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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Contest Entries/Healdsburg

The rain and dismal, bleak weather, are in sync with our mood with respect to the national events of the week. It is though, the kind of weather-week that really welcomes the Springtime when it does arrive. In the meantime, our town is gearing up for the judging of the best decorated homes. Each Christmas season as in so many neighborhoods around the country, our area sports many examples of the "Chrismas Spirit".


The top and bottom photos are repeat entries into the judging arena -- every year they run right at the top of the leader board. the photo in the middle on the other hand is unusual -- a Christmas Giraffe and 3 "Wisehens" -- just kidding. This display I found fascinating and I believe is "up" all year 'round. I do think though a few more lights might have been the clincher for at least an "honorable mention" . . .

We will make another trip or so around town to see all the latest additions as we are still seeing folks working on their entries. I remember one that my family did in Southern California -- we were living in a brand new rental complex (1970s) and the complex offered one month free rent to the winner of the best display -- we won that despite the fact that torrential rains hit just on the judging day and put a huge damper on the "Visions of Sugarplums . . ." display. Even though we won, the bottom-line was that we broke even as we spent about one month's rent on the display materials -- but, we probably still have some of the lights and other things . . .

Maybe I Should Have Kept the Buick . . . 

Growing up automobiles meant a lot to me and not in the way that they do today. And if you look in most families picture albums, posing in front of a vehicle is very common. Like most, I have owned many many cars over the years. My first car was a leftover car from the family and I promptly "ran it into the ground" so-to-speak. The next car I bought was a favorite of mine and I actually can not recall whatever happened to it now -- but after seeing an article this week -- in the back of my mind I think "it would have been nice to have that car now" kind of like the baseball cards that disappeared somehow. 


In the bottom middle picture shows why my interest was tapped -- this is the 1949 Buick from the movie "Rainman" and look what it sold for . . . on the right is a 1953 Buick just not quite like my first purchased car a black, with red leather interior, '53 Buick Convertible . . .  and I saw this week that a '53 sold for $55,000 plus . . . 

Growing up, my family was a "GM" car family -- we had Pontiacs, Chevrolets, Buicks, Oldsmobiles but sadly no Cadillacs . . . in the top middle picture my Father can be seen "detailing" his pride and joy 1956 Buick Special. That car was in such pristine condition that more than once we got a knock on the door asking if the car was for sale . . .

After the 1953 black Buick Convertible, I purchased my third car -- a 1956 Buick Special Convertible very much like the car on the left accept that it was all turquoise with a white top. Convertibles were always desirous in the Midwest where we lived, the winter could be tough, but "oh the springtime" when the top could come down . . . and one of the '56s sold this week for $54,000 plus . . . 

So, like homes, if one kept all of the cars -- wow, what a fortune we would have . . .

Dino's Week

We are sooo fortunate to have Dino for a second Christmastime. The timing was right because he was a youngster during the Holidays last year and it is just about a month before it is "his time" to maybe move on to his next level of training . . . we will find out more in the early days of January 2013. 

Dino is almost 15 months old now and the time has flown by. Here is a look at last year about this time and a picture taken about an hour ago as I write this post:


Dino in the top left photo waits as I write this and in the other three pics just about last year at this time we could still hold him in our laps. 

In the Design Stage

We have lived in this home now for about one year and five months already. We have made several upgrades and still have one more to go -- the kitchen -- and none too soon. Last month or so the original oven here lost some of it's functionality and usefulness. We have made accommodations and have been able to continue -- and I think enhance our level of enjoyment and the stove-top is very unpleasant as it "clicks" loudly throughout any use.


So -- voila -- our interim kitchen. We actually love some of the features of these appliances. They definitely have changed the way that we prepare things AND the type of things that we prepare. Paninis have made a big entry onto our menus. 

And these appliances will hopefully serve us well in the coming weeks as we hopefully will get started on a kitchen remodel in the first weeks of January -- that all depends of course on the "proposal" coming from our contractor. 

Also, the last kitchen remodel we had back in 1999 at our previous home -- Gail was suspiciously gone for most of the difficult times . . . and she starts back to work the first week of January . . .

So -- What about Genealogy this Week?

Well, I did not attend any Webinars this week but I have signed up for new ones starting in January -- that is if the noise level is such that I can hear . . . but there is BIG news about family history in-a-way this week.

Several years ago I started having DNA tests for the paternal and maternal sides of my tree. Then more recently I had the new tests done to see about finding cousins -- a test that both male and females can take.

And then last month Gail took the new test and she is starting to receive "matches" back from Ancestry DNA -- and guess what came this week -- a new possible match of a fourth cousin -- ME . . . what does this mean.


The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article about the new DNA tests and how much more reasonable they were getting. In the above middle (click to enlarge) you can see the note we got from Ancestry about Gail and I being fourth cousins and all (possibly). 

In the far right pic are the names of some of the Great Great Great Grandparents that would somehow have to be related for Gail and I to be fourth cousins . . .

As you can see, there are some gaps in the names -- mostly in Gail's tree -- so it will take a lot of investigating to find the potential common ancestors -- so it will be a challenge but also fun.

I have always suspected that there are other "cousin" marriages in our tree -- the names of whom are not revealed at the moment . . . maybe if more of "you-all" took the tests we might find out.

Still 10 Days 'til Christmas

Besides the joys and fun of the holiday season there are always the other side, e.g. the two trips we made to the post office so far (more to come). As we wait in line it is not possible for your mind not to question the business model of the USPS. 

It doesn't really matter either which office you visit. We from time to time go to our neighboring town to "try-out" their operation -- and sometimes we find it better. Then like this week we found our way in another town and we were back questioning things. Hopefully though our packages will find their way to the right destinations -- now if we could only get the local postman to not deliver our mail to two of the other homes in our area that have the same numerical address (but different streets) we might feel better . . .

So holiday activities go on, we are planning a "Grandparent's Night" for next week, which will probably include the usual festivities.  Meanwhile as I look out the window I see things like the women above walking I think six dogs in the rain. Each dog looks to have rain gear on -- I can't imagine the pre and post work to do all that.

We had our traditional burgers last night -- tonight, it looks like a pot roast in-the-Ninja . . .

That was our week, have a good week and we will see you in a few.








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