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Saturday, October 29, 2011

At Work, Home, Play & Stats

What a week for us -- as a matter of fact for the first time in years there was one day this week that I did not even log on to the computer -- I can hardly believe that. What was going on to change our routine so drastically? Was it the garage, was it the harvesting of produce from both houses -- partly that but mostly this:

The above is a collage of some of the activity in training sessions with the organization Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Gail and I have been attending the sessions now for several weeks. We are impressed with the whole idea of being a part of an organization that breeds, trains and donates seeing eye dogs to the blind at no cost to them.

As I write this, Janie is sitting next to my desk. She is a gorgeous black lab 4 1/2 months old. She is already well on the way to completing her couple of years training before becoming a full guide dog. We are lucky to be puppy-sitting her this week. She belongs to Guide Dogs for the Blind, but for a year and a half she resides with "puppy raisers". Her puppy raiser is on a business trip and Gail and I are taking care of her -- now you may understand why our week was (and is) the way it is.

We are in training as well and we will be receiving an 8 week old puppy soon to raise in our home. Here are a couple of additional collages:

This was taken earlier this week at the training session for the puppies. There were games and events with prizes for the best voted costumes -- Janie is the "bumble-bee" on the right.

These are some photos of Janie at our home as she plays (and chews) on her pad. Our task is to socialize her and to expose her to a variety of activities out and about -- and we have done that quite a bit.

While we love Janie -- and the other dogs that we have "met" at Guide dogs, we look forward to taking a new born pup in to begin it's journey. If you'd like to investigate the Guide Dogs site, here is a link:  Guide Dogs for the Blind


Other Events


This week we celebrated my brother's 77th. He and his wife Nancy provided a great comfort food dinner in honor of the occasion. There was delicious home made meatloaf, mashed potatoes and stir-fried vegetables  along with chocolate cupcakes and gelato for dessert.  It was a fine evening:


Lookin' good in their contrasting aprons -- I did not see any food stains on either of them . . .


Speaking of births -- in the next week or so the world's population is supposed to reach 7 billion -- whew. Where do we fit all these people into the scheme of things and how many have done their genealogy and family histories . . .

If you'd like to see where you yourself fit into that picture there is a neat website that can help. I visited it and here are the results for me:


Go to the site and put in your date of birth info to get the above results for you. Here is that link:

The World at 7 Billion


Hiles Name Distribution in the USA


Here is an interesting (to HILES) chart on where the name shows up in all 50 states:



Click on the above to see more detail -- what are all the HILES' doing in South Dakota & Wyoming . . . we knew about Ohio?


Reality back here with the upcoming holidays and celebrations:




The above is the scene in a local across-town display that gets bigger each year.

Below is a collage of a holiday celebrated by many of the locals:



And on the more uplifting side:






Boeing has introduced the "Dreamliner" this week with a maiden commercial flight to Hong Kong. They have been working on this plane for some time now AND two folks from our tree work in that facility that produced the jetliner -- in Everett, Washington -- Lisa & Bob, you must be enjoying the celebration. What will be next. I almost wish I was flying again on a weekly basis . . . almost.


And so goes our week -- after a short walk with Janie it will be sliders on this Saturday night . . .


See you in a few!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cabinets -- Cartbirds -- Automobiles & Udder Things

The week was gorgeous in terms of the weather. Mostly sunny days though the sun came out on some days after resting behind the fog for a bit. We took advantage of the cooler mornings and tried to do our heavier or yard work then. The raised bed garden was uncovered from the thorny bushes that kept it pretty much hidden.
It now awaits probably until the springtime to be replanted.

While Gail worked her magic on some of the interior -- I helped on the heavier things and in between those times worked on genealogy things. Every once in a while I come across a picture that evokes an experience that I sense -- but I know never happened . . . never the less it is like deja vu for something -- I believe there is a word for that but it escapes me:


I feel like I could have been there but I know that this never happened to my immediate family. I have never milked a cow. If my father had had his dream he would have had a farm and as a matter of fact we came very close to purchasing one when I was about 12 years old. This picture I found in Ancestry.com as I was exploring some of their offerings.

