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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas -- Presence, Now Passed . . .

It hardly seems possible that Christmas was two days ago already. We're are still in the Holiday mode. Partly it is because of the day of the week too. We were treated to at least three days so far of the "Christmas Moon" . . . and we had somewhat of a "white" Christmas:

On Christmas morning, we woke to a frost covering on the front lawn and on the roofs across the street. Of course, the whiteness disappeared rapidly but has returned each of the last two mornings.
The temperature at night here has been in the 20s . . . sounds like the Midwest, but that would be warm at night for them . . .

We had an enjoyable Christmas, saw a few folks that we don't see every day and some that we do . . .
We enjoyed the Christmas ham that I mentioned that we would, a few posts ago, for the reasons stated there besides the fact that I do really love ham.

Above is a Christmas collage that illustrates some of the high-points of the week so far -- there may even be more to come. The week between Christmas and New Years is pretty festive.

I did do some Family History searching, but I'll detail more of that in the coming year. Some of you (and we do know some that have already) will see the new Star Wars movie and maybe uncover the search there.

I don't know if this was uncovered in the movie, but you never know . . .

I am amazed at the information that is uncovered almost daily as I delve into the "tree".

I plan to spend quality time researching in the coming months and have already signed up for the available webinars at Legacy Family Tree.

Christmas, being the kind of holiday that it is, has brought new delights to our nightstand again this year. We are pretty much "set" for a few months in the reading-at-night category:

We just finished reading "A Christmas Story" this week (on the Kindle app on the iPad) and we have started reading "Unforgettable" by Scot Simon. Next we think we will read a book by Scot's sister Carly Carly Simon, "Boys in the Trees" and then after I have built up the muscles in my arms we will tackle "Sinatra The Chairman" which is most likely the heaviest book I have ever read -- in terms of actual weight -- it is 992 pages . . .

So we have a lot of interesting reading to do in the coming nights.

Lastly -- the countdown is on again for a couple of events:

It is still almost a month and a half away, but in our neck of the woods (the Bay Area) it is very
evident in the event impact arena.

So much is being done to showcase Levi Stadium's presentation of Superbowl 50. The Forty-Niners though will be watching -- like us,
on TV or possibly in a special section of the stadium designated for "players and their families",
-- those that didn't make the playoffs . . .

Then of course we are counting the days until New Year's Day -- just 5 to go.

I like "even numbered years" for some reason.

Happy Holiday week!  See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas, It's a Wrap . . .

As I write this there is less than a week until the big day. A great deal of this week has been spent wrapping the many items as they arrive via UPS, Fedex and USPS. The postal service has actually surprised me this week. One of the packages that we mailed on Monday of this week arrived safely at the destination before the end of the week . . .

On the other hand, the USPS in our local area sometimes look like the "keystone kops" of old. The various postal trucks race up and down, back and forth throughout our neighborhood. Actual mail service on Monday last, arrived at our house at 8:10 pm delivering what I believed to be a portion of our mail.  I was correct as they returned early the next morning with several packages on a
"special run" for just packages.

Last night we saw the postal truck stopped outside and watched as the two folks conferred about what to deliver to whom. One package was brought to the door and after several minutes of conferring, a second package was brought to the door . . . we stood ready for a third.

There is no question that Santa is expected to arrive in a few days -- but that is not the only event:

For the first time in almost 40 years, there will also be a "full moon" on Christmas. And I think that it will be almost that many years before another full moon at Christmas will appear -- so a timely event not to be missed.

Besides Christmas activities we were treated to other diversions, one of which was the Republican debate. That proved interesting and like some of the sporting events of late, our feelings were "mixed" at best.

But did you know that the Democrats have a debate scheduled for this evening.

And, it is three hours in length -- that would be roughly one-hour per participant.

If the Republican debate went one-hour per participant, it would still be going on . . .

So, we'll take a look-see tonight but no promises how much we'll actually see.

The other main diversion this week has been and will be NFL football. We do have to say that football this year leaves a lot to be desired. It just did not "bring it" for us that much so far. Maybe things will change . . . we can only hope.

Off to the right is the schedule for the remaining games this week.

There is actually a game tonight -- the Jets versus the Cowboys -- we may or may not watch that along with the debate and depending on which grabs our attention will determine where most of our time will be spent.

There are a couple of games on Sunday that catch our interest and we will be recording them for possible viewing.

MNF is somewhat appealing only from a "we hope that a certain team loses" perspective . . .

