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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Flower Towers & A Sliver Moon

Two phenomena -- the garden began sprouting some flower towers this week and then last night in the low western sky -- a beautiful sliver of a moon. Obviously, we're old or we might never have taken notice of these two events. But for a couple of shut-ins, these were huge . . .

The moon as pictured did have a slight rusty appearance and totally surprised us as we took Dino out for his final "business trip" of the day. What will this new moon look like tonight . . . the flower towers are coming forth from some bulbs we planted a couple of years ago and we are always surprised to see them as they reappear.

This week has been a "slow" genealogical week. I did manage to cover a lot of ground with adding to the tree and by adding facts to many folks as I meandered about. By the end of the week, I sometimes wonder what it is that I actually accomplished and then I realize that I did, in fact, accomplish the goal of spending quality and enjoyable time doing what I like to do . . .

Some of what I did do is pictured in the "wordle"  . . .

Basically, I'm about to create another wordle as I ramble around looking for interesting tidbits here and there. I guess that I just find it relaxing to squeeze a few minutes at a time of just wandering around the family members "hints" that puts into the tree and I am never sure where that will take me.

One of these days, I'll get back to serious research, I'm pretty sure.

The current news reports of parents and separated children got me thinking back in time.

Children have played varying roles in our country and it seems to continue to be very much in the news.

In the "old" days the circus was always kind of an option -- today it is another kind of circus that seems to be taking place.

We hope that the circumstances will change very soon and family life can be honored again.

What will be the "family" news stories in the coming months and years -- hard to imagine.

Speaking of keeping families together . . . actually, this represents our sort of behavior almost every afternoon these days -- a nap.

For whatever reason, it is so inviting to just take a nap these days.
It doesn't have to be lengthy, just enough to where it feels longer.

Many days, the nap-need just pops up and if everything else allows it, I can take my "twenty-winks" and feel really refreshed.

I almost always read a bit before dozing off and little by little I get through some of the stacks of books on the nightstand. Too, this week has had it's hot days and then it's hotter days. We kept the a/c running for three straight days without interruption -- and so appreciated that.

Today, we just have opened up all the windows and doors and so far are enjoying the breeze as the weather has given us a day of relief before the coming heat wave next week.

I wonder if the current feelings of many of the folks who lost homes in the fires here last October (6000+) might be intrigued by the current ad from Vermont.

There are conditions, but still, it might be a consideration for some.

I've never been to Vermont, but I am sure that it has some real beauty. And if a sudden change in lifestyle is okay -- under these conditions, maybe something for some folks to think about.

Right now for the folks trying to think about rebuilding after these devastating fires so much has to be taken into the realm of possibility. We know of folks who are "on-the-fence" about the issue of to rebuild or not . . . and of course, there are other fires and disasters going on as we write.

And lastly, pictured above are just some of the fathers from our tree. This is, of course, the weekend that we honor our fathers -- Father's Day 2018.

And the delivery trucks are all over our street -- well a few anyway have stopped here and the stacks of packages are waiting for tomorrow . . . it is even supposed to rain a little here tomorrow and that would really be a good thing.

Maybe grilling something like a rib-eye steak would be in order . . .

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

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Warm, Sunny, Balmy . . . Here

It is beautiful weather here and we hope it stays that way for awhile. The temperature is varying from day to day -- some days warm, some days hot . . .

Maybe it is this varying temperature that causes the Irises to open and bloom on any given day over another. One day they are blooming, the next they are not. But when they bloom -- they are something special.

We have only the purple variety though there are at least a yellow variety and probably others as well.
Apparently, there is a variety that also blooms in the fall -- we'll have to look into those.

Today is one of the "cooler" days and the Irises are blooming, so maybe that is the answer. We'll check in a few days when it is projected to be in the mid to high 90s to see their bloom status.

In the news again (still) -- volcanoes:

The volcano on the top is in Guatemala and is causing huge destruction and many deaths -- it starting spewing ash and other material earlier this week.

The bottom part of the picture shows some of the ongoing destruction caused by the volcano in Hawaii.

