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Saturday, July 14, 2018

♪ ♫ Summertime & the Livin' is Easy ♪ ♫

It truly is summertime but the livin' isn't always that easy due to the nonstop heat. We do feel lucky that our a/c has kept up with the heat to some degree . . . when it is 100° outside we are about 20 degrees cooler inside -- so still 80° . . .

This is what "summer" is looking like -- somewhat -- we actually identify the most with the picture of the blazing sun, the rest is wishful thinking.

For the youngsters, summer has about one month to go before the school bells chime for real again. I have mixed feelings about the summer vacation as it has evolved over the years.

Today, 14 July, is "Bastille Day" celebrated by France as the beginning of their revolution and the storming of that fortress.

I always feel sympathetic to Bastille Day, not so much due to politics, but due to every French class that I ever took always made a "big deal" of that celebration.

On my side of the family, I have not uncovered any French ancestors or relatives, there probably are some -- I just have never discovered them.

On Gail's side, she does have some French relatives, in fact, some of the few remaining examples of her maiden name -- Bouldron -- are found in France.

France has a "big" day tomorrow as they are in the final of the World Cup.

France plays Croatia tomorrow in Moscow. Have you been watching the games . . . we -- sadly to say -- have a hard time watching a complete soccer game.

The action on the field directly impacts our ability to concentrate or to stay awake for that matter. Scoring so little as every hour or so gets to be so tedious -- but we try . . .

I have spent my time mostly this week with sporadic searches -- following the hints that puts into their "shaking leaves" in the tree.

Again, I have been all over the genealogical field and sometimes actually working on relatives that are closer than "grandchild of step-uncle's wife of 4th cousin three times removed".

If I find good information for relatives like the above example, I add it to the tree -- you just never know when you are going to hit "pay dirt".

And this week, too, I have been in communication with two cousins with whom I am exchanging family information -- again, you never know . . .

And did you know -- or remember that:

That July is "National Ice Cream Month".

That's right, President Reagan designated this month to focus on ice cream.

Every month in our house is focused on ice cream -- we mostly purchase our favorite half gallons these days.

And we mostly choose vanilla of some kind and then adorn it with caramel or chocolate sauce -- so good . . . but just tiny portions of course.

And actually along with a month of recognition -- the third Sunday in July is set aside as "National Ice Cream Day" . . . it is expected that appropriate celebrations happen -- we'll try to do our part.

And, "Oh, My" did you know that today is Day 195 of the year. That means that after today there are only 170 days remaining in 2018.

That means about 164 days 'til Christmas.

About 130 days 'til Thanksgiving.

About 108 days 'til Halloween . . . but who's counting?

So get busy and prepare for these events -- each has it's own
preparation need.

And lastly, for those who are thinking about having your DNA tested and are utilizing the "swab", it is probably wise to take
heed of the suggestion to the right.

I look forward to more of our tree folks testing -- it is a good thing to point out that even siblings can receive different markers in their results for a variety of reasons.

That is a bit of our "hot" week. See you all "in a few"! 👨👩

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Summertime Potpourri

It's weird -- the electronic tones, chimes from the elementary school behind us are still sounding at the appropriate times of the school day -- but school is out. Sometimes it throws us off as we look out to maybe see the kids playing at recess or lunchtime and sometimes we actually do see kids playing in probably some summer program but not in sync so much with the "bells".

And then too we have a hodgepodge of things going on around us that seems to fit into summer somewhere.

We have the remnants of the 4th of July -- e.g. the "old" flag being displayed in addition to the new one. The 4th being in the middle of the week sure had a different sense of being a holiday. We are so used to weekend holidays -- not the middle of the week holidays, so much.

We did notice that there seemed to be less "illegal" fireworks being fired around us this year. Not so in other California communities though -- some apparently were like "war-zones" not unlike their regular everyday stance.

There is the heavy fire danger hanging over our heads these days and the ever-present hot days and then not-so-hot days. And our (my) mind drifts off to the "farm", whatever that means . . .

