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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Back to School

It hardly seems possible, but yet it is -- time for the youngsters to be back to school. When we were in  elementary (grade) school, it never started 'til after Labor Day. Things change. I feel sorry for the poor little guys -- not.

Boy do I remember those desks. They would accumulate so much debris from a variety of sources and once in a while we actually cleaned them. I remember the little round holes in the bottom of the drawer that I guess was used in case liquids spilled.

I only rode a bus to school for one year (8th Grade) and that was fun because I got to be a "monitor" and I rode up front in the first seat right by the step-down door.

Somewhere along the line when our kids were little we purchased desks like the above for them to use and play with -- they came from one of the local schools around where we lived at the time.

Schools have changed their appearances from when I went. And that is a good thing, but the old look still brings back a lot of the memories of so many years. I would imagine that experiencing the aroma associated with those schools would evoke a lot of memories as well.

For me, it all started at "7th Ave School" in La Grange, Illinois (top left)  and wound up at CSULA in Los Angeles, California. A substantial % of time was spent in the above educational locations.

I was reminded just this week how we love to connect to some of the old schools -- mostly high school when I received an email from a "60 year" reunion committee seeking to locate my sister who graduated from the same Hinsdale High School that I did (I was four years later though).

I still have a lot of memories of some of the students that I went to school with AND of some of my favorite teachers including Mrs Ide, my 3rd grade teacher at Cossitt Elementary in La Grange, Il.

So much for back-to-school, but it does evoke the nostalgia gene. I wandered all around the web and eventually wound up looking at old newspaper headlines like the one below.

It happens to be dated 23 September 1942 and it is from a Rockford, Illinois paper. We lived not too far from Rockford and it was the only paper I could find with that date near to where we lived.

The news at that time was not unlike the news and the headlines that we may see today -- war and crime type events.

In the coming months I hope to locate other dated headlines that relate to events from our tree as well.

We feel that we can relate to the "Herman" comic
depicted to the right.

We take a variety of "prescription" meds and the kinds and dosages change often.

And we do have a similar appearing doctor . . .

It used to be that every once in a while I would take an aspirin or some such pill as needed. Now, it is getting almost to the point of having to program our smart watches to alert us to the next needed medication.

Thank goodness for health insurance, even though that
can be a very complicated interaction as well.

Gail and I celebrated our 24th last week (though Gail swears that it feels longer . . .)

I think we split a can of Campbell's for our dinner -- just kidding -- we actually enjoyed "Royal China" entrees (for more than one night) and loved every bit of it.

So, as we start our 25th year together we though it would be nice to start a family to maybe downsize our automobile inventory.

We have two cars and really only need one anymore, so we have options. We could get rid of one and keep the other OR get rid of both and get a new one . . .

We're going to the dealer for service next week and just may wander the showroom to help us decide.

And if you are like us and missed the National TP day -- there probably is still time to act.

I had no idea the significance of August 26, but I do now.

Thank goodness for Costco, Amazon Prime and lately Google Express.

They'll make sure that our needs are met.

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

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mil Gracias Rio !

And we mean it! The games of the 31st Olympiad have meant a lot to us. One thing it has meant is that we have something to watch instead of the status of the political campaigning. Just kidding, but not entirely.

When we started watching we were wondering how the games would proceed given the numerous negative reports -- but except for the one incident (our own doing) the games have been fun to watch.

From the Opening Ceremony up to the Closing Ceremonies (in a few hours) all has gone well. And from the medal count shown above especially for the USA.

We watched so many of the events that it will be fun to see some of the participants in the closing. We really enjoyed a variety of sports especially the volleyball, swimming, some of the biking, running and other track & field events and some of the other water events.

We will have to wait four years to see the summer games again, in Tokyo. Many of the current players have to decide whether to devote another four years of training to compete then, we'll see who that is then.

But as you can see in the above graph, we only have to wait two years for the next Olympics, the Winter Games held in South Korea in 2018 -- those are always fun too.

And then four years after those winter games will be the Winter Games in China in 2022.

And besides the Olympics what took up a lot of my time this week -- organizing and filing my digital files . . .

Those of you who know me, know how much I insist  on a neat and tidy desk -- not. Well the same is true for the thousands, maybe more than that of digital files that find themselves parked somewhere in my digital filing cabinet.