Is there activity going around the "ring of fire" that will show up near here. That is always the question in the back of our minds.

There is not much one can do about volcanoes other than to steer clear if at all possible.

Speaking of hot air gas:

This happens to be the weekend of the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic held every year about this time.

We'll be able to spot several balloons off in the distance from our backyard.

In some previous years, we have actually chased after some of them to watch them slowly land.

They are beautiful to see and they are only a few minutes away, housed in Windsor, California and do often fly near us.

While a spectacular sight from the ground, that is where we will enjoy them as we do not plan any trips into the atmosphere.

Unfortunately the recent news within this week:

These two folks unbelievably chose to end their lives in the recent
past days.

It is hard to imagine what would cause two highly visible and highly successful people to make that decision.

I cannot help but recall the two years that I spent taking calls on the "Crisis Line" in Seattle as a volunteer. I mostly worked on the weekend nights which often are the most critical.

That was back in the 1980s when calls would come in anonymously -- today it is
different as caller id pretty much is universal and a caller might be identified right away.

Our commitment was that if a suicide call came in and we were the one that answered it -- we would stay on the line with that individual as long as it took to hopefully resolve the crisis in a positive way.

The family tree that I maintain on, unfortunately, does have a few examples of the above -- but only a very small number -- some cases may just not be recognizable or reported.
It is all very sad and confusing to think about though.

I wish that I had met the following relative -- but I only learned of him after beginning my research into our family:

He is David Hiles, my Great Great Uncle. I saw this article in the "Newspaper Archives" site showing the newspaper article about him being 96 and planning on making it to the century mark.

Unfortunately, he didn't quite make it to 100 but he was certainly doing well for 96 at the time of this article. It is inspiring to see that kind of determination. He died one day before my birthday in 1949.

Sadly, I do not think anyone in my immediate family even knew of his passing . . .

Something though to look forward to today:

Will there be a "Triple Crown" this year -- there will be if "Justify" can win one more. Again, we have recorded the event and even though it is a few hours -- we will watch just for the couple of minutes that shows the race, then erase . . .

So, that is a bit of our week, see you all "in a few" ! 👨👩

Saturday, June 2, 2018

June Bloom -- Again . . .

We've passed the 150 day mark and it is now June -- again. The bloom is definitely here and the colors and views pretty nice.

We do have some mixed feelings about the temperature though -- we prefer to have the windows and doors open with the breezes free flowing -- but when it gets to be in the mid to upper 90s -- it is not sensible so we are thankful for the a/c.

This was out back this morning -- Dino is already relaxing poolside -- that won't be for long as the temperatures and direction of the sun change . . .

We like the daylight savings schedule and seem to want to get up and going earlier than usual. It varies for me from 5 am to 7 am, for Gail, 8 am to 9 am . . . today we both wanted to get up early.
Part of the reason may be how warm it is overnight.

Last week I mentioned in the post that we were going to try a food service -- and we did.

We had three dinners delivered on Wednesday in a refrigerated box ready for us to chose which dinner to have first and then prepare it.

The first night we chose to have and prepare pineapple beef tacos. They turned out to be very tasty and fun to prepare. There was enough for the two of us with a portion that I had for lunch the next day.

Next we had roasted cauliflower mac 'n cheese -- this too turned out to be very tasty and different from what we might normally have prepared. Again the portions were good and there was enough for a luncheon portion for me the next day.

Last night we had crispy fried chicken thighs. Again everything was very tasty including the cucumber/tomato salad and the roasted corn.

So, we were pleased with the food items and the portions. Everything was very fresh and nicely packaged for us to follow the excellent procedure to prepare.

What is nice is that we had a variety of different food items and none were too difficult to fix. We will try it again this coming week with our selections for three meals already turned in. Three days during the middle of the week seems about right -- that leaves four days for us to plan form what we have on hand in the freezer and/or fridge.

So, what is on our nightstand . . . actually a lot, way more than should be and I'll soon have to take care of the stack . . .

But currently we are about to finish reading the book to the left -- "Educated" by Tara Westover.

Actually we were almost finished with it the first night -- we both had a hard time dealing with the family members and their beliefs and dealings.

