Search This Blog

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Near a Park . . . Baseball ?

This is the 56th day so far in 2012. Of course it is still only February and this week we had two days that reached the 80 degree mark. I know some of you e.g. Midwest & the Northwest did not experience the summery weather -- but believing in the principle of "delayed gratification" -- think how nice it will be . . . besides it WAS windy here:

Our flag was really waving in the wind and I actually had to move the mounting so that it would not get tangled in the rose branches. Today is a bit cooler than the last two days, but still really nice. Over our back fence comes the sounds of summer -- baseball practice. For the last several weeks they have been working on the two baseball fields and for the last couple of weeks there have been numerous practices going on.

Saturday -- and I have said this before is a special day to me and to many. For that reason a favorite song kept popping up in my mind all morning -- "Saturday In The Park" by the group Chicago, from the '70s. I still enjoy hearing that (and others from Chicago) and if you haven't heard the music for a while:

Click to see the words to the music -- having been born in Chicago I have always felt connected to the group as well as just plain enjoying their music. The song evokes summertime in February.

Domestic Duties

During the "taxing" season my list of duties around the house increases way over the duties of the other approximately 8 months -- besides vacuuming and other cleaning duties -- I do enjoy for obvious reasons the duty of cooking. It is always a challenge to pick menu items and so receiving ideas and recipes from a favorite website is appreciated a lot. Last Sunday morning I used a recipe from that website and we enjoyed a different way to have eggs:

The recipe was not that hard or complex and the outcome was "pretty" good. It certainly was different from the usual method of having an egg. I do have to say though that I still love the "crack-in-the-dish-eggs" that my Mother used to fix for us. For the above recipe (and many more great recipes) here is a link to their website:    The Noble Pig

Also from that website, I prepared a great recipe for last night's dinner -- kind of in keeping with "Friday-Night-Fish" and stir-fry:

It was soooo good that we are going to have it again -- tonight! Check out the site for other good things.

Project Status

The removal of the hot tub (and deck restoration) is going well, except that our contractor had other projects also to juggle -- so this week we were on our own. But, we took the time to prepare the arbor in the back by freeing it from the entangled vines and tree branches growing all over it. It was a job that has both of us "sore" in most of our muscles and bones. It took us about half the day -- last Sunday -- and filled up the yard waste container and numerous large plastic bags filled with vine branches:

Can you tell that there is a pelican in the top picture . . . even the sky is bluer in the after photo . . . we still have to prune the apple tree some and we will in the next couple of weeks. We were feeling pretty accomplished after this exercise.  What a difference.

From the Tree

Birthdays this week -- just two -- and so a "happy birthday" goes out to both Nancy and "Dick" (once a brother-in-law, always a brother-in-law . . .for my brother)

I have been working on a variety of branches in the tree and have found many items relating to our folks, I plan to share much of that in the coming posts.

And What about Dino . . .

Poor Dino, he has had to stay at the vets clinic at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael (where he was born) for the last 5 days. We miss the "little" guy a lot. It is really amazing how my time, especially, is different with him not being here. I look forward to him being "home" with us soon. He was experiencing digestive issues that seemed to continue longer than we felt was safe . . . so we brought him to GDB. They are great -- they were very much in-the-know about the condition. We felt very confident in leaving him for a few days. Part of the cause is Dino's grazing habit whenever he is out in the grass and leaves -- he always ingests a few to top off his meals. This was evident when the vets took ex-rays -- they could see various non-threatening debris . . . bottom-line -- he is fine, we are picking him up tomorrow, Sunday:

These are some photos of Dino on Tuesday just before delivering him to San Rafael. At the bottom is his bed with most of his toys waiting for him AND his empty crate in the bedroom. It is interesting that when we got to GDB, Dino seemed very excited as if he knew where he was . . . we are hoping he will be very excited when he returns home with us tomorrow!

And so went our week. We look forward to the other 310 days that remain in this year and we wish you all the very best. Tonight's dinner will be the Jambalaya along with freshly made corn muffins . . . we really are breaking with tradition . . .

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Projects, Photography, Pulled Pork & Stuff

Last Sunday was the perfect day to take the frozen pork shoulder from the freezer and slow cook it most of the day. It is really so easy to do and yet so satisfying were the results. We had a delicious pulled-pork dinner that night but oh-so-looking-forward to the leftovers. That meant Monday evening we would have burritos using the leftover pork along with numerous other ingredients. The leftover pulled pork was first seasoned well with the spices associated with Mexican food and then char-broiled until the pieces were outlined with black edges. All this was combined with refried beans, onions, peppers, olives, lettuce, mushrooms and avocados and rolled into a delicious tortilla which was then "nuked" for a few minutes -- I'm getting hungry again.

