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Saturday, November 17, 2018

SMOKY HALF-MOON NIGHTS

It has been over ten days since the Northern California fires in Butte County have started to ravish communities there. We still -- over 100 miles away -- are reeling from the effects of the smoke.

The half-moon appearing these nights is obscured by the haze. People all over town appear wearing masks including the folks who come to our door for one reason or another.


When my kids were growing up in the Northwest they used to listen anxiously on winter mornings for any word that "today" would be a "snow day" and that there would be no school. In our neighborhoods these days I suppose the kids await word for "smoke-filled days" that will cause the schools to be closed -- and most local schools have been closed because of the smoke.

Not only regular school has been curtailed, but sporting events and other outdoor activities have been canceled due to the fires. We have pretty much stayed inside -- but that is what our norm these days is anyway.

We keep the furnace fans running and that seems to help a bit and we only venture outside when necessary. We definitely do smell the acrid remains of smoke and it may be having an effect on how we feel.

The TV news is almost all about the fires and it is certainly a "downer". We here in Sonoma County just last year had over 6,000 homes burn -- now there are nearly 10,000 homes that have burnt to the ground in and around Butte County -- more in Southern California.

In Sonoma County, there has only been a handful of homes rebuilt and most folks that have lost their homes are still battling the insurance people and other regulatory agencies that seemingly are making it impossible to rebuild.

The word about Butte County folks who have lost their homes is that first there is almost no way that the thousands of folks left homeless will be able to even find temporary housing until they can rebuild. It is truly a dilemma that one has to hope to never have to experience.



Our indoor activities during the day continue to be centered around puzzle management and we have used that to "block" out some of the reminders of smoke-related activities.

We have been taking about two weeks to work the average 1000 piece puzzle -- we usually spend an hour or so at the "grind" and then return maybe for a second session later.  We almost always work on a puzzle during the evening news or a recorded sports event like Monday/Thursday Night Football.

We have discovered though that just because a picture is beautiful -- it does not always make a good puzzle. For example, the puzzle to the left in the collage above is a prime example of a beautiful scene but horrible puzzle material . . .

What is currently on our nightstand?   Actually, it is on "Audible" and we read it on our iPad each night before drifting off to sleep.

Of course, the book is written about the author of "Gone With The Wind", Margaret Mitchell.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               She led a very interesting life and only wrote this one very impressive novel.   Having grown up in the South she had heard tales about the Civil War era her whole life.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We are only about half-way through the book and find ourselves learning a bit of her everyday life.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Unfortunately, Margaret died fairly young -- at 49 years of age -- a victim of a speeding driver who struck her in 1949. "Gone With the Wind" was published in 1936 and went on to sell millions of copies and win numerous awards.

Of course, the movie starred Clark Gable and was one of my Mother's favorites as well as the favorite of many many others. After reading this book we might just watch the movie -- one more time.

Just like with puzzles, we have our next book "on its way" and we'll talk about that one soon.                                                                                                                                                                  

A return of a favorite show is coming -- Who Do You Think You Are -- returns on December 3, a Monday.
                                                                                                               This show has been on now for several years and is fun to watch.                                                                                                                  Unfortunately, this season I think there are only four episodes. The episodes are about a known TV or movie personality and the search into their family trees.                                                                                                                                                                                        The show originated in the United Kingdom and still is popular there as well (with their version).                                                                                                                                                                      The show will air on TLC on Mondays at 10 pm -- we will set up a timer to record each episode and then watch them when it is convenient for us.
                                                                                                                                                                   

We are feeling the "holiday" season especially with the arrival of an impressive "edible" gift for the occasion:

Gail is checking out our holiday gift box -- thank you, Aura.

We look forward to enjoying all the goodies shown, from fresh fruit to salami, cookies, candies and other treats.

A nice way to begin the stretch of days coming up.



And lastly, next week is our favorite holiday of the year -- Thanksgiving Day. It again seems impossible that it is so soon and that some parts of the country will have a "white" Thanksgiving.