In our Grandparents Time


Gail and I have of course 8 Grandparents between us. Two each on the paternal side and two each on the maternal side. In our case all eight were born between the years 1874 through 1892. So thinking back to those days -- what must it have been like for many of the everyday things that go on, things that we take for granted.
Obviously there were no automobiles so all transportation would have had to be by horse and/or cart or wagon
but wait -- I just saw a picture of the world's oldest running automobile and it is dated 1884 -- wow:


Click on the above to see more detail -- but while this was billed as the first ever family car because it had room for four it also apparently participated in a motor race in 1887. So there might have been autos in use in some of our families during this period -- I would be interested in finding that out. The above car is steam operated and still is in running condition something that can not be said for our Grandparents unfortunately.


The Continuing Garage Saga


We are so close on being done with the garage update . . . as a matter of fact even though there are a couple of tiny details to finish -- like some trim painting and some minor adjustments -- for our purposes the garage is now ready to fill up . . . though based on the appearance we just might add a small shed outside to house some of the more earthy tools and things and also paint and maybe some other things.

But we have actually unloaded many many boxes from the living room, dining room and the guest bedroom and have successfully hidden them behind the beautiful cabinet doors AND we have room to spare. But we do have the pool house to empty yet . . . but here is what it looks like so far:


Click to enlarge and you can see the 38 cabinets that now are available for storage items -- and we have taken advantage of the space nicely. The new door is installed and the new opener also -- we have opened the door and just sat looking out in between unloading at t5mes . . . next week the finishing touches.


While Out and About


Shopping as usual and we spotted this interesting photo opportunity:


And you can even tell what store we were at if you click to see the writing on the handles. These birds were just taking a break in the early evening probably just before looking for a place to roost. They stayed there among the hustle of the cars parking and the people pushing loaded carts. They did not even fly away when someone pushed another cart into the stack . . . there did not appear to be food or anything in the carts, just a place to rest . . .

Speaking of birds, one of the projects we did in the yard included  re positioning the bird feeder -- probably in this case not so good an idea. We will be looking for another more suitable location soon:


Our friendly visiting kitty immediately took up a strategic position . . .



From the HILES  Website


While reading this blog there is an easy way to visit the HILES Website -- just click on the Related Hiles Family link:




Clicking on that will take you to the site where you can view a ton of information regarding Hiles and related families.

For example there are a few special reports that are pertinent to October -- specifically as they relate to birthdays:



If you click to enlarge you'll see the two reports that are specific to births in October. There are 172 people from the tree that were born in the month of October -- so happy birthday to all of them. And I have two siblings (brothers) born in October, so a special birthday greeting goes out to them. Additionally there are three persons born this day -- as shown on the report.


Halloween


We are making progress on our Halloween decorations, using the home grown pumpkin from the garden -- we only had one pumpkin so here it is:


No comments please . . . but we are expecting for the first time in 13 years to have trick or treaters arriving at our door . . .


And that is how our week went -- now we are preparing for Slider Saturday Night!


See you in a few!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Shakes & Bakes and a bit of Nostalgistrivia

What a gorgeous week in terms of weather -- one day of rain to begin the week and then every day that followed so far has been bright, sunny and in the 80s and near 90s . . . we in our home are in sort of limbo waiting for certain (garage) remodeling projects to come to a conclusion. Gail has been stymied as to what to do since we can not "move" things until the construction is done -- so fortunately for me and a few lucky others she has chosen to bake muffins -- this week Applesauce Oatmeal muffins:


They were outstanding. The process was interesting -- first the apples had to be picked from our tree and then home made applesauce was made. Later a batch of home grown oats oatmeal was added along with several other tasty ingredients and then placed into our top-notch oven -- which is on the list of to be upgraded -- and the aroma came wafting throughout the house promising a wonderful mid-morning break.

Needless to say the muffins were great -- and I believe she has even found another recipe for next week -- we anticipate more decadent eating pleasure in the coming days -- and if the garage is delayed, even more . . .

In the category of "Where Were You When  . . ."

This coming Monday I happen to remember where I was exactly 22 years prior. And maybe some of you do as well. There was an event that many will recall -- it occurred on a Tuesday evening actually during the playing of a World Series game.in California. I was not in a place that was broadcasting the Series -- as a matter of fact I was on a "Sound of Music Tour" when I heard  notice of the event in Saltzburg, Austria. I could not believe my eyes as I saw pictures of what looked like "total destruction" of San Francisco and I remarked to my son that I might as well not even go home as it looked like there was no home . . .

