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Sunday, July 29, 2012

OutBack -- Bee Rings -- Olympic Games

Everyday this week has been a beaut! And the weather has been also. This morning I took a collage of the backyard display. It is amazing that so many different plants provide such a diverse quilt like pattern for the pleasure of the eye, candy as it were. From the flowers for viewing to the garden for consuming and to the apple and lemon tree for the near future -- we love it. Dino loves it.

The photo in the top left was taken at night -- you can see the half-moon in the sky. Approximately the same scene in the morning sunlight and then a variety from cherry tomatoes, to full size tomatoes and to the hundreds of green apples (a large amount has already dropped and we then bob for apples in the pool).  We just hope that the display continues . . .

A Quiet Dinner for Four  (and Dino)

On Monday evening -- which happened to be the day before Dino's 10 month birthday -- we celebrated with a very nice dinner if I say so myself . . . Marv & Nancy came and we first toured the progress of our projects and then sat on the deck and had some cheese and crackers and fruit and favorite beverages while the late afternoon sun beat against the new shades and gave us filtered sunlight.

Dino was present, but as is the custom while we are eating he was "on his mat".  On the menu was roasted pork tenderloin topped with roasted peaches and plums & fresh (very thin) asparagus and "those potatoes" which were oven fried and covered with balsamic crusted onions . . . so good. I got so "into" the dessert that I forgot to take a picture of it -- but it was vanilla ice cream topped by freshly roasted strawberries and accompanied by "snicker-doodles" that Gail made over the weekend. So much for our diet selection . . . actually because of portion control or the lack thereof, no penalty was noticed.

Speaking of Status of the Projects

Okay so we weren't doing nothing about the projects -- actually WE were doing nothing -- it was all the many worker-bees that did the doing on the projects. For that we are so thankful. The simplest jobs get so involved we know why we are doing "nothing". We still have to answer an endless stream of questions though along the way.


Above are three parts of projects that are nearing completion. The left pictures show the "before" and the right photos show some sort of progress. On the top is the flooring in the bath, now in and usable. The sink area as it was a few weeks ago and now the cabinet and basin -- actually the faucets are installed and there is running water available . . .

The bottom photo shows the arbor -- lighted at night on the right. It is the things you take for granted in completed houses . . . eventually we will be able to throw a switch (from the house) and light up the back area so we can see the night creatures and all. What will they think of next.

A Fun and Interesting Blog -- Site

As I have shared before, like most , I wander throughout the web some days to wherever the prompts take me -- and I thought this site was and is most enjoyable. 

Each day they publish a different photo that many times evokes a sentiment that I can use to motivate me to keep looking into the times of our ancestors. Above are two examples -- I can only imagine what the inside to the two stores are like in the top photo -- I think I have been in them both and I think there is one like that near here . . .

The bottom photo brings up differing reactions -- I belong to the one that agrees with the sentiment, others I am sure would have different suggestions to help the economy -- but in the meantime we are doing our best!

Give the site a peek -- Old Photo of the Day

Dino on his 10 Month Birthday -- Week

We did not have a GDB training session this week, but each day we keep socializing and making sure that Dino is getting some educational needs -- we do this by taking him every place that we go during the week. But just as we do, he seems to enjoy so much the time that we "come back home".

The above are just some of the photos taken this week as he turns 10 months old -- he is getting large, he is almost 80 pounds and he is so full of energy and at times he does just "let loose" . . . he still gets a high amount of compliments wherever we take him and almost no one thinks of him as a puppy . . .

What is Taking our Attention 

Probably like most of you all, we are enjoying the Olympic Games. We watched the opening ceremonies (recorded for viewing the next morning) and are now recording most events and watching them through the day as we take the time. The weather in London seems to be cooperating so far and even the bicycling races were "fun" to watch (more so for some than others . . .).

Above are some of the attractions of the last two days. The fireworks were spectacular and the opening song by Paul McCartney a real classic from "our era" . . . and it was great to see our cousin (Elizabeth) doing such an outstanding job performing with "James Bond".

