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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Petals, Produce, Photos & Petaluma

This week was really pleasant in many ways. One of the ways was the weather -- foggy and sometimes really cool in the morning and then progressing to full sun but moderate temperatures the remainder of the day. The many things growing in the front and backyard I think loved the condition:

The above are some of the blooms in the backyard (Dino is on his bed this morning while I write). I wish that I knew the names of all the things growing around the yard and little by little I am learning them. Because the weather had been more moderate this week, the a/c has not been needed as often, but it is there if we need it . . .

So -- What about Produce . . .

While we do have a bumper crop of apples -- and we hear them bump as they hit the ground at various times of the day and night -- our main crop right now is TOMATOES and lots of them, cherry and full size. I spent a while harvesting the latest crop:

I brought two large containers out -- one for the red cherry tomatoes and one for the yellow ones. I fairly quickly filled both along with several full size and ripe tomatoes. The top pics show the mostly hidden fruit and there is still an abundant quantity close to being ready to be picked. There are a couple of garden creatures watching over the crop as well (we're old).

It means a variety of activities in the next few days are in order to process and preserve for future use. We haven't decided on which methods to use maybe even drying some as we do have a dryer if we can find where we have stored it since our move . . .

Petaluma, How it Fit into Our Week . . . First Way:

Probably the most fun sporting event for us to watch this year has been the Little League World Series held back in Pennsylvania this week AND going on with the final game as I write this. Petaluma is not a
town that we are often in nor do we hear about it very much -- usually it is a town that we pass through on our way to San Francisco.  We do though have relatives (Greg & Linda, from Gail's side) who live there and we do visit on occasion.

But this week the Little League team from Petaluma made it to the World Series playoffs and they really did well -- even though they just missed being in the final game with Japan for the world title. They were an exciting team to watch and as a matter of fact so were the other teams as well.

We watched three of their games (recorded) and were totally impressed with the professionalism that was displayed. The coaches on both teams were "miked up" so we could hear the conversations whenever the manager or coaches gave instruction or "pep" talks. We actually felt that these games were more enjoyable than many of the pro games that we have seen lately. The fact that we "know" Petaluma and that they are less than an hour's drive from where we live helped us strengthen the "rooting" for them.

Petaluma -- the Second Involvement we had This Week:

Having one event tied to Petaluma is a rarity -- but TWO -- is really rare. It is funny how some weeks go and how some things figure into our weekly lives. Dino turned 11 months old this week (on Friday, the 24th). And it just so happened that a training session for GDB was scheduled for that evening and night. And it was scheduled to be in PETALUMA.

This training was to be a little different. All the puppies in our group were to be individually evaluated by the regional folks. As they need puppies sooner than usual -- due to the Parvo virus of last year -- they are looking at the current crop to see which puppies will be eligible to be brought in early for the secondary training.  Dino is among this group.

So it was off to Petaluma on Friday evening, first stopping to pick up another puppy (Carsey) to bring to be evaluated as their raisers could not attend. The event was held in the very large park in town which included a pond or two with a few thousand or so ducks surrounding the water's edge. Two by two the puppies were examined and put through exercises that would let the trainers see where they were in the progression and if there were some problem areas.

Dino did well even though he was a bit timid going near the huge numbers of ducks nearby -- he had never seen ducks before nor been that close to that many "other" loose animals. They feel that Dino will be called in for a more thorough exam in 4 to 5 weeks (after he is a year old).

The evaluations took about 30 minutes each and then following those we were invited to stay and watch the outdoor movie that was to be offered on a large outdoor type screen while everyone sits on blankets or chairs and enjoys pizza. GDB had a small booth as well.

The problem for us was -- we were done with the evaluation about 6:30 pm, the movie "Lorax" was set to begin when it became dark which was going to be around 8:30 pm. We opted to skip the movie (and pizza) and head back home. We were tired anyway and glad that when we got home -- about 8:30 pm that we had made the right decision.

In the above collage, we have two dogs with us for awhile till another puppy sitter came to take Carsey for the evening.  Some of the exercises with the regional trainers can be seen and also the many ducks.