Loma Prieta turned out to be about a 6.9 quake and we still see some of the aftermath of it -- but since it has been 22 years already there is always the question of the next one. For me I do not mind that I missed out on "being there" for the experience -- I have been in other quakes like the 7+ in Los Angeles in 1972.


If you click on the above you will see some pictures of San Francisco destruction and a picture of Saltzburg, Austria (for the Sound of Music Tour) and also one of Dachau near Munich, Germany -- for we spent the afternoon touring that destruction as well.

Our Garage Update


It is hard to believe that our garage is influencing so much of our daily life at the moment. I think back to the many garages that I have had over the years and this one is playing a seemingly larger role. We are stopped from moving forward with "unpacking" and finalizing our move because of the garage. The worker bees were active this week and we now have painted walls and ceilings. We now have light where for the last several days there has been none AND we have the actual cabinets inside the garage -- not all in place but some are:

This is how the progress looks as of the 14th of October. So next week -- if the creek . . . we are looking forward to having the cabinets in place and a new door and opener installed -- THEN -- and I have been instructed to not start alone -- we will begin the careful process of sorting and placing items for storage onto the shelves. It could happen.

Other Activities


Baking the muffins was not enough -- clearing out the raised garden beds was another attraction that called us -- mostly Gail -- to action. It is certainly slick how one is "caught - up" in the process. The brief  check on progress brought about a lot more than originally planned -- meaning I got more involved than I thought I would be -- but I do feel better for it.  The other attraction is from a visiting kitty that is apparently making the rounds and has added us to her daily routine -- notice the treats. We do like this kind of cat right now -- an outside cat that is "just visiting" and one that knows to not overstay her welcome.



So we make time to garden and feed the visiting kitty and all the while wait with anticipation for the coming week so that we can "unbox" things. More things. Actually I have come upon a collection of things from one of -- actually two of the boxes that I have started "doing something with". It is a collection of memorabilia items that I have accumulated for over 40 years -- and I just might do something with the collection.  I'll report on that collection in future posts.

Thinking Way Back . . .


I have always loved being around food, preparation of, purchasing of, shopping for and from my earliest memories I actually remember shopping in the local "supermarket" with my Mother. I remember with fondness the aroma of the store and the activities going on throughout the store. So mush so that I can remember saying "when I grow up I want to be the manager of the A&P". That was the store that I can recall shopping in for the "big food shopping" of the week. We had small local stores for the daily needs of milk or bread for supplementing the weekly shopping.

I did not reach the goal of being the manager of an A&P store, but in my earlier career I certainly spent a lot of time in food stores and around them. To this day I am still very much at home in super markets of all kinds. Some days I look for "just one more store" to check out, so to speak. So it is a sad story in a way that one of the biggest food chains filed for bankruptcy last year. At one time A&P had over 16,000 stores and at this point have regressed to "just a few" regional stores . . .

 This is a current book out about the subject and one that if I can get the time I'd like to read.


From a Recent Outing . . .


We like to walk and drive throughout our town. The other day we were reminded of the time of the year and of the next "holiday" . . . we will make some more forays looking for evidence of Halloween, but this was a curious one to start with:


Click on the above to see the appropriate decorations for the coming "big-day"  . . . bigger for some than others . . . we have put out a pumpkin (home grown). The above is on a beautiful older home in the state of being remodeled but currently being guarded by what we call a "black cat on a hot tin roof".


And so goes our week -- we in a few minutes will end our day with the Saturday Night Sliders as has been our routine for several months now.

See you in a few!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fall's Eats, Meets & Progress Report

This week started out with the "severe weather" that had been promised. But today has made up for any not-so-good days. Today is what fall is all about -- the skies are clear and bright and the air a little brisk and oh-so-fresh. We'd like to order some more of these . . . speaking of orders, we picked some of our produce from the other house and the other night we enjoyed the fruits of those pickin's:



These are sauteed cherry-type tomatoes from our garden.(The recipe from Noble Pig) These turned out just like the recipe said -- delicious. There are some onions and a little bit of garlic, so simple yet so tasty.
The tomatoes were late in arriving this year but are well worth the wait. Last week I also made a huge batch of tomato sauce and the same this week. It seems that each day we go back to pick we are finding tons . . .

