuses my time and as I have always said, I learn something from each presentation.

Little by little I am feeling more confident when dealing with DNA and genealogy. And each webinar aids me in that.

Lifestreaming is not something that I was very clear on, but Thomas MacEntee's presentation cleared things up.

And if I can get a handle on and my arms around, Legacy Family Tree 9 -- that would be nice not to mention have Family Tree Maker 2017 up and running as promised for March of this year . . .

And wonder of wonders -- the USPS actually has come out with a program that looks to be something for the 21st century . . .

I signed up for it so we'll see how it takes some of the pain out of the horrible mail service that we get here.

We actually had two days in the last 30 days when we had NO mail service.

Apparently, per the Post Office, our route is a very complicated one . . .

But what this new service does is to give you a peek (via online) of what letter sized mail is supposed to be arriving that day. Yesterday was when I signed up for this service and I did get a peek of the day's mail coming . . .

The service was tested and opened up nationwide in the last few weeks. There are things I hope that it does -- like let me see mail that is addressed to me and then if I do not receive it, I can follow up. In our neighborhood, we get a large amount of misdelivered mail, usually on the day off of the regular carrier.

And the second leg of the Triple Crown happens today -- The Preakness.

We'll do what we did for The Derby, record the whole show and watch the last few minutes to see the main event.

It is always nice to have a chance to have a Triple Crown winner. I'm not actually sure why for us shut-in type folks that it matters, but we try to make it fun . . .

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

Saturday, May 13, 2017

And It's Great Sleeping Weather Too !

This week the weather started out hot, but then went cool and especially at night. With the windows wide open and a little warmth from the electric blankets, conditions were great for sleeping, at night and even a late-afternoon nap.

The days have been mostly sunny and breezy and have nurtured the trees and plants all over our yard. There are even little apples appearing on the recently pruned apple trees. It looks like another bumper crop. The lemon tree though still just has blossoms -- but that will change.

The two left side pics show the newly produced apples, as they looked this morning. The rest are various flowering plants around the yard.

Over our fence, just beyond the apple tree, a little league game was going on earlier this morning.

The intermittent cheering can be heard mingling with the cheering from a second game on the other diamond.

We do hear cheering during the week as well when the youngsters are out for recess. That will end soon and it is amazing that this school year is almost over.

During this week one of the things that took up my "spare" time was searching in the old newspapers for articles -- Hiles articles mostly.

To the left is just some of the more than fifty or so tidbits of Hiles newsy items that I located this week.

Now the job is to deal with each one, i.e. filing each one and connecting each to the correct family members -- a fun, but time-consuming activity.

An early Mother's day gift arrived for Gail the other day and is pictured to the right.

It came from Aura who worked with Gail for many years and has remained a good friend over the years.

It is a Gardenia and will eventually have fragrant blossoms covering the foliage.

It will enjoy a prominent place for all to enjoy.

Speaking of baseball, this has to do with not over-our-fence baseball, but baseball "over-the-top".

Yikes ! For $4, a four-ounce serving of apparently delicious fried grasshoppers can be munched on while watching a Seattle Mariner's game . . .

What will they think of next -- I'd have a really hard time getting those down, I think.

I enjoy the traditional "Cracker Jack" or peanuts and this might call for a change in the lyrics of "Take Me out to the Ballgame" . . .

Since currently, the Giants are the losingest team in baseball, maybe besides shaking up the lineup they can make the snacking menu more crunchy.

Happy Mother's Day and the following fits my sentiments:

Well, that's a bit of our week. See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

What's Up With Blue (& Gold) ?

Like a lot of folks, BLUE is a favorite color of mine. Back in 2009 a couple of scientists in Oregon discovered a new vibrant shade of blue. It seems to me that every shade of every color would have already been identified -- but no. YinMn is the scientific name assigned to it.

It has become commercially available in 2016 and now is beginning to appear more and more.

The pigment color is shown second from the left. It appears in the next photo as well. The Gold coins are a favorite design of many, including me. The "American Buffalo" one-ounce gold proof coin complements the new blue nicely -- unfortunately, I will settle for pictures of the coin to enjoy . . .

Now, I may be able to enjoy owning some of the "new blue" though. Crayola is replacing "Dandelion" with the new blue
soon so we can all enjoy it.

They are also holding a contest to name the new color. The winner to be announced in September of this year.

Continuing to speak of "blue", Kentucky is "The Bluegrass State" and while we do not have too many folks in the tree from Kentucky (we'll have to work on that), there is a lot to like about the blueness of the state. 

The music for one, I have always enjoyed "bluegrass" music. And then later this afternoon, about 3:45 California time is the 143rd running of the derby:

The "Kentucky Derby" has been running at Churchill Downs in Louisville since approximately 10 years after the Civil War. The TV coverage today goes on for hours -- the race takes about two minutes . . . we record it though and usually just watch a portion of the pre-race and then the race itself.

The Dog of the Week:    BLUE  Buttercup

This dog belongs to Lisa and Bob up Seattle way and they snapped her picture on their new "Oriental Rug".

