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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Congratulations! Wishing You the best of Wealth!

It is the celebration of the Chinese New Year. When we lived in San Francisco (now 18 years ago) it was a highlight of the year. We do not see it celebrated as prominently here in Healdsburg. But we still have the sense of the the festivities and especially of the food featured throughout the many days.

Obviously, it is the year of the "rooster". And prior to the 70s I was not that aware of the personality of a rooster other than the usual characterization given in nursery books or school books. But we bought a rooster and several hens and quickly learned the barnyard behavior of these interesting birds.

The sentiment expressed in this celebration hopefully ties into the start of the new administration we have in the country. Hopefully the parallel of "wishing you the best of wealth" will spill over in many forms as the year progresses.

While I was born under the sign of the "tiger", Donald Trump was born under the sign of the "fire dog", and I can see that. Well I take it all in stride and really wish that Healdsburg had a "dim sum" restaurant, I miss the days when we had multiple choices of Chinese restaurants within a few minutes of where we lived.

Again this week, in between regular duties, I have squeezed in writing assignments for the class I'm taking online.

There are between 30 and 40 of us students and 2 instructors giving us guidance and critiques.

Of course I use examples from the "Hiles Family Tree" for inspiration. Specifically this week, I have concentrated on writing a little bit about what I know of Dayton Bumgardner and his journey through his younger years.

I'll excerpt some of the things that I wrote about.

Here is a picture of Spirit Lake, Iowa in 1902.

I love the car. I believe that Dayton and his parents and siblings lived in this area starting about 1885.

While his parents remained in the Spirit Lake area, Dayton left about 1905 to live in Chicago.

In the photo above, notice the sidewalks. They are raised wooden ones that would eventually play a significant role in the life of the Bumgardners. About 4 years after Dayton left town, his father Charles, while walking along one of these sidewalks, would step on a weakened or damaged walkway causing him to fall and break his leg. That broken leg eventually caused his death in 1909.

In 1910, another tragic event occurred -- Dayton's oldest brother, Gilbert (Woody) would drown in Silver Lake while ice skating in November of that year. Woody himself a widower with one living son, Keith ( my mother's favorite cousin).

Dayton, while living in Chicago and employed as a book keeper at a Dental Manufacturing firm for almost 5 years, felt the need to return to Spirit Lake (Lake Park) to comfort and assist his mother.
He did so in December of 1910 with mixed results -- on the one hand he helped his mother and on the other hand, the firm he worked for could not wait for his return, so replaced him . . .

But -- all of the above played a big part in the next stage of his life:

Above is an envelope containing a letter to Hildred Nelson, written December 14, 1910 and post marked December 15, 1910.  Below that is a excerpted transcription of the letter itself.

Surprising to me in reading that letter was the fact that it did not seem that there were definite plans in place for Dayton's and Hildred's relationship to advance "to the next level", but in a few weeks, they were married.

Also, I had read that letter a few times before, but had not tied it to the events that caused Dayton to go back home to comfort his mother.

And now, a segue almost as surprising as Dayton and Hildred's :

Recently I posted a brief look at the Pizza ATM, and last week I posted about the new family of Big Macs at McDonald's.

This week -- it is all about the Big Mac ATM -- what can they possibly think of next . . .

McDonald's is introducing a test ATM in Boston for one day only -- January 31.

From this machine will emerge the requested Big mac of one's choice -- wow! There's another ATM that won't be found in Healdsburg . . . too bad though.

It's all "food for thought" and for some the real thing. We did enjoy the two new Big Mac sizes earlier this week -- a reward after a doctor's visit, go figure.

And lastly, I imagine this might be the reaction if I was seeking employment (which of course I'm not). I do feel bad though that earlier in my career I did not seek employment in the genealogical spectrum of job opportunities.

Finding and working within a career that was fueled with passion would have been so satisfying.

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

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Parallels to the 45th

Of course there was "other" news -- but for sure one news event dominated this week's TV and newspaper coverage.

Already there are parallels being suggested and DJT has hit the ground running. Today is his first full day in office and his schedule would have completely exhausted some of us for sure. I had the feeling that while watching the Inaugural Prayer Service, attended  by Trump/Pence and their families this morning, that at least for Trump, he was anxious to get on with other appointments.

Inauguration day was filled with interesting events, people and commentary. It was and is always interesting to me to observe how the interaction took place between folks from the different parties and holding different views.

And watching the expressions of the families involved was fascinating to say the least. This new president as all new presidents, needs to be given the chance to succeed and to hopefully impact our country in positive ways.

Of particular interest to me was observing the presidents as they changed places and trying to imagine what they were really thinking as they started on their new paths.

We of course will hear in detail of Trump's day today -- I have not heard what Obama is doing today -- but I think he is in Palm Springs.

I can't imagine how I would face either's new day.