We wish all a very pleasant day on Thursday next week -- we are even forecast to have rain -- which is a real Thanksgiving this year.

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

Saturday, November 10, 2018

EERIE SKY, SMOKEY SUN -- PARADISE LOST

Orangery sunlight filtering throughout our home and neighborhood the last few days. Most local schools were canceled and for sure outside activities discouraged due to the raging wildfires in Northern California.

Officially now, the "Camp Fire" is the worst in California's recorded history. We here in Healdsburg are having to breathe the smoke-filled air and deal with the light ash falling throughout the town.


There is a strangeness to the aura of the light caused by the smoke. The air also is strong with the aroma of the burning matter. Our eyes are itchy and our throats are scratchy. We have kept our windows closed for the last three days but the outside air has a way of seeping through and into our home.


Healdsburg is approximately 160 miles from the town of Paradise, Butte County, California and yet the smoke from that fire is as strong -- if not stronger -- than the fires locally last year.

There is no escaping the smell and the sight and sadly there was no escaping the flames for many folks in Paradise.

Paradise, California is being reported as having been destroyed.
The town had just under 30,000 folks in it and all were evacuated or told to evacuate. Sadly because of the few numbers of escape roads some folks died in their autos trying to get out of the way of the fires.

Wildfires have been a constant battle for the whole time that I have lived in California -- about 45 years -- but only in the last few years have they threatened close to where I lived. Last year was very close and we live with that memory every time we hear a siren during a red-flag warning period.

As a matter of fact, Gail and I started married life being evacuated during our honeymoon in 1992 in Arnold, California from our rented cabin. We spent one night in a Red Cross shelter in the local high school gymnasium.

Since we were "just visiting" the area it was easier for us to pack up everything we brought with us and put it into the car and spend the night (on cots) in the shelter -- the Red Cross was really great and provided all the basics that we needed.

The next day, we drove to the Las Vegas area and stayed the rest of our honeymoon in a hotel there. We really were appreciative though of the services of the Red Cross -- they provided so much to all the folks that were in need and even provided services for the many animals brought in as well.


Our weather -- if it were not for the smokey air -- would be quite pleasant, somewhere in the mid to high 70s. But because the sun is not getting through to us, it is much cooler than the mid-70s.

However, it is shocking to see that where some of my family lives, there is snowfall this week.

Probably a little like the snow that fell in the picture to the left that shows the "Hiles Railroad" in Hiles, Wisconsin in 1923.

Having lived in the Chicago area growing up -- I remember those cold cold days, but it does seem a bit early for that weather -- it could almost have been -- "I dreamt of a white Halloween" . . .

I guess the moral of the story is that every part of the country "has its issues" and we are going through some of them right now -- we just keep our fingers crossed during this red-flag warning weekend (again).

A peek at some Hiles' from our tree -- a ways back . . .

The picture to the right (provided thanks to Teresa Hiles) is of Thomas Hiles and his great-grandson, Donny.

The occasion was on Thomas' 90th birthday and a get-together was held in his honor at the home of his granddaughter, Ethel, who is married to Robert Miles.
(Hiles 2 Miles...)

Thomas is the brother of my Great Grandfather, John Hiles (who was married to Emily Adeline Gillett).

Thomas was a farmer near Sparta, Monroe, Wisconsin and lived to be 92 years of age. His brother David, also a farmer in the same area lived to be 97 years of age.

Both were similar in appearance -- tall and thin -- I wish that I would have met them growing up.


To the left is a group photo of the folks attending the Thomas Hiles 90th birthday celebration. (thanks again to Teresa)

While probably all in the photo are Hiles related, I am not sure of most of the identities.

Since this photo was taken in 1944, I would have been a toddler but then -- I was not in attendance.

Growing up, I can not recall ever hearing any reference to Thomas or his brother (s) at all -- what a shame.