It was "shocking" to me to see the current temperatures as I have lived in two of the listed cities and while I always knew it to be hot -- never quite this hot:

In the 1970s I lived in Santa Ana and then moved to Riverside. I can't imagine 118° or even the 114°.
We did have a fully air-conditioned home in Riverside -- and a pool -- not so in Santa Ana. Talk about a desert -- wow!

And talking about -- HOT -- I am a fan of hot dogs and usually eat about 50 total throughout the year.
This week at Nathan's Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest, the winner consumed about 1 1/2 times my yearly consumption -- in ten minutes.

Like the hot dog pictured in the upper left, the winner ate 74 of them (including the buns) in just 10 minutes -- how is that possible, or why is that possible. 

Then, speaking of hot dogs, at a Phillie's/Cardinal game, a poor woman was struck in the eye with a dog shot from the Phillie's Phan mobile -- she did go to the ER but is taking it all in stride and with a good sense of humor as well -- I hope the Phillie's at least gave her a fresh dog or dogs.

And I think I like the picture on the right -- a "dogham" -- it might be tasty. I used to stop at a fast food joint in LA that served a "Mike's Hockey Burger" which was a hot dog on a burger and was really tasty . . .

The other news that captivates is about the soccer boys in the cave -- I can't imagine:

At this point, they are considering trying to start the rescue operations as monsoons are predicted to start soon which would fill the caves with water.

We can only wish them well and hope to hear the real stories after they are out and safe.

For some reason, besides the image of the "farm", I happened upon this image of what I consider the perfect appearing "summer cottage".

I can imagine lounging about on that porch reading a favorite book or sipping ice tea and/or lemonade. Is that even possible anymore?  I'm not sure where this cottage really is but I do have a sense of -- whatever the word is for -- a yearning for an experience that I never really had . . . but would enjoy if the opportunity came about.

So -- what's on our nightstand currently?

We just started this very large book (over 500 pages) a couple of nights ago. Robin Williams always was an interesting comedian to me -- and I'm finding out some interesting things about him that I never knew.

One thing was that he did live in the Chicago area for a while growing up and that he came from a family of means. I never had given that much thought -- but it is of interest now that I think about his life.

I'm sure that we will find out many more surprising facts and stories which we may share in future posts.

So, that is a bit of our week. See you all "in a few" ! 👨👩

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Second Sizzlin' Saturday of the Summer

It's true, two Saturdays so far this summer and two days over 100°. We are NOT fans of this heat! While we are semi-comfortable inside, it still takes a toll.

We did manage to sleep a bit better last night because we kept the a/c on again all night. The second shock comes when the utility bill arrives . . .

Don't you just love the expression . . . "but it's a dry heat" . . . okay, so it's not as miserable as some parts of the country where the humidity is as high as the temperature . . . but hot is hot as far as we are concerned.

We have plenty of eggs on hand and we have sidewalk, so there is a little saving there . . . we are just not going to leave the house very often until the mercury relaxes.

Gail and I celebrated her 77th last Sunday in typical recent fashion -- a quiet day -- but one that did have special events commemorating the day. A special breakfast, followed by the opening of gifts, followed by the naps, lunch, a birthday bath, more naps and finally a special dinner.

Gail is admiring one of her gifts -- A "Meural" wall hanging currently displaying a painting of Irises,
a favorite. The Meural has a library of hundreds of paintings that can be displayed at will.

I actually am amazed that I was able to hang this frame and get it to work relatively easily. I still need to do some "tweaking" so that we can fully utilize all the features more. We can even display framed family photos as well . . . what will they come up with next?

We both enjoy the display so far, each selection is displayed for 30 minutes and then there is a change and the display even adjusts the lighting depending on the room light and time of day. The part I have to get control of more is the app on the cell phone that remotely controls selections.

Our town -- Healdsburg -- has been enduring the construction of a round-a-bout for the last couple of years. The intersection always had been a pain to cross but even at the beginning of the process driving around it has been so improved.