We look forward to the next couple of weeks as the gold is awarded . . .

Another Event (I found worthy of watching)

I suspect that it has to do with age maybe, but I found myself intrigued with something the other day that I can not imagine would have caught my attention some years back:

Now, if you enlarge the above photo you will be able to see a small brown object in the pool that was causing concentric circles to be sent to the perimeter of the pool -- at first I could not make out what was making the ripples in the water -- but eventually I saw that it was a large "bumblebee". It was furiously beating it's wings to try to make it out of the water.

This event could be on the scaled-down version of the insect Olympics.  The energy expended by this bug had to be extremely immense as it did impact the whole area of the pool -- eventually it did succeed in making it out of the water  . . . I guess the moral is to never quit trying.

That was our week, we had the famous and delicious burgers last night along with a bowl of cherry tomatoes for each of us (diet . . .) and tonight -- it is baby back ribs Sunday night along with fresh sweet corn. We are both making progress on our diets . . . albeit slowly.

Have a good week, see you in a few! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

GDB FunDay San Rafael / Sunday Rest

It is without a doubt some of the hottest days in a while and maybe the hottest was yesterday and we spent that walking around the multi-acre campus for Guide Dogs for the Blind. But the warm sun has other benefits in the realm of the floral display in our own front yard this week:
We have enjoyed the burst of mostly white things mixed with some purple -- we are amazed that the iris flowers keep blooming . . .

Weather from the Web

It is always comforting to be able to get forecasts for the weather whenever we want them -- and they are fairly reliable. Growing up, we were often totally surprised with what weather "showed up" though if it was rain -- we could smell it "in the air".  And in the midwest the after rain smell was definitely present. We have not had rain to speak of this week, but we have had heat:

These are examples of the notices that I receive hourly on one of my homepages to broadcast the temperature at the moment . . . what I really love is the ones that state:  98 degrees outside but it feels like 94 degrees . . . really?  Who determines that and can you really feel 4 degrees different. If you get right down to it -- it feels like 70 degrees to me because we have the a/c on and fans as well . . .

The Big Day for GDB in San Rafael

Once a year the GDB organization invites all the puppy raisers and their pups to gather, mingle, participate, sell things (to benefit individual groups) and to meet one another. Yesterday was that day for San Rafael. There were about 1400 folks and about 400 puppies attending the conference. It was not unlike some of the other conferences that I have attended over the years for the companies that I worked for -- but this one was also very different in that puppies were such a huge part of the gathering -- I only heard one small bark the entire day from the pups visiting.

Click on the above to see some of the activities. Sign-in, Booths to buy things in, exhibits and the grounds to explore. We arrived shortly after 8 am for a day of "fun". We started with buying things from various booths and then graduated to buying things in the "gift shop". We then all convened to a huge tent and were welcomed and given guidance for the days activities.

Some of the highlights included having a chance to meet Dino's littermates. We met at the assigned area and unfortunately only two other siblings were in attendance. We met Delphi and Delfina and were told about a third sibling that had been what is called "career changed" which means they will not be a guide dog for the blind -- in this case Denali had a sensitivity to the wearing of the guide dog jacket. We also found out that another sibling -- Darlo -- lived in the Seattle area.

Clicking on the above you can see a couple of photos of Dino reacquainting with his siblings. Another highlight was visiting the new puppy area and a beautiful yellow lab pup can be seen in the arms of it's attendant. While visiting that area Dino also "checked out" the statue dog . . .

Canine Entertainment

What would a huge gathering be without entertainment that would be suitable for both humans and canines -- Tillman the skateboarding bulldog . . . that's who. Tillman captured the interest of all who attended. He performed energetically along the street and never seemed to tire of the skateboard:

Tillman was a huge hit and even the pups were enthralled watching him on the move . . .