Lastly, is a picture of Donny & Lois Hiles who are great grandkids of Thomas Hiles. (credit to Teresa)

They are 3rd cousins of mine and well could be still living today. I don't know but should know and will research that.

Their parents are Raymond & Lola (Burlingame) Hiles and their grandparents were Frank & Minnie (Thurston) Hiles -- none of whom I had any knowledge of before working on family history.

Donald is about the age of my brother, and Lois is about the age of my sister. I'll report back on my findings . . .

And finally,


In the scheme of things today, it, of course, is not THAT important -- but it is interesting that the New York Times carried an article about "the hammer" from Healdsburg.

It still remains a mystery and maybe, just maybe it will be uncovered . . .


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














Saturday, November 3, 2018

It's Time / Change Time

And of course, we are talking clocks. Tonight before heading to bed we might set some of our clocks back by one hour. Some of our clocks will automatically change and others we will one by one manually change.

For some reason, I am SO ready to "fall back". The last few weeks I have found it harder and harder to get up at the usual time -- around 6:30 am  . . . Dino is already making the adjustment as I get up a bit later each day . . .


It is definitely fall around here though the temps a few days were very summerlike (the 90s).  I think that I am not going to like "springing ahead" next year.  In California, this coming election, Proposition 7 is on our ballot -- having to do with either keeping Daylight Saving Time or abandoning it.

It is confusing as to which way would be better, but I do know already that I am not looking forward to "losing" that hour of sleep in the coming spring of 2019 . . .


Speaking of "change", Tuesday is election day for the mid-terms.

We are going to vote this afternoon -- promises, promises. Then we'll drop off the ballots at our local USPS.

For whatever reasons, this year it seems even more important that we take the time to make our selections.

Wednesday will be a very interesting "news" day and probably will determine what to expect in the news in the coming two years. We continually are appreciative of the "fast forward feature" on our DVR -- we record everything that we watch.


Wednesday this week was of course Halloween. It is not a huge deal for us but we do recall our own days of trick and treating.

This year we thought that since we do not receive that many trick and treaters that we would be handing our "full-sized" candy bars.


And so that is what we prepared to do and did. The youngsters began at 5:30 pm -- two little ones dressed as a princess and a pirate happily took their full-sized treats.

The rush came later when we had 8 middle school types coming in one group. Then there were a couple of other small groups and by 7:30 -- that was all there was -- a total of 15.

The kids were appreciative of the large sized candy bars, but one problem for us is that we now have "full-sized" candy leftover and at the above rate, about two more years worth. We'll get through it . . .

We did purchase some of our favorites so that is a good thing, I think.


Football in our neck of the woods has not been so good this year. First, our local high school was not able to keep enough varsity players to continue the program and so look to maybe next year.

Next, the highly anticipated season for the San Francisco 49ers was thrown for a loss when the new quarterback was injured and the season deteriorated into a 1 win 7 loss status . . .

Across the Bay, the Raiders who have for many years been so questionable were expected to do really well with their new head coach, the return of John Gruden -- and they have a 1 win and 6 loss season.

So what could be more exciting than watching what some were calling the "Dog Bowl". But for us San Francisco Niner fans -- it was exciting. The new quarterback, Nick Mullens, starting his first ever NFL game after our second string quarterback was injured last week, turned in a spectacular show.

Niners 34 -- Raiders 3 . . . one thing that spoiled the sense of a "good game" was the pregame behavior of one of the cheer squad who chose to take a knee during the anthem . . . we need to be done with this . . . at least not show it or mention it -- just like they do not show people running on to the field interrupting the play.


We are though, enjoying our new puzzle project -- San Francisco Trolley.

We are about a third of the way to completing it and it does bring back the memories of living in that city for many years.

Once again though the sky colors are tough as they wind up being single pieces with no shapes or forms in them, just varying colors
that takes perseverance.



We made a large pot of chili this week and enjoyed it for three meals.