For whatever reason, we did "force" ourselves to continue reading and for several nights we kept saying "that's it, we quitting".

Again we managed to continue each night (mostly me as I think Gail shut it out and it put her to sleep. which in itself was a good thing  . . .)

Now that we are almost finished, I am glad that we continued to read even though it was a struggle. It is hard for us to believe what this girl -- young woman -- went through to become "educated".

Growing up, every once in a while, I thought the process was a struggle -- but in no way did it relate to the struggle presented in the book . . .

Above is a collage of some of the conditions going on in "our" world of the U.S. While we today on the west coast have "blue skies" other parts of the country have a variety of hazardous conditions.

Heavy storms and rain, tornadoes, wild fires (again) and of course Kilauea repaving the big island.

There really is no place to totally get away from one hazard or another. It seems that every region has their own special devices to deal with.

The only place that I have not lived is where the current volcano is erupting. I have lived in areas that have tornadoes and heavy storms, lived in hurricane country, currently live where there is the possibility of wildfires and earthquakes and actually lived in Washington when Mt. Saint Helens blew her lid . . . and in all these places, if the authorities recommended leaving -- we would.

In between squeezing-in updating photos in our tree, we have been watching sports on TV -- we do like the new system, DISH, much better than DirecTV -- many more features that enhance viewing.

Part of our dilemma during this time of the year is whether to watch baseball or basketball (finals) or both.

The other night for the first game of the NBA finals -- when our Giants were not playing -- we decided to watch that game.

We lasted about fifteen minutes and quickly found something else to engage our time with -- football is still three months away and even that may be on the doubtful list again . . .

So while we may record the NBA finals -- it probably will be to watch for a few minutes and then fly through the remainder . . . baseball (Giants) might get more fun with the return of several regular players who have  been out for injuries -- we'll see.

Failing all else -- we agree with "Buttercup" just grin and bear it.

What a smile! This is Lisa and Bob's dog -- in Washington.

She is a very happy dog and shows it.

That's the attitude we are adopting even though sometimes are smiles are not as big as her's are . . .

That is our week, see you all "in a few" !  👨👩

Saturday, May 26, 2018

It's Memorable . . . Or Not

It has been a strange week in many ways. The weather for one has been weird. Today it is very nice, yesterday it tried to rain a bit and managed to let some moisture hit the ground around us.

The global political arena continues to be unsettling with on-again, off-again events. I can't remember a more tentative mood  about a lot of things.

And then there was baseball . . . yesterday's Cubs/Giants game was going along nicely until the wheels came off for the Giants in the 7th inning giving the Cubs a huge win.

On the home front, there were several more calls to tech support as I tried to set up the new computer and printer. I thought it had to be "just me" but even the techs were having difficulties -- but for now I have the computer AND the printer working -- I just have not transferred things yet . . .

And so we are enjoying the "Memorial Day" weekend. Since we do not need the a/c on today, the feeling in the air is like back home growing up looking forward to the holiday from school and work.

But the focus still is on those that served our country in the times of war and the incredible sacrifices and losses associated with that.

The above photo -- credit to Gena Philibert-Ortega -- is mind boggling and is representative of many other similar scenes across the country and around the world.

We do offer our thanks and pay tribute to these heroes.

Of course I have referred to this before in previous posts -- but growing up in suburban Chicago, the Indy 500 was always a fun event to look forward to watching -- I never actually attended the race.

The race is actually being run tomorrow, Sunday, and I'm sure that there are several events going on as we write this -- including the traditional parade.

We'll probably watch the recorded version and "speed" through some of the middle. Or we can just have it on while we "multi-task" and pay closer attention as needed.

It is still a fun tradition.

So, what's all the fuss about . . . it is really unfair to ask of people who are already "hard of hearing" -- "What do YOU hear?"

So many times Gail and I will remark as we watch TV -- "I didn't understand a word that was just said".

And now apparently it is like the "pet rock" -- everyone is putting their two-cents in about whether they heard "Yanny" or did they hear "Laurel".