This post is almost all about Christmas related things. I have done some searching in a variety of branches of our tree -- but it was so sporadic that  it is difficult to summarize. Lately, though when I need to "get away from it all" I turn to and work in the trees.

And I also happened to look at some photos of a couple of recent Christmases. I particularly like the contented look on Dino as he gnawed on his "antler" chew. Later we enjoyed the yule log that Gail made . . .

And so it goes, we are amazed that this season is so fast upon us. In a week, it will be a memory to be added to the many other Christmas memories. We will then begin the countdown to the New Year.

Merry Christmas to all! And to all: "we'll see you in a few"!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Countdown Continues -- Decorating Almost Done

With the burning of the "Christmas Candle" and the decorations throughout, it is readily apparent that it is truly Christmastime. Oh, and not to mention the sounds of various Christmas albums playing on the Echo add to the holiday spirit . . .

The front door greets everyone and it now has a traditional wreath adorning it (Thanks, Damian).  We have two Christmas trees in the house. One lighted (in a jar however) and our favorite "Charlie Brown" tree.

With any luck, there will be presents scattered around one of these trees on the appropriate day. I still recall when growing up -- there never were gifts under the tree until Christmas morning. Partly the reason was that usually there was no tree until Christmas Eve . . .

Shopping is still a lot of fun though now almost all is done online.
Of course, electronic items are hot and one of the hottest this year may be a drone.

Pictured to the right are some "early photo equipped drones". These actually were used to some extent years ago. It is almost laughable now to think that something like this could be put into use.

Those early drones had their share of problems and the drones of today certainly have issues to be worked out as yet. This holiday season may stimulate some new laws relating to drones.

We received our first Christmas gift (thank you, Lisa) and it is appropriately about a Christmas story.

Most of us saw and enjoyed the movie " A Christmas Story". It was soooo reminiscent of my growing up era.

And now I can read the book version of that story. What makes it nice also is the fact that I have it on the Kindle App on my iPad . . .

So our holiday bedtime reading has been decided -- nice!

Lastly, somewhere, probably in the middle of a middle state, can be seen the "Christmas Train". Not the Lionel that we had set up around the tree (sometimes), but the real deal:

I can only imagine what it would be like to spot this train flying across the plains at night with all the brightly lit cars and all . . . it's out there somewhere.

The family tree searching continues and reporting about that will resume probably next year. In the meantime, work is done on the many trees that I have and of course with the news of Family Tree Maker going away eventually, I will focus on putting and keeping the family on one of the other software programs that I have.

Today is Saturday, so maybe burgers & fries tonight. We are headed to the Plaza to do some brick & mortar shopping later this afternoon . . .  See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Berry Nice !!

We had rain and maybe more to come later today! The rain helped to finish off the remaining leaves that fleshed out the cottonwood tree (pictured two posts ago) and now there are "just the berries" and a few good leaves remaining.

They look good enough to eat and hopefully they are "safe" to eat as Dino has managed to sneak a few and has for the last few years. We try to remove the fallen berries, but there are way too many to keep ahead of that game.

This week I have done my share of cyber shopping and have lost track of tracking . . . between our neighbor and us, we keep UPS, Fedex and the USPS quite busy delivering packages. It is quite fun to have the store "come" to us for a change.

Taking a break from the selection of gifting items, we looked at the prospect of Christmas dinner items. The decision as to which "protein" to select is always interesting and like the days growing up a lot of decisions are based on "whatever" is offered in the Wednesday or other grocery type ads.

Having been in the meat business for six years, my mouth always waters over rib roasts at this time of the year (or anytime for that matter) and here are two examples of current rib eye roasts offered for sale:

You have to agree that both of these roasts look "pretty good". So if one was serious one would have to make a decision. But additional facts are necessary before making the selection.

Here are the pertinent facts:

Click on the above to enlarge and then read the unbelievable details. As much as I love prime rib either one would be a major decision to make.  I have never seen a price like the first one (which is more than I spent for my first two or three cars, combined)

And look at the price per pound -- amazing. And to think what the price would be if these were not offered for sale from Costco . . .

The second roast, while costing much less is still, to me, a major purchase. So, what to do?

The third option is looking really good to me at this point -- and I have always loved a good "Christmas Ham" and who doesn't.

I could purchase a few hams and still be below the second choice of the rib roasts . . .

So, this little piggy is going off to the market AND there is always the split-pea soup that comes after the ham dinner to enjoy.

My mouth is watering already, I love ham!

Speaking of soup, we made a big pot of turkey,  barley & vegetable soup yesterday that turned out sooo good. Besides the dark meat turkey that was leftover from last week,
we added the juice from the pork shoulder roast that we were making, to the soup.  Very tasty.

