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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" !  👨👩

Saturday, April 28, 2018

It's All About . . . DNA

And this week bears that out! In high school, I remember in chemistry class learning about DNA and I made it a point to recall what the acronym stood for and it has remained stuck in my head ever since -- deoxyribonucleic acid, amazing after all these years.

But DNA is ever increasing in awareness and rightly so. I know that in the coming months and years it will no doubt play an even larger role in our everyday lives.

The huge variations of the genome displayed above are just the tip of the iceberg. I keep studying the different presentations and still am confused -- as I have mentioned before -- each time I attend a webinar or read another article I gain a bit more understanding. Why should it be so complex . . .

In last week's post, I mentioned -- almost tongue-in-cheek -- that National DNA Day was coming. And just how did I plan to observe the day -- never did I dream that there would be an amazing DNA achievement announced that very day:

On Wednesday, April 25th, DNA Day, it was all over the news -- DNA played a huge role in leading to the potential solving of one of the largest cold cases in California's history.

Less than a week prior, the ultimate perpetrator of a huge string of killings, rapes, and burglaries was not identified to the authorities.

Then, DNA was used and in a couple of days, the killer was identified and arrested.

Every news channel that we watched had this story at the top or close to the top of their report. I was just transfixed by the revelation. Having lived near many of the locations of the crimes over my years in California it was stunning to hear the details.

I happened to live in another state during most of the spree -- but never-the-less, I paid attention to the continuing stories and news articles over the roughly decade of their occurrences.

What is really astounding to me is that just a week ago I happened to see a detailed report about a book that sounded interesting -- a best-seller -- and so I ordered it on Kindle. It was about the Golden State Killer and written by a young author who unfortunately died before completing the book:

I was transfixed while reading the author's description of the details mostly geographically of where these crimes took place and the insights into her sense of the perpetrator's state of mind.

Just as I neared the end of the book -- which was ultimately finished by her husband from her extensive notes -- the above news story hit.

What a shame that the author did not live to see the culmination of her writing and constant encouragement to "keep after" this criminal.

Michelle McNamara, I believe was very instrumental in having this case becoming close-to-being solved. She was relentless in her follow up.

In her book, she could of course not identify the criminal by name, but certainly could identify him through "m.o." and through DNA capture.

The arrest was ultimately a result of detectives and officials using the features of a genealogical DNA testing company (gedmatch) to discover distant relatives of the person that they had a DNA profile of and then to create the family tree to identify that person.

Finally, law enforcement obtained a current sample of DNA (how and what not revealed yet) and arrested the suspect -- what a great finish.

It will be so interesting to learn more about the details of this person and his life for the last 40 years or so. This case has already encouraged the hope that other DNA assisted arrests in all sorts of cases can be achieved via follow up using DNA samples already in existence.

As I have mentioned many times in recent posts -- I have tested with four DNA testing companies and have used the features of gedmatch as well.

If you add up the matches for these companies, I have over 9000 matches.

It is overwhelming to try to figure how most of these matches fit into the family tree.

Partly, because so many of the matches show NO family trees posted or that they are private which requires communication which often results in no responses . . .

Very few of the matches share my surname and so that adds to the frustration as well

In the coming time, I look forward to a better way of dealing with so many "possible" close relatives being identified and how they are connected to me.

It is really that I'm not doing nothing about DNA matches.

I am slowly trying to go through the lists of current folks and grab some of the promising looking daily new ones as well.

I know that there have been several relatives from the tree that have recently submitted their DNA samples and I look forward to seeing those results too. Right now there are "sales" on from several of the companies and that makes it a good time to test.

And lastly, keepin' it "all DNA" today:

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

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Weather -- Not Old Hat

Even though it may get to be "old hat" right now it is a lot like a new hat . . . that is, it feels good, it looks good. The weather has been super lately here in Healdsburg. Most of this week has been in the 70s and today will probably be in the 80s -- which is as hot as we hope that it gets for a while.

The birds are lovin' it too -- they've managed to power through several suet cakes and a fair amount of seed. They seem to come in droves and then disappear for a bit -- but so far they keep returning.

It is so nice today that we almost hate to put on the a/c -- but probably will so we have some comfort inside late in the day. We know that later in the year the a/c will be on non-stop . . .

