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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Chili Chill . . . Almost

Okay, so the chill is still infrequent, but it IS there at times -- like this morning. To me, that means one thing -- time to make a pot of "red".  Which I plan to do this afternoon.  I guess it means many other things as well. There's is a lot of "harvest" activity going on in our neck-of-the-woods.

The lightning and thunder (which we did not see or hear) apparently went on a great deal this week. The wineries are scrambling to get the job of collecting all the ripe grapes as fast as possible.

The sights and sounds of this particular time of year are all around and the aroma of chili will soon be apparent. It is so nice to have portion sized bowls of chili in the freezer ready for the table in just a few moments (and in time for the game).

If we look at the 18th Great-Grandparents row there are over One Million ancestors . . .

I haven't been able to look that far back, but on some lines, we have gone back to the 12th or 13th Great-Grandparents range and that still means a high amount of folks.

The graphics on the right shows a few of the ancestors in my paternal line -- I hope to uncover more and to be able to learn more about them as well.

Going just one level up on my maternal line -- to my mother -- from her photo shoebox to the left are a couple of random photos from her life.

To the far left it looks to be when she must have been about 6 or so being held by an unidentified woman, who is most likely a relative.

In the center is a picture of mom with three friends and they are identified on the back of the photo. The person taking the photo, Pauley, can be seen as a silhouette at the bottom of the photo.

On the bottom left are some photos of mom and her brother Stewart, mostly with unidentified folks.

Well, it is that time of the year when planning for the "holidays" begins anew:

There are less than 100 days until Christmas, 2017 -- 99 to be specific.

That means the truck traffic on our street will be increasing as the UPS, FedEx, and other delivery companies gear into their prime season.

We already have a fair amount of delivery services throughout the day but from here on out it will only get intense. Nothin' says Christmas like the sounds of a UPS truck -- how the times have changed . . .

Or, we could shop locally as the picture to the right indicates. There are a ton of attractive gifting items displayed in the storefronts in downtown Healdsburg.

Usually, we wind up spending some time in the local stores just to get the flavor of the old-time Christmas "rush".

I still remember very well walking on cold snowy sidewalks heading from Montgomery Wards to Sears to several other of the local stores in La Grange, Illinois during the Christmas shopping season.

As baseball season gears up for the final games in the coming weeks (Giants only need 8 more losses to make 100) football, on the other hand, is just beginning their season.

The first game for the "new" 49ers was last weekend -- it looked eerily like the way the 2016 season played out -- losing . . .

The attendance as well looked a bit light -- as shown in the photo to the left.

We'll see how the season progresses or doesn't in the coming few weeks. So far, the usual magic draw of the NFL is not there yet -- hopefully that will change.

On the other hand, our attention to puzzles have increased and we continually find a great deal of satisfaction out of struggling with putting "just one more piece together" . . .

That's a flavor of our week, see you all "in a few"!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Earth, Wind & Fires . . .

. . . and SF Giants, four current disasters. I suppose there are more possibilities and I do not even want to think about those. The news is almost not watchable these days. We record two late night shows, Jimmy Fallon & Jimmy Kimmel and we usually watch them in the morning to avoid all the disastrous news going on.

The problem is that the opening monologues of both shows incorporate a lot of the days' events that are taking place -- the very things we are trying to not think about . . . oh well, we can fast forward through some of it . . . and get to the entertainment portion.

The earthquake in Mexico is so close to home and we just know "it could be us" at any given time. The hurricanes are another matter, we don't have them to worry about for us personally, but we have folks that we care about that are in harms way from these storms.

The fires, while all over the west and in California and Oregon and Washington, we do worry about. We do smell smoke on occasion but so far the fires are taking place in other locales.

The Giants, well, they did manage to beat the "snot" out of the second lowest team in baseball last night, the Chicago White Sox (the Giants are the third lowest team in baseball). The Phillies are currently the lowest team in the MLB and each of these three teams is looking to avoid losing 100 games this season -- we'll see if they can manage that.

