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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Same Weather as Last Year . . . Other Differences

In looking at last year's notes, I see that the days were almost identical in the month of January. Unbelievable warm days -- today near 70 again and it only misted a couple of times this week. The nights and early mornings though are plenty cold,  for here anyway,  in the 30s. But so many other things have changed in our daily living. Gail still is dealing with the January mode of the office gearing up to the "peak" which should start next week. Me, I met with our contractor to "talk" about our first project at our new house . . . we thought we'd start "on the deck":

When we first walked through this house last May, of course the pool stood out as a new feature for us, but for one of us another feature was this gray structure pictured above -- I envisioned relaxing evenings spent enjoying the "spa" or "hot tub" as it is really. I was interested in making that all happen -- but, cooler heads have prevailed and the tub has to go . . . anyone like a hot tub?  act now or in the next couple of weeks it may not be in one piece anymore nor usable.  It will be interesting to see how it will ultimately be removed -- we're thinking chain saw is the only option as it is built in . . . so the projects are to begin with this along with some work on the arbors and railings. We keep thinking of possibilities.

From the Tree (Dino's Tree that is . . .)

Since this is a blog partly about family history it is appropriate to share some things about Dino's family. He was born on 24 September, 2011 to his parents Marino and Mango. Dino has 7 siblings in his family all of them female. Dino's parents are both black yet he and two other siblings are yellow. So it is interesting to see him close to his birth day and with his Mother and siblings (all have names that start with "D"):

Pictured above is Dino and siblings at feeding time, Dino is the yellow to the far left.  Then a single picture of Dino as he walks around his environment (plastic swimming pool) and finally with one of his sisters . . .
Of all the dogs that I have owned, never before have I been lucky enough to see the "family". Usually it was just something that was supposed, though as a high school kid, we had Minx and Jinx and their Mother, Susie -- only Minx survived to live with us for several years.

Our Thoughts turn to Football

While last week's championship games did not work out for the two teams that we were pulling for -- those two teams coached by a Harbaugh brother -- we still look forward to the excitement surrounding the upcoming Super Bowl game. Not enough excitement to try to attend the game -- we are very content to watch it on TV. Costco this week had several Super Bowl packages available though if we were to change our minds. The packages started at $2,999 and up to $15,999  . . . our package here at the house will run probably $10 for maybe a specialty item or two to consume during the game . . .

But, one of the interesting things I remember about growing up in Illinois was how much my Father liked Football too. We never attended a game or anything like that, but never-the-less Football played a role in his life. I remember him telling me that at one point he quit a job to attend a Football game in which one of his favorites was playing -- Red Grange. Now I do not know what job he quit nor what game he actually saw -- but it must have been a game between the years 1925 and 1934. Red Grange played for the Chicago Bears in those years, so that makes sense:

Red Grange, "The Galloping Ghost" as he was known as. He was about the same age as my Dad and was really the first big professional football player to make it "big", both in earnings and accomplishments. He grew up in Wheaton, Illinois a town not far from where I grew up. He then went on the University of Illinois where he starred (his number and that of Dick Butkus were the only two retired) and then went to play for da Bears. Later he was a broadcaster for the Bears as well. He died right around the time that my Dad did.

The Walter Camp shown above is credited with professionalizing football with the formation of the eventual National Football League. The candy bar -- Red Grange -- I have never seen . . . Baby Ruths I remember.

A New Crate

As Dino nears 40 pounds he is getting cramped in his "puppy crate". So two days ago a very large box was delivered to our doorstep and inside was Dino's new "Condo Crate" . . . it almost does not fit through the doorways as we move it from bedroom to office or family room. He fell in love with it right away -- he could actually invite all his siblings to visit -- at least for now. Eventually he will fill most of it:

The above shows Dino and his first reactions to being in his new housing. He will spend about 8 to 10 hours a day in the crate and he never really objects to that. When in the auto he also has a crate that he rides in as well -- all I have to do is teach him to jump up into the car though. Once in the crate he resists coming out unless someone walks by that he is anxious to "see".