What did I spend most of my time on this week -- well besides watching and listening to the pre-inauguration day events I tried to knuckle down and do my homework for the class I'm taking.

Of course I'm talking about "Genealogy Intensive", "The Write Stuff". This is a virtual class in that we all meet on the net mostly through Facebook.

I struggle with some of the things I need to do to get assignments, post assignments and to communicate with other class mates via Facebook.

It is a "Private Group" on Facebook so at least the things I say or write about supposedly are not seen by the general public -- at least I think that.

Complicating this week for me anyway is that I am also attempting to learn the software "Scrivener" shown above.

I'm finding a very steep learning curve with that program and have done very little so far within the program.

What makes it more difficult for me is that I have not used word processing or software like it very much. But, one of the things that I wanted to do this year was to "get outside of the box that I have been in" for a while.

It is so nice that I can take this course without worrying about grades as in my old school days. This class is for my own benefit and my grade will be whether I accomplish what I set out to do.

Scrivener is a top rated writer's software and I am determined to learn about and use the features that it offers. The interesting thing is that when I turn to the provided tutorials, they are often presented by "English" speakers -- all well and good except I have a real problem understanding what they say most of the time. It is not like on TV where I can turn on or off the subtitles to assist.

I have to say that Scrivener was not and is not a requirement for the class -- it was just offered as a possibility -- but I liked what I saw about it, even though I am still resorting to pen & paper and other ways of accomplishing assignments at times.

I don't think that there is a "timing" coincidence here, but this week McDonald's announced the introduction of two additional iterations of one of my favorites at McDonald's and that has to do with the "Big Mac".

I have enjoyed eating at McDonald's since the 1950s, when they first appeared in the Chicago suburbs.

It was not until some time in the 60s that the Big Mac was introduced and for me it was love at first taste.

In the 50s, my mother had just learned to drive and to supplement meal choice and diversity she would drive us the 3 or 4 miles to the nearest McD's and for under a dollar, each one of us kids could have a burger, fries and beverage. We did this about every two weeks or so.

Now, every once in a while, Gail and I stop and take a Big Mac home for lunch -- this new introduction will give us a choice as our (her's) eating needs have lessened somewhat.

I say, just like the new administration, this introduction needs to be given a chance to succeed.
As a matter of fact, I could eat one of those right now -- maybe I will . . .

So, what to do tomorrow. Well starting early in the afternoon here on the West Coast we'll be watching the NFL Championship games. Maybe that would be a good time for a "Big Mac" . . .

But it looks like a good break from political events. I think it might be the "Packers" and the "Pats" who will end up in the Super Bowl on 5 February in Houston, but anything could happen and it has before.

President George H W Bush, who is currently in the hospital, has a goal of attending the Super Bowl game which is only a few miles from where he is right now. I wish him the best and I hope that he can attend along with Barbara.

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

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Full Moon Saturday Morning

It was a sight that I often do not see -- a full moon in the morning hanging in the western sky. I had gone out early to retrieve the morning paper and upon turning around to come back in, the moon was just there, bright and round as ever. Often the cloud cover is such that if the moon IS there, it is obscured, but not so today:

The moon in the morning, and the floral arrangement for mourning . . . this was a memorable day.

A  public final farewell was given yesterday to Eleanor, who passed away two days after Christmas. A gathering in the local Episcopal Church was attending by many far and near.

This "Milestones" appeared in our local paper two days prior:

It is events like the above that cause us to reflect on our own lives and the frangibility of life itself.

One thing that we've done is to instigate a New Year's Resolution -- okay two weeks late, but hopefully "in time" . . .

In my growing up days I remember once after my father had spent a few days in our local hospital for some procedure, he came home with a new found belief. As a result of this new awareness, we were all going to eat more "meatless entrees" from the likes of Loma Linda Foods.

The Hinsdale Hospital was run by the Seventh-day Adventists like many hospitals throughout the country. They don't eat or serve meat (unless your doctor prescribes it). My father came home a believer. The church group members lead very health conscious lives and usually enjoy long life.

I'm not sure how long the vegetarian diet in our household lasted -- but it wasn't for very long. "Veggie Links" just couldn't replace the taste of the "real deal" and so that resolution did not last in our house.

So, we too are going to look at something that we think we'll want to adopt more of -- Hygge . . .
There is a lot of Norwegian on my side of the family and there is a lot of Danish on Gail's.

Clicking on the above, you can read the description of what Hygge (pronounced Hoo--gah) is all about. On weekends like the current one the description sounds "pretty good". We've ordered a book on Hygge and will look forward to reading that in the coming days and nights.

And we have not forgotten about Dino. He actually is getting very used to his new "Hygge" inspired bed:

We were not sure if Dino would ever use this new bed in the way it was described -- but has he ever!

Gail sat with him and encouraged him to climb inside and little by little he did -- and now he sometimes does it all by himself and totally snuggles in and drifts off to a snore infested slumber.

