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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Chili Chill . . . Almost

Okay, so the chill is still infrequent, but it IS there at times -- like this morning. To me, that means one thing -- time to make a pot of "red".  Which I plan to do this afternoon.  I guess it means many other things as well. There's is a lot of "harvest" activity going on in our neck-of-the-woods.

The lightning and thunder (which we did not see or hear) apparently went on a great deal this week. The wineries are scrambling to get the job of collecting all the ripe grapes as fast as possible.

The sights and sounds of this particular time of year are all around and the aroma of chili will soon be apparent. It is so nice to have portion sized bowls of chili in the freezer ready for the table in just a few moments (and in time for the game).

If we look at the 18th Great-Grandparents row there are over One Million ancestors . . .

I haven't been able to look that far back, but on some lines, we have gone back to the 12th or 13th Great-Grandparents range and that still means a high amount of folks.

The graphics on the right shows a few of the ancestors in my paternal line -- I hope to uncover more and to be able to learn more about them as well.

Going just one level up on my maternal line -- to my mother -- from her photo shoebox to the left are a couple of random photos from her life.

To the far left it looks to be when she must have been about 6 or so being held by an unidentified woman, who is most likely a relative.

In the center is a picture of mom with three friends and they are identified on the back of the photo. The person taking the photo, Pauley, can be seen as a silhouette at the bottom of the photo.

On the bottom left are some photos of mom and her brother Stewart, mostly with unidentified folks.

Well, it is that time of the year when planning for the "holidays" begins anew:

There are less than 100 days until Christmas, 2017 -- 99 to be specific.

That means the truck traffic on our street will be increasing as the UPS, FedEx, and other delivery companies gear into their prime season.

We already have a fair amount of delivery services throughout the day but from here on out it will only get intense. Nothin' says Christmas like the sounds of a UPS truck -- how the times have changed . . .

Or, we could shop locally as the picture to the right indicates. There are a ton of attractive gifting items displayed in the storefronts in downtown Healdsburg.

Usually, we wind up spending some time in the local stores just to get the flavor of the old-time Christmas "rush".

I still remember very well walking on cold snowy sidewalks heading from Montgomery Wards to Sears to several other of the local stores in La Grange, Illinois during the Christmas shopping season.

As baseball season gears up for the final games in the coming weeks (Giants only need 8 more losses to make 100) football, on the other hand, is just beginning their season.

The first game for the "new" 49ers was last weekend -- it looked eerily like the way the 2016 season played out -- losing . . .

The attendance as well looked a bit light -- as shown in the photo to the left.

We'll see how the season progresses or doesn't in the coming few weeks. So far, the usual magic draw of the NFL is not there yet -- hopefully that will change.

On the other hand, our attention to puzzles have increased and we continually find a great deal of satisfaction out of struggling with putting "just one more piece together" . . .

That's a flavor of our week, see you all "in a few"!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Earth, Wind & Fires . . .

. . . and SF Giants, four current disasters. I suppose there are more possibilities and I do not even want to think about those. The news is almost not watchable these days. We record two late night shows, Jimmy Fallon & Jimmy Kimmel and we usually watch them in the morning to avoid all the disastrous news going on.

The problem is that the opening monologues of both shows incorporate a lot of the days' events that are taking place -- the very things we are trying to not think about . . . oh well, we can fast forward through some of it . . . and get to the entertainment portion.

The earthquake in Mexico is so close to home and we just know "it could be us" at any given time. The hurricanes are another matter, we don't have them to worry about for us personally, but we have folks that we care about that are in harms way from these storms.

The fires, while all over the west and in California and Oregon and Washington, we do worry about. We do smell smoke on occasion but so far the fires are taking place in other locales.

The Giants, well, they did manage to beat the "snot" out of the second lowest team in baseball last night, the Chicago White Sox (the Giants are the third lowest team in baseball). The Phillies are currently the lowest team in the MLB and each of these three teams is looking to avoid losing 100 games this season -- we'll see if they can manage that.

Today is the ninth of September. This would be the 110th birthday of my father. He's been gone now for 27 years and the last time I saw him was in Florida -- Kissimmee.

The left photo is most likely taken when he was about 20 years old and maybe on Lake Michigan near Racine, Wisconsin.

On the right, probably close to 80 years old and on one of the very beaches in peril today from Hurricane Irma.

Time seems to "fly" by as I recall the visit of those many years ago. And I remember being on the Fort Lauderdale beaches almost 60 years ago and some of that seems like "yesterday" as well.

Of course, these days to shut out the world so-to-speak we often work on the puzzle of the day:

On the left is a picture of the complete puzzle and on the right is a photo of the current status of work completed on the puzzle.

