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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Full Moon Saturday Morning

It was a sight that I often do not see -- a full moon in the morning hanging in the western sky. I had gone out early to retrieve the morning paper and upon turning around to come back in, the moon was just there, bright and round as ever. Often the cloud cover is such that if the moon IS there, it is obscured, but not so today:

The moon in the morning, and the floral arrangement for mourning . . . this was a memorable day.

A  public final farewell was given yesterday to Eleanor, who passed away two days after Christmas. A gathering in the local Episcopal Church was attending by many far and near.

This "Milestones" appeared in our local paper two days prior:

It is events like the above that cause us to reflect on our own lives and the frangibility of life itself.

One thing that we've done is to instigate a New Year's Resolution -- okay two weeks late, but hopefully "in time" . . .

In my growing up days I remember once after my father had spent a few days in our local hospital for some procedure, he came home with a new found belief. As a result of this new awareness, we were all going to eat more "meatless entrees" from the likes of Loma Linda Foods.

The Hinsdale Hospital was run by the Seventh-day Adventists like many hospitals throughout the country. They don't eat or serve meat (unless your doctor prescribes it). My father came home a believer. The church group members lead very health conscious lives and usually enjoy long life.

I'm not sure how long the vegetarian diet in our household lasted -- but it wasn't for very long. "Veggie Links" just couldn't replace the taste of the "real deal" and so that resolution did not last in our house.

So, we too are going to look at something that we think we'll want to adopt more of -- Hygge . . .
There is a lot of Norwegian on my side of the family and there is a lot of Danish on Gail's.

Clicking on the above, you can read the description of what Hygge (pronounced Hoo--gah) is all about. On weekends like the current one the description sounds "pretty good". We've ordered a book on Hygge and will look forward to reading that in the coming days and nights.

And we have not forgotten about Dino. He actually is getting very used to his new "Hygge" inspired bed:

We were not sure if Dino would ever use this new bed in the way it was described -- but has he ever!

Gail sat with him and encouraged him to climb inside and little by little he did -- and now he sometimes does it all by himself and totally snuggles in and drifts off to a snore infested slumber.

We are pleased at the result of this bed for Dino. He must feel the warmth and security of being in such a warm and inviting space.

We don't envision getting a people version, but we hope to embrace more of the positives surrounding our days and finding as much happiness in our everyday lives through the reading of the hints in the Hygge book.  We'll see.

What else has occupied our time. One is making "comfort" style food like the large pot of pea soup that we made this week. The soup has given us several meals and is reminiscent of the bowls of "Pea Soup Andersen's" soup that we always stop for whenever we drive through the Solvang, California area.

We also made a large pulled pork roast that provided the basis for several dinners as well. The pork shoulder roast is so easy to fix and is one of the most inexpensive cuts to buy these days.

We have enjoyed watching some of the NFL playoff games -- the one we were disappointed in was the loss to Atlanta by Seattle . . . once a Seahawk fan . . . we'll see what Greenbay does later today.

And finally I am still attending class, though since the classes are virtual it is easy to be tempted to skip at times -- but I am finding the material really valuable and interesting.

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

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 -- What's New? Raining Dogs 'N' Cats

We've had a lot of rain this week so far, but according to the weather sources we will be getting about four more inches of rain here in the Healdsburg area this weekend.

We love it and the pool has been topped off again without the use of the faucet. Also some of the nights and mornings have been actually cold with ice forming a rink on the back deck.

Dino has to be teased and rewarded for making his "business trips" the last few days. Often he sits by the door (which is his signal that he needs out) and then just stares out back and only moves when nudged a bit. I can't blame him for that. I try to watch for a "break" in the weather and then hustle him out.

The Russian River in town is rising and will be up several feet this weekend -- there are some places that will reach flood levels. The town is offering sand which can be bagged for those in need. All of this rain translates to feet of snow in the higher elevations -- we'll skip the temptation to check it out.

This is where I am spending my available free time this week and the next several.

For a long time I have (in the back of my mind) wanted to do some writing about family history and this course I hope will facilitate that.

The class is made up of 30 some members and we "meet" via Facebook.

So far the other night I was awakened by swirling thoughts of growing up and other family interactions -- and "had to get up" and do some writing. I wrote for a couple of hours and paid for that the next day, having to catch up with a couple of naps.

I do look forward to making headway on the goals that we establish for ourselves and the interaction with the other class members and instructors.

I'll hopefully post something each week about the progress of this class.I have to keep the boots polished too . . .

Last week I wrote about houses -- Lisa & Bob's new house and then a view of the "painted ladies" in San Francisco.