As we go about our daily routines we often forget where we stand in terms of the year -- 2018.

Today is the 111th day of this year and represents about 34% of this year already used up.

For me, it is like looking at the odometer -- I like to see certain numbers turn over -- but of course, with the new electronic devices the numbers do not roll over like the old displays -- they just appear. This week our auto will have a -000- appear which is notable, I guess.

So, what will we do in the last two-thirds of the year? Whatever it is it will happen with the speed of light or sound and we'll again wonder what happened to the year. I'm still wondering what happened to this week.

Sadly, this week we lost Barbara Bush, an inspiring woman:

The above came from Dick Eastman's blog and the article written by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Of course, Barbara Bush's genealogy is very interesting. Besides being the wife of a president and a mother of a president, she is related to a total of ten presidents -- amazing.

As this is being posted her services are being held in Texas. She will be buried at the "George Bush Library" at Texas A & M University. She has an impressive genealogy.

Looking at genealogy, Gail & I also have some top political relatives in our ancestor lists:

For Gail, Millard Fillmore, the 13th President of the U.S. is a 2nd cousin. Throughout her family, there are many folks named "Millard" (including her dad) and several named "Fillmore".

For me, James Norris Gillett was the 22nd Governor of California. And as I have mentioned before -- I did not know that fact until working on family history & that he was a 1st cousin.

I'm guessing that other notable connections will be revealed over time for both Gail & me . . .

We have seen so much attention being paid to DNA lately that it is no surprise that there is a DNA day -- April 25:

The question is "how to celebrate this day" . . .  I think "hot dogs" are in order . . . no one knows their DNA . . .

And lastly, it was 100 years ago:

My grandfather, Dayton Bumgardner was the "Worshipful Master" seated front & center, for the year 1918 in a Chicago Masonic Lodge. I never knew anything about that part of his life, but it had to be a major influence in his life.  The picture and the dress are very impressive.

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

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Pollen Tsunami

The weather today here in Healdsburg is absolutely wonderful. Sunny, balmy, warm day. Tomorrow is not supposed to be that and is predicted to be rainy and cold -- that's okay too.

But, growing up I do not recall having allergies -- that no longer applies. Both Gail and I are sneezing, wheezing and have itchy, watery eyes -- what's to blame -- POLLEN.

Every known tree in the area is "blooming" along with flowers and then the grass itself is beautiful and fragrant as ever -- especially when it is being mowed.

These are some of the offenders -- yet some of the most beautiful. We did have a visit to the doctor recently and were told to take Flonase and Zyrtec right now -- Gail does daily and I think it helps somewhat. All I have to do is take the cap off the Flonase and I start getting a major nasal reaction.

We'll "ride" it out hopefully and be able to go about our daily activities. When the temperatures stay in the mid to upper 80s we'll be adding the a/c and that will help as well.

I receive daily updates from almost all of the four companies that I tested my DNA with . . .

To the right is the latest from 23 & Me which depicts my 100% European genetics.

Interestingly enough, the current book we are reading -- "A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived" by Adam Rutherford, says if you have European ancestry then you are definitely related to Charlemagne and that you have "royal" blood as well . . .

So, I'd like more details -- but I won't hold my breath. The timeline sent by 23 & Me makes sense as well -- saying that the Scandinavian portion took place between 1850 and 1910.

I'm not too sure about the British and Irish portion though as we haven't identified who those ancestors are yet . . .

It is exciting to think about what the future with DNA will uncover and share with us. Now is a great time to be DNA tested -- so much happening in that arena.

Recently, I was reviewing some of the thousands of photos from our Guide Dog for the Blind experiences and I came across this one.

It almost makes us want to get one of those puppies -- almost.

We know that Dino -- who turns seven this year, would love (we think) a canine companion.

We'll think about it . . . a basket of fun!

We enjoy watching baseball. Even as the season is just starting and the teams figuring it "all out".

What we find very unpleasant are the several brawls that have broken out on the ball fields.

As baseball mirrors hockey more and more with that perspective -- we will watch less and less.

We are just one couple watching the MLB games each week -- so maybe it wouldn't matter to the league if we cut back.

But it is like the NFL. As more and more undesirable type players exhibit their unique form of (in our view) behavior we watch less and less. We applaud the Seahawks for not signing a certain QB this week due to his annoying display of character.