Today is the ninth of September. This would be the 110th birthday of my father. He's been gone now for 27 years and the last time I saw him was in Florida -- Kissimmee.

The left photo is most likely taken when he was about 20 years old and maybe on Lake Michigan near Racine, Wisconsin.

On the right, probably close to 80 years old and on one of the very beaches in peril today from Hurricane Irma.

Time seems to "fly" by as I recall the visit of those many years ago. And I remember being on the Fort Lauderdale beaches almost 60 years ago and some of that seems like "yesterday" as well.

Of course, these days to shut out the world so-to-speak we often work on the puzzle of the day:

On the left is a picture of the complete puzzle and on the right is a photo of the current status of work completed on the puzzle.

Since I am somewhat familiar with Chicago and environs, it is fun to see the areas come into view that I have been to and even lived in.

We have completed most of the blue water area and are about to tackle the mapping of the streets and other highlights of the city -- we expect to finish within the coming week.

As is true with almost every puzzle that we have worked -- as we go about looking for individual pieces we are almost "sure" that they are missing and have not been included in the box . . . most of the time we are wrong.

And lastly, maybe a peek into the "carefree" looking boating activities on Pine Lake by Hiles, Wisconsin is in order:

The scene looks to be taking place in the late 50s or early 60s and as peaceful and casual as anyone would want. Paradise possibly, depending on your viewpoint.

I wonder how it is today at Pine Lake, Hiles, Wisconsin. It is getting close to "Indian Summer" and there probably is a coolness in the air when the sun is going down.

We'll try to keep the above image in our minds this week in place of what we see on TV.

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

Saturday, September 2, 2017


Once again just when we think it can't get hotter, guess what -- it does and continues. Yesterday our town in Healdsburg, Sauna County, was 112° and today it is predicted to be about the same or even hotter as the day started out warmer than yesterday.

Our hope is that the a/c keeps working. Last night's sleeping environment was not pleasant. We kept the a/c running until about 10 pm and the house stayed at about 80° throughout the night.

This morning the air was warm early and will heat up as the day continues. We don't have the right really to complain about the weather when we see the horrible conditions in Texas and other states.

So the thermometer currently looks like the above and is expected to peak in two or three hours. We are staying "put" at the moment i.e. inside . . .

One of the things that we will do today is to work on our new puzzle. It is an "Illustrated Map of Chicago" puzzle. We finished our other puzzle earlier in the week and we felt that that one was a real challenge -- this one is 1 1/2 as big and looks even more challenging, but fun . . .

Having grown up in the Chicago area I recognize a lot of the map and look forward to getting into the details.

On the left, is the previous finished "masterpiece" and then Gail excitedly opening the new one.  We started working the puzzle in the traditional manner -- by trying to connect all the edge pieces first.

We've sorted a lot of the 600+ pieces into categories of some kind and now will take our time to work piece by piece. Recently we have had two "puzzle-lovers" stop by and they loved the look and feel of the Liberty Wooden puzzle and are planning on having a puzzle up to work on when they feel inclined.

Who would have thought that such a low-tech activity would generate so much interest these days.   
I remember that my mother loved working puzzles and we would work on them and for some reason, I remember usually having a bowl of raisins to snack on -- the things that stick in our minds . . .

Off to the right represents a major portion of my "search" work this week.

A "Hiles" person contacted me and wanted to compare notes on a "Hiles" line that he was a part of and I did recognize most of the names but because I never connected them to our line, I had not done much detail work.

These Hiles folks all lived in the same area as our known relatives in Ohio and so you'd think that they must all be related, but after tracing the details of some seven generations of folks -- I still can not connect them to us.

I suggested to my correspondent that maybe he should take a DNA test to compare with the ones that I have already taken to see if we ARE related.

I have not heard back as yet . . . One of the cloudy issues of all these folks are the huge numbers of "Johns" as is so often the case. And when you get back into the 1700s and 1800s, the records are not as precise and spelling is an issue as well.

It would be nice to connect this huge branch of Hiles folks -- in the meantime, I'll keep trying . . .