This week I happened to catch a very depressing view of some houses that happen to be located in Detroit.

The four houses were captured via Google's street view and show the deterioration over the last few years. Unbelievable.

The neighborhood at the top looks very similar to the one where my maternal grandparents lived (in Chicago though).

What will the next series of pictures show . . .

One sad part of these photos is that for each house there is family somewhere that has memories invested in those houses which will soon be gone.

On a more positive note, there are some new and exciting things and discoveries going on in 2017:

How about a new organ -- not a Wurlitzer -- a real body organ. How could there be a "new" organ.

My first reaction to this depiction was -- these wings need a bit more BBQ sauce.

The organ has a name -- mesentery and is attached in the middle of our bodies performing a variety of functions.

But why weren't we told about this before now -- doctors have known about it for a long time. Apparently there may be a whole separate medical practice established (like there is for neurology)
and of course we'll be starting to be sent to these specialists . . .

Well, are there any other organ mysteries that we should be aware of . . .

Now here is some other very exciting news and one that I think is worthy of our attention:

How many times have you hungered for a pizza just when all the pizzerias are closed or you don't want to drive over to that distant location.

Now, coming soon maybe to your neighborhood will be a Pizza ATM -- when I heard of it I was sure that it had to be a joke --but no.

Xavier University was the first U.S. site for this ATM and has been very successful. Now there are applications in 20 or more additional states to get one of these devices.

The Pizza ATM makes a fresh pizza in about three minutes and comes out of the machine in a cardboard box, hot and ready to eat.

There are a variety of toppings available and the whole concept is unreal. I haven't heard of the price per pie -- but if the students at Xavier bought them -- it must be reasonable enough.

I'm guessing our town will not approve, for after all this is Healdsburg and this sort of thing would not be acceptable here unless they could figure out how to deliver local wines with the pie . . .

And lastly this week, while I feel the NFL (SF49ers in particular) has let us down I still have some interest in watching some of the playoff games. Here is the schedule for this season:

On the far left of the chart are the games this weekend for the AFC and on the far right are the games this weekend for the NFC.  We'll try to catch some of a couple of them . . .

As far as the San Francisco Forty-Niners are concerned, they have canned the head coach and the general manager just after their last season game -- now if they do not renew the contract for the quarterback, CK, things will look a little better.

That's a bit of our first week of this year. Happy New Year!  See you all "in a few" !

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 . . . But the Cubs Won!

Here it is, the very last day of the year 2016, never to be repeated. It is definitely a time to reflect over the year  and to look forward to the "new year 2017".

It is strange, but as I thought about the year and the positives and the negatives, the first event that came to mind was the Chicago Cubs and their World Series win.

Growing up in the Chicago suburbs that is one of the things I always wished for -- of course it still is a pleasant event no matter the fact that it is some 60 years later . . .

And it is Home Sweet Home and of course we look to the 2017 season with renewed anticipation.

And speaking of "Home Sweet Home" congrats to Lisa and Bob who will move into their new home in Arlington, Washington in just a couple of weeks.

They are looking forward to the five acres that comes with the house and to arranging the inside to their liking.

Hopefully Gail and I will be able to make the trip at some point to "check it all out".

Lisa & Bob are enjoying their holiday time-off from Boeing and Lisa recovering from surgery.

For some reason the following photo caught my eye and so I'm including it here as it does tie in to the topic of "homes":

It is an example to me of how the pride of home ownership is clearly in view. We used to see these homes somewhat regularly when we lived in San Francisco, now it is mostly in pictures that we get to enjoy their beauty.

I subscribe to's "Word of the Day" and the word for yesterday seemed very apropos
for this time of the year and life in-a-way:

I can't recall ever noticing this word before but given the year end and other events lately, it gave me pause. So, none of us really know when that stage is for sure, but the adding of the years is a definite clue.

And then thinking along those lines led me to a book that was just recently recommended to me and one that I also had not really noticed before -- but should have:

Being that genealogy has been my interest for the last twenty to thirty years, I should have taken note of this book years ago.

Even though almost every day I use a "dash" while recording genealogical events, I never really examined it like this book refers to it . . .

Of course the dash, is representative of the hopefully many years between the birth and death of individuals.

And so, the writing and collecting of events relative to a person's "dash" is desirable and a lasting legacy. 

Sadly we completed the second dates to two of our tree members in the last ten days. Eleanor Hiles on 27 Dec 2016 and her brother Richard Sigg on 20 Dec 2016.  Both their "dashes" were filled to the brim!  RIP.