When the sporting events that we look to for entertainment and escape turn to annoying events and displays -- we'll watch more golf and if they had it -- curling . . . just saying.

From the photo shoe-box:

This is a picture of our family in front of the apartment on East Avenue in La Grange, Illinois.

Probably, Marv, took this photo since he is not in it. I'm puzzled about the date though.

It looks as though this was "developed" in Florida in 1954. This may have been the trip to visit our Aunt Carrie who lived in St Petersburg.

We did also go for Marv's wedding in 1955 that took place in Fort Lauderdale. I need to figure it out . . .

We lived in the above apartment for about one year as we waited for our new home to be built in Hinsdale -- I was in the Seventh Grade that year, Marilee was in High School and Jon, in First or Second grade. Marv was in the latter years of college at the time. I am wearing a "Camp Awana" tee shirt . . .

I think that now that "taxes" are finished for this season, maybe just maybe I'll get the chance to have a day to just immerse myself into genealogy researching -- that would be so nice.

There are so many loose ends to follow up on and explore. I do work on family history every day -- maybe just for a bit -- but usually not for as long as I would like.

I feel lucky that I have this hobby -- it pretty much defines my day in a way. If there is a "webinar" so much the better. Webinars are like what sporting events are to some extent -- that is, it is a time when the rest of the world is shut out for a brief period and a time to just experience something fun.

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

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Drenched . . . Dry . . . Drained

For the last few days, it is true -- we have been drenched. Here in Sonoma County, we have received multiple inches of rain -- which we are so glad for, but, is it enough to ward off the other "D" word for this year? We'll see, at least for this week, we did not need to water the lawns or to fill the pool.

The signs of Spring are all around us. Because of the recent rains, Dino spent endless hours longingly watching outdoors for any sign of a break in the downpour. Today it appears that there is a break and the skies are filled with fluffy clouds. The birds are relentless in their attack on the suet and seed feeders outback. Blossoms are everywhere and at times giving the pool a blanket needing to be swept clean. And the fields of mustard are in full bloom throughout the Healdsburg area. What a nice cycle!

Inside, a different story was taking shape -- the finalization (finally) of the yearly Federal and State Income taxes was taking shape. Whatever happened to the notion that with tax reform we would be sending a 5 x 7-inch card with our complete tax story intact for filing . . .

We filed on the 5th, about 12 days earlier than the deadline of the 17th this year.

When I pushed the button to "print" a copy for the records it said there were a total of 63 pages in the Federal & State returns.

I then requested just the copies of the actual forms and the total was reduced to 36 pages, a far cry from the one-page 5x7 . . .

Hopefully, the ever-present feeling of doom will be removed until the next filing season next year. The whole process never seems to get any better or less intimidating.

Another process looming in the next couple of years is the "every ten-year Federal census". There was talk at one point of having the USPS conduct or aid in the collection of information -- can you imagine loading the postal workers with that task and having a census that was accurate.

The other controversy has to do with asking a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

The last time that a citizenship question appeared was in the 1950 census when folks were asked "where they were born" and if foreign born -- were they naturalized.

In the 1960 census, the question merely asked about "place of birth".

It will be interesting if the census does include a citizenship question -- and for what real purpose.

I look forward to two years after the 2020 census -- for the release of the 1950 census which would be the one that Gail and I would first appear. The current law does not allow for the information to be released for a census until after 72 years have passed. Two of my siblings made it into the 1940 census -- they know who they are . . .

DNA analysis and testing have been in the news a lot lately and I presume will continue to be prominent for a long time.

You know it is "hot" when the following appeared in one of my searches for DNA information:

Not only can DNA help find and identify long-lost family members and ancestors -- it could now play a role in possible future family members . . .

What other commercial uses of DNA will we see in the coming years. When I think of it this could be more controversial than any citizenship question on the census . . .

And speaking of long lost family:

The third season of this program will premiere this week, on
Sunday, on TLC.

While it mostly has to do with adoptees or biological parents searching for each other -- the process that they go through and certainly the results are great to view.

There can't be enough genealogical type shows on TV -- for me anyway.

And lastly, it was a perfect "soup week". And while we did make and consume some "from scratch" soups this week -- we did give some thought to the possibility of a "store-bought" product:

Mmm mmm good . . .

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