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Saturday, December 31, 2011

The FINAL Countdown -- At the Hiles/Adams House

The final day of the year -- it was beautiful. It started out foggy with a mist atop the pool in the early morning hours. As the day went on the sun cleared all traces of the fog.. We took the opportunity to take Dino on some retail outings, he continues to draw crowds -- at one store I told Gail that I would meet her outside, but it took forever to get to the door and by that time Gail was through with checking out and ready too . . .

So what can I talk about that is significant for the year -- one thing that comes to mind is the wonderful discoveries in outer space -- that is the recent announcement that two possible planets about the same size of Earth were recently identified:

The amazing ability of the telescopes now are finding more and more about deep space. The International Space Station continues to astound. I found the above on  The site talks not only about the new planets but the reducing of the number of our own planets -- Pluto is out.

But while this is great news I find a parallel in my own work (hobby) -- the comparison of the new capabilities of the Internet to the ISS with the connection of finding two new Cousins just this week. To me, bringing the advances of technology to a personal level brings the same kind of satisfaction to me as a family history researcher that must be felt by the folks working on space projects. The interest to the world (and even many family members) is of course a major difference.

So Who Are These Cousins?

The Cousins just identified are shown above -- Lila, and her Mother, Vera Kay Hiles who are 3rd Cousins and their Father, Walter Frank Hiles who is a 2nd Cousin 1x removed. I am just beginning to exchange emails with them and hopefully will learn a lot about their branch of the tree.

I do know that they live in Michigan and that there is a lot to learn about their individual families. I look forward to that. So, welcome to Vera and Lila!

Back to the grind . . .

The countdown to the end of the year for us includes a very important day that comes a couple of days after New Years -- and that is the day that Gail gets to open her office in town and go back to work for the seasonal task of income taxes . . . so there is a mixed feeling about the count -- in about 60 hours or so one of us will be "on the job" once again . . . Dino and I have agreed to visit the office from time to time.

In the meantime, holiday decorations have been taken down as of today -- the tree stands -- bare on the back porch, the holiday moose now stand by the plant in the corner where the Christmas Tree stood. Dino is checking everything out as we go about the day:

This of course is Dino's first experience of having a tree inside and he was really very good about not disturbing it -- he would though eat any needles that he could find around the floor . . .

Birthdays this day:

There are five people from our tree (so far) that were born on this day. If their parents were really experts in planning for income tax -- they did a great job. We'll look at tomorrow's birthdays and check those out to see examples of not-so-good-tax-planning . . .

I've cut off the year portion of the dates -- but those of you who go to the website (and have permission) can check out the full information.


I have never really felt like celebrating the NEW YEAR event that much as it seems  artificial often -- but the following wallpapers are available at that says it all in a way. They have many more examples that you could choose from -- check 'em out:

I think these are some really nice examples that might just brighten up the desktop . . .

And  Lastly --

Everyday Gail & I read a few selected comics and this one we enjoy and it is appropriate for  today and for the way that we feel:

One thing I do remember is that at the beginning of the year -- in this blog -- I said that I wanted to write a post each week. And in a few minutes when I push the key to "publish" I will have achieved that goal. There are now 52 posts recorded in the year 2011 . . . thanks for reading and now it is time for the Slider Saturday Night once again . . .

Have a great new year -- see you in a few!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmastime at the Hiles/Adams

It was another week of beautiful "winter" days Northern California style. The nights have been in the 20s while the days have been in the 60s and mostly sunny every day. So cooler, warmer and drier than usual -- but very enjoyable. When Dino and I venture out in the middle of the night we can see our breath heavily in the air. I thought the pool had a layer of ice the other morning -- not.
But what could more traditional for the holiday time than picking fruit. Lemons to be specific, Meyer lemons at that. A few weeks ago it seemed that we just had a ton of green lumps, this week the tree was almost bent over it was so heavy with fruit:

This lemon tree very pretty produced far more lemons than we can use at the moment, so after giving some away we bagged up the rest and brought them to the food pantry.