But Getting Back to Genealogy

And guess whose genealogy I am talking about -- my favorite activity of the day was to go to the "volunteer's center" and obtain a copy of Dino's Pedigree. Clicking on the above you can see a five generation chart for Dino -- and of course it is the same pedigree for his eight siblings. The difference in his pedigree chart and for one of us humans is that with five generations all of his ancestors on the chart most likely are living . . .

The picture on the lower left is of Dino and the two other siblings attending -- and that was the best of the photos we attempted to shoot . . .

The Status of the Dieting Program

They say to not weigh each day, but what the heck. I started the week at four pounds less than the week before and then bouncing daily numbers up and down I end up at the same weight that I started with -- oh well, I still have next week and I am feeling good about that. Here is a peek at one of my favorite "diet" dishes:

I could eat this type of food almost everyday -- that isn't the case with everyone though . . .

A Look at Dino this Week

We had other things besides "FunDay" this week. We had watching the progress of paint-drying and things like that as the pool house gets painted. Hopefully next week that project will be nearing completion. Dino though enthusiastically welcomes each chance to visit in the back to check out everything.

Above is a variety of poses as he went about his weekly chores . . .

And Lastly, Something Shady

Another mini-project completed this week -- and that was the installation of new shades on the back deck. We had put up a temperary shade but now we have some that are "workable" in that they can be lowered and raised as desired. We are going to put them on the backside of the arbor as well . . .

And so went our week -- we did have burgers last night, along with slaw. Tonight we are going to have a surprise dinner consisting on whatever strikes our fancy when we go shopping in a few minutes . . .

Have a good week, see you in a few!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Under the Palms -- Pelican's Back . . .

While the rest of the country seemed to be enjoying all the heat, we in Healdsburg finally got a taste of summer. There were a couple of triple digit days but with the use of a/c the three of us weathered the waves.
We had a variety of things going on this week including a major outing for GDB. Since Dino is now one of the older pups (at 9 mos) in the one group we are now part of the "older" puppy group which means among other things we meet at 7:30 pm instead of 6:30 pm on meeting days:

The above is the site of our most recent outing with the pups. Because we started at 7:30 pm by the time the session was over it was getting dark. But the palm trees were especially beautiful at that time and they were wrapped in lights. Our evening started actually with a shopping trip at Costco and then we met at:

Scandia the Family Fun Center in Rohnert Park. We have driven by this for the ten plus years that we have used 101. Since we had no children at home we just never thought it would be a place for us to visit -- but now with Dino in training it was a nice outing. We played 18 holes of miniature golf and had a great time doing that. None of the pups misbehaved and all went well. Not sure how many "mulligans" were taken and not sure where we came in on the score card . . .

Status of Projects

This was a week of progress for many projects and we hope to get some "buttoned-up" soon. The main one we have been waiting on has been the door for the pool house. Since the old door was removed several weeks ago -- and replaced with plywood -- we have not been able to check out progress on the inside as we like to do.

On the top left (click to enlarge) I took this photo at 6:15 am. Around 1 pm the workers came with the door and then by the time they left at 3:30 pm the new door was installed as pictured in the bottom right. Now we can have access again and see what is going on inside. And inside a lot of progress has been made with completing the bathroom . . . that progress we'll report on in a week or so . . .

Other Various Projects

There has been several minor projects updated this week as well. All these things take coordination and of course staying nearby to answer questions. We will be glad when we will have our house done -- at least for the time being.

One of those "minor" projects was getting the pelican back on it's roost -- and it is. It is looking a bit cleaner as well and it is hard to imagine that when we moved here (11 months ago) the pelican was hidden in the heavy vines growing on top of the old arbor.
Dino can be seen stretched out on the new rug for the spare bedroom, he loves it . . .and two windows got new blinds and the master bedroom got new drapes over the recently installed slider.

Status of the 1940 Census Indexing

Huge advances are being made and now 30 + states are completely indexed and able to be searched. This is so nice. The prediction is that by the end of summer all names will have been indexed -- already some 120 million are finished.

Both of the above organizations are offering the capabilities of searching the 1940 Census. and -- check them out and see who you find from your families.