And that is a bit of our week (and year), see you all "in a few" !

Happy New Year 2017 !

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Another New-Fashioned Christmas!

Christmas celebration has evolved for us. We still keep some of the "old" traditions like -- opening gifts on Christmas morning, friends and family visits and of course the Christmas dinner.

The above are some of the Christmas connections this year -- there are a load more that are in the holiday basket.

There was actually ice on the flower pots this morning and the temperatures here were below the freezing mark til mid-morning. No snow at our elevation, but the ski areas got some.

We have already met our interaction quota for the week and are expecting to add to that during the rest of the day.

We are planning on having a ham dinner this evening and for lunch -- home made tamales -- thank you Silvia very much!

We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and if traveling a safe return to home.We are connecting again across the country via electronic means and telephone conversations and all the new-fashioned ways of communication.

That is a bit of our week and day -- see you all "in a few"!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

3 Days Before Winter, 26° -- 28° Here . . . COOL!

Who says it doesn't get cold here in California. Maybe compared to other spots in the country it doesn't -- but in the mid 20s is cold anywhere.

We have just three days before the official start to winter so what will that bring -- snow maybe here,
probably not, but it could and it has.

This is what it looked like about an hour after I went out this morning (to pick up the paper). The thermometer was fogged over but still readable in the 20s. There was a very nice calm and quiet sense to the street with the lawns frosted over.

It is projected to be a beautiful sunny day -- so the flag is out. The red-brown maple? tree across the street is amazing as usual.

The rainy days and the sunshine days are really nice to experience this year.  We have one week before Christmas and it is supposed to rain just after Christmas . . . okay, so there will be more snow in the mountains.

We've had a varied week with respect to activities. One of those activities is creating a new Christmas mailing list.

Straight forward until we started. Finding a user-friendly label program was NO fun at all. We tried two of three before finally getting one to semi-work.

Okay, so we are behind schedule a bit, but I think others may be as well -- it is the thought that counts.

We think we'll finish that task this afternoon.

Over seeing and heading up some of the tasks is a "well-lit" Gail.

Our projects are taken in steps and they include, wrapping, mailing, signing cards and as everyone knows -- a whole lot more.

We also have a bunch of recorded Christmas specials to watch in our leisure.

We have certain specials that we watch every year e.g. the Saturday Night Live Christmas Special -- always entertaining, but mostly with the original cast members.

As is sometimes the case, we have a couple of Hiles family tree members convalescing -- Eleanor Hiles is resting at home after being in the hospital last week. Gail & I were able to have a very nice visit with Eleanor on Wednesday -- she lives just about 5 minutes from us.

And Lisa Hiles (my daughter) is recuperating from surgery on Friday. Unfortunately Gail and I could not travel the 850 miles to visit her -- but send our "Best Wishes" for a speedy recovery.

The following group also sends cheer to both of the above (and to all of us):

We love dogs as do both recuperating Hiles. We can only hope it cheers them up during this period.

Currently it is a challenging time for weather related conditions. There is another Hiles family tree member who is "out and about" and "in the thick of it" as I write this.

A particularly haunting photograph actually tells the story much better:

Somewhere near Chicago last week, Dayton Hiles took this photo of the vehicle that he drives.

He started this new adventure filled career just a few weeks ago. I believe that since this photo he has moved even more into heavy weather . . .

At first I though how nice the photo would look if it were at least in color and not a B/W . . . then of course I saw that it WAS in color -- only that there wasn't much color to see . . .

I hope that Dayton turns this type of experience into great stories to share with the family and friends.

What a bleak looking photo -- I hope that it is warm & toasty in the cab.

And at our house and most everyone's house -- there are rules to follow.  Here is an appropriate sign that I found "Oh, so insightful"  I spotted it on

So if you are planning to "leave your children at our house for a spell" expect this to occur.

I think it is a fabulous solution to a once in a while happening.
And every kitten deserves a home with a high-spirited child . . .

That's a bit of our week before Christmas. The smell of slow cooked pulled pork is wafting through the house and we look forward to dinner.

See you all "in a few"!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Holiday Interlude . . .

This period between Thanksgiving and Christmas goes quickly. We know it and every year we are surprised when it happens. There is a lot of activity that takes place and those activities evolve over time.

But Christmas is two weeks from today. There still is so much to do to be "ready" for the big day. and then there are the everyday things that have to be done as well -- in years past that meant work, as in a job type things to do. Now it is things other than work that takes up our time:

There is the decorating to do and the watching of Christmas shows and events on TV and in person. There are other holiday functions like dinners to attend and give . . . and then there is the time to kick back and just relax -- like Santa in the above "ad" from yesteryear.