Inside the rolled tortilla are all the ingredients just mentioned and the toppings hide the real substance of this delight -- I can just tell you that it was sooo good. And the good thing was we had enough for a second night and even more for a couple of lunches, what a deal.

Current Day Happenings

As we have said previously -- a lot has happened in the month of February in the lives of our relatives from our tree. Next week -- on February 20th marks what would have been my Mother's 100th birthday. There are over 150 birthdays this month including a happy birthday to Nancy next week as well. But some of those born on this very day are:

And as you can see, Gail's folks were married on this day 73 years ago!

Last week was Valentine's Day and just as a point of interest for the folks born around and about the first part of November, they were probably "Valentine's Babies" . . .

Projects -- Again

Well it was raining a week ago Friday so our next project got delayed until Monday of this week. Only on Monday of this week it was raining also -- but the construction crew showed up anyway and began their work even as it rained (though it did clear up later in the morning just as Doppler Radar predicted). It is amazing how something like this changes your everyday routines and plays havoc with them. Many tasks that were done at random times now had to be done before the crew arrived and other routines were adjusted to fit a schedule unfamiliar to us. But so far we are really satisfied with the results:

The top pictures are the before pictures of the hot tub that we wanted removed and the other photos are of the deck that replaces the giant hole and a new stairway and railing work along with lattice work and so at this point we are almost done with this phase of our first 2012 project. There are more to follow . . .

A Sign of the Digital Times

From a favorite blog -- Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter -- I took the following blurb:

It is almost hard to believe. I have always been fascinated with photography and with film and that always meant Kodak . . . but progress is progress and I do love the features of digital "film" and as evidence there is the 20,000 + photos I have on my computer . . .

The 6:30 PM Express to Las Vegas around West Santa Rosa

So training for the GDB this week took an interesting twist -- actually an interesting ride on a Santa Rosa City Bus that our guide dog leader arranged for us. The 10 or so pups (and us) all met at the transportation center in Santa Rosa and boarded a regular City Bus and we all took our places and every pup was well behaved and sat at "attention" while we took a cruise around town a bit with even a chance to off load and re-board the bus. After the ride we did some more exercises in the very chilly parking lot.

The ride was an interesting learning session and neither Gail nor I had actually been on a bus in who-knows-how-long. Dino seemed to enjoy the outing and the chance to be familiar with his classmates -- some of whom are his relatives . . .

Another website to checkout . . .

I love to read and as proof I have several books scattered around the house that are in a partially-read status. I like to have a book available wherever I might be taking a rest,  so-to-speak I used to have a regimen for reading just before going to sleep but since the move I have gotten away from that a bit -- I plan to get back into that routine again soon.

For those of us who have an electronic means to read (i-Pad, Kindle, Nook) the site below may be of benefit and offer a great opportunity. Check it out:

Candid Canines

As if the GDB were not enough I find myself noodling around the web stopping whenever I find interesting photos -- and the following are interesting to me. The one is of Dino as he looks out through our door at the "visiting cat" that comes everyday always looking for attention and treats -- which she gets. The big dog in the center belongs to Kim (Granddaughter of my brother)  and the dog's name is fitting -- Bubba.

The other four pics are randomly found at various sites but they were interesting and so I have presented them here. This has been a year filled with experiences connected to canines.

Breaking News Bit

Lisa (my daughter) and her fiance both work for Boeing outside of Seattle (Everett),  Washington. They are both in the huge facility that makes the new Dreamliner aircraft the 787 -- and guess who was their very special visitor this week -- none less than the President himself -- that is a special event that should be shared with others from the tree and will long be remembered by Lisa & Bob. I was once in the outside audience of an LBJ appearance in Los Angeles in the 60s, I remember that very well.

Lastly -- More Civil War Relatives

We have mentioned many Civil War participants in this blog in previous posts. But this week I received a picture of a grave marker (from a Cousin, thank you very much) for David Hiles, a 1st Cousin 4x removed of mine:

David's stone also has the GAR marker as well, the organization founded after the war for Union Veterans. You can also see a brief part of the tree showing where David fits into the tree.

Now a piece of news that I gleaned -- also from EOGN -- references the Civil War and the amazing piece of information that I found almost unbelievable -- as of last September there were two people still receiving Civil War pensions for their fathers service in that war that ended almost 150 years ago. Obviously they were both children who were born to very old fathers and they themselves are now very old -- and as Dick Eastman says -- "the pensions probably won't be continuing much longer  . . ."

And so went our week. We end it with a "fish-fry" scheduled for last night but got delayed til tonight!