Status of "Eats"

Who doesn't love eating their favorite foods. We have categories of favorite foods so this last week we focused on specific categories -- salads and stir-fry. We love them both. I have a "goal" in mind so staying on track is important and that requires a mind-set and discipline -- I was rewarded with a -4 for the week.
And that is a good thing. Gail is needing less results and has been awarded appropriately.

The above are examples of the salads that we have enjoyed this week. We team up and cut all the needed produce for both the salads and the stir-fry and then use them at each meal as needed. So far so good.

Neighborhood Events

The first annual "block party" was held yesterday late afternoon and evening. It was very enjoyable and we got to meet many of our neighbors from the neighborhood. Many are original folks who have lived here since the beginning -- about 20 years or so -- others like us have moved in more recently, at least three families have moved in after us . . .

The mood was relaxed and the weather was perfect -- the heat has dissipated some . . . Dino enjoyed meeting everyone as well. My guess is that there will be more of these in the future -- we hope so.

The Status of Bouldron(s) (in the 1940 Census)

First, when I went searching for Gail's parents earlier in the 1940 Census they remained hidden. I found her grandparents, but not her parents. I knew eventually that I most likely would find them -- and I have.

If you click on the above you'll see that Myrtle & Jim (Millard) were living in Ellensburg on South Ruby Street. They were paying a whopping $29 per month rent and Jim was driving tanker for a gasoline company. They had recently been married (February 18, 1939) and Gail would eventually be born in Ellensburg . . . so the mystery of finding them is over.

BUT, a new mystery has appeared. While looking for Jim & Myrtle I found another Bouldron family that I had not seen before -- and when I showed them to Gail, she had NOT seen nor heard of them either.

The above are some of the clues that I am looking at. It seems that a "Lutrell" family married into a "Bouldron" family (but whose Bouldron family?). It looks like a "Jessica" or some other name which is highlighted in yellow above must have been married to a Bouldron and had three children: Charlene, Tommy & Richard -- these three especially may be still living.
The other documents above are related to -- I think the father of "Jessica". I hope that I can uncover some clues as to the status of the family.

These are some of the events that make genealogy fun, for me anyway. It is like detective work and when the results are hopefully found there is a huge satisfaction. So this week and the coming weeks I'll be searching for the details of this new found Bouldron family. There just are not very many families with the name "Bouldron" left in the U.S.

And so that was a bit of our week. We hope you have/had a good week, see you in a few!

Salad Sunday Night . . .

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Near-Home 4th & Crowd-Source Gala

While it seems the majority of the country sweltered we were the mild one in the 80s and approaching the 90s. I have lived in the Midwest and I remember the "hot" days with the added humidity but I don't recall very many -- if ever -- several days over 100 degrees in a row. In the West it was really perfect weather for a holiday like the Fourth of July. We took advantage of a "quiet" holiday and walked about five minutes to the hub of the celebration:

The "Rec" Park was that site and along with Dino we wandered over midday to take part in the festivities. There was music, flags and lots of kids enjoying the a slides and other huge attractions. For us the "prize" was taking home one of the best berry pies we have tasted in a long time (topped with vanilla ice cream, of course).

Besides the low-key events there were opportunities for a few photos. A favorite focus for me were the autos displayed around the field -- some of them I remember when they were new, some of you may remember the others . . .

These autos were restored nicely and their colors appropriate for today -- I owned a few Volkswagen's and one of them was just like the above -- except for the color . . .

The highlight of the celebration was the "Rubber-Ducky" event. Excitement built as the announcer "worked" the crowd. I don't know what the odds were to win -- but it would take a great deal of luck to come in first.

This collage almost looks upside down, but working from the top left, hundreds maybe more rubber duckies are corralled (by water streams) and crowded into the starting position and then after a suitable tension filled moment they are released to go down stream. The first duck to arrive of course is the winner -- it would be difficult to make this a betting event . . . but chances were sold and the winner received a $5,000 trip to Washington, D.C.

I believe that we can look forward to another "rubber-ducky" event in the water festival coming up on the 14th of July. Hopefully I'll be able to witness that as well.