We both heard -- LAUREL -- but like I said, we do have some hearing issues anyway. The consensus of the reports say that "laurel" is the true answer -- I don't know for sure. Does it really matter?

Well, it's baaack -- hurricane season again. It seems like we just had that.

It is being reported that Florida and other states can expect a lot of action from "Alberto" this week.

Alberto is the first of 21 names tied to the 2018 hurricane season -- what happens if there are 22?

It looks like there are 11 boyish names and 10 girlish names -- though some could go either way. I can remember a little hurricane prep in Fort Lauderdale, i.e. the knocking down of coconuts prior to the forecasted winds coming . . .

We will keep our fingers crossed for this hurricane season -- one practical reason is that one of the tech centers that I have called recently is in Fort Meyers, Florida . . .

We are going to try a food service -- just for the heck of it. They advertised a 50% off deal on a few meals and we are going to give it a shot.

I like the idea of a change in our menu and of being offered a variety of things that maybe I would never have thought of to make . . .

Up to this point I have fixed (almost) every meal that we have had over the last few years. The hardest part is thinking about "what to have" next to keep a variety in the menu.

So, next week we will see how "Hello Fresh" is or does. I hope that it is good. I'll let you know.

And lastly, while I have received a lot of notices from the DNA testing companies that they have uncovered new cousins . . .

I have not officially received the notice to the left -- but it is probably true.

We just have not confirmed it as yet -- it could be worse, but I won't go into that now.

And it might just be that we will be notified of our royal connection.

And so that is a bit of our week -- memorable or not -- see you all, "in a few" ! 👨👩

Saturday, May 19, 2018

What 'a' Week . . . Cool

It started out on a positive note -- Mother's Day! Phone calls and visitors for Gail of course and several packages culminating with a super dinner and a "show" -- the show being of a sports nature.

The day was pleasant and we both enjoyed it. The Giants won their game and came off a losing streak as well. We couldn't help be reminded of all the Mother's Days in the past AND of all the mothers.

The above pretty much describes the day in it's simplicity. And a week later we still can "smell" the rose.

As far as the week is going -- it is the best weather -- we did not need either the heater or the a/c. We have been able to open all the windows and most of the doors and just enjoy the breeze as it flows throughout. Unfortunately we know that this won't last, so we enjoy it while we can.

Incredibly, I happened to be in Hawaii exactly 48 years ago to the day that the volcano began it's current eruptions.

I can't imagine being a tourist there at this point. The time that I spent there was some of the most enjoyable ever in terms of pleasant weather and conditions.

The scene of the lava flowing across the road is almost unbelievable if it were not for the fact of pictures.

There are thousands of folks right here in Sonoma County that are currently trying to get back to some normalcy after the horrendous fires last October. What will be the process for the folks near Kilauea that will eventually begin their struggle to get back to some sort of normalcy.

I remember walking on the "black-sand beaches" not realizing really how they happen to be that way.
We have a little bit more of a sense of that now. It will be a long lava-covered road to recovery.

Late yesterday Gail and I drove over to Windsor to see if we could see any of the upcoming preparations for the big event.

We live just 5-10 minutes away from Windsor and there is always something going on -- just not the Royal Wedding.

But now -- in the land of the "real" Windsor the Duke & Duchess of Sussex are celebrating, I'm sure.

In a year or so, will there be little ones added to the ever growing Royal Family -- we'll see.

What will be the next Royal event . . . it is nice to realize that most of us in the family tree do have a connection to the Royal family. We weren't invited to the recent Royal events -- maybe in the future.

It has been a week of technological turmoil here -- last post I mentioned that I had almost been driven "around the bend" due to seven hours on line with tech support.

This is a current picture of my desk -- today. Last night I set up my new computer -- an HP Envy.

The monitor screen on the right is the new one and it is 34 inches wide. The monitor on the left of my desk is 27 inches wide.

That means that I have at the moment 63 inches of computer monitor screens to look at. A bit over 5 feet worth -- amazing.

Now, if they only worked as well as they look. The problems that caused the 7 hour long tech call are still with me to some extent and rather than spending more hours and money fixing the 5 year old computer -- the decision was made to purchase a new one.