A Tradition

While picking fruit really has not been a tradition -- maybe in the future years -- what has been a tradition for us is GrandParent's Night. It started with our Grand Nephew and Grand Niece and their Grandparents coming over for a holiday dinner complete with gifting and sharing. This year was no different even though the "kids" did not need to be driven over. Their parents used to use the time to go out shopping -- maybe they did this year too, but the event was as enjoyable as ever:

Above are some of the pics that commemorate this year's event, from the start to the finish. The food was great and the get-together fun and relaxing. Some great gifts were exchanged away from the hubbub of the coming big day . . .

A scene from the past

For some reason this picture brought out a certain nostalgia for me -- while this is not a photo of mine or my family's -- it could have been. We had a Pontiac like the one in the photo and we certainly visited "filling stations" like this one:

The site that had the picture is a great place to reminisce -- they have an "Old Picture of the Day" each day,
check out the site if it interests you -- I know I really like a lot of their selections.

A Dino Update

Dino has been a tremendous joy for us and he grows mentally and physically every day. He has learned so much in the three weeks (today) that we have had him. I already can see into the future -- 18 months from now . . . here are some of his weekly activities and poses:

Click to see some of the individual shots -- he has already been mistaken for a full-grown dog . . .but he is only 12 weeks old.

Some Pics of Christmas Past

While looking at some of my favorite sites I found some Christmas cards that looked familiar and so not-too-long ago scenes. The site is the Wisconsin Historical site and it holds a huge amount of very interesting things. These cards (or pictures of them) are for sale at the site:

So visit their site and you can see many many more examples of the above.

Our house today (Christmas Eve) is filled with the delicious aroma of a yule log -- not one in the fireplace because it is a "spare the air" day, but one that Gail is baking for the event tonight at the other Hiles' in town.
Each year we gather as most families do and enjoy the time of year with friends and family.

We will not be having "sliders" tonight, instead it will be a festive, delicious Christmas Eve dinner. I can taste it all right now . . .

Merry Christmas to all of you!  See you in a few!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

PreHoliday -- Bumgardner,Bouldron,Hiles&Nelson

Don't you just love this time of the year chestnuts roasting on an open fire the warm sunny days so reminiscent of summer, that's pretty much the way our days have gone these past several days. It is a real bummer for the skiing industry near Tahoe, no school holiday crowds heading for the slopes. We can only hope that it will change. In the meantime we make up for it by decorating the inside and outside of our home to remind us of Christmas Holiday:

This floral arrangement specifically made to enhance the holidays was sent to us and we are really appreciative and will enjoy it throughout the next couple of weeks -- thank you Aura.

But we have done other things around the house to make it feel "Christmas-y". We struggled with whether or not to downsize the tree to fit the downsizing of the home this year and opted to go in the mid-range. Gail decorated the tree mostly with all her hand-made needlepoint ornaments that she has worked on over the years (mostly while watching NFL games).

And of course how could we not include some photos of our "Christmas Puppy" (everyone should have one).
Dino was very patient with us as we adorned his head with a "Santa Chimney Patrol" hat. That lasted for several seconds. But if you click on the photo you can see the ornaments I mentioned earlier. I have to wonder what happened to the ornaments that I remember form childhood -- who in the family has them. And of course one wonders what will become of the above ornaments and who will get to enjoy them.

Just for the record, Dino turned 12 weeks old today and he has gained over three pounds in the two weeks that we have had him. He is definitely fun and hopefully will make a great guide dog one day.

Maybe Interesting . . .