The above two programs I have had installed for some time, but have not really used them to their potential -- until recently after reading a book on Evernote (by Kerry Scott) and listening to a podcast by Drew Smith and to articles in Dick Eastman's blog (EOGN).

I finally took up the challenge and am using those two programs to organize genealogical files as well as my personal files too. It is addictive. Thank you to the above mentioned folks for helping me to begin.

Besides the above activities we are starting another new book.

It must be the spirit of the Presidential election or something but we are listening to "Killing Reagan" by Bill O'Reilly and now starting to read "Five Presidents" by Clint Hill.

The "Five Presidents" is by Clint Hill who was one of the secret service agents who worked for all five presidents in the seventeen years of his service.

So far very fascinating and coupled with the account of the secret service agent who protected Reagan, most illuminating.

So political related books (we are also reading and watching "Legends & Lies, the Patriots")  and the actual current campaign gives us truly an abundance to ponder.

And lastly, in this abbreviated post, I got to thinking
that I do spend a lot of time working on searching the family tree.

And I do spend "some money" on the search as well.

Then I saw the quote by Twain and got to thinking, maybe it would be a good idea to  . . . NO WAY.

Politics is not for me -- I'll be an observer and a voter but not a person who throws their "hat into the ring".

Speaking of money -- we got to wondering how much an Olympic Gold Medal might be worth.

Apparently the Gold Medal, is worth pretty close to $600 currently. It weighs close to a pound and is made up of mostly silver covered in pure gold. But besides monetarily an Olympic Gold Medal is worth SO much more.

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

Sunday, August 14, 2016


We have our ways . . . that is, most of the weeks lately have been similar. The weather changes our week some, and other circumstances change our week some, but for the most part we have our routine.

I don't know how we ever squeezed in a "40 hour work week". Our activity plates are full -- maybe not the way that they used to be full, but full none-the-less.

The above represents just some of the highlights of our week. I know that I have forgotten to include a photo of Quiddler -- the game we try to play every afternoon for about an hour. And I forgot to include photos of family tree climbing, but this week with the Olympics has filled our schedule.

And tonight we'll watch preseason football with the Forty-Niners and the Houston Texans as long as we can take preseason . . . but we have the Giants versus the Orioles too and of course, Rio.

Basically the above was our week . . . 'nough said.

It is a beautiful sunny day here and in just a few minutes I'll be putting the a/c on to ward off the afternoon heat increase.

This has been the abbreviated version of the blog -- I am also involved in trying to organize all things digital. It has been easy to find "clouds" and just dump things in and now is the start of fixing that.

Lastly our attempt at humor:

And just so we stay focused, the election is but 85 days away and more importantly Christmas is just 132 days away . . .

Homemade potato salad, fresh veggies and a select protein for dinner.  See you all "in a few"!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

RIO -- Really . . . Golden

Like many other folks we are enjoying the Olympics. We have set the DVR to record most of the four-hour segments that appear on NBC. The opening ceremonies were fun to watch especially seeing the entries from the 200 or so countries. We find it inspiring to see the excitement of the athletes.
We were pleasantly surprised to see that the other alphabet was used to alphabetize the entrants putting the USA up close to the front -- in the "E's" so that we did not have to go all the way to the "U's" to witness  TeamUSA enter the stadium.

Rio de Janeiro looked spectacular, probably like how Pasadena always looks so great on New Year's  every year. We just took in the beauty and enjoyed the moment.

We enjoyed the 6 hour biking event and watched it more towards the finish line with interest. I can not imagine the torture of being on a bike for that long over those types of roads (some cobblestone).
The men race for almost 150 miles -- the women's race is a bit less miles but still grueling.

Of course we are interested in the swimming events and not just Michael Phelps -- one of the others that we are interested in watching is Chase Kalicz. Chase led the prelims on the first day. It is amazing that he is even competing given that he suffered a major attack of Guillain-Barre several years back  (as I did) and he had to learn how to walk again among other things. So we root for him and others from TeamUSA. So many stories of overcoming obstacles.

I did manage to do research, but mostly everyday variety such as adding to families from a variety of branches. I will share a couple more of colorized photos:

This is a favorite look at a "favorite" Uncle, Uncle Stew. This was taken in the front yard of the family home -- one we visited all the time -- in Chicago.