See you in a few!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hearts for Hiles, Adams, Bouldron, Baker

This has been another very mixed week in terms of weather. We had one really summery day (in the 70s) and then some rainy, cloudy and varietal days. The weather impacted some project plans but we have time . . . speaking of time, it is the time to celebrate that February Holiday and remember our loved ones. In the event you need a pictorial, here is a collage of some found on the web:

I got to wondering about this day that seems to creep up on me every year and thought about how far back in time have we been celebrating this day. Did our ancestors send cards and buy candy for their loved ones. I think it could have happened though I have no evidence of that other than "us" if you think about it.

I looked up some history of the day and was surprised to see some details. I went to and this  is some of what I found:

So it looks like for my HILES branch, who have been here since the early 1700s and probably just before that, it was the custom to exchange hand-made Valentines -- it would be nice to have some of those . . . then it looks like for Gail's branch of the tree, they arrived here in the mid 1800s, there should have been abundant mass produced Valentines and we don't seem to have any of those either.

From the above article it is interesting to note just who it is that purchases the majority of the cards -- no real surprise there . . .

Then there are the folks from our tree that celebrate a birthday on the 14th of February, plus we have around 150 other February birthdays -- a few highlights would be -- from Gail's side, her Mother, Myrtle, her Father, Jim and her Grandfather Walt. From my side of the tree my Mother, Ruth and my Grandmother Helen celebrate February days.

Birthdays aren't the only thing we are celebrating this February. In last week's post, I posted a picture of a hand with a ring on it promising more details coming -- and so here are the details: Congratulations to Lisa, my daughter, and to Robert (Bob) Baker. They have announced their engagement with more details forthcoming. We wish them the best!

Here is another look at the ring -- very nice! It is an exciting time for all.


Also in the news this week was a story that does not "relate" to the previous story BUT may apply in hindsight to others in the tree . . . not mentioning any names though.

In the above article from Time News Feed, is an interesting slice of life for some folks in ICELAND. Apparently it is now important to "do your homework" with respect to whom it is that you are dating there.
I believe that some folks do/did the sleuthing here but maybe not for the same purpose though I suspect that for some in our tree, it is just too late. There are so many ramifications of the above that it is mind boggling.

It is Quiet Here . . .

While writing this post and going about the everyday duties here at home, it is certainly quiet and calm here and I can concentrate on getting my thoughts on paper . . . but that is not true for Gail -- she opens the local  tax office here in January and it is open for the tax season. The other (nearly) nine months the office sits vacant.  For some unknown reason -- the landlord of their building chose the start of January to remodel the offices next to their's with earsplitting pounding and even cracks in the wall appearing in her office. Now at the end of January and the first of February (which are the very busiest for the tax season) the landlord is having new roofing applied -- I visited the office the other day and it was almost impossible to hear one another . . . and today to top off the matter there was no electricity and no phones when Gail opened up for business . . .

My guess would be that some form of compensation needs to be forthcoming . . .from the landlord. It is hard enough to concentrate when preparing taxes without the roof and walls being pounded on . . . we'll make sure that things are "quiet" when she gets home . . .

Dino's Day

Dino continues to "grow" in all ways. He at times seems to be way beyond his age of 4 1/2 months. Other times though he still is a "pup". Every day we try to take him on short visits to the outside world -- today it was to the grocery store and then to Gail's office (since I tried to call with no luck). After shopping for items for tonight's dinner menu and visiting with the tax professionals it was back to the house for lunch and for blogging. Dino takes it all in a quiet manner. I can feel the clock ticking the months away . . .

And so goes our week. We look forward to maybe the start of our next "project" in the coming days, weather permitting. And since it is Saturday night we look forward to a special dinner -- tonight  we break all traditions and will make home made pizza -- Dino and I picked up all the ingredients earlier today. We just have to make it all happen and hope that it is as good as "the pizzeria pizza" . . .

Have a good week, see you in a few!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

February Finds, Follow-up & FOOTBALL

Another sensational week has flown by -- I would have loved posting this from Roots-Tech, but maybe "next year" . . . a block and a half from our home is the "Rec Park" where we have attended many sporting events and graduation ceremonies. For the last couple of years the park has been worked on and renovated so that it is once more a beautiful complex. Even some of our own tree members worked on the renovation efforts. A recent walk (with Dino) allowed the opportunity to shoot a picture of the new logo signage:

 And in case you had not heard I've included a notice of the Super Bowl game scheduled to be played tomorrow. Our attendance will not be "in-person" for the game, but the guacamole and chips are being planned along with a generous dose of "dem ribs" to follow . . . it is amazing the amount of activity and purchases being made in preparation for this game -- not necessarily by us but by a huge amount of folks.

