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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Muriel/Martin -- Ceiling/Flooring

And the good news is -- football. The season starts next week after many months of doubt due to the labor dispute, which thankfully has been settled. It is always amazing to me how fast the football season cycles around. When I was growing up high school football was BIG and it still is of course. Our town had Saturday High School games, usually held in the midday. The neighboring towns also had Saturday games and often the caravans of the winning teams flowed through town amid honking  and yelling from convertibles -- that does not happen much where I live now -- though High School football is still big and the games are usually played on Friday night.

Football for me helps to block out the stress of everyday life and for the three hour period of the game it usually is successful. I do not know about the relationship of football past my own father -- who is reported to have quit a good job once just to go attend a football game in which Red Grange was playing -- I can only hope that it was a good game. So I am not sure if my Grandfathers were interested in football -- I do know that in the 1940s and early 1950s for one Grandfather -- Dayton Bumgardner -- Boxing and Wrestling played a big role in sports viewing on television (usually sponsored by Gillette).

This Week

The news this week has been dominated by what -- the debt ceiling . . . it is almost impossible to give a status even as I write this as it changes seemingly hourly.  The latest appears to be that the Republicans after much trouble passed a bill in the House that was then immediately blocked by the Democrats in the Senate, so the countdown continues to the deadline next week.

My week had more to do with flooring than with ceilings, though we did our part in raising our own personal debt-ceiling . . . as I have mentioned recently we are going through some remodeling type projects around the house including new flooring in several rooms. The office which houses our desks and cabinets and bookcases gets a lot of activity throughout the week -- we both have rolling chairs -- the floor mats have always been a nuisance because of appearance and tripping over and general dislike of the product. We decided to change from a carpeted floor with plastic mats to a brand new product -- a vinyl wood grained floor that hopefully will allow us to glide at will without impediments and without damaging the floor.

This is basically how it looks and it is installed like planks of actual wood -- essentially we hope it will be a wall-to-wall pad allowing us to roll and glide with abandon . . . we'll let you know. One downside to the whole process is that everything is required to be out of the room which means the use of movers to aid in the moving of the very heavy desks and file cabinets. Far more unsettling is the disconnecting of computer equipment and then the possible reconnection -- what could go wrong . . .

From the Family Tree

One of my favorite Aunts was my Dad's sister Muriel, my Aunt Muriel. She lived to be in her late 90s and always was fun to be around. She was the one of three siblings and growing up I know she took abuse from being the only girl -- which probably gave her the sense of humor necessary for everyday life.

This is where she fits into the tree. She is the Granddaughter of (Captain) Samuel Martin and Elise Louise Larson. She along with my father and their brother grew up in Racine, Wisconsin. Muriel was born in the house that belonged to Samuel Martin -- I have visited there many times and it holds a special place in my memories.

Here is a picture of Aunt Muriel in front of the house in which she was born in 1905. This picture was taken in the early 1970s and present are Aunt Muriel, her daughter Doris and her Granddaughters Carol and Beverly.  The house looks different today and I believe is subdivided into more than one living quarter. It is located at 1745 Chatham Street in Racine.

Social Networking

I took a course in social networking (for genealogists) a few months back and it opened my eyes to the many uses of social networking. It is not only something for the younger generation. There are many involved groups and other serious users utilizing the network and growing more each day. I have used Twitter to some extent and have been a moderate user of Facebook for some time. Recently I have been interested and intrigued by a new entry into the social networking environment:

It is called Google+ and it is by invite only. It is a Facebook-like product. The problem is that it is right now by invite only and is very limited as to how many can join. Here is a brief description of the service:

And so we look forward to being invited to join  . . . if anyone can send me an invite for Google+ that would be great.

So goes part of my week -- for a short time we were the only Hiles family in town as the other two Hiles families are either in the Northwest or in France . . .

We look forward to slider Saturday Night once again -- see you in a few!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sliders, Sophia, Sales & Solitaire

I never really got hooked with playing solitaire -- until recently. For some reason I find it a way to buffer some of the activities of the everyday events with an "escape". There are a variety of other ways but this seems to work for now. Growing up, cards were not something we had in the house. I know from reading some stories about my ancestors and other relatives that cards and card playing was an important role in their lives.