By the way, I looked up the word Petaluma  in Wikipedia because it is such an odd name -- apparently it refers to an old phrase meaning "hill backside" probably due to it's proximity to Sonoma Mountain . . .

The Photos Part of This Week

Wow! I feel like I have struck a gold vein with photos. I was the lucky recipient of a shoebox sized  container of photos from my brother Marv. They are family photos from my (our) side of the tree and from a variety of sources, mostly from my Mother's collection. I spent a few hours examining the photos one-by-one.

There are pictures of people and houses and dogs from my growing up days that I had not seen before. In my mind's eye I remembered a lot of them and I am really happy to be able to put them into the tree for all to enjoy.

But there were a couple of photos that I call mysteries. I have scanned those photos and given them back. But I have questions about them -- and I hope to be able to solve the questions.

The top photo above -- because of the note on the back which says "my Mother's Father, John Larson"
written either by Carrie Martin or Helen Martin or one of the Martin girls -- we feel that this probably is a picture of John Larson (before now we had no picture of him). The confusing part though was that there was also a reference to Samuel Martin as well. But we do have a sketchy newspaper photo of Samuel Martin and it bears no resemblance to the above.

I enlarged the photo, top right, and you can see where someone has "inked-in" parts of the facial features -- eyes, brows, nose and mouth. That explains why the picture looked "weird" to me.

The photo on the bottom left -- I think is my Uncle Stewart as a small boy, but I need confirmation. The lady "in the hat" we are not sure, could it be Hildred Nelson Bumgardner, to me it does not look at all like her . . . and finally in the last photo (bottom right) I would love to figure out the words tattooed on my Father's right arm. I believe it says Honolulu and a date. He was stationed there while in peace time service, but the word and date might help figure out his service days . . . (Army Records supposedly burned in the huge St. Louis fire a few decades ago)

And Lastly This Week

This week has been one of changing my approach to how I maintain backup of all my data and especially photos. I have gotten almost every file back that I lost but many of the file names have been altered in some way that it has been a challenge to find what I am looking for -- but I think all is there.

So, I plan to have a lot of things in the "clouds" so to speak and in trees that are "off prem". That is one reason that I am slowly going to add to trees like "WikiTree". I am going to put a lot of the dates and pictures of mostly only the non-living on that tree -- and keep it available for viewing only privately.

The above is an example of what can be done on WikiTree. I like the ability to have a tree showing the pictures of the key folks. This is me with my Parents and Grandparents. Anyone can do this on WikiTree and on the right column of this blog you can click on it and investigate. You can also check out the information about WikiTree at WikiTree

Eventually we could all link together and all be able to work together . . .

That was our week -- we did celebrate our twentieth last night with guess what -- burger Saturday night!

Have a good week, see you in a few!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tomatoes of Healdsburg, Farmers,Sonoma

I had different kinds of time on my hands this week . . . even though I could use my computer during restoration it wasn't the same. I couldn't access a lot of the files that I had been saving and using for the last several years. But the good news is that I now have recovered about 85 -- 90% of the files that I had two weeks ago -- I believe that I have lost the difference . . . Carbonite finished restoring all the files that they could on Thursday . . . so how did I use my "extra" time? Creating more photo files . . .

I can't tell you how many shots this took or how long I stood poised waiting for the hummingbirds to appear or how many times my camera wasn't ready when they were . . . it seems like "they knew" when I was trying to get a pic -- they would appear I would grab my camera and before I could squeeze off the trigger, they were gone. Of course I would hold the pose for awhile and they would too -- only not in front of the lens.

But as you can see and I knew it was only a matter of time. I got a few good snaps. They do drink a lot.

Tomatoes of Healdsburg (our garden)

We are beginning to reap the rewards of Gail's hard work in the garden. Tons of cherry tomatoes and a
large quantity of full size ones. We can really tell the difference between ours and the store-bought variety. But what do you do with the sudden crop, if they would ripen at a reasonable rate we could just consume them on a steady basis -- but they come in large quantities all at once . . .