At first glance, I though it was a pony and cart, but the horns give it away, it is a goat. The color adds so much to to the perspective.

The second photo is actually of Stewart's mother, our Grandmother, Mamie, in one of my all time favorites "the Hat" . . . my sister and I are welcoming her to our house in La Grange.

Mamie often visited our home and always brought her "gimme" bag that can be seen resting on the steps. She would take the bus out to visit us which we always looked forward to.

In those days we never thought much about "the hat" as we just accepted that that was what some folks did -- and Mamie did for sure. I can't imagine today seeing someone wear a hat like that, and she wore it at such a rakish way. I can't help smiling when I see it.

On the nightstand . . .

Well, we are just about finished with Drew Barrymore's book and we have been pleasantly surprised at how accomplished she has become. She definitely has not let being a child star ruin her life. She appears to be successful in business and family.

But we multi-task as it pertains to reading:

If we take a nap during the day (frequently) we start the nap by reading "Legends & Lies The Patriots".

It is a history book and who doesn't love history. Well, we do and I think back to high school days and it would have been nice to have this type of history book to learn from.

It is actually a companion book to a TV series of the same name on Fox.

I believe that tonight is the final episode but having the two has been very interesting and I have learned a lot about the early days of our country and those who participated in making it all happen.

And then too, in the early morning I often let my "Audible" app on the iPad read to me.

And right now I am listening to "Killing Reagan" as seen to the left.

I almost was reluctant to get the book due to its title but I heard so many good reports about the book that I actually went ahead and ordered it from Audible and it was sent right to my iPad -- I love it.

I am only on the third chapter but I have learned a ton about Reagan that I had never known before and it is fascinating.

There is a series of "Killing" books and I look forward to listening to them as well.

So, between the Olympics, upcoming pre-season NFL football and current MLB baseball, we hardly can squeeze in any political "stuff" and that is a good thing.

It is sad to see at what a low level our political campaigning has gotten to . . .

Was it this horrible in the time of our grandparents and great grandparents. It may have been but just not so easily tapped into.

Our DVR is filled to capacity now with sporting events and that is a good thing.

Off to the right are some of the first medal winnings in Rio. We look forward to seeing the remaining events that spark our interest.

Lastly, how true it is . . .

To make certain that one is prepared, get busy and locate the perfect "home" yourself and avoid the sentiment expressed above . . .

That is a bit of our week, it is Sunday night and it will be PIZZA -- yeah!  See you all "in a few"!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

♪ Ninety-Nine and Counting ♪

The two convention events are finally over -- we can get back to recording regular TV -- just kidding.  But it is nice to be through with those two events which are supposedly designed to give voters the information they need to make a decision come November.

There are now just 99 days until the election and I find it more confusing than ever as to the candidates. For some reason I was struck by the fact of "99 Days" and my mind took me back to school-day outings and other bus riding outings and the song we sang to keep our sanity and to fend off boredom -- "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall".

The song was sung by "taking one down and passing it around" until we got to "no bottles of beer on the wall" at which point it was "get to the store and buy some more" and the whole thing repeated itself.

It is kind of like the four year election process. By the way, in the above photo is a "99 Bottles" store located in Federal Way, Washington named after the song . . .

Beer and parties seem to go together and to the right are a couple of photos depicting the early locations of each of the two parties making up our system.

The Republican Party originated in Wisconsin while the Democratic Party had it's headquarters in Kansas.

The two parties have evolved and probably the originators of either would have a hard time recognizing them today.

But, for all intents and purposes if we want to have a meaningful vote it will be in one of the two parties.

There may come a time when that will change but for now it is the candidate in one of those two parties that will be elected to the office of President of the United States.

During the conventions we did see and hear about many well known folks either not participating in their "normally
assigned parties" or officially dropping their affiliation to a particular party. Ahh, politics . . .

I did spend time searching "in the trees" this week and most of it involved the three trees below:

I actually did pick some apples from our heavily laden back-yard tree (we have one in the front too) but there were a lot on the ground as well that were not-fit-to-eat. Also I lopped off several branches from a neighbor's tree that were growing several feet over our garden and they too had several "good" apples.

Speaking of "good-apples" I spent a lot of time picking the low-hanging fruit in the other two trees as well mostly by seeking out colorful tidbits of information gleaned from old newspapers.

