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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chili Pot Genealogy / Birthday

Even though the temperature is around 90 I found the need to "do" a pot of chili. Nothing really helps me to focus more than creating a large pot of my favorite fixin's. And each time it is a little different and each time I think it will take less than the two hours of the previous times -- but it never does.

While chopping and stirring and choosing ingredients my mind wanders to the current searches that I am involved with on different genealogy sites. The two activities thus become interrelated in a weird way. In both activities I lose myself while actively heading toward my goal at hand.

Along the way I continually taste and am rewarded with what I'm looking for . . . with each pot I'm fairly certain that it is the best ever and with each find in the "tree" that find is the current "best ever" and encourages me to keep at it.

Recently my goal in genealogy is to seek out and find "tidbits" relating to the lives of my family. Just like the pot of chili, there are so many combinations possible. This week for example, my brother sent me a piece of information regarding insight into the life of my Great Grandfather, Captain Samuel Martin of Racine, Wisconsin. He was a captain on Lake Michigan and the article detailed the events surrounding the many ships under his command -- most were catastrophic and sheds light on how hard his life must have been.

Throwing that into the pot I stirred it along with discoveries of some daily activities of a cousin of mine who happened to be Governor of California 100 years ago -- James Norris Gillett, of Viroqua, Wisconsin. And so it goes stirring the pot each time with slightly different ingredients hopefully arriving at a satisfactory result -- so far so good -- but there is a long way to go and hopefully many more "pots" to stir.

From the greener leaves: the travelers to Portland have returned home along with stories of "whooping cough" not good . . . birthday celebrations this week include Chris (today) who turns the magical 39 and continues to enjoy the great Northwest (Seattle area), Dayton here in town who turned 17 a couple of days ago and even the Auggster turns 10 -- can you believe it?

What's for lunch, dinner, maybe a bowl or two of red . . .

Monday, May 11, 2009

A New Week . . .

Even though being retired the feeling of "Monday" is still there. The sense of the start of another set of days. Sometimes though there is the "Groundhog" sensation to deal with -- it is amazing how I see that movie in my mind as I find myself getting ready to walk the dog each and every morning and when I fill my pot of freshly brewed "Estima" each day. I do though have certain mugs I use depending on the day of the week. That helps differentiate days I suppose -- I have my "Sunday" mug and my "Saturday" mug and then two or three different mugs that I rotate during the week days.
These mugs each hold a special memory for me -- usually of a trip to a specific location. Each of the mugs are oversized and many were purchased from different Starbucks located in different visited cities. Since these are large mugs I fill them usually half way and let the coffee adjust to a lesser than hot temperature and then sip as I read or write or search on the web.
Today is laundry day -- and the once a week event seems to come sooo fast
just like the "trash" day event.
I have about 2 or 3 more half cups to go before finishing my daily ration. I am taking a break from Ancestry's 1940 Census substitute data base to write this blog. I found a lot of city directory listings for various relatives in just the hour or so of looking -- I look forward to 2012 when the real 1940 census is released.
And now to update the green leaves activities: Gail continues to needlepoint her way to recovering from the back "injury" of last week. We heard from Silvia that she and Olivia loved the trip to D.C. but are glad to be home. Gail heard from both her kids on Mother's Day plus from one of mine, and that is nice. I noticed that Marv even though on holiday to Portland has checked into the Geni site to "see what's happening" . . . ain't web based sites grand . . .
I have been thinking a lot about Amzaon's Kindle lately. We read a lot and then over the years have accumulated a large library of books that last year we started giving away. We donated several boxes of books to the library and gave others to relatives and friends -- but with the Kindle maybe that would be a sort of compromise -- except for being able to share books when done reading. We already forward most magazines to others -- except for my genealogy ones.
Break is over, I can hear the washer/dryer cycle is over too meaning there are items begging to be folded and distributed after which it will be back to the web for hopefully more discoveries . . .

Saturday, May 9, 2009

From the Greener Branches

Summer seems to be here . . .80's yesterday, probably the same today, nice.

While the town celebrates 150 years we celebrate today's happenings.

This week finds Marv & Nancy making their way to Portland to visit Kris & Ian and families . . . they will be there for about a week.

Today Silvia and Olivia return from the school trip to D.C. they were there for a week and I'm sure they will have lots to share . . .

Gail recuperates after doing "something" to her back while energetically pursuing "spring" cleaning . . . but there are benefits, especially with respect to finishing "that needlework project" and catching up on the weekly golf tournament starring Tiger and others.