My choice is to play solitaire on my iPad when I need a break. Apparently the electronic version of solitaire is the most played game of all video type games. It is addictive and effective in it's own way. I can remember watching others play solitaire "in the old days" and hearing the shuffling and reshuffling of the actual cards . I tried the old way every once in a while but it did not hold the fascination. I suspect that the electronic version will be a diversion for me for a little bit at least. 

A New Found Cousin

This last week I had several emails from cousins but I also received an email from a cousin that I had not known before. She wrote to me because she had seen the obituary of her Great Grandmother on my website. She wondered how that came to be and how HILES were related to the Gillett Family.  That Great Grandmother turns out to be the sister of my Great Grandmother -- Emily Adeline Gillett. Adeline as she was known by,  married John Hiles, my Great Grandfather. So Sophia J Gillett brought us cousins together -- Mary Allen -- and the rest of us cousins. I hope to share a lot more about Mary and her branch in the future.

Readers of this blog and others know that "sliders" play a big role in our weekly life here. And this week is no exception. This week because of the minor construction and other things going on in our house we have been forced to use a different kind of slider to make our lives more enjoyable -- furniture sliders. We have moved and rearranged some of our heaviest pieces of furniture -- we could never have done it without the aid of these sliders:

These, some similar in appearance to our Saturday Night Sliders, really work and make it possible for two seniors like us to move some really heavy things around the house. It is amazing to me that they were not always around for our use -- kind of like wheels on suitcases . . . our work though is progressing and should come to a satisfactory conclusion soon.

In the meantime, Auggie is ailing from a foot-pad infection making it hard for him to walk on certain type surfaces like blacktop or other rough things. This makes for a slow, really slow walk each morning. We have had him to the vet and gotten medication that is applied to his feet and pills to fight the infection. One problem is that the minute we (Gail) applies the medicine Auggie licks it off . . . we are going to try to see the vet again today Saturday. I spotted the following on the web which may have to be a consideration:

I am sure that if necessary they come in a variety of colors . . .


The world of books is in a state of change. I read that this year there were more books published electronically than physically. I am guilty of buying and reading books on my iPad and iPod. In addition to ebooks the pricing factor is creating turmoil as well as evidenced by the sad news this week:

I used to enjoy shopping at Borders because of the huge selection of books and the fact that they usually had comfortable furniture to sit in and browse through a book or two. In the coming months I am sure that there will be other book sellers that have the above type sales ad.

And so it goes this week, some of this and some of that -- we look forward to enjoying our sliders -- the gut bomb type, tonight.  See you in a few.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bonjour, Bricks & Backyard Decks

Ten days each year after our Independence Day Celebrations come the celebrations in France for their National Holiday -- Bastille Day. This has always been a part of my memory ever since attending the many French language classes I took in both High School & College:

This year the significance of Bastille Day took on a different perspective around here and from the tree. Two families from our town and members of our family tree high-tailed it out on Air France flight # 83 with their destination Paris and environs. All seven participants left on Bastille Day to enjoy three weeks in France.

My wife and I out of curiosity drove by their house later in the day just to check on it -- the automobile that they had driven to SFO was back in their driveway . . . mysterious -- not really -- the family that they traded homes and cars with from France apparently were now in Healdsburg.  A similar phenom must have happened with the car at CDG in Paris as well,  as the travelers from the USA arrive there late on Bastille Day.

We look forward to hearing about their trip and we will make occasional drive-bys of theeir home here . . .

For those of us left behind here it is another celebration of sorts -- the once every two or three years of the painting of the decks . . . we have redwood decks that run the width of our back yard and they need to be freshened up every so often -- somehow we chose this week to do that -- part of the reason was that we heard that the weather was going to be really hot next week -- so this was a good week to beat the heat.

Of course we had to disturb Auggie (you can see the deck under the lounge) to actually paint  . . .

Now while our work around the house is going on and members of the family are traipsing around France we are also in the middle of "National Ice Cream Month"  who knew? But that does call for a celebration.

The NICM was designated as such by Ronald Reagan back in the '80s -- thank you very much. I am thinking back to my growing up days in the Chicago area and one kind of ice cream comes to mind -- Chicago Brick. It was not produced all year but came out seasonally -- maybe July -- and was very distinctive. Above you can see the three flavors that were included in brick form -- Orange Sherbet, Vanilla and Caramel -- it was a great combo and resembled the way Neopolitan Ice Cream is today . . .