We also made a batch of cornbread to accompany the main event which turned out to be equally good.

It makes my mouth water just thinking about making another batch and as the weather gets cooler -- so comforting.

It is getting time to replenish the inventory of meat choices for the freezer. We need to make a "Costco" run soon.

Some good news just heard today -- the Trader Joe's that burnt in last October's major fire is hopefully going to reopen in a couple of weeks -- we do like shopping there a lot, except for the parking . . .

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



Saturday, October 27, 2018

Full Moon, Full Sun

It has been a picture-perfect week, so-to-speak, in terms of weather. If we could choose this type of weather for the entire year, it would be "okay" with us.

And at night, for the last three or 4 nights -- a beautiful full moon. The moon shines through our roof window in the bedroom and gives quite a glow, creating lighted shapes and making it seem as though someone is shining a large-beam flashlight through the window.


"Hunter's Moon" must be named for the ability to enhance lighting while hunting at night, I suppose.

Whatever the reason, we see the moon in the early evening east of our house and then it crosses the sky and shows brightly just at dawn in the west -- amazing.

When we worked -- we could always sense when there was a full moon without having to check the skies. I'm sure that has not changed, but you have to wonder "why?".

Today is "day 300" in the year -- just 59 days until Christmas. Of course, we know Christmas is near because several stores have Christmas displays already up even though it is not Halloween.

Last night we watched game three of the World Series -- or should I say -- part of it.

We retired to bed in the 14th inning when the game tied at 2-2 seemed like it might go on for a while.

It did go on -- to the 18th inning when thankfully the Dodgers had a walk-off home run by Max Muncy to give the Dodgers their first win in the series.

For the people in Boston, the game went to about 3:30 am -- I wonder how big of an audience there stuck it out.

The game is the longest running World Series game ever and several other records were broken as well.

Our local paper delivered this morning also did not print the score as they went to press before the game was done. Fortunately for us, since we record the games and several shows that follow the game, we were able to watch the final inning and the big home run -- nice.

I am rooting for the Dodgers, but the Red Sox are a very impressive team. Apparently, the first time that these two clubs met it was 102 years ago and the pitcher for Boston was none other than Babe Ruth and the pitcher for the "Dodgers" was Casey Stangel -- wow!


So, I didn't get a lot of searches done on the family tree -- but did manage to spot the photo to the left.

Amanda Hiles, Rose Queen at the University of Texas in Tyler.

While I do see a lot more "Hiles'" in the news these days -- not all do I claim as being "family".

In this case, I'll do some research and see if I can make sure that she IS in our tree . . . somewhere.

Growing up, as I have said before, I just never heard of very many folks named Hiles in the news or anywhere for that matter.


 We did make progress on our puzzle du jour as seen to the right.

It consists of 99 smaller images of attractions from around the globe. All very fascinating and a surprising number that at least one of us has seen or visited.

The difficulty comes into play with the number of skies and the related hues of blue. Probably 70% of the pictures have sky in them so that is part of the challenge.

The other challenge comes from the appearance of the white framing lines throughout -- but we are probably going to finish today or tomorrow -- just in time for when the new puzzle arrives on Monday . . .

 
So, on our nightstand, is the book to the left. Sally Field, "In Pieces" and so far a very interesting book.

Part of the reason that it is so interesting (besides the fact that we sure do like her) is the fact that she grew up in California and specifically Pasadena in her early years.

I too lived in Pasadena, but several years after she did. But Sally mentions many places in and around Pasadena that I am familiar with -- including, PCC (where I went to school for a couple of years), Huntington Memorial Hospital (where I was an orderly for a while) and living two blocks from Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia (as I did as well).

There is even mention of Altadena and events there and I worked in Altadena too. So I find the book familiar from that standpoint. We are just in the beginning so look forward to getting to know more about Sally.

Lastly:

It should be obvious to all that -- no one in this house won the biggest lotto ever last week, Mega Millions, with one winner taking the $1.6 billion dollars big prize -- one person -- joining the ranks of the world's very rich.