So more work for Gail as she prepares a large pot-full for sauce -- Dino just watches quietly . . . there's nothing much in it for him. This pot turned into some pretty good pasta sauce which we have already partially consumed over whole-wheat pasta, the rest we have frozen for use later in the year. But I just peeked outside and there is a whole new crop ready to harvest.

Dino's Event by the Farmers in Sonoma

For GDB training this week we drove a little close to an hour (and then another 15-20 minutes looking for parking) to the town of Sonoma to attend their Farmer's Market. There were thousands already there when we got to town. We finally met up with our group and went through some training exercises and then mingled among the crowds of folks enjoying the town plaza, music, dining/wining and everything
that folks do on a hot summer evening . . . it was really enjoyable and Dino loved it as always.

The above does not show the huge crowds that were there -- but they were all around us -- our training exercises were on the perimeter of the plaza and across the street until we took all of the puppies throughout the grounds and by the stands and crowds. I was able to be in some of the photos because someone volunteered to take over camera duties for a bit . . . which was fun.

What Else Fills Time

Every night for the past couple of weeks we have been reading -- aloud -- the biography written about Steve Jobs. So much is really interesting to me especially because for a lot of the early Apple years I was in sort of a comparable industry at work -- our company at the time wanted to be the next "IBM". . . which didn't exactly happen . . .

Whatever my concept was of Steve Jobs at the time is certainly both explained and shockingly different from what I imagined. The stories revealed about SJ are amazing and illustrate just how drastically different he was from "many of us". But -- he really produced some great products, some that we in this house use and love and swear we could not stand to be without . . .
Walter Isaacson has written a most interesting description of Steve and his life and times in Apple and Pixar and NExt and Reed College and other ventures. It is one of the most fascinating stories that we have read in a long time. 

Just this week, the house that Steve Jobs lived in was broken into and many personal items belonging to him were stolen and found their way into various hands -- that should not have happened.

I really hope that the momentum of Apple and the introduction of more successful products can continue with others leading the way -- time will tell.

Burger Saturday Night

The week did "go fast" and we found ourselves in the middle of Saturday with our usual dinner menu already planned of course -- but we did have a guest over last night. Because Nancy went off to Portland for a week to help out with Grand kids and all, Marv came over to enjoy our traditional fare. He is of course used to the menu because both he and I experienced "burger Saturday night" growing up.

Above you can see our quiet evening which included having the 49er game on in the background and the simple menu of burgers, sweet-potato fries and slaw. For dessert fresh peaches/strawberries over vanilla ice cream -- a non dieting event . . . but we had nice conversation and Marv brought some gifts of family things from his "vault":

It is sort of a family mystery photo -- a young girl standing, wearing warm clothing in between long rows of what looks like evergreen trees. On the back, written in my Mother's unmistakable handwriting are the words: Part of the Garden in Reid or Reed Military Reservation. She dates it 4/15/1922. On closer examination it could be 1932.

If it is indeed 1922 then it could be our Mother, who would have been 10 years old at that time. If it is 1932 then we are back at guessing again. We hope that we can solve the mystery . . .

Hopefully next week I'll get back to more family history sleuthing. I did do some work both in Fold3 and in FamilyTreeWiki -- both sites can be seen in the column to the right in this blog . . .

August Nineteenth . . .

It has been one year today that we last saw Auggie. We are reminded of him everyday and we so often catch ourselves calling "Dino", "Auggie" . . . it seems like yesterday

We hope that he is as comfortable as he was in this pose.

And Then, Finally

In Dick Eastman's blog this week he wrote about something that just "blew me away"  by the sheer numbers exposed. It just made me stop and think about the magnitude of events and the impact that social media makes in our lives -- whether we are active participants with social media or not.

So I followed up on the subject and found a lot to read -- and think about -- regarding the following:

In the top middle of the collage is the "number" that just made me stop and reflect a bit. The number seems so staggering to comprehend to me for some reason -- who would think that on average about 8000 Facebook members die every day -- unbelievable to me. 