Well, probably Hiles Home Made Ice Cream -- the origins are not known -- would have included "Chicago Brick" as well. We just might have to make a batch ourselves if we get the decks done soon.

Looking around at the "News" across the USA I spotted a recent article that was intriguing to me. I like shopping and sometimes it is fun to browse a yard sale or two just in the hopes that an "Antique Roadshow" item could be spotted and picked up "for a song" . . .

Now, if you click the above article you may be able to read the details. Basically it is about a yard sale that will stretch for about 160 miles -- from Fort Smith, Arkansas to Beebe, Arkansas. And the other interesting fact is that the organizer of the whole event is Linda HILES -- she must be related. So, if we are done with the deck and the world travelers are back, maybe a caravan to Arkansas is in order . . .

Probably more realistically is the fact that I'll be lounging on the deck using a new APP for genealogical research sipping some freshly made "limeade" and eventually drifting off into "another world". I recently added this app to my iPad:

Along with the several other genealogy related apps that I now have -- I am set for the deck.

In the meantime -- it is Slider Saturday Night -- and the patties are thawing for tonight's event. That is something to look forward to after deck painting on hands and knees -- three sliders  . . .

Have a fun week and see you in a few!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sudoku, Shuttle & Seventeenth Cousins . . .

This week has been consistently warm -- mostly in the 90s. We might complain if it were not for the a/c. We never had a/c growing up but we did have the heat (and humidity) in the Midwest. The weather is interesting and we have to wonder what the weather is like in the ISS -- International Space Station -- which is in the news very much this week because of the final space shuttle mission blasting off yesterday.

Above are some photos representing the final launch and other aspects of the thirty year mission. They come from a variety of sources mostly found on StumbleUpon and NASA. For many of us the space missions have dominated our adult lives -- for others they have been present for their entire lives. It will be interesting to see what is coming in the future. The talk is manned trips to Mars. It is like how we felt in the 50s and 60s about a man-on-the-moon -- hardly possible -- we'll see.

Back down-to-earth, talking about hobbies -- mine it is hard to guess, genealogy a little photography and some cooking while Gail has needle-pointing, Sudoku, some cooking and others. But this week we can show a combination of two of Gail's:

If you know Sudoku then you can see the patterns within this needle point that are consistent with solving Sudoku puzzles. Her daily puzzle workings (initiated via a gift several years ago) have been a constant source of enjoyment. She then chose to express that in needle work, the above is the result and is very attractive -- she may even decide to make it a keeper to join a few other framed works on our walls.

At the same time that she completed the above -- the doorbell rang with a "thank-you" floral arrangement for a recent needle point gift that she had given.

While all this was going on our Auggie the doggie took it all in while relaxing in a new-found position . . .

I guess when you are a twelve year old you have to find that comfortable place to rest a bit . . .

Cousin Connection

This week I have been communicating with several cousins about various branches of the tree. The cousin relationship can get confusing really fast in terms of just how are they related and how do we describe that relationship. First cousins are easy to describe -- they usually share the same grandparents. It gets fuzzy as the distance changes. And then there are the "shirt-tail" cousins that usually are a result of a marriage relationship. I won't even get into the "removed" aspect -- which really only refers to being in a different generation, either before or after  . . . so often it is just easier to refer to one's "Cousin" and let it go at that.

This week though I was notified that I had a cousin identified on Geni (our family has a big tree on that site) who was now following me . . .

If you click the photo you'll hopefully be able to read it -- but basically it says I am related to Linda and it shows me, my father, 34 other relatives and then ultimately Linda. Wow! She is identified as my 17th cousin twice removed (two generations different than me, so probably younger . . .)

I can't imagine the many relatives in between us so here are those people -- it is fascinating to follow the link:

So the bottom line is that for many of the readers of this blog -- you are related to Linda as well . . .

Recently Found Genealogy Website

I found this site just the other day and it is a completely free site -- it has many features including a great genealogy search engine. When you have a chance you might check it out:

And lastly while wandering around on my iPad on the site StumbleUpon I came across this interesting picture of the evolution of the Coca-Cola bottle -- I wish the bottle was in existence today -- it is rare to find Coke in anything but an aluminum can nowadays:

And so goes my week -- normally I would say that we are looking forward to Slider Saturday Night, but on this occasion I have to say that we are looking forward to Slider Sunday Night -- the Sliders have been moved one day to accommodate a birthday celebration for a young girl who will be in France on her birthday so the family here is celebrating tonight . . . we look forward to both!