The picture looks great as does Buttercup. Could there be treats involved?  That's the look that Dino gets when he hears the treat bag crinkling or the treat bowl cover . . .

While there is no blue in the photo, the shade of red looks great as does the complementing white of Buttercup.

Maybe the scientists are working on finding another red pigment, could happen.

So, the second webinar this week was about the brand new "9" version of Legacy Family Tree's genealogy program.

It offers a lot of new features and there is a learning curve to adjust to them. (Very nice Blue logo)

I spent some time investigating and look forward to utilizing the power of the features.

This webinar was on Friday, the Wednesday webinar I was lucky enough to win one of the door prizes that were offered -- a book entitled  "150 Years Later: Broken Ties Mended" an historical mystery solved encouraging a great family reunion . . . more about that later.

And lastly this week:

Costeaux French Bakery in town had a "drive-in" visitor. Fortunately for all, no one was injured.

There are seating tables right where that car entered and people nearby -- we have eaten and sat at that exact spot ourselves . . .

It just proves that "anything is possible" and in this case it was.

So, that is a bit of our week. See you all "in a few" !

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Young Dogwoods, Dog & A Slivery Moon

It's here this week!  Summery weather for sure, high 70s to the low 90s, coming up and no sign of rain for the next several days. In the evening just after sunset, a low hanging sliver of a moon off in the western sky.

That's the good news . . . the other news is that it means that I'll have to test run the sprinklers and then put them on a regimen. Unlike the last two years when we could only water on Tuesday evening and on Friday evening, this year (with the drought over we think) we can again choose our schedule of watering.

The dogwoods (two of them) are flowering beautifully -- along with a couple of other plants. They are about the same age as Dino (5 1/2) and looking fine! These are the skies this morning and there is not a single cloud in the sky.

And the moon -- hopefully it will be hanging out back again later this evening -- is remarkable.

This is the 119th day of the year, about 32% has been used up in 2017. But for whatever reason, this marks a significant day in the Presidential term of DJT -- 100th day or about 7% of the first term.

To me, it will be most important to see what the remaining 1360 days bring during this term. There are so many concerns that have to be dealt with -- some more serious than others.

Donald Trump is officially the oldest person starting a first term Presidency. He already has served over three times as long as William Harrison did (who may be related to us).

I can only imagine the stress and pressure of having such an important job at his age. I am a few years older but would find it extremely difficult to keep such a schedule and such a high profile as he does. I get uptight when the scheduling of the DVR goes awry . . .

Legacy Family Trees Webinars presented two webinars this week, shown to  the left.

The first was about "land ownership maps". Very impressive presentation and useful as well. I just wish more of our ancestors could be found "owning land", so many were tenants.

The second webinar also was very fascinating in that it dealt with how to research criminal records -- not that folks in our tree would be involved . . .

I am sure that with some research we could uncover a few folks that fell outside the legal norms, but so far I have uncovered very little -- which is a good thing for sure.

Falling well within legal boundaries though this week would be a couple of activities that Gail (and I) have engaged in.

Gail especially has rekindled her interest in working puzzles and is engaged with that activity as I write.

The Liberty Puzzles that offer such beautiful wooden pieces are being constantly arranged so that they fit together in the likeness of the cover picture by Gail.

And every day, we play Quiddler in the late afternoon. It is such a quick paced game and a learning experience as well. We both use the dictionary on several of the hands. Gail continues to win a majority of the games -- but I have somewhat of an excuse as I am usually fixing dinner while we are playing . . .

Sadly, the finale show appeared last Monday -- but it was a great episode.

It was about Liv Tyler (Steven Tyler's daughter)

The facts and people that were uncovered in her family were amazing.

Even Steven was blown away by the discoveries. Very much fun to watch.

We hope that the show returns next year -- and we can hardly wait.

In the meantime, the search goes on. I have to say though that "spring cleaning" has gotten a bit into the scene as we have systematically attacked now two closets. Later today, we will be making a "Goodwill" run and I shutter to think as we move forward of the things that we will find . . .

And for that I'm thankful. Everyday, I work on some aspect of genealogy and am continually enthused and invigorated by this hobby . . .

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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Weather Kerfuffle

Okay, so one day it is nice and we have the windows and doors open, the next day it is rainy and cold and we close up tight. Following that we had a hot day, everything closed up again along with the a/c on. Next it was cool and rainy again and we had the heat on . . . today kind of bland with a plain sky though it misted earlier in the morning.

So what's next . . . at least we can't say that the weather has been boring lately.

I attended another webinar. This one, this morning and it was excellent. I had to get up and be ready to attend "class" at 8 am -- just like the old days, so-to-speak.

The hot topic these days in genealogy is "DNA" and so that was what the webinar was about and it was entitled "Additional DNA Tools and Concepts Boot Camp" from the DNA Boot Camp series.

The webinar was hosted by Thomas MacEntee and presented by Mary Eberle. Together they made the webinar interesting and educational.

I find this subject of DNA to be very complex and with each class or webinar things become more understandable and usable.

Above, Family Tree DNA charts show us genetic "Adam" and "Eve" with the origins for both deep in Africa thousands of years ago.