I think that the app described above is something that makes sense, a good way to remember. If you want to check it out:  EverTalk

And so that was part of our week. Hope your week goes well, see you in a few!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Balloons, Flags, Farmer's/Home Produce

In the still quiet morning sky as Dino and I make our way in the early hours of one day last week -- both of us happened to notice something in the western horizon -- a beautiful hot-air balloon silently making a descent not-too-far distant. I quickly grabbed my nearby camera and was able to snap a few photos before we lost the image:

In the top right you can see the balloon (same coloring as the flowers) starting it's descent -- it was only a matter of minutes before it was completely down somewhere nearby.  We then went about our early morning routines.

This was mostly a "hot" week though the mornings have been at times cool and hazy but the sun did not hesitate to come out and nearly reached 100 degrees most days this week.

Our Viewing Pleasures this Week

In between mandatory activities this week we watched the Olympics. Since we recorded all the events we had a huge cache of material to view each day. The interesting thing was to keep the time-delay of London versus the West Coast at bay. We managed to get thoroughly confused several times because we made the mistake of watching live news events that would talk about certain events and then we would watch recorded events that actually we might or might not already know the results of . . . clear?

Anyway -- now finally we have come up with the correct viewing routine -- unfortunately the games end tonight. Never-the-less we have enjoyed the games. My favorite has to have been the women's beach volley ball games, though I did enjoy many of the other events. We have mixed feelings about seeing the games end. It will be nice to be able to get back into our "other viewing routines" as well.

It was nice to see our flag raised to the top in so many events. The games are a nice way for the nations of the world to intermix and relate to one another in a way so different than we often see in the news.

We look forward now to the Winter Games coming in a couple of years -- I miss "curling" and some of those activities too.

Status of a Project

It seems that after being here in this house now a year and one week that our projects should be coming to completion -- and we can say that the "little house" is nearing completion -- as a matter of fact I could almost hear someone saying -- "I could live there . . ." So the PH is a plus for us and a place that we hope to utilize and enjoy.

The photo at the top left was taken just a few weeks ago. The photo middle left is pretty much the final version as we see it. We scrounged through our garage (another ongoing project) and found some memorabilia from each of our names and that is in the bottom photos. We have a few more minor things to complete in the PH but it is habitable now, hot but livable . . .

In a break from the Olympics

While Gail chose her break to be working on reducing the mound of things in the garage, I had "work" of my own to do -- like a Webinar or two. This week I spent an hour and a half watching a webinar from Legacy Family Tree. The topic this week was "Wikis". Everybody seems to know about Wikipedia but there are sooo many other Wikis out there to explore.

I chose one of the many Wikis that were discussed -- WikiTree -- to highlight here. I have been a member of WikiTree for some time now and it is another way to display and research our family history. You can check out the site and maybe eventually link up with my efforts and together we can "grow" the tree even more. To take a peek:   WikiTree  there is no cost, but the benefits for us interested in family history can be huge.

And if you would like to view some of the upcoming webinars -- and there are some really good ones -- you might check out:  Legacy Family Tree Webinars

I have learned a lot from the many webinars that I have attended AND they always have had great speakers who bring gifts for the "live" participants. Check it out.

A Little Peek at Dino's Week

Dino is now 10 1/2 months old. He is nearing 80 pounds. He also is a really good puppy -- though most people are surprised to learn that he is still a "puppy". He lives a sheltered life in some ways -- he is in the a/c most of the time when it is hot outside. We did not have a formal puppy training session this week -- and that was probably a good thing given the heat and all.

Dino starts his day -- after eating and taking care of other business -- with having his hair dried. He waits for this every morning and rests contentedly on the bath mat while Gail uses the hair-dryer on him. He then usually prances into see me at my desk as if to show off his "do".

In the middle picture Dino reflects on the heat of the moment and at the same time checks the water level in the pool . . . as does someone else . . . in the bottom picture it is back to playing indoors, this time with reacting to the remote controlled car -- "Stuart Little". He doesn't quite know what to expect from that -- wait til we get out the remote controlled robot that barks and growls and all . . .

All in all Dino pretty much does what we do -- and that even means napping if we do. Next week we will have a trip to Sonoma in his training, we'll see how that goes.

