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Saturday, December 20, 2014

'twas the week before Christmas and all . . .

It is amazing how the time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas flies by! Fortunately we managed to squeeze in our Christmas shopping -- and none of it included a mall.

We did venture out to a couple of free standing stores to see if we would feel the "old holiday spirit" but that was not to be . . . it seemed chaotic and just not up to the old standards.

So we capture the spirit in other ways, like baking and wrapping gifts and standing in the lines at the post office -- nothing gives me the Christmas spirit like chatting in the post office line during the holidays. Actually it was not that bad this year.

So now we just count down to the big day -- 5 days to go . . . we keep busy with the normal day-to-day things plus some holiday shows on TV and maybe a visit here and there with friends and relatives.

Both of us have always enjoyed the holidays.  I do have one other purchase to make and that would be the Christmas ham. Ham has always been one of my favorite meats. So we look forward to ham dinner and the numerous leftovers as well.

Dates from our Tree

It's curious to see the increased numbers of both birthdays and anniversaries coming up next week:

And several of the events fall on Christmas Day as well . . . Best Wishes to all!

Activities this Week

We tried to stay inside most of the days this week as the rains came sporadically and it was just way more comfortable at home listening to the sounds of the weather.

Gail did some baking and I did some cooking and Dino played his "poor-me" role hoping for some extra bits of something, anything . . .

The muffins were great and we actually put some into Christmas baskets and delivered them to a few folks.

The whole chicken seen to the left with steam rising from it as it cooled was so tasty. Besides a couple of dinners of slices of chicken we also made a pot of delicious chicken soup.

There's just something about a bowl of hot homemade chicken soup, some crackers, a
good TV show and then maybe a nap to wrap
things up til dinner . . .

State of the Search

The search went on this week as usual. I did have some contact with a couple of cousins and I did watch a webinar about "bagging a live one" which was all about connecting with cousins that you did not know you had . . . I'm anxious to put into action some of the ideas shared there.

But this week I also decided to do some experimenting with various charting ideas found in a couple of the programs that I have from Progeny Genealogy -- "Charting Companion" and "3-D Family Tree".

The above is an example of a bow-tie chart of me and 3 other generations. It shows on the left side, my paternal and on the right side my maternal folks out to the great grandparents.

I sometimes forget that I have these programs and when I do re-discover them I am reminded of some of the places that I need to pay attention to . . .

Status of the Holiday Puzzle

While I work on creating charts and other goodies using the parts of our tree, Gail has
been working on the most difficult of puzzles.

When she started this a couple of weeks ago she swore that there was "no-way" to do this . . .

The challenge comes from the fact that while there is a beautiful picture to put together there is also a complete border (all the same color) that encompasses the entire puzzle.

She has, little-by-little accomplished a great deal as can be seen to the right.

Often she does her best work after leaving the puzzle for awhile and then upon returning finds a few pieces which creates enough energy to continue.

The one thing she has to remember is that she best NOT stand "for just a moment" to find that one piece . . . she needs to sit down and not be bent over while working on it.

Liberty Puzzles are a great way to spend time working on a Holiday Puzzle, they are always unique and the laser-cut shapes are always fun to work with . . .

And now a step back into the Future

In 1959 Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista government and began his regime.

In 1959, I moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in time to get a flavor of the Cuban doings.

I was in my senior year in high school and many of the kids I knew were spending $29 to fly to Havana and join in the celebrations.

I always wish that I had done that too as it would be fun to have that memory -- I think.

But shortly after this period Cuba became off-limits for U.S. citizens and it has taken it's toll on both the US and Cuba.

It came as a huge surprise that we as a country will reestablish a relationship with Cuba and soon we will see hopefully exciting changes.

It won't be too long before all the game shows will be giving away trips to Havana and Cuban cigars will once again be able to be brought legally into the country. I have to say that I have always enjoyed Cuban cigars -- though I have not smoked in many years.

Aside from the trips and cigars there are many things that I hope both the Cuban people and us benefit from -- for example an open exchange of ideas and cultural events that enhance all of our lives.  We'll see . . . and we look forward to this positive bit of foreign news for a change.

That was a bit of our week -- we wish all a great Christmas!  It is Saturday night, menu TBD.

See you all in a few!

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