We have had some periods of rain and some of sunshine lately and guess what tree in our yard is loving it -- our Meyer lemon tree. It is way overflowing again this year -- I think I just finally pulled the remaining lemons from last season off when I find hundreds of brand new bright yellow lemons.

So now everyday, I pick at least six lemons from the tree. We accumulated a few and we turned those right into some delicious chocolate-chip cookies -- how?  We quietly gave our favorite baking neighbor a box of lemons and a few days later we received a box of cookies -- what a deal.

We brought a large bag of lemons to the medical assistant we see each week -- and she loves them -- she juices them and freezes the juice in ice cube trays for later use . . .

We're out of cookies, time to deliver another batch to maybe get a batch.

This week in between our regular chores I did get a chance to view this week's Webinar Wednesday:

I attended the weekly webinar which addressed "Becoming a Genealogy Detective" and enjoyed it very much. It is still available for viewing "free of charge" for the next couple of days.

And starting this week -- we can sign up for some or all of the upcoming 2017 Webinars by going to the above website and signing up -- no charge. Very nice and rewarding.

And, if you are wondering about gift ideas . . . the
well wrapped package to the right is appropriate in most cases.

We have finished a lot of our gift purchasing but there is always a few leftovers that need attention.

With the absence of little ones around our house gifts take on a different dimension.

But we still have a few tots that we give to and we try to keep up with what is popular -- that doesn't always happen.

Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets and Tinker Toys are not so much in vogue these days -- but I sure do remember the distinctive aroma of a brand new set of Tinker Toys . . .

And these days between the holidays are very much used for "bonding" with family and of course snacking with family:

The Zits comic says it all -- except I would be the one going for the genealogy session and be torn because I enjoy all the activities listed -- I'd have to figure out how to achieve both.

And with just 14 days left, it is important to remember who your friends are . . .

And so it goes, that is a bit of our week. See you all "in a few" !

Sunday, December 4, 2016

♪ The Beat Goes On . . . ♪

And so does the decorating . . . so-to-speak. We have a wreath up (thank you Damian) and it is starting to look like Christmas. Christmas is 3 weeks from today -- amazing. We are starting to listen more to Christmas music around the house using Echo and Echo Dots.

It is that time when we have to decide the extent to which we'll go in decorating the house for the holidays. We'll do some things but gone are the days of the "huge" tree and all -- we're older . . .

One of these adorns our front deck and we have an additional one that is residing in the garage at the moment waiting to come out for it's once-a-year appearance. (it plugs in)

Besides decorating, what did we do this week. I listened to a very interesting webinar and it got me trying different approaches to the idea of multi-media story telling. I'm hoping that it will inspire me to "get out of the box" and I was certainly inspired by the presentation:

The above details the webinar that I watched on Wednesday and it is still "free to watch" at Legacy Family Tree for the next few days.

The "Upcoming Live Webinars" are the remaining webinars for the year 2016 -- there also could be some additional pre-recorded webinars that would be added as well. I find these webinars to be very well done and inspiring.

What would the holidays be without music -- pretty grim. One of the groups that we found really fun to watch and listen to is "Straight No Chaser" and especially their "Christmas Can-Can".

I hope that I have succeeded in adding the link to YouTube that you can click and hear:

At any rate, it is a great way to get into the spirit:

The group has a variety of songs for the holidays and
 is a great addition to our library!

This week I have really enjoyed the benefits of our massaging
 lounge chair. At first it was a bit almost painful, but not so any more.
 I guess I've adapted. Yesterday for example I spent an hour "relaxing" in 
the chair and fell sound asleep waking
 up to having Dino licking one of my hands to wake me.

Gail has enjoyed the therapeutic benefits as well,
 but not for the length of time that I do. Yesterday
I almost had a hard time walking after getting
 out of the chair . . . so a word of caution, I guess.

And last but not least I'm presenting (actually representing)
 a bit of humor. I originally posted this
back in April 3, 2016 ( you can do a search at the top of this post)
 but to me it is one of the best
cartoons representing the "way it is" in genealogy.

The version I had posted was a poor black and white version --
 thanks to my second cousin Melissa
for sending this great colorized version to me.

I won't follow Einstein's move to general relativity for obvious reasons
 but will "stick it out" dealing with 
the cousin relativity charts for now . . .
 ( I just accept the charts and do not try to really figure them out)

That's a bit of our week. We still have one
 more bit of turkey leftovers and then it is on to new.

See you all "in a few" !