And speaking of colorful it is amazing to see the difference between black & white photography and
color photography:

Last post I shared the above (on the left photo) of a store owned by a cousin of ours --  and then on Dick Eastman's blog last week he introduced a site that could add color to black & white photos and I immediately tried the above photo and what a difference.

I have since tried it out on several other B&W pics and I'll share those over time -- but all a lot of fun and so nice to see. So, thank you Dick Eastman for sharing that site.

So, what else happened this week. Well, while watching the Giants game the other night with the Washington Nationals late in the game the Giants loaded the bases with nobody out and the score was 4-1 Nats, and I remarked "we should get a few runs here and either tie this game up or make the go ahead runs to win" . . .

Neither scenario happened -- the Nationals for the first time in their 12 year history scored an amazing triple play . . .

I can't even remember if I ever saw another triple play (other than in Little League) but I'll remember this one. Everyone was just shaking their heads with disbelief.

The Giants went on to lose the game, 4-1, needless-to-say.

But the good news is that pre-season football will be starting in about 8 days -- hard to believe, but is a fact.

Sunday, August 7 the Packers play the Colts in the "Hall of Fame" game -- we'll be watching.

On our nightstand -- Drew Barrymore's "Wildflower".

This book took the place of "Sinatra" that we just finished.

We are amazed at the difference of perception that this book points out to us.

Drew seems to have "pulled through" those early days and has become a successful and accomplished person.

She clears things up with a series of stories surrounding her formative years.

We are enjoying the book and look forward to reading more about her life as she continues to surprise us.

I have to admit that I always enjoyed her movies and now am
pleased that she has made it into a seemingly successful adulthood.

That is a bit of our week, It is Sunday and it looks like ribs, BBQ beans, & salad for dinner.

See you all "in a few"!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Twenty Winks, And Then Some . . .

It's been that kind of week -- hot, air-conditioned and more of the same. Even the nights required some cooling. But each day this week was interesting from the standpoint of what the TV brought. We programmed several channels to the events in Cleveland and while we eventually did exhaust watching (some of us before others) we look forward to the next several days . . .

I remember my Grandmother (Mamie) saying on the occasions that I was visiting, that mid-afternoon she was going to take her "twenty-winks" . . .  I don't remember if I did as well, but I do remember that it usually was more than twenty that she took.

These days I recognize the value of "twenty-winks" and practice achieving that frequently. I actually like to wink long enough to actually get to sleep and then wake up refreshed and have it be only about twenty-winks, but sometimes it might be forty or more . . .

The search this week still is emanating from the chance meeting of our cousin from Norway who introduced me to the Madsen/Matson branch.

Brother-in-law of second great aunt (the sister of Samuel Martin). It turns out that Jacob and his wife, Louise must have had an interesting life at least from the standpoint that they appeared to move a lot.

They were both born in Norway and then arrived in the U.S. living in Chicago, Illinois, living in Wisconsin and ultimately, Eastern Washington (State).

In 1890, Jacob Matson owned and operated the store to the right. It was located at 518 Division Street in Chicago. (the picture and facts are courtesy of S R Colbert)

The store looks so reminiscent of some that I know I shopped in near my Grandparents home in Chicago -- though this one probably was not there in the 1940s or 50s.

At any rate I can envision the inside of the store and have a sense of nostalgia.

Later Jacob and family wound up as farmers in the Tri-Cities area of Washington State, Yakima specifically.  They were involved in fruit growing which that area was known for and probably still is.

It is amazing the stories that appear from searching -- I look forward to what else that I uncover.

So, guess what book is finally coming off our nightstand . . .

The book to the left is nearly 900 pages and we read all of them over the last three months.

I actually did not think that I would be able to hold the book to read it at night -- but managed to do so.

And I did not think that someone could write enough interesting things about Sinatra that would keep our interest -- but they did.

Since Sinatra basically lived during the life-span of our parents we could relate to the events going on during that period of time.

There were numerous insights into the political personalities of the folks during that period along with just plain observations of life in those days.

We now have the choice of picking our next read -- and we have several to choose from, that decision will come later today so that we can begin anew with our evening read -- but we know whichever book we choose it will not be 900 pages . . .

So, napping, watching the Giants games (they won their first game after losing 6, just yesterday) attending genealogy webinars, and of course the 2nd half of the political conventions.