And who would have thought that the two brothers who started the huge Kellogg cereal corporation did not get along with each other for most of their lives?

We are reading this book and find it very fascinating. I had no idea that the history of a cereal company and the founders could be so different yet accomplish so much.

I did not realize that the Kellogg family were Seventh-Day Adventists and that they ate no meat -- but now that I think about it -- that makes sense.

We are just at the beginning of the book so we look forward to what's next in their story -- we are reading it on the iPad using Kindle . . .

Sports?  The wheels keep coming off for the Giants. Last night's game for example -- we had to go to bed at the bottom of the 8th inning and the Cardinals had just tied the game at 5 - 5.

When we got up this morning and read the paper -- the Cards had scored 6 runs in their part of the ninth inning . . .

So, while the Giants had led 5-2 at one point they lost 11-5 when it was all over -- and it is . . .

Football -- has not captured our interest yet and may not this year. We'll see. We have watched bits and pieces of several games but have not been able to enjoy it like the "days of old" . . .

And lastly, to the left are photos of two of the many folks who attended a celebration some 59 years ago this coming week.

They are as they looked at that time and I remember the event quite well myself.

Congrats to my sister, Marilee and her husband Bill on their unbelievable anniversary number 59! Wow!

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

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Back to Cool . . . Week

Well, this is the first week in several that the thermostat inside our house read in the 60s early in the morning when I get up.  For the last few months even at 6:30 am the temperature inside was already in the 70s. Now, it isn't much of a change, but the early mornings and the late evenings are beginning to "feel" cooler.
And the daytime temperatures, while sometimes cooler, in the next few days it is forecast to be over 100° again -- it'll be nice to be over the hot weather.

And then there is "Harvey" which at this minute is hassling with Texas and potentially other states. They say what makes "Harvey" so troublesome is that it could likely hang around for awhile and even replenish itself by going back to sea and then returning. I can't imagine having to run from that storm and set up living at another location for (?) days.

So, we'll endure the heat without complaints . . .

Speaking of "big wind storms" it was at the house to the right that I remember when a tornado hit that area of the Chicago suburb of La Grange.

The roof from the gymnasium at a Catholic Girls school about two or three blocks away was blown off and carried some distance away. This must have happened in the early 1950s and it was memorable.

From time to time I recall heavy winds hitting the area, but I don't recall being all that concerned, though I know my mother was as were some of my siblings. I would be very concerned these days if those kinds of winds hit here.

Every region of the country has it's weather issues and here in our neck of the woods it is also a concern of the next earthquake. Living in California I have been in a couple and they are indeed memorable.

It is now "25 years and 1 day" since our big event that took place in Columbia, California.

To the left are a few of the times in those twenty-five years and a peek at the three houses that we have owned and lived in during that period.

Also are the pets that we have had the pleasure of having over the years.

The photo on the bottom right depicts the mini "Bouldron" family reunion that Gail organized and held at "Red Fish Lake Lodge in Stanley, Idaho". That has been several years ago now but still very fresh in our memories -- loads of fun.

And speaking of LaGange, to the right are a couple of pics of very recognizable locations in that town. The town where I spent my early childhood.

The "clock" was in downtown located on "LaGrange Road" and it is nice to see that it is still there.

The other pic is of the LaGrange Post Office and it is also very familiar as it looks like a lot of other post offices around the country.

I remember being in the lobby while my mother was waiting to mail a package or to buy stamps . . . I wonder how their lines are compared to our lines here in Healdsburg during the Christmas season.

And it is getting out of control . . . the nightstand book(s) pile. There are several books that are in the middle of being read but that have been resting while others are being read.

Eventually we catch up and tidy-up. One thing that we are doing is to read more books on the Kindle App on the iPad. This does accomplish a couple of things -- one, they are actually easier to hold because the books are always the same size, as they are on the iPad. And I don't have to remember the page I stop on because Kindle remembers for me.

Also, the App will define words and otherwise act as a dictionary right at the word which is very nice.

