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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!

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