And it is getting there. Soon all this construction mess will be "just a memory". The new entry to our city will be so enhanced -- why there was such a negative discussion I'm not sure -- but it is enjoyable to drive through that intersection, even now.

But I do have to say that this is just the opinion of someone who only drives in that area every other week or so . . . maybe others who drive it multiple times per day would feel differently.

One of Gail's other gifts was the puzzle seen off to the right.

Luckily, we both enjoy working on puzzles and so we have started this new one.

As usual, Gail insists that there is no way we can put this one together -- until she actually starts getting a few pieces at a time together.

We enjoy working on these "Liberty Puzzles" as they are all wood pieces and each puzzle contains some very unique shapes adding to the interest. And as usual, the details start emerging as we examine each piece -- we are about 10% completed and taking our time to finish.

And it is gratifying to see that more "cold cases" are being solved via DNA.

The future seems to be very bright for the use of DNA matching.  Some folks that for decades have felt that they are "home free" for whatever crimes that they may have committed are going to be in for a lot of surprises -- just like when law enforcement discovered the value of fingerprinting.

So, what is on our nightstand
these days -- well, a ton of books, but the one that we are reading at bedtime these nights is:

We never really knew much about Debbie Reynolds and her two children, Carrie & Todd. Now we are reading the book co-written by Todd about his mother and his sister.

We are amazed at how their lives unfolded. We had no idea of the trials and tribulations that went on with their family.

The public image of people obscures so much of what "really" goes on in their everyday lives and it is often only after they are gone that you uncover some of the stories. And this is the case with this book -- of course, Todd Fisher is the only one left of the three.

So now our dilemma is "how do we celebrate the 4th" as it falls on Wednesday.

We are so used to "weekend" holidays -- do we celebrate today and tomorrow and then avoid the fireworks on Wednesday, or do we enjoy the fireworks on Wednesday and then celebrate next Saturday and Sunday . . .

Thank goodness we are flexible and so will just "take the whole week"  and celebrate the 4th . . . there are others who will do the same, I'm sure.

We do know though that there better not be any fireworks in our region other than the official displays -- we are in "red-flag" times.

That is a bit of our week -- Happy Fourth! See you all, "in a few" ! 👨👩

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Scorching Summer Saturday

The first Saturday of the summer . . . yesterday in our town it was reported to be 99°, today it is forecast to be at least 101° and probably more . . .

We have had the a/c on continually for the last two days -- we slept fairly well last night for a change.
We know that we are having severe weather and we do have a "red-flag" warning for Northern California this weekend. Our thoughts return to October of last year when the conditions were similar and shortly afterward -- over 6,000 homes were lost.

But the reality is that so much of the country is going through severe weather conditions as well. The Midwest and storms, tornadoes, flooding. Other parts of the country have hail storms -- unbelievable.

And of course Hawaii with the volcano -- where does one plan to vacation this year . . . for us, the family room is going to be just fine.

I am saddened to report the passing of Bruce A Hiles:

Bruce is a second cousin of mine, one that I never had the opportunity to meet in person, but for the last ten years or so we communicated via email quite a bit about current things going on and about our family.

Bruce's grandfather, Otto, was a brother to my grandfather Lloyd and that is how we are related. Growing up every once in a while I heard tales about Otto -- especially when he was working in the "lumber" business.

But, I do not recall ever hearing anything about Otto's family. I found out about that family while doing family searches. And I always was so glad to link up with Bruce. He was born in Wisconsin and actually lived in Arlington Heights, Illinois for a time -- (he shopped at the J C Penney's in Woodfield when my brother-in-law, Bill was the manager)

He lived in Indianapolis and enjoyed the Indy 500. He worked for the FAA and eventually retired and lived in New Jersey. I will miss our communication and sharing of family lore.

We send our best to his wife, Rosa and to his children and grandchildren.

Strangely enough just last week I received a message from the website, 23 & Me, informing me of several "new" cousins that recently had tested DNA with them and one of those was Bruce.