Of course now the issue is -- moving all the files, programs & apps and other items from the old to the new -- a process that last time took me months . . . I am going to take my time doing it and hopefully I'll get it right -- I may need assistance though, we'll see.

If the above was not enough to deal with, also yesterday we switched satellite services -- from DirecTV to Dish.

We had had DirecTV for several years but recently their equipment was demanding reboots almost every week -- resulting in lost shows and partial shows.

Also, a few weeks ago, their system started automatically setting up several shows for recording whether we asked for them or not -- after calling I was promised that that would stop -- but it did not.

In addition, several sporting events were messed up with they way that they were recording them. I was continually getting more and more frustrated. The straw that pushed me to make the decision to change services happened two days ago -- they redid their entire menu system and display -- some of which was a good thing. But they also did away with a feature that I used almost everyday -- that of listing telephone calls that came into our home.

They still had caller i.d. but it only appeared on the screen for a short bit and then disappeared. I could no longer go in and see what number called and when -- when I called about that change they just said that they eliminated that feature -- two or three hours later I contacted Dish Network -- they had a tech out to our home the next day -- which was yesterday, Friday.

So today, I find myself learning the Dish system -- it does have better features and better equipment and as a newbie -- it is cheaper at least for the next two years.

So besides the change in computers (and printer) we are working on learning the satellite system as well . . . I'm not sure how many more times I can deal with such technological turmoil and for sure I best not have any "router" issues . . .

Just some random snaps of "around the house" this week. Gail, opening Mother's Day gifts, working on her needlepoint while Dino naps nearby AND lastly enjoying one of the best dinners that we have had this year -- freshly made potato salad, freshly picked sweet corn-on-the-cob and slow cooked baby back BBQ ribs . . . it was a bit of heaven, a summery delicious treat . . .

And so -- that is a bit of our week. See you all "in a few" !  👨👩

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Nice Week -- But, What-a-Day . . .

It's hard to NOT start a story out with "It's been a quiet week . . ." when that has been permanently etched into memory over the years by "GK".

But it was a "nice" week in terms of weather, sunny, mild mid-70s to low 80s, not a whole lot of wind until last night. There was no rain which meant that I had to water the yard a lot but at least there has been little mention of drought.

Around various spots in the yard are evidence that spring and summer are here with all their splendor. From lemons to roses we have a lot to appreciate.

HOWEVER, I was driven nearly out of my mind yesterday with a seven hour stint on the phone with tech support.

I had planned many activities for the day (yes, even cleaning up some in the garage) but all of that was put aside.

The computer would not function well at all and I got Tech Support involved early morning. The usual problems of communication and coordinating activities to coincide with the support was taxing.

After seven hours I suggested that we needed to stop and continue the next day if possible (today). They were able to get me back up and running -- but they had not finished all that was needed to be done. So today -- I'll maybe call back and hopefully get them to finish.

The one really good thing was that instead of cooking dinner -- we called for take out at the absolutely great new Chinese restaurant in town -- 8 Dragons. They make the very best food! We splurged and had a very nice variety and have enough for tonight as well.

Just announced by the Social Security Administration this week are the most popular names for boys and for girls as of 2017. Since SS cards are now issued at the birth (as opposed to later in life) the names are readily available:

If you look at the list there are so many familiar names of children that we know.

So it is interesting that even some old timer names have made the list for both girls and boys.

I have always felt good about my name (even though it is not on the list) and I have a positive feeling about it.

In doing genealogy I have to wonder sometimes about how some kids felt about their names when you see what parents named them . . .

Now, taking a peek at the most preferred names for boys & girls 100 years ago:

Again, there are so many that are familiar to us because all we have to do is look at the family tree for that period and see those names.

Also there is at least one name -- William -- that made the list in both years.

What will be the names on the 2117 list . . . I can only imagine.

When Gail & I watch baseball or another show where names are announced we often kiddingly say "let's name our little child such 'n such" and shake our heads with disbelief that some parent bestowed a certain name on a poor child.

I continually am receiving lists of new DNA matches from all four of the companies that I tested with.