Philadelphia is the site of the Democratic National Convention.  We will program the TV to record several iterations of that event and then choose which ones we want to watch.

I still find the process very interesting and am usually amazed at what people will do. I remember watching the conventions in the 50s while growing up and some of those images are still vivid in my memory.

At any rate, in a few months all will be determined and between now and then the news will be filled with any and all observations. We can't wait . . .

I guess that I am really out-of-luck because I did purchase a couple of tickets for the recent huge winning pots from the Powerball and the MegaLotteries to no avail.

Of course that would be my main reason for wanting to win -- i.e. finding all those "lost" relatives -- NOT.

It would be nice though to think that there is another value other than just economics in winning the lottery. . .

That is a peek into our week, see you all "in a few"!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Made in the Shade . . . 10° of Separation

Okay, so it was hot -- what else is new for Healdsburg in July? A lot I suppose, but we did have two or three days of 100° weather and NOW for the last two days it has been at least 10° cooler. Actually as I write this post and sit by the opened window there is a very refreshing, cooling breeze.

Unfortunately while the weather climate is more agreeable other climates like tension around the globe is not cooling off and then there is the political climate -- more on that later.

Made in the shade . . .

The above floral group is found in the shade out back. We venture out only a couple of times in the day choosing the indoors for comfort.

About 54% of this year has passed. We are one day shy of 200 out of 366 for 2016.

But we have only 113 days to go until the Presidential Election on Tuesday, November 8th -- and that time will fly by.

For these first 200 days this year we have seen and heard tons of new approaches to campaigning.

We can only imagine what these next days will bring.

So what will we do next week -- like my Mother used to say:  "You get three guesses, and the first two don't count" :

So, who doesn't like balloons. Actually I have always pretty much enjoyed watching the convention activities. There will be no shortage of TV coverage. One could spend 24/7 listening in on the goings on.

What surprises will there be and how will the crowds be behaving both indoor and outside the Cleveland Arena.

So next week is fairly decided as to what to watch, but there will be many options as to which point of view you want to hear about and see.

Years ago I used to always check the comics for "Dennis" and a couple of others -- just like today I read three different comics and skip the rest.

I have to agree with the question that Dennis poses and I make it a practice to spend a large amount of my disposable genealogical search time just climbing the tree.

Some times when I am in the tree, just as in an actual physical tree, I feel as though I am so far out on a limb that there is potential for some sort of trouble.

I sometimes take a break from climbing "our" tree and seek out other trees to climb or I watch someone else climb their tree.

I almost feel that climbing the tree gives me a special insight into the "leaves" or people found there . . .

Following are some examples of this week's tree climb:

On the left is an example of climbing in Gail's tree. I started with George Calhoun, who is one of the brothers of Captain Rufus Calhoun. George is Gail's 3x Great Uncle. He, like his brothers, had a full beard and it is nice that I could find his photo.

I did not find a photo of George's son, but I did find a photo of his grandson, Grant Glen Calhoun who is Gail's 2nd cousin and I identified his son to be Scott Calhoun a 3rd cousin.

The 3rd cousin actually died in Santa Rosa in 2000 -- close to home for us. Maybe I can find out more about Scott and possible offspring that may still live in the area.

Next -- in the middle section -- I took a break and went climbing in the tree of my brother's wife, Nancy.

I know some basics about Nancy's family, but I stumbled across a photo of her Great Grandfather,
Philip Sheridan Francis who was born one year after the Civil War in 1866.

Obviously his parents gave him his name in honor of Philip Henry Sheridan the Civil War General.
General Sheridan was a career Union Army officer and played a large role in the war and in subsequent activities.

It is rare to find photos of our relatives from that generation. I have found only a handful of folks from that time period, but I know that they probably exist somewhere.

And lastly, I'm still climbing around the Madsen/Matson branches though the "low-hanging fruit" has been picked, so-to-speak. I'm getting close to getting a handle on some of the living folks that maybe I can communicate with -- we'll see.

And I can't stress this sentiment enough -- we are
for all intents and purposes --

A Nice, Normal Family . . .

And after climbing the branches for awhile and seeing the diverse number of families, it is very much the fact -- we are within the norm.

So we keep at it, at least for another week, in- between convention coverage, crisis and other horrific reporting, the climb.

It is Sunday and it is beautiful outside, probably chicken for dinner.

See you all "in a few"!