From the Garden

We have been inundated with baby tomatoes, regular tomatoes and one pepper, so far. We can hardly keep up with dealing with tomatoes -- but -- they are soooo much better than store-bought. The pepper crop I'm hoping will come around later.

This was one "picking" and we are just working through a couple additional. It is a good thing that we like tomatoes and tomato sauce. The boot is a favorite of ours . . .

A Walk "to" the Farmer's Market

We decided to walk to the market earlier rather than later in the day to avoid the heat. We accomplished that and more AND we bought some tomatoes peaches. We love the activity surrounding the market and we have always met and chatted with friendly folks -- mostly, always because of Dino. Yesterday was no exception, Dino just begs people to come up to us and talk, we have enjoyed that part a lot.

Above you can see some of the many booths loaded with produce locally grown. There were lots of folks shopping and browsing. After going up and down the aisles a bit we found a place to "sit a bit" and we did. Dino just stretched out and waited for our return trip.

The Walk "from" the Farmer's Market

The walk home seemed shorter than the walk to, for some reason. We stopped and rested in the Plaza and watched the many tourist types hustling around the town square. Gail even made a purchase at the local bakery relieving them of a couple of "sticky buns". And the weather was not yet too hot . . .

The above is the "square" and then some various sites along the way home. All-in-all we were gone a couple of hours. At home we really felt refreshed to get into the a/c environment and relax, eat some lunch and watch -- what else -- Olympic events.

The "Other" Long Journey This Week . . .

At this moment my computer screen status report says: "47 %"

It has been one week and one day and that is how far the restore process is . . . it seems like it is going "45 MPH" even though there should be no limit. But -- as someone close to me reminds me, it could be a lot worse.

I'm not sure where I got the lower picture but it does express the feeling that I get . . . Carbonite though
is for me a life-saver. I am seeing my photo collection re-appearing one photo at a time -- it is amazing. I hope that the rest of my files are doing the same -- I am sure that I will need assistance in getting everything back to the way it was.

I am taking the measures as well to off-load some of the photos that I have (20,000+). As some photo folders have returned I have put them on DVDs and off my computer . . .

So that was a bit of our week. Last night while watching the Olympics, we had burgers and slaw . . .

Tonight it is going to be -- pan fried fish with, sliced tomatoes . . .

Have a good week! See you in a few . . .

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dino Visits Fair & Hiles/Files . . .

This was a week -- and a half . . . the weather was hot part of the week and then toward Friday and Saturday it was cooler with foggy mornings and sometimes hazy sun throughout the day. I, feel really
lucky to be writing this post today, for a variety of reasons I suppose. The main reason is though -- yesterday mid-morning I felt compelled to take drastic measures with my computer -- more about that later. First the regular stuff:

I have always loved palm trees since first being introduced to them about 1959 in Florida. The palms in Florida were abundant and royal looking -- they were primarily coconut palms. The palms we have here in Northern California can be just as regal appearing and the above trio fits the bill. There are nowhere near the number of palms here as even Southern California. The palms lining many of the boulevards in Southern California are majestic and some of them were planted by Thaddeus Adams, one of Gail's relatives. Thaddeus was like the Johnny Appleseed of the Los Angeles area with his prolific palm planting.

So Why am I Lucky . . .

As we speak, the 900,000 plus files that I USED TO HAVE on this computer are being retrieved and restored . . . yesterday I for some reason could not print. I searched for solutions on the wiki for the browser that I use. It was suggested that the first step in correcting the issue was to be sure and download all Windows Upgrades if not already done. There was one that (optional, though it was) I recklessly downloaded. From that point on nothing I did would bring my computer back up and running. I tried several restore points which in the past had corrected any misdoing that I had done by putting the computer back in time to when "all was fine".

Needless to say -- I was panicked, but I remembered that I had backup -- even though I had never used it before -- I had a feeling that I could start over even if it meant purchasing a new system. The service that backs up for me could send all my files to any computer that I used.