Along with the sauteed tomatoes we had pan fried chicken cutlets -- these start out not grown or picked by us -- but from a bag of frozen chicken tenders (from Costco). We take several tenders and let them thaw and then I flatten them, dip them in egg wash and then panko (breadcrumbs) and then quickly fry them to a golden brown -- simple dinner but sooo tasty.


So together our dinner consisted of the above -- just before plating . . .


And again because this season is so vibrant I could not resist another photo of the local produce -- grapes. The wineries our rapidly trying to harvest all the grapes before they spoil -- they are thinning out the leaves so that the moisture from all the rain can be helped with the ventilation. I do not understand all the process, but certainly understand the results down the road . . .


While all the nature things are taking place -- we in our new home are making progress in many areas. The box numbers have gone way down -- some contents are just unboxed and some have been donated and some are still waiting disposition. The storage area for us here is going to come hopefully inside the newly remodeled garage.
At the beginning of this week the garage was bare studs, no insulation and no sheet rocking -- that is slowly changing -- and we can hardly wait for completion of the project. We will have floor to ceiling cabinets on two of the walls and a bit more on the third wall. Eventually it is our plan that all the boxes that now can be found in our dining room, guest bedroom and pool house will be housed in the garage:


We started with bare wood and then insulation was added and then sheet rock and some new electrical as well. We even went over to check on the production of the cabinets. Hopefully next week, starting on Monday with the painters doing their work we may just be able to move some of our "Costco" pantry and paper items back into the garage.

Sadly --


It started for us about 4 or 5 years ago with our involvement with Apple products. We each bought an iPod Touch and absolutely fell in love with them. We used them for so many different things ranging from the productive to the just-for-fun. It was a pleasure to be able to read our email while in front of the TV or sitting outside on the deck.

After a year or so the iPad was introduced and we both got one of those as well. This was even more exhilarating -- the larger screen and the additional capabilities. We have used our iPads pretty much every day since acquiring them. On our last road trip we activated the 3G feature and were never without a network connection -- at home we just use the WIFI for our network needs. The quality of the iPads is outstanding and we feel so lucky to have them and they truly have made life more enjoyable.

Last year Gail added an iPhone to her inventory -- and that is another example of a top quality product. She  loves the iPhone and all that it provides -- including the camera (she has one on her iPad as well). Sometimes while out we take photos for the website -- billiongraves.com -- these photos are then automatically uploaded for all to utilize and for volunteers to digitize.

I have to say that the passing of Steve Jobs has impacted me more than any other corporate leader that I can recall. Because we have seen and enjoyed the products that he has developed and brought into our lives our hope is (selfish I guess) and that is for this to continue . . . in the last few years the updated products being introduced were always anticipated with a lot of excitement -- I hope that can go forward.



Cousin-in-law Connection


This week we had the pleasure of meeting with someone who I met "online" communicating about genealogy. But what we did not really realize was that Gail had already met her -- some 45 years ago.
So, what are the details of this interesting event -- for us anyway.

A picture can illustrate more of what I am talking about:




Here are Gail and Sandi looking at a photo book of Gail's first wedding AND, in the photo they are viewing
is Sandi and her Mom attending the wedding. Prior to this afternoon (Thursday) Gail did not know who was actually in the photo -- a really pleasant surprise.

We wound up having a really fun afternoon with Sandi and her husband, Jim. There were many stories related about several of Gail's inlaws and other relatives. It points out a small world -- and in this case brought together through genealogical pursuits. We look forward to more visits and exchanges of family information.

Weekly Walk


We try to take walks as often as we can -- but lately since Auggie's passing, our walking schedule has gone by the wayside somewhat -- but we still have managed to walk at least once a week. I carry the camera on these outings and like to shoot interesting things when we see them. Last week's walk provided an interesting view of a couple of yard/tree mobiles:

At first I thought that they were bird-feeders, but then concluded that they were ornamental  . . . but certainly curiosities.


On the Lighter Side -- (or the Canadian side)


I actually have borrowed this from someone else -- but that is often the case when I can't actually make the trip -- this time from a pic I saw in Randy Seaver's blog, but I liked it too:


I have been to this monument, I just never drove around to the other side -- you never know what you are missing . . .