While the aromas from the soup and the roast were wafting throughout the house, the sounds from Gail playing on the piano drifted throughout as well.

Dino took the moment to "enjoy" in his usual fashion, and added to this was the sound of rain at various times as well.

All in all, the combination of senses made for an enjoyable day.

Speaking of dining . . . to the right is a picture of our dining room as it appears after we "rearranged" it last week.

No longer do we have a table and chairs in the room that we only once or twice in the last four years ate at, we now have more comfortable seating.

The arrangement gives us a "nook" to read in and relax in, which we have used already more than the previous dining room setup.

The news this last week has been dominated of course by the events in "San Berdu". It is almost impossible to grasp any meaning and sense to that at all.

To counter the darkness, we looked to things on TV that would take our minds off tragedy and we found one event, Thursday Night Football, that did just that, though not until the last few seconds of the game. We almost turned the game off at one point thinking it was such a runaway victory for the Lions . . . but that would have been a mistake as the Packers proved.

So the Christmas countdown continues as well with just19 days to go. AND, less than a year to go before the presidential election. Sadly the events of this week will be an influence.

So, today being Saturday, it looks like turkey barley soup for lunch and pulled pork for dinner . . .

See you all in a few!!

Monday, November 30, 2015

It's The Christmas Countdown (and Cyber Monday)

If we had any pumpkins left from Halloween, there'd be frost on them! It was in the 20s again last night. The heating system seems to have a mind of its own and goes a little berserk by getting warmer and warmer as the temperature outside gets colder and colder . . .

No matter, the holiday spirit truly begins now with the countdown and the pressure to finish (or start) Christmas shopping . . .

But what better way to start the process than by

cruising the Internet for ideas and deals . . .

I used to "cyber shop" while at work (on lunch break of

course) but now I can spend the entire day . . .

It is hard to know where to go first and what to purchase,

but I'll do some more preparation and then proceed with


So, it is Monday and that means MNF and that means

a bowl of chili some more turkey leftovers . . . we're still

okay with that.

See you all in a few!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving Weekend . . .

Enjoy the holiday weekend!  Saturday -- turkey dinner leftovers . . . See you all in a few!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Trees are Alive . . .

After a week or so of rainy weather, we are back to beautiful coolish days with bright sunlight and very cool nights (30s). It is strange weather everywhere it seems, storming and snowy with signs of a lot more to come.

It seems that overnight the trees in the back have turned to a "fire" red and soon each one of those leaves will find their way into the pool the yard waste container where they eventually will enrich the landfills in Sonoma County.

And because of the rains and the subsequent sun, the flower box is blooming again. Unbelievable.

The Searching This Week

Most of my searching time has been spent on researching the family of my daughter's fiance.

And to the left is The Baker Crown 11 brand symbol that was used by the Baker family.

I don't think that I have ever encountered a "brand" for a family that I was researching.

I hope to find out a great deal more about that.

To the right you can see a summary of the tree that I started in Ancestry for this family.

I began with less than ten names and currently there are over three hundred names with many more to come in time.

It is a lot of fun seeing the tree come alive populated with folks from all over the country.

And hopefully, many discoveries will be made
and maybe many "cousins" introduced.

No matter, it is rewarding and enlightening to do this kind of search. There is a lot of  "low-hanging" fruit to be had and when that is gone the intense search begins.

More to come in time about the "Baker Family".

What Else Took My Time This Week

After several months of procrastinating about it, I impulsively decided to migrate from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

I do like the brilliant new look and feel, but I did have some "bumps" in the process that I needed to take the time to work out.

I hope that I don't have any unpleasant surprises looming in the near future due to this upgrade.

I feel as though I have a new computer and I can say that overall I like Windows 10 -- and the beauty of it all, Microsoft offered it for no charge to eligible machines. Thank you!

So, I will keep you posted about the workings of the new operating system.

While this Was Going On

We received the shipment of the piano for Gail on Monday afternoon. While I thought about how I was going to set it up, Gail came up with the perfect solution -- call the local moving company (Redwood Moving) and enlist them in the process.

Wednesday afternoon that was accomplished and by the early evening Gail was learning the ins and outs of the features of the piano and brushing up on her skills.

Dino too practised his stance using both paws to cover the playing field . . .

In the photo, Gail is using an App for her iPad that plays along with the piano and can give instruction, amazing.

What will they think of next. Next for us is to convert the living and dining rooms into our music and reading rooms.