Dinner Items from the Tree

One of the things that I do during Gail's working season (January through April) is to cook all the meals. The hard part is to come up with dinner selections that are interesting, good and fun to make. It does seem easy sometimes to repeat menu items a lot. I think back to growing up and how my Mother was the one who cooked every meal and managed to come up with "great" stuff to eat. Partly it was because I was almost always hungry and I can't think of very many items that she cooked that I didn't like . . . two of those items though can not ever be what I fix now for us -- Liver & Onions -- which my Mother called steak, and SPAM which I still love -- but never get the opportunity to eat.

Spam I have pictures of -- not true with Liver & Onions. Actually, thanks to a certain member of our tree I have a nice collection of Spam memorabilia -- but that is all I have with regards to Spam. I think Spam has gotten a bum rap, if eaten responsibly it should be just fine . . . now Liver & Onions, while they smelled so good while being prepared when I was a kid, ever since working in the "meat" industry I have backed off of eating liver or other "organ" meats -- at least knowingly because I still like eating hot dogs . . .

Dino's Growth Progress

We know that Dino is growing rapidly and is no longer the tiny cute pup that he was when we got him. Others tell us how much he has grown when they see him. We know that he weighs close to 40 pounds and he was just 20 pounds when we got him 56 days ago:

The above are photos of Dino this week at 4 months and a week old. The grass pictures were taken just a few hours ago today. He pretty much looks grown-up, but to us he is still the cute puppy that we can just barely pick up once in awhile. He is a very good boy . . .

Menu Change

Speaking of menu selection items, today will mark a major change for us -- instead of "Slider Saturday Night" it is going to be "Stir-Fry Saturday Night" . . . every once in awhile a shake up is a good thing in a routine -- at least for us. I did grow up though with hamburgers every Saturday Night and always looked forward to them along with the once-a-week "pop" that went with . . . as far as I know, no one ever even heard of "stir-fry" in Illinois in those days . . .

So the above is the bowl of vegetables for the stir-fry. There is a nice cut-up steak marinating in the fridge to be added and all will be served over a bowl of rice -- we love "bowls of things" . . .  the above took about two hours to chop up but will last about two meals worth . . . I have spent a lot of time in the last two days "chopping up things" as I made my two week supply of Chili in our largest pot yesterday . . .

So goes our week -- we hope you all have a great week, see you in a few!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's been a rainy week . . . at the Hiles/Adams

Having a pool to watch over has been a change for us. Every week the water evaporates and we have to run the fill line to keep the water level at the proper height. This week, really the first week where we have experienced any rain to speak of since we moved in, we let mother nature fill the pool -- and she did.  We look forward to using the pool on a more regular basis probably in the late spring or early summer. And we expect to introduce Dino to the enjoyment as well. At the current time, Dino stays back and approaches timidly.
This is what the pool looked like today:

I was able to shoot a variety of pictures while the sun was out so the pool looks warm and inviting -- the truth is that it almost could have a layer of ice on it -- but that will change. We hope to upgrade the arbor type structures on both the pool level and on the back porch . . . mother nature actually didn't know when to stop filling, so if we get any more rain this week, the water will be over-the-top . . . speaking of the top. because of the heavy brush and leaves on top of the arbor we were not really aware that we had a pelican weather vane on top.

Weather All Over

While we were having heavy rains (started Thursday) many other parts of the country were having their own extreme weather. The Northwest experienced a huge snowfall. Having lived in the Northwest I know how treacherous snow there is -- it is a great deal like what it would be like for San Francisco to have a huge snow storm.The hills especially would be almost not driveable.

Serious weather (winds) allowed a huge wildfire to run throughout the Reno area destroying at least 29 homes while the surrounding mountain areas did get some snow allowing for some possible skiing -- strange. The Midwest and the Northeast also were hit with big storrms, but that is really not huge news for this time of the year except that the storms have started so late . . . on the other hand Hawaii is an attractive destination. Our neighbors just returned from Kauai and others from our tree have recently returned from the islands.