The other day I was thinking about our ancestors and how they prepared for the holidays. Poor souls, how did they do it without the Internet . . . then my mind drifted to how things have changed just in my lifetime and the things and routines that have gone by the wayside.  So I did what people do these days -- I noodled around the web and found some interesting (or I thought so) ideas on that subject:

If you click to enlarge you can see a list of just a few of the things that are not in common usage today. The very first item -- dialing a rotary phone and especially dialing those really great numbers which were started with letters and words like -- Faculty-FA, Fleetwood-FL, Capitol-CA -- my last phone number growing up was FA 3-6866 . . . but even thinking back another generation, they did not even have a dial to dial, they picked up the phone and were addressed immediately (sometimes) by a live operator, "Number Please" . . .

Check out the above site -- they have a lot more of the obsolete things that bring back so many interesting thoughts.

Social Security

Several weeks ago I sent away for the original application for Social Security that each of my parents filled out. For a fee and a lengthy wait period anyone can retrieve this type of record. For some it may reveal things that were maybe forgotten about their relatives and for others it is just a nice record to have -- especially since they usually have original signatures.

The above are my folks' applications. I recognize both signatures -- my Mother's very carefully done, my Father's more "whimsical" than I remember. But it was interesting to see where and when each applied. My Father applied shortly after SS was started (1934) in 1936 when he was a Cab Driver for Yellow Cab at the age of 29.  My Mother applied in 1949 -- I am not sure of the reason for her application as she at that time did not work outside of the home.

Never-the-less it was interesting to study the facts in detail of their applications.

A possible solution for "last minute" gift ideas

I'm sure for some of our ancestors things like "carving" something special or "sewing" something personal for loved ones was done sometimes "at the last minute" just as we do last minute shopping. So I have scoured the web for some ideas:

The above represents some "really good" stuff and where to find it. There are a couple of things that I wouldn't mind "receiving" -- hint, hint . . .

Anyway, that is how our week went -- hope yours was "good" too. And now since we had a luncheon today with friends (actually relatives) at our house -- we have leftover things that we are going to have for dinner. So it is going to be Slider Sunday Night this week.

See you in a few!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hiles Places, Birthdays & Doings

Another great week in terms of weather and in terms of "stuff". The stuff mostly refers to Dino the pup we are raising for Guide Dogs for the Blind. He continues to amaze us and it is surprising how one 21 pounds of energy can impact daily life. The day starts about mid morning -- that is 2 -3 am for his first "outing" of the day. He does go back to sleep until about 7 or so . . .

The above are some candid shots of his week . . . top left he is sitting among some of his favorite items. Then it was a first-time to wear the "uniform" -- he did well and seemed to enjoy it.   He made several trips out and about and made friends with many folks. We look forward to more of these trips and meetings.

An Update to the Garage Stuff

We expanded the garage via a "Tuf-Shed" to cap off the project -- we just have one more thing to do and that is to paint the cement floor the "garage-gray" and we'll be done with that project. It is almost nice enough to have a "dinner" out there. And the shed, if insulated might be a place of refuge at some point . . .

This is the way to put up a shed -- it took the three very professional guys a little less than two hours and voila . . .  we have managed to almost fill it.

Where My Hiles Come From

Some of you were asking about where geographically my HILES came from within the U.S. -- after the East Coast and Ohio it was Wisconsin. Here is a map of Wisconsin showing the counties -- my Dad was born in Racine, and his Dad was born in Monroe County.  Today we have relatives all over the state including Vernon County, La Crosse County, Dodge County and many others and even a Town of Hiles, though the connection to my branch has not been proven -- but never-the-less I have visited there years ago:

Where Did Santa Come From?

It is that time of the year and while I guess it was not Wisconsin I did find this great article about good ol' Saint Nick. I found it in the site:

The story of Thomas Nast is amazing and the pictures are very nostalgic and recognizable -- I am pretty sure that Gail has needle-pointed some of them and maybe has put together a jig-saw puzzle or two.

Some Birthdays from my Branch

And now looking at the Hiles Family History site, I count some 182 December birthdays -- and also 7 that happen to occur on this date -- December 10 -- various years . . . So Happy Birthday to my daughter Lisa today and to my sister, Marilee tomorrow:

And so ends this week. I have had really limited chances to work on family history this week given our new assignment -- but each day a little more time is recaptured.