In the four plus years that we have lived here, we have only used the dining room maybe once for a dinner -- so why not convert it into something more useful for us to enjoy.

Coming Up Soon

Overall, the NFL has been a disappointment for
us this season. Many games that we have recorded we watch maybe just a quarter or so and then find something more entertaining to view.

But this Sunday there is a game between two teams that we like. I am not sure which team to root for . . . should I wear the new Russell Wilson shirt that my daughter just gave me and
root for the team that I used to attend their games
in the old "Kingdome" or do I stick with the Forty-Niners that have been a real let-down so far this season since a very capable head coach was replaced by someone not so capable . . .

I think we'll watch the game and see which team is playing a "good" game and root for that team.
Maybe the Niner's new quarterback will make a difference again this week.

Football, it is always one thing or another that happens, except for that one team . . .

On Our Nightstand

Several years ago we enjoyed watching the wacky character, Monk, solve criminal cases on TV.

We are taking a light reading break by reading the current selection to the left.

It is easy reading and enjoyable and brings back to life the wackiness of Monk and those around him.

There are a ton of "Monk" books out there and this one so far has kept our interest enough to help us drift off to sleep appropriately.

We have several books in queue and on our wish list and reading each night has been very enjoyable.

We love reading the actual physical book even though we also have several books on our Kindle App and Audible App.

Lastly . . .

It is amazing that our favorite holiday of the year is about to unfold in a few days. Since we have been invited out -- and we actually may do that -- Gail is busy getting ready to make a "side dish" that she has made many times before. Just not recently.

And because we like "leftovers" we will also make a traditional turkey dinner to enjoy at home as well. We usually only have a traditional turkey dinner a couple of times a year. We do use ground turkey frequently though it is not the same . . .

For now, it is Saturday and that might mean hot dogs for lunch, burgers for dinner.

See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Catchin' Up . . .

Okay, okay, so I missed a post last week -- the first time this year. It may not be the last miss that I have, but we'll try to catch up. No promises, though.

My excuse is that we, like Johnnie Carson had visitors from the North, and in this case, the Northwest. Lisa and her fiance Bob visited for nine days and we did some catching up. It had been five years since we got the chance to be together -- and it was a wonderful visit.

It was interesting that it was this very week too that we noticed a definite change in the weather. It seems that the rain is also trying to catch up. We had a few days of rain and several of sunshine for Lisa & Bob to enjoy.

I'll share more about the visit a bit later -- but they are my excuse for no post last week.

Old to New Upgrade

This week we caught up with one of our fun possessions and are upgrading that. The "old" mini baby grand piano was picked up on Thursday of this week and the new baby grand piano should arrive on Monday next.

Gail has always loved playing the piano and the "old" one was getting tired. The "new" one should take care of that issue and it has a feature also that allows for student/instructor roles -- so maybe even yours truly could resume lessons (from about 60 years ago).

More on all that in coming posts.

A Glimpse of the Visit

There were many fun dinners and get-togethers in the last nine days. As I write this, Lisa & Bob should be just arriving to pick up their kenneled dog, Buttercup in Washington. I know that feeling when a kenneled dog greets their owner after a lengthy separation -- pure joy for all.

Above is a collage of some of what went on. You should be able to click to enlarge it a bit. The pool water is quickly going back to it's 60-degree reading after being above 80 degrees for several days.
Dino keeps checking out the guest house to see when and if anyone will emerge.

And so we wrap up this week feeling pleased that we had such a nice visit and look forward to more in the future -- maybe Christmastime . . .

Speaking of Things to Come

Above you can quickly see "days till" for three upcoming events.

The first is the Presidential election is less than a year away. We watched the debates earlier this week and there is another one tonight. The time is rapidly closing in on "decisions".

Thanksgiving -- less that two weeks away AND it always seems that Christmas instantly follows. In this case, there is still 40 days till then but that will "fly by".

And so now you know . . . it is Saturday and that means burgers actually leftovers, and we love that!

See you all in a few!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Time Trick

The day snuck up on us and we just made it to the store in time to deliver treats this evening. I have to say though that the volume of youngsters has somewhat diminished in the last few years probably due to the merchants in town who hand out goodies too. And that is a good thing!

And coupled this year with this day is the fact that "Daylight Saving Time" ends this weekend. All clocks to be moved back one hour . . . sometime after 2 A.M.

My thoughts go back to when as kids we would run throughout the neighborhood with usually a pillowcase to carry our loot. We ate plenty along the way as well and in those days they were not the "fun sizes" they were the "full sized versions" of our favorite sweets. So much for that.