While the Fourth of July represents our nation's 236th birthday there are other celebrations going on regarding our country this year -- for example we have highlighted some things about the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. And another major anniversary is:

Actually it is the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 -- many of us have ancestors who participated in that war (as well as the Civil War). The top chart above (from shows the exponential growth of our country since it's founding -- 2.5 million then and 313.9 million now.

The bottom graphic (from actually is a site that contains a ton of material on most major events having to do with the military. I have a presence on that site and they keep expanding the amount of material and records that are available. Fold3 is the site -- check it out, it is well worth the visit.

The Status of Projects

This week with a holiday in the middle -- a rare thing anymore -- made for Thursday feeling a lot like a Monday. I was pretty much convinced that it was the start of the week most of the day. And it was pretty much the same I think for a lot of folks. But we did manage to get the arbor finished -- we think -- there still are a couple of things to do but for the most part -- it is done.

We think it looks pretty good -- if prior residents of this house were to return they might think it was the same old arbor only spruced up -- we know though that it is far more stable and substantial than previous.
We look forward to many games of Quiddler under those beams . . . with the sounds of baseball to our backs.

We are moving closer to "wrapping-up" other projects hopefully we'll have news of them very soon. While we like work -- we are ready for it to be done . . .

The Status of the Garden (next to the arbor)

Gail has vegetables planted in the garden and they have a lot of leaves showing -- and if you look closely you can even see round "green" things that hopefully will fill our salad plates soon.

You'll have to click on the above to see the numerous tomatoes heading for consumption eventually. The plant on the bottom right is not for consumption but is thriving really nicely midst the produce. It is doing great after it's move last year to a place "in the sun".

And Lastly . . .

This past week put out a challenge to us volunteer indexers. They had a goal of having 5 million of the names from the 1940 census to be indexed in one day -- that seems like a huge number and it is. But not only did we volunteer indexers achieve the goal -- the results were double the hoped for number.

Over 10 million names were indexed by over 43,000 volunteers (I was one of them). Even though most of us worked singularly there was a spirit of "togetherness" in achieving what may just be the largest amount of "crowd-sourced" census indexing ever . . . it took me most of my spare time throughout the day to index my contribution of 400 names . . . it is a worthwhile endeavor.

And so went our week, we had our traditional burgers and sweet potato fries last night and guess what we are having tonight -- chef salads. One of us more than the other needs to cut back a bit and so yesterday we both started a new look at mealtimes and snacktimes and . . .

Have a good week! See you in a few!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Census Consensus (soon) & Canada Day

For several years my family celebrated "Canada Day" with Canadians July 1. We lived in the Seattle area  and the company that I was employed with at the time closed much of their operation the first two weeks of July. This meant that at least two of eligible vacation weeks were designated -- if there were additional weeks they could be taken at other agreed upon times. So, we would pack up and head north across the border with our camping trailer fully stocked for at least two weeks.

We welcomed the change of pace and always enjoyed the times that we camped in Canada. We do not have a ton of ancestors from Canada, but do have some mostly due to marriages.  We brought along two kids, two dogs, bicycles, a canoe and as much as we could cram into our Jeep and trailer. Because we were not going to be home on the "4th" we adopted Canada Day. We attended town celebrations including political speeches (some in French) and our kids decorated their bikes and rode in the parades.

One year I remember sitting in a farm field watching fire works with everyone "oohing and aahing" just like back home. I can still envision the cattle off in the distance running the opposite direction of the fireworks display -- back and forth with each explosion. Too, I remember the panic in our Saint-Shepherd mix as the fireworks exploded. Our Rottweiller didn't seem to mind as much.

In those days, no passports were needed to cross the border -- so many times we would scoot up the road about two hours and spend the day in Canada shopping and filling up on cheap gas . . .so today being the 183rd day of the year -- almost exactly halfway -- "Happy Canada Day!" break out your favorite Canadian food stuff . . .