And it may not come out publicly as who that person in South Carolina is because South Carolina allows winners to remain anonymous -- but it probably will be known around "those parts".

Apparently, the winner tried going to work normally the next day -- but quickly gave that up . . . who wouldn't?

So -- tonight though there is another chance at maybe winning "chump change" as a newscaster referred to it because it was only $750 million instead of over a $Billion -- we are going to make a trip to the dispenser of lotto tickets and "take a chance" . . .

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




Saturday, October 20, 2018

It's All-Fall Again . . .

This has been pretty much a perfect weather week -- for a change. We only had to use the a/c once briefly and the rest of the time we did use the heater briefly in the morning -- "to take the chill off".

Our windows and doors remained open throughout the day mostly -- and that was so nice. Dino enjoys that too as he looks out an open door at the variety of things that interest him.

We have had small piles of leaves in the last week or so but unlike days of old, we could not burn them. The smell of burning leaves is something that I remember so well -- I even bought a candle that replicates that fragrance.



The vineyards are starting to turn and the landscape here in wine country is stunning. We do know that some parts of the country are forecasting winter soon along with even S-N-O-W -- can that be, it just seems like those areas were going through heat waves.


And if it is snowing in some parts of the country, we need to get ready for some rain -- and we welcome that.

Maybe this year we will get the appropriate amount of rain to keep us from being in a "drought" period.

I think we are ready for the rain -- except for some of the gutters and maybe parts of the roof -- next year we need to address the possibility of replacing the roof . . .

Just with owning a home, there is always something that needs attention. This week we had our share of things needing attention -- 1) Our stand-up freezer was acting up and not performing correctly 2) Our dishwasher would not drain & 3) Our wave responding kitchen faucet was on the "Fritz" . . .

It took three visits from the professionals, but all is back working nicely again and we can "sleep better" . . . what's next?

Many years ago, "what next" might have been the news that Sears was filing for bankruptcy and closing most of their stores.

Growing up in La Grange, Illinois in the 40s and 50s our usual Saturday consisted of my father driving my mother and some of us kids into town.

Mother did not drive in those days, so it had to be Saturday. Often while she cruised through the aisles of the A&P store, we kids (and our father) might head over to Monkey (Montgomery) Wards or Sears.

Sometimes we would take our allowance and head to Kresge's or Woolworth and look for "stuff".

Our father usually went off by himself into maybe the "Craftsman" tool department at Sears while I might have purchased a quarter pound of Spanish peanuts at the candy section -- to tide me over till lunch or dinner.

Sears though has not often been a destination in the last several years for us except for once in a while peek at their appliances. Too many other retailers both brick & mortar and online have replaced them.

Sears though did outlast Mongomery Wards as they "bit the dust" in 2001. I wonder what stores took their place in our old home-town . . . it is amazing to think that a store such as Sears, that may have even produced a home-kit that was used in building the home of my grandparents in the late 1800s, is going out of business.


The only people that should be interfering with our elections is "us".

This year may just be the year that voters will register AND vote in huge numbers -- at least that is what some are saying.

There seem to be so many reasons to vote against something more than to vote for something.

We will vote by mail again this year -- it is so much less of a hassle. But I still remember going to the ballot places even as a child, along with my parents for sure. It is hard to imagine such a complex and protected system that we have and yet the elections are being impacted by outsiders.

Maybe the influence just came about in unsophisticated ways in previous elections. It is something to think about.


But we have other things that need our attention.

We have watched many of the playoff games leading up to the World Series and tonight we will watch the final playoff game between the Dodgers and the Brewers.


The game tonight will, of course, determine which team will play against the Boston Red Sox in the World Series that starts next week -- Tuesday.

No matter who wins tonight, we will be watching the Series and rooting for the "best playing" team.