Since I am somewhat familiar with Chicago and environs, it is fun to see the areas come into view that I have been to and even lived in.

We have completed most of the blue water area and are about to tackle the mapping of the streets and other highlights of the city -- we expect to finish within the coming week.

As is true with almost every puzzle that we have worked -- as we go about looking for individual pieces we are almost "sure" that they are missing and have not been included in the box . . . most of the time we are wrong.

And lastly, maybe a peek into the "carefree" looking boating activities on Pine Lake by Hiles, Wisconsin is in order:

The scene looks to be taking place in the late 50s or early 60s and as peaceful and casual as anyone would want. Paradise possibly, depending on your viewpoint.

I wonder how it is today at Pine Lake, Hiles, Wisconsin. It is getting close to "Indian Summer" and there probably is a coolness in the air when the sun is going down.

We'll try to keep the above image in our minds this week in place of what we see on TV.

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

Saturday, September 2, 2017


Once again just when we think it can't get hotter, guess what -- it does and continues. Yesterday our town in Healdsburg, Sauna County, was 112° and today it is predicted to be about the same or even hotter as the day started out warmer than yesterday.

Our hope is that the a/c keeps working. Last night's sleeping environment was not pleasant. We kept the a/c running until about 10 pm and the house stayed at about 80° throughout the night.

This morning the air was warm early and will heat up as the day continues. We don't have the right really to complain about the weather when we see the horrible conditions in Texas and other states.

So the thermometer currently looks like the above and is expected to peak in two or three hours. We are staying "put" at the moment i.e. inside . . .

One of the things that we will do today is to work on our new puzzle. It is an "Illustrated Map of Chicago" puzzle. We finished our other puzzle earlier in the week and we felt that that one was a real challenge -- this one is 1 1/2 as big and looks even more challenging, but fun . . .

Having grown up in the Chicago area I recognize a lot of the map and look forward to getting into the details.

On the left, is the previous finished "masterpiece" and then Gail excitedly opening the new one.  We started working the puzzle in the traditional manner -- by trying to connect all the edge pieces first.

We've sorted a lot of the 600+ pieces into categories of some kind and now will take our time to work piece by piece. Recently we have had two "puzzle-lovers" stop by and they loved the look and feel of the Liberty Wooden puzzle and are planning on having a puzzle up to work on when they feel inclined.

Who would have thought that such a low-tech activity would generate so much interest these days.   
I remember that my mother loved working puzzles and we would work on them and for some reason, I remember usually having a bowl of raisins to snack on -- the things that stick in our minds . . .

Off to the right represents a major portion of my "search" work this week.

A "Hiles" person contacted me and wanted to compare notes on a "Hiles" line that he was a part of and I did recognize most of the names but because I never connected them to our line, I had not done much detail work.

These Hiles folks all lived in the same area as our known relatives in Ohio and so you'd think that they must all be related, but after tracing the details of some seven generations of folks -- I still can not connect them to us.

I suggested to my correspondent that maybe he should take a DNA test to compare with the ones that I have already taken to see if we ARE related.

I have not heard back as yet . . . One of the cloudy issues of all these folks are the huge numbers of "Johns" as is so often the case. And when you get back into the 1700s and 1800s, the records are not as precise and spelling is an issue as well.

It would be nice to connect this huge branch of Hiles folks -- in the meantime, I'll keep trying . . .

And who would have thought that the two brothers who started the huge Kellogg cereal corporation did not get along with each other for most of their lives?

We are reading this book and find it very fascinating. I had no idea that the history of a cereal company and the founders could be so different yet accomplish so much.

I did not realize that the Kellogg family were Seventh-Day Adventists and that they ate no meat -- but now that I think about it -- that makes sense.

We are just at the beginning of the book so we look forward to what's next in their story -- we are reading it on the iPad using Kindle . . .

Sports?  The wheels keep coming off for the Giants. Last night's game for example -- we had to go to bed at the bottom of the 8th inning and the Cardinals had just tied the game at 5 - 5.

When we got up this morning and read the paper -- the Cards had scored 6 runs in their part of the ninth inning . . .

So, while the Giants had led 5-2 at one point they lost 11-5 when it was all over -- and it is . . .

Football -- has not captured our interest yet and may not this year. We'll see. We have watched bits and pieces of several games but have not been able to enjoy it like the "days of old" . . .

And lastly, to the left are photos of two of the many folks who attended a celebration some 59 years ago this coming week.

They are as they looked at that time and I remember the event quite well myself.

Congrats to my sister, Marilee and her husband Bill on their unbelievable anniversary number 59! Wow!

And that is a bit of our week! See you all "in a few"!