The Status of the Indexing for the 1940 Census

It was on April 2 that the 1940 Census was released to the public. It was a date that so many of us counted down the days to . . . now some 13 weeks later real indexing headway has been made:

Roughly 75% of the census has been indexed meaning that over 143,000 volunteers (me included) have worked on and continue to work on indexing names of every individual contained in the census. Over 105 million names have been indexed so far.

It is the largest "crowd-sourcing" effort for a census ever. Soon all of us will be able to simply type in a surname and up will pop hopefully our ancestors and relatives who were alive in 1940. Unfortunately there will be some discrepancies due to poor penmanship on the part of the census takers AND some pages being  unreadable for a variety of other reasons -- hopefully not yours or my relatives . . .

I recently pulled a list of my surname in the 1940 census and there were already several hundred listed -- not too many were ones that I recognized as two of the states that I am interested in -- Wisconsin and Illinois -- are not included as yet -- but coming soon.

The Status of Home Projects

This week we saw progress in two areas -- the arbor in the back and wall taping in the bathroom of the pool house . . . the arbor that Gail and I sit under to play Quiddler had seen better days and now is pretty much fire wood for somebody. It took most of the week but the new structure is up and ready to be stained. It is almost identical to the old arbor.

The top left three photos are of the old and the rest are of the new. It is maybe a few inches taller and the top extends out a few more inches but other than that when the vines grow back up one would never know -- we will know and feel better about being underneath . . . the painter comes this week.

A Walk (and sit) in the Park

It was alternately hot and less hot this week. One day after the worker-bees had left for the day we went to the Farmer's Market in town. We sat with Dino and enjoyed the relatively quiet day in the plaza.

There were only a handful of vendors and the band that played was low-key. A few other dogs greeted Dino with barking and jumping (Dino did not bark, nor jump). After about an hour or so we headed back home to "rest" up before playing some Quiddler and then fixing dinner . . .

The Status of the Current Puzzle

Last week Gail received a new puzzle (Liberty Puzzle) of San Francisco. It was hoped that weeks of enjoyment would follow the commencement of the joining of the first two pieces -- but that was not to be because a puzzle is a strong magnet and demands followup at every opportunity -- so without anymore ado:

We have a completed puzzle which will remain on display until the next puzzle is started (soon), I suspect. There is a backlog of one . . . each of these puzzles are really uniquely cut in wood using a laser saw and the pieces are unlike any other puzzle -- if you click on the puzzle you should be able to see the many shapes that go into this puzzle . . .

The Status of Dogs & Travel

Because it is travel season and so many of us have dogs that go with us everywhere it is helpful to know in advance where our dogs are welcome and where they are not . . . it was saddening to find that one town in particular had NO dog friendly restaurants at all. The closest being 39.5 miles away . . . needless to say we are not going to eat dinner there . . .

Bring Fido  check out the link if you are planning on traveling with your pooch or if you just want to have a little look-see . . . some photos of many of the pups you could bring . . .

The Status of the "Trunk" Items

Last week I mentioned that my brother gave be several items that he had in his possession from my Mother's side of the family -- and a lot of it (letters) unfortunately was either totally in Swedish or the photos totally un identified . . .

Here though are some examples of the contents of this trunk:

The left side shows a bible in Swedish (Bibel) apparently belonging to my maternal Great Grandmother Pella Knutsson (Horvaith ??). The remarks are dated -- it looks like September 1888. Nothing other than the inside cover has any writing on it. Included also in the bibel was a bookmark.

On the right side is a picture of an old Album. I'm guessing from the same time period -- it is filled with pictures -- not one of which is identified. The first picture in the album is shown above and it is a baby photo identifying the photo studio in Menekaunee, Wisconsin. This would be in Marinette County and would relate to my Mother's side of the family.

I'll include pictures from the album from time to time in the hope that just maybe someone has an idea of who the folks are in the photos . . .

So that is our week -- it was "burger" night last night, tonight it is "Salmon Sunday Night" . . .

And have a great 4th of July! See you all in a few!