I always like it when the series goes the limit -- that is a full seven games. It is not satisfying to see one team "win in four". So, we look forward to the games and we often make a lot of progress on whatever our current puzzle happens to be . . .



Winning "a $Million" would be unbelievable -- BUT, winning "a thousand $Million" would be unimaginable -- yet, it could happen for someone -- in the next few days.

We had/have tickets for the MegaMillions that ran last night and did not have a "big" winner. The Powerball runs tonight so we can dream a little about that as we still have that opportunity.

Tuesday of next week brings another shot at the MegaBillions drawing . . . it would really be nicer if 1000 folks won a $Million rather than one person winning it all unless it was "yours truly" . . . just kidding.

And last but certainly not least:



Always a "Nay-Sayer" when it comes to genealogy . . . and as one forgotten politician used to say:
"Nattering Nabobs of Negativity" . . .

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


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Mornings, Cool -- Evenings, Cool -- Finally . . .

The middays though are still somewhat warm to hot. That'll end soon we hope -- it is so nice to just leave the windows and doors open to catch a fall breeze.

The leaves are starting to turn and some of them are finding their way onto the deck and into the pool. It seems like just yesterday that the buds were appearing on the branches and now . . .

We're picking apples too, lots of them. Makin' pies, tarts and drying them -- NOT, but we think about it. The apples, too, drop and find their way into the pool allowing us to "bob" for apples if we really wanted to do that. Maybe someone would like to try that, just not us.


And there is a harvest type moon coming around the end of the month -- the 24th or so. We always look forward to that as we go out back on a business trip with Dino in the late part of the day.

And the old "farm" outbuilding is looking good in the fall colors. There is something to be said for the seasonal changes and the effects on structures -- but I'm not sure what that is. Maybe I'll "Google" it . . .

Found while searching through old newspapers:


I've posted other photos of a "Bumgardner" house and related recollections that I had of that house when growing up in the Chicago area -- Dayton Bumgardner's house -- my maternal Grandfather.

This house has a similar setting -- and appears quite grand and substantial. It is located in Virginia but while I'm fairly certain we are related to that Bumgardner family -- I just have not proven that.

Our known Bumgardner ancestors came from the counties in Virginia near the above residence. Hopefully, I will be able to make the connection -- but if not, the story and the house are interesting.

♫ If I had a Hammer ♪ . . .


I'd hammer in the morning, I'd hammer in the evening . . .

That is what "our town" is saying today.

Sometime last weekend, someone somehow stole the artwork -- hammer, from in front of the Healdsburg Community Center.

The Hammer weighs around 800# and it would take major work to remove it.

And then you have to ask what someone is going to do with that hammer -- the local police thought it might be a high school prank or something, but have not found out about that as yet.

Will the mysteries ever cease?

Here is what the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat article stated:


And that is the "big" local news story, aside from the everyday op-eds re local elections . . .

The big news in the nation is of course "Michael coming ashore":


My family has ties to Florida. I've lived there, my brother has lived there, my sister lived there and my folks lived out their final days in Florida.

It is a beautiful state -- but Michael has changed how some parts of it look today. Millions are without power or other basic needs. The images of destruction are non-stop on TV.

I'm not sure how people can get "whole" again, for a very long time -- sort of like the thousands here in Sonoma County rebuilding their lives after the year ago fire destruction.

I can not imagine trying to just make it through the day without the bare necessities. We were without Internet and Cell phone service for a short while last year and felt totally vulnerable and unable to do much -- for us we were back in service in a short period.


Forget most football teams in our part of the country if you are looking for winners and professional like play . . .

Instead, we're concentrating on baseball -- at least for about three more weeks.

Last night's MLB playoff NLCS game between the Brewers and the Dodgers was exciting -- probably not-so-much for the Dodgers, but certainly for Milwaukee.

The game went right to the last out of the Dodgers in the top of the ninth to determine that it was not going to turn out well for them. I was rooting for the Dodgers but, the Brewers were so impressive including their pitcher hitting a towering home run off the Dodgers best pitcher . . .