See you all in a few . . .

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fun Fourth, Back Yards, Front Rooms & F--L--A

We actually had rain this week -- almost unheard of in late June. It is a wait and see about the grapes . . . but for sure now it is warm. The last few days have been in the 90s. And the sense of "holiday" is all around us. When we lived in the Seattle area,  for a few years our family was on vacation the first two weeks of July because the company I worked for closed those weeks and all employees took at least those two weeks. So, we used to celebrate with the Canadians on July first for Canada Day -- we camped in Canada and I remember our two kids riding decorated bikes in a local Canadian town. And at night we attended fireworks displays . . .

The above are some examples of a previous year's display -- currently we usually just listen to the display in our town -- which is quite significant -- because we are giving aid and comfort to Auggie the doggie . . .

Thinking back to my growing up years in the Chicago suburbs and the celebration on the 4th of July, most of the time it was spent with neighborhood friends and shooting off small "lady finger" firecrackers, waving sparklers in the nighttime -- and then throwing the burning rod through the air and if we were lucky when we picked them up we got the cool end . . . and once in a while we had a "fountain" display and maybe some roman candles. During the day we might burn "snakes" -- which were the black chemical looking items that resembled actual snakes crawling out of the sidewalks which left the burn marks for several days.

We often went to the town's public display of fireworks after dark and oohed and ahhed at the aerial bombs and shakers and ratttlers. So all in all, the 4th was a fun holiday which did not feature gift giving and such.

Thinking of holidays in general that would be the most likely time that we would possibly have "people" over to the house.  If we did, we might actually use what is often referred to as the "front room". It must be a throwback from our ancestors but most people had a "front room" that in our case was not to be used unless "people" were over. The kids were expected to utilize the benefits of the back yard. Earlier this week my wife and I -- on our Auggie walk -- saw a huge water slide set up for kids -- with adult supervision -- these kids could slide down and be sprayed and really cool off . . . our back yard had a three pronged sprinkler connected to a garden hose over which we jumped or ran and cooled off that way -- we would have loved the slide . . .

Summer holiday events for my family when I was growing up never were held outside like most of today's events -- I never saw my father use a BBQ nor did our family even own one. My mother did all the prep and cooking and as I recall it was usually "good eating" things. My Mother, I remember, had a signal -- F-L-A when she served items for example that looked like they could run out. Our guests were to have first choice so F-L-A meant family leave alone which of course was a signal to wait until all guests took what they wanted before the kids in our family could take seconds or thirds . . .

Cousin Connection

This week, I had the pleasure of communicating with several cousins, but one cousin that I emailed back and forth this week is someone that I have hardly ever had any contact with -- and that is too bad -- for what ever reason we just never had much opportunity for contact. He is the son of my Mother's sister Jean:

As you can see we even share a common "middle" name taken from our mutual Grandfather Dayton B.
I believe that the reason that we really never had much opportunity to meet has to do with the fact that I moved from the Chicago area (to California) about the time that he was born. I am hoping that we can make up some of that lost time through communication in the future, we'll see.

Remembering a Favorite Uncle

The Fourth of July would have been the 85th birthday of my Mother's brother, Stewart Bumgardner. I remember Uncle Stew as being a lot of fun -- and someone who brought "good gifts" too. Here is a picture of him from 1958 when he was in my sister's wedding:

The picture being b/w doesn't show his red hair just like his sister Jean had as well. His other sister, my Mother, did not have the red hair -- genetics . . . which brings to mind that I attended a webinar this week on the results of  "mtDNA" which follows from mother to mother to mother and the characteristics are given to both males and females, however only females pass on the characteristics. Clear as  . . .

And so goes my week. The holiday spirit is certainly "in the air" as is typified by the following (from Getty Images):

That could easily have been from "days gone by" in a lot of our previous lives.

And now as I prepare for our traditional meal celebration for Saturdays let me include a picture of the typical sliders that we make each week:

We make 5 sliders -- I get to have and consume three -- Gail takes two, her choice . . . they are sooo
good, I can smell the onions now . . .

Have a great holiday and week! See you in a few.