To the left shows that 23 & Me announced to me that in the last month 26 people related to me have been tested at the company.

I can now look at those folks and try to find out where in the tree that they belong.

And on this report there were even some closer type cousins -- 1st cousins as well.

I'm waiting for more of our family to test -- right now there are "sales" going on for mother's day.

Then, one of my favorite shows is returning soon.

Who Do You Think You Are  will premier on Monday, May 21.

To me it doesn't always matter "who" is featured.
Almost all of the subjects have brought amazing discoveries into view.

It would be nice to be able to have the resources to look at our tree this way as well.

And lastly:

We wish everyone a very happy Mother's Day!

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

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Cinco de Derby . . . Day

Two major events being commemorated today -- the hundred forty-fourth "running of the roses" at Churchill Downs in Kentucky and the celebration of the ending of Mexico's war with France . . .

The dilemma is -- how to recognize both -- one way is to enjoy some Carne Asada while watching the race later today. Or at least have some guacamole and taco chips -- that would do it as well.

We do not pay a lot of attention to horse racing until the "triple crown" events and then just briefly. We do however record the hours of pre-race and post-race, but usually only tune in to view the actual two very exciting minutes of the race itself.

Today's race is going to be a bit more interesting in that it is supposed to rain all day in Kentucky. I can't imagine standing or even sitting throughout the rain for the two-minute event.

The news is telling us that betting is changing due to the weather -- and the fact that some horses perform better in the "mud" . . . so maybe they'll be some larger-than-usual payoffs due to that.

Our weather here today is -- just the way we like it -- in the mid-70s and not much wind.

And now some miscellaneous doings from this week:

I belong to a few genealogical societies -- but I never can attend the meetings.

This week I learned of a virtual society (thanks to Dick Eastman) and I joined up.

Supposedly I will attend any meetings that they have -- on my own time, when and where I can -- I like that idea.

They are scheduled to hold webinars and other events that will be ready for attendees at their convenience.

We'll see how that works out and what will be the benefits. The founders of the society are well known in the genealogical field, so I look forward to the upcoming calendar.

I have always liked the design of the "buffalo" nickel -- to the left is pictured the "buffalo" $50 gold piece being released in a few days.

To me, it represents an exciting time in the history of our country and thus a period that so many of our relatives lived through.

The settling of the western half of the United States just creates a mystical sense of being and the coin depicts that sense to me.

Probably the photo of this coin will be the closest that I get to it, but it is an enjoyable view.

The next items have to do with random photos found while rambling around the Internet this week:

We have had a "ton" of HILES who have worked for the railroad throughout our history.

I love the picture to the right -- I remember well seeing steam engines like that racing through our town.

This one shows -- Lloyd Raymond Hiles standing with three others in front of the engine.
The caption says Lloyd was a conductor -- I believe he is "on the right".

The interesting fact is that I do NOT know if Lloyd Raymond Hiles is a relative or not. My grandfather Lloyd Hampton Hiles worked for the Chicago Northwestern Railway, so I'll have to try and connect this Lloyd to the family. (He lived in Pennsylvania).

I just happened upon this photo and it does have a couple of HILES relatives.

Seated is Sophia Jane Hiles and she is a 2nd cousin. Standing next to her is her daughter Dora Jane Snyder, 3rd cousin.

These two come from the branch of Christopher Hiles (son of John Sr) and his son -- John C Hiles.

The line started in Pennsylvania with John Sr, then to Ohio for Christopher and John C, and then ultimately to Missouri for Sophia and Dora.

This last picture -- I just thought was an interesting view of probably a family attending some event.

I have NO idea who they are but found it fun to think about what the story is behind the photo.

The surnames associated with these folks are Foster, Harris, and Vansandt.

The picture was taken around the turn of the 19th century.

I will be looking to somehow connect these people to the tree . . . if you happen to recognize anyone let us know . . .

Maybe we should go out to dinner tonight -- that would be a novel idea . . .

Maybe we should try someplace "new".

Or maybe just think about it and have our regular burgers and fries.

We'll see  . . .

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