We'll see how today's games go -- we've recorded them (or will) and then watch probably as we finish up yet another puzzle.

And again, Earl, of the Pickles, has the last say in this post:


The news this week is reporting that even if you never turned in a saliva sample to one of the DNA companies, your identity can be found -- that to me is obvious since I'm sure that the "Golden State Killer" never submitted his, nor any of the other recent captures or soon to be captured villains.

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

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Happenin' Now

It is one year since the fires in Sonoma County changed the lives of so many residents forever. Thousands of homes were lost, many people have chosen to rebuild and some have chosen to move and start over elsewhere -- who could blame them. There are just a small number of houses that have been rebuilt, it is hard to imagine coping.


And today's weather is eerily similar to one year ago and as a matter of fact, there are red flag warnings for the same areas as last year. It is mildly warm, somewhat windy and lower humidity -- all the wrong measures.

And -- just in -- the Senate vote is complete, 50-48, so we have a new Supreme Court Justice. No matter in favor of or not, it is good to be OVER with this process -- until the next one . . .

It will be interesting to see the reactions this week starting today. The vote could have gone either way as late as yesterday.

So, the least extreme activity going on just now are the post-season playoff games of the MLB. Unfortunately, a favorite team -- the Cubbies -- did not win their wild-card game so they will be looking to next season for another chance.

And if last night's RedSox/Yankees game is an indication there most likely will not be a classic Yankee/Dodger World Series . . . such is the sporting world.

Sadly, just after publishing last week's post, we received the startling news that Gail's younger sister, Jenifer,  had died.

Apparently, she developed pneumonia and could not overcome that. She had also been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Gail and her other sister Laurii are both in shock and Gail goes in and out of the realization that Jenifer is gone. She was 74 years old and had lived with Sandy, her mate, for over 30 years in Seattle.

We will all miss her "being there" even though we did not have the chance to see her that often. Whenever we did visit it was always a fun time.


One of the activities that we engaged in again this week especially was with puzzles:


The puzzle on the left is one that we just finished and enjoyed every bit of -- there were so many different objects and colors. It was also smaller than most of the puzzles that we have recently worked being "only" 500 pieces instead of the usual 1000.

The artist, Aimee Stewart, did a great job recreating "Brown's General Store and Emporium". Every conceivable type of snack, flowers and other food items were represented.

So, we started another Aimee Stewart Americana collection puzzle -- another general store relating to all the requirements needed for the family vacation for fishing, camping, surfing, and so many other activities -- this one though has 1000 pieces, so it will take a few extra days to complete.

The picture on the right is of the puzzle that we completed a few weeks ago and because it came out so nice and we did not want to dismantle it, we had it framed.

It is "The Dream Garden" by Maxfield Parrish and we love it and especially how it appears in the frame that we now have hung above the table where we work on puzzles so that we can enjoy it daily -- we're old . . .

Once again, I have to say how impressed I am with CeCe Moore who has solved another decade's old awful crime via the use of DNA matching.

The same year that Gail and I were married, 1992, a young woman, Christy Mirack in Pennsylvania was murdered. She was just 25 years old and was recently starting her dream job of being a school teacher.

The murder happened in her apartment before she could leave for work and has been a cold case for 26 years. The detectives on the case were still attempting to solve the case.

CeCe got involved with the case, and in just TWO days found a suspect through matching DNA left at the crime scene.

A well known 49-year-old "family" man and DJ active in the community was identified and arrested
and shocked the community that he had been living a "normal" life amidst them all these years.

I applaud the use of DNA and if I was a younger person I would love to be a part of the DNA team that could solve these types of crime. CeCe says that there are many more certain to be solved cold cases coming up . . . we can hardly wait to see that happen!

And lastly,


Luckily I found another "Pickles" comic related to DNA. I too love broccoli, but if offered "Cheetos" I'm not sure that I'd say "nope" . . . have that DNA checked.