The above are some shots from the areas I just mentioned showing the results of the snow, the rains, the winds (fire) and the just plain sunny skies of Hawaii . . .

Whether or Not

The election campaign for this year is also a storm in itself. It is hard to keep track of who did what and when they did it and what any of it means to the ability to run the country. The PACs and Super PACs are having a field day and after awhile it really encourages "tuning out" somewhat.

Judging from the above, there may just be a shortage of dark blue suits at Robert Hall or J.C. Penney, not to mention red ties could be in short supply as well. And the smiling that goes on . . . how do they do that?

It got me to thinking about our ancestors and who they voted for or against in the election year 100 years ago -- some of you remember that I know -- but who won the election that year, 1912, when my Grandparents were voting (probably not the women though) and who were those actually running:

Wilson, Roosevelt (Teddy), Taft, Debs and Chafin (a name I do not recognize) were all running for President. The Vice Presidential names were all unfamiliar to me. But as we all know (by now) Woodrow Wilson won the election both in 1912 and 1916. His V.P was Thomas Marshall, who is reported to be on the list of "one of the poorest Vice Presidents" on record. Marshall himself hated the job and even remarked that it was of such low importance that no Vice President in history had ever even been shot at . . .

So it doesn't sound that different from today's candidates and we don't even know about any of the Vice Presidential candidates -- but thinking about the list from above it is hard to think that any of today's candidates could be worse than some of the notable V.P.s of past years.

I would like to know whom my Grandparents and other ancestors voted for, but it is highly unlikely that I will ever know that -- but we can make guesses.

Dino's Week

We attended a training session geared to all the grooming needs for our puppy -- ears, nose, nails, eyes and  most other parts as well. The big news for Dino was that he gets to increase his food intake due to his size and stature. Instead of 3 cups of kibble per day, it is now 4 cups per day -- he loves it.
The above shows a variety of things that Dino did during this week -- we have now had him for 50 days, time flies. It still is pretty much 24/7, but we are coming to terms with scheduling our needs along with his needs. He is such a good-natured  pup and so smart too.He enjoys "working" and especially going down the dog-food aisles of the stores AND meeting new people. 

From the Tree

We are busily communicating with several Cousins and eventually will have even more folks added to the tree. The fun part is "meeting" people that are related to us and have some of the same interests and goals.

There are several birthdays celebrated on this day:

The first one listed there is my Gr Gr Gr Grandfather -- John Hiles who was born this day in 1789. I can only imagine what the politics and economics that he experienced while growing up along with the young country.  He is the son of another John Hiles who is as far back as I go on my HILES line. I am hoping to change that eventually. 

The others on the report are Cousins of varying degrees. 

And so goes my (our) week. We look forward to watching the Championship game tomorrow and surprisingly will be rooting for the Niners even though under normal circumstances we have rooted for Eli and group . . .

We end this post with a sketch of -- guess who:

So in a few minutes Gail will arrive home after another week filled with the fun of the tax environment AND then it will be Slider Saturday Night (onion-free) for some . . .

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Signs of the Times at the Adams, Hiles Home

For the last several months we have been walking pretty much in a serious manner -- no real spring in out steps, today is another matter though. Starting yesterday, Friday the 13th, we have a different gait -- or some of us do anyway:

This is pretty much how we both feel at the moment -- we'll see how long that lasts. So what would bring about this sudden swagger -- the photo by-the-way came from and belongs to andreas612.

Well it is the "signs of the times":

Anyway you picture it, our previous home has sold -- and the new folks move in TODAY. It is all a done deal and the months of taking care of two personal residences is over. This saga all started around May of last year on a sunny Sunday afternoon when all we were going to do was to take a brief drive around town.

We spotted some "open houses" and decided to take a peek. About the second house we looked at -- just for entertainment purposes mind you -- was a house that both Gail and I remarked "we could live there" . . .