And also we have a library of assorted books on that are read to us from the iPad and is refreshing for a change. Of course, there is no "old or new book smell" and that can be good or bad depending.

And lastly,

Our hearts go out to the poor woman who won the latest Powerball lotto.

She now has to deal with managing about $336 million dollars for the rest of her days.  She chose to take the lump sum which was about $480 million and then paid the taxes on that.

She could have taken the winnings over time which would have paid out about $758 million. Time will tell as to her decision.

We did have a "chance" as we had a ticket -- the winning numbers are shown on top -- ours are in red -- we did though have the correct powerball number and one additional number, amazing . . .

The odds were, 1 in 292 million of winning -- what if someone bought 292 million tickets . . . they would have to exclude all the other purchases I guess . . .

Oh well, we did not have jobs to quit if we had won . . .

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

Saturday, August 19, 2017

But Who Is Counting -- Anyway

If we are talking "family trees" we are counting . . . lately, as I work on the tree the numbers have been going up & down. Up, because I add new people that belong in the tree and down because I find duplicates that somehow got inserted.

It is always interesting as I get "to know" the family units as they go through their lives and I see them via censuses and other documents including newspaper articles.

And we seem to be always counting forward to how many days until Christmas for example or til when school starts (which is right about now around here) or to when our next vacation is coming (which for us is right about now . . .).

And currently, I look ahead 6 days to the 25th and know that a special occasion is nearing.

It was just 9,131 days ago that Gail and I stood under a small grape arbor in the town of Columbia, Calaveras County, California and repeated our wedding vows.

This was the first stage of an elaborate "sting" that Gail had planned to pull on friends and family.  The wedding was attended by two people -- the man who married us (my brother) and his wife, Nancy.

There were no announcements made as friends and family were invited to a surprise birthday party for me where Gail would "pop the question" and we would be joined together in matrimony at that moment . . .

It all went well -- except for a few disappointed folks who wanted to see my reaction to the "popping of the question". Instead,
it was Gail and me who got to see the reaction of those in attendance who discovered that they had been "had".

So, here we are 25 years later. I've actually been married for a little over 50 years and Gail for a little over 38 years -- figure that one out . . . Happy Anniversary Gail! You've made these past 10,000 days great!

And of course, we are counting the minutes until the big event -- that is the solar eclipse due on Monday.

We have not purchased the special glasses for the eclipse so we will have to be content to watch it on TV.

Now, if we lived in Makanda, Illinois, where the event is to last the longest (a little over two minutes) we would have definitely purchased the glasses.

It is interesting to note the huge crowds driving to witness this, in most areas, less than two minutes. We have seen entire families camping out ready to view all -- we can only hope that for those folks the weather cooperates.

In the "I remember" segment for this week, I do
remember this scene very much.

It is my father carefully detailing our 1956 Buick Special. Like all the cars we owned over the years -- he kept them spotless.

I haven't seen whitewalls that looked like that for years -- if they even make whitewalls anymore.

This picture was taken in the driveway of our house in Golfview Hills (Hinsdale) Illinois. Just parked behind the Buick I recognize the 1952 Pontiac that my mother mostly drove and at one point became  a car that I drove a lot.

In the foreground, the handlebars of a bicycle can be seen. It was either my bicycle or my younger brother's bike -- I'm not sure except that if this was the late 50's or even the early 60s, I would have been driving and that would not have been my bike.

Speaking of anniversaries . . . this week marks forty years after Elvis passed away at 42 years of age.

I do remember that day upon hearing that news -- I was just finishing a sales call at a Southern California Drug store.

Elvis played a big role in our growing up years and was a "secret" idol of my mother -- who took me to see a few of his movies.

And of course, my younger brother had a one line speaking role in an Elvis movie that was shot on his Navy ship in the 60s.

But, recently I just happened on Elvis' early growing up pictures and noticed how my own brother -- Marv -- who was born about the same time as Elvis, resembled him.

In the above collage, Marv's pics are the bottom three with early Elvis pics on top . . . even though he has never admitted it, I think that there was an influence in the way he appeared. Right now he is about double the age of Elvis and is going strong.