Because the weather is the way that it is, there is an endless parade of walkers and joggers crossing my field of vision as I work on the trees.
I expect soon to be creating those smells of summer -- from the BBQ smoker on the deck. We have started looking at possible replacement units to accomplish our favorite dishes. I suspect it is really a way to keep me motivated to continue preparing some meals that would otherwise be prepared by someone else . . .

From the branches farther out: Chris and family in Seattle are sooo busy, Chris with everyday work (and that is a good thing) while Tiffany continues her eBay efforts and takes care of the four kids. Lisa is busy and working very diligently at her job and along with Bob is enjoying the Northwest.

It is the time for proms -- and recently two of our own -- Dayton, here and Jessica up in Wisconsin have attended proms . . . speaking of Wisconsin, Jeremy continues on his new job but is toying with a variety of options as well. And we see the results of fishing with he and Lizzie bringing in the catch.

And coming up here there will be a graduation -- Olivia has sent out invitations already for that June event and according to her father maybe even a GrandUncle from the East will be attending (I can smell the brimstone already . . .)

We have even heard in a second hand way that another of the clan will be graduating (from High School) it looks good for Marth's Bobby as he will be wearing the cap and gown over there in Reno in a few weeks.

And so from the green I return to looking at the fallen leaves -- it's back to Ancestry, Geni, Footnote, Facebook, Twitter and the numerous other sites that help me "rake" . . .

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Good Rain . . .

It rained most of the afternoon and into the evening yesterday which was really nice for the new plants just put in . . .

Most of yesterday was spent backing up facts regarding a more distant cousin of mine whose obituary I culled from "historical" news clippings.
It is interesting how many of my HILES relatives I never knew about before my delving into genealogy.

For example, 100 years ago the Governor of California was a cousin of mine that I never knew about until recent rooting around in the trees. I did hear mentioned a few times that we did have a relative that was Governor of California but since we lived in Illinois growing up and not much was really ever said about family history I kept that thought in the recesses of my mind.

James Norris Gillett was my cousin. My great grandfather John Hiles married Emily Adeline Gillett. Adeline was the name I think she mostly used, but her Dad's brother Cyrus Gillett (her Uncle) was the father of James Norris Gillett. James was born in Viroqua, Wisconsin and eventually studied law and became a lawyer. He found his way to Eureka, California and into California politics and eventually just after the turn of the century he ran and was elected Governor -- 1907 thru 1911, the 22nd Governor of California. He served one term and chose not to run a second time.

Growing up I wish I had known these details -- it would have been a lot more fun in some of my history classes . . . and now that I have lived in California longer than any place else it is nice knowing that other Hiles relatives left the Midwest to come to the Golden State before me.

It is also ironic that I have a nephew and family living in Viroqua, Wisconsin who did not know about the many relatives who lived (and died ) in Viroqua until this genealogy came out. The local cemetery in Viroqua has a lot of our relatives buried there as do many other Wisconsin cemeteries.

So, it is back "into" the trees that I immerse myself on a rainy day -- so nice to hear the rain -- and view the moisture as it continues to blur the view from my office window. Later we might even venture out for errands.

Friday, May 1, 2009

So it's May . . .

We are getting new flowers today, the gardening people are digging them in as I write, lots of topsoil and the sounds of shovels and all . . . it should be done before the promised rain comes. The rain was supposed to be so April but we'll take it whenever.

This week has been fruitful in genealogy as well. I have spent a lot of time searching for related news clippings that will illuminate some of our ancestors lives -- and I have been successful. Once I find an article off I go in the direction that it takes me.

This approach is fascinating because I at random find myself in many branches of the tree. Once on a particular branch I try to go deeper and find proof sources for each person. Once I find something of interest I put it on my website and other sites that I subscribe to.

All of my work is usually accompanied by the sounds of XM channels 77 or 78 and sometimes 51, 23 or 5 or 6 and once in a while 28 . . . those of you who subscribe to XM know . . . the other sounds that I look forward to are the sounds of UPS bringing something to the door.

Being retired and being able to engage my time doing the things I really enjoy -- genealogy, photography, cooking and sometimes baking bread, doing limited projects around the house, shopping at my favorite stores (we need a Costco fix every so often) and playing cards with my wife out on the deck -- these activities sometimes bring a small feeling of guilt, guilt that I should be doing something more worthwhile . . . but then I get over that and engage myself in another search on Ancestry or GenealogyBank or Footnote or another of my favorite websites.

So, for today in May as I listen to Mozart, I will search for tidbits about the family and when I find them, all will be well again -- until tomorrow.