That started the whole process that ended yesterday. And who said that Friday the 13th was not lucky? The real estate market as you know has not been the easiest to deal with and the time of the year -- the Holidays -- was another factor to deal with. But aside from all of the above, the process was happily completed and all parties are happy. The way it should be.

I ran into "our contractor " this morning while walking Dino in the grocery store and told him we would be contacting him next week for possible projects . . . oh yeah.

So What to Concentrate on Now

What else -- one of the great relaxers for me is the NFL and what more could we ask for than a playoff game that involves our home team -- the Niners. Now even though the game is going on as I write this I have removed myself from contact with the outside world because we time shift (record) the game and since it is delayed we can skip through certain parts of the broadcast.  When Gail gets home -- hopefully -- she too will not know the results and we can then enjoy the game together at the time of our choosing.

If you click on the above you can see some of the details of the playoff games going on this week-end and hopefully where it will lead the winners to . . . two good games today for sure and then we'll see about tomorrow.

Dino and other Guide Dogs for the Blind

If you happened to have been in the Santa Rosa Mall last Tuesday night ( and many of you were, I'm sure, NOT) you would have seen numerous pups in training, including Dino, walking the mall floors, riding the elevators and going through exercises. Every pup, including the other new one -- one week younger than Dino, really behaved well and were diligent in their work.

And what is the work that they might  one day be doing? Gail and I are currently reading a new book named "thunder dog" by Michael Hingson illustrating the work that a guide dog might well be called upon to do:

This book written a few months back relates the astounding story of Michael being led down 78 flights of stairs in the WTC on 9/11. The dog, Roselle, passed away this past July and Michael has written this as a memorial to the dog that saved his life on that day. The dog and Dino sure look alike and as a matter of fact Roselle was born the same place that Dino was -- in San Rafael, California at the GDB 17 acre campus.
Gail and I met Michael and he signed our copy of his book  . . .

If the fact that Michael, a blind person preparing to conduct a sales meeting on the 78th floor of the WTC wasn't enough -- 7 floors below him was another blind man, Omar Rivera, a computer technician who also had a GDB dog, Dorado who ultimately saved his life as well.

This is why people commit to be a "puppy-raiser" like Gail and I are doing  . . .

From the Tree -- On This Day

Today would have been the 81st wedding anniversary of my parents. Sadly. I do not know much about that ceremony or where exactly it took place -- only that I am told it was in Chicago. I have seen an announcement regarding the event but I can not recall ever hearing any details from my parents and of course now it is too late to hear first-hand . . .

Gail, too has a Grand Aunt and Uncle who were married on this day -- it would have been their 92nd anniversary.

And Now a Solution to the after Christmas Christmas Tree

Every year it is a problem as to what to do to dispose of the tree. It is a shame that it is cut down for such a short period of time -- it should be recycled somehow AND now maybe it can be:

I think this was in London, but it could be done here -- we just need to "find" an elephant and bring our trees to him/her. Talk about the perfect recycling program . . .

So ends another week for us -- Gail is finishing up her second week at the office -- with some 95 days to go -- but who is counting. We are looking forward to planning some home improvement projects and of course to -- Slider Saturday Night -- while watching NFL Playoff games . . . see you in a few!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

First HILES/Adams Post 2012

What is it about January of a new year that brings about new direction and often a fresh outlook on life. It apparently is in the "genes" as you will see for my line anyway. But I definitely feel the sensation of "out with the old and in with some new". While scouring the news and web I came across this story that struck me with interest:

While this is not from my family tree -- it might have happened and I am just not aware of it. We have twins in the tree, but not that many identified, I'll have to work on that -- right . . .

But if you think about the above, these kids are going to have some great stories. One twin will be a "year" older and will probably never let the younger sibling forget about it. Then there is the fact that for income tax purposes instead of two new deductions in the year 2011, there will only be one.  Social security benefits will be effected, retirement dates effected, possibly school starting dates effected and other impacts that will bring about questions of "why".