I had just sent Bruce a note congratulating him on getting the DNA results back just before finding out about his passing. I was looking forward to sharing a discussion with him about the results.

Earlier last week, just after finishing the post last Saturday, Gail and I actually went out for a break:

This was the first time in many months that we broke our routine of "staying home" other than for certain appointments and required grocery shopping . . .

A new ice cream & slushy business opened up by the river (The Russian River) about five minutes from our home. We drove by it and always noticed a crowd -- we thought maybe last week would not be too crowded to enjoy a treat.

We were wrong about not being crowded -- but we sure did enjoy the treat. There was a constant stream of people waiting in line and the help kept bringing out samples for everyone as we waited.
Even Dino enjoyed the atmosphere but he did not get a cone like the one that we each got.

So we vowed to return every once-in-awhile and we will.

Lately, I've been enjoying an afternoon nap. When I do take a nap, Dino does as well.

His favorite place is right next to the bed waiting for me to wake up. It usually is in the late part of the day and the sun streams in just where he likes to lay.

He never makes a sound and is so patient even if it gets near to his feeding time -- which he knows to be exactly 6 pm.

When we retire for the night, he sleeps on the other side of the bed (in his bed) on Gail's side. He stays there until I get up in time for his 7 am feeding time.

Lastly, if things keep heating up around here we'll have to check out the "springwear" as depicted in the comic.

"Herman" has been a favorite comic for many years and I swear I recognize many of the folks.

I met Felix Unger, the creator of Herman several years ago -- who has since passed away and is continued via others -- and he told me that it was universally what people commented to him about, the fact that his depictions of folks were recognizable to so many.

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

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Flower Towers & A Sliver Moon

Two phenomena -- the garden began sprouting some flower towers this week and then last night in the low western sky -- a beautiful sliver of a moon. Obviously, we're old or we might never have taken notice of these two events. But for a couple of shut-ins, these were huge . . .

The moon as pictured did have a slight rusty appearance and totally surprised us as we took Dino out for his final "business trip" of the day. What will this new moon look like tonight . . . the flower towers are coming forth from some bulbs we planted a couple of years ago and we are always surprised to see them as they reappear.

This week has been a "slow" genealogical week. I did manage to cover a lot of ground with adding to the tree and by adding facts to many folks as I meandered about. By the end of the week, I sometimes wonder what it is that I actually accomplished and then I realize that I did, in fact, accomplish the goal of spending quality and enjoyable time doing what I like to do . . .

Some of what I did do is pictured in the "wordle"  . . .

Basically, I'm about to create another wordle as I ramble around looking for interesting tidbits here and there. I guess that I just find it relaxing to squeeze a few minutes at a time of just wandering around the family members "hints" that puts into the tree and I am never sure where that will take me.

One of these days, I'll get back to serious research, I'm pretty sure.

The current news reports of parents and separated children got me thinking back in time.

Children have played varying roles in our country and it seems to continue to be very much in the news.

In the "old" days the circus was always kind of an option -- today it is another kind of circus that seems to be taking place.

We hope that the circumstances will change very soon and family life can be honored again.

What will be the "family" news stories in the coming months and years -- hard to imagine.

Speaking of keeping families together . . . actually, this represents our sort of behavior almost every afternoon these days -- a nap.

For whatever reason, it is so inviting to just take a nap these days.
It doesn't have to be lengthy, just enough to where it feels longer.

Many days, the nap-need just pops up and if everything else allows it, I can take my "twenty-winks" and feel really refreshed.

I almost always read a bit before dozing off and little by little I get through some of the stacks of books on the nightstand. Too, this week has had it's hot days and then it's hotter days. We kept the a/c running for three straight days without interruption -- and so appreciated that.

Today, we just have opened up all the windows and doors and so far are enjoying the breeze as the weather has given us a day of relief before the coming heat wave next week.

I wonder if the current feelings of many of the folks who lost homes in the fires here last October (6000+) might be intrigued by the current ad from Vermont.