So thank goodness for Carbonite -- it is off site and works silently in the background everyday that I have it:

The above left is the message that I received from them reassuring me that I can relax while my files are being restored in the original folders that I had them -- it might take a few days to retrieve them all . . . already I see some of the many pictures that I have being restored . . . I am sooo glad that I invested in an off-site backup program a few years back -- it is sooo worth the $1 or so per week!

Other Big News of the Week

This week also marks the completion of the project to index the 1940 Census. It had been predicted that it would take 6 months or so to index.  It is completed two months earlier than originally thought and it is so nice to be able to search in every state for our relatives. The following collage explains a few more facts:

Top left is the statement from announcing the completion. The top right shows a map at the Ancestry site that gives pictorial history for individual states -- a peek into the types of life styles and conditions in 1940. Check it out and click on the photo icons to see some typical pictures representing the region. The bottom left is a very good explanation of the TWO projects that were going on with respect to indexing the census. Ancestry, privately indexed the entire census in one project, while a group of others and volunteers (yours truly as well) accomplished the same task this week as well.

With the Completion of the Index:

Texas was one of the last states to be released AND I had been looking for one of my Grand Uncles in that state but he didn't appear -- until this week-end. Charles William Hiles is my Grandfather's brother making him my Grand Uncle. I only heard stories about him and never got to meet him as he died shortly before my birth -- but he (and his wife Mabel) did appear in the 1940 Census:

  On the left side are snippets of the census for Houston, Texas -- the top highlighted line shows "C.W. Hiles" the bottom one (which appeared on the next page) shows Mabel. By looking at the detail of the columns you can see some of the pertinent facts: their address, 3222 Ozark Avenue, $7,000 value to the home, age, marital status, occupation of Charles -- Agent for Interstate Fruit Distributor (Pacific Fruit Express) and his salary for the year -- $4800 . . . things have changed a bit.

On the right side is the notice that I found recently announcing his death on 26 December, 1941. So he died shortly after Pearl Harbor and a year or so after the census was taken.

I was curious about where he lived and if there was any record of the address -- the following is what I pulled up on a variety of sites, Google and Bing included not to mention Zillow and Trulia Real Estate.

If that is in fact the house that he lived in in 1940 -- I have to say that it was pretty nice and the neighborhood was nice and is still nice today. I am not sure if any of my immediate relatives ever visited Charles at that home. I know that Charles took the train and made many trips to visit his brothers and sisters . . . the value of the home seems to be around $200,000 today -- which while much more than the $7,000 in 1940,  would be a lot more in other parts of the country, Northern California for example . . .

Dino's Big Event This Week

On Tuesday evening we hustled on over to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. We met up with all the other puppies from GDB at the entrance for the Amusement Rides. We weren't planning on riding on any of those -- just looking, thank you very much. But we did take a couple of hours and wind throughout the very crowded grounds:

In the above you can see some of the exhibits that we walked through. The dogs were just like pros and walked like perfect guide dogs throughout. Not one of them barked or did anything that they were not supposed to do. In the exhibit with all the flowers  at one point we all sat down and rested a bit while some of us took photos . . . thank goodness for digital photography -- I wound up with well over two hundred pictures.

After the above exhibits we meandered into the livestock area where 4-H groups presented their sheep, cattle, rabbits, chickens and pigs ( we didn't see them) and other small animals. The puppies were not overly interested in the other animals though they were aware of them.

After the livestock came the Midway and the really packed area. Apparently Tuesday night was one of the nights that discounts were offered on the ride attractions. It was wall to wall people (mostly teens) and one ride -- the YOYO -- shown above with riders floating in chairs in the air -- had a malfunction in the way of spewing oil onto it's passengers. According to the paper it happened about 7:30 pm which is just at the time that we were walking by, so those people in my picture are probably the ones that had to go through HazMat cleaning and all . . . no one was injured, just dirtied.

So that was a bit of our week. Last night being Saturday we had our traditional burgers -- and we ate them while enjoying the Olympics -- which we have watched every day. Tonight, Dino and I are "baching" it as Gail is out and about "with the girls" . . . so it just may be a non-dieting dinner for me.
We'll see -- though progress is steady on that -- down 7 since starting a couple of weeks ago.

Have a fun week, see you in a few!