While looking for related stories about this interesting event I came across another scenario that was really perplexing -- and that is that there was the occasion of twins being born right on the date of the "time" change. One twin was born under the previous time and the second twin born under the new -- the impact though was that the first twin to be born (the older) because the time was moved back actually had a later recorded birth time . . . all kinds of confusion.

Just for Fun in the New Year

The new year is only a week in, so it is fun to just enjoy that newness. One way is of course by looking at "cute" photos of the animals around us. I found a suitable website that produced just the kinds of pics that illustrate my point:

Click on the above and you'll see what I mean. How could you NOT think these pictures were cute. They came from a site at  and I suppose a few weeks into the year, they might not have the same impact that they have had this first week.

Speaking of "this first week" someone I know has just about completed her "first" week of the 2012 tax season which covers tax items for 2011. Some folks have already gathered their tax documents and have completed their tax preparation (the IRS isn't even accepting returns yet) so when the IRS "opens" for business these folks will be first in line -- I'm guessing they are getting a REFUND.

Because Gail has been at work all week, Sunday will take on a whole new meaning . . . Oh, by the way can you identify "maybe a disgruntled employee" in the above photo collage . . . cute.

A Word about "Words"

Recently in the news we read about Alec Baldwin be booted off a Southwest Airlines flight for failing to shut down his iPad when requested to do so. That prompted me to "check out" the game he was playing to see what the deal was. I do not play very many games on my iPad -- but I do like word games and that is what Alec was playing. He was apparently in the middle of a game of "Words with Friends". It is a scrabble-like game that you play on line with friends or maybe just other random players. I have since added it to my iPad (it is a free app). I actually like it a lot as I play against my spouse and we can play whenever it strikes our mood. I am embarrassed to say that sometimes we'll be sitting at the opposite ends of the sofa watching maybe a sporting event on TV and making our word entries at the same time . . . I can't though imagine ignoring a request from airline personnel about turning off the iPad.

But keeping with the sentiment of words I came across a new website that I found interesting concerning words:

The site is and you can take a series of test word examples and pick the correct definition and from that they deduce "how many words" you may know. It was something that I had no idea about -- and for that matter, how accurate can they be. There are many words that probably would not appear on their test -- I think you know which ones I mean -- so that would mean there are more words that I know that they don't give me credit for . . . big deal. Anyway, it is a fun way to start the new year.

Dino, Dino, Dino

Dino is ever present in our daily life -- and me (& Gail) in his. We have had him now 35 days and in that time he has added over twelve pounds (from 20 to 32+). At this very moment he is sleeping next to my desk as I write this -- he is snoring quite noticeably -- when the snoring stops, I check on him. But earlier after another nap I did manage to squeeze off a few pics:

Starting from the top left, I caught him with his eyes just opening and he was looking at me sideways, awake but not budging. Top right, he gave a big yawn and finally made the move to start to get up. Bottom left he stood outside his bed and just stood there with a sleepy look. Lastly on the bottom right he was coming into consciousness and was ready for action once again. That will be replayed soon as it is getting close to his dinner time and his last shot at nourishment (other than grabbing leaves as he goes outside). He is such a good boy though.

January Events for the HILES line

As I mentioned it above -- what is it about January? There are some 150+ birthdays from the tree this month and several on this very day, back in time. But the real eye-opener for me was the number of Weddings in January in my direct line:

If you click on the above you'll see (from my website) some of the data that is available. Birthdays this month, those born on this day and from the Dates and Anniversaries section I pulled the weddings for this month. And the interesting thing is that my own (first marriage) wedding was in January and then going up my line -- my Parents, my Grandparents, my Great Grandparents AND my Gr Gr Gr Grandparents all married in January. I am not sure what to make of all that, but it is a fact. If you go into the website you can check out other facts as well.

And so ends the first week of 2012 and in a few minutes Dino will be having his dinner and in a couple of hours Gail & I will be enjoying our first Slider Saturday Night of 2012.

See you in a few . . .