We've learned so much since those days -- not only about the sweets but also about other dietary delights e.g. bacon, salami, slim Jims we always knew were bad for us, and so it goes.

I guess we can get a lot of kale into those pillowcases. Just love kale though and rutabagas too.

From Last Weekend

I actually had this prepared to include in last week's post but somehow in my haste it was omitted.

So a sort of belated birthday wish to my two brothers.

One on the 24th and one on the 25th mine is on the 23rd (of another month though)

Another milestone.

The Search Continues

Actually while I did have a variety of search activity,
none was conclusive enough to detail.

But the webinar this week at Family Tree Webinars was excellent and I expect that it will increase the quality of some of my searching.

But the process takes time to implement.

I have several applications where I could use the method proposed of "evidence".

I will be anxious to put this practice into action. 

Also, after the webinar Geoff Rasmussen gave a tour of the brand new Legacy website -- very impressive.

Something Reminiscent

I just found this picture causing my mind to wander way back in time.

One belongs to an actual relative and the other to the front cover of a well-known magazine -- but both could apply to my family and I'm sure to many other families as well.

What Goes on This Week

Well, at the moment the World Series is taking center stage in our planned viewing.

We enjoy the series and for that reason we were rooting for the Mets to win a game.

Since we are not necessarily tied to either team winning, we just like it when the most games are played for our enjoyment.

What I'm saying is that we would like the series to go 7 games.  We were so disappointed when the Cubs lost in 4 games last week -- no real enjoyment there partly for the fact that the Cubs lost but also because of the fewest games possible were played.

So, guess who we will be rooting for in today's game. And if that team wins and the series is all even, then the rooting might change . . . we like both teams though I have attended a game in Kansas City.

We are also looking forward to visitors from the Northwest next week!

And now, it is close to our nap time -- lunch comes first, though. 

That is a bit of our week, see you all "in a few"!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Comin' & Goin' Plus 3 Planets in a Triangle

Well, talk about highly publicized events that turned out to fizzle, one of which we are glad for . . .
This week we heard a lot about the hopes and dreams of the Chicago Cubs and that ultimately did not materialize and it's back to "there is always next year" . . .

The other event that fizzled and for which we are glad was Hurricane Patricia. While there were consequences, they were nowhere near the possible disasters that were predicted for the most intense storm ever . . . the problem is "there is always next week".

And the "Comin' " event is of course Halloween, which falls on Saturday of the coming week. In honor of that event, Jupiter, Mars & Venus are forming a triangle in the sky of which I am not sure of the significance . . .

Searching This Week

Again for some reason my searching involved the Gillett branch of the family.

Cyrus was the father of seven children including James Norris Gillett (former Governor of California) and this week's search involves a relative down the branch of his wife, Sarah.

I had not known of the name of "Witzel" as a relative of mine until this past week.

Roger is connected to Cyrus' wife Sarah by the confusing description of "2nd great grand nephew".

Roger was a medical doctor and is shown listed with his wife Norma Jean Meier.

And even though Roger and his wife are only related to me through a distant connection to the wife of my 3rd great uncle, I feel a "kinship" and empathize with their circumstances.

Roger and his wife were both in the medical field and were working in Alaska at the time of the plane crash.

It does not appear that the Doctor and his wife had any children of their own.

I have found other Witzel relatives and will be adding them to the tree.

The second "find" this week also involves Cyrus Foss Gillett, a grandson of his which turns out to be a 2nd cousin 2 x removed of mine:

What caught my attention as I looked at the tree was first that I did not know anything about many of the siblings of the former governor including the above. Oscar Greve Gillett was only 33 when he died and he apparently followed his older brother James to Eureka, California.

But another interesting fact that I discovered was that Oscar Greve Gillett had a son whom he named Oscar Ellery Gillett.

And that son and his wife Isabella both lived less than a hour from where I live now and they both are buried in a cemetery in Santa Rosa which is 15 - 20 minutes away from Healdsburg.

We plan to drive over and pay our respects. I did not find any children from the marriage.

And so goes the search -- I did get a  note from another cousin this week that I'll post next week.

Coming this Week

Well right now the series is tied -- 0-0 that is a surprise . . .

The above is a glimpse at the two pennant winning teams this week. We watched both series and enjoyed most of it . . .

We will be watching on TV starting on Tuesday night. We hear that the "street price" for any tickets are approaching $2000 per . . . so that squelches any plans to attend in person.

That was a bit of our week. See you all "in a few"!