Last but not least is one more example of the incompetence of the USPS:

Last week I had finished up scanning a pile of documents from Sam Sigg regarding his family history. As I had promised to get them back to him promptly, I packaged them up in a heavy duty envelope and took them to the local Post Office on the 11th.

I asked for the safest and most secure way to send these documents and was told that "Certified Mail" was the best way. I was told that the recipient would have to sign for them.

I was also given the 14th as the most likely delivery date. On the 17th I received an email from the USPS stating that delivery was delayed . . . Finally on the 18th delivery was made in the condition shown above.

The envelope was wet, torn open and stuffed/dumped into Sam's mailbox and NO signature was requested . . .

Thank goodness we think everything was included -- but what horrible service. And even the follow up email from the USPS stated they had given the package to an individual (that did not happen).

Given the choice in the future -- I will avoid the USPS at every opportunity. I also will be following up at the Post Office, good luck with that . . .

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

Saturday, August 12, 2017

♪ And The Heat Goes On . . . ♫

And on and on, but not as bad as a couple of weeks ago. One day this week we were again fooled into thinking that the a/c was not needed and so we suffered through that day -- but we are determined to not let that happen again.

The backyard this morning offered a ton of things to look at and enjoy. There are beautiful apples all over the tree. We used to make applesauce and/or dry slices, but these days we will bag them and haul them to the local food bank to let others enjoy.

There are the first few Meyer lemons appearing and a beautiful vine or two of grapes. And of course, the many wild flowers that have been blooming for years now.

Dino too is basking in the sun by the edge of the pool. He loves it for a while and then comes inside and plops down in front of the air vent to cool off.

The back is quiet these days as youth baseball seems to be over for the season. There are sporadic exercises and informal events but this season has flown by and the school behind us is gearing up to reopen in just a few weeks.

These are just some of the many charts and graphs that I have worked on this week. It is always fun to use the information that has been collecting on a family or branch and display that info in an interesting and meaningful way.

I have several programs that offer a variety of ways to display. Each genealogical software program that I use has a variety to choose from and then there is "Charting Companion" which offers unique printable displays.

The caveat is that the info that I have collected in the programs needs to be up-to-date and correct as much as possible.

That can be a nightmare when I have to stop creating a chart in order to complete the information on individuals and then re-do the chart. Or finding out that I don't have everyone's photo available at the moment and have to go searching, sometimes through thousands of pics . . . it does keep me busy.

Then just this week I read about "GedTree" in Dick Eastman's Blog -- he always has the latest and greatest. This is a product or service that will professionally display your genealogical data (from a GEDCOM that you send in) which would be suitable for framing if you'd like.

Above you can see some of the variety available to make an attractive display of all the many hours of data input over years of work.  After cleaning up my data and fixing any and all errors I most likely will order a couple of the displays -- and have them framed.

I remember . . . it is almost as if I never was there . . . and I'm not in this photo. So maybe I took the photo, I'm not sure.

This was the last house that I lived in with our family. It was in the "Gulf View Hills" area of Hinsdale, Illinois.

Because these were prefab homes, the area became known as "Cardboard Heights". Today though, many of the prefabs have been replaced by really substantial homes -- including ours.

The last time that I made the trip to reminisce and view "524" it had magically changed to a large brick structure . . .

I remember the first few years living there and the building was still going on in sections. The earthmovers were flying around moving and shaping mounds of dirt. There was an abundance of kids my age in the neighborhood with whom I could share time and fun.

I have to think that it must have been about 1959 when the above photo was taken. Almost hidden is the ever present "Minx" who is in his favorite mode of begging with Jon encouraging him. It looks like it might have been a Sunday -- not sure though.

When I think about that house, I can't imagine living today in one that small, even with just the two of us. I'm not sure of the square footage, but my guess would be about 1200 -- 1400 sq ft. My father made it a bit larger by enclosing the carport and making a "jalousie windows" porch -- which we used extensively, but only in the warmer months. In the winter cold, the room was sealed off and unusable.