Slider Saturday Night is a welcome feast -- Gail has just returned from a full day of teaching and I am coming off a full day of puppy-care . . .

Fifteen more shopping days until Christmas -- see you in a few!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

(Dino) Hiles--Adams, Calhoun & Bessie & Jessie

What a week! It is hard to think that it is December now -- 21 shopping days left -- where does the time go? This week we saw temperatures in the mid 70s and sunshine every day, just when we turned off the watering at two houses . . . it is pretty much like summer at the moment. It is hard to rake leaves when it is so warm, but rake we must for a variety of reasons.
The highlight of our week was the colonoscopy on Friday  without a doubt happened just a few hours ago. Gail and I drove to San Rafael to the World Headquarters of Guide Dogs for the Blind. There we took possession of a beautiful ten week old yellow lab, male, with the assigned name of "Dino".  He is so good looking:

This is the very first picture we took of Dino as he was brought from the puppy kennel to us. Gail realized right away that he was "heavy" as he felt like a sack of concrete. We are of course elated. Dino was born the day after my birthday, on 24 Sep 2011. He has so much to learn and experience.
There was another puppy being handed over just before we got Dino, a beautiful black lab to a Mother and son who were obviously pleased -- they carefully cradled their pup and off they went. I carried Dino to our car as Gail was not too sure that she could carry him the block or so . . . and off we went with our new family member. He rode cradled in Gail's arms all the way home -- about an hour's ride. Along the way when we were stopped at a red light, the lady driver next to us smiled broadly when she caught a glimpse of Dino -- I'm sure not the last time that this will happen.

About a Character from our Tree

During the week I did get the chance to do some researching and noodling around the internet as is my habit. I am using the iPad more and more for research as Ancestry's App is sooo nice to use and I can do that while sitting on the couch watching TV. I have actually found numerous items for a variety of folks in the tree. But while surfing around I ran across a blog from -- that caught my eye. A few years ago Gail and I went over to Port Townsend when we were up in the Northwest -- and we realize we need to visit there again -- Gail's Gr Gr Grandfather is mentioned on the front page and he was a "character" from Port Townsend. He was a Sea Captain, and there is a Historical Plaque on his house there. Gail does own a small piece of property in town as well. Check out Sandra's blog:

We look forward to visiting Port Townsend again maybe this coming year.

Sad Events

One thing about working on a family history is that one deals with so many facts about the dead. But when you stop and analyze dates of born/died it is really sad to think of what so many of our ancestors went through with children. This week I found the mention in a newspaper article about the deaths of two infants who turn out to be 2nd Cousins 1 time removed. Bessie & Jessie Hiles both died shortly after birth and the article does not mention as to why -- only that they left so many family members to mourn them:

Click to enlarge the above and you'll see that both children were the offspring of Frank & Minnie Hiles. Cousins mean that we share a common ancestor which determines what type of cousin they are -- I almost prefer to just say "cousin"  because it becomes sometimes hard to visualize.

The following explanation & chart might help -- it appeared just this week in Dick Eastman's blog:

Dick always has good information that is helpful and in this case timely. His blog is found at


How could I go without a few more "pics" of Dino. I will be keeping a log and journal of his progress that I eventually want to be able to turn over to the blind person that hopefully ends up with him -- already we can see how turning him over after 18 months is going to feel . . .

Click to check him out . . . since we have been home, about five hours, he has had two naps in his crate ( a new experience) and two sessions of exploring his new territory. He has little bursts of energy mostly trying to eat leaves in the backyard and then followed by napping. In the coming weeks we will update his progress. His first official outing to our Guide Dogs group will be in about ten days -- at the Holiday Party.

So that was our week. We will be enjoying Sliders in an hour or so . . . see you in a few.