There are conditions, but still, it might be a consideration for some.

I've never been to Vermont, but I am sure that it has some real beauty. And if a sudden change in lifestyle is okay -- under these conditions, maybe something for some folks to think about.

Right now for the folks trying to think about rebuilding after these devastating fires so much has to be taken into the realm of possibility. We know of folks who are "on-the-fence" about the issue of to rebuild or not . . . and of course, there are other fires and disasters going on as we write.

And lastly, pictured above are just some of the fathers from our tree. This is, of course, the weekend that we honor our fathers -- Father's Day 2018.

And the delivery trucks are all over our street -- well a few anyway have stopped here and the stacks of packages are waiting for tomorrow . . . it is even supposed to rain a little here tomorrow and that would really be a good thing.

Maybe grilling something like a rib-eye steak would be in order . . .

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

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Warm, Sunny, Balmy . . . Here

It is beautiful weather here and we hope it stays that way for awhile. The temperature is varying from day to day -- some days warm, some days hot . . .

Maybe it is this varying temperature that causes the Irises to open and bloom on any given day over another. One day they are blooming, the next they are not. But when they bloom -- they are something special.

We have only the purple variety though there are at least a yellow variety and probably others as well.
Apparently, there is a variety that also blooms in the fall -- we'll have to look into those.

Today is one of the "cooler" days and the Irises are blooming, so maybe that is the answer. We'll check in a few days when it is projected to be in the mid to high 90s to see their bloom status.

In the news again (still) -- volcanoes:

The volcano on the top is in Guatemala and is causing huge destruction and many deaths -- it starting spewing ash and other material earlier this week.

The bottom part of the picture shows some of the ongoing destruction caused by the volcano in Hawaii.

Is there activity going around the "ring of fire" that will show up near here. That is always the question in the back of our minds.

There is not much one can do about volcanoes other than to steer clear if at all possible.

Speaking of hot air gas:

This happens to be the weekend of the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic held every year about this time.

We'll be able to spot several balloons off in the distance from our backyard.

In some previous years, we have actually chased after some of them to watch them slowly land.

They are beautiful to see and they are only a few minutes away, housed in Windsor, California and do often fly near us.

While a spectacular sight from the ground, that is where we will enjoy them as we do not plan any trips into the atmosphere.

Unfortunately the recent news within this week:

These two folks unbelievably chose to end their lives in the recent
past days.

It is hard to imagine what would cause two highly visible and highly successful people to make that decision.

I cannot help but recall the two years that I spent taking calls on the "Crisis Line" in Seattle as a volunteer. I mostly worked on the weekend nights which often are the most critical.

That was back in the 1980s when calls would come in anonymously -- today it is
different as caller id pretty much is universal and a caller might be identified right away.

Our commitment was that if a suicide call came in and we were the one that answered it -- we would stay on the line with that individual as long as it took to hopefully resolve the crisis in a positive way.

The family tree that I maintain on, unfortunately, does have a few examples of the above -- but only a very small number -- some cases may just not be recognizable or reported.
It is all very sad and confusing to think about though.

I wish that I had met the following relative -- but I only learned of him after beginning my research into our family:

He is David Hiles, my Great Great Uncle. I saw this article in the "Newspaper Archives" site showing the newspaper article about him being 96 and planning on making it to the century mark.

Unfortunately, he didn't quite make it to 100 but he was certainly doing well for 96 at the time of this article. It is inspiring to see that kind of determination. He died one day before my birthday in 1949.

Sadly, I do not think anyone in my immediate family even knew of his passing . . .

Something though to look forward to today:

Will there be a "Triple Crown" this year -- there will be if "Justify" can win one more. Again, we have recorded the event and even though it is a few hours -- we will watch just for the couple of minutes that shows the race, then erase . . .

So, that is a bit of our week, see you all "in a few" ! 👨👩

Saturday, June 2, 2018

June Bloom -- Again . . .

We've passed the 150 day mark and it is now June -- again. The bloom is definitely here and the colors and views pretty nice.