We are pleased at the result of this bed for Dino. He must feel the warmth and security of being in such a warm and inviting space.

We don't envision getting a people version, but we hope to embrace more of the positives surrounding our days and finding as much happiness in our everyday lives through the reading of the hints in the Hygge book.  We'll see.

What else has occupied our time. One is making "comfort" style food like the large pot of pea soup that we made this week. The soup has given us several meals and is reminiscent of the bowls of "Pea Soup Andersen's" soup that we always stop for whenever we drive through the Solvang, California area.

We also made a large pulled pork roast that provided the basis for several dinners as well. The pork shoulder roast is so easy to fix and is one of the most inexpensive cuts to buy these days.

We have enjoyed watching some of the NFL playoff games -- the one we were disappointed in was the loss to Atlanta by Seattle . . . once a Seahawk fan . . . we'll see what Greenbay does later today.

And finally I am still attending class, though since the classes are virtual it is easy to be tempted to skip at times -- but I am finding the material really valuable and interesting.

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

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 -- What's New? Raining Dogs 'N' Cats

We've had a lot of rain this week so far, but according to the weather sources we will be getting about four more inches of rain here in the Healdsburg area this weekend.

We love it and the pool has been topped off again without the use of the faucet. Also some of the nights and mornings have been actually cold with ice forming a rink on the back deck.

Dino has to be teased and rewarded for making his "business trips" the last few days. Often he sits by the door (which is his signal that he needs out) and then just stares out back and only moves when nudged a bit. I can't blame him for that. I try to watch for a "break" in the weather and then hustle him out.

The Russian River in town is rising and will be up several feet this weekend -- there are some places that will reach flood levels. The town is offering sand which can be bagged for those in need. All of this rain translates to feet of snow in the higher elevations -- we'll skip the temptation to check it out.

This is where I am spending my available free time this week and the next several.

For a long time I have (in the back of my mind) wanted to do some writing about family history and this course I hope will facilitate that.

The class is made up of 30 some members and we "meet" via Facebook.

So far the other night I was awakened by swirling thoughts of growing up and other family interactions -- and "had to get up" and do some writing. I wrote for a couple of hours and paid for that the next day, having to catch up with a couple of naps.

I do look forward to making headway on the goals that we establish for ourselves and the interaction with the other class members and instructors.

I'll hopefully post something each week about the progress of this class.I have to keep the boots polished too . . .

Last week I wrote about houses -- Lisa & Bob's new house and then a view of the "painted ladies" in San Francisco.

This week I happened to catch a very depressing view of some houses that happen to be located in Detroit.

The four houses were captured via Google's street view and show the deterioration over the last few years. Unbelievable.

The neighborhood at the top looks very similar to the one where my maternal grandparents lived (in Chicago though).

What will the next series of pictures show . . .

One sad part of these photos is that for each house there is family somewhere that has memories invested in those houses which will soon be gone.

On a more positive note, there are some new and exciting things and discoveries going on in 2017:

How about a new organ -- not a Wurlitzer -- a real body organ. How could there be a "new" organ.

My first reaction to this depiction was -- these wings need a bit more BBQ sauce.

The organ has a name -- mesentery and is attached in the middle of our bodies performing a variety of functions.

But why weren't we told about this before now -- doctors have known about it for a long time. Apparently there may be a whole separate medical practice established (like there is for neurology)
and of course we'll be starting to be sent to these specialists . . .

Well, are there any other organ mysteries that we should be aware of . . .

Now here is some other very exciting news and one that I think is worthy of our attention:

How many times have you hungered for a pizza just when all the pizzerias are closed or you don't want to drive over to that distant location.

Now, coming soon maybe to your neighborhood will be a Pizza ATM -- when I heard of it I was sure that it had to be a joke --but no.

Xavier University was the first U.S. site for this ATM and has been very successful. Now there are applications in 20 or more additional states to get one of these devices.

The Pizza ATM makes a fresh pizza in about three minutes and comes out of the machine in a cardboard box, hot and ready to eat.

There are a variety of toppings available and the whole concept is unreal. I haven't heard of the price per pie -- but if the students at Xavier bought them -- it must be reasonable enough.

I'm guessing our town will not approve, for after all this is Healdsburg and this sort of thing would not be acceptable here unless they could figure out how to deliver local wines with the pie . . .

And lastly this week, while I feel the NFL (SF49ers in particular) has let us down I still have some interest in watching some of the playoff games. Here is the schedule for this season:

On the far left of the chart are the games this weekend for the AFC and on the far right are the games this weekend for the NFC.  We'll try to catch some of a couple of them . . .

As far as the San Francisco Forty-Niners are concerned, they have canned the head coach and the general manager just after their last season game -- now if they do not renew the contract for the quarterback, CK, things will look a little better.

That's a bit of our first week of this year. Happy New Year!  See you all "in a few" !