We'll root and cheer for the team that plays the best and deserves the win -- of course if the Niners had made it in then we would have rooted for them no-matter. I do believe that I have watched most of the previous 45 Super Bowls -- but I could not tell you who won two years ago -- I do remember the Packers winning last year but soon that will drift away as well. We will time shift the game a little but for the most part it is one game that we LIKE to watch the commercials. We have already seen some sneak previews and they look like fun to watch -- the $3.5million cost per 30 seconds is going to have to generate a lot of sales.

Other Events of the Week --

Believe it or not there are a lot of things going on right now even more than the Republican primaries and caucuses e.g. on Wednesday it was Ground Hog Day -- who could over look that these days. We loved the movie . . .

It looks like an inauguration or something with all the "top hats", but it was just Phil being Phil for the day.
It seems that we will have six more weeks of "winter" and that is a good thing. Colorado may not agree at the moment but it seems that we have had unusually pleasant winter days in most areas so-far.

So what else is going on in February? There are a lot of February birthdays from our tree -- some 150 of them -- but who from the tree was born this very day? From the reports section of
I can offer the following details:

I've posted the individuals born this day -- Happy Birthday to all of them. I have also included a birthday for someone NOT from the tree but connected in a way to several folks from the tree. It was a pleasant surprise to see the newspaper account of a birthday for someone that I grew up hearing on the radio stations that my Mother listened to most of the time AND in person at the church that we attended. George Beverly Shea had the deepest voice that you could imagine and sang regularly at our church and has numerous albums out. There was also a weekly radio show -- called -- "Songs in the Night" broadcast from our church in Western Springs, Illinois that GBS also attended.

It is amazing to me that someone who my folks respected and enjoyed so much and I remember from my early childhood is still with us, hopefully still singing "bass".


I could not resist the question -- Gail and I just saw a replay of the Super Bowl commercial that made that form of greeting so popular. And to answer that question one way is "Who Do You Think You Are?" has
returned for it's third season -- last night.  Since we "time-shift" almost all our TV viewing, we have not watched the first episode yet -- but will do so when we want to . . . last night's episode was all about Martin Sheen -- so that will be interesting I am sure.

You can see all the personalities that will be featured this season. There are a couple that I am particularly interested in . . . but no matter who is being featured I still enjoy the presentation. Last season there was someone featured (I won't mention who) that I normally would change channels immediately if they appeared, but found their story fascinating anyway.

I just wish they would open up a show where "regular" people got featured and their family history researched and displayed on TV -- now that would be a great addition. Take a peek at the show.

Dino's Week --

It is a HUGE amount of time spent with a dog, but so far it has been sooo rewarding in many ways. One way for certain is that no matter where we go with Dino, we meet people -- people that probably would never consider engaging in conversation with us and people who normally would "keep to themselves" now speak right up and talk to us and to Dino. It is truly amazing. A 15 minute trip to the grocery store turns into 45 minutes and so forth. Dogs are magical (puppies especially) when it comes to opening up folks. Try it.

In the above collage you can see Dino (along with Gail) in his weekly training session. And Dino doing one of his daily walks while "in service" this one to deliver important reading material to nearby family. And lastly Dino casually looking through the french windows at our "visiting" cat that comes by frequently. This day they both just sat opposite sides of the glass observing one another -- neither making a fuss, just calmly sitting there. Dino does all this at just four months and two weeks of age . . .

Senses -- Census

So what is the big-deal anyway. In 58 days the long awaited 1940 census will be released to the public. I am really looking forward to that happening. For a ton of reasons -- but one reason is that some key members of my tree will show up in that census -- namely two of my siblings, the much older ones of course  plus sooo many of family that I know and knew will be listed (hopefully). And that is why I always fill out census reports because of the future researchers that will be looking forward to the release of those wonderful documents.

Click on the above and you can see the numbers for yourself -- the 1940 census is rich with numbers of folks reported -- the most of any U.S. Federal census to date. And the information gleaned from these reports will be phenomenal. It is truly a shame that the 1890 census did not survive a fire and we lost so much  potentially illuminating material for families.

I will be utilizing for the most part when the census is released -- it will of course take time to "index" the 132 million plus individuals listed. There will be numerous sites that will offer varying amounts of indexed material and I suspect I'll visit most of them. I think it is wonderful when someone makes it to see their own name in the census -- many are not that lucky -- some may make it but not be aware of it . . .

Breaking News --

While writing this post I received some great news -- the details of which will come at another time. But in the meantime I offer this clue:

And it is not even Valentine's Day yet . . .

So it is Saturday Night and if you have been reading this blog for awhile you know that we broke with tradition last week by having Stir-Fry Saturday Night. This week we break again to have Spaghetti Saturday Night along with garlic bread and a small salad -- will the wonders not cease.

That was a peek at our week, see you all in a few!