We do have some mixed feelings about the temperature though -- we prefer to have the windows and doors open with the breezes free flowing -- but when it gets to be in the mid to upper 90s -- it is not sensible so we are thankful for the a/c.

This was out back this morning -- Dino is already relaxing poolside -- that won't be for long as the temperatures and direction of the sun change . . .

We like the daylight savings schedule and seem to want to get up and going earlier than usual. It varies for me from 5 am to 7 am, for Gail, 8 am to 9 am . . . today we both wanted to get up early.
Part of the reason may be how warm it is overnight.

Last week I mentioned in the post that we were going to try a food service -- and we did.

We had three dinners delivered on Wednesday in a refrigerated box ready for us to chose which dinner to have first and then prepare it.

The first night we chose to have and prepare pineapple beef tacos. They turned out to be very tasty and fun to prepare. There was enough for the two of us with a portion that I had for lunch the next day.

Next we had roasted cauliflower mac 'n cheese -- this too turned out to be very tasty and different from what we might normally have prepared. Again the portions were good and there was enough for a luncheon portion for me the next day.

Last night we had crispy fried chicken thighs. Again everything was very tasty including the cucumber/tomato salad and the roasted corn.

So, we were pleased with the food items and the portions. Everything was very fresh and nicely packaged for us to follow the excellent procedure to prepare.

What is nice is that we had a variety of different food items and none were too difficult to fix. We will try it again this coming week with our selections for three meals already turned in. Three days during the middle of the week seems about right -- that leaves four days for us to plan form what we have on hand in the freezer and/or fridge.

So, what is on our nightstand . . . actually a lot, way more than should be and I'll soon have to take care of the stack . . .

But currently we are about to finish reading the book to the left -- "Educated" by Tara Westover.

Actually we were almost finished with it the first night -- we both had a hard time dealing with the family members and their beliefs and dealings.

For whatever reason, we did "force" ourselves to continue reading and for several nights we kept saying "that's it, we quitting".

Again we managed to continue each night (mostly me as I think Gail shut it out and it put her to sleep. which in itself was a good thing  . . .)

Now that we are almost finished, I am glad that we continued to read even though it was a struggle. It is hard for us to believe what this girl -- young woman -- went through to become "educated".

Growing up, every once in a while, I thought the process was a struggle -- but in no way did it relate to the struggle presented in the book . . .

Above is a collage of some of the conditions going on in "our" world of the U.S. While we today on the west coast have "blue skies" other parts of the country have a variety of hazardous conditions.

Heavy storms and rain, tornadoes, wild fires (again) and of course Kilauea repaving the big island.

There really is no place to totally get away from one hazard or another. It seems that every region has their own special devices to deal with.

The only place that I have not lived is where the current volcano is erupting. I have lived in areas that have tornadoes and heavy storms, lived in hurricane country, currently live where there is the possibility of wildfires and earthquakes and actually lived in Washington when Mt. Saint Helens blew her lid . . . and in all these places, if the authorities recommended leaving -- we would.

In between squeezing-in updating photos in our tree, we have been watching sports on TV -- we do like the new system, DISH, much better than DirecTV -- many more features that enhance viewing.

Part of our dilemma during this time of the year is whether to watch baseball or basketball (finals) or both.

The other night for the first game of the NBA finals -- when our Giants were not playing -- we decided to watch that game.

We lasted about fifteen minutes and quickly found something else to engage our time with -- football is still three months away and even that may be on the doubtful list again . . .

So while we may record the NBA finals -- it probably will be to watch for a few minutes and then fly through the remainder . . . baseball (Giants) might get more fun with the return of several regular players who have  been out for injuries -- we'll see.

Failing all else -- we agree with "Buttercup" just grin and bear it.

What a smile! This is Lisa and Bob's dog -- in Washington.

She is a very happy dog and shows it.

That's the attitude we are adopting even though sometimes are smiles are not as big as her's are . . .

That is our week, see you all "in a few" !  👨👩