Today's webinar demonstrated the use of several tools to use to analyze more current genetic finds or matches of our own.

In the midst of my searching I turn up names and faces a lot of whom I can not identify. And that file gets bigger and bigger.

I'm hoping that one day I'll be able to use DNA matching to the point that I might even be able to identify some of the interesting photos that I gather for folks in our tree.

Above are some very interesting groups of people, but I do not know who they are and for what event they are posing for a picture. Maybe one of you know, if so, please let me know, thanks.

I particularly like the early version of the "RV". I can only imagine what that was like i.e. having seven people cruising around together.

The middle pic shows 3 folks admiring a young bear and where are the parents or at least the mom.

The last pic shows a family of ten enjoying maybe a holiday and gathered out back . . .

Besides the searching around, I did attend a Legacy Family Tree Webinar on land records.

Mary Hill was the presenter and she always is very informative and this time was also.

Using things like "metes & bounds" and other ways of describing property she shows us how we can use that information to increase our tree size with legitimate resources.

Every one of these webinars is like getting "free" advice that will only help each of us to be better at what we do.

In the bottom right of the chart shows us the upcoming webinars that are free to watch in the live version, usually on Wednesdays, sometimes Fridays.

Coming up on "Who Do You Think You Are?" this next week looks to be very interesting.

Usually the show is on Sunday night but this appears to be on Monday night the 24th at 8 pm on TLC.

I have to be honest, I did not connect Liv Tyler to Steven Tyler . . . and for me this makes it all that much more fascinating.

When I've seen Steve Tyler performing (which has not been THAT often) I almost couldn't connect him to any family type activities . . .

So, we'll be watching this episode with maybe a bit more interest.

And lastly, since we are talking about -- what else -- DNA:

And that may not be far from the truth . . .

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

Saturday, April 15, 2017


Okay, so we are almost one month into "spring" and I (we) are just thinking about cleaning. For some reason it just came to me that there are some areas of the house that need the attention of organization and a good "going through".

We are starting in the master bedroom closet -- the one that has shelves of items that we no longer have any idea of what is there. We carefully placed the items there when we moved in and have not addressed them -- until now.

There is some order to the items on the shelves, but we have already found several items that we did not know that we had and others that we have purchased duplicates of . . .

We would like the inside of this closet to eventually look as orderly as a garden flower box, maybe not ours but the ones that you find in magazines.

We may have overdone it a bit yesterday as we both were exhausted after an hour or so -- we now have a folding table filled with closet items that we have to "do something with". So that will begin again today . . .

I have to admit that part of the problem is my hobby -- that of working on family history some most of my free time . . .

So, while, sometimes my desk area could resemble the above to others, I generally know where everything is and I eventually "get to it".

After the master closet, I, we'll attack the office area . . . even though I do get it back to bare wood at times, there are a lot of things that have accumulated that I need to attend to -- I keep reminding myself of how "good" I'll feel once it is done.

It reminds me of the days of elementary school when on the last day you had to clean out the desk that you had been using all semester -- thank goodness for that little round hole in the bottom of the desk to push out remnants and crumbs.

Besides the obvious "piles" there still are boxes of what used to be piles and are now "neatly" stored in the garage -- this process never ends . . .

I did take a "break" on Friday of this week to participate in Legacy Family Tree's 500th presentation of a webinar.

The webinar was on Photo Restoration which is an activity that I enjoy doing. It was excellent and I learned a lot. There were also links to pursue other classes on the subject.

As part of the celebration of the 500th, Legacy Family Tree Webinars has granted free access this weekend to all 500 of the webinars. The webinars when viewed live are free and available for a few days afterwards -- then they are archived and available for a charge or with a membership.

So, it is a good time to view the huge library of webinars and select some to view -- and learn.

Then I'll be taking another break to watch a favorite show -- WDYTYA this Sunday evening.

This night they will be featuring some family history details of John Stamos. And as I have mentioned before -- to me I am interested in every person that they feature, maybe some more than others, but this one looks very interesting.

I know that I'll learn from the presentation something that will carry over to my own search. One thing that I notice on the show is that "physically" visiting the repositories seems to be a key for success.

I would love to have the resources to just "head off to wherever" and meet key genealogists who were working on my tree . . . I will keep trying to duplicate those trips, online . . .

Another reason I dislike the process of preparing
our taxes is that I feel so relieved after I "push the button" to file online that I look for things to do like "cleaning out closets" . . .

If you haven't finished your taxes -- normally today, the 15th would have been the deadline to file. But holidays in the DC area gave us all a

But, our return has already been accepted by both the feds and the state -- which was really faster than usual.

Income tax is either something I'm doing or dreading doing the whole year long.

I think I'm not alone in that . . .

And lastly -- we wish all a Happy Easter!  We have the obligatory
"B.A." ham (as Letterman used to refer to) and the most delicious dessert ever -- a lemon drenched sponge cake.

The lemons were from our tree, but transposed into something truly special by our neighbor to whom we gave a couple bags of lemons.

We tried out the dessert already (life is short, eat dessert first) and we think it just might be the best one ever!

So, that is a bit of our week. See you all "in a few" !