My father added a very nice two car garage including a work shop area (where I think he went to smoke once in a while), not sure about that though. When my father retired, he and mom sold or gave away everything and moved to Leisure World, Seal Beach, California.

This one photo triggered a lot. And for that reason, it is a shame that the house is not available to view. I believe all the other houses that I lived in growing up are still there and being lived-in.

I've been a subscriber to Audible for many years.

Now -- this week they are enhancing it to include DOGS -- wow . . .

Dino is already very very mellow, so what will Audible do for him?

We already have DogTV (channel 354 in our system) and he ignores that mostly. We use it for background music and mellowing out when we just want to "relax".

So, we'll have to consider the possibility of Audible for Dino . . . or maybe for us to relax by . . .

And lastly, before I forget:

 Since we have been retired for years (18 or so) we have not paid much attention to "senior" things.

We are coming to realize that there are features and benefits that could be enjoyed and useful to us and so we are starting to see "what is available" for us.

A problem is that sometimes hard choices have to be made -- like giving up "stuff". We have already downsized so-to-speak when we moved into our current home some six years ago.

It would be tough is some ways to downsize again in terms of creature comforts and privacy and the freedom that we enjoy today -- so we will try to carefully make the right choice and we plan to take our time doing that . . .

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

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Dog Days of Summer -- Just Saying . . .

No other way to describe the last week or so here in Healdsburg as to the weather . . . dog days. Currently, it has been hot and muggy. Muggy is not something we have a lot and it is reminiscent of the August days in the Midwest.

But the lavender is out in abundance and along with that the ever industrious bee population, which we love to see. I suppose we could harvest some and use some throughout the year, but we don't ever seem to get around to doing that.

 Speaking of the "Dog Days" here are a few photos of our parents holding their dogs of the day:

I seem to remember Beau-Beau (3rd pic) and maybe the pup my mother is holding, but the names of the dogs that Gail's folks are holding -- I'll have to check with her to see if she recalls them . . . it seems to me I have heard "Scrubby & Doc" but I am not sure.

I Remember . . . growing up, school usually got out around 3:20 or so and I would walk home in a hurry to maybe catch the last few innings of the "Cubs" game on Channel 9 (WGN) in Chicago.                                                                                                                   The Cubs in those days only played day games due to the fact that Wrigley Field had no lights. My mother usually had the game on and might have been ironing or preparing dinner. But we would watch the last inning or so and enjoy the game -- and if I was lucky the game would go into extra innings.

The Cubs are coming to San Francisco next week -- who should I root for ...? Not a hard choice -- I'll root for the team that plays the best and/or the team that still has a chance of getting into the playoffs.

If you are out and about (in the Ozarks area . . .) you can check out "bargains galore64" started by Linda & Frank Hiles -- not known if they are relatives -- but who doesn't love bargains.

So, it is next Thursday through Sunday along miles and miles of route 64. I can't imagine a "store" that big.  Leave it to those Hiles to create the world's almost longest shop.

And the big news in the genealogical world is that My Heritage purchased Legacy Family Tree this week. Legacy is the site that produces the many webinars that I watch almost every week.

Supposedly there will be enhanced features available for upcoming webinars and a host of other new things made available with the deeper pockets of My Heritage -- we'll look forward to that.

They did offer a promotion of "half-off" the yearly subscription price during this weekend -- so I did take advantage of that . . .


While watching "Jeopardy" the other night we heard a contestant mention that she was a volunteer for an organization that asks genealogists to aid in searching for the next of kin for folks that pass away with no known relatives.

Since I really enjoy the "search" part of genealogy I checked out the group and I chose to volunteer as well -- I'm just getting my feet wet with the process but hopefully, it will be a mutually beneficial endeavor -- I'll report about that in a future post.

And lastly, I have continued the search this week on a variety of branches from the tree and have made headway into cleaning up the files in both Family Tree Maker (2017) and in RootsMagic 7.

And we are happy that it is a "never ending search" . . .

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