And so that is a peek into our week. We are about to go on our weekly walk and following that I will be starting the process of making the sliders for our Saturday Night Sliders event.

See you in a few.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Produce, Paintings, Food & Tech


What a week -- the end of September, beginning of October. The weather alert from last week did not pan out but it looks as though it will try again this week. We made several trips to the old house -- some to water, and some to pick produce from the garden:



The real star of the picked produce was the tomatoes and there were tons of them. They were late in arriving but they have shown up big-time now. The apples are actually from the new house. The pumpkin and the squash are just in time for some sort of Halloween deal.

The tomatoes were quickly put to use in a sauteed tomato dish to accompany our chicken cutlets the other night -- and then the rest (including the lone green pepper) simmered into a rich spaghetti sauce which we used last night. The apples are just representative of several bags of final pickings. We dropped off more bags at the food pantry.

The old house is "on the market" and even though it is a slow and rough time for real estate we have high hopes. We think the house looks really good and there is a video about it on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQUvvY-_-K8

Check it out and let us know what you think.

Speaking of produce, moving certainly does offer the chance to "go through things" and that we have done. My father as a hobby, painted pictures and while I have a lot of them up -- or used to -- I found these miniatures among some of the "boxed" items:



It reminded me that he produced a lot of pictures around the early 70s. He did that for fun and relaxation after he retired. He was self-taught and he enjoyed painting and now I get to enjoy his produce as well.


In our town we now live a couple of blocks from Matheson Street, a major East/West street through town. Little did I know about the origin of Matheson Street until going through some facts from the local cemetery and reading some facts from our local museum.

Tomorrow it will mark 149 years since Roderick N. Matheson died. An interesting fact is that while he lived in Healdsburg when the Civil War broke out -- it was while attending the inauguration for Abraham Lincoln that he volunteered for service. He was appointed a Colonel leading the 32 New York State Voluntary Infantry. Because he was from California the regiment became known as the First California Regiment. 

Matheson was recognized for his bravery and commitment to service with a commendation personally from Lincoln. He participated in the Battle of Bull Run. His regiment, about a thousand men strong participated in many bloody battles. Unfortunately while in one battle leading to the siege of Richmond , Matheson was killed. He is buried about two blocks from where we live in Healdsburg. 

I had no idea that Matheson had such a life. It is hard to think that someone living in our little town would pick up and go to Washington D.C. and ultimately die in the Civil War -- it was mostly thought that those folks all came from "back there".


He died October 2, 1862 at 38 years of age. Buried in Oak Mound Cemetery, Healdsburg, California.


Way Back in Time

Sometime in the First to Third Century BCE (before common era) the Dead Sea Scrolls were buried for safe keeping. In 1947 or thereabouts they were discovered. Now they have been put online and translated into English (some of them). It is unbelievable to think that something written that long ago is available to us via our computers. Here is a picture of one:


Apparently this is the main scroll for the entire book of Isaiah -- 60 some chapters. And it has been translated into English and is readable online. Compliments of GOOGLE. 

If interested here is a link to view the translation:



I just wish that I could tie my family roots to this period so that I could document family . . . it could happen.


NEW PRODUCT OFFERINGS:

A significant new player in the "tablet" arena was announced this week -- Amazon's Kindle Fire.



I have to say that if the Kindle Fire had come out before I got my iPad -- I would have been interested. And who knows about the future of technology -- it is fun though.


Continued High Interest in Food Items

Maybe it is the weather -- but probably not -- but food and food sites are of interest to me lately. My all time favorite site is the Noble Pig blog:   


the above is an example of their latest blog -- one which I know I'll use, below is a collage of some of their recent blog recipes:


Click to enlarge -- they all look really good!


And if that were not enough to satisfy another site that offers fantastic sandwiches is:



Here is a collage of some of their offerings . . . I'm really hungry now!




Click to enlarge -- and then go their site and find out the names of each sandwich . . .


And so it is for another week. And before our dinner tonight we will be out getting some fresh air, cooler though it may be -- but currently dry. Even after all the above mention of food items -- it will be the "lowly slider" on our Saturday Night plates . . .



See you in a few!