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Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Week That Was . . . Pretty Nice

The week was really nice in terms of weather with most days being warm and sunny -- there may have been one day when it was overcast a bit. Thank goodness though for a/c! We had a variety of activities that kept us busy including removing counter tops from the pool house in preparation for a moderate re-model.
But this morning around the house -- and we have kept close to the house the last few days because someone, we won't mention who,  is "on the mend" after participating too much on the counter top removal and now is paying the sciatic price . . .

I shot this collage this morning as we prepared for the day. The burst of color from the flowers around the house is brilliant. And the "visiting kitty" whom we have not seen for a couple of weeks showed up yesterday and today. Dino likes her and is actually very good around her -- but above he is looking through the windows as Gail pets her.

I Feel Pretty Lucky and I Thank My Lucky Stars . . .

Actually I DO feel pretty lucky this week! Last Sunday evening after we had celebrated Mother's Day earlier at a brunch, I made a telephone call to the Sonoma County Superior Court for the current status of my "summons for Jury Duty". For several weeks since receiving my "invitation" for jury duty I have been dreading the thought of going through that process yet again. I have served on three juries in the past and I have been called several other times as well.

The above document is intimidating to a retired person -- I welcomed it when I was an employee. The difference of course is that as an employee I received my regular salary while serving on a jury and I was away from the turmoil of the everyday workplace while serving . . . now, I would be attending the festivities on my own ticket AND I would be bringing Dino as well.

But on that Sunday evening when I called, my juror number was high enough to miss the first cut -- which meant that I did not have to attend on Monday -- but I was to call in that night to check if I was needed on Tuesday . . . and so it went each night of my "eligibility".  Eligibility runs for a full week so right up til Thursday night I could be requested to show up on a possible beginning jury on Friday.

It must have been a "slow" jury needs week because I got through each night with the message that my number was not needed yet. On Thursday night again my number was not needed and I had fulfilled my "duty" for at least a year -- but guess what -- there are benefits to turning 70  -- at that magical age no excuse is needed to "turn down" a jury summons, I feel pretty lucky . . .I know that some of our ancestors who were called for jury duty did not have the luxury of "phoning in" -- they had to show up and sit and wait just like I did a few times in previous jury summons.

I do have to say though that the experience I did have on the juries that I served was really well worth the insight into the legal system and I hope that the decisions we made as jurors were the right ones and just.

Speaking of Mother's Day Brunch

While Gail and I sadly do not have Mothers around to celebrate that day with, we do know some Mothers that need celebrating with and so we did with one group -- from our tree too. One Mother came from Wisconsin on vacation with her two small kids to join in celebrating with some of her sisters, their Mother, Magdalena. Alex and Josephina provided a great brunch -- the food was excellent and the conversation pleasant. We enjoyed the morning and did not have to eat again until later in the evening:

Above you can see some of the many delicious things we were offered to eat. In the bottom left photo you can see "J.T." peeking through the slats at my camera. Dino too can be seen enjoying the brunch -- though he only watched and listened as we ate . . .

Cousin Connection

I did talk to a few cousins this week via email. Bruce is a second cousin (we have a common Great Grandfather, John) and we trade emails regularly -- for whatever reason, growing up I never even knew of the existence of Bruce, nor did he probably know of my existence, but I am glad to be able to communicate with him now.

So I asked him where he was living in 1940 and just today he responded with that information and so I went searching for him in the 1940 Census. I was lucky to find him after going through about 30 census pages. I would have had to go through a lot more if it were not for a website:
which is a great place to get help to locate someone in the census (until there is an index).

Above (click to enlarge) you can see Bruce living with his Grandparents and Father in Neillsville, Wisconsin at 206 S Grand Avenue. Bruce is only the third living relative that I have located in the 1940 Census. It is rare that someone gets to see themselves in a Census since the U.S. Federal Censuses are held 72 years before they are released.

But Otto his Grandfather is listed as the Proprietor of a Tavern and his Dad, Gale is listed as working as a Case Worker for the State and County Relief Program. There are other interesting facts that are gleaned from this census like the amount of rent being paid (if renting) and in this case it was $23 per month that Otto was paying for rent . . . times have certainly changed.

So Bruce I hope you enjoy seeing yourself in the census!

A Fun Website

I always look for sites that I am interested in and usually they relate somehow to genealogy and family history. And I have found one that is quite interesting in that if you like photography as well it is great. This site allows folks to upload historical photos of places. These places are then available to be viewed by others visiting the site and to compare what these places looked like from then until today. Some places or houses are no longer in existence so that gives one a chance to see what they were like.  Google maps are used for the today portion to compare with the historical picture:

If you like click on the link and take a look -- What Was There ?   In the above collage you can see an example of a picture someone uploaded from La Grange, Illinois. The house is no longer there but the ones next door are and can be seen using Google Earth. This house was on the same street that our family lived on when they moved from Chicago to La Grange, so that was interesting. But try areas that you are interested in and maybe you'll see some pictures of interest -- if not -- maybe you could upload a picture or two that you have from your family albums for others to "find".

Spotted on our Short Walk

Since half of us are "on the mend" our walk yesterday was a brief one -- but not so brief that we couldn't spot something of interest:

What a beautifully kept auto -- a 1953 Packard Convertible -- our neighbor in LaGrange, Illinois had one that was similar to the above -- they walked their Great Dane with it . . .

Dino's Week

Besides eating, Dino's favorite activities are running along our "boardwalk" along our side fence AND chewing. He chews a great deal of the day and so far it has only been his toys that he chews. He has chewed through a lot of toys and we were on the look for a "tougher" chew toy -- and we thing we have found one:

The top photos show Dino in his stance and then running full speed the maybe twenty yards to the lemon tree -- after two of three of these he is ready to go rest and chew. We bought a "Goughnut" rhymes with Doughnut and it is guaranteed to not be able to be chewed through . . . we'll see. It certainly is heavy enough -- though it is supposed to be float-able as well (we'll see about that too). The pups are there to just watch . . .

And Lastly -- What's On Our Nightstand and What's Not Going to be on TV . . .

We both love to read and we are constantly reading on either our iPads, iPods, Kindle or even an actual hardback . . . in this case we are reading a hardback version and a very interesting book -- "Life Itself" by Roger Ebert. What makes it so interesting for me is that Roger apparently is the same age as I am AND he grew up in Illinois (albeit Southern Illinois). We are just about one third of the way through the book -- we read it each night and are enjoying it.

The other "news" is that a favorite show of mine (and apparently not enough of others) is that NBC has said that they are not going to renew Who Do You Think You Are for next season.'s stock price dropped over 10 percent at that announcement -- but we can only hope that maybe another network will pick up the show -- I have enjoyed every episode (except for the ones that NBC pre-empted . . .).

So that was a bit about our week. Last night we did enjoy "burgers and sweet-potato fries" tonight it is going to be "Dixie Fried Chicken"  hmmm hmmm good.

See you all in a few!

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